Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 01, 2017

Syria - Erdogan's Lost Bet - Trump Likely To Follow A Cautious Strategy

The last Syria thread noted:

South of Al-Bab the Syrian army is moving towards the Euphrates. It will cut off the Turkish forces path to Raqqa and Manbij.

That move concluded. The Turkish invasion forces are now blocked from moving further south. They would have to fight the Syrian army and their Russian allies to move directly onto Raqqa. They would have to fight the Syrian-Kurdish YPG and its U.S. allies to move further east.

For the first time since the start of the war the supply lines between Turkey and the Islamic State are cut off!


map by Peto Lucem bigger

 


map by South Front bigger

Erdogan is still hoping for U.S. support for his plans for Raqqa but I doubt that the U.S. military is willing to give up on their well regarded Kurdish proxies in exchange for an ill disciplined Turkish army in general disarray and with little fighting spirit. Erdogan removed any and all officers and NCOs that he perceived as not being 100% behind his power grab. That has now come back to haunt him. He is lacking the military means to pursue his belligerent policies.

Last year Erdogan had allied with Russia and Iran after a (U.S. supported?) coup attempt against him failed. He felt left alone by the U.S. and its reluctance to support his plans in Syria. After Trump was elected Erdogan perceived a coming change in U.S. policies. He exposed himself as the ultimate turncoat and switched back to a U.S. alliance. His believe in a change of U.S. policy drives his latest moves and announcements.

Elijah Magnier reports that his sources in Damascus have the same impression of Trump as Erdogan. They believe that Trump will strongly escalate in Syria and will support the Turkish moves against the Syrian state.

But it is the U.S. military that drives the strategy in the Trump cabinet. The Pentagon has no appetite for a big ground operation in Syria. The plan it offered Trump is still the same plan that it offered under Obama. It will work with Kurdish forces to defeat the Islamic State in Raqqa. Notable is also that a director of the Pentagon financed think tank RAND Corp publicly argues for better cooperation with Russia in Syria. The old RAND plan of a decentralized Syrian with zones under "international administration" (i.e. U.S. occupied) is probably no longer operative.

Recently Erdogan announced that his next move in Syria would be to towards Manbij, held by the YPK. Shortly thereafter pictures of U.S. troops in Manbij displaying U.S. flags were published on social networks. The message was clear: stay away from here or you will be in serious trouble.

On Monday planes from the Iraqi air force attacked Islamic State positions within eastern Syria. The attack followed from intelligence cooperation between Syria and Iraq. It is easier for Iraq to reach that area than for Syrian planes stationed near the Mediterranean. This cooperation will continue. In western Iraq militia integrated with the Iraqi military are ready to storm Tal Afar. This is besides the besieged Mosul the last big Islamic State position in the area. The U.S. had planned to let the Islamic State fighters flee from Mosul and Tal Afar towards Syrian and to let them take the Syrian government positions in Deir Ezzor. Syrian-Iraqi cooperation blocked that move. The U.S. attempt to separate the war on the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq failed. Any attempt to again use the Islamic State as a means to destroy Syria will meet resistance in Iraq where the U.S. is more and more engaged. U.S. commanders in Iraq will be well aware of that threat.

In my opinion Trump's more belligerent remarks on Syria, on safe zones and military escalation, are rhetoric. They are his negotiation positions towards Russia and Iran. They are not his policies. Those are driven by more realistic positions. Obama balanced more hawkish views supported by the CIA, Hillary Clinton and the neoconservatives against reluctance in the military to engage in another big war. Trump will, even more than Obama, follow the Pentagon's view. That view seems to be unchanged. I therefore do not believe that aggressive escalation is the way Trump will go. Some additional U.S. troops may get added to the Kurdish forces attacking Raqqa. But any large move by Turkish or by Israeli forces will not be condoned. The big U.S. invasion of Syria in their support will not happen.

Meanwhile the Syrian army is moving on Palmyra and may soon retrieve it from the Islamic State. A new Russian trained unit, the 5th corps, is in the lead and so far makes a good impression. With Palmyra regained the Syrian army is free to move further east towards Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.

Erdogan may still get some kind of "safe zone" in the area in north Syrian his forces now occupy. But Damascus will support Kurdish and Arab guerilla forces against any Turkish occupation. The Turkish forces in Syria will continue to be in a lot of trouble. Erdogan will not get active U.S. support for further moves to capture Syrian land. His change of flags, twice, was useless and has severely diminished his standing.

Netanyahoo and the Israel lobby also want a "safe zone". This one in south Syria and under Jordanian command. This would allow Israel to occupy more Syrian land along the Golan heights. But the areas next to the Golan and towards Deera are occupied by al-Qaeda and Islamic State aligned group. These groups are a serious danger for the unstable Jordanian state. There is nothing to win for Jordan in any "safe zone" move. Likewise the U.S. military will have no interest in opening another can of worms in south Syria. Like Erdogan Netanyahoo will likely be left alone with his dreams.

Posted by b on March 1, 2017 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

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b: "...The plan it offered Trump is still the same plan that it offered under Obama. It will work with Kurdish forces to defeat the Islamic State in Raqqa..."

Or rather the CIA-corrupted PYD - puppet Kurdish party of U.S. interests. The PYD is now openly operating in defiance of the will and interests of the average Syrian Kurd. And there is a continuation of the bizarre situation of the U.S. puppet, corrupt Syrian PYD, and their ongoing opposition of their neighbor U.S. puppet, the corrupt Barzani mafia.

There are continuing disturbing reports of the PYD and Asayish press-ganging young Kurds and Arabs to military service for Raqqa and a run to Deir Ezzor. I still fail to see any Kurdish interest in dying to retake either of those cities for the U.S. The so-called Arab forces materialized out of nowhere seem to be little more than left-over tribal gangs or mercs whose only motivation seems to be anti-Assad, i.e., FSA or derivative proxies.

The Kurds have one choice: be lapdogs of U.S. interests, or be annihilated by any of Turkey, ISIS or the Syrian Government. Kurdish nationalism has been corrupted for the most evil of intent.

We all knew this was coming and how its going to end for the Kurds.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 1, 2017 12:01:22 PM | 1

Like Erdogan Netanyahoo will likely be left alone with his dreams.

One can hope. Erdogan is slippery character, trying to play Big Boy by pitting the USA against Russia and hoping to come out unscathed and richer, in land and money.

Where will the SA/Qatar/Israel/USA supported terrorists get reinforcements now that the Turkey rat line is cut? Supplies they can get from the air, but more thugs?

Posted by: Greg Bacon | Mar 1, 2017 12:32:56 PM | 2

b,

Convincing analysis changed my assessment after reading your piece.
BTW keep your eyes on Trump and Erdogan both are mads!

Posted by: OSJ | Mar 1, 2017 1:06:28 PM | 3

Turkish forces are already testing the Kurd's defenses,see: https://southfront.org/pro-turkish-forces-seize-village-ypg-west-manbij-syrian-army-liberates-areas-isis/.

Posted by: Barbarossa | Mar 1, 2017 1:15:01 PM | 4

thanks b... erdogan and trump both seem like wild cards to me..maybe trump not so much.. add to this the nutty mix, barzani mafia and broken up kurd dreams hoping to take advantage of their various dreams and the situation remains fluid still (thanks paveway @1)... then we have the same sychopants - saudi arabia, israel and the gcc's with their lingering agenda as more possible wild cards.. too many wild cards as i see it, to be able to come to any strong conviction on anything here.. the one positive - iraq supporting syria..

the one quiet unmentioned thing by our lovely msm - those hostages in mosul... we will never be told by all the bullshite artists starting with the white helmets, on down to all the other humanitarian agencies, un and etc - about anything of any consequence to do with mosul.. that is off the msm radar for good reason! the analogy to aleppo is too much for any of them to stomach..

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2017 1:42:59 PM | 5

@Barbarossa #4

Another article on the same thing.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/turkish-army-seizes-two-villages-kurdish-forces-amid-push-towards-manbij/

I cannot believe Erdogan's stupidity in attacking towards where American SOF are deployed. There might have been a political rationale had he attacked in the direction of the SAA, trying to force Trump's hand for support, but towards Manbij??? Oh well, shouldn't complain....

Posted by: Thirdeye | Mar 1, 2017 1:48:31 PM | 6

“Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?”
Bertolt Brecht

Posted by: rg the lg | Mar 1, 2017 1:54:53 PM | 7

Erdogan's foreign policy in the ME is more childish than ever.
He is so desperate to get the YES in the referendum that he is entertaining the illusion that he will convince the USA to join him to eradicate the YPG in Manbij, and install the FSA "sunni arabs" as the puppets to control Al Raqqa once liberated
I don't know where his brain is but this is the stupidest plan I ever heard. Who does he think he can fool?
It makes no doubt that the USA and Russia will continue to support the SDF, while the Kurds and the Syrian government will find a modus vivendi for the future of Northern Syria free of their common enemy, Erdogan's Turkey.
I still believe that the USA and Russia are working together to weaken Erdogan, hoping that he will fall, especially if he does not get the YES at the referendum. It will be a huge humiliation for him and no one knows how he would react, maybe by planning another referendum after cracking down on his opponents. The guy has become a dangerous psycho, similar to Saddam Hossein. Will he get the same fate?

Posted by: virgile | Mar 1, 2017 2:08:51 PM | 8

b, Excellent and logical analysis.


ATTN: All Lounge Lizards and fellow Bar Flies. Picked this word up at VT comment section.

NeoCohens

Posted by: ALberto | Mar 1, 2017 2:10:55 PM | 9

@9 I cohened AltCon last week.. ;)

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 1, 2017 2:18:43 PM | 10

...
Last year Erdogan had allied with Russia and Iran after a (U.S. supported?) coup attempt against him failed. He felt left alone by the U.S. and its reluctance to support his plans in Syria. After Trump was elected Erdogan perceived a coming change in U.S. policies. He exposed himself as the ultimate turncoat and switched back to a U.S. alliance. His believe in a change of U.S. policy drives his latest moves and announcements.
...

LoL! There's only one possible, but bleeding obvious, source for Erdogan's 'perception' of Trump's future policy - that other deluded megalomaniac, Bibi.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 1, 2017 2:21:56 PM | 11

What does Erdogan get if the YPG takes Raqqa? Is there anything he can be promised that will mollify him? I don't think so. Much as I would like to see it, a PKK Kurdistan will not be allowed. Erdogan still has his hand on the refugee spigot to Europe. He can always turn it back on.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 1, 2017 2:30:06 PM | 12

The Rand Corp director link ends with the same old, same old - "If Russia is willing to cooperate with the US-led coalition in the fight against IS and al-Qaeda,..."
The US already has defacto control of Kurd/SDF held areas. Who will move them out of there when ISIS is defeated, or no longer holds territory, which may be very soon?

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 1, 2017 2:31:17 PM | 13

Clearly, the SAA has the initiative and is making the most of it. Putin and other Russians have often stated that Syria must retain its national integrity, which is a clear No Way to any occupied territory by Turkey, The Zionist Entity, or some form of Kurdistan--the latter being quite clear from the provisions of the draft Syrian Constitution.

But what of Trump's plans? The major speech he gave to Congress has numerous hints as to his foreign and domestic plans. I offer these two links to Alexander Mercouris's analysis of the speech: domestic policy, http://theduran.com/donald-trumps-speech-congress-analysed/ foreign policy, http://theduran.com/donald-trumps-foreign-policy-speech-congress-analysed/

This segment of the speech Mercouris and I found important:

"We will respect historic institutions, but we will also respect the sovereign rights of nations.

"Free nations are the best vehicle for expressing the will of the people — and America respects the right of all nations to chart their own path. My job is not to represent the world. My job is to represent the United States of America. But we know that America is better off, when there is less conflict — not more.

"We must learn from the mistakes of the past — we have seen the war and destruction that have raged across our world.

"The only long-term solution for these humanitarian disasters is to create the conditions where displaced persons can safely return home and begin the long process of rebuilding.

"America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where shared interests align. We want harmony and stability, not war and conflict."

Now we must compare rhetoric with actions. Admittedly, much must change for them to match in many places which will anger those who created such actions. I should also point-out that Trump's stated domestic plans will directly clash with the Trans-National Corporate world's goals and thus other aspects of foreign policy. I've previously stated that based on actions, Trump doesn't appear to have backed away from the Full Spectrum Dominance policy goal, although he has within his rhetoric. If peace is to come to Syria, Iraq and stability to West Asia, then actions must be taken to match Trump's words; if not, then they are just as worthless as Obama's and Clinton's.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 1, 2017 2:36:21 PM | 14

@14 Yes the proof is in the poutine.. (canuck joke)

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 1, 2017 2:50:39 PM | 15

In a recent interview Assad said that 'safe zones' might be a good thing - his understanding of what the term meant, it seemed to me was similar to Trump's, although he wasn't in favor of US aggressive tactics by any means and stated such immediately after the positive words about safe zones. (I don't have a direct quote, sorry, but that was the gist of the comment.)

When I heard Trump speak of the concept it was purely to accomodate Syrian refugees wishing to return home. Didn't have anything to do with 'no fly zones' or accomodating this or that military advance - which was the immediate response of detractors. Just places for people to live while awaiting the restoration of their villages.

Posted by: juliania | Mar 1, 2017 3:00:23 PM | 17

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 1, 2017 2:36:21 PM | 14

Trump talks Plain English in a very clever way. We don't need to waste time reading what (incompetent) Pundits guess he means. We can listen to and/or read what he says ourselves and make our own guesses. He's got 4 x 365 days to begin re-arranging the 200+ year-old Empire so it's a bit premature to start questioning his ability and sincerity after 40 days.

Pre-Trump, no-one, anywhere, was prepared to even TRY to do what Trump has OFFERED to do.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 1, 2017 3:16:49 PM | 18

Besides what you said, B, I think another key fact to keep in mind is that the CIA openly backstabbed Trump. Therefore, I'd expect him to listen to and side with the Pentagon rather than the CIA on most if not all issues.

As for Palmyra, it's assaulted right now. One hopes that the SAA will be smart enough to cover its rear this time, and will widen the big tempting salient it has once again created there. Otherwise, they'd better hope that ISIS will be too busy in other areas to ever counter-attack.

Meanwhile, Turkey-backed rebels are going after the Kurds near Manbij. US and Russia really should put some sense into Erdogan's head before the mess grows bigger - and possibly before that fool embarrasses himself even more.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Mar 1, 2017 3:20:32 PM | 19

From the link to the Pentagon plan - "Diplomacy is a key part of the plan" that was focused on ISIS but was also shaped to include other "trans-regional" terrorist groups, Davis said. "This is really a framework for broader discussion."

Al Qaeda/KSA or Hezbollah/Iran? Sounds like Hezbollah/Iran.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 1, 2017 3:20:58 PM | 20

With the SAA cutting off ISIS access to Turkish supplies and recapturing Palmyra, one thing we must expect is that ISIS will commit more atrocities at a speed and intensity that can only be described as frenzied and sociopathic. The word "brutal" won't even begin to describe the level of violence they are likely to carry out. There have been reports that ISIS is pressing children into military service and torturing and killing its own members (including women) suspected of desertion or trying to leave their territories. ISIS actions are likely to force the CIA and any other shadow agency (Mossad? MI6?) to show their hand in propping them up, in ways that will reveal more clearly how the West has been aiding anti-Assad forces since 2011.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 1, 2017 3:32:07 PM | 21

Hoarsewhisperer @18--

In what way do you evaluate Mercouris as an "incompetent Pundit"? What objection do you have to what he has written about either aspect of Trump's speech?

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 1, 2017 3:45:37 PM | 22

@ #19

I think this is a very different situation from a few months ago, when SAA was focused on Aleppo city and not terribly active on the ISIS front. ISIS is retreating virtually everywhere they're under pressure and holding on to in the Deir Ezzor cemetary by their toenails. Palmyra could continue to be an axis of pressure against ISIS towards Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.

@#21

I read once that under ISIS ideology the End of Days battle between Muslims and "Romans" (Christians) is supposed to happen on the west bank of the Euphrates north of Homs. We might soon find out if they mean it or not. And I agree, with their situation looking hopeless they could enact their own fantasies of apocalypse wherever they end up remaining.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Mar 1, 2017 4:02:24 PM | 23

Before coming here, I caught "Raqqa Diaries" at The Guardian. It tells the usual horrors of ISIS/Daesh and Raqqa. But then the writer had to push some of the same old themes of Syrian government areas have worse atrocities and that ISIS is a creation of the Syrian government. Then again, he stayed in camps in Aleppo for a while so that means he's more in line with the so-called moderates - sham/Jaysh/al Qaeda.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/feb/26/the-raqqa-diaries-life-under-isis-rule-samer-mike-thomson-syria

Posted by: Curtis | Mar 1, 2017 4:15:14 PM | 24

@23 That was Dabiq in Aleppo governorate and.. well much like 2012..

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 1, 2017 4:22:04 PM | 25

juliana 17
And that sounds like a positive thing. Trump may shoot from the hip but at least he's not as deceptive in wanton aggression like we had with Team Obama. The UN should have hit hard against the misuse of "no fly zones" in Libya to destroy the country. But no UN sanctions or ICC charges against US leaders and we cannot motivate enough for actions within our own country. Too much power going around.

Posted by: Curtis | Mar 1, 2017 4:23:42 PM | 26

@24 curtis - guardian = garbage..

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2017 4:27:05 PM | 27

The nice thing about ISIS is that all the foreign recruits will have a very hard time blending in if the organization falls back to AQ in Iraq tactics, and tries to become a covert force, once they lose in the conventional fighting

Posted by: Cresty | Mar 1, 2017 4:57:13 PM | 28

Erdogan's idea is to form a broad international "anti ISIS" coalition in coordination with US, Russia and Saudis. The yanks will kindly ask the Kurds to cross the Euphrates so the Turks and their terrorists could reach Raqqah unhindered. The plan will include the so called safe zones wanted by Trump, Turkey and Sauds. This is the worst scenario actually (the most detrimental to the Syrian sovereign state) and unfortunately the most likely to be opted by the yanktards. Russia must absolutely oppose it (and state that no further action by foreign forces would be approved by Russia if not fully coordinated with the Syrian Arab Republic). Syria must be prepared to engage a full fledged war on Turkish invasion right before the Turkish plan begin to unfold, this way the SAA will be assured of full YPJ commitment by their side... otherwise YPG will just comply to US orders and let the Turks and their terrorists take Manbij.
P.S: Turkey is already sending in more artillery and armored vehicles and double the manpower across the border.

Posted by: Conglomera | Mar 1, 2017 5:26:28 PM | 29

In my opinion Trump's more belligerent remarks on Syria, on safe zones and military escalation, are rhetoric. They are his negotiation positions towards Russia and Iran. They are not his policies. Those are driven by more realistic positions. Obama balanced more hawkish views supported by the CIA, Hillary Clinton and the neoconservatives against reluctance in the military to engage in another big war.

Sorry, but that's mostly wishful thinking imo. One of the main problems with T. is that everyone focuses on different quotes and declares the rest to be 'rhetoric'. He is certainly no less neocon than Obama, probably even more - not because he believes in it, but because he offers less resistance to their war-mongering. The best we can hope for is 'more of the same', i.e. no escalation.

And Erdogan already has his safe zone.

Posted by: smuks | Mar 1, 2017 6:41:57 PM | 30

I'm curious: What do you make of the latest Russian/Syrian bombing of SDF near Manbij?

It looks like a clear warning to me, but I'm not quite sure to what end: What are the 'loyal opposition' (interesting term btw.) (not) supposed to do? Withdraw east of the Euphrates? Not attack the SAA? They did violate some agreement by taking Manbij...

Posted by: smuks | Mar 1, 2017 6:46:52 PM | 31

@1 PIV, any insight on new SAA/SDF (or factions of) collaboration now that the link-up as been made? From my post on the open thread:

"The encounter of the Tiger Forces and SDF was very positive, lots of good reports on the merger of the two forces. One huge side benefit for that is the fact that there is now a corridor where people can travel from Afrin, Aleppo to Hasaka, basically it is the first time in 6 years that Syrians can travel safely from west to east vice versa. Another way to look at is that Aleppo will not be under siege if Khanaser road is blocked somehow."

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 1, 2017 7:10:41 PM | 32

smuks @31

A while back, the RuAF bombed a terrorist base near the Jordan border. It was also a base for US special forces. The Russians waited until these troops had left the base before obliterating it. It was a hint for the US to coordinate with SAA/RuAF. That didn't happen Now the SAA/RuAF have bombed a base with US SF very close by. Another hint to coordinate? If it happens a third time, I guess maybe the US SF won't be so lucky. But then it's just collateral damage, right?

Posted by: Yonatan | Mar 1, 2017 7:21:49 PM | 33

Now the border from Turkey to ISIS in Syria is sealed, so no more goodies to ISIS (but they have been discarded by the US in favor of the Kurds anyway). And all(?) the FSA 'carefully vetted moderate terrorists' are now deep inside Syria, where they can be removed by RuAF/SAA under existing ceasefire/truce terms if they do not renounce violence etc. And Turkey is in the process of building a substantial wall along the Syrian border with 290 km out of 510 km constructed since 2014. The wall is just like the 'security fence' in Israel - a massive concrete structure with exclusion zones, clear access roads, manned observation towers and the like. Interesting times.

Posted by: Yonatan | Mar 1, 2017 7:28:35 PM | 34

@31 smuks/ 33 yonatan..
from rt
" Neither Russian nor Syrian air forces had bombed positions of Syrian Arab coalition fighters supported by Washington in Syria on Tuesday, Russia's Defense Ministry has said, rejecting accusations put forward by a US military commander.

The Russian military in Syria had been contacted by their American counterparts, who "expressed concern" that Russian and Syrian aircraft could "carry out an unintended strike" at positions of Washington-backed fighters during an anti-terrorist operation, the Russian ministry said.

"To avoid any incidents, the US representative has provided exact coordinates of the US-backed opposition forces in the region to a Russian officer," the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that the information was "taken into account" by the Russian military.

"Not a single air strike on the regions specified by the US side was conducted by Russian or Syrian air forces," the statement said."


hu nose...

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2017 7:38:13 PM | 35

Jen @21

2011? I'm wondering if its even earlier... 2009?

Posted by: Castellio | Mar 1, 2017 7:43:17 PM | 36

U.S.: Kurds will participate in some form in attack on Raqqa

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said that Kurdish fighters would participate “in some form or fashion” in the upcoming operation to retake the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria. But he insisted that they will largely be “local Kurds” from the Raqqa area who pose no threat to neighboring Turkey.

Posted by: virgile | Mar 1, 2017 7:48:00 PM | 37

Castellio @ 36: You may be right ... the destabilisation could have been much earlier than 2011, or 2009 even. Syria was on the hit-list drawn up by The Project for the New American Century way back in the 1990s. One of the effects of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was to send hundreds of thousands of refugees into Syria, all needing shelter and work, and which Syria was barely able to cope with.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 1, 2017 7:52:55 PM | 38

Jen 38

Off memory, around 2003-04 according to what I read on the US Department of State website Syria section.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 1, 2017 8:02:41 PM | 39

Here it is.. "Syria has been designated a State Sponsor of Terrorism since December 1979. Additional sanctions and restrictions were added in May 2004 with the issuance of Executive Order 13338, which implemented the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 (SAA) and imposed additional measures pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)."
https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/syria

Ford arrived in Syria 2010 and got out on the streets to hurry things along.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 1, 2017 8:08:43 PM | 40

Lozion@32 "...any insight on new SAA/SDF (or factions of) collaboration now that the link-up as been made?"

It's always nice to hear about two sides not trying to kill each other, but I have to be a wet blanket here. SAA/SDF collaboration is immaterial in the long run. Forget the "little people" want - what is it that the two 800-pound gorillas in the room want?

1) Turkey has always had designs on their "Turkish Corridor" through northern Syria to solidly Arab-held areas further south. The prior Turkish focus on preventing 'linking' Kurdish cantons by Kurdish-held territory was ridiculous. The Kurds needed to be able to travel back and forth between Afrin and the east freely without getting their heads chopped off. They can do that now, so we have to see how Erdogan is going to react. I don't even want to guess on this one, but it promises to be something nutty. Erdogan rarely disappoints.

2) The U.S. still has plenty of schemes in play here. They need their land-based aircraft carrier on Syrian soil and have bribed both the Syrian Kurds and ex-FSA Arab tribal militia with cash, some charity light weapons and a little training and 'promises' of air support. The U.S. also needs to keep Syrian water and oil out of the Syrian government/people's hands without overtly seeming to doing so, while somehow transferring permanent control to the Kurds/FSA Arab tribes. The U.S. still needs their fake ISIS for future schemes, and they will have to be preserved somehow.

The CIA counter-coup purge of Trump's former military brass was only partially successful. I have no idea who is in charge of the U.S. anymore, so I won't venture a guess what insane, half-assed plan they will roll out in Syria. The winning plan (for everyone) is to arm Syrian Kurds to the teeth with heavy weapons and then for the U.S. to withdraw completely. That will never, even happen. Trump and his brain trust seem surprisingly easily manipulated, so a pointless, costly war somewhere is in our future. It's a toss-up whether that will be in Syria.

Like I said, I have no idea who is in charge of the U.S. anymore, neither does the Pentagon or the Administration. So I have absolutely no clue on where the U.S. will go in Syria.

Short answer: It's not up to the SAA/SDF, it's up to Turkey and the U.S. Russia has to be as baffled as I am, so they will just maintain the status quo and see what kind of disaster eventually ensues.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 1, 2017 8:30:28 PM | 41

Paveway @1 and 41, always great reading your comments. Please stick around!

I do think it has become more difficult to ascertain what the US wants next with this new administration. I don't doubt for a second it is more war but the thrust is less clear with competing factions, fighting for power within DC. Trump seems gullible enough to go with the flow, with whoever comes out on top as long as they sell it to him in a business like fashion and he gets promised more free oil.
It will be interesting to watch Erdogan meet Putin in a week, to see their statements and if something can be derived of it, in regard to Syria.

Posted by: Alex | Mar 1, 2017 8:43:34 PM | 42

Paveway 41

One very distinct pattern has emerged since Russia's entry into Syria. The so called friends of Syria and their proxy headchoppers are fighting each other.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 1, 2017 8:50:26 PM | 43

Sorry to rain on the parade but there is the big problem... and why Erdogan can win.

Turkey occupies land in the North, the Kurds/US in the NE and Jordan/Israel in the South. This is in addition to the Israeli occupied land in the Golan.

Whatever settlement comes at the end of fighting ISIS, Syria/Russia will demand the return of ALL occupied land... and as long as Israel does not leave the Golan, neither will Turkey leave N.Syria and neither will the Kurds negotiate a semi-autonomous zone in the NE.

You end up with a frozen conflict.

Any action by Syria to solve the defacto partition by force will be met by more UN sanctions. Any subversive activity to destabilize the defacto partitions unsettled will be met with charges of being a state sponsor of terrorism

Israel sets the precedent and there is no way the US will allow that part of the equation to change.

Erdogan wins

US and Gulf win a corridor for their pipeline

Kurds win defacto autonomy

Syria gets SCREWED and the Russians end up supporting a non-viable state. All Putin's work is for naught. Now once again... who is it that plays chess?


Posted by: les7 | Mar 1, 2017 8:51:54 PM | 44

By the way, I take no joy in the conclusion (44) above. I only wish someone has a way of proving that outcome wrong.

Please, someone show me how it can be otherwise.

Posted by: les7 | Mar 1, 2017 8:55:09 PM | 45

les7
Chess can be a long game.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 1, 2017 8:56:58 PM | 46

Jen @38 Peter AU@40

This article gets into dates: http://www.globalresearch.ca/who-is-ambassador-robert-stephen-ford-the-architect-of-us-sponsored-terrorism-in-syria/5385973

However, I am still left in the dark as to when the first (Saudi or American) money went to mercenaries in Iraq to fight against the post-Hussein (so called elected) government, and when the first (Saudi or American) money went to mercenaries in Syria to overthrow Assad, and when and who decided to join these mercenary forces as ISIS.

Posted by: Castellio | Mar 1, 2017 9:09:39 PM | 47

Assad would do well to give the FSA/Turkey a seriously bloody nose. Maybe they don't have the forces to do so, but if the SAA doesn't strike, and the Kurds strike first, Rojova is going to stretch all the way to Latakia, complete with the US military providing security, only to protect Rojova from bad 'ol Erdogan, you understand. An SAA salient between the SDF and the FSA would drive the neocons crazy.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Mar 1, 2017 9:36:47 PM | 48

Excellent piece by Neil Clark in RT.
George Bush - war criminal - now darling of Trump haters and "defenders" of US corporate/oligarch media.
https://www.rt.com/op-edge/379083-bush-iraq-war-russia-trump

Also. The US is steadily, craftily, building a case that a "no fly" zone is necessary in Syria. Today's "incident" is a huge hype over something that "might" have happened. Russians were bombing, and the US were nearby(in Syria illegally, but never mind that)....... I can understand why they would be worried. If it was US bombers then they would have been "friendly fire" "collateral damage"!
http://tass.com/politics/933553

Posted by: Don bass | Mar 1, 2017 10:08:41 PM | 49

@45 les7.. ww3 was just postponed for a while.. it seems erdogan is still intent on it.. meanwhile who is running things in the us is an open question, but trump being a typical kleptomaniac will try to figure out how to profit from the ongoing conflict.. not sure how he responds here... too early to tell, but he seems a bit like erdogan.. it remains to be seem how russia responds to all this.. i don't think your scenario is a given.. the puzzle just got more complicated with the latest moves..

Posted by: james | Mar 1, 2017 10:34:22 PM | 50

@PavewayIV | 1
It is true that PYD are getting support from the US, but tontake that to mean that they are UD lapdogs is incorrect, especially in light of the fact that they also support form RF which has aupported Kurds for about two venturies. And even if the US drops the Kurds, RF will not.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Mar 1, 2017 11:42:20 PM | 51

@virgile | 8

Yep its the Yes vote.
Slavish turkish media response to the Centcom tweet was classic - its now claimed that US, PYD, PKK and DAESH are all working together against Turkey! Pure fantasy. I am amazed they didnt throw Feto into the mix!!
These 'victim' games play so well with the Turkish population and by creating this false narrative, Erdogan presents himself as the solution, the man to protect and defend Turkey. Not only Turkey according to his comments yesterday, but also Arab and Turkmen populations in northern Syria!!
(I know some Syrian arabs that will never allow Turkey to occupy their land!)

@ Mike Maloney | 12
What does Erdogan get? To an extent he has already got it - the chance to stop the Kurds creating a state along his southern border; The opportunity to play war games and pump his muscle back home to achieve his political domestic goals ...
As for the refugee card, the situation is not what it was. Only today a figure appeared on Turkish news that there are 540k Syrians in Istanbul - the largest Syrian population in Turkey. (I have long questioned the 3m figure provided by Turkish UN entities and this does nothing to convince me otherwise.) Most of the Syrians in Istanbul are now established in schools, emploment and homes. You hear nothing of it in the media but EU money is supporting many projecta in Turkey as per Merkels agreement - payment only on project by project basis etc. There are not the rudderless, transient numbers of Syrian or other refugees that there were a couple of years ago filling every green space and empty building - Not such that Erdogan can cause the same chaos as last time - To repeat that trick he will have to invite a whole new generation of refugees from ME!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Mar 2, 2017 12:13:46 AM | 52

Hoarsewhisperer @ # 18

I agree with your assessment of Trump 100% Ignore what people "think" he has to say - just effin LISTEN to what HE says. (It's also the main reason he has taken to Twitter & You Tube so his message is delivered "unfiltered")

I too believe that for the first time in living memory there is a President of the US who says what he actually means . . this is what's causing all the hysteria in the <<>> & scaring the bejesus out of the swamp dwellers who have never had to deal with a "straight- shooter" before.

And yes, we aren't even a month & a half into it yet . . . let's cut the man a little slack !

Posted by: KiwiCris | Mar 2, 2017 12:41:17 AM | 53

Hoarsewhisperer @18--
In what way do you evaluate Mercouris as an "incompetent Pundit"? What objection do you have to what he has written about either aspect of Trump's speech?
Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 1, 2017 3:45:37 PM | 22

You're right. Mercouris' pro-Russia interpretation of Trump's address isn't incompetent. I rarely open/ delve into links because I regard them as merely the basis of a belief held by the commenter who posts them. I wrongly assumed that Mercouris said something to justify the doubts expressed in the last paragraph of your Mar 1, 2017 2:36:21 PM | 14 comment.
But he didn't, did he? You just used his thoughtful assessment as a launchpad for your own irrelevant, superfluous and premature advice. So don't blame me for your own clumsy opportunism/ intellectual dishonesty.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 2, 2017 1:57:58 AM | 54

Early-on I decided to vote for Trump. It started as a FU Deep State vote. At some point I was voting FOR Trump. Despite concerns about his tendencies toward zionist-ass-kissing. Jared and Ivanka were almost deal-killers. I don't like nor trust either of them. I do like Melania. She's smart to stay outta DC. I don't think she likes her step-daughter or son-in-law any better than do I. His team is NOT prepared for the blow-back tactics being thrown at them. Flynn was his Waterloo. Sadly. The swamp won't be drained without lots of blood in the streets. Most peeps are not aware of what's coming. Buy ammo. Lots of it. And take two with you when they come.

The Aussies just recalled ALL their diplomats worldwide for "meetings". Israel did the same several years ago during another very tense time. Shits going down. Hard. Fast. My bet is the Russians have had and seen enough. They hoped to be able to deal with the new administration. Deep State and democrats are making it impossible. My guess is Russia has enough evidence that Morrell, Obama, Clinton, Soros, Comey, Bush, etc. have been killing their ambassadors. They have little choice but 1st strike. Cuz the purple-tie-neocons and their blackmailed pedo minions are totally INSANE. No one can negotiate with psychopaths. It is what it is.

Posted by: Take Me | Mar 2, 2017 2:10:23 AM | 55

...
The Aussies just recalled ALL their diplomats worldwide for "meetings".
...
Posted by: Take Me | Mar 2, 2017 2:10:23 AM | 55

Yawn...
Don't lose any sleep over it.
When the US Ambassador to Oz tells Oz (good friend$ of Israel & AmeriKKKa) politicians to jump their only response is "How high, Darth?"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 2, 2017 3:01:13 AM | 56

However, I am still left in the dark as to when the first (Saudi or American) money went to mercenaries in Iraq to fight against the post-Hussein (so called elected) government, and when the first (Saudi or American) money went to mercenaries in Syria to overthrow Assad, and when and who decided to join these mercenary forces as ISIS.
Posted by: Castellio | Mar 1, 2017 9:09:39 PM | 47

Where does it all "start" with the meddling in ME???
Try this
http://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1979/eirv06n18-19790508/eirv06n18-19790508_014-muslim_brotherhood_londons_shock.pdf

Summary: it goes way back. Lawrence of Arabia?!

Posted by: Don bass | Mar 2, 2017 3:28:41 AM | 57

Do the media in the US around the world report on the Turkish INVASION of Syria, I wonder?

Posted by: Quentin | Mar 2, 2017 3:34:33 AM | 58

@ les7 | Mar 1, 2017 8:51:54 PM | 44

You said:
/~~~~~~~~~~
Sorry to rain on the parade but there is the big problem... and why Erdogan can win.

Turkey occupies land in the North, the Kurds/US in the NE and Jordan/Israel in the South. This is in addition to the Israeli occupied land in the Golan.

Whatever settlement comes at the end of fighting ISIS, Syria/Russia will demand the return of ALL occupied land... and as long as Israel does not leave the Golan, neither will Turkey leave N.Syria and neither will the Kurds negotiate a semi-autonomous zone in the NE.

You end up with a frozen conflict.

Any action by Syria to solve the defacto partition by force will be met by more UN sanctions. Any subversive activity to destabilize the defacto partitions unsettled will be met with charges of being a state sponsor of terrorism

Israel sets the precedent and there is no way the US will allow that part of the equation to change.

Erdogan wins
\~~~~~~~~~~

If anyone tries to establish a "buffer zone" inside southern Syria north of the Golan Heights, what is to stop Russia from shooting down a few Israeli strike fighter jets inside the Israeli held Golan Heights? Israel cannot argue with Russia, for many reasons. And the U.S. would find itself in a decidedly awkward position defending the illegal Israeli occupation there. And The U.N. is not going to fight a war. What could anyone really do then? Israel could lose big.

Posted by: blues | Mar 2, 2017 4:28:41 AM | 59

Well, and now, Russia has made a deal with SDF, so that the border area between SDF West of Manbij and Turkey-backed islamists/rebels will be handed over to the SAA. Since either Turkey goes into a shooting war with Russia, or it forces its proxies to respect the deal most of the time - with occasional unescapable skirmishes, imho -, it seems Erdogan and his pals have admitted they'll leave the SAA take control; at least, they can pretend to the home crowd that the Kurds aren't there anymore.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Mar 2, 2017 5:54:39 AM | 60

The US (Townsend) accuses Russia of bombing the Kurds, Kurds say Turkey bombing them, and now Kurds/Manbij Military Council does a deal with Russia/Syria for the SAA to move into the frontline between Manbij and the Turks and their proxies...

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 2, 2017 6:13:00 AM | 61

b, 'But Damascus will support Kurdish and Arab guerilla forces against any Turkish occupation. The Turkish forces in Syria will continue to be in a lot of trouble. Erdogan will not get active U.S. support for further moves to capture Syrian land. His change of flags, twice, was useless and has severely diminished his standing.'

wonder if there's any truth in the following ...

BREAKING: Kurdish-led SDF to handover huge section of territory to SAA


“To reach these objectives [the defense of Manbij] we [the SDF Manbij Military Council (MMC)] have transferred, after reaching a new alliance with Russia, the defence of the line to the west of Manbij – where the villages between us and the gang groups [FSA, Ahrar al-Sham] affiliated to the Turkish army are – to Syrian state forces.”

syria/russia delivered the first chunk of the kurds' ... us' 'property'?

Posted by: jfl | Mar 2, 2017 7:32:27 AM | 62

PavewayIV says:

I have no idea who is in charge of the U.S. anymore

well, quite obviously, no one's in charge, so it must be on autopilot, in the O zone, like that Malaysia flight 370 hanging in thin air out over the vast southern ocean...

I have no idea who is in charge of the U.S. anymore

in the thin air 'hypoxic' wilt is setting in. the psychotics are teetering at the bunker door.

I have no idea who is in charge of the U.S. anymore

the Hooligan Kingdom, up on the surface, is savaged by headshots, Solvent spraying TOMAs, pentium acid operation gas. all cameos for an Hiroshima redux. any organized opposition is illusory. life in the Deep Underground Control Centers is serene and orderly. with chagrin, men and women in white tunics record numbers displayed on digitally interfaced air-quality monitors.

Posted by: john | Mar 2, 2017 7:50:42 AM | 63

@yonatan 33

I remember that strike on the 'New Syrian Army' a.k.a. ISIS supply line - never heard of before nor after.

The difference being that this time, I don't see any reason for bombing them unless there is a supply line running through SDF-held Manbij, which I doubt. Have there been any clashes between SAA and YPG/SDF, or risk thereof? Not that I knew of.

@james 35

Read that too. Note that it says 'not bombed Syrian Arab coalition fighters' - imv this isn't the same as saying there was no bombardment at all. So who exactly is holding the area around Manbij? The YPG/SDF, or maybe someone else...as in 'someone cooperating with ISIS'?

Posted by: smuks | Mar 2, 2017 9:04:11 AM | 64

@jfl 64

Read your post just now - interestingly, it fits perfectly with the conclusion/ speculation from my previous post: If the area west & south-west of Manbij is actually not controlled by YPG, but by Arab (FSA) militias under the banner of SDF, this would allow for an ISIS supply/ retreat line to run through SDF-controlled territory.

In this case, bombing positions there and claiming they weren't 'coalition forces' would make sense.

Posted by: smuks | Mar 2, 2017 9:12:29 AM | 65

The most profound statement I have read yet:

"If a cat goes missing, Putin must have eaten it."

Thus spake a German comedian. Check out RT for the source.

Posted by: c de toro | Mar 2, 2017 10:07:34 AM | 66

@b, @64
Russia might also have issued an ultimatum to Turkey (credible?). If so, it would appear consistent with the YPG swap, green-lighting a Russian response against Turk forces.

mrr52

Posted by: mrr52 | Mar 2, 2017 10:44:52 AM | 67

The Syrian Kurds (YPG and SDF)got the point. They will now cooperate with the Syrian Army to discourage and fight their common non-Syrian enemies: ISIS, the Turkish army and their FSA mercenaries.
The dilemma is here: The USA and Russia don't want to appear siding against Turkey as they prefer to preserve their relations with the parties they have supported.
Russia is now pushing the Kurds to accept the Syrian army to replace them in Manbij. Then Turkey will have to deal with the Syrian government if they want to cross Manbij on their way to Al Raqqa. Before moving on Erdogan must ensure the aerial support of the USA and Russia which is not yet agreed upon
Without the aerial support, the TSK may find itself trapped between the Kurds, the Syrian army and ISIS. Maybe that is what Russia and USA are aiming at: a gigantic defeat of the Turkish army and the weakening of Erdogan after the failure of the referendum! the clock is ticking.

Posted by: virgile | Mar 2, 2017 11:10:04 AM | 68

Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 2, 2017 1:57:58 AM | 54

"You just used his thoughtful assessment as a launchpad for your own irrelevant, superfluous and premature advice. So don't blame me for your own clumsy opportunism/ intellectual dishonesty."

Thank goodness you're incapable of reading.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 2, 2017 11:13:42 AM | 69

@ PavewayIV:
"The CIA counter-coup purge of Trump's former military brass was only partially successful. I have no idea who is in charge of the U.S. anymore, so I won't venture a guess what insane, half-assed plan they will roll out in Syria."

I'd guess McCain's recent visit to Turkey has something to do with Erdogan's recent behavior. Other recent meetings with Turkey's government include Pompeo, Tillerson, and Pence. Tillerson is probably aiming for protecting ExxonMobil's oil contracts with the Kurds; who knows who Pompeo is loyal to, and Pence, comes across as another Biden type.

Some previous half-assed insane McCain activities are worth remembering, along with the EU role, from CBS May 27 2013:
...mccain-sneaks-across-turkey-syria-border-meets-with-rebels/

McCain went to two meetings in Gazantiep, Turkey - near the Syrian border - first and met with a dozen different commanders from all over Syria. . . during the meetings, rebel leaders called on the U.S. to increase its support to the Syrian opposition and provide them with heavy weapons, a no-fly zone, and airstrikes on the Syrian regime and Hezbollah forces.

And this on the EU role in 2013 - soon after, the EU was hit by the wave of Syrian refugees that they themselves helped create:
McCain's visit comes the same day the European Union announced it is lifting an arms embargo to Syria. It would allow member countries to send weapons if they want to...

The Ghouta sarin attack took place August 21, 2013. Human Rights Watch and the US govenment quickly claimed that the Syrian government was behind the attack, along with the New York Times. A classic example of Iraqi WMD style reporting on this by the New York Times, in which McCain and Obama and House Intelligence Committees all get behind a NATO strike on Syria, from Sep 2013:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/world/middleeast/syria.html
But analysis by Rootclaim and others points towards opposition forces carrying out the sarin attack.
. . .who-carried-out-the-chemical-attack-in-ghouta-on-august-21-2013-8394

McCain and Lindsey Graham also played a coordinating role with the Saudis, i.e. Prince Bandar, in September 2012, over arming and financing ISIS and Al Qaeda forces, in which a CIA training base in Jordan on the southern Syrian border appears to have played a key role. Some recent incidents in 2016:
http://www.mintpressnews.com/three-cia-operatives-training-syrian-rebels-killed-in-jordan/222689/

So whatever McCain was up to in Turkey this time, it was probably more of the same. Insane jackass senator strikes again.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Mar 2, 2017 11:15:08 AM | 70

@66 smuks - from pundita at sst - BREAKING: Kurdish-led SDF to handover huge section of territory to SAA
By Andrew Illingworth
AMN March 2

"The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are to hand over a massive section of their territory west of Manbij to the Syrian Arab Army in order to create a buffer zone against the Turkish Army and Turkey-led forces in northern Syria. The map above is an initial estimate of the area which will be handed over to pro-government forces and not official.
[...]"

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-kurdish-led-sdf-handover-huge-section-territory-saa/ "

@69 mrr52... can't imagine any site being credible that one can't even read! what is with the graphics and font colour choice on that site? they expect folks to try to slog thru that? lol..

Posted by: james | Mar 2, 2017 11:16:55 AM | 71

@virgile | 70
Respectfully, you underestimate Erdogan and as for Turkish domestics you wholly ignore the power of the 'trauma' that Turkish society is still being forced to experience as a result of the coup, the trauma of the threat of Kurds and partition. Imho.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Mar 2, 2017 11:26:21 AM | 72

new UN report on aleppo, including red crescent bombing.

b should analyze it.

https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G17/026/63/PDF/G1702663.pdf?OpenElement

Posted by: jm | Mar 2, 2017 11:43:26 AM | 73

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-kurdish-led-sdf-handover-huge-section-territory-saa/

What a great chess move! Proves that SAA/SDF cooperation is indeed real. Seals IS from Turkey and prevents it from moving south. Politically speaking Erdogan is trapped as he cannot risk confrontation with Syria, at least before his referendum, which gives more time for SAA/SDF to further isolate and maybe even defeat IS who is losing on all fronts. Once Raqqah falls the US loses its (official) raison d'être for being in Syria..

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 2, 2017 12:25:08 PM | 74

Kurdistan media says:

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Under attack from Turkish forces, the Manbij Military Council has handed control of territory west of the city over to Syrian forces “in order to protect civilians.” The local force responsible for security for the city of Manbij announced on Thursday that it had made an agreement with Russia to cede control of areas along its front line with the Turkish army and its allied Free Syrian Army (FSA) to Syrian state forces who will “be the dividing line between the Manbij Military Council Forces and areas controlled by the Turkish army and the Euphrates Shield elements.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/02032017
And China's government media reports basically the same thing, with background:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-03/02/c_136097511.htm
Tension is growing in northern Syria between the Kurdish-supported groups and the Turkish ones, as part of Ankara's determination to curb the influence of the Kurds in northern Syria, near the Turkish borders. On the other side, the Syrian army, which has been critic and repeatedly condemned the Turkish operations in northern Syria, is apparently coordinating with the Kurds. Reports said that the Syrian army will open a road between Manbij and Aleppo, to facilitate trade movements between Aleppo and the northeastern part of Syria, which has for long been isolated due to the presence of IS groups.

Little reporting from British-American corporate/government media other than BBC:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39140880

Posted by: nonsense factory | Mar 2, 2017 12:42:40 PM | 75

@14 karlof, '"The only long-term solution for these humanitarian disasters is to create the conditions where displaced persons can safely return home and begin the long process of rebuilding.'

i gave mercouris a skip but i read the full text of the speech to congress.

i think the quote above refers to trump's 'safe zones', and that those are really - in syria, for instance - the 'internationally administered' zones of the rand reports. protect the oil and other resource producing zones for the tncs while continuing to fuel - by proxy - death, devastation, and destruction throughout the rest of the country. that seems to me to be trump's likely 'cautious strategy' in syria.

trump sees his job as spinmeister in chief ... he defended the yemeni raid that killed so many people, referring to the american who died during its course as a hero, for instance.

all of his domestic talk was spin. i read ...


Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia and many others — have a merit-based immigration system. It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon. According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs America's taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.

Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, will have many benefits: it will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families — including immigrant families — enter the middle class. I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws.


... as more of the same sort of visas that left chipnik training his replacement and then out of work himself - lowering the cost to the tncs of their 'higher-skilled' workers - while reserving 'lower-skilled' jobs for americans, not 'immigrants', for instance.

the people in the background are pushing the same transnational corporate agenda as the last crew. their 'new' tack is have nato and other 'allies' buy more american weapons ... except for israel, of course, which will receive american funds up front to buy their american weapons, and to develop their own.

but we have to wait until the policies are up and running to discover just exactly what they will be. none but 'coded' particulars in this speech, or any other of trump's that i've read.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 2, 2017 1:06:21 PM | 76

Erdogan's idea is to form a broad international "anti ISIS" coalition in coordination with US, Russia and Saudis. up top.

Heh, ;) Education, Turkey. System is limping because of crack-down on disloyals, huge no., tens of thousands or more of personnel fired, incl. top U profs, hundreds. Opposition to the ‘new’ -has been instored bit by bit- curriculum is growing. There have been massive protests -> crushed for the most part -> brain drain, emigration.

E.g. removing Evolution Theory -- Ataturk scotched from history to a footnote -- compulsory religion classes (“Sunni” called ‘our religion’ but then changed to ‘Islamic’ under pressure) for all, incl. Alevis, Christians, etc., from 4th grade up (that directive is from 2013) -- Ottoman-Turkish a compulsory language -- “Imam” (1) religious, schools now have (news?) 1.2 million pupils, compared to 60K in 2002. (Parents may have no choice of where to enroll kiddos, it is reported.) Science is re-oriented to include Muslim figures. Nothing wrong with that per se, but imho it makes the Science curriculum a strange patchwork.

Recall, Erdogan was jailed for 4 months for ‘incitation to hatred’ or some such lame offense, in 1998, and thus prevented from standing for office, until the laws were changed in 2001. The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers… he stated, quoting another, amongst other things.

This ‘islamisation’ is an attempt to cut the pop. in two: the poor submitted to ‘islam’ and the rich who have to show allegiance…to him and his family, cronies, etc. Models are not hard to find (KSA, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, etc.)

Addendum. KSA schoolbooks are very well done, worked over, and are free for download all over the world. Print versions can be produced/ordered as one wishes. Here an ex. of cherry-picked Eng. trans:

https://hudson.org/content/researchattachments/attachment/908/arabicexcerpts.pdf

Make of that, whatever...

1. These were set up by Ataturk in an attempt at State control of religion. That coin has now flipped, as these schools teach the ‘common core’ aka national syllabus with heavy doses of religion, incl. djihad.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 2, 2017 1:14:48 PM | 77

@77 nnf, 'Reports said that the Syrian army will open a road between Manbij and Aleppo, to facilitate trade movements between Aleppo and the northeastern part of Syria, which has for long been isolated due to the presence of IS groups.'

that sounds intriguing. have the kurds just been holding that non-kurdish city. waiting to hand it over to syria? ... i don't think so. something for nothing? i don't think so either.

i have thought for some while that no 'permanent solution' to the problems of the 'crescent' can hold without the kurds' interests being met. i hope steps are being taken in that direction.

and with russia between turkey and the kurds in syria ... i have nothing but admiration for russian analysis and pragmatic prescription as the prognosis evolves. i get all excited over this or that 'mistake' i feel that they've made ... but they always seem capable of making the lemonade from the lemons they're handed. not that the upturn in the outlook in syria is all their doing, at all ... but they're surely holding up their end. the us is just being outclassed. the 'investment bankers' at the cia always were second class ...


“I have described the intelligence service as a socially acceptable way of expressing criminal tendencies,” [Nelson Brickham] said.

“A guy who has strong criminal tendencies – but is too much of a coward to be one – would wind up in a place like the CIA if he had the education.”

Posted by: jfl | Mar 2, 2017 1:24:21 PM | 78

@79 noirette, 'This ‘islamisation’ is an attempt to cut the pop. in two: the poor submitted to ‘islam’ and the rich who have to show allegiance…to him and his family, cronies, etc. Models are not hard to find (KSA, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, etc.)'

swap in state-run, hierarchic buddhism for ‘islam’ and the sino-thai aristocracy cum royal thai army for 'him and his family, cronies, etc.' and you have the thai version.

the document you link is saudi, not turkish ... and printed by freedom house (!?) ... as a 'negative example' ? or as part of al-cia-duh's full spectrum dominance ?

Posted by: jfl | Mar 2, 2017 1:39:35 PM | 79

@81, noirette

sorry, you knew that ... i transmogrified ksa into akp, somehow, on reading your attribution. expected to see an akp production.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 2, 2017 1:43:31 PM | 80

Dang!too many confused self annoited analyst on all things siriiah!..look at your own backyards!..things going shitty in DC:-)

Posted by: Nur Adlina | Mar 2, 2017 2:50:16 PM | 81

@jfl 78

Employers always use migrant labour as a tool to reduce wage levels, be it skilled or unskilled. Since the lower class can't be squeezed much further, now it's the educated middle class' turn. The answer to this would obviously be higher and strictly enforced minimum wages, more job security, generally better working conditions for everyone.
But as every right-wing populist, T. wants people to believe that immigration is the problem, thus diverting their anger from the real culprit (the 'elite') to those in an even weaker position. Divide and rule...too many people gladly accept any scapegoat they are offered, without realizing they're all in the same boat.

@james 73

Saw that in another post just after posting. Fits nicely with my intuitive/ logical assumption.

Posted by: smuks | Mar 2, 2017 3:15:49 PM | 82

jfl @81

Your take on Thailand has more than a grain of truth to it, but then who is the Syrian analogue to the corrupt neo-liberal pawn of America (Taksin) who forments civil war, corrupts "democracy" by handing out populist peanuts while his family and cronies loot the treasury, and violently suppress any dissent through fake drug wars and throwing out a welcome mat for Wahabism? If you think Taksin and his red shirt thugs are an legitimate alternative for Thailand you are seriously mistaken. Thailand just barely escaped being thrown into the Libya, Syria, Donbass caldron, and for all of Prayut's massive and fully recognized warts, he stopped that disaster dead in it's tracks. Path forward is murky at best but at least people are not being egged on by the boys on Wireless Road to kill each other in the streets which was a real possibility not long ago.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Mar 2, 2017 3:21:13 PM | 83

I don't think there should be any surprise at the Manbij news.

We are just seeing the war starting to wind down.

Iraq is already close to securing the Syrian/Iraq border. The remaining IS in Mosul are cut off and will be systematically destroyed.

Iraq and Syria are now cooperating on Iraqi air strikes in Syria.

Turkey has been blocked by the SAA and the wannabe sultan Erdogan's Syrian adventure is effectively over.

Hezbollah has pretty much finished eradicating all significant IS pockets on the Lebanon border.

The recent terrorist attacks in Daara were a complete failure indicating that there is no new source of foreign terrorists and weapons being funneled into Syria via Jordan or Israel.

We have reports of Trump cutting off support for the foreign terrorists.

The SAA is rapidly advancing south and east from Aleppo. And they have liberated Palmyra. The field reports indicate IS lines are collapsing and the SAA is not stopping and are moving east towards Deir ez-Zur.

The Kurds do not have the power to take on the SAA. Let alone both Turkey and the SAA on different fronts. The SAA is now the single most effective fighting force in the Middle East.

There will be more and more of these agreements between the SAA and the various Kurdish militias as the war comes to an end.

Posted by: VaginaHat | Mar 2, 2017 3:21:28 PM | 84

@73
I see no issues with the link or page fonts/color using Firefox (with uBlock + AdBlockPlus). Reads fine on my screen.

Posted by: mrr52 | Mar 2, 2017 3:48:03 PM | 85

Nur Adlina 83
Ha ha ha! Answer:
1. Because we're not getting the truth (and without bias) about Syria from our own media.
2. Because we want an idea of what our own government, our allies, and those with power are doing to the rest of the world - in addition to ourselves.

Posted by: Curtis | Mar 2, 2017 4:10:50 PM | 86

83

You've got a point. Nobody knows what the US will do. Nobody knows what Turkey will do.

The other day someone posted a link to a story about the Turks bombing the SAA. It was not mentioned anywhere else I'm aware of. Kinda like that old story about the Russians sending three Kalibrs into a cave full of everybody's top spooks in Syria. Pretty short shelf life for that one too.

Point is, if the Turks did bomb the SAA and the SAA received no aid from Russia then the Turks might rightfully think Raqqa is theirs if they want to expend the blood and treasure. In spite of any purges they have a huge military. They could whup Syria's ass before breakfast. But only if the Russians said okay.

Trump's received his proposals from his staff for getting rid of IS. The one they talk about the most calls for more backup for whoever their current proxy is to take Raqqa. I wonder if the Kurds will bite again after the fucking they took at the outset of Euphrates Shield.

I wouldn't read too much into Trump's speech. it was crafted by Steve Miller to reassure the congress that the boss wasn't having a total meltdown. He did good, only slipped up once when he said they set a record for clapping for a dead soldier. Anyhow, I think he and Stevie and Mad Dog have yet to decide Syria's fate.

Putin's saying exactly nothing. We don't know where his red lines are. We know that it's not advisable to shoot at his jets or bomb Russian assets but that's about it. He bitch-slapped Assad once before when he started yapping about taking all of Syria back.

This so-called Russian connection that's getting so much attention is not going away. Now Jeff Sessions is under the microscope. If at some point that can determine that there was collusion of any kind then there's a crisis. He's badmouthed the intelligence industry and the press to no end. That's not that bright when you think about it. He better tell the family to keep their business interests out of conflict or daddy's gonna get fucking impeached.


Posted by: peter | Mar 2, 2017 4:17:57 PM | 87

In the mean time, on the eastern Syrian Kurd border with Barzanistan, Wladimir‏ (@vvanwilgenburg) tweets:

"...Rojava Pesh head towards Syrian border, 40 kilometers from al-Hawl, Roj Pesh told me YPG told them to withdraw from border, but Roj refused..."

These were the few thousand supposedly Syrian Kurds that either CENTCOM or the CIA rounded up from somewhere (not necessarily Syria) and handed over (with bags of cash) to mob boss Barzani in Iraq to be trained as Rojava Peshmerga. Except the Syrian PYD and YPG refused to let these weird 'foreign' Peshmerga back into Syria - they are rightfully suspicious of the Peshmerga motives and see them as either stooges of Barzani or CIA mercs, not 'defenders of Rojava'. The YPG rightfully says that they are welcome to join the YPG in Syria as individuals (not as a military force) and help fight ISIS. However, these so-called Rojava Peshmerga refuse to disband, likely on orders of their CIA/CENTCOM paymasters and Barzani.

So now you have a Mexican standoff between the YPG and Barzani's 'Rojava Peshmerga' at the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Seriously, the Rojava/Sunnistan strategy under Obama couldn't be more insane. You have 'Arab Tribal militias' in the SDF that seem to have plenty of Saudi, Yemeni and Eritrian 'volunteers', and you have a fake CIA/CENTCOM Peshmerga made up of mystery Kurds trying to sneak in to 'secure' the U.S. capital of ar Raqqa. The only thing this circus needs now is the miniature clown car that twelve clowns manage to crawl out of. That's always a crowd-pleaser.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Mar 2, 2017 5:47:36 PM | 88

Did Erogan stage his own coup?
https://www.aldrimer.no/nato-insiders-suspect-staged-turkey-coup/

Posted by: Curtis | Mar 2, 2017 6:20:53 PM | 89

@Paveway 90

Very interesting, thanks.
Of course, any actions by the Rojava Pesh would be publicly attributed to the YPG/SDF, so the latter could be drawn into any conflict of the CIA's choosing. I wonder, does anyone still pursue the goal of linking up the Kurdish regions in Syria and Iraq?

@Curtis 91

I would proclaim the same as a 'NATO insider'...
There was a deep rift within the Turkish establishment, different strategies re Syria, Iraq. A clash was inevitable, and whoever started it by staging a coup or 'coup' is actually quite irrelevant.

Posted by: smuks | Mar 2, 2017 6:56:30 PM | 90

Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 2, 2017 3:01:13 AM | 56

Our pollies have some hard decisions to make. Trump or China. Trump has USS Future Reef strike force patrolling between Taiwan and mainland China. Turnbull and co talked about getting China in on TPP when Trump pulled out. China won't come at that but... The diplomats are being recalled to help draw up a new white paper so be interesting to see what happens.
When Turnbull toppled the monk, he pulled Au aircraft out of Syrian strikes and also had the Aus navy doing live fire exercises with Chinese navy rather than partaking in Obomber's freedom of provocation exercises against China. That changed quickly after he was called into head office.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 2, 2017 9:14:03 PM | 91

@81 sc

If you think Taksin and his red shirt thugs are an legitimate alternative for Thailand you are seriously mistaken.
never liked thaksin. he's kept alive as was osama bin laden to terrify thai middle class school children. the 'redshirts' ... the ones who wore the red shirts and were murdered by suthep, abhisit and prayuth for demanding an election ... are the majority of people in thailand, oppressed forever by the bkk elite ... the problem is there is no political alternative to the Democrat Party / Thaksin Party 'elite' camps ... thaksin was willing to throw the folks some bones while the Democrat Party never was, never will be. and now the plutes have tired of the Democrats, have once again seized absolute power, taken it back into their own hands, and political organization is officially illegal.
Thailand just barely escaped being thrown into the Libya, Syria, Donbass caldron, and for all of Prayut's massive and fully recognized warts, he stopped that disaster dead in it's tracks.
that's the party line. it's nonsense. the thai maidan that brought in prayuth was managed by the 'indigenous' - plutocratic sino-thai - elite, well those in opposition to thaksin's plutocratic sino-thai elite faction, led by kamnan suthep. whatshisname - the landdestroyer - is very pro-military dictatorship as well. you seem to have been reading him.
Path forward is murky at best but at least people are not being egged on by the boys on Wireless Road to kill each other in the streets which was a real possibility not long ago.
the path forward is totalitarian dictatorship. don't count the wireless road boys out yet ... the dic is daily giving them more fuel for their maidan ... and they're fanning the flames around the edges. they just want a more unequivocally pro-western dic, this one's 'soft' on the chinese. thailand is theirs to lose, so they think. they might go with a counter-coup, someone more susceptible to their 'charms'.

don't expect you to agree with any of the above. don't expect to change your mind. just making plain my perspective. there is no thai thread at moa. just as well, too, from my perspective.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 2, 2017 9:23:53 PM | 92

PeterAU@93
Turnbull didn't pull Australian aircraft out of Syrian airstrikes. He toppled the monk in September 2015; Australian aircraft were still involved a year later, eg in the 'erroneous' strike on Deir Ezzor in September 2016 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-18/australian-jets-involved-in-botched-air-strike-on-syrian-army/7855610

But yes, Australian Government has some hard decisions to make. Trouble is that current government avoids hard decisions.

Posted by: extra | Mar 2, 2017 9:47:54 PM | 93

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-assad-idUSKBN15P1AK

Assad said U.S. troops would be "welcome" in Syria to fight Islamic State provided Washington coordinate with Damascus and recognize the sovereignty of his government.

"If the Americans are genuine, of course they are welcome. Like any other country, we want to defeat and to fight the terrorists," he said

"Troops is part of the cooperation ... (but) you cannot talk about sending troops ... if you don't have a clear political position toward not only the terrorism, toward the sovereignty of Syria, toward the unity of Syria," he said.

"It must be through the Syria government."

Posted by: Brad | Mar 2, 2017 10:09:10 PM | 94

@extra

It was only for a few weeks. Turnbull was quickly dragged (invited) into the white house and Aust aircraft rejoined the Syrian strikes. It was only after the "visit" to the whitehouse that Aus rejoined the Syrian strikes and joined the US freedom of provocation exercises in the SCS.

Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 2, 2017 10:24:27 PM | 95

Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 2, 2017 3:01:13 AM | 56
Our pollies have some hard decisions to make.
...
Posted by: Peter AU | Mar 2, 2017 9:14:03 PM | 93
(& extra)

Well, that was quick!
The utterly corrupt Lib$ have been told to double down on AmeriKKKa's anti-Russia bullshit and, like the obedient $lave$ they are, have complied.
I hope we don't have to lynch our way to Freedom, Democracy and Independence...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 3, 2017 1:20:21 AM | 96

@ Hoarsewhisperer and Peter AU

Your pollies are corrupted by the same $$$ that have corrupted pollies all over the world.

What is the consistency here?........$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

$$$$$$$ needs to be turned into a WORLD WIDE public utility instead of a tool of elitist control.

Think about how the social incentives would change without the God of Mammon as primary.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 3, 2017 2:35:53 AM | 97

THERE is a tendency, not irrational, for many to tune out allegations of an Israeli/Jewish/Zionist 'Prime Mover' in US foreign policy - the muscles tense, the head shakes side to side... "another jerk blaming Israel for everythinh..

Understandable, but it creates a blind spot. US policy, rather CIA/Mossad policy is very largely driven by The Oded Yinon plan.

PNAC's influence is generally accepted, with their call (in essence) for a 'New Pearl Harbor' one year before 9/11 - as obvious a false flag as has existed, outside the USS Liberty.

They were simply a reboot of Yinon. The Moon ought to consider, considering the Likud/Mossad/Zio Lobby role more often and more deeply.
^^^^^^^^^

What the media misses in the Syrian bloodbath: a 'thank you' to Hillary from Israel
https://www.sott.net/article/326282-What-the-media-misses-in-the-Syrian-bloodbath-a-thank-you-to-Hillary-from-Israel


Iran was always on the menu. But it is Israel and Jewish/Zionist influence at State and NED/FDD that anount to the foot on the gas.

Posted by: Florin N. | Mar 3, 2017 5:29:18 AM | 98

@psychohistorian 97

"$$$$$$$ needs to be turned into a WORLD WIDE public utility instead of a tool of elitist control."

It will happen, rest assured - only question is how long it'll take and how messy the transition is.
Or is it already happening?

When you look back at history, money has changed its societal function over time, or rather: Has acquired additional functions in each new societal order (slave-owner, feudal, capitalist). Today, money ceases to carry interest thanks to its over-abundance, and will increasingly become a political tool to distribute resources in society.

This can be both good and bad, depending on how democratically it is controlled and how sustainably it is used.

Posted by: smuks | Mar 3, 2017 11:29:22 AM | 99

@88 PWIV. Indeed, pesh/rojava forces are trying to take Sinjar from the Yezidi militias allied to PMU. A possible Erdo/Barzani move to open a corridor to Syria?

https://twitter.com/iraqisecurity/status/837685099504283650

Posted by: Lozion | Mar 3, 2017 1:34:32 PM | 100

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