Yesterday the police in Istanbul arrested dozens of people related to Erdogan's AK Party including the sons of three ministers involved in a number of graft cases. Just hours later the five police leaders responsible for the case were fired and two new prosecutors were named to oversee the whitewash of the issue. More police chiefs were fired today after the justice minister intervened. This hasty cover-up seems to show that the cases are valid. This corruption and justice scandal comes on top of a fight between Erdogan and the powerful Gülen movement which had supported Erdogan throughout the last elections. Lacking Gülen support his chances to win the three elections coming up next year are now seriously diminished.2. An excerpt from, "Why Syria’s Kurds are beating Al Qaeda," by Balint Szlanko, Syria Comment, December 16:
It seems more and more likely that Erdogan will have to leave his office before the Syrian president leaves his. That would be a quite fair historic outcome.
The Kurds of Syria have been in the news lately. Fighting—and beating—Al Qaeda-allied groups and other rebel militias in their struggle for Syria’s northeast, in the past year they have in effect set up their own ministate inside the country. Here is why they are winning.3. An excerpt from, "Syrian Minister ‘We Are Not Going to Geneva to Hand Over Power’" by Dilbikhin Dara and Dilxaz Bahlawi, Rudaw, December 17:
1. Unified command and control structures. Unlike the rebel militias, the Kurdish armed group, the Yekineyen Parastina Gel (People’s Protection Units) or YPG, is controlled by a single general command. This allows it to effectively operate on a frontline more than 120 miles long by transferring people and other assets relatively easily to where the need arises and to coordinate operations effectively. Contrast this with its enemies, the mainly Arab rebels: they are splintered into at least six major groups (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Nusra Front, Ahrar al Sham, the Kurdish Islamic Front, the Tawheed Brigade, and the Free Syrian Army, itself an umbrella organisation of smaller groups) that have a patchy record of coordination. Indeed, some of the rebel groups that fight together against the Kurds have often fought each other elsewhere.
In an important interview with Rudaw in the run-up to the Geneva 2 Conference, Syrian Information Minister Omran Al-Zoubi said that the aim of the January 22 meeting is for the government, the opposition and the international community to reach a consensus on ending terrorism in Syria.
“We are not going to Geneva to hand over the power in Syria to anyone,” he declared. The minister denied that a Kurdish issue existed in Syria, and added that, “There is no specific area for Syrian Kurds. The Syrian Kurds have their share in all Syrian regions.” Al-Zoubi also referred to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as “a patriotic force,” and said they are “playing their patriotic role in defending Syria.” Asked about the interim government that was unilaterally declared by the PYD in Syria’s Kurdish regions last month, Al-Zoubi said: “The temporary administration is announced to facilitate the daily life of people.” The “PYD does not have any political objective or separation aspirations in doing that,” he added.