Under Siege

The base at Hellenikon was often under siege and sometimes physically so; before, during and after I was stationed there in the early 1980s; regularly once a year when the local national employees went on strike, and blockaded the front gate, and now and again by anti-US and anti-NATO protesters. Although there was a Greek Air Force installation right next to the American base, there was no passage between the two, unlike the base at Zaragoza, where Spanish and American personnel had pretty much free passage between their respective halves of the facility. In the case of striking workers, or hostile protestors at the main – and only entrance – those of us inside the base were stuck there, while those outside were also cut off. Only one year did it become a problem lasting more than a single day – but it was an inconvenience for us all, and particularly frightening for family members.

And I was remembering all of that, this weekend, reading about how Incirlik Air Base – which also used to be called Adana Air Base – was cut off for about a day this weekend, after having commercial power cut off for nearly a week by Turkish civil authorities, in the wake of an attempted coup against a president who strong-armed himself into office by side-stepping the established rules.

Because of the deteriorating situation in Turkey, all family members were ordered out at the end of March, 2016; a NEO evacuation, as it used to be and still is termed, for Non-combatant Evacuation Operation. (I used to have to keep current paperwork for an escort for my daughter, in the case of one of these; she would travel with various friends who would deposit her eventually with my parents, while I would stay behind.) Months before, the military quietly stopped facilitating accompanied tours to Incirlik. Currently, according to the bases’ own website, there are about 1,400 American military personnel serving there, with another 400 civilian employees. The dependent schools, teen center, child care center – all are closed; presumably the various employees of same are either evacuated themselves, or enjoying a nice vacation.

Incirlik’s mission and that of the 39th Air Base Wing is, according to the bases’ website, “to help protect U.S. and NATO interests in the Southern Region by providing a responsive staging and operational air base ready to project integrated, forward-based air power.” Part of this mission also includes a store of nuclear weapons. The base website is naturally, non-committal about this aspect of their mission. Even if there aren’t any such weapons in the bomb dump at Incirlik, likely there are all kinds of interesting munitions and weapons. Which is all very good and well – but Turkey’s President Erdogan has been loudly accusing the US – and the former USAF commander of Incirlik – of plotting and assisting with the failed coup. The commander of the Turkish Air Force assets at Incirlik is reported to have asked the US for asylum, which was refused; the man is now under arrest, as part of the purge of Erdogan’s political enemies. I have read here and there that those American military assigned to the base are confined to the base itself; considering Erdogan’s incendiary accusations, probably a wise move.

As for what now – like Will Rogers of blessed memory, all I know is what I read in the newspaper, or on-line at various sites. But the nightmare visioning that woke me up several times this weekend was of a full-on mob attack on Incirlik’s American sector, on the order of the Benghazi consulate writ large, and with even more weapons and determination … and with the tacit encouragement of Erdogan’s government and Islamist allies.
So much for being a NATO ally. And since our State Department did very little in the case of the Benghazi attack, save for blaming it all afterwards on a mysterious video that hardly anyone had heard of … can one count on the DoD being all that proactive in the event of a serious attack on Incirlik AB? Discuss.

43 thoughts on “Under Siege”

  1. I’m glad we have the dependents out, and I hope that they have been reducing non-essential personnel as best they can as covertly as they can.

    I really hope that they have somehow covertly moved, or disarmed the B-61’s and sent the critical components elsewhere. And/or rigged them for destruction.

    I have no confidence that US forces will be allowed to defend themselves, the base, or the nuclear weapons.

    There are, of course, other options for after the fact. But they require a National Command Authority that is not working for the other side.

  2. I hope all that, too, SB. I hope that they have commanders on the ground there who are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, in the sure and certain knowledge that our current administration will not have their backs. Indeed, will be looking at their backs with an eye towards slipping a shiv into them if it is politically convenient. Erdogan (I am calling him Yippy the Pinhead) will likely only get bolder and bolder … and 1,000+ American military as hostages? I’m pretty certain that he is just slavering at the prospect.

  3. We should be getting out of there now and taking anything interesting with us.

    There is no chance that Obama would allow us to fight our way out. He makes Jimmy Carter look courageous.

  4. It would be better if an American facility was over-run, with American casualties. There would be no hiding the disaster then.

  5. Bulgaria and Romania are likely both thinking “oh well, it was so *nice* not being a frontline state with Turkey to the SE and Ukraine providing a buffer to the NE”. That seems to be over now.

  6. I believe we have A-10s there now flying air support missions for the Kurds in Syria. An unruly mob storming the base and rampaging those planes would probably be a dream come true for the Air Force. They’ve been trying to get rid of them for 30 years.

  7. This is a direct consequence of the chaos to the south and east of Turkey. Erdogan now feels he can play the traditional Ottoman roles rather than the Kemalist role of defending Turkey from the hated Russians. If we ignore the Trumpist isolationism, the US and Europe will still need to control the Russian access to the Mediterranean and cultivate local allies like the Kurds. Turkey is aspiring to be a Western class player like Korea in construction, some manufacturing and services. Turkish companies already compete in Europe against locals. It needs to be much less dependent on Russian gas, so is renewing ties with Israel on offshore gas developments. A competent US administration should seek to steer this to a calmer, more US friendly situation.

  8. What’s frightening to me is that it looks as though all the Muslims believe that they’ve won the Jihad, so the fight is on for who will control the emerging Caliphate. It certainly does look as though the western nations signed a hudna –witness how sharia law is being allowed everywhere, christians and jews are now second class citizens, the west is allowing in mass importation of muslims, the west is disarming, and any speech against islam is now attacked by the mass attacks by government officials, etc. America now has Muslims leading almost every important defense post under Obama.

    Iran is now overtly attacking Saudi Arabia for control of Islam and their “holy” sites, while Turkey is working with ISIS. It looks as though they believe they have already won the war and now it’s over who will get to lead. Qatar had a French soccer player that they held as though he were a slave for almost a year. Masks of “international good will” are disappearing from almost all the Muslim nations. I realize that the various Islamic sects have often fought, but this time it looks more to me as though it’s about who will lead the ummah. Have the western nations signed a pact that we don’t know about with Islam?

    That, of course would encourage an attack on the base, unless they decide it makes them look even more powerful to hold our people hostage. I sure hope that I’m wrong….I’m worried about why we’re sending in such small numbers of army forces into these areas when they could become sitting ducks….

  9. Yes, In light of this recent action, the seizure of the Navy small boat crews comes to mind as an advertisement or demonstration of intent. ’93 was a precursor to ’01. Sure wish we had somebody on the inside.

  10. Will O try to time his action on Turkey to help win the election for Hellary?

    Is that why action might be necessary?

  11. Or the O doing a huge favor for Yippy the Pinhead Erdogan by giving him the opportunity to grab some nice toys and a group of hostages? So many possibilities.

    I’m getting the feeling that Obama is so enamored with his own ideas of how things should work that in his own bubble, he is perfectly certain that they will work, exactly as he envisioned, and if they don’t, it’s either someone elses’ fault or it didn’t happen at all. I can’t see him really bestirring himself to do Her Inevitableness any favors as regards her campaign. Anything but lip service and a speech is just too much effort.

    Another incident of Islamist terror in the next two months with a high casualty rate of Americans, or on American soil and the election may go to Trump in any case.

  12. “The Ransom.”

    I tend to believe Michael Ledeen, who has good insight in to the regime, plus Spengler, who has been writing about the decline of Iran for years.

    First Ledeen:

    Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s war in Syria and Iraq isn’t going well, and he has accordingly purged those in charge. Yes, General Firouzabadi is obese, but he’s been fat for quite a while, and his successor—his deputy Mohammed Baqeri—doesn’t have much battlefield experience. The redoubtable Amir Taheri tweets that the new chief of staff is an intelligence professional, not a warrior. (He’s very slim, by the way). And he’s got lots of experience in business, where the Revolutionary Guards have done a lot better than in Syrian fights against ISIS and anti-Assad forces.

    Aside from Firouzabadi, the biggest loser in this shakeup is the celebrated General Suleimani, easily the most recognizable face among the Revolutionary Guards. Suleimani was a selfie star for years, and was even considered a possible successor to the supreme leader by some of the Tehranologists. That surge of popular stardom has ended. One manifest sign of the times is that former President Ahmadinejad seems to have entered the lists for the next elections, which is bad news for current President Rouhani.

    Then Spengler:

    As a matter of arithmetic, Iran is flat broke at the prevailing price of hydrocarbons. Under the P5+1 nuclear deal, Iran will recoup somewhere between $55 and $150 billion of frozen assets, depending on whether one believes the Secretary of the US Treasury or one’s own eyes. The windfall is barely enough to tide Iran over for the next two years.

    Iran flag burstP5+1 nuclear diplomacy with Iran went forward on the premise that Iran would trade its strategic ambitions in the region for economic prosperity. The trouble is that prosperity is not a realistic outcome for Iran, which has nothing to gain by abandoning its strategic adventures.

    Iran now exports 1.2 million barrels a day of oil. At $30 a barrel, that’s $14 billion year (and perhaps a bit more, given that some Iranian light crude goes at a higher price). Iran also sold (as of 2014) about 9.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas, which might bring in another $4 billion at today’s market prices.

    The cash reported by Zero Hedge won;t help much.

  13. Opens up a whole new potential can-o-worms, doesn’t it? Dress it up in any old excuse, it’s still paying a ransom. Even if it is, as Sarandall suggests – elements of imperial Islam fighting over who gets to be on top – those military personnel in Turkey must be a mighty tempting target for the ambitious.

  14. Sarge, you forget.

    To Buraq Hussein and his regime, the American military is totally expendable. They will be left to rot, or die, without any effort to rescue them. If it was a Leftist being held, price is no object.

  15. No, SB – I haven’t forgotten, or ever doubted, that Obama and his regime consider the American military totally expendable. And that breaks my heart. And infuriates me, every time I walk into the Fort Sam clinic, and go past the picture of Buraq and his civilian and high-ranking uniformed flunkies.

    For a look at the faces of those at Incirlik, carrying on their mission – I give you the AFN Incirlik Youtube channel.

    I don’t know any of the broadcasters involved – nor even likely any of their supervisors. I was gone and done with it all when they, their supervisors, or any of the tech school instructors who trained them were still talking to recruiters.

  16. It’s not only Yanks in Turkey who might feel under siege:

    “A Norwegian national of Somali origin has been arrested on suspicion of murdering an American woman and injuring five others, including Britons, in what was described by police as a “spontaneous attack”.

    Speaking outside Scotland Yard headquarters, Metropolitan police assistant commissioner, Mark Rowley, said there was no evidence that the 19-year-old suspect had been radicalised.

    “While the investigation is not yet complete all of the work we have done so far, increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental health issues.

    Indeed at this time we believe it was a spontaneous attack and the victims were selected at random.”

    Rowley said officers had interviewed the suspect and his family, and had searched addresses.

    The woman murdered was an American national, Rowley said, those injured were Australian, American, Israeli and British.

    “This morning we’ve searched addresses in North London and we will search another in south London. I emphasise that so far we’ve found no evidence of radicalisation that would suggest the man in our custody is in anyway motivated by terrorism.”

    We shall see. (source: Guardian)

  17. And if there is no redundant, public domain evidence of radicalization, we must assume it is mental illness with no evidence in support or to the contrary: our preferred diagnosis is mental illness. From Somalia, but no info on his preferred theocratic/political preferences. Not relevant. Norway certainly isn’t in any sort of denial about immigrants from North Africa or the Middle East. And Scotland Yard hasn’t been infected by political correctness as shown by their opinions prior to a full investigation. Nothing to see, move along now (you news cycle folks).


  18. Presumably the nuclear weapons have been removed. If not, does anyone care to tell me how the failure (or refusal) to remove these nuclear weapons from a potentially emerging islamic government not constitute a gross dereliction of duty on the part of either the Obama administration and/or general staff?

  19. Presumably the nuclear weapons have been removed.

    Given the Obama administration’s record of incompetence, I think it’s possible they haven’t been removed.

  20. full-on mob attack on Incirlik’s American sector,
    Did you asked yourself and those in administrations what you done in Iraq, Syria, libya that millions killed, millions refugees on their land, more millions walked so distances and pass seas to survive the wars the killing in names of regime change, freedom and dmocracy.

    Did all of you remeber your Vetnam troop when the back on your home land how much crime fighters raised due to the war syndrome.

    Let pray the wise men and women mums & Dads bring peace back to all

  21. What I’ve been looking for since I left the Army six or so years ago is a story about the war that provides both granular accuracy and a bird’s-eye perspective normally unavailable to me, an American who is confined in many ways to an American perspective, even (especially?) as a soldier. Iraq is, after all, more than just the name of a region where American military ambitions are exercised and foiled. Iraqi people were part of the war, too, and just as American history doesn’t begin with 9/11, the contemporary history of Iraq doesn’t begin as a blank slate with the American invasion. I always desired a story that would acknowledge and defy these artificial parameters in order to convey the complexity of the American invasion of Iraq. In essence, I was searching for an Iraq War version of War and Peace. I did not expect to find it in a comic book.

    The Best Retelling of the Iraq War Story Is a Comic BookBy Scott Beauchamp

  22. I Tried to Make the Intelligence Behind the Iraq War Less Bogus
    NADA BAKOS, The former targeting officer for the CIA , her intelligence career as an analyst in 2000

  23. Scott Beauchamp, the fabulous fantasist? Who made up all kinds of eyewitness stories before he even got to Iraq? That Scott Beauchamp?
    No, Soso – try again.

  24. Sarandall – I thank you for the observation. I pray that you are right because that muslim infighting, if it is true, will give us the time to get our acts together. It has saved us before. I hope that it works again to save us.

    Soso – Because others have not done so, I will give you a plain answer, yes I have considered US actions. It’s part of my habit to examine all players and evaluate their actions under the same moral standard. By that procedure, the US, even with its very obvious missteps, both historically and in modern times, comes off looking rather good. The US generally only looks bad when a veil of ignorance is drawn over the actions of the local tyrants both inside government and out of these places. It is only against a regime of saints that does not exist in the real world that the US comes across as shabby and unworthy. Supporting forces that are evil because the good guys are flawed is no way to live a good life or please God. In fact, it is shameful.

    Sgt. Mom – The quote is from an article by Beauchamp. The actual comic is titled The Sheriff of Babylon.

    The Beauchamp article is here:

    I don’t have an opinion on anything that Scott Beauchamp can change, one way or another.

  25. “points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental health issues.”

    I have read the same theory. It is interesting and perhaps some Sociology student will do a study on mental health issues among men named Mohammed.

  26. Nada Bakos actually wrote this (from that link from SoStupid up there):

    “After leaving the CIA, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on this sorry absurd role in intelligence history, and my bit role in it. No intelligence analyst should have to deal with policymakers delving into intelligence work. It sounds bureaucratic and boring, but the distinction matters: CIA doesn’t have a policy agenda, it seeks to inform those agendas. Politicians and appointees have ideas for shaping the world. Mingling the two is a recipe for self-delusion and, as we saw in Iraq, failure.”

    Oh really? Somebody tell that to former CIA Boss Michael Morell who just made the absolutely bizarro assertion that Trump is a Russian spy

    My training as an intelligence officer taught me to call it as I see it. This is what I did for the C.I.A. This is what I am doing now. Our nation will be much safer with Hillary Clinton as president.

    He’s not an intelligence officer but a political hack.

    Or how about when Leon Panetta admitted that CIA tried to sell the Iran deal at all costs regardless of the truth.

    Panetta noted that during the negotiations process, it was his job to prevent the Israelis from preemptively striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, even if there was evidence that the Islamic Republic was building a bomb. He said that Obama’s resolve to prevent engaging in another war was steeled, no matter what the reality on the ground may have been.

    It’s hard to believe that underlings in the agency didn’t also share the hidden agenda of these political operatives. I’m sure Nada is a good person who wants to believe in the rightness of her cause, but she represents only a slice of the situation. The CIA had been politicized and does clearly have an agenda, and because of this it’s no wonder that Cheney was skeptical of their analysis.

  27. The CIA also produced the the 2003 “New Report” that said Iran was not working on a nuclear program.

    The report seems likely to weaken international support for tougher sanctions against Iran and raise new questions about the credibility of the beleaguered American intelligence agencies, while reshaping the final year of the Bush administration, which has made halting Iran’s nuclear program a cornerstone of its foreign policy.

    The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is most likely keeping its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”

    This was apparently the CIA analysts’ attempt to swing the 2004 election against Bush.

    The CIA has been hip deep in politics since Casey.

  28. Back when I was still wandering the woods, I and a few other fellow travelers were inspired by this company man:


    A number of us had an abiding interest in what was transpiring in Angola, Portugal and the rest of the “Lusosphere”. A bi-lingual co-worker even had an interesting interview when he was in his Masters program.

    I’m guessing the politicization goes way back.

  29. I don’t think so – Penny’s English is much, much better.

    No, Soso is more like the HS sophomore after a couple of years of ESL classes, barreling into a symposium of serious and experienced academicians, medium-sized business owners, retired military, and foreign correspondents and telling them all that they really ought to read Howard Zinn, ’cause it will really blow their minds, man!

    Sigh. Honestly, don’t we rate high enough to get a wilier and better-paid troll? Soros must be paying them in cookies, or something.

  30. what you called is “ESL?” looks touched nerve……

    Common losers crap, name tagging, personal attack.

    Go get a life both losers, Deaf Guided by Blind wounder mix

  31. And very poor language fluency, too. I thought that such a moderate and erudite blog like this would rate something more fun for us to bat around. Guess not.

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