Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 25, 2017

Locked Into Al-Tanf U.S. Military Concedes It Lost The Race To Occupy South-East Syria

The U.S. military has, for now, given up on occupying south-east Syria. Recent remarks at the Department of Defense press conference concede the defeat of its original plans.

Let us recap: The U.S. military had occupied the al-Tanf border station between Syria and Iraq some 12 kilometer east of the Jordan-Syria-Iraq border triangle. The economically important road between Damascus and Baghdad runs through al-Tanf. When Syrian government forces moved towards the al-Tanf area the U.S. military bombed them and unilaterally claimed a "deconfliction-zone", i.e occupied territory, around the station.

The U.S. plan was to disrupt any connection between Syrian government held areas in the west and Iraq in th east by moving north from al-Tanf up to the Euphrates river valley around Deir Ezzor. The neoconservatives and Zionist propagandists claimed that this was necessary to interrupt the "Shia crescent" that allegedly would connect Iran through Iraq and Syria with Lebanon. The U.S. forces would thereby interrupt Iranian support for Hizbullah forces defending Lebanon from Israeli incursions. But the "Shia crescent" was never more than an idea. Iran supplies to Hizbullah have never depended on a land connection alone. The "crescent" connection was not disrupted when the U:S. occupied Iraq or when ISIS held the area.

The real U.S. plan was much larger. It wanted to control a Sunni corridor from the Saudi-Iraqi border in the south through Anbar province in west-Iraq through south-east Syria up through the Kurdish held north-east Syria to Turkey. This was the planned "Salafist principality" a 2012 Defense Intelligence paper had talked about.

The Syrian forces (red), with Iraqi support, sabotaged the U.S. plans by connecting west-Syria with the Syrian Iraqi border northward of the U.S. held area of al-Tanf (blue). They met allied Iraqi forces at the border north-east of al-Tanf and are now proceeding north-east along the border towards Abu Kamal and the Euphrates valley.


Source: Al Watan Online - bigger

The Russian military command told the U.S. that any attack on those forces would be a very unfriendly act that would be severely punished. To make the point Iran fired medium range missiles from Iranian territory to Islamic State held areas in Syria. The Russian navy fired cruise missiles from the Mediterranean towards similar targets. The message was that the small U.S. contingent in al-Tanf would be toast if the U.S. military further messed around with the Syrian forces. Meanwhile Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) from Iraq, allied with Syria, closed off al-Tanf from the south. The U.S. forces there have nowhere to go but home.

As we wrote in our June 13 piece Syria Summary - The End Of The War Is Now In Sight:

The U.S. plans in south Syria, in the west as well as in the east, have failed for now. Unless the Trump administration is willing to invest significant more forces and to openly and against all laws wage war on the Syria government and its allies the situation there is contained. The Syrian forces will over time recapture all the (blue colored) land in the south that is currently held by the various U.S. proxies and other terrorist groups.

All recent provocation attempts by the U.S. failed to disrupt the Syrian government plans and its push towards Deir Ezzor.


Map via Weekend Warrior - bigger

In a little reported press conference on Friday the U.S. military practically conceded the defeat of its plans:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. military coalition fighting the Islamic State would welcome a concerted effort by the Syrian government or its Iranian-backed partner forces to defeat IS in its remaining strongholds in eastern Syria, a U.S. spokesman said Friday.

Army Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the coalition, told reporters at the Pentagon that the U.S. goal is to defeat IS wherever it exists. If others, including the Syrian government and its Iranian and Russian allies, want to fight the extremists as well, then "we absolutely have no problem with that," he said, speaking from Baghdad.

From the transcript of that press conference:

Q: [...] [W]hat potential threat do you believe these Iranian backed militias and regime forces continue to pose to your forces and your partner forces in the At Tanf -- Abu Kamal area?

COL. DILLON: Well if the Syrian regime -- and it looks like they are making a concerted effort to move into ISIS held areas. And if they show that they can do that, that is not a bad sign. We are here to fight ISIS as a coalition, but if others want to fight ISIS and defeat them, then we absolutely have no problem with that. And as they move eastward toward Abu Kamal and to Deir Ezzour, if we -- as long as we can de-conflict and make sure that we can focus on what it is we're there to do, without having any kind of strategic mishaps with the regime or with pro-regime forces or with Russians, then that is -- we're perfectly happy with that.

In a later part the spokesperson also concedes that the forces in al-Tanf are now very constricted in their movement:

... if the regime is -- has moved into an area that is towards Abu Kamal, then we are going to be limited to how far out we do patrols [from al-Tanf] with our partner forces.

Somewhat later the point is made again and even clearer - al-Tanf is now useless and the Syrian army is free to do what it does:

COL. DILLON: So what I was saying about that is that, out of the At Tanf area, we have used that to train our partner forces and to continue to -- to fight ISIS, you know, if they are in and around that area.

You know, now that the regime has moved in, and they have made some significant, you know, progress, as it looks, towards moving to Abu Kamal and perhaps Deir Ezzour, if they want to fight ISIS in Abu Kamal and they have the capacity to do so, then, you know, that -- that would be welcome.

We as a coalition are not in the land-grab business. We're in the killing ISIS business, and that is what we want to do. And if -- if the Syrian regime wants to do that, and they are going to, again, put forth a concerted effort and show that they are -- are doing just that in Abu Kamal or Deir Ezzour or elsewhere, that means that we don't have to do that in those locations.

So I guess that -- what I'm saying is, in the At Tanf area, we will continue to train our partner forces. We will continue to do patrols in and around At Tanf in the Hamad desert. But if our access to Abu Kamal is shut off because the regime is there, that's okay.

NEWSFLASH: The Pentagon and, even more important, the U.S. commanders in the Middle East, have finally recognized the basic facts of life.

There is no way the Syrian government and its allies will let the U.S. have south-east Syria or let it occupy the country including the Syrian army garrison in Deir Ezzor which is currently surrounded by Islamic State forces. The Syrian army and its allies will liberate Deir Ezzor and the whole Euphrates valley. The U.S. military has now conceded that. There will be some huffing and puffing from the neoconservative corners but I doubt very much that this that this decision will be overturned or that this is a ruse. There is simply no strategic value for the U.S. in occupying south-east Syria and no will to defend it against determined resistance of capable opposing forces.

My congratulations to Syria and its allies. This battle is, for now, won.

Posted by b on June 25, 2017 at 08:59 AM | Permalink

Comments

"My congratulations to Syria and its allies. This battle is, for now, won"


I hope so but Amerikas neo-conns never give up.

Posted by: jo6pac | Jun 25, 2017 9:16:02 AM | 1

And let's not forget the stunt Israel pulled yesterday near Golan

Posted by: XLemming | Jun 25, 2017 9:20:17 AM | 2

I think it very amusing that the uninvited "guest" in Syria, the USA, is telling us that they will graciously allow the Syrians and their invited allies to help them fight ISIS. Such arrogance is not only disgusting, it is hilarious.

Posted by: aged parent | Jun 25, 2017 10:00:40 AM | 3

Seems to be the US pattern, attack, bluster, stall, eventual retreat. Like rear guarding actions, then all traces of US command and support are erased along with helpful infrastructure from the air after they leave. Scorched earth.

Posted by: Gravatomic | Jun 25, 2017 10:12:01 AM | 4

I will take a wait and see approach. How many times has the US said something along these lines? Not just in regards to Syria but in ALL of their conflicts. Too many to count and US never gives up. What bothers me, is the reports of Israel sending jets to Saudi Arabia and Turkey sending theirs to Qatar. This feels like a slight of hand happening and the pieces on the chess board are being moved into their places. I suspect that something will happen probably not this summer but afterwards during the fall. Stock up on your supplies, buy gold/silver, a weapon and warn as much people as you can. The Sh** about to hit the fan.

Posted by: NewYorker | Jun 25, 2017 10:25:43 AM | 5

If this is the case, which I certainly hope comes to pass, the operators of think tank landia will be burning the midnight candle to come up with some other way that the US military boot heel can pry its way into the border region.

Posted by: Lawrence Smith | Jun 25, 2017 10:26:02 AM | 6

The official US tone from the DoD seems to have changed ... not that one would see that much in US MSM. I was surprised to read in a link posted by an MoA commenter a statement that said US coalition had no intentions to attack Syrian forces. If the US is backing away from regime change, what is next?

I just read this bit at American Conservative:
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-america-armed-terrorists-in-syria/
(It's a narrative of how US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar worked to put tons of arms into Syria. Old news, I know. Maybe they hoped for a destroyed state like Libya. Thankfully, Assad and the Syrian Army/People foiled those plans.)

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 25, 2017 10:29:45 AM | 7

#3 ap
More likely they have abandoned the increasingly filmsy unwilling or unable mask for entering Syrian territory - this decades' version of R2P...somehow, magically, in the eyes of Empire, Syria seems to now be both willing and able 'to prevent the use of its' territory' against a non-state actor (al Qaeda™ , ISIS™)

The Empire, of course, in Syria and acting in self defence, all along, until this point... according to Article 51 of U.N. Charter. Awesome Zionist mind trickery, accuse others of which you are guilty.

In reality, it has been a controlled two pronged attack upon Syria, one legal, one illegal.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jun 25, 2017 10:36:00 AM | 8

^^@8
..one 'legal' one illegal.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jun 25, 2017 10:39:05 AM | 9

Pentagon put some impressive military hardware in Tanf, but they lack the boots. They could recruit jihadists from Dara'a area and refugee camps in Jordan, but the number of those who would be "genuinely moderate" (which can be translated as "plausibly pro-American") AND would like to fight is small. If you compare to the campaign against Qaddafi, in Libya most of the army disintegrated, and rather disunited militia had at least numeric parity if not better. The terrain was very conducive to air support, and the bases in Sicily were close. EVEN in those conditions it was a prolonged affair. I guess that Americans perceived one chance, SDF. A lot of troops with reasonable performance, the ideology of the leadership "far from perfect (Communists? Agrarian anarchists?) but not the type of fanatics that starts chopping heads or stab each other the minute you look in a different direction.

SDF showed admirable attitude to inducements, but only up to a point. The goals of YPD which forms the core are not American goals. And those goals contradict core interests of Turkish government -- which is avoiding "painful concessions to PKK". Such concession could lead to a peace, but the fruits would be most probably enjoyed by a subsequent government. Kurds proved themselves to be atrocious ingrates, forming a party with expansive plans of extending popularity beyond Kurdish population and open to a coalition with other opponents of Erdogan. "Sunnistan" dominated by YPG is a "no, no, no!" for Erdogan. Thus when SDF, as instructed, jostled for the territory with the Tiger Force and got air support for that, they got into hot water. (1) SAA negotiates for the release of their pilot, and the negotiator is ... Brigadier General Suheil al-Hassan. Or perhaps it is a tweet. I suspect that it will take a while, but the pilot will be in good health. (2) In the meantime, Turks and their puppet force attacks the isolated Afrin, and SAA + Russians assist by joining in the blockade of Afrin. Russians play a particularly deft game, when Turks attacked Afrin before, Russians installed, by invitation, an observer post on Syrian/Turkish border. One can point to other Russian movements to prove that they have the ability to lift the blockade, but, well, they must have some reasons to do it. As Russians are not in the position to replace completely American funding and supplies, they probably will force SDF to put forth only a token effort to compete with SAA for the territory. (3) Concentrating on the siege of Raqqa and CLOSING completely the siege is a good step in this direction. (4) Plans to send SDF troops to Tanf -- not exactly a summer holiday destination -- had to be cut short as SDF needs to maintain enough troops positioned against ISIS and also against the Turks, and possibly, against SAA and allies.

SAA was supposed to be short of troops too, so the recent offensive along Iraqi border is hard to understand. I would guess the forces there are mostly PMU, as observed by the commander of Quds force of IRG. Obama, ever perceptive, tried to prevent it two years ago, but the wily Persians simply proceeded step by step. Is Obama like Aetius of American Empire?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 25, 2017 10:46:40 AM | 10

so what's the saudi involvement with iran going to be? nothing on through syria. strictly saudi/al-cia-duh terrorism inside iran? if they take that tack the missiles that iran uses to retaliate will surely be of longer and longer range, won't they?

the israelis and the saudis will have to give up on the us and just do-it-themselves? seems unlikely.

i looked at ballistic missiles of iran and discovered some with 1800-2000 and 2000-2500 km ranges.

maybe the saudi-nato will shrink to an anti-qatar force? besiege qatar from the saudi border?

if the us packs it in, what is going to happen to saudi arabia? all dressed up with nowhere to go? will there be another 'gas attack' al-cia-duh-call-for-assistance coming soon from ... somewhere in syria?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 25, 2017 10:47:25 AM | 11

Again, thank you for your coverage of this war you have been, over the years, the most accurate source of information that I know of. It is impossible to get any realistic view of actual conditions in Syria from a mainstream media that now has tied itself to pure mythology. While your analysis is good we have to understand that the security services are deeply divided on the Syrian operation and policy in general. The key to understanding Washington is to understand the word "corrupt." Foreign policy is now made on the basis of how much money can be made by a Star Wars' cafe full of operators most of which profit from war and conflict in general and that war specifically. Unfortunately some of these characters are genuine fanatics of various stripes and that's where the danger lies. One hopes the corrupt win out. The military officers directly involved are generally usually of a different breed--they are more pragmatic and mostly interested in avoiding death.

On the Washington side the situation

Posted by: Banger | Jun 25, 2017 10:53:05 AM | 12

Kinda off topic but not sure if folks have seen this article by Seymour Hersh titled 'Trump's Red Line' - https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905578/Trump-s-Red-Line.html

It's about the alleged sarin attack by Syrian forces in Khan Sheikhoun several months back and Trump's response to it.

Posted by: h | Jun 25, 2017 10:53:17 AM | 13

Am I mistaken in believing that the CIA and the State Department, if not NATO, may not necessarily go along with the Pentagon on this?

Posted by: guidoamm | Jun 25, 2017 10:55:47 AM | 14

... bugger me sideways!!!... Just came across this announcement. This "Assad can stay" thing seems to have legs after all...
.
Macron Breaks With Previous French Policy

Posted by: guidoamm | Jun 25, 2017 11:00:28 AM | 15

Excellent, excellent coverage, but way too optimistic.
I guess we'll see what happens at Deir Ezzor which I think will be the decisive battle of the war. The US needs Deir Ezzor to consolidate its terrirtorial claims in the east and to establish a Sunni-Kurdish area of control.
I don't think we can exclude the possibility that the militia at al Tanf might still split Syrian army lines and head north.
The there's the problem of getting the Kurds and Turks to relinquish control of the land they've captured.

This war is far from over, but Putin is certainly winning the bigger strategic game, which is burnishing his reputation as a sober, reliable partner who can be trusted to defend allies' security interests. Everywhere Putin is replacing the NWO with something new, a Eurasian world order.

Posted by: plantman | Jun 25, 2017 11:11:56 AM | 16

It's still all about Iran.
FSA and Kurd labeled Shia Militias as threat.
US has annexed a huge chunk of Syria via Kurd and what FSA holds.
Israel appears to be gaining more of the Golan via the safe zone
Game which Putin/Lavrov are conceding.
Lots of Wahhabist Takfiri kooks run off by US from Fallujah and
Sunni Triangle in Iraq which US can re organize to trouble
Baghdad for years....cut out a new Takfiri kook world in Iraq
West which gives US contract to train Iraqi army Neocon Media
Backing....
Maybe go back to the Al Qeada playbook now that ISUS are fleeing.
Getting Sunni and Kurd to attack Shia and then blame Iran for sponsoring terror in the Mid east.
The Media and Generals have already stated the agenda.

Posted by: Brad | Jun 25, 2017 11:12:47 AM | 17

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 25, 2017 10:46:40 AM | 10

There was this Nasrallah speech a few days ago on Al Quds day that this time there were Yemeni, Iraqui, Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah fighters against Israel.

So yes, they seem to have engineered a transnational militia.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 25, 2017 11:15:08 AM | 18

When Col Dillon admits defeat and said we are not in the land-grab business he is is only stating the fact that they were beaten to it by the fast reaction of the Syrian Army, rather like the thief who was asked what his greatest regret was, replied..'getting caught'.
Our host is too kind to the US in his 13th June article [which I saw on other publications]he said... "The U.S. invaders are now sitting in the mid of a piece of rather useless desert around al-Tanf where their only option is to die of boredom or to move back to Jordan from where they came". Very gracious and diplomatic of you 'b'

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 25, 2017 11:22:20 AM | 19

Erdogan faints after morning prayers in Istanbul

As crazy as it sounds, I hope the scumbag mini-Sultan isn't about to die. The driving force that is blocking any neocon dreams of partitioning Syria is Putin and Erdogan 100 percent in agrement on no Kurdish state. If Erdoan takes a dirt nap, the US Regime could very well manage to get one of their stooges put in power and everything would go to hell again.

Posted by: R Winner | Jun 25, 2017 11:26:39 AM | 20

I wouldn't discard your popcorn maker just yet.

1. Seems to me that the Colonel is merely repeating what people in the military and the US public have been told: we are in Syria to fight ISIS NOT to fight the Syrian government or the Russians.

2. Remember: Obama didn't threaten war, he threatened "costs" and a quagmire. I don't think anyone in the US wants direct conflict with Russia. USA+allies have made tremendous gains without direct conflict with Russia.

Doesn't control of al Tanf mean control of a major roadway? Doesn't that impose a "cost"? Isn't that reason enough for USA to remain at al Tanf indefinitely?

3. I can't see the US carving out a salafist principality. That was the wishes of "allies in the region" (I think that was the phrasing). Yeah, US would help, but not want to be seen as the major cause of establishing it.

Now, if peace is made between Saudis and Israel, then all bets are off. Being guarantor of 'Salafist Principality' might then be positioned as part of the deal for a peace in the ME (which has supposedly been a decades-long effort). This would be negotiated with the Russians - if they balk, they would be depicted as standing in the way of ME peace.

4. We should remember that the 'Assad must go!' effort was part of an overall anti-Iranian effort. Russia's support for Syria has blocked Syrian regime-change (for now) so the Zionist-Whabbi Alliance will adjust to this reality. I expect the focus has shifted to Iran itself (only after having tested Russian resolve). The Zionist-Whabbi's goal is likely to regime-change Iran before it can join SCO.

The tried and true regime-change recipe is a combination of terrorism/civil unrest and economic hardship. For Iran, that likely entails Kurdish unrest/terror in western Iran and ISIS attacks from Afghanistan plus tightening economic sanctions against Iran plus rising tensions with US+allies.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 25, 2017 11:41:03 AM | 21

Thanks B for all your great articles.
Somewhat OT, I'm wondering about the sudden widespread cholera epidemic throughout Yemen and the KSA response of $66m to 'help'. Would they be involved? Has some outside player spread this, now country-wide, infection?

Posted by: Cyclone | Jun 25, 2017 11:47:52 AM | 22

Destroy water infrastructure = Cholera. It's probably as simple as that, and likely intentional. After all the US is directing the Yemen op and this is what they and the Israelis always do right off the bat, cripple civilian infrastructure.

Posted by: sejomoje | Jun 25, 2017 11:58:24 AM | 23

thanks b..

i agree with those who count dillions words for shit... usa regime can say/posture all they want - they set the base in al tanf for a land grab and cutting of the land route d- to baghdad... these are lying fuckers thru and thru... meanwhile there headchopping friends in saudi arabia - isis with support from israel - don't have a shred of integrity on anything other then there ongoing self interest.. russia, syria, and iran have to continue to proceed in the same manner here and i hope for the best, expecting any of the western asshole countries to throw a monkey into the situation.. they have done this time and time - whether it be unlimited weapons for the headchoppers, ongoing ( accidental, lol) logistic help, and etc. etc... in the usa-ksa-israel we do not trust.. dillion - either an ignoramus, or capable of getting a gig in hollywood given how he stays on script like that...

Posted by: james | Jun 25, 2017 11:58:54 AM | 24

All this BS about neo-conservatism really needs to stop. Neo-conservatism was the movement associated with people like Rumsfeld and Cheney. That strain of foreign policy thinking is not driving US policy at the moment. Many people even called Obama a neo-conservative, which is absolutely ridiculous. There are no democrat neo-conservatives, it was a republican movement and the republican party is currently ruled by a populist strain that advocates abandoning ambitious US foreign policies in favor of a more isolationist course. By calling everything the US does neo-conservatism you are just kaing a fool of yourself for everyone that knows what they are talking about.

Posted by: DROS | Jun 25, 2017 12:08:33 PM | 25

IMHO Col. Dillon is just doing lip service, it doesnt mean anything. Like Trump first said he isnt against Assad, then he bombs airbase under fake pretext, then US coalition bombs SAA near Al Tanf (twice), all the while saying "we are not fighting against SAA", followed by destroying SAF plane, under fake pretext as usual. At the same time ISIS (herded by US and proxies) are non-stop attacking Deir Ezzor, while hardly putting up any fight against SDF in their supposed capital Raqqa.

Dillon also said they are not there to "land-grab", yeah right, just in news conference before we were told Raqqa after "liberation" wont be returned to Syria. US proxies kurds in both Iraq and Syria said they wont be returning occupied lands either.

As US officer said in recent Hersh article, "I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.” US never give up their atrocities, ever, and it doesnt matter which figurehead is in White house. If they cant go through the door, they'll go through the windows, if they cant - will drop bombs through the chimney. Not just in Syria, Tillerson is openly talking about "regime change" in Iran, along with multiple ISIS attacks.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 25, 2017 12:10:54 PM | 26

dros - clinton was democrat and neo con thru and thru... stupid american political shit.. take it elsewhere..

Posted by: james | Jun 25, 2017 12:27:04 PM | 27

All this BS about neo-conservatism really needs to stop.
...
Posted by: DROS | Jun 25, 2017 12:08:33 PM | 25

If you're referring to your own dross, DROS, I agree completely.
Neoconservatives are, by reputation and conviction, pro-Israel (Zionists). They're in charge of using white racist AmeriKKKans to fight wars for Israel/The Jews in the Middle East. Until the US Military gets out of, and stops wrecking, the ME the Neocons (as defined by Neocons themselves) are calling the shots.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 25, 2017 12:27:18 PM | 28

@ b who ended with: "This battle is, for now, won."

Thanks for the reporting on the battle. It is going to be interesting to see what the follow on effects of this "win" is in relation to the ongoing war against empire, underpinned by the global families that own the tools of private finance (FED, City of London, IMF, BIS, SWIFT, World Bank, etc.)

Even within the context of getting the US out of Syria, this win does not guarantee that the war there is won but represents, perhaps, a watershed moment in the world of geo-politics.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 25, 2017 12:29:03 PM | 29

i see they pulled in the israel / al qaeda airforce again...

Posted by: james | Jun 25, 2017 12:37:17 PM | 30

@h #13

That is a stunning article.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Jun 25, 2017 12:40:35 PM | 31

Robert Parry has a good article up.

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/20/spoiling-for-a-wider-war-in-syria/

Posted by: Morongobill | Jun 25, 2017 12:46:39 PM | 32

dros - clinton was democrat and neo con thru and thru... stupid american political shit.. take it elsewhere..

Posted by: james | Jun 25, 2017 12:27:04 PM | 27

agreed.
Best to judge whether or not someone is a neo-con by looking at their actions, not at their statements.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Jun 25, 2017 12:50:56 PM | 33

Dros @25. The neocon movement began in the Democratic party and mostly moved to the Republicans about 2 or so decades ago. Kagan and Nuland never left. Once r2p emerged it was firmly with the dems -- at a practical level their ideas are indistinguishable from the neocons. You really do not know much.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 25, 2017 12:59:18 PM | 34

DROS @25

Shortly after 911, Wesley Clarke revealed the neocon plan to take down 7 countires in 5 years. The countries were Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, Iran.

Libya is Clinton's baby - We came, we saw, he died, she cackled. And for good measure ISIS was up and running in Libya within months of Gadaffi's murder, which was filmed by a US CIA/Spec Ops man for her personal pleasure.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 25, 2017 1:11:00 PM | 35

It is @31. If you haven't already read the two acccompanying pieces to the article, I highly suggest you do - one is a Chat Protocol b/w a Security Advisor and Soldier on the ground - https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905618/We-got-a-fuckin-problem.html AND the second one tells the backstory of the article - https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165906452/The-Fog-of-War.html

b, between the shootdown of the Su last week, the military brass knowing Sy's article was about to hit alt news sites across the world, taking into account the significant gains government forces have realized, especially recently, the Qatar/Saudi dispute, even the piece by Gareth Porter linked to above I can't help but agree with your assessment - we are witnessing the end of Obama/Clinton/NEOCONS foreign policy in the Middle East.

The FBI may use the NYTs and the CIA's go to rag is the Washington Post, but the military's, when truly needing to go on record, in this case telling the CiC his decision-making process when it comes to the use of force is reckless, dangerous and it SUCKS, their go to is Sy.

Yes, quite the expose.

Posted by: h | Jun 25, 2017 1:19:27 PM | 36

@35 Anonymous

Not to nitpick (nit-pick?) but I think you're missing one country, Anonymous.

Posted by: spudski | Jun 25, 2017 1:19:52 PM | 37

Thank you b for a valuable article
I think what happened in Syria will generate something frightening for Syria's enemies. It's a matter of time. The neo-conservatives will find themselves completely castrated.

Posted by: ALAN | Jun 25, 2017 1:34:15 PM | 38

The neo-conservatives will find themselves completely castrated.

Posted by: ALAN | Jun 25, 2017 1:34:15 PM | 38

But shortly afterwards we will see a cohort of transgender amazons (besides bona fide amazons).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 25, 2017 2:05:36 PM | 39

Hersh's article suffers from a number of flaws.

It is infused with Trump hate. This is myopic and wrong-headed. Hersh accepts the spin that the attack was due to Trump's inexperience and personality flaws. A more cynical observer might instead see a determination advance advance Saudi/Israeli goals.

This cynicism would certainly be warranted given that in the weeks after Trump's bombing we have seen a reversal of Trump's 'America First' campaign promises to NOT get involved in costly ME conflicts (Syria? Saudi-Qatar?) and to NOT engage in nation-building (Kurds?).

Hersh ignores:

>> Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia soon after the attack and subsequent tweeting in support of Saudi Arabia's "dispute" with Qatar.

>> Trump's tweets in 2013 warning Obama not to bomb Syria.

>> Trump's silence wrt to the bombing of refugee buses by jihadis only days after he attacked Syria because of his pretended concern for "beautiful babies" (see: Attack On Syrian Bus Convoy Killed At Least 68 Children, Monitor Says)

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

One of Hersh's sources says:

... I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.
But Hersh fails to examine this sentiment. Maybe because it would mean explaining the many ties between Trump and Hillary. My own take:
How Things Work: Betrayal by Faux Populist Leaders

Taken In: Fake News Distracts US from Fake Election

Furthermore, Trump's attack has established a precedence that could lead to a larger attack after another false-flag. France's Macron has threatened that such an attack would be forthcoming and news articles about Israel's similar policy of "holding the Assad regime responsible" (described by b just the other day) further legitimize any future attack.

Such maneuvering led me to speculate about The Plot to Kill Assad.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 25, 2017 2:25:00 PM | 40

"We as a coalition are not in the land-grab business."

Yeah, right.

We keep it after the coalition steals it.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jun 25, 2017 2:29:31 PM | 41

Dear b,
Like I Sed before, uncle scam's yehudistani masters will not allow a Resistance Axis victory to stand, because they cannot allow it to stand. The stakes are equally existential for the other side. Hence, escalation, in my humbling opinion, to tactical nukes and beyond. Nuff Sed.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Jun 25, 2017 2:39:35 PM | 42

Since when anybody in DC listens to collonels or general who told Obama Years ago no fighting Christian defending Assad on the side of terrorists and what we got CIA militarized took over while generals were fired and cowardly pilots from NATO bombed innocent to keep their careers.

War is far from over and b should forget that such a abhorrent but reasonable proposal to end the war like creation of sunniland matters at all for neocons of Wall Street MIC. They want chaos they want war and they will get it one way or another, and we will pay for it unless we wake up from torpor and overthrow those bastards.

Posted by: Kalen | Jun 25, 2017 2:42:21 PM | 43


The US lost? You sure?
They just moved in and in a big way. Hello Kurdistan/Israel 2.0?

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960403001130

Posted by: Heslng | Jun 25, 2017 2:54:01 PM | 44

The battle is half-won. Don't forget the Kurdish proxies in the North. After Raqqa, they may well head south...

Posted by: Pampita | Jun 25, 2017 2:55:52 PM | 45

The battle is half-won. Don't forget the Kurdish proxies in the North. After Raqqa, they may well head south :
http://www.chroniquesdugrandjeu.com/2017/06/badia.html

Posted by: Pampita | Jun 25, 2017 2:57:09 PM | 46

RE: Posted by: DROS | Jun 25, 2017 12:08:33 PM | 25
"Many people even called Obama a neo-conservative, which is absolutely ridiculous. There are no democrat neo-conservatives"

Utter nonsense. What you do defines what and who you are.

Obama put Hillary in as Sec State and went golfing, checking back in to sign off on the kill-lists and make orders for pizza, that sack of shit.

Posted by: Perimetr | Jun 25, 2017 3:24:53 PM | 47

It’s All About Oil and Gas and here is Trump a -twittering:


Bloomberg: Trump to Call for U.S. ‘Dominance’ in Global Energy Production

Link


Trump is set to deliver a speech at the Energy Department on Thursday focused almost entirely on energy exports -- describing how the foreign sale of U.S. natural gas, oil and coal helps strengthen the country’s influence globally, bolster international alliances, and help stabilize global markets. Energy Secretary Rick Perry may touch on similar themes when he speaks Tuesday with analysts and executives at the U.S. Energy Information Administration conference in Washington.[..]

Ironically, some of Trump’s policies could exacerbate the market challenges facing oil, gas and coal, by spurring more domestic production at a time when a supply glut is already suppressing prices.
The U.S. is on track to produce 10 million barrels of oil per day on average next year, according to a forecast from the Energy Information Administration -- a milestone that would shatter a record set in 1970.

‘Dominance’ Sought

Trump’s theme of “energy dominance” marks an evolution. For years, the catch phrase of choice has been “energy independence,” as politicians and industry officials sought to highlight how a new era of abundance was helping the U.S. wean itself from foreign sources of oil and natural gas.

That was in turn a dramatic change from the 1970s, when former President Jimmy Carter turned down the White House thermostats and used a televised address in February 1977 to urge consumers to conserve energy amid a permanent “shortage.” After that, federal energy policy became rooted in the view that oil and gas were in short supply.[.]

“Trump is reorienting our national rhetoric toward ‘dominance,’” said Kevin Book, analyst with ClearView Energy Partners LLC. “Captives crave independence; competitors strive to dominate. It’s a shift from getting by to getting ahead.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Reminds of the old song – “Dream, dream, dream”

Forecast is 10 million bbls per day 2018 and we are proposing dominance in global energy production!! What a twit.

Are the bf Saudis not afraid? Iran, Russia?

Posted by: likklemore | Jun 25, 2017 4:57:18 PM | 48

48) Yep, it is funny. According to above quoted US Energy Information administration the US consumed 19.68 million barrels of petroleum products per day in 2016.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 25, 2017 5:21:44 PM | 49

'When Syrian government forces moved towards the al-Tanf area the U.S. military bombed them and unilaterally claimed a "deconfliction-zone", i.e occupied territory, around the station.'

those despicable americans think they can enter a sovereign state, occupy it, kill syrian soldiers and civilians with total impunity...imagine if syria invade US and occupied an area in texas near mexico ., then killed americans soldiers and civilians....how would americans and the 'international community react?

Posted by: brian | Jun 25, 2017 6:21:19 PM | 50

48 & 49:
Mainly the reference to "dominance" applies to liquified natural gas. Comparing LNG exports during the first 3 months of 2015 with the first 3 months of 2017 shows an increase by a factor of 30.

Although "dominance" may be hyperbole in that context as well--given totals that exporters such as Qatar are achieving--capturing world markets for US LNG exporters is a major driver of US policy. Ukraine, the nonsense about Russian interference in US elections, and the new Senate sanctions against European companies working with Russia on the Baltic Sea pipeline are three cases in point.

Posted by: Berry Friesen | Jun 25, 2017 6:27:06 PM | 51

@ 42 Nuff Sed --

I share your view that Israel and AIPAC are violently opposed to a secular, stable Syrian state complete with a Teheran-Beirut Axis and will do everything in their power to keep it from happening.

If a sufficiently-chaotic situation could be developed, Israel (possibly with jihadist allies) will attack the Golan and, because I believe that Israel's water shortage situation has become critical, an invasion of S. Lebanon to capture the Litani River will take place.

Hizbullah would reply with its thousands of stored missiles and wreak havoc on Israeli cities (would Iran launch cruise missiles?) -- how would America react?

A potential for nuclear disaster.

Posted by: chet380 | Jun 25, 2017 6:56:53 PM | 52

Thank you somebody @ 49 for the added input.

@ 51 Berry Friesen

Mainly the reference to "dominance" applies to liquified natural gas. Comparing LNG exports during the first 3 months of 2015 with the first 3 months of 2017 shows an increase by a factor of 30.
….[capturing] world markets for US LNG exporters is a major driver of US policy.

My comment was it’s on someone’s wish list and dreaming on.

Do you have any idea the cost to set up LNG terminals and cost to transport from US to global - for starters, to compete with Russia, Iran, Qatar and others in the EU and Asian markets?

Pricing a factor: It's gone cold.
The oil price crash has eliminated the discount U.S. LNG has to world prices


Posted by: likklemore | Jun 25, 2017 7:06:09 PM | 53

@53 lm

from your bloomberg link ...


Now spot LNG in Asia has fallen to just $5.95, while Pertamina would pay $6.86 for its U.S. LNG even before shipping it halfway across the world.

geostrategy ... if ya gotta ask how much it costs, you can't afford it.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 25, 2017 8:03:55 PM | 54

@53 lm

Saudi Arabia vs Qatar: Middle East Controlled-Demolition Plan?


Just like during Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, when the oil fields were hit in large numbers, a worldwide side effect of an outright war between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would be a major spike in oil and natural gas prices ...

on the other hand ... the us may play the 'architect' of new world disorder on really massive scale? they're arming both sides and egging the on ...

Posted by: jfl | Jun 25, 2017 9:11:44 PM | 56

@55 brad

from your uae link


Iran, which suffers severe dom­estic gas shortages, has made a rapid increase in production from South Pars a top priority and signed a preliminary deal with France’s Total in November to develop its South Pars II project.

Total was the first western energy company to sign a major deal with Tehran since the lifting of international sanctions.


that's the kind of thing that keeps opening the split between france/germany/europe and the mad usofa.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 25, 2017 9:19:55 PM | 57

53 add Germany and Austria

Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern (SPÖ) and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) commented as follows today (15 June) on the approval by the United States Senate of legislation regarding sanctions against Russia:

...

It is in the common interest of the EU and the US to take resolute and unified action with a view to resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

We cannot, however, accept the threat of illegal extraterritorial sanctions being imposed on European companies that are participating in efforts to expand Europe’s energy supply network!

The draft bill of the US is surprisingly candid about what is actually at stake, namely selling American liquefied natural gas and ending the supply of Russian natural gas to the European market. The bill aims to protect US jobs in the natural gas and petroleum industries.

Political sanctions should not in any way be tied to economic interests. Threatening to impose penalties on companies in Germany, Austria and other European countries with regard to their business in the United States if they participate in, or fund, natural gas projects involving Russia, such as Nord Stream 2, impacts European-American relations in a new and very negative way. This is about the competitiveness of our energy-intensive industries, and about thousands of jobs. We therefore strongly support the efforts of the US Department of State to amend this draft bill.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 25, 2017 9:47:57 PM | 58

Everyone is focused on the war in Syria and the turmoil in Yemen.. the on going Israeli land grabs.. the I hate you anti morality acts of religious groups, and the inter Muslim conflicts, but the true driver in this chaos may be the LNG business. Investors at Sabine Pass bid to replace Russian gas sales and ramping up Iranian gas sales in European Markets with USA produced liquefied Natural Gas, which is concentrated at Sabine Pass for transport via globally capable LNG transport vessels. Disappointing LNG market shares in Europe thus far, coupled to strong Russian competition from its under sea pipeline to Germany & NORD2 and the growing strength of SCO and Brics..may explain the next few years. Its about competition in natural gas.. not oil..

Posted by: hose202 | Jun 25, 2017 10:05:52 PM | 59

14 @guidoamm
the intelligence community has been shut out by the Pentagon. See how many generals are in Trumps cabinet.

Posted by: heath | Jun 25, 2017 10:30:19 PM | 60

@59 hose

someone ... china? india? ... needs to develop photosynthetic hydrogen and put an end to these hydrocarbon wars ... and the 'renovation' of our earth's climate, in support of these hydrocarbon wars.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 25, 2017 10:33:05 PM | 61

@50

Remember the Alamo

Posted by: stumpy | Jun 25, 2017 10:35:02 PM | 62

I wish I could share b's optimism, but we are just one more false flag poison gas attack away from a full on invasion and overthrow of the Syrian government. As someone noted here, the neo-cons don't give up. Until silver stakes are driven through their hearts (either figuratively or literally) they will be pushing their evil plans.

Posted by: Qualtrough | Jun 25, 2017 10:41:28 PM | 63

add to 53/58

there actually is consistency in US policy

Condoleeza Rice on Europe buying oil and gas from the US

Posted by: somebody | Jun 25, 2017 10:54:22 PM | 64

The NY Times had an article yesterday which said that the Americans are training an occupying force of Syrian expats as 'civilian assistants' to inject into Raqqa. They say there are only a 6 or 7 so far but the photo shows what looks like a crowd of young men in uniform with the Sig Heil gesture. The last sentence says something like "We encourage other foreign countries to do the same." This is very very bizarre and contradicts the notion that the US is going to let go here.

Posted by: Judith | Jun 25, 2017 11:16:08 PM | 65

hydrocarbons are the enemy. the fossil-fuelers. who can defend our continued, worldwide reliance upon hydrocarbons, the root of death, devastation, and destruction as they are?

Posted by: jfl | Jun 25, 2017 11:21:08 PM | 66

The main mission has already been accomplished in Syria. Blocking the Friendship Pipeline proposed by Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran through Lebanon. Thats done. Not happening as long as there is fighting. We will use ISIS and others to destabilize Syria and perhaps create another Afghanistan for Russia which they can ill afford. Total victory is not required.

The consequences of this success is the Qatar-Turkey-Iran alliance for another pipeline proposal This takes Qatar out of the game in their support for ISIS and cools Turkeys support for toppling Assad. Hence Saudi Arabia to the rescue after being promised a role as leader of a Sunni Nato type alliance and defacto leader of the entire region after Israel once Iran/Qatar/Turkey/Syria /Lebanon are brought under. Its a long game and may bring unintended and unfortunate consequences since China has a lot at stake with Qatar and Iran gas on the line. Until recently they have been standibg on the sidelines and letting Russia do the heavy lifting.

Posted by: Pft | Jun 26, 2017 12:35:24 AM | 67

...
Its a long game and may bring unintended and unfortunate consequences since China has a lot at stake with Qatar and Iran gas on the line. Until recently they have been standibg on the sidelines and letting Russia do the heavy lifting.
Posted by: Pft | Jun 26, 2017 12:35:24 AM | 67

I agree with that.
I've been listening to and watching the policy positions reinforced by China's State TV News outlet, CTTV > CGTN, for a couple of years. China's over-arching (No 1 Priority) in Foreign Policy toward the US is...
"We're making China Great so if you don't want to be a fuckee, get out of the way."
The Chinese have tried to forget Christian Colonialism's past crimes against China, but are also determined not to endure them again. China will retaliate with disproportionate harshness to any overt Yankee violence toward China's vital interests. i.e. WWIII is several times more likely to start between China and AmeriKKKa than between Russia and AmeriKKKa.
Imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 26, 2017 1:19:41 AM | 68

The only fly I can see in the Victory ointment are the Syrian Kurds backed by the US led NATO coalition as Plan B, and who knows as stranger bedfellows has happened in this cluster ----,the Kurds being supplied through Turkey. Turkey has also taken some Syrian territory and may get a deal with the coalition that allows them to regard this area as their Golan. The defeat of the proxy mercenaries will lead to the next phase, even if the excuse of fighting IS for the US led cartel vanishes a new meme can quickly be thrown together.

Posted by: BRF | Jun 26, 2017 1:37:30 AM | 69

BRF | Jun 26, 2017 1:37:30 AM | 69

Time is on Syria's side. Russia/China power is constantly growing in world affairs. US is past it's use-by date and decay has set in.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 26, 2017 2:50:03 AM | 70

Hoarsewhisperer 68
China will retaliate with disproportionate harshness to any overt Yankee violence toward China's vital interests.

I gather this would only be what China considers sovereign territory - territory that it currently occupies. All else is negotiable.

Within the 9 dash line, China seems open to negotiations with countries that have a historical presence there, but not open to dictats.

The other thing I see about China is that unlike the US using military means to defend what it calls it's interests in the world, if conditions become unfavorable in some part of the world for Chinese interests, China simply waits until conditions once again become favorable.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 26, 2017 3:01:33 AM | 71

"The U.S. military has, for now, given up on occupying south-east Syria."

Has Votel, like Haley been given a kick in the butt for being obnoxious? As far as I am aware, Trump delegated authority to the military to defeat ISIS.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jun 26, 2017 4:05:53 AM | 72

>>>> Piotr Berman | Jun 25, 2017 10:46:40 AM | 10

...in Libya most of the army disintegrated...

You make it sound as if the Libyan Army just decided to break itself up when it was the result of a sustained and vicious bombing and special forces campaign from the west and their scumbag rules from the GCC.

SAA was supposed to be short of troops too, so the recent offensive along Iraqi border is hard to understand.
Spreading western propaganda/fake news/lies. It's the west that claims that Syria is so short of troops it relies almost exclusively on "Iranian-backed" militias. The evidence proves otherwise. Look at the casualty figures from the SOHR to discover that the Syrian Arab Army and its associated militias are very predominantly Syrian and Arab and that it's still the predominant military force fighting to preserve the Syrian government. From the Angry Arab:
We are also told that the Syrian army has collapsed and it is now mainly foreign “sectarian” militias doing the fighting for the regime side, while the opposition remains mainly Syrian. Not so. According to SOHR statistics more than 90% of regime fatalities last year were Syrians (either army or domestic militia), while only 9% were non-Syrians, and that includes Palestinians. Only 1% regime side fatalities 2016 belonged to Hizballah. On the opposition side (including rebels, islamists, Kurds and the IS), however, 62% of the killed last year were non-Syrians.
The "opposition side" we are constantly told by the western MSM, no doubt by the CIA's perception management teams, are predominantly Syrian when in reality they are almost certainly predominantly foreign.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 26, 2017 4:35:01 AM | 73

Hey MoA,

It break my heart to see the bag is heavier than the poor little Syrian girl.
My guess she is no more than 5-yr old?

http://www.globaltimes.cn/galleries/965.html

Posted by: OJS | Jun 26, 2017 4:37:30 AM | 74

@Piotr Berman | 10

Are you talking about Turkish kurds in the below?

"Kurds proved themselves to be atrocious ingrates, forming a party with expansive plans of extending popularity beyond Kurdish population and open to a coalition with other opponents of Erdogan"

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jun 26, 2017 5:58:57 AM | 75

I think the Pentagon (among others) has noticed that the American public has been becoming increasingly unimpressed by all the magical name game nonsense of the head choppers, but seem to have a bit of a soft spot for the Kurds who they at least have a vague impression are a truly oppressed minority, and more importantly have not been presented as religious zealots, no (reported) atrocities, and even have cute chicks valiantly fighting. They feel al Qaida and ISIS have outlived their usefulness, and as was always their destiny, they are now targeted for destruction (at least in Syria). The land grab duties which we are definitely not involved in (/s) have passed to the Kurds. This is also why some token Kurds were airlifted into Tanf, as human shields for that now otherwise worthless outpost. The Pentagon knows there would not be much sympathy if its head chopper "training" camp is pushed out, but if they're just there "training brave Kurds," public opinion will continue to support them remaining.

Likewise, as others have mentioned, the push now seems to be for an ever enlarging, ostensibly "Kurdish" (but in reality no doubt home to all sorts of "assets") zone in the North and West of Syria, a zone that I can easily see is being envisioned as "Little Israel," complete with permanent US bases (we would even get that invite to make things all legal-like), subservience to the US (like Israel started out to be, before that tail learned to wag the dog in ways that chafe the Pentagon), and periodic encroachments/annexation of yet more territory. I'm not saying the Kurds ARE blameless, but that is the perception in the US. Turkey and Iran won't be keen on it, as they've been dealing with Kurds for eons, but Turkey can likely be assuaged by US agreement to support a Turkish land-grab elsewhere, and as for Iranian unhappiness--well, that's a bonus (and yet another potential trigger or justification for escalating against Iran when they take action against our lovable Kurdish friends).

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 26, 2017 6:06:52 AM | 76

Sorry, I meant Northeast. And I should have mentioned that the Kurdish statelet is also already seeking other international sponsors, as in KSA.

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 26, 2017 6:15:15 AM | 77

@76
I'm not sure I agree, yes the US will try to use the Kurds as proxies for some statelet but Syria is not Iraq. Erdogan will not tolerate it and as they already tried to topple him over this issue the failed coup attempt will come back to haunt the CIA. How are they going to establish it if Turkey, the SAA Iran and possibly even Russia is against it? It's simply not going to happen no matter how much moneny the KSA wants to pour in. What counts are boots on the ground and especially with Erdogan opposed to it this 'plan' will remain a dream nothing more.
Why do you think it was so important to Putin to ease tensions with Erdogan and offer him an alternative to the US hegemon? The day will come where he will have to decide to remain loyal to ZATO/US Empire and accept a Kurdish Syrian statelet or fully switch sides. If he is being asked to make that call I feel we all know what his answer will be.

Posted by: Alexander P | Jun 26, 2017 6:38:56 AM | 78

@73 ghostship
Why oh why oh why quote """"Syrian Observatory for Human Rights"""" this psy-ops fraud has long been unmasked as some guy sitting atop a fish-n-chippie in Northern England.
He's got no clue what's on the ground - only what he's being fed by his M-16 paymasters.

Please. There's nothing credible or reliable from so-called SOHR.

Posted by: Don Bass | Jun 26, 2017 6:39:52 AM | 79

Just imagine..if #Syria was illegally bombing the US & shot down a US plane over Texas.Wld it b called self defense?
https://twitter.com/NeilClark66/status/879243756163170305

Posted by: nonymous | Jun 26, 2017 7:53:47 AM | 80

@79

read the linked article.

Posted by: jfl | Jun 26, 2017 8:01:36 AM | 81

Remember always that it isn't what America thinks or wants that matters. It's what the zionist entity orders it to do that matters.

Posted by: Fiendly Neighborhood Terrorist | Jun 26, 2017 11:25:50 AM | 82

Here's a most reasonable and recent article appeared in Sputnik:
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201706261054984129-syria-division-attempts/

Posted by: Sektion 2B | Jun 26, 2017 12:31:09 PM | 83

#15 "Assad can stay"

Cracks me up. It's like a bully demanding your lunch money and getting flattened. He bleats from the ground, "OK, fine, you can keep your lunch money."

Posted by: TheBruce | Jun 26, 2017 1:31:14 PM | 84

Vis the Kurds, I just look at the map. Syria, Turkey, I-rack & I-ran. Geography is useful.

As for Assad, the moment the US says "Oh, ok, but you're not invited to the barbecue", means it is more dangerous for him than ever. The US will never give up.

Posted by: et Al | Jun 26, 2017 5:59:21 PM | 85

guidoamm 15
And al Jazeera ripped into Macron for daring to be honest and tell it like it is.
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/06/macron-statement-enemy-assad-syria-170626092305242.html

You would think mild-mannered ophthalmologist Bashir al Assad was the devil himself. This gets back to al Jazeera being tied at the hip to its home state Qatar. It turns out Macron was right to say there is no "legitimate successor" to Assad. As to limits on Syrians voting for leaders, they have more freedom to do so than any citizens in the Gulf States.

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 26, 2017 7:11:52 PM | 86

Piotr:
SAA was supposed to be short of troops too, so the recent offensive along Iraqi border is hard to understand.
Ghostship | Jun 26, 2017 4:35:01 AM | 73:
Spreading western propaganda/fake news/lies. It's the west that claims that Syria is so short of troops it relies almost exclusively on "Iranian-backed" militias.
Al Masdar News:
BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:40 P.M.) – The Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah wasted no time, Monday, attacking the Islamic State’s (ISIL) defenses near the strategic T-2 Pumping Station, as their forces resume operations to reach Albukamal.

Units from the Syrian Army’s 5th Corps – alongside Hezbollah, Hashd Al-Sha’abi (Iraqi paramilitary), and Liwaa Fatemiyoun (Iranian-Afghani paramilitary) – attacked the Islamic State’s positions in the Zaliyiat area of southwestern Deir Ezzor [province], scoring several direct hits on the enemy defenses.

=======

Even after the elimination of many enclaves in Greater Damascus area, Syrian forces are tied up along long and twisty lines of control. Lower quality forces are not good at advancing, they can hold their positions, especially against similar quality rebel forces. This accounts for the majority of forces on both sides. There are also "elite units" with much better training and arms, presumably with best officers, like Tiger Force or recently organized 5th Corps, and several others. A force was sent to Dara'a, another fights at Jobar salient of East Ghouta, Tiger Force is busy in west Raqqa province, a large part of 5th Corps is in Palmyra area.

Then there was a blitz to Iraqi border which seemed overnight, by a force that was not "well accounted for". In a desert it may be easier to move fast, but one cannot make a "barrier" without a number of checkpoints that must be fortified, manned and which themselves are vulnerable to raiding. But then there was another blitz along Iraqi border, so in the context of news item like that, "approved by SAA", I assumed that SAA met PMUs on the border and they perform a joint action. Neither Iraq nor Syria can tolerate a "Sunni principality" in Syrian Desert that covers Anbar and eastern Syria.

This weekend there was another blitz, from the southern section of Palmyra area toward the terrain liberated by the previous blitz. The cited action was a much more gradual advance from Palmyra toward Deir ez-Zor city, where ISIS presumably has more manpower and fortifications.

"Western propaganda", or more precisely, Jihadi outfits that are sometimes quoted, but more often than not the morosely keep twitting or using other social media, do exaggerate the proportion of foreign involvement among the allies of SAA, but there is nothing wrong in fighting jointly with allies. PMUs have a mandate from the elected government of Iraq that supported Syrian government from the beginning of the civil war. Iran is also officially allied with Syria.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 26, 2017 10:59:17 PM | 87

US hasnt conceded anything. Just a new mode of action/tactics.
It will now attack and level Damascus under a different auspices- another fake false flag WMD attack by Syria aka ISIS NAproxy death squads.

Posted by: sayanim | Jun 28, 2017 12:11:57 AM | 88

What a dumb article. The Syrian government didnt force the US to give up, the US willingly gave up access to Deir ezZor. The US could have easily crushed all regime forces in the area. Russia would not 'severely punish' the US you dimwit, their troops in Syria would be wiped out wthin a matter of days of they provoke the US too much and Putin knows it. Despite all the huffng and puffing the Russsians neer actually shut down the deconfliction line bevause they are scared shitless of getting in a shooting war with the US that they ccan never win.

Posted by: DROS | Jun 28, 2017 6:44:18 PM | 89

dros - keep on cheering for the evil empire, lol.. you will go far on fox and cnn, lol..

Posted by: james | Jun 29, 2017 2:02:43 AM | 90

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