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February 06, 2018

Syria - Is The Turkish Attack On Afrin Intended To Split The U.S.-Kurdish Alliance?

The successful Syrian army operation to liberate Abu-Duhur airbase left a large enclave (pink) controlled by al-Qaeda and ISIS fighters in east-Hama. Further advances towards Idleb have been halted for now to clean up the cauldron that could otherwise create future troubles behind the lines.


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Most of the al-Qaeda/HTS aligned Takfiris are though to have fled the now enclosed area before it was encircled by the Syrian government forces. A few hundred ISIS fighters who had earlier slipped into there then claimed to have occupied dozens of empty local villages. But these forces are in fact too small to hold onto anything. They will now be sought out and destroyed. In just one day some 20 hamlets were liberated. It will take a week or two to bring the total area under control.

A Turkish military convoy came from Turkey and went to Al-Eis, an important high point south-west of Aleppo. The convoy was protected by al-Qaeda forces. A similar convoy had earlier been attacked and had to retreat. This time the Turkish troops were attacked by missiles as soon as they had reached their positions. According to Turkish media at least five of the soldiers were wounded and one killed.

The Turks claim that the "observation point" comes as part of its responsibilities under the Astana agreement about a de-escalation zone in Idleb. The Russian's seem to agree with that, at least for now, but Iranian and Syrian forces in the area see the Turks (rightly) as their enemies intended to hamper their further moves against Idleb city. The Turks in Al-Eis are quite isolated and have no air support. Their positions is more endangered that Turkey seems to appreciate.

Al-Qaeda or a group aligned with it shot down a Russian ground attack air plane by using a man portable missile (MANPADS). There are various speculation where that missile came from but it has long been known that there are warehouses in Turkey and Jordan filled with such missiles ready to be distributed to anti-Syrian forces. The Wall Street Journal reported in February 2014:

Washington's Arab allies, disappointed with Syria peace talks, have agreed to provide rebels there with more sophisticated weaponry, including shoulder-fired missiles that can take down jets, according to Western and Arab diplomats and opposition figures.
...
Rebel commanders and leaders of the Syrian political opposition said they don't know yet how many of the Manpads and antiaircraft missiles they will get. But they have been told it is a significant amount. The weapons are already waiting in warehouses in Jordan and Turkey.

The weapons were held back over concerns that they would probably be used against civilian air-liners in other than the intended country.

Now the Washington Examiner speculates about the recent missile attack:

My theory is that President Trump has just shot a lethal warning across Russia’s bow in the Middle East.

Someone provided these ManPADs to the Syrian rebels. And it seems to have only been done recently.

I think it was the Americans. Maybe it was deliberately by President Trump, or maybe it was by the Deep State who want a war with Russia. Russia has been publicly declaring for months that the U.S. is protecting and training Islamist forces in the Syrian theater.

Maybe Trump wanted to send a message. Maybe these ManPADS were more “defensive lethal weapons” like what is being supplied to Ukrainian soldiers in Donbass.

If that was a U.S. move it was a stupid one. Two, or three, or four can play such a game. What happens if Kurds in Afrin suddenly find a stash of MANPADS. Iran aligned forces in Iraq? How about Houthis in Yemen? Or Taliban in Afghanistan?

The Syrian army has deployed new air defenses in north-west Syrian that can cover Afrin canton which is under Turkish attack. Turkish air raids on Afrin have since ceased and even Turkish drones are now avoiding Syrian airspace. Turkey has thus lost a significant part of its reconnaissance and attack capabilities in the area.


Source: The Maghreb and Orient Courier - bigger

The Turkish progress against the YPG Kurds in Afrin is extremely slow. Villages and hills that are taken by day are often lost again at night. Kurdish forces have so far destroyed at least 20 Turkish tanks and other vehicles with antitank missiles of which they seem to have plenty. The Turks are using the Takfiri "Syrian rebels" they have sponsored all these years as their foot soldiers. Why are they willing to die for a cause that presumably isn't theirs?

The answer may be in this piece about the rise of the major religious organization in Turkey, the Diyanet, which is government sponsored and has control over nearly all religious institutions. It seems more heavily involved in the war on Syria than one might assume:

Having learned of the planned coup during a dinner with intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and Moaz al Khatib (a leading member of the Syrian opposition and ulema), then Diyanet chief Mehmet Görmez (2010–July 2017) rallied the body’s 112,725—strong religious corps, including the imams of some 82,381 mosques controlled by the body.
...
The Diyanet has been active in Syria, revealed by the former chief’s meeting on the evening of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt with Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib—the same individual who caused controversy in 2012 by calling on the United States to reconsider its decision to list Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organisation. Al-Khatib is also the former president of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, former imam of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, and a member of the League of the Ulema of Sham (Rabitat Ulama al-Sham, established in 2012 by opposition ulema from Damascus and Homs, and member of the umbrella group, the Syrian Islamic Council, Al-Majlis al-Islami al-Suri), which is ideologically close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Kurds fighting the Turkish supported religious-extremists have some support from the Syrian government. Their wounded are transported to government hospitals. The government controlled corridor between the Kurdish held areas in eastern Syria and in Afrin is open for Kurdish resupplies. Last night a large convoy of fresh fighters and ammunition from eastern Syria arrived in Afrin. These are the forces the U.S. occupation in north-east Syria has allied with under the label SDF. At least parts of the arms they carry were provided by the U.S. military.

Turkey has the second biggest army in NATO. If it really wanted to take Afrin it could surely do so. But so far it has only send company size forces where brigades are need. My suspicion is that the current Turkish operation against Afrin canton is not intended to really capture and control the area. That would require way more professional Turkish army forces and cost thousands of Turkish casualties. What the operation does, and is probable intended to do, is to demonstrate to its NATO partner in Washington that it is indeed aligning with Kurdish YPG/PKK forces that are, from a Turkish perspective, outright terrorists. The attack on Afrin is designed to split the U.S. alliance with the YPG/PKK. (That may well be the reason why it has tacit Russian support.) If it succeeds in doing that it will make a further U.S. occupation of north-east Syria, which is in alliance with the Kurds, extremely difficult.

The U.S. has to decide between the NATO partner Turkey and its Kurdish YPG allies. To deliver weapons to the later who then fight the former is not sustainable. U.S. National Security Advisor McMaster is expected to visit Turkey over the coming weekend. Secretary of State Tillerson will touch down a few days later. What deal will they offer?

Meanwhile little is heard of the remaining ISIS forces near the Iraqi border north of the Euphrates. Many of the thousands of ISIS fighters the U.S. let intentionally escape from Raqqa and who from there traveled east are still at large. The border area is supposed to be U.S./SDF controlled but there seem to be no more efforts ongoing to destroy the ISIS remands there. If the U.S. can not defeat them why does it hinder Syrian forces from crossing the Euphrates to destroy that menace?

One well founded speculation is that the U.S. directs those ISIS fighters to attack the Syrian forces in the border city Abu Kamal just south of the Euphrates. The intend is to disrupt the road that connects Syria and Iraq and thus Beirut and Tehran. There have recently been some serious hit-and-run incidents against the Syrian positions there.

The war on Syria will continue and all the U.S. and Turkish scheming is only prolonging it. Neither of them have learned and decided to either giver up on their aims or to risk all the means that are needed to achieve them.

Posted by b on February 6, 2018 at 02:33 PM | Permalink

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excellent post b.. thank you..

" The attack on Afrin is designed to split the U.S. alliance with the YPG/PKK. (That may well be the reason why it has tacit Russian support.) If it succeeds in doing that it will make a further U.S. occupation of north-east Syria, which is in alliance with the Kurds, extremely difficult." that is the positive view on it... the more negative one is that turkey is conspiring with the usa here to further destabilize syria..

that was a pretty good find - "The Diyanet has been active in Syria, revealed by the former chief’s meeting on the evening of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt with Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib—the same individual who caused controversy in 2012 by calling on the United States to reconsider its decision to list Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist organisation."

your last line sums it up well..

Posted by: james | Feb 6, 2018 2:55:17 PM | 1

Not only are the US and Turkey keen on prolonging the war on Syria and its secular government but Israel and Saudi Arabia at least are also keen on overthrowing Bashar al Assad. That Israel and Saudi Arabia (part of the US Deep State) are pushing the US to continue must be considered as a factor in the US decision to continue despite the apparent lack of a clear military strategy. "No military strategy" or continuous chaos with no objectives and no timelines is as much a strategy as one with a clear focus and goals.

A continuous state of war might in fact benefit corporations whose business is manufacturing and selling arms, and countries whose economies and cultures have come to revolve around continuous change and upheaval, of which state-sanctioned violence and imprisonment at home and war overseas are two consequences.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 6, 2018 2:59:00 PM | 2

"The war on Syria will continue and all the U.S. and Turkish scheming is only prolonging it. Neither of them have learned and decided to either [give] up on their aims or to risk all the means that are needed to achieve them."

This assumes that the US goal is a decided outcome rather than prolonging conflict for as long as possible.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Feb 6, 2018 3:07:54 PM | 3

" The attack on Afrin is designed to split the U.S. alliance with the YPG/PKK. (That may well be the reason why it has tacit Russian support.) If it succeeds in doing that it will make a further U.S. occupation of north-east Syria, which is in alliance with the Kurds, extremely difficult."

i would go further and say that the whole Afrin Attack is the only purpose of it. And that russia is quite happy about. In any way it works in favor of Syria. It decimates the HTS and Kurds, split Turks and US AND maybe makes the Kurds thinking again about there alliances.

Russia has plenty of Options to drive out the Turks after that, so no worrys here.

Posted by: Sheeple | Feb 6, 2018 3:08:55 PM | 4

Reports of chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government are being coupled with renewed calls through the UN for a sponsored "no-fly" safe zone in the north of the country, roughly the same area as the proposed no-fly zone during the Aleppo operation. There seems to be an assumption the people of at least the West have limited attention spans or are easily led.

Posted by: jayc | Feb 6, 2018 3:27:57 PM | 5

East of the Euphrates [nearly a third of Syria] and home to its oil wealth is now US territory, and as everyone knows once the US has a foothold in such a strategic place, they will not leave, unless forced to do so. The US have a problem though, the SDF [mostly Kurds] are in North West Syria how are they expected to police and govern such a large area? If the US promise the SDF and Arab tribes the area, this could only be interpreted by Turkey and Syria as the beginnings of a separate Kurdish entity, however the Turks definitely will not attack the Kurds while they are protected by the US east of the Euphrates, nor at Manbij. But will not be happy with this arrangement, there will be a standoff, the Kurds will be invited by Syria, Russia and Turkey to keep Syria intact and agree to some form of cultural and/or legislative devolution all within a sovereign Syrian state, the US will not like it, but they will be the odd man out, and told to leave by all the interests in the region.

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 6, 2018 3:36:24 PM | 6

IF the attack is meant to divide US/Kurd by angering Kurds against US then the only way to achieve this is to have the attack fails. For if the attack succeeds, and Afrin is wiped out, then it will demonstrate to the Kurds that Russia is a friends that is willing to let you die shall it be in Russia interest. It will also demonstrate to the kurds that the only place under the Sun for them to exists free, is right under the US Umbrella. At Kobane they were once with their back on the Turkish wall, to be saved in-extremis, from the ISIS mad dogs, only by Uncle Sam heavy Bombers. So far, the US is the only one who have ever saved Kurds guts, beside of course, kurds themselves.

Posted by: murgen | Feb 6, 2018 3:42:51 PM | 7

Giving manpads is risky, and indeed other countries' civilian airliners will end up targetted. It's particularly crazy because there's a big juicy target right next door. Even if Ben Gurion airport were too far (not sure about the abilities of the supplied missiles), surely Eilat airport just cannot be secured.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 6, 2018 3:44:07 PM | 8

I thought it was obvious that the main Turkish aim was to prevent the rise of an independent Kurdish power in north Syria. Afrin was chosen because not protected by the US. The fact that they've made only limited progress is to be attributed to the Turk's choice of militias to do the ground fighting, rather than Turkish regular troops. No doubt there's politics there, though I don't know the internal Turkish politics concerned.

If it really wanted to take Afrin it could surely do so.
Perhaps only with a lot of casualties. Afrin is mountainous.

The Syrians are supporting the Kurds, because they want a deal with them in the end. I haven't seen much Kurdish response, but then they wouldn't want to offend the US.

By the way, just as an incidental fact, the high point of al-Eis, a hill rather than a mountain, overlooking the Roman city ruins of Chalcis, is the site of an early Arab castle, studied by my colleague from Lyon. If it comes to a fight, that'll be another archaeological site gone.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 6, 2018 3:52:03 PM | 9

It's all just shadow play, however real the carnage is. The US is slowly increasing it's strangle hold on Syria's throat and Turkey and Russia are pretending, a tad bit, to resist. Assad's Syria may have a more real desire to resist, but it cannot. It was so interesting to watch Russia join with Syria to stop Turkey's advance to Aleppo a few days ago. Practically the next way Turkey's allies shot down a Russian jet. Practically the next day Russia went to Turkey to beg, like Priam, for the body of the pilot and Turkey successfully established the position it sought over Aleppo.

This is the second Russian plane Turkey's allies in Syria have shot down. This time Russia went to the bended knee a lot quicker, though. But Russia is blowing up a lot of civilians elsewhere, in revenge for the shoot down, so maybe that makes up for its supine behavior to Turkey! Putin is such a mensch!

Posted by: paul | Feb 6, 2018 3:53:37 PM | 10

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Media reported earlier in October that Syrian rebels asked Washington for Stinger missiles to use them against Russia’s military jets.
“Absolutely… Absolutely I would,” McCain said when asked whether he would support the delivery of Stinger missiles to the opposition in Syria.
“We certainly did that in Afghanistan. After the Russians invaded Afghanistan, we provided them with surface-to-air capability. It’d be nice to give people that we train and equip and send them to fight the ability to defend themselves. That’s one of the fundamental principles of warfare as I understand it,” McCain said. https://sputniknews.com/us/201510201028835944-us-stingers-missiles-syrian-rebels-mccain/

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 6, 2018 3:56:21 PM | 11

Posted by: paul | Feb 6, 2018 3:53:37 PM | 10

It's all just shadow play, however real the carnage is. The US is slowly increasing it's strangle hold on Syria's throat
I guess you must work for Langley. Nobody else thinks the US is winning in Syria, rather than losing at high speed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 6, 2018 4:08:28 PM | 12

Paul is such a douche.

Posted by: SlapHappy | Feb 6, 2018 4:26:16 PM | 13

b: The thumbnail and link to the bigger Afrin map are broken: http://www.moonofalabama.org/images5/afrinmap20180206.jpg

"...The Syrian army has deployed new air defenses in north-west Syrian that can cover Afrin canton which is under Turkish attack..."

And Reuters knows this from an anonymous "commander in the military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad"? They must already have picked up crack reporter Sulome Anderson - good for her. C'mon, b... Reuters=reliable mouthpiece of neocons/Pentagon/CIA. Where's the skepticism?

Furthermore, "The Syrian army has deployed new air defenses in north-west Syrian that can cover Afrin canton which is under Turkish attack." WTF? Afrin is still a district in Syria's Aleppo governate. It will be a canton in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava) when that entity exists.

Even so, the 'canton' is not under attack - Turkey and it's al Qaeda head-chopper pals are attacking YPG/YPJ troops and assets to force them out. Turkey itself isn't sticking around. The idea is to remove any opposition to Erdogan's al Qaeda safe zone in Afrin District just before he forces tens of thousands of Arab and Turkomen Syrian refugees out of Turkey and back to Syria. It's not ethnic cleansing - it's a great display of the Turkish government's humanitarianism [golf clap].

I'm even imagining a likely follow-up when this charade plays out: the heroic Kurds returning to liberate their 'canton' and indoctrinate the grateful refugees into their ideology - and arm/train them to protect their land-theft booty from Syrians that might want it back. That's a bit of a stretch, though. Besides, the Wahhabi clerics will get there first.

Then there's this 'air defenses' weirdness from Reuters. Syria does not have *any* spare capability today, and they're sure as hell not going to waste any on Afrin. I'm trying to figure out why Reuters would even choke out this thinly disguised piece of propaganda. The Russians just lost a pilot to Turkish-backed head-choppers and a shoulder-fired SAM that probably came through Turkey. Doesn't anyone think there's a possibility that Russia is responsible for the TAF disappearing act in Syria instead of questionable 'Syrian air defenses' that were just announced by Reuters yesterday?

Maybe this is a clue: "...The air defenses had been sent to frontlines with militants in rural areas of Aleppo and Idlib. OK, so why would Reuters/CENTCOM PsyOps they say that? Why would the SAA give them to 'militants'?

Gosh... this sure would provide a nice piece of supporting evidence that Hezbollah or some other Iranian-linked militia is now running around northwestern Syria with MANPADS [shriek!!]. False flag time? Israeli airstrike excuses? US airstrikes against dangerous, SAM-toting Hezbollah? The Reuters-planted 'seed' means the follow-on possibilities are endless. Hezbollah has MANPADS for God's sake! [MSM talking heads burst into flames and explode...]

And for the "It's not about the oil" crowd, please note that the Brits and BP are slowly winning the Iraqi oil-booty war. That's the pipeline that will never get done, even though the port is ready. All those efforts to prevent any oil from ever going through the Iraqi western pipeline through Syria to Banias/Tripoli paid off. And no wonder Israel had their ISIS hang on to the Yarmouk Valley for them - they can send oil from the Amman bend right through the valley and across Israel to Haifa. The Yarmouk pipeline would be within the 1947 boundaries - who needs the Golan? Let the UN guard it forever as a DMZ.

If anyone is still bored, the Kurdish ISIS - the 'White Banners' - are expanding in eastern Iraq to make sure no Kirkuk oil goes to Iran.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 6, 2018 4:51:32 PM | 14

"The Turkish progress against the YPG Kurds in Afrin is extremely slow."

Compared to what? The Operation Euphrates Shield in Turkish Canton of Jarablus took 216 days to complete.

Afrin territory is far more dodgy. 1/3 terrorist fighters in Afrin are foreigners (they are not from Afrin) the PKK militants in civilian clothes pose another threat for TAF because it's not just arms and advice do they get from the US+EU but also they get international media support. Patience is required. IMHO.

Al Bab Starbucks

Afrin Starbucks

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 6, 2018 4:52:07 PM | 15

Operations by SAA and allies sure look like Whack-a-Mole recently, although Turkey's assault on Affrin made SAA assault on Idlib much easier. The downing of another Russian jet was bound to occur since several Syrian jets were shot down with much less fanfare. The backstage negotiations are numerous and likely convoluted, and we aren't privy to much if any of them; so, their outcomes can only be guessed at through behavior after-the-fact.

From the POV of many Syrians, the Turks are just as bad as the Zionists, perhaps even worse since the enmity is more longstanding. I think many SAA troops are on R&R having been in combat conditions almost constantly for several years, which is why we don't see much happening.

There's related Iraqi news about the Outlaw US Empire withdrawing troops to Afghanistan amidst renewed antagonism between them and several Shiite militia forces.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 6, 2018 5:00:51 PM | 16

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 6, 2018 4:51:32 PM | 14

And for the "It's not about the oil" crowd, please note that the Brits and BP are slowly winning the Iraqi oil-booty war. That's the pipeline that will never get done, even though the port is ready. All those efforts to prevent any oil from ever going through the Iraqi western pipeline through Syria to Banias/Tripoli paid off.
This is bizarre. The oil from the Iraqi south goes to the Gulf for shipment, not to Aqaba or Haifa. The Iraq- Jordan-Haifa pipeline of the 1930s transported the oil of Kirkuk. The Iraqis have won over Kirkuk. The oil, when it is back in action, is more likely to go south to the Gulf, under Iraqi control.

The US has lost in Iraq. It's just a question of when it is recognised.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 6, 2018 5:21:45 PM | 17

Turkey has already had at least one airport bombing.

I do not believe that they would give out MANPADS. I hate to say it but I believe that the CIA is jaded enough to think, 'hey, it won't bite us in the ass'.

If the Russians identify this as yet another Eastern European NATO model purchased by the U.S. then we may find out that proxy Cold Wars are a two way street. We have many more targets for the Russians to hit than they have for us overseas and yes, I do believe our security establishment is too dumb to realize this. Michael Morell is proof of that.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Feb 6, 2018 5:28:39 PM | 18

I think the use of ManPads signify a profound change in the conflict. Until now these weapons have largely been withheld from all insurgent forces. Those issued in Afghanistan once are not accounted for, but their "seekers" are dead by now. Manpads do not have unlimited shelf life. Unless maintained by, by professionals with spares. In the recent conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and with ISIS, Manpads have not been an issue, as far as I am aware. ManPads emerging on the battlefields is really, really bad news, if these weapons go rogue, you will hear about it on the news.
Most nations that have them in their inventories guard them rather strictly, because of the threat to civil aviation.
I will follow intently on what the investigation shows.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Feb 6, 2018 5:30:06 PM | 19

Just as the Syrian forces begin to assault Idlib province from the south, Turkey invades Idlib from the North. Yes, the US gave Erdogan the excuse by declaring the plan for a Kurdish “Border Force,” but they admitted having only 200 Kurdish fighters, and immediately after, announced they would not create this border force. But still, Turkey carried out a major military invasion into Syrian territory.

Turkey has been a primary backer of the FSA/ISIL/Muslim Brotherhood “rebels” since the very start of this “regime change” operation. It kept its border open for the inflow of Jihadists/mercenaries and weapons and the outflow of oil, entire factories disassembled and shipped to Turkey, valuable ancient artifacts and apparently slaves.

After the alleged coup attempt, and with Syria and its allies turning the tide and winning back large territories, Erdogan began appearing to work with Russia, despite having shot down a Russian jet, the crew of which was murdered by Turkish-backed (if not actual Turkish) “rebels.”

But I have to wonder if Turkey really did change its position on destroying Syria. What will happen when the Syrian forces moving north come into contact with the Turkish forces?

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 6, 2018 5:53:13 PM | 20

"Russia has plenty of Options to drive out the Turks after that, so no worrys here."
~ Posted by: Sheeple

Yes, Russia could crush the Turkish invasion relatively easily. But let's remember that Russia needs Turkey to keep the Bosporus open to the Russian naval and shipping traffic from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.

Putin has been a good ally to Syria (but not great, as it could have crushed the terrorists/mercenaries by now, so Putin clearly is balancing factors). But what will Putin/Russia do when Syria's forces moving north come into contact with Turkish forces?

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 6, 2018 6:01:24 PM | 21

Clueless Joe, none of these "Islamic Extremists" fighting in Syria or Iraq has ever attacked Israel. Actually, one time ISIL fired on Israelis by mistake, and immediately issued an apology to Israel.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 6, 2018 6:07:08 PM | 22

b

You neglected to mention the Sochi talks. The failure of the talks is a strategic ‘win’ for the ‘Assad must go!’ Coalition which wants to control the political process in Syria.

Just days before the talks Erdogan insisted on attacking the Kurds and US complained of Syria using chemical weapons. A coincidence? If so, it is a happy one from the standpoint of the <>’Assad must go! Coalition.

The apparent attempted coup in Turkey was another such happy coincidence that allowed USA to cozy up to the Kurds when it became clear that support for ISIS had become an embarrassment and dead-end. Would Kurds have trusted USA while it was aligned with their tormentor, Turkey?

Few care to notice, let alone speculate, about such coincidences. But one doesn’t have to outrun the Russian bear that you just poked. You only need to outrun the stooge/proxy you invited along (and weighed down with the heaviest pack). . It’s such planning that makes for “happy coincidences”.

Controlled opposition also leads to favorable outcomes that appear to be happy coincidences. How strange that Erdogan & Gulen and Hillary & Trump were once friendly. Should we be skeptical of the enmity of these “bitter rivals”? What a happy coincidence to have such a flawed and evil opponent! Yet to what extent do the agendas of the “bitter rivals” actually differ? Those that have followed Hillary, for example, know that she is not really a progressive and has always supported US MIC.

How different are Turkish goals in Syria from the ’Assad must go! Coalition? I’m not sure that b is right when he speculates that Erdogan is trying to split US from the Kurds. Hasn’t Erdogan’s quixotic Afrin operation allowed for “happy coincidences” like the failure of Sochi talks and strengthening US-Kurd relations.

The <>’Assad must go! Coalition wants to win Syrian regime change via the political process. They HAD to derail the Russian-led process and have to return refugees (voters!) to Syria. Despite the apparent US-Turk dust-up, Turkey’s desire to return refugees is important to their joint goal of Syrian regime change.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 6, 2018 6:32:19 PM | 23

Proxy Cold War Targets

So if the guys in our State Dept / CIA / whatever got their wish for a hot, proxy-Cold War how would the match up go in terms of who is more vulnerable?

U.S. against Russia.
1. Muslims in Central Asia (outside chance it could bite us but it would smart).
2. Ukrainians (could be a problem as long as they were willing to fight, we'd need to sweeten the pot with economic aid)

Russia against the U.S.
1. Really arm the Taliban (nah, it would blow up in their face and they know it)
2. Help groups against special forces in Africa (hmm ... some possibility there)
3. Help groups in South America and South East Asia (very little chance of it coming back to haunt them)
4. Sell Iran the really good stuff.
5. Look for ways to harass NATO deployed troops and sailors, we have many more deployed personnel vs them.

I do not want any of this to happen, just pointing out that I really don't think that the morons in my govt have thought this one through.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Feb 6, 2018 7:15:27 PM | 24

Jackrabbit @23--

Who's claiming the Sochi Congress failed? It accomplished what it was set up to accomplish then adjourned.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 6, 2018 7:23:09 PM | 25

Daniel #21

Russia does not depend on Turkey to keep the Bosporus open. The 1936 Montreux Convention does give Turkey control of the Bosporus but it also requires Turkey to grant freedom of passage. If Turkey blocked the Bosporus to Russia ships it would be the equivalent of a declaration of war. Nato would not back Turkey in that case.

Turkey is extremely important to Russia for many other reasons. We should recall that Turkey backed the Chechen's during the two Chechen wars. It was the rest area for Chechen rebels as well as the route for most of their supplies. It took Russia 12 years to defeat those forces during the 2nd Chechen War. The Incirlik air base provides the US airforce a base that is very close to Russia and especially to the important Ural industrial basin where much of Russia's arms manufacturers are located.

Erdogan is playing a very dangerous game trying to manipulate the US and Russia against each other. Russian diplomats are playing a very delicate game trying to gain some advantage. When it comes down to it, Syria is not the top priority to the Russians as they navigate these troubled waters. So far they have played their hand very skillfully. That doesn't mean Syria is not important and I can imagine that the Russians just might react at some point and give Erdogan one very bloody nose but at the same time leaving that fool with a face saving retreat.

Posted by: Toivos | Feb 6, 2018 7:36:43 PM | 26

karolf1

The Kurds and the main opposition didn’t attend.

I thought it was “setup to accomplish” discussion of a political solution by all groups in Syria. What am I missing?

I think the problems of Sochi have boosted the UN talks in Vienna as the avenue for a political solution.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 6, 2018 7:40:29 PM | 27

M.K. Bhadrakumar, writing in the Asia Times, suggests that Russian-Turkish axis in Syria faces meltdown
I disagree with the article, but it does provide an opposing viewpoint.

Posted by: Perimetr | Feb 6, 2018 8:10:58 PM | 28

@b Another excellent post

Yes Turkey for the moment is reluctant to use its armed forces in the invasion of Afrin, which is the reason advance is rather slow.

With the Syrian government allowing kurdish reinforcements to pass, it is only a matter of time when Turkey will be forced to make the decision to go all in or to withdraw from Syria completely.

At any case i don't see Turkey willingly returning the occupied territory to the Syrian government. My guess is that Turkey will try to pull off a "Cyprus 2.0" by establishing a fake puppet state in north Syria it can control.

This of course if Turkey is victorious which is a big IF.

The supply of "rebels" with manpads is a turning point to the worse. However it is also an indirect admission from the invaders that business as usual won't work.

Generally speaking, it seems that war exclusively by proxies in Syria is coming to an end and the backers slowly but steadily commit more of their own forces.

Posted by: redrooster | Feb 6, 2018 8:25:30 PM | 29

"That would require way more professional Turkish army forces and cost thousands of Turkish casualties."

It reminds me when I have read about Erdogan taking part in an anniversary (100 years?) of Turkish battle in Allahu Aqbar mountains in the winter 1914/1915. In was a true winter of snow and blood. Germans were threatening Paris, and allied Russia launched offensive through Mazurian Lakes of East Prussia. To get enough forces, half of Caucasus army was sent to European front. Turkey followed German advise and launched attack on Caucasus holdings of Russia. More than 100,000 Turks crossed Allahu Aqbar mountains on Russian border. Historical sources are a bit hazy how many returned, was it as few as 10% or as many as 20%? The winter storms in mountains were ferocious, 1/3 of Russian forces were lost to hypothermia etc. Which was much, much better than the fate of Turkish attackers.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 6, 2018 8:59:40 PM | 30

re Sochi Congress, RT thinks it went well:
www.rt.com/newsline/417481-putin-erdogan-syria-congress
www.rt.com/news/417423-mistura-sochi-congress-constitution
There are several more links at RT, just search: Sochi Congress

Posted by: frances | Feb 6, 2018 9:16:14 PM | 31

another day another limited hangout white wash

isreal hell
and
the blindness of little b
germananic guilt
paid pollition of the well

israel off limits as it may impact donations or funding may b

Posted by: simon | Feb 6, 2018 9:57:26 PM | 32

@Perimetr 28
I agree with you. Russia and Turkey may suffer a bit from it, but their alliance against the US tops all. Casualties? They just go to affirm the rightness of policy. Usually I usually bank on M.K. Bhadrakumar, but not this time.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 6, 2018 10:17:27 PM | 33

What do you think of Tony Cartalucci's suggestion that Turkey and the US are in cahoots in establishing a "safe haven" in northern Syria, which is something the US has been seeking since 2012? This would help to prolong the war and keep alive their long-sought goal of removing Assad, says Cartalucci:
https://journal-neo.org/2018/02/03/turkey-establishing-long-sought-us-safe-haven-in-northern-syria/

Posted by: BugsYourUncle | Feb 6, 2018 10:37:47 PM | 34

Lest we forget:

Obama Whitehouse Approves Missiles For Syrian Rebels - Washington Times

Posted by: guidoamm | Feb 6, 2018 11:14:10 PM | 35

Taking the risk to antagonise many on the board but... the fiscal impasse in the West brought about by a centralised monetary system on one hand and perpetual fiscal deficits on the other hand, preclude a resolution to crisis.

From an arithmetical point of view, once fiscal revenues no longer suffice to sustain the political edifice, then crisis becomes the only way to expand credit markets.

Hence spurious adventures motivated by manufactured evidence that is the natural result of lax, but arguably deliberate, lack of supervision on the part of civilian (political) governments of sundry government entities (and quasi government entities) that are allowed wide scope of action to expand their own power and influence and that compete against one another for money and power.

For example, this:

New Yorker Magazine: Trafficking In Terror

Posted by: guidoamm | Feb 6, 2018 11:38:24 PM | 36

@15 Confused Pundit - I agree. Patience is required. Whenever a play doesn't reveal itself immediately, the temptation is to speculate about its "true" intention. The best advice is often to wait.

If Turkey's play was simply a spoiling action on the Kurdish position, then I would say that this mission is accomplished already. Everyone now sees that the Kurds will never have Rojava, and Turkey pledges its will against that possibility. How far will Turkey go in this? Study the words of a commentator close to Erdogan, who offers this rallying call to Turkish will:

Turkey has been making history on these lands for a millennium by drawing its own path – and it is not a country that will fight for its own defense by obtaining approval from others. Turkey is not a country that will cower, get scared, kneel or beg through the PKK, Daesh or another terrorist organization that they [the US/Israel Zionists] armed. For centuries now, we never begged anyone even once; we have no such tradition. - That ‘map of evil’ is going to fail. This is homeland defense, and we know very well how to do this

Right now, Turkey throws its expendable pawns into the fray - a measure of its low regard for the Kurds, and a wise use of soldiers who frankly may as well die anyway. But if needed, Turkey will go all the way. Turkey doesn't know how to back down - this is not a feature of the Turkish mind. But, patience. Not even the Turks know what is required yet. For now, the schemers of the west have been checked.

So is Turkey's play simply to spoil the Kurdish position? Why not? Nothing suggests otherwise at this point. Turkey has no need to own a piece of Syria. Turkey needs the Kurds to know their place and to settle peaceably into it. Everyone in the region wants the same thing. Turkey can have this security and be on good terms with the whole region, or it can have an awkward situation with every hand raised against it. The smart choice is obvious, and not one event has shown that Turkey judges otherwise yet.


~~

Sochi was a success. The congress unanimously declared that all of Syria should be recovered - this includes Golan of course. Those who didn't attend were terrorists and groups who have chosen the losing side - their loss. Sochi was for those who choose diplomatic solution. Those who didn't attend chose the militant option. Same as every de-escalation, sorting the wheat from the chaff. Sochi plans to go to Geneva, where the highest of the formal processes will be sealed. But the decisions and agreements were made in Sochi. It's not the failures of Sochi that empowers Geneva, it's the success of Sochi that gives Geneva the groundwork material now to sanctify with global recognition. I don't have links for this assertion, but it comes from analysis I've read, and I'll support it over time with links as new events prove this to be the case.

~~

I like Bhadrakumar and I have tremendous respect for Cartalucci, but I disagree with both of them on this campaign - the situation has moved on far beyond both these viewpoints. Turkey would not be allowed to do what it's doing if this move were in any way part of a negative or downward spiral. Turkey's move is so bold that it must form part of an upward and onward scheme, for the other players to stand by and let it happen.

This play doesn't need to be any more than it is, and it's working just fine. It's already destroyed Rojava, and will destroy the Kurdish thrall to the US - which is what everyone wants, for the Kurds to come to their senses and understand the reality of the ground they stand on. And Syria continues standing on that gound. What's left to achieve in this play? Plenty more plays coming. Turkey will continue to show itself as an ancient country remembering that it is an independent force astride both east and west, friends with Iran and Syria and with any in Europe who want to join in. What more does realpolitik call for than simply this?

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 7, 2018 12:02:55 AM | 37

Sort of off topic, but excellent:

Robert Parry interview from 2007 on
Counterspin broadcasting on HPR1.
A real treat, but then so painfully
spot-on - 10 years ago we were told
by Bob Parry that the media is no
longer interested into publishing the
truth.

And it has only gotten worse.

Apologies, but to hear Bob Parry
on HPR was worth injecting.
https://fair.org/home/raul-garcia-on-trump-
infrastructure-plan-robert-parry-on-why-we-write/

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Feb 7, 2018 12:04:51 AM | 38

Toivos. Thanks for pointing out Turkey’s requirement to allow Russian passage. And yes, the Turk/Russian conflict is much deeper. Aren’t the Tatars in and from Crimea of Turk heritage? This conflict goes back at least to the 1700s.

That still fits better into my suspicion that Turkey remains intent on destroying Syria, and is just faking this alignment with Russia.

Perimetr. Che recommended that article yesterday, and I found it compelling. My automatic reaction is to NOT believe the MSM, so I doubt this narrative that Turkey and the US disagree on Turkey’s invasion of Syria.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 7, 2018 1:53:01 AM | 39

Oops, It was BugsYourUncle who just recommended that article.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 7, 2018 1:54:56 AM | 40

Humorous (-less?) interlude courtesy of US State Department:

“State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said any allegation that the United States has provided MANPAD missiles in Syria was untrue, and she denied that U.S. equipment was used in shooting down the Russian plane. “The United States has never provided MANPAD missiles to any group in Syria, and we are deeply concerned that such weapons are being used,” she said.”

Credibility problem much?

As far as Robert Parry, what a guy.

I do find it pretty irritating how certain ‘progressive left’ sites — yes, Omidyar’s Intercept - tried to give him the backhanded compliment of talking about his earlier work while ignoring everything he pubished on Ukraine and the new McCarthyism on Russia, something the site owner (and leash-holder) doesn’t want to talk about.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 7, 2018 2:00:00 AM | 41

Frances @31

Your second link states that:

Lavrov brushed off criticism “from Paris, Washington, and several other capitals” that the Congress is not representative enough. . . . Comparing the two processes, Lavrov argued that the plan proposed in Paris . . . was the result of a “non-transparent activity . . .”.

I think this snippet demonstrates that criticisms of Sochi are serious and hing on lack of representation. And there is a competing process that is favored by the West.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 7, 2018 2:11:12 AM | 42

daniel #38

The Crimean Tatars speak a Turkic language but so do many of the other central nations (Uzbeks, Uighers, Volga Tatars, and others). I don't think they would be considered Turks.

Posted by: Toivos | Feb 7, 2018 2:22:17 AM | 43

https://www.rt.com/news/418077-syria-respond-israeli-attack/

Playing with fire

Posted by: Mina | Feb 7, 2018 2:25:40 AM | 44

@Don Bacon 33
That article seems to jump from these military incidents to a much broader geopolitical argument but in general, these kind of discussions are meaningless if you don’t include the economic agendas of the parties in the military conflict. Understandably, the parties involved will always be reluctant to openly discuss such economic agendas; but independent analysts should try to buck that trend. Perhaps a general argument on the value of such geopolitical analysis that doesn’t explicitly include economic agendas. Then there’s the corruption angle, side-party deals, for example all that ISIS oil they sold to Turkey, etc.

Just saying, military to geopolitical without economics isn’t much use for understanding the situation or predicting how it will fall out.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 7, 2018 3:05:44 AM | 45

Toivos | Feb 6, 2018 7:36:43 PM | 26

"We should recall that Turkey backed the Chechen's during the two Chechen wars."

1) True but Turks shot down the Rus jet as well and killed the Rus ambassador too.
Meaning: Who pulled the strings in Turkey re all above policies? I think the Russians will have to make a dictinction between the friendly Turks who intend no threat to the Russians and the dumb Turks who get manipulated all the time. Preferably, the Russians will work towards a pan-regional alliance hand in hand with the former.

2) Trotsky had an American passport. Similarly, those who allegedly helped the Chechens are depicted in the BBC series: The Russian Godfathers. I think the Russians suffered a lot. I'm not saying the Russians are not naughty but particularly the Beslan school incident, the theater incident etc. were all really sad, nasty attacks on the Rus.

I think the Russians suffered a lot and enough. So did the Turks. It is clear that the Turks didn't gain anything from NATO membership but what Russia has got to offer to help them get out? The US has been only deceptive so far. Could the Russians be straightforward?

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 4:04:37 AM | 46

I wonder what game Turkey is actually playing.. The confusion game? Yes I am at least confused the all the half commitments, the Turks so far have done. They seem not to really put they will behind their moves. The moves of the other participants have been more in coherent in terms of their suggested objectives. More predictable.
On a somehow more uplifting note, it seems as if there are contacts between the Kurds and the Syrian government, even cooperation to some extent, if reports of convoys are true. If true, it suggests that the Kurds (or parts of them) reject an independent state, but accept an autonomous region, else why would SAA allow convoys. As I see it, the kurds will not accept SAA presence in Afrin, but accept that they are part of Syria..
Comments please..

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Feb 7, 2018 4:09:29 AM | 47

I feel this is all a carefullly scripted plan to Balkanize Syria as Small part of the overall goal to create a NWO globally Yeah, Russia, China (erik Prince-really?), Turkey and maybe NK are all in on it. Straight out of 1984. You need conflict to terrorize the people into submission , a war (s) for peace. War=Peace. Ever notice Russia/Soviet Union never provides enough support for the side they support to actually win against he Anglo-American-Israeli establishment?

Most of this has to be scripted out of Holywood. No wonder they have no time to make good movies in what has to be the Dark Ages for them, forced to rely on comic books from the 50's for ideas.

Ok, maybe I jest. Maybe not.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 7, 2018 4:24:04 AM | 48

@46 Den Lille Abe
https://thewire.in/219467/russia-turkey-iran-triangle-economic-interests-paramount/

Trying to hedge bets, use leverage from one side to gain concessions from Tillerson, but what does Tillerson have to offer Turkey at this point? It seems the US obsession is Iran, once again - not Iran the military power, but Iran the regional economic integrator. So Turkey is trying to keep its big partners happy, trying to leverage for their own benefit - as to be expected.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 7, 2018 4:40:51 AM | 49

Erdo seems affected with a Zuma syndrom lately
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/289504/Egypt/Politics-/Turkish-rejection-of--EgyptGreece-border-demarcati.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Feb 7, 2018 5:07:44 AM | 50


Consensus between the Syrians at Sotchi
by Thierry Meyssan
"While the Congress for a Syrian National Dialogue has not solved the conflict, it has swept away the minor groups who were pretending to represent the Syrian People for the benefit of the Western powers. It has also cleared the way for a consensus, adopted by the representatives of almost all Syrians, and decided the creation of a Constituent Commission. The basis for peace has been established, but without the Western powers".
Two groups did not attend some Kurds [PYD] and the not to be missed High Negotiating Committee [Saudi funded head choppers] a most successful gathering overall of 1500 Syrians from all walks of life.

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 7, 2018 5:18:37 AM | 52

Some points need addressing here.
1. The diyenet is a toothless organization controlled by the state, aka Erdoğan, Erdoğan is a defacto MB "member". This is why he supports MB types in Syria and will not work with Syria against the Kurds. Erdoğan's primary purpose is to overthrow Assad and install an MB style government in Syria. This is also the US purpose, although they would be just as happy with a KSA wahhabi regime.

2. Erdoğan won't put Turkish troops in Syria because of the political ramifications if things go badly. He has been avoiding this from the beginning, and instead has tried to get the US and NATO to put their troops in. There has been this cat and mouse game being played between the US and Turkey to see who will supply the cannon fodder in the war. Their proxies just won't do.

3. Note that Turkey is not attacking US Kurds in the east where they are a threat to Turkey. Afrin is not a threat. The US is not in Afrin. Turkey has not made any serious attack in Manbij. Turkey seems also to be tacitly working with HTS in Idlib. This is not surprising as Turkey overtly backed Al Nusra (HTS) earlier, even to the point of aiding their looting of Aleppo. If Syria is to be split up, Turkey will take the North West as its sphere of influence. It would also like the North East, but the US has other plans. Still, Erdoğan seems reluctant to confront the US directly. Never listen to what Erdoğan says. It is purely for local political consumption. Only pay attention to what he actually does. Basically, Cartalucci is correct. Turkey and the US are creating "safe zones" in Syria. https://journal-neo.org/2018/02/03/turkey-establishing-long-sought-us-safe-haven-in-northern-syria/

4. However, the US may still be trying to draw Turkey into a direct war with Syria. This would be the perfect scenario especially if NATO and the US could be kept out. The US war in Syria is not and never really has been directed against the "terrorists". It has always and still is being directed against Assad and his allies. The US may feel it needs to draw Turkey into a war with the Syrians to secure its objectives. Erdoğan wants to achieve the same objective of overthrowing Assad, but without Turkish troops providing the cannon fodder. This is a kind of stalemate if you like.

5. The ISIS forces near the Iraqi border need to be kept alive as an excuse for the US to remain in Syria. They have even had some success against the SDF recently in that line. I don't expect ISIS to disappear there any time soon. They will be used as needed.

Posted by: Blue | Feb 7, 2018 5:35:05 AM | 53

Den Lille Abe | Feb 7, 2018 4:09:29 AM | 46

"I wonder what game Turkey is actually playing.. The confusion game?"

PKK recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkish state since 1984
PKK recognized as a terrorist organization in the EU since 2002

US govt. "Turkey is our ally"
US govt. "PKK/YPG = our partners"

Who is playing "the confusion game"?

I think the Turks are playing the Survivor game.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 5:35:14 AM | 54

Wasn't a Russian helicopter downed with A MANPAD west of Aleppo a year or so back? SU-25's were pulled back to Russia for upgrades which I thought was defense against portable missiles?
A lot of military bases captured by jihadists over the years so it's a sure thing they would have some sort of MANPAD's. Russian government wants to know who supplied this particular missile that shot down the SU. Is that because it would take a state of the art missile - not captured Syrian soviet vintage missiles - to beat the SU's upgraded missile defense system?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7, 2018 6:06:23 AM | 55

@ ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 5:35:14 AM | 53
„PKK recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkish state since 1984
PKK recognized as a terrorist organization in the EU since 2002
US govt. "Turkey is our ally"
US govt. "PKK/YPG = our partners"
Who is playing "the confusion game"?“
As stated whereelse this is just childish. Because you can name with damned good reasons all conflictive parties terrorists or supporters of terrorists. The Turkish state being no exemption, just the opposite. One things I do not understand: where is the Muslim Brotherhood declared to be a terroristic entity?
@ All: the cited article about the Turkish diyanet is outstanding! Keep it well in your archives. You will need it quite often soon.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 7, 2018 6:17:23 AM | 56

Dear Hausmeister,

I'm afraid you are making a big mistake!

I don't think anyone, incl yourself, can refute me with this line of yours below:

"As stated whereelse this is just childish. Because you can name with damned good reasons all conflictive parties terrorists or supporters of terrorists. The Turkish state being no exemption, just the opposite."

That would be childish!

1) The EU 'officially' recognized the PKK as a terrorist group in 2002. It is an official fact. Whether one feels they are terrorists or not is irrelevant.

2) It took 18 years for the EU (a superpower, the craddle of civilization, an exemplary establishment for the humankind) to determine that the PKK = terrorist entity whereas the Turks, or 'terrorists' as you put it (but not officially recognized by the same EU as such) or barabarians if you like, were 18 years quicker to find out the PKK were in fact a terrorist group. That's a shame on the EU!

3) Are the PKK a terrorist group or not? If not, why call them so and if they are why did it take you 18 years to call them so?

4) The point I was trying to make in my earlier post was this:

a) It's not the Turks who are playing a confusion game. It's the 'democratic' countries who are ganging up on Turks. That's a fact. They all have a relationship with terrorist Monica Lewinskys.

b) They are doing the same thing with the PYD/YPG/SDF/KCK/YPJ/Children of Mother Theresa/Freedom Fighters/blah blah. It'll take them another 18 years to declare them as terrorists. That was my point.

c) The US+EU are all in bed with the terrorist PKK. So are the Russians, Iranians, Syrians, Israelis for some reason... Sweet Dreams are made of these.

IMHO

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 7:50:39 AM | 57

@ ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 7:50:39 AM | 56

„The US+EU are all in bed with the terrorist PKK. So are the Russians, Iranians, Syrians, Israelis for some reason... Sweet Dreams are made of these.“
Yes, they are all in bed, Turkey included. Why don't they just make love there? Instead of slaughtering each other?

Look for what the Turkish deep state did against the Kurds and other minorities since the 1920s and which methods were used. How can one claim then the term „non-terrorist“ or reject „terroristic repression“? It is based on the tragic problem that one of the founding myth of the Turkish republic is a lie. The belief that in Turky the population is of ethnic homogenity, derived from the Turks that came in after the battle of Malazgirt. With this idiotic view all cultures and minority groups are a burden, should not exist, and not a sign of richness and diversity. After being repeated 100 years by now it is quasi impossible to take the lie back, the lowest uneducated stratum of the society would be embarassed. The amount of uneducated conspiracy believers in Turkey is unusual high - and unfortunately often enough high ranked.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 7, 2018 8:02:43 AM | 58

Aircraft can get shot (missiled?) down in any war, it needn't be a game changer. The US lost over two hundred aircraft in Vietnam. Russia lost hundreds of aircraft to US Stingers in Afghanistan, and had to revert to helos because its fighters and bombers were marginalized. It's amazing that MANPADS have had such a small impact recently.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7, 2018 9:29:42 AM | 59

Terrorism is "unlawfully using violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims." It only applies to individuals and non-state groups. If a government does it, it's called diplomacy, or statecraft.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7, 2018 9:35:42 AM | 60

"Is The Turkish Attack On Afrin Intended To Split The U.S.-Kurdish Alliance?"

Well, duh

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 7, 2018 9:48:42 AM | 61

57

PKK are not "the Kurds". If anyone suffers from PKK it is "the Kurds".

When you confuse the two you are working for Erdogan.

This Kurdish politician was a co-founder of AKP. He left and joined HDP.

Fırat nevertheless complained about divisions within the Kurdish movement and the influence of the PKK and its leaders based in the remote Qandil mountains of northern Iraq.

“Though the HDP received 13 percent of the vote in the elections of June 2015, PKK leaders in the mountains have been overruling in the party,” he said. “Politics should be free and genuine. PKK members and parliament should be separate. These two can talk, but they cannot give instructions to each other.”

Fırat gave the example of the PKK’s attempt to seize parts of a number of cities in the mainly Kurdish southeast in 2015 that brought the largely rural guerrilla campaign to urban areas on a big scale for the first time in more than 30 years of fighting.

The Turkish military sent in tanks and pounded densely packed neighbourhoods with artillery to crush the attempted uprisings.

“The Kurdish movement put everyone into a deadlock as it brought the war into the very streets where our people live. The PKK has since not given an account of the warfare where so many civilians were killed,” Fırat said.

Together with Demirtaş, Fırat said he had travelled to the areas at the time to stop the fighting, but he said they were sidelined by the militants.

As is, everybody is reinforcing everybody else's nationalism.

It might win Erdogan the election but it is a disaster for people in Turkey.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 7, 2018 10:04:13 AM | 62

harrylaw @51

Sochi was a major effort by the Russians starting months ago. It was rescheduled twice to ensure success.

Turkey objected to full participation by the Kurds, then launched their attack on Afrin days before the Sochi talks. Why was it so urgent for Turkey to attack Afrin? Why couldn’t the Turks wait until after Sochi?

Kurdish non-participation legitimized HNC (Saudi-backed) refusal to participate. (How much that’s perceived to be true naturally differs among different groups.)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 7, 2018 10:25:19 AM | 63

@ somebody | Feb 7, 2018 10:04:13 AM | 61

"PKK are not "the Kurds". If anyone suffers from PKK it is "the Kurds"."

You should argue against real positions. I did not say something like all Kurds are supporting the PKK. I found it obscene if people who use terroristic methods since ages, support the most barbarian kind of terrorists that exist today reject any political dialogue with the insane reason „they are terrorists“.

And I suppose you do not understand the basic political methodology of Erdogan. If there is no PKK he would immediately need some other "enemy". His one and only chance is constant polarization. In a normal dialogue-orientated environment he would have no say. His secret support for those diyanet people has no majority in the country. But now this majority cannot express itself.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 7, 2018 10:54:50 AM | 64

I have argued that Erdogan can’t achieve his military objectives in Afrin so the only real effect of the Afrin attack is to derail Kurd participation at Sochi.

But the refugees do need to be resettled in order to vote. Taking Afrin, and/or a “buffer zone” along the border would help with resettlement.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 7, 2018 11:09:01 AM | 65

Hausmeister | Feb 7, 2018 8:02:43 AM | 57

But that's a different argument. You may be right prima facie, I suspect in the second sense.

You advised application of 'reason' in thinking. So I try to base all my arguments on 'factual' points. Instead (people complain here) we have 2 well-built guys, US & EU, who spit on Turks' neck from behind and run away faster than Speedy Gonzales. LOL. Hilarious. The US & EU are lying through their teeth. Another complaint is that there is one rule for us and one rule for the big guys. That's a coctail of cowardice, bullying, hypocrisy. If that's what they are they sould just say so but they are in denial. That is a serious problem with the charismatic image of the US & EU. People demand that all parties sit down and talk or else Face me! Hit me if you like but don't say you didn't. Let's settle our affairs once and for all! Let all hell break loose! We get neither. Instead people are subjected to the confusing policies of the Coalition for Occupation. We are bored here.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 11:46:27 AM | 66

@23 JackRabbit,

You must be doing Paul's research. You do not understand Sochi or Syria.

Try Meyssan's deep analysis. http://www.voltairenet.org/article199576.html

You will learn much and best of all won't be wasting time here with naive comments.

Or you can remain Paul's wingman, tossing donut holes of "Putin failed" at us.
In other words, you are ignorant of the facts. And you are in with weak company.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 7, 2018 11:58:13 AM | 67

@Hausmeister 57
You last sentence strongly suggest that you might think that most Turks are undercover Americans...
Year , I like it. Its credible ;)

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Feb 7, 2018 12:01:41 PM | 68

I can't help when I see concerned US and EU governments talking about Kurds.

What, are you not going to give them GMO foods or sell them VWs with fabricated emission reports or smart phones that spy on them?

How chivalrous.

Click Here -> Time of the Kurds - cfr.org

(Don't click, it's a clickbait!)

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 12:10:08 PM | 69

ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 11:46:27 AM | 65

Playing the victim may work on morons but it doesn't work here.

Turkey vs. "the big guys"? How convenient. How does Turkey treat those that are weaker than Turkey? Not very well. That's why the country is despised by all its neighbors.

There is no moral high ground either because contrary to Turkey, the US&EU at the very least have admitted their wrongdoings (native Americans and Jews).

As for the PKK it is forbidden in NATO and EU but not in Russia. Interestingly the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Erdogan is a member, is forbidden in Russia but not in NATO and EU.

As for not all Kurds are PKK and Turkey is only fighting the PKK its typical propaganda and double talk. For we both know very well that if Turkey could it would commit another genocide against all Kurds, be it PKK or not.

Having clarified where we disagree let's move on to what I agree with you :

Turkey thanks to support and help from the USA, EU and Arab countries ever since at least the end of WW2, if not sooner, has grown to a regional power in the area.

It has grown to the point that it wants to renegotiate the deal it had been offered by the above-mentioned back when Turkey was a nobody. The so-called "big guys" don't want to offer a better deal to Turkey and instead try to undermine the country until it "comes back to its senses" as they see it.

That and nothing else is the whole Turkey vs. "the big guys" story.

Now do the big guys use, want to use or have already used the military coup, the Guelen movement, or Kurds in order to achieve the purpose? Very possible. In fact I'm convinced.

Posted by: redrooster | Feb 7, 2018 12:30:29 PM | 70

Red Ryder

Thanks for the link. I’m not sure what you mean about Paul. I have no connection to him.

I’m not against Sochi in any way. My comments are directed at the purpose and timing of Erdogan’s Afrin operation. Even the Thierry Meyssan article you link to suggests that Erdogan (via actions by Turk proxies) isn’t fully in the R+6 camp.

One might see Sochi as a success and still see that Erdogan’s Afrin attack was one of many actions taken to undermine it.

Turkey seems to be a ‘wild card’. What is Erdogan up to? What can we expect from Turkey in the future?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 7, 2018 12:37:21 PM | 71

On livemap syria they are showing pics of oil trucks from east syria, us kurd control, servicing markets in idlib under pro turkey opposition control. The route went from deir ezzor fields through manbij-azaz-afrin-idlib. This trade was still ongoing until just recently, they posted pics of oil trucks coming from turkey instead, but who knows if this is just the same oil in different trucks. The resource theft continues regardless of whether turkey or us/kurds control the area, however turkey may be reluctant to give it back since they have a far stronger army than syria who relies on militias heavily in some areas, north hama, south and northwest aleppo, and abu kamal all of which are under threat from turkish and usbacked forces

Posted by: Garrett | Feb 7, 2018 12:50:58 PM | 72

@46 Den Lille Abe.. i get mixed messages about turkeys agenda here and have all along.. as for the kurds taking the assistance from syria... they continue to want the usa to help them too... which brings me to my final point.. just this morning rt is articulating larvovs point on how the usa has said they were only interested in getting rid of isis, but there agenda seems to now be they want to partition syria.. of course - that is how it has looked to me all along too... there is nothing that the usa won't do for israel it seems..

@52 blue... good comments... i agree with much of what you say, although on the face of it - they are saying different - by all appearances, it looks like what you articulate... thanks..

regarding Hausmeister and confused pundit ongoing conversations here at moa... i am now skipping over them unless it is directed at me..

Posted by: james | Feb 7, 2018 12:57:23 PM | 73

redrooster | Feb 7, 2018 12:30:29 PM | 69

Thank you, well said. Ditto. Thumbs up. I like honesty. Now we can talk otherwise get lost in mumbo jumbo.

"It has grown to the point that it wants to renegotiate the deal it had been offered by the above-mentioned back when Turkey was a nobody. The so-called "big guys" don't want to offer a better deal to Turkey and instead try to undermine the country until it "comes back to its senses" as they see it.

That and nothing else is the whole Turkey vs. "the big guys" story.

Now do the big guys use, want to use or have already used the military coup, the Guelen movement, or Kurds in order to achieve the purpose? Very possible. In fact I'm convinced."

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 1:40:41 PM | 74

Don Bacon 58

"It's amazing that MANPADS have had such a small impact" (recently)

It has to do with the nature of the terrain:

Manpads have a limited range. They must be portable. Therefore cannot
be too heavy with fuel.

Also, Aircraft have a limited ceiling. What made Manpads so effective in
Afghanistan is the very mountainous nature of the country.

A rotary wing already at its ceiling is reachable by a Manpad on top
of a mountain.

Just the same even a fighter flying high is reachable as the starting
point of a Manpad at 10,000feet is already close to half way there.

The situation is not the same in Syria where there is much flatland and
mountains are nowhere like their counterparts in Afghanistan.

Posted by: CarlD | Feb 7, 2018 1:54:43 PM | 75

reply to JackRabbit 41
Nothing is ever perfect but I still judge the Congress a success; from the same RT article:
"Some 1,393 delegates took part in the Congress, according to the envoy, while over 1,500 invitations had been sent out beforehand.The Constitutional Committee will also include delegates from those groups who did not attend the Sochi gathering for whatever reason, Lavrov said. “Obviously, no one expected that it’ll be possible to gather representatives of absolutely all groups of the Syrian nation – both loyal to the government, neutral and opposition.
The fact that two-three groups could not participate should not be seen as a tragedy,” Russia's top diplomat stated. Lavrov brushed off criticism “from Paris, Washington and several other capitals” that the Congress is not representative enough.
He pointed out that unlike the recent Group of Five (France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UK and US) meeting in Paris, the Sochi platform was open to all to participate in and included “observers from all permanent UN Security Council members, all Syria’s neighbor states, from other Arab countries and Kazakhstan as a host country.”
The Sochi event was highly inclusive and open, the Paris event is neither.

Posted by: frances | Feb 7, 2018 4:46:40 PM | 76

PropOrNot, the anonymous producers of the news site blacklist used Twitter to denigrate Robert Parry. And the responses it got are wonderful. Please check it out, and notice how vile are the responses by PropOrNot.

It reminds me precisely like David Brock/Jennifer Granholm "Correct The Record" trolls during the Democratic Primaries.

https://twitter.com/propornot/status/958036414834270208

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 7, 2018 5:04:20 PM | 77

Turkey buys 3 Ka-32 Rus choppers today.

What's next?

Is this another albeit tiny step away from the NATO threshold?

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 5:41:49 PM | 78

One of the problems the Turks would face if they tried to take over [on a permanent basis] part of Syria, is that it would be contrary to all promises made to Russia about the sovereign and integral legitimacy of the Syrian state. Turkey now have Turk gas stream going ahead and have been promised nuclear power plants and s 400 missile systems they have major Iranian gas supplies and a growing trade with Iran and Russia. Are they going to f--k with Putin again and lose all that, I don't think so. The US is the odd man out here, opposed by Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq, Turkey and Iran backed by Russia and China. Will we see how exceptional the US are?

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 7, 2018 5:53:55 PM | 79

frances

Well of course they were going to go ahead and make the best of it. And dismiss those who would not participate.

And that is NOT to say it failed or that the effort wasn’t worthwhile. But maybe opponents of Sochi got something of a propaganda victory that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. Western press calls HNC “the main opposition group” and together with Kurd non-participation, Sochi talks can be easily dismissed.

My point seems to be lost as every one rushes to defend Sochi. Did Turkey really need to attack Afrin just before these talks? That angered Kurds and caused them to decline to go. Now, maybe some Kurds DID go, but to the extent that there was non participation, that helped to legitimize the radical opposition like HNC.

Should we be suspicious of Erdogan’s rush to attack Afrin or just shrug it off? What about the behavior of Turk-aligned groups at Sochi? Is it worthwhile to ask whose side Erdogan is on? Or is Erdogan/Turkey nothing more than an irritant that is meaningless to the big picture?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 7, 2018 6:11:13 PM | 80

welcome to more of the same usa bullshit everyone here has witnessed so many times..

Posted by: james | Feb 7, 2018 6:17:20 PM | 81

Looks like the US are doubling down on that nascent Kurdish state East of the Euphrates.... WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US-led coalition conducted defensive airstrikes against pro-government forces in Syria that attacked Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters near the Euphrates River, US Central Command said in a press release Wednesday.
"Syrian pro-regime forces initiated an unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters Feb. 7," the release said. "In defense of Coalition and partner forces, the Coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged in the Global Coalition's defeat-Daesh mission." https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201802081061454435-pentagon-syria-assad-defence-airstrikes/

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 7, 2018 6:52:24 PM | 82

that is a good way to put it harry.. my link was from rt and about the same topic..

Posted by: james | Feb 7, 2018 7:06:40 PM | 83

Dear harrylaw | Feb 7, 2018 5:53:55 PM | 79

"One of the problems the Turks would face if they tried to take over [on a permanent basis] part of Syria, is that it would be contrary to all promises made to Russia about the sovereign and integral legitimacy of the Syrian state."

Syria stays one piece, Turks get out. Syria is divided, then Turks remain. IMHO.

Currently 'escalate to de-escalate' is the strategy everybody adheres to. I think the US should find a way to repair the ties with the Turks before it's too late. Nothing will be the same as before but at least it won't get worse.

Turks will take Afrin (65% population is non-kurd) and Manbij (an Arab town) and then go all the way till they reach the Iraqi border and secure their own border. Or the US&EU will insist they stay where they are. Let's see. But Turkey has 3.5m Syrian refugees (3.5 times more than the entire EU accommodates), 350.000 of them are Kurdish. They should all go back to their homeland. There are many Palestinians in exile in Jordan. Turkey doesn't want to be another one.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 7, 2018 7:25:08 PM | 84

US jets have bombed the Syrian army again. And again, they’re claiming “defense” by attacking the forces of te legitimate government even though they are there illegally.

Posted by: Daniel | Feb 7, 2018 7:29:52 PM | 85

Conflict between SAA and USA was just a matter of time. Each side has stated their intentions for nearly a month (or more).

Although major combat operations are over there are still pockets of ISIS - a “happy coincidence” that justifies US presence (only SAA seems to want to fight the ISIS that remains). I pointed this out at least a month ago with no response. Did everyone here just expect the Assad must go!’ Coalition to give up when Putin announced that major combat operations against ISIS were over? I remarked a few weeks ago that the Coalition can not accept defeat. Met with silence.

We’ve talked about The outcome in Syria being decided by force of arms - not a political process. But winning on the battlefield is not enough unless Russians and Americans are willing to entertain WWIII. So far the answer to that is “no” (thankfully). So politics and covert ops becomes the end game. That makes Sochi Important. But everyone seems to think the war is over and the Astana peace process will lead to a political settlement. The possibility that Erdogan is not bowing to what many here see as an obvious R+6 ‘win’ is only now being considered.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 7, 2018 9:03:16 PM | 86

The US attack on the SAF coincides with an Israeli attack against targets in Damascus.

Posted by: Perimetr | Feb 7, 2018 9:07:05 PM | 87

south Front has some details I haven't seen elsewhere.

my thought was that the US may be trying to get the syrian army distracted and stretch into opening or expanding upon another front. I also read somewhere that both Mattis and McMaster are off to Turkey this week with their horse and pony show trying to corral Turkey back into a more steady pro-US and nato ally. after the pro-US coup in 2016 etc etc, good luck on that one, Yanks!

https://southfront.org/breaking-us-led-coalition-conduct-strikes-syrian-army-deir-ezzor/

.....Local sources reported that the US-led coalition strikes targeted several positions of the SAA around Khasham town on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in the eastern Deir Ezzor countryside. Clashes between the SAA and the US-backed SDF are still ongoing around the town according to the sources.

.....However, Syrian pro-government sources doubted that the SAA could launch such an attack against the US-backed forces while it is fighting on many other fronts in the governorates of Hama, Aleppo, Idlib and Damascus.

The US-led coalition strike on the SAA will likely reignite the tension between Damascus government and the Kurdish-dominated SDF after it faded away for a while due to the Turkish Army attack on Afrin area

Posted by: michaelj72 | Feb 7, 2018 9:31:08 PM | 88

Part of my daily reading is to punch in Syria as a search term on Twitter. In the past it has mostly brought up a reasonable balance of pro Syria and anti Syria posts. The last few days twitter only brings up Assad gas attacks, Assad/Russians bombing hospitals and civilians ect ect. And now what is most likely an unprovoked attack by US on SAA.
Looks like US is trying to drum up another coalition of the killing to attack Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7, 2018 11:05:52 PM | 89

Could be that the US/SDF scheme of flipping ISIS to 'their' side in exchange for Syria's oil and gas fields in Deir EzZor may have blown up in CENTCOM'S face. Article for Iranian FARS, so take it for what it's worth:

Severe Tensions Erupt between SDF, Civilians in Eastern Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)- Local sources reported on Wednesday that severe tensions erupted between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and tribal people in Eastern Deir Ezzur, local sources reported on Wednesday. The sources said that people in the village of al-Shahil stormed the SDF centers and captured nine of the Kurdish fighters after one of the villagers was reportedly killed by the SDF.

The villagers have called for the handover of the murderer.

The SDF has put its forces on alert following the unrest.

Local sources in Deir Ezzur confirmed last month that the SDF released 400 ISIL members, among them tens of senior terrorist commanders in Deir Ezzur as well as their security, economic, military and religious leaders.

Meantime, over 120 ISIL terrorists joined the SDF in Deir Ezzur.

The sources said that the SDF measure will possibly lead to heavy clashes with the people and tribes of Deir Ezzur and Hasaka as the ISIL terrorists have committed many crimes against them during the terrorist group's control over the region.

SyriaDeeply had an article in October highlighting the thug army the US/SDF recruited for the Deir EzZor Syrian land/oilfield theft race, aka Jazeera Storm.

Washington’s Partner Problem in Syrian Battle Against ISIS

Some of these ex-ISIS 'recruits' are responsible for the August 2014 slaughter of 700 members -mostly civilians - of the al-Sheitat tribe near Deir EzZor. Al Jazeera, Aug 2014:

Islamic State group 'executes 700' in Syria

CENTCOM can make whatever claims it wants, but if any al-Sheitat find that the US is harboring their ex-ISIS butchers in the SDF, they will try to kill them. That, despite any threats or 'defensive actions' CENTCOM employs against them. Blood revenge in the Arab tribes is like that - something else the US seems oblivious to.

I don't know if this had anything to do with the attacks on SDF positions and US retaliation, but it wouldn't be surprising that the US is on the wrong side, once again.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 8, 2018 12:21:41 AM | 90

76
Check algotransparency (helloalgo on twitter): a former youtube employee proves that youtube is the biggest advertisment machine for fake news

Posted by: Mina | Feb 8, 2018 2:27:43 AM | 91

So US attacks another country and the western presstitutes in the msm cover up for them in the media and fool the reader, this is beyond ugly.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 8, 2018 3:14:45 AM | 92

The U.S. and Israel now seem to think Syria is their happy hunting ground and I don't see that ending since Putin isn't crazy enough to start a nuclear war. What exactly will the Russians end up winning in Syria? Israel, Turkey, the U.S. backed Kurds and the U.S. itself are carving huge and strategic chunks out of Syria and it doesn't look like it's going to end. The Syrians have the will to fight but not the defensive weapons (S-400s and modern jets) needed to defend themselves. ISIS is not defeated it's just morphed into whatever BS name the U.S. wants to call the terrorists they are using to do their will. Very disgusted.

Posted by: rcentros | Feb 8, 2018 3:41:21 AM | 93

Oh ... and fvck that crazy, mouth-breathing bastard Trump and his insane, drooling generals.

Posted by: rcentros | Feb 8, 2018 3:45:41 AM | 94

"Washington seems to have departed from its publicly stated goal of fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and is ready to partition Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned earlier on Wednesday.

“It’s very likely that the Americans have taken a course of dividing the country. They just gave up their assurances, given to us, that the only goal of their presence in Syria – without an invitation of the legitimate government – was to defeat Islamic State and the terrorists,” Lavrov said.

“Now they are saying that they will keep their presence till they make sure a steady process of a political settlement in Syria starts, which will result in regime change,” the minister said during a conference in Sochi.
The US have partitioned Syria without asking the people in the partitioned part if they want independence or secession, is that a first? I don't suppose that's a problem for the US. What can Syria,Hezbollah, Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Russia do about it without starting a major war with the US.
Just a few suggestions.
1/ Encourage armed resistance from those Kurds and Arab tribes who want the US out, and arm them accordingly.
2/ Make sure nothing enters or leaves the partitioned enclave, oil, gas, food and military hardware.
3/ Any breach on the Turkish side would mean the Turks had accepted a Kurdish entity on their border and the long term breakup of the Turkish state.
4/ Ensure US stinger missiles [they must be US ones for greater irony] are directed to anti US groups, making any US flights out of and into Incirlik, very hairy.

Posted by: harrylaw | Feb 8, 2018 4:44:32 AM | 95

From where I sit, amerika's pissweak attempts to try and draw the Syrian government into a conflict reek of desperation leavened with spite.
It won't work. Syria just needs to keep on keeping on, by chipping away at the takfiri boltholes, herding the fuckers into smaller and smaller places, isolating the derps more with each move.

Amerika's pentagon types will be wrestling with their local on the spot managers. Those arsewipes will be getting frustrated, demanding "more action' as their headchopper puppets feel more squeeze and less support.

The spaces currently uncontrolled by Damascus are still too large to be making an issue of amerika's status as uninvited guest - aka invader, but that will change once enough spaces are liberated, & the arseholes well bottled up.
Then the Syrian ambassador can get the issue onto the UN assembly agenda.
AFAIK amerika hasn't signed up to the agreement which documents deconfliction zones anyway; if that is correct & the issue is saved up for a UN assembly vote (where no one has a veto) amerika will be screwed.
They know this now, so you'd hafta think they're weighing up their options - somehow start a war which is gonna be tough to sell and harder to win without being seen by the world to be a lower than a snake's belly war crim, or to up sticks and get out.
Of course the latter will cause much worse bad press from the Trump base, so there will be much delay, delay, obfuscation - right up to the minute amerika has to bite the bullet.

As much as I loathe the bloke for selling out Joe Turk when no longer needed, props to old Reccie Erdy for chucking a spanner smack dab into amerika's uninspired attempts to extricate itself from the mess which "Barry and The Zionists"© cooked up on the back of a torn envelope.
If the decision makers use their heads, they'll slither out, but application of intellect ahead of kneejerk 'just do something' is not a quality which amerika is known for.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Feb 8, 2018 5:24:21 AM | 96

The US can never ever trust Turkey again. Never ever.
Because the coup attempt and the arming of the PKK were the last straws for the Turks and the Turks will get their revenge no matter what which means the US can never sleep tight.

The Turks have decided that it is cheaper for them to be hostile towards the US than being friendly with them. Who's fault is that? There are mutual threats in the Turkish media today. Lieutenant General Paul E. Funk threatens Turks at the Manbij border. TAF responds with some interesting photos.

I think the US strategy from now on should focus on mending the ties with Turkey but I don't know how that is possible. Or carry on with the policies that see Turkey as a piece of cake?

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Feb 8, 2018 6:13:17 AM | 97

Jackrabbit says:

I remarked a few weeks ago that the Coalition can not accept defeat. Met with silence

well, who wants to discuss the obvious? i mean, how many times has this war 'wound down' already?

i've mentioned, and linked to, at least three times in the last month or so, the fact that the department of defense has initiated for the first time ever an audit that's supposed to 'discover' the 21 trillion dollars of undocumentable adjustments(theft) inside the pentagon and the department of housing and urban development just from 1998 to 2015.

that's 21 TRILLION dollars! can all you savvy taxpayers wrap your heads around that?

met with silence. every time.

Posted by: john | Feb 8, 2018 6:27:47 AM | 98

That's basically the same amount as current total US national debt.
Odds are that the bulk of this ended up in various corruption and embezzlement inside US and abroad, and in a number of various military endeavours, secret programs and other similar shenanigans, well outside any oversight.
Of course, that's not new. I remember some were already complaining about it 15 years ago - though it was something like 4 trillions, not 21.
It's an insane amount of money. For all I know, the US might already have a military base on Mars, with so much $$ kept from anyone's view.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Feb 8, 2018 6:39:29 AM | 99

>>>> harrylaw | Feb 8, 2018 4:44:32 AM | 98

The US have partitioned Syria without asking the people in the partitioned part if they want independence or secession, is that a first?

At least the Russians held a referendum in Crimea. The next time Nikki Haley mentions Crimea in the UNSC, I hope the Russian ambassador rips her a new one over American hypocrisy. As an aside, Democrats are now accusing Republicans of hypocrisy for complaining about the evidence used for that FISA warrant while renewing Section 702. Don't they understand irony or even hypocrisy for that matter?

Also I'd add:

5/ Ensure captured US TOW ATGMs are directed to anti US groups.............

Meanwhile, I'd point out to ISIS that the United States are occupying Muslim lands with no intention of leaving any time soon if ever, and perhaps reinforce that point by having some SAA troops attack American poodles in eastern Syria so that the United States launches a disproportionate retaliatory attack against the SAA. The United States military demonstrates yet again that they have no understanding of the purpose or function of war and are morons fit only for ceremonial parades in Washington, which they'll mess up completely anyway. It used to be said that the British Army in WW1 were lions led by donkeys, the same can now be said of the US Army, but the United States Army would be lucky to have a commanding officer as capable as Field Marshal Douglas Haig.

The pockets of ISIS control that the United States has allowed to fester east of Abu Kamal and on the Syrian/Iraqi border; the Syrians and Iraqis should announce to the world that if the United States and their poodles won't liquidate them, then they will. The Syrian and Iraqi governments should put more effort into pointing out that the Gulf States including Saudi Arabia but probably excluding Kuwait and Oman are nothing more that Israel and America's poodles who will do nothing to defend Muslims but who will in fact continue to kill them and aid the Israelis and Americans in doing so as well.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 8, 2018 7:11:42 AM | 100

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