Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 26, 2017

Al-Qaeda Consolidates Its Front Groups In Syria

A few days ago Al-Qaeda in Syria and the Salafist Takfiri group Ahrar al Sham produced a show claiming they were fighting each other. I fell for it and wrote:

The Turkish, Russian and Iranian governments had agreed on talks in Astana in Kazakhstan between delegations from "moderate" militant groups in Syria and the Syrian government. Ahrar al Sham, which ideologically borders between al-Qaeda and the "moderates", was also invited. It declined to take part in solidarity with the not invited designated terrorist group Jaish Fateh al-Sham (the former Nusra Front aka al-Qaeda in Syria).

Russia had suggested the talks with the intent of separating the "moderate" Takfiris under Turkish control from the designated "terrorist" Takfiris. The talks had no immediate results but still achieved their purpose. Shortly after the talks began al-Qaeda attacked Ahrar al Sham. After some on and off fighting al-Qaeda started yesterday to attack all "moderate" Takfiri groups in Idleb and Aleppo governate.

I was wrong. Ahrar did not fight with al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda did not attack it. As far as one can tell they coordinated their actions for the purpose of eliminating smaller "rebel" groups under the disguise of Takfiri infighting. Those smaller groups are led by local war lords and supported by Turkey and the CIA. They all had earlier cooperated with al-Qaeda which provided the "storm troopers" for their attacks on Syrian government forces. They recently took part in the Astana talks while Ahrar declined in solidarity with al-Qaeda.

The ruse came to light when the "reports" of Ahrar and al-Qaeda infighting were not followed up with any reports of casualties, neither from the sides of those groups nor from any other account. How can there have been fighting when no one was killed or wounded?

Ehsani explains the situation:

Thread on Battles in #Idlib: All battles that took place in Naaman & Jabal Al Zawiye are imaginary battles that were essentially prearranged
2-The main purpose of these prearranged battles is to swap checkpoints of #Ahrar with #Nusra and vice versa
3-Even the v public battle in village of Dana is also imaginary as shooting that took place involved firing in the air around Dana crossing
4-Even news of arrest of the two Nusra security officers is untrue as both spent the time at residence of Amr al jeldi, Emir of #Ahrar
5-This #Ahrar Emir's residence in M'araa acted as joint operations center for both #Ahrar & #Nusra to coordinate this entire scenario
6-Importantly, it appears that there has not been a single casualty yet during these entire so-called battles

That report has since been confirmed by several other accounts and sources on the ground.

Al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jaish Fateh al-Sham aka Nusra Front) did attack several local groups, raided their headquarters and confiscated their CIA supplied weapon and ammunition caches. One major alliance of local groups, the Army of Mujaheddin, was eliminated. Other local groups took refuge by joining Ahrar al-Sham:

SOHR was informed that the factions of Soqor al-Sham, alMOjahdin Army, Eqtasim Kama Amart grouping, al-Islam Army in Idlib and the Shamia front in western Aleppo, joined Ahrar al-Sham Islamic faction against Fateh al_Sham front

It seem that the plan for now is to keep Ahrar al-Sham as a "moderate" front group for al-Qaeda while eliminating all other "moderate" forces on the ground. Parts of Ahrar al-Sham take part in the Turkish "Euphrates Shield" operation against the Islamic State while al-Qaeda in Syria is no longer openly supported by the Turkish state.

The ruse of the claimed fight between Ahrar and al-Qaeda is used to uphold a distinction between these groups even when hardly any exists. Ahrar al-Sham was, like al-Qaeda in Syria, founded by a senior member of al-Qaeda central under command of the al-Qaeda's central leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

There once were components within Ahrar that argued for a less radical course. But other significant parts had argued for officially joining al-Qaeda. The middle ground found now is to cooperated with al-Qaeda as a means for absorbing all other "rebel" groups on the ground while keeping up good relations with Turkey.

Some (minor) ideological differences between Ahrar and al-Qaeda in Syria still exist. It is expected that a fight for primacy will indeed start between (parts of) these two groups in the not so distant future. But that will only happen after all weaker groups on the ground are eliminated and after Ahrar is exposed and can no longer act as a Turkish supported intermediary for weapons and other supplies.

The Associated Press still reports fighting between Ahrar and Al-Qaeda based on quotes of the Gulf propagandist Charles Lister. Like us it fell for the ruse. Unlike us it will probably stick to the fake version. The ruse will thus have worked in deceiving the "western" public and decision makers.

Posted by b on January 26, 2017 at 07:51 AM | Permalink

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b, 'It seems that the plan for now is to keep Ahrar al-Sham as a "moderate" front group for al-Qaeda while eliminating all other "moderate" forces on the ground. Parts of Ahrar al-Sham take part in the Turkish "Euphrates Shield" operation against the Islamic State while al-Qaeda in Syria is no longer openly supported by the Turkish state.'

how can the russians not know that. they know it and still they deal with erdogan, they still fly air support for the turks - and for ahrar al-sham - in syria ... or they fake it, like the us does, and try to leave daesh intact? so the syrians can take al bab? and defend deir ezzor? and conquer al raqah? and restore the infrastructure in damascus? and - later rather than sooner - deal with al cia duh in idlib?

well, unlike myself the russians are still involved in syria, and they are still very much needed there. i'm glad they're still there.

it's hard to believe that the us will do anything other than what is has been doing in syria. what reason is there for tee-rump - and the israelis - to effect a change?

i saw a note that a kuwaiti had met with the iranians, trying to resuscitate relations between iran and the gcc, without explicitly mentioning the saudis, a year after the saudis broke off relations with iran.

i don't see how this will end without the gcc pulling back and out. i don't see them doing that without the us doing so as well.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 26, 2017 8:17:59 AM | 2

"Parts of Ahrar al-Sham take part in the Turkish "Euphrates Shield" operation against the Islamic State"

And "Euprhates Shield" barely makes advances on the El Bab front, while the SAA is taking villages after villages, getting closer to El BAB. Could they fight each other? There sure is no love lost between both sides. There was news that Turkey would let the SAA take Al Bab a few days ago, but denied by Turk gov't soon after.

Posted by: jean | Jan 26, 2017 8:59:27 AM | 3

The revised story still contains a major contradiction hilighted in these 2 cites...
1. "The ruse came to light when the "reports" of Ahrar and al-Qaeda infighting were not followed up with any reports of casualties, neither from the sides of those groups nor from any other account. How can there have been fighting when no one was killed or wounded?"

then...

2. "Al-Qaeda in Syria (aka Jaish Fateh al-Sham aka Nusra Front) did attack several local groups, raided their headquarters and confiscated their CIA supplied weapon and ammunition caches. One major alliance of local groups, the Army of Mujaheddin, was eliminated. Other local groups took refuge by joining Ahrar al-Sham:"

One suspects that the statement to the effect that *the opposing groups will be left to eliminate each other*, in Version 1.1 of this chess tournament, reflects sloppy battlefield thinking, at best. It looks as though similar failure to closely monitor all rebel activity in Syria led directly to Damascus losing its water and power.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 26, 2017 9:01:15 AM | 4

Ever since Russia intervened officially in Syria, I've thought it was a huge mistake not to directly attack US, UK and Saudi assets outside Syria, directly, for not responding appropriately to Russia threats of retribution for their crimes in Syria. There have been no threats or ultimatums from Russia. Fighting proxies was always going to end up being a waste of time - a classic Fool's Errand.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 26, 2017 9:12:59 AM | 5

Thanks, b, for this prompt reassessment. As both groups were still considered extreme, it is to be hoped it doesn't affect overall tactics, but that in unison they prey on smaller groups to absorb their US munitions was probably the plan all along. I hope Trump also will reassess remarks he made to ABC (if reports of those remarks are accurate) about what the US will do in Syria. We have no right to be there unless such plans are coordinated with the government. And it is possible that these are long term ideas for how the US could help Syria in recovery. It's evident that is still a long way off.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 26, 2017 9:13:43 AM | 6

Hoarsewhisperer - "sloppy battlefield thinking"?

I'll admit to being very confused myself on all the similar sounding (to a westerner) names of so many organizations, but one thing is clear to me, and that is that US policy up till now has been a main source of sloppy battlefield thinking in supplying arms willy nilly -(well I should not say that, we know the CIA is lovable, and after all "I" stands for something other than 'idiots', surely?)

But speaking of the "I" word and its possible permutations, I am somewhat dumbfounded at your suggestion it would have been better to have WW3 from the getgo.

Huh?

Posted by: juliania | Jan 26, 2017 9:27:42 AM | 7

As much as I respect Ehsani who is usually right - I don't follow him here. True, this is no bloody battle yet (though there have been some casualties), it is more a fight for control, but a real one, not for show and certainly not for deceiving the Western public. It is about leadership of the rebellion, about controlling headquarters, strategic spots, resources, supply lines. The militant factions are not out to kill, but to incorporate each other.

@b, I think it is disingenious that you lose the larger picture again which you sketched so well in your last article: the pressure coming from Russian diplomacy in pushing for real peace talks and a political solution (Russia even brought up plans for a new constituion). Something the US could not and would not deliver as it was not willing to discard their misled regime change agenda. And this implies SEPARATION of jihadi die-hards (of whatever group, it is not just al-Qaeda) from those rebels who can have a place in a future Syria. This separation is a mortal threat to JFS/Nusra & allies if they cannot hide any longer behind "mainstream opposition". So they have to react, and the events seen in Idlib is precisely along the lines of this dynamics.


In short: I believe the Russians understand well that a political solution (which they clearly try to find) has to go hand in hand with a military solution. You first have to bomb "them" to the negotiation table.

Posted by: Qoppa | Jan 26, 2017 9:51:56 AM | 8

Everything is going to be OK trump is now channeling hillabilly no fly zone. trump doubles down on stupid and I'm not surprised at all. The merchants of death win, everyone else loses.

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/2017/01/trump-to-order-plan-for-syria-safe.html#links

Posted by: jo6pac | Jan 26, 2017 10:08:54 AM | 9

It sounds like a shell game con designed to baffle us with BS. The truth like Tulsi Gabbard's interview on CNN (posted by harry in the prior thread) does not get very far in the US media. (It's like many Americans still thinking Saddam was connected to al Qaeda/9-11 and had WMDs.) Even the Socialist Worker site had to call some of these groups jihadist while claiming no connection to al Qaeda. But their love of "revolutionaries" allows them to love terrorist jihadists.

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 26, 2017 10:09:31 AM | 10

I forgot if this come to be the no fly zone (rebrand to safe zones) I guess the Russians got there answer to can't we get along. neo-conns win and so much for draining the swamp.

Posted by: jo6pac | Jan 26, 2017 10:11:29 AM | 11

I return to Washington, DC with even greater resolve to end our illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government. From Iraq to Libya and now in Syria, the U.S. has waged wars of regime change, each resulting in unimaginable suffering, devastating loss of life, and the strengthening of groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The U.S. must stop supporting terrorists who are destroying Syria and her people. The U.S. and other countries fueling this war must stop immediately. We must allow the Syrian people to try to recover from this terrible war.

Thank you,
Tulsi

http://original.antiwar.com/Tulsi_Gabbard/2017/01/25/the-syrian-people-desperately-want-peace/

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 26, 2017 10:16:05 AM | 12

To all of those who often disagree with me:

"I’m 66, and I’ve given it a lot of thought; there is one reason for where we are. If where we are is bad it is because of systemically-sanctioned greed. I wouldn’t be here discussing anything at all if I didn’t believe that the paramount concern ought to be the destruction of capitalism as we know it.

"Anything less is pissing in the wind. Anything less than a achieving a new socialized democracy is allowing capitalists to piss on you."

I agree with the above 100% ... I quote it because, while it states my position well, I did not write it. Further, it undergirds my belief that humans are, by nature capitalists, and therefore fascism is inevitable. I find that reprehensible and therefore actually do believe that the world would be a whole hell of a lot better of if we humans did not infest it.

Posted by: rg the lg | Jan 26, 2017 10:22:40 AM | 13

Trump, agent of Likud, now proposing 'safe zones'

The Oded Yinon plan is Likud's wet dream, and it is going to take us into world war.

And its because organized, Zionist Jewry owns government, media and banking: And they convinced you to never say so lest speaking these truths get you labeled an irrational 'hater'.

See nothings worse than being an 'antisemite' - not even mass murder and ethnic cleansing.


http://sgtreport.com/2015/10/the-yinon-plan-greater-israel-syria-iraq-and-isis-the-connection/

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/04/09/isis-is-us-israeli-creation-top-ten-indications.html

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/how-the-us-enabled-isis-to-take-deir-ezzor.html

http://theduran.com/us-isis-deir-el-zour/

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/12/us-caught-faking-it-in-syria/

https://mycatbirdseat.com/2013/06/the-machiavelian-threefold-game-of-the-neoconservatives/

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=western_support_for_islamic_militancy_2049

Posted by: Florin N. | Jan 26, 2017 10:28:00 AM | 14

...
But speaking of the "I" word and its possible permutations, I am somewhat dumbfounded at your suggestion it would have been better to have WW3 from the getgo.
Huh?
Posted by: juliania | Jan 26, 2017 9:27:42 AM | 7

No. Not better - inevitable.
Totalitarian Capitalism's vampires and satanists grip on the levers of power, their determined & consistent abuse of that power, and the (dynastic) motivations behind that abuse, are problems of WWIII magnitude.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 26, 2017 10:28:24 AM | 15

one of the 'rebels' in Astana was explaining to French gov radio a couple of days ago that they have put in the negociation the question of the " 30,000 women and children who are in prison "...
Not much advertized as this comes in direct contradiction with their earlier claims of army raping and killing everyone, as pre-Aleppo prop.

Posted by: Mina | Jan 26, 2017 10:44:26 AM | 16

Here is a good analysis of rebel power struggle:

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/why-jabhat-fateh-al-sham-fighting-other-rebels-syria-1902636393

Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the group formerly known as the Nusra Front, this week unleashed its fury on other groups it said were "conspiring" to undermine it by co-operating with the government of President Bashar al-Assad in peace talks in Astana.

It comes as JFS has in the past few weeks failed in a bid to create a new rebel coalition, and found itself isolated and facing a multi-front offensive: Russian, US and Syrian attacks on its positions, exclusion from ceasefire deals - and local JFS commanders are reported to believe that local rebels are now providing coordinates for the strikes.

--> don't forget there were also devestating airstrikes by US coalition on JFS/Zenki training camp (about 100 dead!). It is not clear yet whether this is due to a new strategy by Trump administration, or still part of the confused Obama policy.


Strategic outlook:
For now, rebels opposed to JFS need to bide their time and re-asses their options.

Tamimi said that there were effectively two paths open to the rebels at this stage: get closer to Turkey, which is prosecuting a campaign in northern Syria and considers JFS a "terrorist group", or get closer to JFS themselves.

"Each option has its pitfalls," he said. "Neither can achieve the original goal of the revolution at this point, but Turkey is more likely to ensure the survival of more mainstream factions."

Posted by: Qoppa | Jan 26, 2017 10:44:37 AM | 17

MadMax2 first brought up Ehsani in yesterdays "Rebel infighting" thread which put a dampener on the outlook. Thanks for picking that up MadMax2. Now to wait and see where everything leads. Magneir believes it will lead to a bigger bloodier war between the two groups in the future, but until that happens, Syria will not be able to pull forces from the Idlib front to push back on the ISIS fronts.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 26, 2017 11:04:57 AM | 18

Didn't take long for Trump to put Clinton's no fly zone plan back on the table and all Putin needed was a face-saving US figurehead change to buy into it.

Ah, what an excellent player Putin is. I wonder how he will finesse the pipeline deal? I suppose there will be a deal with Turkey where the Russian pipeline and the US pipeline will presumably come together, some sort of deal involving quotas no doubt?

Meanwhile the Syria carve-up is being finessed rather nicely. Assad seems willing to play along now, since he apparently has no other choice. There is barely any pretense, at this point, that Assad is involved in decision making about the future of Syria. Safe zones will be set up, I presume, and who controls which safe zone will predict who ends up controlling which chunk of Syria? That looks to be the plan.

Al Queda's and ISIS' role in the end game remains murky. They are merely pawns in the game, but how will they be dealt with and for whom are they placeholders? I would guess that they remain important as placeholders for the US and its allies and as a way to keep Iran from establishing continuity across the region.

In time Russia will discover that it has no friends because it has stabbed them all in the back, but by then Putin will be gone and filthy rich I reckon. If Shirley McClain were younger she could probably have an epic affair with him. She realized that the political sphere is just a bigger stage for thesbians.

Posted by: paul | Jan 26, 2017 11:07:06 AM | 19

The latest from Magnier. A shootup between the Idlib headchoppers may still be on?

Elijah J. Magnier ‏@EjmAlrai 9m9 minutes ago
More
#AQ #Nusra #JFS continue attacks moderate rebels #FSA: tens of killed reported in northern #Syria.

Elijah J. Magnier ‏@EjmAlrai 6m6 minutes ago
More
#AhraralSham is suffering casualties as well as #AQ during infighting taking place in rural #Hama, #Aleppo and #Idlib.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 26, 2017 11:15:41 AM | 20

I've said this before. Until the empire and it's minions refrain from creating these "proxy" wars around the globe, nothing can change, and people, like the Syrian people, will continue to suffer, so that the already rich, can become even more wealthy.

The U$A needs to declare a moratorium on regime change.

Posted by: ben | Jan 26, 2017 11:15:43 AM | 21

P.S. As always b, thanks for the work you put in to help inform people, but quite frankly, all these proxy forces involved in Syria make my head hurt!

Posted by: ben | Jan 26, 2017 11:18:53 AM | 22

"Rep. Gabbard calls on US govt to stop ‘supporting terrorists’ after meeting Syria civilians & Assad".

From RT:

https://www.rt.com/usa/375110-gabbard-assad-syria-war/

Posted by: ben | Jan 26, 2017 11:22:44 AM | 23

Anti_republocrat posted an email from Tulsi Gabbard at Syrpers:


As much of Washington prepared for the inauguration of President Donald Trump, I spent last week on a fact-finding mission in Syria and Lebanon to see and hear directly from the Syrian people. Their lives have been consumed by a horrific war that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and forced millions to flee their homeland in search of peace.

It is clear now more than ever: this regime change war does not serve America’s interest, and it certainly isn’t in the interest of the Syrian people.

We met these children at a shelter in Aleppo, whose families fled the eastern part of the city. The only thing these kids want, the only thing everyone I came across wants, is peace. Many of these children have only known war. Their families want nothing more than to go home, and get back to the way things were before the war to overthrow the government started. This is all they want.

I traveled throughout Damascus and Aleppo, listening to Syrians from different parts of the country. I met with displaced families from the eastern part of Aleppo, Raqqah, Zabadani, Latakia, and the outskirts of Damascus. I met Syrian opposition leaders who led protests in 2011, widows and children of men fighting for the government and widows of those fighting against the government. I met Lebanon’s newly-elected President Aoun and Prime Minister Hariri, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard, Syrian President Assad, Grand Mufti Hassoun, Archbishop Denys Antoine Chahda of Syrian Catholic Church of Aleppo, Muslim and Christian religious leaders, humanitarian workers, academics, college students, small business owners, and more.

Their message to the American people was powerful and consistent: There is no difference between “moderate” rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS — they are all the same. This is a war between terrorists under the command of groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and the Syrian government. They cry out for the U.S. and other countries to stop supporting those who are destroying Syria and her people.

I heard this message over and over again from those who have suffered and survived unspeakable horrors. They asked that I share their voice with the world; frustrated voices which have not been heard due to the false, one-sided biased reports pushing a narrative that supports this regime change war at the expense of Syrian lives.

I heard testimony about how peaceful protests against the government that began in 2011 were quickly overtaken by Wahhabi jihadist groups like al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) who were funded and supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, the United States, and others. They exploited the peaceful protesters, occupied their communities, and killed and tortured Syrians who would not cooperate with them in their fight to overthrow the government.

I met a Muslim girl from Zabadani who was kidnapped, beaten repeatedly, and raped in 2012, when she was just 14 years old, by “rebel groups” who were angry that her father, a sheep herder, would not give them his money. She watched in horror as masked men murdered her father in their living room, emptying their entire magazine of bullets into him.

I met a boy who was kidnapped while walking down the street to buy bread for his family. He was tortured, waterboarded, electrocuted, placed on a cross and whipped, all because he refused to help the “rebels” — he told them he just wanted to go to school. This is how the “rebels” are treating the Syrian people who do not cooperate with them, or whose religion is not acceptable to them. Although opposed to the Assad government, the political opposition spoke strongly about their adamant rejection of the use of violence to bring about reforms. They argue that if the Wahhabi jihadists, fueled by foreign governments, are successful in overthrowing the Syrian state, it would destroy Syria and its long history of a secular, pluralist society where people of all religions have lived peacefully side by side. Although this political opposition continues to seek reforms, they are adamant that as long as foreign governments wage a proxy regime change war against Syria using jihadist terrorist groups, they will stand with the Syrian state as they work peacefully toward a stronger Syria for all Syrians.

Originally, I had no intention of meeting with Assad, but when given the opportunity, I felt it was important to take it. I think we should be ready to meet with anyone if there’s a chance it can help bring about an end to this war, which is causing the Syrian people so much suffering.

I return to Washington, DC with even greater resolve to end our illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government. From Iraq to Libya and now in Syria, the U.S. has waged wars of regime change, each resulting in unimaginable suffering, devastating loss of life, and the strengthening of groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.

I call upon Congress and the new Administration to answer the pleas of the Syrian people immediately and support the Stop Arming Terrorists Act. We must stop directly and indirectly supporting terrorists — directly by providing weapons, training and logistical support to rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS; and indirectly through Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and Turkey, who, in turn, support these terrorist groups. We must end our war to overthrow the Syrian government and focus our attention on defeating al-Qaeda and ISIS.

The U.S. must stop supporting terrorists who are destroying Syria and her people. The U.S. and other countries fueling this war must stop immediately. We must allow the Syrian people to try to recover from this terrible war.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 26, 2017 11:42:33 AM | 24

An "safe zones" President Trump made a surprise move, ordering the State Department and Pentagon to prepare for the establishment of safe zones in Syria, giving them 90 days to provide a full blueprint for how they would go about it. This has all been discussed by top Pentagon Generals, they have indicated that these zones would need to be no fly zones, Gen Dunford... “Right now… for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia,” Dunford replied, drawing a rebuke from committee chairman John McCain (R-Arizona), who argued a no-fly zone was possible without war.https://www.rt.com/usa/360317-carter-dunford-syria-russia-senate/
Someone said a week is a long time in politics, 90 days is a lifetime. Safe zones/no fly zones will not happen.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 26, 2017 11:45:21 AM | 25

harrylaw | Jan 26, 2017 11:45:21 AM | 25

President Trump made a surprise move, ordering the State Department and Pentagon to prepare for the establishment of safe zones in Syria, giving them 90 days to provide a full blueprint for how they would go about it.

Whenever the British government wants to put off doing something, it creates a committee that is due to report at some point in the future. By giving the State Department and the Pentagon 90 days to report, Trump has created a "committee" to deal with this or rather not deal with this. I expect that in 90 days the reports from the State Department and Pentagon will be published for review in the next 90 days. Before you know it, Trump has come to the end of his first term as president and still there is no "safe zone".

Posted by: Ghostship | Jan 26, 2017 12:22:16 PM | 26

harrylaw@11:45:21 AM

As I pointed out on the previous thread, this is not about ramping up no fly zones but about making a plan for the repatriation of refugees. Here's what Reuters uncovered:

"The Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense, is directed within 90 days of the date of this order to produce a plan to provide safe areas in Syria and in the surrounding region in which Syrian nationals displaced from their homeland can await firm settlement, such as repatriation or potential third-country resettlement," reads the draft executive order awaiting Trump's signature.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 26, 2017 12:23:31 PM | 27

harrylaw @25

I believe that McCain wanted a 'no-fly' zone over all of Syria to protect the Syrian people from attack from the air ("barrel bombs!!"). A "safe zone" for refugees is less ambitious, however, AFAIK Russia and Syria have consistently rejected any carving up of the country and even the US has essentially agreed (while leaving the door open to federation) because US has always maintained that the Syria people are oppressed and would vote to remove Assad if fair elections were held.

IMO this is all preliminary to a Trump-Putin meeting where all issues will be on the table. Rapprochement comes only with a comprehensive agreement. The big question: what exactly does the Trump Administration want from Russia?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 26, 2017 12:25:58 PM | 28

To continue my comment above - it seems to me Trump is shouldering some of the responsibility for the problem with this proposed plan. It's a whole lot better than arming the terrorists, even if that has happened indirectly and inadvertently (kindest read.)

Posted by: juliania | Jan 26, 2017 12:28:49 PM | 29

thanks b.. it is tricky following all this.. ditto @6 juliana's comment to you.

@8/17 qoppa.. thanks for sharing your views.. i am not sure of the quality of middleeasteye coverage.. are they some group writing out of the uk as well?

@18 peter au.. thanks for pointing that out and all else..

Ahrar al-Sham.. what i don't get is how this group can be classified as 'moderate' chopping little kids heads off.. and turkey works with them in the euphrates shield? really? i have seen toner and kirby dodge the question on them regularly in the past.. i guess it's so they can continue provide them weapons - being moderate, lol..

Posted by: james | Jan 26, 2017 12:42:14 PM | 30

Didn't take long for Trump to put Clinton's no fly zone plan back on the table and all Putin needed was a face-saving US figurehead change to buy into it.
...
In time Russia will discover that it has no friends because it has stabbed them all in the back, but by then Putin will be gone and filthy rich I reckon. If Shirley McClain were younger she could probably have an epic affair with him. She realized that the political sphere is just a bigger stage for thesbians.
Posted by: paul | Jan 26, 2017 11:07:06 AM | 19

Trump is playing the rhetoric game with the MSM.
His affirmative answer to his rhetorical question "Does torture work?" is as meaningless as the utterly meaningless question itself.

"Work" means whatever he wants it to mean. Had he asked "Does torture produce reliable answers, or only what the torturer wants to hear?" then an affirmative answer would have to specify whether the objective was to produce 'reliable' answers or 'predetermined' answers.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 26, 2017 12:55:46 PM | 31

Different sites describe the ‘islamist groups’ fighting in Syria, citing their names and so on. Generally up to 30-40 are listed. Of course none are ‘moderate rebels’, they are all fighting forces. HUMANIT orgs (those are not listed) - all funded from the outside. By the Saudis, some GCC members, the US, Turkey, more marginally Europe, Canada, etc.

The fighters are, depending on description, mercenaries (yes!), or just ideological, radical nuts - a few maybe so. They are cheap gun fodder, dregs, and represent an exploitation of poverty and no-hope, proxies sent off with the hope of glorification for 150 - 300 dollars a month. When they die they are replaced by new recruits who keep on coming in the hope of either going on the rampage to rape and kill, dominate and subjugate, find some new status, or with some illusory vision of a new, pure, well ordered, Islamic society, where peace, proper morals, and relative prosperity reign. ISIS (etc.) appeal to both lots and all inbetween. Including young women who hope for a regulated, stable life with a faithful husband and the possibility of children.

Deploying a US soldier abroad costs about between 900 K at lowest estimate and far more than one million per year, up to close 2 million by others. (from news etc. No idea of the true numbers..and depends on what you count..would be great to have some good nos.) These cheap, low-level proxy fighters are not fighting for a common cause, they may fight each other as well, as ‘loose cannons’ trying to grab financial / arms / logistic support, embroiled in desperation and the thrill of war, and ready to join whatever.

Assad has made some effort at ‘neutralising’ these forces (since right from the start) as in offering them amnesty if they lay down their arms and give up ‘djihadist’ affiliations.

Proposal: offer each fighter 5K dollars to go back home, plus trip cost (to Tunisia, etc.) or to others, a stipend of 400 dollars a month for one year (or 200 for 2 years) provided they show clean hands. Game over. Vladimir, Donald, hey ho, helloooo?

Fat hope. :)

Sounds nuts … Just desribin’ one different angle.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 26, 2017 12:58:01 PM | 32

I see everyone's hair is starting to catch fire because the precious Trump man-god is already siding with the Zionist plan for Syria. ROFLMAO!

Kushner and Friedman on the left, Adelson on the right and $25 million reasons to secure Zionist interests. Wait...you ain't seen nothing yet.

Trump will dictate terms to Putin and put sanctions relief on the table and not the other way around. Putin will get a half-assed deal and Zionists will get exactly what they wanted all along, or if Putin refuses, Wahhabi Saudis will continue fueling chaos as agents of Israel inflicting perpetual chaos on Assad and the Syrian population that support him. Zionists don't mind perpetuating chaos; either way they win.

Trump man-god, i.e. crazy uncle with yellow-orange rug extension for brain, will always side with Zionists and their goal for the Middle East. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 1:08:06 PM | 33

Correction: 125 million reasons!

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 1:10:27 PM | 34

In related developments, Mexican President Nieto has cancelled the summit with Trump over Mexico's refusal to finance Trump's Wall. And late yesterday, several high ranking State Dept. officials resigned quite unexpectedly, with no reasons being given. It's very likely that Mexico will withdraw from NAFTA rather than renegotiate, which is certainly in its interest.

It seems in numerous areas, Trump's reneging on important campaign promises that might make him a one termer.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 26, 2017 1:16:28 PM | 35

Circe shows up to derail the thread (again after 30-ish comments).

Don't feed the troll!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 26, 2017 1:34:14 PM | 36

@ james | Jan 26, 2017 12:42:14 PM | 30

On Middle East Eye, this is how they present themselves:
MEE looks at issues from a Middle Eastern perspective and does not tailor our coverage for a specific audience. We aim to bring local voices to the fore in analysis that isn’t shaped to suit political or financial agendas.

We have a large and constantly growing network of freelance correspondents and columnists covering 24 countries, with this coverage strengthened by content from influential think-tanks, news agencies and syndicated content from other quality online publications.
Strategy

At MEE, all sides of arguments are heard on an impartial platform, with social media and other technologies helping to drive the debate.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/about-middle-east-eye-1798743352


I would say it is (naturally) mixed quality. I tend to take articles on individual merits.


@ Noirette #32

this is a good sober look at rebels.


Posted by: Qoppa | Jan 26, 2017 1:59:46 PM | 37

Trump man-god does what Trump man-baby wants, starting with not consulting Russia that invested so much treasure in Syria. I call this thumbing nose at Russian influence in the region.

https://www.rt.com/news/375169-syria-safe-zones-reaction/

The so-called ruse was probably engineered to frustrate whatever negotiations Russia enters into without Zionist U.S. leadership as in you don't get to invite us; we invite you; IF, you're ready to make Trump-deal.

President Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama resisted Republican calls to set up safe zones on the grounds that such a move – which could involve ground troops and extra US aircraft if a “no fly zone” is created – would draw the country deeper into Syria’s complex civil war.

An increased US military presence in the country could also cause clashes with Russian forces, which operate in the country at the request of ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, a Kremlin spokesperson urged caution on the part of the US, adding that Russia had not yet been consulted on any safe zone plans.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/russia-is-not-happy-with-trump-s-plan-to-create-safe-zones-in-syria-a7547586.html

The Trump man-god illusion has a crack; it will shatter in many more pieces subsequently.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 2:05:07 PM | 38

SYRIA - Looks like the NeoCons just received a swift kick to their collective testicles.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard after her return from Syria, confirming what 21WIRE and others have said for the last three years: “There are NO moderates (rebels)” in Syria.

http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/01/26/syria-there-are-no-moderates-tulsi-gabbards-reports-from-syria/

Gabbard is a US Congressional Representative AND a US Army Major. The question is in which capacity is she speaking/acting?

Posted by: ALberto | Jan 26, 2017 2:36:00 PM | 39

@39

Are you aware that Tulsi Gabbard visited Syria with Dennis Kucinich?

Gabbard supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries. I'm wondering if there's some political strategy going on between Kucinich and Gabbard? Kucinich/Gabbard 2020? No one tops Kucinich in integrity.

I could really get behind a ticket like that! That's an alliance I could really see challenging Trump in 4 years. Maybe someone should put up a Presidential website.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 3:03:41 PM | 40

@39

I wonder if there was some political strategy involved when Kucinich decided to join Fox News as a contributor and analyst reaching a wider demographic?

Is Kucinich planning another Presidential run in 2020? If he is, Tulsi Gabbard would be a perfect running mate.

This alliance looks very promising. I hope it gets traction.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 3:13:20 PM | 41

@32 noirette.. thanks... the cannon fodder is endless and saudi arabia, gccs and etc have deep pockets to support the mercenary forces, whether they be described as isis, al qaeda, or moderates.. they are all foreigners primarily that have gotten an okay from big daddy warbucks - usa - to continue with this regime change, or at minimum - make syria a basket case - ideology.. it is such a shame is happening, but i blame all these countries and led by the sham artists i constantly complain about - as directly responsible. your idea of how to stop it, would require an endless stream of money.. i think a better way is to reveal in the open to the world - who is paying these headchopping mercenaries.. they can do this, just just haven't as it points back to all the wrong folks who are loath to be revealed.. the msm continues to be the fake news source it is now known to be. good post either way as i see the first part much the same as you..

@37 qoppa.. thanks. i have read some of there articles and came away with a bit of a skewed view on the outlet.
"MEE is an independently funded online news organisation that was founded in February 2014." and who would the 'funding' folks be??? reading articles like this today force me to call bullshit on the mee's agenda and point back to who are probably their ''independently funded'' sources..

Posted by: james | Jan 26, 2017 3:21:03 PM | 42

bottom line is i don't fully trust the info from mee..

Posted by: james | Jan 26, 2017 3:31:43 PM | 43

I loathe all this talk of 'moderate rebels' that Lavrov buys into. It was OK the first time that separating the 'moderates' from the extremists was a ceasefire condition - haha we said, now Kerry's bluff will be called. Well, Lavrov never called anything - instead we had months and months of Lavrov bemoaning the fact that the US had 'failed to separate the moderates'.

It is very dangerous to play along with this fiction of moderate rebels, Kerry's legitimate opposition, because it is seen to give them legitimacy. Fortunately the Syrians themselves refuse to buy into it.

When news came that Ahrar al Sham was fighting al Nusra, I was forced to concede that maybe the strategy worked - divide and conquer and all that. Overlooking, like everyone else, how unlikely it is that these gangs would fall out just as when the tide is turning against them.

Syria should stick to its guns and refuse to acknowledge any of these gangs as 'legitimate' opposition, regardless of Lavrov and his diplomacy.

It was extremely disappointing that Russia, having tried to have Ahrar al Sham and Jaish al Islam listed as terrorist organisations, made itself ridiculous by then terming them as 'moderate opposition' for the purposes of the Astana talks.


Posted by: Barbara McKenzie | Jan 26, 2017 3:34:13 PM | 44

Dang when will non Syrians stop pretending to be expert on all things Syrian?Time to wipe your own ass and mind your own backyards as the shit is about to hit the fan in DC,BERlIN,BRUSSELSanf PARIS!We have met the enemy and its not ARABS:-)

Posted by: Nur Adlina | Jan 26, 2017 3:37:51 PM | 45

@Qoppa | Jan 26, 2017 1:59:46 PM | 37

Can you give me an example of a quality article published in MEE? I ask because I don't recall seeing anything I respected in he last year or so.

This article seems typical: Syria's White Helmets award Jo Cox with highest honour.
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syrias-white-helmets-award-jo-cox-its-highest-honour-1146119186

Posted by: Barbara McKenzie | Jan 26, 2017 3:51:47 PM | 46

sort of OT about Mosul
http://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/1470-isis-women-executioner-mosul.html
Notice the woman executioner commander of ISIS in Mosul is a Saudi. This is additional evidence that the terrorism in Iraq and Syria is not home grown resistance.

I was suspicious of that source so I found more including this:
http://www.mcac.maryland.gov/newsroom/TerrorismNews/20170123-isis-leader-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-claimed-critically-injured-dailymail
Yep, it's a fusion center and they report that in addition to the Saudi commander, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hit in a air strike. (after all this time, it looks like a real effort against ISIS)

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 26, 2017 3:53:05 PM | 47

So, a question: is Charles Lister spouting his nonsense because:
(a) he is an ignorant fool who doesn't cross-check his "facts" or
(b)he is a dishonest knave who knowingly regurgitates falsehoods?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 26, 2017 3:56:03 PM | 48

Barbara McKenzie | Jan 26, 2017 3:34:13 PM | 44

Many local Syrian groups have already surrendered and been given amnesty by the Syrian government. Lavrov/Russia have never considered Ahrar al Sham moderate.
The Russian tactic of high intensity offensives then truces has caused many thousands of Syrian militia fighters to surrender in return for amnesty. Many local militia's that have not surrendered are adhering to peace deals. As Lavrov/Putin have stated many times, any fighters that do not stick to peace deals are considered terrorists and are treated as such.
You seem to think Lavrov ect are naive?

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 26, 2017 4:03:29 PM | 49

@44 Barbara McKenzie.. russia, putin, larvov and etc are not fooled by the deception.. far from it i imagine.. they are playing a long game here.. this is something lost on many who try to read this on a casual basis..

Posted by: james | Jan 26, 2017 4:12:04 PM | 50

Those State Dept. officials only resigned in the sense that they offered their resignations, as it is customary for high-ranking officials to do at the end of an administration. What was not customary was that their resignations were accepted.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 26, 2017 4:15:53 PM | 51

Anybody interested in placing a bet?

My money is on Congresswoman Gabbard being appointed as #2 at State.

Her recent trip was organized quietly and funded privately AND it just so happened to occur following her trip up the golden elevator...

@27 Juliana - thanks for the detail on Trump's definition of his 'safe zones'.

Posted by: h | Jan 26, 2017 4:22:29 PM | 52

And I'll go further. Gabbard will be put in charge of creating and managing these 'safe zones'.

If I'm right, which time will tell, the move would be deliciously brilliant. A moderate Democratic woman who is a full-blooded Hawaiian put in charge to clean up the miserable mess a neocon Third Wayer Democratic woman made. It doesn't get much better than that.

The very least the We the People of the United States can do is help the citizens of Syria return home, safely, and provide assistance to help them regain some semblance of normalcy to their lives.

Posted by: h | Jan 26, 2017 4:40:04 PM | 53

h @53--

Tulsi is NOT "a full-blooded Hawaiian." She is an American-Samoan whose ethnicity is very clear from her picture as having plenty Caucasian traits, her mother being Carol Porter Gabbard from Decatur, Indiana. Consulting her Wiki page would have helped your credibility, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulsi_Gabbard

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 26, 2017 4:53:41 PM | 54

All things being what they seem, the idea that al Qaeda & friends, fighting the so called moderates, raiding the headquarters for both weapons/ammunition and documents, were in effect, cleaning up the evidence of the U.S. & friends involvement/support, including al Qaeda & friends. It's going to be interesting to see the Trump handling of the present situation.

Posted by: Eugene | Jan 26, 2017 5:18:36 PM | 55

James@42 Amazingly it was the NYT which brought the story of Bidens admission as to who is behind regime change in Syria. How convenient to exclude his own administration. "The latest furor started after he spoke at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government last Thursday. Mr. Biden said American allies including Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had extended unconditional financial and logistical support to Sunni fighters trying to oust the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.

“Our allies poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against al-Assad,” he said, including jihadists planning to join the Nusra Front and Al Qaeda". https://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/joe-biden-apologizes-for-telling-the-truth/

Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 26, 2017 5:20:27 PM | 56

@james, Barbara

on MEE I think it is a mixed bag. In any way I would recommend reading different perspectives, you can note bias but still learn from it.


---> moderate/terrorists
this is just a word-play without much meaning. One shouldn't judge such a conflict from a moralistic point of view. You can even make a case that many "FSA" units are worse, behaving more like gangsters and warlords, whereas many "jihadis" (notably from Ahrar) have done more for civilians, giving protection, food, and restoring some order. That is because they have a vision of a society (even if it is not a good one unless you are a very conservative Sunni).


As for Russia: I love it that they now also engage in the "moderate" game. I tend to take many Russian pronouncements as full of healthy cynicism, or dry Russian humour. As if they say bullshit, only to show the West: see, we can bullshit too!

But there is a more serious side to it:
if you want to have a somehow peaceful future in Syria, you need to reintegrate many many "rebels" and opposition activists. That seems also to be the intention of Assad's amnesty offers (about which we know very little how, and if, they work). And even in the best case of a swift military victory by SAA and allies, there still will be "underground terror" (like in Iraq) for a considerable time.

Yeah, Right | Jan 26, 2017 3:56:03 PM | 48

---> Charles Lister:
I think he is a typical careerist. He's got some knowledge but is not good enough to be in academia, at least not at top places. But he has got the ability to network, to say the right thing for the right people.
That is why you simply cannot tell whether he deliberately lies or not. He is not aware of the difference.


Posted by: Qoppa | Jan 26, 2017 5:30:10 PM | 57

@Barbara McKenzie | 44
It is frustrating because there is/ has been so much deceit involved in the classification / re-classifications. From talking to the Syrians I know in Turkey and Iran there are genuine Syrian fighters out there who have never supported Al Qaeda or Daesh, and maybe have never supported any side but have got caugjt up in the fighting and who need somehow to be brought in from the war and re-habilitated, if I can use that phrase, and deployed into society in a meaningful way - police, security details etc. Many of these are young men who will not have done their military service in Syria and are terrified of what the consequences of that will be - men are not issued with Syrian ID Cards unless they can produce their paperwork from the military! So, its a complex issue ... These guys have to brought in from the cold in a manner that they do not fear for their saftey. The ceasefires facilitate this to some degree.
The other side to this is the likes of Turkey exploiting these vulnerable guys and pulling them into a Turkish-led Syrian security force to be deployed in Turkish 'liberated' areas... Another of Erdogan's 'manufacturing compliance' ploys in Northern Syria.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jan 26, 2017 5:35:52 PM | 58

@52 &53

Bullshit. That would be a strategy ONLY to keep her from threatening Trump's Presidency in some way in 2020. Tulsi is a rising star in the Democratic Party; she's a rising star without Heir Trump. You really think she's gonna sully her reputation with the likes of him and give up the summit that awaits her to pick up the crumbs Heir Trump man-god throws her way??? Let him find some other p...sy to make him look good!

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 5:41:09 PM | 59

@26 gs, @27 jewels

i hope you're right ghost, i don't the difference you seem to distinguish jewels ...

Russia urges US to ‘weigh consequences’ of Syria ‘safe zones’ plan


According to a document seen by Reuters, Trump is expected to give 90 days to the Pentagon and the US State Department to draw up a plan for establishing what he called safe zones in Syria, a move that could result in increased US military involvement in Syria.

Qatar and Turkey, Washington’s regional allies, who have long sought the ouster of the Syrian government, were quick to welcome Trump’s plan.

On Thursday, Qatari Foreign Ministry's director of information, Ahmed al-Rumaihi, said in a statement that Doha had “emphasized the need to provide safe havens in Syria and to impose no-fly zones” in the Arab country.

In a similar stance, Turkey said that it had long advocated such a plan in Syria, adding that Ankara would make an assessment of Trump’s proposal.


apparently the cia and the pentagon have explained his 'new' policy to the tee-rump.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 26, 2017 5:45:20 PM | 60

No surprise Trump is now calling for a No Fly Zone in Syria, he is surrounded by Neocons that I just to happy to take up to WW3.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vcd-yvudYSg&t=163s

Posted by: ron demarco | Jan 26, 2017 5:57:43 PM | 61

According to "The Moon of Alabama", he fell for the the so-called infighting, between AlQaeda and Ahrar Al shams. The trick was meant to "eliminate" CIA- and Turkish Government supported groups. This consisted of incorporating them into the two the two terrorist groupings, thus transferring their NATO provided weapons, and forming a broad unified front.

If the past behavior would be considered somewhat of a predictor for future action plans, the Trumpetist Detente should be liked at with great suspicion. Trumpet might just be a front to divert the attention of the Anti-ZioCon-, Anti-DAESH- & Anti-Hegemonic Coalition.

President Hopey-Changey Obomba was lauded prematurely with even a Nobel Peace Prize but ended up on the same side as DAESH.
In this light, Trumpet should be judged by his actions and not be given a pass because of the melody he is playing.

Posted by: AHS | Jan 26, 2017 6:09:31 PM | 62

@54 karlof1 - I sincerely appreciate your correction. Thanks. Happy to be wrong and corrected.

@59 Circe - I don't have a clue who you read other than b, but Gabbard has no future in the Dem party. I concur she is a rising star but not inside that extraordinarily dysfunctional, collapsing corporate edifice. They are currently eating alive their own. Who'd want to take their precious resource to engage, let alone remain inside such a lost institution.

As you correctly suggest, Gabbard is bigger than a Party and she's made it clear that her loyalty is to an honorable foreign policy that uses its might for good (whatever that may be) rather than regime change marching toward globalism/imperialism. As you know, she's experienced war intimately. That tends to change a person's worldview. And given the opportunity to take that experience, knowledge and skill to serve this country for her betterment is an opportunity few wise people would reject.

I'll betcha Starbuck's coffee she'll accept the appt. If I'm wrong, well, you get a free coffee on me...

Posted by: h | Jan 26, 2017 6:23:52 PM | 63

@ Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 26, 2017 11:45:21 AM | 25
@ Posted by: Ghostship | Jan 26, 2017 12:22:16 PM | 26
@ Posted by: juliania | Jan 26, 2017 12:23:31 PM | 27 & 29
@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 26, 2017 12:25:58 PM | 28

Concur with overall. Yet other issues have been decisively acted upon, TPP, etc. Ordering a vague draft plan within 90 days for review, is kicking the can down the road/taking it off the table for now ... a lot can happen in even just 90 days of a new Administration ...

@ Posted by: h | Jan 26, 2017 4:40:04 PM | 53

Tragically, reality is a little different ... full-blooded Hawaiians are effectively third class citizens, after American's(significantly servicemen/women) & Japanese, in what used to be a sovereign nation ... before the coup d'etat ...

Overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii
The overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii began with the coup d'état of January 17, 1893 on the island of Oahu, leading to the end of the hereditary monarchs

Re Syria, Ukraine/Crimea, Russia/China/Iran, etc

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has advanced the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds, the closet it's been to midnight since 1953 ...

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - Full Statement (PDF download- 18 pages)

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 26, 2017 6:28:25 PM | 64

Kucinich made the trip with current U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, their spouses, and representatives of Cleveland's Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services, which paid for the visit.

The organization has paid for prior Middle East trips for Kucinich, including one where the legislator met with Palestinian and Israeli officials. The decades-old social group also assists with immigration issues and helps immigrants integrate into the community, says board member Sam Khawam, who was part of the delegation.

He said his organization is nonpartisan and includes Christians and Muslims. Khawam - an immigrant from Beirut - estimates there are around 80,000 Arab Americans in Northeast Ohio who were attracted by the area's friendliness and ethnic diversity.

Khawam said he hopes "something good will come out of it after Gabbard gives her report to Congress and shares her experiences with her colleagues." He said his group would like "to stop the carnage" in Syria.

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/01/syria_has_become_proxy_war_for.html

Posted by: ALberto | Jan 26, 2017 6:46:33 PM | 65

@63

As you correctly suggest, Gabbard is bigger than a Party and she's made it clear that her loyalty is to an honorable foreign policy that uses its might for good (whatever that may be) rather than regime change marching toward globalism/imperialism.

Then why pray-tell would she align herself with the most unpopular incoming and no doubt in four years or sooner, the most unpopular outgoing President of all time? You think she's gonna risk a blunder like that, when she's a rising star? You think all those millions of women who marched the other day are going to support her if she aligns herself with this administration and especially Trump? Not a chance. She better think twice about accepting a career-ending proposition from il duce americano.

One more thing; just the fact that she went on this Syria trip with Kucinich speaks volumes. Trump doesn't hold a candle to Kucinich in the integrity department. I don't think she'll take anything Trump has to offer; but if she does; she'll lose my respect completely; I don't care how honorable her intentions are. She'll be tainted forever. But...

You're gonna owe me.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 6:49:51 PM | 66

52 and 53

What makes you think that Trump has any empathy for Syrians? There's only one entity he cares about in the ME and that's Israel.

His first week's performance as president has very dark undertones and it's beyond me how his boosters on this board find it all so refreshing. When the army starts shooting Indians over the Dakota Access pipeline will they be as enthusiastic?

So Trump's open to discussions with Putin but he viscerally hates Iran and Hezbollah. How's that supposed to work, think there's much future for the Shia Crescent? He's pissed and moaned about what a mistake it was for the US to not take the oil after pulling out of Iraq. Maybe he'll send in the Marines and kick IS out of Mosul and Raqqa and take their oil. He said they might get another chance.

Looks like share prices in private prisons are set to skyrocket in the US as immigrant detention will be the new normal. Lots of ICE jobs coming open. Funds being cut for sanctuary cities. EPA's been gutted, they'll be blowing the tops of mountains in West Virginia in no time. Coal is back baby! Troops to Chicago. Torture's back in fashion. Trade war with Mexico and maybe a shooting war with China. Feeling the love yet?

So expect lots of new settlements on the West Bank. Expect a hard line on any party Israel deems an enemy. Putin may wrangle Assad staying on in a rump Syrian state and hold onto his bases but everything else is up for grabs.


Posted by: peter | Jan 26, 2017 6:54:00 PM | 67

you ask
Can you give me an example of a quality article published in MEE? I ask because I don't recall seeing anything I respected in he last year or so.
my answer
Gareth Porter often publishes at MEE first, and then other media pick it up. I think GP is the best USA reporter/analyst/critic on mideast, especially on Iran related matters, such as the nuclear deal, such as the "bombing" of Argentina temple (google it if you do not agree). GP is thorough, meticulous, careful, and very well informed with real inside sources.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 26, 2017 7:09:44 PM | 68

@ 67

Before we get all weepy about the EPA, see this article by Carol Van Strumm:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/24/the-secret-history-of-the-epa/

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 26, 2017 7:16:58 PM | 69

Circe @ 40 & 41: Yep, I'm down with that, big time!

h @ 53 said.."The very least the We the People of the United States can do is help the citizens of Syria return home, safely, and provide assistance to help them regain some semblance of normalcy to their lives."

The U$A does owe them that, but, not with a "no-fly zone," but, by ending it's support for proxy "regime change" forces...

Posted by: ben | Jan 26, 2017 7:35:40 PM | 70

@69

Yeah, but peter 67, made over a dozen good points and Trump's bringing the coal industry back. So your point is? Lemme make your point: how about black lung is better than no lung at all? Same difference.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 7:45:22 PM | 71

First, I wish to thank b for this site. Moreover, his desire to set the record straight when his only desire is always to provide the facts on the ground as he studies them. b is a rare gem in this crazy media world we all live in these days. So, I applaud him for his integrity and commitment to the facts.

I have no desire to hijack this thread so until he posts an 'open thread' this will be my last comment on Gabbard and my hunch she's getting ready for a career change.

To answer your question, Circe, on "Then why pray-tell would she align herself with the most unpopular incoming and no doubt in four years or sooner, the most unpopular outgoing President of all time?..." you are seeing Trump from a Dem lens. I get that and certainly understand why you feel the way you do. I don't.

Trump will earn over time the respect and the votes to give him a second term. Simply, he's walking his talk. Which will result in his eventual re election. His base is already celebrating and that base is multiplying...he's doing what he said he was going to do.

So feel whatever it is about Trump that you do, but don't let that blind you from what is happening on the other side of the aisle. Rightly or wrongly, according to your worldview, he's leading by fulfilling the promises he made on the campaign trail.

That said, Gabbard is a public servant at heart. It's in her DNA. If given the choice to remain in congress and in a party that is lost in the woods right now vs being true to her public service roots she will, I believe, opt for the latter (and I'd add she'd be foolish if she didn't - America needs her). She is driven by serving not by political maneuvering. Her choices - fight the good fight and try to change the trajectory of a party that by all appearances is doing everything it can to implode and a party, I remind you, who hasn't embraced her independent streak OR she can build and strengthen her foreign policy credentials by healing, on behalf of WE Americans, the absolute horror our might has inflicted on an innocent people, while also honoring what truly got her to where she is today - being of service to the citizens of America. More narrowly the men and women who serve in the military.

For me, and many, many, many like me honor service. We typically don't care what party one chooses to affiliate with. We vote for the person and we vote every election. What we care about is an honorable America and we will support such Americans for political office - local, state or national.

Thus, I sincerely hope if offered the second post at State she accepts.

----

Peter @67 - “When I look at what’s going on in Syria, it’s so sad,” he told a crowd here. “It’s so sad, and we’re going to help people.” Mr. Trump said he would ask the Persian Gulf nations to put up money for the project, adding, “We’ll build and help build safe zones in Syria, so people will have a chance.” - Trump has been saying this for awhile now. Given his actions in his first four days of office, I have no other choice than to believe him...it appears he's doing what he said he was going to do.

----

Lastly, on Gabbard, any who watch her interviews believes in her sincerity. She is authentic in her delivery of information. She met with Assad. Think about that. She is the first American politico to have had the temerity to meet with a man our foreign policy dictates under Obama was determined, at all costs, mind you, to remove from office. The first chance she was given to go quietly as a kind of Ambassador she took advantage of, which tells me the woman is sincere and determined to right this horrific wrong. Thus, she made the first move toward a relationship with a man who has been demonized by the western press because she could. Bless her. And as an American who has watched and covered what we've done to Syria and her people, for years now, wants such a gutsy individual serving the 'bigger picture' rather than watching her being weighed down in the muck of party politics.

Gabbard represents the Best in WE Americans NOT petty party politics.

Posted by: h | Jan 26, 2017 8:15:05 PM | 72

SYRIA:Direct interview w/Abdullah Juwwad Sukran published today:

Former Tabqa Dam engineer: ‘We could see an immediate humanitarian crisis of historic proportions’

Interesting point is that widespread damage downstream can be cause merely by opening the dam's floodgates. The current flooding is caused by (an estimated) 2,500 cubic meters/second release with some gates partially opened. It's normally less than 2,000 m^3/sec. Opening all the floodgates would increase the flow to over 15,000 m^3/sec. Releases that large scour the fill beneath the dam apron and cause a collapse.

The current staff at the dam are not experienced engineers. The senior staff - like Abdullah - have long since fled. ISIS administers the dam and the less-experienced staff that remained. Mistakes, stopping or failing to do certain work, mis-managing gates and reservoir levels all have the potential of seriously damaging the dam. Sabotage would not necessarily mean blowing the whole dam. Opening (or closing) the gates and then damaging the machinery that operates them could also lead to a disaster.

The current high release is only causing mild flooding downstream. This is what you would expect the remaining staff to do if they were going to abandon the dam (due to regional fighting, risk of head loss, etc.). The head-choppers are psychopaths - they are most likely to do something insane when they feel they are losing control. I hope to hell someone has told the U.S. SOF guys trying to retake the dam about that.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 26, 2017 8:40:55 PM | 73

Tulsi Gabbard should never be trusted, the dems have a long history of ersatz humanists who seem as though they are somehow different, who say and do 'the right thing' right up to the point where they sell their supporters down the river. Shit, the door is still bouncing off the ass of the last one but already drongos are lining up for yet another vaseline-free rooting.
There is a very simple rule of thumb, if someone has been judged worthy by the DNC, which woulda happened before Gabbard got her chance at congress much less alla the 'rising star' spots she's been given, they aren't worth pissing on. Gabbard may not have screwed voters over yet but give it time, she will. Gabbard's current job is to pretend "she is the one" to prevent any sort of genuine insurrection from occurring within what the ancient neoliberal fools consider to be 'their' property i.e. any citizen whose opinions are to the left of Paul Ryan.
I was in amerika during the bicentennial, back then everyone was reluctant to face facts, that the only lesson to be taken from 200 years of theft, rape and murder by 'constitutional fiat' was the assholes have got the system so 'flawless' that there is no way to bring about effective change through sticking to the sad kabuki that is democracy amerikan style. There may be loopholes that permit a greedy no-hoper like d trump to grab a partial hold of the tiller, but in case you didn't notice, even a weak assed apology for a humanist, one Bernie Sanders, was prohibited from getting anywhere near a position of power despite having a kazillion voters - older voters and the much cherished* by pols, 0-day voters. The democrat party made it clear they would rather lose to Trump than have soggy Sanders as a candidate. Since the election, the dem party has aptly demonstrated their mendacity, not to mention their untrammeled lust for kissing plutocrat butt, by showing us that they prefer endangering the future of the species thru starting a war with another nuclear armed state, they consider that horror a superior option to allowing the Sanders cabal anywhere near the dem party's rusted up & antiquated 'levers of power'.
During my return visits to amerika there has been a palpable sense that people have had enough.
Things have gotten a whole lot worse, so one is forced to conclude that in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, anyone who believes things can be made better by pulling a lever or ticking a box is likely insane, stupid or a charlatan - in many cases all three.

*0-Day voters are the most valuable asset you can bring to a political organisation - they are young so have at least ten maybe twenty elections in 'em; going on previous analysis the first party they vote for is more likely to be the last party they vote for than any other - 60 years of electoral servitude - pure gold.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 26, 2017 8:41:49 PM | 74

About Gabbard, she first meet Trump to talk about Syria, then goes on a "fact-finding mission" to Syria, with Kucinich, and eventually meets Assad himself.
I'm seriously wondering if the "fact-finding" wasn't just about the situation in Syria and the past history of the war, but also about Assad's intentions - she probably had some message from Trump to Assad, in which case she could've been tasked to check or assess to which extent there could be a deal with him - like some cooperation in fighting against ISIS.
And if that was the case and a key reason for her trip, then, since we're talking about Trump, one could indeed wonder if he wasn't testing her abilities and reliability, considering her for some more official position.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jan 26, 2017 8:54:31 PM | 75

America financing Terrorists in Syria: Congress Woman Tulsi Gabbard On CNN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrAw6GI-3sk

Posted by: a | Jan 26, 2017 9:36:10 PM | 76

America financing Terrorists in Syria: Congress Woman Tulsi Gabbard On CNN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrAw6GI-3sk

Posted by: ALberto | Jan 26, 2017 9:37:36 PM | 77

Jan @76 Oopsie

Posted by: ALberto | Jan 26, 2017 9:38:31 PM | 78

Since Daily Kos is in meltdown over Tulsi Gabbard, I tend to side with her. Hmm, Secretary of State? Heads would explode.

Posted by: shadyl | Jan 26, 2017 9:40:22 PM | 79

@72 h

First of all: Trump is an off-the-rails crazy train. He's not going to make it to a second term! He barely made it this time if not for some fortuitous events that exposed DNC old guard corruption and a lousy opponent, Hillary.

FYI, Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich's trip to Syria was led and paid for by the Arab American Community Center for Economic and Social Services in Ohio. Since Kucinich used to be a House Representative for the 9th Congressional District in Ohio, I'm assuming, hopefully not wrongly, that Kucinich may have had something to do with the planning of this trip. One thing's certain; I'm really encouraged that Tulsi Gabbard teamed up with Kucinich on this trip. There is more here than meets the eye.

As Kucinich is now a contributor at Fox News, he was interviewed on Tucker Carlson's show regarding his trip to Syria. Tulsi was interviewed by Tapper on CNN. Both interviews are outstanding; but IMO, Kucinich hits it out of the park.

I think everyone should watch Kucinich's interview. This man has his head on straight. He's also been interviewed several times on RT and never ceases to impress me with his sound foreign policy outlook. Remember, he was the only member of Congress brave enough to attempt Articles of Impeachment against Cheney and Bush while Obama never even had his DoJ investigate them. I posted the interview here; it's not long. He makes perfect sense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU8bopTZBjc

The irony here is that Kucinich is getting exposure to the Republican demographic with Fox News and Tulsi is gaining popularity with some Republicans, while both are still very popular with Democrats and Independents. Lemme tell you; these two can catapult Trump back to his New York penthouse in a New York minute.

Kucinich/Gabbard 2020 - Dream Ticket

Forget Trump...he's finished before he even started. She won't go down that loser Trump's road. I've never seen someone f...k up in one week alone the way he has. Put a fork in Trump; he's done.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 9:42:01 PM | 80

@79 Can you post Kos article on Tulsi where heads are exploding? Just curious. Also, Trump already has an SoS; it's BIG OIL Tillerson.

@75 Clueless Joe

she probably had some message from Trump to Assad. First of all, Trump or this administration did not sponsor her trip. Secondly, if she were his go-between the message would be: NO-FLY COMING, as Trump will do Zionists' bidding 110%.

Speaking of Zionists:

Rising Zionist Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger excoriated Gabbard on the Floor of the House and on Facebook: “To say I’m disgusted would be an understatement. By meeting with the mass murderer of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Tulsi Gabbard has legitimized his dictatorship.”

I have recurring nightmares of a Republican primary where Adam Kinzinger and Jared Kushner are the rising Zionist stars on the Republican ballot.

Let's hope Trump goes down in flames and Republicans are shamed and out of circulation for a few decades.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 26, 2017 10:09:25 PM | 81

#81 Circe the Clitorian Democrat fake news

Quoting straight off CIA WIKI:

On August 3, 2016, Kinzinger announced publicly that he would not support GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. "I'm an American before I'm a Republican," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, adding that "I'm a Republican because I believe that Republicanism is the best way to defend the United States of America… [Trump] throws all of these Republican principles on their head."

If Trump sells out to neocons like these which are effectively in support of Circe's Democratic war criminals, he does deserve whatever's coming to him.

Posted by: Quadriad | Jan 26, 2017 10:52:02 PM | 82

Kucinich/Gabbard 2020 - Dream Ticket... Really?

Yea, democrats still dreaming of hopes and change that was never but a dream nevertheless. I still remember Kucinich sold his soul on single-payer with a ride in airforce one with obomo...

Never trust any Democrats, never again, never forever.

Posted by: OJS | Jan 26, 2017 11:10:04 PM | 83

There are many democrats’ MoAs and elsewhere sounds just like Thom Hartman, Michael Moor, Keith Olbermann....

They, instead of sticking to the issues what americans need - creating jobs, fair, equal and safe environments instead attacking the republicans that I have no love and did not vote for president in nov 8.

Posted by: OJS | Jan 26, 2017 11:26:13 PM | 84

...If Trump sells out to neocons like these which are effectively in support of Circe's Democratic war criminals, he does deserve whatever's coming to him....

Trump an improvement, bit of everything the like of clitorian, gw bush, obomo. trump administration are jam pack with the meanest neocon. Unlike obomo jammed packed with the meanest neocon and neoliberal..

Looking back gw bush presidency, the democrats did excellent jobs making life living hells for the republicans, with the exception going to wars in libya. both are wars mongers, while trump more interested in russian vast untaps oil and gas reserved in the arctic and will do anything to get it.

Posted by: OJS | Jan 26, 2017 11:43:48 PM | 85

You know, if you get into the Wikileaks files and forget about the corporate media coverage, you can find a lot of things out. Sure, the national security establishment might flag you for doing this, but it's no big deal for people like me who were flagged back in like 2001 or so. Dig up some nice State Department cables from Manning, some Clinton emails, some Podesta lobbyists - what are you afraid of? NSA has a probe up your ass, better slap some tape over that webcam, get used to it. If you were in Saudi Arabia or Qatar, they'd be kicking down your door right now, just for reading this. But, as the saying goes, your best defense is a good offense. Protect the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights first, everything else is window dressing.

So: Trump appears to have sold out to the national security establishment. Not too surprising see Clinton and Tump, and you get this image by Google Image [ Clinton Trump Delaware ] since they shared the same Delaware tax dodge center:
http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org/wp-content/uploads/Trump-and-Hil-c-c-1-565x366.jpg

Show me the f*cking money, right? These people are crooks. Jackrabbit, you've been given the Obama treatment with your Trump loyalty, Trump is Wall Street all the way. If I was Putin and Assad, I'd be rapidly reconfiguring for the Hillary Clinton approach. Looks like Circe was a bit more on the money than anyone wanted to admit.

But Circe, the deal is, this isn't America's world anymore, that's what you are missing. China has more pull than either Russia or the USA. I mean, Russia, where is Russian manufacturing? Lagging, trying to catch up. I watched Putin's SOU speech, it was good stuff, he talked a lot about the need for technological advances, so much smarter than Trump. And yes, Tulsi Gabbard would make a great president for the next term, no doubt about it. She's seen the shit in Iraq, and doesn't think U.S. troops should be thrown into more idiot games. A step in the right direction.

Crazy Horse has gone off the reservation, that's my take on the current situation.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 26, 2017 11:55:20 PM | 86

The Daily Beast, a Zionist news outlet, did a hit-piece on the organization that sponsored Tulsi Gabbard's trip to Syria. Unbeknownst to me, Dennis Kucinch travelled to Syria with this same organization twice before this trip in 2007 and 2011. So I really believe it was Kucinich and not Trump that influenced Gabbard's decision to visit Syria. Kucinich also met with Assad previously.

thedailybeast Tulsi Gabbard

One thing that really bothered me in the article and compelled me to further research the matter is that it alleges that Tulsi Gabbard pals around with uber Zionist Sheldon Adelson. Regrettably, I did discover that she introduced legislation on his behalf to ban on-line gambling and just this year attended a gala sponsored by the Adelsons in which she received the Champion of Freedom award at a gala in New York City, which was co-hosted and sponsored by Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam and appears in a photo with Miriam Adelson and Rabbi Schmuley.

https://twitter.com/RabbiShmuley/status/732513262286213121/photo/1

Does Adelson recognize the rising star he needs to suborn? What's up with that?

Between Gabbard and Kucinich...Kucinich has more integrity. He's perhaps the only politician I trust implicitly. This is an excerpt from a piece authored by Kucinich right before the election.



War is first and foremost a profitable racket.  How else to explain that in the past 15 years this city’s so called bipartisan foreign policy elite has promoted wars in Iraq and Libya, and interventions in Syria and Yemen, which have opened Pandora’s box to a trusting world, to the tune of trillions of dollars, a windfall for military contractors. DC’s think “tanks” should rightly be included in the taxonomy of armored war vehicles and not as gathering places for refugees from academia.

The demonization of Russia is a calculated plan to resurrect a raison d’être for stone-cold warriors trying to escape from the dustbin of history by evoking the specter of Russian world domination.

 It is also time for a new peace movement in America, one that includes progressives and libertarians alike, both in and out of Congress, to organize on campuses, in cities, and towns across America, to serve as an effective counterbalance to the Demuplican war party, its think tanks, and its media cheerleaders. The work begins now, not after the Inauguration.

https://www.thenation.com/article/why-is-the-foreign-policy-establishment-spoiling-for-more-war-look-at-their-donors/

Yes, look at their donors: Haim Saban, Sheldon Adelson, the MIC and Wall Street. If you see even one of these on a politician's resume; BEWARE.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 27, 2017 12:04:44 AM | 87

If Trump sells out to neocons like these which are effectively in support of Circe's Democratic war criminals, he does deserve whatever's coming to him.

Posted by: Quadriad | Jan 26, 2017 10:52:02 PM | 82

Guess you didn't get the latest party memo: Kinzinger started to support Trump before the election.:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/20/politics/adam-kinzinger-party-people/

Oh, and regarding my so-called Democratic criminals, please refer to @87 before you smear me again with this LIE.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 27, 2017 12:24:43 AM | 88

@86

But Circe, the deal is, this isn't America's world anymore, that's what you are missing. China has more pull than either Russia or the USA.

I did write in a previous post that the Empire is unravelling and that Trump will accelerate the process. China has more pull and that's why it's in Trump's crosshairs.

I'm kind of dying to see how Putin ends up playing Trump; because he is playing him*... I wish I were a fly on the wall for that meeting.

(*...for a fool; which of course is obvious to anyone with half a brain.)

Posted by: Circe | Jan 27, 2017 12:35:13 AM | 89

Look, Circe, Wall Street and the investment bankers are trying to preserve their wealth status, and it could all blow up in their faces like it did for the Russia oligarchs, See this:
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/01/johnson-elites-eying-exits-signals-americas-crisis.html

The radical notion of a complete U.S. Empire collapse on the scale of the Soviet Union collapse of the 1980s, that's what you and your cohort have a hard time imagining, but I'm telling you, it's inevitable. It's just like the downfall of the Soviet Union, and the downfall of the French and British Empires in the 1950s. Trump can't handle this, anymore than Borish Yeltsin, that drunken slob, could.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 27, 2017 12:53:50 AM | 90

nonsense factory | Jan 26, 2017 11:55:20 PM | 86

Early on in the US elections, I looked up the foreign policy for each candidate.
None had a section for foreign policy.
They all only had war policy. One, might have been Sanders, had war and peace policy.
The US really is a fucked up place.
I am not a US citizen, but this election was like a fork in the road. A hundred meters down the Clinton road, the road dropped of a cliff. All I could see down the Trump road was the first bend.
Where Trump goes now is anyone's guess. A couple of positive actions so far, but I also see this tweet from Trump... Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!...

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 27, 2017 1:04:33 AM | 91

nonsense factory @86:

Looks like Circe was a bit more on the money than anyone wanted to admit.
If Circe was so 'on the money' then why did he have to push his narrative? Why was it so important that MoA be anti-Trump ASAP? Why did he:
1) exaggerate and produce disinfo/MSM narratives?
Example: Circe's insisted that Woolsey's involvement meant Trump was in the pocket of the neocons.

2) attack our host and commenters as lax/complicit?
why generate more heat than light if you've got INSIGHT?

3) appear about the same time that rufus left
rufus was our former anti-Trump Zionist troll

4) not speak of any real alternatives?
he calls for some kinda vague 'revolution'?

5) ask us to IGNORE who is behind anti-Trump protests?!?!

6) use a handle like 'Circe' that connotes waylaying the unsuspecting?

Some (including myself) at MoA have voiced skepticism about Trump before and after Circe became vocal about Trump (RIGHT AFTER THE ELECTION - when the anti-Trump effort began), but no one really knew with any certainty what Trump was all about and what he intended. Only Circe claimed such certain knowledge.

I think Trump's strategy is complex. It will take time for it to play out. And if it plays out in a way that is true to Trump's cardinal principle of 'America First', then Israel is not likely to be pleased:

>> Israel wants a US that it can manipulate, not a US that is strong, independent, and nationalist;

>> Trump's attacks on the media weaken the establishment's control;

>> An energy independent US and improved US-Russian relations mean that Israel is much less important to the US;

It could well be that Trump is pulling the wool over our eyes. But if that is so, he will meet with even greater resistance. We have seen encouraging indications that Trump is serious about 'America First'. But every day we get a better read on what his intentions are.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2017 1:36:41 AM | 92

Circe @89:

... dying to see how Putin ends up playing Trump
This Trump hate is revealing. It conflicts with you're narrative of Trump as Zionist/neocon poodle.

If the Zionists are in charge, then either Trump will not meet with Putin / not be authorized to make a deal, or the Zionists/neocons will set guardrails to prevent any mishap.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2017 2:05:01 AM | 93

@90

Who's my cohort? Anyway, we agree that the Empire is unravelling, but on what scale? Who knows, maybe Trump is Boris of U.S.A...no? Maybe that's why Putin preferred Trump...yes? Empire collapse; good for Russia; good for planet. Trump will yet take Republicans into political obscurity; one can only dream that will be his greatest accomplishment if he doesn't take the Empire down with him as well.

@91

Trump man-god finally let you down, huh? Welcome back to the real world. Wait; he ain't thru yet. If Trump's Pompeo CIA catches up with Snowden it'll be a black hole and waterboarding to find out if he shared something with the Russians. Then he'll disappear him. Putin better give Snowden permanent asylum. Manning got very lucky; Trump would have let him rot in prison; and Manning would have died young. Regardless; Manning was right on Obama and he just exposed Trump for the bastard he really is.

Not sure if you're aware of this, but in January, before Trump took Office, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich jointly wrote a letter to Obama asking him to grant Manning clemency. The letter is truly amazing. Everyone should read it.

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/media/120979/letter-from-congressman-paul-and-congressman-kucinich-re-clemency-for-chelsea-manning.pdf

It's hard to believe Manning endured all that they describe. If anyone deserves the Nobel Prize risking so much to expose corruption and war; it's Manning. Kucinich is definitely the type of leader Manning described in his most recent column at the Guardian.

(The letter appeared on ronpaulinstitute site)

Posted by: Circe | Jan 27, 2017 2:31:26 AM | 94

@92 93

What a card you are! Are you trying to make us believe that because Trump will meet with Putin Zionists don't have him by the cojones? LOL. So Obama and Hillary who proposed a reset and especially Bush all of whom also did the bidding of Zionists weren't allowed to meet and deal with Putin, is that it??? You're off your block.

And the stuff you wrote in 92? Aye-aye-aye-where do you come up with shit like that? Who's rufus, sounds like someone's pet? It may come as news to you; but I'm not the only anti-Zionist on the web. You bet I got alternatives; I already mentioned them here; but you won't touch that; cause it'll expose your real agenda. Trump didn't only have Woolsey advising him, he had Yates, Kissinger, Friedman, Kushner and Adelson bankrolling him before the election - all Zionists. I never said ignore who's behind the protests; I said I don't give a shit about Soros; what's important is that people take to the streets and revolt against the corrupted monopoly in Washington and those who control them...don't spin with your garbage!

You're as skeptical of Trump as the Pope is of his heavenly father. Trump is your freakin' religion! He's your golden calf; your man-god who can do no wrong.

Every time someone starts to see what I see you jump into hyper-spin overdrive. Methinks you doth protest too much. Methinks you're the one with a hidden agenda. Not I. I have real conviction; you...not so much, in fact, I'll wager ZERO. Oh but you always tag on at the end that you're waiting to see. You skeptical? You're so into Trump you can see his bowels. You're so into him...you're Trump-mini-me. I'll say this; your days of fooling all of the people on Trump man-god all of the time are numbered. Expect more people to start to see the light. Oh and I didn't attack the host; that's your interpretation not his, as the two posts wherein I referred to him as col. Nicholson and planting the bad seed are still there; much to your chagrin; I'm sure.

Trump is already proving me right, again and again, to your chagrin. Now scat. I've had enough of you.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 27, 2017 3:31:30 AM | 95

circe, did you have anything else to add to anything??? non thread related of course!

Posted by: james | Jan 27, 2017 3:35:09 AM | 96

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-safezones-idUSKBN15B0E5
By Phil Stewart | WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump's push to create safe zones in Syria could force him to make some risky decisions about how far to go to protect refugees, including shooting down Syrian or Russian aircraft or committing thousands of U.S. troops, experts said.

Trump said on Wednesday he "will absolutely do safe zones in Syria" for refugees fleeing violence. According to a document seen by Reuters, he is expected in the coming days to order the Pentagon and the State Department to draft a plan to create such zones in Syria and nearby nations.

The document did not spell out what would make a safe zone "safe" and whether it would protect refugees only from threats on the ground - such as jihadist fighters - or whether Trump envisions a no-fly zone policed by America and its allies.

If it is a no-fly zone, without negotiating some agreement with Russia Trump would have to decide whether to give the U.S. military the authority to shoot down Syrian or Russian aircraft if they posed a threat to people in that zone, which his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, refused to do.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jan 27, 2017 5:03:28 AM | 97

After looking over two very different takes about Tulsi Gabbard's recent trip to Syria on a fact-finding mission, viz., https://www.rt.com/usa/375110-gabbard-assad-syria-war/ and http://thehill.com/homenews/house/316430-gabbard-meeting-with-assad-draws-disgust-from-fellow-lawmakers, I have a question. And that question is,

"HOW MANY OF THE SO-CALLED MODERATE REBELS HAVE EVER HELD ELECTIONS IN AREAS THAT THEY CONTROL"?

Sometimes the US claims "freedom and democracy" as justifications for interventions, other times it's just "freedom". However, democracy is a form of freedom. If none of the rebels have ever held an election, ever, isn't that prima facie evidence that they have no motives for "freedom" for Syrians (other than being free of Assad)?

Posted by: metamars | Jan 27, 2017 5:20:43 AM | 98

Circe @95:

... because Trump will meet with Putin Zionists don't have him by the cojones?
Apparently you misread/misunderstood what I wrote @93.
Who's rufus?
As I explained above, he's was the anti-Trump fanatic zionist/hasbara at MoA who was banned just before you (conveniently) arrived here.
I'm not the only anti-Zionist on the web ...
True, but you're the only one here jumping up and down - despite the fact that most people here are ALREADY anti-zionist (but much less vocal). All the more strange that you wage your "anti-Zionist" campaign here. Isn't it REALLY just an anti-Trump campaign?
Trump didn't only have Woolsey advising him, he had Yates, Kissinger, Friedman, Kushner and Adelson bankrolling him
We've been over this before.
1) Kissinger was advising Hillary.

2) Adelson's focus was on funding Congress, his support for Trump was mostly at the end of the campaign (much less important). And Trump got far less funding from Zionists than Hillary.

3) Most neocons also supported Hillary.

I never said ignore who's behind the protests; I said I don't give a shit about Soros; what's important is that people take to the streets and revolt against the corrupted monopoly in Washington and those who control them
Well, I encourage people to read it for themselves. You urge MoA readers to join the protests against Trump, and if they are bothered by who is behind the protests then they should simply pretend that they are protesting the duopoly.
You're as skeptical of Trump as the Pope is of his heavenly father. Trump is your freakin' religion! He's your golden calf; your man-god who can do no wrong.
Ranting will not hide the fact that you don't address the logic of how 'America First' policies disadvantage Israel over time. Or how you have essentially no plan for what might come AFTER Trump. Maybe because all you really care about is turning people against Trump?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 27, 2017 6:05:31 AM | 99

@ Posted by: metamars | Jan 27, 2017 5:20:43 AM | 98

Indeed.

'Democracy & Freedom', 'Human Rights', 'Civil Rights', 'Women's Rights', et al, from child-killing blunt knife videophile Wahabbist Head-Choppers ? Our proxies, which we train, equip, fund, support, arm, direct and even provide international diplomatic cover/protection/representation/succor.

The true, proven meaning, of the public rhetoric, 'Code-words' :

Democracy & Freedom = Suborned Vassal Dictatorship through Strongman Iron-Fist Rule
Human Rights = Torture & Inhumane Cruelties & Resources/Economic strip-mining
Civil Rights = Death Squads & No Rule-of-Law & No Right of Assembly/Gathering, even in private residences.
Women's Rights = Haha! see all above.

These faux Cassus Belli, emotive & manipulative 'Calls to Arms' have always been merely regurgitated fodder for the consumption of the 'Sheeple' and never anything more ... going back 200+ years ...

Peace.Salaam.Shalom.

@ Posted by: james | Jan 27, 2017 3:35:09 AM | 96

Indeed. 100% Off-Topic, 100% o' the time.

C consumed ~15% of this thread on: Al-Qaeda consolidates its front groups in Syria', with OT drivel. Obtained a bonus ~10%, in responses ... for a grand total achievement, so far only, of ~25% OT. C gets a C, for Consistency, in dedication to 'objectives'. :(

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 27, 2017 6:09:24 AM | 100

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