Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 24, 2017

Syria Summary - U.S. Moves To Cut Off The East - But For What?

The situation in the north-west Syria is turning favor of the Syrian government, though much work needs to be done. The army is recovering new ground in Hama governate and an intense bombing campaign is waged over Idelb governate which is held by al-Qaeda. As an analyst generally in favor of the opposition concedes:

Continued support for the northwest insurgency amounts to effectively subsidizing a jihadist safe haven in the Levant.
...
The proxy war against the Syrian regime in the northwest, for the West, is lost.

The head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, agrees. He tells his forces in Syria stop holding land and to revert to guerilla war:

Ayman al-Zawahri told the jihadis, who control Syria's northwestern Idlib province and other territory, to remain steadfast and change tactics in order to wage guerrilla war.

Al-Qaida began fighting alongside Syria's rebels early in the civil war and won allies among the opposition because of its military prowess. Al-Qaida's official branch, the Nusra Front, changed its name to the Fatah al-Sham Front and formally cut ties with al-Qaida last year, but is still widely seen as being linked to the global terror network.


Map via ISW - bigger

In the south-west Israel is trying to steal another part of the Golan Heights by giving fire support for al-Qaeda groups which fight against the Syrian army in the area.

Attacks by "moderate rebels" in the south, supported by the U.S. and Jordan, have failed to take ground in the city of Deraa. They need to take the city to have some anchor for an "independent" southern "safe zone" from which the U.S. proxies could then threaten Damascus.

At the begin of April Kurdish forces under U.S. command had loudly announced that they would soon attack Raqqa and take it from the Islamic State. But no attacks on Raqqa have been seen. The operation seems to be at a halt. ISIS forces are allegedly moving from Raqqa further east to Deir Ezzor.

In south-east Syria U.S. supported "rebel" forces have moved from Jordan northward into the Syrian desert (not yet shown on the map above). They plan is to move further north towards Raqqa and to meet up with U.S. Kurdish proxy forces. This move would cut any land route from west-Syria to Deir Ezzor where a garrison of the Syrian army is protecting more than 100,000 civilians by holding out against ISIS forces. From Jordan the U.S. trained and supplied "rebels" are also moving east along the Iraqi-Syrian border. This will hinder Iraqi forces from moving into Syria and against ISIS in support the Syrian government forces in Deir Ezzor.

The whole Syrian east will thereby be cut off and under control of U.S. proxy forces. But what are the U.S. plans for this area? While the area has some oil and gas it is landlocked, lacks infrastructure and governance with mostly hostile forces surrounding it. The forces the U.S. supports are prone to infighting. It will be hard to defend the area against any serious attack. U.S. and Jordan forces will be needed to keep it under control. For how long?

I fail to see a larger strategic plan behind this that would make any sense. But the same architects that launched the failed war against Iraq are behind this move. The neocons are back and very happy about the new course of the Trump presidency. The architect of the war in Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, is now collaborating with the neocon officers in the Trump cabinet:

In recent days he‘s jumped right back into the public debate, nudging President Trump from the pages of the Wall Street Journal to follow up his bombing strike in neighboring Syria with more aggressive action—and, he tells me, privately emailing with Trump Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security advisor H.R. McMaster, both longtime contacts since his Bush days, in hopes they will pursue a U.S. strategy of stepped-up engagement in the Middle East.

Mattis is currently traveling through the Gulf countries to collect money for future U.S. plans in Syria and elsewhere. The neocon senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham will tonight have a private dinner with Trump in the White House. No sensible strategy has ever come from these folks. But their lunatics plan always causes huge damage for little if any gain.

Posted by b on April 24, 2017 at 01:48 PM | Permalink

Comments

Preventing the SAA from linking with the Iraqi Army is a strategic goal for NATO, otherwise, the dreaded "Shia Crescent" under the Russian aegis may become a reality. Secondly, they may still be hoping for building that Qatari pipeline through eastern Syria.

Posted by: Stavros H | Apr 24, 2017 2:02:34 PM | 1

What I'm wondering is, what do the US plan to do, if their pet rebels actually cut off SAA from Deir es-Zor and from Iraq, when Assad will actually call Russia and Iraqi militias for help, to carve a path through these rebel-controlled lands? Having the US actually bomb Iraqi troops would be a bit confusing to the average Western observer, wouldn't it? Specially after they went through all these troubles to "free Iraq from ISIS".
And that assumes Assad can't make some deal with these rebels - because right now, they seem to have some kind of non-aggression pact, both focusing on ISIS.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Apr 24, 2017 2:05:48 PM | 2

@2 CluelessJoe

You're unfortunately giving too much credit to the western observer and to the autonomy of Baghdad.

Can PMUs freely operate in Syria if they can get there and have logistical support? Sure.
But can the Iraqi army participate in attacks against ISIS in Syira? I have a feeling that the US would crush Abadi if regular army units were to particpate in that action. So, PMUs, while helpful, all the effective manpower the SAA can get is helpful, can be easily painted in the MSM and to senators etc as IRANIAN PROXIES oppressing sunnis and COMMITTING WAR CRIMES that they can invent along the way.

I can also see the US using airstrikes and Kurds to funnel ISIS units toward PMUS when they're at their most exposed, to teach a lesson, don't interfere with the sunnistan project.

This is a very delicate game. The rise in oil prices and recapture of Syria's oilfields will at least help Russia help a bit more.

Trump seems to be leading by whatever shell company he uses to pump and dump stocks based on US actions and statements. He's a corrupt stooge and couldn't keep the simplest of his campaign promises. If the demoratic party wasn't choking itself to death with its love of wall street and neoliberalism, he'd be an obvious one term president, and the house and senate would fall too. But as we see in europe, the neoliberal left and right only pretend to oppose one another, and eaglerly embrace, hold hands, and kiss, like Bush and Bandar, when the pressure is on from populist candidates that represent the wishes of the people.

Posted by: Pespi | Apr 24, 2017 2:41:07 PM | 3

b - thank you... i never knew rats to have any good plan, other then trying to eek out a place for themselves.. seems like the plan is being run by rats.. too bad the rats are essentially supporting isis, while saying they are going after the rats.. the us, israel, saudi arabia, the gccs, turkey and many western poodles are on my list of rats here..

Posted by: james | Apr 24, 2017 2:47:46 PM | 4

I think #1/Stavros H's first point is salient, along with the fact that the US simply wants to weaken/destroy Syria at every turn, no matter the negative outcome for other countries in the region. Another, bonus point is that you need to have 'rebels' on the ground to keep the possibility of the US wet dream of a 'no-fly zone in Syria' alive. I don't think pipelines are a major factor at this point, though--no pipeline could survive this level of violence as they'd be getting blown up too often.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Apr 24, 2017 2:48:57 PM | 5

Could HTS/Al Nusrah revert to a guerrilla war for long? I doubt it. All their foreign fighters would stand out like the proverbial sore thumb. Most of their domestic fighters are probably already well known to Syrian intelligence. Successfully breaking contact in war is one of the hardest things to do for a professional army, for a proxy army moving over to guerrilla warfare it is going to be a lot harder since HTS/Al Nusrah in Syria has no real history of guerrilla warfare and much of the terrain in Idlib is unsuited to guerrilla warfare. All the SAA needs to do is surround each town or village in turn and clear out the insurgents. Eventually, the populations of towns and villages which haven't been cleared will demand the evacuation of any stay-behind fighters and domestic HTS/Al Nusrah fighters will go into exile maybe launching the odd cross-border raid into Syria. I can't see Erdogan wanting that to go on for very long.

After the liberation of East Aleppo, I hoped that western opposition supporter would stop talking about the Syrian government wanting to massacre civilians that weren't closely involved with the jihadists but they still go on about it.
I also hoped they'd stop listening to the deluded opposition supporters, but they haven't. For example, Abdulqader al-Asmar:

“We got an opportunity, maybe because we were able to settle somewhere stable, and we could help our community,” he said. “Imagine how many people there are inside Syria that are looking for that sort of opportunity and can’t find it.”

There are 14-15 million civilians in government-controlled areas and while they might not like the Assad regime they like the terrorists a lot less. They might want to go elsewhere on economic grounds but I doubt they would go because of real persecution. As for the "apolitical or lukewarm" IDPs, it made little sense for them to move to a government-controlled area when the rebels/terrorists were advancing because the IDPs risked being forced to move a second or more time as the rebels/terrorists advanced further into government-controlled areas. Now that the rebels/terrorists are being defeated, I suspect many of them will be ready to be reconciled with the Syrian government and so be allowed to return home.

When the end comes for the rebels/terrorists I suspect there will be a couple of hundred thousand people who feel the need to go into exile. In the meantime I suspect the Russians will be doing everything they can to liquidate Russians among the rebels and terrorists so they can't go home but I doubt there will be much effort to liquidate any European or American jihadists if it involves the loss of any Syrian and Russian lives.

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 24, 2017 2:50:44 PM | 6

Meanwhile Fox reported:

U.S. military drones have watched hundreds of ISIS “bureaucrats,” or administrators, leaving Raqqa in the past two months for the city of al-Mayadin located further down the Euphrates River from Deir el-Zour where U.S. Central Command announced that it killed mid-level ISIS “operative” Abdurakhmon Uzbeki.

WTF - why didn't the U.S. military annihilate them?

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 24, 2017 3:08:04 PM | 7

@7 ghostship... you want the us to use isis for regime change and also annihilate them? lol... they can't do both!

Posted by: james | Apr 24, 2017 3:10:08 PM | 8

Fox is also reporting that ISIS is planning to join forces with Al Qaeda - does that mean that the CIA will be sponsoring and arming ISIS in future?

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 24, 2017 3:11:53 PM | 9

Hydrocarbons clearly aren't the reason for the war. Qatar could've built a pipeline across Saudi Arabia to the Red Sea if supplying Europe was all that mattered.

The empire wants Deir Ezzor as a consolation prize to their failed "regime change" project. It will let them continue to terrorize the Arabs in Iraq & Syria overtly and covertly, while they wait for a new excuse to try again.

Posted by: Jesrad | Apr 24, 2017 3:13:08 PM | 10

Apropos to this conversation, Mike Whitney's latest piece analyzing the US's potential plan for occupying eastern Syria: http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/04/24/is-mad-dog-planning-to-invade-east-syria/

Posted by: WorldBLee | Apr 24, 2017 3:23:09 PM | 11

@7 Because the empire doesn't want to destroy their proxy forces. It's why the attack on Raqqa was stopped, and the western route from the city was blocked. It's to funnel ISIS east to Deir Ezzor where they can still be useful to their owner.

Posted by: Jesrad | Apr 24, 2017 3:23:19 PM | 12

Here's the latest from Canthama at SyrPers, which focuses mostly on events in Hama:

"Eastern Homs-Palmyra

"As anticipated at Syrper during the weekend, the 5th Corps made substantial progress NW of Palmyra, capturing the entire Abyad Mountain chain, which placed the SAA and allies in a prime position to continue to advance (on foot and off roads) toward Mount Zumlat al-Khanzir and Mount al Mar’eh, thus flanking al Sha’er mountain and gas fields.

"The significance of any further progress toward those two mountains is that once captured, it would place the 5th Corps 40 kms from Ithriyah crossroad, a hilly desert area with few roads and basically no village that could be captured in a task force thus sealing ISIS in a large Homs/Hama pocket.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=pt&lat=34.852129&lon=38.062134&z=11&m=b

"A side note to the above info, the 5th Corp has shifted its HQ to Hama Province near Hama city few weeks ago, not because of its presence in Northern Hama counter offensive and clearly not near their main on going effort in T4-Palmyra, but because their next key task is to eliminate ISIS from Homs/Hama.

"When you connect their successful campaign against ISIS in Palmyra/Eastern Homs province with the HQ move to Hama, the next big offensive for this, so far very effective attacking forces (10,000 strong and growing), can not be anything less then eliminate ISIS from Hama and Homs, thus creating a very large protection area for the oil and gas fields, Hama and Homs cities and hundreds of villages around them. It would also place the SAA south of Tabqa airbase and in close control of key roads to Sukhanah, maybe as prep for Der ez Zor campaign late in 2017.

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=pt&lat=35.137879&lon=38.139038&z=10&m=b&gz=0;378664398;350097524;2780914;0;0;2790346

"Northern Hama

"A day of terrorists counter attacks and more losses for them, intense battles on going with growing KIA and WIA for the terrorists’ ranks, estimated in more than 1,000 rats so far, with many very experienced commanders and storm troopers being killed in the past month or so. Such losses will be tough for the rats to “digest” and it is creating a natural sense of doubts within partners in ratland.

"Today, the village of al Masasnah was fully captured and the villages of Zor al Heisa and Zor al Maruhqat faced a fierce counter attack by the terrorists and they were fully repelled, thus securing Masasnah flank. This situation places the SAA and allies 1 km south of al Lataminah in a very strong position (see map below).

http://wikimapia.org/#lang=pt&lat=35.290048&lon=36.645241&z=13&m=b&gz=0;366290187;352709200;0;232614;102996;0;438594;212298;858;233315

"Strong battles are on going in two villages, Zilaqiat and Buwaydah, with ownership shifting many times, the former is key for flanking al Lataminah from the SW side and the latter is vital to advance toward Ma’rkabah and secure the eastern flank."

In the main article, Ziad provides some info about events around Der'ah. Seems the main thrust for SAA is to deal with the West and North, then combine with the Iraqis to cleanse the East and South, which makes great sense from the POV of securing security for majority of civilians and finally regaining control of border with Turkey.
https://syrianperspective.com/2017/04/hilfaayaa-liberated-completely-as-syrian-army-thunders-toward-remant-rodents-scurrying-back-to-idlib-rodents-suffering-defeat-in-derah.html#Y4IXxjJsqag8W7i7.99

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 24, 2017 3:49:27 PM | 13

Still doubling down; Assad did chemical attack against his people:
New US Sanctions Against Syria said largest ever by Treasury Dep’t

One of the goals of the new sanctions issued by the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) against 271 individuals in Syria is to show President Bashar Assad's government that its actions are not taken lightly by the United States, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a briefing on Monday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier on Monday, the US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, the agency allegedly responsible for producing chemical weapons.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Posted at Open Thread this big briefing tomorrow. How many fronts can USA deploy?

It appears North Korea has been moved to Priority Status. Labeled “very unusual”

White House to brief full Senate as Trump calls North Korea ‘real threat to the world’

In phone call with Merkel, Trump cites ‘urgent security challenge’

The Trump administration is preparing to brief all 100 senators this week on the situation in North Korea, as President Donald Trump calls the country a “real threat to the world” and confers with the leaders of China, Japan and Germany.
The unusual full-Senate briefing is scheduled for Wednesday, according to reports, and comes after Trump criticized North Korea’s “continued belligerence” in a phone call with President Xi Jinping of China on Sunday. In a separate call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, Trump discussed “the urgent security challenge posed by North Korea,” the White House said.
The administration has expressed concern over Pyongyang’s missile tests and nuclear ambitions.

Trump has ratcheted up rhetoric against North Korea in recent days, saying Monday at the White House that “North Korea is a big world problem,” and that “people have put blinders on for decades.” He didn’t disclose intentions, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that in their Sunday phone call Trump “has indicated by his words and actions that all possible options are on the table.”
A White House spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for comment about the briefing. But Reuters reported that all 100 senators have been invited to the White House for a briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

You think Trump is destined to do stupid?

b had this guy pegged; spot on.
What a whopper Trump! Looking for a diversion from unprecedented debt and the bypassing of petro-US$ in global trade. $100 trillion –unlimited currency printing by all central banks - did not cure the 2008 financial crisis.

Posted by: likklemore | Apr 24, 2017 3:57:52 PM | 14

If the coalition of NATO assholes (USA UK EU ISRAEL and don't forget Canada, Australia and Poland) do enough to destroy NK in an illegal "preemptive strike",

China could expand into NK and SK too for that matter. What a knee slapper that would be.

Posted by: fast freddy | Apr 24, 2017 4:13:37 PM | 15

Before the Russian intervention, US military spokespeople would often claim that the "fight" against ISIS would take at least thirty years and, therefore, a US military presence in that area was being projected as a decades long engagement. Which is basically the same as saying that the "fight" against ISIS would require US military bases in that area. Since being moved out of Iraq, the Americans have been seeking opportunity to replace their lost Iraq military bases - which is, imho, the standing US policy: re-establish permanent military bases in the region. Syria's east probably not ideal location - but perhaps Deir Ezzor has been tagged as the best place to start.

Posted by: jayc | Apr 24, 2017 4:18:10 PM | 16

With Rothschild banker and Socialist party cutout, Macron, now certain to become the next French president, there will be new energy behind regime change in Syria. Macron wants Assad out. He also supports all the current neo-liberal economic policies of the EU apparatchiks.

Posted by: ab initio | Apr 24, 2017 4:36:49 PM | 17

Southfront has published a short note recapping the floating of balloons that Russia may soon deploy ground troops to Syria, https://southfront.org/russia-may-deploy-ground-forces-to-syria-on-assad-government-request-media-reports/

As SF notes however, Russian ground troops are already deployed to Syria, so there's no need for the Syrian government to formally request they be introduced. Yet, given recent events and the unmasking of Trump's actual nature, I think something shocking yet limited in duration will occur--The introduction of Russian Airborne troops to Deir-Ezzor to lift the siege, then garrison the city while SAA forces go on the offensive Westward to link with the forces East of Palmyra. What reasoning promotes my speculation? SAA's clear focus on Hama, West Aleppo, Idlib, Der'ah, then Turkish border despite significant importance of Deir-Ezzor. Also recall what Putin said to Trump about any further Outlaw US Empire attacks on Syria since the warning was obviously ignored given events. The warning itself was unusual, but won't be repeated; instead, direct action will replace words. IMO, the risks for Russia beyond the initial assault are rather minimal if the aim is limited as outlined: Reinvigorate the airhead, recapture the entire city, then garrison it so SAA can take offensive to Palmyra. Once land route in firmly secured along with enlarged security buffer for Deir-Ezzor, then the airborne can repack their kits and return home, their presence replaced by Russian MPs and humanitarian workers.

Or perhaps mine is just another trial balloon?

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 24, 2017 5:10:39 PM | 18

@9 Ghostship - Nope, it just means CIA and Pentagon are fighting on the same side again...

b, I see you're slowly but steadily turning into a believer. That's good, better late than never (for instance, you could've waited until American troops invade the "newly liberated" E. Syria). Now all you have to do is get a map of Syria and connect the rest of the dots.

On one side you have the landstrip stretching in the line from Dara'a to Deir ez-Zor and all the way to the Iraqi border to the east and on another there's the Kurdish de facto autonomous territory in NE Syria, i.e. Yankeestan's new neighbor to the north. Et voila, the spice will flow again through Sultan Erdogan's backyard (the ultimate peace negotiating strategy for megalomaniacs, moreover the US already knows it works!)

Mad Dog met with his Rabid Elders. Now that is a true gathering of lunatics, if there ever was one that should frighten you...

Posted by: LXV | Apr 24, 2017 5:36:47 PM | 19

karlof1

I'm in agreement totally with your analysis...the hegemon is going to steal Deir Ezzor from the Syrians if something isn't done ASAP...Russian paratroopers doing exactly what you suggest would put the big kybosh to Mattis&McMasters wet dream to have their run to Deir Ezzor. Now is not the time to ponder what ifs...the planes full of paratroopers need to be in the air inside of a weeks time. Big fireworks to come for the SAA garrison there, thats for sure.

Posted by: str8arrow62 | Apr 24, 2017 5:39:55 PM | 20

@all very good posts..
@3 Well said & perspicace indeed.
@karlof1 IMO, A brigade level deployment of spetsnaz or Kadirov trained ISIS hunter-killers in Deir Ezzor/Hasakah/Quamishli would make it kryptonite clear
that a Salafist oasis project in these strategic eastern areas is, well.. like a dried-up watering hole. Can the Kremlin commit? One can hope..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 24, 2017 5:41:10 PM | 21

Ghostship @9

The US military admitted to Congress that they had spent $500 million training an unspecified number of 'carefully vetted moderate rebels'. They also admitted that all but 5 'rebels' defected to al Qaeda. Think about what that says about their 'careful vetting' program. Was the apparent incompetence accidental or part of the plan for plausible deniability? The US military has continued doing the same. The British have forces in Iraq supposedly doing the same even now. These programs exclude whatever forces the CIA have created. These definitely will not be 'carefully vetted moderates'. Consider also the Hollywood grade PR the non-moderates used. It is clear that their sponsors had given them a free hand to perform whatever barbarous acts they could imagine, and widely promoted them to enhance the fear factor which played a vital part in demoralizing the SAA before Russia and allies stepped in.

Posted by: Yonatan | Apr 24, 2017 5:45:44 PM | 22

British journalist in Damascus clearly exposes the lies of criminal Western mainstream media and governments:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xjOSZ6QgGgY

Posted by: Anoncommentator | Apr 24, 2017 6:20:26 PM | 23

The plan calls for the establishment of a Sunnistan and that's what they will do. It will be an important ally, like Israel or KSA. And will spread terror far and wide. Terror is the only policy instrument the empire has you see. That's why there is so much of it.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 24, 2017 6:31:48 PM | 24

likklemore @14--

Perhaps Trump will read what the Chinese have stated in no uncertain terms as reported by The Duran: "China calls Trump’s bluff; warns against unilateral action against North Korea."
http://theduran.com/xi-jinping-warns-trump-military-action-north-korea/

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 24, 2017 6:41:00 PM | 25

@24 Except the concept CANNOT be permitted from RF's perspective unless some Area 54 deep type bunker level dealings have been made to assuage Russia's worries and that am very skeptical of..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 24, 2017 6:44:44 PM | 26

A quick Syria synopsis good as a red pill for friends
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=alATb7oLRbo

Posted by: Anoncommentator | Apr 24, 2017 6:48:48 PM | 27

Lozion @21--

I advocated Russia's Airborne because they are a 100% self-contained armored force whose support vehicles can all be airdropped, although there is one Spetznatz componenet attached to one of the Brigades. I think one Division is enough for the job. If you are unfamiliar with Russia's Airborne Forces, this 52+ minute video will enlighten you, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KPez3999Sg

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 24, 2017 6:58:02 PM | 28

The US proxy 'rebels' in Syria shift their battle lines to different parts of the country in an atttempt to draw the SAA away from its new battle lines. So, in Hama prvince, they moved onto Hama city, as the SAA where concentrating on North East Aleppo and Palmyra. Then the SAA turned its attention to pushing back the Rebel advances in Hama. Once the rebel started to lose ground they then switch to the deserts of South East syria and the attempt to isolate Deir Ezzur. Theyre using the SAA's main weakness.....over-stretched forces.

Posted by: Hermius | Apr 24, 2017 7:18:15 PM | 29

The plan is quite simple:
Prevent an Iran-Lebanon axis (and possible pipeline), thus maintaining the region in strategic limbo. If all else fails, destroy the region to prevent strategic gains of any rivals, a.k.a. scorched-earth policy.

This has been the (Neocon) US strategy for many years: Not so much 'victory', but a long-lasting war which weakens both sides. Think 80s Iran-Iraq - they didn't want either of them to win.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 24, 2017 7:28:43 PM | 30

@likklemore 14 / karlof1 25

China could easily take over NK if the US attacked the country. Which would be a huge strategic victory for Beijing...can't imagine Trump & Co. to be stupid enough for that.

What's interesting is that from what I heard, Trump and Merkel discussed international conflicts in 'Syria, Yemen and Ukraine' - yes, Yemen mentioned in the same breath!

Posted by: smuks | Apr 24, 2017 7:36:48 PM | 31

Yonatan @22:

The US military admitted to Congress that they had spent $500 million training an unspecified number of 'carefully vetted moderate rebels'. They also admitted that all but 5 'rebels' defected to al Qaeda. Think about what that says about their 'careful vetting' program. Was the apparent incompetence accidental or part of the plan for plausible deniability?
It's even worse than that, Yonatan.

CBS News reported in August 2015 that most of the fighters in the program didn't finish the training (dozens, if not hundreds). Why? They "dropped out" because they came to believe that Assad was more of a threat than ISIS(!) One has to wonder:

- were they trained because they were anti-Assad recruits; or

- did they drop out because they indoctrinated to believe that Assad was the bigger threat?

In any case, the 'drop-outs' contributed to the propaganda campaign ("Assad is the real problem" / "Assad created ISIS" / etc.) until the program was cut-short after the Russian intervention and Russia's embarrassing revelations about ISIS funding and Western complicity.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 24, 2017 9:40:15 PM | 32

"No sensible strategy has ever come from these folks."

They come up with strategies that are bad for the U.S. but promote Israel's war on the region.

Posted by: Edward | Apr 24, 2017 9:50:19 PM | 33

b asked what for are these Syrian moves.

The US under Trump is going to try and reestablish itself as the sole world power behind the Reserve Currency status or they will set up to do so, fail and throw Americans under the bus as they skate away with their intact private finance that still controls everything. Stirring the geopolitical pot in NK, Syria, Yemen by proxy, etc. is all part of the overwhelm them strategy......we will see if it works.

Will China become the next private finance parasitic victim? I suspect Russia will be the next victim of private finance if not China......assuming the elite owners of global private finance continue their centuries long God of Mammon perversion of our species.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 24, 2017 10:28:47 PM | 34

The mask hiding the Brutish Empire comes off;

Fallon proudly declares Tory government would launch preemptive nuclear strike

Posted by: ProPeace | Apr 24, 2017 10:46:44 PM | 35

RE ProPeace 35

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I-PeVUIBEM

“If the fight is inevitable, be the first to strike”

Posted by: Perimetr | Apr 25, 2017 1:12:28 AM | 36

@28 Yes an airborne Brigade with a Spetsnaz battalion based in Deir Ezzor with quick deployment to other areas capability is what I had in mind. A full division is politically & logistically more problematic I think, can be exploited in the media as an invasion/aggression, etc. whereas "specialists" are more easy to sell for a particular mission..?
Spetsnaz would have rat kebabs any day of the week..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 25, 2017 1:31:23 AM | 37

@12 jesrad... exactamundo...

@17 ab initio.. macron wants the same shit the war party wants.. that's how he's made it this far! those meek and mellow french folks can't be voting for a whack job named pen.. the corporate media told them so and they listen..

@22 yonatan.. i agree fully.. the 2 us political parties had some 'careful vetting' to come up with trump and hillary, lol.. we see what usa style 'careful vetting' results in... bottom line - the usa is in bed with headchopper inc and fully onside with a greater wahabbistan.. sick, but true... i heard it straight from wolfotwitz..

Posted by: james | Apr 25, 2017 1:51:17 AM | 38

@smuks

Your comments are spot on! Too bad this thread is unreadable with the wide page, as most of the
comments are very good. It's time to seriously focus on what Trump is doing in Asia Pacific,
Syria and Yemen.

I agree with the previous opinion piece Democrats are a dying party and there's no difference
in their foreign policy. There's a poll out that shows that most people believe the Democratic Party's
out of touch with reality. This public trend is the only encouraging sign right now. It's time
that Liberals disassociate themselves from NEO-LIBERALS.

Republicans are on a rampage with Trump their leader a bull in a China shop. Trump wants
to put the Neocon plan on steroids. Kushner is his inspiration. He's all in with
McMaster, Coats, Pompeo, Pence and Mattis - the Neocon War Council. Defense is getting
more funding than it's seen in years.

If Russia doesn't act soon to counter and jump ahead to deny the Empire's designs on Eastern Syria,
Damascus will end up like Gaza, cut-off, isolated and surrounded and the U.S., Israel, KSA & other
GCC friends will be control every part of the Middle East. Yemen will also become occupied territory.

If China doesn't act to counter U.S. provocation in Asia Pacific, China will face disaster on
its doorstep that will cripple its economy.

The plan is to deny the Russia-China-Iran axis the power to challenge the Empire's global hegemony.

Trump's presidency was a dangerous Neocon deception all along.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 25, 2017 2:00:45 AM | 39

@smuks 31 et al.

I agree that China in direct control of the North would be the most likely outcome of a US attack. The PDRK's army would most likely be thoroughly defeated, albeit not before unleashing a tremendously destructive barrage in the direction of Seoul. China has had little love for the Kim regime over the past 50 or so years, and they would probably take the opportunity to march in under the pretext of something like peacekeeping or preventing further bloodshed to replace it, presuming any of it survived. China is also simply not going to allow hostile forces to encroach on them from the Korean peninsula. Acting as regents of the North, China would have a lot of leverage to negotiate with ROK for a more neutral stance. A neutral ROK would be a real plus for China and they could offer ROK a direct role in the affairs of the North to that end - in addition to alleviating some of the burden of rebuilding it.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 25, 2017 2:12:20 AM | 40

Fallon: "The whole point about the deterrent is that you have got to leave uncertainty in the mind of anyone who might be thinking of using weapons against this country."

The whole point, Mr. Fallon, is that there is a dead certainty that any nuclear move by Brittania will result in a near-instantaneous evaporation of all things British.

The sun never sets on soil that has been thoroughly irrigated with British blood.

Fools.

Posted by: stumpy | Apr 25, 2017 2:22:57 AM | 41

I have to laugh when I hear US-sponsored proxies talking about "guerrilla" warfare. The Yankees are utterly clueless about guerilla warfare, despite having watched their full spectrum dumbinence military apparatus being overwhelmed by REAL guerillas on every continent.
General David Petraeus is famous for writing a Field Manual on enhanced guerilla warfare. It's notable for his failure to understand that that Afghans are the quintessential guerillas. Lightly armed, unburdened by hardware other than a rile & ammo, or sustenance for more than a few days, no helmets or other protection, and secure in the knowledge that sympathetic locals will provide any short-term assistance they require.

The theoretical guerillas whom Petraeus has conjured up CAN'T travel light BECAUSE they have no local support and need to transport and carry EVERY THING they might, or might not, need during a 1 or 2 week mission. So they need motorised transport to carry all their junk, not to mention the ability and personnel to fuel and maintain the transport. The net result of all these precautionary measures is that Petraeus' guerilla's look exactly like an invading army of many dozens of combatants plus non-combatant support staff - which isn't what (highly risky) guerilla-ism is, or was ever, about.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 25, 2017 2:29:29 AM | 42

Karlof1, Lozion -- It seems within the power of the Russian forces to engage in a decisive action, and I find the trickling along of their support to be somewhat frustrating. Looking at the Foreign Ministry's press announcements, Russia is staking out the high moral ground, which may philosophically check their moves towards a more decisive action. Calling for investigations and invoking international law may all be well and good, but the opportunity to do as you say and send in a brigade may not be there for long.

Posted by: stumpy | Apr 25, 2017 2:34:16 AM | 43

- Who has said that the US troops are ever going to leave Syria ?
- Don't the readers see the pattern that has evolved since say 1990 ?

1) War in Yugoslavia in the first half of the 1990s. US establishes - at least - one base over there (Banja Luka).
2) War in Kosovo (1999). US builds a military base in Kosovo (Camp Bondsteel).
3) US invades Iraq. US builds military bases in Iraq. The Maliki government kicked the US out but it seems the US now is making a come back in Iraq.
4) The US still has one or more bases in Kurdistan.
5) The US invades Afghanistan and still is busy over there and still has military bases over there.

Next are the following countries to get one or more US military bases: Syria, Libya, Ukraine, North Korea, ............... (Any suggestions for more countries to be added to this list ?).
- Why do you think the US increased military spending by some $ 53 billion ?

The weird thing is that foreigners are paying for all our (US) wars abroad. To understand that one has to have knowledge of Balance of Payments (think: Capital & Current Account) issues. But this is NOT a one-way street. The balance of the Current Account and Capital Account also can correct/move in an - for the US - "unfavourable" direction.

However Trump is unwittingly undermining the strength of the US in another way as well. There seem to be plans to send some 11 million "illegal aliens"/"undocumented foreigners"/"........." from the US back their country of origin.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 25, 2017 4:04:22 AM | 44

Anoncommenmtator 27
(nice video introduction)

Murdoch supports Genie, too
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/27/rupert-murdoch-and-the-israeli-genie/

To all,
good inputs and analysis. It looks like divide and conquer of Syria is getting more intense and the various actors jockeying for position. So very sad for the locals though who only want this to end.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 25, 2017 8:56:14 AM | 45

Apologies if this seems off-topic - CIA and FBI heads are involved in this, so in light of the White House meeting reported
above, and b's post on Turkish bombings, it has to be noticed. New Zealand may seem far from the fray, but there is an
important intercept of world communications located there.

https://www.odt.co.nz/the-south-today?video=5409850418001

I can't access the video, so others should feel free to comment.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 25, 2017 10:46:01 AM | 46

To explain my link above - the video is titled "Eyeing the spies in Arrowtown" and concerns a meeting of Five Eyes
security heads which took place last week. The Otago Daily Times has been posting short articles, as well as
New Zealand Herald.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 25, 2017 10:50:40 AM | 47

I tried to post more but I obviously violated some rule -- briefly, the video say little more than what you'll find in the media text. I found the fact that Comey and Pomeo arrive in separate Gulfstreams. Otherwise we could call them Pompey.

Posted by: stumpy | Apr 25, 2017 1:37:42 PM | 48

Willy2@44 - Yemen is worth a mention, Willy. While we technically didn't invade it, we're certainly backing KSA and cronies to re-install the Saudi/Western-friendly puppet regime of Hadi. And almost unnoticed in western press: the U.S. is building a huge naval base on Socotra Island, Yemeni sovereign territory. That base is opposed by the Houthi/Saleh alliance, and supported by Hadi and his Saudi masters. Not sure exactly how they're whitewashing this - they were calling the Socotra base a UAE project at one time, but they are most definitely building a giant one there as a permanent U.S. Navy station to 'guard' the Red Sea from Somali pirates and the occasional Iranian battle fleet of one ship plus some misc. tenders.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 25, 2017 3:47:23 PM | 49

PavewayIV says:

And almost unnoticed in western press: the U.S. is building a huge naval base on Socotra Island

you're probably correct, but, you gotta link?

Posted by: john | Apr 25, 2017 4:08:14 PM | 50

john @50--

Google Socotra Island navy base and pick one of the 140,000 results.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 25, 2017 4:49:52 PM | 51

someone think that russians are dumbs?

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 7:51:56 PM | 52

the whole issue is that the proxy armys of EEUU. isael, FRance, England, Arabs,are the incoming armys for the incoming world war 3 or 4. The dumb plans of the neocon (rotschild) is use this for expanse in europe, asia,Rusia. Over this Russia, the gran price. Russia is making pain to Merkel, EEUU, France, england, and "mierda moros" Saudis, killing as much proxys as they are putting in Siria, (for now)Good luck merkel, trump, Jews, and arabs, and "the pérfida Albión": England rotshild. All you are fucked. Cheers for you.

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 8:01:01 PM | 53

at the begining, good brains in the EEUU thinked that ME could be a good flycatching for al-qaeda, and company: Bring there all much can be available, and after kill them. It was an original jew think also. Afterwards the things are diferent. They are trying to use them as proxy amrmys against russia... and elsewere. Bad bussines. The beast now is coming alive by himselves.Will be hard to control

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 8:20:49 PM | 54

for what wants the Merkel 2 milions of men in military age, absolutely not available for work, and less in Germany, where the german language is required, and skills are required for else work?. : Proxy army against russia and else. The germans dont want fight neither war.The things are hotting.What want the Merwkels and her elites? What plans they have? A revenge against russia who wins they in the IIwar ? A preemtibe Fight against russia, for the dominition or Europe (Russia is now the sole

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 8:45:11 PM | 55

sorry , i continue.Sais that russia is the sole "enemie", or obstacle, for the dream for germany as always be, for the domination of europe and more far away... (rUSIA). What can do germany agains russia, if not the war?. Is a little as EEUU: what can do the EUU if not the war, now that are losing bussines...? I think, Siria, Ukranie, Korea, China , are all deceptions. The whole thing is The EU against EEUU, or The EEUU against the EU (Soros included). Rusia is an odd card in the game Rusia is the most great land in the world. Russia has the gas an oil that germany and europe needs. Merkel, Trump,: came here and take it, (Doen´t matterwhit your 4milions of fakerefugees with kalanisnikovs)

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 9:01:48 PM | 56

I am suspicious very much about Germany. Nobody talks about Germany. Always we can read about England and France, also Canada and australia, making nonsenses in the ME, bombing people, etc. ¿Why is Germany disepeared in the world, if is the master and chief of the EU,more streng that the EEUU? Think about

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 9:21:19 PM | 57

now, the first economie of the world, is the EU: Europe. EEUU is lost. This is the challenge. We are seing the economic wars (Fake wolksvagen, Deutsche Bank). and much more.. It is the first fight. All the rest are deceptions

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 9:28:46 PM | 58

for this I am asking me, what want the Germnanys, <

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 9:35:44 PM | 59

il mondo e diffichile, una putana michera

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 9:46:48 PM | 60

for all that want to know what can happen in Siria: Yes, the yanquis want and get a zone in raqqa-fake kurdistan, deir ezzod not (Will cannot). tHEY will not achieve nothing, because rusia will destroy anything they achieve. The war will continue 5-10 years more. The EEUU putting more terrorists, and rusia killing they. All is a plan of deception, for both parties. The game is posibily in central asia, kazajastan, etc. The end game is Europe (for rusia or for the eeuu) Asia is a deception for now.The game is for the EEUU get busy rusia, in ukraine. Rusia now get more busy EEUU in Siria, Egipt, <

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 10:11:39 PM | 61

now, rusia is bringing EEUU at more busy bisness in afganistan, por example, The paranoic Turkey, making ties whith Pakistan, Asia countryes. All is a deception. For make busy the EEUU The same book of the neocon. Elsewere can play the sme game that the jews neocon. :Neocons and jews: wait and see

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 10:18:24 PM | 62

could this go to a hot war between USA and Rusia? My think is that Rusia dont want this. But not touche too much the balls.My think is that bouth are awaiting when can win. Putin has balls. The training is Siria with no nukes.I think the window for nuke s is 2 years from now. sorry.EEUU disepeared. At last¡

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 10:36:55 PM | 63

eeuu, thinks that have military superiority over rusia and china now. not in incoming years, that is true ( ???) The military of de USA is for when their bussines are bad, as is now.The issue of norkorea is for make pain china, japan, russia, and south korea. (bussines for USA)Bad feelings for this year. sorry

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 10:52:17 PM | 64

desestabilice Saudi Arabia, and fall Half Israel, EEUU. Europe. I´ve not said nuke it.

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 10:58:47 PM | 65

seems hard to get out theese litle countrys nazys as Israel and saudi arabia and qatar and eau. ¿Why? Theese poor countrys, the city of London and Washinton DC, nuked, or elsewere, and the world could live free ( dont forgot nuke merkel) kiss (to merkel before nuked)

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 11:08:02 PM | 66

I forgotten king elisabeth from england. A kiss when you get nuked.

Posted by: martino | Apr 25, 2017 11:10:04 PM | 67

martino.. looks like spam to me...better have another martini martino..

Posted by: james | Apr 25, 2017 11:48:37 PM | 68

@martino

The beast now is coming alive by himselves.Will be hard to control

I hope you're right. Fixing popcorn. Does nuclear blast make popcorn pop?

Posted by: stumpy | Apr 26, 2017 12:04:16 AM | 69

I see there is a lot of speculation that the Russians may try to pre-empt things by inserting an airborne division - or is it a special-forces brigade? - into Deir Ezzor to bolster the garrison.

But how would that work, and at what risk?

I'm assuming the Russians don't have the means of flying such troops direct from Russia to the besieged city, so they would deploy to Tartus and then forward-deploy to Deir Ezzor? Or.... what else, exactly?

If this is a two-step process then there is a real risk that the USA will have a contingency plan in place to checkmate the Russians.

Say..... declare a no-fly-zone over Deir Ezzor the moment they see Russian troops show up in Tartus, for "humanitarian" reasons, of course.

The Russians then either double-dog-dare the Americans (which would allow Putin to be portrayed as the "aggressor") or they allow themselves to be humiliated in the most public way possible.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 26, 2017 1:10:56 AM | 70

@James.. lol
@70 Thru Hamedan? Man that would rock the boat..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 26, 2017 2:10:43 AM | 71

Re: Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 26, 2017 1:10:56 AM | 70

The Russians then either double-dog-dare the Americans (which would allow Putin to be portrayed as the "aggressor") or they allow themselves to be humiliated in the most public way possible.

What absolute nonsense. How can Putin be portrayed as the aggressor when flying troops into Deir Ezzor to fight against ISIS???

Nonsense and hogwash.

And why should or would he care one whit if CNN or MSNBC or any other fake news outlet calls him an aggressor for fighting ISIS?

What crap.

He wouldn't, and nor should he, care one single bit.

Posted by: Julian | Apr 26, 2017 2:55:13 AM | 72

Yeah, Right@70

"...I see there is a lot of speculation that the Russians may try to pre-empt things by inserting an airborne division - or is it a special-forces brigade? - into Deir Ezzor to bolster the garrison..."

I haven't been able to get in touch with my Spetsnaz geek buddy, but he was always going on about a brigade-sized Spetsnaz unit that was sort of an all-in-one mobile thing - aviation, armor, artillery, SF - self-contained, and exactly for something like Deir EzZor. A recon/assault brigade or something like that. He was telling me how the U.S. was doing the same thing, except the US one was assembled in typical overblown fashion. Ours had everything except the kitchen sink, and was almost division-sized.

The US-equivalent has 'practicing' in California at Ft. Irwin National Training Center. Every time someone sees a trainload of armor being shipped to/from there, it sets off days of martial law/invasion speculation in the tin-foil had crowd.

This is all lost on me - I haven't a clue about army organization. I just figured both the US and Russia already had (or could quickly assemble) a unit like this. It's apparently a lot more difficult that it seems. Whatever the reality, he seemed pretty impressed that Russia was building a unit like this. No idea if it exists as a stand-alone unit in the Russian Army today or if it would ever be used in Syria. Anyone out there know anything about this Spetsnaz thing?

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 26, 2017 4:00:47 AM | 73

@72 "What absolute nonsense."

I agree. It would be utterly nonsensical. Propaganda tends to be like that.

"How can Putin be portrayed as the aggressor when flying troops into Deir Ezzor to fight against ISIS???"

Because the USA would not use THAT sentence. They would construct a different narrative.

As in.....
1) Russia flies troops into (say)_Tartus.
2) The USA declares a no-fly-zone over Deir Ezzor for - I dunno, pick some excuse.
3) Russia insists that it will fly troops into Deir Ezzor, thereby defying the USA's declaration.

Viola! There is a propaganda coup in the making.

It works because the USA will deny that the no-fly-zone declaration has anything to do with that initial Russian troop movement. Instead they will insist that decision was based entirely on "humanitarian" grounds and therefore it is, and was, and always will be, a "defensive" move by Uncle Sam and - again, this should be obvious! - anyone who defies it is being "aggressive.

As a "portrayal" that works by decoupling the "flying troops into Deir Ezzor" bit from the "to fight against ISIS" bit. The Americans will insist that the Russians are simply attempting to defy that no-fly-zone because, well, they don't want to protect the beautiful babies and they don't want the USA to protect those beautiful babies either.

Propaganda, in a word.

"And why should or would he care one whit if CNN or MSNBC or any other fake news outlet calls him an aggressor for fighting ISIS?"

He wouldn't, but the propaganda isn't intended to mislead PUTIN.

He knows exactly what he does, and he knows exactly why he is doing it.

It is intended to mislead any of the sheeple who might be trying to make sense of what the Russians are doing, and why they are doing it.

"He wouldn't, and nor should he, care one single bit."

Well, he can make his decisions with total clarity about what he is trying to achieve and IF THAT IS BEING MISREPRESENTED by the borg to the US people then he could end up in a shooting war with the US military.

Something to give a care about, I'd suggest.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 26, 2017 6:08:37 AM | 74

karlof1 says:

Google Socotra Island navy base and pick one of the 140,000 results

well, i see you're about as thorough as PavewayIV. no, you pick one, and try to find one with some hard facts. once again, i'm not saying it's not true, but hiding the construction of a major us naval base on Socotra Island would be a hard act for any real magician to follow.

Posted by: john | Apr 26, 2017 8:54:30 AM | 75

ttg at sst has an article up today that relates to the conversation since last night for anyone interested.

Posted by: james | Apr 26, 2017 11:34:18 AM | 76

ahh - i see you guys have already been commenting on that thread, LOL!

Posted by: james | Apr 26, 2017 11:36:59 AM | 77

@ martini... for the record, i apologize from being a bit abrupt and joking around there.. i realize english is not your first language and i appreciate what you have to say..

Posted by: james | Apr 26, 2017 1:51:52 PM | 78

lol - meant to say martino~!

Posted by: james | Apr 26, 2017 1:52:13 PM | 79

addendum for Socotra:

well, i did find this, from 2016...

read it and weep.

Posted by: john | Apr 26, 2017 1:57:17 PM | 80

@Circe 39

Thanks. Trump, yeah...actually I don't find the guy interesting enough to keep discussing his every move. He's just your average puppet to not get in the way of 'Neocons on steroids'.

Russia can't do much in Syria, other than try to convince the Kurds to find common ground with Damascus. See the other thread - if they refuse to fight on, that would complicate things for the US.

Yemen was on the news several times in recent days. There's something happening there, though I don't quite figure out yet what or why. But it could well be positive, if it's increasingly an issue and criticism of KSA is no longer taboo.

@Thirdeye 40

...and that's precisely why the US won't do it.
China's deploying of troops on the border make it abundantly clear who would win and who would lose in such a scenario.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 26, 2017 7:13:56 PM | 81

There were two events that above all else caught my attention following the US arms to YPG news.

1) Redur Xelil's statement that YPG are fighting to build a free Syria for everyone. (It was published in KomNews also, I think)

https://www.reddit.com/r/syriancivilwar/comments/6acmg0/ypg_spokesman_redur_xelils_statement_on_us/

2) Russian flag flying over Afrin. (Flag flying seems to have become a passive-aggressive form of comms.!!)

https://en.eldorar.com/node/5664

Both negated the scaremongering US-following-Israels-plan-to-carve-up-Syria narratives. And both seemed to imply RF and US cooperation both in 'managing' Turkey and resolving the Syrian conflict - which if not resolved delicately and considerately will simply evolve into another's conflict ...

Thanks,b. Excellent piece.

Posted by: AtaBrit | May 12, 2017 4:06:15 PM | 82

Thanks for information and complete summary of Syria Dedicated Proxies war.

Posted by: Gloria Walton | May 19, 2017 3:12:23 AM | 83

Macron spoke with Putin yesterday on the phone. French MSM reported without comment that they plan to work together etc.

Posted by: Mina | May 19, 2017 3:33:08 AM | 84

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