Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 05, 2016

Syria - Who Wins In The Turkish-Russian Deal?

Two headlines today support the claim that "western" media reporting often defies the observable reality.

Isis has lost control of its last territories on the border with Turkey, monitoring groups say, in a major blow to the group's ability to receive foreign fighters from the rest of the world.

Neither is ISIS cut of from the world, nor from NATO. Fighters as well as goods can still cross to and from Turkey like they did throughout the last years.

Just take a look at the map:

bigger

The Turkish-Syrian border between Azaz, Al-Ra'i and Jarablus, with ISIS (grey) on the southern side, was always open for traffic between the two areas. Now the Turkish army and Turkish proxy forces of "moderate rebels" moved into the green strip of land on the Syrian side. This did not seal or close the border, as other countries had demanded. It simply moved the border south. Crossing between the ISIS held area and the Turkish controlled area will now be easier because media will have no access to the area. Deals will be made out of sight and money will flow as well as traffic.

There was no fighting at all about the strip between ISIS and the Turkish forces. The Turks told ISIS to move south and it did so before the Turks and its mercenaries moved in. There was not even one Turkish casualty from fighting ISIS over the area. The change of the territorial borderline was obviously done in mutual agreement.

It is ridiculous that some media try to sell that as a closing of the border or as a cut off. It is the opposite.

Turkey's main intention with this move was to prevent a connection of the (yellow) Kurdish areas in the east and the west. Such a Kurdish controlled connecting strip along the border would indeed have sealed it. ISIS traffic would not have been allowed to pass Kurdish checkpoints.

Turkey will probably try to annex the area it has taken. There are plans to build new cities on the Syrian side to house refugees currently in Turkish camps. Turkey could thereby offload a major burden its war on Syria has brought onto it.

Russia and Iran had agreed to the Turkish move into the area after Turkey promised to end its support for attacks on Aleppo city. It has yet to be seen if Turkey will stick to this promise. Some of the Turkish proxy fighters involved in the attack on Aleppo were pulled back and moved to the now occupied border strip. But material support for the attack in form of ammunition and other supplies seems to continue.

Two decent analyst argue that the agreement, while not entirely preferred, is still in Russia's and Syria's advantage.

Elijah Magnier says (Arabic) (English, unedited) that Russian policy in Syria is like a Matryoshka doll with one item placed inside the other. The most elaborate of these dolls has 50 levels of nesting with a total of 51 dolls. Says Magnier:

Putin seems have pulled out his first Matryushka doll by bombing the enemies of Damascus last September. He pulled out the second smaller doll when accepting a cease-fire. Then he pulled out a third doll by helping to besiege Aleppo the first time. The fourth was skilfully brought out when he supported Erdogan and approved –Putin before Obama – a safe passage for the Turkish troops into Syria.

Should Turkey move away from the agreement, or the U.S. try something nasty, another outer doll of the 47 left will be removed and a new Russian plan will become visible.

Raphaël Lebrujah of the French Mediapart giving his view (French) (English, machine translated) the Turkish-Russian deal:

Putin has just played a masterstroke. Indeed, in addition to having obtained many benefits from Erdogan, he just throw Turkey, an old adversary in the Syrian hell. Erdogan was carried away by his obsession, the fight against Kurdish.
...
Russia achieved the feat with one stone three hits against three opponents of the regime: the Kurds, the Syrian Islamists and Turkey. By destabilizing relations within these three actors and one against throwing in others it is a masterstroke. Better, the US appear to be divided between pro-Turkish and pro-Kurdish. Indeed, the CIA and US policies appear closer to the Turkish interests and the pentagon, that of the Kurds.

Economically Russia wins by again opening trade with Turkey. The "moderate" Islamist in the new Turkish zone are now separated from the al-Qaeda groups around Aleppo. Turks and Kurds in Syria will stay busy with fighting each other. Indeed Russia can use the Kurds against Turkey should Erdogan try to play foul. A few anti-tank or anti-air weapons smuggled into Turkey's east from Armenia will hurt the Turkish army in its fight against the local PKK. The Turkish conscript army, already weakened through purges after the recent coup, can not absorb high casualties without alarming the Turkish public.

ISIS will still be connected to Turkey. But its fighting power is severely diminished and it is already falling back into guerrilla mode. It now mostly avoids open battles. It will be ground down over time.

Surprises may still come from ISIS as it has some very well trained personnel. Its new military commander is Gulmurod Khalimov, a special forces officer from Tajikistan, long trained in counterterrorism by U.S. advisors and special forces. He replaces the dead Abu Omar al-Shishani, a Chechen special force officer from Georgia, long trained in counterterrorism by U.S. advisors and special forces. Look there! The Russians just dropped a barrel bomb! Nothing to see here, Nothing at all ...

Posted by b on September 5, 2016 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

Comments
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Great piece,as usual.

Posted by: Hannibal | Sep 5, 2016 1:07:30 PM | 1

We know takfiris are coming out of Turkey into Syria. Are fresh recruits arriving into Turkey?

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 5, 2016 1:10:17 PM | 2

THIRD!!!!!!

Oh, and thanks b!

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 5, 2016 1:14:28 PM | 3

Mr"B". Between yourself and the people at "Katehon" you shine a bright bulb into the murky gloom that is reporting on geopolitical events. And I say this as someone who live in London with the so called "free" press (yeah right).
Keep up the good work and as I said in my previous post, if there is ever a funding drive, it will be nothing to dip into my pocket and support your HONEST and brilliant journalism. Stay safe

Posted by: Skeletor | Sep 5, 2016 1:37:48 PM | 4

And the beat goes on. The dead horse still gets the beating ... and while B does us a service by truth - telling ... nattering is about all that happens. I'm a nattering ninny ... and so not alone on this blog.

So, aside from the incessant whining ... anybody have a real, honest to goodness, half-assed or better thought about what to do?

--- silence --- self-described as criticism ---

That's just what I expected ...

--- silence --- self-described as criticism ---

Posted by: rg the lg | Sep 5, 2016 1:44:32 PM | 5

I an not entirely sure about this. I think I give it some time to clear up. To me, there were two Turkeys up to about a month ago: The visible one with Erdogan as president and the hidden parallel one. You know, the one which was encouraged to attempt a Coup d'Etat.

Today there is only one Turkey. The hidden one no longer exists.

Posted by: Donny | Sep 5, 2016 1:48:22 PM | 6

thanks b. and thanks for elijah m's latest... good analogy of the dolls inside dolls.. it is very much like this with those only capable of seeing the exterior, incapable of seeing much..

i think the issue of turkeys relationship to isis remains unanswered.. we know the saudi/israel/usa relationship to it, but how will turkey move forward here? as yonatan asks @ 2 - i also wonder how any of this is going to change.. i don't see erdogan doing the honourable thing here.. he is serving islam, not the people of turkey.. in this regard he seems to think supporting whackjobs to go make mayham in syria is something honourable. it isn't.. lets be done with this 'moderate' term once and for all.. to me it yells bullshite every time it gets mentioned..

In Turkey, a Chechen Commander Makes Plans for War in Syria... these are the kinds of folks turkey is supporting..

Posted by: james | Sep 5, 2016 2:05:58 PM | 7

Oh b, you’re firing on all 16 valves. I had a question in the previous post. Will Turkey had over to Syria these "liberated" territories?


”Should Turkey move away from the agreement, or the U.S. try something nasty, another outer doll of the 47 left will be removed and a new Russian plan will become visible.

From your mouth and hands to the Big One’s delivery.

A very troubling article by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky at Global Research that is full of intrigue and maps. It is hoped he is proven wrong.

US-NATO-Turkey Invasion of Northern Syria: CIA “Failed” Turkey Coup Lays Groundwork for Broader Middle East War?

[.] "Washington will no doubt eventually clash with Ankara with regard to Turkey’s project of territorial expansion in Northern Syria.

Washington’s longstanding objective is to create a Kurdish State in Northern Syria, within the framework of a territorial breakup of both Syria and Iraq. (see US National War Academy map below). In a bitter irony, this “New Middle East” project also consists in annexing part of Turkey to the proposed Kurdish State. In other words, Turkey’s New Ottoman objective of territorial expansion encroaches upon Washington’s design to fragment Iraq, Syria, Iran as well as Turkey. In other words, America’s ultimate imperial design is to weaken Turkey as a regional power."

[The] Pentagon has defined a military roadmap: “The road to Tehran goes through Damascus.” The invasion of Northern Syria creates conditions for a broader war.

Moreover, on the US agenda is a longstanding objective, namely to wage war on Iran. In this regard, US military strategy largely consists in creating conditions for America’s staunchest allies (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel) to confront Iran, and act indirectly on behalf of US interests. i.e. “do the job for us”.

MAP OF THE NEW MIDDLE EAST
{..}
Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles.

The failed coup was indeed supported by the CIA, but the failure was coordinated with President Erdogan. It was an intelligence op which was meant to fail and mislead public opinion.


~ ~ ~ ~

Wonder no more. There will be no Russia-USA agreement on Syria. Turkey cannot afford a second double cross- weakened economically and NATO-US cannot make whole.

Scroll down and take a look at this G20 summit photo in Pepe Escobar’s article..

Obama looking on at Erdogan in conversation with Putin. Deserving of a caption.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 5, 2016 2:28:56 PM | 8

The Guardian and RT have articles on the Putin-Obama meeting in China today. RT quotes Putin that puts a very optimistic spin on the talks while the Guardian quotes Obama to support its very pessimistic view. It does look like Lavrov and Kerry are going to continue those talks. It is clear that the Russians think that something positive can come out of further discussion. I have no idea what that might be, since February the US has been demanding that the Russians surrender and Russians are trying to convince the US that its policies have failed. If Kerry doesn't realize by now that his policies have failed it doesn't seem likely he ever will.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 5, 2016 2:45:11 PM | 9

ISIS is called ISIS again. Maybe it will begin once again to recruit nubile white females like it was doing before. (IMHO, That was a psy op aka false flag).

Posted by: fast freddy | Sep 5, 2016 3:04:55 PM | 10

There may be a race going on, trying to maximize facts on the ground before the likely new president him;;ary and her neocon circle come into power. This calculation may explain some of Russia's moves as well as those of the SAA. Clearly, West Aleppo is destined to remain part of Syria, since much effort seems to have been concentrated on re-establishing the siege of the Al-Qaeda (oe whatever name they go by these days) controlled part of Aleppo. There may even have been a secret agreement between Russia, Syria and Turkey as to how much of the idlib province, now controlled by Turkey proxies can and will be returned to Syrian control.

The Assad government also seems keen to eradicate the last remaining pockets of "rebels" around damascus, and many believe that East Goutta will ultimately go the way of daaraaya, with an agreement allowing the fighters to leave for idlib.

I believe there will also be some moves around daraa to 'correct" the border areas with Jordan, while those recent rebel gains in hama will all be reversed at some cost. raqaa will, of course remain for ISIS to hold onto since no one seems to want to lose much by way of personnel for this last bastion. bad bad for the people and citizens of raqaa, but geopolitics cares little for actual real people.

So come December/january, there may well be some agreement concluded on Syria, albeit with a truncated country, and various influence zones left intact, in the form of the preferred Russian solution of a "frozen conflict". Assad will remain in power, saudi Arabia will be left out, Turkey will come out stronger and the US will continue to wave fists. That leaves the question of what will the neocons do, now with hillary under their thumb?

I predict that rather than go away 9which they are uninclined to do by the nature of neocon DNA) they will continue to try and cause trouble, just as they do in Ujraine. one thing we can count on is a continuation of a disjointed, incoherent US foreign policy and more "stupid moves" caused by internal conflicts within the CIA, between the CIA and the military and among the squabbling neocons themselves. being able to count on fundamental stupidity of America's"perpetual war" planners, is exactly what Putin's Russia is expecting.

Of course, there is a [small] chance of Trump winning. In which case, we can expect a two-year long period of blissful paralysis of almost all government functions, as Trump is learning the ropes of governance, while republicans are desperately trying to get him to execute on THEIR plans. I kind of like this latter scenario. may be Putin likes it too, knowing that paralysis has its uses (ki8cking cans down the road and all that, buying time to plan and upgrade and move pieces on the the flanks). Alas, this is not likely for exactly the reasons listed above. the deep State selected hillary as its puppet so perhaps that's that. Unless something happens.....

Posted by: Merlin2 | Sep 5, 2016 3:11:37 PM | 11

Much apologies for the numerous typos. Submitted before having a chance to review. one can only hope that the wise minds on these comment threads will see through those bad strokes......

Posted by: Merlin2 | Sep 5, 2016 3:14:24 PM | 12

9.
Of course Obama is "pessimistic". He has less than 2 months left. He is written off in all of the world's capitals, and Russians are using the talks to run down the clock on his presidency.

Posted by: telescope | Sep 5, 2016 3:19:04 PM | 13

@9 ToivoS
Putin, Lavrov naive????
If it looks like a fiend, quacks like a fiend, walks like a fiend, acts like a fiend ... it's a fiend...

Posted by: From The Hague | Sep 5, 2016 3:23:35 PM | 14

Turkey will probably try to annex the area it has taken.
I doubt that Turkey has that ambition. What does it give to Turkey? The situation is more likely like the Turkish post in Iraq near to Mosul. Temporary.

Turkey is in post-coup recovery; they're not ready for unnecessary advances. Erdogan is obsessed by the Kurds. Preventing the Kurds of Rojava joining with the Kurds of Afrin is a major issue. He is wrong. That join will never be made. The territory in between is inhabited by Sunni Arabs.

If there's one thing that has become clear in the last few years, it is that Sunni Arabs (ISIS) can't conquer Kurdish inhabited land (Kobane), and Kurds can't occupy Arab inhabited land. Though with American aid, the Kurds did occupy much of northern Iraq after 2003, they evaporated when ISIS arrived. The offensives now stop at the ethnic border. No Kurdish attack upon Raqqa, no join with Afrin.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 5, 2016 3:24:20 PM | 15

@12 Watch out for Ronald.

Posted by: dh | Sep 5, 2016 3:26:44 PM | 16

So this whole piece was talking about what's happening TO Syria, and yet what Syria wanted was never Mentioned by b.

LAUGHABLE. If it wasn't so horrible.

Got it, Syrian sovereignty does not matter, except, when you want to make a biased point ? Same with the Kurdish people ? There not humans, are there just pawns in the great economic game is what I'm seeing.

Posted by: tom | Sep 5, 2016 3:35:19 PM | 17

17.
When you have a nearly dead corpse on the operating table, the news release will be about what's happening TO it, not what it "wants" or how "sovereign" it is. The surgeon is bound to take all the life and death decisions, himself constrained by the multitude of other risks and possibilities.

Posted by: telescope | Sep 5, 2016 4:05:56 PM | 18

This crap about Russian dolls is deceptive. The situation is quite simple. Erdogan is obsessed by the Kurds; he will do anything to prevent them succeeding, one side of the border or the other. The Syrian Kurds of Rojava understand that in the post-war they will have to make a deal with Asad, but at the moment they're under great pressure from the US to make war on Asad, so they haver, and sometimes attack Asad. The Russians support Asad. The US is committed to eliminating Asad, according to public statement.

So. The SDF offensive towa

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 5, 2016 4:08:57 PM | 19

So. The SDF offensive towards Afrin is not going to succeed. There isn't going to be a Kurdish attack on Raqqa. ISIS will not be cut off from Turkey.

What is going to happen is the siege of Aleppo. According to b and other sources, east Aleppo is now cut off. In any case, they haven't had mobile telephones for a while. If they don't open a new road, things look grim.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 5, 2016 4:22:10 PM | 20

It cannot be possible that Turkey could enter the Syrian theater militarily - and with the foregoing planning and ultimate agreement of the resistance allies - without its exact moves being accounted for by the central command. Even a lay view says that all of Syria, down to its last square meter, must exist on battle maps drawn by the resistance military planners, and overlain with innumerable contingency scenarios.

Every analyst and every comment on the Turkey move has built from the premise that no one knows what Turkey will do. But as the commenter Diana told us yesterday, one military analyst has given us an actual list of the parameters that govern Turkey's actions - the conditions upon which Russia, Syria and Iran so clearly have reached an agreement. To approach such an agreement without agreeing and drawing up its specific battle maneuvers - I now, belatedly, realize - is unthinkable.

As reported yesterday by Sharmine Narwani, the action of Turkey is to aid in the separation of forces of the terrorists. Factions are realigning, seeking rehabilitation into Syria, changing sides, joining the FSA to be overseen by Turkey, etc. The original "cessation of hostilities" plan is in force again, this time operating with or without the US. Sift out the redeemable terrorists. Kill the rest.

As reported last week by Valentin Vasilescu - and many thanks to Diana - the terms of Turkey's entry into Syria include: the Euphrates as boundary of Turkey's eastern advance, and the western border to the Kurdish westward advances - Turkey's original red line in fact. No more than 8,000 Turkish troops. And with a couple of battle-related contingencies, no movement beyond "a strip between the cities of Quarah Koubri and Jarablus (90 km) with a depth of 30 km from the Turkish-Syrian border."

And finally, "...Turkey will create a safety cordon along the Syrian-Turkish border to prevent the dispersal of Islamic State fighters to other countries." Turkey will let all its tame terrorists into Syria. But they won't coming out.

Those with a better grasp of the territory can easily inform us if these conditions are being met or not. Frankly it matters less to me what the terms are - and if Vasilescu's information is correct - than the stunning wake-up thought that of course there must be terms of some kind. When is any agreement between any parties ever reached without terms? And especially with the Russians?

One does not simply walk into Syria.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 5, 2016 4:29:35 PM | 21

Tom @17: descriptive v prescriptive. Calm down.

Posted by: j | Sep 5, 2016 4:50:34 PM | 22

The Kurds have a chunk. Turkey has a chunk. Russia has a chunk. The US has a chunk (via the Kurds and via Turkey and via ISIS). Israel has a chunk. Assad has a rump state, albeit including the most populous regions. I would guess the real negotiating point between Putin and the US, at this point, is over Assad - the US will have to make some kind of trade, perhaps involving Ukraine and Russia will have to have a way to save face. Assad will surely go under the bus, eventually, and the US will get his head, but exactly how will all this be arranged? My guess is that some kind of deal with begin to emerge over Ukraine and then, not long after, Assad will be discovered to have allegedly used chemical weapons and this time Russia will sadly shake its head and declare that Assad has to go after all. The allegation probably won't need to be any more true than it has been before. Don't feel bad Mr. Assad. It's not personal. It's just business.

Posted by: paul | Sep 5, 2016 5:20:08 PM | 23

Well, I'm still waiting for more than commentary and bloviating.

No solutions ... just a bunch of air (mostly hot) about opinions and counter-opinions. Sure ...

This is FUN? But, does it lead anywhere?

20 plus comments ... 20 plus efforts to upstage ... 20 plus bloviations ...

Going nowhere ...

Posted by: rg the lg | Sep 5, 2016 5:57:32 PM | 24

"One does not just walk into Syria";
but apparently, one sort of inches one's way into it.

The allusion to the Matryoshka dolls may be nothing but bullshit. The question may not amount to how many dolls are nested, one within the other, but how many rats are conjoined at the tail, to form a Ratking. The smell of partition is strong in these.

The Russians are biding their time, reducing the intensity of the daily conflict, prolonging the charade that there will ever be an agreement, short of partition of Syria, arranged between the US and Russia, and the other parties. The outcome of the US elections will make for a prognosis of the international body politic, in terms of what preparations must be made, or subsequent negotiation to pursue.

It is a waiting game and a rather uneasy hiatus ahead.

Posted by: Copeland | Sep 5, 2016 6:27:52 PM | 25

24.
You may want to get checked for some mental issues if you are seriously looking for "solutions" and for "more than commentary" at the comment section.

Posted by: telescope | Sep 5, 2016 6:27:55 PM | 26

b,

I think the analogy is between Trump and Erdogan. The underspecified twins who play endlessly on the hopes of those before whom they perform. Erdogan has made no deal with 'the Resistance', or if he has issued some vague assurances he will no more stick to them than he has stuck to any other of his pronouncements. The only ones who know about his 'secret' deals are just those who wanna believe, who try to project their own preferred scenarios onto the situation, and who are in fact acting as Erdogan's projectionists : Katehon and Elijah Magnier, for instance. I have no special insight into this situation, I'm just going by what's unfolded so far, and projecting that, rather than my own hopes into the future.

@9 TS, 'If Kerry doesn't realize by now that his policies have failed it doesn't seem likely he ever will.'

The US policy is to bleed the 'unaligned' world to death while 'negotiating' at the same time, pretending that something other than bald death, devastation, destruction, and deceit is going on in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen. Meanwhile the people are dying, everywhere. The US has been behind the Israeli/Palestinian 'negotiations' - as someone else pointed out here yesterday or the day before - for decades. Bleeding both the Palestinians and American taxpayers dry all the while. And those negotiations look to be about to end soon, 'successfully', with the elimination of Palestine and the Palestinian people.

Can Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen be far behind? I hope not. But if the destruction of Syria, for instance, fails it will not be due to any lack of effort by USrael/NATO/Turkey/KSA/GCCs, it will be due to the exertions of the Syrians themselves with the help of the Russian/Iranian/Lebanese/Palestinian peoples.

The same is true in Donbass and the Ukraine. If the destruction of Ukraine - Donbass, actually, the Ukraine itself is in very tough shape - fails it will not be due to any lack of effort by USrael/NATO/France/Germany/UK, it will be due to the exertions of the people of the Donbass with the help of the Russians. And so on, in all the countries marked for destruction by the USA.

What's required is more insurrection against the US and its doomsday plans by its vassals, especially in Europe. Will the Europeans finally wake-up before they are sacrificed to the US' intents, before they, too, are bled to death - perhaps very abruptly - in the US/NATO war on Russia? The US election is unlikely to change much in US policy. The change must come from non-compliance among those playing the ottomans in the US' Ottoman Empire. From the revolt of the upholstered footstools.

The Chinese will 'win-win', on both sides of every transaction, making money, lending money, acquiring vassals of their own all the while, no matter what happens in Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 5, 2016 6:36:30 PM | 27

Rf the lg @ 24:

Well, why do you think the comments forum is ... a comments forum?

No-one here has accurate knowledge or insight as to what is happening in Syria. Only those close to Erdogan, Putin, Assad and their advisors can know anything close to what they are thinking and anticipating. Who do you take everyone here for? We're not Olympian gods (though some of us might wish we were).

Everyone who comments here has the right to offer an opinion or counter-opinion that may or may not shed any light as to what the reality on the ground is, or on what Ankara, Moscow and Damascus have hammered out among themselves. No matter how biased or ignorant an opinion / counter-argument is, once it's up on the comments thread it can be discussed for any flaws or insights it might have. This is the way we can learn from one another.

Sure, there are some opinions that are jaw-dropping in their ignorance but you don't have to read those if you don't want to. I just usually glance over them just to see what people are thinking and how what they say might represent the general thinking of people in the West about particular issues. Over time, you get to know whose opinions are of most value and are worth following.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 5, 2016 7:16:32 PM | 28

No one knows what the deal with Turkey and possibly beyond is. It seems Erdogan er al are maintaining support of all the various anti Assad factions. That the Americans provided air cover for the initial entry into Syria is troublesome,unless of course they are also part of the deal. As ultimately the war against Syria stems from a larger geo-political strategy we must pay attention to this as well as it is the back drop to this entire sordid affair. Can a deal be made so that a consortium of Mid East gas suppliers can service Europe, each taking a share of the profits or is the Empire still set on having its way? Many other factors also play into the mix, one being war is good for the Empire's MIC and of course Israel's failure to come to agreeable terms with the Palestinians, that it seems unlikely the Empire will come to terms with the Resistance Bloc anytime soon. It is my belief that the American election has little to do with the Empire's foreign policies as they flow seamlessly from one administration to the next. No doubt the Empire has some aces up their sleeves as well, though off hand I can't think of what they would be that would turn the sequence of events in their favour apart from a dangerous escalation to facts on the ground.

Posted by: BRF | Sep 5, 2016 7:32:19 PM | 29

jfl #27

I can see that given the evidence it is easy to conclude that US policy is simply create destruction and mayhem around the world. To be sure the US is criminally negligent in their willingness to destroy and kill in the third world in pursuit of her policies. Certainly in 50 years after WWII the US destroyed and killed with abandon but one could make sense of the policies if one was to accept that the US was building an imperialist empire -- certainly not in the interests of the American people but in the interests of the 1%.

However, at least since our invasion Iraq nearly everything we have done makes no sense to any interests (one exception was the Honduran coup in Obama's first year, that was an example of classical Yankee imperialism). The series of moves by Bush and Kerry have had the effect of weakening American power (the victims of course suffered more) but for the US a drip, drip, drip of decline. I not sure how this has happened. But for some reason the deep state has turned over operational control to a bunch of amateurs, clowns, con artists, who do not understand history, other cultures and geopolitics. There was a time that the State Dept was populated with real professionals (imperialists no doubt but people who knew what they were doing).

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 5, 2016 7:33:37 PM | 30

Given that Turkey is a glorified American vassal state, the Russia-Turkey deal should really be called a Russian-American deal.

And if there is one trait that defines American national character from US rulers down to the American people themselves, it is deception.

The self-styled American Beacon of Liberty is more like the Beacon of Lies.

If Russia makes a dirty deal with America (through its Turkish vassal), it will be one that violates Syrian sovereignty--whether that be through the Americans' instinctive back-stabbing ...sorry... "diplomacy" or even Russian betrayal of its Syrian client state in exchange for concessions on Ukraine and a greater voice in the imperial carve-up of Syria.

Already, Erdogan is appealing to both Russia and its American "partner" to impose a No-Fly Zone over Syria.
He even further states that "We are currently cooperating with Russia in the region of Aleppo. We are working for a ceasefire to be declared in the region... and the people of Aleppo saved from the bombs."

Given Turkey's sponsorship of the moderate terrorists being bombed in Aleppo, it's obvious whom they wish to save there.

Erdogan proposes Syria 'no-fly zone' to US, Russia
http://www.gulf-times.com/story/510744/Erdogan-proposes-Syria-no-fly-zone-to-US-Russia

Posted by: Kalashinov | Sep 5, 2016 7:45:20 PM | 31

The long game fingers crossed birthday wish could be waiting for PMUs to be freed up once daesh is cleaned up in a couple years, refitting, rebuilding the Syrian army from a patchwork of militias into an actual military, and winning the war.

Probably not, but we can dream

Posted by: Cresty | Sep 5, 2016 7:55:26 PM | 32

Here we have a picture that speaks volumes- possible Franco/Rus/Turk alliance in the works? One ring to rule them all?

Time will tell.

Posted by: hocus crocus | Sep 5, 2016 8:00:38 PM | 33

The "analysis" by the two "analysts" cited is nothing more than wishful thinking.

OF COURSE Turkey will renege on the "deal" (and we have zero evidence there even WAS a deal)! This action by Turkey was nothing more than the plan all along, as everyone said for the last three years! So now suddenly it happens, and cognitive dissonance sets in among everyone. Suddenly despite this obvious failure and serious blow to Syria and its allies, we're supposed to believe this was intended by Russia and Iran - without, I might add, Syria's approval, clearly.

It's unbelievable that people can't see that this entire action by Turkey was orchestrated by the US, once again Obama using Turkey as his stalking horse. Maybe Putin caved in because he convinced himself of the same "analysis" these two idiots put forth. I would hope not. Maybe he couldn't see any other course than going to war with Turkey. But in the end, he's lost this round.

ISIS might well be "ground down", but since their logistics continue to be guaranteed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, it may be years before they're completely reduced to "guerrilla mode" or mere terrorist attacks. This extends the war and gives the US, Turkey, Israel and NATO more opportunities - especially when Clinton is elected and decides to impose her own "no-fly zone" and directly attack Syria. What is Putin going to do then?

Putin had the opportunity to finish off ISIS over the past year. He failed to do that due to fear of being bogged down in Syria. Now he's lost his last chance to do this before he has to directly confront the US next year.

"For want of a nail..."

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Sep 5, 2016 8:13:13 PM | 34

@ 28

By Zeus may Clio lavish us with her presence, heighten the dialectic and knowledge to solve our worldly problems.

Posted by: ~f | Sep 5, 2016 9:30:14 PM | 35

In an interview with Salon, Andrew Bacevich speaks of a scholar who he admires named David Hendrickson. He says this about Hendrickson's

Brilliant work and certainly respected in academic circles, but he’s not on “NewsHour” every night. One of many interesting points that he makes in his new book is the remarkable lack of empathy on the part of American policymakers. Not sympathy. Not deference. But an inability to see a situation as it appears to people on the other side.
http://www.salon.com/2016/05/15/the_scope_of_our_failure_the_real_story_of_our_decades_long_foreign_policy_disaster_that_set_the_middle_east_on_fire/

The reason so much American foreign policy does not make sense as you state is because our policy makers don't base their decisions on reality but on an ideological basis where future realities are made up to suit the ideology. For example, ask a neocon in the State department what happens to Syria if Assad is killed or forced out. Ask them what will happen to Libya if Qaddafi is killed? Or in the case of Russia I ask neocons why would Putin want to invade a small poor country like Lithuania, and the answers I get are either religious (Putin is evil), or psychological derangement (he is a thug who wants to rule the world). Nothing even close to being rational. I am afraid that Clinton lives in that world.

Posted by: Erelis | Sep 5, 2016 9:32:02 PM | 36

Jen,
What you say (other than calling me rf instead rg) is true enough.
I still argue, for what it is(n't) worth, that positing some solutions just might make a difference. Constant pontificating is truly a fun exercise. During my graduate degrees we delighted in upstaging each other and I admit I learned a great deal through the exercise. However, we knew that it was merely an exercise.
Unless one has a goal, even in an exercise, the net result is still nothing more nor less than blathering on ... splitting hairs for the sake of splitting hairs. Nothing much is gained worth knowing.
The underlying problem, as I see it, is to ask the ultimate question. Assuming the answer is NOT 42 nor is as unappealing as 42, I see no advocacy for changing the status quo. And THAT is what I am going on about.
For what is may be worth, do have a pleasant ... day, evening, life, etc.
rG the lg

Posted by: rg the lg | Sep 5, 2016 9:52:04 PM | 37

@ 36

Ya know, sadly I agree with you. Ultimately we're just more assholes trying to find out where to shit.

I've tried a lot of productive things but just keep smashing my head against the keyboard. (PEBKAC)

Posted by: ~f | Sep 5, 2016 10:04:11 PM | 38

@telescope, @Jen

No-one here has accurate knowledge or insight as to what is happening in Syria...

Right on!

So what's your point? Everyone here more or less guessing, quoting from someone, named or unnamed sources? In another words could be cock and bull stories, like Hillary blaming Putin diverting attention or to get attention?

You may disagree, he is one guy here speak what he believe without sugar coating like President Rodrigo Duterte after he referred to Obama as a "Putang ina" Thank you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2Um0TJLEp4

Posted by: Jack Smith | Sep 5, 2016 10:06:13 PM | 39

Dumb smart phone. (PEBCAK)

Posted by: ~f | Sep 5, 2016 10:12:05 PM | 40

To all those saying that Russian had a chance to finish off or that the Syrian regime really has a chance other than to cooperate with who is willing. Take note that the Syrian army is depleted, no man power to win the war. How many times do we read where the tiger forces are deployed every single decisive battle only to be called to another region of the country where the SAA lost ground. So it practical that Syria along with their allies (Iran, Russia, Hezbolah) agree to work with Turkey, no matter how hard the pill maybe to swallow. If Turkey can curtail the seeming Kurdish ambition then let them for now. It will all be sorted, I hope you all know that all these so called carving of Syria will not be formal without a UN resolution, I think Syria will be federated and the Baath party will control it. Assad is going no where, he has too much of an upper hand, meaning, he has the people and control of the most important parts of Syria.

Posted by: Blk | Sep 5, 2016 10:19:47 PM | 41

Thanks for the posting b. I don't know how you do it so consistently. Kudos for that. Your postings are always a joy to read by someone like me that doesn't keep up on all the details.

@ Grieved The analysis you shared is insightful and additive, thanks

@ rg the lg Some of us do try and share solutions and perspective on them. As I am sure you have read, I am an advocate of ending private finance and neutering inheritance world wide. I posit that killing the "God of Mammon" would fundamentally change the incentives our society operates by....for the better, IMO. We have shown some promise as a species but have to stop slaving for the .001% as an evolutionary path. It just takes cutting the Gordian knot of fealty to competition/greed/ownership/entitlement aspects of private finance/inheritance and the sick society it built and is now failing to entirely control world wide.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 6, 2016 12:09:05 AM | 42

Psycho Historian ...
I am aware of your positions. I agree with you when you take the time to wax eloquent regarding the need to put the gawd Mammon back in his box.

Unfortunately there are many others who seldom, if ever, challenge the status quo. My guess is that they delight in saying stuff for the sake of stuff being said. Solutions are hard work ... but work that must be attempted. I've advocated revolution ... not specifying goals because revolution must take on its own characteristics and goals. Pitchforks, I suggest, should be used to put the oligarchs completely out of the picture. Short of that, I suspect a nuclear holocaust is likely simply because the haves would rather destroy everything than have what they have taken from them.

So, there ya go ... doncha know ...

Rg is a historian who worked as a librarian ... because historians are unable to actually do what they want ... but librarians can be true radicals. Thus the lg.

Posted by: rg the lg | Sep 6, 2016 12:29:49 AM | 43

@ rg the lg

I believe in evolution but not revolution. I don't think we should throw the baby out with the bath water which is what revolutions do. I think we should be wise about the structural components of our society and evolve from our feudal, or some would say not quite Enlightened, past. Rule-of-law is an admiral concept but is currently subordinate to rule-of-money, for example. I posit that if rule-of-money did not exist that rule-of-law would be turned on its head and the goals of laws would be to be as succinct, yet generalized as possible. It would be accepted that humanity needs to regulate against its negative tendencies, be clear about expectations of behavior and consequences of being in violation. The current concept about, what of profit?, would be removed from the equation.....assuming you get rid of private finance

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 6, 2016 1:22:59 AM | 44

Posted by: Erelis | Sep 5, 2016 9:32:02 PM | 35

She doesn't. She is intelligent. But interests - economic and otherwise - are short term in the US.

Clinton on "we went to work"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dqn0bm4E9yw

Posted by: somebody | Sep 6, 2016 1:30:43 AM | 45

Re: Posted by: rg the lg | Sep 5, 2016 9:52:04 PM | 36

I see your point in terms of actually "doing something" and "achieving a goal" of sorts.

To be fair, and I don't talk about it much for obvious reasons, but over the past few years I have had the opportunity to permanently eliminate two "NeoCons" - and without compunction I did so.

Going too far some might say? I disagree. If one is not prepared to stand up for one's own convictions and take them to their logical conclusions, then how heartfelt and real are those convictions in the first place? I would conclude that those convictions that one would "claim to have" are then nothing more than apparitions and shadows in the night. i.e. worthless convictions.

As the old saying goes - "All's fair in love and war" - and if you don't believe there is a War going on at the moment, especially between the NeoCon "haves and want to have mores" and the rest, you haven't been paying attention.

Stand up for what's right and do what needs to be done and at the very least you'll be able to sleep at night knowing you did all you could.

Posted by: Julian | Sep 6, 2016 3:16:24 AM | 46

I give credit to the Turks on two points:
they had been training the so called FSA with the US on their territory (and in Irak?), in the recent months, to fight IS (and prove on which side they are). If they did not launch the attack into Syrian territory they would have had these angry guys idle and probably joining IS.And if they had left the USA+allies move into Syria pushing IS towards the Turkish border, they would have them in. So I agree with Narwani, it is about containment and sorting who is who. Maybe one should distinguish between IS/Iraqi direction and IS/West manipulations.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 6, 2016 4:17:25 AM | 47

Julian says:

To be fair, and I don't talk about it much for obvious reasons, but over the past few years I have had the opportunity to permanently eliminate two "NeoCons" - and without compunction I did so

well, Julian, i've said it many times, even around here, that,

fascists only relinquish power when it is pried from their cold, dead hands

so your claim is kind of intriguing. perhaps you could further our understanding by way of metaphor, allegory, or even fish tale...

or risk succumbing to the old saying that, you know,

talk is cheap!

Posted by: john | Sep 6, 2016 6:00:54 AM | 48

@Grieved | 21
"a strip between the cities of Quarah Koubri and Jarablus (90 km) with a depth of 30 km from the Turkish-Syrian border."
I mentioned in a comment a few days ago that this exactly the shape of the 'clearance' taking place on the ground as reported widely by Turkish news, and I see no need for them to lie about it - despite most of Turkish news being barefaced lies!! :-)
Have to say that given the careful clearance of landmines the land's purpose tends toward the building of 3 towns / cities as Davutoglu planned a year or so ago after realising that his no-fly zone land grab as going anywhere. There will of course be a Turkish influence but i have no reason to think that it will not remain a part of Syria. But ...

Posted by: Atabrit | Sep 6, 2016 6:57:26 AM | 49

somebody | Sep 6, 2016 1:30:43 AM | 44
No, she's an moron (looks intelligent but is stupid) like most neo-cons/neo-libs. She really believes that it was Afghanistan that caused the collapse of the Soviet Union which empowers the jihadis. It was the economic policies of the Soviet Union that caused its collapse. As for Afghanistan, the communist government managed to survive for a few years until the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that the money that paid for the government dried up. BTW, she continues to claim that Ronald Reagan started funding the jihadis after the Soviet Union invaded when any fool should know that it was Jimmy Carter who started funding them before the Soviet Union invaded. She can't admit that The United States was trying to destroy the legitimate government of Afghanistan and the Soviet Union was trying to protect it. Does that concept seem familiar to you?

Posted by: blowback | Sep 6, 2016 6:57:44 AM | 50

Several people saying that Turkey will renege and that Daesh will grow again ...
Firstly, Turkey simply can not risk provoking Russia into another tranche of embargoes which would undoubtedly be worse than the last, primarily because Turkeys economy is already weak, but also because there would be no returning to the Iran and Russia pipeline deals should another betrayl take place, and that would cost Turkey's future very dear indeed. The economy is key to Erdogan's continuing popularity in Turkey, there is no way to over-estimate this.
Secondly, we must always watch the Turkish media, including the lies because it is the voice of the state and what it says, even when it lies, can be revealing. And what we are seeing now on the AKP loyal political debate programmes is celebration of Erodgan having beaten DAESH, Erdogan having exposed the West's DAESH game as pure theatre etc. This narrative is totally in line with comments made by senior AKP figures.
Turkey has only recently admitted that DAESH are terrorists! And Turkey has now defeated those DAESH terrorists. Turkey can not in all credibility - domestically - go back to supporting them.
However, were those DAESH terrorists to change uniforms and name, then we have a different story.

Posted by: Atabrit | Sep 6, 2016 7:17:08 AM | 51

@Mina | 46
Containment and rescue - Turkeys spec ops were working together with ISIS in Northern Syria, this Turkish incursion was partly to bring them home!

Posted by: Atabrit | Sep 6, 2016 7:25:24 AM | 52

dunno if anyone here reads Thierry Meyssan but always find his analyses the most clear and to the point, This one in particular on the Kurds clarifies a lot of things http://www.voltairenet.org/article193142.html

Posted by: fintor | Sep 6, 2016 7:47:42 AM | 53

@29 TS, '... not sure how this has happened. But for some reason the deep state has turned over operational control to a bunch of amateurs, clowns, con artists, who do not understand history, other cultures and geopolitics.'

Sixteen years later the 'it was an accident/they're incompetent' theory just doesn't hold water any longer. Some folks are afraid/unwilling to face the alternative ... from 9/11 inclusive on ... Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine ... these are not accidents.

The moneymen have taken over the deep state. This is the neo-con 'plan' bought lock, stock, and barrel by the financiers. The only one available from their usual consultants. Didn't look real great in the future ... but right now, jackpot! Do it now, worry bout it later!

In America the man with the cash is the king. People ... politicians like Bush and Obama and Clinton ... don't try to think above their paygrade. Their bosses must be smarter than they are ... if they weren't those same bosses wouldn't have been rich enough to hire them. Right?

The rich act, they create their own reality. And while we're studying that reality — judiciously, as we do — they act again, creating other new realities, which we can study too, and that's how things sort out. They're history's actors ... and we, all of us, will be left just to study what they do. That's how it's worked out the past sixteen years, isn't it?

It's a cyclic fallacy. Money launders, justifies itself. They understand that their cash ain't nothin' but trash. They're crawlin' way past our speed. We're all on the hook to pay their fines ... again, which they're still ringing up ... again.

Debts that cannot be repaid won't be. As soon as our creditors are convinced of that, the spell will be broken - along with everything else - and their/our run will be over. They'll retire rich to some desert island and we'll be left holding their debts. Sadly. As we remain spectators.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 6, 2016 8:50:01 AM | 54

Some heart can be taken that there are inroads being made in the information war in this conflict
- at 5pm on drive time radio of arguably the largest talk radio show in the land, no less.

I'm not a radio listener for the most part, but a week ago I was fortunate while channel surfing
to catch a good chunk of Tim Jackson's appraisal of the state of play in Syria.
Jackson is an Independent candidate for Donegal in the upcoming general elections here in
Ireland, and has just come back to Ireland after some time in the Syrian theatre.
He was invited out to Syria by a French NGO to act as an independent observer on the Syrian
crisis, but also to bring those observations home and share.

He gets to the heart of the matter very quickly, bringing into immediate focus for why this
conflict started 5 years ago - proxy wars based on pipelines.
And while keeping that in mind, he lays responsibility on the west, NATO, KSA and more for the on
going nature of the conflict because of the information that western outlets allow through
and information that is suppressed - all to suit a certain geopolitical agenda.
Most Moon of Alabama commenters will enjoy what Jackson has to say towards the end of
his interview regarding photographic evidence that seeps its way into the western press.

The podcast scroll bar doesn't give a time, so Jackson's piece starts at about one fifth
of the way into the podcast. Once you hear the Northern Irish accent you're there.

Link to Podcast

Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 6, 2016 9:33:35 AM | 55

49;Yes,she is a bubbleheaded idiot foisted on US by zion as they try to fix the election for her.Her intelligent quotient is one step above comatose divided by vaginal moronity.I despise her intensely.There was a photo of her back in her schools days that revealed all.
They got another think coming.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 6, 2016 10:07:38 AM | 56

OT,but here's an excellent piece on the Druze perspective. Well worth a look.
Interestingly, it's on Joshua Landis' blog. The cracks are showing in the MSM boilerplate.

Posted by: Mr Toad | Sep 6, 2016 11:01:15 AM | 57

Doh! Here it is:
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/druze-syrian-conflict-talal-el-atrache/#comment-769231

Posted by: Mr Toad | Sep 6, 2016 11:02:49 AM | 58

The Nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.
Between Two Ages: The Technetronic Era, 1971.

Brzezinski in 1971 had herein explained that the rich have been, are currently, and shall continue apace with a Mafia-Styled "Bust Out".

A bust-out is a scheme customarily employed by organized crime to deplete the assets of a legit­imate business, thus forcing it into bankruptcy.

The PTB don't care about ANY nation-state. The PTB intend to gut them all. The PTB can travel and live anywhere they like. Perhaps eventually a region in the south so as to escape the smoldering, radioactive ruins they leave in their wake.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 6, 2016 11:11:18 AM | 59

I presume this warning today by the US –‘Russia will be isolated for supporting Assad’ nullifies the offered hope of talks ( the G20 sidelines ) ‘US and Russia will reach an agreement within days’

"US Threatens to Isolate Moscow Alongside Damascus Over Russian Support for Assad"
https://sputniknews.com/world/20160906/1045016148/assad-russia-syria-us.html

U.S’Ben Rhodes
The White House warned Russia that supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad will lead to the isolation of both Moscow and Damascus, US National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said Tuesday.

With respect to Russia, the principle point that we always made to the Russians is…they are not going to be able to achieve their own objectives unless they engage in a type of process that we're negotiating, there is not a military solution to pacify that entire country. There is not a circumstance in which they continue to support a regime that is bombarding its own people that doesn't lead to greater international isolation of not just the Assad regime but ultimately Russia," Rhodes told a briefing.

On Monday, Obama said that ”the United States and Russia continued to support different sides in war-torn Syria and had differences over the peace process in the country.[.]

https://sputniknews.com/asia/20160905/1044966593/putin-obama-china-summit.html
~ ~ ~ ~
Ben speaks confusion -
Isolation; Sanctions; CyberWar.

How do you isolate a country with 11 time zones? AND please explain the Pentagon's dependence on the Russian RD-180 engines

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 6, 2016 11:33:36 AM | 60

There was no fighting at all about the strip between ISIS and the Turkish forces. The Turks told ISIS to move south and it did so before the Turks and its mercenaries moved in.

Exactly but the CIA can kill ISIS commanders who are working for Turks and then everything will change.

Posted by: hmm123 | Sep 6, 2016 1:23:46 PM | 61

@7 Amazing how the author of the Intercept article falls for the BS thrown by the "jihadists". Don't think for one moment that money is not central to their involvement in Syria.....

Posted by: georgeg | Sep 6, 2016 1:23:50 PM | 62

jfl #53

I have to disagree with much of what you say. The 1% and even the .001% who pay the politicians are not really fully conscious of the big picture. I shouldn't have used the term "deep state" since that implies the presence of some kind of super authority that is running the world. The very wealthy have the goal of preserving and increasing their wealth. To that end they enter coalitions or tolerate different factions who will enhance or at least not threaten their absurd accumulation of wealth. Besides the politicians they include academics, journalists, the military, intelligence, the neocons and r2pers, much of the real business community other groupings can be imagined. One of the net results of all this is a very vibrant war party in the US that is bigger than the two Parties. Elections have become bread and circuses to distract the masses. All of these groups have very deep roots in history.

My point is that what has broken down is that affairs of state used to be run by professionals who understood history, geopolitics and other cultures and been replaced by people spend their careers trying to get the moneyed class to back their projects.

Your statement Debts that cannot be repaid won't be. As soon as our creditors are convinced of that, the spell will be broken - along with everything else - and their/our run will be over. They'll retire rich to some desert island and we'll be left holding their debts. misunderstands an important point. The saying "debts that cannot be repaid won't be" means exactly that, i.e. default. When it is over the debt is gone. Of course, millions of common people will suffer during the process but it will allow the economy to rebuild from there relatively free from debt. This process may very well end the US dollar as the international reserve currency so the average American will have a lower standard of living as meaasured in the accumulation commodities.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 6, 2016 1:53:22 PM | 63

He gets to the heart of the matter very quickly, bringing into immediate focus for why this
conflict started 5 years ago - proxy wars based on pipelines.


Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 6, 2016 9:33:35 AM | 54

Anyone still trying to explain the last 15yrs of west/zio/gcc wars by saying "pipelines" is a lying propagandist or an idiot

There ain't so much as ONE west/zio/gcc-benefitting pipeline that has been constructed in the any of the victim countries as a result of these wars the west/zio/gcc-shitheads keep starting

lying propagandist shitheads (or idiots) have been trying to sell us this "pipelines" bullshit since 2001 - it's a crock of horseshit shilled by liars (or idiots)

Posted by: BadMax | Sep 6, 2016 2:21:06 PM | 64

@21 grieved.. i always enjoy reading your posts.. thanks.. however, if you read the post by b again, in spite of the info you share, there are some of us here that don't really trust turkey! they can make whatever agreements that make, and sure - they have made them here.. whether the sultan can continue on in his delusional state - that is how i see it.. he seems to think he can take his version of islam to the world and be glorified for all the unintended (americans call it collateral damage) murder and mayhem when in fact he only digs a hole deeper for himself and turkey... all eyes are on turkey and how they want to play this dangerous game they are presently involved in.. until they make peace with the kurds - anything can happen here.. using isis as a batting ram for your own delusional purposes is something a number of countries are guilty of, so erdogan is no exception.. thanks..

@25 copeland... and @29 ToivoS.. i agree with both of you.

@40 blk.. thanks for sharing your perspective.

@46 mina.. i agree with @51 atabrit..

@59 likklemore - ben rhodes reminds me of that bozo from scientology... folks believe a lot of crazy shit..
"The Aspiring Novelist Who Became Obama’s Foreign-Policy Guru..How Ben Rhodes rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age." sounds like bullshit to me...

@61 georgeg.. i thought that was pretty obvious from the get go..

Posted by: james | Sep 6, 2016 5:05:37 PM | 65

Look, there is a lot of crazy stuff breaking out all over the place. In regards to this Turkish incursion into Syria and setting up a free-zone, a no-fly zone, I say give it some time. There is not just enough information to form an opinion. And 'expert' opions are all over the place, contradicting each other.

btw, I have a prediction that someone is going to be very surprised. Stunned actually.

Posted by: Donny | Sep 6, 2016 5:27:50 PM | 66

54, MadMax2

I listened to the podcast. Something didn't seem quite right so I looked up the organisation the speaker volunteered for.

http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2015/05/21/comment-l-association-sos-chretiens-d-orient-est-noyautee-par-l-extreme-droite_1313913

So the views in the podcast are not necessarily views arrived at whilst working in Syria. They are what the speaker had heard, probably many times, in discussion groups or similar in this organisation.

The facts he gives are therefore facts selected and arranged to support some political position. That accounts for everything being so pat and well laid out in the podcast. But he conceals his political position in the podcast. Sailing under false colours - or under no colours really, since he's keeping from us the fact that he has an axe to grind.

Just another squalid little corner of the information war, then. Pity. It means that while some of the facts cited are probably true facts, the podcast has no corroborative value whatsoever.

Peter J A Wright.

Posted by: Peter J A Wright | Sep 6, 2016 5:39:23 PM | 67

@blowback 49

When you mention Russian economic policies as the cause of the collapse of the USSR, does this refer to the reliance on oil exports are the main source to wealth to maintain trade and support the economy?

The reason I mention this is that the USSR economy collapsed at the time the Saudi government collapsed the price of oil to about $10/barrel. The USSR lost money by pumping oil at this price resulting in the economic collapse and the "Harvard boys" looting the industries of Russia at fire sale prices.

Lately the US, and to a lesser extent Canada, attempted this strategy via the fracking boom whereby they cumulatively increased world oil output about 5.5 million barrels/day. Add to this about an additional one million barrels/day from Saudi Arabia and the world oil glut meant to crush the Russian economy took hold.

This oil glut has demolished the economies of Brazil and Venezuela and weakened Russia to a lesser extent. Blowback is a bitch as the US, Canada, and Saudi Arabia economies were also damaged from the fracking boom. It turns out that fracking corporations/investors (and banks selling them derivatives) need oil prices of 60-80 ($70 average) dollars/barrel to break even and are thus losing 20-30 dollars/barrel at current yearly average $50/barrel prices. This corresponds to the US and Canada economies losing approximately 100 million/day or 35 billion/year.

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 6, 2016 5:53:44 PM | 68

@64 james - Thank you. I don't look at the situation as one in which it matters whether Erdogan can be trusted or not. I look at it in terms of what his options are. They look very circumscribed to me. The concept that he's a loose cannon is fine with me, but it's going to have to mesh with the very crowded deck he's rolling on.

In a theater where even the United States is constrained in its actions by the sheer number and weight of realities all jostling against each other on the ground, it's hard to think that Turkey - magically - has some extraordinary freedom to dance around at will.

So, with what I take from the analysts cited, at least we have a framework of possibility. It's going to be a lot easier to parse events in terms of that framework, than from having no framework at all.

And to be honest, I don't see any framework coming from those here who think Erdogan can't be trusted. He can't be trusted and, so...what, exactly? What's he going to do that makes the Russians, Syrians, Iranians and Hezbollah fighters disappear from the equation? Is he going to fly his planes into the S-400 boundaries reportedly set as terms of the agreement? Is he going to move his tanks beyond his bounds, into the artillery and air force killing zones? Is he going to refuse to leave when it's time, if it's time (it may not be planned that way, we don't know yet)? Is he going to fool the resistance commanders? Bend them to his will? Evade scrutiny from their intel services?

Just looking for some framework that fits the theater.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 6, 2016 6:07:10 PM | 69

@BadMax 63

There are no new oil or gas pipelines because the conflicts are continuing in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria! Who in their right mind would risk their lives building a pipeline in these countries.

Even the constructed Kurdish pipeline to Turkey is often damaged due to the current PKK Turkish government (mafia) civil war. I will admit the the Barzani Kurdish group (mafia) in Iraq is taking steps to quell both the Kurdish insurrection in Turkey as well as Iran. Guess what, Iran has just agreed to supply Turkey with an extra 6 BCM of natural gas now that the Iraqi Kurds are now on board. As you probably guessed this Iran pipeline undercuts the Qatar LNG price to Turkey.

Pipeline matter, however drought, soil salinity, population explosions and salafist ideology are also factors in the war. In the case of Syria, the upcoming La Nina and water diversion by Turkey spell long term strife that will preclude the Qatar gas pipeline being constructed.

Pipeline politics is interesting. Are you prepared to discuss the FRY war in regards to the Caspian oil geopolitics of the late 1990s?

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 6, 2016 6:12:21 PM | 70

@66 Peter A J Wright

Yes, I read your post. Something didn't seem quite right. I used my brain for a second.

I had a moment of clarity. Wonderful it was. For a moment you were right. The volunteer Jackson should have climbed aboard and experienced Syria for a month by drone... alone...in the sky... By himself...unpolluted by the conversation that may influence his later thoughts. Or wait... better yet, maybe he could have toured the streets of Alleppo with alCIAda.

Dunno about you, but given the choice of gaining a voice one way or the other, I'd take my chances with the propaganda coming out of the good fight.

Good luck, Mr Wright.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 6, 2016 7:25:09 PM | 72

@69
Like i said - anyone still wanking on about pipelines after 15yrs of this bullshit is a liar or an idiot.

So ., . . Which are you?

You and pepe escobar, whith his equally idiotc piplinestan horseshit, can just go f*uk your selves. There are no new pipelines because none were ever intended, its all just a zio-thinktank thought-up red herring so lying/idiotic wankers like yourself can have something to latch onto while you bloviate incessantly, boring the shit out of everyone not as massively dumb or gullible as you yourself are, while desperately pretending to be something other than a liar or an idiot, as you do the job you are obvioualy here to do, which is distract everyone from the massive yinon/zio-PNAC elephant in the room.

Posted by: BadMax | Sep 6, 2016 8:16:27 PM | 73

@Anon 70

Thanks for the excellent links to in-depth articles especially the The Kurdistan projects
http://www.voltairenet.org/article193142.html

Posted by: Krollchem | Sep 6, 2016 8:16:50 PM | 74

@62 TS, 'The 1% and even the .001% who pay the politicians are not really fully conscious of the big picture.'

Well, we agree there. They are deaf, dumb, and blind to anything other than their own immediate concerns. That's the story of 'capitalism'.

I appreciate your nostalgia for the never-never land when '... affairs of state used to be run by professionals who understood history, geopolitics and other cultures ...' Sweet dreams are hard to let go.

I don't see a difference between my statement and your restatement of my statement.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 6, 2016 8:45:37 PM | 75

@68 g

I think the 'framework' is becoming more of a regional one. Both Russia and the USA are frustrated in their 'partnerships' with the locals and are looking to get out of Syria. The USA never had any real interest in Syria to begin with, it was just there at the behest of its regional 'allies' ... and to cause trouble in general, as per its 'strategy' of DDD&D. The Russians were there to protect themselves from the USA's program of DDD&D in its Wahabist manifestation.

But now the locals are beyond the geopolitical players' control. Syria itself - a non-problem to the USA to begin with - is even less of a problem now. Turkey and Saudi Arabia - and of course the ever present Israel - are much more of a problem than Syria. Russia is still there for the same reasons it entered the arena last year. Both of the geopolitical players - Turkey and Saudi Arabia may think of themselves as geopolitical players, I don't, and I don't think the Israelis regard themselves as geopolitical players - now see Syria as is - with minimal changes - as preferable to the separate alternatives envisioned by Turkey/Israel/Saudi Arabia. Well, the US alternative will probably merge into the USraelian with the election of Clinton.

But I think that the US support for Wahabism is on the wane. Consortiumnews has been running column after column by Graham E Fuller saying so, maybe he's not lying. The Russians were always opposed to Wahabism, of course, being on the receiving end of that stick since the getgo. I think that the US and Russia will define their minimally acceptable outcomes for Syria - China never involved itself there, the EU/NATO will do whatever the US tells them to do - and then let the regionals contend, as long as they don't interfere with the geopoliticals' minimally acceptable outcomes.

If Turkey/Israel/Saudi do take on Iran directly the geopoliticals will be back in, with a bang, I imagine. But for now they seem to be distancing themselves from Syria, if slowly. Same in Ukraine. If Ukraine is left to the locals, Russia will have won. The US is realizing that they have their hands full with China, are in fact 'falling behind' there as per their 'schedule'.

There will be an attempt to fire it all back up again at the end of January, the beginning of eight more years.

That's more or less my 'framework'. As of right now. Who knows how soon things will change again?

Posted by: jfl | Sep 6, 2016 9:20:03 PM | 76

@68 grieved.. thanks. you put it well in your first paragraph! you ask good questions that are hard to answer directly.. however it doesn't change my ongoing skepticism towards erdogans role (accidental or not) as potential tie breaker between russia and usa over the fate of syria... i would like to quote a few passages from the link anon @70 and korrelchem @73 provide..

"4- Turkey wants the creation of a Kurdistan in Syria administrated by the Barzani clan

Ankara refuses to accept the possibility that a Syrian Kurdistan might serve as a rear operating base for the PKK, and spread its influence to the detriment of Turkey. Ankara maintains excellent relations with the Kurdistan Regional Governement of Iraq, and has no reason to oppose the creation of a Syrian Kurdistan."

"President Massoud Barzani took power in 2012, and blocked elections. He set up a corrupt and authoritarian régime, and did not hesitate to have his opponents assassinated. He expanded his regional territory by 40% with the help of Daesh, annexing the oil fields of Kirkuk, then transporting the oil stolen by Daesh by means of his pipe-line." actually mayssen at voltairenet.org is factually incorrect here as i see it.. barzani took power in 2005.. this particular dictator has the full support of turkey/usa, as he serves their geo-political interests!! i suppose it is ironic that erdogan and barzani who are happy to work with isis, have the usa happy to support them, unless one accepts the usa's role in all of this as completely vacant ideologically..

i won't let go erdogan as wild card that can tip things any which way here.. the guy is motivated by emotion, as opposed to reason which might work well in some religious type nut, but not in a leader at the center of a conflict where a good part of the country he leads is engaged in an ongoing civil war, and while he thinks he can help fix things by adding fuel to the regime change fire he has went along with up until recently.. sorry for repeating myself here!

Posted by: james | Sep 6, 2016 10:13:06 PM | 77

just reading now - pat lang at ssr has a post up from today which includes this comment: "With regard to IS, the US/Russian agreement will enable a campaign of extermination against them(isis) in eastern Syria and northern Iraq. The Turks will participate in that because Erdogan has come to see them as rivals in Islamism and a threat."

Posted by: james | Sep 6, 2016 10:27:10 PM | 78

@ 58

Exactly. As much as I'm confused about "globalization." I.E. I like all sorts of peoples. Seems the inverse is the "Global Market place" and logistically difficult from the employee side.

My first thoughts were that it would take a multinational organization to counter these fuckers. Ergo, that begs for a organization that is globalized.

Just throwing off thoughts here; that is why anarchy may be the answer. Localized groups working together for common cause.

Posted by: ~f | Sep 6, 2016 11:37:01 PM | 79

The FSA factions participate in the process of "Euphrates Shield” announced a new military zone extending from “ArRai” city down-to- east of the city of “al-Bsb”, Aleppo.
http://en.eldorar.com/node/3191
It seems that Turkey is going to take over Aleppo City & Province + Idlib Governorate.

Posted by: Aleppo as GolanHeights | Sep 7, 2016 1:49:25 AM | 80

james@77 - I was reading the SST article and agreeing until that particular sentence jumped out at me. This is absolute lunacy: extermination? Really? WTF? How did that work out for the U.S. in Afghanistan? THIS is the precise reason the U.S. government should never again be allowed to deploy U.S. troops (or spook armies) anywhere on earth ever again.

The enemy in Syria and Iraq is not a flag or a uniform. 'Exterminating' ISIS will look something like the 'extermination' in Jarabulus: "OK, put on these al Nusra uniforms now if you still want a paycheck brother, or else we have to kill you. Ha, ha."

Petraeus and company organized Iraqi (and later Syrian) Wahhabi thugs into both al Nusra and ISIS. They were supplemented by foreigners to great effect, but al Nusra/ISIS is and always will be mostly regional locals, i.e., pissed-off, disenfranchised, radicalized Sunnis. You can erase the ISIS brand, but head-choppers are going to look for another job doing the only thing they know how to do: chop heads. You are going to exterminate the source of their current paychecks, not their careers. Hint: Western and Gulf banks could have shut down ISIS by denying Petraeus' successors (and GCC criminal cronies) the ability to transfer anything but physical cash or gold to the head-choppers and their armorers. Even then, I guess cash-and-carry can be arranged a la the fake conquering of Mosul and its bank. Nonetheless, the banks were (and remain) complicit in funding al Nusra or whatever Whack-a-mole name they have today. We have and have always had the ability to 'stop' al Nusra and ISIS. Military defeat on the ground in Syria (or anywhere else) is the epitome of delusional western imperialistic thinking. That's why we will lose in Afghanistan and in Syria. That's also why we will lose in Iran.

'Exterminating' ISIS means willfully allowing most of the foot soldiers to defect to whatever incarnation of the FSA that Team Chaos is promoting in the area. A fake extermination for a fake victory. There will be no black flags, but there will still be plenty of the same head-choppers driving car bombs into Syrian Army positions.

Two recent interesting items from Daesh Daily:

Sept. 2nd - REPORTS FROM SYRIA: Northeast (Hasaka, Raqqa)

In an interview with Al-Aan TV, a Daesh official from Raqqa who defected says 30% to 40% of Daesh terrorists in Raqqa want to defect. He says some of them tried to leave and were killed, while others are trying to escape the battles by claiming they are sick. One shot himself to avoid fighting. He also says Daesh foreign terrorists are trapped and cannot leave. Daesh tells the foreign terrorists that other armed groups would kill them if they escaped (video). [Al-Aan]

And a bit further down, a comment by the site authors:

DaeshDaily comment. We can’t confirm the first story, conceding it would be significant if true. We are concerned, however, that US policy-makers may have created a strategic trap for themselves in their agreement with Turkey. The YPG fighters were most of the SDF. Forcing them to fight only east of the Tigris solves a territorial issue, but leaves some of the Arab SDF fighters (what percentage we don’t know) on the west side of the river. These soldiers are also officially supported by the US, but are not protected by US forces from day to day. The risk is that militant Sunni Arab militias funded by the Saudis and Turks, including Al-Nusra, will gain control of areas west of the river that would otherwise have been controlled by or shared with the SDF. Moreover, it has happened often amidst the confusion of Syria’s disparate opposition militia groups that when militias feel a loss of protection within current alliances, they switch sides. Actions and statements like those above by Ahrar Al-Raqqa and Liwa’ Al-Tahrir make us nervous.

So west of the Euphrates (Manbij) we can expect the now-abandoned SDF Arab militias of the former Manbij operation to jump ship to someone that will protect them in the foreseeable future: the Turkish-backed al Nusra FSA.

I wonder how McGurk and the CENTCOM backstabbers are doing for their al Raqqa recruitment campaign? Why don't they just outsource to al Nusra now and spare us another painful display of the Pentagon/CIA's ineptness?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 7, 2016 2:55:12 AM | 81

Oh, SNAP! I ranted too soon...

From Hurriyet Daily News just now:

Turkey, US mull move on ISIL stronghold Raqqa

And from the article, it appears the U.S. had originally planned to back-stab the Kurds almost a year ago!

Responding to a question as to whether the U.S. has changed its stance on the PYD, Erdoğan said Turkey had not experienced any difficulty in cooperating with its partner during the Euphrates Shield operation.

“We worked very comfortably in al-Rai. We did son in Jarablus, and are still doing so,” he said, adding that during a meeting by the two leaders on the sidelines of last year’s G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey and the U.S. initially jointly developed a plan to remove ISIL from an area of 95 by 40 kilometers inside Syria, only for the plan to be delayed.

Wait a sec - not canceled as reported back then, but just delayed? Yeah... let's get the Kurds to do it for us, then we'll just move in ourselves. See? Easy...

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 7, 2016 3:27:34 AM | 82

interestingly Erdogan's latest call is 'let's do it together' - talking about Raqqa and maybe more broadly.

It reminds me of what a turkish friend said at the time of the incursion "there's nothing left to steal, so Erdogan is going to go in to save the world from terrorism!"
Interesting take. :-)
What also could be said is that Erdogan seems to be trying to don US's mantel in the conflict, thereby undermining US's position, or as has been mentioned in a link here, as a NATO trojan horse.
The former may imply some broad agreement on regional power-sharing, while the latter would result in direct and open warfare in which case we would have to ask whether Turkey and/or NATO are ready for such a conflict - NATO members would not be unanimous in their support for such, and Turkey's armed forces strength is probably not sufficient to battle what would inevitably be a war on several fronts.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Sep 7, 2016 4:03:16 AM | 83

There are no new oil or gas pipelines because the conflicts are continuing in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and Syria! Who in their right mind would risk their lives building a pipeline in these countries.

Krollchem @69

So the idiotic logic is

    "The reason the West/Zio/gcc axis is starting all these wars? Pipelines!

    The reason the West/Zio/GCC can't have their Pipelines? All these wars they keep starting!"

I not gonna even bother explaining to you how utterly retarded your "logic" sounds to a non-liar/non-idiot

Posted by: BadMax | Sep 7, 2016 4:50:50 AM | 84

The largest unanswered question is, who will fight, on the ground, for Syria? What will fight?
Will it take Russian troops to bring Iranian troops? How long would it take to rebuild the Syrian army? When will PMUs be available? Elijah says they've been taking 1:1 casualties in Aleppo, not bad for fighting an entrenched enemy, but not sustainable.

Posted by: Cresty | Sep 7, 2016 5:06:05 AM | 85

O.T.
Putin's favourite driver killed in head-on collision. Look at lower left corner. Car crossed over from the opposite side of the rode. Putin was not in the car.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irrmTv844Yg

Posted by: Peaches and Apples | Sep 7, 2016 5:39:52 AM | 86

71 MadMax2

I'd very much like to agree with you about the podcast you referred to above. A clearly stated summary of the Syrian disaster put out on public radio should be valuable, whatever its source and even if some of the details given are debatable or unsupported. But I don't think this one is valuable. Here's why.

Both in the case of the Ukraine and in Syria the information we get from the Western media is unsatisfactory. There's little information there and what there is is incomplete. Every now and again an item gets out in the media that redresses the balance. This podcast is such an item and therefore, taken at face value, should be welcomed.

But the aid worker who put out this summary on the podcast had an undeclared political agenda. That's wrong. It's also counter-productive. The more convincing his listeners found his account, the more disillusioned they’d be if this political agenda was later revealed. That, I hope you’ll agree, is no way to get the other side of the story out to the general public.

Peter J A Wright.

Posted by: Peter J A Wright | Sep 7, 2016 5:51:12 AM | 87

We have and have always had the ability to 'stop' al Nusra and ISIS. Military defeat on the ground in Syria (or anywhere else) is the epitome of delusional western imperialistic thinking. That's why we will lose in Afghanistan and in Syria.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 7, 2016 2:55:12 AM | 80

Always astounds me when seemingly sane individuals spout crap such as "The West/Zio?GCC axis is losing"

No it isn't -

As per the Yinon/Zio-PNAC plan
Iraq is utterly destroyed as a functioning state.
Syria is utterly destroyed as a functioning state

This was always the plan.
None of the "accidental chaos" is "accidental"

Posted by: BadMax | Sep 7, 2016 5:57:49 AM | 88

Here are better clips of the crash. The driver of the Mercedes which hit Putin's BMW is in critical condition in hospital. These clips seem to show that it was deliberate. I cannot find any mention of this in mainstream media, nor at Sputnik or RT.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GefbdNoM0zY

Posted by: Peaches and Apples | Sep 7, 2016 6:01:44 AM | 89

@75 jfl

"The USA never had any real interest in Syria to begin with, it was just there at the behest of its regional 'allies' ... and to cause trouble in general, as per its 'strategy' of DDD&D. The Russians were there to protect themselves from the USA's program of DDD&D in its Wahabist manifestation."

I can glean the general meaning of "DDD&D" from the context, but what exactly do those four "D's" stand for?

Posted by: Ben Zanotto | Sep 7, 2016 6:19:29 AM | 90


PavewayIV says:

Why don't they just outsource to al Nusra now and spare us another painful display of the Pentagon/CIA's ineptness?

yeah, why not? 'cause, after all, all this 'ineptness,' all this seemingly etch-a-sketch scheming has slaughtered what must be approaching half a million Syrians, has devided and displaced half of the living, has reduced much of the country to smoldering ruins...

...those nightmarish images of crooked, remnant extrusions of dustified Trade Centers gave birth to the 'ineptness' meme. and since those heady days we've had an ever unfolding invocation for aid and protection...

...from the real pillars of exceptionalism, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, who'll gladly pilfer the remaining sustenance from the poisoned, mindfucked masses...

...as the lingering spasms of the democratic electoral process play out like those of the poor sucker writhing on the ground in some shit stomped corner of Aleppo, eyes agape, shattered femoral arteries, as the life drains away.

Posted by: john | Sep 7, 2016 6:50:39 AM | 91

@90 bz

Sorry ... death, devastation, destruction & deceit. I've typed them so often that I've shortened them. And I've used them so often that I've begun to forget to give the long form in the post, sometimes. Sorry.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 7, 2016 7:11:59 AM | 92

Have now found reports of the crash in UK tabloids, but can't find it anywhere else.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/707732/vladimir-putin-driver-killed-russia-crash

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3776086/Vladimir-Putin-s-official-car-involved-head-crash-Moscow-killed-Russian-president-s-favourite-chauffeur.html

Comment from Daily Mail reader:
It's a fake. This is a simple government car. This isn't a car of president. Death a simple driver. He was driver in a garage of goverment cars. It's a car of the senator. Better to check information, before publication. Respect the deceased, do not write a lie. You was see a trusted information in russian media.

I agree with the comment above. It seems to have just been fabricated. Here is another comment:

I thought they always had a ZiL for their president's limo but I found an article that says Zil's been building him a new one for 6-1/2 years (!) and it'll be ready late next year.

Sorry to have fallen for this scam.

Posted by: Peaches and Apples | Sep 7, 2016 7:33:40 AM | 93

A very unusual criticism of "Erdogan and his men" in a government control newspaper

Turkey’s unconvincing narrative is its own worst enemy

Mr. Erdoğan and his men will keep facing the global consequences of their bad narrative in the foreseeable future. Still, if they – surprisingly - change track today and decide to run Turkey like any other democratic – or “normal” - country in more civilized parts of the world they could win some credit which they can cash in within a few years.

This columnist’s bet is that they will not opt for the latter path. Instead, they will try to put into action another fake narrative, thinking that this time it will work.

September/07/2016

Posted by: virgile | Sep 7, 2016 9:44:39 AM | 94

There has been no deal whatsoever between Russia and Turkey. Turkey got the green light from the USA to invade, thats all.

Moscow voices profound concern over Turkish troops’ movement into Syrian territory

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 7, 2016 9:46:20 AM | 95

Is the Turkish media becoming more daring toward "Erdogan and his men"?

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/is-turkey-spreading-itself-too-thin.aspx?PageID=238&NID=103646&NewsCatID=515

The Turkish Armed Forces inside Syria are there for one aim. That aim has very little to do with ISIL. They are there to create a safe haven for Sunni Arabs to return to their land so that the Democratic Union Party (PYD)-led Kurds are not able to create a de facto state through land grabs and demographic movements. But let us not forget that if the Kurds have made a deal with the Russians, the Iranians and inevitably the al-Assad regime for their autonomous region, the Turkish army may really be in trouble. Forty kilometers inside Syria may be “nothing” for Turkish commanders, but it is wide open territory and there are at least six different groups fighting under the umbrella of FSA that are ready to fight each other.

Prof. Nihat Ali Özcan made this gloomy prediction in his column in Milliyet about the scope of the Euphrates Shield Operation: “From the facts we see on the field, and if we play it by the book, Turkey must be ready to put at least 35-40,000 boots on the ground for at least 10-15 years.”

God knows, maybe there will eventually be an opportunity for Friday Prayers in Damascus’ Umayyad Mosque
too.

Posted by: virgile | Sep 7, 2016 9:50:50 AM | 96

Let me guess.....ISIS goes....US and Turkey stay to 'maintain stability'.

"Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested he and the US are ready to drive so-called Islamic State (IS) from its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.
Mr Erdogan said US counterpart Barack Obama floated the idea of joint action against the militants when they met at the G20 meeting in China.
He said Turkey would have "no problem" with such action."

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37298968

Posted by: dh | Sep 7, 2016 11:09:22 AM | 97

@81/82 paveway.. thanks for chiming in.. this latest plan of turkey and us going into raqqa - i don't think that was discussed with russia/syria/iran.... i guess we will see how much legs this has.. is this more erdogan talking off the top of his head, or was this the arranged plan beforehand with the usa? sure sounds like your last sentence is accurate - "Yeah... let's get the Kurds to do it for us, then we'll just move in ourselves. See? Easy..." the us was hoping to get the kurds to take raqqa too, which never made sense.. changing allegiance for a paycheck seems like a popular game play here.. isis - al nusra - fsa - change your insignia for a paycheck..

Posted by: james | Sep 7, 2016 11:10:49 AM | 98

@97.....ooops....I see Paveway @82 was way ahead as usual.

Posted by: dh | Sep 7, 2016 11:15:34 AM | 99

as the carve-up continues, the de-facto no fly zone in northern syria seems to be on the way towards being formalized - of course Syria will agree to this - they have no choice - Russia is basically running Syria now

Posted by: paul | Sep 7, 2016 11:29:39 AM | 100

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