Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 10, 2014

War On Syria Spills Into Neighbor Countries - Lebanon Now In Serious Danger

Eighteen month ago the Syrian president Assad warned that the war against Syria would also inflame neighboring countries:

“We are surrounded by countries that help terrorists and allow them to enter Syria,” he told Turkish TV station Ulusal Kanal. “Everybody knows that if the disturbances in Syria reach the point of the country’s breakup, or terrorist forces control Syria . . . then this will immediately spill over into neighboring countries and there will be a domino effect that will reach countries across the Middle East.”

Since then the Islamic State (aka ISIS) has taken not only east Syria but also Anbar province in Iraq where it is preparing for an attack on Baghdad International Airport and the Iraqi government in the Baghdad "Green Zone".

In cooperation with Turkey the Islamic State has laid siege on the independent Kurdish enclave Kobane in north east Syria. The city is likely to fall soon just as the Turkish government wants it to. Turkey's blockade of reinforcement and supplies for the defenders inflames the 15 million strong Kurdish population in Turkey. The fall of Kobane may well lead to an end of the peace process between Turks and Kurds and to a renewed civil war in south east Turkey. Turkey houses many refugees from Syria and is a major logistic hub for the Islamic State. Its security personal is already under influence of the Islamic State:

There are signs of an anti-Kurdish and pro-Islamist backlash with Turkish police shouting Isis slogans as they charge Kurdish demonstrators.
The Turkish security forces have also revived the Kurdish Hizbullah which has absolutely nothing to do with the Shia Hizbullah in Lebanaon. The Turkish/Kurdish version was secretly founded by Turkish security services and is a collection of Kurdish Sunni radicals who want to implememt an Islamic State and who were used as death squadrons against secular Kurdish independence groups. In the last few days such revived Hizbullah groups, with tacit support from security forces, attacked pro Kurdish demonstrations by the more mainstream and secularist Kurdish PKK and its associated organizations. Over the last week some 30 people were killed during various such demonstrations against Turkey's support for the Islamic State. The death toll in the first long planned 2011 anti-Assad riots in Syria was at about the same level.

Jordan, south of Syria, is a major hub of anti-Assad activities. The CIA is running large training programs in Jordan where refugees from south Syria get prepared for fighting the Syrian government. As soon as groups of such "moderate rebels" are send over the border to fight against the Syrian army parts of them inevitably defect to the Islamic State or the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhad al-Nusra (JAN). They take the weapons they were given by the CIA and the supporting Gulf states with them. Chinese FN-6 man-portable air-defense system, supplied by Qatar to such "moderate rebels", were used in recent days by the Islamic State to shoot down at least three Iraqi army helicopters. While Jordan has mostly isolated the Syrian refugees in desert camps parts of its own population are also sympathetic to the Islamic State. Jordan has now closed its borders to all refugees to isolate itself against further IS infiltration. It might hold out a bit longer before the flood reaches its main cities.

From Jordan "moderate rebels" and Jabhat al-Nusra Islamists have progressed in north-western direction along the Golan height demarcation zone with Israel against Syrian government forces and towards south Lebanon. These groups are protected against Syrian counterattacks by Israeli artillery and do get some of their support, including medical services, directly from the Israeli side. Their task is to infiltrate through the Druze inhabited areas near the Sheba Farm into south Lebanon and to attack the Lebanese Hizbullah positions which are protecting Lebanon from Israel. Israel is also continuously probing those positions by reconnaissance by force. Hizbullah recently publicly acknowledged to counter these probes thereby demonstrating undiminished capabilities despite also being engaged in other areas. Other "moderate rebel" groups supporting Jabhat al-Nusra went north from Jordan and took the important Syrian height of Tar Harrah between the Golan heights and Damascus. Some Syrian army forces are now squeezed between the insurgents on the Golan heights and those around Tal Harrah. Both of these "moderate rebel" thrusts from Jordan progressed due to massive use of U.S. supplied TOW anti-tank missiles.

These forces in south-east Syria are not the only danger to Lebanon. On its eastern border several thousand Jabhat al Nusra fighters, here in direct cooperation with Islamic State fighters, occupy an 80 kilometer long and 10 kilometer wide north-to-south strip in the LebaneseQalamoun mountains. The Syrian army and forces of the Lebanese Hizbullah have attacked these forces throughout the summer. But the very difficult terrain with many caves and narrow valleys is an ideal defensive zone and the progress has been slow.

The Islamists in the mountains get their support and reinforcements through Syrian refugee camps in east Lebanon like in the Lebanese town of Arsal. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), with support from Hizbullah, have tried to clear militants from these towns but with the coming winter more are expected to come down from the freezing mountains and to further infiltrate into Lebanese proper. Native Lebanese Sunnis, especially in the northern city of Tripoli, have also been radicalized. There have been several attacks on Lebanese army posts in recent days in Tripoli and elsewhere. There have also been mass attacks against static and isolated Hizbullah checkpoints in several areas of Lebanon's east. Despite the coming winter the heat in Lebanon has seriously increased.

Tripoli and some flashpoints in eastern Lebanon have a strong, open Islamic fighter presences. Other areas also have such presence but less openly. In Beirut's suburbs alone some 30,000 fighting age Sunni refugees from Syria occupy ever shifting tent camps which Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State fighters use to recruit and to infiltrate further into Lebanon.

The Lebanese Armed Forces are under control of the unity government but as the Sunni faction in that government does not want to attack their spiritual kinfolks the LAF is held back from a stronger reaction against radical Sunni activities. Parts of the LAF also have sympathies for Islamic State fighters and there have been reports of direct support by individual LAF soldiers for their activities.

A coordinated attack from Islamic radical forces from the south with Israeli support, from the mountains in the east and from within Lebanese cities would overwhelm the Lebanese Armed Forces and even Hizbullah. Such an all out attack could be coordinated in a larger scenario with an attack on Baghdad and others within Syria and possibly Turkey. Such coordinated attacks would overwhelm not only the respective local government forces but also all international response capabilities.

President Assad predicted the spillover of the attack on Syria into the neighboring countries. This spillover has happened in Iraq, it is currently happening in Turkey and Lebanon looks like a quite weak target that could blow up overnight. Only Jordan looks still looks somewhat stable for now but with Islamic State fighters in its north and east as well as Islamic State sympathizers in its cities it will only be a question of time until it also goes down in flames.

Posted by b on October 10, 2014 at 09:25 AM | Permalink

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I posted this link in the previous "Open thread":

http://reeseerlich.com/2013/07/22/syria-spillover-into-lebanon-furthers-intra-muslim-conflict-in-mideast/

But I think the people who feel more & more disgusted by the actions taken by the US government overlook one MAJOR thing. Assad may have warned that unrest in Syria will spill over into neighbouring countries. But when I look at how the Assas "Regime"/government replies to unrest in that same Syria since 2011 then it's clear that the Assad government is also responding in the most destructive way to surpress unrest/uprisings/insurgency/ ...... (whatever one wants to call it). And this VERY aggresive way of surpressing the "unrest" (with tanks & heavy weapons) DOES NOT help to DECREASE tensions inside Syria. To the contrary, it certainly helps to ESCALATE tensions.

In that regard, it's clear for me that the Assad government is responsible for blowing up Syria & creating more tensions in the Middle East/Turkey, AS WELL ! And then I can't see how Assad & Co. is able to survive the carnage. The Assad government, the christians and the alawites are simply doomed, IMO. Yes, Turkey & Lebanon must prepare themselves for more refugees and more unrest inside their borders.
But other countries are also VERY resposible for all this destruction in Syria. And that WILL lead to more unrest in say Jordan, Israel & Saudi Arabia.

"Christians are under threat".
http://reeseerlich.com/2013/12/28/syrias-minority-christians-under-threat-from-extremist-muslim-rebels/

The same happened in Iraq after the US invasion of 2003.

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 10, 2014 10:13:34 AM | 1

All of which reinforces the point that:
"The single force that has blocked this emerging threat from imposing its hegemony from Damascus to Baghdad - perhaps even from Beirut to Riyadh - is the Islamic Republic of Iran."

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/10/isil-us-intervention-rise-irania-20141017572560286.html

Posted by: Amar | Oct 10, 2014 10:19:03 AM | 2

All this has, as it's root cause, long time interference buy the US/UK/, and it's minions, in the affairs of other nations, for the sole purpose of increasing their wealth and influence.

Posted by: ben | Oct 10, 2014 10:36:05 AM | 3

Replace "buy" with "by".. woops!

Posted by: ben | Oct 10, 2014 10:38:18 AM | 4

" I hope we shall crush in its birth, the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

Thomas Jefferson November 12, 1816

These giant corporations drive all policy in our modern world.

Posted by: ben | Oct 10, 2014 10:44:37 AM | 5

Jordan has an enormous Iraqi refugee population. Most are probably Sunni and have not been integrated well into Jordanian society.

Jordan's eastern tribes loyalties can no longer be guaranteed, either. In recent years there have been signs of serious disaffection with King Playstation.

Fertile recruiting grounds for ISIS. IMO Jordan is an easier target than it looks.

Posted by: JohnH | Oct 10, 2014 10:59:02 AM | 6

"President Assad predicted..."

Yes, but.

Anyone(!) with any sense whatsoever could have (and did!) predict the same. The Dirty Fucking Hippies, while they are correct again as usual, have no monopoly on strategic insights. It stands to reason that Obama/State/etc. at least privately understood this was the most likely outcome as well.

This implies that fantasies about "supporting the moderate" Syrian opposition and "putting together a coalition" to defeat ISIS are nothing more than cynical management of the public mind -- propaganda.

It further implies that the trivially obvious predicted outcome, increased destabilization of the region, is either desired or else simply irrelevant to actual policy goals.

Posted by: Earwig | Oct 10, 2014 11:05:27 AM | 7

This is also blindingly obvious to both China and Russia:

The US either supports the further destabilization of the Middle East, or sees such destruction as irrelevant to the Actual Goals.

Posted by: Earwig | Oct 10, 2014 11:16:49 AM | 8

Non-agency formulations like "spills into" or "spillover" deftly finesses culpability. Also adds to the "chaos" narrative that plays into TPTB social control.

Reminiscent of "Mistakes were made" BS from a trusted authority (where the only 'mistake' was getting caught).

Its all-too-easy to fall into the doubleplusgood Mindgames.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 10, 2014 11:37:20 AM | 9

Stepped up attacks on Iran from Baluchistan could be considered part of the spillover. Thomas Erdbrink's story today mentions that

A Sunni extremist group, Jaish ul-Adl, or the Army of Justice, has been carrying out a program of harassment, derailing trains and conducting assassinations and bombings. It demands independence, but Iran has accused its leaders of working for the United States and Saudi Arabia.

***

n recent months Iran has directed a lot of its resources to protecting its western and eastern borders. The attack on the border post in the south, basically a well-defended fort in the middle of nowhere, is not the first. In 2013, “bandits” killed 20 border guards, Iranian officials announced, saying that in retaliation they executed 16 Sunni extremist prisoners on death row.

Iranian officials are now warning Pakistan that they are considering going into its territory on hot-pursuit missions. “The Pakistani government has practically no control over the border areas, and if they really cannot control the common border, they should tell us so that we ourselves can take action,” Esma’il Kowsari, a leading lawmaker, told the Tasmin news agency on Thursday.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Oct 10, 2014 11:51:03 AM | 10

all we have to know--
"Defense stocks up big as ISIS crisis escalates"

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10, 2014 12:06:30 PM | 11

What beats me is how the lightly armed IS fighters numbering 15-20,000 fighters can wage a war on three fronts Lebanon, Syria and Iraq with the latter two having very large armies. How is it possible to wage such an offensive when the logistics of weaponry and other supplies would cripple a conventional army within a few weeks. Therein lies the key to their eventual demise, stop the supplies from Turkey and the money flow from the GCC for starters, the US could do that quite easily. How many Sunnis are prepared to live under IS rule, and all that that entails [a return to the middle ages]. I always wondered how many Sunni supported these radical Islamists, thinking that if it was more than about 5% or 10% then the region would be in serious trouble, of course even such a small number of committed fighters can do serious harm. The bottom line is, do the Sunni want a sectarian civil war across the region? Its possible the Kings and Emirs of the GCC countries would countenance such a scenario in order to keep their crowns, but in my opinion the Sunni masses do not, and will eventually turn on the Islamists, that's my hope at least.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 10, 2014 12:15:52 PM | 12

Yes the spillover is only a problem if it hits KSA and Turkey. Possibly Jordan as well but I always wonder if instability in Jordan can provide an opportunity for mass ethnic cleansing of Palestine from the west bank. The downside would be si.ple rockets that can reach anywhere in Israel.

At any rate instability in Lebanon is a feature not a bug. I have yet to see KSA suffer a serious problem. And I guess Turkey figures it can handle the Kurds. They might be wrong but that is 2 hat they are thinking.

Posted by: Lysander | Oct 10, 2014 12:16:08 PM | 13

Turkey's military is ranked #8 in the world but its tanks sit helplessly on the border as their commanders watch Kobani burn. But Turkey can't do anything. "The terror will not be over…unless we cooperate for a ground operation," he said.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10, 2014 12:27:32 PM | 14

Turkey military is for the parade only. The AKP does not want to allow army generals to plot against Erdogan, therefore the army is kept under scrutinity and its generals are carefully chosen for their loyalty to the AKP
The risk of another military coup to restore Ataturk's secular legacy is still present in Erdogan's mind and the success of the military coup against the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt act as a constant warning.

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 10, 2014 12:39:21 PM | 15

If Lebanon is likely to be overrun by ISIS affiliates, then Hezbollah (the Lebanese one) should attack Israel. I believe they have rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv. Once the ISIS Jihadis see Israeli cities going up in flames they might seriously consider adjusting their priorities to put "Israel" at the top of their list of priorities for destruction - and join in.

If ISIS are as Fabulously Fearless and Efficient as we're being led to believe then the vicious, but risk-averse, IOF should be a snack for them...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 10, 2014 12:44:49 PM | 16

Is there anything that could slow this spill?

Posted by: Crest | Oct 10, 2014 12:50:25 PM | 17

Posted by: harry law | Oct 10, 2014 12:15:52 PM | 10

stop the supplies from Turkey and the money flow from the GCC for starters, the US could do that quite easily.
Why wasn't the flow of arms and money could have been shut off long ago? The logical conclusion: Extremists that are 'useful' are tolerated and/or covertly supported.

the Sunni masses . . . will eventually turn on the Islamists, that's my hope at least.
Seems likely that Islamists will be tolerated/covertly supported until they start to turn on the rulers of KSA/GCC - only then will the 'Sunni masses' (conveniently) turn on the Islamists.

For anyone paying attention, it is difficult not to see extremists as extra-state weapons in 21st Century asymmetrical warfare. How clever! What could go wrong?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 10, 2014 12:52:56 PM | 18

Kurdish protests roil S.E.-Turkey
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-07/kurdish-protests-roil-turkey-as-jihadists-fight-in-kobani.html

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 10, 2014 1:30:59 PM | 19

Just the right moment:

#IS #Turkey Abu Hanzala,leader of #IS cells in #Turkey released by authorities today.

Willy2 - How would you fight strong weaponized insurgents within cities while conserving your own force. By throwing popcorn at them?

@Harrylaw - IS numbers. - As soon as IS captures a town/city just a few stay and hire local goons to control it. The 15,000-20,000, probably significant higher, is only the mobile core force. There are many more helpers in the back.

@Don Bacon - Turkish army has some experience as occupation force in east Turkey but has little experience in anything else. It would drown in Syria. Lacks Arabic speakers and ability to run towns/cities. It would likely be attacked from all sides in the Syrian war.

@Crest - slow the spill - don't see anything that could. Lebanon is boiling. Several attacks on LAF again today. The Harriri/Sunni leadership could be more active talking down the lunatics in its rows but it fears to be overwhelmed by the black flag guys if it opens its mouth.

Posted by: b | Oct 10, 2014 1:35:34 PM | 20

@b #18
@Don Bacon - Turkish army has some experience as occupation force in east Turkey but has little experience in anything else. It would drown in Syria. Lacks Arabic speakers and ability to run towns/cities. It would likely be attacked from all sides in the Syrian war.

Thanks. Turks dying to save Kurds? Not an option. And it sounds like the US experience also, which is why the US military is not enthusiastic about getting involved yet again in a losing situation.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10, 2014 2:03:51 PM | 21

@B: Excellent point. But that doesn't eliminate the fact that by doing so Assad destabilizes/ruins his own country even more. And that leads to more "unrest" in Syria in the future. In that regard, I continue to think, that, until I see evidence pointing to the opposite, the days for the Assad Government are numbered.

Perhaps a(n) (alawite) successor is able to calm down the situation in Syria but I consider Assad & his companions to be compromised too much to be able to stabilize the situation in Syria.

I also think that Syria (& Lebanon) like Iraq could/will break up along ethnic lines. But I fear that requires a very bloody civil war, like in Iraq.

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 10, 2014 2:05:09 PM | 22

Fox News:

The Islamic militants have reportedly infiltrated the Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib, not far from the runway perimeter of Baghdad's international airport.

“Daash is openly operating inside Abu Ghraib,” an Iraqi soldier told McClatchy news service, using a common Arabic term for the Islamic State. “I was at the 10th Division base there two days ago, and the soldiers cannot leave or patrol,” he said. “Daash controls the streets.”

Islamic State’s proximity to the airport is especially worrisome, because they are now armed with shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles with a 20-mile range, according to the Iraqi Defense Ministry. The weapons, which Islamic State has grabbed up along with tanks, helicopters and fighter planes as it has seized up vast territory in northern Syria and Iraq, could allow the militants to shut down the airport.


Maybe. Here's today's arrival schedule at Baghdad International. Twenty or so arrivals, including four from Dubai (UAE), three from Beirut, none fron Tehran, one from Beijing, none from outside Asia (except Turkey).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10, 2014 2:17:44 PM | 23

When the smoke clears from the inevitable offensive on southern Lebanon, expect the Israelis to be sitting on the banks of the Litani River, the object of its lust for so many years.

Posted by: chet380 | Oct 10, 2014 2:27:37 PM | 24

Globalized wars: Anyone can fight against anyone

http://bit.ly/1xommNZ

Posted by: nmb | Oct 10, 2014 2:42:18 PM | 25

willy2

I agree with you, Asssad wont be ruling Syria for so long and Syria will become cut in pieces, the question is when this will happen, I would say within 10 years.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 10, 2014 2:46:17 PM | 26

"Assad uses a strategy of divide & conquer".
http://reeseerlich.com/2013/12/28/assads-divide-and-conquer-strategy-proving-effective-against-syrian-rebels/

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 10, 2014 3:17:40 PM | 27

@Willy2

Except it was a well planned regime change aka color revolution. The Saudi regime had been undermining Lebanon and Syria for decades by funding Wahhabist extremism. Before 2011 both Europe, US and Israel followed a two-track approach to reform the Syrian regime. Netanyahu was near a peace deal with President Assad over the Golan Heights, the so-called Arab uprising destroyed all those efforts. There is hardly a domestic Syrian opposition fighting the Assad regime.

"Prior to the violence, priorities of EU cooperation with Syria were defined in the Country Strategy Paper and National Indicative Programme. The main aim of this cooperation was to support Syria’s domestic reform process."

Posted by: Oui | Oct 10, 2014 3:24:19 PM | 28

Mr Peace Prize for his excellence in international diplomacy has managed, with his neocon policy, to alienate just about all of the (former) allies in the Middle-East: all states of the "Arab uprising," Muslim Brotherhood states Turkey and Qatar, Iraq, the Arab Gulf nations Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait. Let's not forget the "only democracy" in the ME, Israel's Netanyahu. One big screw-up by the Obama administration, or chaos as defined by the Bushes and Skull & Bones.

In Joe Biden's Own Words of Truth; Our Arab Allies Funded ISIS!

Posted by: Oui | Oct 10, 2014 3:47:15 PM | 29

Of course, the Middle East has descended into a general war of everybody against everybody. That was warned against when the Syrian rebellion began, but the warning was ignored.

The US continues to prefer to take sides. Things don't look good. What if they choose the losing side?

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 10, 2014 4:28:39 PM | 30

Turkey’s top soldier to skip US-hosted ISIL meeting | Hürriyet |

A crucial military meeting in the United States bringing together the highest-ranking commanders in a global anti-ISIL coalition will meet next week without Turkey’s top soldier after the chief of General Staff elected to stay home due to developments on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Turkish diplomatic and military sources confirmed that Lt. Gen. Erdal Öztürk, the head of the Chief of Staff’s Operation Division, will represent Turkey at the meeting that will take place on Oct. 13 and 14 in the U.S. instead of his superior, Necdet Özel.

Sources said the invitation was directly made by U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey to Özel over the phone early this week, but Turkey’s top soldier was forced to decline the invitation due to his busy schedule and growing security threats immediately across from the Turkish border.

Özel’s absence should not be interpreted as unwillingness on Turkey’s part to participate in the coalition, military sources said, adding that Turkey had taken part in previous political meetings of the coalition in Jeddah and Paris.

UN envoy urges Turkey to allow Kurds to cross back into Syria to defend Kobanê

Posted by: Oui | Oct 10, 2014 4:37:10 PM | 31

Three members of Dutch motorbike gang No Surrender MC have joined Kurds to fight the "varmints" called IS.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 10, 2014 4:43:24 PM | 32

It is funny (in a bad way) how no one in the Turkish Govt thinks of how much credit (and political clout) they would get by being 'heroes'. Riding in to save the Kurds would almost certainly enable the Turks to get serious political concessions from them...while also saving their lives. Sort of as win-win.

But nobody thinks that way these days. In the Turkish case it seems much better to them to watch it all unfold...and watch a lot of people die and, of course, creating unending hatred towards them, the history books and people's memories will be very unkind.

Everybody wants, these days, to be 'a bad guy' and the 'badder' the better. Sort of a geo-political 'race to the bottom'.

So we keep revolving around what the Coalition of the Stupid (CoS) wants to achieve...which is 'CoS to ISIS, stop frigging around in Iraq, get back on the program and take over Syria...and after you have done that (and killed all the Christians, Shia, etc)...then step back and let our people take control from you, oh and yes you can kill lots of Kurds in the process too, except the ones Israel likes. After that, and you have handed over control to us after doing all the fighting, then you can go for Iran and Russia'.

Yeh..right....what could possibly go wrong with this 'plan'?

I keep thinking, 'that's all you've got, that's your plan, surely there must be something better and cleverer and more subtle up your sleeve that you will pull out'...and I am endlessly disappointed. So a lot of people are going to die, many horribly, because these clowns are too stupid to think of a better way to achieve their aims.

Posted by: OldSkeptic | Oct 10, 2014 4:55:59 PM | 33

willy2 #1 and #20

You seem to be under the illusion that the rebellion against Assad was some kind of spontaneous, nonviolent uprising of freedom loving Syrian citizens against the Assad tyranny and were motivated by the democracy loving ideals expressed by the "Arab Spring". It was most certainly not.

Within days after the first non-violent anti-Assad demonstrations, snipers showed up shooting demonstrators and Syrian police. Within in weeks after the inevitable government reaction, the "non-violent" demonstrators revealed well armed and trained military formations. This was something that had been planned well in advance and today we know that those fighting groups had extensive support from abroad.

We now know who were supporting the rebellion (CIA and MI5 for sure but more directly Gulf emirate countries) and I find it difficult to believe that willy2 also does not know what the bigger game is all about. This level of ignorance is appalling. Western idealist drawn into "people's" revolution across the globe that are no more than coups orchestrated by western imperial interests.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 10, 2014 5:11:07 PM | 34

According to the story linked to in #25, the party responsible for Syrian unrest was the IMF:

after nearly three years of fighting, the government has failed to win the war. Analysts in Damascus say that can be traced, in part, to Assad’s economic policies.

In the early 2000s, Assad’s government privatized some state-run industries and lowered tariffs on imported goods, .

Such policies increased poverty in the mainly Sunni, rural areas, according to Dr. Bassam Barakat, a pro-government political consultant.

For Bakarat and other analysts the defining line in this conflict is not religious, but economic.

“Textile and other factories were no longer subsidized by the government,” Bakarat said. “They allowed Turkish commodities to enter without taxes. The national industry was completely damaged.”

Unemployment grew as factories shut down and farmers couldn’t compete with cheap imports.

“The Syrian regime made a big mistake,” Barakat said. “We had an army of unemployed young people and new groups started to emerge.”

Neoliberalism as a cause of Muslim unrest has come up here before, in connection with a piece by Juan Cole. A little googling led to this:
In Syria, Follow the Money to Find the Roots of the Revolt
When Assad, a Western-educated ophthalmologist, came to power, it was inevitable that internal clashes and tensions between him and the old guard, who were the founders of the Alawite-Baathist and socialist regime of Assad, were to occur. Men such as Ali Duba (the former head of the Syrian military intelligence and a close adviser to the Syrian president Hafez al-Assad), as well as hardliners such as Maher al-Assad (commander of the Republican Guard and the Army's elite Fourth Armored Division, and also Bashar al-Assad’s brother), held opposing views of their new leader. Bashar al-Assad favored the adoption of Western-promoted neoliberalism and economic liberalization.
So it turns out that the war in Syria is Assad's fault. Assad is not the virtuous figure that some, guest77 for example, take him to be. It does not appear that Assad was coerced into adopting neoliberal policies: he genuinely believes in them.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 10, 2014 5:13:59 PM | 35

re 31. Riding in to save the Kurds would almost certainly enable the Turks to get serious political concessions from them...while also saving their lives. Sort of as win-win.

So your idea is to support the Kurds without reservation. Good thinking there, bound to bring peace, especially without taking account of all the other peoples living in that land.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 10, 2014 5:14:33 PM | 36

P.S. What I wrote in #33 does not contradict what TovioS wrote in #32. It is like the Ukraine: there was genuine dissatisfaction with economic conditions, but the armed violence that followed was organized by foreign powers.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 10, 2014 5:19:53 PM | 37

Turkey has clearly stated the Syrian Kurds are a greater danger than IS. Erdogan won't join the "coalition" unless the US meets conditions, one of which is the military overthrow of the Assad regime. [Source: FT]

Posted by: Oui | Oct 10, 2014 5:42:23 PM | 38

I'm not so sure Bashar al Assad won't be ruling Syria 10 years from now. Fidel Castro is now semiretired, but his people are still running Cuba. Obama is the 11th U.S. president since Fidel Castro came to power, and the chances are good that he will live to see a 12th U.S. president.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 10, 2014 5:56:05 PM | 39

Can somebody explain to me what Erdogan has against Assad? I've never understood the animus.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 10, 2014 5:57:22 PM | 40

@20: I am very well aware that the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel etc. want to overthrow the Assad government, want to create more unrest in Syria.

But that doesn't eliminate the fact that the current syrian government, a result of this hard handed "approach" has made too much enemies inside Syria.

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 10, 2014 6:05:01 PM | 41

@Posted by: lysias | Oct 10, 2014 5:57:22 PM | 38

Erdogan is in the pants of the Qataris.

Qatar is after Assad to get a line through Syria to bring LNG to Europe but Assad does not want to do it ; Already a deal with Russia and Iran.
Thus if Turkey can get Assad toppled and put a Sunni member of the FSA at the head of the govt, money is to be made.
Remember last yr Erdogan was ready to give away a green section of Istanbul so the the Qataris can build a mosque and a Mall in the centre of Istanbul. He is getting kickbacks in his foreign bank accounts.

Posted by: Yul | Oct 10, 2014 6:05:41 PM | 42

I disagree respectfully with this from OldSkeptic at 31:

So we keep revolving around what the Coalition of the Stupid (CoS) wants to achieve...which is 'CoS to ISIS, stop frigging around in Iraq, get back on the program and take over Syria...and after you have done that (and killed all the Christians, Shia, etc)...then step back and let our people take control from you, oh and yes you can kill lots of Kurds in the process too, except the ones Israel likes. After that, and you have handed over control to us after doing all the fighting, then you can go for Iran and Russia'.

The coalition is essentially the US/Israel. Now the US can and is stupid as much as its badly educated elites want it to be. Israel on the other hand, the tail wagging the US dog, can't afford such foolishness. So something must be wrong with your conception of 'the plan'. It's impossible that that is the plan from Israel's perspective. And, looking at the ME chaos created by recent US/Israel machinations and orders to its puppets, the chaos is now and will be in most reasonable scenarios uniformly to Israel's benefit. Right now Israel's 'enemies' are occupied with survival and fighting off ISIS a##holes. Future I: there's a hot/warm Sunni/Shia stalemate of some sort in Lebanon/Syria/Iraq. So the resistance front is involved in inner turmoil and broken up or otherwise radically weakened vis a vis Israel. Future II: ISIS is triumphant in Syria, Lebanon, and/or Iraq. In such scenarios, such regimes automatically become international pariahs, like Iran, and Israel gains support as a giant Western warship well placed to fight 'them crazy Arabs'. Obviously, the 'them crazy Arabs' meme is greatly strengthened by ISIS antics, to the great benefit of Israel. Future III: Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, unlikely as it seems, with big time Russia/Iran assistance decisively defeat ISIS/Saudi/Qatari/US/Israeli/Turkish imperialism. Well, in that case Israel is back to how things were in 2010 except that its enemies are at least temporarily exhausted.

All of the preceding is pretty obvious. So, are people in denial on these matters -- 'the bad guys are stupid' is usually a sign of that -- because they want to cling to optimism in face of reality? Maybe I'm in a bad mood, but that b.s. sucks. We're in the midst of very bad economic times in the West and very good times for Western and Israeli imperialism. Period.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 10, 2014 6:09:33 PM | 43

"can BE and is" ...

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 10, 2014 6:25:57 PM | 44

Okay that last point is exaggerated. We're in the midst of very good times for Western and Israeli imperialism in the Middle East. Not so sure about Western imperialism generally, since China and Russia have been doing pretty well recently except in the ME.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 10, 2014 6:29:41 PM | 45

Jordan will be fine, unless IS leadership really is out of control.

Posted by: jay | Oct 10, 2014 6:56:11 PM | 46

Demian wrote: Bashar al-Assad favored the adoption of Western-promoted neoliberalism and economic liberalization.

I have no reason to disagree with this. I do suspect he has now been educated in what that means. He won't make that mistake again, if his government survives.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 10, 2014 7:19:23 PM | 47

I agree with TovioS, and have pointed to at least a partial source of disaffection in Syria because of the neoliberalism encouraged as sort of the side deal for countries wanting to prove themselves worthy allies in Bush's GWOT.
Not sure why i am in particular is singled out as believing in Assad's virtue. I would like to see the quote that pushed you to that conclusion. Though I don't believe he is "the butcher" if that's what you mean. I do believe the countries of the Middle East were sold a bill of goods about liberal economics, along with the threats of the GWOT.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 10, 2014 8:24:02 PM | 48

ISIS is only a threat to shia states....not jordan or saudi arabia

Posted by: brian | Oct 10, 2014 8:57:36 PM | 49

why are jordanians aiding an entity that could threaten their own countrys integrity?

Posted by: brian | Oct 10, 2014 9:17:44 PM | 50

It's quite amazing how adept the leaders of the Islamic State have been in orchestrating, first the West and now the Regimes it plans to conquer, to assist in their own destruction.

Baiting the West in Kurdistan was easy and a few beheadings locked in the R2P whiners for the long haul. Getting all the degenerate monarchs to join in the Crusade was a coup that will ease recruiting and accelerate future conquests as their own subjects reject their arrogance towards the Arab World and subservience to the Infidel.

Attacking the Kurds in Syria will consolidate their control in Syria but it also has Kurds in Turkey killing each other and fighting the government throughout the country, Turkey may need to turn their tanks around and aim them towards the uprisings inside the country now.

So far every major move the IS has made has seemed calculated and brilliant in its outcome, what is their next move?

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 10, 2014 9:40:20 PM | 51

@guest77 #46:

You did give him strong praise in one comment. But this comment is not worth digging up, because you and I don't have serious disagreements about anything, as far as I can tell. (I especially appreciate your repeatedly making the point that the Left should support Russia and China, since, without achieving a multipolar world, there is little hope for the planet.)

I don't know enough about Syria to be able to say why Assad embraced neoliberalism. Certainly, it has been clear for decades that neoliberal policies lead to immisiration of huge swaths of the population. So it is very hard to see how the leader of any country today could adopt neoliberal policies, unless he wants to benefit the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else.

P.S. I couldn't resist looking for that comment, but couldn't find it. The best I could come up with is from this thread, where you quote from Thierry Meyssan' piece The Metamorphosis of Bashar al-Assad. I don't know how to square Mayssan's take on Assad with Assad implementing neoliberal policies, going against the "old guard".

Posted by: Demian | Oct 10, 2014 9:47:36 PM | 52

Demian at 50:

I don't know enough about Syria to be able to say why Assad embraced neoliberalism. Certainly, it has been clear for decades that neoliberal policies lead to immisiration of huge swaths of the population. So it is very hard to see how the leader of any country today could adopt neoliberal policies, unless he wants to benefit the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else.

Well, there's your reason.

You're not dealing with social democracies (in Russia, China, or Syria) vs the evil neoliberal regimes. Both sides in the battle would prefer, if they could, "to benefit the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else." But since 'anti-US' elites with actual economic knowledge (who haven't been victimized by the neoliberal, Friedmanite disease/ideology)) can see that neoliberalism consistently downsizes the real economy and hurts any regime's popularity, such elites may opt for Keynesianism, social democracy, and even economic democracy, because they know it makes their nations economically stronger and their regimes politically stronger and more stable. And they feel they need that when they are under US attack. I think that's what you see in Syria and Russia, more or less. I'm not sure exactly where China is on this. The neoliberal ideology infects all elites. It is, after all, an ideology backed by the most lavishly funded propaganda campaign possible, designed to make elites feel great about massive redistribution of wealth from the bottom 80% to the top 10%.

Nothing permanent, just a choice necessitated by a multipolar competition against US/Western hegemony. That's maybe one of the nice things about the emerging multipolar world. More space and support for populism, social democracy, and economic growth for the bottom 80%. But none of it is sincere on the side of the elites as a class (of course there are exceptions among individuals). But sincerity doesn't matter as much as policies benefiting real political and economic democracy and real economic growth. This time, when the time comes, the bottom 80% needs to take advantage of those only policies by elites who temporarily need a strong real (i.e., non-financial) economy and strong and real popularity, and try to lock in sovereignty for the bottom 80% ... like we didn't between 1946 and the 1970s ...

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 10, 2014 11:30:48 PM | 53

Assad isn't going anywhere. Obama is done, he has failed in whatever he was hoping to achieve in America. The next US.gov president if he is another Bush will send out the warhounds and the economy will definitely become much, much more interesting.
Assad is still the rallying point for many for or against.
Obama also has the same effect.

Posted by: Fernando | Oct 10, 2014 11:42:22 PM | 54

If I can take quick stab at why neoliberalism -- Assad, the putative reformer, wanted to lessen western hostility back in the day. With the Russian Fed. in full prostration to neo-lib/neo-con "Washington consensus" Syria was out on a limb. This same logic applies to all comprador-type elites, to varying degrees. But wiht the rise of the BRICS, potentially another port in the storm.

to Demian @ 50 --

I agree with yourself and guest77 that "Left should support Russia and China, since, without achieving a multipolar world, there is little hope for the planet." I worry -- the Left hasn't really supported either since the start of the Cold War, when the ideology of the Union was (at least putatively) of the left. Given the anti-sovietism & Russophobia inculcated in the liberal academic elite, hard to see this changing, regrettably.

and to guest77 --

thanks for the refresher course in bolivarian socialism on the earlier thread.

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 11, 2014 12:00:27 AM | 55

I posted that before I was finished. Here's the final version:

Demian at 50:

I don't know enough about Syria to be able to say why Assad embraced neoliberalism. Certainly, it has been clear for decades that neoliberal policies lead to immisiration of huge swaths of the population. So it is very hard to see how the leader of any country today could adopt neoliberal policies, unless he wants to benefit the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else.

Well, the last half of that sentence is your reason.

In Russia, China, or Syria, you're not dealing with social democracies fighting the evil neoliberal regimes. The nations fighting and competing in the emerging multipolar world are all elite-dominated, and all would prefer, if they could get away with it, "to benefit the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of everyone else." But since 'anti-US' elites with actual economic knowledge (who haven't been victimized by the neoliberal, Friedman/Hayek disease/ideology)) can see that neoliberalism consistently downsizes real economies and hurts any regime's popularity, such elites may opt for Keynesianism, social democracy, and even economic democracy, because they rightfully think it makes their nations economically stronger and their regimes politically stronger. And they often feel they need that when they're under US attack. I think that's what you see in Syria and Russia, more or less.

I'm not sure exactly where China is on the preceding. The neoliberal ideology unfortunately infects all elites, to greater or lesser degrees, and some elites choose neoliberalism even when they are nationalistic and want to generate a stronger real (non-financial) economy. It is, after all, an ideology backed by the most lavishly funded propaganda campaign possible, designed to make elites feel great about massive redistribution of wealth from the bottom 80% to the top 10%. Very attractive!

But whenever an elite-dominated regime chooses socially beneficial economic policies it is nothing permanent, just a choice these days necessitated by a multipolar competition against US/Western hegemony. That's a beneficial thing about the emerging multipolar world. More space and support for populism, social democracy, and economic growth for the bottom 80%. Even if it isn't sincere. But sincerity doesn't matter as much as policies helping real political and economic democracy and real economic growth. These inevitably strengthen 'the rest of us' politically. This time, when the time comes, the bottom 80% needs to take advantage of those policies and try to lock in sovereignty and economic power for the bottom 80% ... like we didn't between the 1930s and the 1970s ...

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 11, 2014 12:12:57 AM | 56

@ Demian 33

There's nothing in that piece that contradicts information about veiled threats to Syria if remnants of Baathist socialism weren't dismantled.

Personally I take it as some of both, neoliberalism is really great for elites and people with connections to them. They make a lot of money. But to me it seems like that was the sweetener for adopting the policies rather than the original motive.

Posted by: Crest | Oct 11, 2014 12:28:35 AM | 57

@fairleft #54:

That's a very nice analysis. Yes, what I didn't realize at the time was that social democracy was only allowed because the world was bipolar during the Cold War. As for "lock[ing] in sovereignty for the bottom 80%": I'm afraid I really doen't see how that can be done anywhere in the world at this point. The technologies of managed democracy are just too well developed and effective. All that we can hope for is that a nation's elite acts in the interests of its people, instead of just the elite.

@Crest #55:

Yes, that sounds right. The mainstream Western press blames Assad for implementing neoliberal policies, when the West must have placed huge pressure on him to do so. But then, as we know from the Western press, Assad is also responsible for ISIS.

@rufus magister #53:

Yes, I agree.

the Left hasn't really supported [Russia or China] since the start of the Cold War

Is that a typo? Did you mean to say "since the end of the cold war"? Even through the 1970s, English unions had a very positive view of the USSR. And let's not forget 1960s France, with its adoration of Mao…

Posted by: Demian | Oct 11, 2014 1:33:01 AM | 58

@54 China is still run by the Communist Party. The changes from China in the last few years represent who has joined the Party Congress in the last 25 years. The children of the elite went into business and not government. Daddy had their back, but old men turn into retired or dead men. Who joined the Communist Party these last 25 years? It might be believers free of a personality cult. They may not have a leader or figure head, but I think they might wield more power than is recognized.

The Chinese elite in the 80's were still a combination of younger yes men and cultists (Mao). The yes men have been in charge for 20 years, but I suspect they minded the organization below them.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Oct 11, 2014 2:31:29 AM | 59

a neocon laments....forget the cynicism of stalin!

a neocon writes on Kobane(AKA Arab) Spring)...theres a lot to agree with
'It took Vice President Biden to accidentally blurt out the truth when he accused our alleged allies in the region of playing a double game — supporting the jihadists in Syria and Iraq, then joining the U.S.-led coalition against them. His abject apologies to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey notwithstanding, Biden was right.

The vaunted coalition that President Obama touts remains mostly fictional. Yes, it puts a Sunni face on the war. Which is important for show. But everyone knows that in real terms the operation remains almost exclusively American.;'
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/389985/erdogans-double-game-charles-krauthammer
however it was the neocons who began the war on Iraq, thus creating Alqaeda in Iraq, which is the older name for ISIS!

Posted by: brian | Oct 11, 2014 3:09:35 AM | 60

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Oct 11, 2014 2:31:29 AM | 57

what china is NOT run by is the americans.....sorry

Posted by: brian | Oct 11, 2014 3:10:27 AM | 61

Anyone who has a more profound knowledge of finances knows that the US Empire is deeper in financial trouble than the average Joe suspects.

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 11, 2014 3:21:53 AM | 62

Years ago I followed Josh Landis' blog because of the raging arguments between the neoliberals and the Baath "socialists". Landis was coy, not exactly a neoliberal, but close. OTH, there were 2 regular commenters who took Landis expertly apart daily for his soft neoliberalism, one of them later became the editor of the blog.

Bunch of terrific comments - guest, rufus, Demian, Crest, fairleft - thanks all.

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 11, 2014 3:41:45 AM | 63

I have little patience with readers who believe the fantasy that protests against the Syrian regime were stand-alone events. It was clear from the start the aim was the overthrow of Assad, follow US Ambassador Ford and look at his biography.

Just as the neocon and war lobby [Israel] advocated an attack on Saddam Hussein and Iraq, the same lobby and neocon policy advocates urged an attack on Iran and its crucial ally Syria to break the arms route to Hezbollah in Lebanon. This proxy war has been fought since the early 1980s.

The White House fell into the Iran nuclear threat trap set by Israel by an agreement to bolster the Sunni alliance of GCC states with Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Of course the Iraq invasion bolstered the Shia majority with the ethnic/religious civil war as a result. Saudi Arabia was sending arms and funds to the Sunni insurgents in Iraq as early as 2005. The Iran-Saudia Arabia proxy war has raged for decades in Lebanon and the Hariri assassination [culprits unknown] resulted in a further demonization of Syria.

The involvement of Turkey? Very likely sultan Erdogan's vision of the Ottoman Empire. Similar to the choice by Jordan's Hashemite King Hussein and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat to back Saddam Hussein in 1990.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 11, 2014 7:03:56 AM | 65

@brian | Oct 11, 2014 3:09:35 AM | 58

Yep, it has been clear from Erdogan's nearsighted foreign policy, the support for jihadists and arms crossing the Syrian border would backfire.

Does remind me of Pakistan's role [ISI] and the support for terror groups TTP and Haqqani undermining US efforts in Afghanistan.

In addition, US is confronted by other Arab allies and double-cross of policy to unite a front against Assad.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 11, 2014 7:14:49 AM | 67

Posted by: Demian | Oct 11, 2014 1:33:01 AM | 56

I agree with your pessimism. I'm just saying there's a chance, probably a small one, when the bottom 80% are given some real economic and political power. What would also be required is unity, which is impossible in the US as long as the politics of inter-ethnic unfairness are the politically correct norm, hatred between the religious and non-religious and between 'cool' urbanites and everyone else is the norm, and as long as people are kept heavily propagandized in favor of neoliberalism/laissez-faire-ism/libertarianism and unaware of how badly and unfairly it treats an economy. If nationalist elites could somehow get the truth about neoliberalism, and sometimes they do, then they might ally their nationalism with 'the people' and that coalition might have a chance against the neoliberal armies. The latter has a better chance of happening when a country is dealing with a powerful external military/economic threat. As is the case with Syria, Russia, and China. But the coalition would last only until the external threat is defeated.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Oct 11, 2014 2:31:29 AM | 57

Last but not least, China is in its manufacturing capital dominant economic phase. Representatives of those industries have joined the high councils of the Communist Party. The Chinese are also quite nationalistic. That combination might create fairly long-term resistance to neoliberalism.

We'll see. Individuals heavily immersed in laissez-faire and neoliberal propaganda -- all those top 1% graduates of elite US universities -- will gradually infiltrate the party elite and eventually have the upper hand. It's important that anti-neoliberals propagandize those folks with the truth any chance we get. In the US it only takes a little common sense discussion, reading, and open eyes for a nationalistic Chinese guy/gal to see the truth, since the pro-neoliberal propaganda is so blatantly false and the US economy is so blatantly a gradually declining catastrophe for most of us. U of Chicago, Yale, Harvard, Columbia and several other elite schools are all only a few blocks away from abject poverty and despair, the American Anti-Dream.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 11, 2014 8:26:10 AM | 68

On the neoliberal front, I seem to remember that Assad had some dealings with Goldman Sachs a few years ago:

"Well, leading up to 2006 Syria had a flourishing wheat production for over a decade. This flourishing wheat production allowed for a massive amount of surplus for the Syrian government. If there was a class called “Running a Sovereign Country 101″ (maybe the CIA offers this class??? lol), one of your very first lessons would be to always make sure to keep a surplus of your largest agricultural products so your people don’t starve and overthrow you. However, in 2007 — as the price of wheat became increasingly high through theGoldman Sachs Commodities Index — Assad thought it would be a good time to sell their surplus wheat. It was probably assumed the drought would be over by the next years crop, and due to their expected normal high production for the crop growing regions of Syria, they waged on it. The markets were exploding, and wheat surplus holders were encouraged to sell.

So Syria sold most of their wheat surpluses, relying on next years’ crop to feed their people. Except the next year, the drought didn’t get any better. And by 2008, Syria was in a negative -63% wheat production. Oops.

-Assad was kinda like Jane Doe, except with wheat.

So Syria was left with an angry population, ready for a regime change but without any organized forces. And thus over 100 disenfranchised groups of armed civilian rebel groups formed to fight against the Assad regime.

Surely there is unrest in Syria for good reason. Certainly the people have a clear motivation for starting a civil war with their government. And if Assad did in fact use chemical weapons on civilians, it is important that international organizations like the UN put a stop to the illegal use of chemical warfare. But even until early 2011, just a few months before civil ware broke out in Syria, US politicians such as (then Senator) John Kerry sang praises for Assad’s current running of his government in Syria. So, it’s important we see a larger, more clearly defined picture than just the one we are told on the network news."

http://blake-report.com/2014/03/02/the-butterfly-effect-of-international-politics-syria/

Posted by: Nana2007 | Oct 11, 2014 1:03:25 PM | 69


"In an airstrike campaign that took place Sunday night, “coalition” aircraft struck “mills and grain storage facilities in Manbij,” a town in Northern Syria which was controlled by Western-backed death squads.

The attack on grain facilities by NATO/GCC forces is yet one more example of how the bombing of Syria is not aimed at destroying the West’s ISIS proxy army but at crippling and destroying the Assad government.

Just like the bombing of Syrian oil refineries, the effect of bombing Syrian grain silos is to prevent the Assad regime from retaking much needed resources to provide for its citizens or its military after long fought battles with ISIS.

The elimination of the grain silos would, of course, do nothing to stop ISIS but it will go quite some distance in adding to the burdens of an already oppressed and hungry people barely surviving under the rule of the so-called “moderate rebels” also known as ISIS.

Interestingly enough, when Bashar al-Assad’s forces have blockaded ISIS controlled areas in the past, no matter how lenient the blockade may have been in terms of food shipments, the West has responded with claims that he was “starving his own people.” Yet, when death squads banned food and baby products from being shipped in to areas that they themselves controlled, the West ignored and silenced the reports. When the West directly bombs food storage, it is presented as bombing for democracy and freeing the people from ISIS."

http://www.globalresearch.ca/nato-airstrikes-target-grain-silos-in-syria-killing-civilians-only-defeating-isis-by-starving-syrians/5405533


And the wheat goes on...sorry for that

Posted by: Nana2007 | Oct 11, 2014 1:14:33 PM | 70

http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/21753
aljazzara methods
fake news about lebanon

Posted by: mina | Oct 11, 2014 3:05:02 PM | 71

Russia's TASS News agency refers to it as "Luhansk"

https://www.google.ru/search?q=Luhansk+TASS

Posted by: Lug/hansk | Oct 11, 2014 3:20:02 PM | 72

kobani pictures
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContentMulti/112824/Multimedia.aspx

the two last one purports to show FSA fighting against IS in northern Aleppo

Posted by: mina | Oct 11, 2014 3:54:46 PM | 73

Kurds keep whine
http://rt.com/news/195180-europe-kurds-protest-kobani/
Kurds could ask Israel for help, their friend.

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 11, 2014 4:31:58 PM | 74

Demian at 58 --

No, I meant start of Cold War, but I was thinking of the Left in America. I was thinking of writing "since the October Revolution," but that would overlook the strength of the Communist Party (and organized labor) in the 1920's-30's. Much of the repression (blacklisting, driving reds out of the unions) of the early Cold War was about breaking this. It proved very successful; even the crunchiest radicals of the "ineffectual left" are stolidly (not solidly, thouugh that too) anti-Soviet and anti-Russian.

Although it was a lesser problem in Western Europe, anti-sovietism and russophobia do color the politics of the left, probably even more so after the collapse of the USSR.

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 11, 2014 4:34:50 PM | 75

okie farmer at 63 - a friendly "Fuhgeddaboudit" from the Garden State, just doin' my bit, but thanks.

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 11, 2014 4:47:47 PM | 76

Frontline reports from Kobanê at Turkish-Syrian border via Kurdish Rûdaw TV.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 11, 2014 5:56:28 PM | 77

@78 Nana2007

I stopped using google because I felt it was too "managed" where news was concerned. I see my gut feeling was correct.

Posted by: really | Oct 11, 2014 10:24:20 PM | 79

@79- You"re not kidding. Flushing relevant information down the memory hole must be a round the clock job at google- oh well, job security.

BTW thanks for the link to lapses on the open thread- curiouser and curiouser.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Oct 11, 2014 10:37:57 PM | 80

IS Coalition War Forecasting

Posted by: really | Oct 11, 2014 11:12:34 PM | 82

@ 8, Earwig

....This is also blindingly obvious to both China and Russia:

The US either supports the further destabilization of the Middle East, or sees such destruction as irrelevant to the Actual Goals.

I don't know about Russia, but yes China has long recognized this. Of course the Empire strives for chaos in ME. What has it got to lose? Any destruction or death in ME does not involve its own personnel nor physical assets. Ground work it laid for decades through the Hollywood/MSM spin machine conditioned the ME mentality already so that,in chaos, ME citizenry subconsciously think in terms of empire-speak. When weapons are needed, its the empire's merchants who pocket the money. So let the Lebanese turn on the Lebanese, the Syrians, the wahhahbis,etc. Let the Persians turn on the Iraqis; let the Egyptians turn on the Libyans and Gazans; let the ME churn and stir, and cook, and vaporize. Only good comes, and worse come to worse that they don't seem to gain nothing, still they have nothing lost. Its the same principle behind the color revolutions.

The Empire has no charitable intentions for anybody besides their own and their lackeys (-likely not even the lackeys). I assume Russian also know this, but the rest of former Warsaw block apparently don't.

Posted by: OleImmigrant | Oct 12, 2014 9:22:54 AM | 83

@68 fairleft

....I'm just saying there's a chance, probably a small one, when the bottom 80% are given some real economic and political power.....

No Chance! When ones who come from the 80% gets such power, he/she instantly turns self into the ranks of 1%; the remaining 79.99999999% can bite the dust for all they care. If the entire block of 80% collectively gets the power, you get anarchy. The invisible hand inherent in human, 80% no exception, inevitably produces this.

A fair society is utopian pipe dream.


Posted by: OleImmigrant | Oct 12, 2014 9:35:33 AM | 84

@59, NTG

China is still run by the Communist Party

Which Communist Party? The CCP of 1930's was different from the CCP of 1940's, was different from CCP of 1950-60's, was different from CCP of 1970-80's, was different from CCP of 1990-2000's. Different in both tactics, ideology, and temperaments. CCP of today is Communist in name only. Its an evolving entity still fungiating as China modernize, emerge, and stumble. The stereotype CCP you conceive of through the MSM speak is only a convenient stage prod for their propaganda machines. For all I care CCP can change name to the Devil's Party and would still fit the billing.

Western political parties, on the other hand, has remain little changed since WWII. The RepubCrats, the TroyLaborLib, the Gullist-UMP, blah, blah worked for the 1% then, they work for the 1% now. Only difference is they are now more blatant. They collectively constitute the Imperial Party.

If the Devil's Party were to compete against the Imperial Party for world leadership, I vote for the Devil.

Posted by: OleImmigrant | Oct 12, 2014 9:53:54 AM | 85

@ OleImmigrant

Exactly! Using Triple F's Friendly Freedom Fighters aka as takfiris in Persia (MB – 1953), Afghanistan (Saudi Wahhabist jihadists), Iraq-Iran War (Baathists), Chechnya (mujahideen) …

Posted by: Oui | Oct 12, 2014 10:09:44 AM | 86

.. Balochistan (Jundallah ) and Iran (MEK).

Posted by: Oui | Oct 12, 2014 10:10:12 AM | 87

from the web:
"In a worrisome development, radicals throughout the region are rallying to the so-called “Islamic State,” which is actually just a bunch of armed thugs and brigands."

Let's compare them to radicals rallying to Western states for foreign attacks, invasions and occupations.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 12, 2014 10:28:24 AM | 88

I do think it is ironic that the "dictatorial" and "anti-democratic" governments of Russia and China are opposed by a "democratic" US government which has seen one father/son combo as leader, and may see either another son from said family or a wife of a previous President as the next leader.

It was also pointed out elsewhere (by Michael Moore) that the turnover in the US Senate is actually lower than the Soviet Politburo - i.e. Senators have greater job security than Communists.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 12, 2014 11:04:23 AM | 90

To Virgile at 15 --

I overlooked this before, very good point. If Erdogan deploys the military, whether or not they achieve AKP's political aims (a new Ottoman state, it seems) the military might capitalize. If they're victors or vanquished, the urge to take a hand politically would grow.

and to b. -- The more I read this thread, the more I think that the destruction of Lebanon could be the worst news in quite a while. It involves Israel, Turkey, US and its arab clients, etc., all the usual suspects in the Mid East, and could prove extremely destabilizing. Chickens from all over the Arab world are coming home to roost, so to speak.

I wish I'd paid a little more attn. to the Sun Wash. Insider Parade on the networks instead of slagging off Ulster now.

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 12, 2014 12:33:50 PM | 91

@85 Thanks for accusing me of assuming MSM propaganda. If you bothered to read my comment, you would notice the point was about the Communist Party in China changing over time.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Oct 12, 2014 12:41:56 PM | 92

oui, oleimmigrant, don bacon >85

Don't forget their secular cousins in Nicaragua and widely deployed in Latin America (contras and death squads), and in Southern Africa. US/So. Africa supported guerillas that fought against the movements in Angola and Mozambique that took power after the Portugese Revolution in the mid-70's. Cuban aid enabled Angola and Mozambique to thwart the Afrikaners, though.

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 12, 2014 12:53:13 PM | 93

If the entire block of 80% collectively gets the power, you get anarchy.

Posted by: OleImmigrant | Oct 12, 2014 9:35:33 AM | 84

We didn't see that in Paris in 1871, or Spain in 1936, or Cuba in 1958. The primary problem for those popular revolutions was not 'anarchy' but a lack of military power relative to their enemies.

Your kind of despairing 'left' anti-populism is also a roadblock to the admittedly small chance of a power takeover someday by the bottom 80%. But don't worry, no big deal, since there's such a small chance anyway of success, even if there was unity and everyone was rowing the boat in the right direction.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 12, 2014 1:05:46 PM | 94

re 89 ○ MERIA Special Report: Did ISIS Use Chemical Weapons Against the Kurds in Kobani?

So you believe an Israeli source, when they have an obvious agenda? They have their own jihadis, Jabhat al-Nusra - they won't want to help out the opposition.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 12, 2014 1:18:16 PM | 95

"So you believe an Israeli source …"

How did you deduce this, did I state an opinion? Interesting post.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 12, 2014 2:25:12 PM | 96

"ISIS took Kobani":

http://news.antiwar.com/2014/10/10/with-isis-taking-kobani-un-claims-massacre-fears/

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 12, 2014 2:37:53 PM | 97

"ISIS 8 miles from Baghdad"

http://news.antiwar.com/2014/10/10/in-abu-ghraib-isis-fighters-eight-miles-from-baghdad-airport/

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 12, 2014 3:31:58 PM | 98

re 96 How did you deduce this, did I state an opinion? Interesting post.

If you post a link without saying anything, you're suggesting credibility to the link.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 12, 2014 4:51:27 PM | 99

"... There had been fears that the last escape route for the besieged Kurds into bordering Turkey was blocked following the short-lived IS gains. Turkey has been reluctant, given its own restive Kurdish population that has in the past sought self-rule, to allow Turkish Kurds to join their fellow Kurds fighting in Kobani against IS.

“IS is getting supplies and men, while Turkey is preventing Kobani from getting ammunition,” SOHR head Rami Abdelrahman told Reuters. “Even with the resistance, if things stay like this, the Kurdish forces will be like a car without fuel,” he warned.

Kobani remains under attack by IS forces from the east and south, while fighting has descended into running street battles, according to the head of Kobani's defense council, Esmat Al-Sheikh. “The [American] air strikes are benefiting us, but Islamic State is bringing tanks and artillery from the east. We didn't see them with tanks, but yesterday we saw T-57 tanks,” he said...
http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/10/13/syrian-kurds-repulse-islamic-state-militants-in-kobani.html

Posted by: really | Oct 12, 2014 7:22:03 PM | 100

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