Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 09, 2017

Syria: The New Government Plans For Moving East

The de-escalation agreement for four fighting zones in Syria has come into effect. The battles between Syrian government forces (red) and the foreign supported "rebels" (yellow) has ebbed in the north, in Idleb and north Hama, in the south round Deraa, around the besieged "rebel" enclaves north of Homs and east of Damascus in east-Ghouta. That does not mean that those areas are peaceful or safe. In the north Turkey is scrimishing with U.S. supported Kurds (purple), in Deraa governate ISIS is infighting with other Jihadi "rebels" and in east-Ghouta various "rebel" groups are trying to eliminate each other.

This de-escalation has freed up Syrian government forces which are now repositioning for a large attack through south-east Syria towards Deir-Ezzor and the Iraqi border. One axis of the attack will be from the capital to the east along the Damascus-Baghdad highway towards the Iraqi border. Another one will aim from Palmyra east through Sukhnah towards Deir Ezzor. (Roughly painted as red arrows on the map).


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This terrain in-between is largely desert with only a few villages and some oil installations on the way. Large distances can be covert within a few hours. Fighting against ISIS (aka the Islamic State, grey) will be limited to the few build up areas. But the long "lines of communication", i.e. the supply roads, will be under constant danger of raids from roving ISIS militants and possibly U.S. airplanes.

In parallel to the two large attacks smaller operations (sketched as green arrows on the map) will proceed to eliminate ISIS and "rebel" forces near the government held western heartland. The current U.S.-Kurdish operation against ISIS in Raqqa is pushing ISIS elements towards those western government areas. The (green) "secure the realms" operations are designed to surround and eliminate all enemy areas to the west of the line and to prevent further infiltration into core areas.

The south-eastern desert is currently held by the Islamic State. But U.S. supported "rebel" forces and regular U.S. army troops threaten to take the area in a large attack launched from east Jordan towards the north and onto Raqqa. The build up of such a force has been reported several times and likely has some truth to it. (Though recently published photos of a Jordan armor depot some 50 kilometers from the border are probably unrelated. The depot has existed with nearly the same amount of armor since at least 2010.)

It would be quite risky for Jordan to take part or even allow such a large military operation in Syria. ISIS has infiltrated refugee camps in and near Jordan and has a substantial following within the country. But Jordan depends on U.S. and Gulf country money and can only reject their demands to a certain degree.

Should the U.S. military decide to take all of east-Syria by moving in from Jordan it will come into conflict with the Syrian (red arrow) forces pushing east. These Syrian movements will be accompanied by Russian military elements. Any collision of these maneuver groups could lead to serious escalations.

I doubt that U.S. President Trump has a personal interest in any move in Syria beyond the taking of Raqqa, He needs that success together with the taking of Mosul in Iraq from ISIS for propaganda purposes. Taking Raqqa will be difficult enough. The U.S.-Kurdish forces are still skirmishing ISIS around Taqba city and its dam, (some 30 kilometers from Raqqa) and the Kurds want further political concessions before moving on. Any additional "nation building" will hamper Trump's other political aims.

The military hawks in his government and in the Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia are aiming further. It is now the National Security Advisor General McMaster who is pushing for regime change in Syria. The recent U.S. cruise missile attack on the Syrian Shayrat air base which was predominantly used to fight ISIS was McMaster's plan. But it seems that McMaster is now disliked by Trump and the inner White House circles. There is thus some hope that he will leave soon. The Syrian Foreign Minister already detects some change in the U.S. attitude towards the situation in Syria.

The plans of the Syrian government and its allies make sense. But the large moves towards the east can only proceed if the de-escalation schemes in the west keep the battlefields there relative quiet. This again depends on Turkey's willingness to blockade new weapon flows towards the "rebels" and al-Qaeda especially in north Syria. The Turkish President Erdogan is known for turning on a dime. The Gulf countries will offer him huge bribes to spoil the de-escalation. Russia is offering a pipeline which promises long term profits. It is hard to know which bribe he will prefer and which side he will -in the end- decide to support.

Posted by b on May 9, 2017 at 04:49 AM | Permalink

Comments

It looks like Erdogan is a puppet. The CIA run Turkey and Erdogan try to balance between public opinion and his handlers. Turkey participated in the invasion of Iraq (2003) as a result Iraqi Kurdistan gains autonomy. Then Syria. Rojava is now completely under Mossad/CIA control. What next? Probably partitioning of Turkey. That's the whole plan. If true, Idlib will be conquer by Kurds, but earlier Turkey backed mercenaries can try to clean Aleppo from government forces. Aleppo was promised to be Kurdish city, Raqqua and even Deir Ezzor too.

Posted by: conspiracy theory | May 9, 2017 6:15:16 AM | 2

Jordan's military activity on Syrian territory without coordination with Damascus will be regarded as "enemy force," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Monday:
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201705081053389042-syria-jordan-activity-agression/

With the descallation areas and rapidly shrinking pockets of terrorists in the West of Syria, the SAA is mobilizing massive numbers of troops and material for their pushes towards Deir ez-Zor and securing the Iraq and Jordan borders.

It is almost all flat and open desert with almost no cities. Whatever terror groups that are foolish enough to try to hold their ground are going to be quickly wiped out by the masses of the most battle hardend troops in the Middle East backed by Russian airpower. Those huge sections of IS grey on the Syrian map are going to be quickly changed to Syrian red over the next few weeks.

Posted by: Thadius | May 9, 2017 6:31:12 AM | 3

Ugh, de-escalation, not descallation.

Posted by: Thadius | May 9, 2017 6:52:35 AM | 4

The main concern is how Israel will view this process. Anytime peace threatens to break out in the ME, Israel gets nervous and either sets off some Allahu Akbar™ FF special to get the Muslim hating back on track or bombs something in Syria, like those Syrians troops fighting Israel's buddies, ISIS.

Posted by: Greg Bacon | May 9, 2017 9:32:40 AM | 5

Thanks for the McMaster article, Felicity.

Perhaps this will be the first of many Neocons to leave.

Sigh! This deplorable can dream, can't he?

Posted by: Morongobill | May 9, 2017 9:37:50 AM | 6

@5 Greg Bacon

Israel has just woken up to the fact that Russia has recently moved at least one A-50 into the theater - an AWACS kind of plane capable of seeing - and also being a command center for - a lot of activity on the ground and air. It seems likely to me this upgraded capability was planned with the coming of the de-escalation zones.

It's easy to enjoy watching Israel squirm: Israel Worried Over Russian Reconnaissance Plane in Syria [Video] - comments suggest that the A-50 has been around, off and on, throughout the entire Syria campaign, but it obviously must have a heightened need now.

Russian endeavors such as cease-fires and military holding actions seem to have a way of working very well, to my mind. Even the much-maligned Minsk 2 agreement for Ukraine remains in force as an immovable obstacle to anything other than regime change, and the enemy has not been able to shake it. In Syria, Aleppo worked, the cease-fires worked for their various purposes, and I have no doubt that these zones will work. They permit no combat or surveillance overflights, and are ringed with firepower, largely Russian.

Israel of course would be the perfect tool for a sneak violation. Too bad that A-50 will see everything they do. They seem to regard it as unfair.

Posted by: Grieved | May 9, 2017 10:04:12 AM | 7

@7 g

according to wikipedia the israaelis supplied the radars for the a-50 ... in at least one or two of its incarnations ... so are they afraid of a known quantity? or just pretending? hard to take anything the israelis ... or anyone else, these days ... says at face value.

Posted by: jfl | May 9, 2017 10:35:25 AM | 8

thanks b.. a lot remains uncertain - usa and israels role at this juncture and of course the whack job erdogan..

thanks also felicity for the article from aug 7th 2015 @1.. i wonder why this info hasn't been broadcast more widely in the almost 2 years since it's publication?

" “there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

Rather than downplay the importance of the document and these startling passages, as did the State Department soon after its release, Flynn does the opposite: he confirms that while acting DIA chief he “paid very close attention” to this report in particular and later adds that “the intelligence was very clear.”

Lt. Gen. Flynn, speaking safely from retirement, is the highest ranking intelligence official to go on record saying the United States and other state sponsors of rebels in Syria knowingly gave political backing and shipped weapons to Al-Qaeda in order to put pressure on the Syrian regime:

Hasan: In 2012 the U.S. was helping coordinate arms transfers to those same groups [Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda in Iraq], why did you not stop that if you’re worried about the rise of quote-unquote Islamic extremists?

Flynn: I hate to say it’s not my job…but that…my job was to…was to ensure that the accuracy of our intelligence that was being presented was as good as it could be."

Posted by: james | May 9, 2017 11:05:01 AM | 9

"Russia is offering a pipeline which promises long term profits."

According to Gazprom a couple of weeks ago, work is going to begin this summer on the pipeline. Should Turkey renege on this agreement you can be sure that it will incur a) massive financial penalties - there will not be a repeat of the Obama 'stop thr pipeline' prima-donna antics without serious repercussions - and b) the immediate resumption of sanctions the lifting of which was only completed a couple of weeks ago,hwnce the gazprom announcement. Not to mention the loss of any regional influence gained by its part as guarantor along with Russia and Iran.
How likely really is it that Erdogan is going to back out of this?

(And 'turn on a dime' comments are massively over-simplistic.)

Didn't realise that Diken had an english language version. I've been reading the Turkish version for a few years now, it's an excellent news outlet.

Posted by: AtaBrit | May 9, 2017 11:12:32 AM | 10

Add the S-400 to the pipeline. Erdo is keen on the S-400 and I think I read a deal had been reached. If that is correct, Erdogan is now waiting on delivery and may have to be good for awhile.

Posted by: Peter AU | May 9, 2017 11:13:15 AM | 11

@Grieved | 7

"Russian endeavors such as cease-fires and military holding actions seem to have a way of working very well, to my mind"

Fully agree. Despite their appearance sometimea to protract events

Posted by: AtaBrit | May 9, 2017 11:17:26 AM | 12

I think we will see some surprises.

Hard to believe that the signaling from each side is what they actually plan to do.

Looks like we may finally find out which side Erdogan is really on.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 9, 2017 12:08:21 PM | 13

@10 atabrit... thanks. i agree with you.. putting erdogan in a straight jacket is no easy feat, but if anyone is capable it would be russia.. we'll see where this goes...

Posted by: james | May 9, 2017 1:09:18 PM | 14

Erdogan will be livid ...

The Latest: Official says WH has approved weapons for Kurds

A senior U.S. official says the Trump administration has approved providing heavier weapons to Syria's Kurds as they move closer to the key Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa.

The decision comes despite sharp objections from Turkey.


We are talking tanks and artillery here ...
Turkey is (rightly) fearing that one day these weapons will be used against it.

Posted by: b | May 9, 2017 1:56:46 PM | 15

@all

I read the below article a short while ago and have been meaning to share it. While it is slightly off topic, it maybe sheds light on the Turkey-Russia pipeline relationship mentioned by 'b' in the above article.

It explores the business entities (Russian, Turkish and Azerbaijani) involved in the TAP gas pipeline to Italy and I found it a fascinating piece of investigative journalism. Enjoy!

If anyone knows any other similar articles I'd be grateful for a link.

http://espresso.repubblica.it/inchieste/2017/04/18/news/the-pipeline-of-the-three-regimes-1.299786

Posted by: AtaBrit | May 9, 2017 1:59:13 PM | 16

b @15--

For those weapons to be of use in the Raqqa offensive, they must already be in-theatre, presumably Kuwait. The question begged: How will they be delivered, particularly tanks and APCs?

Posted by: karlof1 | May 9, 2017 2:14:03 PM | 17

@b | 15
'Livid' indeed.
Only today Turkish news was reporting on Erdogan's upcoming meeting with Trump and how Erdogan intends to make the Syrian Kurds - PKK issue top of the agenda ... Looks like Trump has done that for him!
What with Erdogan desperately wanting to intervene in the Zarrab/ Halk Bank case and bring it to Turkey to protect both himself, his family and his AKP/mafia cadro, the meeting with Trump is going to be very interesting indeed!

"Turkey is (rightly) fearing that one day these weapons will be used against it."
What I do not understand is that by persecuting Kurds Erdogan is ensuring their increased strength and increased appetite for separation from Turkey. Ocalan and now Demirtas are heroes thanks to Turkey!!
No matter how much demographic manipulation Erdogan engages in - the lastest imports to the region were a couple of hundred Kirgiz families apparently - he can not possibly make an impact on a population of 20m!!
And is his wall going to hold up? Turkish domestic construction does not have a good reputation :-)

Posted by: AtaBrit | May 9, 2017 2:48:19 PM | 18

@16 atabrit

according to the espresso article the money's all gone. they need new suckers - i mean investors.

Posted by: jfl | May 9, 2017 3:56:41 PM | 19

New Postol report from May 8 :

"The Human Rights Watch Report of May 1, 2013(2017-typo got him again) Cites Evidence that Disaffirms Its Own Conclusions About the Alleged Nerve Agent Attack at Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on April 4, 2017"

https://normanpilon.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/theodore-a-postol.pdf

Posted by: Marko | May 9, 2017 4:04:01 PM | 20

"Report of May 1, 2013(2017-typo got him again)"

Not the only date he typed incorrectly. He badly needs an editor.

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 9, 2017 5:42:57 PM | 21

b, McMaster will be next to follow Comey out the door.

RT/AP reporting and Trump's tweeting: Comey has been fired as in services terminated

https://www.rt.com/usa/387794-fbi-director-comey-fired/

Posted by: likklemore | May 9, 2017 6:00:33 PM | 22

Whatever else may be behind this, long-time Trump watchers have noted that over the course of his many commercial ventures he habitually hires people and then very quickly fires them. One of his many personality quirks.

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 9, 2017 6:25:14 PM | 23

@b | May 9, 2017 1:56:46 PM | 15
Tanks? The YPG has complained about getting very little anti tank weaponry from the US. There are only scattered photos of them using somewhat contemporary anti tank weapons

Heavy could easily mean a ton of tows, milans, and towed artillery and towed MLRS of the kind the CIA gave to jihadists. Standoff weapons for the sort of siege they're getting into with the battle for Raqqa.

Posted by: cresty | May 9, 2017 6:54:53 PM | 24

cresty @24--

Agreed, thus my above query. Most War News sources are rather quiet today. Hopefully, more will be known tomorrow.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 9, 2017 7:02:15 PM | 25

Grieved @7

The S-50 has been in Syria several times before. However, up to now, it has always flown in from its base in Russia. That means the crew and aircraft wasted many hours just getting on station. It makes sense to have it based in Hymeim to monitor the sitaution from the air to minimise the chance of surprises. This will particularly irk Israel as it prefers to fire long range glide SPICE bombs from IDF aircraft loitering over the occupied Golan. It will now lose the element of surprise.

Posted by: Yonatan | May 9, 2017 7:03:37 PM | 26

Peter AU @11

Russia has reportedly offered Turkey up to 4 battalions of export version S-400 (reduced range and other capabilites). One division of S400 should cost about $500 million. They are some concerns that Turkey may not be able to afford the larger 4 battalion deployment, requiring a loan from Russia. The smalll deplyments of 2 divisions or less do not make sense from a coverage viewpoint. Russia does not agree to technology transfer (wise given Erdogan's volatility and the presence of NATO forces/agents in Turkey)

https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.en/bmpd.livejournal.com/2592498.html

Posted by: Yonatan | May 9, 2017 7:11:04 PM | 27

Well aware of the strategic importance of upholding the siege on the airport, ISIS is contesting every inch in the cemetery area and adjacent Workers’ Housing District, often launching counter-attacks overnight only to be pushed back by airstrikes and machine-gun fire during daylight.
I'd be surprised if the SAA rushes to Deir Ez-zor, the Cemetery Meat Grinder is running nicely and there's probably another couple of months good use for it.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 9, 2017 7:15:09 PM | 28

Re: Posted by: likklemore | May 9, 2017 6:00:33 PM | 22

Comey out, H.R. "McMadMan" next - let's hope so.

Maybe Trump is actually waking up to the real problems he faces and Bannon is back in his ear.

Although there was a story at the time that the so-called turf fight between Bannon & Kushner was a beat-up and that Kushner really had problems with "McMadMan".

If so, maybe Kushner isn't as 'evil' as some sort (at least yet). More perhaps naive than anything else.

Posted by: Julian | May 9, 2017 7:25:48 PM | 29

Unrelated but:

Trump fires FBI director James Comey

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/us/politics/james-comey-fired-fbi.html

Any ideas on what this means?

Posted by: David | May 9, 2017 7:43:49 PM | 30

Julian @29

I listened in on a radio program yesterday wrapping up the reported MSM news of the day. One mention was the shouting match in the WH Oval office. See the disliked link posted by b. HR schooling the prez. and prez screamed back. There is denial by Trump on the Bloomberg piece. All this disagreement over SK/NK THAAD placement

More at link

On this latter, there is a not yet revealed "secret" Meeting in Olso working on reunification.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
US heavy weapon to Kurds. Hmm, Erdogan buys S-400 but remains in NATO? while looking east. Confused.

Posted by: likklemore | May 9, 2017 8:07:31 PM | 31

@20 marko, 'There is substantial evidence that the nerve agent attack of August 21, 2017 in Damascus might not have been executed by the Syrian government.'

from the 'Summary and Conclusions' at your link. i guess i'll keep it read to hand to reply to charges that assad has gassed his own people, again, in august?

it is hard to believe that he has no one to help him catch this kind of stuff. i guess the thing to do is to ignore the first couple of issues of his reports, until he finally gets it right the third time around?

Posted by: jfl | May 9, 2017 8:08:59 PM | 32

It looks like Erdogan is a puppet. The CIA run Turkey and Erdogan try to balance between public opinion and his handlers. [...]. Rojava is now completely under Mossad/CIA control.

Posted by: conspiracy theory | May 9, 2017 6:15:16 AM | 2

This is a "puppet theory". However, this is not how it works in practice. There are no "strings" and "puppets" have their own goals. i see more of wily local actors securing money, weapons etc. by pretending to be "useful", while western secret services etc. have to find some ways of being active and important, even if those ways contradict each other -- would their have some higher purpose than being active and important.

Take Erdogan. He has his own megalomania, and in the case of Syria, he wants it to be ruled by Sunnis who are grateful to His Sultanic Mightiness. He is not exactly "turning on a dime", he merely does enough to secure investment money (Gulf, and some extortion from EU, a rather smooth job), markets (EU, Russia on a good day, Arab countries when he does not f..k up), energy supplies (Russia and Iran), and yes, weapons too. His main tool is playing major actors against each other, so he makes ostentations contacts with Russians when USA or EU seem to be giving him hard time or vice versa. Domestically, he is drifting from his initial reliance on crowd manipulation toward a more direct dictatorship, plus he switched from pan-Sunni approach of courting more conservative Kurds to Sunni-nationalistic mode which gives him support of (semi-?) fascistic elements that hate Kurds. As Kurds found him unreliable and turned against him politically, he found them unreliable and turned against them militarily.

Then take Rojava Kurds. They got American and German arms and money, and play a complicated game in respect to Barzani regime in Iraqi Kurdistan. But they also cooperate with Asad and Russians when needed, especially when they are in trouble with Turkey. One can theorize that some of them are "puppets" of CIA, but would the current best suppliers of money and weapons insists on some conditions that YPG finds obnoxious, they would instantly go to Moscow and less directly, to Damascus.

Then there are "puppets" in Idlib area, that should be controlled by Turkey. If Erdogan seriously stops supplying them (paid by Gulfies), he gets some inconvenient explosions (as opposed to bombing of Kurds and leftists). Puppet terrorists are pet cobras: they can bite the handlers' hands. When you use your secret services to train them and supply them you end up with factions in those services that actually believe in that stuff: who would embark on a carrier to work with them? And proper differentiation between trustworthy and un-trustworthy terrorists is tricky at the best of times.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 9, 2017 8:15:54 PM | 33

@20, marko

after that gratuitous typo, his six points in conclusion are sound ...


We repeat the summary of conclusions from the introduction to this article for the convenience of the reader:

1. There is no forensic evidence presented in the HRW report to support the allegation that the munition used to deliver sarin was a KhAB 250 or 500 “standard” Russian munition.

2. There is no forensic evidence of any kind of debris in and around in the crater that indicates any form of airdropped sarin dispensing munition.

3. There is no forensic evidence of a calamitous killing of a large part of the population of a densely populated area immediately adjacent to the alleged crater where massive amounts of sarin were supposed to have been released.

4. Interviews described in the HRW report were not verified in any way. One of the most striking omissions in the panoply of claims put forth in the HRW report is the lack of any video evidence (or verbal accounts) of mass casualties and chaos in the densely populated area immediately adjacent to the crater that would have had to be the alleged sarin kill-zone. Instead, the only indication of a death near the crater is videos of a goat carcass that was obviously dragged across the ground to the location. The same people who took these videos appear to be among the “reliable” sources of interview evidence cited by the HRW report. These same journalists showed a dead carcass of a goat supposedly adjacent to the crater rather than the area where mass casualties would have occurred an equally short distance away.

5. Although there are pictures of victims that indicate poisoning by sarin or other organophosphates that act as nerve agents, there is no forensic indication that these photographs are actually victims of sarin poisoning in the alleged nerve agent attack of April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun. If the victims could be connected with an event in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, their symptoms could easily be the result of poisoning from organophosphates pesticides and from gases and smoke products generated in fires that often occur in industrial accidents. As such, there is no basis to rule out a claim made by the Russians that an ammunition dump that was adjacent to a heavily populated area was hit using a conventional explosive bomb. While this certainly is not proof of the Russian claim, neither is there any proof in the HRW report of a sarin release at the crater.

6. Given that there is substantial evidence that groups other than the Syrian government possess sarin precursors, indications of sarin poisoning do not alone indicate that the Syrian government was the source of the sarin, assuming the observed medical effects were from sarin.

Posted by: jfl | May 9, 2017 8:17:41 PM | 34

@33 piotr, 'And proper differentiation between trustworthy and un-trustworthy terrorists is tricky at the best of times.'

and these are not the 'best of times' for the rump government in the us of a. or for erdogan or the hubris of the saudis. the victims are the syrians, and iraqis, and the libyans, and the ukrainians, and the yemenis ... and the palestinians, of course, as ever.

the new american century of terror continues to unfold. more and more mad, more and more murderous and criminal. the last three american presidents, including this one, are war criminals, and the congress together with the american people are depraved and indifferent to them ... or outright supportive of them.

so on and on it goes. with all of nato eagerly selling arms to the terrorist gcc states.

Posted by: jfl | May 9, 2017 8:46:01 PM | 35

Here's an interesting interview of a Western military analyst who 1) seems to agree that many of the Tomahawks were destroyed either by S-300s or by Russian electronic countermeasures, 2) is doubtful the chemical causing the injuries at Khan Shaykoun was sarin and concedes they may have been released from the warehouse hit by a Syrian conventional airstrike, but who 3) nevertheless asserts that the Tomahawk missile attack was justified: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7waFEzDfS0M&feature=youtu.be

Go figure.

Posted by: William Rood | May 9, 2017 9:51:25 PM | 36

Thanks to b, thanks to all comments. This is the best site online for addressing this issue in terms a layman (or woman) can understand. I dearly hope we may be reaching a watershed in this agonizing conflict.

To jfl, the American people are not depraved. Confused, yes; unenlightened, yes. The depraved are those in power who think dropping bombs is the answer to everything. That's depraved.

Posted by: juliania | May 9, 2017 9:56:09 PM | 37

@29

Make no mistake Kushner is evil and he, like Trump, have no problem whatsoever abusing power for personal interest, gain and benefit and both will throw whomever under the bus for their personal interests and power and no one is safe except them; it all depends which way the wind is blowing one day to another.

Snowden condemns this and so do I as per my comment on the open thread and I could care less about Comey one way or another.

Posted by: Circe | May 9, 2017 10:13:19 PM | 38

@30 David

What it means is that Trump fired the guy investigating his circle for colluding with the Russians. The last time anything similar happened was when Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Cox in the Watergate debacle in 1973. It's within his power to do so but highly irregular.

One can be sure that there will be calls for a Special Prosecutor because any Trump appointee to Comey's job at the FBI will be considered biased in the president's favor. Considering the testimony of Sally Yates and James Clapper at the senate investigation yesterday this seems to indicate that Trump's beginning to feel the noose starting to tighten. He was advised by Sally Yates very early on that Flynn had been compromised and was advised not to make him his Security Advisor. He proceeded to to exactly that and it was only 18 days later, when the Washington Post broke the story that Yates had put him wise, that he fired Flynn.

So maybe expect some movement by the Yanks in the ME or even more of a heightening of tensions with North Korea. Trump could be looking for something to serve as a distraction from the fact that his people are dirty and that likely he is too. So far there's been Flynn, Manafort, Page, Kushner, Stone, Gordon and even Jeff Sessions that have had to admit to meetings with Russians. They tried to put it down to a normal part of any transition of government but normal it ain't. The wheels are grinding and firing Comey isn't going to save his crooked ass.

Posted by: peter | May 9, 2017 10:23:43 PM | 39

Never trust the Turks they have form . They r turncoats par excellance to use the french expreesion. Facts speak louder than words.
McMaster might be disliked but never under estimate the anglo-zionist they have infiltrated all aspects of western society and the so called deep state has been running things since 1913.

Posted by: falcemartello | May 9, 2017 11:53:43 PM | 40

OIL and GAS line politics.

A lot is made of various competing plans for pipelines through areas of the middle east and how these shape the geopolitics of the region and especially the Syrian conflict. These were all true in the context of the world economy in 2007-2012. They are no longer true.

In the late 19th century British strategic planning was based on worldwide naval supremacy. That naval supremacy was based on coal powered ships. The British Empire dotted re-coaling ports around the world on that basis. Then Oil powered ships became dominant and overnight that network of re-coaling ports was redundant. But there was momentum in the system and the British Empire expended a lot of resources defending positions that no longer had any function.

Qatar in 2007. The Qataris had loads of natural Gas but their main customer (W. Europe) was far away. Shipping NG is not as profitable as piping it to your customer. The best route for a pipeline to their customers was directly through Syria and thus they started to militate for regime change in Syria to one that would be more open to their pipeline. Since then, however, Nordstream1 has come on line and Russia can reliably provide around half of W.Europe's NG needs without any transport fees and with no insecurity (no more Ukies playing political games with the Gas taps). Putin sensibly has made it abundantly clear to his German customers that he will not use this NG provision as a political tool against them. Even if the Germans are forced by NATO to sanction Russia, Russia will still provide NG to Germany at agreed prices. Nordstream2 is on the way and could be completed within 2 years at which point W. Europe will always (always=100 years until the NG runs out) be able to buy all the NG it needs at lower prices than the Qataris will ever be able to provide.

The Qataris started a war to build a pipeline that no longer makes any economic sense. Even if their headchoppers did successfully destroy the Syrian state there would now be no earthly reason for building that pipeline. And yet the momentum of wars sometimes means that they continue long after their original motivation has disappeared.

All of this is not even touching on the technological change that is destroying the Oil market. China is proving that you can now have economic growth while cutting down on fossil fuel consumption. Oil will never peak (except for short sharp spikes) above 100USD ever again. The Saudis must be fucking terrified. OPEC can threaten that they will take their ball home if everyone doesn't play according to their rules... but the reality is the rest of us have better games to play now.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 1:27:15 AM | 41

A similar momentum dynamic applies to American involvement in the ME.

Since 1950, when the USA took over Imperial domination of the ME from the British, their policy has revolved around three objectives:
1) Defence and expansion of Israel
2)Oil
3)Waving their dicks around in a way that the rest of the world sees.

With fracking, Alberta tar sands, and renewable development, the USA no longer has any need for middle eastern oil. They sometimes continue to buy it as a courtesy to their family friends (Bushes and Sauds etc) and because American corporations still own a lot of that Middle Eastern oil but the USA does't really need it. A 60 year habit is hard to kick even if the underlying addiction is no longer there. Long time smokers who quit often chew pens because they are just used to having something in their mouth. The USA has spent so long bombing the middle east for oil that they still feel like they need to do it even though they no longer need the oil.

That really only leaves Israel as the reason for American involvement in the Middle East. Now here one should bear in mind the Index of American Death Value Ratio as Assessed by America
1 American life is worth:
4 Canadian
5 British
9 French
17 Japanese
112 Mexican
23408 Iraqi
77000 Afghani
100000000000 Sub-Saharan African (excluding S. Africa)
and the only group falling below 1
0.16 Israeli


Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 2:53:47 AM | 42

@30

I'm guessing it's more of the Trump inner-circle plugging any potential leaks in the bureau than a simple cover up. The FBI needs to be cleaned out, and you start off by going from the top and working your way down.

Posted by: never mind | May 10, 2017 3:13:05 AM | 43

Not sure if already posted here: Video confirms White Helmets are Al-Qaeda's "Hidden Soldiers"


Now, a little-known video made by the leader of Tahrir al-Sham (al-Qaeda in Syria), Abu Jaber, on March 16, 2017, is making the rounds of social media, showing Jaber praising the White Helmets as the "hidden soldiers of the revolution" and thanking them for what they do."Second, a message of thanks and gratitude to the hidden soldiers of our revolution," Jaber said. "On top of the list are the parents of the martyrs and the men of the White Helmets."

"Second, a message of thanks and gratitude to the hidden soldiers of our revolution," Jaber said. "On top of the list are the parents of the martyrs and the men of the White Helmets."

Posted by: ProPeace | May 10, 2017 7:15:45 AM | 44

Qatar in 2007. The Qataris had loads of natural Gas but their main customer (W. Europe) was far away. Shipping NG is not as profitable as piping it to your customer. The best route for a pipeline to their customers was directly through Syria and thus they started to militate for regime change in Syria to one that would be more open to their pipeline.

The Qataris started a war to build a pipeline that no longer makes any economic sense. Even if their headchoppers did successfully destroy the Syrian state there would now be no earthly reason for building that pipeline. And yet the momentum of wars sometimes means that they continue long after their original motivation has disappeared.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 1:27:15 AM | 41

====================================

It always astounds me how clueless people like to pretend that they know what they are talking about.

The copious amount of words quoted above are all complete nonsense.

It all sounda so plausible provided one knows absolutely nothing about the subject.

The Qataris have supplied some money to finance the proxy army but an even larger slice of the money and the a large slice of the proxy army came directly from Saudi Arabia.

The best route for a pipeline to their customers was directly through Syria

This sounds somewhat plausible, but only provided one actually knows nothing about the subject.

The [alleged] pipeline, which propagandistic tools keep foolishly and incessantly waffling on about, must go through Saudi territory, because there is no other viable route.

But there is no Saudi-Qatari co-operation on the pipeline, and without Saudi co-operation there simply is NO Pipeline worth talking about.


Saudi Arabia has so far refused to sanction the alleged "Qatari Pipeline", this despite co-operating with the qataris on the war on Syria.


"The Qataris started a war to build a pipeline that no longer makes any economic sense."

More nonsense - the Qataris are nothing but bit-players in the war. The Qataris didn't start any war, they merely supplied some money. They are minor players in the whole affair.

So according to the ridiculous "logic" being expounded here, the Saudis WILL co-operate with Qatar on the "War for the [alleged] Qatari pipeline [which must first pass through Saudi territory]" but WILL NOT co-operate on allowing the [alleged] Qatari pipeline to actually first pass through Saudi Territory which it needs to do in order to reach Syria.

Anyone who cannot see the basic flaw in the logic of the "Syria War = Qatar pipeline war" argument, being so frequently promoted by the clueless/propagandists, has no business even commenting on the subject

Why people, like the person that posted the above quoted words, keep peddling this obvious drivel is a mystery.

Perhaps they are paid to repeat this obvious non sense?

======================
Here is the Gareth Porter article on this subject, once again, which I have posted several times in the last week.
Perhaps the willing propagandist might take his head out of his ass long enough to actually read it, and more importantly actually understand it (a faint hope)

The War Against the Assad Regime Is Not a ‘Pipeline War’

    .

    It’s easy to understand why that explanation would be accepted by many antiwar activists: it is in line with the widely accepted theory that all the US wars in the Middle East have been “oil wars” – about getting control of the petroleum resources of the region and denying them to America’s enemies.

    But the “pipeline war” theory is based on false history and it represents a distraction from the real problem of US policy in the Middle East – the US war state’s determination to hold onto its military posture in the region.

    It is true that Qatar had proposed a pipeline to carry its natural gas to Turkey. But nearly everything else about the story turns out, upon investigation, to be untrue. There is no contemporaneous report of any such rejection by the Syrian government. It was only four years later, in August 2013 that an Agence France-Presse article recounting what happened in a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, claimed in passing, “In 2009, Assad refused to sign an agreement with Qatar for an overland pipeline running from the Gulf to Europe via Syria to protect the interests of its Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.” No source is given for the statement, but the main source for other information in the article was “a European diplomat who shuttles between Beirut and Damascus.”

    That claim has no credibility for a very simple reason: there was no Qatari proposal for Syria to reject in 2009. It was not until October 2009 that Qatar and Turkey even agreed to form a working group to develop such a gas pipeline project.

    Even more important, the immediate problem for Qatar’s proposal was not Syria but Saudi Arabia, whose territory the Qatari gas would have to cross to get to Syria. In January 2010, The National, a daily UAE [United Arab Emirates] newspaper reported that the main obstacle to the idea of a pipeline to carry Qatari natural gas to Turkey and then to Europe “was likely to be Saudi Arabia, which has a track record of obstructing regional pipeline development” and still had very bad relations with Qatar. And Middle East geopolitical analyst Felix Imonti reported at Oilprice.com in 2012 that Qatar had been forced to abandon the pipeline idea in 2010 because Saudi Arabia had not agreed to have it built across its territory.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | May 10, 2017 10:48:28 AM | 45

That last line is worth repeating:

    "Felix Imonti reported at Oilprice.com in 2012 that Qatar had been forced to abandon the pipeline idea in 2010 because Saudi Arabia had not agreed to have it built across its territory."

Posted by: Just Sayin' | May 10, 2017 10:51:15 AM | 46

@45
Oh dear now that you have so brilliantly seen through my propaganda lies my supervisor has said that I will not be paid for this week. Looks like its beans on toast for me again.

If you stepped back from your eagerness to throw insults and re-read what I posted you would see that I am pointing out exactly the absurdity of claims that the Syrian war is merely a pipeline war.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 11:40:20 AM | 47

@46
Because of futures positions the Saudi's have taken, the woefully inefficient design of their oil infrastructure and their government overspending the Saudi's pretty much lose money on selling oil right now. If there was a prospect of a Qatari NG pipeline now with the transport fees that would provide the Saudis, they would gladly accept the cash. I agree the Saudi's were not hot on the idea in those so long ago days of 2010.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 11:48:08 AM | 48

you would see that I am pointing out exactly the absurdity of claims that the Syrian war is merely a pipeline war.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 11:40:20 AM | 47

===============

Yes but you are countering those absurdities regarding Qatari pipelines with equal absurdities of your own. Clearly you didn't even bother to read the Porter article linked above.

For example:

    The Qataris started a war to build a pipeline that no longer makes any economic sense.

This is just flat out false. The Qataris never started to build ANY pipeline. You can of course correct me if you know this to be wrong, providing evidence exists to support any claims you may make to the contrary of course, but as far as I know not a centimetre of any Qatari gas pipeline was ever built nor was it ever "about to be built".

Your economics argument is a red herring to make your nonsense about Qatari pipelines seem somewhat less than nonsensical.

Even if their headchoppers did successfully destroy the Syrian state there would now be no earthly reason for building that pipeline.

Once again, there never was a viable pipeline plan in the first place, since the Saudis killed it way back in 2010. The more astute observers here will note that 2010 was before the war started in earnest.

And yet the momentum of wars sometimes means that they continue long after their original motivation has disappeared.

Since the pipeline is clearly not "the original motivation" for the War on Syria, this statement is just more nonsense

Oil will never peak (except for short sharp spikes) above 100USD ever again. The Saudis must be fucking terrified.

Why? Prior to 15 yrs ago oil stood at a lot less than 100USD per barrel. So there's no reason for Saudis to "need" it to be above 100USD. They will continue to operate effectively as a oil exporting nation with oil prices far below 100USD

OPEC can threaten that they will take their ball home if everyone doesn't play according to their rules... but the reality is the rest of us have better games to play now.

The US might not need Saudi Oil but the rest of the world does. It still forms a major slice of the Chinese imported oil volumes, to give but one example.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | May 10, 2017 11:59:57 AM | 49

46
If there was a prospect of a Qatari NG pipeline now with the transport fees that would provide the Saudis, they would gladly accept the cash.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 11:48:08 AM | 48

===============

You seem to counter claims that you are talking nonsense, by simply making up more nonsense

Posted by: Just Sayin' | May 10, 2017 12:01:30 PM | 50

The cost of production per barrel of Saudi Crude is almost the lowest in the world . Last time I checked it was well below 10 dollars a barrel.

If the Saudis really need to tighten their budget strings all they'd have to do would be to call a halt to the several wars they are involved in. And then sit back and watch the dollars roll in.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | May 10, 2017 12:09:44 PM | 51

PS:

OPEC can threaten that they will take their ball home if everyone doesn't play according to their rules... but the reality is the rest of us have better games to play now.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 1:27:15 AM | 41

===============================

Just to reiterate how nonsensical this statement is, one need only consider that OPEC oil production is approx twice Non-OPEC oil production. Not only that by crude produced by OPEC countries is by far the cheapest crude there is. The production costs, per barrel, for all non-opec members far exceed the cost for OPEC member-states.

So, no, the world doesn't "have better games to play right now".

OPEC is still the biggest fish in the pond and will be for the foreseeable future.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | May 10, 2017 12:17:55 PM | 52

Although OPEC production may well be twice that of non-OPEC, what matters here is the type of crude.

Saudi Arabia no longer provides any light sweet.

The only light sweet crude available in quantity today is to be found in Basra, Nigeria and Libya.

As of the past few years, US shale is now producing some of the finest light sweet crude.

With regards to heavy sour, we have plenty globally.

With regards to the USA that till recently were the largest consumers of oil (maybe still are), their principal suppliers are Canada, Mexico and Venezuela that can all produce great quantities of heavy sour right on its door step.

Posted by: guidoamm | May 10, 2017 1:03:05 PM | 53

Hmmm it seems we have a big ol' disagreement.
Well I see the validity in a lot of what you say but I have a problem with your interpretation of some of the quotes you extract from what I wrote. Maybe you are reading it too literally? Maybe you skipped the first para pointing out that it was a critique of the people that go on and on about gas pipelines being the cause of the Syrian war?

I agree the Qatari Pipeline was always a 'pipe' dream. With the number of countries (SA, Syria, Turkey, BG, Rum.. just to get to the Central European NG hub in Hungary-Or Greece and Italy for that routing) it would have had to have traversed there would have been no money left for the Qatari after paying all the transport fees (not literally). Nonetheless it was a pipe dream that the Qatari had because it would have solved a lot of problems for them. I agree it was never ever ever gonna happen.

I disagree that the Saudi's currently produce the cheapest oil, though they did once upon a time. It is a claim they make as they also claim to have the largest oil reserves in the world. They also claim to be stalwart defenders of women's rights at the UN.

Agreed China and Japan are the industrial economies that are currently most reliant on importing oil from the middle east. But at prices over 100USD the Chinese would rapidly switch to much more cost effective electrification. So if OPEC pushed prices up there they would be shooting themselves in the foot as their customers would rapidly switch to the now technologically
available alternatives.

I agree OPEC oil is the cheapest oil around... Tar sands oil makes ZERO economic sense seen in isolation but it just so convenient. Hey its right next door just stick a pipeline through a few reservations and no need to occasionally bomb the Canucks to keep em pliant.

Can't recall exactly when I read the Porter piece but most likely sometime last autumn. I will reread it now for your pleasure.

Please dude if you keep insulting my propaganda efforts my supervisor is gonna dock me a full months pay. Show some mercy.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 1:10:04 PM | 54

Let me be clear!
There are many reasons why the Syrian war started and many who played a part in starting it.

But at the current time there is only one actor that is benefiting from a prolongation of the war.
-The gulfies (Q UAE) are no longer interested.
-The Saudis cannot afford it and beside they are busy having their asses handed to them by the Houthis.
-Russia does not have infinite resources to devote to the war.
-Jordan is not happy with an unstable neighbour in chaos that threatens to spill over their border.
-Iraq would be happy with friendly relations with a stable Syria.
-Iran, like Russia does not have infinite resources.
-The Kurds have skilfully walked a tightrope and an end to hostilities with rapprochement with Assad could leave them with a greatly enhanced position within Syria(not autonomy maybe-but limited self rule). Prolonging the conflict may lead to them being pushed into conflict with Damascus by the Americans a fate they are resolutely resisting currently while accepting American supplies. Well played Rojave.
-Turkey should fear that as the war goes on the US gets closer and closer to the Kurds who the Americans are coming to regard as the only reliable partner they have ever experienced in the middle east. Which must be disconcerting for them what with the marxism and all. And there is always the prospect of the conflict spilling over into Turkey and restarting full out war with the PKK. But maybe the Turks are too blinded by their pathological hatred of Kurds that they don't see this danger.
-And of course Assad and the Syrian people are desperate for the hell to be over so they can start rebuilding

Israel is quite content with the course of events. They would be happy to see the Syrian war continue for an eternity. And where the nose leads the face must follow... so the US must be made to feel that they are happy with the conflict continuing.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 1:37:23 PM | 55

And now I ask you to turn to page 37 in the Color Revolution Handbook.

To paraphrase Glengarry Glen Ross ('You need to always be closing,'): You need to always be laying the groundwork! Lay teh Groundwork all the time, everywhere. Lay groundwork in all the countries so that if the opportunity arises in the form of any public disturbance you can build on the groundwork already in place.

Maidan started as a legitimate public dissatisfaction with corruption and economic malaise in Ukraine. But the groundwork had already been placed long before to quickly take advantage.
In Syria, there were spontaneous and genuine protests in rural and backwater areas of Syria over legitimate issues. Which Bashar initially responded to quite calmly though elements of the security forces trained up under Pere Assad may have been 'overzealous'. But unfortunately the groundwork involves laying out incendiary materials that explode when the spark comes. Without those incendiary groundworks the spark would have quickly dissipated. Bashar had agreed to meet all of the initial demands.

It should be remembered that Syria did operate a torture franchise for the Bush administration extraordinary rendition game. Though (I believe) all of the participants in the Syrian version were returned alive having provided no info of use. In contrast many participants in the Egyptian version have never been heard from again.

Its now that you need to accuse me again of being a Langleybot. Or maybe I am the latest AI disinformation development. Or maybe I am just a little drunk and not really up to talking about this stuff seriously without crying into my beer.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 2:18:39 PM | 56

@37 juliana

Depraved Indifference Law and Legal Definition


To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.

"to bring defendant’s conduct within the murder statute, the People were required to establish also that defendant’s act was imminently dangerous and presented a very high risk of death to others and that it was committed under circumstances which evidenced a wanton indifference to human life or a depravity of mind. ... The crime differs from intentional murder in that it results not from a specific, conscious intent to cause death, but from an indifference to or disregard of the risks attending defendant’s conduct." 60 NY2d at 274.


the wars have been ongoing for more than 15 years. indifference is measured by inaction, by non-results, by the deaths of the millions of innocents slaughtered. not by self-professed good intentions. i'm as indifferent, hence as depraved as every other american citizen. i'm sure you're a better person than i am, juliana. but our collective depraved indifference is worn on our shirt sleeves ... every day, every death, attests to it. we americans are the 21st century's 'good germans'.

Posted by: jfl | May 10, 2017 4:00:45 PM | 57

Imagine the conversation like this.

Its the early 2000's. The Americans approach the Syrians: 'Hey guys, I know we haven't been best buddies for a while but maybe if you help us out with our little problem we can be better friends. You see we just have so many brown people we have to torture. And yeh we have loads of places to torture brown people in. Loads of places, all over- Cuba, Abu Ghraib, Kosovo, Kabul, Poland.... so many places we can barely remember where they all are But see the problem is every time we torture a guy he tells us about 10 other people we would really like to torture as well... It's exhausting I tell ya. So could you do us a solid and torture some for us. If you do this for us we can be best buds.

The Syrians confer amongst themselves. Well we haven't been torturing so much lately under the new management but maybe we should do this for the Amis. It's never a bad idea to play nice with the biggest dumbest bully on the playground. They turn to the Americans and agree to help out if they can.

The Americans smile a million dollar grin. Great well lets start you off with this Canadian guy with a funny name for example... Funny name like that he must be a terrorist.

The Syrians do their bit. And send the Canadian with the funny name back to the Americans with a note attached saying, 'What was the point of that'? Well we did what you wanted are we friends now?

But alas that big dumb bullying galoot only has eyes for a certain someone who lives right next door to Syria.


Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 4:14:29 PM | 58

@57 jfl
It is not just indifferent Americans that have blood on their hands. There are others of us whose leaders cup the testicles of your leaders. We also bear a responsibility. I came close to stopping paying taxes last September when those monies were used to murder Syrian soldiers that were defending innocents from being slaughtered or sold into sex slavery. But in the end the appeal of the comfortable life won out and I acquiesed to the murder.

And if a reckoning comes we can't pull an Austria-move and dodge guilt by saying that we were unwilling participants along with the 'American'.

In fact we are maybe worse than Americans. Common Americans can be excused because they have a pathetic excuse for an education system and a completely controlled media. Coupled with a one party(two names) antiquated electoral system that guarantees corruption and mendacity. Some of us live in actual multi-party democracies and with school systems that sometimes teach things. And with medias that are owned by more than 4 companies. And yet we are by and large still indifferent.

Posted by: Køn | May 10, 2017 5:19:55 PM | 59

@55 ken.. yeah, i agree with you their in the last statement especially..

i haven't been following all the posts... regarding your @58.. i can't remember if that was under harper, but pretty sure it was... at any rate, it was the usa that sent him to syria, in spite of the fact he is canadian and had a canadian passport...from wikipedia - "The US government suspected him of being a member of Al Qaeda and deported him, not to Canada, his current home and the passport on which he was traveling, but to Syria, even though its government is known to use torture." gotta love those american officials always finding terrorists everywhere.. too bad they are unable to look at themselves to see what terrorists they are..

bottom line, the canadian gov't is not a lot different when it comes to rubber stamping this same bs... many countries aren't... canada where i live is quite disappointing on a foreign affairs front in many regards.. while i would like to blame canucks, or americans and etc - we are soaked in a media that is a foot soldier for these same forces that think upending others sovereignty is okay, in order to get a boogie man - created out of mostly lies and bs... we are in a sad place here 2017 on the planet..

Posted by: james | May 11, 2017 8:57:02 PM | 60

So the US has basically caved in, finally accepting Moscow's conditions.

The de-escalation zones seem to work and free up troops for the eastern offensive.
Yemen gets more attention, rumours of some upcoming deal are circulating.
And in Libya a de-facto unity government is emerging, there's talk of elections.
Erdogan is yelling, but no one cares (which is nothing new).

Sounds good.
My only question is: Why now? What has happened last week(s) to tip the scales?

Posted by: smuks | May 11, 2017 9:13:06 PM | 61

Remember that "We re no evil" Google slogan from a while back ? Thing's changed:

The Imperative of Replacing Google and Facebook


The end result was the virtual weaponization of social media, serving as cover for what was a long-planned, regional series of coups including heavily armed militants who eventually overthrew the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, with Syria now locked in 6 years of war as a result.

It was during Syria's ongoing conflict that Google would find itself involved again. The Guardian in a 2012 article titled, "Syria: is it possible to rename streets on Google Maps?," would report:

In their struggle to free Syria from the clutches of President Bashar al-Assad, anti-government activists have embarked on a project to wipe him off the map. Literally. On Google Maps, major Damascus thoroughfares named after the Assad family have appeared renamed after heroes of the uprising. The Arab Spring has form in this regard. When anti-Gadaffi rebels tore into Tripoli last August, the name of the city's main square on the mapping service changed overnight – from "Green Square", the name given to it by the erstwhile dictator, to "Martyr's Square", its former title.

The internet giant's mapping service has a history of weighing in on political disputes.

Google's monopoly in nations without local alternatives ensures that public perception is lopsidedly influenced by these deceptive methods.

The Independent in a 2016 article titled, "Google planned to help Syrian rebels bring down Assad regime, leaked Hillary Clinton emails claim," would expand on Google's activities regarding Syria:

An interactive tool created by Google was designed to encourage Syrian rebels and help bring down the Assad regime, Hillary Clinton's leaked emails have reportedly revealed.

By tracking and mapping defections within the Syrian leadership, it was reportedly designed to encourage more people to defect and 'give confidence' to the rebel opposition.

Some people recommend instead a social media called gab.ai

Some recent interesting headlines regarding Syria:

"Why do ISIS videos all come from Israeli Intelligence? Why did ISIS apologized to Israel for mistakenly attacking IDF soldiers?"
"Saudi Arabia is just ‘defending itself’ when it bombs Yemen, claims UK defense secretary"
"Four Reasons Why Saudi Arabia May Cease To Exist"
"No, the “New” CNN Video of the Chemical Incident Does NOT Prove that the Syrian Government Did It"
"Aleppo, Syria: Russian humanitarian aid given to over 800 in past 24 hours"
"Tabqa Dam fully liberated from ISIS: Syrian Democratic Forces"
"Flemish Priest in Syria: Media Coverage on Syria is Biggest Lie of Our Time"
"US Special Forces Are Secretly Fighting Alongside Syrian Rebels"
"The army kills ISIS terrorists, destroys their vehicles in Homs countryside"
"A drug dealer arrested, amounts of hashish and Captagon seized in Homs"
"260 militants leave al-Waer neighborhood in Homs"
"Al-Masdar exclusive: Syrian Army destroys several rebel tunnels, trenches in Al-Qaboun"
"The War on Syria Enters its Seventh Year…a Tribute to Syrian Arab Army, its War Heroes and Bashar Hafez Al-Assad"
"Newborn baby in Syria [Sahnaya village] named Vladimir Putin"
"Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham joins Palestinian hunger strikers"
"Syrian residents praised the safe zones agreement, while doubting that the terrorist forces would respect its implementation"
"Al-Jazeera’s cameramen filmed fake chemical substance attacks against civilians in Idleb Countryside"

Very interesting read from SouthFront "16 Spetsnaz vs. 300 Militants". Long live those Russian heros ! But some info raises questions, e.g. "Syrian forces withdrew due to the command and control problems among the various subunits." ?! And where do the terrorists get their MRLS from ?!

Posted by: ProPeace | May 12, 2017 3:43:21 AM | 62

Deal in Yemen? Like the future renewed secession of the south anniunced yesterday by a new tribal platform?

Posted by: Mina | May 12, 2017 3:54:14 AM | 63

@Mina

If they through the Saudis out and find some form of agreement with Saleh to end the war, that would be quite an improvement, no?

Posted by: smuks | May 12, 2017 6:52:53 AM | 64

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