Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 19, 2018

Syria - Ready To Start The Daraa Campaign

There are signs that the long expected liberation of the Daraa region in southwest Syria is about to begin. After a month of negotiations between Russia, Israel, Jordan and the U.S. no peaceful solution has been found. The various terrorist forces in the (green) area, including al-Qaeda aligned HTS and groups loyal to the Islamic State, have rejected all negotiations. For over a month Russian negotiators tried to convince locals to give up and to reconcile with the government. But the hardliners under the rebels have killed anyone who talked with the Russians. The U.S. government has warned against a Daraa operation and threatened to intervene.


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First airstrikes were launched by the Syrian government today against villages in the eastern part of the Deraa area. Some local fighting is ongoing. This is not yet the expected all out attack on the 'rebel' held areas but the testing of enemy forces. The Syrian army has assembled a large force to liberate the southwest. It includes ten thousands of soldiers, more than 100 tanks and lots of artillery. Short range air defenses have been moved into the area to protect the Syrian troops. A well coordinated attack on several front and multiple axes should allow for a quick victory.

Israel, with U.S. backing, might intervene in such an operation even if it makes little sense to do so. The current state can not continue indefinitely. Any intervention might well lead to a war for which Israel is unprepared. The Syrian army is willing and able to hit back into Israel. After seven years of war it is not afraid of a fight.

The Russian military is warning of a false-flag "chemical incident" in Deir Ezzor governorate. The Syrian Observatory reports that Islamic State remnants in the southeastern desert and in the Rukban camp, both under cover of the U.S. occupied zone around al-Tanf, prepare for a large attack on Syrian government forces. It claims that such an attack is an attempt to occupy the zone between al-Tanf and Albu Kamal at the Euphrates. Both operation would be planned diversions intended to draw Syrian forces away from Deraa and could provide excuses for U.S. intervention on the opposition side.

Late Sunday an airstrike destroyed a building in the Harri area near Albu Kamal directly on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The building was used as a headquarter for the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) who are securing the border in coordination with the Syrian army in the fight against the Islamic State. More than 20 fighters were killed and more than 10 were wounded. This may have been in preparation for the reportedly planned large ISIS attack.

The strike makes otherwise little military sense. The PMU are nominally under command of the Iraqi government. They used a house on the Syrian side, some 200 meters from the border, as there was no adequate space on the Iraqi side. While they may have Iranian support and may help the Syrian army in some of its operations they are neither Iranian troops nor do they belong to the Lebanese Hezbullah.

The Syrian government accused the U.S. of having attacked the building. One U.S. source claims to CNN that the Israeli air-force attacked the site. I doubt that this is true. The U.S. has previously attacked Syrian government aligned forces in the area. It obviously continues to use ISIS to disrupt Syrian army operations. But as the U.S. needs Iraq it can not admit that it hit Iraqi forces. That would practically guarantee that the incoming Iraqi government would tell it to leave. It might have asked Israel to provide a cover for the strike.

Technically Israel could have done the attack. It would have needed tanker support and Jordanian compliance for overflight. Over the weekend Netanyahoo announced that Israel would hit Iranian forces all over Syria. But even CNN notes that the strike is untypical for Israel and does not make any sense.

Whoever committed the strike did so in an airspace that is controlled by the U.S. military. The leaders of the PMU in Iraq will use it to rally their forces against any U.S. bases in the country.

In north Syria Turkey is continuing its colonization of Syrian towns and regions. Turkish post offices, Turkish teachers, policemen and imans are pushing the population to adopt Turkish culture. It will more difficult to dislodge than the few thousand 'rebels' in the Deraa region.

Posted by b on June 19, 2018 at 02:00 PM | Permalink

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The US needs to be challenged to get out of Syria. There can never be peace there until this happens. The US is the #1 terrorist force in the world by far. These demonic hordes must be eliminated if there is t be any peace on Earth.

Posted by: mike k | Jun 19, 2018 2:17:42 PM | 1

The US and Israel would wipe out the Syrian forces in no time, I think, if they wanted to do it. Syrian and Iranian forces have no air cover. Russia has made it clear that it will never defend either Syrian or Iranian forces. Attacking Syrian and Iranian forces would be shooting fish in a barrel for the Hegemon.

As has been clear for a long time, Russia's strategy all along has been to preside over a carveup of Syria.

Posted by: paul | Jun 19, 2018 2:50:00 PM | 2

thanks b... the usa - typical bullshit country with a 100% bullshit agenda, whether it is to support israel 24/7, or do whatever shit they are regularly doing in syria... at some point it has to end.. as for turkey - that is equally depressing, but to be expected from the fanatic erdogan...

"Israel, with U.S. backing, might intervene in such an operation even if it makes little sense to do so." as pepe escobar mentioned in the 57 minute video that karlof1 posted the other day - all usa is good for at this point is destroying or messing up countries.. they did it in ukraine and they continue to work at it in the middle east... as a consequence russia and china are working around that as best as possible... it is like having some 2 year old throwing tantrums regularly... as an adult - one works around it.. it = usa/uk/israel at this point..

Posted by: james | Jun 19, 2018 3:30:14 PM | 3

The troll is full of itself again as usual. Syrian forces number @80K, including its elite Tiger Force. The operation's name is Basalt, which I thought entirely apt given the nature of how that igneous rock flows atop the landscape covering everything in its path. Also in the cards to be Basalted is al-Tanf. And if the Zionists try anything from the Golan, they'd better be ready to run.

The strike against the PMU is now being blamed on a Zionist drone--the Outlaw US Empire's spokespeople in Iraq are furiously trying to deflect the blame from themselves to no avail. Iraq's future political alignment will again force the Empire to withdraw its forces. And now that it's 100% renounced International Law by declaring it will never leave Syria, the specter of confrontation between SAA and Outlaw forces becomes a very likely reality with a repetition of the Saigon airlift out of country. SAA and Iraqi forces are clearing the remaining pockets of Daesh along border zone and within Homs desert with much renewed vigor since the Zionist attack.

Given the forces arrayed against it, the Outlaw US Empire's coalition of terrorists and Zionists will be defeated in detail--unless--they mount a counterattack using their own nationals as cannon fodder: The US from Jordan, Zionists from Golan. Such a move would of course invite a Syrian counter attack to regain Golan and drive the Outlaws from Jordan, perhaps even sending King PlayStation into his well deserved exile and thus overturning the current regional dynamic. IMO, given Neocon and Zionist hubris, this sort of scenario has a very good chance of occurring.

Preliminary probes and suppression fire against any terrorists firing on SAA and some preliminary airstrikes with lots of leaflet dropping comprise reported events so far. Several sources say the main thrust isn't to occur for 36-54 hours. We shall see.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19, 2018 3:32:54 PM | 4

Godspeed SAA!
Thank you, B!

Posted by: roza shanina | Jun 19, 2018 3:39:01 PM | 5

Here's an image of Basalt's first objective.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19, 2018 3:50:16 PM | 6

This may be a definitive moment in the battle for Syrian sovereignty. I wish the Syrian forces, and their allies all the best.

Posted by: ben | Jun 19, 2018 3:57:45 PM | 7

b, your first link after the map opens to an article about Italy and the EU border for migrants. Good report,yours, btw. I hope it's a quick victory for Syria.

Posted by: m | Jun 19, 2018 4:06:57 PM | 8

what ever happens it will be interesting, will Israel just turn their guns on retreating jihadis who will inevitably be pushed back to israeli controlled golan, or will they grant them safe passage, or will they intervene on their side.

it seems like a huge junction for israel, if they try to stop the syrian army from retaking the area they are only encouraging a larger syrian/iranian presence in the area, if they don't act then the war is basically over.

Posted by: pB | Jun 19, 2018 4:09:18 PM | 9

there seem to be very significant differences regarding the military balance betwee Israel and its opponents. Israel can dish it out but cannot take it. Thry will never start a conflict where they might suffer substantial losses.

Posted by: Ace Hanlon | Jun 19, 2018 5:39:23 PM | 10

Magnier has a piece out on the southern front offensive. According to him, Hezbollah and Iran allied militias will be participating. Also he say that Tiger forces operate under Russian orders and as they have been sent to Darra, Russia is also in on the southern operation. A very interesting article.
https://ejmagnier.com/2018/06/19/the-battle-of-daraa-is-happening-al-ridwan-hezbollahs-special-forces-will-participate/

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 19, 2018 6:14:48 PM | 11

It appears that most commenters here misunderstand the level of subjugation of US to Israel. No matter what Israel starts, the US troops nearby will be sacrificed for its protection. This is why they are there in the first place - the trigger force for a bigger US intervention in the Syrian war on the side of Israel and their shared terrorists. Israelis are counting on Trump being stupid and Putin being cautious, as in past behaviour is a good predictor of the future behaviour.

The terrorists would not be so intransigent if they were not told by their Anglo-Zionist masters to refuse surrendering because they will get full and open military support from Israel an US. Someone, anyone will produce some usual swill to justify such open support of terrorists to the scared domestic population ready to believe anything. Nothing new.

Posted by: Kiza | Jun 19, 2018 6:22:04 PM | 12

Please allow me to go off topic from the very serious subject at hand but I think this is important, especially for American and Canadian readers who maybe do not follow “soccer.” The World Cup in Russia is turning out to be a stunning success. BBC sports journalists and pundits are going totally off-message and enthusing about everything Russian, especially the welcome they are receiving. Fans are having the time of their lives and telling folks back home they are missing something special, like a sort of a scene or a “happening” as the hippies used to describe amazing chance encounters and magical atmospheres. In bars, on the streets, something is happening and it is all good. It’s all about Russian people getting together with other people and putting their side of the vision.

The great thing about sport is that fans have to travel to see their teams come what may and sports journalists have not had the full self-censorship training. So while Shaun Walker and Luke Harding (MI5 boys for sure) of the Guardian have been trashing Russia, brilliant sports journalists like Barney Ronay, from the same paper, getting the chance to put their version.

If you’re going to Volgograd make sure you wearing maybe not flowers in your hair, but something…

Posted by: Lochearn | Jun 19, 2018 6:33:43 PM | 13

This is a very dangerous crossroad.

Israel will demand that the US attack Syrian forces. Syria (and really Russia) cannot allow attacks on a such a large group of elite troups at all and certainly cannot let them go unanswered.

The best thing for everyone would be round the clock flights of Russian war planes above the SAA offensive to ward off the US and Israel. Moving more and longer range air defenses into protect those forces is also a very good idea. I know some Pantsir units are there but more is needed.

I wish the Syrian people success in this move to expel foreign backed jihadists from their soil.

Lets hope last minute negotiations by the Russians succeed.

Posted by: alaric | Jun 19, 2018 6:36:21 PM | 14

@14 Yes it's true...even Polish fans are enjoying Russian hospitality! Thousands of them ventured into the jaws of death to support their team. If this continues NATO is in real danger of collapsing.


https://www.fourfourtwo.com.au/feature/polish-fans-are-enjoying-world-cup-in-russia-494747

Posted by: dh | Jun 19, 2018 6:59:06 PM | 15

There is a good reason why Syria has chosen this venue to confront the US forces.

Of the three blocks of US supported fighters (Idlib - backed by the black ops guys, SDF backed by the Pentagon, and the southern FSA backed by State Department/Israel) the group in the south has the least amount of support from the Trump administration. it is the most likely to be abandoned by the US.

IMO by confronting and winning in the South, Syria makes it clear to the Kurds that the US will not pay any significant price to defend the SDF, a negotiated return to Syrian sovereignity will be inevitable once Syria wins in the south.

That will only leave Turkey, someone loath to confront Russia, as the remaining barrier to a reunited Syrian state. (Of course the Golan will still be disputed, but that is a battle for another day)

Posted by: les7 | Jun 19, 2018 7:02:01 PM | 16

Some eerie news: With the SAA offensive immanent, it's now deemed safe for Irish Peacekeepers to move back to the Syrian side of Golan. Looks like the Zionists anticipate the defeat of their terrorist allies and needed to further pad their defenses, er human shields.

Not much happening this evening other than small probing attacks and SAA artillery interdiction fire. The last major convoy of men and equipment arrived over the past 36 hours so Basalt ought to erupt soon.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 19, 2018 7:28:28 PM | 17

Lochearn @ 14: There has been news also that England fans in Volgograd have been visiting the Mamayev Kurgan memorial park and The Motherland Calls statue, and paying their respects to the soldiers who died in the Battle of Stalingrad. So they are bearing flowers after all ...

Posted by: Jen | Jun 19, 2018 7:41:59 PM | 18

pB @9 "will Israel just turn their guns on retreating jihadis who will inevitably be pushed back to israeli controlled golan, or will they grant them safe passage"

I suspect those fanatical Islamic Extremists who speak Hebrew and have their dicks tipped will be offered a shave and a shower and welcomed "home."

Those who really are fanatical Islamic Extremists will "disappear." But those who are largely mercenaries will be redeployed.

Boy, I'm sure getting cynical.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 19, 2018 7:50:31 PM | 19

The Mother of all Battles in Syria is about to begin. May the forces of Resistance prevail..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 19, 2018 7:52:58 PM | 20

karlof1, some UN "blue helmets" from other countries returned to the UN Disengagement Observer positions after they were attacked and 22 kidnapped early on in this war. I believe the "problem" has been that they redeployed on the "Israeli" side of Syria's Golan. Now, Israel is pressing for them to be moved to the Syrian side again, and for other countries to sign back up.

UN forces return to the Syrian border
from 2016:
A year and a half after UN peacekeepers left Syrian territory, they are set to return; Israel hopes a UN presence can help protect it from hostile activities.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 19, 2018 8:01:14 PM | 21

OK. I wanted to comment about this over the weekend, but now that it's been added to this thread, a few words.

I get that RT became more or less R-ESPN for the World Cup. It's big stuff for Russia, and at least in the US, MSM coverage seems even dimmer than usual. The Cup seems to be getting more coverage than all other news events combined.

But, RT has not said a single word about the attacks on SAA forces around Albu Kamal, or the Turkish-backed attacks on the two long-besieged towns of Foua And Kafray. They even played Angelina Jolie's UN propaganda film about her breaking heart over Mosul Iraq (a city she campaigned to have bombed) without any critical commentary.

Yeah, they want to keep things quiet while the world is watching the Cup (well, the rest of the world outside of the USA anyway). But is this acceptable?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 19, 2018 8:10:54 PM | 22

Assad now has S300s and the training is nearly completed.
Putin lied to Bibi,all's fair in love and war.

Posted by: Winston | Jun 19, 2018 8:15:11 PM | 23

@Daniel 23
RT is under constant threat of closure in US and UK. Thus, it has to push a bit of softened up Western propaganda or politically neutral themes such as the World Cup. I consider this a smart strategy to survive and live another day to then deliver information to Western audiences on issues that really matter.

After all, even the usual Western propaganda occasionally passes through a small bit of truth to gain some cred. Why should RT not pass through some less relevant Western propaganda (Jolie) lies to survive?

Posted by: Kiza | Jun 19, 2018 8:56:33 PM | 24

Thank you b, and thank you Kiza. RT has been hard to take lately. I will be more patient.

My heart is with the innocent in the coming standoff. May peace come swiftly as the area rejoins a country ready to rebuild.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 19, 2018 10:16:04 PM | 25

@23 Daniel

My friend, allow me to offer this perspective. RT is a miracle. The World Cup is a miracle. What's happening right now in Russia, as Lochearn notes above, is a miracle - paradigms are collapsing with the same spectacle as icebergs colliding.

Let's not spoil these miracles by asking for missing micro-details on every event in the world. We don't have to look to RT for everything. Who looks to RT as the first source of news anyway? That's what Moon of Alabama is for. We're here at MoA ready to discuss any and every thing. This is another miracle, by the way ;)

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 19, 2018 10:29:10 PM | 26

@4 karlof1

As of 27 comments, I think yours still holds the true narrative for what's happening. Thanks!

I will offer this: while you conclude that the wrong actions might be taken by the US because of neocon-Israeli hubris, I find it hard to believe. We've spent many months now watching the potential for hubris to lead the US into full-on disaster and it simply hasn't happened. A few measured and pre-approved strikes here and there don't constitute wild-card behavior. Especially with the wildest-card figurehead fronting the US that it's had in recent times.

I value your summation and the imperatives it implies. I don't worry that the US will fall outside of those imperatives.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 19, 2018 10:40:43 PM | 27

Off-topic, but relevant of course to the general regime-change operations of the US-led neoliberal capitalist Empire. Three great articles on Nicaragua:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/06/15/the-us-nicaragua-a-case-study-in-historical-amnesia-blindness/

http://www.latinorebels.com/2018/04/29/mycontraparents/

https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/06/19/ned-nicaragua-protests-us-government/

Counterpunch article by Kovalik provides a perspicacious overview and historical context, second article is the perspective of a Nicaraguan-American, and Max Blumentha's article illuminates the NED's role not just currently but over decades (which the WikiLeaks State Department cables also demonstrate in the hegemon's own words).

Posted by: George Lane | Jun 19, 2018 10:40:44 PM | 28

...
As has been clear for a long time, Russia's strategy all along has been to preside over a carveup of Syria.
Posted by: paul | Jun 19, 2018 2:50:00 PM | 2

It's more likely than not that subject of this thread, the imminent SAA campaign, was planned with advice from and the endorsement of Russian military experts. If so then Russia, as a co-planner, will be obliged to respond to any attack on SAA forces it helped to make vulnerable whether it wants to or not.

I've always believed that the Russians won't attack AmeriKKKan forces until the AmaeriKKKans do something extraordinarily stupid. An attack on SAA forces in this particular situation would qualify, amply, as gross stupidity. The Russians won't hesitate to punish the yanks, imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19, 2018 10:56:39 PM | 29

Turning points...It seems like we hear about another turning point in this war every other week. But in this case, it seems that we have indeed reached a real turning point. The Russians have, at least up to now, managed their efforts in Syria to avoid any direct conflict with the Anglo-Zionist empire. The coming operation to liberate SW Syria will force the Russians to finally commit to this war fully, or to begin the process of withdrawing their forces from Syria.

If the Israelis/US intervene directly to stop the SAA operation, the bulk of the SAA's striking power will be utterly destroyed without an effective air defense to protect them. As the SAA lacks sufficient air defenses to protect its forces in the field, only Russia can ensure this protection.

I have said for some time now that Putin's strategy carries the very real risk of convincing the Anlgo-Zionists that he is bluffing in Syria...This is where they are almost certain to call that bluff. If the Russians intervene to defend the SAA, I predict the Anglo-Zionists will blink. If the Russians do not intervene, the Israeli/US forces will not only smash the SAA in the South, they might well push their forces forward from the Golan the 35 miles to Damascus and sweep Assad from power.

I think the time has come when Putin will be forced to fish or cut bait. If he can find the fortitude to do what must be done, we may be spared another world war...If he blinks, well I've got my fallout shelter stocked, how about you?

Posted by: Bob | Jun 19, 2018 10:58:14 PM | 30


The battle of Daraa is happening: al-Ridwan, Hezbollah’s special forces will participate
Posted on 19/06/2018 by Elijah J Magnier
https://ejmagnier.com/2018/06/19/the-battle-of-daraa-is-happening-al-ridwan-hezbollahs-special-forces-will-participate/

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jun 19, 2018 11:08:25 PM | 31

If Russia is bluffing, the US was not game to call it with their last attack on Syria and I doubt Trump will call it this time. Makinder's heartland. Kissinger is still hanging around like a bad smell. Trying to pull Russia away from China may outweigh destroying Syria for Israel.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 19, 2018 11:12:08 PM | 32

@12 Peter AU 1

Yes, a potent analysis by Magnier. I read it twice to make sure I understood everything he was saying.

Indeed, he is saying that the Tigers have been commanded by the Russians exclusively, with Syria's agreement - but that agreement is so tight that it takes Russia's acquiescence to allow the Tigers in the southern campaign. Russia says yes. Russia is on board. We don't have this from anywhere except Magnier, but he's been making some really good calls lately.

So, Damascus wants to finish the southern situation, and wipe out all terrorists - this includes cleansing Al Tanf of the US, either by force or by negotiation from the basis of force. And at least through this southern campaign, Russia, says Magnier, sees the presence of Iran and Hezbollah as non-negotiable for so long as the US is in Syria. This Russian view seems to be implicit in this campaign, although it's not clear if this view applies across the entire theater.

I have to say all this makes great good sense, and accords with movements of the forces, and with b's report.

As to b's concern that Turkey will be hard to dislodge from the north - I see the concern and I accord it great merit, but in the end I think Turkey and its occupation is amenable to negotiation in a way that other actors in the theater are not. I trust and assume that Russia has the clout to get Turkey out, in the final end, when only the Turks hold the last redoubt standing.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 19, 2018 11:13:37 PM | 33

Grieved 34
Magnier seems to have good contacts in Syria and has just arrived in Lebanon after a trip through Iraq and Syria. Each time he goes off twitter for awhile means he is traveling around Syria and Iraq and there is always a good article afterwards put together from both what people on the ground have told him and from his observations.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 19, 2018 11:31:15 PM | 34

...
I have said for some time now that Putin's strategy carries the very real risk of convincing the Anlgo-Zionists that he is bluffing in Syria.
...
Posted by: Bob | Jun 19, 2018 10:58:14 PM | 31

Since we're essentially on the same page, I'd suggest that the statement I've cited above could be more accurately rephrased as:

"Putin's strategy carries the very real risk of convincing the Anlgo-Zionists that he believes more of their bullshit than they do."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 19, 2018 11:37:09 PM | 35

Hoarsewhisperer 36

I think the US military in contact with Russian military sees a different Russia to the McCain type politicians in Washington. Unless the McCain types pass a law requiring them to do so, I doubt the US military will cross Russia's red lines. I think Trump would go with the military advice.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 19, 2018 11:51:28 PM | 36

All the Russians would have to do would be to send a military division advancing across Iran toward Syria. This would provide the Western players with a little time to think.

Posted by: blues | Jun 20, 2018 12:39:35 AM | 37

"Yeah, they want to keep things quiet while the world is watching the Cup (well, the rest of the world outside of the USA anyway). But is this acceptable?"
Daniel @23

Yes, it is. What kind of a question is that? The atrocities in Syria have been going non-stop for 7 years and more are about to come. But maybe they won't be so bad in the future, or continue much longer, if something really great happens that unites people, we all celebrate it together and, in the process, diminish the will to war. A successful and glorious World Cup in Russia is the greatest propaganda coup imaginable at this bleak time. You think that focusing on it is, in some way, a transgression?

Posted by: Activist Potato | Jun 20, 2018 1:39:45 AM | 38

First time posting here.

Syria is dear to me, as a grandson of Armenian Genocide survivors.

It is really a privilege to have found this website, and get real news, plus considered, thoughtful opinions. You people are truly "off script". I mean that in a good way!

I will be reviewing the article and comments here another time, and bookmarking (on google maps) all the places mentioned, and praying for the SAA, Russia, and all those brave men who have come there to help them.

May God rule, and may serpents be crushed.

Posted by: BamBam | Jun 20, 2018 3:00:03 AM | 39

Today the U.S. senate voted to not sell F-35's to Turkey.
The cited reason is Turkey buying S-400's from Russia.
Russia will be happy to sell Turkey SU-35's also.
This gives Russia a bit more leverage in Syria regarding Turkey's occupation.
Turkey also figures prominently in China's BRI and the Heartland Theory of Mackinder, Mahan, and Spykman.

Posted by: V | Jun 20, 2018 3:23:28 AM | 41

Dear Bambam
You are most welcome. It is a friendly hub down here.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 20, 2018 3:24:35 AM | 42

Mina #43 -- I'll second the welcome extended to BamBam. Also #42 - V - a nice sig line for Victory :)

Posted by: Oui | Jun 20, 2018 3:35:31 AM | 43

this is really news to me


https://ejmagnier.com/2018/06/19/the-battle-of-daraa-is-happening-al-ridwan-hezbollahs-special-forces-will-participate/


".....Russia has bigger plans in the Levant: during my visit to the city of Palmyra and its surroundings, the presence of thousands of Russian troops is striking, indicating that Moscow is sending new infantry and special forces in very large numbers. This large presence has not been announced.

This could also indicate that Russia does not want the US to maintain a long-term sphere of influence in Syria and also wants to remain the only force in Syria as its sphere of influence..."

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jun 20, 2018 3:45:17 AM | 44

I appreciate the nuanced coverage you offer on Syria, it is generally glossed over or given short shrift in a lot of media reports.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jun 20, 2018 4:38:49 AM | 45

Dear BamBam @ 40: Suggest you look out for Karlof1's comments regarding news on Syria as hhe visits the Syrian Perspective blog as well. Canthama from SyrPer has made the odd appearance here also. You may have heard of Vanessa Beeley, Eva Bartlett and Sharmine Narwali as well, they have reported from Syria or Lebanon directly as freelance journalists.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 20, 2018 6:35:19 AM | 46

@ Mina #43 and Oui #44

Thank you for the hospitality.

I've been reading for a couple of weeks. Since people are so informed here, and since the angry chest-thumping bluster that exists on forums elsewhere is absent here, I thought membership must be by invitation only or something.

Silly me!

Posted by: BamBam | Jun 20, 2018 6:42:16 AM | 47

I just read the Magnier piece. Very promising. I note that the first comment to the piece by 'Rockwool' is remarkably similar to those of the resident troll here! Quelle surprise!

As for al-Tanaf, if the US insists on tis 50km (?) exclusion zone, why not make it their prison they cannot break out of except by retreating back to Jordan, by seeding the perimiter with mines?

Posted by: et Al | Jun 20, 2018 7:28:20 AM | 48

BamBam | Jun 20, 2018 6:42:16 AM | 49

Welcome. How's Barney and Fred?

Posted by: V | Jun 20, 2018 8:06:42 AM | 49

et Al | Jun 20, 2018 7:28:20 AM | 50

Wouldn't that imply that their illegal occupation is okay; as long as they stay in place?
I say, boot the bastards out completely.
There must come a time when internatioal law has meaning and counts for something.
The U.S. ignores international laws, its own internal laws, its own constitution, and NATO's own charter.
Outlaws = galoots; get rid of them all, or we'll never have a just planet...

Posted by: V | Jun 20, 2018 8:26:37 AM | 50

V,

Nope, not at all! Putin-Fu is all about deflecting or using the greater force against itself. If you can passively get the result but it takes a bit longer, then why take the risk of a military confrontation that merely be the spark? It's all about the long squeeze...

Posted by: et Al | Jun 20, 2018 8:56:52 AM | 51

I cannot envision a direct armed confrontation between Syria and its allies against the US/Israeli/NATO coalition in this game of brinkmanship. The coalition is using all the hard and soft power it can muster under the circumstances of imposed restraint to retain its hold on the ground in Syria. A dropping of pretenses leading to an all out war in Syria between these antagonists would likely spiral out of control....not good. The only way I can see of weakening the coalition's resolve is the adoption of guerilla tactics that starts seeing coalition troops coming home in body bags by the dozens, all within the bounds of the brinkmanship on offer. However, this would require a change of tactics within the command structure which is often very difficult to achieve when that structure becomes wedded to operations on the grand military scale. One can only hope that Iraq and Turkey become disenchanted enough with their American 'frienemies' that American assets on the ground begin to feel surrounded by hostiles. Perhaps the YPG will help in this by making attacks against Turkey, that could be abetted, that the Americans are not able to quell? This whole war is either a turning point in history or a continuation of the present might makes right paradigm.

May the SAA and friends prevail and the Syrian nation be restored.

Posted by: BRF | Jun 20, 2018 9:31:43 AM | 52

Long-time reader; first post ever. The cloned Mexican mass-media (Televisa, TV Azteca) have, as far as possible, avoided mentioning that the World Cup is being held in Russia. ¡Ja,ja,ja!

Yet there are tens of thousands of Mexicans celebrating by creating an amiable and indeed joyous atmosphere in Moscú. The BIG news here is that two Mexicans were injured by a run-away Russian taxi-cab, and that some Mexican tourist has been missing for three days.

I seriously doubt that Moscovites have ever experienced the spontaneous culture of the Mexican people, the sons and daughters of the Conquest, maybe the only true world race.

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 20, 2018 9:44:07 AM | 53

Sorry that my first ever post is OT.

All hail the great Syrian resistance to imperial domination!

Posted by: Guerrero | Jun 20, 2018 9:45:44 AM | 54

@Guerrero 54
It is OT but still interesting how propaganda works. What you describe in Mexico is similar to what is happening in Australia. TV channel news talking heads talk about the World Cup as if it is happening in the international waters of some ocean or in some country called Fifa. It is only the sports reporters which mention Russia, especially the ones reporting from the ground in Russia. Obviously, the sports reporters have missed the political correctness classes which were compulsory for the news editors.

The propaganda media are so desperate to minimise the good will gain from this event and, of course, to keep their audience in the customary dark. I just do not understand why most people do not see this and shun them.

Posted by: Kiza | Jun 20, 2018 10:23:01 AM | 55

"Tiger forces" are moving towards south to clean Daraa.

Posted by: alaff | Jun 20, 2018 11:19:04 AM | 56

Looking at the map clearly shows that the Syrians should overrun the Eastern half relatively quickly I suspect but the Western half could be much more interesting.

I suspect there will be significant Israeli involvement once Syrian forces start the march on the Golan.

Posted by: Julian | Jun 20, 2018 11:31:26 AM | 57

"Damascus will also ignore the Russian-US-Jordanian agreement of protecting and respecting the (southern) de-escalation zone for very long."

https://ejmagnier.com/2018/06/19/the-battle-of-daraa-is-happening-al-ridwan-hezbollahs-special-forces-will-participate/

If you wait on Russia Syria will remain dismembered for a long time. It is Iran and Syria that are demanding restoration of government control over all its territory. Good on Syria and Iran for disobeying Russia.

Posted by: T | Jun 20, 2018 11:41:16 AM | 58

Jen @48--

Thanks very much for your very kind recommendation!

Grieved @28--

And thanks again to you for your support!

You'll all note that the #1 objective shown on the map I provided @6 was accomplished during our night using a feint as described by Canthama at SyrPers. Here's another map showing SAA's likely strategy of creating pockets then clearing as we've seen numerous times in its urban engagements. The difference this time is the offensives to create the pockets will likely happen close to simultaneously rather than piecemeal. What seems to be a slow start is due to ongoing attempts to get villages wanting reconciliation--and there are a great many--to oust their terrorist occupiers so they can avoid the SAA offensive. According to what air dropped leaflets say, the deadline for doing so is rapidly approaching--by the first prayers this Friday.

Desert pocket around the T-2 station now Daesh free is the substance of this report. Earlier reports also note further liberation of most of the Homs desert region. Daesh's attempts to divert SAA from its Basalt offensive have failed so far, but it's very likely further attempts will be made around al-Bukamal to Iraqi border where PMU forces are very active since the Zionist drone strike.

Greetings to our new commentators! Focused discourse lacking hyperbole and rancor is what sets MoA apart from most sites, although the occasional condemnation of Evil is required by many as it's hard to omit.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 20, 2018 11:41:32 AM | 59

Of course one other strand of Putin-Fu is to help those who are willing and able to stand up and fight for themselves (also in the diplomatic sphere). As long as they do the heavy lifting, Moscow will offer its help. This simple rule minimizes the risks of taking in to open ended engagements.

Posted by: et Al | Jun 20, 2018 12:11:52 PM | 60

ot

@40 bambam - great you are here!

@54 Guerrero.. thanks for your OT comment! i agree with @56 kiza in their response to you.. i think many people can see what is going on.. that is my hope!!

Posted by: james | Jun 20, 2018 12:15:51 PM | 61

"Video: Many Government Fighters Killed in Alleged US Strikes in Eastern Syria in Support of Terrorist Groups."

From Global Research:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-many-government-fighters-killed-in-alleged-us-strikes-in-eastern-syria-in-support-of-terrorist-groups/5644709

Posted by: ben | Jun 20, 2018 1:21:37 PM | 62

@63: Video seems to be intermittent..

Posted by: ben | Jun 20, 2018 1:25:05 PM | 63

Are the Russians on board for this South West Syrian operation? Will they use their air force to back up the Syrian army? Have they moved S300's into position? If not, I worry about the US doing what they said they would do i.e. attack those forces, a matter of credibility if you will. If battle is joined by the US, and Russia takes no military position, then the partition of Syria followed by regime change will be the next US objective, if they succeed, the Russians will have let the US dictate the rules of the war, imperial aggression could win again.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 20, 2018 1:41:55 PM | 64

Guerreror. I heard that when Mexico scored against Germany, two different seismographs recorded earthquakes caused by millions of Mexicans jumping up an down. Whether true or not, it was such a great story. Your (1st) comment encouraged me to look it up.

BTW: It’s most interesting to read reports from countries other than the US about MSM coverage of World Cup. We USAmericans are famously uninterested in football/soccer, so the coverage here is always limited and usually condescending. But to read that the RUSSIA!!!! spin is being applied elsewhere is disappointing, though hardly surprising.


Posted by: Daniel | Jun 20, 2018 1:57:31 PM | 65

As a dry land drinks up water, so any good news in this long slog towards better times is extremely precious. Thank you, karlof1 for your explanation of the manner of approach - pockets of reconciliation is a wonderful concept to contemplate!

And welcome long time readers and first time posters. They are very kind here, even when, as for me, our 'expertise' is mostly by reflection and passive support.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 20, 2018 2:21:09 PM | 66

Thanks Grieved @27, my friend for talking me down a bit. So far, the World Cup has been wonderful (miraculous?), and I hope it is changing some minds - or at least opening some - about all the propaganda they’ve been fed.

As I’m sure you know, RT is hardly my main source of news. Then again, neither is MoA. Bernhard produces some of the most insightful analyses anywhere, and clearly puts a lot of thought into choosing which news event he highlights on any given day. But he does generally only write one article/day Mon-Fri. Though I do notice he’s been doing more lately. Thanks, Bernhard!

And the venue b has created for we to communicate and disseminate other information to one another is the other magnificent draw. Thanks again, Bernhard!

Activist Potato(e?) ;-) @39 asks me, “What kind of a question is that? “

A poorly phrased, but sincere one. Each time the “Coalition” has attacked SAA forces, RT has been all over the story. This time, not a word. Since so much hinges on Russian action/inaction in Syria, this troubled me.

Bear in mind that the first level of propagandizing the news is deciding which events even become “news.” If Russia is merely downplaying events in Syria to promote the wonderful PR/propaganda the World Cup is presenting, I get it. Especially with Magnier’s report that Russian military is basically running Tiger Forces, and has many thousands of troops amassing for the southern push, diverting attention could just be smart strategy.

But, in light of the ongoing discussion at MoA about Russia's commitment to Syria (and Iran), I thought it worth pointing out.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 20, 2018 2:25:02 PM | 67

Guerrero and other World Cup fans -- while it is heartening to see the success of the organizing efforts and the quality of play, I have to confess to a morbid suspicion that the US/CIA will cause a massive diverting event or false-flag to counter the successes of Russia's World Cup -- my gut feeling is that the Americans will use their Ukrainian stooges to initiate a huge attack on the Donbass.

Posted by: chet380 | Jun 20, 2018 2:33:44 PM | 68

L @14 - thanks!

And thanks b and others for making this site what it is - an oasis in a sea of disinformation

In keeping with the OT World Cup comment, which I appreciated, it made me draw a connection think about to the "Christmas Truce" of 1914 during ww1

Events like the World Cup are opportunities for those of us "in the trenches" to hobnob with the supposed "enemy" only to realize, for the most part, they are just like us... have families, goals/aspirations, prefer peace, etc. And when the rank & file realize that these people, for the most part, are our brothers & sisters, and that our supposed "leaders" have been misleading us in making these people our enemies, it often produces a red pill moment where we see who the real enemies are, and hence the political/media efforts to quash such revelations

OK, back to our regularly scheduled thread, already in progress

Thanks all & welcome newbies! :)

Posted by: xLemming | Jun 20, 2018 3:05:37 PM | 69

The pace of this operation will depend on the morale of the jihadists and their (probable) special forces advisors. We have seen reported that the southern jihadists are well stocked with ATGMs, high caliber ammunition, body armor, and night vision optics.

If they want to fight, they will be able to put up a fight, especially with the threat of israeli air support if things get grim.

But this battle is a question of when, not if, the Syrian military and allies break through the initial lines of defense and then cut off the largest pockets.

Hopefully it will go quickly and many will be sent on the bus to Idlib.

Posted by: Cresty | Jun 20, 2018 4:32:47 PM | 70

Basalt sees to me to be Churchill's 'end of the beginning'... with the southwest border closed, the jehadists are running out of supply routes from Israel and Jordan. Add Al Tanif to the bag, and the US is forced to rely on air transport into eastern syria, or overland from IRAQ, which can't be a long term proposition.
I'm an armchair general...i greatly respect the reporters who are on the scene, or hold deep understanding of the people and countryside.
I believe the US has shown itself to be the rich uncle, prepared to fund others to die, but not interested in getting itself immersed in the mud of war. The pentagon is waging a war of puppets ....when their puppets win, they win...but when their puppets lose ...the us has learned to cut and run ....'nothing to see here' ..they fear losing face more than anything else. Let syria cross the euphrates..in force ...we will see the US fold their tents ....

Posted by: Breadonwaters | Jun 20, 2018 6:13:26 PM | 71

Two updates:

1. One pocket already created by SAA in Suweida. https://goo.gl/m8QbiJ

2. Invaders in Yemen declared they have taken an airport (again), just to be proven as liars (again!) by Houthis. They have filmed a video tour: https://goo.gl/1qvKzq

Posted by: Harry | Jun 20, 2018 6:59:43 PM | 72

juliania @66--

Thanks for your welcome reply. Some further explaining by Canthama and PavewayIV follows.

I'm copy/pasting the following discourse between Canthama and PavewayIV that occurred at SyrPers @4hrs ago. Context: Canthama relates the liberation of the Eastern portion of Homs desert then says: "Slowly, ISIS is being pushed away from Anbar and Euphrates, toward T3 and Tar as Sarayim. With the new SAA forces engaged on this battle, it is becoming evident that ISIS will be totally eliminated from Homs desert in few weeks." This is what PavewayIV responds to:

"The US War of Energy Theft/Terrorism against the Syrian people didn’t ONLY include occupying the area to the east of the Euphrates. The original neocon Israeli-firster US deep state partitioning would have had a move to extend the SDFistan border south from Tabqa to Palmyra/T3 and then southward to Jordanian border near at Tanf. [Emphasis in Original]

"The idea was to deny Syria control over their entire border with Iraq and put it in the hands of SDF or some kind of anti-Assad Arab tribal forces. Secondary considerations were to cut off any oil/gas transit from SDFistan to Syria – either from Syrian or Iraqi sources. Third, the Iraqi Kurdistan oil pipeline through Syria was going through Raqqa to T3, then south to the Jordan border before continuing on to Haifa, Israel. ISIS is or was the placeholder excuse for CENTCOM/SDF land theft.

"US foreign policy psychopaths are – if nothing else – predictable. They still demand the Raqqa/Tabqa – Palmyra/T3 – at Tanf line as the western border of SDFistan. The number of Russian troops moved to Palmyra was unexpected and threw a gigantic monkey wrench into the US land-theft scheme. [My Emphasis]

"CENTCOM has head-chopper armies right now in Tabqa and at Tanf that were waiting to ‘fight ISIS’ towards Palmyra/T3 under US air cover while the SAA is busy in Daraa. The chemical weapons false flag may have been planned to blame on ISIS, somehow justifying the action (and US/SDF annexation of more Syrian territory).

"If history is any guide, the US Deep State will not abandon their plans, but double-down instead. They have to move while the SAA is busy in Daraa. I’m guessing a magical ISIS force (maybe with chemical weapons) will still be conjured up to justify a US move. One thing for sure: the US cannot ever let the SAA and Tiger Forces clean up Daraa and be free to go somewhere else. And Jordan, itself, will collapse if Syrian head-choppers give up and flee there. Israel simply can’t have that happen – they need an obedient, Saudi/US puppet Jordan.

"I’m afraid the frustrated, Israeli-firster US Deep State is bound to do something colossally stupid and inhumane at this point. God help us all."

Canthama then responds:

"PavewayIV, always nice to have you around. Indeed the original plan from the coalition of stooges was way more ambitious, you are right they will never give up and will most likely double down. The area between al Tanf-Palmyra-Deir ez Zour-Tabqa was supposed to be in their hands so the suppose gas pipeline from Qatar-KSA-Jordan-Syria-Turkey would go ahead, then Qatar divorced KSA and that pipeline idea collapsed. Then came the Iraq Kurdistan possible pipeline from Kirkuk-Nineveh-Syria-Jordan-Haifa, it also collapsed due to the PMU brave attempt to take all Nineveh/Anbar Provinces and the Iraq Army advance toward Kirkuk to push Iraq Kurds back to the original Province lines.

"It has been all about cheap oil and gas to feed Israhell, this plan is as old as 2003 and got almost its peak when ISIS sold most if not all the stolen oil from Syria and Iraq thru Turkey to Israhell. The Israhelli economy is addicted to low low oil and gas prices, its economic model depends on it.

"Now the US/UK/France are trying their usual game to boost ISIS in Deir ez Zour to attack the SAA, to create ISIS cells in the Syrian desert (excuse to advance) and to threat Syria if a southern offensive happens.

"All of their attempt went south, al Bukamal was defended and ISIS attempt eliminated, ISIS is basically extinct in Suweida (a week maybe), completely wiped out of southern T2-T3 cell that was created from al Tanf, and finally and soon to be eradicated from all Homs desert (weeks away).

"The southern front offensive will be massive and it will hurt the terrorists and their supporting countries, and yes, Jordan will pay dearly for their double game throughout 8 years, the chances for a actual revolution in Jordan is very high in the next 12 months.

"We will see CW false flag in the next few weeks, this is the only way the US, France and UK will have to try to hold the advance of the SAA, it won’t help, the battle will be bloody and it will be to the end of the last terrorists.

"Al Tanf will continue to lose its importance as it will see pressure from the SAA and militias that will continuously prob its imaginary border pushing the US to attacks and risking losing either a plane or soldiers, but once the south is gone for the terrorists, a presence in al Tanf will be very risky for the US."

Omitted from recent discussion about Syria is the big Russian troop presence around Palmyra, which is why I bolded Paveway's remark. Russia's move there shows there's a whole lot more happening behind the scenes than is being said; the move was clearly strategic.

As for the supposed lack of SAA air defence at Daraa, multiple battalions of the newest version of the PantSir system are there to augment the already dense air defenses deployed with Tiger Forces all in anticipation of a Zionist or Outlaw force response. And Russian forces are imbedded with Tiger Forces. Neither the Zionists or Outlaw Empire have the requisite forces to deter SAA's Basalt. If the Zionists do nothing, they won't risk getting driven out of Golan; if Outlaw forces withdraw back into Jordan, they won't risk being forced to do so anyway. But, are their commanders as nuts as Paveway believes? Only time will tell.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 20, 2018 8:06:23 PM | 73

Intense night operations launched by SAA. Also reports that Daesh has unleashed its sleeper cells in Idlib.

It will be interesting to see what morning in the Western Hemisphere will bring news-wise. IMO, the massive artillery barrage is a last message to villages on the fence regarding reconciliation: do it now or rue your lost opportunity is the message I see being sent.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 20, 2018 8:36:36 PM | 74

@71 Breadonwaters - "..they fear losing face more than anything else."

Thank you. A new concept. And it makes great sense. We always forget the tangled web the US has woven with its domestic population in its propaganda narrative. This has actually become a constraint upon its activities because the US always has to feed this narrative in order to receive power from the institutional nation. And the McNugget food it throws to this narrative is increasingly non-nutritious.

We call ourselves armchair analysts. But until your comment I had not seen that the US is also armchair. It is the armchair uncle. It will divert other people's money to pay for the aggression of others, but it will not pay a penny itself.

Much to digest in your perspective. Keep it coming.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 20, 2018 10:25:32 PM | 75

@73 karlof1

So many things we always forget. Things such as cauldrons.

"Are the US commanders nuts?" Maybe so, but who can think they will originate plans, from their madness, that have not been anticipated by the resistance axis staff?

The only way forward for the US - or for any antagonist - in Syria is into cauldrons. Let them all them proceed. If they cannot see that their greater safety lies in withdrawal, then let them proceed into defeat.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 20, 2018 10:52:47 PM | 76

@73 Txs for relating that exchange. Great insight..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 20, 2018 11:18:32 PM | 77

@75 ! You made a great point and I hope my embellishments are reasonably consistent with your meaning "... [US] propaganda narrative[s] .... ha[ve] actually become a constraint upon its activities [in Syria and just about everywhere else] because the US always has to feed [maintain/take into account/ buttress/remain somewhat consistent with its false] narrative[s] ...."

Maybe I'm naive, but I would think that trying to maintain some semblance of coherence and consistency in an expanding universe of absurdities and lies, especially those that promote mass murder and such, must be exhausting and dispiriting for many involved. Surely it must be tempting for some to take a break, go on the wild side a bit, and try a truth holiday.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jun 20, 2018 11:37:15 PM | 78

@Grieved again! Just after writing the above (@78) I read your latest missive on the latest offering by b. Fits perfectly. You wrote: "We forget how much energy it takes to keep a lie believable. We forget how the west has to strain against incredulity itself in order to counter the random and unschooled manifestations of the truth.

What a tangled web the west has woven for itself through its deceits."

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jun 20, 2018 11:51:09 PM | 79

re. karlof1's post about ISIL attacking other "rebel" groups. What do y'all make of this?

Earlier in the war, when foreign Jihadists began arriving in huge numbers, they fought against any indigenous "rebels" that weren't sufficiently nutty for them. They assassinated a lot of what might actually have been "moderate rebels."

Since then, there have been other battles which seemed to be turf wars fought between Jihadi gangs with different funding streams.

Now, that whole Idlib/border with Turkey and the US/SDF scene is seeing a lot of fighting. Is this just more turf waring? Or could this be "cleaning up" the now undesirable foreign invaders as Syria retakes its sovereign borders - lest they flee into Turkey and then return to their countries of origin?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 21, 2018 12:06:59 AM | 80

@ Grieved 20

'It is the armchair uncle. It will divert other people's money to pay for the aggression of others, but it will not pay a penny itself.'

What about the CIA funding of ISIS? Was that not from US coffers?

Posted by: Bevin Kacon | Jun 21, 2018 12:50:10 AM | 81

Sorry, @ Grieved 76

Posted by: Bevin Kacon | Jun 21, 2018 12:52:34 AM | 82

karlof1
Do you have a link for Syrian Perspective. The link I used to use has been showing no new posts since the end of 2017.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 21, 2018 1:16:56 AM | 83

A million thanks to Karlof for reporting from the website next door. Ppl who are busy these days greatly appreciate the economy of time offered. Btw, if ppl could paste the most salient tweets once in a while, or a way to check twitter without their annoying painly slow layout and pop up windows, it would be nice too.

Posted by: Mina | Jun 21, 2018 3:46:43 AM | 84

Ref oil
At the moment the prices for car gas are sky rocketting in Jordan and Egypt. What is the plan here except more unrest?

Posted by: Mina | Jun 21, 2018 3:50:58 AM | 85

""It is not unlikely for Hashd al-Shaabi to retaliate the airstrikes by attacking the US forces in Eastern Euphrates and al-Tanf base and perhaps, the range of retaliatory attacks will extend to the Israeli targets in the future," it added.

The newspaper said that the US commanders and their Israeli allies played with fire and forgot that 6,000 US marines are stationed in Iraq who can be an easy target for Hashd al-Shaabi and the resistance forces."

maybe there are huge constraints we dont know about but it remains somehow puzzling that during the course of this war there was never an attack on american forces despite u.s. blatantly supporting terrorism. perhaps the risk of an escalation with iran/syria gov was too high?

Posted by: bg | Jun 21, 2018 6:50:26 AM | 86

@Bevin Kacon 81

[My first post here so I apologize in advance for violating any unwritten rules in this community]

"What about the CIA funding of ISIS? Was that not from US coffers?"

A portion is, but only a small portion. The vast majority of the CIA's operating capital comes from off-budget sources. Doubtless you have heard of the CIA's cocaine trafficking into the US, but they also traffic opioids, and not just to the US. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the CIA has cornered the international market on higher end illicit narcotics. Consider that drug production in Colombia and Afghanistan has increased dramatically in recent decades then ask yourself where are the billionaire drug lords? The Escobar cartel is gone and nothing even remotely comparable has risen in its place. Could drug production and sales really have increased so much since then without individuals profiting from it and using those profits to build new cartels?

Production could increase without new large cartels forming if there was already a global cartel that up-and-coming cartels could never compete with, and what cartel could compete with an organization that has thousands of black sites and armies of death squads around the world like the CIA does? The CIA has its own air force, which happens to be quite useful in trafficking narcotics in addition to nipping any potential challengers in the global narcotics trade in the bud.

When you consider that Pablo Escobar personally made about $22 billion per year, and realize that those profits now go to the CIA, you can see that the CIA's official budget that the US Congress audits is just a small fraction of what the CIA has to work with. Keep in mind that $22 billion is itself just a portion of the profits from the CIA's global narcotics trafficking. Of course, the CIA could run the operation far more efficiently than any crime lord since they get the pick of the litter from Harvard each year to manage these things, and they don't rely upon bribery in transporting the narcotics (who is going to be able to search a CIA aircraft for drugs or interfere with them if a truck pulls up to their plane on the airport tarmac?).

Global narcotics trafficking is estimated to be worth about half a $trillion, and it wouldn't be outrageous to suggest that the CIA is getting the cream of that $500 billion.

But global narcotics trafficking is not the CIA's only off-budget income source. They also make cash from trafficking in weapons (one of the largest stashes, if not the largest stash, of AK-47s in the world is at the CIA's Midwest Depot in Texas). They also traffic in people, taking money from unsuspecting individuals looking to leave Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, or Ukraine, etc. and then selling them as virtual slaves to wealthy Saudis or others with the means to buy such "merchandise".

Naturally, much of this is managed by "retired" personnel working as "contractors", so the US Congress can pretend they don't know about any of it.

Altogether the CIA's annual operating budget is likely in the ballpark of at least half a $trillion, and probably quite a bit more. On top of this there are synergies between the CIA's operations. When you want to do regime change, how many police chiefs, politicians, military officers, and media talking heads can be bought off with that half $trillion? Well, quite a few, but the CIA doesn't have to buy them all. How about using their trafficked pre-teens from Taiwan to be blackmail honeypots for tougher authorities in hotel rooms rigged with video cameras? Getting other tough officials hooked on their narcotics? The CIA has many different ways to influence people other than just buying them off, including threats to torture family members at one of the CIA's black sites or just use their death squads to murder them. The CIA's own air transport capabilities, along with their ability to enter or transit the air spaces of many countries in the world without questions, makes running operations like this trivially easy for them where it would be next to impossible for a normal giant crime syndicate.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 21, 2018 9:23:59 AM | 87

Good post William Gruff (87).

Posted by: Harry | Jun 21, 2018 10:16:56 AM | 88

"Breaking: Iranian Navy allegedly dispatches ships towards Yemeni waters"

https://goo.gl/tdS53J

Interesting, either its fake news or Iran finally started doing something. Either way, we'll know soon enough.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 21, 2018 10:22:29 AM | 89

Peter AU 1 @83--

Syrianperspective or SyrPers. Here's the current thread. The cited discourse is about 2/3s way down page. As any visitor will rapidly see, there's lots of "gibberish" and many anti-Zionist postings. Bundy's photos he garners from Twitterland are often provocative. Unfortunately, the noise to news ratio can become rather oppressive at times.

Mina @84--

I've been posting more from Twitter or to articles I first discover there. Unfortunately, many excellent items don't make it here because they don't match topic under discussion.

William Gruff @87--

You're likely correct. I call the CIA the world's #1 terrorist organization. Welcome to MoA!

Grieved @76--

Cauldron is a good analogy for what's known as a policy cul-de-sac--the only way out is retreat. That the tactic is used so regularly with the enemy seemingly so ignorant of its employment leads me to believe in the total lack of historical combat knowledge on the part of general staff--it's a modified version of Cannae over and over, or the encirclement at Stalingrad if one prefers.

Daniel @80--

I think a general alarm was sent to all Daesh formations to do what they can to create situations intense enough to delay Basalt. The revolt in SDFistan was predicted months ago and is now germinating, especially the revolt at Raqqa. Canthama's been adamant that Outlaw forces will be driven out via insurgency, much like what occurred earlier in Iraq, and he may be proven correct, although al-Tanf will need to see the SAA's boot.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21, 2018 11:36:40 AM | 90

William Gruff

yeah, but when you throw, say, 21 trillion, into the maw of this hydra-headed miscreation, the possibilities get downright intriguing.

Posted by: john | Jun 21, 2018 11:47:58 AM | 91

Re: Posted by: Harry | Jun 21, 2018 10:22:29 AM | 89

That's all very well that Iran wants to help Yemen, but if Iran really wanted to help Yemen why don't they send a volley of missiles into the gleaming towers of Abu Dhabi, Dubai & Riyadh and the oil & gas infrastructure of Saudi Arabia & UAE??

I suspect that would be a much more effective method of stopping the slaughter of Yemen, or is Iran just happy to 'play it safe' (and ineffective).

Posted by: Julian | Jun 21, 2018 12:19:09 PM | 92

Julian @92--

Khamenei's most recent comment on the matter. Iranian involvement in Yemen's yet another Big Lie.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21, 2018 1:40:22 PM | 93

PavewayIV posted a reply at SyrPers. He admits to being taken in by the Neocon mantra: We don't mind if you hate us just as long as you fear us--a variant of something Caligula was credited with saying. Lest you think I'm putting words in Paveway's mouth, here's his comment in full:

"I certainly hope you’re right, Canthama. Forgive me for being slightly less optimistic. My country’s deep state psychopaths still got warehouses full of crazy left to unleash on Syria and the Middle East. I don’t think it’s even about land/resource theft anymore. The US simply wants to pound any targeted populations and their disobedient states to dust as punishment if their leaders defy US (or Israeli) demands.

"Not trying to convince you or anyone else otherwise, but I’ll offer a few counterpoints for consideration.

"Qatar pipeline itself was idle speculation by some Qatari royal nobody – never a real plan and never ‘offered’ to Syria. Assad, himself, said so in an interview somewhere. He rejected Saudi/Qatari offers of aid (and presumably petroleum infrastructure financing) at the time because they came with the condition that Syria break all ties with Iran. That was Assad’s sole reason for rejecting the offers by his own account – not because a Qatari pipeline (never specifically offered) might hurt Russia economically. Side note: even the largest Qatari pipeline to the EU imaginable would barely put a dent in the current/future EU demand for gas. Gazprom simply wouldn’t care about other pipelines – it expects competition in free markets.

"The Iraqi Kurd pipeline through Syria may be history as you observe, but I wouldn’t attribute this to loss of the Kirkuk fields. There is less oil for them to export now, but they have foreign oil companies drilling like crazy and Russian outfits operating the remaining ‘Kurdish’ pipelines. If Baghdad ends revenue-sharing and lets the Kurds export what they’re left with, then I can see future Kurdish pipelines (gas and oil) to Syria, with the Kurdish oil going south to Haifa (where it does now), of course. Remalian oil in NE Syria is generally too sour/heavy to refine – they need to cut it with lighter/sweeter oil, like Syrian Light (Deir EzZor fields) or some northern Iraqi grades.

"Regarding the plentiful stock of US deep state crazy, I can’t believe the Iraqi Kurd Barzanistan project is over. It’s just on hold – the US war on Iraq isn’t quite over yet. On the same token, I would bet the US hasn’t given up on Albu Kamal, Deir EzZor or greater SDFistan – I can almost smell the neocon scheming from here.

"The past attacks on Palmyra (specifically the last on on the 10th, I think) were little more than probes. There is currently thought to be a sizeable CENTCOM-protected head-chopper force disbursed around Rukban/at Tanf. No signs of them being deployed to the Daraa front. This has to number in the thousands by now with all the recent head-chopper relocations (and steady supply via Jordan transit). This isn’t just the useless few dozen FSA left-overs the US trained at at-Tanf – those are only the cover story. Why would the US protect such a sizeable force there? Maybe I’m wrong and there is no head-chopper army there, but Russia and the Shia militias/PMUs seem concerned about a significant threat – one larger than a few ISIS stragglers in the dessert.

"Finally, I hope the southern front offensive is quick and decisive, but there again I’m given pause by our reserve of crazy. The US/Israeli chickenhawks certainly want to prolong that battle as long as possible – not necessarily to ‘win’ it, but to destroy as much of the best of the SAA as possible, further drain Syrian resources and delay the SAA deployment elsewhere (Albu Kamal, Idlib, etc.). If the current ex-al Qaeda stooges in the Southern Command head-chopper alliance are not up to the task, then I’m sure the US/Israel will find plenty of mercs to send through Jordan or Israel to prolong the bloodshed.

"Sorry for all the cynicism, but the Deep State here is easily that insane. Frankly, I’m terrified of them. I guess that’s by design." [Emphasis in Original]

IMO, being terrified leads to paralysis of thought and thus action--one becomes stupefied, then cowed to the point of dropping one's arms and accepting whatever fate is in store. I see that look on the faces of almost all prisoners about to become beheaded. Better to die with your guns blazing. But Paveway does point out who the real enemy of humanity is--the Outlaw US Empire's Deep State and their CIA Army--not US regular armed forces.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21, 2018 2:39:54 PM | 94

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote a concise article on the Syrian war as competing pipeline plans:

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/39060-pipelines-or-pipe-dreams-what-robert-f-kennedy-jr-gets-wrong-about-syria

http://www.ecowatch.com/syria-another-pipeline-war-1882180532.html

The Armed Forces Journal has always known that pipelines were at the root of the "Syria problem."

http://armedforcesjournal.com/pipeline-politics-in-syria/

Although, control of Syrian hydrocarbons in general has been on the AAZ Empire’s “to-do list” for decades:

And of course, CIA documents show they'd planned this out since the 1980s, and even back then, they referenced pipelines.

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP88B00443R001404090133-0.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP86T01017R000100770001-5.pdf

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 21, 2018 3:23:40 PM | 95

As b suspected, the US has responded to the Syrian military activity in Daraa. Today it conducted airstrikes in Deir ez-Zor (killing 8 Syrian troops) and Homs province (killing one soldier and injuring several others).

RT quotes US State Department as being "deeply troubled by reports of increasing Syrian regime operations" in southwestern Syria on Thursday, after the government moved to regain control of rebel-held areas.

Washington said it would take "firm and appropriate measures" in response to what it believes are government violations of the de-escalation deal it brokered with Russia last year to contain the conflict in the southwestern part of the country.

Posted by: MarkMosby | Jun 21, 2018 9:55:15 PM | 96

@94 karlof1

Caligula was killed by his own Praetorian Guard. They just couldn't take his madness any more. Or so runs the story.

So let Caligula equate to the neocons. Gladly. The so-called Deep State, of course is the Guard.

To put this into modern terms, let's just say the neocons are crazy enough to envision countless dreams of conquest, but for at least one or two decades they have shown no recognition of the material capability required to achieve these dreams. The 2003 invasion of Iraq flowed conceptually from what they perceived as dominant success in Afghanistan (although this in turn flowed only from the exigencies of local warlords).

The neocons have lately failed everywhere they've turned their hand. True, they created Israel (for of course the neocons and Zionists are synonymous), but today even this can be seen as doubtful. And true, they brought down the USSR from deception. But Russia rose again, and from moral strength alone. Which shows us that moral strength counts for much in this age. This is why the neocons lose. This is why eventually the Praetorian Guard just gets disgusted and wants to end the madness.

In this century the neocons have shown themselves as being completely incapable of matching the requirements of the times. The neocons with their warehouse of crazy have no cognizance - zero - of the force required to act in the real theaters they dream of commanding. Strength doesn't come from crazy. It comes from realism and perhaps even, if the Russian example is of value, from morality and sanity.

The neocons may be crazy but they are not from this to be feared. They are to be pitied.

Although this is not the same as sparing them from justice.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 21, 2018 10:02:11 PM | 97

@84 Mina I will try to include more relevant Twitter posts..
@90 karlof1 what is your twitter handle? Txs.

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 21, 2018 10:08:36 PM | 98

@7 ben

> This may be a definitive moment in the battle for Syrian sovereignty.

Really? The US Turkey and France still occupy Syrian territory. This battle will not dislodge them. Funny how the goal of “territorial integrity” was easily jettisoned by those who can’t accept that Putin is not God.

Posted by: Porridge & Lager | Jun 21, 2018 10:34:25 PM | 99

Grieved @97--

I fear them not. Rather, through their actions it's clear they fear me instead. Frankly, I was surprised by PavewayIV's admission. As you note, it's clear they'll fail, but at what great cost?

Loziuon @ 98--

Sorry, I'm not a Twitter member. I just access my 2 dozen Twitterers via computer.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21, 2018 11:23:57 PM | 100

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