Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 18, 2015

Russia Increases Pressure To Stop The War On Syria

Israeli sources blame Erdogan for willfully causing the migrant wave into northern Europe:

At first, Turkey did everything it could to block the sea routes being used for illegal immigration to Europe. Later, however, with NATO refusing to take action to overthrow Assad, and with IS failing to fulfill Erdogan's hope that it decisively defeat the Alawite leader, Turkey decided to make things difficult for Europe by shifting some of the pressure there. Over the past few months, Turkey stopped blocking the refugees' movement westward. The Israeli source said that it is quite possible that the same Turkish security forces that had helped IS are enabling the human smugglers.

On Sept. 11, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius suspended his country’s honorary consul in Bodrum after learning that she had been helping refugees leave for Europe illegally. In a conversation filmed by hidden camera for France’s Channel 2, the consul, who sells refugees rubber dinghies intended for use in a pool, not the open seas by which they hope to reach the Greek island of Kos, said, “The municipality is helping with the traffic [of refugees by sea]. The harbormaster is helping with their trafficking. The governor of the district is helping with their trafficking.”

The Israeli source also accuses Erdogan of funding the Islamic State. I doubt that. But the accusations of causing the migrant wave is likely correct. But does Erdogan act alone or is this a concerted action by NATO to push European populations on agreeing to a NATO regime change war in Syria?

Adam Johnson made a (incomplete) list of who is using the migrant crisis to call for bombing Syria:

Some of these people or institutions, like the NATO propaganda shop Atlantic Council, are also lobbying for the Saudis.

Several European politicians have also joined the insane argumentation that more bombing of Syria will create less refugees. The UN says that half of the Syrian population fled their homes because of the conflict. That would be some 11 million. But only 3 to 4 million of those have fled to foreign countries -  mostly Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Some 7 million have fled to government held areas like Damascus. Bombing the government of Syria and these people and having the Islamic State or Al Qaeda conquering Damascus will certainly create a much bigger wave of refugees.

Meanwhile Obama blames others for his stupid Syria decisions:

[T]he White House says it is not to blame. The finger, it says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place — a group that, in addition to congressional Republicans, happened to include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That is incredibly pathetic:

If members of Congress and some members of Obama’s administration “pressed” him to do something that he knew was pointless, he deserves even more blame for going along with an option that he knew wouldn’t achieve anything.

Obama is the U.S. Commander in Chief. To blame others for his command decisions is shameless cowardice. And who ordered those 10,000 CIA trained, equipped and payed Jihadis into Syria if not Obama? Are those also to blame on others? And why doesn't the NYT mention those at all?

After falsely accusing the Syrian government of using chemical weapons in Goutha the U.S. and UK wanted to bomb Syria but were pushed back by a parliament decision in Britain and the threat of impeachment in the U.S. Then the Russian Federation helped to make a face saving deal and to get rid of Syria's strategic weapons.

Now it is again Russia that is offering to save Obama's bacon. Having failed with the Pentagon training scheme and with no success against the Islamic State Obama is again under pressure to bomb Syria. But the threat of a Russian air force, and a possibly serious ground force, deployment to Syria is holding him back. Syria is not important enough to start a hot conflict with a serious nuclear power. Obama needs a way out of the situation while saving his face. Ending to put oil into the fire of the Syria conflict and negotiations with Russia is the only way forward.

Today Russia increased the pressure:

Answering a question on whether Russia would agree to send troops to participate in military operations together with the Syrian army, [Kremlin spokesman Dmitry] Peskov said: "If there is a request, than in the framework of bilateral contacts, in the framework of bilateral dialogue, it will, of course, be discussed and considered. For now, it is rather difficult to speak hypothetically."

Syrian Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Thursday said Syria would ask Russia to send its troops to fight on the side of the Syrian army if such a need arose. According to him, Syria will not hesitate to ask for support from Russia.

A NATO created Turk administered "safe zone" or a "no fly zone" in Syria while the Red Army is on the ground backed by the Russian air force and navy? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Obama and the European NATO countries have the chance to get out of the mess they created in Syria and away from the troubles with an ever growing migrant wave. They need to talk to Russia and not only on a "tactical military" level as Obama now wants but on a strategic one. Pack up, blame Erdogan and the Saudis and keep them on a shorter leash. Leave the cleanup to Syria and its allies without intervening further. There will of course be pressure to not do so by the usual hawks and lobbyists but Obama could for once make a sensible decision and stand by it.

Posted by b on September 18, 2015 at 12:15 PM | Permalink


"Americans Will Always Do the Right Thing — After Exhausting All the Alternatives": Winston Churchill

Posted by: Steve | Sep 18, 2015 12:35:54 PM | 1

thanks b... sounds about right @1 steve!

obama doing the right thing? don't count on it..

quote from your article "But does Erdogan act alone or is this a concerted action by NATO to push European populations on agreeing to a NATO regime change war in Syria?" watch the cards that are shown, but don't look at the ones under the table! folks need to get out and play poker more often to understand how life works..

Posted by: james | Sep 18, 2015 12:45:13 PM | 2

Poker and life?

Maybe, but I suggest that you take a look at this ... just for the helluvit:

Russia is only trying to save Obama's bacon because it is their best interest to preserve Syria ... and any other country that the empire wishes to destroy. As an American, I have to say that I wish Putin luck in attempting to slow the empire down ... and I am hopeful he will not fail.

Posted by: Rg an LG | Sep 18, 2015 12:53:35 PM | 3

Senate Armed Services Committee hearing the other day, top general in CENTCOM, Gen Lloyd Austin III said (after being pushed and pressured)
1. He does not support a no-fly zone
2. He does not support a buffer zone

Neocons were apoplectic but he did not back down. Pentagon and Obama claim they are not on board. Not sure which came first.

Also with respect to Obama's aides trying to push all the blame for the Syrian mess onto Hillary, Betrayus and Panetta... well it was their lame-brained idea BUT Obama's deputies Susan Rice and Samantha Power BOTH gave big speeches after the chemical weapon attacks and they were yelling for no-fly zone, bombing Syria and taking out Assad. People remember this. Of course the disciples will forget about that and most Americans who are poorly informed won't remember but every journalist and every person paying attention to this will definitely remember. He's not going to be able to brush this off onto Hillary (though Joe Biden would absolutely love that).

I forget what Biden's position was on bombing Syria in 2013. I think he was all in. If so, he'd have to make political hay out of it via proxies. I hope he can't. He's one of the biggest warmongers in the White House.

Posted by: gemini33 | Sep 18, 2015 1:31:33 PM | 4

Excellent overview and interesting details about the U.S. quagmire in Syria by the former French intelligence dude Patrick BAHZAD: RECIPE FOR DISASTER: How supporting Syrian rebels put US foreign policy into disarray - Part 2: Regional Proxies and a covert CIA programme

Posted by: b | Sep 18, 2015 1:36:38 PM | 5

Funny how the Israelis, who are neck deep in all this and have been the AlCiaDah airforce, now just act like they had nothing to do with it and throw Erdogan (and maybe later the Saudis?) under the bus. Of course they deserve it. But it all looks like a criminal conspiracy that went sour and now the worst criminal is snitching on the others to save himself.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 18, 2015 1:38:01 PM | 6

One of the persons on Johnson's list -Linda Sarsour - tweeted back to say "Syrian's are asking for a Bosnia-style no-fly zone" which she terms as "reasonable". ISIS & the rest, of course, have no planes, so the no-fly zone would be directed solely at the Syrian government. Is Ms Sarsour convinced that the refugee crisis and civilian casualties are entirely to blame on the Syrian government? Does her analysis predict what will happen inside Syria if the current government collapses? Doe she have anything to say about the two previous regime-change operations in the area - Iraq and Libya - which created instability and humanitarian crises which far exceeded what was happening before?

All of these human-rights people and organizations which call for military solutions in this region are bat-shit crazy and do not understand the consequences of their policies.

Posted by: jayc | Sep 18, 2015 2:20:25 PM | 7

6;Ding,ding,ding!They are expendable.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 18, 2015 2:51:06 PM | 8

I want to be a fly on the fall in the room where Presidents Obama and Xi talk about Syria and Russia during the coming visit.

Change is afoot. How the power centers shift during the process will be interesting to discern. I hope the leaders love their children.

Can society back away from the centuries of aggression led development and aspire to reach a livable equilibrium with our fragile planet?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 18, 2015 2:59:16 PM | 9

White House blaming Hillary? Now, that's interesting.

Posted by: lysias | Sep 18, 2015 3:12:13 PM | 10

Change is afoot. How the power centers shift during the process will be interesting to discern. I hope the leaders love their children.

They don't. Or anything else remotely resembling anything human. But "change" is glacial and not even mountains can stop a glacier.

Can society back away from the centuries of aggression led development and aspire to reach a livable equilibrium with our fragile planet?

WTF? What are you? Some kind of Earth First moonbat?

Posted by: Karl Hungus | Sep 18, 2015 3:36:41 PM | 11

Great update, thanks.

One more piece of the asymmetrical:

AMA (Sputnik) – Russia has established the first refugee camp for 500 people in the central Syrian city of Hama. -- Is This the Russian Syria-Bound Cargo US Had Bulgaria Block?

We are so accustomed to violent action as the ingredient of waging a war that we forget that the only thing that has ever won a war is peace. Russia, while she knows plenty about effective violence, also knows how to construct peace. It's a lost art and a valuable skill.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 18, 2015 3:52:31 PM | 12

The refugee crisis is terrible. People are going to start dying en masse, in a few days or weeks.

The only way out is peace in Syria. Even if not all refugees are Syrians, that will reduce the problem to manageable proportions. Hold your nose, ally with Asad, insist that the rebels stop fighting, and everybody turn on ISIS.

I had an Iraqi in my office today. He excused himself for not having finished his work earlier, by saying that his wife's family was stuck in Mosul (under Da'ish). The nephew had tried to escape, but had been caught.

I am so angry, just to satisfy Netanyahu's desire for confusion in the Arab world, and the Saudis' desire for Jihad against the heretics. It's scandalous that so many people should die, just for a polticial aim.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 18, 2015 4:06:29 PM | 13

It is hard to tell how much one should blame Obama. I got impression that he realized some time ago what leads to a catastrophic failure and made steps to avoid it. However, the situation is so convoluted, so clouded, that it is hard to be certain. When the first flowers of the Arab Spring were in bloom, the situation seemed clear: Assad was a fascist dictator, if a moderate example of the species, anti-Western, and facing wide discontent, so it looked like an obvious case to strike a successful blow for freedom. The vision of anti-Western, anti-Israel autocracy transmuting into a popular, stable, moderate, pro-Western government, and in the heart of ME of all places was enough to bring even rather sober members of our Establishment (like Obama) to multiple orgasms. And most importantly, what could go wrong?

Surely, there wore dire predictions in wilder nooks of the several states, like Counterpunch, Consortium News, and perhaps Moon of Alabama, but those folks always give negative predictions -- why should we always believe them? Only because there is no recent memory of American intervention with a happy ending? How about Grenada? In any case, back then one could semi-honestly believe that the Tyrant of Tripoli was happily removed, averting a genocide of Benghazi and bringing Libya to the ranks of Free States, and the long dreamed rational reorganization of the Middle East in within reach.

If at that point Obama simply restricted himself to proffering felicitations to the democratic spirits in Syria he would be acclaimed the worst kind of Islamo-Leftist Fascist that ever trot through American halls of power. Every single initiative of his would be politically tainted for a generation (this means 2-3 election cycles, and a cycle takes 2 years). Think of all deserving American dying from preventable causes for the want of insurance. To be precise, we was, and is, accused of all of that ANYWAY, but the trick of reluctant American imperialists is to make sure that such accusations convince at most 49% of the electorate.

So we walked onto a blooming meadow of Spring flower and climbed a soggy hillock to get a better view. We realized that it is hard to make even one more step: the hillock is not soggy because of the Spring rain, but because it is a huge pile of manure that is still fresh. If that would be Piotr Berman alone, I would try to get out as soon as possible, probably tripping over a few times and getting totally mucked, and then I would try to find some way to hose the stuff away (a car wash? a stream? a pond?) But no, you are not Piotr Berman but the Leader of the Free World with all TV news program, all press agencies, all you enemies etc. etc. watching your every step. The only option is to keeps standing there and issuing rousing proclamations.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 18, 2015 4:33:22 PM | 14

If my comment 14 will be mercifully deleted, I will post an edited version with fewer typos.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 18, 2015 4:38:25 PM | 15

First the Wests/ mideast tyrannies Terrorist proxies were starting to lose in Syria, then the Obama bombing campaign was called for, but stopped.

Then the proxies made great progress in destroying half of Syrias army as well as taking over 50% of its land.

And now these jihadis will come up against entrenched Syrian military positions, Which western terrorist see as a problem for regime change, and the Wests bombing war crime campaign has been increasing in propaganda because they see a stalemate or defeat for their jihadis.

But then Russia seems to be at least increasing hardware support in the latest developments and it's crucial to see how much further they will go.

All the actions by the big powers has been action and counter-action and it's all building up to a incredible conclusion/ disaster for the major powers , and see who will backdown first.

Western state terrorists see you this is it crucial domination issue, much more than it seems currently what the Russians are willing to do to support their geopolitical interests by supporting Syria. At least at this time.

This is all building up to what could be a global disaster. And who backs down, and who pushes hard will be essential in the coming months and years.

Posted by: tom | Sep 18, 2015 4:40:39 PM | 16

Erdogan may not be directly financing ISIS, but there's no need. It's widely reported that his son brokers their stolen oil & his daughter heads up the hospital that treats them.

Russia tried to stop the oil sales through the UNSC but was blocked by US:

Russian officials have observed this oil traffic for quite some time and had tried to stop it during a meeting of the UN Security Council, but were blocked by Western objections, at the time, that the trafficking helped finance the (al-Qaeda-linked) "moderate" jihadis they were backing to fight the Syrian government of Bashar Assad. August 1

The problem is how to shut that border altogether, to block ISIS weapons & new recruits too.

Posted by: Penelope | Sep 18, 2015 4:57:07 PM | 17

Piotr Berman = Obama and USA apologist. Nothing is clouded. Stop selling this vile State Dept Araba Spring nonsense. Hasbara troll.

Posted by: MarkB | Sep 18, 2015 5:00:15 PM | 18

Islamic State [IS] the proxy army for the US [training and equipment], Saudi and other Gulfies [Finance] Turkey and Jordan [logistics] are landlocked and control mainly desert. Its ideology is rejected by the vast majority of the Syrian population. Those people [approx 6 million]under its control could be said to be hostages who really have no option but to keep their heads down [or lose them]. In such circumstances all the groups mentioned above simply cannot win, without putting their own troops into the firing line with all the unforeseeable consequences. I hope the Russians put more men and materiel into Syria just to make it plain that regime change, or a no fly zone is not going to happen, and put the ball squarely in Obama's court. That link b gave @5 is a good one, it illustrates the bind the US is in in, particular Division 30. those 4 or 5 men sent in to take on Islamic State and then the Syrian army. You just could not make some of this stuff up. Putin can save Obama again by insisting its NATO alie Turkey and its client state Saudi Arabia stop financing and supplying IS. And as the UK colonel said in my other comment 'the house of cards will fall down'.

Posted by: harry law | Sep 18, 2015 5:01:46 PM | 19

Piotr Berman @14 name-calls President Assad a "fascist dictator". He was elected. By constitutional right Syrians get free medical care and free education. Life expectancy was 71.5 years, before the wars.

President Assad had a press conference 2 days ago; it's quite outspoken:

Posted by: Penelope | Sep 18, 2015 5:09:20 PM | 20

Not impressed by the analysis of Patrick Bahzad. I miss the separate interests of the Muslim Brotherhood alliance [Qatar, Turkey, Egypt under Morsi and Hamas] and the Salafists of the Gulf States under leadership of Saudi Arabia [prince Bandar took the lead for AQ support in Syria until he was removed]. In the comments section there are some excellent posts.

The Political Geography of Syria’s War: An Interview With Fabrice Balanche
Morsi was just a puppet for the extremist leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood

Posted by: Oui | Sep 18, 2015 5:11:05 PM | 21

Piotr Berman@14-
Only because there is no recent memory of American intervention with a happy ending? How about Grenada?

Nice story-we invaded a nation of 91000 citizens, a capital of 7600 citizens, and 118 offshore banks. Some show of force.

Posted by: nana2007 | Sep 18, 2015 5:18:30 PM | 22

@3 RG&LG: Thanks for the GR link: From that article: "The good news is that the tide has now visibly turned and while there is still a long struggle ahead, the eventual defeat of the Takfiris and Nazis appears to be inevitable."

Would be nice, but, I'm not holding my breath. As long as the US Fed can create unlimited sums of $, the West's Corporate Empire will roll on.

Posted by: ben | Sep 18, 2015 5:19:52 PM | 23

Obama's blaming of his imperialist critics for the farcical and ineffective proxy work in Syria is quite plausible. Obama has been proved for 7 years now to be a spineless technocrat with no real convictions on any policy whatsoever. If mean old Hillary hadn't browbeaten him into this war, why, I'm sure he'd never have done it! It is actually no different from blaming George Bush II for being so weak he could be bullied by his Cheney and Rumsfeld imperialist faction. Of course, the real blame must be placed on those who vote for these jellyfish. Nothing can be more dangerous than a continent-sized nuclear superpower, with an executive so strong as to be almost an elected absolute monarchy, which then consistently chooses triangulating turds like this to fill that office, allowing for the disastrous influence of war-mongering imperialists who could never in their own right be elected to anything.

Posted by: Thornton Mellon | Sep 18, 2015 5:33:10 PM | 24

"Israeli sources" can be totally misleading, but it seems that in this case they were not. Sure, because Erdogan made a verbal war on Israel few years back, they have ulterior motivation, but the story checks with many stories from assorted sources.

On one hand, many Syrian refugees felt increasingly unwelcome because they were Kurds at the time of increasing hostility. In particular, the family with the drawn baby son are Kurds from Kobane. Yezidis did not feel well in Turkey either, but there are not that many of them and they crossed to Bulgaria without much trouble or outcry. Refugees did not get work permits, so for most they had to subsists on the worst black market jobs, and the more of them were coming, even those were more difficult to find. But up to a point Erdogan preferred them to stay in Turkey, thus avoiding trouble with West Europe and having a pool to recruit opposition fighters. Right now, he got trouble with West Europe ANYWAY, so it is better to raise the spirit of patriotic defiance and some trouble back -- although imitating Putin is far more difficult than it looks. So Erdogan had many motivations and easy opportunity, and with humungous size of Turkish land forces, it was also easy for him to prevent the exodus.

Erdogan clearly aided ISIS. The hostages taken during the fall of Mosul were released with some secret conditions. ISIS oil was being sold to Turkey. There were reports of thousands of Turks recruited in Turkey to fight against Assad and moving freely to ISIS territory and back. Several such returnees attacked HDP activists with explosives. When Tel Abyad was taken by YPG, it was reported by Reuters etc. that "ISIS lost the most important supply route", which was from Turkey. There were reports of trucks full of nitrogen fertilizer crossing from Turkey to ISIS territory, perhaps trucks with weapons moved more discretely. YPG complained that ISIS made some attacks on them from Turkish side, and that Turkish artillery was in effect defending ISIS held Jarabulus from YPG. And ISIS still did not do anything to harm AKP: the bombing attacks in Turkey were against the "pro-Kurdish" HDP.

Finally, while American effort to create units of Syrian opposition fighting ISIS failed miserably, it is harder to explain the failure of moderate opposition against ISIS in the immediate vicinity of Turkey. This whole business of a "safe zone" turned out to be pure talk. Mind you, to the north of Aleppo there is a war zone with reported battled of those moderates with ISIS, and al-Nusra withdrew from that zone, and there is no evidence whatsoever of those fighters getting any air support, and surely, no evidence of success (they lost 3-5 villages and the front stabilized. Some Turkish air strikes against ISIS were reported, but with no specific, they could as well drop ordnance on the desert sand to be picked up. And the fighters on the ground are experienced veterans, I presume, so Turkish air force had the opportunity to provide game-changing support. I bet 1000 to 1 that Erdogan had some "devil bargain"

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 18, 2015 5:36:02 PM | 25

Posted by: lysias | Sep 18, 2015 3:12:13 PM | 10

White House blaming Hillary? Now, that's interesting.

Yes it is. This has been developing for well over a year. Hillary in her book in 2014 complained that Obama was not aggressive enough in Syria and that she called for more active US military intervention. Obama is not one to let that kind of complaint go by quietly. Until recently he has been quiet. However, when it was revealed that Hillary had her own email server for official business (who leaked that?) and then the US Justice Department began an investigation, it occurred to me that Obama was finally doing a little pay-back for Hillary's betrayal. So yes, this latest news is evidence of another shot at Hillary.

Also it is fair. Hillary should not be anywhere near power given her record as Sec of State -- Libya, Syria, pivot to Asia and giving Nuland the State Dept portfolio on Ukraine. If Obama does one good thing as President it will be to stop Hillary.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 18, 2015 5:42:24 PM | 26


for the last year, the lines of control are very stable with relatively few exceptions. ISIS advance more than retreated, there were new mass defections to ISIS, some smallish advances are reported to the advantage of the opposition and the government. It is clear that "Southern Front" is supplied from Jordan, and to some degree from Israel, and Idlib is supplied from Turkey. I am sure (on limited basis) that some of those external supplies find their ways to ISIS.I do

I do not recall any story of opposition fighters getting Western air support, or any Western strikes on Assad forces except a smallish number of Israeli strikes. From the map it would seem that government positions in the extreme south, just next to Jordan, are totally impossible to defend, Instead, we hear about some "offensives" going back and forth.

In February there was an energetic government offensive, but it was stalled. Neither the opposition nor ISIS nor the government seem to have strategic reserve, the pattern seems to be that of "even match" on a myriad of fronts. Al Masdar News report that Russians are training the "National Defense Forces" which are pro-government militias, meaning troops willing to fight in their local area, basically, defending their homes from onslaught, there are quite a few of them so the government is not lacking "boots", but it lacks "boots" that can move across the country and concentrate and give a string of decisive victories on selected fronts. Good supplies of weapons like Kornet missiles would be a force multiplier if the West refrains from matching them.

My conclusions: negotiations are not about coordinating attacks on ISIS, I do not see who and how, but about stopping or slowing down the supplies to the moderates. Or at least, not increasing them when NDF and SAA are increasingly well armed. At that point, they are "left high and dry". Lavrov speaks softly, and big sticks are being moved to Russian bases. With some on the ground intelligence, satellites and medium-range tactical missiles, Russians can target trucks crossings from Turkey and Jordan to Syria.

I also started to wonder if Patriots can handle something like Tochka, True modern "conventional" warfare is really terrifying.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 18, 2015 6:05:24 PM | 27

Toivos@26 Agree with your comment generally, but the buck stops with Obama [the empty suit]who has to throw bigger fish than Clinton under the bus, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Has he the balls to do it? He has to, otherwise war with Russia.

Posted by: harry law | Sep 18, 2015 6:13:38 PM | 28

Piotr Berman @14 and nana2007 @22:

"How about Grenada?"

Militarist yahoos on my campus crowed about this invasion at the time; they did not like it one bit when I pointed out before a gathering crowd that "At least when the Japanese launched a surprise attack they took on somebody bigger than they were!"

Posted by: Vintage Red | Sep 18, 2015 7:20:18 PM | 29

Quoting a vicious individual like Churchill is in very poor taste to say the least.

Posted by: paul | Sep 18, 2015 8:00:04 PM | 30

Not only Erdogan pushed the refugees to Europe out but I think Syria didn't mind either.
Firsly Syrians moving to Europe in mass have created a physical and moral discomfort to the blase europeans. They can't continue ignoring the Syrian crisis, it is at their door steps, shaking their moralistic and humanistic beliefs.
So they are now pressuring their government to do something drastic in Syria to stop the flow of refugees.
The obvious way is to forget about the ICC and all these threats on Bashar al Assad and to concentrate on crushing the terrorists.
The Russian initiative that was decried looks now very promising. Bashar al Assad is winning.

Secondly, for Syria where there is no money and no jobs, the migrants settling in Europe will soon be sending hard currencies to their families in Syria. In addition less people in Syria means less spent in subsidies, education, welfare and medical.
Overall the migration crisis seems now to be a bonus and a relief for Syria.
The losers are the poor uneducated Syrians dreaming of Europe as a paradise who will face hard weather, violence, drugs, sexe and racism...

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 18, 2015 8:03:34 PM | 31

Putin seems to be finally realizing that it may not be possible to avoid a fight with the Hegemon. I would guess that he is hoping that a good sharp punch to the nose may be enough to cool the Hegemon's ardor.

Posted by: paul | Sep 18, 2015 8:07:13 PM | 32

Ryan Crocker has the answer to the refugee crisis. A no-fly zone.

Posted by: dh | Sep 18, 2015 8:19:21 PM | 33

Russian defense, Pentagon chiefs agree to restore military contacts, discuss Syria | RT |

Russia’s Minster of Defense Sergey Shoigu and his US counterpart Ashton Carter talked by phone on Friday to discuss the situation in the Middle East and the Syrian crisis, among other issues. They agreed to restore contacts between the ministries.

"The ministers noted the restoration of military-to-military contacts and agreed to continue consultations," spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that President Barack Obama hoped that military talks with Russia would "help define some of the different options available to us as we consider next steps in Syria."

[Pentagon press release confirms the contents of this conversation]

In May, Russia's Ministry of Defense and NATO also restored direct communications. The cooperation was suspended last year in April due to the situation in Ukraine as well, but after nearly a year the need “to avoid misunderstandings between NATO and Russia” outweighed the discord.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 18, 2015 8:22:24 PM | 34

talking of zio gladio psy operations

Former Afghan PM Hamid Karzai says Al-Qaeda is a Myth

Posted by: charles drake | Sep 18, 2015 8:29:44 PM | 35

This is a major climb down. Hopefully an off ramp. Late Friday afternoon story. White House wants to talk. The Russian cavalry did the trick. Kerry's quotes are risible. Now he is taking Russian arguments as his own.

Posted by: H | Sep 18, 2015 8:56:47 PM | 36

11 is articulating a new Cold War PSYOP against RU in Syria, "The Pentagon Is Preparing New War Plans For A Baltic Battle Against Russia", and so the Huffington Post placed it above the fold, right next to "Makeup Tips for Men". Breitbart and Politico have also linked to this, as all three are now behind Zuckerberg comment walls (and so is RT for that matter). Add the HEMP nuclear attack PSYOP now being heavily flogged by the neo-cons.

The potential for a false-flag event, say, a friendly-fire missile gone wrong cover-up, is huge. All it takes is for US and RU fighter jets flying in the same air patrol corridor, or for example, RU supporting Syrian ground troops, then someone else on the ground, someone CIA-Mossadishu, lighting up a targeting radar aimed at a US jet, and it would be game on.

Also don't forget the US Navy has two types of loitering fire-and-forget anti-radar cruise missiles, and if the RU advance FOB lights up a radar after receiving news of a US fighter jet missile-firing against one of its fighters, now you have ROBOTIC ESCALATION, where the RU FOB will respond by firing their G2A missiles and taking out the whole US fighter patrol.

Kerry-Kohn is hardly equipped mentally or tribally to de-escalate this, which means CIA-DoD operations will control the proxy-war theater going forward, now that RU is in the region, and since not a single US pilot currently certified for flight operations has flown against an equal (not since the 'War in Grenada'), we'll likely witness a Top Gun toga party.

Full Battle Rattle with Robotic Escalation at the QEn End Times Global Market Top.
What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by: NoReply | Sep 18, 2015 10:31:44 PM | 37

@3 Rg an LG.. i enjoy reading the saker.. didn't know he had articles published at global research.. cool that global research is based out of montreal canada too.. maybe they can help rid canada of harper too...

@5 b. thanks.. excellent article.. interesting quote, among many.." A trove of intelligence about ISIS' strategy of terror was allegedly recovered from Hajji Bakr's hideout and found its way into German newspaper "Der Spiegel". When you consider that all of this is supposed to have happened at a time when Maarouf was already on the CIA's payroll, there are a number of still unanswered questions that spring to mind about the circumstances in which this intelligence was discovered and how it got to a German newspaper crew."

nice ending quote in that article as well.. "...when ideological stubbornness overrules tactical and operational considerations."

@6 lysander.. the only time israel doesn't throw turkey under the bus is when they think they can use turkey for something.. otherwise israels response to turkey is very predictable..

@12 grieved and @13 laguerre.. i agree..

@14 Piotr Berman.. obama is a lightweight, in way over his head.. not a bad figurehead for rubber stamping shit, but generally when the shit gets really flying, he and kerry are both completely out of their league when working thru the ongoing neocon agenda and apparatus..

@16 tom quote "This is all building up to what could be a global disaster." i imagine this is why russia has publicly stepped in.. we'll see how it develops.. never discount the usa to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, or for western europe, including the uk to remain stuck with it's lips of the usa's ass either..

@22 nana.. - that's funny!

@24 Thornton Mellon.. that is how i see it too, as i said to @14 above..

@38 harry.. interesting conclusion.. i can't disagree with it either.. i sure as fuck hope not..amazing what a spineless leader can get a country into.. i guess that is why they got obama to lead - he is easily manipulated..

@31 Virgile.. thanks.. good overview that i share..

@36 H.. yeah.. when it isn't obama blowing in the wind, its kerry.. wonderful couple of kites to run up on a windy day, but not much of anything resembling leaders..

Posted by: james | Sep 18, 2015 10:56:33 PM | 38


Hey, don't forget Petraeus and his Mossad journalist-hooker girlfriend conveniently taking the white-hot spot off Hildabeest, after she dropped the soap on the Arm-and-Fund™ Ops that McCain's CIA-State Wehrmacht had so carefully developed, so that McCain himself had to be heli'd into Syria last year to meet with and Arm-and-Fund™ Al Nusra and The Caliph (USIL, oops, I mean Daesch), after looting 200T of Ghaddafi's gold bullion and all his heavy arms, ...then later doubling down with Kerry-Kohn on the ZiMF Loot-and-Junk™ program with the Kiev Junta, now there's a NATOisque debt-bmob waiting to go off!

I miss the Good Old Days, when Men Were Men!

Posted by: AHammer | Sep 18, 2015 11:08:31 PM | 39

"Obama is the U.S. Commander in Chief. To blame others for his command decisions is shameless cowardice." ...and Cretinism.

Cowardice and Cretinism are the root cause of all this Rule the World horseshit from the West (& "Israel's") wannabe megalomaniacs ... with neither balls nor brains.

Cowards ARE Cretins ... people to whom the concept of a Moral Compass is utterly alien.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 18, 2015 11:11:31 PM | 40

The Israeli source also accuses Erdogan of funding the Islamic State. I doubt that

I found this point amusing, does 'b' actually believe Turkey isnt funding ISIS? I thought its a common knowledge Turkey is helping ISIS the whole nine yards - with arms, daily supplies, funding, training, safe havens, treatment, intelligence, military cover, etc - you name it. The biggest part of funding of course comes from medieval arab monarchies, but Turkey is neck deep in it also, more so than even US with Israel, combined.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 19, 2015 12:29:32 AM | 41


So nice to see and read your Comment

Posted by: Kooshy | Sep 19, 2015 12:35:06 AM | 42

Before a serious right wing reaction to the growing immigrant influx, Germany needs to abandon the insane US/Nato/Israel policy in Syria. Russia is giving the only real solution to a crisis fueled by the medieval fanatics from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar...

Posted by: guy | Sep 19, 2015 12:41:13 AM | 43

@41 harry.. that article from israeli sources is such a full of shite article, it is hard to know where to begin.. but if one likes an erdogan hatefest - they would like the article.. i think israel is still pissed at turkey/erdogan for drawing world attention to the murderous response israel had to the boat flotilla headed for gaza.. those israel folks have long memories it seems..

Posted by: james | Sep 19, 2015 1:43:39 AM | 44

@James - #44

Arad Nir clearly has anti-Turkish sentiment and his political analysis is bs.

However, the support of Erdogan's Turkey for all Islamists fighting in Northern Syria against the Kurds and Assad's army is in all aspects true. The facts on the ground were clear when the Syrian Kurds were fighting IS to survive in Kobani, Turkey did all for the defeat of the Kurds. Turkey has a large support group inside its border for IS and this was mentioned before, a deal was cut to get the release of 49 of its citizens held hostage in Mosul.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 19, 2015 4:03:53 AM | 45

Turkey faces new reality in Syria
The Battle for Kobani Comes to the Fore

Posted by: Oui | Sep 19, 2015 4:04:40 AM | 46

@ james | 44

I take all these articles with a truckload of salt, but I'm also just stating facts, and can add few more - Erdogan (similarly like Nutjobyahoo) are batshit crazy megalomaniacs. A sad truth, which has cost lives for hundreds of thousands people, and misery for millions of others. If anyone would grow some balls and put down these psychopaths like rabid dogs, the World would become a better place, if only just.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 19, 2015 4:22:09 AM | 47

Mr. Kerry said of the Russians on Britain’s Channel 4. “The question always remains, Where is Assad’s place and role within that? And that’s what we need to have more conversation on.”
Here's a novel answer to that. How about letting the Syrians decide that through elections. That will not please that bastion of freedom and democracy Saudi Arabia. Or the United States since they know what the result would be. The Doha debates a couple of years ago [a Qatar polling organization, no friend of Assad, gave Assad 55% support] followed by the election last year, Assad 78% support and recognized as free and fair by 30 Countries. Better for the US for Assad to stand aside and let a US stooge take his place. To which I hope both the Syrians and Russia say to the US, GO FUCK YOURSELVES.

Posted by: harry law | Sep 19, 2015 5:33:18 AM | 48

Yes b, I hope you're right and that Putin can save Obama's - and all of our asses again.

Pepe Escobar outlines Russia’s Ultimate Lethal Weapon

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov is drawing up Russia’s economic strategy for 2016 ... a few days ago ... Russia’s Security Council asked presidential aide Sergei Glazyev to come up with a separate economic strategy ... Glazyev is arguably going no holds barred. He is in favor of barring Russian companies from using foreign currency (which makes sense); taxing the conversion of rubles to foreign currencies (same); banning foreign loans to Russian firms (depending if they are not in US dollars or euro); and – the smoking gun – requiring Russian companies that have Western loans to default.

Mike Whitney notes the Fed has been depantsed, Has the Fed Lost its Mojo?

The stunning decline in stock prices has Wall Street veterans worried that the Fed has lost its ability to move markets higher. Also, they are concerned that, by not raising rates, the Fed is indicating that the economy is much weaker than the data suggest and that even insignificant changes in the price of money could tip the economy back into recession. The combination of Central Bank impotence and slower global growth has manifest itself in a confused selloff which, as of this writing, has sent the Dow Jones down 212 points (closed down 290).

The Russians know how to bring down the house of cards if all else fails. Better the fake financial world crashes than the real world goes up in flames.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 19, 2015 6:56:01 AM | 49


"The manipulation involved unleashing on the oil market over five million barrels a day of excess reserve production that were held back by a few usual suspects, plus derivative manipulation at the NYMEX, crashing the price."

Jebeezus, Escobar is starting to sound like Celente and the other revisionist Gold Buggerers. Putin is leader of the RU Oiligarchs, but not their master. Escobar is peddling smack. His readership must have plunged at Hudson Institute.

Posted by: Chipnik | Sep 19, 2015 8:32:35 AM | 50

With regards to Assad's future, the official word coming out of Washington today:

A HREF="">U.S. says Assad must go, timing down to negotiation

So Assad must go... Whenever he feels ready to step down?

Posted by: never mind | Sep 19, 2015 8:51:20 AM | 51

OT;Obomba picks gay to head army.From don't ask don't tell to command and control in 5 years?
Watch out believers,sodom is coming for you for your refusal to take it up the ass.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 19, 2015 10:00:59 AM | 52

Open finger pointing and buck passing at the top of the US power structure? This lot is worse off than I thought.

The NYTimes article has the fingerprints of Joe Biden all over it. Apparently making hay for the Dem Primaries is of more import than showing the Russians that the US is speaking with one voice on foreign policy? And at all times, this time? A time which has to be seen at the most critical moment yet for the four-year old insurgency that the United States is running against the Syrian government? This lot is way, way, waaaaaay worse off than I thought.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 19, 2015 10:10:10 AM | 53

Harry @ 47 says If anyone would grow some balls and put down these psychopaths like rabid dogs, the World would become a better place, if only just."

Twood' be nice to start with the puppeteers first.

"Better the fake financial world crashes than the real world goes up in flames."
Posted by: jfl | Sep 19, 2015 6:56:01 AM | 49

Could be, that's what it will take, to blunt the 4th reich's drive towards global hegemony.

Posted by: ben | Sep 19, 2015 10:25:28 AM | 54

Russia sent a few fighter jets to Syria on Friday supposedly to fight the Islamic State. They were welcomed almost immediately with a rocket attack from rebels who were not the IS.

The Russians couldn't defeat the tribes in Afghanistan who had a few SAM's so why could they think this incursion would end any differently.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Sep 19, 2015 10:29:08 AM | 55

At 42,

Thanks Kooshy, great to hear from you too.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 19, 2015 10:35:50 AM | 56

@55 "The Russians couldn't defeat the tribes in Afghanistan who had a few SAM's so why could they think this incursion would end any differently."

Well, presumably the Russians calculate that this time the United States won't be able to openly support the fanatic Islamists with "the biggest CIA operation ever undertaken". That this time the US won't be able to openly arm the Islamic radicals with such dangerous weapons as stinger missiles. That this time the US is hamstrung in supporting radical Islamists because of such events as the September 11th attacks.

Though, maybe you had the idea those Afghan tribes bled the Red Army all on their own?

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 19, 2015 10:37:45 AM | 57

Finally Kerry and the 'Friends of Syria' are revisiting their infantile mantra "Bashar al Assad must go"
It took them 4 years , hundred of thousands of death, millions of displaced, billions of dollars of destruction to realize how amateurish they have been. Is there a price to pay for political 'amateurism'?

Bashar al Assad will go, sure, after Islamists of all brand present in Syria are eliminated or neutralized and proper elections are held.

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 19, 2015 10:48:10 AM | 58

@gemini33 - Good call on Biden for sure.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 19, 2015 10:49:22 AM | 59


The Russians were in a quagmire in Afghanistan long before the Stingers arrived and China and the Saudis were just as active with arms and support as the US. The rebels in Syria don't seem to have too much trouble acquiring weapons even when the US cut off shipments.

A few Russian jets will make little difference and a large force will attract an even larger reaction from the rebels. Only ground troops in massive numbers can change the outcome of this conflict and I doubt the Russians are willing to make that commitment.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Sep 19, 2015 11:15:27 AM | 60

"this conflict" is motivated primarily by a group of dumb fucks who think they can dictate regime change around the globe where they see fit.. i guess you fall into that category too..

Posted by: james | Sep 19, 2015 11:35:08 AM | 61

I'm wondering if Obama's negotiations with Russia have more to do with getting Hillary elected than they do with any real change of policy.
Maybe they just want to postpone the war until after the election cycle??

Posted by: plantman | Sep 19, 2015 11:37:24 AM | 62

@45 oui and @47 harry. i don't doubt erdogan is crazy enough to look the other way while isis gets more of a foothold in the conflict via the transfer of arms and etc, much as obama has done here.. i don't believe he is directly funding isis.. he would like to see the kurdish people suffer the consequences - of that i am sure.. erdogan mostly appears like a useful tool for the usa, saudi arabia and israel at this point.. i doubt he is funding isis directly, but he may as well be in so far as he supports them in overcoming either the kurds or assad..

Posted by: james | Sep 19, 2015 12:16:01 PM | 63


You have to ignore the around two hundred thousand Syrians who are fighting and dying to remove an Autocrat and his minority ruling party to make simplistic statements, as you do, about Syria.

The fact that the US and other countries also want this outcome doesn't mean the US will get a compliant puppet regime from their support of some of the rebels. The arrival of al-Nusra and especially the Islamic State destroyed that possibility but even the other rebel groups would not tolerate that outcome.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Sep 19, 2015 12:16:15 PM | 64

@64 - us$ via saudi arabia, the usa, or israel must look good to young unemployed men in syria.. it doesn't change the fact that the source of those funds are the same ugly countries interested in regime change, or that you are incapable of acknowledging the ugliness of this agenda for the simple reason you share it..

Posted by: james | Sep 19, 2015 12:19:19 PM | 65

Piotr Berman,

There are no moderates; ISIS has even bragged that they sometimes give the "credit" to "moderates" so they can keep up the fiction. What wd a "moderate" want that is any less ruinous than what ISIS wants? All the jihadist mercenaries want to defeat the legal & legitimate govt of Syria. All are an invading force from 80 different countries (so skillful has been the US-designed PR that is somehow allowed to remain on internet sites).

No sane citizen of Syria wd persist in opposing his own govt in the face of such a fate as blood-thirsty murdering ISIS. Anyone fighting on that side is mercenary and cannot be a patriot.

There is no reason for the fighting to be prolonged. Turkey sends 100 supply trucks/day to ISIS, paid for by the stolen oil which Erdogan's son brokers all over Europe. If the Turkish border is closed to stolen oil, add'l recruits, and weapons ISIS is finished. They cannot kill w/o munitions.

The ISIS supply line out of Jordan can't be used by ISIS in Syria. It's too exposed for too long & wd be destroyed before reaching Syria.

For years there has been a no-fly zone in Northern Syria enforced by the Patriot missiles in Turkey. Turkey has taken full advantage of this by dismantling and trucking into Turkey entire factories, including an auto assembly plant.

There are numerous reports in the local press of US aircraft dropping supplies to ISIS. Of course you don't see such reports in the US corporate press, which has a near-monopoly in Europe and elsewhere.

Posted by: Penelope | Sep 19, 2015 12:37:28 PM | 66

It seems to me that about the only states acting effectively to prevent Syria from deteriorating into a "quagmire" (for whom and how would be an open question) are Syria and Russia.

In reading up on Syria during the "Stalingrad" quote-plant a few weeks ago, when this talk of Russian intervention began, the Russian-Syrian Friendship Council (if I recall the styling) said ground attack aircraft and helicopters were most needed. And you will note this is exactly what is being deployed now.

I see substantial pearl-clutching in the local a.m. MSM broadsheet hard-copy about Russian "intervention" in Syria. It is, by the way, still thought unhelpful in Washington. But all they report is deployment of these aircraft. The necessary mechanics and logistics support personnel, along with the marine garrison, would easily fill the 1000-bed encampment under construction, I would think.

The response by Russia and Syria to questions about intervention are exactly what one would expect. Taken from the Vancouver Sun.

While the possibility is hypothetical now, “if there is a request, it will be discussed as part of bilateral contacts,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Friday. “Of course it will be discussed and considered....”

“Up until now there’s no joint fight on the ground with Russian forces, but if we sense the need for it, we will consider and ask,” [Syrian FM Wallid] al-Muallem said....

So the long-time allies re-affirm their ties. "Don't need it now, but if we need to, we might ask." "Not thinking about it now, but if they ask, we'll certainly see what we can do."

The question will be now, what does Washington do next? Something convoluted and impractical, useless at best, but that will play well in the hinterlands as the GOP moves to Trump Sub-standard Time for the fall? Or does it seriously work with Russia to try to put Obama's genie back into the bottle? That will show if the present overture is serious, public relations, or a weak play by a faction within DC's "power ministries."

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 19, 2015 12:45:02 PM | 67

There were speculations and demands about "no fly zone" in Syria, and now "deep concern" about Russia bringing fighter planes and surface-air missiles to Syria. I would guess that there is a connection. I do not think that Patriots can have anything to do with "no-fly zone".

I would guess that Penelope exaggerates the volume of direct weapon supplies from Turkey, but the quantity was definitely non-zero. Now it can be quite more difficult, with PKK operating on the Turkish side of the border, and specializing in road ambushes.

Concerning moderates versus ISIS: there are differences, they may define the unfaithful in different ways that confuse me. ISIS recognizes only Hanbali fiqh, while al-Qaeda also accepts Hanafi (or is it other way around), which makes a practical difference in Afghanistan and Pakistan where Taliban follows Hanafi. The habit of committing massacres is roughly the same.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 19, 2015 1:15:58 PM | 68

It certainly helps that Putin has been fighting NATO-supported terrorists in Chechnya for years. There's no wonder the US ignored Russia's warning about the Chechen brothers, who later carried out the Boston marathon bombing. Washington never seems to learn that if you arm terrorists, they eventually turn on you, making you look like an incompetent idiot or a two-timing terrorist yourself.

That said, no nation seems to have a working army anymore, except maybe ISIS, they've all been replaced with "advisors" and "trainers."

Posted by: Cynthia | Sep 19, 2015 1:21:21 PM | 69

Those calling for bombing Syria (see b’s post), the usual suspects, have nothing to do with the ‘refugee crisis’ (except of course warmongering in general, but that is so obvious I didn’t even mention it in my last post.) They simply hitch their bandwagon to whatever comes along. And humanitarian corridor, no-fly zone, etc. always sounds smooth in their ears, and is supposed to sound peachy sweet to the public. Now the argument(s), this one for ex. have become so nonsensical that even Joe Challenged has to wonder - bomb ppl to stop creating more refugees? There is a certain threshold, somewhere. Such arguments only speak to the partisans (and firstly to those who don’t have to argue them in public!) - they are thus polarizing rather than propagandistic, persuasive, or even inclusive. Therefore, —-> A sign of weakness.

The EU PTB are really on the hook. This ‘refugee crisis’ is a blessed godsend to the Nationalist (fascist, etc. also) Right who are agitating, frothing at the mouth like crazy. Of course also somewhat of a temporary PR ‘mirage’ and won’t help them much in the long run, but ya know, hay while the sun benevolently beams. The absolute mismanagement of this ‘crisis’ by the EU spurs them on. More than 2,000 fat Eurofatcrats paid salaries nobody can dream of - and they suggest QUOTAS? It is pathetic. (Quotas was copied from the Swiss system.) EU break up is not here yet but it is inching closer.

Meaning the likes of Hollande and Merkel are seriously considering cooperation with Russia. Though I haven’t read any news for the past 2 days.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 19, 2015 2:00:28 PM | 70

how is it possible
how does isis the bogeyman bigger than hitler exist.
who is al bagdadi elliot shimon simon elliot
rita katz movie meme making rupurt murdoch jacob rothschild and genie energy the oil of syria
hitler had factories the best engineers and rokerfella standard oil technology.
remove the turkey logistics points disrupt jordan routes isis dies.
how many airdrops israhell the usa and the uk do?
how many damaged isis beards can the idf transport and patch up.
disrupt and cook the traitorious turk thermo bomb them deep fried
lance the boil royal cancer of qatar.
the donmeh jewish house of saud well what do you expect they are owned by israel rabbi cia and mi6

the russians seem to have done very little cooking yet
arranged some stuffs on a table

time for erdogan and his mossad handlers to burn some

Posted by: charles drake | Sep 19, 2015 2:45:26 PM | 71

Save the Children? Save my income, more like:

Posted by: Cortes | Sep 20, 2015 4:25:28 AM | 72

@60, The Cavalry, coming over the hill, saves the day. The RUSSIAN cavalry.

"The Russian Federation has recently boosted their military aid to the embattled Syrian Armed Forces, providing not only heavy weaponry, armor, and military personnel, but also, satellite imagery that has assisted the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) with locating the positions of the enemy combatants across Syria."


Posted by: ruralito | Sep 20, 2015 10:08:52 AM | 73

One cavalry unit that did not deliver was the safe zone in north-east Aleppo province, along Turkish border. Reinforced by fresh volunteers separately trained by USA and Turkey and by air support. The time line is roughly that: July 27, the idea is reported in press. American trainees cross the border, some misunderstanding with al-Nusra ended their role as a separate unit (although 4-5 are allegedly still fighting). Perhaps to prevent subsequent misunderstanding, al-Nusra withdraws from the part of the zone that is under rebel control -- roughly 20% and is replaced by "true moderates", and a Turkish trained brigade (in rebel Syria that seems to mean about 100 people) crosses the border. In the process, two border villages are taken over by ISIS. Later in August three more villages, near town of Mare'a were taken over and the population fled Mare'a itself. On August 20 it was announced that the zone is imminent. On September 1, the rebel council of northern Syria announced that their part of the zone is a disaster area, with a large number of people very recently displaced by ISIS.

The balance of war is not two hundred thousand government troops and militia against a similar number of rebels because about 1/3 of the rebels are ISIS, and the remainder as additionally riven by fractional strife.

On the other hand, the government took same areas from ISIS near Palmyra.

In short, there is a potential for the new "cavalry" to make a big difference, but it will take few months to see if this is so. Americano-Turkish safe zone was a little choo-choo that couldn't.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 21, 2015 1:08:37 AM | 74

I called Assad a "fascist dictator" and some took exception. One thing is that there is not much of "division of powers" and "free elections" in Syria, so it qualifies as a dictatorship. It takes some hair splitting if it is a fascist dictatorship or not. To me, the most clear case, 100 points out of 100, is al-Sisi of Egypt. It is also apparent that Erdogan strives to become a fascist dictator, but he still has a way to go.

A candidate for non-fascist dictatorship? Thai junta? Singapore's controlled democracy? Tentatively, absolute monarchies are dictatorships but not fascist ones.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 21, 2015 9:18:11 AM | 75

"some took exception" because you're talking out your ass. Syria is being invaded by cultists and mobsters, not "rebels". And now you expect Assad to play nice with these swine, perhaps invite them into a coalition, share power, airtime, hold debates?

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 21, 2015 10:23:16 AM | 76

For many years opposing the government in Syria could result in heavy beating etc. A Syrian acquaintance, rather apolitical, told me that people are afraid, without elaboration, but his tone and body language said quite a bit. That was years before the rebellion. Syrian regime was also doing some gratuitous sh.t like denying citizenship to Kurds. However, I admit that it would take some study to figure out if, say, Jordan or Kuwait were superior on human right front. For example, I tried to check who is using "administrative detention", which is a procedure invented by the British, and kind of non-sensical in a true dictatorship -- there, if the powers want you under key and lock, there you are -- but not democratic either -- the notion of due process is reduced to filling up secret paperwork. Lo and behold, in Jordan it is very routine. Opposition parties in Jordan may exists, but the royal government may pay scant attention to them, even if they get a majority of votes in elections. And we know what happens if they get too uppity (Black September).

When I write "fascist" I do not mean "Nazi". Authoritarian regimes allow quite a bit of personal freedom, and a variety of expressive actions, but with sharp limits preventing effective legal opposition. Fascist regimes allow much smaller variety, and make it a requirement to praise the leaders. Fascists are supposed to be more progressive and flamboyant than dull reactionary dictators or absolute monarchs. There is also a certain machismo, cult of force, martial spirit, vigilant national unity etc. Because elements of "fascism" can be found in countries like USA, one should require that most fascistic elements are present and with a sufficient intensity.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 21, 2015 4:59:52 PM | 77

PB at 14, 75, 77

"Fascist" has a very specific historical meaning. It is not any bonapartist, authoritarian or semi-authoritarian regime one dislikes.

Fascism is a conservative reaction against the victories of the labor movement in the period after "the Great War." "First they came for the communists...." It melded modern political techniques with conservative themes to create a mass movement. It sought to preserve traditional social roles by destroying socialists, communists, and trade unionist. It is chauvinistically nationalistic, given to violence both as a means and an end (see the Italian Futurists, who influenced fascism there).

Elements of fascism appear over any number of political systems. Didn't monarchs demand praise, or accuse one of lese majeste? It is the entirety of these elements that define it. The classic military dictatorship or semi-absolutist monarchy may not be a nice place, but they are not fascist.

Given their direct links to the collaborationist Banderists and banning of the communists, I think the Ukraine is today the only regime properly labelled as fascist.

Sloppy analysis too often leads to inappropriate action. Our margin of error dwindles with each passing day.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 21, 2015 7:00:46 PM | 78

Mussolini, whom one thinks would have known a thing or two about fascism, stated: "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, as it is a fusion of state and corporate power." Without that, one can have various forms of authoritarian rule as rufus magister stated, some even with fascist elements, but they're not technically fascist.

However, while the current Kiev junta may be the only swastika-stamped fascist regime in existence, I believe it's realistic to keep Mussolini's definition in mind and allow a broader if still rigorous application. By his standard the US is really a two-party fascist dictatorship of finance capital. If "social democracy" claims to strive for socialist goals through legal work within the capitalist state, I'd like to hypothesize a hitherto-undeclared political category of "fascist democracy" ("fascial democracy"?). Fascist democracy strives for fascist goals--fusion of state and corporate power--through legal work within that same state. Problem is, fascist democracy is easier to achieve within the capitalist state framework because its goals advance capitalist power and profit rather than hinder them as social democracy would, no matter how "left" or "right". The field is tilted in favor of the corporations and banks to begin with.

Many consider such factors as required praise for an all-powerful leader, mass rallies or legions of blackshirts and brownshirts stomping around as necessary for fascism. Not so, these are really peripheral. The Italian Fascists, German Nazis and like parties of the '20's and '30's were characterized by these because there were class conscious, combative and highly organized mass movements of socialist and communist workers that they needed to repress. The reason US fascism hasn't needed these is because the US ruling class has done so well with tools already in hand in atomizing the US working class and poisoning our consciousness with racism, exceptionalism, individualist apathy and genuine despair. Which isn't to say real repression hasn't been involved--just ask any old Communist or Panther.

As soon as we rise up here in any substantive, conscious and organized way, rest assured US fascism will cough up some blackshirts, or likely something even worse.

Interesting times... yet I remain optimistic. In 1913 no one thought much of the odds of a revolution in Russia. All the conditions are ripe in the US, and one of these days the contradictions between a decaying empire and its propaganda self-image will blow up; all that's missing are popular organization and revolutionary leadership. The very war that the neocons lust for will likely be their undoing. But in any case we'll have our work cut out for us, and then some. As James Connolly said:

"The Great only appear Great because we are on our knees: Let us rise."

Posted by: Vintage Red | Sep 21, 2015 10:03:20 PM | 79

Vintage Red at 79 --

Mussolini was notoriously bad as a theorist. He kept fascism vague and general, so that he remained it's arbiter.

Corporatism is much more specific than Mussolini's vague styling. From the Wikipedia on corporatism, subsection on fascist corporatism.

Fascism's theory of economic corporatism involved management of sectors of the economy by government or privately controlled organizations (corporations). Each trade union or employer corporation would, theoretically, represent its professional concerns, especially by negotiation of labour contracts and the like. This method, it was theorized, could result in harmony amongst social classes. Authors have noted, however, that de facto economic corporatism was also used to reduce opposition and reward political loyalty....

Italian Fascism involved a corporatist political system in which the economy was collectively managed by employers, workers and state officials by formal mechanisms at the national level.

To the degree that is was formalized, the work was done by Alfredo Rocco, a jurist and politician with Italian Nationalist Association. This organization, which merged with the Fascists in 1923, had a great influence on the fascist movement. The Wiki on the Association says of Rocco's role:

In 1914, the ANI began to tilt towards authoritarian nationalism with its endorsement of the creation of an authoritarian corporate state, a radical idea created by Italian law professor, Alfredo Rocco. Such a corporate state led by a corporate assembly rather than a parliament, which would be composed of unions, business organizations and other economic organizations that would work within a powerful state government to regulate business-labour relations, organize the economy, end class conflict, and make Italy an industrial state which could compete with imperial powers and establish its own empire.

We can properly speak of corporatism when formal organizations of employer associations and fascist "unions," (the Fascists liked the more archaic styling, "guilds") work in tamden with state officials in setting state and industrial policy.

State and corporate power have long been intertwined; just ask the Populist and Wobblies. I think the term we're looking for in contemporary America is "the old boy network," aka "the Establishment." The influence is real, but typically dare not speak its name, lest the illusion of participatory democracy be broken.

What is different now is that institutions that once might have, to a degree, restrained capital have now been marginalized, if not destroyed. Corporations are larger, but the means of resistance smaller. Citizens United will of course greatly aggravate this.

I take your point about the atomisation of labor and citizens, and that any serious reversal of this fact is likely to provoke a response. Isn't the Tea Party brownshirts-in-waiting? Aren't the police functionally exercising this role in minority communities? Reactions to crushing college debt may well spread it up the socio-economic ladder.

I always found Gross' Friendly Fascism more stimulating than convincing. It would different in America, of course, but when push comes to shove, user-friendly Fascism 2.0 will revert to the more rigorous original product.

Russia in 1913 had a more robust revolutionary movement than the U.S. "All that's missing are popular organization and revolutionary leadership." Oh, is that all? Look at the trouble Greece is having, with a much more robust political left (e.g., the Communists in parliament, to cite but one feature), just extracting themselves from the Eurozone.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 21, 2015 11:29:57 PM | 80

rufus magister @80:

I’m sure Mussolini was as mediocre a theorist as he was a strategist, but as the corporate-state fusion was going on right under his nose for a generation I imagine his general observation is a good, broad brush reminder that I find most people forget as they concentrate on externals such as jackboots, cults of personality, etc. Of course the corporate media are only too happy to encourage people in this, as it keeps folks from paying attention to that Citizens United suit behind the curtain.

And thank you for the reference to Rocco’s INA, of whom I hadn’t heard before (not that it surprises me that there were other influences coming together to form/inform early fascism). Most of my early delving was more into the German experience of corporate-state fusion; in addition to the works already cited also Speer’s Inside the Third Reich and Neumann’s Behemoth: the Structure and Practice of National Socialism (particularly the second section, “Totalitarian Monopolistic Economy”), among others.

But fascism today, particularly in the US, won’t necessarily be an historical reenactment. As both of us have observed in our ways, there have long been state-corporate links. Lundberg’s classic The Rich and the Super-Rich (very badly in need of an update!) provides quite a lot of detail on what he called the “Finpolitan Elite” (aka “the Establishment”) and its workings. And as we’ve both observed the working class is disorganized and disoriented, so the PTB now don’t even feel the need to throw us the symbolic bone of “guild” representation in the modern version.

I never got around to Gross’ *Friendly Fascism* but did cut my teeth on George Jackson and others who clearly exposed the role of the police among people of color (although some argue that police are less brownshirts than an occupying army controlling an internal colony—I listen and learn from all perspectives here). The Tea Party, or at least their militia members, could well be brownshirts-in-waiting, a mirror image to how Trotsky once described every union picketline as “the nucleus of a workers’ militia.”

Numerically Russia in 1913 doubtless had more and better organized revolutionaries than the modern US, but I brought up Russia because no one at the time thought “the revolution” could happen there—even with organized socialist parties. As I’ve heard said, with today’s communications technology a few hundred comrades now might well be able to do the work of many thousands a century ago, and the people as a whole would be capable of much more self-organization than Marx and Lenin could’ve imagined. I suspect that once we do develop such a movement, challenging the Empire in its stolen homeland, whether we win or not it’ll remove so much pressure and interference from Greece and everyone else on the planet that even if we are crushed much of the rest of humanity will have an opportunity to break free.

“All that’s missing are popular organizations and revolutionary leadership.”

Yes, that’s “all.” The objective conditions are ripe, even overripe, social kindling ready to catch. Because of this the “subjective factor” as some call it, is so important that the PTB never fail to quash its sparks as quickly as possible. I never said it was a small thing; you and I both know it’s huge and many-faceted and will involve years of struggle to build. If it were easy MoA would by now be devoted to discussions around healing our biosphere and fine-tuning Baja Utopia.

Revolución or muerte, either way I don’t see any way out but through. Who knows, we may surprise ourselves at what we can do from within against an increasingly unstable and vulnerable Empire…

Posted by: Vintage Red | Sep 23, 2015 2:52:42 AM | 81

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