Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 19, 2016

No ISIS There - Are U.S. Troops In Hasakah "Advising" Kurds To Attack The Syrian Army?

Yesterday a fight broke out between Syrian Arab Army troops and local Kurdish forces in the predominately Kurdish city of Hasakah in north-eastern Syria. Hasakah, with some 200,000 inhabitants, has held a SAA garrison for years. There is some enmity between the Kurds and the soldiers but the situation is generally peaceful.

There have been earlier fights but these were local rivalries between Syrian auxiliary National Defense Forces from local Arab (Christian) minorities and some gangs who form a Kurdish internal security force under the label Asayish. Such fights usually ended after a day or two when grown-ups on both sides resolved the conflict over this or that checkpoint or access route.

The Islamic State (grey on the map) once threatened Hasakah but that danger is now far away.


Map via ISW

Yesterday another fight broke out, but got serious. The Syrian air force was called in to defend against direct attacks on the SAA garrison and minority quarters:

Syrian government warplanes bombed Kurdish-held areas of the northeastern city of Hasaka on Thursday for the first time in the five-year-old civil war, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and a monitoring group said.
...
The Syrian government still has footholds in the cities of Qamishli and Hasaka, both in Hasaka governorate, co-existing largely peacefully with YPG-held swathes of territory.

The cause of this week's flare-up was unclear.
...
Xelil said government forces were bombarding Kurdish districts of Hasaka with artillery, and there were fierce clashes in the city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war using a network of activists, said warplanes had targeted Kurdish security forces' positions in the northwest and northeast of the Hasaka city.

The reason that fighting started might have to do with U.S. troops who, for whatever reason, seem to be in Hasakah. The U.S. military now laments that these troops came under Syrian air force fire:

The Syrian airstrikes took place in the northeastern city of Hasaka, an area that has seen increasing ground clashes between the Kurdish YPG fighters present and the Syrian regime forces. There was a small number of U.S. Special Operators acting as advisers to the YPG when the Syrian airstrikes began.

After the Syrian Su-24s began to strike, the U.S. immediately contacted the Russians, Davis said, and made clear that American aircraft would respond if coalition forces were under attack.

The Russians explained that they were not the ones conducting the strikes and the U.S. scrambled manned fighter aircraft to the area to protect the Americans and allies under attack.

By the time the U.S. and coalition aircraft arrived the Syrian attack jets had left.

There is no Islamic State in the area which is now far away from the front line.

  • Why are U.S. troops, who have zero legal grounds of being in Syria at all, in Hasakah city or the wider area?
  • Who are they "advising" there and for what purpose?
  • Why does rare local fighting starts to get serious just when U.S. troops are in the area?

The U.S. has the chutzpah to "warn" the Syrians of defending their own troops on Syrian grounds:

Additional U.S. combat air patrols have been sent to the area yesterday and have been flying there today, as well.

Davis said that the Syrians would be "well-advised" not to interfere with coalition forces on the ground in the future.

Syrian government forces are attacked by Kurdish troops who are "advised" by U.S. special forces. According to the U.S. spokesperson the Syrian air force is not allowed to defend them? What has this to do with "fighting ISIS" in eastern Syria which is allegedly the sole reason for U.S. troops being in Syria?

The Syrian air force was back over Hasakah today and continued to bomb position from which the Syrian army was attacked. They would not be flying there without Russian consent. Does the U.S. military want to start a fight with the Syrian air force and its Russian backers?

The YPG Kurds claim they are now evacuating civilians from some city quarters. They seem to expect a prolonged conflict.

Any move against the Syrian army in Hasakah will be watched carefully from Ankara. Turkey fears, with valid reason, that the U.S. supports the Kurdish aim of a  national entity in Syria and Iraq. This would endanger Turkey with its own large Kurdish minority.

If the Kurds expel the Syrian forces from Hasakah with U.S. support, Turkey would know that any U.S. claim to not work against its Turkish ally interest is false. This would deepen already high Turkish animosity against the U.S. and would accelerate its move towards some alliance with Russia and Iran.

Posted by b on August 19, 2016 at 02:47 PM | Permalink

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thanks b.. what is the deal with the usa being in syria and how does the usa get a pass on this shit?

Posted by: james | Aug 19, 2016 3:15:00 PM | 1

The 'strategy' of the US coalition is being laid bare and the cries for humanitarian considerations are pathetic - where were the cries for humanitarian intervention when the head-choppers were in full cry - the latest victim, apparently a 14 yr old boy, by US-backed 'moderates'! Please, give us a break, we know what's happening and we know who's to blame...

Posted by: fredjc | Aug 19, 2016 3:17:01 PM | 2

Last ditch effort to form federal Kurdish state. Watch Joshua Landis and Charles Lister's Twitter pages.

Posted by: hejiminy cricket | Aug 19, 2016 3:34:26 PM | 3

Al-Hasakah is (was) cruical to the U.S. land-theft plan for eastern Syria. It pins the south border of Rojava to the north-weatern tip of the east-Syria FSA slice bewteen the Euphrates and Iraqi border. Important for the Kurdish/Israeli/Qatari pipeline routes. That's what all the fuss was about in al Tanf and al Bukamal. NySA handed over a few tons of weapons and ammo to ISIS to 'hold' that slice for them.

Also keep in mind that the YPG/YPJ isn't calling the shots here at all. The Asayish are basically the PYD's Stazi. The CIA and U.S. SF advisors are probably running a torture camp there, but they are also most certainly training and arming the Asayish. This is completely independent of the minimal support they give to the YPG/YPJ militias. Kurdish militias are simply cannon-fodder meat for U.S. land-theft ambitions. Nobody has reported on this (for obvious censorship reasons) but I'm pretty sure the YPG/YPJ despise the CIA-run PYD and their U.S. SF-trained Asayish Stazi. The Kurds are not 'all on the same side'. The average Kurd knows the U.S. is using them, and the Asayish are the enforcer thugs for U.S. scheming.

I would bet there are NO YPG/YPJ involved in fighting SAA forces. They never have and have no reason to. As Laguerre pointed out months ago, they need to co-exist with the SAA and Assad's government. This is a fight started by the U.S./Asayish Stazi.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 19, 2016 3:35:40 PM | 4

There was an excellent write-up and discussion of this incident at SyrPers. Here's what Canthama had to say:

"The Kurdish police force in Hasaka attacked late last night the NDF in a neighbourhood capturing some NDF soldiers and family, there was KIA for NDF. So far the NDF fought back and captured very large chunk of ground in western Hasaka, the fight reached a pick early morning with several KIA when both YPG started to use artillery and the SAA fired their guns from the NE Hasaka city army base. The fight calmed down a bit after SAAF made multiple sorties and bombed the Kurdish police HQs and check points. Right now both SAA, YPG and local Government are talking to calm things down. There is no clear indication on what was the spark of it, could be either side, the NDF is made of local arab tribes and it is fundamental for the balance of power in Hasaka and Raqqa Provinces, but the Kurdish police has hit a very dangerous tipping point, there are info that many local arabs from SDF have defected SDF to join their fellow arabs in NDF due to last night aggression.

"We tend to think that SDF is primarily Kurds, but it is a mistake to think that. SDF is like a fabric of many local groups in northern and northeast Syria, the Kurdish YPG and YPJ are important component of it, but there are Assyrians and a lot of arabs, in fact, the SDF in southern Hasaka Province is made of primarily arabs. Three days ago we saw a fierce fighting between two Kurdis factions in Qamishili, which ignited a large Kurdish demonstration in the city against the Kurdish police. All these events are clearing indicating that SDF is much more fragile then people thought, that Kurds are not aligned and united as the western media tend to show, and that much more water will go under this bridge before we know how this whole mess in north and NE Syria will play out. I still believe a broad reconciliation is possible as soon as ISIS is pushed back to isolated desert areas or underground all over Syria and Iraq, but clearly local tribes will have a much stronger saying in all this."

And:

"Some news from Hasaka from the SAA FB. It seems in line with all I read during the day. The event involving US attack drones was real and SAAF simply ignored the provocation.

"Report from al-Hasaka

"The Syrian National Defense Force and Kurdish forces are in coordination of securing al-Hasaka, where the NDF secure and maintain peace in the Arabic Neighburhoods and the Kurdish forces do the same in the Kurdish neighbourhoods. And the Syrian Arab Army withdraw to its barracks around the city without any presence on the ground. Thus maintain a civil government in the city with para-military presence to defend it from any potential ISIS attacks; while the military remains on alert.

"Yesterday, the Kurdish forces started an illegal arrest campaign against Arabs in al-Hsakea, who turned for the NDF for protection. the NDF offered them protection, and as a result the Kurdish forces shelled Syrian government civil buildings; the Syrian Arab Army responded by shelling the source of fire as it was a violation of the agreement in the city.

"The Kurdish forces attempted attacking NDF positions and SAA barracks and checkpoints at the city entrance; which forces the Syrian military command to dispatch an SyAAF attack bomber to target the source of fire.

"By 1400 hours Thursday, the Kurdish forces asked for a non-conditional cease of fire and deescalation of the situation which the Syrian Army command instantly agreed on.

"The US-led coalition attempted to intercept the SyAAF attack bomber but the attack bomber conducted its airstrike anyway.

"If the US-Led coalition think for once that by allowing them into Syrian Airspace they can do whatever they wish inside they are mistaken, let them remember what happened when one of their armed drones left the "allowed" airspace and entered one of the SyAAF and Syrian Air Defense denied airspace over Latakia.

"Finally, the situation as of now, there are no clashes in al-Hasaka but the Kurdish forces are sending their families to al-Qamishly and are ordered by the US to create disturbances; the Syrian Military Command is clear on its stand there, no provocation is to be done against them, but there will be no hesitation to retaliate against any provocation. After all, the Kurd population in there are Syrian citizens and the Syrian military will defend them and respect their wish about having Kurdish para-military in their neighbourhood aside with the NDF, but will not take it from anyone to be attacked." http://syrianperspective.com/2016/08/the-counter-offensive-in-western-aleppo-is-in-full-motion.html

In today's report, Ziad includes this tidbit: "It has been confirmed that over 14 American Special Operations personnel are trapped in East Aleppo. Boo hoo hoo. I can’t wait to here they’re there to fight ISIS. Te hee hee." No wonder a truce was quickly called for! http://syrianperspective.com/2016/08/french-weapons-flop-in-aleppo-u-s-government-caught-lying-about-aleppo-again-syrian-army-beats-back-terrorist-attack-in-homs-russia-flies-out-of-iran-to-bomb-u-s-terrorists-14-american-spec-f.html

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 19, 2016 3:47:33 PM | 5

"Turkey would know that any U.S. claim to not work against its Turkish ally interest is false. This would deepen already high Turkish animosity against the U.S. and would accelerate its move towards some lose alliance with Russia and Iran."

This has already been going on for some weeks. The high animosity against the US can officially be seen when they request the extradition of Gulen and there have been signs that the US nukes stored in Turkey under NATO command have been moved to Romania. Although Erdogan is a devious untrustworty ruler, such an alliance does seem in the making: "we [, Russia and Iran] have to work together for a political solution and a ceasefire [in Syria]," Cavusoglu said http://english.almanar.com.lb/adetails.php?eid=282709&cid=22&fromval=1&frid=22&seccatid=55&s1=1

Maybe it finally dawned on the Turks that the US has been playing divide and rule right from the start and that a Kurdish colony managed and ruled by the US+Israel will consist of large swaths of Iraqi, Syrian but also Turkish land.

It's doubtfull that the Syran army will hold ground in Hasaka as they are already fighting on too many fronts against too many (foreign) players.

Posted by: nr27 | Aug 19, 2016 3:48:50 PM | 6

Before turning the gaze eastward, here's reassuring analysis about Aleppo. Flores at Fort Russ and Mercouris at the Duran have breakdowns of the proposed "ceasefire". Humanitarian aid will travel through SAA-controlled areas, and will be inspected by the Russians. No way to resupply the terrorists. The ceasefires will actually form useful breaks for Syria, and there seems no indication that this stops Russian and Syrian activities anywhere else outside Aleppo - so the destruction of the rats and their infrastructure and rolling stock can continue. Russian is forcing the UN to act like it should, and the US will either comply with the requirements or the UN action won't happen, and the US will have to explain why.

If US planes actually do shoot down Syrian planes, surely the entire incident would go to the UN and the fact of US illegal presence will have to come front and center - is the US ready for this? Has it even thought this far ahead?

Did the Syrian pilots know the US was there? Did they intentionally come close enough to the US forces to warn them but not to kill them? Speculation, pending further info.

Overall, this may suggest that Syria is getting enough breathing room nowadays for the Kurdish matter to start getting some attention. And as we see, right beside the Kurds are the Americans, actually in harm's way, and their time of eviction is drawing closer.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 19, 2016 3:50:36 PM | 7

Paveway IV: The not-so-subtle bommbing by RuAF, several times, of the USUK SF base in southern Syria close to the Jordan border may need to be repeated. Hopefully it would to encourage the USUK to separate the (Russian style) 'moderates' (ie those that do not use armed force against the legitimate Syrian government) from the terorists that do. Anyone still fighting the SAA afterwards would be legitimate terrorist targets.

However, I suspect Russia regards these attacks as a desperate attempt to draw SAA forces away from Aleppo, and will not act unless things become serious. Once Aleppo is out of the way, the RUAF and SAAF will be free to give these USUK stooges some TLC.

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 19, 2016 3:56:21 PM | 8

b, sorry about OT question

Hey PavewayIV,

Why are commercial airplanes over Portland doing major flight change and S curves about 11 am PDT? I saw the contrails of 3, 2 that had made significant diversions and one with a big S turn and then kinda back on course.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 19, 2016 3:57:16 PM | 9

I should have been more specific and said I live by the airport and these are not takeoffs and landings. These are the passover flights

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 19, 2016 3:58:34 PM | 10

@4 paveway.. quote "This is a fight started by the U.S./Asayish Stazi." that sounds about right.. we have talked about this area of syria over the past 6 months.

@7 yonatan.. that all makes sense as well..

thanks both of you for keeping an eye on the bigger picture unfolding..

Posted by: james | Aug 19, 2016 3:59:30 PM | 11

The reason for the urgent Anglo-Zionist calls for a ceasefire in Aleppo has possibly been revealed. Ziad Fadel reports 14 US SF are trapped in east ALeppo. Oooops!

http://syrianperspective.com/2016/08/french-weapons-flop-in-aleppo-u-s-government-caught-lying-about-aleppo-again-syrian-army-beats-back-terrorist-attack-in-homs-russia-flies-out-of-iran-to-bomb-u-s-terrorists-14-american-spec-f.html

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 19, 2016 4:03:01 PM | 12

Obvious tactic by evil US empire in its plan to break up Syria, as part of destroying it first, and using these Kurds to diverge SAA army away from fighting the US proxy terrorists that has recently gain ground around Aleppo.

If it's illegal for the US to be in Syria then why did the Russians invite them in ?

Posted by: tom | Aug 19, 2016 4:17:13 PM | 13

PavewayIV @4

You comment leads me to believe that this incident really has no bearing on Turkish-US relations.

b's questions and concerns therefore lead me to wonder if the purpose of the action was to underscore the notion that US-backing for Kurds is a threat to Erdogan/Turkey.

This dovetails nicely with the notion of the "coup-attempt" as psyop: strengthening Erdogan while distancing him from his Assad must go! buddies. As Putin's "dear friend" Erdogan seeks to influence Russian ME policy. But the fundamental message has not changed: Assad must go!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 19, 2016 4:17:58 PM | 14

The US trying to create even more enemies for the SAA, Hezbollah etc, and Russians to fight.

Posted by: tom | Aug 19, 2016 4:20:09 PM | 15

@11, from that link

"A lot of experience in rat tactics and the Russians keeping the Americans busy diplomatically are slowly paying
off."

Mebbe that explains Putin's tap-dancing around the Americans, as someone wondered on another page. Not giving them an excuse, or, perhaps, keep them from a spot where they have no choice but to lash out. Meanwhile, Prepare the cauldron, fighters!

Posted by: ruralito | Aug 19, 2016 4:28:01 PM | 16

Turkish animosity against the U.S. and would accelerate its move towards some lose alliance with Russia and Iran.

Ah, but the real cherry for Russia here is not Turkey, it is Azerbaijan.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Aug 19, 2016 4:34:12 PM | 17

Here's Canthama's update for today:

"A large amount of Kurdish families left Hasaka city, this may mean more fight ahead.
1) The fight has been started by the Asayish, PYD police, that attacked NDF members and family, there is no news on why it happened, though it is kind of regular stuff between tribes in Hasaka Province, long time bad blood and gang like fights.
2) I see no correlation between this local fight in Hasaka and the Aug 14th arrest in Qamishli, by Asayish, of Syria’s Kurdish National Council KNC [ENKS], Ibrahim Biro. This event shows a serious fraction on Kurdish factions such as PYD-PKK-Barzani.
3) There was no major intervention from SAA and YPG, both had some participation, mostly artillery, but no major participation.
4) SAAF was used to stop shelling the civilians by the Asayish forces, direct hits in HQs and bases using artillery.
5) US drones were used to prevent SAAF of attacking but of no use, SAAF ignored and proceeded bombing.
6) PYD/YPG is demanding the Syrian Government to disband NDF in Hasaka in exchange of a ceasefire, it won't happen, what holds Hasaka Province is tribal alliances. Currently SDF has a lot to lose if go down this road, over half of SDF in Hasaka are Syrian arabs that can move to NDF quite fast.
7) The Syrian Government action in Hasaka is in fully aligned with Russia and Iran. Keep in mind that Iran has put down, by force, a Kurdish uprising few weeks ago in NW Iran, this event was totally missed by MSM and alternative media and was one of the many attempts to induce more war to the region.
8) The most likely near future alliance between Russia-Iran-Turkey will be based on the principal of no Kurdish State anywhere, Iraq and Syria Governments are following closely this possible alliance since there will be serious impact to both countries.
9) NATO, US driven, is attempting a last card which is to empower the Kurds in Syria to go for an independent State, this attempt is viewed by Turkey as a declaration of war since it involves strengthening PKK (which is called by the EU/US as a terrorist organization).
10) The situation in Hasaka city, if not solved nicely under a ceasefire, it has the potential to go wild with the possibility of US/NATO intervention against Syrians which in fact would be understood as a declaration of war and the UN charter would be once more ignored, another aspect is Iranian-Syrian deal against foreign attacks and Russian response. All of this with Turkey-US-NATO relationship at its lowest and Iraq forces about to be ISIS free by early 2017.
To answer your question, any attempt from the US to shot down a Syrian jet is a declaration of war and will be responded with more fighters and bombers in the area, not to forget that Syria has advanced AA and US jets may be easily hit.
11) Last but not least, KSA is in deep problem, Yemenis/Houtis received large quantities of firepower from Russia and Iran, the war now is no longer in Yemen, it is inside southern KSA and moving up fast toward Riyadh." http://syrianperspective.com/2016/08/french-weapons-flop-in-aleppo-u-s-government-caught-lying-about-aleppo-again-syrian-army-beats-back-terrorist-attack-in-homs-russia-flies-out-of-iran-to-bomb-u-s-terrorists-14-american-spec-f.html#comment-177480

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 19, 2016 4:40:16 PM | 18

Excuse me, but how can anybody still quote
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
as a reliable source of information? That is
tough to digest, since it is well known who
runs this 'organization'.

Whoever believes anything from this source
is likely eating at McDonald's because they
make organic fast food.

The latter is actually much more believable.

Other than that, who is in doubt about whom
being behind this continuing conflagration?

Most people will be amazed about how many
conflicts would end - with the U.S.empire ending.

None of the wars presently on the globe came
about without the planning, orchestration and
implementation of you know who.

Posted by: Stillnottheonly1 | Aug 19, 2016 4:54:30 PM | 19

I asked Canthama to comment on PaveWayIV at 4, and here's his reply:

"karlof1, the article says what it seems the right view as of now, see my post a bit below on Hasaka to Howard [which I posted above @17]. I concur with the author that it is mostly Asayish and not YPG/YPJ fight, and what he says that there is fraction among the Kurds is true, see item 2 below on Ibrahim Biro.

"The situation of Hasaka/Der ez Zor was part of a lot of comments during the Bukamal fiasco, that was clearly a desperate attempt by the US to control the SE Der ez Zor Province in a possible future attempt to use either ISIS or SDF to dislodge the Syrians from Der ez Zor city. Ain't happening for many reasons, one of them is that Iraqi forces are moving up to Al Qa'im border crossing in few months, the Iraqi/Iranian Shia militia was sent to Palmyra to support a future campaign toward Der Ez Zor and to link up with the Iraq/militias coming up the Euphrates. Then we now see RuAF using Iranian airbase to bomb mostly ISIS in Der ez Zor and anything supporting them, this firepower is a game changer and more is on its way with Kalibir missiles from the Caspian Sea. This US plan is kaput.

"I wonder how far the Syrian Kurds will tolerate this game by the US, one thing is to fight the evil ISIS, the other is to fight the SAA and allies with all the airforce availability in the region, the ordinary Kurd knows this is a no go, and that is why they may be using Asayish to create problems or use them to dislodge people in order to weaken their local resolve. Hasaka is mostly provincial people, ancient laws and local tribe leaders rule there, this is widely misunderstood by many, there is no single Rojava/SDF force, it is a fragile blend and the Syrian Kurds are the minority, and if they are close to have internal fractions (which by the way it has been the story of the Kurds for centuries-internal war among factions), this fragile alliance under SDF may fall apart in no time.

"The most important factor in all this Hasaka mess is that the Syrian Government was fast in react with strength, this has shown to the US and SDF that there will be a price to pay from now onwards. I bet Russia will have some helis or AA shipped to Qamishli airbase very soon.

"Another piece of info is that Kurds among SDF that have relationship with Russia are complaining the US has prohibited any contact with Russia, that is funny since the leaders of Afrin and Sheikh Maksud are in close contact with Russia and Syria Government, in other word, this is a bigger mess then what is seems.

"BTW, there is a on going meeting at Qamishli among the parties to calm things down in Hasaka."
http://syrianperspective.com/2016/08/french-weapons-flop-in-aleppo-u-s-government-caught-lying-about-aleppo-again-syrian-army-beats-back-terrorist-attack-in-homs-russia-flies-out-of-iran-to-bomb-u-s-terrorists-14-american-spec-f.html#8qjyMheM3r9LHpOs.99

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 19, 2016 4:59:16 PM | 20

Thanks b, pw, karlof for the information on the 'Kurds' in Hasaka. There are Kurds and then there are Kurds, and the US has its meathooks set deep in the latter.

The US is 'playing' this as DDD&D, their only interest lies in the war's prolongation. How vile our US government has become under neo-con rule. Hillary pledges eight more years.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 19, 2016 5:10:23 PM | 21

US expecting Yemen forces to invade Saudi Arabia and defeat the Saudi's?
They withdrew staff from Yemen shortly before Houthi's took over.

Exclusive: U.S. withdraws staff from Saudi Arabia dedicated to Yemen planning
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-usa-saudiarabia-idUSKCN10U1TL

Posted by: Peter AU | Aug 19, 2016 5:11:16 PM | 22

followup @13

I know that many don't agree with my skepticism about the coup but many believe that Putin has tried/ is trying to split NATO by appealing to Europe to act its best interest.

Now comes a "coup" attempt that makes it seem that Erdogan is ready to entertain a split with the West. Wonder of wonders. What would Putin do effect such a split and cement ties between Turkey and Russia? Would he betray Assad?

And so, to a skeptic, all the hullabaloo seems designed to convince us that the coup attempt was genuine and the threat from Gulen is real: democracy prevailed! OMG the nukes! "Erdogan snubs NATO - goes to Russia in his first foreign visit after the coup! US Ambassador met with Turkish coup leader before the coup!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 19, 2016 5:14:43 PM | 23

A glimpse at South Front's (and the Russian governments?) point of view : Clashes in Hasakah Leading to Kurdish-Arab War in Syria?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 19, 2016 5:20:13 PM | 24

@22 jr

I think the Turkish coup went forward with the envolvement of the CIA, possibly the KSA as well - that last would account for its failure, as in the USA/KSA Yemen joint venture. Erdogan is treating the failed coup as an opportunity to purge the ranks of the Turkish Deep State. 'Democracy prevailed' is part of the West's patented disinformation campaign, trying to recover its balance in Turkey after its failed anti-democratic coup. Russia is trying, as ever, to take advantage of the mess as best it can. Interesting remark by smoothieX12 on ... dentente? ... between Russia and Azerbaijan. Russia has a lot to lose in dumping Assad. Erdogan seems likely to do anything at anytime. Like yourself, I have no inside information on any of this. The part that seems most sure to me is the unpredictability of Erdogan.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 19, 2016 5:43:16 PM | 25

Excellent. Another chance for Putin to push an ally under the bus.

Posted by: paul | Aug 19, 2016 5:49:54 PM | 26

Thanks jfl! Of interest regarding the attempted Turkish coup and developments in Syria, Gareth Porter provides us with the likely motive and additional info about the forming coalition between Iran, Syria, Russia, Iraq, and Turkey, http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2016/08/18/turkey-iran-reach-agreement-conditions-syria-peace/

Here's the motive: "Erdogan began searching in May for an alternative policy more in line with Turkey’s primary strategic interest in Syria: containing the threat of Kurdish demands for a separate state." Such a search wouldn't be missed by CIA, and such a change would bring Erdogan into direct conflict with CIA policy goal, as we now see happening. So, a hasty coup attempt was arranged which failed and has spectacularly blown-back. Now all we need is for the Barzani Mafia to disintegrate and for Iraq's PM to either tell the Outlaw US Empire where to go or be replaced by someone capable of doing so.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 19, 2016 5:58:44 PM | 27

The bombing of the Kurds is a clear message to the USA: You won't let you have a KRG in Syria!

The USA have been using the YPG as proxies to fight ISIS and have promised the Kurds a piece of Syria.
Turkey, Syria, Iran and Russia have all agree on the geographical unity of Syria. They want the USA and their plots out.

Turkey and Iran are applauding at the Syrian bombing the Kurds and threatening the US troops that are illegally on a Syrian ground.
Turkey and Iran prefers to fight ISIS themselves than to let the USA prop up the Kurds and create a US controlled region in Syria like the KRG in Iraq.
By hitting the Kurds, Syria is sending a clear message: Yankee go home!

Posted by: virgile | Aug 19, 2016 6:00:48 PM | 28

Looks to me like pre election Russian and Iranian (bases)demonization,as many Americans don't look on Russia and Iran as threats and or enemies.Look at the photos they used to drive up anti Syrian and Russian bombing propaganda.
And yes,the neolibcons have made our nation honor free and a symbol of hypocrisy.
And Trump,in November will end their f*cking reign.
Hence the non stop hysteria,propaganda and demonization as they try to create dissent and divide and conquer on the electorate.
But its naked shameless purpose is too obvious,Israel.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 19, 2016 6:05:32 PM | 29

@26 karlof. 'Now all we need is for the Barzani Mafia to disintegrate and for Iraq's PM to either tell the Outlaw US Empire where to go or be replaced by someone capable of doing so.'

Yes, the second of those two especially. The Iraqis have endured so much for so long at the hands of Neolibraconia, it is time for them run the Neolibraconians out of their country and to begin to heal. As for Barzani ... he wouldn't last long without Neolibraconian backup, would he?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 19, 2016 6:30:17 PM | 30

After and during Manbij operation there claims of Kurds depopulate the Arabs so many of Arab fighters left the Syrian Democratic force and join the goverment militia in Hasagah

Posted by: Daddary | Aug 19, 2016 7:06:37 PM | 31

Thanks b.It's great of a post as usual.
I think the Kurd are the key in all this.They are probably the main reason why Erdogan is switching side to Russia.The main goal of the American deep state and the western globalist oligarchs beside energy control of Europe is the carving of the middle east.if that we can understand how the latter could piss off Erdogan's neo-ottomantism and Turkish nationalists in his government.The Kurdish question is a no-brainer.There is no way the Turks will ever accept a Kurdistan state or something similar at their door step or in their country.The US administration,its deep state,and his allies have been trying to double cross Turkey by using it against Assad while supporting the Kurd against it.That could work but with the like of Fetullah Gullen,only.
About the Kurd,I doubt they are blind to the scheme and deceit of the US.If i was them I wouldn't go along with it.As much as I love the Kurdish people I believe the outcomes for pushing the creation of their own state at this point in time will be catastrophic for them and the countries they live in.That's a no-brainer for me too.
One thing certain is that The Us and Turkey odds are strong enough so that The US is taking his nuclear warheads out of turkey. http://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/us-moves-nuclear-weapons-from-turkey-to-romania/
With the US accepting Iran back into the international community and Russia using Iran as an air base The tides are definitely changing folks the problem is I don't think the Russian bear is able to deliver.

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Aug 19, 2016 9:35:07 PM | 32

jfl@24, karlofi@26

Just to be clear. What you describe seems to be the view that Erdogan and many of those rooting against the West subscribe to.

It is not yet clear if that that view is correct. As I wrote above, there seems to be a degree of pushing for this hopeful view AND excuses are made when reality doesn't measure up (like Erdogan's disappointing meeting with Putin).

What I propose is the possibility that instead of working with Gulen to overthrow Erdogan, the CIA (et al.) was working with Erdogan/MIT to:

1. Strengthen Erdogan;

2. Gain advantages:

a) Entice Putin to betray Assad;

b) Obtain information on strategic and operational planning.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 19, 2016 9:56:13 PM | 33

Greatly appreciate the instant summaries made possible by PavewayIV, karlof1, and Canthama and Ziad. An alliance at work, providing clarity that is, as they say, actionable. And just as it seems for us, so it must seem for the allied fighters in Syria, multiplied many times.

So we see how thinly the US plans are stretched now. The rapid response of SAAF to this local disturbance spoke of a clear message that Syria will not be attacked. The matter of evicting the US from sovereign territory will be dealt with in due course - but if the US should think to bring it sooner, then sooner the US will be defeated.

And Erdogan was changing his direction as far back as May - of course. And from Russian brokerage - of course. Thanks for the Porter story @26, karlof1.

Thanks to b - I often forget this, but it's always felt.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 19, 2016 10:02:14 PM | 34

lebretteurfredonnant @31:

I think the Kurd are the key in all this.They are probably the main reason why Erdogan is switching side to Russia ...

karlof1 @26:

i>"Erdogan began searching in May for an alternative policy more in line with Turkey’s primary strategic interest in Syria: containing the threat of Kurdish demands for a separate state."

But Paveway @5 has a different view:

Also keep in mind that the YPG/YPJ isn't calling the shots here at all. The Asayish are basically the PYD's Stazi. ... Kurdish militias are simply cannon-fodder meat for U.S. land-theft ambitions.... The Kurds are not 'all on the same side'. The average Kurd knows the U.S. is using them, and the Asayish are the enforcer thugs for U.S. scheming.

<> <> <> <> <>

Everyone should decide for themselves if USA/Israel/et al will push for a Kurdish state or are just using Kurdish mafia/thugs for mutual benefit. (I don't know myself but I am suspicious and respect Paveway's opinions.)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 19, 2016 10:13:36 PM | 35

@31 lebretteur
Quite exactly my thoughts. The Kurds may or may not get their state at some point, but now is too early, and with all the regional countries against it would lead to a catastrophe. Barzani tried with US help and we see the results. In the future, there'll have to be some form of international (UN?) security guarantee for all states in the region. If this leads to more cooperation and less tensions, it could be possible to form a Kurdish state which will not be seen as a threat to others. Though ideally it will not be needed any more once borders lose their importance.

@34 jackrabbit
Thanks for Paveway's quote, makes a lot of sense. But there's no contradiction between 'pushing for a state' and 'using thugs', look at Kosovo. If the US has no other ally in the region left, pushing for a (dependent) Kurdish state almost becomes imperative.

But for the moment, quite troubling development. Which brings Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iraq closer together of course. Hmm...was that even the plan?

Posted by: smuks | Aug 19, 2016 11:06:36 PM | 36

Speaking of US advisers, the US is pulling some out of Saudi Arabia in their war on Yemen.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-usa-saudiarabia-idUSKCN10U1TL

just love the self-contradictions ....
In their non-denial denial, the source said it was not because of international outcry over casualties although the Pentagon did "acknowledge concerns about the conflict ..." The US gives intel and does refuel ops but then distances itself from responsibility by saying the Saudis chose the targets.

"When its repeated air strikes that have now killed children, doctors, newlyweds, patients, at some point you just have to say: Either Saudi Arabia is not listening to the United States or they just don't care," Lieu said.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 19, 2016 11:32:55 PM | 37

This can't be. No one reported any of this in the western media.


(snark off)

Posted by: Bob In Portland | Aug 20, 2016 12:31:58 AM | 38

@jackrabbit , why you keep posting the media narration that turkish coup is erdogan doing ?

you seem adamant on repeating it .. while tom and paul acted like obvious trolls, you then slip in pushing msm narrative ever so sublty..

are you cashing your chip now ?

many pretenders in blogsphere also acted like you did , instantly withiut any proof convinced that US is not involved and coup is erdogan's doing..

Patrick Lang the guy from SST, also acted like he hated neocons but he instantly shot down any comment that push thte idea of US behind coup.. and he is a warmonger outside and inside..

Posted by: milomilo | Aug 20, 2016 2:04:57 AM | 39

Since major parts of Syria have been thoroughly destroyed and will take decades to rebuild, the evil US Empire has already won. Syrians in the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands citizens leaving and left, scared to return or seeking safety and opportunity in other countries.

A weekend Syrian state and people more vulnerable to future attacks. Exactly why many Isreali Zionist publicly said that they prefer Al Qaeda and Isis to Syrian state.

Posted by: tom | Aug 20, 2016 2:05:52 AM | 40

It seems the US has established no-fly zone over Hasakah. Russia is helpless. Erdogan is powerless. Kurdistan will be created and that was the plan from the very beginning. Kurdistan as place for Israeli military bases is perfect so things going on. Erdogan is one of the worst strategists in modern history. He is largery responsibile for the whole mess in Syria and in consequence his country probably will be divided.

Posted by: noflyzone | Aug 20, 2016 2:17:03 AM | 41

Any Arabic readers? I have no idea if the photo in this Tweet actually is what it claims to be (or is even in Hasaka), but it would be interesting if it was. Source account is pro-Erdogan and rabidly anti-PKK, so there's that. Caption is "Hundreds of Syrian Kurdish people stage protest against terrorist PYD in Hasakah, #Syria #KurdSlayerPKK"

https://twitter.com/failedcoupfacts/status/765971088190873600

Some of the protesters signs say ENKS, which opposes the PYD. The ENKS represents Kurds at Geneva. One of their leaders was arrested in Qamishli last week, so the protest may be about that or from there. I have no ideas about the ENKS good/bad - it's another layer of complexity I have yet to unravel.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 20, 2016 2:20:16 AM | 42

Well, I never...
I never expected the eerily inept, dumbass Yankees to broadcast, to the whole world, that it's true; they REALLY DO believe their own mawkish bs.
Sounds like jumping the shark to me.
If the Yankees decide to play Russian Roulette with Russia, my money will be on Russia.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 20, 2016 2:50:09 AM | 43

From the Porter article:
On the second condition for a settlement, Yildirim said there is a “possibility to establish a Syrian administration in which all of Syria’s religious communities and ethnicities can be represented….” After that was accomplished, he said, “there will be no obstacle to reaching a solution.”

Al-Hayat quoted Ansari as saying that a third principle discussed but not agreed on was that “the Syrian people will decide their own fate.” That was apparently a coded reference to the fate of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Turkey has publicly insisted in the past that Assad must step down before a settlement can be reached.

Yildirim’s language on the second principle and Ansari’s further clarification suggest that Turkey is dangling before Iran and Russia the possibility that Assad could remain in the government if Turkey is satisfied with a set of reforms to assure that all ethnic and religious communities in Syria have adequate political representation. Despite speculation by pundits that Iran would not mind having Syria carved up into a set of enclaves under foreign protection, Tehran has responded with unconditional endorsement of the Turkish demand.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 20, 2016 3:00:06 AM | 44

noflyzone said:

"It seems the US has established no-fly zone over Hasakah."

No, but they are certainly trying to. Southfront is reporting the deployment of a buk missile complex. It's an invitation to bomb SAA property, which would be a clear provocation, which, in turn is exactly what Asad/RF want. Of course it's obvious to everyone that carving up Syria is the goal. Syria, RF and associates need to force it into the realm of objective policy before the UN rubber stamps Obama's unstated desires.

Erodan will have to choose one side or the other as the fence Turkey's stradling will bee gone.

Posted by: winsti | Aug 20, 2016 4:23:41 AM | 45

It's important to remember the real motive for US's involvement in this mess from the very beginning is and has always been about securing the region for Israel.

They simply want to create a region where all states surrounding Israel are either weak or destroyed. Syria was always a marked target - it was only a matter of when. Notice how Israel's lived in "peace" since the Syrian imposed war begun?

They used the FSA to begin with but this quickly fizzled out as FSA was/is nothing more than the public face of Al-CIADA in Syria. So the next phase for the US now is to at least get some return on their Syrian "invstment" by splitting the Kurds(Kurds are also working with neo-FSA group called SDF, armed by USA) from Syria - like they're doing in Iraq.

Sad to say but the Kurds have always been usefool tools(fools???) in the hands of major powers. And as history shows, they're always dumped like tissue paper when they're no longer useful. The new term in the region is "American Kurds"/"State department Kurds". ie: Barzani, Salih Muslim and their fellow travellers

All this just to protect Israel!!!!

Posted by: Zico | Aug 20, 2016 4:25:14 AM | 46

It smells fishy, like the US trying to pull Syrian assets away from more important fronts, like the US trying to sell Kurds on the Syrian gov as their enemy. Important to note that it wasn't YPG who started the fighting, much more easily corruptible local types.

Hopefully SAA and YPG leaders can communicate and end this distraction.

It's being reported that US advisors are leaving, is it "mission accmoplished" or "nice try, maybe next time?"

We'll see

Posted by: Cresty | Aug 20, 2016 4:50:04 AM | 47

Syria calls them PKK now.

The conflict, however, is more complex as the PYD has moved against the Barzani's Kurdish National Congress recently.

The US - of course - support both plus a "Syrian opposition" that is against Kurdish independence.

In this situation I cannot see the US supporting the PYD. Which is probably why the Syrian army attacked the PYD in Hasakah.

According to German media the US have evacuated their special forces.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 20, 2016 4:51:16 AM | 48

More on inter Kurdish conflict

Western nations are ignoring human rights violations committed by the PYD, the Syrian arm of the terrorist PKK group, Ibrahim Biro, the head of Syria's Kurdish National Council, said Wednesday.

In exclusive comments to Anadolu Agency, Biro said that the PYD was actively working against any group it considered a threat, while attempting to assert its control over northern Syria by using the fight against ISIL as a pretext.

"They're exploiting the [international] fight against the ISIL terrorist group to attack their opponents," he said.

In recent months, the PYD has reportedly indulged in the ethnic cleansing of areas under its control, arbitrarily detained its political opponents and forced local residents to fight on its behalf.

Biro went on to assert that western countries tended to overlook rights breaches committed by the PYD in northern Syria -- a policy he said "facilitates the group's ongoing domination of the region".

He added that the Kurdish National Council -- a coalition of Syrian Kurdish parties generally at odds with the PYD -- had documented evidence of the PYD's violations.

"We plan to submit this evidence to foreign diplomats based in Erbil," he said, referring to the administrative capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Let me guess. The PYD will be on its own.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 20, 2016 5:02:21 AM | 49

@4 Paveway
Really good comment as usual.

And I think this is where the Erdoganist readings go wrong. Erdogan doesn't care about the corrupt Barzani barely functioning Iraqi Kurdistan. if the US can help set something similar up, it could weaken Ypg/ypj and Syria herself. That's fine with him, assumedly.

Posted by: Cresty | Aug 20, 2016 5:03:44 AM | 50

@46 Zico
The dog wags its tail, not the other way round. To the US strategists, Israel was always just a tool in their quest for control of the Middle East (and thus global oil trade).

Posted by: smuks | Aug 20, 2016 8:07:22 AM | 51

I think the Kurd are the key in all this... globalist oligarchs beside energy control of Europe is the carving of the middle east.... no-brainer.

The Kurd, as some type of zero-plural? In spite of evidence offered above? I am no expert but ...

somebody: According to German media the US have evacuated their special forces.

I didn't quite get the hype that Ziad Fadel apparently managed to create with his 14 US special forces in Aleppo. ... If true, that is.

But ... what German media?

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 20, 2016 8:22:05 AM | 52

some fresh news on almasdarnews.com

"Syrian jets fly over flashpoint city despite US warning"

"The Syrian Air Force were in the air again Saturday over the flashpoint northeastern city of Hasakeh, despite a US warning against new strikes that might endanger its military advisers. (...)

It was not immediately clear whether the aircraft had carried out any bombing runs as there were heavy artillery exchanges on the ground."

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-jets-fly-flashpoint-city-despite-us-warning/

Posted by: Dario | Aug 20, 2016 8:42:14 AM | 53

The US uses the salami-slice strategy in order to create an independent Kurdish state.

From Kurdish point of view about Kurdish independence (nov 2015).
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/interview/c0b16021-4ef6-484f-bcd7-574b5af208fa/Kurdistan-Region--Federalism--Confederation--or-Independence?

"Because their problem is they have to keep Turkey calm. How do you keep Turkey calm? If Turkey sees another Kurdistan, an independent Kurdistan emerging in Syria, Turkey will behave very badly. So the United States needs calm that down. What is it doing? It is supporting the Kurds of Syria against ISIS. What is the price of the Kurds of Syria? It is autonomy. And the autonomy they will demand will be confederal autonomy. They would have learnt lessons from what has happened here [Iraqi Kurdistan]. They know that federation won't work. Confederation will. So I think the US is going to be pushed into confederal reconstructions of both Syria and Iraq."

Posted by: noflyzone | Aug 20, 2016 9:50:35 AM | 54

I apologize for this one up front, if b erases this, I understand.
One of the aggregate sites I get news from is called newsnow, and it caters to mobile phones. Since last night it's had this link to sputnik referring to the Nov. 17th Russian su-24 shoot down. I realize it's a mistake, the thing of it is, is that it should have been corrected by now, and given all the stories about planes buzzing and bombing over Syria, it's starting to get creepy.


http://mobile.newsnow.co.uk/h/World+News/Middle+East/Syria

Posted by: winsti | Aug 20, 2016 10:04:33 AM | 55

@54 Dr. O'Leary is not very helpful. There is no mention of oilfields. He must know that most of the oilfields and the cities of both Mosul and Kirkuk are outside the Kurdish Autonomous Area as established by the Iraqi government in 2005 when the Kurds agreed to receive 13% of Iraqi oil revenues.

Posted by: dh | Aug 20, 2016 10:17:22 AM | 56

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 20, 2016 8:22:05 AM | 52

Austrian media

Posted by: somebody | Aug 20, 2016 10:30:16 AM | 57

Concerning 55: I found a way to contact newsnow and have done so.

Posted by: winsti | Aug 20, 2016 10:31:30 AM | 58

Piv
Not that i understand anything to kurdish affairs but the signs are rather pro PYD

Posted by: Mina | Aug 20, 2016 10:41:03 AM | 59

How is Rojava any more of a threat to Turkish interests than KRG? If anything, Rojava splits the Kurdish nationalist movement? As for any notion of equating YPG to PKK, and thereby seeing this as US support for PKK...that's paranoia. The US has supported Erdogan in his renewed warfare on Kurds in Turkey. Any difficulties they are having with him has to do with his fractiousness in following orders fully and promptly in Syria and, probably, Turkish Stream.

Posted by: s | Aug 20, 2016 10:50:37 AM | 60

OK, thanks, somebody. German language media means here: Austria's Der Standard. They try to be up to date apparently - meaning on first sight.

No confirmation of any type of Aleppo "pull out" so far, but a confirmation that the US pulled special operation forces from the Hasakah region. I would expect them to do in whatever is happening there.

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 20, 2016 11:06:45 AM | 61

Ziko 46
Exactly! The results speak for themselves. The goal seems to be to destroy as many countries in the middle east as possible. And I have to wonder if creating a Kurdistan means they're using the US Lt. Colonel Peters' remap of the Middle East. Maybe it's an elites' scheme of creative destruction.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 20, 2016 11:23:55 AM | 62

From somebody's link: google translate
Kurds against Army

"Hasakah is now experiencing a real war," said the YPG-representatives. Who could hold a weapon, fighting against the troops of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The YPD is the Syrian branch of the banned in Turkey Kurdish PKK.

It controls large areas in northeastern Syria, where Kurdish groups have established an autonomous administration since the beginning of the Civil War. The YPG is part of the US-supported aerial Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which last weekend the Islamists militia IS had driven from the city manbij on the border with Turkey.

For the first time since December 2015 gave the Russian Defense Ministry a use of cruise missiles known. The three launchers from Cal were fired from two corvettes in the Mediterranean on targets west of Aleppo, the ministry said. They would have taken a command center and a "terrorist camp" at Daret Essa.

Cavusoglu in Iran

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has surprisingly inserted stopover in Tehran before an official visit to India and discussed with the Iranian leadership over the Syria war. The unannounced visit in advance had been "extremely useful," Cavusoglu said the Turkish state-owned Anatolia news agency on Friday in New Delhi.

"We are ready to cooperate, provided Syria's territorial integrity is preserved," Cavusoglu said.

Iran and Russia support in Syria President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey is part of the US-led coalition against the IS-terrorist militia in Syria and calls for the departure of Assad. At the same time feared Ankara that the Kurds in northern Syria could build their own state - with corresponding effects on the Kurdish conflict in their own country. The United States are working with the Kurds together against the IS.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 20, 2016 11:40:39 AM | 63

it would be safer for the region if iraq,syria the lebanon where broken up into more stable countries.
the site intel group are overworked with intel that would freak most sane human being out.
we cannot allow assad to take the region down we are already seeing cross pollenation between syria and libya and vice versa.
if this is not nipped in the bud soon egypt and turkey could be next.
a redrawing of the maps are needed and a large home for the kurds which should include land from iran,iraq,syria,jordan and turkey.
we need statesmen like netanyahoo to be at the tip of the spear making sure that israel can stay safe we need more woman like rita katz monitoring isis and getting the intel out to sky,fox,cnn and the bbc.

Posted by: menechem golani | Aug 20, 2016 11:49:26 AM | 65

@dh
As you can see on the map below the fate of Kirkuk and Mosul is still unclear but there is a high probability that they will be captured by US-backed Peshmerga. ISIS is a handy tool to reshape the whole region, isn't it?
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CprAYm3XYAAPB6y.jpg

Posted by: noflyzone | Aug 20, 2016 11:49:51 AM | 66

Aleppo is US's Berlin.
Except that instead of having Russian soldiers to expend heedlessly to win US-UK-zionist wars, Russia is on the other side of the US-UK-zionist war.

Posted by: Croesus | Aug 20, 2016 11:50:57 AM | 67

i agree putin is playing most folks for fools.
it may be an idea to get information from trained specialists about his mental health.
the world community cannot afford an insane lunatic at the head of a country with such dangerous weapons.
i would not be surprised if putin has dreams of conquest like hitler did in 1941 on

Posted by: menechem golani | Aug 20, 2016 12:01:45 PM | 68

@66 Maybe it's my browser but I don't understand that map. What do the colours represent? Is the yellow the area where Kurds are living?

Kurdistan.....the idea of Kurdistan... is much bigger including parts of Iran and a large chunk of Turkey. Depends which Kurds you talk to I guess.

Posted by: dh | Aug 20, 2016 12:07:15 PM | 69

@68 menechem golani.. idiot.. moa can do without your drivel too..

Posted by: james | Aug 20, 2016 12:15:33 PM | 70

Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor are mentioned in a 2012 Pentagon paper as key cities for partitioning Syria and isolating the Assad government.

http://www.ecowatch.com/syria-another-pipeline-war-1882180532.html

Posted by: Les | Aug 20, 2016 12:18:08 PM | 71

@70 Aw come on james. I was hoping menechem was going to nominate some 'trained specialists' to examine Putin's mental health.

Posted by: dh | Aug 20, 2016 12:19:47 PM | 72

@72 dh.. clearly i need my own head examined for wasting my time on nimrods like this!

Posted by: james | Aug 20, 2016 12:47:55 PM | 74

@69 dh

It's the neo-cons' map. The color code is in the pdf, it's a one pager.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 20, 2016 12:48:17 PM | 75

@70 james

The best cure for the common troll is to ignore it. It'll go away by itself in a few days, whether you medicate it or not.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 20, 2016 12:51:31 PM | 76

I'm not sure whether anyone has said it clearly yet, but US policy in Syria is the same as it was in Iraq, and indeed the policy of the French in the 1920s: divide Syria into miniature cantons, so that they're no longer a threat. This is the reason for the US support of the independence of Rojava, and why they're trying to turn the Kurds against Asad.

Of course, the US never learns. The policy didn't work in Iraq, with the partial exception of KRG, but I remember time and time again the US talking warmly about cantonisation, notably Biden. But then so many US policies didn't work in Iraq (Oil Law, anyone?). The partial exception, KRG, is only a partial exception, because the economy doesn't work. They're bankrupt, and for long couldn't pay the Peshmerga, let alone anyone else. The P. are supposed to be being paid by the US now, according to the Kurds themselves! When you compare KRG with Rojava, KRG nevertheless is well situated. Rojava is living on thin air. How successful is the cantonisation project going to be once the US loses interest in Rojava?

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 20, 2016 12:57:23 PM | 77

74
Nimrod fails to kill Abram

it is interesting you should bring up nimrod james who is the bigger anti semetic monster?
who is the smaller little man who sees himself as judge and jury.
what is your role here exactly.
i was told you was on the correct side and supported a strong israel?
clearly fairweather friend.

Posted by: menechem golani | Aug 20, 2016 12:59:04 PM | 78

@73 Les, 'Turkey voices support'

What a difference a coup makes, eh. Erdogan's lonely nights were blue, dear, 'till Putin said you're mine.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 20, 2016 1:00:05 PM | 79

Curtis @ 62

Indeed, the goal is to remove/destroy any obstacle to the survival of their little project called Israel. It's all about securing the realm for Israel to be the only dominant force in the region. Think about it, as things stand, Israel's security costs the US billions of $$ every year due to perceived threats form Hezbollah, Iran, Syria etc etc.

Removing these percieved "threats" will save the US billions of $$ in the end. For the US, the ongoing regime change project in Syria has been the cheapest. They're not the ones footing the bill. It's their pliable allies in the Persian Gulf who're doing all the heavy lifting - providing dumb meat to the slaughterhouses on the frontline. The US is only providing diplomatic and logistical support.

Having said that, I'm not sure they'll succeed. The position of the US in the Middle East will be diminished, much like their influence in South America, by the end of this decade. Syria is their last gig and they know it.

Posted by: Zico | Aug 20, 2016 1:00:30 PM | 80

@77 lg, 'How successful is the cantonisation project going to be once the US loses interest in Rojava?'

How successful is the larger 'cantonization project' going to be once the US 'loses interest'?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 20, 2016 1:07:50 PM | 81

@80 zico, 'Syria is their last gig and they know it'

From your lips to the ears of Allah.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 20, 2016 1:11:03 PM | 82

Posted by: milomilo | Aug 20, 2016 2:04:57 AM | 39

1. I don't know who was behind what seems like an attempted coup.

2. My position is NOT the same as the US/West. They US/West says that Erdogan conducted a false flag coup -OR- that he knew that there would be a coup attempt but let it go forward so that he could justify a wider purge.

But I wonder if perhaps intelligence services of other Assad must go! Coalition countries helped to set up the attempted coup to strengthen an ally and to attempt to gain other benefits (influence Putin, intelligence regarding strategic and operational planning, etc.).

Why would any Turkish military officer agree to go along with a coup unless he/she knew that here would be support from: the people, opposition groups, US/NATO? Since it seems clear that there was no support among the people and opposition groups, I assume that the coup ringleaders thought that they had US/NATO support. But if that is
true, why was the coup so weak?

I don't buy the excuses that the CIA is incompetent or that the coup was rushed.

3. I'm disgusted at the inhumanity on display in Syria. US/Western elites that have allied with Zionists and Gulf State monarchs are the same that are waging a neoliberal war against the 99%.

After all that has occurred, I am cynical so I'm not willing to accept the 'reality' that is presented.

As I wrote above, I find the narrative that Erdogan has saved Turkish democracy to be distastful because Erdogan is an authoritarian that has just cemented his control. Why do we see this narrative pushed so much? It seems designed to strengthen Erdogan and distance Turkey from the West.

To pro-Russian readers of MoA, Erdogan's supposed 'pivot' makes soooo much sense. There is a lack of skepticism because of the hope that Russia prevails.

IMO the Assad must go! Coalition will do whatever they can to win short of WWIII. Using a potential Turkish pivot as a false inducement wouldn't surprise me at all.

Erdogan has been a key member of the Assad must go! Coalition. And he continues to say that Assad must go. Turkey is still a member of NATO. What has (really) changed?

It may take months before we have a solid understanding of this attempted coup. It would help if people that are familiar with Turkey would comment on what is going on there. Who is being purged? Are there any protests?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 20, 2016 1:22:27 PM | 83

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 20, 2016 1:22:27 PM | 83

China has decided to get involved in Syria. China is Saudi's number one customer. My tea leaves say that the war is over.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 20, 2016 1:31:58 PM | 84

My speculation. The neocons controlling policy may be seeing that Al Queda will be beaten in Aleppo which looks to effectively crush everybody but IS in Northern Syria. The neocons need a substitute anti-Assad army on the ground to fill the void left by the defeat of Al Queda. The neocons may be looking for the Kurds to fill that role. Not sure how far the Kurds will go along with neocon goals.

Posted by: Erelis | Aug 20, 2016 1:44:48 PM | 85

Making my rounds of the usual sites I find a lot of trolls at work in the last few days. This has the effect to dilute threads and irritate good commenters, all of which it is intended to do. The group wisdom of the Internet has examined this factor and consistently concludes that the only thing to do for the health of a thread is not to feed the trolls.

This doesn't mean not to answer false claims with real information, nor to talk about points raised by these people, nor even to mention these people, avoiding ad hominem if possible. But it does mean, never respond directly, as if in discussion (grammatically, in the vocative case, as in "you"). At this point, the thread is weakened.

I personally believe from my own experience in commercial social media, that provocateurs get paid more, or at least make more favorable grades, according to the number of responses they can elicit - engagement is an important metric that I include in reports to my own clients. So it doesn't matter if you shoot a bad comment down completely, the bad commenter still makes points for engaging you directly.

But the recent surge in this activity is actually encouraging to me. We always see this when something is happening on the ground in military terms - i.e. when the patrons of the trolls are losing badly, and the fight is serious. When all you have to fight with is propaganda and theater, it makes sense that we see an assault on comment threads across the analytical space.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 20, 2016 1:51:43 PM | 86

@85 The Kurds are too busy fighting each other to ever consider taking on Assad.

Posted by: dh | Aug 20, 2016 1:59:53 PM | 87

re 81

How successful is the larger 'cantonization project' going to be once the US 'loses interest'?
Your graphic representing the 'cantonization project' wasn't the right one, as it shows the present situation.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 20, 2016 2:23:35 PM | 88

The US and friends create all kinds of lethal distractions every time Aleppo is close to being liberated from their jihadists. I suspect this is more of the same but its also a prelude to what will happen once (if) the Jihadists are defeated.

It is time to increase pro gov ground forces (Iranians?) and actually take Aleppo. This has gone on too long and Hillary's options in Syria must be not just limited but ended before she is appointed.

Russia and friends have to close Syrian air space to hostiles like the US once Aleppo is taken and maybe now. The US, under Hillary, will attack Assads' forces if they dont. It might not be declared as such but best case is lots of accidental air strikes by the US that kill Syrian troops who are poised to defeat jihadists and it could be a lot more overt than that.

Posted by: alaric | Aug 20, 2016 2:26:22 PM | 89

Well if the U.S. can create Syrian Democratic Forces to fight the Syrian government, then Iran can create a Liberation Army to fight the SDF.

"The forces that belong to this army are not Iranians only. In any place where there is a fight, we organise and supply the army from the people of the area," said Falaki."

"With regard to Syria, he said: "It is not wise for our Iranian forces to be directly thrown into war in Syria. Therefore our role should be limited to train, supply, and prepare the Syrians to fight in their areas."

Iraq, Syria and Yemen will see the beginnings of this new army...

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/08/iran-raises-force-deploy-arab-states-reports-160820061102379.html

Posted by: h | Aug 20, 2016 2:28:54 PM | 90

#86 good and sensible comment. agree to 100%

Posted by: radiator | Aug 20, 2016 2:43:00 PM | 91

h@90- quite a turnout at the anti-Saudi rally in Sana. Must be a few willing recruits...

The people of #Yemen have spoken. Massive anti-#Saudi and pro-Supreme Political Council rally in Sana'a today.
https://mobile.twitter.com/IraqiSecurity/status/767025233744232449

Posted by: hejiminy cricket | Aug 20, 2016 2:54:44 PM | 92

re 92.

I am sure the Saudi bombing of the demonstration did the Saudis a lot of bad, even if the bombs were quite a way away. Foolish on the part of the Saudis.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 20, 2016 3:12:37 PM | 93

Laguerre@93- do you have a link to bombing?

Posted by: hejiminy cricket | Aug 20, 2016 3:14:31 PM | 94

Saudi Air Force bombs Yemeni civilians at anti-Saudi protest

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 20, 2016 3:19:47 PM | 95

Here's Canthama's Hasakah update for the 20th:

"1) Russia and Iran are helping to bridge a peaceful solution for this crisis, meeting held at the Qamishli airport today and maybe it is still on.
2) Any gains are reverted quickly due to minimum fighters involved, but the ma below seems still to be the best out there.
https://twitter.com/Lawrence1918x/status/766913665551310848
3) As long as the Asayish Kurds police have support from some local arab tribes, the longer this issue will continue. At the moment in Hasaka we have Assyrians and Arabs fighting the Asayish Kurds.
4) It has been a cloudy battle, very few reliable info, but in general there are very little presence of YPG and SAA so far, maybe none is more accurate. But it does not mean they won't intervene if things get seriously out of control.
5) I would be careful with the Kurds nationalists in the web, based on their tale the Asayishs have gained Hasaka in the first minute of the fight, and the reality on the ground is that the NDF has gained net-net ground so far (see map above). Independently of who is braver or what, the fact is that the communities inside Hasaka are encircled, and the Kurdish police manage food and trade in and out, so this situation has potential to go wild if not managed properly, something will have to change in the dynamics of this truce for people to live in peace, but it seems that the timing of this attack has indicated some Kurdish factions are now either desperate or gambling with the recent announcement between Iran-Turkey meeting followed by the Russia-Turkey meeting where Syria was top priority. There is no coincidence here, only consequences to bigger moves.
6) Should the fight turn into a wild fire then I foresee the Republican Guards moving into the battle scene form Der ez Zor, that changes a lot the perspective of victory for any Kurdish or SDF faction, one thing is to battle NDF the other is to face General Zahreddine and his brave soldiers. http://syrianperspective.com/2016/08/terrorist-numbers-drying-up-in-aleppo-as-syrian-army-kills-over-60-syrian-army-slashes-rodents-in-hama-major-advance-in-daarayyaa-snafu-at-idlib-crossing.html

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 20, 2016 3:25:29 PM | 96

With regards to the SDF US relationship this interview sheds some light:

https://southfront.org/sdf-spokesman-confirms-the-group-does-nothing-without-signals-from-the-united-states-vdieo/

In the exclusive interview to Lifenews, Silo said that the alliance with the United States has a strategic importance for the SDF and emphasized that the United States and the US-led international coalition make decisions on strategic and tactical level that the SDF has to follow. For exmaple: to avoid cooperation with the SAA and the Russians and to not attack ISIS if there is no a “signal” from the United States.

Silo’s quotes:

“It’s forbidden to negotiate with the Russians because we seek for an alliance with the United States. It’s impossible to communicate with any other party and to not lose the credibility of the international coalition. Of course, we are free, but we can not attack if there is not signal from the Americans.”

“We will not unite with the Syrian army against ISIS because our forces operate only with the forces of the international coalition led by the United States. We are partners of the United States and the coalition. They make decisions. There can’t be a coordination between the Russians and us. Because first of all we have a strategic partnership with the international coalition led by the United States.”

Posted by: Dean | Aug 20, 2016 3:28:07 PM | 97

I would have thought that the Kurdish conflict goes in the way already defined. Some go for the American plan of independence, even if it is not realistic in economic terms. Others realise that a deal will have to be made with Asad.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 20, 2016 3:39:23 PM | 98

With regards to "Kurdistan". I often refer to the US military map of how the Middle East should be carved up when pondering upon current events. It shows a Kurdistan that takes in eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, and northwestern Iran.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882

The Kurdish resistance has started stirring up things in Iran lately. So the three areas are being mobilized. I suspect the CIA may know a bit about this.

Posted by: Dean | Aug 20, 2016 3:40:28 PM | 99

Lots of informational items at Southfront today covering this thread's discussion along with one about propaganda boy. So, crack a beer and prepare to stay there awhile perusing, https://southfront.org/

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 20, 2016 3:49:25 PM | 100

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