Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 24, 2017

Syria - "Rebel" Infighting And Turkish Losses Help the Government And Its Allies

On the last days of the Obama administration the U.S. military hit a large Al-Qaeda training camp in Idleb governate in Syria. The camp was known as a training area for European fighters.  B-52 strategic bombers dropped a large amount of bombs on the camp Over 100 people were killed in the attack. The camp's existence, though probably not the exact location, was known since 2013 but the U.S. had not touched it before. Some suggested that the attack had the purpose of destroying evidence of U.S.-al-Qaeda cooperation in Syria.

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. (Al-Qaeda is allied with Jund al-Aqsa, an ISIS splinter group, and with the Zinki group, a CIA vetted "moderate" gang known for receiving TOW missiles from the CIA as well as for the beheading of a Palestinian child.) As al-Qaeda it is the biggest group on the rebel held ground it can only be fought by a united opposition. That fight is currently ongoing.

The separation of "moderates" from "terrorists" has thereby happened. Russia had asked the U.S. for over a year to help with the separation. But all Russian agreements with the State Department were sabotaged by the CIA and the U.S. military and the U.S. claimed that the groups were too "mingled" with al-Qaeda to be separated. from them Now, without U.S. interference, the separation has happened.

The "moderate" groups depending on Turkish supplies are now also fighting al-Qaeda and have thereby a common enemy with the Syrian government. Russia will surely try to diplomatically build upon that commonalty.

The Russian and Syrian military are holding back from the area. One should not disturb the enemy when it is making mistakes. Let the Takfiris fight each other and sort themselves out. What is left after that fight will be easier to defeat.

The situation in Damascus is still bad. The water from Wadi Barada on which 5-6 million people in Damascus depend is still cut off. Several ceasefire agreements in Takfiri held Wadi Barada were broken by al-Qaeda elements. During the last one the main Syrian negotiator was killed by an al-Qaeda sniper when visiting the area. The Syrian army has surrounded the Wadi and intense fighting is going to liberated the occupied water wells.

Further south preparations seem to be ongoing for a rearming of Takfiri groups via Jordon. During the last days the Syrian government interdicted  the smuggling of at least 19 TOW missiles and large amounts of other ammunition. Someone has plans to reignite a fight in the south which had been quiet for most of the last year.

Around al-Bab east of Aleppo the Turkish army is still trying to take the city of al-Bab away from ISIS. The Turks depend on a lousy infantry made up of some Syrian rebel groups and are weakened due to Erdogan's purges of the Turkish army and airforce. Over a third of the pilots have been kicked out of the service. Many others are under investigation. IThe Turkish soldiers seem to have little will to fight. Yesterday 34 soldiers failed to show up at a hearing in Istanbul over alleged participation in the coup against Erdogan. They are fighting somewhere near al-Bab and had received no court notice. Some air force pilots have to check in with the police when they start to fly against ISIS and have to again check in with the police when they come back. They are not allowed "to leave the country" but still get orders to bomb in Syria. It is no wonder that such an army is incapable of effective fighting. Yesterday 5 Turkish soldiers were killed and two more main battle tanks were lost. Turkey makes no progress at al Bab but has steady losses of men and heavy equipment.

South of al-Bab the Syrian army has started an operation to clean ISIS territory between the Qweiris airbase and the city. It may well reach al-Bab from the south before the Turks come near to it from the north.

Further east the U.S. supported Kurdish SDF is nearing the Tabqa Euphrates dam west of the ISIS capitol Raqqa. Capturing the dam will be very difficult. In a warning ISIS opened several gates of the dam and further downstream flooding is now a serious concern. Blowing up the dam would have catastrophic results for many people in east Syria as well as in Iraq.

Further east the fighting in Deir Ezzor continues. The city is besieged by ISIS and a large attack recently managed to split the Syrian army garrison from the living quarters of the 100,000 inhabitants under government protection. Air supplies were impossible.

A large Russian air campaign has helped to push ISIS back. Up to a 100 strikes per day have disabled ISIS artillery in the area and helicopter landings to bring in supply and reinforcements are now again possible. Food supplies for the population are again being dropped from large transport planes. During the last three days the Russian airforce flew strategic bombers from Russian territory to Deir Ezzor and intensely bombed ISIS held positions. ISIS reinforcements coming from Raqqa and Palmyra were interdicted before they could reach the area. Deir Ezzor already looked lost but it now may survive the latest ISIS attempt to storm it.

In various areas of Syria different configurations of enemies and allies are fighting each other. The situation seems to get more complicate by the day as Turkey and the U.S. are permanently changing their positions and intentions. While U.S. supported "moderates" in the north fight the former allied al-Qaeda, the "moderates" in the south receive resupplies despite their intimate local alliance with al-Qaeda. ISIS is fought by the U.S. in coalition with the Kurds but not in coalition with its NATO ally Turkey. Meanwhile ISIS is supported by the U.S. in its campaigns against the Syrian army.

Turkey is hopelessly lost. It barely controls the "moderates" in the north and any fighting against al-Qaeda and ISIS will find a brutal terror echo in Syrian cities. Its campaign against al-Bab is stuck but with mounting losses. How long will it take Erdogan to finally give up on his neo-Ottoman dreams about new Turkish land in Syria?

One might hope that the new U.S. administration will find some sense and engage in a coalition with Syria and Russia to eliminate all Takfiris on Syrian ground - ISIS, al-Qaeda and any "moderate" Islamist group that rejects to make peace. But the Trump administration is not (yet) organized at all. Some groups within it see their priority in fighting Iran which is needed to make peace in Syria as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe even in Yemen. Others want to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda, others see Russia as the biggest enemy. Fighting all at the same time is simply not possible. But is there someone who can set the priorities? A compromise strategy within the administration will be a chaotic mishmash of tactical measures that will contradict each other. That is what I expect to see.

It may well take months if not a year before sanity will settle in and some reasonable plan will emerge. Until then Syria will stay in a chaotic fight though with a growing advantage on the side of the government and its allies.

Posted by b on January 24, 2017 at 03:03 PM | Permalink

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https://youtu.be/IRNWMpS3bMk

I have decided to abstain from DJT as the USS SuperJesuit steers ever closer to the rocks, with nobody at the helm who knows a thing about governance, only ideology. MAGA!
#TRD

Posted by: TheRealDonald | Jan 24, 2017 3:33:09 PM | 1

This article is stupid. Moon continues with the anti-Turkish theme.
It should be obvious to all that Turkey has droped the neo-Ottoman pretentions, not just in Syria but also in Iraq. Turkey is not trying to take land Syria, but simply creating a bufferzone to prevent Kurds from uniting their cantons. Everything is now officially cordinated with Russia & Syria.
Erdogan is clearly not in contronl of Turkeys foreign policy, but is in a very weakened & fragile position.
This idea that Turkey is bogged down, or stuck around Al-Bab is becoming ridiculous.
Turkey have never really attempted to capture al-Bab, or even besiege it. They are taking it very slow & are simply holding their positions, most likely because the question of who will take al-Bab is still being negotiated. It looks like its going to be the SAA now.
Turkish media reports claim, that ISIS had knowledge of TSK positions in Al-Bab, & therefore they knew where to strike. I suppose it was the US that gave it to ISIS.

Posted by: Christina | Jan 24, 2017 3:39:27 PM | 2

As one who lived in the region for many years, let me say this is an admirable summary. You comment: "It may well take months if not a year before sanity will settle in..." yet that is a precisely very important year if the world is to make a transition to "muti-polarity" and the empire to accept a new reality. And while the coming year continues to look tragic for Syria, it is in now way the level or degree of tragedy that it has already endured.

may they have renewed hope & strength.

Posted by: les7 | Jan 24, 2017 3:43:46 PM | 3

Nobody in the new US administration sees Russia as the "biggest threat" (what they may say at congressional hearings is irrelevant, it's just a kabuki theater to keep Europeans and Chinese uncertain). America's Deep State is hell-bent to reach a détente with the Russians as quickly as possible, but without being seen as weak. That's the only dilemma, and as soon as solution is found (which it will be), the US-Russian enmity will recede into the realm of history.

Posted by: telescope | Jan 24, 2017 3:57:34 PM | 4

I've read elsewhere that some of the infighting is actually the work of Hezbollah death squads staging the attacks on rebel units.

Posted by: Les | Jan 24, 2017 4:07:19 PM | 5

telescope 3:43:46 PM | 3
And you think Putin will be stupid enough to play Tronalds game and turn against the Chinese? I doubt it.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jan 24, 2017 4:15:45 PM | 6

6.
No, Putin will not turn against the Chinese. Americans know what's possible and what's not - and they will not ask for such a thing. All they want (at this point, at least) is to prevent a formal Sino-Russian alliance, but since the Chinese themselves shy away from things like that, it shouldn't be too hard.

Posted by: telescope | Jan 24, 2017 4:26:50 PM | 7

Turkey's al-Bab fiasco makes it clear to everyone what all military experts have come to understand about the Middle East over the past few years:

The SAA and Hezbollah are now the premier and unmatched fighting force in the Middle East.

East Allepo is rapidly being purged of IS by the SAA and Hezbollah leaving the Turkish forces looking like a joke. They are doing nothing other than acting as a diversion while the real fighting is going on South of al-Bab. Erdogan has a choice to either try to save face and continue to act as cannon fodder or run back across the border with his tail between his legs.

I am surprised that Iran hasn't sent more troops to Syria. The experience and expertise developed by the SAA and Hezbollah is something no amount of money can buy and will be a driving force in all military calculations by foreign powers hoping to impose their will on the Middle East for a generation.

Back in 2006 Hezbollah sent IDF terrorists running back across the Lebanon border in tears. Years of doing nothing but murdering Palestinian women and children while hiding behind US weapons were no match for Hezbollah then. It is not hard to imagine just how bad the ass kicking is going to be the next time Hezbollah takes on Israeli IDF terrorists.

It is good to see the little punk Erdogan get put on a leash by Russia. As much as it would be wonderful to see the scumbag hang for his war crimes, him being brought to heel on Putin's leash is doing enormous damage to the US's Middle East grasp.

Posted by: VaginaHat | Jan 24, 2017 4:34:35 PM | 8

One should not disturb the enemy when it is making mistakes. Let the Takfiris fight each other and sort themselves out. What is left after that fight will be easier to defeat.
The most powerful opposition block is the one made up of Jaish Fateh al-Sham and Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, so they are going to win in the terrorist-held areas of Idlib and western Aleppo Governorates. That means that Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam will cease to exist in those areas, so the Russians and Syrians have clarity that they are fighting terrorists and nothing but terrorists. Meanwhile over in the Guardian, Martin Chulov is mistakenly claiming that Russia is about to throw Assad under the bus, but he is wrong.
For the first time, Russia broke ranks with the Assad regime at Astana, chiding it for claiming that al-Qaida was leading an assault on the Wadi Barada area near Damascus, and suggesting that Iranian and Syrian forces, not the opposition, were breaching the ceasefire. It also overtly legitimised two groups that Syrian officials had long labelled as terrorists, the conservative Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam, both significant components of the armed opposition.
Assad is Russia's most trusted ally and while he and his faction are in power in Syria, Russia will keep its access to the bases in Syria. If Assad goes, what is to stop his successor doing a deal with the Qataris, Saudis, etc. to prevent Russian access to those bases? Nothing, so Assad stays and Putin has delivered the kiss of death to Ahrar al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam. Wow!

Posted by: Ghostship | Jan 24, 2017 4:44:57 PM | 9

Les | Jan 24, 2017 4:07:19 PM | 5

I've read elsewhere that some of the infighting is actually the work of Hezbollah death squads staging the attacks on rebel units.

Syrian Intelligence has always heavily penetrated the terrorist groups, particularly in Aleppo. So, my guess is that the SI operatives travelled out of Aleppo with those groups and are now manipulating them into attacking each other.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jan 24, 2017 4:53:30 PM | 10

speaking of the jihadis infesting Idlib engaged in mutual slaughter and which Aleppo is well rid of: this old limerick from Ireland!

There once were two cats of Kilkenny

There once were two cats of Kilkenny,
Each thought there was one cat too many,
So they fought and they fit,
And they scratched and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there weren’t any.
http://www2.open.ac.uk/openlearn/poetryprescription/there-once-were-two-cats-of-kilkenny.html

Posted by: brian | Jan 24, 2017 4:54:41 PM | 11

Good take!
I also see "separation" as main tactical goal of Russian diplomacy.
Contrary to vacuous Western calls for ceasefires, Russia has a plan. Before any political process can take place, you need to determine who might take part in it, and this involves excluding, and defeating, those who dream of their Levante emirate (it's not only al-Qaeda). This is why military solution and political negotiations need to go hand in hand.


A little detail:
the smuggling of at least 19 TOW missiles and large amounts of other ammunition

I understand those TOWs were to go into East Ghouta. So it was not about reopening again the Southern Front (and not necessarily through Jordan), but rather keeping alive the most important (though ever shrinking) rebel pocket around Damascus. It is the home base of Jaish al-Islam (AQ-connected, but now "moderate" as a participant in the Altana talks), so presumably the weapons came from their main donor Saudi-Arabia.

Erdogan to finally give up on his neo-Ottoman dreams about new Turkish land in Syria

I think you have Erdogan wrong here. He may play on different fields with varying messages (and goals), but it is clear he has re-scheduled his foreign policy over the last year. The neo-Ottoman plans were connected with Davutoglu who was made to resign in May (?) last year. Realignment with Russia and normalisation (though slowly) with Syria are the agenda at least since August. That is why I mainly see the endeavour Euphrates Shield as aiming at a) obviously, hindering connection of Kurdish cantons (for which Assad too would be the final guarantor), and b) having an asset for being at the table later, at the political peace process in Syria.

Posted by: Qoppa | Jan 24, 2017 5:18:12 PM | 12

The separation of "moderates" from "terrorists" has thereby happened. Russia had asked the U.S. for over a year to help with the separation. But all Russian agreements with the State Department were sabotaged by the CIA and the U.S. military and the U.S. claimed that the groups were too "mingled" with al-Qaeda to be separated. from them Now, without U.S. interference, the separation has happened.

Just as the US is not monolithic, something this poster harps on about, neither have the State Department, CIA & Military been, either, ever.

In the case of the previous State Department it could be argued that key subordinates acted in conflict or at least against the Secretary of States directives, via the former Prez, at least on occasions. This is well documented throughout the nations existence. A similar situation has been the case with the Clandestine Services elements of the CIA and the select Politicized/suborned Generals of the Military, almost always in Command positions.

The former Director of CIA (along with Clandestine Services), Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, and numerous key appointments in the State Department and Military such examples being Nuland & Petraeus, and numerous See neocons & other suborned/compromised individuals in key positions.

That has changed WEF the 20th. Hence the above changes/events ... IMV

Further south preparations seem to be ongoing for a rearming of Takfiri groups via Jordan. During the last days the Syrian government interdicted the smuggling of at least 19 TOW missiles and large amounts of other ammunition. Someone has plans to reignite a fight in the south which had been quiet for most of the last year.

The Clandestine Services Covert Operational Joint Command is run from Jordan, IIRC. Clandestine Services is still rogue, as Pompeo, if it is in fact intended/planned, has not yet had the considerable time & grim determination it will take to gut that division within CIA (& not only the CIA), Deputy Director's, Division Heads, Operations Heads, Regional Heads, Chief of Local 'Station'(national), independent action stations & sections, etc ... right down to individual Operatives.

Hence above, contrary to first quote events/changes re actions/conduct, IMV.

As an explicit example, reviewing the Al-Jazeera Investigation into the suborning of the UK sovereign government, the Tories and the attempt to ensure Agents of Influence(AOI) rising to leadership positions throughout in future generations within the Labour Party, are the real way the Military, CIA, State Department, NGO's such as Human Rights Watch(HRW), Amnesty International, UN Agencies & key appointments, etc, et al, should be assessed/considered, not as monolithic entities.

The key appointments within & throughout who can then be used to achieve external objectives, the same for an Administration and bodies such as the Federal Reserve, Treasury, Secret Service, et al ...

YMMV

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 24, 2017 5:50:56 PM | 13

I speculate that with the close of the Battle for Aleppo numerous Syrian and allied forces were cycled off the line for substantial rest and refitting, then perhaps some retraining before returning to the line to take part in the big Spring and Summer push to rid Syria of all terrorist forces by year-end, which would have three components: East, South and Idlib, roughly in that sequence. I'm curious to see what will occur when Syrian forces come into contact with Turkish forces: Will the latter retreat so the former can advance to its borders to reassert control. And what of the Kurds as both Syrian and Iraqi forces push into territory they nominally control; will they fight or allow national forces to reassume control?

And what will happen in 2018 when Syria's mostly whole again? Will a concerted attempt be made to regain the Golan? Or given the Zionists being allied with the terrorists, will that become the ultimate goal of the South offensive? How will Russia act? How much longer will Outlaw US Empire forces remain in Iraq for the Sadrists will not abide them whatsoever. What will the Trumpistas do once Syria and Iraq beat the CIA's forces? I'm sure we'll have greater insights when Summer begins.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24, 2017 5:52:04 PM | 14

excellent coverage as per usual b.. thank you..

seems like a small stroke of genius to corral all the 'moderate headchoppers' into idleb so they can sort it out themselves... meanwhile, the elephant in the room - saudi arabia - is never mentioned.. it is all about a problem with iran, lol.. whose problem other then saudi arabia and israels of course!

usa policy is same duplicitous policy for the time being until such time as someone in the trump admin wants to alter this split brain bullshite about 'moderate headchoppers' and actually go after al qaeda, or version 2 - isis..

what i don't get here is turkeys role.. when does the general public in turkey start to tire of the empire with no clothes? which brings me to....

@ 2 christina... no, moa is not anti turkey... turkey is anti turkey for allowing itself to be fooled by the caliphate dreams of sultan wannabe erdogan... it is too bad the media in turkey have been shut down so that no one in turkey is although to mention the empire has no clothes on... but indeed the craziness will continue under erdogan until enough folks in turkey decide they have had enough of his craziness.. not yet apparently!

Posted by: james | Jan 24, 2017 5:52:37 PM | 15

b, 'But is there someone who can set the priorities? A compromise strategy within the administration will be a chaotic mishmash of tactical measures that will contradict each other. That is what I expect to see.'

i agree with this assessment. tee-rump is certainly not capable of setting priorities. the chaotic mishmash will continue until most possibilities are foreclosed and those remaining will be 'prioritized'. tee-rump is just going along to get along. something will turn up.

the syrians, the yemenis, the libyans, the ukrainians, the people of donbass and the rest will continue to suffer while tee-rump plays at being emperor. the cliques that whipsawed obama will fragment and multiply. any good in the usa will have to be generated bottom up. the scum at the top is rotting in place.

russia and turkey seem to be the outside powers in syria. maybe the russians will succeed in turning turkey and the saudi arabia/the gcc camp against each other. divide and conquer.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 24, 2017 6:02:23 PM | 16

' Turkey is not trying to take land Syria, but simply creating a bufferzone to prevent Kurds from uniting their cantons. Everything is now officially cordinated with Russia & Syria.'

@2

FYI those buffer zones are in syria

Posted by: brian | Jan 24, 2017 6:06:49 PM | 17

more on turkeys approach at present here.. Turkey will not hand over al-Bab to Syrian regime: Deputy PM

and.. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş for his claim that terrorist attacks will end if the public approves government-supported constitutional amendments that will usher in an executive presidency.

“If this is true, it means the source of terrorism today is the government and the government’s spokesperson has confessed this openly,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on Jan. 24.

Posted by: james | Jan 24, 2017 6:07:25 PM | 18

The new administration clearly indicates it wishes to come to some 'Detente' with Russia, whilst displaying an extremely aggressive line with China (& Iran). They would seem to wish to break the informal RF-Sino 'alliance', even deluded they may be able to peel Russia away from China or Russia/China away from Iran.

Good luck with that. Hah!

Russia & China share a common border, and the same continent, one with massive technological and natural resources the other with new found massive wealth/economy and unlimited human resources. A good fit. Iran is in an informal limited alliance to mutual benefit with both.

Unlike the former Brittanic Empire or the (former(?)) US Empire because they share a common border and same continent they are ultimately largely immune to control of the Sea Lanes, in a direct conflict cold or Hot, which has been the crux of UK & subsequently US Empire control & Global geo-strategy 'active' measures since the beginning. See 100's of billions being invested across their common borders re rapid transit & Rapid freight shipping via new high speed train lines, as well as the New Silk Road. Above oversimplified for brevity. YMMV.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 24, 2017 6:07:38 PM | 19

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24, 2017 5:52:04 PM | 14

Largely concur.

Yet with a bankrupt economy, it's national infrastructure destroyed and it's peoples lives desperate, Syria is unlikely to seek new high risk adventures.

The SAA leadership and core components, and significant minority of forces, is now amongst the most experienced, battle hardened & competent of militaries, through the bitter & unforgiving process of 'Darwinism of the Battlefield' over 5 years. Yet there is a great difference between combat with informal proxy head-chopper forces and combat with first world full-spectrum formal conventional militaries.

Syria does not have the materiel assets, nor the personnel with training and expertise to operate the myriad of additional military assets & quantities it would absolutely require to achieve what you suggest, re Golan/Israel/Iraq. Nor especially, and most crucially, the economy/infrastructure/resources and subsequent LOGISTICS capability to support/enable such, IMHO. Nor does it have the means to acquire and establish such in the foreseeable future, nor is Russia, it's patron, in current circumstances likely to support such, IMHO.

This does not mean there could not be 'incidents' and clashes of a relatively minor nature, to establish sovereign rights/claims, limited 'payback'/'reprisals' that can be quickly de-escalated & a sustained 'tension' re the Israeli's, the border & the Golan heights ... limited direct support to Iraq ...

In future, expect Syria to provide even greater assistance and support to Hezbollah/Lebanon, to screw with the Israeli's minds & increase the Israeli's 'costs' for their past & ongoing 'conduct' and even return the favors received throughout, in kind, to ally Iran, and a lesser extent to Iraq, as & should it be needed. YMMV

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 24, 2017 6:34:29 PM | 20

Outraged @19--

Did you read Xi's keynote speech at Davos? It's filled with lots of cool zingers. Here's the link, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/01/full-text-of-xi-jinping-keynote-at-the-world-economic-forum

As Escobar notes and I agree, Russia and China now operate in a symbiotic fashion and as such cannot be divided in the classic manner desired by Outlaw Empire strategists. Indeed, given the way the West has promoted "development" since 1946, Xi's and Putin's Win/Win economic development formulae ought to be very attractive to most of the planet--even the EU. Trump seems to want to try and fight against that movement, which is actually against his stated plans as put forth in his Inaugural Speech.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24, 2017 6:45:05 PM | 21

There are numerous reports that the Kremlin is claiming that RUF and USAF are jointly attacking Daesh in Deir Ez-zor.

But “US Marine Maj. Adrian JT Rankine-Gallowy” says it’s bullshit, according to mostly British MSM, who are, by far, the worst in the world.

Here’s the SUN for instance:
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2688003/us-military-slams-kremlin-propaganda-announcement-america-flew-airstrikes-over-syria-with-russia/

None of these MSM articles identify this Rankine-Galloway other than to say he’s a Marine major. They don’t even say he works at the Pentagon. They don’t give his title, don’t say anything about when or how he made the comment. I mean this guy could be in charge of a motor pool or mess hall in Cherry Point, North Carolina for all we know.

However, to push a PoV I offered in a comment to the previous post, I think b’s snide but justified remarks about the US in Syria are going to change soon. DumboDon and Mad Dog Mattis are going to take control of the cluster-fuck in Syria/Iraq. Yes, with Putin’s approval and gratitude. 500,000 dead Syrians is enough. It’s getting close to the number of dead Americans in the American Civil War.

Posted by: Denis | Jan 24, 2017 6:55:28 PM | 22

@ james
MoA has been irationally anti-Turkish for a long time. I realise this is normal in Germany, even to the point of agressively supporting the PKK.
Nevertheless, you are right Turkey has been gripped by neo-Ottoman craziness for years. Although this has ended some AKP lunatics will always dream of greater Turkey. It is beyond me that Erdogan has the popularity that he does, as he has brought Turkey to the brink of destruction, & is now claiming he has nothing to do with it at all.
Personally, I would like to see him removed ASAP. The fear I have is that we will then get another US puppet, who will help create more havic in Syria.

Posted by: Christina | Jan 24, 2017 7:01:07 PM | 23

telescope 4:26:50 PM | 7
That's really reassuring that you know, what Tronald and his 40 thieves have in mind about Russia and China.I do not, but I assume they want to put China under heavy pressure and will if deemed necessary attack it militarily. And for that not to be suicidal it is crucial to neutralize Russia - one way or the other.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jan 24, 2017 7:13:06 PM | 24

@23 christina... thanks.. i really don't see moa as anti-turkish.. personally i love turkey and would go their in a heartbeat again if it weren't for the fact the country is in a difficult situation made worse by erdogan.. i will give you this.. turkey is right next door to syria and russia.. it is really best to work with neighbours as much as that is possible.. erdogan started down this road alienating both and has come around to seeing the foolishness in this approach.. and, of course he is in the dilemma of having to be conciliatory towards such opposing countries as saudi arabia and iran, not to mention other difficult geo political realities..

however, the path he wants to take turkey is coming at a very bad time and is made worse by his attempts to alienate or threaten everyone who doesn't go along with his apk agenda, or whatever you want to call it.. it would be better off he stepped down, but this won't happen either.. it seems the turkish people like authoritarian type leaders, or at least the apk voters do.. in sum - i can't blame him entirely.. the location of turkey is a tricky one to negotiate.. however, i think he hasn't helped matters and only made things worse.

i thought he might be gone by now, but this hasn't happened.. i am surprised he is still in power actually.

as for getting us puppets - that is one of the specialties of regime change! you get a us puppet! you get a us puppet if you don't go along with us agenda as well.. i can think of a number of places where the leader went along with usa foreign policy agenda until they didn't.. then they were put up on international charges and etc and replaced with another puppet! i wish this crazy cycle will end soon. have you ever thought that erdogan has been a puppet of the usa's until recently?

Posted by: james | Jan 24, 2017 7:33:40 PM | 25

Especially good stuff, b.

I feel Trump is very focused on domestic issues and that he wants, in the way Putin did in the early 2000s, is to restore some sort of functionality to the country. From everything I've read he appears to be driven by the restoration of manufacturing to the U.S. In that I agree with him. On foreign affairs he wants the least trouble possible. He may speak about Iran but I think this was a bone he chucked to the Israelis. He likes to hire and fire and will quickly dispense with those who wish to interrupt his mission. Other than that we just do not know. I suspect he's got a bit of the Wild West hero in him and is looking for the heroic role and the history books before he is claimed by the coffin.

The Guardian's Owen Jones took a beating on comments when he suggested Trump's TTP decision was all due to the people's protests.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 24, 2017 7:34:28 PM | 26

and - i think maybe germany only sees a particular aspect of the turkish culture that would appear very different if they were to visit and spend time in turkey.. i am not sure where b sits with this, but i have friends who live in berlin - musicians - and they paint a similar picture to your description, until i tell them they would benefit from going to turkey to get an alternative perspective.. of course going to turkey now is not a great idea as i see it..

Posted by: james | Jan 24, 2017 7:36:43 PM | 27

I gotta ask:

I sometimes get the impression that the Russians are not coming to closure re Syria. Gains seem to be allowed to slip.

What does that mean?

Is it possible that the Russian Deep State is having as much trouble with the election of Trump as is the US Deep State?

Rapprochement between the US and Russia may not be in the interest of Deep State players in Russia as it is between Trump and the US Deep State fearing rapprochement with Russia. [Ye gods and little fishes, that was an awkward sentence!]

Posted by: rg the lg | Jan 24, 2017 8:03:52 PM | 28

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 24, 2017 6:45:05 PM | 21

Yes, have always followed the strategic RF-China relationship closely.

Symbiotic indeed, and at an ever increasing rate of knots. there will be no 'split' and an attempt to force/induce one is likely to result in precisely the opposite effect/intended result/consequences, even closer RF-Sino ties, IMV. Related post these issue TPP/Trade/Security, in previous thread. All good. Cheers :)

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 24, 2017 8:22:59 PM | 29

I doubt that the SAA would allow Turkey to free/occupy al Bab as it did in Jarabulus. Turkey and the FSA still want to topple Bashar al Assad, therefore it is no surprise that some intelligence of the SAA are undermining the Turkish army by passing information to ISIS. As long as Turkey and the FSA do not officially abandon their 5 years old goal of toppling the Syrian government and accept to join the SAA, they will suffer in Al Bab.
The Turkish press is under strict censorship and the opposition paralyzed. The Turks are like zombies blindly following their insane leader toward a Sultanate where they will be totally subjugated.
The EU will never give the green light to a visa free entry to Turks as half of Turkey population will migrate officially
Yet a defeat and a massacre of Turkish soldiers in Al Bab could have a very negative effect on the April referendum on the Constitution.
Erdogan is begging Russia, the USA and probably the SAA to help him finish off Al Bab before April, as his reputation is at stake.
In the same time Turkey may suffer extreme internal violence due its numerous enemies and the weakness of its intelligence and police decimated by the anti-gulen witch hunt.
Turkey may live the most violent period in its recent history in 2017.
Erdogan would have succeeded in destroying everything he and Gulen have built up in the last 15 years.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 24, 2017 9:25:18 PM | 30

@31 virgile... i think you might be correct, unfortunately.. i was coming to a similar conclusion regarding the possibilities here for turkey 2017.. i truly hope i am wrong..

Posted by: james | Jan 24, 2017 9:33:58 PM | 31

Complicated. Understatement of the war. 15 year Lebanon war was complicated this is logical and political nightmare. Alliances are not only irrational and strange but absurd, surrealistic and as fleeting as ever.
Everything goes.

Posted by: Kalen | Jan 24, 2017 9:43:12 PM | 32

karlof1 @ 21: Thanks for the link on Xi's speech. For me, this was the highlight..

"we should pursue a well-coordinated and inter-connected approach to develop a model of open and win-win cooperation."

Trouble is, when one partner seeks to dominate the Global resources, by isolating and surrounding their neighbors, trouble and unrest follow. The U$A, and it's minions/NATO are the culprits.

This is why Russia MUST see Assad and the Syria people remain partners, and China must show it will not be surrounded and marginalized. A truly multi-polar world is much needed.

My fear is that the global oligarchs will unite and usher in the "New Age of Feudalism."

Posted by: ben | Jan 24, 2017 10:44:41 PM | 33

Perhaps we should be realistic here.

Trump may cooperate to some extent with Russia to facilitate talks but he is unlikely to be too accomodative because he will want to hold as many cards as he can at the negotiating table.

Trump doesn't need to split Russia-China. He just needs to develop stronger and stronger relations with Russia over time. The natural way to do this is to cooperate on important issues (ISIS), develop arctic resources, and strengthen trade relations.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 24, 2017 11:00:56 PM | 34

Russia & China share a common border, and the same continent, one with massive technological and natural resources the other with new found massive wealth/economy and unlimited human resources.
Posted by: Outraged | Jan 24, 2017 6:07:38 PM | 19


And Obomba (January 20, 2009 – January 20, 2017) brought them together.
A great achievement.
That Nobel Prize is well-earned.

Posted by: From The Hague | Jan 25, 2017 2:57:21 AM | 35

But the Trump administration is not (yet) organized at all. Some groups within it see their priority in fighting Iran which is needed to make peace in Syria as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe even in Yemen. Others want to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda, others see Russia as the biggest enemy. Fighting all at the same time is simply not possible. But is there someone who can set the priorities? A compromise strategy within the administration will be a chaotic mishmash of tactical measures that will contradict each other. That is what I expect to see.

It may well take months if not a year before sanity will settle in and some reasonable plan will emerge. Until then Syria will stay in a chaotic fight though with a growing advantage on the side of the government and its allies.

Yesterday, it was Trump this and Trump that; man-god cancels TPP; media distracted; not giving Trump his due, but apparently, China wasn't distracted; and this move has become China's gain. However, Trump intends to make China pay in more ways than one.

How about Russia? Is Russia ready for an American-style detente?...Uh, not so fast, Russia making list of demands.

https://sputniknews.com/politics/201701251049980905-sanctions-nuclear-weapons-security/

Is Putin warming up to Trump: No-so-much. Putin not in a hurry to meet Trump.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-kremlin-idUSKBN15509L

Today it seems, we've come back down to earth. There's chaos and trouble in Trumpland; but here hoping for sanity to settle in. Fat chance.

Meanwhile, Trump lies; pardon me alternative facts are hitting air waves like bird poop.

1. The media created the feud between the CIA and Trump; when Trump tweeted and said in 1st press conference; they're disgraceful and compared them to Nazis.
2. Trump said he'd release his taxes after the election; Trump refuses to release these after the election.
3. Trump says he had biggest crowds ever for inauguration;
4. Trump says media started to compare crowd size; when comparison was made in a tweet that pissed him off and he throws hissy fit and makes press-secretary Spicer deliver alternative facts;
5. Trump says 3 to 5 million illegal votes cost him popular vote.

4 DAYS into Presidency and already Trump-speak becomes new normal and 1984 flies off shelves. Nice start...(snark)!

Today Trump greenlights Keystone and Dakota Pipeline. The brave people of Standing Rock are ready to shut it down. We'll see if Trump sends Feds to Standing Rock like he threatened to send to Chicago in yet another tweet.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/b6995b51-fe19-3aba-b1c7-1c8e6559e901/trump-ignores-question-about.html

Sigh...methinks while we wait for Trump sanity, maybe we can use some comic relief, yes?:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM7B56xok9M

Posted by: Circe | Jan 25, 2017 3:19:34 AM | 36

@ Posted by: Circe | Jan 25, 2017 3:19:34 AM | 37

1. False. The #Fake MSM supported & assisted the CIA's & Anti-Trump Factions wilful fued with Trump-faction, including #Fake news/reporting re #Fake Hacking & #Fake fabricated 'Dossier', along with uncounted 'Omissions' - see endless FACTS throughout this Blog ...
2. Who cares ?
3. Who cares ?
4. Who cares ? And Why is the #Fake Fourth Estate wilfully failing to fulfill a mandate it never had? Free Press, hah ! More like bought & paid for Cabal directed according to the co-ordinated narrative, Press. See endless FACTS throughout this Blog.
5. Who cares ? #Fake MSM apparently.

Why does the media not 'attempt' to objectively report on policies issued, decisions & actions already taken, implications/possible consequences thereof, by a new Administration in absolute contrast with every other New Administration in living memory ?

Climate Change Policy, Renewable Energy Policy, Immigration Policy, China Confrontation Policy, et al, and consequences thereof ... instead of relentless fatuous puerile slanders & sustained 'Divide & Rule' faux 'Identity Politics' narratives ? Hm ?

Suddenly there is media concern for Keystone, Dakota Pipeline & Standing Rock ? The MSM & previous Administration did everything they could for a very long time, to break resistance and keep any real coverage out of the Public discourse/Press & minimize/Omit such reporting as could not be avoided! Why ?

Why do certain posters vomit up these transparently 'constructed' & endlessly repetitive un-objective partisan discordant screeds in complete synchronicity with the Cabal of FIVE(5) Owned-Mega-Media-Corpses, 'Narrative' ?!

Why ?

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 25, 2017 3:54:35 AM | 37

couldn't find it via google with the keywords but it worked via Youtube
same as posted 2 days ago, must see on Aleppo, August 2012, non FB version
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THdMj0-LmRw

Posted by: Mina | Jan 25, 2017 3:55:36 AM | 38

the game's afoot:

The Dealmaker will stop low-level support for ISIS killing Syrians; allow Assad to keep his nation, more or less; make friends with Russia/Putin; in exchange for Iran's head on the chopping block and the flow of arms to Hezbollah cut off.
The winner is, of course, Israel.
Syria is left with a generational catastrophe; marginalizing Iran shuts USA off from that market -- what will happen to Boeing?
Will other states go along with the continued attempt to wreck the economy of Iran, with its young population?

Michael Ledeen is advising Flynn. Very bad news.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-24/trump-team-aims-to-test-russia-s-alliance-with-iran

Posted by: Croesus | Jan 25, 2017 5:20:34 AM | 39

@40
so one sinister neocon (zionist) is in a position of influence

Posted by: brian | Jan 25, 2017 5:53:21 AM | 40

Followup to Link, Posted by: Croesus | Jan 25, 2017 5:20:34 AM | 40

... Iran must be defeated in order to win the war against radical Islam (FALSE! Wahhabism & KSA/GCC, anyone ?).

At the same time, Flynn and Ledeen are also critical of Russia's value as a partner in the war against the Islamic State. "When it is said that Russia would make an ideal partner for fighting Radical Islam, it behooves us to remember that the Russians haven't been very effective at fighting jihadis on their own territory, and are in cahoots with the Iranians," they wrote. "In Syria, the two allies have loudly proclaimed they are waging war against ISIS, but in reality the great bulk of their efforts are aimed at the opponents of the Assad regime."

Demonstrably False. (Bold and Italics within brackets my insert).

The above is demonstrable delusional falsity from the American Enterprise Institute(AEI)/neocon playbook. Not all neocons have been dismissed/disregarded it would seem ... very bad news. Secretary of Defense, former Marine General Mattis is a rabid, unreconstructed Iran hater, too ...

It would appear we will never get over our unresolved rage re getting kicked out of Iran and humiliated as a superpower in 1979 ... see endless confrontation/provocation ever since ... also see Iraq(Vassal Proxy) Invasion of Iran, Iraq-Iran War 1980-1988 ...

'twould appear for ~37 years now Iran has been the alternate, pseudo-Cuba, 'we are going to take it back or break it, hubris', re all Administrations/parties/factions and unbroken policy since '79 ... :(

Why does Saudi Arabia (& GCC) hate Iran?

Saudi Arabia is a right-wing conservative "Wahhabi" Sunni Islamic kingdom with a tradition of close ties (As a Vassal) with the United States and the United Kingdom. Iran is a Twelver Shia Islamic Republic founded in an anti-Western revolution with close ties to Russia and China.
Iran–Saudi Arabia relations

History of Iran–United States relations
There are no formal diplomatic relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America. Because the two nations currently do not have ...
Country comparison · Early relations · Reign of the Shah · The 1979 revolution

Iran–United States relations after 1979
This article is about the current international tensions between Iran and other countries, especially the United States and Israel. Since the Iranian revolution of ...

Iran–Iraq War
The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Iraq lasting from 22 September 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran, to August 1988. The war followed a ...

United States support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war
United States support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War, against post-revolutionary Iran, included several billion dollars' worth of economic aid, the sale of ...

International aid to combatants in the Iran–Iraq War
During the Iran–Iraq War, Iraq received large quantities of weapons and other material useful to the development of armaments and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs)...

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 25, 2017 6:26:31 AM | 41

At Deir ez Zor, reinforcement troops are airlifted in from Qamishli by Il-76s. The troops have taken the high ground in the cemetery area, leaving a gap of a few hundred meters to go. The Russians have largely followed the strategy used in the similar Aleppo punch-though, namely taking out logistics points and collection points away from the front line. The results are slowly starting to take effect.

Posted by: Yonatan | Jan 25, 2017 6:56:40 AM | 42

@ Christina | | 2
I agree that Erdogan's ability to draw breath abroad without Russia's permission is limited.
However to consider Erdogan's ambitions over is laughable. He will exploit to the maximum whatever position he holds and play a duplicitous game as always.
At the moment he is plastering his face around the north of Syria as the future leader. He is insisting that his understanding of northern Syrian demography be accepted and not be threatened - meaning the area belongs to loyal-to-turkey sunnis, turkmen and arabs, in his opinion!
Cavusoglu only the other day said that turkey would not return Al Bab to Assad!!
A while ago there were mutterings of allowing the people of northern Syria to decide in a referendum what future they want! Vote Erdogan! ra ra ra!
So the expansion of influence may be the precursor to physical expansion.
As for Iraq, as long as Barzani is in Erdogans' pocket financially Erdogan has the required influence, and lo and behold Barzani has stood up and said that if Maliki is re-elected Barzani will fight for full independence - moving yet closer to turkey and firmly away from the threat of Shia allegiance!

On the domestic front, Al Bab and more generally Firat operation are being sold as though the heroes of the Syrian conflict are Erdogan and Turkey. It is necessary to maintain the war footing - to maintain the military law, to maintain the threat of terror both with the aim of heightened nationalistic sentiment and fear to ensure Erdogan's Presidential constitution is passed - there was even the stupid comment by an AKP minister that if the constitutional changes are passed terrorism will be solved - precisely the threatening language that was used during the last general election! Is the implication that AKP in fact hold the key to end terrorism? Interesting admission! Typical AKP terrorism.
Having said that, I do not agree with you that Erdogan is willingly sending his soldiers and terrorists to their deaths in Syria. Of course Turkey is bogged down, but because its options are limited.
And 'b' is absolutely right to point out the weakened state of Turkey's armed forces. It is true, quite simply. Maybe he seems to be relishing the fact a little, but then why not? Turkeys actions throughout the conflict have been repugnant.
:-)

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jan 25, 2017 7:27:46 AM | 43

@Qoppa | 12
Fully agree with your points - a) prevent kursish unification and b) bargaining position. It is absolutely what is going on in my opinion but from Russia's stance: territorial integrity in Syria and Iraq and reducing Turkisb fears of Kurdish independence, at the same time keeping pressure on both Syrian and Tutkish governments.
As for your point about Davutoglu, he seems to be the point at which two problems converged for Erdogan - the failed foreign policy of open Ottoman agenda and the pinacle of a domestic powerplay building against Erdogan. The former is clear, the latter is less so because nothing is said of Davutoglu's close relationship with Gulen, Erdogan's now arch enemy. It was rumourerd 10 or 11 months before the coup that Erdogan was moving further against the Gulenists to such an extent that he warned his ministers "many of your daughters are married to Cemaat, you should sort that out!" - I paraphrase of course! Removing the Gulen threat has cost Erdogan and Turkey dearly. So much so, that he is only able to focus on his domestic goals at the moment. But his foreign policy goals have not disappeared with Davutoglu, far from it. They are just on the back burner. President Erdogan and Vice President BinAli will pick it up again soon unless further curtailed by external forces.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jan 25, 2017 7:53:42 AM | 44

@james | 18
great links. just the points i too referred to. would just add that we must always remember that the way AKP present to dometic and foreign audiences are often very different. Te Al Bab quote is clearly intended for domestic audience, but nonetheless blies, in my opinion, a nagging expansionist bent within the government ...
As for the terrorism quote, do you remember during the run up to the repeat general elecyion Erdogan uses exactly the aame tactic - "if you want peace, only AKP can give you peace". Then, he was referring to the civil war he had opened aginst the Kurds as punishment for HDPs success in the wfirst run of the GE!!
Scary that a whole reasonably modern nation is still so easily manipulated!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jan 25, 2017 8:28:52 AM | 45

I gotta ask:
I sometimes get the impression that the Russians are not coming to closure re Syria. Gains seem to be allowed to slip.
What does that mean?
Is it possible that the Russian Deep State is having as much trouble with the election of Trump as is the US Deep State?
Rapprochement between the US and Russia may not be in the interest of Deep State players in Russia as it is between Trump and the US Deep State fearing rapprochement with Russia. [Ye gods and little fishes, that was an awkward sentence!]
Posted by: rg the lg | Jan 24, 2017 8:03:52 PM | 28


Russia's interests in Syria is to prevent the Qatari pipeline AS WELL AS the Iranian pipeline.

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Jan 25, 2017 9:48:49 AM | 46

As DAESH is eviscerated by the 'barrel bomber' alliance dump commentators here are missing the coming narrative thats going to engulf the unawakened!

Posted by: Nur Adlina | Jan 25, 2017 9:52:18 AM | 47

US recently bombed ISIS camps in Libya
http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/19/politics/us-airstrikes-libya-isis/index.html

They wasted two B2s to do so but it's claimed they wanted to make a point. The point to be made is why the efforts against these terrorists have been half-assed for so long and why it seemed our efforts helped more than hurt them.

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 25, 2017 10:01:29 AM | 48

RT is reporting that six journalists have been arrested on felony "inciting a riot" charges for covering the disturbances in D.C. on Inauguration Day. ‘Outrage!’ 6 journalists including RT reporter face ‘inappropriate’ rioting charges . They include RT America's Alexander Rubinstein, who was covering DisruptJ20's activities.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 25, 2017 10:07:56 AM | 49

Otherwise, a good analysis of the Turk position - between Iraq and a hard place. I wonder if Erdogan has any regrets of his support for ISIS and the rebels in Syria and if so what did he expect for an outcome if Assad was overthrown.

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 25, 2017 10:11:02 AM | 50

For Syria, Russia, China and most of the known world, one thing could change world relations....For the U$A corporate empire to declare a unilateral ban on regime change policy. We're all waiting.

Posted by: ben | Jan 25, 2017 10:33:37 AM | 51

@atabrit

i am amazed at russia's ever-increasing ties to erdogan's turkey. looks like a scripted disaster to me. russia and erdogan and the akp are the turkish counterpoint to the us the saudis and al CIA duh. maybe the russians can walk on the waters the us is drowning in, but i'm very sceptical. i guess the russians can afford to be free with syrian territory. and iraqi territory? i don't imagine they'll be able to be so free with iranian territory. i wonder if there isn't a split opening up between the russians and iranians.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 25, 2017 10:53:22 AM | 52

US Representative Army Major Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) made a trip to Syria and Lebanon last week. There is still a shroud of secrecy surrounding the details of the trip and who paid for the visit. When I googled 'Tulsi Gabbard Syria' the information I received was all six or seven days old and all sounded as if the information emanated from a single source. Here is a sample.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZOex8M3iKw

Posted by: ALberto | Jan 25, 2017 11:27:17 AM | 53

@9 on Martin Chulov and Guardian's pro-regime change reporting on Syria, from a few years ago:
Balkanizing Syria, July 2013

The oft-referenced town of Qusair is possibly the prime example of the duplicity inherent in reports from western “journalists” such as Chulov. He failed to show an ounce of “concern” back in 2012 when rebels entered Qusair and immediately forcibly removed all Christians living there (the vast majority of residents left at the same time, as has been the case in most rebel “liberated” areas). Indeed, he failed to even report on the rebel cleansing of Qusair. Chulov would find it extremely difficult to find a single town or village “liberated” by the extremist dominated rebels that hasn’t seen some form of ethnic cleansing, but these uncomfortable truths do not fit with his skewed narrative.

Chulov also reported on the well-known Iranian plan to export gas to Syria and Europe (which Assad signed onto, turning down an alternate Qatar plan backed by the U.S.) in breathless fashion in Oct 2016, in a piece titled "Amid Syrian chaos, Iran’s game plan emerges: a path to the Mediterranean" - which doesn't mention Qatar once. This is pretty standard for the Guardian, and British media in general, and a Google search for [qatar britain gas] will help explain that dynamic. Now the Guardian did run an article on this a few years ago:
2013/aug/30/syria-chemical-attack-war-intervention-oil-gas-energy-pipelines

According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009. . .

That's right about the time that Assad and Iran signed a pipeline deal, and Assad also rejected the competing Qatar deal. But the author of that piece, Nafeez Ahmed, was fired from the Guardian about a year later for reporting on Israeli gas interests off Gaza.
This really fits a pattern of behavior at the Guardian (and New York Times, WaPo, etc.) of highly dishonest reporting on neoliberal-directed regime change efforts in Libya, Ukraine and Syria.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 25, 2017 11:31:14 AM | 54

January 12, 2017 US Representative Army Major Tulsi Gabbard speaks with sanity

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76GhC5d52d8

Posted by: ALberto | Jan 25, 2017 11:31:54 AM | 55

@54 wrong video link posted. A conspiracy Russia to attack video linked in error.

correct link

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/tulsi-gabbard-secret-syria-trip-233762

b, At my age (70) I require editing functions.

Posted by: ALberto | Jan 25, 2017 11:35:18 AM | 56

The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke 20,000 for the first time at the opening of trading on Wall Street this morning. I don't think a lot of investors would support a deep state coup against Trump at this point.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 25, 2017 11:40:56 AM | 57

Some people are ready to dismiss Trump's lies with who cares?.

Wait until he starts a war with China and/or Iran or someplace else and lies every second day to justify it, or he tries to create laws that criminalize activism and muzzle criticism based on his alternative facts.

So, it's not important that Trump is alleging that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally when this is a ridiculous bald-faced lie? It will become important before the next election when Trump tries to rig and tilt the election in his favor introducing draconian voter suppression laws justifying them with his alternative fact that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in this one.

If you don't hold his feet to the fire now; you will be responsible for the monster you create. This man is a thin-skinned liar; two traits shared by most fascist dictators. Brainwash the mass with alternative facts, lie through your teeth to justify repression and crush all dissent.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 25, 2017 12:14:18 PM | 58

All politicians are liars.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 25, 2017 12:21:38 PM | 59

...
b, At my age (70) I require editing functions.
Posted by: ALberto | Jan 25, 2017 11:35:18 AM | 56

PREVIEW is an ideal editing function and works 100% of the time.
When it's used.
Links, for example, can be tested in PREVIEW mode to see if they're
1. correct
2. incorrect
3. and/or going to mess up the formatting.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 25, 2017 12:21:54 PM | 60

@39 croesus / @ 41 outraged..

instead of testing russias relationship with iran, the usa would be better asking itself why it has the relationship it does with saudi arabia, a place women aren't allowed to drive in and a place where they chop people's heads off for various things, when they aren't chopping off hands and shit like that... the usa ought to question its relationship with israel as well, which is maybe one or two steps up from saudi arabias approach.. if some americans have a problem with trump, they ought to have a very real problem with saudi arabia without a doubt! that jackass ledeen won't be mentioning anything about that, and just like mccain and graham - these 24/7 warmongers are given a regular voice at neo con central hq usa/msm... they should be shot for treason.
oh and finally.... 'who is supporting the headchopping isis cult?" look to saudi arabia for that as well.. these bullshit artists will never tell you that..

@42 yonatan.. thanks for the update.

@45 atabrit..thanks.. yes, indeed scary that erdogan /apk want to pass themselves off as the only ones to vote for if folks want peace.. that might be the exact opposite of reality! and it is too bad how easily people are fooled by politicians. the ones in turkey seem less sophisticated with this approach, but maybe the language barrier is skewing my view on it here.

@54 nonsense factory.. thanks for all that.

Posted by: james | Jan 25, 2017 12:45:47 PM | 61

All politicians are liars.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 25, 2017 12:21:38 PM | 59

That is not an argument; it's a cynical excuse for complacency.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 25, 2017 12:46:03 PM | 62

Was it a cynical excuse for complacency when I.F. Stone famously said, "All governments lie"?

Posted by: lysias | Jan 25, 2017 12:53:03 PM | 63

Trump is preparing executive order to re-instate black sites.

Executive order black sites

Go on; try to defend the indefensible AGAIN!

Posted by: Circe | Jan 25, 2017 12:55:41 PM | 64

Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants” is a three-page draft order that, according to The New York Times (which obtained a copy), would permit the CIA to open overseas “black site” prison facilities. Those sites are, by definition, secret — and they’re locations where many humanitarian and legal rights normally accorded to foreign prisoners of war are often suspended.

In addition to reviving the secret “black site” facilities, the order would also revoke the International Committee of the Red Cross’ current guaranteed ability to contact all detainees.

And from The Independent article: The draft order, titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants”, would also revoke the International Committee of the Red Cross’ access to wartime detainees.

So in other words he'll use an executive order to violate several international laws. Nice.

Cheney's back in the guise of the REAL Donald Trump.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 25, 2017 1:08:35 PM | 65

#64,65,66
NYT, WaPo: fake news

Posted by: From The Hague | Jan 25, 2017 1:19:37 PM | 67

@67

And we're supposed to believe Spicer who lied so much already in 4 days, and not the Associated Press, Independent, Salon, Time, Raw Story, Telegraph...and ON AND ON.

At news briefing Spicer, refused to answer question on whether Trump read the draft!

Pants on fire Pinnochio.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 25, 2017 1:30:55 PM | 68

Posted by: Circe | Jan 25, 2017 1:30:55 PM | 68

Why are you posting comments about Trump's Guantanamo retirement plans for Hillary, McCain and the CIA below, instead of in, the Trump thread?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 25, 2017 2:03:40 PM | 69

French gov radio version
rebels and djihadists of ex- Nusra now in open war
used to be regular skirmishes but now open and steady
fatah al sham, close to AQ vs rebel brigades of the moderates, i.e. FSA + ahrar al sham
in Idlib, which they conquered together in 2015 after making an alliance
what cause them to break apart?
fatah al sham has been bombed by the coalition for a couple of weeks, especially leaders, precise targets, seems that coordinates were given to the US, i.e. transmitted by moderate rebels; since FSA is close to CIA who has provided them with sophisticated weapons, these must have been obtained in exchanged for intelligence

Posted by: Mina | Jan 25, 2017 2:08:35 PM | 70

The thread is, ultimately, irrelevant.

Read this: http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/25/swastika-the-hillary-donald-show/

Then, after actually reading it, tell me why the thread is relevant? It isn't. If I could add anything, I would add that the situation goes all the way back to the very first settlers ...

Posted by: rg the lg | Jan 25, 2017 2:52:37 PM | 71

Posted by: rg the lg | Jan 25, 2017 2:52:37 PM | 71

You've got cobweb-itis.
Make yourself walk at least 1 mile per day, as briskly as you can manage, for at least 5 consecutive days. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the uplifting effect it has on your mood.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 25, 2017 3:04:27 PM | 72

Hoarsewhisperer:

Sad to see that the education/propaganda you received infected your ability to think.

FYI: I walk about four miles a day, weather permitting, and there is nothing wrong with a view that doesn't match your own.

It is obvious, methinks, you did not bother to read the article. Elsewise your response would have shown more than just a knee-jerk reply and maybe even something of substance other than petty insults.

Posted by: rg the lg | Jan 25, 2017 3:17:52 PM | 73

CIRCE #36- I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO YOU ONLY- DJT 2017-2025 !!!!!!YOU SNOWFLAKES UNDERESTIMATED HIM !!!!!

Posted by: sejmon | Jan 25, 2017 3:27:25 PM | 74

@65, the problem with your outrage over 'black sites' is that even though Obama signed his executive order banning them, apparently all that meant was that US naval vessels became the new "black sites" for interrogations - and Obama also turned to extrajudicial assassination as a means of avoiding incovenient trials of terrorism suspects. That was just a continuation of Bush era policies using different means. Using naval vessels as black sites also avoids the problem of having foreign governments involved, who might leak the details.
Atlantic.../2013/10/are-naval-ships-new-black-site-prisons/

The whole issue with Trump is, will he pursue a rational policy across the Middle East or is it going to be a similar continuation of Hillary Clinton - Ashton Carter policies backed by the Deep State establishment (who mostly backed Hillary Clinton in the election, i.e. 9/10 top defense contractors, State & CIA bureaucrats, and their Congressional allies)? Yemen is one place to watch, for example; will Trump shut down the Saudi coalition cooperation that is bombing Yemen civilians or not? And note here that language like "contain Iran" is different from language like "attack Iran" or "support regime change in Iran" (the latter being the neocon and neoliberal agendas.)

I still see Trump's foreign policy agenda as far more rational and less destabilizing and reckless than the status quo Bush-Clinton-Obama, the debacles in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Yes his domestic energy and infrastructure plans are looking like huge disasters of epic scale, and the notion of banning Muslim immigrants from every country except the ones that have supplied terrorist attackers to the U.S. are ludicrous:
ibtimes.com/...executive-orders-dont-target-countries

Trump likely will sign several executive orders Wednesday restricting immigration from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. . .

But not from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, Pakistan, UAE, Jordan, etc? Looks like a cheap political trick to appease his most xenophobic supporters while not upsetting the investment banks holding all the GCC cash.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 25, 2017 3:30:59 PM | 75

In the world news section of news.google they posted this from the Socialist Worker site:
https://socialistworker.org/2017/01/25/syria-after-the-conquest-of-aleppo

It sounds like a very twisted version of the MSM version of the Aleppo story. The article is an interview with socialist Ashley Smith who calls FSA "revolutionaries." They want to set the "pro Assad left" straight with:

"The city was mostly controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and some other jihadists groups--for example, Ahrar al-Sham--not affiliated to al-Qaeda. The groups present in East Aleppo opposed any alliance with al-Qaeda. That's why there were two armies in Aleppo province: Jaysh al-Fatah, fighting outside Aleppo and led by al-Nusra, and Fatah Halab, present inside Aleppo, but excluding al-Nusra."

At least there are some critics of the socialist BS from Smith:
Socialists Supporting NATO and US Empire: a Response to Ashley Smith
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/06/socialists-supporting-nato-and-us-empire-a-response-to-ashley-smith/

It is so odd to see socialists critical of Russia and even Bernie Sanders! Strange times indeed!

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 25, 2017 3:55:27 PM | 76

Interesting report on how the world economy is heading for an energy crisis:findings of the study include:
Global net energy decline is the underlying cause of the decline in the rate of global economic growth.  In the short term, slow or absent growth in Europe and the US is complicit in voter discontent and the success of anti-establishment politicians. 
Europe is now a post-peak oil society, with its domestic oil production declining every year since 1999 by 6%.  Shale oil and gas is unlikely to offset this decline. 
Europe’s main sources of oil imports are in decline. Former Soviet Union producers, their production already in the negative, are likely to terminate exports by 2030.  Russia’s oil production is plateauing and likely to decline after 2030 at the latest. 
In the US, conventional oil has already peaked and is in sharp decline.  The shortfall is being made up by unconventional sources such as tight oil and shale gas, which are likely to peak by 2025. California will continue to experience extensive drought over the coming decades, permanently damaging US agriculture.
Between 2020 and 2035, the US and Mexico could experience unprecedented military tensions as the latter rapidly runs down its conventional oil reserves, which peaked in 2006. By 2020, its exports will revert to zero, decimating Mexican state revenues and potentially provoking state failure shortly thereafter.

http://www.anglia.ac.uk/news/can-we-see-beginnings-of-state-failure-in-us-and-europe

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Jan 25, 2017 4:00:22 PM | 77

Alberto @ 53, 55, 56 and beyond:

Ziad Fadel (Canthama) at SyrianPerspective.com has been covering Tulsi Gabbard's trip to Damascus. He promises more articles on her trip as more information about it becomes available
http://syrianperspective.com/2017/01/why-did-tulsi-gabbard-travel-to-syria-after-meeting-trump-syrian-army-continues-advance-in-ghoutaa.html

It is possible that Gabbard's trip was financed by Donald Trump himself.

Also before you hit the Post tab, hit Preview first.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 25, 2017 4:07:19 PM | 78

Looking at the way Russian/Syrian Gov forces immediately began using Qamishli airbase makes me wonder who set a trap for who. To immediately start using the airbase to refuel and rearm aircraft and as a base for flying reinforcements in to Deir Ezzor takes a little preparatory work. It looks as though the Russians saw through the US manoeuvring and set up Deir Ezzor as an ISIS trap. A small defending force with critical defences destroyed makes a juicy bait to lure the US and ISIS into an all or nothing attempt to take the place. Now mostly foreign ISIS fighters are being fed into the killing fields of Deir Ezzor like lambs to the slaughter, where they come across the best of the Syrian forces plus 24/7 high intensity airstrikes.
The ISIS attack will collapse soon and conveniently the Idlib headchoppers have started a full on war between themselves, freeing up the Syrian army for the moment ISIS collapses.
Good luck or good planning?

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 25, 2017 4:24:14 PM | 79

@77 Your claim that "global net energy decline is the underlying cause of the decline in the rate of economic growth" is wrong.
Domestically, corrupt financial activities in the USA have done the most damage to the economy, far and away. Internationally, destabilizing regime change agendas aere undermining economic growth, as in Libya and Syria and Iraq, and the effects of mass migration (i.e. European refugee crisis) are also bad for prosperity.

Two factors undermine the whole "peak oil supply" argument - the rise of renewable energy and the rise of highly efficient technology. Both undercut global oil demand - so what you see instead is "peak oil demand"; hence the effort by the OPEC cartel to cut production to jack up prices. This is why Trump's domestic energy policy (enhanced coal, oil, gas) is just stupid; renewable energy is cheaper than new oil production and countries like Germany and China will win the renewable export markets under his policies.

@78 Here's more reasons to support Tusli Gabbard: all the claims about that chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government in 2013 have been shown to be bogus:
...who-carried-out-the-chemical-attack-in-ghouta-on-august-21-2013

Rootclaim’s comprehensive analysis of all the evidence points strongly towards an attack by opposition forces. The likelihood of the Syrian government carrying out an attack using low-quality sarin, from near opposition territory, using munitions which are not part of their chemical program, and in a manner that seriously risks regime stability, was found to be very low. The likelihood that the opposition would carry an attack under those parameters is much higher, once they are known to have sarin.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 25, 2017 5:03:22 PM | 80

Feeding the troll means that we get another off-topic conversation polluting the thread.


Much of what Circe says @36 where it all starts is just repeating MSM spin:

>> "China's gain"
China hasn't yet gained anything by the talk-talk of butt-hurt globalists. I doubt that Japan or Australia will defy the US.

>> "Russia[n] ... demands"
Trump and Putin have been flirting. Now they are making arrangements for a first date. Prior to that date, we will see primping and preening (in the form of chest-beating and bluster). Wake me up when there's a date set.

>> "Alternative facts"
This has been blown out of proportion by the scare-mongering media. What Kellyanne Conway meant by this is that the media should report on REAL NEWS instead of gotcha's.

"Alternative facts" was actually a skillful way of accepting that Sean Spicer had not been truthful (whether knowingly or unknowingly) while taking the media to task for not reporting on more important facts.

>> "illegals cost him the popular vote"
MSM is attacking this as Trump's ego-driven obsession with winning. "There's no evidence!" they cry. As though that matters or is necessary. It sounds like preparation for National ID and/or voter suppression in 2020. When the left gets its act together, maybe there will be a better response than "Ewww!"

>> "Waiting for Trump sanity"
While Trump's ego (inaugural crowds) and secretiveness (not releasing taxes) are problems, opponents will not get far lambasting the President. They have to offer an alternative vision - which is not even on the horizon as establishment liberals fight to retain control of the Democratic Party by marginalizing progressives by keeping the focus on Trump's warts, foibles and mis-steps.

Reminder: We have already covered the failures of the Democratic ad nauseum.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 25, 2017 5:04:17 PM | 81

An FYI:
Another Busy Night for Warplanes

    Wed, 25/01/2017 - 17:42 by shannonwatch

    Last night (Jan 24th) was a busy night for warplanes at Shannon Airport. At 6pm a Shannonwatch member photographed a Miami Air aircraft that may have been trying to disguise its presence at there, or at least disguise the fact that it is on contract to the US military.

    The aircraft number was N739MA. It took off from Pease Air Force Base in the USA and landed at Shannon on Monday at 08:42 using a civilian call sign BSK171. It took off from Shannon again at 10:05 then flew on towards Europe and landed at Chania airport in Crete, this time using a US military call sign and then headed for Muwaffaq Salti Airbase, near Al Azraq, Jordan.

    That base is currently involved in launching bombing raids in Syria. . . . .

Now might be an opportune moment for a little bit of speculation and dot-connecting . . .

Posted by: Bleedin' Leprechauns | Jan 25, 2017 5:31:11 PM | 82

The fake news fog is quite thick these days, so lots of caveats with this one. Trump is calling for safe zone plans for Syria within 90 days.

http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jan/25/donald-trump-orders-establishment-safe-zones-syria/

Posted by: Wwinsti | Jan 25, 2017 5:39:33 PM | 83

@ Wwinsti | 83

I'm pretty sure Trump will use "safe zones" plans as an additional chip in negotiations, I very much doubt he will actually go for it. Trump for all intents and purposes seemed to want out of Syria and to defeat Al Qaeda, and not to start WW3 with Russia while defending Al Qaeda.

The only way it could work for US if it makes a deal with Russia and divide zones of influence. Syria and neighbouring countries would be seriously f*** by such terrorists safe zones, but it wouldnt be beneath such empires, as they ultimately look for their own interests.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 25, 2017 5:53:42 PM | 84

@Jackrabbit 81

We are beginning to see early signs of a debate around our foreign policy in Australia with increasing advocacy for a "rebalancing". I was reading a report on this by the Lowy Institute yesterday, and there are a few articles in the corporate media. Here's a start, though a little dated:

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/us-china-tensions-set-test-australias-45th-parliament

Australia has a trade policy firmly wedded to China - our four major exports are iron ore, coal, natural gas, and education services and China is first or second in the list of importing countries for each of these products (Japan is number one for coal and natural gas). Cumulative Chinese investment up to 2015 in Australia in absolute terms was about USD80B compared to about USD100B in the US. On any relative scale that puts us way ahead.

http://demystifyingchina.com.au/reports/demystifying-chinese-investment-in-australia-april-2016.pdf

Our real estate is being bought by people from PRC with lots of money, who are investing heavily in Australia. There are suburbs of our biggest four cities that are effectively Chinese, restaurants where English is very much a second language of communication.

On the other hand we have a defence policy even more firmly wedded to the US. We are a major partner in JSF, and we have very close ties between Defence and Intelligence organisations and their counterparts in the US. The Trump presidency may, at some stage, force us to make some hard choices.

Posted by: dynkyd | Jan 25, 2017 5:58:45 PM | 85

@ jfl| 52
Me too, to some degree.
There's a pragmatism, I think, underlying the relationship, one that neither player, can afford to ignore. Russia, I think was always aware that equilibrium is key in the ME and that the US path concentrated power and of setting one against the other is one of perpetual conflict - Turkey had to be made aware of this and RF was able to enlighten the Turks :-)
Russia seems to be tryimg hard to balance/ mediate the interests of many players in the region, but you notice that Turkey has paid a heavy price for already, and will again if it pushes too hard.Turkey qill also have to be placates somehow. It too needs to 'win' in some way. This I think is why we see Turkey being allowed to play in the sand, it needs to have a place at the table and a share of the pie.
Iran and Syria will rise from the ashes and Turkey will not be the sole regional powerhouse that it wanted to be. Its a long game.
But should Turkey play turncoat oncr again, then RF will hit hard with sanctions again, will blow Turkish stream out of the water once and for all, will lobby hard for all energy routes to avoid Turkey and will press China also to avoid Turkey, will unleash the wrath of the Kurds - no one talks about RF and the Kurds, but they have a long long history of cooperation! - and Turkey will live through very very hard times! Erdogan knows all this. I am sure.
RF is juggling a lot of balls and needing to appease many players to achieve this equilibrium. Good luck to them!

One thing I have not worked out - if I have worked oyt anything at all, that is - is what happens to the Turkish-Kurdish cause. Maybe its too early to tell. Maybe it depends on the talks between the Syrian Kurds and the Syrian government to set a regional model (Iraqi Kurdistan is the wrong model!)

Russia is playing a long game. The region needs stability for Irans, Russias and Chinas and to work - the routes to Europe and Africa!
The unknown is US policy!!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jan 25, 2017 6:06:37 PM | 86

@james | 61
"and it is too bad how easily people are fooled by politicians. the ones in turkey seem less sophisticated with this approach"
If I were to be leas than generous, I would say that the Turka know full well what is happening and are lining their pockets anyway they can. - The level of AKP corruption is staggering (Davutoflu himself is accuaez of havinf brought hundreds of people in to state employment! and they were not only taking a salary but also in receipt of undeserved subsidies for all manner od thinfs from education funding to disability funding!) the darker side is the level of sheer exploitation of Syrians, desperate people. It is sickening and many, Turks themselves are appauled by what is happening and what is being allowed to happen. It has improved a little this last year, but mainly because of EU projects and some Syrians themselves.
Turkey is an inclusive mafia state! Support the state and everything and you will be handsomely rewarded. Oppose it and ...

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jan 25, 2017 6:26:23 PM | 87

Wow, I have written a lot on here today. Forgive me guys, and gals!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jan 25, 2017 6:27:11 PM | 88

>>>> Peter AU | Jan 25, 2017 4:24:14 PM | 79
Looking at the way Russian/Syrian Gov forces immediately began using Qamishli airbase makes me wonder who set a trap for who. To immediately start using the airbase to refuel and rearm aircraft and as a base for flying reinforcements in to Deir Ezzor takes a little preparatory work. It looks as though the Russians saw through the US manoeuvring and set up Deir Ezzor as an ISIS trap.
I'm not sure about the US involvement, I reckon the US attack on the SAA at Deir Ez-zor was to kill off the JIC with Russia rather than to help ISIS. But the rest, the early setback followed by the resolute defence makes me think you're right, the Russians/Syrians/Iranians set a trap for ISIS at Deir Ez-zor. They made it look like it would be easy for ISIS to evict the SAA, gave ISIS a sense of an impending victory by allowing ISIS to split the government-held area in two, and then waited for ISIS reinforcements to flood in before firing up the old meat grinder. As they say, you have to give a little to get a lot.
It looks like quite a few of those ISIS reinforcement were stripped out of east Aleppo Governorate. With a large part of the remaining ISIS forces being fixed in place by the Turks and their "moderate" jihadists, it looks like the SAA are having fun with the soft underbelly of ISIS, that racist shit Churchill would be proud that:>)

Posted by: Ghostship | Jan 25, 2017 6:30:37 PM | 89

This morning my alarm clock, AJ News, had among the usual creepy sunni sectarian BS, a short comment about some report commissioned by the UN on the activities of security agencies tasked with combating insurrection. Apparently it was up on the UN website for a short time before pressure from israel, egypt and saudi got the report taken down. I've had a bit of a hunt round the net for it but thus far haven't found any mention - anyone know?

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 25, 2017 6:46:35 PM | 90

@80 There is no doubt the possibility of displacement of fossil fuel by wind and cheaper photo voltages, but we are still a long way from being able to use these in a whole bunch of key areas. Transport, air, sea and road is one. Process heat is another, bookmarking, cement, iron all require fossil fuel input, either as heat or as direct chemical reducing agents.

Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Jan 25, 2017 6:54:13 PM | 91

@75 nonsense factory.. indeed the banks call many of the shots and your post is another fine example of that.

@79 peter au.. thanks peter.. looks like a possible combo of both - good luck and good planning.

@87 atabrit.. that may be so. it certainly looks that way!

@90 debsisdead.. i hope you can find it and share it. thanks.

Posted by: james | Jan 25, 2017 7:06:50 PM | 92

Sorry if this has been mentioned/linked Reuters reports that Nusra has crushed "an SAA rebel faction" in Northwestern Syria in "revenge" for their conspiring against them in negotiations. (note that no numbers are given or even what the immediate effect(s) of this crushing might mean)

Reuters: Jihadists crush Syria rebel group, in a blow to diplomacy.

A powerful jihadist group has crushed a Free Syrian Army rebel faction in northwestern Syria, in an attack that threatens to deal a critical blow to the more moderate wing of the Syrian rebellion and derail new Russian-backed peace talks.

The Jabhat Fateh al-Sham jihadist group, formerly known as the Nusra Front, launched an attack on a number of FSA groups in northwestern Syria on Tuesday, accusing them of conspiring against it at peace talks in Kazakhstan this week.

The fighting has engulfed the rebels' last major territorial stronghold in northwestern Syria, prompting a major Islamist insurgent faction to warn on Wednesday that it could allow President Bashar al-Assad and his allies to capture the area.

Officials with two FSA factions said Fateh al-Sham had overrun areas held by the Jaish al-Mujahideen group west of Aleppo. One of the officials said he expected other FSA factions to face the same fate unless they could get better organized to defend themselves - something they have so far failed to do.(more)

Has anyone heard anything wrt KSA/GCC support to the "insurgents" ... ongoing? interrupted? routes of re-supply?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 25, 2017 7:30:29 PM | 93

@79 Peter AU
I think there is the possibility of a diversionary game being played at the moment this twitter handle has made a decent round up of very recent make believe attacks in Idlib. A casual scroll down on previous posts gives me the impression that it could well be right and al Qaeda is quite skilled in the art of #FakeNews

@89 Ghostship
I have to agree with the feeling of 'impending doom' that had been relayed throughout the last 10 days re: Deir EzZor. For me at least, the squeeze on information coming from the battlefield here has quite the same feel as to when the SAA had allowed the al Nusra led rats the room for a counteroffensive over the space of about a week in Aleppo last July/August culminating in the terrorists retaking the military academy.

The recent recapture of Palmyra by ISIS helps make this feeling of doom real, though it appears in Dier EzZor that ISIS is merely cannon fodder in a well versed game of cat and mouse.

Will be interesting to read about the story of Major General Issam Zahradinne once this sorry war is done...what he has helped to achieve in the defence of Dier EzZor for so long is remarkable. A talismanic figure of the eastern front no doubt.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 25, 2017 7:48:49 PM | 94

@ Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 25, 2017 11:31:14 AM | 54

Indeed. And the pattern was even more acutely obvious re the five(5) Mega-Media-Corpses reporting synchronicity re the 35 page 'Dossier'. Hm ?

@ Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 25, 2017 2:03:40 PM | 69

Quite. Hm, re Posted | Jan 25, 2017 3:19:34 AM | 37

Post 37 contents, to a high degree of probability, has the appearance of having the last structured 15 lines actually written first, entirely Off-Topic(?), being ~75% of the irrelevant content to the thread topic or any discussions preceding therein of the post.

Then a quote is added to the top, followed by a 5 line On-Topic 'loosely structured' lead-in (~%25 of post), before analogously, suddenly careening sideways across 2 lanes of highway, hurtling/jumping over the dividing median and screeching full speed ahead and 'damn the torpedoes', against oncoming head-on traffic ... going the wrong way down the other lanes of the divided highway ... bawling about 'Trumpland' ... how very odd ... why do that ? ... just sayin' ;)

@ Posted by: rg the lg | Jan 25, 2017 3:17:52 PM | 73

did not bother to read the article.

Did read the link provided, in the post with with no lead-in, explanatory or context. What happened to your determined self-realization re Euthanasia ? Concur 110% with Hoarsewhisperer. :)

@ Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 25, 2017 3:30:59 PM | 75 & 80

But not from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar, Pakistan, UAE, Jordan, etc? Looks like a cheap political trick to appease his most xenophobic supporters while not upsetting the investment banks holding all the GCC cash.

Rather obvious, regretfully. Same for 'Oil' & rational criticality of a broad Renewable Energy policy commitment & Investment, not throwing good money after, 'buggy whips'.

Re Black Sites they were also very early on, under Obama of 'I will close Guantanamo fame', EXPANDED at SECURE, controlled access, isolated extra-territorial locations, even more so than Guantanamo(a holiday camp in comparison), such as Guam & Diego Garcia, as well as ships. Circe has wilful blinkers ...

@ Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Jan 25, 2017 6:54:13 PM | 91 & 77

As they say, 'Full of it', misinformation & apologia.

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 25, 2017 4:24:14 PM | 79

Good luck or good planning?

Good previous thorough 'Contingency Planning', with some fortunate/opportunistic, 'Good Luck' ?

@ Posted by: dynkyd | Jan 25, 2017 5:58:45 PM | 85

Touched on that in previous thread, and not just AUS alone ...

@ Posted by: AtaBrit | Jan 25, 2017 6:27:11 PM | 88

Your insights are unquestionably valuable & On-Topic. Pray continue :) Peace

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 25, 2017 8:39:05 PM | 95

More on Rep. Gabbert's Damascus adventure. Had a sit down with President Assad.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-lawmaker-says-she-met-assad-secret-syria-232043616.html

Posted by: howard in nyc | Jan 25, 2017 9:56:36 PM | 96

Slightly OT but of a piece with B's analysis above:

Did anyone else find it hilarious that the West was inciting a revolution / preparing a coup in Ukraine under the pretext that a trade agreement might be rejected while our governments do not even allow our elected representatives to actually examine these agreements except in circumstances just short of visiting a prisoner at Guantanamo?

My point: both the above and what b is describing here point to an absolutely damning degree of confusion about what governing is all about. Not a small topic to be sure but we have to my mind reached - ironically - peak political immaturity if such a thing can be conceived.

Is there any governing philosophy behind the apparent "principle" that McCain or Nuland were representing on the Maidan while policeman were being set on fire and having their eyes gauged out. Obviously no.

Is there any governing philosophy behind convincing ourselves that setting upon Syria with all our Wahabist ME allies and fellow travellers is something else: a humanitarian act to rid the country of schools, water supplies and any religious belief beyond a medieval death cult?

Again, obviously not.

Given that high def and high contrast picture of the battlefield - powered by b and a few other's insights (thank you!) is it any wonder that Russia is quite literally wiping the floor with us?

My constant refrain: where the F did all the adults go?

Posted by: Oddlots | Jan 25, 2017 11:00:25 PM | 97

@ Posted by: Paul Cockshott | Jan 25, 2017 4:00:22 PM | 77 & 91

Please, please do enlighten us poor ignorant MOA Moonbats ... highly preferably with a reply in the 'Open Thread', since the matters your posts introduced were, entirely OT ...

Would be fascinated to here your thoughts/reasoning as to why the US should NOT be doing the same as precisely below, in fact even more, much more, since the US is at least 10+ years behind Sino national efforts in National Renewable Energy, 'facts on the ground'. 'Process heat', & 'heat', cannot be provided by renewables you assert ?, Hm, do tell ?

China to plow US$361 billion into renewable energy by 2020

The investment will create over 13 million jobs in the sector, the National Energy Administration said.
By Reuters January 6, 2017

China will plow 2.5 trillion yuan (US$361 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020, the country’s energy agency said on Thursday, as the world’s largest energy market continues to shift away from dirty coal power towards cleaner fuels.

The investment will create over 13 million jobs in the sector, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a blueprint document that lays out its plan to develop the nation’s energy sector during the five-year 2016 to 2020 period.

The NEA said installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power will contribute to about half of new electricity generation by 2020.

...

The spending comes as the cost of building large-scale solar plants has dropped by as much as 40% since 2010. China became the world’s top solar generator last year.

...

Still, the investment reflects Beijing’s continued focus on curbing the use of fossil fuels, which have fostered the country’s economic growth over the past decade, as it ramps up its war on pollution.

Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s economic planner, said in its own five-year plan, that solar power will receive 1 trillion yuan of spending, as the country seeks to boost capacity by five times. That’s equivalent to about 1,000 major solar power plants, according to experts’ estimates.

The government may exceed these targets because there are more investment opportunities in the sector as costs go down,” said Steven Han, renewable analyst with securities firm Shenyin Wanguo.

Some 700 billion yuan will go towards wind farms, 500 billion to hydro power with tidal and geothermal getting the rest, the NDRC said.

...

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 26, 2017 12:40:40 AM | 98

@76 anyone can call himself "socialist".

Confucius say: "Just because man play guitar, not mean he make music."

Posted by: ruralito | Jan 26, 2017 12:47:01 AM | 99

@96 howard in nyc
Dem Gabbard is the type of person US citizens should be marching behind right now. The greater loss to the Dems right now, was not Hillary's loss to Trump...but the theft of Bernie's candidacy in the Democratic Primaries.

This hijacking has killed off any reformative dialogue within the left, and stunted any movement into the limelight of a figure like Gabbard - who may have been a great running mate for Bernie vs Trump. Such retardation and collapse of both sides of the 'old' political divide makes a great climate for new political movements, good and bad alike.

In any case, here is Gabbard taking apart establishment narrative on CNN after her recent 'secret' trip to Syria. It's amazing how the old 'barrel bomb' narrative on Assad is still persistent, though Gabbard expertly engages and explains the binary choice the Syrian people are faced with - headchoppers or secular rule. "Moderate headchoppers dont exist to the Syrian people, so why are we funding them...?"

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 26, 2017 1:06:42 AM | 100

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