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End of 3Ds Blog

CGAI regrets that the 3Ds blog will cease posting new material with immediate effect. Previous posts and comments will be archived and available for research on this site.

 CGAI is most grateful to Mark Collins for his careful curating of the 3Ds blog.

For additional content, visitors are encouraged to visit http://www.cgai.ca

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Mark Collins – Sublime Erdogan the Magnificent vs the Kurds (plus ISIS/Syria)

This murderous terrorism,

Istanbul bombing: Terror attack death toll rises to 38 including 30 police as officials accuse PKK
PKK blamed for attack which is the latest in an escalating scale of violence in the country

will only make this worse–at the NY Times:

As Turkey Cracks Down, Kurdish Mayors Pack Bags for Jail

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — When Kurdish officials here in Diyarbakir, the biggest Kurdish city in the world, say they’ve been “unavoidably detained,” it is not just an excuse for lateness.

Even before I arrived, the co-mayors, Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli, were jailed on terrorism charges that rights groups say are trumped up. Interviews in prison are not possible because, officially, foreign journalists are barred from the city.

Ahmet Turk, 74, a Kurd despite his name and the venerable mayor of another Kurdish city, Mardin, was out of jail at the moment. But his press officer, Enver Ete, said that it would be hard to arrange an interview: “We can’t give a time since so many people are getting arrested we can’t foresee what will happen.”

Kamuran Yuksek, a Kurdish politician, was on the phone with a reporter when he was detained briefly — just after being released from five months in prison.

I could not see Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or H.D.P., the country’s third-largest, although he lives in Diyarbakir. He, too, was jailed, along with nine other H.D.P. members of Parliament, so I arranged to see his wife, Basak, instead.

She canceled, not because she was jailed, but perhaps because she worried she would be, and she had two small children at home.

Turkey’s crackdown on Kurdish politicians, officials, news outlets, schools, municipalities, think tanks and even charities has been so thoroughgoing that it has left those who remain free expecting arrest at any moment. “My bag is packed for prison,” said Feleknas Uca, an H.D.P. member of Parliament. “Everybody has a bag in their house for prison. Now, everyone can be arrested at any moment.”

The crackdown on Kurds is part of a broader assault by the government on Turkey’s democratic freedoms after a failed coup in July, even though hard-line Islamists, followers of the cleric Fethullah Gulen, who are rabidly anti-Kurdish and hardly democratic paragons themselves, are accused of the overthrow attempt…

The crackdown on democracy has been nationwide, but on the political front it has been concentrated in the mostly Kurdish southeast, though there is no evidence, or even a government accusation, that Kurdish parties, legal or illegal, had any role in the attempted coup.

But a peace process with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., broke down last year, and since then fighting has claimed 2,393 lives on all sides, including civilians, according to a tally by the International Crisis Group.

Mr. Erdogan’s government had been stunned in 2015 elections when the H.D.P. decimated the ruling Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., in the east especially, winning six million votes, sending 80 candidates to Parliament, and becoming overnight a nationwide political force and the third-largest party. Critics accused Mr. Erdogan of deliberately rekindling violence in Kurdish areas to stir nationalist passions and reverse his flagging fortunes.

Since the coup attempt, the government has focused on jailing officials of the H.D.P. and its local sister parties, arresting at least 45 mayors of Kurdish towns beginning in late October. New arrests are coming practically every day. This year, 2,700 local Kurdish politicians affiliated with the H.D.P. have been jailed…

Kurds have borne the brunt of the crackdown, not just in politics but also in the news media and other areas. The publications and media organizations ordered closed by the government included nearly every Kurdish outlet, except for the government’s Kurdish television channel. Some Kurdish publications have begun publishing under other names…

Meanwhile the Kurdish complication vs ISIS in Syria:

U.S. to Send 200 More Troops to Syria in ISIS Fight

The military advance is complicated by the predominant role played by Kurdish militia members, who make up a majority of the 45,000 fighters and are the most effective American partner against the Islamic State in Syria. But the Kurdish militia fighters are viewed by Turkey — a pivotal American ally — as a terrorist threat.

Turkey regards the Syrian Kurdish fighters, known collectively as the Y.P.G., as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the Kurdish rebel group that has sought autonomy from Turkey since the 1980s. Ankara has demanded that the Y.P.G. not take part in the fight to retake Raqqa.

Turkish forces in recent months have swept across the border into Syria to attack Islamic State strongholds, an offensive the Pentagon has applauded [e.g. recently: “Turkish Troops, Syrian Rebels Attack Key Town Held by Islamic State”]. But the Turkish advance has also served to blunt the Kurdish fighters’ efforts to carve out a contiguous swath of territory inside Syria stretching to the Iraqi border.

As Turkish and Kurdish forces repeatedly clashed, American officials and commanders intervened to curtail the fighting. Washington desperately needs the two sides to focus on fighting the Islamic State in Raqqa, not each other.

To that end, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met twice in the last month with his Turkish counterpart, Gen. Hulusi Akar, to consult on battle plans for Raqqa. American Special Operations troops were assigned to accompany Turkish troops in Syria, giving the Pentagon on-the-ground liaisons.

In another unusual move, Brig. Gen. Jon K. Mott of the Air Force, a senior operations officer from the Pentagon’s Central Command, was recently dispatched to the Turkish Army’s operations center in Ankara to help coordinate the war effort and defuse any conflicts with the Kurds.

Pentagon officials are also toning down their vocal support for Kurdish fighters to avoid further inflaming Turkish domestic political sensitivities about any collaboration between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters…

Where it will all end knows only…Earlier (Operation Euphrates Shield— this from August):

Sublime Erdogan the Magnficent Pushing his Syria/Iraq Turkish Delight

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – ISIS Dhaka Massacre: Bangladeshi-Canadian’s Bloodthirsty Notes from Beyond the Grave

Further to this post (note further links relevant to the quotes below),

A Canadian, ISIS, Bangladesh and Terror…and Earlier Calgary

the gory gloating:

Islamic State magazine publishes essay possibly written by a Canadian
[bit tentative, that headline]

A newly published Islamic State propaganda magazine contains an essay apparently written by the late Canadian leader of the terror group’s Bangladeshi chapter [text via tweet at end of the post].

Tamim Chowdhury, a 30-year-old Bangladeshi Canadian from Windsor, Ont., was killed by authorities in his homeland in late August. But before that he appears to have written the official terrorist history of the July 1 attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka.

Five suicide commandos made international headlines by killing more than 20 people at the bakery, including several foreigners, before being gunned down themselves.

During the chilling attack, the gunmen approached patrons and asked them to recite memorized verses from the Koran. Those who could do so were spared. Those who could not were killed.

Mr. Chowdhury explains the brutal logic of this in his essay.

“During the operation, the knights … did their utmost to distinguish and separate the Muslims from the kuffar (crusaders, pagans, and apostates),” he wrote, adding that “those who proved their Islam were treated with respect and mercy, and those who manifested their kufr [infidelity] were treated with harshness and severity.”

The essay’s title page bears the name of Tamim Chowdhury, who is thought to have written similar screeds only under noms de guerre in the past. He is described as “the former head of military and covert operations” of the Bangladeshi wing of the Islamic State.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to doubt that he wrote it,” said Amarnath Amarasingam, a Canadian academic who studies foreign fighters and who has blogged about Mr. Chowdhury in the past.

Describing the life stories of each of the five Bangladeshi-born gunmen, Mr. Chowdhury’s essay says some were blocked from joining the terror group’s core in Syria and Iraq. He does not describe taking part in the Dhaka attack himself.

The English-language essay was published this week in the group’s propaganda magazine Rumiyah [more here], an Arabic word that translates as “Rome.” The name alludes to the Roman Empire and its antecedents, as well the Islamic State’s promise to wage attacks until Western civilization collapses.

The magazine also claims that IS was behind bombings of several Bangladeshi temples and more than a dozen knife and gun attacks against foreigners [see from before the bakery attack: “Islamist Butchery in Bangladesh–With a Canadian ISIS Connection“].

Before leaving for Bangladesh about three years ago, Mr. Chowdhury spent time with other radicals in Calgary and Windsor. These clusters fell under RCMP investigation after several members joined or sought to join IS chapters overseas…

More at another story–note RCMP at end:

ISIL releases posthumous report from Canadian who led terror attack on Dhaka restaurant

The Holey Artisan Bakery “was selected for this blessed operation because it was well-known for being frequented by the citizens of the Crusader countries,” Tamim Chowdhury wrote in the ISIL magazine Rumiyah…

In his posthumous report on the attack at the restaurant, Chowdhury said it had been chosen from among several potential targets because it was a “sinister place” where “Crusaders would gather to drink alcohol and commit vices through the night.”

Nine Italians, seven Japanese, an Indian, American and two locals died in the July 1 siege…

The five attackers carried out the killings “in order to give the Crusaders a taste of their own medicine,” he wrote.

Chowdhury threatened more attacks against citizens of countries fighting ISIL. “The mujahedin will target expats, tourists, diplomats, garment buyers, missionaries, sports teams and anyone else from the Crusader citizens to be found in Bengal until the land is purified from the Crusaders and all other kuffar (non-believers) and the law of Allah is established.”..

According to Bangladesh press reports, police believe Chowdhury trained in Syria before arriving in Dhaka from Dubai in October 2013. He apparently used his Bangladeshi passport because his Canadian one had been seized by the RCMP [that didn’t help much]…

The tweet:

Plus some good news:

Family relieved after U of T student [not a Canadian citizen] cleared of all allegations in Bangladesh attack
Tahmid Khan is still facing a “lack of co-operation charge” related to his alleged failure to attend two police interviews.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Oh, Oh! Indian Troops Raid Pakistani Kashmir

Further to this post,

The Asian Military Cockpit, Kashmir Section

matters are indeed getting pretty hairy:

India says hits Pakistan-based militants, escalating tension

Indian officials said elite troops crossed into Pakistan-ruled Kashmir on Thursday [Sept. 29] and killed suspected militants preparing to infiltrate and carry out attacks on major cities, in a surprise raid that raised tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan said two of its soldiers had been killed in exchanges of fire, but denied India had made any targeted strikes across the de facto frontier that runs through the disputed Himalayan territory.

Indian special forces crossed the heavily militarized border by foot just after midnight and hit about half a dozen “launching pads”, where the suspected militants were preparing to sneak across, an Indian military source and a government official said.

The official said troops killed militants numbering in the double digits, and that no Indian soldier was killed.

An army official based in Indian-controlled Kashmir said two Indian soldiers were wounded while returning from the raid – one stepped on a landmine and another was shot.

The strikes mark a rare public announcement by India that it had launched a military operation across its de factor border with Pakistan.

They followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s warning that those India held responsible “would not go unpunished” for a Sept. 18 attack on an army base in Uri, near the Line of Control, that killed 18 soldiers.

The strikes also raised the possibility of military escalation between the neighbors that could wreck a 2003 Kashmir ceasefire.

India evacuated people from villages within 10 km of the de facto border in the Jammu area as a precautionary measure…

Keep watching that space.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – 455 Canadian Troops to Latvia with NATO Spring 2017–Italians Too?

Further to this July post,

NATO in Latvia: 450 Canadian Army Troops, HQ, Six CF-18s (sometimes)

we see some good digging in the Latvian media early Sept. 16 by milnews.ca at Milnet.ca (our media noticed sometime later):

A couple of updates courtesy of Latvian public media …
Quote

The Canadian-led multinational battalion in Latvia will receive 455 Canadian troops who’ll start arriving around spring 2017, Canada’s Chief of Defense General Jonathan Vance told the press Thursday [Sept. 15].

Other countries forming the battalion will be able to decide on the number of troops to be sent to Latvia.

“We do not have any set numbers of troops for each country. I can tell that there will be about 1,000 troops in total,” said Vance.

He said it’s still being discussed which countries will form the battle group and confirmed the estimated time of arrivals.

(…)

As previously reported, Canada will lead a NATO reinforcement battalion in Latvia next year but other nations, possibly including Italy, are also expected to contribute smaller numbers of troops.

(source)
Quote

During a meeting September 14 with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis expressed hope that Italy will join the Canadian-led multinational NATO battalion which will be deployed to Latvia, reported LETA.

During the meeting, which took place at a conference in Bulgaria, the two sides praised their cooperation on security matters, which is important in implementing the decisions made during the recent NATO Summit in Warsaw.

”We are happy at the decision made during the NATO Summit in Warsaw on strengthening the alliance’s presence in the Baltic region and Poland, which foresees the deployment of a Canadian-led multinational battalion in Latvia,” Vejonis said.

(…)

As previously reported, Canada will lead a NATO reinforcement battalion in Latvia next year but other nations, possibly including Italy, are also expected to contribute smaller numbers of troops.

Italian military officers have already inspected facilities in Latvia.

(source)

Very relevant to the Canadian Forces’ foreign deployments:

Latvia with NATO vs UN Peacekeeping: Where Government’s Heart Truly is

Yes, Canadian Forces into Africa: Where, When, How Many? Really Peacekeeping?

“The end of peacekeeping, and what comes next for Canada’s soldiers”

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Chinese ADIZ for South China Sea?

Now that would really put the Dragon amongst the US services’ pigeons, leading to scary possibilities for “incidents” given steadily rising tensions in the area–at Defense One’sD-Brief“:


Beijing may soon impose an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea, reports the South China Morning Post, citing “sources close to the People’s Liberation Army” and a report in Canada-based Kanwa Defence Review. Two years ago, China established a similar ADIZ over the East China Sea, sending shock waves through the international circles. That, here.

That news comes as defense leaders prepare for two big conclaves this week: the 3-day Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, and the Strategic and Economic Dialogue between U.S. and Chinese officials in Beijing. At the latter, U.S. officials can expect “pressure” from Chinese officials angered by freedom-of-navigation patrols past their new artificial islands. Reuters reports, citing official Chinese media.

From Popular Science: China’s coast guard is getting a new armed cutter. “In recent disputes with its neighbors, China’s civilian maritime forces, such as its Coast Guard and ‘fishermen militia,’ have played key roles in acting on behalf of Chinese claims in the East and South China Seas.” As well, to accompany its new aircraft carriers and destroyers, China is acquiring a fleet of heavy support ships that will enable naval and amphibious assault operations around the world.

About those fishermen: Last Friday, an Indonesian frigate fired at and then boarded a Chinese fishing vessel suspected of poaching fish in Indonesian waters. Via The Diplomat, here

More on those US Navy patrols, note “Comments”:

South China Sea: USN Freedom of Navigation Ops vs China–Plus Vietnam

One wonders how seriously the Canadian government is taking developments in the region.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds