It would seem I am not the only American who is disgusted by the brazen cowardice of Trump, and his complete betrayal of the Kurds, who helped us crush ISIS in Syria. ISIS now having been freed by our thug “NATO ally,” Erdogan the Ottoman butcher, will soon begin to wreak its revenge, and Trump will have yet more blood on his hands. By the way, when a retired Marine shows such open contempt for the current CIC it shows whatever the “deplorables” think, and no matter how many rally performances Trump holds, where he preens like a Peacock and struts his stuff, the fact his he betrayed and abandoned our Kurdish allies, seems to not be a big deal here in the USA. I can’t remember the Englishman who said, “Britain despises honor and then wonders why she has so many spies and traitors.” It is, apparently, a small thing here in the USA, this shame and dishonor, this lack of truth and integrity, but I think it will all come out in the wash eventually. The thing about shame and dishonor, which the military loathes above all else, since honor, loyalty, and honesty are paramount Military virtues, is it will stick to Trump like how you smell after having been sprayed by a skunk. Our allies will not trust us, and our enemies will be made bolder, because Trump has shown his word is nothing.
Here is the link to the article, which as usual, is from the British press.
A retired four-star Marine general has slammed President Donald Trump saying there is blood on his hands over the unfolding crisis in Syria after he ordered all U.S. troops to withdraw from the northern border area.
General John Allen told CNN on Sunday that the U.S. ‘greenlighted’ the current situation in Syria and that it was ‘completely foreseeable’.
Syria’s Kurds said Syrian government forces agreed on Sunday to help them fend off Turkey’s invasion – a major shift in alliances that came after Trump ordered all U.S. troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos.
The fast-deteriorating situation was set in motion last week when Trump ordered U.S. troops in northern Syria to step aside, clearing the way for an attack by Turkey, which regards the Kurds as terrorists.
The Middle East is, to quote Will Rogers, like the weather in Oklahoma, at least in the sense all you have to do is wait a while and something completely different will happen. I said that Assad Junior, whatever public states his “the mouth of Assad Junior was making,” either defended the 2011 territorial integrity of Syria, or he handed over a large chunk of his nation to Erdogan. I also said that Assad Junior’s Generals would EXECUTE him if he allowed Erdogan to annex Northern Syria and make it part of his newly established Restored Ottoman Empire. Apparently Assad Junior reads my blog here, because it didn’t take him long to realize Doomer Doug was right, and Assad Junior’s head was going to end up on the palace gates today if he didn’t move fast, and move hard against the de facto Sultan of the Ottoman Empire Erdogan. Putin, well I think he is gambling he won’t end up in a war with Erdogan, with such a wide open war a distinct possibility after today’s Syrian combat deployment. Trump, well Trump is now shown to not a player, and a second rate in foreign policy. Trump, now having enraged two core support groups, the US military and the Evangelicals, will, like Nixon in 1974, be forced to resign and replaced by VP Pence. The sight of US Special Forces running away in the middle of the night, leaving Kurds to be raped and murdered will stain US Military Honor for decades into the future. We bet on Trump, and he turned out to be a coward who leaves people behind to be massacred. The same reasons we condemned Hillary and Obama for Benghazi, are the same reasons Trump will be forced to resign in disgrace. It may take a while for the deplorables, now watching a preening Trump at these rallies, to realize Trump has made the US military the laughing stock of the world, but they have 12 more months to do so. The fact that Kurds are being dragged out of cars and executed by Erodogans forces means the blood is on Trump’s hands now, and, like Pontius Pilate, he can’t wash it off now. The usual groups despise Trump, so that won’t change, but what has changed is his usual supporters can’t hold their noses and watch him allow Kurds to be shot at will in Syria by Erdogan.
This as multiple videos have spread online showing pro-Damascus forces entering Manbij:
Putin is capitalizing on the chaotic retreat of the US & Turkey’s brutality toward the Kurds in order to assert Russia’s leadership. He contrasts how Russia has stood beside its beleaguered ally, Syria, while the US has abandoned both its allies, the Kurds and the Turks. https://twitter.com/ivan8848/status/1183009437742747648 …
PUTIN: ¨Syria must be free from other states military presence and the and territorial integrity the Syrian Arab Republic must be completely restored. ¨#Syria#Kurds#Turkey#OperationSpringPeace
One of the things I pride myself on here on this blog is to ferret out the rumors behind the news, as Firesign Theater would put it. If you realized that when China bought up one third of the entire US Pork production ability several years ago, the final result of that would be food shortages here in CONUS. And guess what pork lovers, my first link says exactly that.
Americans could soon find it harder to bring home the bacon.
Virginia-based pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc., maker of bacon, ham and sausages, says the United States could face a bacon and ham shortage next year, as the spread of a pig-killing disease in China starts affecting the global market, according to reports.
The deadly hog disease that hit parts of Africa and Europe has spread across Asia infecting millions of pigs. As a result, prices of pork in China — home to half the world’s pig population — have skyrocketed.
And the U.S. could be affected next year if China is forced to increase imports as a result of the shortage, Arnold Silver, director of raw materials procurement at Smithfield, a wholly-owned subsidiary of WH Group of China, told Bloomberg. What’s more, China’s pork production will reportedly be down more than 32 million tons by next year.
Meanwhile, in the DUH Category we are told by the British Press that Erdogan the Ottoman Pretender really did know he was shelling American troops. You thunk the Turkish artillery crews knew who they were lighting up their fellow NATO members or not. I would say of course they did and here is the link.
‘The Turks KNEW we were present’: Pentagon counters Turkish claim that attack on US troops in Syria was ‘a mistake’, as it reveals American soldiers have NOT withdrawn from Syria despite Trump’s orders
American soldiers in northern Syria came under Turkish artillery fire on Friday, but none were wounded
The shelling occurred in Kobani where US Special Forces have been stationed in support of Kurdish troops
Trump ordered that they be removed earlier this week, but some remain in the area during the draw down
The Kurds have been instrumental in fighting both ISIS and the Syrian regime led by the country’s president, Bashar Assad
Turkey however deems the Kurds to be a terrorist group and they want them clear of the border
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed he wants to create a ‘safe zone’ and ‘save’ two million Syrian refugees who are in the middle of the fighting
Republicans have voiced fury at Trump over withdrawal and warned Turkish invasion will lead to atrocities against Kurds
Published: 16:38 EDT, 11 October 2019 | Updated: 23:34 EDT, 11 October 2019
The Pentagon says that Turkey knew that U.S. troops were present in the area of northern Syria that came under artillery fire from Turkish positions on Friday.
In warning Turkey on Friday following the shelling, the Department of Defense appeared to reject Ankara’s claims that its soldiers accidentally launched shells which fell just a few hundred meters from an American observation post in northern Syria.
While no American forces were wounded, the incident highlights the risks to U.S. troops as Turkey wages an offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish militia.
‘The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present,’ Navy Captain Brook DeWalt, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
Despite some online preening about Trump’s Minneapolis Rally, what I get out of it is full on Civil War Two mode. Trump supporters were viciously attacked by Antifa thugs as they left the rally, where, since they had been disarmed, they could not protect themselves. Further, Trump’s disaster of a Kurdish policy, which involves cutting and running in the middle of the night, betraying, and then abandoning our Kurdish allies, shows a moral squalor at the core of Trump, and yet again shows why I held my nose when voting for him back in 2016. Yes, Trump has done some good things, but he has now brought disaster upon the USA, and the blood debt will be paid for his actions in enabling Erdogan, a clone of Hitler, to be sure. Trump has also personally destroyed the NATO alliance, enabled Pelosi to impeach him, and set the stage for a Democrat victory in 2020, and the Marxist Death Squads that will follow that stolen election.
The link to the loss of religious support is here.
Trump abandoning Kurds could cost support of evangelical Christians
One of the president’s staunchest constituencies has stuck by him through many controversies but Syria may be a policy lurch too far
Evangelical Christian voters have been among Donald Trump’s most enthusiastic and reliable supporters. Trump’s recent rejection of asylum seekers and cuts to domestic food assistance programs have not stopped followers of Christ from flocking to the president.
A great schism, however, may finally be at hand. In drips that have become a gush, evangelical leaders this week have sharply criticized Trump’s decision to stand down US forces in northern Syria, warning that Turkey’s invasion of the region threatens America’s longstanding Kurdish allies and vulnerable Christian communities.
“It is very possible that the American withdrawal from the region will lead to the extinction of Christianity from the region,” Ashty Bahro, former director of the Evangelical Alliance of Kurdistan, told the Christianity Today news outlet.
With so much common ground, not all of Trump’s most high-profile evangelical allies have broken with him over Syria. The Liberty University president, Jerry Falwell Jr, who helped Trump seal the deal with evangelical voters as a 2016 campaign adviser, said Trump was “keeping his promise to keep America out of endless wars”.
“The president has got to do what’s best for the country, whether it helps him with this phony impeachment inquiry or not,” Falwell told the Associated Press.
But other extremely loyal Trump allies have split with him, warning that Roman Catholic, Armenian and Syrian Orthodox churches in northern Syrian border cities such as Ras al-Ayn, which is in the crosshairs of the Turkish invasion, are under threat. Thousands of civilians have fled Turkish shelling in the area.
“Today I ask that you join me in praying for the lives affected by the White House decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria,” tweeted one evangelical pastor, Franklin Graham. “Both Democrat & Republican leaders are deeply concerned bc this would be, in essence, abandoning our closest allies there – the Kurdish people.”
“Hey @SpeakerPelosi,” tweeted the evangelical radio host Erick Erickson, “maybe do a vote to initiate impeachment STAT, have the committee get out articles by tonight and over to the Senate, and perhaps we’ll still have time to save some of the Kurds.”
“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration,” tweeted the Republican senator Lindsey Graham. “This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS.”
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanuyahu, a deeply popular figure in the American evangelical community, joined the chorus.
“Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey and its proxies,” Netanyahu said. “Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people.”
But evangelical Christians are not ready to cast Trump out entirely. Earlier this week CBN News, America’s top Christian-themed media outlet, reported that Trump would be the keynote speaker this weekend at the Value Voters Summit, a huge political convention for evangelical Christians.
“Typically, when President Trump speaks to evangelical audiences, he receives multiple standing ovations,” the report said. “This Saturday will probably be more of the same because, even with the swirl of impeachment surrounding him, evangelicals have stood solidly behind the president so far.”
US To Send ‘Thousands’ More Troops To Saudi Arabia
Reuters reports, citing defense or administration sources, that the US is set to send thousands of additional troops to Saudi Arabia in the wake of last month’s Aramco attacks.
“The United States is planning to send a large number of additional forces to Saudi Arabia following the Sept. 14 attack on its oil facilities, which Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran,” according to a breaking Reuters report.
Anti-Trump Protesters Burn Red Trump Hats Outside Rally In Minnesota, Yell “F*ck You” At Police
The US House of Representatives, under that ancient crone Nancy Pelosi, already has the votes to refer articles of impeachment to the US Senate. Up to today, I would have said that, even if a referral was made, it would wither away much as the 1998 “impeachment of Bill Clinton,” withered away. After Trump’s disgusting betrayal and abandonment of Syria’s Kurds to rape and murder by NATO member Turkey, I am not so sure. If nothing else Trump will be remembered as not only the US President who sanctioned a NATO member troops raping and murdering their way through Kurdish areas in Northern Syria, but the one who finally ended the long running farce called NATO. NATO being a military alliance where the US pays nearly all of the annual budget, while the various European members, like Germany or Britain pay virtually nothing. At any rate, I expect Greece, which has hated Turkey since the Trojan War will soon petition to expel Turkey, since raping 9 year old Kurdish girls isn’t usually considered something NATO soldiers are allowed to do.
So, once Pelosi and her ilk of brain dead Marxist Stooges refer to Mitch the Bitch, who has already said he is a go on the actual impeachment trial, here is what will now happen. First, all the Ukraine stuff will vanish, and Trump will then be held accountable for Turkish war crimes that he enabled. Finally, well you have 45 Marxist Democrats, 2 Marxist Independent Senators, and 53 so called Republicans, of which some 11 RINOS, ie Republicans in Name Only just voted to reverse Trump’s border executive order. Well, 47 plus 11 is 58, which means you need nine more to get 67. Well, another 9 RINOS won’t be as hard to get once the pictures of dead Kurdish girls start to show up on Youtube.
It seems Erdogan, with his restored Ottoman Empire, and Adolph Hitler, with his 1000 year Reich can never be said not to have brazenly announced exactly what they intended to do. Whatever else you can say about Erdogan, you can’t deny, as his infantry and armor pour over the Syrian border, fully planning to do a repeat of the original 1915 Armenian Genocide, that the man didn’t say what he meant to do, and then do exactly that. Erdogan has outfoxed both Trump, who may go down as the US President who enabled a Kurdish Genocide, and Putin, who is just now starting to realize that giving S-400 missile systems, and the fact that Erdogan isn’t going to stay bought. Now when Putin finally realizes that Erdogan plans to occupy Syria, thus destroying Putin’s other ally down there, Assad Junior, and especially vexing for Putin will be when Turkish troops go into Jerusalem, which will trigger World War Three. For Islam it is all about who controls the sacred sites in both Israel and Saudi Arabia. Again, Trump is going to find in addition to doing a Invade Iraq in 2003 level deployment to prevent Turkey from killing millions of Kurds, occupying Kurdish Iraq, all of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Saudi Arabia, he will also have to protect both Saudi Arabia and Israel. Putin, well Putin will face an enraged Iran, an even more enraged Assad Junior, as well as elements of his own government and military that are reaching for the AK-47’s to shoot him.
Turkey launches operation into northeast Syria – Erdogan
Wednesday, 9 October 2019 13:25 GMT
ANKARA, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies have launched their military operation into northeastern Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, adding that the offensive aimed to eliminate a “terror corridor” along the southern Turkish border.
Erdogan said the offensive, dubbed “Operation Peace Spring”, would aim to eliminate threats from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and the Islamic State militants, and enable the return of Syrian refugees in Turkey after the formation of a “safe zone” in the area.
“Our mission is to prevent the creation of a terror corridor across our southern border, and to bring peace to the area,” Erdogan said on Twitter. “We will preserve Syria’s territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists.” (Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay)
Assad, Iran Warn Turkey to Stay Out of Syria as Erdogan Launches ‘Peace Spring’
The Iranian Islamic regime and its proxy government in Damascus issued statements Wednesday condemning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for planning an invasion of Syrian Kurdistan.
Erdogan has threatened such an invasion for years and conducted limited operations against the People’s Protection Units (YPG/YPJ), a Kurdish militia in Rojava, or Syrian Kurdistan, that did most of the fighting alongside the United States against the Islamic State in its former capital, Raqqa. The Turkish government claims the YPG is indistinguishable from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a U.S.-designated Marxist terrorist group.
Erdogan’s threatened invasion became news again this week after President Donald Trump announced that he would move 50 troops out of Rojava to other parts of Syria, a move that both the left and right establishment in Washington, DC, branded a betrayal of Kurdish allies. American troops are in Syria under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against all wings of al-Qaeda; the Islamic State is an offshoot of al-Qaeda. American troops have no legal authority to fight any other groups or factions within Syria. Turkey is a NATO member country that the United States is treaty-bound to defend in the case of military attack.
Erdogan announced “Operation Peace Spring” – a violent invasion of Rojava – on Wednesday, claiming that the Syrian National Army supports the move and that Islamic State elements operate in Rojava. The Islamic State never had a significant presence in the area precisely because of the YPG’s control there.
The “Syrian National Army” is more commonly known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a coalition of Sunni Arab militias that has at times included jihadist groups. It is not the official army of the government of Syria.
The Syrian Arab Army, the actual official army of the government of Syria, has no presence in the region where “Operation Peace Spring” is taking place, as the Kurdish forces and Assad loyalists have largely avoided overlapping on the map since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011. The YPG has toyed with the idea of allying with Assad in the event that Washington abandons them, but regularly refers to it as an undesirable last-ditch option.
Assad’s government issued a stern condemnation of Turkey’s plan to invade the country on Wednesday through the government news agency SANA.
“Syria condemns in strongest terms the reckless statements and hostile intentions of the Turkish regime and the military build-up at the Syrian borders which constitute an outrageous violation of the international law and a blatant breach of the International Security Council’s resolutions which affirm respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a foreign ministry “source” told the government outlet.
The government went on to call Erdogan an “expansionist” intent on moving the borders of Turkey east.
Damascus also condemned the YPG for fighting for a free Kurdistan.
“The source continued that the Syrian Arab Republic holds some of the Kurdish organizations responsible for what is taking place due to their subordination to the US project,” SANA reported. “They have been previously warned during the meetings with them against the dangers of that project and to not be tools serving the US policy against their homeland, but these organizations have insisted on being tools in the hands of foreigners.”
The statement concluded with a threat to Turkey: Syria will “confront the Turkish aggression by all legitimate means.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani issued a similar statement. The Assad regime is largely a proxy force of the Iranian government, tied together by Shiite Islam and alliances with the world’s socialist and communist states. Rouhani used a much more measured tone than the Syrian foreign ministry.
“The approach that has been adopted today (by Turkey) and the secret agreements that have been made would not benefit the region,” Rouhani reportedly said, “and we call on our friend and brother, Turkey, and its government, to be more careful and have more patience in such affairs and reconsider the path that has been chosen.”
Instead of focusing on the Kurds in northern Syria, Rouhani suggested a coalition to exterminate the last remaining rebel stronghold in the country, the city of Idlib.
Though Ankara and Tehran have a tense agreement to cooperate economically, Erdogan and Assad have long referred to each other as “terrorists.” Erdogan has emphasized the elimination of local Kurdish populations as his reason for entering Syria more recently, but he stated in 2016:
Why did we enter? We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice. We entered there to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror.
The Assad regime has not changed its course from assuming that Erdogan’s end goal of eradicating it is still the same.
The Syrian foreign ministry has repeatedly accused Erdogan of supporting “Takfiri terrorism,” a term typically used to mean Sunni groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Erdogan is openly Islamist and a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer.
The Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), an umbrella organization primarily made up of YPG members, accused Erdogan this week of seeking ethnic cleansing in Rojava and striving to “take over new lands for ISIS.”
“Through these attacks, Turkey seeks to take over new lands for ISIS, and prolong the life of these organizations and we do not accept in any way the attacks of Turkey and anyone supporting it,” a spokesman for the SDF said.
The SDF is America’s closest ally on the ground in Syria and responsible for most of the fighting against ISIS in Rojava.
The Syrian Democratic Council, the civilian wing of the SDF, issued an alarmed statement Tuesday urging President Donald Trump to reconsider moving 50 troops out of Rojava to elsewhere in Syria.
We call upon Congress, the US military, and the international community to oppose this decision, and we call upon President Trump to reverse this decision,” the statement read. “Our brave men and women with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have just won a historic victory over the ISIS ‘caliphate,’ a victory announced by President Trump and celebrated across the world. To abandon us now would be tragic.”
“To disregard our partnership would also send a clear signal to all would-be partner forces of the United States that a US alliance may not be trustworthy,” it concluded.
If you live long enough, and I will be 66 in January of 2020, you can quote the bible verse about nothing being new under the sun. In my case, today is rinse and repeat, Yom Kippur October of 1973, Yom Kippur 2019, and the war starts. This new Erdogan sponsored Yom Kippur War, much as the last one is going to bring in the big boys, and unleash a level of chaos we haven’t seen in decades, or at least since June of 1967, and October of 1973. When you look at the Middle East in context, which is what I try to do, you have the Iranian “tanker war,” along with the Yemen Houthi and their “missile attack,” that took down the Saudi oil facilities, and now you have Erdogan bombing Northern Syria. Now, one thing I have learned, since I woke up in Fort Sam Houston and thought I was going to be stuffed into a C-130 and kicked out the landing ramp somewhere in Israel, is once the fecal material stuff starts flowing it becomes like one of those Jackson Pollack paintings where he just threw stuff on the wall and called it art. Once Erdgoan began using his NATO supplied air force to begin targeted bombings at Syrian Turkish border crossings, IN PREPARATION FOR ARMOR AND MECHANIZED INFANTRY UNITS TO CROSS OVER, IE INVADE SYRIA IT IS GAME ON. Does anybody think the Kurds inside of Syria won’t fight, or the Syrian Army won’t fight, or the Shia militias won’t fight when Turkey goes EAST, over the Tigris, and invades Iraq proper, especially when Erdogan goes after the Kurds in Northern Iraq? The links are below. Again, I am talking about a combat deployment, by NATO supplied Turkish fighters, and NATO trained Turkish pilots.
Since context is everything, and since Erdogan’s real goal is the GENOCIDE OF KURDS IN THE MIDDLE EAST THIS ARTICLE SHOULD BE READ ALSO. YES BLOG READERS, I AM SAYING ERDOGAN PLANS TO MURDER SEVERAL MILLION KURDS IF HE HAS THE CHANCE TO DO SO. AND TRUMP, DESPITE HIS LATEST MOUTHING OFF, CAN DO NOTHING TO STOP THIS, UNLESS HE PLANS TO SEND IN A DESERT STORM LEVEL MILITARY DEPLOYMENT TO STOP IT.
On the eve of World War I, there were two million Armenians in the declining Ottoman Empire. By 1922, there were fewer than 400,000. The others — some 1.5 million — were killed in what historians consider a genocide.
As David Fromkin put it in his widely praised history of World War I and its aftermath, “A Peace to End All Peace”: “Rape and beating were commonplace. Those who were not killed at once were driven through mountains and deserts without food, drink or shelter. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians eventually succumbed or were killed .”
The man who invented the word “genocide”— Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish origin — was moved to investigate the attempt to eliminate an entire people by accounts of the massacres of Armenians. He did not, however, coin the word until 1943, applying it to Nazi Germany and the Jews in a book published a year later, “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.”
But to Turks, what happened in 1915 was, at most, just one more messy piece of a very messy war that spelled the end of a once-powerful empire. They reject the conclusions of historians and the term genocide, saying there was no premeditation in the deaths, no systematic attempt to destroy a people. Indeed, in Turkey today it remains a crime — “insulting Turkishness” — to even raise the issue of what happened to the Armenians.
In the United States, a powerful Armenian community centered in Los Angeles has been pressing for years for Congress to condemn the Armenian genocide. Turkey, which cut military ties to France over a similar action, has reacted with angry threats. A bill to that effect nearly passed in the fall of 2007, gaining a majority of co-sponsors and passing a committee vote. But the Bush administration, noting that Turkey is a critical ally — more than 70 per cent of the military air supplies for Iraq go through the Incirlik airbase there — pressed for the bill to be withdrawn, and it was.
The roots of the genocide lie in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
The empire’s ruler was also the caliph, or leader of the Islamic community. Minority religious communities, like the Christian Armenians, were allowed to maintain their religious, social and legal structures, but were often subject to extra taxes or other measures.
Concentrated largely in eastern Anatolia, many of them merchants and industrialists, Armenians, historians say, appeared markedly better off in many ways than their Turkish neighbors, largely small peasants or ill-paid government functionaries and soldiers.
At the turn of the 20th Century, the once far-flung Ottoman empire was crumbling at the edges, beset by revolts among Christian subjects to the north — vast swaths of territory were lost in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 — and the subject of coffee house grumbling among Arab nationalist intellectuals in Damascus and elsewhere.
The Young Turk movement of ambitious, discontented junior army officers seized power in 1908, determined to modernize, strengthen and “Turkify” the empire. They were led by what became an all-powerful triumvirate sometimes referred to as the Three Pashas.
In March of 1914, the Young Turks entered World War I on the side of Germany. They attacked to the east, hoping to capture the city of Baku in what would be a disastrous campaign against Russian forces in the Caucuses. They were soundly defeated at the battle of Sarikemish.
Armenians in the area were blamed for siding with the Russians and the Young Turks began a campaign to portray the Armenians as a kind of fifth column, a threat to the state. Indeed, there were Armenian nationalists who acted as guerrillas and cooperated with the Russians. They briefly seized the city of Van in the spring of 1915.
Armenians mark the date April 24, 1915, when several hundred Armenian intellectuals were rounded up, arrested and later executed as the start of the Armenian genocide and it is generally said to have extended to 1917. However, there were also massacres of Armenians in 1894, 1895, 1896, 1909, and a reprise between 1920 and 1923.
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies has compiled figures by province and district that show there were 2,133,190 Armenians in the empire in 1914 and only about 387,800 by 1922.
Writing at the time of the early series of massacres, The New York Times suggested there was already a “policy of extermination directed against the Christians of Asia Minor.”
The Young Turks, who called themselves the Committee of Unity and Progress, launched a set of measures against the Armenians, including a law authorizing the military and government to deport anyone they “sensed” was a security threat.
A later law allowed the confiscation of abandoned Armenian property. Armenians were ordered to turn in any weapons that they owned to the authorities. Those in the army were disarmed and transferred into labor battalions where they were either killed or worked to death.
There were executions into mass graves, and death marches of men, women and children across the Syrian desert to concentration camps with many dying along the way of exhaustion, exposure and starvation.
Much of this was quite well documented at the time by Western diplomats, missionaries and others, creating widespread wartime outrage against the Turks in the West. Although its ally, Germany, was silent at the time, in later years documents have surfaced from ranking German diplomats and military officers expressing horror at what was going on.
Some historians, however, while acknowledging the widespread deaths, say what happened does not technically fit the definition of genocide largely because they do not feel there is evidence that it was well-planned in advance.
The New York Times covered the issue extensively — 145 articles in 1915 alone by one count — with headlines like “Appeal to Turkey to Stop Massacres.” The Times described the actions against the Armenians as “systematic,” “authorized, and “organized by the government.”
The American ambassador, Henry Morganthau Sr., was also outspoken. In his memoirs, the ambassador would write: “When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to a whole race; they understood this well, and in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact.”
Following the surrender of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the Three Pashas fled to Germany, where they were given protection. But the Armenian underground formed a group called Operation Nemesis to hunt them down. On March 15, 1921, one of the pashas was shot dead on a street in Berlin in broad daylight in front of witnesses. The gunman pled temporary insanity brought on by the mass killings and a jury took only a little over an hour to acquit him. It was the defense evidence at this trial that drew the interest of Mr. Lemkin, the coiner of “genocide.”