Friday, August 17, 2018

Multipolarity Arrives in the Middle East: Strengthening Strategic Autonomy

hat tip to J for leaving the link to this oped in the comment section of :

Is Turkey Sleepwalking Out of the Alliance? Incirlik, Brunson, S-400's

Also see Bhadrakumar's (former Indian Ambassador)

His point is, that it's not about Turkey to 'defect' away from NATO to Russia (and China). It's only about multipolarity returning in international politics.

I think, the same may be true for the EU states. Trump and the Congress behave like a "school-class bully". and this accelerates it even more.

I found the piece quite thoughtful- And think Bhadrakumar makes some very valid points- not so much about Turkey exiting NATO as it is countries concerning themselves with what is beneficial for their nation's interests- He addresses some points about Russia and the relationship between Turkey and Iran which have not always been friendly- But still they are all working together... to calm the Syrian situation down and stabilize the region.
 A point I've made on more then one occasion about the Astana partners and their ability to cooperate, despite their many differences, as speaking well of the leadership of the 3 nations. 

Without further adieu:

"Trust Turkey’s Recep Erdogan to have had a game plan when he challenged the Trump administration and promised that the latter will regret its “unilateralist” policies"
Mr Erdogan looks to be doing right by Turkey- He's attempting to save the Lira and avoid being forced to the IMF. As mentioned in The Sun Doesn't Rise Because the Rooster Crows: Turkey's Currency Crisis Created To Force an IMF Bailout

"Some pundits thought Russia and China have been inciting him and are lurking in the shadows to escort Erdogan to a brave new world.
Others fancied that the Eurasian integration processes would now take a great leap forward as Turkey embraced Russia, while a few forecast that Turkey would now sell itself cheap for Chinese money.
And then, there is the ubiquitous prediction in such situations that whoever defied the lone super power would come a cropper and Turkey’s fate is going to be miserable"
All these apocalyptic predictions overlooked the fact that Turkey may have a ‘third way’ forward – by strengthening even further its strategic autonomy and optimally exploiting its foreign policy options.
This path opened dramatically on Wednesday with the unscheduled arrival of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar’s emir, in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Economic projects, investments, deposits

Qatar’s royal court has announced in a statement that Al-Thani “issued directives that will see the State of Qatar to provide a host of economic projects, investments and deposits” worth $15 billion to support the Turkish economy.
A government source in Ankara told Reuters that the investments would be channeled into Turkish banks and financial markets.
 Al-Thani confirmed the direct investment plans in Turkey, which he described as having a “productive, strong and solid economy.” He tweeted: “We are together with Turkey and our brothers there, who stand by Qatar and problems of the Ummah.”
Readers here should recall that Saudi Arabia embargoed and wanted to attack Qatar. But Turkey and Iran came to the aid of Qatar. Helping them circumvent the embargo


"Erdogan responded, saying his meeting with al-Thani was “very productive and positive.” Erdogan thanked the emir and Qatari people for standing with Turkey. “Our relations with friendly and brotherly country Qatar will continue to strengthen in many areas,” he tweeted.
At its most obvious level, we may locate the historic Qatari gesture toward Turkey in the matrix of the strong convergence that has accrued in their relationship in recent years in the backdrop of the emergent power dynamic in the Middle East. The axis works on many planes.
On the ideological plane, importantly, the ruling elites in both countries share a unique affinity toward Islamism and in visualizing the Muslim Brotherhood as the vehicle for the democratic transformation of the region. (Not a fan of the muslimbrotherhood stuff- But I don't live in either nation)  As a result, both have been targeted by Saudi Arabia and the UAE – and Egypt.

Joint military exercises

Until the retreat of Qatar from the Syrian killing fields in recent years, it was collaborating closely with Turkey (both nations have long retreated from the overthrow mode and Turkey is actively cooperating with Russia and Iran I will relink the plans for Idlib at the bottom, again) in the failed project to overthrow the Assad regime. Of course, both countries are strong supporters of Hamas, too.
Turkey keeps a military base in Qatar, which may seem symbolic in comparison with the Western bases, but turned out to be an important lifeline for Doha for pushing back at Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the past couple of years. Turkey and Qatar are also planning to hold joint military exercises this year.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi resent Erdogan’s projection of power through Qatar into the GCC territory, which they regard as their playpen. The Turks in turn suspect that Emiratis had a hand in the failed coup attempt against Erdogan in July 2016.
Meanwhile, there is great complementarity in the economic sphere between Turkey and Qatar. Turkey has a dynamic export industry and an economy that has registered impressive growth in the last decade, while Qatar has a huge surplus of capital for investment.
One consideration for Doha will be that the Turkish construction industry, which is affected by the present financial crisis in Turkey, is involved in preparing the infrastructure for the FIFA World Cup 2022, which Qatar is hosting.
Fundamentally, therefore, the planned Qatari investment in the Turkish economy holds big resonance for the geopolitics of the Middle East. No doubt, it proclaims the adulthood of the Turkish-Qatari axis. Regional states ranging from Iran to Israel will carefully take note that Al-Thani has come to Erdogan’s help at a critical moment.

Some spice in a heady brew

Yet, the Qatar-Turkey axis will not project itself as a strategic defiance of the United States – although the Qatari emir is well aware of Erdogan’s face-off with the Trump administration. Nonetheless, what adds some spice to this heady brew is that the Trump administration has been unabashedly partial toward the Saudi-Emirati line-up in the Gulf region.
A recent American report even claimed that former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lost his job because he stood in the way of a Saudi-Emirati plan to attack Qatar.
At any rate, the apt description for the Turkish-Qatari axis is that it is a manifestation of the arrival of multipolarity in the politics of the Middle East. Both Turkey and Qatar have good relations with Iran.
Although US Central Command is headquartered in Doha, Al-Thani also has a warm relationship Russian President Vladimir Putin, too.
In the power dynamic of the Middle East, the trend toward multipolarity is poised to accelerate. As time passes, conceivably, even Saudi Arabia and the UAE will see the attraction in strengthening their strategic autonomy.
It will be a fallacy, therefore, to continue viewing the Middle East through the Cold War prism, as most US analysts do, as an area of contestation between the big powers – as if the regional states don’t have a mind of their own or multiple options in developing their policies.
Simply put, Turkey or Iran may lean toward Russia, but can never forge a strategic alliance with Moscow. With a view to pushing back at US pressure, they may lean decidedly toward Moscow from time to time, but they have no intentions of surrendering their strategic autonomy.
But to caricature these countries as passive participants in Russia’s Eurasian integration processes will be delusional.
Russia understands this complicated reality, which is not surprising, given Moscow’s historical memory of its highly problematic relationships with Turkey and Iran through centuries in its imperial history. 
Thus, the Russian policy is not unduly demanding and is willing to accept their nationalist mindset. (which is wholly appropriate and sensible policy)
On the other hand, the failure of the US policies lies in Washington’s inability to accept equal relationships and its obsession, ‘You’re either with us, or are against us.’ (which causes a pile of problems as we've all seen)
Make no mistake, the European capitals watch with exasperation the Trump administration’s handling of Erdogan – although he is by no means an easy customer to handle. The point is, European countries are closer to Russia in their appreciation of the complexities of the Middle East. Nor are European countries inclined to view Turkey through the Israeli prism. 
Therefore, a concerted Western strategy toward Erdogan under US leadership will remain elusive. Germany’s decision to lift its sanctions against Turkey can be seen in this light. Equally, Erdogan is due to pay a state visit to Germany in September. "
As mentioned in this previous post:

Lavrov in Ankara to talk Syria and 4 Party Summit

"The statement also said that a four-way Syria summit "is planned in the upcoming future," with the leaders of Russia, France, Turkey and Germany attending. The summit is of great significance as the four countries have taken an initiative to resolve regional issues at a fragile time.

The summit was first announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 28 in Johannesburg, South Africa"
The plans made by Iran, Russia, Syria and Turkey to, as smoothly as possible, return Idlib to the leadership in Damascus:

Saudi Arabia Urges Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria on Respecting Kurd’s Rights

What the heck is Chyrstia Freeland on about? Saudi Arabia is all for ‘rights’.

 Do note the fact that the Saudi diplomat rejects supporting every independence movement but just so happens to support the Usrael/remake the region friendly “independence” of the USrael affiliated Kurds

See below:
" A Saudi diplomat has urged Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria to give the Kurds their legitimate rights.

Speaking to reporters from Moscow, Saudi Ambassador to Russia, Ra’id Bin Khalid, said that his country would support the Kurds to exercise their right to rule themselves.

He pointed out that the Kurdish people, scattered between the four countries in the Middle East, should be given the chance to determine their own fate.

Bin Khalid reminded that the Kurdish forces have fought on the forefront of the war against  the Islamic State, and they have tried to exercise democracy in the areas they rule in Iraq and Syria"
Kurdish forces backed by the US and Saudi Arabia fought "ISIS" also backed by US & Saudi Arabia

"He highlighted the fact that the Kurdish authorities, during the past few years, have created a safe haven even for the Arabs who fled their homes in fear of terror.

The diplomat emphasized that the situation for Kurds in Turkey, even though making up 15% to 20% of the total population in the country, is not as good as in Syria or Iraq. Bin Khalid said they cannot exercise their basic rights related to exercising their culture.

He rejected supporting every movement seeking independence, but noted that the Kurds deserve a state of their own and such an independent Kurdistan could serve the interests of the wider region"


Covering the Iranian, Russian, Syrian and Turkish Plan of Operation regarding Idlib:


Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Sticky Situation of the Idlib Offensive

More on Idlib. It’s from the Atlantic Council- so you gotta be aware of the presentation, but, I’ll bold the info I find interesting- This post will not contain the entire oped.

Syrian Army soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad forces are seen in Idlib, Syria January 21, 2018. Picture taken January 21, 2018.

How Idlib is handled is critical to Syria's future. As well as that of Turkey, Iraq and further down the line.. Iran. I'm hoping it's all worked out with minimum of casualties. And Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria are able to continue cooperating with an eye on the bigger picture. Hoping the rebels lay down the arms. As some have on numerous occasions.

"Reports of Syrian regime forces gathering troops and weapons on the outskirts of Aleppo province, bordering Idlib to the east, further point to potential military action. Military officials from armed opposition groups in the north declared a gathering of a united front to counter the upcoming regime offensive—a common tactic used in previous battles to maintain opposition territories; while distinctly separating themselves from rivals Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS, formerly Jabhat al Nusra). Opposition groups have ideologically distanced themselves from the extremism of HTS out of necessity; what’s left of US funding did not extend to this UN designated terrorist organization or groups that ally with HTS before funding was cut off in May 2018.
"Even if members may agree with HTS strategies, opposition groups risk losing international legitimacy with its Turkey and Gulf backers and local credibility with residents that strongly oppose HTS. As it sought to control the area, HTS left its mark on civilians with kidnappings, raids, assassinations, and ongoing battles with local opposition groups. The battle for Idlib continues to be both an internal battle with opposition groups and HTS and external battle potentially involving Turkey and regime-allied forces.
In the eyes of the regime, an additional incentive of invading Idlib is the high density of the province due to displaced communities, which promises significant civilian damage and thus the removal of a large dissident population. The UN warns that seven hundred thousand people could be displaced by a potential offensive and flee north to Turkey; not including the high potential for civilian casualties. Symbolically, re-gaining control of a long-standing opposition territory is an appealing outcome for the Assad regime.
However, now more than ever, the final offensive in Idlib comes with significant complications for the regime. Turkey is a formidable power for the regime to contend with when it moves forward into Idlib. (will the "regime"have to contend with Turkey?) Turkey stated that Idlib is an important area for its security interests, and warned (loaded language)  Russia to mediate with Assad in order to avoid a confrontation. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are guarantors charged with maintaining the northwest de-escalation zone as part of the Astana agreement. If the regime moves forward with the final Idlib offensive, this would jeopardize the agreement with the Syrian regime crossing Turkey’s ‘red line.’ Turkey indicated this would destroy the agreement and push it to throw its full support behind armed opposition groups in response. As the host of the Astana talks, Russia is unlikely to favor this result"
Turkey asked Russia to mediate with the Assad government to avoid conflict- Reads like all parties desire to avoid fighting.  I've mentioned this likely strategy in 3 previous posts..
And it's the most advantageous outcome to discourage the US and SDF/PKK from entering at the time of Idlib's return.
"Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recently met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss Idlib during their talks in Ankara. Cavusoglu maintained Turkey would not allow the massacre of civilians in the province in efforts to remove terrorist groups as part of the Astana agreement. However, Turkey’s motives seem tied more to the removal of elements of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and return of Syrian refugees than to protecting current Idlib residents. Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch recently secured the Afrin area of Aleppo province, north of Idlib, and implemented ‘safe zones,’ observation points, and local police forces. Turkey is significantly invested in the area and is unlikely to retreat anytime soon. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also hinted at creating additional safe zones throughout northern Syria.
Despite all this posturing, Turkey is likely to concede southern parts of Idlib province to Russia and the regime because it is unwilling to risk direct confrontation with both states; as long as the final offensive does not threaten its interests in limiting Syrians entering its borders. Turkey fears mass displacement, but it is unlikely to interfere unless Russia and the regime move further north.
Yet this indirect support is also an effort to keep the regime from working with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) elements in the offensive. Kurdish SDF representatives met with the Syrian regime at the end of July and a second time last week to discuss maintaining self-rule in northern Syria—and potentially indirect protection from Turkey—in exchange for withdrawing from Arab majority areas. It is unlikely that the regime will honor this agreement if it comes to fruition long term, but this tactic could satisfy its immediate concerns and keep Turkey at bay while it hedges.
Syria may as well "cut of it's nose to spite it's own face" making any kind of agreement with Kurdish SDF/PKK. They annexed the territory violently, with the help of  the US. They cleansed the land of all those that were there. If Syria conceded territory to the US backed SDF Kurds- All those American bases will stay. This will turn into a never ending struggle like in Iraq. And for that matter Syria may as well concede Golan to Israel if their going to give annexed territory to US backed Kurds!
"While the Syrian regime is likely to move forward with a final Idlib offensive, it will need to prepare for potential confrontations with Turkey. (contradicting the diplomacy that Turkey had already requested and has been working on with Russia though this is tense. Too many factors to consider to even predict the outcome ) If past battles are any indication, Russia will continue to go through the motions of diplomacy, while supporting the regime through its air force, with a prolonged defense by armed opposition groups that ultimately leads to mass destruction and displacement. It remains to be seen when this imminent offensive will be, if Russia can manage to restrain the regime from overtaking the entire province, and what will be the extent of the mass civilian exodus and casualties"
As mentioned this is a carefully presented article with no mention of US special forces and their allied, mostly PKK  militias, waiting in the east. Alongside, Canadians, Brits and French forces with perhaps some Israeli's in the mix?



Aretha Franklin Is Gone- "The House that Jack Built"

This woman could sing. Undoubtedly.
I'm putting one of my fave songs below- Everyone knows RESPECT and it's a great song, but I did always like this one as well- Less well known, sure, but still a good one

Another excellent one is "Chain of Fools"

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Firas Tlass: SAA Will Invade Idleb with Russian and Turkish Help

Firas Tlass: SAA Will Invade Idleb with Russian and Turkish Help

 When I stumbled across this latest article my first thought was ‘wow, that’s a blast from the past’ Long, long time readers might remember the spin around the man named Manaf Tlass and his exit from Syria. Firas Tlass is Manaf’s brother. According to the information I’ve had access to. 
 There was very big media spin in 2012 about the significance of this man’s ‘defection’ and what a betrayal it was to the Assad government. I could only conclude, at that time, it had all been one big western media spin/propaganda/perception management psyop.

Firas Tlass

And then nadda. Zip. Zero. Zilch. 6 years later, it still seems to me it was a psyop.

Let’s read what Firas Tlass has to say, at this time, about the Idlib operation, yet to come:

I'm not sure how Firas has come to have this information, but, it jibes with information from two of last weeks post so I'm going to draw attention to it. He certainly appears to have an insider perspective

 "Firas Tlass, the son of the former Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, spoke in an audio recording about Russian-Turkish discussions which would allow Russian and Turkish military police and regime civilian police to enter Idleb and then deliver the province to the regime. 
Tlass called on the rebel groups in the area to surrender the region to the regime and withdraw, because the plan requires it.

Tlass claimed that the plan called for the expulsion of Al-Nusra Front and the Jund al-Aqsa and al-Turkestan factions to the areas under the control of what he called the Kurdish militias, noting that the Syrian Democratic Forces were at their forefront.

Tlass said that Turkey was putting pressure on Jund al-Aqsa and al-Turkestan to fight Kurdish forces and to expel these groups to the area between Jarablus and Al-Bab Al-Rai’e, and that the Russians have reservations about this.

Tlass said that expelling these groups to Kurdish areas will create a new Islamic State, leading to a Turkish alliance with the regime, and the Americans agreeing to the regime taking control of Kurdish-controlled areas.
He states expelling these terrorists will create a "new" Islamic state? Though he's talking about sending them to their allied Kurdish militias. KurdIShIS.... again!

A Turkish alliance with the Syrian government which will see the Americans allowing the Syrian government allied with the Turks to take control of unlawfully annexed Syrian territory.
Sounds good to me!
Tlass recommended that the rebel groups avoid “heroics” and expressed his hope that civil society leaders in Idleb would communicate with Turkey to be part of the dialogue, as well as his hope that civilians would be safe. He warned against Idleb falling victim to the stubbornness of Tahrir al-Sham and Russia.

Tlass has previously discussed in an audio message the fate of his hometown al-Rastan, in which he addressed the head of the regime intelligence agencies in the city and told him that in an effort to preserve the dignity of Syrians, he was in touch with the Russians at Hemeimeem Base and with rebel groups in the area and said in the recording at the time: “If security is achieved in northern Homs and the southern Hama countryside, it can be a role model.”
Interesting, no? Jibes with these two posts

Is Turkey Sleepwalking Out of the Alliance? Incirlik, Brunson, S-400's

Carnegie Europe
"Turkey’s resolve to acquire the Russian strategic defensive weapon system S-400 Triumf raises the prospect of a severe damage to NATO and, by extension, to transatlantic security.

    The Turkish – American bilateral relationship is in a deep crisis. An alliance that took shape in the early post-War years has entered a period of heavy turbulence with an ever-growing set of unresolved disputes. This unprecedented cumulation of bilateral disputes is burdening a relationship vital to transatlantic security. It is also compounding efforts to settle differences with linkages being established between unrelated topics leading to an ever more difficult environment for diplomatic negotiations. The way forward requires a willingness to disconnect these problems from each other so that some confidence building can be engineered by individually resolving these disagreements.

    With this understanding, this report will focus on one of these disagreements. Turkey is planning to acquire an advanced Russian strategic defensive weapon system, known as the S-400 Triumf. There is however rising concern in the US about this purchase by a NATO ally. Indeed the fear is that, even if not networked, potential backdoors in the S-400 system could study critical operational data and electromagnetic signatures of the high-end aircraft, and transmit them to the Russian military intelligence.

A strategic defensive weapon
Recall this quote?
     "So if the US does not plan to attack Turkey or support those who intend to attack it, they don't need to be afraid of the S-400 deal. If the American goal is to deprive Turkey of the defense system and attack it, then this is a completely different matter," Bozkurt concluded.
CE:  "The prospect of sanctions has therefore been raised in addition to Congressional initiatives to prevent deliveries of the F-35 Lightning II to Turkey due to the risks of operating the S-400 and the F-35 together. Yet Ankara’s resolve regarding its potential acquisition of the S-400 seems unaffected despite the rising political and military costs.
    Both Ankara and Washington are so far acting in a way that is oblivious to the real consequences of such a scenario of divergence.
    The case that we make in this detailed report is that a failure to eventually reach an understanding on the now interlinked S-400 & F-35 issue can potentially affect Turkey’s capability to act as an interoperable and capable NATO ally. In other words, this disagreement raises the prospect of a severe damage to the NATO Alliance, and by extension, to transatlantic security.
    One mooted option has been for Turkey’s F-35s to be delivered through several degradations ensuring that the aircraft is handed over without connection to the ALIS cloud-based network. However, such a degradation will cut Turkey’s F-35s’ from rest of the global F-35 fleet around the world. Maintenance, life cycle, and operation costs will inevitably increase, and the Turkish military-industrial com-plex will have much less access to the engineering and supply chain."

It appears the F-35's aren’t going to Turkey any time soon, if at all.

Haaretz: "A newly-signed defense bill stalls delivering the fighter jets pending a Pentagon report on Ankara-Washington relations, reports say
The policy, now signed into law, prohibits delivering the F-35s pending a Pentagon report on the relations between Ankara and Washington, which is due in 90 days. The report is expected to assess the risks presented by Turkey purchasing the S-400 missile defense system from Russia"

 CE:   "Washington’s intent to link the supply of the F-35s to Turkey to political conditions, like the release of the jailed pastor Brunson is incongruous. The US would naturally work diplomatically to get the release of the jailed pastor as its citizen. But seeking to leverage the potential delivery of the F-35s for this purpose is greatly misplaced. The threat is incommensurate with its long-term implications. It underestimates the negative impact, not only for the Turkey-US relationship but also more generally for transatlantic security, of Turkey not being able to get the delivery of this fifth-generation multirole aircraft. The linkage with Turkey’s acquisition of the S-400 from Russia, however, is more relevant"

Let’s stop calling Brunson a pastor, ok? He’s not. Not really.  Much more realistically speaking the man is a CIA agent. Most assuredly involved in arms smuggling. I’m quite comfortable making that statement. Writing an entire post on it last week:

Digression, but, related:
The news (?) regarding Turkey wanting to raid Incirlik (which was posted all over the place including but not limited to Zero Hedge, as spun by Jason Ditz ,of   the extremely questionable Anti-war)  that originated with the  "Stockholm Centre for Freedom" is extremely dubious.
"According to the report, lawyers working for the the Association for Social Justice and Aid (Toplumsal Adalet ve Yardımlaşma Derneği in Turkish, or TAY-DER), a front NGO that was set up on June 15, 2016."
A Front NGO for who or what? Click the link provided for Tay-Der (above) and you go where??? Directly to another page from the Stockholm Centre!  Making an initial claim backed up their own previous claim? All the while providing no proof for any of their assertions
 Stockholm Centre for Freedom is spooky. Or questionable. With an "about us" that is vague. And that's being kind.

   CE:  "In our view, Ankara would need to adopt a political and diplomatic strategy that takes fully into account of this inevitable conclusion that the acquisition of the S-400s will have ramifications for the supply and operationalization of the F-35s. Either the US will need to be convinced that the delivery of the F-35s to a country that operates the Russia-made S-400s is not a real threat to the integrity of network-centric NATO platforms, or that the threat of cyber hacking –or digital espionage– emanating from the S-400s can categorically be eliminated, or Turkey would need to forego the acquisition – or at the very least the operationalization– of the S-400s. At present, there seem to be no real third options for Turkish policy-makers to sidestep these binary and mutually exclusive options.

Why would Turkey bother to acquire the S-400 if they had no intent of using the S-400 as a defensive system

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Lavrov in Ankara to talk Syria and 4 Party Summit


 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Ankara yesterday for talks that will continue today to discuss issues related to Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement yesterday that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would visit Ankara on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the four-way meeting with his Turkish counterpart.

The statement also said that a four-way Syria summit "is planned in the upcoming future," with the leaders of Russia, France, Turkey and Germany attending. The summit is of great significance as the four countries have taken an initiative to resolve regional issues at a fragile time.

The summit was first announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 28 in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he attended the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit. Erdogan underlined that the four countries will take up a wide-ranging set of issues, including Iraq. The summit focusing on Syria and the wider region will be held in Istanbul on Sept. 7 with participation of the most senior representatives from Turkey, Russia, France a nd Germany.
Erdogan at a BRICS summit announcing a meeting of parties opposed to Iranian sanctions.
Wrap your mind around that and tell me it's not connected to the "economic terrorism" (hattip Scott @ Willy Loman) being waged against Turkey most harshly. But also Russia.

The four countries are also known to have been opposing the sanctions of the United States on Iran. Turkey, Russia and the European Union are against severing economic ties with Iran.