Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 19, 2016

"Are Green Berets Leading The YPG In North-West Syria?" - "Wrong Question ..."

A few days ago we asked the speculative question: Are Green Berets Leading The YPG In Taking The Azaz Pocket? That question was, as we will see, wrong. It is not the YPG that is the relevant part here but some other groups fighting next to it. We wrote:

The Kurds in the Azaz pocket have also some support from a professional military. Their moves are very purposeful and controlled. They are clearly coordinated with the Syrian army. The coordination with the Russian airforce works well and there is ground fire coordination with the SAA.
...
Who are the professionals that are helping the YPG to take the Azaz pocket?

My first thought was of course Russian Spetsnaz. But I asked around and none of my usual sources would confirm this. The sources acknowledged that the YPG in west Syria has special force support but there was some quite unexpected silence over who these forces were. It is clear to me that these are not Syrian special forces. The YPG does not want to be seen as an adjunct to the Syrian government. No one would confirm to me that these are Russian forces even as that would be of no great surprise to anyone. This leads me to speculate that some U.S. special forces are directing the YPG in the Azaz pocket. This in coordination with the Syrian army and the Russians.

The idea presumed a split between the CIA, which arms the jihadis with TOWs and other toys, and the U.S. military, which helps the Kurds against the Islamic State jihadis in north-east Syria.


big

At Sic Semper Tyrannis Pat Lang and The Twisted Genius, both experienced and higher level former spec ops, found that unlikely.

But there are now additional data points which support my crazy idea. The "Kurds" besieging the Azaz pocket from the west and the south are not all Kurds. They have local allies with whom they are organized under the label Syrian Democratic Forces. Indeed, according to this report, the Kurds have pulled back from the southern Azaz line and leave it to an allied group. Some of the pro-Syrian troops now there are intimate friends of the U.S. military:

On Feb. 10, the YPG and Jaish al-Thuwar (Army of Revolutionaries), two allied SDF units, seized the Menagh air base south of Azaz and then the nearby villages of Maranaz, Malikiye, Der Jammal and Tell Acar.
...
The Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Uswar entered Tell Rifaat on Feb. 15. The next day, Ahmed al-Omar, the group's spokesman, said it had cleared Tell Rifat after four days of battles. Tell Rifaat was a key point for logistics operations between Aleppo and Turkey.

After Tell Rifaat, SDF units captured the villages of Ain Dejne, Kfar Naya and toward Azaz and then entered Marea.

My question was wrong. It was about Green Berets accompanying the YPG. But I should have asked about Green Berets accompanying whoever was moving there, the YPG and/or other groups, and fighting on the pro-Syrian side.

Who makes up Jaish al-Thuwar? Established in May 2015, some of its fighters were in the US-supported, but then disbanded, Hazm Movement and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front. Cephed al-Akrad (the Kurdish Front) — made up of Kurds who had not joined the YPG — is another unit of Jaish al-Thuwar. The Seljuks Brigade and Sultan Selim Brigade of Turkmens, which operate separately from the Turkish-supported Turkmen forces, are also part of Jaish al-Thuwar. An alliance of Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds, Jaish al-Thuwar joined the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces in October 2015. Most of the fighters hail from settlements on the Azaz-Marea line and areas of Menbic, al-Bab and Jarablus currently controlled by IS. It isn't accurate to call Jaish al-Thuwar fighters outsiders.

After capturing areas near Azaz, the YPG left them to the control of Jaish al-Thuwar and withdrew to Afrin. Some observers in the Turkish government circles interpreted the move as the YPG using Jaish al-Thuwar as a cover. This may be a bit of an overstatement, as the Americans function as a coordinator between these two SDF units.

There is an amalgamation of various small groups, some trained by the U.S. military, which is holding the southern border of the Azaz pocket including the Menagh air base and Tell Rifaat. This group coordinates with the YPG Kurds through U.S. intermediaries.

Who then are these intermediaries and who is really leading or "advising" the quite diverse Jaish al-Thuwar?

Adding another data point that supports my hunch the Pentagon yesterday admitted that the special forces it put down in Syria to coordinate the Kurds fighting the Islamic State are in contact with the Russian forces in Syria:

The Pentagon has asked Russia to stay away from parts of northern Syria where US special operations troops are training local fighters to combat the Islamic State group, military officials said Thursday.

The acknowledgement is significant because the Pentagon has repeatedly stressed it is not cooperating with Moscow as the two powers lead separate air campaigns in war-ravaged Syria.

Lieutenant General Charles Brown, who commands the US air forces in the Middle East, said US officials had asked Moscow to avoid "broad areas" in northern Syria "to maintain a level of safety for our forces that are on the ground."
...
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said Russia had honored the request, and stressed the Pentagon only provided broad geographic descriptions of where the US troops are, not their precise location.

There was "one instance in which we have asked, for the safety of our special operators, (the Russians) to not engage in that particular geographical area," Cook said. "We think it's a reasonable request."

The Pentagon last year said it was sending about 50 special operations forces to work with anti-IS fighters in Syria, though officials have said next to nothing about their whereabouts and progress since.

Notice that the AFP report above emphasizes "northern Syria". Not "north-east Syria" or "east-Syria" where the YPG, with acknowledged U.S. air and special force support, is successfully cleaning the Hasakah governate of Islamic State trash. The AP report does likewise.

The insertion of 50 U.S. special operation forces into Syria was announced at the end of October 2015, around the same time the Jaish al-Thuwar joined the YPG to form the SDF named alliance. Jaish al-Thuwar includes people who have been through the Pentagon's training program.

After the Syrian army closed the Azaz pocket the YPG and its allies made fast, elegant and well coordinated moves to take the southern line of the Azaz pocket and to push north from it. A rag-tag force of amateurs would not have been able to operate like that. It is the way that this happened that led me to believe that there were some extraordinary well trained folks involved in it. These folks were coordinating the SDF force itself as well as with the Russians and the Syrian army.

So let me rephrase my earlier question about the Green Berets leading the "YPG":

Are Green Berets leading the SDF and more so Jaish al-Thuwar in taking the Azaz pocket?

If the answer is "Yes" additional questions follow from the above one:

  • Does this demonstrate a split between CIA and the Pentagon with each supporting opposing sides?
  • Is this the real reason for Erdogan's rage over the U.S. affair with the "YPG"?
  • Was this coordinated between Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov?
  • What does this mean for the future of Syria?

Posted by b on February 19, 2016 at 02:19 AM | Permalink

Comments
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So these are the troops trained by the pentagon, fighting al Nusra, the troops trained - funded/supported anyway - by the CIA?

Yes, Erdogan must be chewing his rug. Maybe the US is trying literally to drive hime mad?

Why is the pentagon on the side of the Syrians at this point?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 19, 2016 2:50:03 AM | 1

Turkey military vehicles enter Aleppo Province+Pics


"What we want is to create a secure strip, including (the town of) A'zaz, 10 kilometers (six miles) deep inside Syria and this zone should be free from clashes," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan said.

What they need to do ... if they want a zone free from clashes ... is to create a secure strip on their own side of the border.

What they want to do is what USrael has done in Palestine ... invade and occupy Other Peoples' Property.

I think the Syrians need to drive them out of Syria, quickly. Give them 200 meters and they'll take 10 kilometers. Give them 10 kilometers and they'll take 100 kilometers. Don't ever forget ... they want it ALL ... and more.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 19, 2016 3:21:12 AM | 2

What is the objective in the Azaz pocket for SDF forces? There are reports that IS is also taking advantage to expand their territory by attacking Mare.

Can the YPG & SDF forces move further east to confront IS and capture territory from them? Do they have the manpower, logistics train and heavy weapons?

Posted by: ab initio | Feb 19, 2016 3:41:20 AM | 3

And yet the wrong question was asked once again.

Why did the idiot Putin invite one of the greatest evil entities the world is ever witnessed - the US empire - into a coalition into Syria ?
No matter what form or alliances the US establishes to get itself into Syria, it can only mean chaos, disaster and endless war.
As if the US criminal responsibilities in; Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine weren't examples enough.

If the CIA couldn't stop their disloyal puppet foot soliders to immediately defect to Isis and Al Qaeda then the US military will do there working with alliances and training their terrorists on the ground in Syria. It's not like they haven't got enough factions to choose from. Or more will be built, in time, if allowed.

Posted by: tom | Feb 19, 2016 3:56:05 AM | 4

@jfl- 'why is the Pentagon on the side of the syrians at this point?'

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military is a possible explanation.

Posted by: David | Feb 19, 2016 4:03:28 AM | 5

And The US is footsoldiers of locals on the ground ( or foreigner jihadis ) in Syria will now have protection by the US, against Russian bombing and I'm sure many will flock be they terrorists/jihadis/milita etc, now under the US umbrella

Posted by: tom | Feb 19, 2016 4:07:46 AM | 6

Perhaps the special forces are from Iran?

Posted by: sinbad | Feb 19, 2016 4:44:39 AM | 7

"We think it's a reasonable request."

Negotiable it may be. Reasonable it is not.

Posted by: laurence | Feb 19, 2016 5:07:53 AM | 8

@ Anon coward | 10

You cant be serious. Iranian special forces are considered one of the best in the World, and their trained Hezbollah kicked Israel's butt.

neither kurds nor arabs would work with them

Syrians and Palestinians are arabs and Iranian alies, if you didnt know. Kurds live happily in Iran, Iraq's kurds had military help from Iran (much sooner than from US), and I dont know any reason why they wouldnt cooperate in Syria.

Posted by: Harry | Feb 19, 2016 5:08:41 AM | 9

From this NY Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/19/world/europe/turkey-car-bombing.html?_r=1

“The U.S. has a very specific goal in mind with its current actions in Syria — to degrade and defeat ISIS,” said Aaron Stein, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “It’s not to topple Assad, and it’s not to roll back Russian aggression.”

What happened to Assad-must-go? There's been quite change in tone recently.

Posted by: Alex | Feb 19, 2016 5:27:47 AM | 10

@7 david

Yes there was discussion of that Hersh piece here when it came out ... but Hersh tries to put over is the pentagon's judgement that involvement with al-CIAduh is a bad idea. This is involvement, fighting al-CIAduh and the Turkish military. It would follow from the premise of that article that this is a bad, bad idea, too.

I can accept that the pentagon is really upset at the CIA's ascendency over the past nearly eight years, and the loss of loot and control of the whole new field of drone terror to the CIA. But war against the CIA? Maybe, I suppose. I guess I just haven't yet adopted a depraved enough attitude. I mean, it's not possible that the pentagon is actually trying to help Assad, is it?

It might be that these guys were trained by the pentagon, but always intended to go over when they slipped its traces.

Or maybe they're double agents, securing the other end of Turkey's secure strip on the Syrian side of the border? In which case the Syrians/Russians had better reconsider the lyin' f*kin' USA's 'reasonable request' pronto.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 19, 2016 5:29:36 AM | 11

That might be a preparation for creating Kurdistan which spans across northern Syria and Iraq. That sounds acceptable for whoever runs Iraq as it would be just a confirmation of reality. It might be also acceptable price for Assad to get rid of ISIS scum. But Ankara would blindly rage against it and Tehran wouldn't be happy either.

Posted by: Michal | Feb 19, 2016 5:30:23 AM | 12

@15

a rhetorical make-over. Same vile devils underneath the new 'perm'.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 19, 2016 5:31:52 AM | 13

jfl@4.and Tom@6 and 8. Agree with you both, especially on the Syrian/Russians giving an inch and they taking a mile, this is exactly what the Israelis did in the Golan Heights in 1967, then the Israelis advanced inch by inch, if no opposition in the form of artillery barrages, then they gained more ground, now the Israelis have defacto annexed the Golan and regard it as sovereign Israeli territory. Similarly the Turks are ensconced in Northern Iraq despite weak protests, [pathetic really] from the Iraqi leadership. If the Turks stay for any length of time, they will consolidate and slowly expand. The ball is now in the Syrian/Russian court, what will they do?

Posted by: harry law | Feb 19, 2016 5:32:50 AM | 14

@harry law | 19

Similarly the Turks are ensconced in Northern Iraq despite weak protests, [pathetic really] from the Iraqi leadership. If the Turks stay for any length of time, they will consolidate and slowly expand. The ball is now in the Syrian/Russian court, what will they do?

In Iraq, the right question would be what Iran will do. In similar situation they arranged Israel to be kicked out from Lebanon, and in Iraq they are just few miles away.

In Syria situation is a bit different, and I very much doubt Turkey will manage to landgrab and get away with it. A lot of parties would love Turkey to pay for it (SAA, Kurds, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, etc), and Erdogan wouldnt have NATO backing either.

Posted by: Harry | Feb 19, 2016 6:13:43 AM | 15

The notion that Russia will maintain the high ground by strictly adhering to international law is admirable but when dealing with snakes in the grass like the US/Turkey it must be seen as naive since it is the policy of the US and its vassals to ignore [with impunity] International law on a daily basis witness the indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Yemen and Palestine. "The US has just told Russia it cannot sell military aircraft to Iran without the US permission for 5 years A reported sale of Russian combat aircraft to Iran would violate a U.N. arms embargo if it occurred without advance U.N. Security Council approval, the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.

Russia's RIA news agency on Wednesday reported that Russia will this year sign a contract to sell a batch of its Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-role fighters to Iran.

As the United States and five other major powers negotiated the July 14 nuclear deal with Iran, the six agreed to maintain a ban on conventional arms sales to Iran for five years unless they were blessed in advance by the Security Council.http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-iran-arms-idUSKCN0VR2TV
The US and its friends can trash International law, but Russia must follow it to a T.

Posted by: harry law | Feb 19, 2016 6:23:08 AM | 16

@21

There is a way to get around that, like manufacturing Su-30SM in Iran, which is exactly what Iran requested :)

Posted by: Harry | Feb 19, 2016 6:26:43 AM | 17

US strategy makes complete sense to me.

The CIA is supporting jihadis to degrade or destroy Syria while the Pentagon is using YPG to clear its lands for the future emergence of a Kurdish state under US patronage. So if a few CIA jihadis get clobbered while pursuing the latter goal, what does the CIA care. Plenty of illiterate, ignorant saps available in the Muslim world to replace them.

Hence, Erdogan's fury. He feels it's just a question of time before the US openly supports the establishment of. Kurdish state with its huge quantities untapped oil reserves. Erdogan's crackdown on the Kurds in Turkey is playing directly into US hands.

Also, remember that US actions are limited to Eastern Syria and Nirthern Syria on the edges of a possible Kurdish state

Posted by: Lacilir | Feb 19, 2016 6:30:32 AM | 18

@b great stuff, good update on evolving coalitions in military operations. At last, Obama managed to anger the ultimate culprits who funded and delivered the foreign mercenaries (jihadists) to fight the proxy war for western colonial powers.

    "Barely noticed, is this a covert group supported by the great powers to swing the military balance towards a possible political solution in Geneva? The coalition of multiple groups is behind the surge of pro-Syrian armed forces to liberate Aleppo and now moves toward Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State. This must certainly have pissed off Sultan Erdogan of Turkey and Wahhabist King Salman of Saudi Arabia. Would be quite telling ..."

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) or (QSD) [established on Oct. 15, 2015]
QSD Coalition

Posted by: Oui | Feb 19, 2016 7:31:21 AM | 19

See also my post on a previous thread - here.

Posted by: Oui | Feb 19, 2016 7:31:42 AM | 20

Yep, Pat Lang at it again:

Posted by: Oui | Feb 19, 2016 8:29:42 AM | 22

Bashar al Assad and Erdogan share one obsession: They don't want the Kurds to establish an independent entity in North Syria.
In Iraq, the KRG is a source of problems for the Iraqi government as it makes oil deal without consulting the central government
Turkey has a good relation with the Iraq KRG but cannot expect to have the same with the Syrian PYD after a long history of massacres.
Therefore Turkey will do what it can to prevent the Syrian Kurds to achieve their goal of independence in North Syria.
As for Bashar al Assad, while he has been exploiting the YPG to get rid of the rebels and the islamists and has tried to create as much harm as possible to Erdogan, he is not ready to give the Kurds a full victory. He rather have the Turks weaken them now, so the Syrian army and its allies have a chance to take over the borders.

This is why , in my view, the attack in Ankara is very probably orchestrated by the Syrian intelligence.

Whether the Turks suspect it or not, they are using the event to pressure the West to decrease the level of support to the YPG.
Having lost hopes in the rebels capabilities they are pushing for a no-fly zone that would disrupt the YPG dream of uniting Rojava.
As for Bashar al Assad, when the YPG will be seriously weakened and tamed, then he wants to move the Syrian army and its allies to the borders.

In the contrary the Russians and the USA seem to be mulling for an independent Kurdish entity in North Syria.
Therefore the Russians have diverging view with Bashar al Assad and the USA diverging view with Turkey. These divergences are now appearing in the open. The Russians are scolding Bashar al Assad on his insistence of 'unification' and the USA is refusing to classify the YPG as a terror group.
Are Bashar al Assad and Erdogan getting closer to a deal so as to prevent the creation of a Kurdish entity in North Syria?

Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 8:31:51 AM | 23

Virgile 23 Assad has nothing to enforce anything over the Kurds anymore. wouldn't have any help from Vladimir and probably his army would turn on him.

Posted by: heath | Feb 19, 2016 8:45:35 AM | 24

@heath 24
Assad has nothing to enforce anything over the Kurds anymore

Exactly, that's why Bashar al Assad wants Turkey to weaken them as much as possible, so they renounce to the division of Syria.

I doubt there are many Kurds left in the Syrian army. In any case the Syrian army will never accept the division of Syria, they and their Shias allies stood and will stand with the Syrian government to the end for the united Syria they fought for.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 8:57:57 AM | 25

Is this the real reason for Erdogan's rage over the U.S. affair with the "YPG"?

I say this is the real reason why Erdogan is fuming and hasn't invaded northern Syria proper.

Posted by: jeanv | Feb 19, 2016 9:01:44 AM | 26

Syrian regime responsible for Ankara bomb attack: PM

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Feb. 18 that the Syrian regime was directly responsible for the Ankara bomb attack, which killed at least 28 and injured 61.

“The YPG [People’s Protection Units] is a tool of the Syrian regime and the regime is directly responsible for this attack.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 9:05:13 AM | 27

Very complicated web. Thanks for shining some light on it. Lots of questions.
???could this be a USA strategy to keep control of northern Syria in order to partition it in near future?

Posted by: Bluemot5 | Feb 19, 2016 9:10:10 AM | 28

Or am I stating the obvious?

Posted by: Bluemot5 | Feb 19, 2016 9:21:50 AM | 29

virgile 25 bridge too far I think. Assad is going to have work hard to pin what he has now back together.

Posted by: heath | Feb 19, 2016 9:23:00 AM | 30

It's beginning to look like the Turks want to be blown away.

/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fars News Agency -- Ex-Security Chief: Russia to Launch Airstrikes on Turkish, Saudi Troops in Syria -- Feb 16, 2016
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941127000182

"The Turkish and Saudi officials are well aware that in case of deployment of their forces in the Syrian territories, the Russian air force will likely bomb them," Kovalyov, also a member of the State Duma's security and resistance to corruption committee, was quoted as saying by al-Mayadeen news channel on Tuesday.

"If the Saudi and Turkish ground forces enter Syria, they cannot be distinguished from the terrorists and Russia will act upon the demand of the legal Syrian government," he added.

His remarks came after Saudi Arabia and Turkey said they plan to send ground forces to Syria.
\~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Note that this was three days before RT News reported that the Turkey had done this very thing (~Feb. 19).

Something is up?

Posted by: blues | Feb 19, 2016 9:36:04 AM | 31

There will be a Kurdistan. It's probably a deal already between the US and Russia + Iran. That's why Russia just told Syria that as far as the race for Raqqa is concerned, it is NOT Russia/Syria/Iran who will enter the town first: read here:
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/187978/World/Region/Russia-warns-Assad-on-vow-to-retake-all-of-Syria.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Feb 19, 2016 9:39:02 AM | 32

LMAO about assumption Syrian intelligence has a reach into the YPG for a coordinated bomb attack in Ankara!

Sultan Erdogan has been fuming from the ears ever since the overthrow of his protege Morsi in Egypt. That ruined his day. Turkey was aligned with the elder emir of Qatar [now abdicated], a subversive Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamists in Libya, Sinai peninsula (bombing of Russian airliner) and Hamas terror group in Gaza.

Erdogan has a few bad years behind him and he's just losing it ... making more enemies than he can handle. Isn't his son a fugitive from justice in Italy now for white-washing the family Jewels ($$$ tens of millions).

To stay in power, Erdogan has a road ahead of him to become a dictator to the stature of Putin [;-)] Most likely his future will be similar to Ceauşescu, Gaddafi or Saddam.

Posted by: Oui | Feb 19, 2016 9:41:38 AM | 33

@heath

In case Russia withdraws its support (which I doubt they will) Bashar al Assad will get the support of Iran who strongly reject any attempts by the USA ( and Israel) to divide Syria along ethnic and sectarian lines.
Whatever time and effort it takes, Bashar al Assad appears determined to re-unite Syria

Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 9:45:27 AM | 34

Posted by: Mina | Feb 19, 2016 9:39:02 AM | 32

While the USA has always been in favor of dividing the Arab countries into ethnic/religious entities, it will face a stiff resistance from Iran, Iraq and Turkey who are strongly opposed to a "Kurdistan" that would weaken them and take away rich land from them.
Russia is also against such division as it threatens to have a domino effect with its own Moslem populations.

The chances of a Kurdistan emerging in this decade is almost null.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 9:58:41 AM | 35

I'm just going to leave this here for everyone.. finally some msm reporting!

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/02/18/the-media-are-misleading-public-syria/8YB75otYirPzUCnlwaVtcK/story.html

Posted by: Au | Feb 19, 2016 9:59:07 AM | 36

@virgile

Assad has just been told by his "benefactors" to sit still and not move. Iran is useless in this powerplay of global powers. Iran got the big prize of lifting economic and financial sanctions on the nuclear deal. They won't burn their fingers on a "whole" Syria as John Kerry promised in Munich.

The SDF is the new kid on the block and appears to be quite talented ...

Posted by: Oui | Feb 19, 2016 10:05:53 AM | 37

@Au 36
Talk about a change of tone!!!
This is huge. A total reversal. If other MSM start saying the same, it's the ultimate proof that Plan A has failed, that the headchoppers and Erdogan days are counted. Erdogan will have his buffer zone... guarded by Kurds.

Posted by: jeanv | Feb 19, 2016 10:08:35 AM | 38

Washington Post: For the first time, a major poll shows Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton.

Three-point lead for Sanders in this new national Fox News poll. I tried to follow the article's link to the Fox News site, but I couldn't get through. I guess a lot of people may be trying to go to that site. So I can't tell you what the margin of error and the degree of confidence are for this poll.

Posted by: lysias | Feb 19, 2016 10:09:55 AM | 39

@au - #36

Author and journalist Stephen Kinzer:

    Terrible reporting about Syria is why we
    misunderstand that war--shameful
    performance by the American press
    - http://bit.ly/1Tlmysj

Posted by: Oui | Feb 19, 2016 10:15:10 AM | 40

For myself, the ultimate questions are, can Russia ally itself with the West/NATO, in Syria, and still maintain it's autonomy with regards to the Unipolar/Multipolar world view? Will it be "Business uber alles", or will the workers of the world share in the globes riches? Time will tell.

Posted by: ben | Feb 19, 2016 10:20:27 AM | 41

@36

Unbelievable, very accurate and on point article about Syria in mainstream Western MSM? I hope author wont be fired anytime soon, he has some serious balls, and his editors too if they'll allow this trend to continue.

Couple of more recent great articles by the same author:
http://goo.gl/nnjNEl
http://goo.gl/vXINYE

Posted by: Harry | Feb 19, 2016 10:26:24 AM | 42

I hate to belabor the point but Russi-Syria-Iran have a mutual defense treaty

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-russia-iran-syria-mutual-defense-treaties-the-western-media-missed

Citing the NYTs as a credible reliable source of information is a NO-GO in the real world.

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 19, 2016 10:27:22 AM | 43


UPDATE: I got through to the Fox News site. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/02/18/fox-news-poll-clinton-feels-bern-trails-sanders-by-three-points-nationally.html . Sanders is ahead 47-44 nationally. Margin of error of 3% for all registered voters and 4.5% for sample of Democratic primary voters. Presumably for the Sanders-Clinton gap, it's the latter margin that matters. Assuming they used the conventional 95% confidence interval, at 2 standard deviations from the mean, that would put the gap at 1.5 standard deviations, with approximately 86% probability that Sanders is actually ahead of Clinton. (Journalists, who don't understand statistics, always assume that, if a result is within the margin of error, it is meaningless. That isn't true. All it means is that the probability of the poll's result actually being correct is less than the 95% confidence interval usually used. It may still be true, as it is here, that the probability of its being correct, although below 95%, is still well above 50%.)

Posted by: lysias | Feb 19, 2016 10:28:04 AM | 44

US asks Russia not to target American forces in Syria


http://en.alalam.ir/news/1790971

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 19, 2016 10:32:01 AM | 45

36;Note the vehement opposition to Kinzers story from Zionist Jews who commented.WTF do people need to see who drives this disaster of hate death and war?

Posted by: dahoit | Feb 19, 2016 10:36:55 AM | 46

Lacilir @18,
YES!
so now that Russia has put the kibosh on plan A, perhaps plan B is a US supported and occupied Kurdish buffer zone. i'd be surprised to see a Kurdistan that stretchs across the entire border and goes to the Med, it might give them to much power and a good economy independent of uncle sam. Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh is an example of a country with a detached section.
Erdogans head is indeed ready to spin around and go into orbit before exploding.
perfect solution - everyone wins. except the turks, syria, saudis, isis, and al-nusrah. but fuckem, right?
only thing missing is a way for the state dept to stab the russians in the back while theyre at it.

Posted by: sillybill | Feb 19, 2016 10:38:44 AM | 47

Last night I quoted RT News:

"Turkish military vehicles have crossed into a Kurdistani area in Syria, Afrin, just over the border, a Kurdish news agency reported adding that the troops started to dig a trench near Meidan Ekbis, a town in Aleppo province."

Turkey knows the Syrians and Russians are not going to allow this to continue. But also, I have read that Turkey, with the Saudis, has assembled an army of 100 to 350 thousand troops on the Syrian border. I suppose they are ready to suddenly overwhelm Syria, and Russia and Iran could not muster their forces quickly enough to stop it. The only way to stop it would be to use thermobaric (advanced chemical) bombs (they have a 49-tons-of-TNT version). Or they might resort to tactical nukes.

So they may be inclined to drop one of these things on the invaded Afrin region as a warning.

Posted by: blues | Feb 19, 2016 10:53:40 AM | 48

Interesting that whenever an attack like this occurs many of those paying attention scream “False flag.” Which seems to imply that some attacks are non-false flags, presumably carried out springing from some genuine sincere cause or heartfelt hate.

— sidebar —Imho the ‘false flag’ scenario has now become a clever way to kill a specific person (or 2-3), set the whole thing in a murky war-cum-terrorist landscape, wow, you won’t be caught, nobody is serious about collecting evidence and competing hysterical 'claims' will see you off to a brilliant vacation in Miami.

Anyway. It isn’t a dichotomy, there are all kinds of intermediary cases, patsies, etc. and many of these attacks are simply paid for, with obscure aims in mind. (The organisors probably take at the least a 50% cut. Biz. Which means a certain ‘randomness’ is introduced.)

Whether they succeed, have an impact (beyond the carnage) depends on the various parties uptake of the event as an ‘atrocity’ which requires or justifies ‘some kind of action / stance / manipulation.’ Killing a random bunch of people becomes a bone to throw into the political arena, thus part of that arena itself. (As well as a tool of propaganda though the public is more jaded day by day.) I guess this isn’t *yet* within the definition of hybrid warfare, but it should be. The success, to repeat, depends on the geo-pol-economic setting at the time, and who/how used the 'attack' for their aims.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 19, 2016 11:41:48 AM | 49

Trump "You will find out who knocked down the World Trade Center

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-7bxI_XOoQ

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 19, 2016 11:47:34 AM | 50

Might have been the Saudis who knocked down the WTC, Trump says. Talks about secret papers the government has. Sounds as if he might reveal the truth about 9/11 if he becomes president.

Posted by: lysias | Feb 19, 2016 12:32:25 PM | 51

Assad's "taking back the whole country" probably got push-back from Russia because it implies taking back Golan Heights also.

Russia is not going to support a war with Israel.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 19, 2016 12:48:13 PM | 52

Turkey and Saudi Arabia’s Options in Syria are Narrowing

On the other hand, the insurgency’s backers may do very little, resigning themselves to reshuffling rebel proxies and probably watching northern Syria fall to their enemies Over the years, the scope for useful action in favor of the Syrian opposition has narrowed, to the point that all options are now unappealing (though some are worse than others). The fact remains that the loss of northern Syria would constitute a heavy geopolitical blow to Saudi Arabia and an utter strategic catastrophe for Turkey. The Jaysh Halab experiment could, therefore, prelude far more ambitious ones.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 12:50:21 PM | 53

@44 what matters are state polls. That's were the contests are both for primary and general election.

Posted by: ab initio | Feb 19, 2016 12:52:34 PM | 54

Just to put an end to the speculation about the formation of an independent Kurdish state: All you have to do is consider that landlocked states depend on their neighbors for transit of goods, including, say, gasoline to run their cars. None of the 4 would-be neighbors would allow secure access to such strategic commodities.

The situation in the "autonomous" Kurdish region of Iraq is so bad that the Zionist mafia that control the place (the Barzani clan) have reportedly gone back to Baghdad with their tails between their legs agreeing to cut oil exports to the Sultan T.urdogan clan if only Baghdad will resume paying the salaries of their government employees.

Nuff Sed.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Feb 19, 2016 12:59:52 PM | 55

thanks b..
pl and the folks over at ssr tend to be downright conservative, bordering on close-minded.. i think more insight is possible not getting stuck in a conservative only box..


there are limitations to what russia can do for assad... i don't know what russia feels about what i understand as a modern version of us-israels sykes-picot in creating some type of kurdistan as a way of working the oil asset through a different channel the present one, but then i am pretty ignorant on all this.. barzani seems like a top of the class kleptomaniac.. lets hope he doesn't represent the unfolding fate of the kurds, or the designs the us/israel had in mind.. i wouldn't rule that out.. not sure where this is all going, but erdogan is looking sadder by the day.. i wouldn't rule out his committing national hari kari over his own delusional sense of self..

Posted by: james | Feb 19, 2016 1:02:33 PM | 56

guys, don't be naïve. the US plan is still to fracture Syria.

Initially they used the Daesh militia and other mercenaries and mujahedeen groups for that purpose. Daesh have been framed as devils so that the US has a "legit" motive to intervene (without seriously attacking Daesh of course!). That's why they produced these glossy "Daesh beheading videos" and organized all these "IS attacks" in Europe and the US: to have a pretext to intervene.

Russia then called the bluff by actively supporting Asad.

The US then switched to supporting the Kurds while reframing some rebel groups as legit "Syrian Democratic Forces". The goal remains the same: fracture Syria (as they did before with Iraq using the Kurds in the North). Again, fighting IS and the mujahedeen is the perfect pretext to accomplish that goal.

The US is using Daesh and the Turks to pressure the Kurds into doing what they want them to do (remember Kobane). The US is also using the Turks to pressure Asad and the Russians to accept their Kurdish/SDF moves (perhaps supported by US special forces): if Putin wouldn't accept, the US would green-light Erdogan (and the Saudis) to invade in Northern and Eastern Syria.

This scenario is still possible. Putin would then green-light Iran to attack Saudi-Arabia. Turkey is more difficult. Putin's main option is to use the Turkish Kurds and perhaps even IS to attack Turkey. Otherwise, he would have to declare war on Turkey (limited to Syrian soil), hoping that NATO wouldn't intervene.

What does it mean for the recent Ankara blast? Could be anything. Could be the US or Russia warning Erdogan not to intervene in Syria. Because remember that the US is also using the Kurds (and perhaps even Daesh) to pressure the Turks. Could be Erdogan himself creating a pretext to intervene. Or could be the Kurds or Daesh pressuring Erdogan not to intervene or continue supporting them, respectively.

Posted by: Frank | Feb 19, 2016 1:11:56 PM | 57

I still think the only US Green Berets now operating are the Girl Scouts.

~~~~~~~~

@ Oui | Feb 19, 2016 8:29:42 AM | 22

Couldn’t agree more. Lang is vastly over-rated. A blow-hard charlatan, IMO.

The blogosphere is full of smart people, like Lang, with agendas and annoying, self-defeating egos.

EmptyWheel is another example. I swear it seems that almost every post she puts up is 90% “I told you so” – which is, apparently her main point. And she really is brilliant and tireless, but rarely does she point out any of the times she gets it wrong. It’s the infinite monkeys/infinite typewriters thing – if you write enough, some of the things you predict are going to turn out right. Jeanne Dixon is another one who made herself famous on this principle.

If you disagree with some of these bloggers (not so much EmptyWheel) or try to present an opposing view, you’re gonna’ get cut off. One thing I’ve learned in a decade of following other people’s blogs is that you can never win a pissin’ match with a blog-master. As soon as they see that you’re right, they’ll cut you off. Lang, Phil Weiss and so-called “Taxi” are the worst of this Fahrenheit 451 bunch I've run into.

This present post illustrates why b is vastly superior to Lang et al. – b is tolerant of opposing opinion. He will defend his points where necessary, but he doesn’t hesitate to correct himself, which makes for a doubly-informative post b/c there is as much information in explaining a correction as in the original post.

~~~~~~~~
@ Oui | Feb 19, 2016 10:05:53 AM | 37

“Iran got the big prize of lifting economic and financial sanctions on the nuclear deal. They won't burn their fingers on a ‘whole’ Syria as John Kerry promised in Munich.”

Gotta’ disagree. Iran has everything at stake in keeping Shia in control of Syrian airspace. If Assad falls, the Syrian Shia fall with him and the door is opened for B-2's & B-52' flying out of Ramat David AFB to attack Iran. The only reason there even is an agreement with Iran is the logistical nightmare USG saw in getting it’s B-2's/52's with their Massive Ordinance Penetrators into Iran.

From 2007: http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/july2007/300707_b_Bombs.htm

Just watch, if Syria (meaning Assad) goes tits-up, IRI will be accused of violating the agreement and here we go again, but with the door open to IRI targets.

Also see ALberto | Feb 19, 2016 10:27:22 AM | 43

~~~~~~~~
@ lysias | Feb 19, 2016 10:09:55 AM | 39
“Three-point lead for Sanders”

@ lysias | Feb 19, 2016 10:28:04 AM | 44
“ Sanders is ahead 47-44"

Your attempts at hijacking the thread obviously aren’t working. You might try a comment on videos of women being sexually assaulted by Muslims. That always seems to work.

~~~~~~~~
@ sillybill | Feb 19, 2016 10:38:44 AM | 47

“ i'd be surprised to see a Kurdistan that stretchs across the entire border and goes to the Med, “

Yeah, I don’t know that the Kurds would exactly be qualified to join OPEC if they were able to take control of that strip, but whatever oil is there, getting it out would be a problem.

Access to the Med probably won’t be an option for them. They could only gain access to the Med if they took part of Latakia province (that ain’t gonna’ happen) or that nobbin of Turkish beach-front land poking down into Syria (and that aint’ gonna’ happen). Even then, I don’t see any deep water ports between Latakia city and Iskenderun, although it must be beautiful small boat sailing along that mountainous coast.

Posted by: Denis | Feb 19, 2016 1:13:50 PM | 58

@ Virgile 23 @ Heath 30 re The Russians have diverging views with Bashar al assad [and] are scolding on his insistence of “unification’ [.]
blah blah blah

Is this from the so-called perceived “ rift “ emanating from one-half of the Kommersant radio interview with RF UN envoy Mr. Churkin ?

Here is the remaining report from that interview: http://tass.ru/en/politics/857770

MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Russia speaks out in favor of the territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq. The emergence of Kurdistan will lead to the disintegration of these two countries, as well as of Turkey, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told Kommersant-FM radio and the Kommersant daily.

"We support the territorial integrity of Syria and the territorial integrity of Iraq, and, of course we respect the Kurds," Churkin said.
He recalled that the Kurds had already secured "their space" in Iraq where "they probably live more comfortably than the rest of the country."
"That is, we believe that the Kurds should meet their specific needs, but this should not lead to the disintegration of states. Otherwise, things may come to aggravating various crisis phenomena," the diplomat said.

[.]

Posted by: likklemore | Feb 19, 2016 1:14:39 PM | 59

@46 dahoit - i noted those comments. ):

#38 jeanv - agreed

@42 Harry - yep hope he doesn't get fired too

Posted by: Au | Feb 19, 2016 1:19:42 PM | 60

Kurdish independence is highly overrated. KRG is in complete economic melt-down. How is that going to get better if they're independent, and have even less revenues? Or is it the idea to retain large Arab - inhabited territories they may be temporarily in control of at the moment? See what happened to their insistence on controling Sunni Arab territories of northern Iraq after 2003. Da'ish got invited in by the locals as soon as they showed up.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 19, 2016 1:38:46 PM | 61

Turkey is hated with the passion in Tel-Aviv, and thus in Washington. Given the demographic discrepancies between ethnic Turks and the Kurds (the latter group has a birthrate three times of the former one), the US has clearly made a bet on the Kurds. "Demography is destiny", as they say. However, since Turkey remains a NATO member and is still officially an ally, the war against it must be conducted with all the deliberate obfuscation and deniability.

Posted by: telescope | Feb 19, 2016 2:05:15 PM | 63

@61 read the article which says "A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught."

Thats it. The rest is filler. What source? Is Parry credible? I dont know his work but it sounds like speculation to me..

Posted by: Lozion | Feb 19, 2016 2:24:49 PM | 64

This is actually bad news. Specifically, the request that the Pentagon made for Russian forces to avoid a broad section of northern Syria.

The only person this can benefit is Erdogan and his Turkish invasion of Syria. In other words, it seems to be that Obama is working with Erdogan to lay the groundwork for a Turkish invasion of Syria. This request for Russian forces to pull back would fit that scenario.

For Russia's part, having the Kurds pull back and letting the US-supported Syrian rebels to fight ISIS makes sense, as it would give Turkey less of an excuse to invade citing the advance of Kurds close to the Turkish border. But this is a half-ass move, since Turkey intends to invade in any event.

I am more than ever convinced that Obama intends Turkey to invade Syria, as long as he personally is not publicly associated with that invasion - even if he supports it subsequent to the invasion provided the Russians back down.

This is the perfect scenario for Obama's usual "lead from behind" and "back stab" approach to foreign policy. He gets Turkey to take the blame for escalating the situation in Syria, then he uses that to get a US/NATO "no-fly zone" established along with the Turkish "buffer zone", which insures that ISIS and Al Qaeda continue to be supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia while the US and NATO degrade Syria's military. Eventually Assad will lose and then Israel can attack Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon without engaging Syrian forces. Syria becomes a failed state which suits Israel fine.

Then if Putin does not back down and engages the Turkish forces invading Syria, Obama gets to demonize Putin again as an "aggressor" who is only interested in supporting Assad and not in fighting ISIS. Obama hates Putin for making him look like a fool over the Syrian chemical weapons deal and for out-maneuvering him in Ukraine.

This puts Putin between a rock and a hard place. If he backs down and does not engage a Turkish invasion, his plan to defeat ISIS by sealing the Turkish border and destroying ISIS fails. If he does not back down, he risks confrontation with both Turkey and the US and NATO - and Syria is not worth going to WWIII for.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Feb 19, 2016 2:25:04 PM | 65

@64 rsh... some of what you say i relate to....too many unknowns to know much for sure at this point.. i don't think obama is all that bright or clever myself.. i do think there may be a fracture inside us which could explain the lack of clarity coming from the usa... one would think after the usa's success with iraq, libya and afganistan, no one would want to associate with the usa, let alone being left to ponder how successful isis has been everywhere the usa has gone.. but i think this is a serious game of chess and it is too early to tell just who has messed up where yet.. turkey under erdogan is a complete wild card.. i am sure he is getting steady incitement from his sa wahabbi friends, not to mention the usa nuland clan..

Posted by: james | Feb 19, 2016 2:37:31 PM | 66

This just in: https://www.rt.com/news/333012-unsc-turkey-troops-syria/#.Vsds6NCGaCw.twitter

A counter move by Russia to have a UNSC resolution preventing Turkey from entering Syrian territory.
If the US is indeed secretly working with Russia as some believe, lets see if this gets vetoed..

Posted by: Lozion | Feb 19, 2016 2:40:45 PM | 67

@64 rsh @65 james

We've always got to bear in mind that we are reacting not to what is actually happening on the ground but to how that is spun in the reportage, such as it is, of what is actually happening, and that that reportage is controlled by the "West", primarily.

I hesitate to characterize Russia's moves as half-assed since it's not Russia's moves but the characterization of Russia's moves that I'm left with to react to.

Meanwhile, negotiations continue on the ground in Syria.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 19, 2016 3:06:43 PM | 68

At the end of the day, I don't think terror attacks in Turkey will change anything. The Turkish Army tossing out Erdogan might do that. My guess is Erdogan takes his orders directly from Washington. And Washington largely takes its orders from the zio-loons.

As I have virtually proven here, Turkey and company have already begun a small invasion of Syria, and they do have a (probably temporary) army of hundreds of thousands.

Syria and Russia must remove this small invasion, and that would presumably lead to a vast invasion. I think the Russians would effectively be forced to create a "No-Nothing Zone" by repetitively setting off mini-neutron nukes over the border. The invaders might die about three days after getting exposed.

This actually might not lead to all-out war if it was all done over Syrian soil. But this would not be guaranteed. Here, however, is an article that will not add any joy to your day:

Experts: Invasion of Syria Could Lead to Nuclear War -- February 19, 2016 -- WashingtonsBlog
"The Threat of Nuclear War Is Now HIGHER Than During the Soviet Era"
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/02/experts-invasion-syria-lead-nuclear-war.html

Posted by: blues | Feb 19, 2016 3:14:16 PM | 69

Re, Kurds, fracturing Syria, oil interests....I am currently reading 'THE COLDER WAR' by Marin Katusa...overdue at library :-/
Most of book is about how Russia is an oil, gas, and uranium heavyweight now and well into future.
However, in chapter 10: 'The Middle East: Oil, Wars, and the Great Game' there is some key info re: Kurds compared to Baghdad relations with big (west) oil,
Basically Baghdad drives a much harder bargain (oil co. gets to take 1% of profits) than the Kurds of Northern Iraq (oil co. Gets to take away 20%)
Big oil (Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total) has thus made their oil deals with Kurds in Northern Iraq...


'Baghdad has retaliated by saying that it will disqualify and terminate the contract of any company signing a deal with the Kurdistan region without approval of the Iraqi oil ministry'....
Not sure if this comes into play in the geopolitics of any future for Kurdistan...ie big oil thinking that the Kurds will be more open to western oil companies than Syria?

Posted by: Bluemot5 | Feb 19, 2016 3:14:24 PM | 70

Southfront shows three recent Turkish incursions into northwestern Turkey ...

International Military Review – Syria, Feb. 19, 2016 (Arab Subs).


Turkish military vehicles crossed into a Kurdish area in Syria, Afin, on Feb. 18. Turkish troops also reportedly started to dig a trench between the towns of Sorka and Meydan Ekbis in the province of Aleppo. Meanwhile, Turkish artillery continued to shell the Kurdish YPG positions in Northern Syria.

On Feb.17, at least 500 Turkish-backed militants crossed the Turkish border at the Bab al-Salam border crossing heading for town of Azaz in the province of Aleppo, Syria. This group is reinforcements for militant groups have suffered setbacks at the hands of Kurdish YPG militia.

This is the second time in the recent days a large group of Turkish-backed militants has crossed the border. On Feb.14, some 350 passed through the Atme border crossing armed with heavy and light weapons.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 19, 2016 3:34:18 PM | 71

re 69

'Baghdad has retaliated by saying that it will disqualify and terminate the contract of any company signing a deal with the Kurdistan region without approval of the Iraqi oil ministry'....
These Kurdish operations are illegal within Iraq, and not officially recognised internationally. (That is why Western corporations can demand a higher percentage, and in fact the oil is sold for peanuts to Israel). This basic fact is completely effaced in the western narrative. You can't understand anything without this fundamental point. The situation has been completely mishandled by the KRG government, who believed American and Israeli enticements. And as a result the Kurdish economy is in crisis.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 19, 2016 4:19:37 PM | 72

Let’s try again. Re my post “Churkin Russia backs Syria as unified: Tass reports the rest of his radio interview –“Whatever happened to Your comment has been posted? No see from 4 hrs ago. Not the first this has happened.

My 2nd post here it is:
NATO WARNS TURKEY IT WON’T SUPPORT ANKARA IN CONFLICT WITH RUSSIA

http://sputniknews.com/world/20160220/1035066264/NATO-turkey-russia-syria.html

>>As tensions escalate between Turkey and Russia, NATO has warned Ankara that it will not take part in a war provoked by the Turkish government.
Last November, Turkey shot down a Russian jet flying through Syrian airspace. While many feared that the incident would plunge both countries into war, conflict was avoided, though relations between Moscow and Ankara have remained chilly.
As Turkey pushes to deploy ground forces across its border to remove the legitimate government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Turkish government is, again, threatening the world with war.<<

Posted by: likklemore | Feb 19, 2016 4:21:08 PM | 73

My missing post on The TASS report on Churkin's radio interview which was perceived as a Rift between Assad and Russia.
No such thing.
http://tass.ru/en/politics/857770

"MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. Russia speaks out in favor of the territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq. The emergence of Kurdistan will lead to the disintegration of these two countries, as well as of Turkey, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin told Kommersant-FM radio and the Kommersant daily"

Posted by: likklemore | Feb 19, 2016 4:30:05 PM | 74

@71 Laguerre
Yes, good point, thanks for your response..., it really is black market oil....but fact remains that these oil companies are working with the Kurds in Iraq and so may have talked their big dreams together, no?

Posted by: Bluemot5 | Feb 19, 2016 4:50:42 PM | 75

@67 jfl.. i agree.. i would never characterize russias moves as half-assed.. i don't know if rsh said that, but i certainly don't agree with that view.. i don't live in the usa, so maybe my sense of reality is a bit less skewed..

Posted by: james | Feb 19, 2016 5:17:05 PM | 76

ot via daily sabah - gotta love france.. "France rejects Russian UN text on Turkish actions in Syria, slams Russia for 'dangerous' escalation", another american poodle.. i think it is becoming obvious what the usa thinks and wants by it's unwillingness to tell turkey to back down..

and in other news todays zaman - Former President Gül: Turkey going through most difficult time of its history

Posted by: james | Feb 19, 2016 5:27:54 PM | 77

@ 33 “Hamas terror group in Gaza.”
Hamas is the only the only effective Palestinian resistance movement to Israeli occupation. Yes, I would like them to more like Hezbollah but…

Erdogan has now dipped his big toe into Syria, and Putin will probably let him keep it there. The Americans appear to have a plan B in the form of a Kurdish state in Syria and Iraq. They will want to keep Russian influence over the Kurds to a minimum and sideline the YPG who they see as a “bunch of reds” hence the creation of the SDF. So as b. suggests there are probably a lot of US Special Forces on the ground in the border areas.

Therefore, the U.S. would have achieved its objective of dividing both Syria and Iraq, just not the way the Zionist element had planned (no Sunni extremists), but they can get some good oil deals, keep Israel supplied and exercise control over key neighbouring countries. All this means Turkey is hung out to dry vis-à-vis Turkish Kurds. The deal between the US and Russia could be: give us a Kurdistan and we’ll stay out of the way as you punish the oil-drenched Sultan if he dares to attack. Behind the scenes though they’re probably egging Erdogan on just like they did with Saddam and Kuwait, at the same time as not being absolutely sure if that is such a good idea (Russian advanced military technology versus US stuck in the 1990s products). Assad would be unhappy at losing part of his country, but he was about to lose it all. And Obama could say he helped liberate an oppressed people.

Posted by: Lochearn | Feb 19, 2016 5:33:14 PM | 78

Our side, U$A, military planning is done by ideologues rather than the military command structure. Dual citizenship Israelis guide our strategic military planning. All ideologically noncompliant command level military have been cashiered during the Bu$h II administration. Obama is led by these ideologues like a bull being led to slaughter by the ring in it's nose.

Russia has an easy job of it. They know that EVERY decision made by our side will be to the benefit Israel and their U$A agents. So they are already three steps ahead of the game.

“Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

“Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment”
― Lao Tzu

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 19, 2016 6:43:58 PM | 79

Moscow must stop supporting Syrian President Assad: Hollande


"Russia must understand that its unconditional support to Bashar al-Assad is a dead end, and a dead end that could be extremely dangerous," French Ambassador to the UN François Delattre said ahead of the meeting.

The USrael/EU/Turkey/KSA+Gulfies attempt to overthrow the elected government of Syria and to use Salafists to occupy the country is the effort that has reached its deadend.

The demonstration of the fact proceeds on the ground.

In fact the USrael/EU thrust for world hegemony has reached a dead end. Hollande it just a deadman talking.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 19, 2016 6:55:19 PM | 80

US, France say Russia’s draft resolution on Syrian sovereignty has ‘no future’

As expected the resolution will not pass. Saudi Arabia and Turkey will be 'happy' but the USA is working against Turkey.
It has rebuffed Erdogan on the accusations that the USA has supplied weapons to the YPG. It appears like an indirect message to Russia to continue helping the YPG to invade the areas held by Turkey's allies.
It seems that the USA wants to give a lesson to Erdogan and his clique.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 7:00:43 PM | 81

It seems that the USA wants to give a lesson to Erdogan and his clique.

The Italian investigation into Erdogans son and money laundering would support this theory, this would hardly happen without tacit support from EU/US.

Posted by: akomv | Feb 19, 2016 7:11:08 PM | 82

Another rebuff to the Turkish affirmation of the responsibility of the YPG and Syria in the Ankara attack
If confirmed there will be accusation of incompetence and/or manipulation on Davutoglu


The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) said the bombing was in response to the policies of President Tayyip Erdoğan and said it would continue its attacks.

It said the bomber was Abdülbaki Sönmez, a 26-year old Turkish national born in the eastern city of Van.


Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 7:20:49 PM | 83

'This is why , in my view, the attack in Ankara is very probably orchestrated by the Syrian intelligence.'


Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 8:31:51 AM | 23

no...that just your Assad hate showing and passing as Analysis

Posted by: brian | Feb 19, 2016 7:28:15 PM | 84

'Exactly, that's why Bashar al Assad wants Turkey to weaken them as much as possible, so they renounce to the division of Syria.

I doubt there are many Kurds left in the Syrian army. In any case the Syrian army will never accept the division of Syria, they and their Shias allies stood and will stand with the Syrian government to the end for the united Syria they fought for.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 8:57:57 AM | 25'

would u care to post memos from Assad in support of your thesis?

Posted by: brian | Feb 19, 2016 7:29:28 PM | 85

@23 Virgile
From knowledgeable people, Elijah J Mangier among others, the Syrian gov and Rojava already agreed to limited autonomy. They're fighting the same people and not touching each other, and this has been the case for quite a while.

"Kurdistan" would probably require a conquest of whatever loyal core remains to the Iraqi kleptocrat kurd leaders. And a war with Turkey. It's still just a dream.

Posted by: Cresty | Feb 19, 2016 7:47:35 PM | 86

Long time no tap.

It is sad that so many here with so much intellect still base their presumptions and assumptions on the hope that there is a modicum of common human decency left in any decision made by the American government.

What we are living through and experiencing are the death throes of a failed system of government.

Any policy or direction resembling fairness, humanity, compassion, respect or integrity coming from the United States of America is false and designed to profit the global corporations.

I read here daily and have much respect for your views and opinions. At the same time, I know that when you are basing your opinion on the United States of America doing *anything* for the good of humanity you will find yourself and your views wrong.

When you attempt to guess what direction a course of events is headed, you must start with the profit motive. Disregard any and all human suffering, and any short or long term dire consequences. Concentrate solely on a profit motive. 5 million dead? It has been calculated into the cost of doing business. Then and only then will you have a better than 50% chance of being close to accurate in your assumption.

To believe that the U.S.A. is a force for good is both foolish and folly. To take them at their word is a severe fault. You must parse their words with their intent not with what you wish them to mean.

The question was, are the green beret assisting in clearing out the area around Azaz"?

It is still the wrong question.

A better question would be "why would the green beret assist in clearing out Azaz, if they are?"

Knowing U.S.A. wants to cut Russia away from supplying Europe with gas/oil, would lead to a more productive use of your collective intelligence.

Does the U.S.A. not want Europe overrun with muslims?

Is Erdogan a tool they are ready/willing to discard? (Who would he align with if dissed by U.S.A.?)

Does the U.S.A. give a damn about Kurds or a Kurdish state?

Iraqis?

Russians?

Iranians?

Syrians?

Money?

Is the U.S.A. going to default in the near future?

19 trillion dollars worth of debt and still able to sell U.S. Treasury bonds?

Keep it real people, U.S.A. has a history, we have not ever been what we have advertised.

It is a trick and many if not millions will die.

Posted by: b4real | Feb 19, 2016 8:43:37 PM | 87

@Jackrabbit #52
Assad's "taking back the whole country" probably got push-back from Russia because it implies taking back Golan Heights also.
Russia is not going to support a war with Israel.

OT, but I've been wondering about that Churkin interview. It struck a hugely un-Russian note, not at all the kind of communications one would expect Russia to have with Assad. Surely it was not necessary to drive Assad into a corner publicly?

I wonder if this is an anomaly of sorts, where Churkin slipped and was too unguarded? Could it be that he, next to Lavrov, is most aware of the struggle and gradual progress being made by Russian diplomacy at the UN? It didn't occur to me that Assad's speech could contemplate Golan within its current horizon, but maybe it did, and maybe the Russians took it that way, and maybe Churkin - of all people most sensitive to the UN struggle - reacted in alarm.

It's all speculation. I await good analysis from someone, maybe Alexander Mercouris will tackle it. Or maybe it'll just get lost. But it nags like an unresolved mystery.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 19, 2016 8:45:40 PM | 88

Posted by: brian | Feb 19, 2016 7:29:28 PM
would u care to post memos from Assad in support of your thesis?

Neither Erdogan nor Bashar al Assad send me memos about what they want to do..

Posted by: virgile | Feb 19, 2016 9:07:46 PM | 89

85

Former ReichsMarshall General Michael 'V. for Victory' Hayden, relaxing with his $250,000 a year Mil.Gov pension for life, would like everyone at MoA to know, 'On the whole, the drone wars are worth it, and at this point, what difference does it make?'

And until we the people of the world conduct all-out flame wars and DDOS attacks on these psychopaths, posting in their ZioMedia echo chamber, behind their gate-keepered ZioFB shield, then the drone wars will expand and grow pandemically, until, one day we can each of us say to ourselves, 'And then, they came for me."

It only took 247 days from the collapse of 'Creeping Communism'™ before the SchweinVampir at New American Century started grinding out 'Islamic Jihad'™. Since then, the Pentagonal Wehrmacht has grown from $150B a year to a $1T DoD/DHS/CIA/NSA All-Seeing Eye of Mordor, ...and they will come for you.

Posted by: NoReply | Feb 19, 2016 9:16:12 PM | 90

can russia physically block any turkish invasion? Maybe dump a bunch of debris on main roads?
Afterall - they did sink a battleship to confine Ukraine's navy when they took crimea

Posted by: aaaaaa | Feb 19, 2016 9:34:59 PM | 91

@b4real good to see you at the bar! I enjoyed your insights on Africa, hope your little one is doing well.

Posted by: thirsty | Feb 19, 2016 9:37:17 PM | 92

@ 89

Kalibr makes very nice piles of debris any where.

Posted by: alkomv | Feb 19, 2016 9:39:00 PM | 93

tom - "Why did the idiot Putin invite one of the greatest evil entities the world is ever witnessed - the US empire - into a coalition into Syria ? "

I kinda wonder about that too. I think that by accepting the west's help, he reduced tension and revealed the complete "theater of the absurd" and hypocrisy that is the US policy in Syria. It put the US and allies at odds with their own proxy armies.

Putin avoids direct confrontation because it complicates the PR war that the west pushes and avoids total polarization. That said, Putin's invitation to the west did not, i don't recall, ever include ops in Western Syria. He has pursued a keep out strategy in western syria.

The strategy nonetheless has its risks.

Posted by: alaric | Feb 19, 2016 10:06:37 PM | 94

http://journal-neo.org/2016/02/03/rockefellers-play-with-fire-the-oil-scheme-is-getting-more-dangerous/ Caleb Maupin

Re oil, factions and their impact on national politics, military

I highly recommend.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 19, 2016 10:12:39 PM | 95

Lozion @63 asks about how reliable is Parry @ Consortium News. I personally categorize him as "limited hangout." He seems to drage behind in reporting things we already know & is fond of descriptions of US wrong-doing as "mistaken", misinformed, confused, etc. However, many people like him; maybe I'm mistaken.
--
I guess everybody knows by now that Russia's called UNSC mtg re Turkey's threat of invasion?
---
Mina @ 32 regarding news from "Ahram": I tried unsuccessfully yesterday to find out more about them. The Israelis have so many phoney outlets. Don't know if this is one of them, but if you can't find the story someplace else I'd regard it as bogus.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 19, 2016 10:42:48 PM | 96

Reading on the Ankara bombing MoA thread that 22 out of the 28 killed were air force pilots changes the perspective about motive and complicates the who question. Whether through proxies or directly, there is a lot of pot stirring with real human consequences going on here.

b4real has it right that we are living through a failed system of government but the blame on the corporations is a bit short sighted, IMO. Those corporations are owned by the same folks that own private finance and the REAL failed system we need to end. I am talking here of private finance, plutocrat supporting inheritance and forever private ownership of property.

IMO, we need to build government that provides socialism for the masses instead of the plutocrats that have corrupted the US government. This means finance a public utility. It also means redefining responsibility and contribution to society along with what base social safety net is provided.

Thanks again b for the hosting and posting. And for the community outlet for our textual white noise wailings.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 19, 2016 11:03:57 PM | 98

Militant Kurdish group claims Ankara attack: Statement | Ahram Online – AFP |

The group named the suicide bomber as Zinar Raperin born in 1989 in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated eastern region of Van, who had been involved with the Kurdish "freedom struggle" and since 2011 with the TAK.

It said that the attack was carried out in revenge for the killing of "vulnerable people" who were hiding in basements during a two-month Turkish military operation against the PKK in the southeastern town of Cizre.

Turkey: Onslaught on Kurdish areas putting tens of thousands of lives at risk | Amnesty Report |

Posted by: Oui | Feb 19, 2016 11:31:46 PM | 99

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