Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 02, 2018

Syria Sitrep - U.S. To Stay To "Create Quagmires"

Last week we looked at the upcoming campaign to liberate Idleb. The attack will commence only after the September 7 summit of the  presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Tehran. Meanwhile the U.S. detailed its future role in the war on Syria.

The new U.S. aim in Syria is to hinder all potential progress in the reestablishing of government control as well as to obstruct any repair of the damage its war on Syria caused.

The semi-permanent U.S. occupation of north-east Syria will be used in a new (and futile) attempt to achieve the long held U.S. aim of regime change. Secretary of Defense Mattis declared as much in a recent press conference. Asked about Iran in Syria he said:

What are they doing in Syria in the first place, other than propping up someone who has committed mayhem and murder on his own people?

They have no business there. And our goal is to move the Syria civil war into the Geneva process so the Syrian people can establish a new government that is not led by Assad and give them a chance for a future that Assad has denied them, with -- with overt Russian and Iranian support.

If Iran, a treaty ally invited by the legitimate Syrian government, has 'no business' in Syria what business does the uninvited U.S. invasion force have?

Asked about the prospect of U.S. troops in Syria Mattis said:

[L]et me give three points here. One, we have to destroy ISIS. The president's been very clear that -- that ISIS is to be taken out, so that's got to happen. We also have to have trained local troops who can take over. We're doing that training as we speak. As we uncover ground, the chairman's got people assigned there specifically to train the locals. And third, we need the Geneva process, the U.N.-recognized process to start making traction towards solving this war.

Now, if the locals are able to keep the security, obviously during this time we might be reducing our troops commensurate with their ability to meet -- deny ISIS a return, but it really comes down to finding a way to solve this problem of Assad's making.

The claim that the U.S. is there to fight ISIS is a lie. ISIS is still active in two places in Syria. Both are under U.S. control.

On the east side of the Euphrates, near Al-Bukamal, ISIS holds several villages and the city of Hajin with originally some 40,000 inhabitants. The U.S. and its Kurdish controlled proxy force SDF stopped attacking those ISIS position in November 2017.


bigger

On June 6 Mattis announced that the attack on ISIS in Hajin had re-commenced but there was zero news of any fighting. Instead ISIS forces from Hajin crossed the Euphrates and attacked Syrian government positions. Further imminent attacks on ISIS in Hajin were announced by the U.S. proxy forces on July 13 and on August 14. None happened.

The U.S. claims that the SDF has 50,000 fighters. What are they doing?

Refugees from Hajin ask the same question and protest against the delays:

[H]undreds of displaced people in Bahra village, Gharanij town, and other areas east of Deir Ezzor went out in demonstrations demanding the SDF to start a military operation and control Hajin town and expel the “Islamic State” organization from it and the from entire east of Euphrates River, in order to return to their homes.

For ten month now ISIS sits unmolested in Hajin and the nearby areas. According to (pdf) the UN Sanctions Monitoring Team it is again extracting and selling oil and "earning millions of dollars per month". ISIS attacks from Hajin on Syrian government forces west of the Euphrates continue.

The other ISIS concentration in Syria is around the al-Tanf border crossing between Syria and Iraq which is also under illegal U.S. control. The nearby Rukban refugee camp, with allegedly 50,000 inhabitants, is housing many ISIS families. Last week the Syrian army prevented an attack from the U.S. controlled area towards Palmyra:

"The militants’ objective was to conduct a series of terrorist attacks in the vicinity of the city of Palmyra and to ensure the passage of the main forces of about 300 militants to capture the city within the next week," the [the Russian Reconciliation Center]’s report said.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the militants, captured by Syrian government forces, claimed that they had been trained and armed by American instructors in a camp near the US military base in al-Tanf.

The U.S. is not fighting ISIS in Syria. It is building semi-permanent bases, trains a large proxy force, and controls Syria's oilfields. Its aim is still regime change, the same aim it had when it launched the war on Syria seven and a half years ago. To achieve that it will continue to sow as much chaos as possible.

As CIA and Pentagon mouthpiece David Ignatius wrote this week:

[T]he administration has stopped the dithering and indecision of the past 18 months and signaled that the United States has enduring interests in Syria, beyond killing Islamic State terrorists — and that it isn’t planning to withdraw its Special Operations forces from northeastern Syria anytime soon.

“Right now, our job is to help create quagmires [for Russia and the Syrian regime] until we get what we want,” says one administration official, explaining the effort to resist an Idlib onslaught. This approach involves reassuring the three key U.S. allies on Syria’s border — Israel, Turkey and Jordan — of continued American involvement. ...

It is quote doubtful that Turkey or Jordan are happy to see continued U.S. meddling in Syria.

... U.S. goals in Syria have been sketched publicly by Pompeo and Mattis: withdrawal of all Iranian-commanded forces from the country, rather than just from a 50-mile buffer zone along the Israel border, as in the deal Russia arranged; and a political transition that can prevent Syria from becoming a terrorist base again and stabilize it enough that refugees can return to their homes. Pompeo and Mattis want more U.S. involvement in the Geneva deliberations on a political transition, too.

The U.S. is massively expanding its positions in north-east Syria. More than 1,600 trucks with new equipment arrived over the last month. The U.S. now has 18 bases in north-east Syria, 6 of which have their own landing strips. The media continue to claim the the U.S. has 2,000 soldiers in the north-east. The real number is more than double or triple of that. It is quite obvious that the U.S. is settling in with the intent to split the north-east from the rest of Syria, similar to what it did with the creation of a Kurdish entity in northern Iraq.

Much of the U.S. position in north-east Syria depends on the outcome of the current government formation in Iraq. Pro- and anti-U.S. factions are in fierce competition. Without a friendly Iraqi government the U.S. contingent in Syria is isolated and cut off from land supplies.

The U.S. is warning that any attack on Idleb "will escalate the crisis in Syria and the region". The former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford fears that France, the UK and the U.S. (FUKUS) will repeat a Suez crisis. They will use the pretext of a "chemical attack", staged by the White Helmets propaganda group, to launch a large bombing attack against Syria. But like the attack on the Suez Canal 62 years ago such an operation would be in vane:

Suez was a fiasco. While militarily it was a mitigated success, politically it achieved the opposite of what was planned. Nasser emerged stronger than ever.

Will history repeat itself? Assad has only to survive physically a few days’ barrage (if he is wise, he will repair to the Russian base near Latakia for the duration) to emerge just as Nasser emerged from Suez, bloodied but unbowed. Eden’s career was over when he resigned two months after the armistice in Egypt.

(Peter Ford was recently interviewed (vid) by Syria Girl.)

 Russia is well aware of the U.S. intent to create chaos:

A senior Kremlin official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that American officials “want to play spoiler big time. They are disgusted that we’ve gotten an upper hand in dealing with this crisis and now they want to put spokes in every wheel we are trying to make roll.”
...
The Kremlin source added, “Conversations with Turks aren’t going easy but we are optimistic in that both parties are genuinely inclined to find a mutually acceptable solution. Another outside military escalation in Syria now will be seen as a clear intent to hamper this process. Frankly, it’s irritating and exhausting that every time there’s a need for a needle to fix certain fine things there comes a guy with an ax saying he’s going to fix it altogether.”

The U.S. is not only spoiling the military operations against the terrorists in Syria. It is trying to hamper any reconstruction and the return of refugees. Reconstruction is made more difficult by the devious sanction regime of the U.S. and EU. But like other problems these will be overcome. It is the U.S. and the EU that will lose the business opportunities while Russian, Chinese and other countries companies will thrive on them.

'Western' media continue to support their governments' line. AFP Beirut office, notorious for pro-Jihadist reporting by its freelancers within al-Qaeda territory, is providing another example. The UN's Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) recently held a conference about reconstruction in Syrian and provided an estimate of the economic war a damage. The AFP headline is: Cost Of Syria War Destruction At $388 Billion, Says UN

ESCWA said the "volume of destruction in physical capital and its sectoral distribution" had been estimated at more than $388 billion.

It said the figure did not include "human losses resulting from deaths or the loss of human competences and skilled labour due to displacement, which were considered the most important enablers of the Syrian economy."

As that figure seems way too high, a look at that passage in the original ESCWA press release is advisable:

Discussions focused on estimations related to the volume of destruction in physical capital and its sectoral distribution, which according to ESCWA experts reached over $388 billion US dollars, while the actual physical cost of destruction was close to 120 billion dollars.

These figures do not include human losses resulting from deaths or the loss of human competences and skilled labor due to displacement, which were considered the most important enablers of the Syrian economy.

AFP left out the half sentence which describes the actual physical damage, $120 billion. The other $268 billion ESCWA cites are an estimate of lost opportunities and not realized profits. They simply never happened. When the AFP leaves out that half sentence it is exaggerating the damage and advances the 'western' claim that Syria needs 'western' money to rehabilitate itself.

One news item on the upcoming Idleb campaign is encouraging.

Turkey gave up on convincing Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which rules most of Idleb province, to dissolve. It finally admitted so on Friday when it blacklisted HTS as an al-Qaeda affiliated terror group. With this move Turkey is giving a green light for the Syrian/Russian operation in Idleb.

Like the U.S. Turkey is eager to hold onto as much of Syria as it can. But Syria does not welcome occupiers. In Azaz city, near the Turkish-Syrian border, people held a sit-in against the Turkish controlled local administration. The protests were dissolved by a bomb exploding next to them. In Afrin district, taken by the Turkish forces a few month ago, daily guerrilla attacks against the occupiers continue. In Qamishli city in the U.S./SDF held Hasakah province Syrian Arab Christians protested after the Kurds shut down two Christian schools. Local IED attacks against Kurdish SDF forces around Raqqa occur every other day.

The U.S. wants to create a quagmire in Syria. By doing so it will likely find itself in one. That is what happened to Turkey:

Seven years into the war in Syria, as Turkey struggles to shield itself from the destabilizing spillover of regional turmoil, Erdoğan’s bet on the Arab world looks increasingly like a losing one. A Syria at war has become the graveyard for any dreams of the neo-Ottoman grandeur he may have nurtured.

The U.S. is allegedly drawing up a target list for a large scale strike on Syria after a staged chemical incident. But has anyone thought about the U.S. forces in al-Tanf or in north-eastern Syria? If the U.S. strikes at the Syrian government in Damascus and elsewhere, all gloves will come off. Can the relatively few U.S. soldiers strewn over many small bases survive an all out attack by the Syrian missile and air forces? How would the U.S. react when a few hundred of its soldiers get killed? Could the then following escalation be limited to Syria? Can Israel survive a Hizbullah missile strike on its industrial centers?

The wish to "create quagmires" can easily get out of hand and the U.S. may very soon find itself in a pretty deep one.

Do Trump, Mattis or Pompeo really want to carry that burden?

Posted by b on September 2, 2018 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

Comments

thank you for all of this, b, your news as well as your pithy questions.

now he hadn't given a link, but bill van auken at wsws had noted this on aug, 28:

"“Bolton followed up his trip to Israel with a meeting in Geneva with his Russian counterpart, Nicolai Patrushev, apparently in an attempt to enlist Russian assistance in Washington’s campaign against Iran. Publicly, at least, Moscow appeared to rebuff the approach. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded that all military forces not invited into Syria by the government leave the country, a clear attempt to distinguish between Tehran and Washington.

US officials have made clear that while Washington’s objective in Syria remains the toppling of the Assad regime, it is also focused on the driving out of Iranian forces from the country as part of its strategy of rolling back Iranian influence throughout the Middle East and clearing the path for the assertion of US hegemony in the oil-rich region.

Iran has rejected US and Israeli demands that it abandon Syria, insisting its forces have been invited into the country by the government in Damascus, unlike the 2,200 US troops there, which have been deployed in direct violation of international law.

b>Iran’s Defense Minister Amir Hatami and his Syrian counterpart announced on Monday the signing of a “defense and technical agreement” that provides for the continued “presence and participation” of Iran in Syria.”

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/28/syri-a28.html

Posted by: wendy davis | Sep 2, 2018 12:44:02 PM | 1

a commenter at my home website had seen a number of reports on what seemed to have been bombings at mazzen airport near damascus last night, while the syrian military says the explosions were triggered by electrical short circuits.

the sole organization he'd kinked to was the syrian observatory of human rights, which even the new york times finally admitted was a UK/US fake NGO, essentially a one-suit operation. but...your 16000 trucks link went to the organization.

the same commenter also brought this great introduction to perhaps the next white helmets help: CBS News August 30, 2018: ‘'2 Americans develop vast network to alert millions of Syrians of impending airstrikes

"The U.N. special envoy to Syria warned on Thursday that 3 million civilians could be at risk if the Assad regime launches a large-scale invasion against rebels in Idlib province. Violence can happen at a moment's notice in Syria, but two Americans have designed a way to warn civilians before an airstrike.

John Jaeger and Dave Levin grew up in Chicago and Dallas, where they worked jobs in finance and consulting. But now they've become unlikely heroes in Syria's seven-year-long civil war, where they have saved lives." [snip]

"The U.N. special envoy to Syria warned on Thursday that 3 million civilians could be at risk if the Assad regime launches a large-scale invasion against rebels in Idlib province. Violence can happen at a moment's notice in Syria, but two Americans have designed a way to warn civilians before an airstrike.

John Jaeger and Dave Levin grew up in Chicago and Dallas, where they worked jobs in finance and consulting. But now they've become unlikely heroes in Syria's seven-year-long civil war, where they have saved lives." (w/ a link to the glories of the white helmets below)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/two-americans-develop-hala-systems-to-alert-syrians-of-coming-airstrikes/

but this from one turkish news site, aug. 28: 'US reportedly installs air defense systems in northern Syria'

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-reportedly-installs-air-defense-systems-in-northern-syria-136235

Posted by: wendy davis | Sep 2, 2018 1:01:18 PM | 2

Agree with what you have said except that Turkey did not give the "green light" to Russia/Syria to attack Idlib. They were going to do it regardless of what Turkey does. From reading Sana and other websites, Syria has had enough an will finally do whatever it takes to get rid of the US and Turkey once and for all. Will not feel one lick of sorrow for those occupying soldiers when they die. They have no reason to be a country that they were not invited into.

Posted by: NewYorker | Sep 2, 2018 1:08:44 PM | 3

The MIC is wedded to endless war, rationalized as The Long War against Terrorism.

Staying in Afghan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and other "hot spots" they nurture with one hand (CIA and friends in UK, Israel, UAE, UK) while "fighting" with the other hand (using proxies so body bag count is negligible.).

This is the racket of Trillions for Defense while propagating Global Dominance.

Syria has the same fate as Donbass. It is now connected at both ends (salvation from Russia and damnation from the USA).

Unless the US suffers real casualties soon, the Long War will remain atop Syria's writhing body.
And eventually, the plan of the US is to eliminate Assad. They got Zakharchenko in Donetsk, and Assad is but a bomb away from removal.

The incentives to stay are far higher and rewarding than the reasonable retreat from Syria.
The US CENTCOM sees no reason to leave.

Iran and Russia will have to accept the General Giap solution. They will have to inflict continual losses on the US directly. Killing proxies does not inflict incentives. Those bases have to be attacked. Best done with missiles. Aircraft taken down with MANPADS.
Devote a month of hell by iron and thermobaric warheads and see if the Exceptionals want the Long War on Syrian terms.
Give the Syrians the weapons they need to inflict enough fast damage to bases, troops and machines.
It is the only solution.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Sep 2, 2018 1:09:15 PM | 4

As always with these invaluable sitreps, an excellent summary of the situation on the ground and the wider context.

I had read that the Kurds held talks with the Syrian government and that some SDF fighters were going to assist the SAA in Idlib, is that still the case given that in this report I get the impression that the SDF is still fully under US control?

Posted by: George Lane | Sep 2, 2018 1:10:45 PM | 5

Here's Mitchell's Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony I linked to yesterday that's filled with projection and utter falsehoods upon which Trump's Russia Policy is based. Careful you don't guffaw into your beverage while reading! The same can be said for the National Defense Strategy as it seems based on the well cultivated BigLie propaganda about Russia and global events. Here's what's said about the Middle East:

"Form enduring coalitions in the Middle East. We will foster a stable and secure Middle East that denies safe havens for terrorists, is not dominated by any power hostile to the United States, and that contributes to stable global energy markets and secure trade routes. We will develop enduring coalitions to consolidate gains we have made in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere, to support the lasting defeat of terrorists as we sever their sources of strength and counterbalance Iran."

As I've stated before, IMO, the Outlaw US Empire must be forced--militarily--to leave the region as it will not retreat or abandon it when its goal is to "consolidate gains." At some point, it seems to me Russian leadership will have to arrive at that same conclusion.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 2, 2018 1:21:53 PM | 6

Just read the two paragraphs quoted by b, one can see how wicked and delusional Mattis and the US Empire are!

Then of course the MSM takes its cue/order and acts accordingly by spreading the mis-information to manipulate its global audience to serve its masters.

Posted by: mali | Sep 2, 2018 1:27:18 PM | 7

My hope is that the media campaign to alert people about the possible false flag to come will have helped to subvert/delay/cancel it somehow, otherwise get ready for a hell of a rollercoaster ride..

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 2, 2018 1:29:05 PM | 8

Nicely written piece. Of course the risk of a quagmire for the US, if it undertakes such an attack, is extremely high. In fact, pretty much certain. Trump likes big bangs, not prolonged wars, especially if it means spending much of his few remaining years in a nuclear bunker. Ford talks about Asad escaping a decapitation strike. Well he does not mention that back in February, I think it was, the Russians airlifted a paratroop unit into Damascus to surround the presidential palace, and as a result, no such strike took place. The unit may still be there, or could be brought back.

The other part of the game is how reliable are the Kurds? We've discussed this a lot, and I won't go over it again, but it's very probably the reason that no further progress happens against Da'ish. Few Kurds want to fight and die on behalf of the USA, especially when they'll have to surrender the territory afterwards. And there are lots of other issues, which means that, as a result of the ongoing negotiations between Rojava and the Syrians, it's not unthinkable that in the right circumstances, the Rojavan Kurds might switch sides. Such events happened even in the 2WW. Unless the US are really stupid, they'll have their antennae out for such a danger, and that will put a brake on their activity. Maybe that's the reason for the new troops in the Northeast, to put fear into the Kurds. Hard to see it working in the long term.

The other point I wanted to mention is that Macron has cooled off a lot in his enthusiasm for Trump, since Trump started attacking the EU. I'm not at all sure the French would join in. And the Brits only have about two working aircraft; they're not going to add very much, so it'll be an all-american job.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 2, 2018 1:38:38 PM | 9

#9, Laguerre,

The US will not act on its lonesome anywhere. It has used coalitions where it acts illegally, and UN cover where it can get the UNSC to approve. This goes back to WWII and Korea.

They have "coalitions" of scores of nations (of course nearly all don't fly the sorties).
And the one nation that will fly against Syria is France. For certain. They will fire missiles from subs or surface ships also. For certain.

The last time France abstained was when DeGaulle led France.

These warmongering nations want to sell their military equipment and bragging of their "performance" is requisite for sales.

The Syrian situation has always been a French interest. They see the Levant as "their sphere". That won't change soon.

All of these EU leaders are compromised and scared shitless by the Hegemon. When the US war machine starts rolling, they line up right behind the beast and join the festivities, killing and maiming the defenseless.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Sep 2, 2018 1:56:27 PM | 10

I suppose it's the Kurds to whom Mattis refers as local fighters in training, but fundamentally, "ISIS" is the more reliable Western partner in the effort to oust Assad and partition Syria. Seems few have seen the pictures of bag man Senator McCain (acting as executive emissary) and his ISIS allies.

Posted by: fast freddy | Sep 2, 2018 2:04:18 PM | 11

NewYorker @3

I agree.

Turkey's long delay in blacklisting HTS shows the degree to which Erdogan is NOT onboard with the attack on Idlib.

And blacklisting HTS doesn't mean that Turkey doesn't STILL object to an attack on Idlib which Turkey FM Cavugsolu has said would be a "humanitarian disaster".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 2, 2018 2:06:47 PM | 12

I'd love to ask Mattis two questions.

1. "How surprised do you think Putin & Assad aren't?"
2. "What will you do if they ignore you?"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 2, 2018 2:14:16 PM | 13

Erdogan statement of switching out of the USD today, if sincere, is a declaration of war against our rulers. I think his options are limited as he can't alienate the Iran Russia China Syria aliance. I also see Germany as the deciding vote on Turkey's actions.

Posted by: Turk 151 | Sep 2, 2018 2:19:18 PM | 14

OT: @karlof1

Have you seen this from RT:

The Global Times, an influential Chinese tabloid, published by the Communist Party's Peoples' Daily newspaper, warned Washington against applying its "west-centered" value system to the situation in Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwestern China and a home to Uyghurs, China's largest Muslim minority group.

Seriously, RT can't hold back doing the bidding for Western MSM? IF the Global Times were a tabloid, then RT, NYT, WaPa, BBC, CNN & Co can all be categorized as tabloid for their propaganda.

Btw, yesterday evening China's National Men's Basketball Team won the gold medal at 2018 Asian Game. The top scorer was Abudushalamu Abudurexiti, an ethic Uyghur, with 20/6 to lead China's offensive. (Highlights of him in red shirt with Nr. 23). He is a rising star and has millions of fans in China. He just played the NBA Summer League for Warrior.

Posted by: mali/lulu | Sep 2, 2018 2:24:00 PM | 15

Posted by: Red Ryder | Sep 2, 2018 1:56:27 PM | 10

The last time France abstained was when DeGaulle led France.
Oh really? Already forgotten Iraq in 2003? Got a bit of francophobia, have we?

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 2, 2018 2:39:06 PM | 16

Mattis has effectively warned Putin: "We're gonna do to Russia in Syria what we did to Russia in Afghanistan."

I expect to enjoy what happens next...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 2, 2018 2:53:34 PM | 17

>>> Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 2, 2018 2:53:34 PM | 17

Then Mattis is a fucking idiot for believing American propaganda - Afghanistan was not what brought down the Soviet Union. And what the United States did to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan led directly to 9/11 so what does Mattis think is going to happen if Russia and the SAG are defeated in Syria? Blowback!

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Sep 2, 2018 3:11:27 PM | 18

@ 16, Laguerre.

France had a big client in Iraq for its weapons sales. Thus, their "high moral" position of not attacking.
The Truth is bitter, n'est pas?

Address their position on Syria. Did I show facts or phobia?

Matter of fact, of all European cultures, I have always felt great admiration for French arts, language and science.
So, you accuse me wrongly.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Sep 2, 2018 3:12:45 PM | 19

Mitchell's Senate Foreign Relation Committee presentation (linked in #6) exemplifies the internalization of false narratives and sophistic deceit.

"Putin’s thesis is that the American Constitution is an experiment that will fail if challenged in the right way from within. Putin wants to break apart the American Republic, not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the perceived fault-lines that exist within our society. His is a strategy of chaos for strategic effect. Accepting this fact is absolutely essential for developing a long-term comprehensive response to the problem."

So the essential element to a comprehensive response is to accept as "fact" what is, in effect, conjecture and simple assertion. There's no thesis or strategy, let alone anything systematic, that can support such a "fact" - nothing but the constant repetition of received wisdom and the dubious "findings" of corrupt lobby groups. Mitchell actually cites "the recent Facebook purges" as the proof of what he speaks.

Certainly the US political class is all in on accepting these "facts" - while any and all criticism can be neatly dismissed as further evidence of the presumed Russian influence campaign. But harbouring a delusional mind-set will produce equally delusional policy initiatives, which is not a winning strategy. The American political class will destroy what's left of their republic all on their own.

Posted by: jayc | Sep 2, 2018 3:23:18 PM | 20

It looks like we are getting down to rubber meeting the road with regards to the Levant...what is the next move by whom?

I have read recently somewhere about China establishing a bigger presence in Afghanistan and now is the time for them to enter the fray in Syria as well.

I hope we can continue to see the events happen and not get shut out of the geopolitical wrangling done in our name entirely.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 2, 2018 4:28:14 PM | 21

There is a lot of emphasis here (and on other websites) on what various geopolitical actors say to the media or in their own reports. It is of course important to pay attention to these words. More important, however, are the actions the players take. It isn't called the great game for nothing. Talk is cheap, as the saying goes, and words are often used to mislead, sow false information, spread propaganda and throw enemies and rivals off track. The real story will always be in the actions.

Posted by: Porridge & Lager | Sep 2, 2018 4:37:48 PM | 22

In Idleb, it is found out that terrorists are using Swiss company (Ruag) made grenades. Today the company makes a statement saying it delivered these batches of grenades to UAE in 2003/4 and UAE violating the contractual warranty preventing it from shipping these stuff to other country.

Posted by: mali | Sep 2, 2018 4:51:03 PM | 23

jayc @20--

"... [H]arbouring [sic] a delusional mind-set will produce equally delusional policy initiatives, which is not a winning strategy."

I've been harping on that essential fact for quite awhile. What you read there is 100% projection of what the Outlaw US Empire does, and there's much more of that in the NDS I also linked to again, which was produced by Mattis and Company, thus showing him to be a similar dolt. There's a third document I linked to in lieu of providing what Mitchell said was "the Russia Integrated Strategy," and it too is built on grand falsehoods; it's no wonder it' was one of the so-called NGOs that was shuttered. I presume the current "strategy" continues attempts at destabilization using as many tools as possible. As for Russia running a similar operation within the Outlaw US Empire, it has no need to do so as the numerous contradictions within the Empire are doing Russia's work for it. Polling shows citizen alienation from the federal government close to all-time highs, and Trump/GOP anti-people domestic policies have generated lots of resistance.

mali/lulu @15--

I fail to see your problem with the RT article you tried to link to--the URL has one too many / at its end and one must be removed to get to the article. Global Times is rightly gripping about BigLie Media stories produced to negatively influence Congress and US public opinion:

"However, influenced by Western public opinion and based on false information, it made some un-objective remarks over Xinjiang's employment training of some extremists, which Western media hyped."

China is extremely sensitive to Extraterritoriality being applied to it as it was previously devastated by such "Unequal Treaties" and their offshoots, and that's what the Magnitski Act is, and is based on a falsehood like so much Outlaw US Empire policy is as I've documented.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 2, 2018 5:05:54 PM | 24

Sorry but if all parties do nothing to contest the American invasion of Syria, don't be surprised if your outcome is commensurate with your effort. The American buildup in East Syria has been accompanied by a clever bit of misdirection, particularly Trump's "reluctance", but not that clever. I've seen on so many websites a childishly naive conviction that Russia c.s. only have to expose that the US "isn't really there to fight ISIS", and then they'll win--or something. In fact, master salesman DJT rebranded his anti-ISIS coalition into an anti-Iran coalition without breaking a sweat. Since Iran is also "muslim", his base will largely go along with it; at any rate, they have little reason to pay attention since so far the occupation has been cheap cheap cheap. The coalition poodles already feel the heat from Washington on the trade front, and won't make a fuss if they know what's good for them.

I had the Iranians pegged as tough guys, but when they decided that the American colonization effort was unacceptable, what did they do about it? Why, write a letter of course. Predictable, the Dark Throne laughed "No, U". MoA has also been categorical that the US presence was unsustainable, but if nobody gets to work making it a living hell for the orcs--what then?

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Sep 2, 2018 7:34:17 PM | 25

@20

There's nothing delusional about the powerful. They haven't cared about anything as quaint as a Republic for a long time, if ever; this is about their power and wealth. If Russia makes moves, however halfhearted, to oppose them, then Russia is a great threat to their hegemony and ergo Carthago delenda est. Congress and media are bread and circuses only; a serious hedge fund or defense contractor can get the real dope directly from the CIA. The real delusions may reign in the Kremlin, if they thought they could smooth things over with this relentless machine just by pretending to be friends with it.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Sep 2, 2018 8:32:02 PM | 26

My response is to karlof1 in #6

The last statement where you assert that the US will need to be removed militarily is absolutely correct and where Mr Putin is losing support. Mr Putin has shown great restraint but I think there are numbers in the Russian military who know for sure that force must be used.

At least Mr Putin is not being as naive as he was earlier and is bolstering the fleet in the Med. and is sending many varied military pieces to this new phase like the anti-submarine planes for example.

One needs to look at the types of people we see in the US, Israeli and UK militaries and understand their long history of insurgence support to see that they really are fond of getting others to do their dirty work. A new (for me) piece in SOTT article/297011-Is-ISIS-a-creation-of-the-US-government-Do-large-hairy-mammals-relieve-themselves-in-the-woods# clearly outlines this activity in Indonesia.

I think a quick and effective dusting up of Al Tanf would get the ball rolling.

C'Mon Syria !

Posted by: imoverit | Sep 2, 2018 9:02:10 PM | 27

@ karlof1 and imoverit who talk about force being used by Russia.

IMO, Russia will only use force in defense of Syrian advances. It is Syria's country and they need to remove all interlopers and Russia is there to insure that iFUKUS does not interfere as one interloper in defense of other interlopers.

Russia will exhibit no aggression but continue to define the limits of activity on the battlefields.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 2, 2018 9:33:29 PM | 28

psychohistorian is absolutely correct. Russian tactics were sticking to "preservation of force", they do not send their troops in the harms way. Number one, Putin is very careful about preserving his political capital at home. Number two, Russia is also very careful in playing out "limited war": hostile powers facing each other about their minor interests would rather win than lose, but escalation that is matched by the other side can drain resources and political capital on both sides (or on multiple sides, as it is the case in Syria). Yet this aggravatingly cautious approach lead to the total elimination of rebel enclaves to the south of Idlib, freeing forces from hundreds of kilometers of front lines, consolidating logistic and economic life lines etc. etc. Most of low quality units are probably being disbanded, some high/medium quality units are taking care of ISIS remnants in the deserts, and the bulk of high quality units that were slowly growing in the last few years are positioned around Idlib and western Aleppo.


The other side of the equation is what resistance they will face. This is the first major "mortal combat" in this faze of the war. As rebel and even ISIS forces were being eliminated and dislocated, they were being surrounded and relocated after agreements. But hard to see where they go from Idlib. Syria can offer some comfy concentration camps, or "reeducation" that was offered to South Vietnamese military. So the rebels will have motivation, numbers and weapons.

As we have seen in Daara, diplomacy that cuts off weapon supplies is also killing the morale. So Russians work overdrive to get that cut off for Idlib, at least, I imagine, for the most "provocative" weapons, advance anti-air and anti-armor. In the same time, Russia tries to intimidate NATO to stay away by increasing air force and navy in vicinity -- the navy is presumably a floating platform for the most advanced anti-aircraft systems. Rebels can see it too.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 2, 2018 11:06:17 PM | 29

thanks b.. excellent overview.. i too see the usa playing an extremely meddlesome role here while looking after israel/ksa/uae and etc - military/financial interests...

it's true as @22 porridge and lager says - pay attention to the actions, not the words..there's lots of deception going on in war, either way..

at this point i tend to see it like @4 red ryder.. at some point russia has to pull the trigger and smack the usa hard.. the time is getting closer... not sure when it is going to happen and i can see the sanity in resisting it until it is absolutely necessary..that said, i think @21 ( first sentence) and @28 psychohistorian is even more accurate in the long view here..

@26 ma laoshi.. i don't think there are any delusions in russia with regard to placating the usa.. it is a fools game and i am quite sure they know this.. i really don't believe for a second that is the game they have going here..

as i continue to see it, we are ramping up to a major world war here and the timing of the gloves coming off is the only hard part.. i sincerely hope i am totally wrong in this regard..

Posted by: james | Sep 2, 2018 11:10:49 PM | 30

Poll

Chances (expressed as a percentage) that:

1) There is an WMD 'incident' in Idlib:

. . a) soon before or after Russia & Syria begin to attack Idlib.

. . b) sometime in the next 6 months.

2) US/FUKUS responds to that incident.

3) US/FUKUS response is more than the 'show of force' of previous responses to WMD 'incidents'.

4) US/FUKUS response is massive and sustained (days long, targets military, C&C, and
civilian infrastructure)

5) One of the targets of US/FUKUS response is Assad.

6) One of the targets of US/FUKUS response is Iranian personnel/assets.

7) Russian servicemen are killed.

8) Russia/Syria do not respond beyond immediate defense (shooting down missiles, anti-aircraft)

9) Russia/Syria attack delivery systems (ships, airports)

10) ISIS opens a new front by infiltrating Southern Syria from Jordan.

11) Ukraine attacks Donbas.

12) Turkey intervenes: sends large force into Idlib to halt Russia-Syrian attack.

13) China sends troops to Syria sometime in the next 6-months.

14) A nuke is used in Syria sometime in the next 6-months (by either side)

15) War is declared by all sides (WWIII) sometime in the next 6 months.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 2, 2018 11:12:52 PM | 31

"Can Israel survive a Hizbullah missile strike on its industrial centers?"

Good sitrep, b - thanks.

All analyses are "eve of battle" speculations - all good, all valuable, all undoubtedly also long discussed and war gamed by the general staff of the axis.

Everything says the same thing: nothing of substance can dare to happen, because the countervailing forces lock down each action before it starts. On the other hand, everything insubstantial can happen, because we still have to feed the news cycle.

That's it. That's all there is.

Kudos, b, for mentioning Israel. Ghassan Kadi over at the Saker offered his own sitrep and introduced a concept I found thrilling to read, namely "Israel is the soft underbelly of the US."

And lo and behold, MoA is the one other source to mention the same game-changing fact. If we're talking about quagmires, let's talk about how deep the quicksand goes.

If someone wants to threaten the US, then hurt Israel. As the background morphs into the foreground, and the old reality reveals itself as the new reality, one sees that Israel - which rules the US - far from being in control, is actually the tender link of vulnerability in this whole chain.

The US acts in ways that do not benefit it, and that are actually to its detriment, in order to benefit Israel. But what if this dynamic is turned on its head, and everything the US does at Israel's behest serves only to harm Israel? This is the equation that seems to be whispered from the Levant, by Kadi.

I haven't seen it made a quid pro quo yet by anyone's formal declaration - Iran, yes, but not specifically actions in Syria calling for actions against Israel - but I had not hoped to see it this close to the surface, until I heard it on the breeze from Germany.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 2, 2018 11:13:41 PM | 32

@23 mali.. thanks for that bit.. uae is one bullshite country with your content further proof of it.. they too are a part of the coalition of the willing moderate headchoppers led by washington all at tel avivs discretion of course..

@29 piotr.. thanks for your post..

Posted by: james | Sep 2, 2018 11:15:37 PM | 33

There will be no all out attack on American troops nor will there be missile attacks by the Syrians or Russians in retaliation if the US interferes. Putin has played it close to the vest and walked a fine line because, unlike many commenters, the US is just looking for an excuse for an all out attack that American citizens would back. If Russia or Assad's troops kill Americans the American public will back US military intervention to the hilt as they have been propagandized about the evil Russians and butcher Assad and want revenge. American exceptionalism will demand it. It's only when the bodies start piling up and no progress made is when Americans will question a war. If anyone, including the US, were to attack Russia proper they would have their lunch handed to them. In a conflict outside Russia's borders anything short of nukes flying the Americans can bring overwhelming force to play and not much Russia can do about it unfortunately. The only thing that's held back the Americans so far is they need a major provocation, dead Americans at the hands of the Russians would do it, so that the American public will support another war especially if Russians are killed as they and Putin are "trying to destroy our democracy."

Posted by: snedly arkus | Sep 2, 2018 11:37:07 PM | 34

My answers:

1) There is an WMD 'incident' in Idlib:
- This seems 'baked in' at this point

. . a) soon before or after Russia & Syria begin to attack Idlib. 90%

. . b) sometime in the next 6 months. 95%

2) US/FUKUS responds to that incident. 95%
- Also 'baked in' - FUKUS is now committed to a response.

3) US/FUKUS response is more than the 'show of force' of previous responses to WMD 'incidents'. 80%
- A much stronger response seems in the cards - Russia seems to be preparing accordingly

4) US/FUKUS response is massive and sustained (days long, varied targets: military, C&C, and
civilian infrastructure) 30%
- FUKUS has longed for a 'knock-out' blow, but a massive attack risks WWIII

5) One of the targets of US/FUKUS response is Assad. 80%

6) One of the targets of US/FUKUS response is Iranian personnel/assets. 80%

7) Russian servicemen are killed. 20%

8) As in previous attacks, Russia/Syria do not respond beyond immediate defense (shooting down missiles, anti-aircraft) 80%

9) Russia/Syria attack delivery systems (ships, airports) 20%

10) ISIS opens a new front by infiltrating Southern Syria from Jordan. 50%

11) Ukraine attacks Donbas. 50%

12) Turkey intervenes: sends large force into Idlib to halt Russia-Syrian attack. 25%

13) China sends troops to Syria sometime in the next 6-months. 15%

14) A tactical nuke is used in Syria sometime in the next 6-months (by either side) 5%

15) War is declared by all sides (WWIII) sometime in the next 6-months. 10%

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 2, 2018 11:37:40 PM | 35

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2018/08/285544.htm

daily usa press propaganda briefing from last thursday.. good to know the usa is hard at work ruling out that it's own side, which at this point includes al nusrah - are planning any type of chem attack..

"QUESTION: Really very briefly. The Russians are claiming that al-Nusrah and other groups are stockpiling chemical weapons and planning an attack. So you dismiss that out of hand?

MS NAUERT: I think that’s more false flag type reporting.

QUESTION: They’ve been talking about this for a while.

MS NAUERT: We’ve seen that before --

QUESTION: So you dismiss it?

MS NAUERT: -- where they try to put the blame, they try to put the onus on other groups, and we don’t buy into that."

Posted by: james | Sep 2, 2018 11:45:38 PM | 36

Jackrabbit @35:

13) China sends troops to Syria sometime in the next 6-months. 15%

Would this be under the R+6 banner or UN Peacekeeping Force?   If former, I'd put it at 5%.

Posted by: Ian | Sep 3, 2018 1:05:19 AM | 37

The arrogance really is breathtaking, isn't it?

Mattis: "They have no business there."

That's actually Assad's decision, not yours.
Iranian forces in Syria have as much "business" being there as, say, US forces have in Germany, or in the UK, or in Japan, or in any of the other 100s of places where US forces have been invited in by the government of that foreign country.

Mattis: "And our goal is to move the Syria civil war into the Geneva process so the Syrian people can establish a new government that is not led by Assad and give them a chance for a future that Assad has denied them, with -- with overt Russian and Iranian support."

And if the Syria people are allowed a vote and decide to vote in Assad then.... what, exactly? Does your "Geneva process" and its predetermined "Assad must go!" outcome actually take precedence over the express will of the Syrian population?

Why, exactly?
How, precisely?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Sep 3, 2018 1:05:46 AM | 38

Whenever they're housed at al-tanf; they're US supported rebels. Whenever they're outside; they're ISIS.

There is no ISIS. That's Hollywood magic.

Posted by: never mind | Sep 3, 2018 4:06:43 AM | 39

“You can’t understand the conflict without talking about natural gas
By Maj. Rob Taylor
Much of the media coverage suggests that the conflict in Syria is a civil war, in which the Alawite (Shia) Bashar al Assad regime is defending itself (and committing atrocities) against Sunni rebel factions (who are also committing atrocities). The real explanation is simpler: it is about money.
In 2009, Qatar proposed to run a natural gas pipeline through Syria and Turkey to Europe. Instead, Assad forged a pact with Iraq and Iran to run a pipeline eastward, allowing those Shia-dominated countries access to the European natural gas market while denying access to Sunni Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The latter states, it appears, are now attempting to remove Assad so they can control Syria and run their own pipeline through Turkey.”
http://armedforcesjournal.com/pipeline-politics-in-syria/

Posted by: James Charles | Sep 3, 2018 5:00:07 AM | 40

I think the most likely explanation for what the US were/are upto is that they were planning a carpet bombing campaign (à la Yugoslava, Libya) with the aim of collapsing the regime. The planned "chemical weapons" incident being the casus belli. The deployment of the Russian ships (assumed to be to attack the rebels) is really there to provide an air defence system.

I don't think the Russian ships are there (just) to attack the rebels as they could do this long range with just 1 or 2 ships. So the reason must be air defence.

Conventional thinking (almost certainly correct) is that you can't launch aircraft attacks without taking out your adversary's air defences. Which means that west have been stymied and don't really know what to do next (the reason for the almost total MSM blackout).

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 3, 2018 7:16:48 AM | 41

Posted by: Red Ryder | Sep 2, 2018 3:12:45 PM | 19

France had a big client in Iraq for its weapons sales.
So you admit I'm right then, you just present a conspiracy theory reason why, which is not in fact right (I had some contact with French foreign ministry at the time). It was high-minded refusal to take part in Bush's illegal war, but it soon changed.

Matter of fact, of all European cultures, I have always felt great admiration for French arts, language and science.
The French word is: foreigners say, love France, but can't stand the French. That sounds like you. You seem to have serious contempt for the French, quite common in the US.

French views of the US are definitely cooling, what with Trump's attitude towards the EU, and Macron's enthusiasm for EU solidarity. They might send a few missiles as a one-off act, but not what is necessary for regime change, because there be quagmires.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 3, 2018 7:53:57 AM | 42

@ Jackrabbit | 31

Poll

Chances (expressed as a percentage) that:

1) There is an WMD 'incident' in Idlib:

. . a) soon before or after Russia & Syria begin to attack Idlib. 100%

. . b) sometime in the next 6 months. 0% Idlib will be cleared much faster than that, it will be pointless and more difficult to create false flag in government zone.

2) US/FUKUS responds to that incident. 90%

3) US/FUKUS response is more than the 'show of force' of previous responses to WMD 'incidents'. 10%

4) US/FUKUS response is massive and sustained (days long, targets military, C&C, and
civilian infrastructure) 0%

5) One of the targets of US/FUKUS response is Assad. 10%

6) One of the targets of US/FUKUS response is Iranian personnel/assets. 50%

7) Russian servicemen are killed. 0%

8) Russia/Syria do not respond beyond immediate defense (shooting down missiles, anti-aircraft) 100%

9) Russia/Syria attack delivery systems (ships, airports) 0%

10) ISIS opens a new front by infiltrating Southern Syria from Jordan. 100% They already tried last week, and US will push them for more.

11) Ukraine attacks Donbas. 90%

12) Turkey intervenes: sends large force into Idlib to halt Russia-Syrian attack. 0%

13) China sends troops to Syria sometime in the next 6-months. 0% If peacekeepers - 90%.

14) A nuke is used in Syria sometime in the next 6-months (by either side) 0%

15) War is declared by all sides (WWIII) sometime in the next 6 months. 0%

Posted by: Harry | Sep 3, 2018 7:57:44 AM | 43

Southfront report that Turkey has large naval presence in area (10 ships and more being deployed). Turkey may believe their navy is superior to Russia's but would be vulnerable to Russian missiles. Turkey's deployment useful to west?

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 3, 2018 8:41:34 AM | 44

@karlof1

** Trump/GOP anti-people domestic policies **

Speaking of delusion. You seem to think that the GOP is united behind Trump but with dweebs like Ryan and McConnell any support is grudging and coerced, given only when optics require it.

Too, you appear to believe that Trump/GOP domestic policies are to be contrasted with saintly Dem policies. Really? There's some kind of a "pro-people" option that Trump opposes?

A large number of Americans support Trump for his obvious visceral patriotism and efforts to reverse decades of elite indifference to their economic fortunes. MAGA speaks to millions who can smell the national stink. Trump appears not to understand we're in a constitutional crisis, that he's president, that he's being played on the wall, that anti-Russia hysteria is stupid, that Israel isn't our dearest pal, and that Syria is a fool's game, but he's the best we've got. And he scares the elites to death.

Otherwise a good comment.

Posted by: Col. B. Bunny | Sep 3, 2018 10:58:45 AM | 45

I was impressed that Trump did not quietly retreat to the golf course during the charade that was the McCain funeral. No, the photo I saw showed him arms raised as high as they could go - "Here I am!"

This made the no-show an historic event - Trump defying most publicly the McCain cadre's attempt to highlight that poor man's career of warmongering in the nation's capital at a time of showdown between forces in Syria.

Thank you, Grieved, for pointing to the article by Ghassan Kadi. Here's an additional quote:

"...The previous NATO build-up leading up to the April 2018 assault was accompanied by Russian requests to America not to escalate. The current Russian rhetoric however is accompanied by a reciprocal build-up of their own warships and submarines. Is this in preparation for an impending showdown that Russian knows is inevitable or, is it just a show of force?..."

I further add some excerpts from a comment by George G below the article. He says: "...Those who don't "get it" (e.g. the "Deep State") have to test it out on the battlefield..." And further: "...Israel is safe if Israel flips away from the Deep State...the Deep State must run itself into defeat..."

It may well be that the False Flag in this situation has been the McCain funeral, and it's non-attendantee (if there is such an entity.) Impeach Trump? I would say impeach the McCain-ites. Or perhaps they will impeach themselves by their coming actions.

We watch and wait. Let peace prevail.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 3, 2018 11:18:51 AM | 46

Apologies to perfectionists for the misplaced apostrophe above.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 3, 2018 11:27:55 AM | 47

@41 adkc.. sounds about right..

jackrabbit and harry.. thanks for that... harry - that is interesting your top comment with the 100% rating..

@46 juliania.. thanks for highlighting the link and quotes from grieved post further up.. israel as soft underbelly of the usa is indeed what it is..

Posted by: james | Sep 3, 2018 12:23:31 PM | 48

They don't call Mattis 'mad dog' for nothing. It's quite possible that he does not realize that Iran is a treaty ally of Syria or that they were invited by the government.
As for fighting ISIS...a sick joke or another example of mental deficiency? You don't need military force to cut off funding and arms. How many troops do you need to shut down US supported ISIS training camps?

Posted by: CD Waller | Sep 3, 2018 1:16:13 PM | 49

snedly arkus | Sep 2, 2018 11:37:07 PM | 34

It's only when the bodies start piling up and no progress made is when Americans will question a war.

I'm not sure the US public would be as ready to support a direct military confrontation with Russia in Syria.

I think from the outset many already know that the bodies will pile up and there will be no progress.

I know that many things have changed in the years since the UK parliament and the US public opposed military action, but
your hypothesis assumes that the public has bought whole-hog into the MSM and political elites' argument.

More than a few folks imho would find it preferable that the prez get on the phone with Putin and do a deal. Not that Trump would do it, just sayin . . . . .

Posted by: sleepy | Sep 3, 2018 1:28:50 PM | 50

Col. Bunny @45--

"Speaking of delusion. You seem to think that the GOP is united behind Trump but with dweebs like Ryan and McConnell any support is grudging and coerced, given only when optics require it.

"Too, you appear to believe that Trump/GOP domestic policies are to be contrasted with saintly Dem policies. Really? There's some kind of a "pro-people" option that Trump opposes?"

I haven't made any mention about Democrat party policies here in quite awhile, so your merely attempting to put words in my mouth, which is not a friendly gesture. Those who've been here for years and read my commentary know I'm just as much against the Neoliberals as I'm against the Neocons--Both are essentially Fascist in their core behavior of marrying corporatism with authoritarianism.

PH & PB @28&29--

Sorry to not be clearer. I'm not saying Russia will use its forces to boot out the Outlaw US Empire; rather, I'm saying that their command staff must come to the realization that force must be used to eject them--diplomacy and other forms of soft power will not work. I fully expect the SAA and its closer allies to do the dirty work. That they've yet to do so is due to Russia advising restraint. But as I've shown, the Outlaw US Empire has said it won't leave. Period. It will stay and "consolidate" its gains. That Assad Must Go is still the overarching policy goal along with Balkanizing the region to the Zionist's advantage.

All the documentation points to escalation at every "pressure point" to weaken Russia; the assassination in Donbass is part of that escalation. Donbass intel's saying new attempt to force their surrender will/ commence Sept. 15. An extremely key point from that article:

"Kiev always referred to the forces of the self-proclaimed republics as “Russian and not Ukrainian fighters,” Laughland said. “If you believe that the people on your territory are invaders from a foreign state, which is what Ukraine is saying about the people of the Donbass, then that shows that you are not interested in a political settlement, you do not regard them as your own citizens,” he added." [My Emphasis]

IMO, Erdogan will need to choose sides very soon; he cannot dither much longer. Either he opts for the bright future of turning East or to continue the failures of the past decades in looking West.

The pot is about to come to a boil. Just what'll get cooked is the only question remaining.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3, 2018 2:22:39 PM | 51

@ Jackrabbit | 31

Poll

Chances (expressed as a percentage) that:

1) There is an WMD 'incident' in Idlib:

. . a) soon before or after Russia & Syria begin to attack Idlib. 100% and it's perpetrators are caught mid-act by Russia/Syria 50%

. . b) sometime in the next 6 months. 0% Idlib will be cleared in two weeks.50%, 1 month 100%

2) US/FUKUS responds to that incident. 100% by attacking Damascus.

3) US/FUKUS response is more than the 'show of force' of previous responses to WMD 'incidents'. 100% they will see this as an ideal chance to kill Assad

4) US/FUKUS response is massive and sustained (days long, targets military, C&C, and
civilian infrastructure) 0% It will be short and awful, but no longer than five days.

5) One of the targets of US/FUKUS response is Assad. 100% they see him as their problem now, they want him dead

6) One of the targets of US/FUKUS response is Iranian personnel/assets. 0% No need if they can kill Assad

7) Russian servicemen are killed. 5% Some will di but they are not the target

8) Russia/Syria do not respond beyond immediate defense (shooting down missiles, anti-aircraft) 0% They will respond if Damascus is attacked, they will take out US airstrips/grounded planes 100%

9) Russia/Syria attack delivery systems (ships, airports) 50% No ships, yes airports and all grounded planes

10) ISIS opens a new front by infiltrating Southern Syria from Jordan. 0% Jordan will see the attack on Damascus as insane and will not engage

11) Ukraine attacks Donbas. 10% Couple of shells probably but as they have no real army, no morale, and as Donbas is up in arms about the assination, I don't see a full fledged attack in the cards

12) Turkey intervenes: sends large force into Idlib to halt Russia-Syrian attack. 0% Turkey in support of Russia/Syria sends evacuation vehicles, supplies, medical, no troops 50%

13) China sends troops to Syria sometime in the next 6-months. 0% China woun't show until it comes the time for rebuilding

14) A nuke is used in Syria sometime in the next 6-months (by either side) 0%

15) War is declared by all sides (WWIII) sometime in the next 6 months. 0% It would be a bit higher if McCain was alive, maybe 10%

Great quiz!!! Thanks!!!

Posted by: frances | Sep 3, 2018 3:58:10 PM | 52

Sorry, poll not "quiz."

Posted by: frances | Sep 3, 2018 4:05:00 PM | 53

@42, Laguerre,

I have little love for French government (or most governments). The people, the nation, the country, the soul of France, I have huge admiration. (Of late, it is in a tortured state of cultural conflicts, as most EU countries are suffering. America, too).
It's always the tyranny in power and the crimes of government I detest.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Sep 3, 2018 4:42:49 PM | 54

french msm continue the prop.. they now state 3mo ppl incl 1 mo children....sic...

Posted by: mina | Sep 3, 2018 5:25:02 PM | 55

@ Mina 55

Any chance you might be able to translate that into English?

Thanks.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Sep 3, 2018 5:41:32 PM | 56

Gaza isn't the only place described as an Open-air Prison. The correct word to use when describing the nature of the soon to come Idlib operation is Liberation, a term BigLie Media will never use.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3, 2018 5:58:33 PM | 57

BigLie Media at work again. The first comment gives the game away!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3, 2018 6:17:07 PM | 58

Update on Iraqi government formation. The Abadi-Sadr coalition may be melting away. And of course the Outlaw US Empire's meddling as much as it can.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 3, 2018 6:26:05 PM | 59

Whomever the author of this blog is, is stunningly brilliant. He has outdone his brilliant norm in this article, and is, quite simply, one of the all-time great investigative journalists. Would that he were provided, by some billionaire who really cared about funding truly great journalism, a major-media platform. But he's so good, he might become a real threat to their mega-scam; so, that's only a pipe-dream.

Posted by: Eric Zuesse | Sep 3, 2018 7:46:33 PM | 60

re Karloff

The Abadi-Sadr coalition may be melting away.
It is support for Abbadi which is melting away, not necessarily Sadr. Of course because Abbadi is the American candidate, and the US is not popular. Magnier mentions the American representative being threatening. Iraqis can be very bolshy. They got the Americans out once, and are probably looking to do so again.

Posted by: laguerre | Sep 3, 2018 8:33:37 PM | 61

Thanks to everyone that participated in the Poll.

<> <> <> <>

A bit more info on my answers:

>> FUKUS will never admit to targeting Assad or Iranian forces. That doesn't mean that they won't. If they do, that increases the chances of a days long attack focusing on C&C but including other types of targets also. If they choose to target Assad, then they will accept that there may be Russian casualties. (I said target Assad/Iranian forces: 80%/80%; and Russian killed: 20%)

>> When Western media and politicians scream loud enough about WMDs and civilian deaths, and if a Turkish military post is mysteriously bombed, Turkey will feel compelled to send in their troops. And why not, they will ask, didn't Israel get to occupy the Syria's Golan Heights (for many years) with a similar pretext: to protect civilians? Oh, Erdogan will tell Putin that he held off as long as he possibly could and seek his blessing before taking unilateral action. But there's a good chance that, if there's an opportunity to seize Idlib, he will (I put it at 25%)

Chinese troops: I'm doubtful that there will ever be a UN force for northern and eastern Syria because Assad must go! Coalition control the UN and they want to keep Syrian away from rebuilding. Plus Russia and China might want their troops to get real world experience fighting together. Then there is the fact that US trade sanctions against Iran could severely effect US-Chinese relations because Trump has said that anyone trading with Iran will not be trading with the US. So, even if only hundreds, which might be labeled as "observers", its quite possible that China sends troops (I put it at 15%).

A substantial "punishing" attack on Syria means more can go wrong. That's why I see a small chance for use of a nuke (5%), and a higher chance of WWIII declared (10%).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 3, 2018 8:42:17 PM | 62

@15 mali/lulu

When browsing RT articles, be aware that some of the articles are written by pro-west faction in Russia. There are also junk articles meant to attract attention.

Some of them are "useful idiots" being unaware of the how rotten the west truly is, while others are either paid or have business interest in western countries and are willing to become their lackeys.

Needless to say, these fifth columns exist not just in Russia but also in China, Iran, North Korea and other countries.

Posted by: Face The Fact | Sep 3, 2018 9:55:11 PM | 63

Grieved @32

The Israeli conundrum:

The paradox for Israel is that it can’t live without its US Golem and lately it may not be able to live with it. Maybe worse is the possibility that Israel may lose its cover for its penetration of US institutions followed by the exposure of its US lobbyists who have been exempted from registration as agents of a foreign power, as Manafort has been. These things have a way of getting out of control. The intelligence agencies know who their real opponent is:

Israel Flagged as Top Spy Threat to U.S.

Aug. 4th, 2014

Israel was singled out in 2007 as a top espionage threat against the U.S. government, including its intelligence services, in a newly published National Security Agency (NSA) document obtained by fugitive leaker Edward Snowden, according to a news report Monday.

The document also identified Israel, along with North Korea, Cuba and India, as a “leading threat” to the infrastructure of U.S. financial and banking institutions.

The threats were listed in the NSA’s 2007 Strategic Mission List, according to the document obtained by journalist/activist Glenn Greenwald, a founding editor of The Intercept, an online magazine that has a close relationship with Snowden, a former NSA and CIA contractor who fled the U.S. with thousands of top-secret documents last year.

https://www.newsweek.com/israel-flagged-top-spy-threat-us-new-snowdennsa-document-262991


America's Defense Line: The Justice Department's Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government

https://www.amazon.com/Americas-Defense-Line-Departments-Government/dp/0976443759/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1536023826&sr=8-6&keywords=grant+f+smith

The flow of events has accelerated and the Syrian side of the Golan buffer with Israel now has Russian staffed outposts. The US mil finds itself in the sights of Russian hardware; the neocons can handle that from their offices, but the people in uniform are right now facing the most powerful military force it has seen for decades--maybe even since WW2--in the form of the Russians. There’s practically nowhere to stand off and avoid getting hit oneself.

And that’s not the only uniformed outfit with troubles on the front lines:

Israeli teens tell Netanyahu they won’t serve in IDF, slam occupation of Palestine

12-28-17

https://www.rt.com/news/414459-israeli-teens-refuse-idf-occupation/

IDF watchdog: Israel’s military is not ready for the next war

Jun 26, 2018

Maj. Gen (res.) Yitzhak Brick, IDF ombudsman, concludes in his confidential 2017 report that Israel is not ready for the next war. He shared some of his findings with reporters on Monday, June 25:

Training sessions for reserve units do not focus on their prospective assignments in the next potential war.

Depots holding emergency supplies of war materiel are not properly maintained and much of the equipment is not fit for operational use.

The IDF has been unable to combat the prevalence of smartphone use by officers and other ranks. Their ingrained use of Whatsap betrays their location to the enemy and undermines discipline. Field intelligence is only partly functional. Seven months ago, the IDF announced the issue to combat units of encrypted cell phones, the development of which cost the vast sum of $100m. What happened to those phones?

Military medical services for field units are sub-standard due to the grave shortage of medical staff and doctors.

The curtailment of service for male conscripts has led to a serious manpower shortfall especially in combat units. Gen. Brick concludes that the scale of IDF manpower is not up to the challenges of a future war.

He said in conclusion: “Had you seen the classified communications the various security branches exchange internally you would fall off your feet.


https://www.debka.com/idf-watchdog-israels-military-is-not-ready-for-the-next-war/


Israel’s Juvenile Ground Army

W. PATRICK LANG • MAY 3, 2018

In this essay I am writing of the “line” of the ground forces as represented by armor, infantry, paratroop and artillery units at brigade level and below, i.e., battalion and company.
. . .

All in all, I think the IDF ground forces can best be described as a specialized tool that reflects 20th century Zionist socialist and nationalist ideals, and which have military traditions that are in no way reflective of those of the United States. They can also be justly said to have been fortunate in their enemies. The Jordanians gave them a run for their money in 1948-49. Hezbollah delivered a hint of the inherent limits in such a socio-military system in 2006 and now we are seeing whatever it is that we will see at Gaza.

https://www.debka.com/idf-watchdog-israels-military-is-not-ready-for-the-next-war/

A hot war brings the reportedly vastly improved fighting and offensive capabilities of Hezbollah into the picture toute suite. The expanded threat from their missiles is now to all Israeli infrastructure, just as the threat from the Russians has reached the US mainland in heretofore unimaginable ways.

The Israeli domestic press is shitting a ring around itself regarding these threats that its leadership has no answer for except reference to the formerly useful memes, such as being simultaneously the world’s preeminent victims and the new Spartans.

Something’s gotta give.

Posted by: pogohere | Sep 3, 2018 10:23:49 PM | 64

Last night ABC.net.au News (i.e. news from US-Israeli sources) reported that Erdogan is urging Ru/Syria to suspend the Idleb campaign. It's probably bs but if it's not then things could escalate quickly.

A war over Christian Colonialism's right to rule the world using violence and coercion?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 3, 2018 10:51:18 PM | 65

My comment isn't getting through.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 4, 2018 10:12:15 AM | 66

Turkey protect its terrorists as usual,

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Ankara was cooperating with Moscow and Tehran to avoid a catastrophe in Syria’s militant-held northwestern Idlib province.
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201808301067614252-turkey-iran-russia-syria-erdogan-talks-ceasefire/

Its a matter of days, weeks from new attacks from west as soon as Syria start its offensive. Either that or a sudden chemical attack will occur, regardless, bombing from west will occur.

Posted by: Zanon | Sep 4, 2018 10:35:17 AM | 67

b rescued my comment from the electronic abyss. Thanks b!

If anyone is interested, it's @62.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 4, 2018 9:37:22 PM | 68

I am very sure that your assesment of Idlib situation, plans by Russia, Iran and Turkey
as well as the role of Turkish controlled “rebel” units is — very wrong. Turkey has
been taking under its control a great number of former Free Syrian Army units, and
recently has taken over Jaish Al Islam. All of them are now under uniform, and cannot
make independent decisions. Turkey forced the change in Jaish leadership.
The key to understanding is US objective in sponsoring Kurds , and now a defunct
plan to string Kurdish control along Syrian-Turkish border from Kobane to Afrin.
This plan almost suceeded — and if it did, neither Syria nor Turkey would have been
able to gain control of the border. With YPG on both sides of the border — this
geoplitical reality would have cut off Levant from Europe, Central Asia, and Iran.
And cut Turkey and Europe off Europe from the Midfle East and beyond.
Today, US is clinging to Syria-Iraqi border, but does not have full control of it.

Let me be brief — Turkey is vital partner in solving the problem. Russia, Iran and Turkey
are in this plan together, as none can afford the Kurdish territories becoming the US
controlled barrier to connectivity in the Middle East. Please drop the name “moderate”
or ofherwise. It is useless distinction. The only thing that matters is — who is working for
whom, and who is paying them. Many former “rebels” that were nothing more then
self-organized defence units that sprung accross Syria when army pulled back
from many parts if the country -/ had no problem renoinjng Syrian armed forces, some
joined Hezbollah units, while ithers Turkey. It is vital that Turkey is prelared for Idlib —
as US controlled Al-Qaeda and its affiliates will definitely try to stage breakout into currently
Turkish held corridor, stretching from Jarabulus and surfounding birder region —
and as deep as Al-Bab where Turkish controlled “rebels” are locking hands with Syrian
Army to prevent YPG breakout. I hope you finally get it — YPG and Al-Qaeda assiciated
groups are going to try to change the situation inUS favor by beating Turkish sponsored
units. This is why there will be no such stupid thing as Syria attacking Turkish controlled
units. This is why the talk if offensive on Idlib is a red herring —- it is testing US-Kurdish
Response, as well as other European countries potential involvement. Turkey will either
have to bring more troups, or open another front. Clash between Syrian Army and
Kurds at northern border town is pofentially significant. Turkey may consider this
an opportunity. This may be the only way for US to accept the end of Idlib.
As all hope will be gone of getting Kurds take back border positions, and smuggling
to Idlib will end.

The stories circulating of Turkey’s different pisition on Syria from Iran or Russia is rubbish.

Neocons’ wishfull thinking.

Posted by: Bianca | Sep 11, 2018 11:18:18 PM | 69

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Working...