Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 31, 2017

Syria - Trump Administration Will Continue Obama Policy

There is a serious confusion about statements made yesterday by the Trump administration. It sets the fight against ISIS as the top priority and no longer demands an immediate leaving of Bashar Assad as the Syrian president. Reports try to sell this as a new position. But it is not new at all.

The U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced a "change of priorities":

"You pick and choose your battles and when we're looking at this, it's about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out," U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told a small group of reporters.

Secretary of State Tillerson confirmed that position:

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking in Ankara on Thursday, said Assad's longer-term status "will be decided by the Syrian people."

Southfront headlines the Haley talk as ‘Assad Must Not Go’. The International Business Times wrote about those statements:

The United States has announced a shift in its diplomatic policy on Syria and is no longer insisting that its president Bashar al-Assad be removed as the head of the war-torn country.

In a clear departure from the Obama administration's stance on Assad, and against EU policy, the US is now moving its focus to its battle with Isis.

But the Trump administration statements are not new at all. The "announced" positions were established under Obama:

President Barack Obama spent a significant portion of his final State of the Union speech discussing the fight against the terrorist group ISIS.
...
Obama said that fighting ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, or Daesh) and other terrorists is the top priority of his administration.

Also in January 2016 then Secretary of State Kerry used a similar wording as Tillerson used now:

"It's up to the Syrians to decide what happens to Assad," Kerry said. "They are the negotiators and they will decide the future.""It's up to the Syrians to decide what happens to Assad," Kerry said. "They are the negotiators and they will decide the future."

There is no change of policy. The top priority has been and will be for a while the fight against ISIS. The U.S. will use this to occupy the eastern parts of Syria. When ISIS is suppressed enough to no longer be an immediate issue the removal of Assad will again become a top priority.

That Assad's position will be "decided by the Syrian people" is just obfuscating as long as it is not said WHICH Syrian people are HOW to decide over it.

The War On Syria will go on until the U.S. really changes its positions and until the Wahhabi oil sheiks stop their financing of their various Takfiri mercenaries - be they ISIS, al-Qaeda or whatever name they want to apply.

Posted by b on March 31, 2017 at 01:10 PM | Permalink

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I'm sorry about this long contribution, but as I was writing this, more information and ideas came to hand.


Iraqi situation:


Recently, Iraqi PM Al-Abadi met with President Trump in the White House. 

As well as the usual niceties of a meeting between two heads of state in Washington, the meeting centred around three main areas where the US has objectives that need to be address by their Iraqi counterparts:​


1) The Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU): These forces must be disbanded, and are seen as a stumbling block in the face of US objectives in Iraq and the wider region. There has been some indications that PM Al-Abadi will disband them after the elimination of Daesh/ISIS, allowing those that wish to remain to be integrated into the Iraqi security apparatus and disbanding those that do not. This is the "objective", but whether Al-Abadi can deliver is an entirely different matter. Already, Iraqi members of parliament have come out in protest at there mere possibility of the disbandment of the PMU, stating that the PM does not have the legal authority to disband them, and it needs parliamentary approval, where any MP voting for this will be committing political suicide due to the popularity the the PMU among ordinary Iraqis.  


2) Permanent american Bases in Iraq and increasing the number of troops in the country: This is a big issue for President Trump. During his presidential campaign, he repeatedly stated the need to control Iraqi oil, and stated that leaving Iraq was a mistake. He even said this IN FRONT OF PM Al-Abadi several times.There is also widespread concern amongst Iraqis that the US is on its way back to Iraq, and in large numbers- some report a figure of up to fifty thousand troops, in permanent bases.  There is also a very large US military base being build in Al Qayyarah area in Northern Iraq (about half way between Beiji and Mosul), that reports say will equal the size of Incirlik. This is another very "hot" topic in Iraq, and has widespread rejection by the Iraqi people. Once again, Iraqi MPs state that Al-Abadi DOES NOT have legal authority to allow permanent bases or keep foreign troops permanently in Iraq, and that such a step would need approval by parliament. Again, any MP voting for this will be committing political suicide. There is genuine fear amongst Iraqis about the situation "after" Daesh/ISIS.  The concern is, that in the event the Government DOES NOT cede to the will of the US, and approve bases and troops etc.. there will be a dramatic political change, either in the form of a coup, or declaration of a state of emergency, through which special measures will take place. There is also talk of appointing a military governor for the mainly Sunni provinces of Nainawa, Salahuldeen (Saladin) and Anbar- a de facto state within a state- this could link up with Eastern Syria (see bellow).


3) Moving Iraq away from Iran and closer to the Saudi "camp". The recent visit to Iraq by the Saudi Foreign Minister has been well covered. There was also a meeting between the Iraqi PM and the Saudi King on the 29th on March. Al-Abadi's speech at the Heads of State of the Arab League in Jordan (29th March) was notable in that it was close to the Saudi position on several topics: a) His statement did not mention Syria, b) It stated that Iraq will "expel ISIS outside Iraq" { ?into Syria as per the objectives of others wishing to topple the Syrian state},  c) Is stressed the need for a unified Arab front against threats to Iraqi sovereignty, or the sovereignty of any Arab nation {reference to alleged Iranian interference in the region}. On the face of it, it seems that Iraq is moving away from Iran and edging closer to the Saudi camp, albeit slowly, but this is purely at the level of the current Iraqi government. I think efforts to distance Iraq from Iran and closer to Saudi Arabia will ultimately fail, for two reasons: 


Firstly, The vast majority of Iraqi people view Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Monarchies very negatively. Unlike Iraqi politicians, who will certainly have some personal gains from closer ties with Saudi Arabia, Iraqi people are unwilling to just "forgive and forget" how the Saudis and others persistently conspired against the Iraqi people over the years. It was the Saudis and other Gulf States who supported Saddam Hussein and his regime, which oppressed Iraqis terribly, they supported him to the tune of over 200 billion dollars for the war against Iran and persistently opposed the political process since 2003 (and Democracy was NOT the reason!). More recently,  the Saudis  have been supporting Daesh/ISIS both financially and ideologically. This support has carried on unabated to this day.


Secondly: the links between Iraq and Iran are much closer and deeper than others realise, and including at a cultural, religious and tribal level, and no government can alter that. The only exception to this would be a harsh dictatorial regime, such as that of Saddam Hussein, whereby government policy had absolutely no relation to Iraqi public opinion, and was simply a tool for carrying out the wishes of the "Dear Leader". 


Other Iraq developments: 


A) PMU still barred from entering Tel Afar. The Iraqi government has succumbed to pressure from Turkey to prevent Tal Afar from being liberated, with a threat of invasion by a Turkish force stationed at the boarder town of Silopi should the PMUs enter Tel Afar. 


B) Rumours that Daesh/ISIS evacuating injured/ getting supplies from through a corridor to the North of Mosul, via Masoud Barzani controlled territory / Turkey, and plans are to slow down the Iraqi advance long enough for the majority of Daesh/ISIS forces to evacuate into Syria. The route takes them through Tell Kayf and Batnay (see Southfront mosul situation update map 31 March https://southfront.org/military-situation-in-mosul-on-march-31-2017-iraqi-map-update/ ).

Syria situation:


With the ongoing advance towards Raqqa by US/SDF forces, the bid event recently was the surprise Tabqa operation. It is notable that the airborne landings in Tabqa by a small US/SDF force occurred with relatively little resistance from Daesh/ISIS, with few casualties.  Some have concluded that the majority of ISIS had already withdrawn. Contrast this with the Ithriyah-Raqqa offensive carried out by the Syrian Arab Army in 2016, whereby the SAA suffered heavy casualties and resulted in Daesh/ISIS gains. There are also reports of a rapid withdraw on ISIS from East As-Suwayda to reinforce strength in Raqqa, Deir Ezzor and As-Sukhnah.


The US/SDF landings in Tabqa aimed at achieving several objectives. The most important is blocking the path of the Syrian army and allies from Reqqa.  

If/when US/SDF forces defeat Daesh/ISIS in Reqqa , they will have virtual control of the whole of Eastern Syria, save for three pockets of SAA control in Qamishli, Hasakah and Deir Ezzur, as well as some areas where Daesh/ISIS will remain. 

The Eastern part of Syria is where the baulk of the oil and gas is located as well as being the agricultural heartland of the country.  The US secretary of State, Tillerson stated that the the US longer sees toppling President Assad as a primary objective. This may be the case (for now), but on the ground, events are such that Syria is being divided into regions of influence whereby the Damascus Government no longer has authority over large swathes of it. We are witnessing a de facto federalisation of Syria, with the Eastern part no longer under the rule of Damascus, and in effect a US protectorate, with troops on the ground.  The creation of this "region" also serves another critical US objective in the region - it acts as a "wall" separating Iran & "Shia" Iraq from the Government of Syria and Lebanon. There are whispers that parts of Western Iraq will be added to this new entity in a "redrawing" of the political maps in the region. As stated in a previous post of mine, I believe that Daesh/ISIS will concentrate its forces in Deir Ezzor after its defeat in Raqqa, for a final "showdown" with other forces. It will likely face both US/SDF and Syrian/Russian forces there, but time will tell. 


Turkey announced the Euphrates Shield has concluded. Turkey has managed to split the two areas of Kurdish influence in Syria, but I believe the operation was concluded as there was no more room for Turkey to move, rather than by choice. Erdogan has finally got a foothold in Norther Syria. Could this area now be used to house refugees as per "safe zones" advocated by Turkey, Saudi and now the new US administration?

Arab Summit:

Some are sating that the recent summit of the Arabs Heads of State held in Jordan on March 29th marked the unofficial start of the "Arab NATO" to face Iran. There was the usual anti-Iran rhetoric from the "usual suspects" but Iraq was usually cold towards Iran. The question of Palestine was high on the agenda at the summit, but it is thought that this is merely being used as a tool to provide "political cover" for the upcoming Sunni NATO, with an expected summit to be held sometime down the line in Washington that will bring together these Arab leaders together with their Israeli counterparts in a public display of a new type alliance between Arabs and Israelis to face the "Iranian threat". 


War in Yemen:

There are signs that the US is about to enter the war in Yemen, against the government in Sana'a  (Houthi-Saleh alliance). This is seen as a war against Iran in Yemen. There are currently three US destroyers with support vessels in the Red Sea. The is a media storm from the Saudi side regarding the port of Hodeida, and that it is used to smuggle weapons into Yemen, stressing the importance of "taking it out". The next large operation could well be the battle for the West coast of Yemen (on the Red Sea). The Sana'a forces have stated that they will NOT tolerate an attack on Hodeida, and any such action will mean a major escalation on their part. At present, the Sana'a forces have refrained from going deep into Saudi territory- but this could change and their forces may receive the political green light to proceed if Hodeida is attacked. 


End in sight in Syria .....?


Things seem to be clearing up in Syria.. Daesh/ISIS is on the ropes, US/SDF making steady progress in the East, and the Syrian army, backed by the Russians is in control of most of the major population areas, and the fact that the US publicly states that removal of Assad is no longer a priority have lead some to argued that it is the beginning of the end.. that the players are making their final touches before a political settlement is reached.. they argue that at the start, the US and its allies wanted regime change by supporting the rebels, and aimed at taking the whole of Syria- this has failed. Now, the US and its allies are involved directly and will settle for a different model, whereby there are regions of influence, a division between the US and Russian Axis. I disagree with this. I think it is still too early, and the US, Turkey, Saudi and other will still relish the overthrow of the Syrian government- and as things stand, they cant do it, but are still open to seizing any opportunity that may present itself in the future to achieve this. That is the only explanation for the lack of full co-ordination between the US and Russia to bring a devastating defeat to Daesh/ISIS, Al-Nusra and groups allied to them. If the US and its allies were serious in accepting what gains they have made, then they would start the full co-ordination of efforts to defeat the extremists with a view of working out a final political settlement. We have to remember that Daesh/ISIS and other groups are only a tool, a means to an end. they are weapons on mass destruction- some may have outlived their usefulness and will need to be exterminated, others still have a role to play.


Its not over yet,. it is not clear what the final outcome for both Iraq and Syria will be after Daesh/ISIS. As regards Syria, I think there is a false sense of security, and the danger to the Syrian government will stem from the South- contrary to expectations.

Hayder, the Iraqi abroad

Posted by: Hayder | Mar 31, 2017 1:17:42 PM | 1

Correct link to Southfront map https://southfront.org/military-situation-in-mosul-on-march-31-2017-iraqi-map-update/

Posted by: Hayder | Mar 31, 2017 1:22:36 PM | 2

Cynical view. I would point out that smart US policy makers realize that Al Qaeda and other Wahabbists are lousy fighters in the long run. The recent Hama offensive may have been a good ad for TOW missiles for a few days, but those TOWs didn't stop the units using them from being completely wiped out, in some cases within hours after they posted a trophy video of an Assad T72 antique (decoy?) tank being hit.

Weapons are advertised best when they are shown to really turn the tide of battles. What we just saw were some pro-Assad formations losing one or two out of a dozen tanks and then annihilating the invading force. Their opponents on foot could not carry TOWs long distances on their backs apparently.

Also, smart Americans would know now that, if they don't have air superiority, supporting open targets is just plain dumb.

Posted by: What the Dickens | Mar 31, 2017 1:24:16 PM | 3

That said, the purpose of the Hama op may have been to let FSA take the positions of retreating ISIS in the southeast, thus guarding a planned entry point for a gas pipeline through and from Jordan.

Posted by: What the Dickens | Mar 31, 2017 1:27:18 PM | 4

Ah, the carve up unfolds - but it's only a conspiracy theory of course.

Posted by: paul | Mar 31, 2017 1:37:24 PM | 5

Good point b about this being Obama policy but

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/03/31/team-trump-doubles-down-on-obamas-horrendous-betrayal-of-syria

Posted by: dh | Mar 31, 2017 1:45:47 PM | 6

"The top priority has been and will be for a while the fight against ISIS. The U.S. will use this to occupy the eastern parts of Syria."


So, just as I predicted - the neocons renewed ME plan was kind of a blueprint, not their wet dream...

Thanks b, for finally coming to your senses and abandoning the out-of-space idea of a reapproachment in US relations with Russia.

Posted by: LXV | Mar 31, 2017 1:49:47 PM | 7

yes b, Haley also said "Assad regime, Iran and Russia committed war crimes"

No, never mind "war crimes" Assad may stay because we failed the regime change thingy after Mr. Putin entered in support of Syria..Bad Putin who hijacked our elections they are no match for us. So, our new focus is North Korea, third world dictator Kim Jung-Un, piece of cake we can readily beat just like we did the Taliban in Afghanistan. Kim Jung's half brother was offed - we will continue to send a message. This time around we really do intend to teach NK people a lesson in democracy and vassalship. See..the USA Sec. of War

In London, Mad-Dog Mattis: "North Korea ‘Has Got to Be Stopped"

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/defense-sec-james-mattis-north-korea-has-got-be-stopped-n740966

Mad-Dog is an apt descriptor MAD --setting up the final event for total collapse.
I gotta go buy some supplies: plastic sheeting, duct tape, water and food. Can't afford a luxury underground bunker.

Posted by: likklemore | Mar 31, 2017 2:00:02 PM | 8

Posted by: dh | Mar 31, 2017 1:45:47 PM | 6
That expression 'double down' is really getting overused nowadays in the news. I still do not hear it in everyday conversations though. But, it is just matter of time. The infection is there.
Is it coming from casino talk, Las Vegasism of sorts?

Posted by: hopehely | Mar 31, 2017 2:19:31 PM | 9

Posted by: likklemore | Mar 31, 2017 2:00:02 PM | 8

I gotta go buy some supplies: plastic sheeting, duct tape, water and food. Can't afford a luxury underground bunker.

Don't bother. If that happens, the life will not be worth living.

Posted by: hopehely | Mar 31, 2017 2:25:56 PM | 10

Great article b as usual.
However I believe that the only reason the united state are focusing on ISIS is due to their failure to topple Bashar and Russian support to his regime. I doubt this change of policy has something else to do with it.ISIS is just now a convenient boogieman they fuel in order to achieve the break up of middle east and continue an unpopular occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan which were slowly getting out of their hands.

Posted by: Pierre | Mar 31, 2017 2:35:51 PM | 11

@9 Sports aphorisms most likely. Gamechanger, hail mary, home run......that kind of thing. Expressions the masses can relate to.

McCain is apoplectic about Tillerson btw. Jowls aquiver.

Posted by: dh | Mar 31, 2017 2:45:14 PM | 12

The always on point Bashar Al-Jaafari at Geneva. Some good roasting prose here. No doubt the recent attacks on Damascus and interior were timed for Geneva...and will ultimately prove futile for the hardened, newly bonded Syrian state.

*** *** ***

SYRIA: Dr Bashar Al Jaafari Frustrated by Political ‘Adolescents’ – Astana Talks, Geneva 31/03/17


“They foamed and frothed, as they say in Arabic, during this round, ceaselessly making silly and tiresome statements showcasing their deviant opinions and twisted logic as if they’re contestants on one of those TV shows where competitors seek to win votes like Arab Idol or the Voice, to the point that we felt that Geneva has become hosted on satellite channels and not in the halls of Syrian-Syrian dialogue without external interference,” al-Jaafari elaborated.

He went on to say that this once again reveals that these sides are in a state of adolescence when it comes to politics, the situation on the ground, and mass media, in addition to proving that they are agents of external forces and traitors to their homeland Syria, adding “since they are tools and mercenaries in the hand of their operators and masters, it seems that they haven’t received orders yet, except orders to support terrorism, cause ruckus and disturbance, and disrupt the entire round in clear reflection of the faces of their operators who support terrorism and who want to derail the Astana and Geneva tracks.”

Al-Jaafari pointed out that despite all of that, the Syrian Arab Republic delegation completed this round of dialogue with utmost seriousness, patience, and responsibility, because it bears the responsibility of defending Syria and stopping the bloodshed, adding “the mercenaries and traitors and those who live in Riyadh, Ankara, Doha, and other capitals cannot feel the pains and sufferings of the Syrian people.”

http://21stcenturywire.com/2017/03/31/syria-dr-bashar-al-jaafari-frustrated-by-political-adolescents-astana-talks-geneva/

Posted by: MadMax2 | Mar 31, 2017 2:45:40 PM | 13

hopehely @ 10

Guess, I should have included the /S tag


Dh @ 12

John McCain loves his friends, ISIS. Here he is outing himself on Hannity Show saying:
"ISIS! not true" “I know these people intimately, I know these people …I am in contact with them all the time.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHtS3c5olMY

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
You think?
All doubts of McCain ISIS connection now debunked.

Posted by: likklemore | Mar 31, 2017 3:02:23 PM | 14

Trump is different, really ;-)

Posted by: Vaccination is murder | Mar 31, 2017 3:04:44 PM | 15

@14 Baffles me that anyone votes for McCain. Then they let him sit on committees!

Him and Rand Paul have an interesting 'discussion' going.

Posted by: dh | Mar 31, 2017 3:07:23 PM | 16

b's quote from Obama is from January 2016. I don't think Obama was EVER serious about fighting ISIS. He helped to create ISIS when he ignored their rise, calling them al Queda's "JV team". He confirmed his support for ISIS with his "leading from behind" policy.

In January 2016, the US was starting the charade of separating moderate rebels. We know how that farce turned out.

Even after the San Bernardino (Dec. 2015) and Orlando (Jun. 2016) terror attacks - attributed to ISIS - nothing really changed. For Obama it was business as usual.

Trump initiated talks between US military command and Russians for the first time since 2014. Gen. Dunford met with Gen. Gerasimov in Feb. 2017. We now see Israel stepping up operations in Syria as a result of US pulling back from the failed 'Assad must go!' policy.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Has there been any real change or just a hiatus? I don't think we'll know until Trump meets with Putin.

Many in the US (esp. neocons) will have a hard time coming to terms with a multi-lateral world. Whatever peace is offered to Russia is likely to be conditioned on pulling Russia out of China's orbit.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 31, 2017 3:08:38 PM | 17

I used to use the term "Obusha" for the hybrid nature of the last two administrations where the Coke/Pepsi branding masked the fact that the core policies were the same. Perhaps "Trama" is the term for the current state where the Washington-Wall Street consensus types scream about how Trump is an abomination while in reality business as usual goes in most areas. Certainly Trama describes the impact on the rest of the world, particularly in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Mar 31, 2017 3:12:54 PM | 18

@1 Hayder

Excellent analysis. I wonder what the Iranian, Syrian, Hezbollah reaction will be. Part of Trump's goal, I suspect, is moving Russia away from Iran. There are already points of contention between Russia and Syria/Iran namely that the former has not made the continued unity of Syrian territory a non-negotiable condition. Which begs the question what Russia's actual goals in Syria are.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Mar 31, 2017 3:14:17 PM | 19

b - thank you... the only dupes who are going to swallow the change in the words, are the same dupes who believed all the previous lies... meanwhile, until an actual change happens, it will be the same biz as usual from the same group of liars... they must think folks are complete idiots to believe any of their bs!! change my ass... hopey changey, lol...

Posted by: james | Mar 31, 2017 3:33:23 PM | 20

@1 hayder.. thanks for sharing.. very relevant and good to know.. b

Posted by: james | Mar 31, 2017 3:35:58 PM | 21

Temporarily Sane 19 "There are already points of contention between Russia and Syria/Iran namely that the former has not made the continued unity of Syrian territory a non-negotiable condition. Which begs the question what Russia's actual goals in Syria are."

There is the matter of the UNSC resolution, that Russia put up and US agreed to, that Syria retains its territorial integrity.
US may occupy part of Syria for awhile. Nothing Russia can do about that in the short term, short of going to war with the US. Russia is looking at the long term.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 31, 2017 4:19:29 PM | 22

Okay, it is now six years and counting. How many years will it take for you to figure out that the USA prefers Assad to the religiously conservative rural poor? Maybe both Obama and Trump took the advice of the RAND corporation:: “Regime collapse, while not considered a likely outcome, was perceived to be the worst possible outcome for U.S. strategic interests”

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Mar 31, 2017 5:16:50 PM | 23

Temporarily Sane @19

Russia's primary goal in Syria is to destroy the Islamic terrorists so they can't be sent on to Russia. They have already taken out around 4500 terrorists whose passports show they were from RF states. The Russia media is littered with details of small scale takfiri terrorist acts around the RF southern borders - the biggest most recent was 6 or so taken out on the border to Chechnya.

Secondary goals include the support for primacy of international law relating to national integrity, support for an ally, testing military systems in real conditions and increasing the strength of the multipolar opposition to Anglo-Zionist hegemony.

Posted by: Yonatan | Mar 31, 2017 5:23:00 PM | 24

@ Peter AU | 22

There is the matter of the UNSC resolution, that Russia put up and US agreed to, that Syria retains its territorial integrity.

If Kurds get de-facto independence within Syria (according to their manifesto) a la Barzanistan, resolution of "territorial integrity" technically remains intact. Russia could make such concessions (even blasted Assad for desiring to return all of Syria's territory) if only US would agree to barter, so far they didnt (or maybe Trump/Putin already did, who knows). While for Syria/Iran its as bad as it gets.

US may occupy part of Syria for awhile. Nothing Russia can do about that in the short term, short of going to war with the US. Russia is looking at the long term.

US wont be the one occupying, Kurds will (US will just rule them). Do you think Syria will start a war with Kurds (especially under US protection)? Of course not. Kurds expanded their territory 10x (now finishing off ethnic cleansing that ISIS started), occupied as many oilfields as they could.

Kurds themselves are divided, but US will make sure their puppets have the power, while pro-Syrian Kurds will be marginalized or simply killed. The idea that Kurds will come to their senses is slim and most likely wont happen, just look at Barzanistan. Independence US dangling in front of them is powerful motivator, not to speak of how much influence and money US, Israel, monarchies, etc. have.

As for Russia, both short and long term its looking after its own interests, which may or may not be whats the best for Syria. Hence the clashes.

Posted by: Harry | Mar 31, 2017 5:38:31 PM | 25

@b, 'The mess in Syria will go on until the U.S. really changes its positions and until the Wahhabi oil sheiks stop their financing of their various Takfiri mercenaries ...'

absolutely. hts in idlib, the saudi gift that keeps on giving. and the turks are likely to 'help' there as well. the 'vision' is to sever all that's east of the euphrates ... to be run by players to named later ... and to continue the terrorist insurgence west of the euphrates. with israel will to make a grab for more of the golan as well.

i hope the kurds surprise the us and cut a deal with the rest of syria ... i guess the 'problem' is the other way 'round, with the syrians having to cut the deal with the kurds. the iranians probably don't like that either. they, and the iraqis as well, need to follow the russian lead ... a cold-blooded assessment of the way things stand in the real world, and of their ability to change that. they need to choose their battles. and copy israeli incrementalism.

and hts, the us, the ksa, and erdogan's turkey are the problem they can all do something about, with the help of the kurds. so sez i, anyway. i see the iranians and qatar are talking directly already.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 31, 2017 7:41:44 PM | 26

@1 haydar

i see the 'iraqi government' joining the us' ksa/gcc team as well. i hope they are overthrown by the iraqi people. i think the us plans in eastern syria hinge upon the kurds, and i hope the syrian kurds will betray the us - turn the tables, for a change - once raqqa has been taken, and make common cause with both the syrians and the pmu in iraq, and that together with iran they can all work together to cleanse syriaq of the vile us presence, and remove the us' compradors presently 'in power' in the iraqi and iraqi-kurd governments.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 31, 2017 8:09:49 PM | 27

We're going backwards. Kings, Queens, nobles and surfs. The perfect system. If you're part of the first three groups. When they deconstruct America, they're coming to the EU.

Posted by: ben | Mar 31, 2017 9:05:11 PM | 28

Hayder, the Iraqi abroad.
Posted by: Hayder | Mar 31, 2017 1:17:42 PM | 1

Yeah, in Israel.
Nice try, but the drivel you wrote about Saddam is wrong.
The only people Saddam "oppressed" were Yankee/Saudi-funded trouble makers, and then only the ones too stupid to heed his warnings. He was so good at disinfection that there weren't enough left-over pests for a viable fake Colour Revolution so the Yankees decided to take the (infinitely more profitable) SNAFU/Quagmire route to Regime Change in Iraq. You also 'forgot' that the Yankees killed 1000 times more Iraqis, and did 1,000,000 times more damage to Iraq than Saddam did.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 31, 2017 9:08:26 PM | 29

The more US soldiers are stuck in Islamic badlands (Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq) - without any chances of even remotely favorable outcome - the better it's for America's foes. The US will keep bleeding financially, emotionally, spiritually and literally, until its military machine simply unravels and disappears into a memory hole. The Russians and the Chinese must be watching US moves with utter amazement. America's inability to perform even the simplest geopolitical calculations may very well be unprecedented in world's history.

Posted by: telescope | Mar 31, 2017 10:31:53 PM | 30

While i agree that the goal remains one of dividing Syria, I doubt it will work out as planned by the US/Saudis/Israelis etc. Raqqa is not Kurd territory and I'm skeptical that the various arab tribes there are going to accept governance by a Kurd/US alliance. I also wonder why Kurds are liberating Raqqa. The main advantage to them beyond killing ISIS is really leverage in negotiations with Assad. Do you want Raqqa back? Well here is what we want. I have a hard time believing the Kurds really expect to occupy Arab territories under the nose of Assad, Russia and Turkey for any extended period of time?

Net: capturing Raqqa gives the kurds bargaining power against the Asaad government towards Kurd autonomy.

Posted by: Alaric | Mar 31, 2017 10:36:32 PM | 31

I think the USA is getting more involved in Yemen not to destroy the Houthis or Al Qaeda but with another plan.

The USA military intervention in Yemen will force the Saudis to fight Al Qaeda, something the Saudis have been very reluctant to do.
For two reasons, first because Sunni Al Qaeda threatens the Shia Houthis and if it is eliminated then the Houthis may come out stronger. Second because Sunni Al Qaeda has many supporters within the Saudi royal family and the powerful Islamic charities. If the Saudi army kills other Sunnis who are following the same Wahhabi creed, it could cause a crisis inside the kingdom.
In my view that is exactly what the USA wants. They want to break the Saudi Royal family to the point that they will have to accept to recognize Israel.
That is the aim of the USA's involvement in Yemen: weaken the Saudis while fighting Al Qaeda.
The Iranians are fully aware of that game and they'll try vainly to warn the Saudis of the trap.
If Saudi Arabia ( after Egypt and Jordan) recognizes Israel, all other Arab countries will be forced to join in and Iran will be left in the cold.
The only way to prevent that will be for the Iranians to re-enforce the Houthis to inflict as much damage as possible on the USA that they may be obliged to change course.
Yet if the Houthis are defeated, Iran would prefer that Yemen be in the hands of al Qaeda than of the Saudis and the USA.

Posted by: virgile | Mar 31, 2017 11:09:09 PM | 32

@30 telescope

What a superb comment. I would like to quote one phrase or sentence that stands out above the others, but they're all uniquely good.

You've touched on something I hadn't been able to put into words until now, which is how Russia and China (and the rest of the world) must be watching US moves with amazement at the cognitive dissonance of the US.

I think key players like Russia and Iran watch every move of the US with total intensity, because each move is potentially lethal, as dangerous as a striking snake. And then, to everyone's astonishment, the US move fails, or changes horses mid-stream, or fails to connect with its appropriate target, or simply dissipates its energy in a non-strike, a loss of form and structure.

I don't fully understand this, but I share the amazement of the world. I believe that the forces controlling US policy are themselves a parasite upon the US and are so saturated in evil that they are barely able to comprehend the true reality of the universe. And so US policy-making is functionally paralyzed in many very important ways.

I think history may well judge these times in terms of your final sentence, that "America's inability to perform even the simplest geopolitical calculations may very well be unprecedented in world's history." (There, I found a sentence.)

The US: all venom, no strike.

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 31, 2017 11:09:58 PM | 33

@ Grieved and others that are sharing their views of todays Empire news.

If America was operating from some public moral high ground then the rest of the world's nations that are not pawns of empire would be responding differently. What Russia, China (and the rest of the world) are watching are the immoral and war criminal actions of the global puppets of our PRIVATELY owned and operated Western world. These folks are using America like they previously used the empires of Britain, Spain, etc. and are pulling out all stops to rally the remaining pawns of empire into defending their parasitic hold on society.

These global elite families have held onto power/control for 500+ years and while it looks like their hold is on the brink of failing, I suspect they can wag the dog longer than we can create taunting textual white noise about their perversity. The current circus on which political faction can better continue the brinksmanship game of global US dominance is cover for openly fascist moves by the Drain The Swamp candidate.

I predict that the Thursday Meeting with China's Xi will not go well because Trump does not understand that he will be the Apprentice at this meeting........grifter negotiator....but a Gold plated one....setting up to default on American debt once his private finance folks set up the fall.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 31, 2017 11:47:25 PM | 34

@ myself to take the mental spew a bit further

China has Communist in its name. I agree that it is possible that there are X number of Chinese oligarch families similar to those of the West. but somehow that just doesn't ring true as a reality at this time but only as a potential. If private finance cannot find "safe havens" and power centers for their money within China then they need to find such in other emerging economies as the American "economy" continues to disintegrate.

Interesting times. Too bad so many people are negatively effected by the geopolitical machinations.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 1, 2017 12:09:57 AM | 35

@31 Alaric. My sentiments also, as I've posted in the open thread..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 1, 2017 12:26:39 AM | 36

@ grieved

>> ... that "America's inability to perform even the simplest geopolitical calculations may very well be unprecedented in world's history." (There, I found a sentence.)

>> The US: all venom, no strike.

I can see how people might draw these conclusions. It's rational interpretation. But, arguing the other way:

- People on this board refer to Oceania "Team Chaos" for good reason. The "noise" of Oceania's apparent infighting, occasional detentes, incoherent/contradictory messaging, etc. might actually play to Oceania's advantage because it (a) keeps the sheeple from recognizing utter evil of their rulers and (b) keeps Oceania's targets' attention focused on a few burning trees instead of the encroaching forest fire. Plus, if Oceania's chosen enemies aren't even sure "what the game is", with their limited resources they'll struggle to draw up plans for countermeasures, responses, escalations, etc. for all the possibilities. (Incidentally, in one Star Trek DS9 episode, Quark cited Ferengi Rule of Acquisition 76: "Every once in a while, declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies." Either America is Ferengi or Borg ... or both.)

- Why use your own venom? Employ mercs at a discount to growing and paying for your own forces.

- Even if your policies are at times contradictory, maybe you can still wear down some foreign forces/resources that weren't under your absolute control.

"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion […] but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_P._Huntington

Arguably, America is "running the table". They just have to corrupt Russia and China from within and then it's really "game over" -- we'll be a "one-regime planet".

If that indeed happens, I wonder what TPTB will do next with their power.

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 12:51:44 AM | 37

@ virgile / 32

>> The USA military intervention in
>> Yemen will force the Saudis to
>> fight Al Qaeda,

Does that mean the Saudis are *not* al Qaeda?

>> In my view that is exactly what
>> the USA wants. They want to break
>> the Saudi Royal family to the point
>> that they will have to accept to
>> recognize Israel.

Judging by decades doing Oceania's dirty work, the Sauds are already under Oceania's yoke and effectively allied with its partners.

Oceania's goal of destroying Iran isn't near completion. So, destroying the already-compliant Saud regime now would be premature if not completely counterproductive.

Plus, the "29 pages" and the resulting lawfare will probably ultimately levy a large "internationally recognized" debt on the country of Saudi Arabia secured by its oil resources. And that debt will "survive" any changes in Saud regime (such as "locals force the royals to flee the country"). It's arguably "a backup control mechanism".

The Sauds probably noticed the body count after Capo Mike Morrell's utterances and know better than to cross their boss.

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 1:12:18 AM | 38

33.
The US will keep on losing because it suffers from two chronic afflictions that make victories nearly impossible and defeats just about unavoidable: it comically overestimates itself and/or constantly underestimates its opponents. This results in a yawning gap between America's ambitions and its capabilities. And, unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse with every passing year as ambitions appear to grow while capabilities keep diminishing. At some point - and, judging by the deteriorating domestic situation, not a very distant one - the "exceptional nation" will arrive at the fork in the road where a very stark choice between the wholesale global retreat and an outright national collapse will present itself.

Posted by: telescope | Apr 1, 2017 1:29:13 AM | 39

It is now the 1st of April and that's one more April than I think most or all here would have gotten than with Hillary as chief puppet/"big bird"/worst vulture, so cheers everybody! Let a large sip of Jamaican dark rum dance around your tongue until it stings :D

Trump however is not living up to the expectations, maybe he was genuine or maybe the whole "rebel scenario" was the ultimate effort by not so much the "deep state" (which translates to functionaries/apparatchiks/bureaucrats and pawns in my mind) but instead "The Powers That Be" (insert your favorite bogeymen here) to remain in control. I don't know which is true but I'm pretty sure such a scheme would/will fail hard. It was still the last chance, nothing changes that.

Items of interest today:

First.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-31/tillerson
-blasts-russia-ukraine-aggression-germany
-slams-trumps-unrealistic-nato-dem

Tillerson SNAFUs/OBAMAs on Nazikrainia. Completely unacceptable, instant disqualification of Tillerson.

Second.
https://wikileaks.org/vault7/
?marble9#Marble%20Framework

Wikileaks CIA Vault 7 Part 3 "Marble". Perhaps not such a big story, not really anything new to me but most people never paid attention to what the Snowden files meant so it might be news to them. It's the reason at least a few people (me included) have constantly held a position against claims of attribution like how North Korea is/was supposedly responsible for the Sony hack despite no actual proof (and another reminder that in particular Bruce Schneier and so many other "experts" are full of shit).

And lastly the most speculative:
Thrid.
https://www.superstation95.com/index.php/world/3578

Superstaion95 says Iran is asking for an emergency UN Security Council session due to having checked Stuxnet code against the aforementioned Marble and thus found hard evidence that Stuxnet was CIA code (the Wikileaks release contains CIA code to "de-marble" computer code i.e. to prove that CIA has used Marble to hide their ownership of the code).

This (the urgent call for a SC session) would make perfect sense except I haven't been able to find any confirmation about such a meeting or any call for it in nay Iranian press bureaus or papers or any mention of it on the Iranian foreign ministry website or the Iranian UN delegation page, nothing, but it could be because it was a Friday... (slim chance I guess) and Superstation95 doesn't give any sourcing.

And by the way in case no one has done it independently and openly yet then until someone (many someones actually) tries to "de-marble" Stuxnet code and are successful there still is no proof for any claims of responsibility/"ownership" of Stuxnet no matter what anyone says and no matter what the retarded medias say.

Anyway... "Onwards, to alcoholism! (And fags)" Cheers XD

Posted by: Outsider | Apr 1, 2017 2:18:22 AM | 40

I think I made the webserver choke on my URLs - sorry! :3

Posted by: Outsider | Apr 1, 2017 2:25:31 AM | 41

Hopefully the comment shows up soon (I forgot to add that).

Posted by: Outsider | Apr 1, 2017 2:26:34 AM | 42

More IS FSA connections
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-deir-hafer-syria-army-soldiers-town-village-death-muder-islamic-state-daesh-murder-killing-army-a7660481.html
and "most of the judges were Egyptians"
(does not necessary mean they arrived from Egypt directly, there are millions of Egyptians in KSA)

Posted by: Mina | Apr 1, 2017 3:17:27 AM | 43

Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 31, 2017 9:08:26 PM | 29

I'm not going to get to personal insults in this forum, suffice to say that it is clear to me you don't know what you are talking about.
I was opposed to Saddam because he killed his people mercilessly, and was installed by the CIA. I was also opposed to the US invasion of Iraq because I'm an Iraqi patriot who does not want to see his country destroyed. For me, Saddam was a tool used by global powers for a specific purpose, like so many others around the world. When they had no use for him, he was disposed.
It may be a hard concept for some to understand, but it is possible to be both anti Saddam and gainst the US invasion of Iraq.

Hayder

Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 5:13:33 AM | 44

Posted by: Alaric | Mar 31, 2017 10:36:32 PM | 31

PKK/PYD is a complex organisation. According to an interview with As Safir

Ethnic variances and diversity are important. But if a crossroads is reached, either to unite or separate, then our stance favors unity within diversity. I will refer, in this case, to the Kurds, Arabs and Persians, but I shall exclude the Turks, who later settled in the region and are not indigenous to it as the other three civilizations that maintained their ethnic identities, while collectively shaping the culture of the region.

Our respective cultures, customs, cuisine and so forth are similar and represent an integrated unit. How can one call for secession from said unit? We contend that we are all Muslims, and Islam preaches the right of all religions to express their beliefs. Yet we see that sectarian slaughtering is being perpetrated in the name of Islam, as communities are pitted one against the other. How is that representative of Islam, and how can it lead to a solution? It is the antithesis of Islam’s most basic tenets. The plan proposed by Ocalan is predicated on the democratization of the whole Middle East, with all entities afforded the opportunity to express themselves as part of this regional federation.

Should the US wish to split the Middle East in small entities the PKK/PYD is perfect for them.

However, the Spokesperson excludes the Turks. So the PKK/PYD is also a perfect tool to split NATO.

If you ask me, they adapted their ideology to get support from Russia and the US. In the end it will come down to gaining power and leverage.

Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 5:13:33 AM | 43

A dictator means that there is an underlying civil war. When people are given the choice between civil war and a dictator most chose the dictator.
Removing Saddam, Gaddafi and trying to remove Assad uncovered the underlying civil war. In Egypt people managed to prevent the civil war by renewed military dictatorship.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2017 5:47:25 AM | 45

Trump has many of the same policies as Obama. Trump comes with more bluster and overstatement, either because he wants to appear different than Obama or because it is who he is - probably both. But from immigration to job creation to the war on terror, what's ACTUALLY going on, not what the big, mean talk claims, is pretty much the same as the Obama period. Maybe that will change over time, but it is more like lay change will be on domestic issues, not international agreements and military action - Trump simply has no experience in international conflict or diplomacy and the bullying approach has short reach. He isn't well positioned to make huge strategic changes.

Posted by: Alestra | Apr 1, 2017 6:07:31 AM | 46

astute commentary as always 'b',but i think you underplay the significance of Tillerson's comments. I do think it is a departure from US position under Obama, which is not to say that Trump et al. will not continue to sow division and cause disruption in the coming months, but i think it is a reflection of advances by SAA on the ground. If Aleppo had not been liberated, nor Deir Ezzor staunchly defended etc., i'm not sure that US would be using this language. Deep down US wants rid of Assad, and i think they know now that it is beyond their reach. Wars don't end or begin at precise points and for the US administration to make a comment like this (wait for Boris Johnson to follow suit soon) is symptomatic of a tipping point. There would have to be a major tipping point in the other direction (Israeli involvement ?) to prevent an Assad victory whether it takes months or years.

Posted by: aniteleya | Apr 1, 2017 6:26:06 AM | 47

I'm not going to get to personal insults in this forum, suffice to say that it is clear to me you don't know what you are talking about.
...
It may be a hard concept for some to understand, but it is possible to be both anti Saddam and gainst the US invasion of Iraq.
Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 5:13:33 AM | 43

Well, anythings possible. But I think you're Jeffrey Goldberg. Last time you were here pretending to be someone else you were "Jeff" the sub-editor of a "little monthly magazine". And you left when I asked if the little magazine was The Atlantic. Remember that?
You should be more careful.
It's not my fault you're not as smart as you think you are.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 1, 2017 6:35:37 AM | 48

Hoarsewhisperer

I'm not "Jeff" and don't know who that person is. Please don't accuse me of being someone else. I post my ideas on this forum for an open and honest discussion about what is going on. It's OK to have opposing views if the discussion is done in an objective manner with mutual respect, but you step over the line when you start to get personal. It seems that you are diverting attention from the contents of my post, why is that?
I have no wish to discuss who I am further and will not be replying to your posts about me regardless of how provocative and groundless your comments are.

Hayder

Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 7:00:30 AM | 49

The statements from the Obama administration occurred after Trump was elected. I think Obama was trying to adjust his policy to the changes expected from the Trump presidency and to protect himself politically. Obama was probably rightly worried about being blamed for supporting Al Qaeda.

Posted by: Edward | Apr 1, 2017 8:10:43 AM | 50

@30 -- You don't need a brain if you're got a severe case of 'American Exceptionalism' -- just more paper $money printing in the military muscle department propped up with running the global protection racket; drug distribution cartel and petro-dollar spin-wheel . . . does anything else really matter?

Posted by: x | Apr 1, 2017 8:52:19 AM | 51

...
It seems that you are diverting attention from the contents of my post, why is that?
...
Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 7:00:30 AM | 49

Because your Neocon Saddam lies, which were used to justify the destruction of the self-sufficient, independent, secular State of Iraq, and turn it into a sectarian nightmare, taint any opinion you express about Iraq.
Saddam is dead, and long gone. Reiterating the lies which led to his and Iraq's downfall serves no useful purpose and is utterly irrelevant to your claimed purpose in commenting here.
i.e. you're neither trustworthy nor credible.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 1, 2017 8:53:51 AM | 52

niets nieuws onder de zon
http://shsamstud.pbworks.com/f/To+the+person+sitting+darkness.pdf

Posted by: From The Hague | Apr 1, 2017 8:59:17 AM | 53

Temporarily Sane, James & jfl
Thank you for your comments

Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 9:13:18 AM | 54

Well this is all very interesting apart from two rather salient points:
1/ Tillerson is just a show pony, he can go around the world dribbling whatever tosh takes his fancy but it is meaningless see Tillerson Might Be the Weakest Secretary of State Ever
It begins

"While much of America’s political class is transfixed by the debate about connections between Russia and the White House, a quieter but perhaps more consequential drama is playing out at Foggy Bottom. It concerns the startling diminution of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and perhaps the entire department that he heads. Normally the most important position in the cabinet, the secretary of state has had little impact on the Trump administration so far. And, if anything, his role appears headed for further decline."

Then it sets out reasonably cogently exactly why it is that this is the case.

Now Tillerson is weak but he isn't entirely purposeless since his jaunts do distract a mainstream media eager for a nice foreign junket away from the shit that is going down at DC, but I doubt Trump listens to him on anything outside of a rather narrow hydrocarbon purview and even then Trump appears to have found sponsors with somewhat deeper pockets, ones that won't cause him the sort of hassle that doing a deal with Russia so Exxon-Mobil can drill up the Arctic, has caused.
But even if Trump did ignore Bannon's strategy of gaining control by wreaking havoc on the administrative state and actually co-ordinated words & deeds with the state department, it really wouldn't matter.

The administrative state around the pentagon is still functioning totally independent of the executive, Trump has been made keenly aware, just as his predecessors have been, that they are a law unto themselves.
The amerikan military decided more than 2 years ago that shifting Bashir Assad was a dubious proposition, one that would be tough to deliver and offer little in return. I have no doubt thay want to create space for a few more bases as that is an item that sits right at the top of any desires the amerikan military has about every country on the planet. They don't want to have to worry about the rest of Syria, outside the bases though, so they will have communicated that to Trump who appears to have succeeded in doing something neither shrub nor oblamblam could do i.e. unite the intelligence assholes with the military assholes - the fly in the ointment is of course that thus far they have united gainst him.

For a 'deal maker' Trump appears rather silly. Offering the pentagon 10% up front before they even leaned on him, Trump revealed his weakness. Sure they will take the money, then they will do whatever the fuck they want since he will cruel his pitch to the dumb-asses if he goes back on the promise now.
Free money & they didn't even have to barter away any pet projects.
Now the Pentagon boys & the Langley boys can grab a big mob of new toys from their future employers with no worries about embarrassing themselves by getting their clocks cleaned by those damn Arabs.
It used to be that the only way to get ahead in the military was by getting into wars, but now most guys who stay at home cutting deals with contractors get on the career elevator faster. So apart from the bullshit 'training' thing where all victories can be claimed and all losses blamed on aforementioned Ay-rabs, a bloke can build a good career miles from any bang bang.

Once trump has the bases in Syria and ISIS have been put back in the box until the next time 'some tin-pot government' (amerikan thoughts not mine) has the unmitigated gall to chase 'em out, trump is likely to start ruminating about Iran, a war that doesn't offer good percentages if yer a military careerist, so it will be very interesting to watch how the military diverts trump off to an easier conquest.

It would be great if amerikans woke up and recognised that the quadrennial box tick changes the talking heads on the news, but has absolutely no effect on what happens outside of the incessant chattering.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Apr 1, 2017 9:21:35 AM | 55

Hayder @ #44...
"I was opposed to Saddam because he killed his people mercilessly, and was installed by the CIA."

So ... you're a 3rd party Iraqi eh?
Like I said, you should be more careful; no matter who or what you're pretending to be...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 1, 2017 9:25:03 AM | 56

telescope, Grieved, psychohistorian, dumbass,

I totally appreciate your discussion starting with telescope’s #30. These, plus of course b’s headlines, are the type of interchanges that keep me continually coming back and reading here. I feel I learn and glean far more from discussions of this caliper than most anywhere else in today’s sadly befuddled world.

Thank you all and keep it up.

Posted by: juannie | Apr 1, 2017 9:54:31 AM | 57

I apologise to the users on this forum for the irrelevant exchanges, but I feel I must reply as I feel I'm being unfairly trolled in this forum and I'm having my character assassinated.

1. I am Iraqi, regardless of what anybody states.
2. By stating that " Saddam killed his people" does not exclude me from being "one of his people".
3. It is clear from my writings that I am NOT a Neocon.
4. It is now clear to the whole world that Saddam was a dictator, that killed my/his/our people. Anyone denying this is deluded. I was against Saddam at a time when Neocons like Rumsfeld were selling him chemical weapons and supporting him.
5. I have never supported the war against Iraq or any other Neocon policies.
6. Hoarsewhisperer stated "Reiteratingh the lies which led to his and Iraq's downfall serves no useful purpose and is utterly irrelevant to your claimed purpose in commenting here". The lies that the Neocons used related to Weapons of mass destruction. Saddam DID kill his/my/our people, in their 100s of thousands- the mass graves in Iraq are a testimoni to that. I was making a point regarding the Iraqi government and Iraqi public opinion, and I think it is relevant.
7. I have no idea why "hoarsewhisperer" has chosen to attack me personally in this way, but it detracts from discussing the real issues.
8. I'm an person with an opinion. I used this forum to share this opinion. No one has to agree with it, and I'm open to constructive objective criticism. Attacking me in this brutal way, and calling into question my credibility and trustworthiness, and effectively trying to assassinate my character is completely out of order. I can only hope that other users of this forum have a positive opinion of me.

Hayder- THE IRAQI ABROAD!

Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 10:15:09 AM | 58

Twain again
https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3176/3176-h/3176-h.htm

Posted by: From The Hague | Apr 1, 2017 10:24:55 AM | 59

Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 10:15:09 AM | 58

1. I am Iraqi, regardless of what anybody states.

You are a string of characters on my computer screen.
And your moniker looks like Austrian surname Heider spelled phonetically.

Posted by: hopehely | Apr 1, 2017 10:31:56 AM | 60

@1Hayder

That's an interesting read.

It certainly looks like the US would arrange it so that eastern Syria would be separated from Assad's rump state. I've been saying that forever. Break the ME into bite size chunks that would pose no threat to Israel. Sever the Shia Crescent and Hezbollah withers on the vine without their Iranian backers. Secures control over Syrian reserves. Who gives a fat fuck whether Assad stays or goes, it was never about him in the first place.

What can Russia do about any of this? Not a lot as far as I can see. Tell Assad to suck it up and be happy he didn't die with a .45 up his ass like Gaddafi. The Russians have reasserted some influence in the ME and now have a much upgraded warm water port on the Med and a significant new airbase. There's obviously some kind of agreement between Putin and Trump or there wouldn't be coalition aircraft flying all over Syrian airspace. If the US does decide to reoccupy Iraq and eastern Syria and elects to commit the numbers of troops you mentioned I don't see Putin going to the wall for the integrity of Syrian borders.

Whether or not the US could get Iraq to snub Iran is something I'm not so sure about. Their interests seem to have become more and more entwined over the years but I'm sure you have better information on that score. But if Trump has any longer term goals of going to war with Iran then his generals are doing him a disservice. Iran isn't Syria and Iran isn't Iraq, they have a much larger military and have been practicing for full-on war with the US and Israel since the day Bush43 labeled them a member of the "axis of evil". They can shut down the Straits of Hormuz and there's nothing anyone can do to stop them. It's just too vulnerable. That's not something China or a host of other countries would sit still for.

Posted by: peter | Apr 1, 2017 10:35:04 AM | 61

Hayder

Agree with hopehely @60. You are what you write here, nothing more. It's actually a rather fishy when someone shows up claiming to be this or that. In your case: "THE IRAQI ABROAD!"

And that leads to the question of: why now? You didn't show up here when ISIS was ravaging our country, but you are here now as their end is in sight. Hmmm....

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 1, 2017 10:59:21 AM | 62

Edward @50:

The statements from the Obama administration occurred after Trump was elected. I think Obama was trying to adjust his policy to the changes expected from the Trump presidency and to protect himself politically. Obama was probably rightly worried about being blamed for supporting Al Qaeda.
The statement that b references is from January 2016 - well before the election.

It came after the UN resolutions. Obama, and many of us here, could see the end-game. For example, we spoke at that time of a "race to Raqqa", which essentially envisioned a partition/federation of Syria.

But Obama's anti-ISIS rhetoric was just lip-service to a peace process that US participated in half-heartedly. The actual policy didn't really really change.

Also see my comment @17.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 1, 2017 11:07:28 AM | 63

typo @62: your country

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 1, 2017 11:11:29 AM | 64

Tillerson's full statement in Brussels regarding NATO (1:10) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBj8HcYhYGw

Also, anybody here familiar with or read Steve LeVine's book titled 'The Oil and the Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea'? If so, do you recommend the read? It was published in 2007 and after reading reviews it appears full of details that weigh on today's geopolitics; especially regarding Russia and her natural resources.

About Tillerson's power being minimal under Trump, I beg to differ. State has become unwieldy as has the intelligence/surveillance state. Trump's budget re prioritizes military, diplomacy and intelligence with the military being the priority and diplomacy taking the third chair. Once upon a time, not long ago, that was the way DC operated.

Posted by: h | Apr 1, 2017 11:12:22 AM | 65

...
Tell Assad to suck it up and be happy he didn't die with a .45 up his ass like Gaddafi.
...
Posted by: peter | Apr 1, 2017 10:35:04 AM | 61

That's a Neocon meme too.
Birds of a feather, or a mutual admiration society?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 1, 2017 11:16:06 AM | 66

@jackrabbit
Why not here earlier? Because I only found about this site a few weeks ago.
The reason why I chose to identify myself as Iraqi was to give an Iraqi point of view, since the majority of views seem to be of people living in "West". Nothing more.

It is safe to say that from now on, and because a lot on here seem to take a suspicious view by nature (correctly perhaps give world events), if I do comment, it will be commenting under different names..

Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 11:19:55 AM | 67

On the lighter note :)

The Russian foreign ministry has posted a proposed voicemail message for its embassy answering machines:

“To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponent, press 1,” the recording begins. Press 2 “to use the services of Russian hackers,” and 3 “to request election interference.”

https://goo.gl/SDcUH4

Quality trolling :))

Posted by: Harry | Apr 1, 2017 11:23:29 AM | 68

Hoarse @ 66

I doubt Peter was expressing his own sentiments but, rather, caricaturing the neocon position.

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 11:32:45 AM | 69

Oh, and forgot to post this link to Mattis 'Russia is a 'strategic competitor' to the U.S.'

"The US defence secretary, James Mattis, has described Russia as a “strategic competitor” after meeting his UK counterpart Sir Michael Fallon in London, despite Donald Trump’s White House seeking to work with Vladimir Putin.

Mattis spoke about the extent of Russian interference globally, from other people’s elections to engagement with the Taliban in Afghanistan and its development of a new missile.

“Right now Russia is choosing to be a strategic competitor,” he said, accusing Moscow of interfering in other people’s elections, though he did not specifically mention the the 2016 US presidential race.

Mattis said: “Russia’s violations of international law are now a matter of record, from what happened with Crimea to other aspects of their behaviour in mucking around inside other people’s elections, and that sort of thing.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/31/russia-strategic-competitor-to-west-james-mattis?CMP=edit_2221

Posted by: h | Apr 1, 2017 11:34:37 AM | 70

Posted by: h | Apr 1, 2017 11:12:22 AM | 65

Wikipedia has several files on Russian Resources. Ten years ago the CIA ("We're here to help") Country Files had similar listings on most countries.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 1, 2017 11:36:35 AM | 71

Hayder @67:

... I only found about this site a few weeks ago.
And somehow a person that is as articulate and indefatigable as you restrained yourself from commenting until now. Not likely.
The reason why I chose to identify myself as Iraqi ...
You identified yourself as an Iraqi patriot.
... was to give an Iraqi point of view ...
Yet, as hoarsewhisper points out, your use of the phrase "his people" is inconsistent with an Iraqi point of view.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

FYI Changing handles at MoA could get you banned. It is viewed as "sock puppetry" that is employed by propagandists.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 1, 2017 11:45:13 AM | 72

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 11:32:45 AM | 69

The narrative is out of sync with the context, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 1, 2017 11:54:11 AM | 73

Jackrabbit

1) even if you think it is unlikely, me not commenting here here before is true.

2) as stated earlier, saying "his" people does not exclude me from being on of them. In this context, I'm speaking about an Iraqi to non Iraqis. It is perfectly acceptable to say "his" people.

3) I'm changing my handle because I'm being trolled. If that gets me banned, so be it.

4) From this moments onwards, there will be no more comments from Hayder.

Happy trolling.

Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 12:01:17 PM | 74

telescope @ 39

Your well-written, well-reasoned post starts off with this conclusion:

>> The US will keep on losing

The *rest* of what you write sounds logical. But, despite Oceania's "failures" and mind-boggling stupidity, Oceania's footprint keeps growing and growing. So, what makes you conclude Oceania's actually "losing"?

Maybe we're using different definitions of "losing"/"success". I agree with Michael Parenti's observations that Oceania probably views "losses" like its "quagmire" in Iraq as a "success" because it necessitates a continuous and expanding footprint.

And, thus, maybe Oceania can make plenty of mistakes and still "win" because:
- Oceania (including its debt-enslaved colonies) commands a larger economic base than its rivals. (I haven't fact-checked that statement. Must compare purchasing-power parity of Oceania versus "other" economic/military blocks.) As the ultimate economic power, it can print as much of the world currency as it wants to -- without being audited either! That gives it the ability to spend as much as its wants on war while "buying" adequate imports to keep the voting saps clothed, sheltered, and entertained/distracted.
- Much of Oceania propaganda is distributed and accepted worldwide.
- Oceania appears unconstrained by any morality whatsoever, which means it can pursue strategies and use tactics others won't or can't.

Will Oceania begin "actually" losing in the future (due to the dynamic you explain well)? Maybe. But, I have no idea "if" or "when".

The deciding factor is likely: which nation will develop a digital superintelligence first? I estimate it'll happen no later than 2025. (If it's announced tomorrow or if it's actually already happened but we're not being told, I would not be surprised.) Once that tech is invented, then its inventors -- if they can control it -- can make a gazillion mistakes and still "win".

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 12:09:29 PM | 75

dumbsass 38


Saudi Arabia is schizophrenic. The royal family is a nest of snakes. Some supporting Al Qaeda, some against. As long as the USA fights the Iranians and their agents (the Houthis, Hezbollah, Syria) everybody is in agreement.
But if the USA forces the Saudis to fight Al Qaeda, this is where there will be internal conflicts inside the royals, added to the personal competition at the death of King Salman

The USA can't fight Iran, it has failed for 30 years to weaken it. In fact it has re enforced it each time the USA got involved militarily in the region and failed.
Iran is the only military force in the region that seriously threatens Israel and the US interests in the region. The president of Tunisia just declared that "Iran was the only hope to counter Israel". Therefore the Trump admin wants to restart the demonization of Iran, dissociate it from the Arabs, weaken the Arabs and force them in a peace deal with Israel.
The US MSM are now in full force demonizing Iran
Matthis just claimed again that Iran is the main threat to the USA because it sponsors terrorism.
The US military are moving in to weaken the Arabs by intervening and creating more divisions, in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
The US goal is to ensure that Arabs stay weak and divided and have no more powerful military allies in the region to fight against Israel.

As we have seen in the last decades, the specificity of the US foreign policy is its stupidity and its monstrous impact on the region prevails. They keep failing but inflicting huge pain to the countries they get in.

Now that Russia is part of the equation the game is more complicated and the stake higher. It may turn the table in the opposite direction

Posted by: virgile | Apr 1, 2017 12:13:22 PM | 76

>> I agree with Michael Parenti's observations

Doh. I just realized I forgot to double-check what he actually said (in a speech I watched more than a decade ago). I might be paraphrasing incorrectly.... Well, hopefully the paragraph/point makes sense regardless...

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 12:13:59 PM | 77

@66Hoarse

WTF has a meme to do with anything? And why would you care what my politics are? This forum is nothing but people who have no impact whatsoever on events exchanging views.

You seem to have this idea that there are games afoot to bring about opinion changes that might affect the overall course of events.

Gimme a fucking break.

Are you one of those deep thinkers that suppose there's nefarious forces at play whenever MOA doesn't come right up when you click your "favorites" icon?

Gimme another fucking break.

And what exactly is a neocon or neolib? The terms seem to be interchangeable and, of course, very very bad. I might be one or the other for all I know. I've been called worse I'm sure.

Posted by: peter | Apr 1, 2017 12:19:25 PM | 78

peter @78:

And what exactly is a neocon or neolib?
C'mon, peter . . . really?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 1, 2017 12:27:58 PM | 79

virgile @ 76

>> The USA can't fight Iran, it has failed for 30 years to weaken it.

To play devil's advocate, I would like to ask a few rhetorical questions about what's happened during the past 30 years.

- How much less powerful is Iran today than it would've been without Oceania siccing (at that time) its local attack dog Saddam on them during the 80's? True, it's not destroyed. But, Oceania's terrorist activities did weaken it.

- How many ME bases did the US have 30 years ago? 30 years ago, it was only "just getting started".

- How is Iran's influence going to change now that Oceania's expanding its footprint in Iraq and splintering Syria?

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 12:31:27 PM | 80

virgile @ 76

>> But if the USA forces the Saudis to fight Al Qaeda, this is where there will be internal conflicts inside the royals,

Okay. But, that's an "if" that my Magic 8-Ball doesn't foresee happening anytime soon.

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 12:34:50 PM | 81

Posted by: peter | Apr 1, 2017 12:19:25 PM | 78

You seem to have this idea that there are games afoot to bring about opinion changes that might affect the overall course of events.

Well, the butterfly effect exists.
And human affairs are not an asteroid trajectory.
Words and ideas do matter. If not, why bother?

Posted by: hopehely | Apr 1, 2017 12:34:55 PM | 82

Hayder, I hope you will ignore insults and keep posting. Your #1 was informative and excellently written, thank you. It reinforces b's point, and while telescoped and Grieved's remarks appear to say otherwise, it's rather that they are taking a long view of what may indeed happen in spite of the co-ordinated neoliberal approach (I am keeping to Lavrov's terminology) with respect to the Middle East.

In light of the latter, I'd like to recommend an article I found on another forum, "The Hamilton Hustle" by Matt Stoller. This article, referencing the Broadway show "Hamilton" may seem far off topic, but it exactly and impressively puts current events into the perspective of history, so if I may take advantage of a contributor's name, I would say it looks through the telescope, but in reverse:

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/hamilton-hustle-stoller

I'll just add that in respect to Trump's goal of 'draining the swamp' there could be no better place to do it than in the vast and open hot sands of the desert. There's a huge WWII tank graveyard somewhere near Tunisia. Let it be.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 1, 2017 12:36:11 PM | 83

Posted by: Hayder | Apr 1, 2017 11:19:55 AM | 67

The reason why I chose to identify myself as Iraqi was to give an Iraqi point of view, since the majority of views seem to be of people living in "West". Nothing more.

You identified yourself as Iraqi ABROAD. That means you are living in "West" too, judging from your very good English.
And btw there is no Iraqi pow, Kurds and Arabs are more different than French and German.

Posted by: hopehely | Apr 1, 2017 12:46:29 PM | 84

jackrabbit @ 79

Aren't you quoting Peter's one rhetorical question out of context (from a paragraph where it's clear he knows what those terms mean -- or don't), after Hoarse already (I think) misinterpreted him?

C'mon, let's not have a witch hunt or "pile-on" over simple misinterpretations. (At least, that's what it seems to me.)

When interpreting, we can and probably should give people the benefit of the doubt. Communication is hard already. It's harder if we don't choose an interpretation that's reasonable over ones that are not.

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 12:46:42 PM | 85

Will the US allying with the Syrian Kurds push Turkey out of NATO? Trump has been consistent on his views of NATO during the election campaign, pretty much saying the organisation was obsolete, now demanding all to cough up their protection money if they want to keep it going.
Obama/Trump policy in Syria - there were reports the CIA stopped arming/helping moderate headchoppers shortly after inauguration?
Obama was a lead from behind, snake in the grass type, and used those type of tactics in Syria and elsewhere.
It will take awhile longer to see or be certain what Trump is about and what he can achieve.
Checking his tweets now and then, he is still consistent on getting manufacturing back to the US, Iran, and fake news. NATO - Turkey has the largest standing army in NATO after the US. They are getting very pissed off that US is allying with the Kurds.
Department of State recently declare that European steel manufacturing was subsidised, and looking at putting tariffs on steel imports from Europe which is pising of the Europeans. A Trump/Xi meeting coming up shortly so have to see what happens there.
Over the last few centuries, a countries power and wealth has generally been in line with its manufacturing power. China took America's manufacturing power and a chunk of its wealth. Trump seems to be trying to get this back.
Looking at just trade and NATO, Trump may well be leaving the US political train to roll on while he gets out in front and tears up the tracks?

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 1, 2017 12:50:24 PM | 86

Posters here (implicit) claiming to be "good" and condemning other posters are making a mess.

Posted by: From The Hague | Apr 1, 2017 12:51:39 PM | 87

@ Alaric | 31
"Capturing Raqqa gives the kurds bargaining power against the Asaad government towards Kurd autonomy"

Spot on.
I agree also that local Arab tribes will simply.not stand for any occupation.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Apr 1, 2017 1:00:33 PM | 88

Peter AU @ 86

>> Looking at just trade and NATO, Trump
>> may well be leaving the US political
>> train to roll on while he gets out in
>> front and tears up the tracks?

lol!

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 1, 2017 1:00:56 PM | 89

dumbass @85:

Aren't you quoting Peter's one rhetorical question out of context?No, I'm not.

If Hoarse misunderstood, why is peter so confrontational and why the attempt to confuse? We all know what neolib and neocons are. This is not a mainstream forum.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 1, 2017 1:32:02 PM | 90

...
You seem to have this idea that there are games afoot to bring about opinion changes that might affect the overall course of events.
...
Posted by: peter | Apr 1, 2017 12:19:25 PM | 78

Hey, Kudos to you! Nailed it!
(Acting dumb only reduced the gloss marginally)
99/100 is still pretty good...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 1, 2017 1:40:05 PM | 91

Jackrabbit thinks he is "good".

Posted by: From The Hague | Apr 1, 2017 1:41:44 PM | 92

dear Hayder, please just skip whatever posts are useless and continue to share your thoughts with us (it would help if name of posters were above the posts, just saying)

Posted by: Mina | Apr 1, 2017 1:44:14 PM | 93

(for the paranoids on steroids above, saddam has famously killed a number of Shiites; Hayder is a Shiite name; plus 'kill his own people' is the sentence heard on Arab satellite channels all day about bashar al asad, 'qatala shaabuhu')

Posted by: Mina | Apr 1, 2017 1:47:33 PM | 94

i.e. he is killing his (own) people; anyone could say that, including locals

Posted by: Mina | Apr 1, 2017 1:48:19 PM | 95

Lindsey Graham has posted this on his twitter account
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C8NLc3lUQAEKig5.jpg

Twitter acc here https://twitter.com/lindseygrahamsc/status/847604117916667904

He seems to think the Trump admin statements, or actual policy on Assad, is different from Obama's?

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 1, 2017 1:55:47 PM | 96

@93 Yes Hayder. Keep posting. Post #1 was very interesting. I'll make up my own mind about who and what you are.

Posted by: dh | Apr 1, 2017 1:56:18 PM | 97

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 1, 2017 12:50:24 PM | 86

Last news I heard from Shanghai was "we are using other Asian countries for production now, we are turning to service industries".

Trump could very well return the US to the beginning of the 20th century - nationalism, trade wars and all.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2017 1:58:07 PM | 98


Hayder,

Thank you for you post, and I hope you continue to write here under the same name. Your comments are informative and your perspective most welcome.

Pay no attention to the trolls. There are some who will reflexively opt for character attacks when they have no argument based on facts, logic, or analysis. These are the same people who see nefarious actors behind any disagreement of opinion. If they can't respond to your arguments on the merits, leave them to wallow under their bridge.

There is no inherent contradiction between being opposed to a dictator and opposing the violent overthrow of said dictator by outside forces. Too often, in my opinion, people get caught up in binary thinking a la "US imperialism = bad, therefore those fighting US imperialism = automatically good," when the reality is much more nuanced. That a government can be both secular and violently oppressive should not come as a surprise but alas, to many it does.

In my experience in the Middle East, your stance is the overwhelming majority: opposed to the dictatorial government and also opposed to their violent overthrow. I found this to be true amongst Libyans, Iraqis, and Syrians. My first Arabic teacher was an Iraqi Sunni who served as a tank commander in the Iraq-Iran war, was forced to emigrate because he was against Saddam and was also fiercely opposed to both US invasions. While living in Syria the vast majority of people I met did not have a positive opinion of Assad (or Saddam) but never-the-less were appalled at what happened in Iraq and were worried that the same fate would befall Syria. That people choose the devil they know over the devil they don't should be neither a surprise nor evidence that the preferred devil isn't devilish. It's my opinion that people who refuse to believe those targeted by US imperialism can also oversee massively corrupt and oppressive governments have not spent any significant time in the region.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Apr 1, 2017 2:03:30 PM | 99

Cambridge Analytica and personality targeting.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 1, 2017 2:06:26 PM | 100

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