Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 14, 2013

A Short History Of The War On Syria - 2006-2014

In 2006 the U.S. was at war in Iraq. Some of the enemy forces it very much struggled to fight against were coming in through Syria. The same year Israel lost a war against Hizbullah. Its armored forces were ambushed whenever they tried to push deeper into Lebanon while Hizbullah managed to continuously fire rockets against Israeli army position and cities. Hizbullah receives supply for its missile force from Syria and from Iran through Syria. Its long-term plans to attack Iran and to thereby keep supremacy in the Middle East depend on severing Hizbullah's supply routes. The sectarian Sunni Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, saw their Sunni brethren defeat in Iraq and a Shia government, supported by Iran, taking over the country. All these countries had reason to fight Syria. There were also economic reasons to subvert an independent Syria. A gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey was competing with one from Iran to Syria. Large finds of natural gas in the coastal waters of Israel and Lebanon make such finds in Syrian waters quite plausible.

In late 2006 the United States started to finance an external opposition to Syria's ruling Baath party. Those exiles were largely members of the Muslim Brotherhood which had been evicted from Syria after their bloody uprising against the Syrian state between 1976 and 1982 had failed. In 2007 a plan for regime change in Syria was agreed upon between the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The aim was to destroy the "resistance" alliance of Hizbullah, Syria and Iran:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
By 2011 three years of drought, caused by global warming and Turkey's upstream dams and irrigation projects, had weakened the Syrian economy. Large parts of the poor rural population lost their means of living and moved into the cities. They provided the fertile ground needed to launch an uprising against the Syrian state.

The U.S. part in the plan was to provide the media and "global opinion" cover for the insurgency. To that purpose it used the tool from its "color revolution" tool box. "Citizen journalists" were recruited, trained and provided with the video and communication equipment needed for media propagandizing. Others were trained in organizing "peaceful civil demonstrations". The Saudis took care of the darker part of the plan. They financed and armed rebel groups, often related to the exiled Muslim Brotherhood, which had the task to instigate a wider insurgency by taking on government forces as well as the peaceful demonstrators.A main part of the scheme was the introduction of a sectarian view that would split the largely secular Syria into several constituencies.

A local disturbance in Deraa near the Jordanian border was used to launch the uprising. Peaceful demonstration were held but soon shots were fired towards the police as well as towards the demonstrators. Inevitably both sides escalated. Groups armed by the Saudis target the government forces. Having colleagues killed and wounded the government forces retaliated against the demonstrators. Some of those took up arms themselves and fought the government. "Citizen journalist" propagandized the victims on the "peaceful demonstrators" side but never mentioned those on the government side. "Western" media agencies followed that scheme. Cells in other Syrian cities were activated. Again "peaceful demonstrations" were cover for "a third force", as the Arab League investigation commission named it, which fought against government forces and also instigated the demonstrators to take up arms. The U.S. government helped by issuing its own propaganda for example by lying about Syrian artillery deployment against demonstrators when, at that point, none had yet happened. U.S. para-government organizations, Avaaz, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, joined the campaign against the Syrian government. Cyber attacks against the Syrian government news agency helped to suppress the other side of the story. Up to today the website of the official Syrian Arab News Agency,, is purged from Google search results.

It was soon visible that the planned for "color revolution" strategy did not work. The Syrian state was more resilient than had been perceived. The Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was more beloved and respected than the insurgency instigators ever expected. He also fulfilled many of the demands the serious protesters had. The constitution was rewritten, new parties were allowed, elections held and the most abusive security forces came under stricter control. The big cities, even though predominantly Sunni, did not support or join the increasing violent and sectarian fighters. Defections from the Syrian army and from political cadres were few and unimportant. For some time the Syrian economy held up quite well. The general population as well as the government rejected the scheme of a sectarian divide.

The enemies of Syria had to increase their commitment. Saudi Arabia and Qatar used all their capabilities to recruit foreign Jihadis willing to fight in Syria. The CIA, using Saudi money, brought in weapons and thousands of tons of ammunition from all over the world. Insurgency groups were provided with training and battlefield intelligence. A group of exiles was build up as external future government.

The Syrian government had to retreat to conserve its forces. Major parts of rural Syria were taken over by the insurgency. The population there fled over the boarders or into the cities. Where the insurgency foraged into parts of cities it was difficult to dislodge without creating immense damage to the infrastructure and buildings. But the Syrian government learned its lessons. With the help of its friends from Iran and Hizbullah its army units were retrained to fight against insurgency forces. Paramilitary units of locals were build up to take over those parts the army had cleaned of insurgents. Russia kept the supplies coming.

On the side of the insurgent instigators some things started to go wrong. The Jihadis Saudi Arabia provided were good fighters but ideologues that did not fit into the Syrian social context. They started to clash with the population as well as with local fighters. Just today a large fight is taking place in north-east Syria between Jihadi groups and local bandits. Arguments with al-Qaeda inspired forces over weapon supplies from Libya killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi. Despite being revamped at least three times the planned for government in exile group proved ineffective due to bickering and infighting between its sponsors. The "peaceful protesters" media campaign broke down as more and more stories and pictures from the massacres committed by the insurgency came to light. The population in those countries that supported the insurgency turned against any involvement in the conflict.

When it became likely that the insurgency might not be able to overcome the Syrian army U.S. president Obama introduced his "red line" over chemical weapon use. This was an invitation to the insurgency side to introduce chemical weapons to the battlefield, to then blame the Syrian government and to thereby create a U.S. intervention on their side. They tried to do so for a few times but Obama was then not yet willing to commit outright force. To prevent the upcoming Jihadis from taking over Syria should the Assad government fall, the U.S. planed to have U.S. trained "moderate" fighters take the lead in the fight especially in the capital Damascus.

In mid August 2013 a group of 300 CIA trained fighters entered Syria from Jordan. A second group followed soon after. (The Obama administration is now trying to change that date.) Their task was to go to Damascus and to take the fight to the Syrian government itself. They were obliterated on their way to Damascus' suburbs. Without U.S.air support, like it provided in Libya, further use of U.S. trained forces would have been useless. The "red-line" plan was activated. On August 21 some chemical stuff was released in some Damascus suburbs. Immediately an immense number of videos showing rows of alleged dead were uploaded to Youtube. But those videos did not show the right symptoms for a Sarin attack nor did they show the medical attention one would expect in the hours immediately following a real chemical weapon attack. It was clearly a false flag incident. But Obama tried to convince the world that the Syrian government had indeed used chemical weapons and released some flimsy claims of evidence but no evidence at all. He called on allies to join him for a military intervention.

The British parliament voted down a request from its government to join the war. The British population, like in the U.S., had no stomach for another lengthy war. Obama was in a catch 22 situation. He could go to war without asking Congress and would then face a possible impeachment from a very hostile House, or he could ask Congress for a vote for war. He soon climbed down from his "I'll wage this war" position and decided to go to Congress. The U.S. population was widely against another Middle East war as was the U.S. military. Pressured by their constituents and in view of unconvincing claims of evidence about the "massacre" Congress denied Obama its vote for war. In this Congress even defied AIPAC and the Israel lobby lost its first fight in over 22 years.

Obama has an urgent domestic agenda to implement. There is Obama-care, the budget and an upcoming fight over on the debt ceiling. Having lost in Congress Obama could not, solely on his assumed presidential powers, go to war. He would have risked an immediate impeachment process and a lame duck status for the rest of his presidency. What was he to do?

There the white Russian knight, Vladimir Putin, rode to Obama's rescue.

Putin offered a deal: Syria would agree to give up its unconventional weapons and the U.S. would agree for the Syrian government and president Assad to stay in power. The idea goes back to August 2012 when former Sen. Richard Lugar had proposed such a deal in Moscow.

Syria's chemical weapon are pretty useless on the tactical battlefield. But their potential use against Israeli population centers had proven to be a quite useful strategic deterrence. But now those weapons had become a liability. Instead of preventing an external war owning them was now threatening to invite one. At the same time Hizbullah's conventional missile force had already proven to be a good deterrent without the problems unconventional weapons carry with them. Syria can give away its current strategic deterrence and trust its allies in Iran and Russia to provide an equally effective replacement.

Obama took the rescue line Putin threw to him. He knew that openly entering the Syrian war against a well prepared opponent and its allies would mean a long and uncertain war. He was in a lose-lose situation but could now come out of it and look like a winner. He rescues Israel from the threat of a gas attack and cashes in on a win from his peace-prized hobby horse - WMD-disarmament.

Today the foreign ministers of the Russian Federation and the United States agreed on a Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons. It will require, if possible, the elimination of all of Syria's chemical weapons by mid 2014. The agreement does not say anything about the future of the Assad government. But Russia will have made sure that guarantees were given and received. Syria would not give up these weapons without such a deal. Russia as well as Syria know that Obama must keep face and they will not talk about the silent backroom deal that was made earlier today in Geneva. They behave like Nikita Khrushchev who kept silent over his agreement with Kennedy about the removal of U.S. nuclear missiles from Turkey after the Cuba missile crisis. Besides those guarantees any fulfillment of the disarmament, which may take a bit longer than today agreed upon, depends on the survival of the Syrian government. Taking down Assad is for now out of question.

Obama will now, slowly, reduce support for the Syrian insurgency. He will press Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to do likewise. As faster Syria agrees and moves to eliminate its chemical weapons as faster will Obama retreat from the war. U.S. media will soon turn to the budget fight and the NSA spying affair as the major news themes and the U.S. public will forget about Syria.

The Syrian opposition does not like the deal and does not want it to succeed. The Syrian Military Council will do its best to derail it. But it will soon be out of political support and out of money. Meanwhile the local SMC forces are fighting al-Qaeda aligned groups. It could well be that some of the local Syrian insurgency groups will soon join government forces in attacking the Jihadis. General Selim Idris may find some low level bureaucratic job in Dubai or Qatar.

The Saudi king hates al-Qaeda ideologues just as much as he hates the Muslim Brotherhood and the Sasanids. He will agree to stop the war and will crack down on its financiers. Prince Bandar, who's responsibility was the recruiting the insurgent fighters, has (again) screwed up his job by not keeping them under control. He may be sent back into the desert. The Gulf states will (have to) follow the Saudi example.

In Israel Netanyahoo knows that he lost this fight. AIPAC's defeat in Congress tells him that. While this round against the resistance was indecisive, a lot of Syria has been destroyed and its strategic arms have for now been dismantled. Netanyahoo will agree to the U.S. plan of winding down the war but will demand some undeserved "compensation". He always does and Obama always gives to him.

The Turkish premier Erdogan will try to continue to support the insurgency in Syria. He is the only statesman who does so for ideological reasons. A true believer. But he also has lots of problems with his other neighbors and the external credit driven Turkish economy is on the verge of falling into a deep hole. Some hints from Russia and Iran that this winter might bring some technical difficulties with Turkey's gas supplies may be enough to make him finally throw in the towel. There are also some people within his own party, especially the Anatolian businessmen, who no longer agree with his rule. They may use his political weakness to bring some one else to the fore.

Out of support and out of any chance to ever win the fight the Syrian part of the insurgency will likely stop fighting and try to come to some clemency agreement with the government. The foreign al-Qaeda parts will continue the fight. But they have little ideological base in the Syrian population and have no chance against a full fledged mechanized army. There will be a clamp down against their financial backers. For some time their terrorism will continue though. The U.S. may soon help Syria with intelligence or drones to fight them down.

Russia is the clear strategic winner of the war on Syria. It is back as a power in the Middle East and has laid the base to stay there for quite some time. It has won major points in the global public opinion. Gazprom will be happy to help Syria with exploring and retrieving its coastal gas reserves. That will pay for Syria's reconstruction and rearmament. Gazprom may also buy gas from the Iran-Syria pipeline, sell it to Europe and strengthen its monopoly there.

Iran has reinforced its strategic role and is now well positioned for negotiations of a deal with the United States that could end the 30 years of hot and cold hostilities. It has spent quite a bit on Syria and will spend more to help rebuilding it but the strategic result, a win for the "axis of resistance", is well worth that price.

Syria and Syrians have won the war and lost a lot. It will take years to reintegrate the refugees, to rebuild and to let the wounds and deep rifts heal. Syria has also regained its independence. In 2014 Bashar al-Assad will likely be reelected as president of the Syrian Arab Republic and Syria's history will remember him as a gracious ruler and as a hero.

The people of the United States have, for the first time in decades, stopped a war that their president wanted to pursue. That is a huge victory and a precedence. They should remember it well when the next manufactured war on this or that small country comes up. They have the power to stop it.

Posted by b on September 14, 2013 at 17:15 UTC | Permalink

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This was what was needed, excellent analysis and a clear historical narrative.
Someone should make sure that this is translated into French, the language of the country most likely to take over the US role of financing and supplying the Saudi terrorists. I presume that there is a version in German which is equally necessary.

Well done, b.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 14 2013 17:40 utc | 1

Apologies in advance to those who disapprove of civil discourse on these threads.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 14 2013 17:42 utc | 2

Indeed. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, but it certainly looks good.

Notice, too, the bone that the Russians threw to Obama.

Mr Lavrov said:

"The aim has been achieved that was set in a conversation between our presidents on September 5 on the sidelines of the G20... about putting under international control Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons."

Sure, this was Obama's plan all along. He hadn't simply dug himself into a hole..

It suits Putin to soothe Obama's ego after he has taken a beating. It would achieve nothing to gloat.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Sep 14 2013 17:47 utc | 3

nice article. Can't help think but that the powers-that-be will already be implementing plan B.(too many b's!) Makes one look forward to the day the USA finally does go broke and cannot afford to do what they have been doing for 70 years... brazenly breaking things.

Posted by: therevolutionwas | Sep 14 2013 17:57 utc | 4

Thank you B.Your wonderful piece brought me to tears. God Bless You.

Posted by: hilmi hakim | Sep 14 2013 18:01 utc | 5

Excellent summation b.

Posted by: revenire | Sep 14 2013 18:07 utc | 6

The people of the United States have, for the first time in decades, stopped a war that their president wanted to pursue.

I'm not quite so optimistic as you are but I truly hope that your optimism is correct and my pessimism is wrong.


Posted by: Dubhaltach | Sep 14 2013 18:07 utc | 7

"The people of the United States have, for the first time in decades, stopped a war that their president wanted to pursue. "

Actually there is no proof of that statement at all, american people have rejected war on Syria for years still Obama were about or rather IS ABOUT to attack Syria. Besides US havent said they will stop military threats at all..

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 14 2013 18:16 utc | 8


Not sure I can slog my way through a whole litany of civil commentary. You should be ashamed of yourself for advancing such an apology.

Are you not paying attention to the way our honorable leaders in DC conduct themselves while engaging in discourse? What good is are role models if one cannot aspire to emulate thier behaviors?

So, in the words of one of the great leaders of our times, Dick Cheney, "Go fuck yourself". Now damn, whats not to admire about that?

And gee, admit it, aren't you glad that these admirable statesman, such as Dick Cheney, have the reins of power? How the hell do you expect them to get anything done if they aren't at each other's throats?

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 14 2013 18:18 utc | 9

If you want a translation in french, I can do it, also I'd like to publish it on my own blog, le courrier de syrie.

Posted by: Andre | Sep 14 2013 18:21 utc | 10

@Andre @10

You may translate and republish the piece on your blog. Please name and link this blog as the source (the author's name is Bernhard) and link to the piece here.

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2013 18:32 utc | 11

Great summing up, b!

Links of the day:

A new ‘alleged’ CW attack in Jobar. 2 days ago. Not translated. Just to show that this is going on all the time.

A MSM French TV show that shows Islamic Tribunals in Aleppo. 13 Sept. In F. 16 mins.

Some scuttlebutt about the Swedish Firm testing the samples from the alleged Ghouta CW 21 Aug. attacks. From Corrente, Lambert. 5 Sept.

quote: In Sweden, arms exports have tripled since 2001, and it now exports more weapons per capita than any other country...

One other lab testing the samples in Spiez, in Berne, CH.

Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland compete for the ‘neutral countries business’.. Imho, Sweden is the odd man out.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 14 2013 18:46 utc | 12

i liked your article, but i think you are too optimistic on where it all sits at present.. thanks regardless.

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2013 19:02 utc | 13

Yep. Yet another nice piece of work b. Excellent timing too.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 14 2013 19:07 utc | 14

How do we know the CIA won't go on playing a double game? They can encourage the rebels to snipe at the OPCW teams and blame the govt for it, or much worse, Bandar can set up another CW event and the US can blame the govt for it. Then the USAF can do a Serbia-type bombing campaign and NATO can finally topple Assad after all.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 14 2013 19:08 utc | 15

Thanks for the summation. It just reinforces my reasons for coming here, all these years after the Whiskey Bar went on its hiatus. Your insight and whatever intelligence sources you have make you an asset to those of us seeking understanding of current events.

Posted by: Jim T | Sep 14 2013 19:09 utc | 16

Congrats b, fantastic. Now do the whole Arab Spring! ;)

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 14 2013 19:10 utc | 17

The people of the United States have, for the first time in decades, stopped a war that their president wanted to pursue. That is a huge victory and a precedence. They should remember it well when the next manufactured war on this or that small country comes up. They have the power to stop it.

As an ordinary American, this was an incredible development.

And what was interesting is that the resistance didn't take people marching in the streets. Merely opinion polls, and a unique political coalition of far right and far left (a coalition that lost a close vote on the Amash-Conyers amendment to defund NSA).

Posted by: ess emm | Sep 14 2013 19:17 utc | 18

Good study, b. Worth as much as the garbage the political pundits are putting out. Note, I have to be careful here, as my daughter works in a think-tank on the Middle East.

The only quibble I have is that I doubt that pipe-lines really played much of a role.

There were also economic reasons to subvert an independent Syria. A gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey was competing with one from Iran to Syria.

Posted by: alexno | Sep 14 2013 19:20 utc | 19

@james @13 i liked your article, but i think you are too optimistic on where it all sits at present..

Thanks. I am pretty sure the present situation is safe for Syria. The US/CIA instigated a coup in Syria in 1948 and tried again in 1956. It urged Turkey to attack Syria in 1957. It probably helped the MD during their insurgency in the late 1970s. It has now lost but may come back in five or ten years. But for now it is over though it will take quite some time to die down.

@Hw 14 - Yep. Yet another nice piece of work b. Excellent timing too.

I started writing this piece just 9 hours ago. One of the longest one in the shortest time frame. Sometimes it just flows ...

@R.B. @15 How do we know the CIA won't go on playing a double game?

See the Cuban missile crisis. Up to today the U.S. keeps its deal on that.

It may try some stupid stuff on Syria but nothing serious. Others are bigger potential spoilers but the deal is done and the U.S. and Russia will stick to it.

@Jim T @16 Your insight and whatever intelligence sources you have make you an asset to those of us seeking understanding of current events.

My only intelligence source is my intelligence :-). Plus lots of reading and applying common sense to what I read.

@guest77 @17 Now do the whole Arab Spring! ;)

There is too little public information to do that. I have thought about it for quite some time but it seems impossible to weight how of that Arab Spring much was indigenous and how much exogenous. When those archives will be declassified, 30 years from now, someone may pick up on that question.

Posted by: b | Sep 14 2013 19:29 utc | 20

Well....I was wrong, and b was right about the "climb down".

So, its on to the next slimey devious angle these dirt bags in the Obama Administration will pursue in thier march to be everything they said they wouldn't be.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 14 2013 19:35 utc | 21

"Plus lots of reading and applying common sense to what I read"

Hmmmm..... your "common sense" must differ from that of the Obama administration. At least as it applies to the "common sense" they tried to market as a rationale for idiocy.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Sep 14 2013 19:40 utc | 22

Lavrov gave kudos to VIPS recently...

“At this point there is plenty of evidence made by independent experts, including on-site, in particular provided by a nun from the nearby convent, there are other witnesses, Western correspondents have been there. Besides, experts in Europe and the US, including twelve retired employees of the Pentagon and the CIA, as you know sent, an open letter to President Obama, explaining how it was all fabricated,” explained Lavrov.

From this RT article... ‘US prepared to act’ if diplomacy fails on Syria – Obama

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 14 2013 19:43 utc | 23

Excellent of course, and typically, entirely consistent with MoA posting throughout the evolving civil war.

Posted by: annamissed | Sep 14 2013 19:52 utc | 24

Somewhat triumphalist. Check, but alas, not checkmate. Whatever deal Obama makes, the Saudi and Israeli interests remain the continued chaos, bloodshed and slow motion dismemberment of the Syrian state, either juridically or defacto. There is no reason they can't proceed under some kind of chemical weapons agreement. Regime change is not the short-term objective. Keep Assad as figurehead of a neutered regime? Who cares? As you pointed out earlier, the axis of resistance is going to have to do a lot more to shut off the supply lines from Jordan and Turkey. This is Afghanistan 2.0 As for the long term . . .

Posted by: Fabrizio | Sep 14 2013 20:05 utc | 25

merci b

& bevin

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Sep 14 2013 20:16 utc | 26

Where does Syria's support - or have I misunderstood? - for renditions etc. fit in to this?

Also, am I wrong in thinking that one of the motivations for the civil (as opposed to the violent) demonstrations was neo-liberal reforms by the Syrian govt. - Austerity exactly the same as elsewhere?

Posted by: ahji | Sep 14 2013 20:19 utc | 27

Sometimes it just flows ...

It reads like that. And you have, after all, been soaking in it for quite some time.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 14 2013 20:23 utc | 28

One thing I am concerned about: after all the efforts the Western oligarchy has put into overthrowing Assad and changing the geopolitical map of the region will they give up?

It seems to me this is long term policy going back decades to the overthrow of Mossadegh and before.

Posted by: revenire | Sep 14 2013 20:41 utc | 29

Excellent summary!

Great to see some old names!
Hope you are doing fine r'giap!

Posted by: Karin | Sep 14 2013 21:05 utc | 30


That was a great summation and history lesson. One of your best in awhile in my book. Thanks.

Posted by: Mark Stoval | Sep 14 2013 21:40 utc | 31

Noirette (12),
yes our mil-ind complex is running on empty since we closed down our own defense (save for an expeditionary force so that our government has something to send to places like Afghanistan).

The SSTI scandal was interesting when FOI (government agency) was used by some high bosses to create a shell company for setting up an arms factory in Saudi Arabia in a tit-for-tat arms deal that eventually fell through. But that was a scandal precisely because FOI should only do weapons research and be on arms length from any uses. So I think the conclusion that they are corrput in their primary function (like analysing chemicals) is a stretch.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Sep 14 2013 21:46 utc | 32

Is it me or it sounds like your last article on Syria ? :) i would understand it if it was. from now on, all the next moves seem to be known and the enemies of Syria might as well lay down their King on the chess board and start realigning back the pieces again.I am not expecting any surprise anymore.

Posted by: Nabil Blazin Hopkins. | Sep 14 2013 21:46 utc | 33

time is ripe for a public debate on the Israel Lobby in the Us: this time they've been left out exposed, in the cold

the Israel lobby lost its first fight in over 22 years

b, what happened in 1991 Israel didn't like?

Posted by: claudio | Sep 14 2013 21:50 utc | 34

on Counterpunch: No More War for Israel? The People Against the 800 Pound Gorilla

Posted by: claudio | Sep 14 2013 21:53 utc | 35

Thank you for your invaluable chronologic history of Syria's martyrdom.I wish desperately that some (still naive?)heads in our arab world from the kind who still think that real revolutions is something that our region can afford and who persist in their claim that we can be blessed with insularity of western interventions-meddlings read it carefully and ponder on the consequences of their acts.Be they journalists who have constantly provoked people into embracing this satanic plan or civic society leaders or academics....
I am however not so sure of the parallel with the Cuban crisis because in the sixties the US was not terminally ill meaning the deep state could find some form of consensus to the advantage of the different lobbies who are behind the curtain driving this Titanic force.If one look at the history of the 13 last years we cannot oversee the extremely acerbic fighting going on ,a fighting that has been public in many instances .White house versus Pentagon or Cia -State department versus Pentagon -White house.And each fight has been more forceful because the real masters having brought Zusa down, as our russian friend Pragma call it,cannot anymore get out of the hole they have digged.The finance lobby,the energy lobby and the military industrial complex have lost their mafioso inter agreement.Zion lobby has even been cornered for the first time and is loosing ground.All this facet of the problem must be kept in mind because one of them will try to curtail any rationale solution to the syrian tragedy.Syria being pivotal in the arab world..

Posted by: Nobody | Sep 14 2013 22:06 utc | 36

I too,hope your scenario is correct,but I put no stock in Obomba being intelligent,or at least aware of reality,as his miseducation at the poison ivy league has destroyed his reason,and he is infected with neolibcon doctrine.
I think the criminals will not let Assad and Russia make them look ridiculous,and are likely now stirring their cauldrons to make the foaming from the victims of a new false flag more Spielberg like in its cinematic realism.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 14 2013 22:37 utc | 37

Call From the
General Federation of Trade Unions in the Syrian Arab Republic
To all the workers and peoples of the world

In order to get out of its immoral predicament goal of supporting terrorist armed gangs financially, in the media and in various forms of lethal weapons, the imperialist United States and its allies in the governments of Britain, France and colonial west are seeking and in collusion with their young clients in the Middle East Region as the Arab kingdoms and Turkey, to wage a war of aggression against steadfast Syria. This is because Syria has always been the forefront of the national liberation movement in the Arab region and the National Resistance Movement and nationalist anti -colonial and anti - imperialist and Zionist racism. These imperial powers are doing so under the pretext of the use of chemical weapons, which has been proved and in an unequivocal evidence to be used by those terrorist gangs against innocent Syrian citizens and against the Syrian brave armed forces.

These combined aggressive circles are working together to mislead the international public opinion in various lies and fabrications about this. It has been proved by unequivocal directories reached by the Commission of Inquiry internationalism so far that these criminal armed gangs have used this weapon on the ground against unarmed citizens of innocent people and the Syrian armed forces. It is no longer a secret that the training camps for these gangs, which was held in both Turkey and Jordan, in particular, took place and operations are in training in the use of those forbidden weapons under the supervision and care of U.S. intelligence agencies and the British and French, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. They are openly funded by families ruling Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Those families sink in backwardness and hostility toward all that is civilized and progressive.

The working class and the Syrian organized trade union GFTU Syria, and with it all free and honorable in Syria, we call on all supporters of freedom , progress and peace in the world to announce its solidarity with steadfast Syria that defend the dignity and freedom and the rights of its people and the nation. We salute the attitudes of ethical and humanitarian governments and peoples of the world who stand next to us, especially the peoples and governments of Russia, China and the BRICS countries , Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Europe. They have confirmed their categorical rejection of all forms of reactionary imperialist intervention in the internal affairs of the people and especially the Syrian Arab people. Workers and unionists of Syria appeal to all workers' organizations and national, regional and global trade union organizations to confirm their workers’ solidarity with the just struggle of the legitimate rights of the people of the Syria in their sovereignty, and decent life and to defend the gains and the great achievements that have been made in Syria through the struggle of national liberation.

Long Lives militant solidarity among workers of the world

Damascus 12/9/2013
General Federation of Trade Unions
In the Syrian Arab Republic

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 14 2013 23:02 utc | 38

Sorry. @38 was meant for the open thread.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 14 2013 23:08 utc | 39

@ 38

Do you have a link for that... I would like to share with others.

Posted by: Crone | Sep 14 2013 23:52 utc | 40

It does not sound good. The Vineyard Saker posted the text of the agreements and the references to UNSC, Chapter 7, "unfettered access" for inspectors in "all of Syria" sounds exactly like a replay of Iraq. And there is practically an invitation for yet another false flag:

The United States and the Russian Federation concur that this UN Security Council resolution should provide for review on a regular basis the implementation in Syria of the decision of the Executive Council of the OPCW, and in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Now perhaps the Russians can still block any UNSC action against Syria, but they seem to have made it much harder on themselves.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 15 2013 0:34 utc | 41

This is a good summary that includes background that was not reported in the USA. However, if Assad was “beloved and respected”, how did the civil war start? It wasn’t just climate change and too many unemployed young men. This is the case everywhere.

In the USA, I think, when push came to shove, the revulsion at being Al Qaeda’s Air Force killed any support for the Syrian War except for war profiteers and war lovers.

If Russia and USA agreed to the destruction of chemical weapons, which can only be done with Assad remaining in power, there is no way that Israel or Saudi Arabia can derail it. We live in interesting times and someone somewhere is sure to try to do something to toss in a monkey wrench; starting with Senator “Mad Dog” McCain and his “Free Syrian Army”.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 15 2013 0:38 utc | 42

@ 41 Now perhaps the Russians can still block any UNSC action against Syria, but they seem to have made it much harder on themselves.

The Chinese will happily veto any UNSC Chapt. VII actions...! ;-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 15 2013 0:55 utc | 43

and in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Chapter 7

Just what they wanted.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 15 2013 0:58 utc | 44

much harder on themselves

Much harder.

Chess huh?

Posted by: hmm | Sep 15 2013 0:59 utc | 45

@ 42 Aloha, VV, it's great to see ya sidle up to the Bar...! ;-)

We live in interesting times and someone somewhere is sure to try to do something to toss in a monkey wrench; starting with Senator “Mad Dog” McCain and his “Free Syrian Army”.

I'll betcha Bandar Bush ain't done either...!

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 15 2013 1:01 utc | 46

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 14, 2013 3:43:38 PM | 23

the nun is mother Agnes!

Posted by: brian | Sep 15 2013 1:09 utc | 47

From a brief reading, I only have one quibble:

By 2011 three years of drought, caused by global warming and Turkey's upstream dams and irrigation projects

Why introduce a secondary debate? The “caused by global warming” could simply be redacted (or replaced by “three years of drought, caused by, well, a drought”.

Sometimes a three year drought is just a three year drought. Droughts have been around longer than Al Gore.

Posted by: DM | Sep 15 2013 1:10 utc | 48

brian @47 That it is...! I wonder if Lavrov follows MOA and/or SST, amongst others...? ;-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 15 2013 1:32 utc | 49

Btw y'all, Emptywheel, wrote another excellent post today... US Negotiating Position in Lavrov-Kerry Deal Depends on Expansive Commander-in-Chief Claims

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 15 2013 1:37 utc | 50

Kerry to Visit Israel on Sunday

Wouldn't ya just love to be a fly on the wall...? ;-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 15 2013 1:47 utc | 51

“Kerry! You got some ‘splainin’ to do!”

Posted by: DM | Sep 15 2013 1:58 utc | 52

Kudos b, awesome article. Hope it plays out as stated. I might have to credit the American public for having a bit of sense after all.

Posted by: ben | Sep 15 2013 2:04 utc | 53

Nice work.
I don't get a lot of traffic but I passed this along.

Posted by: John Ballard | Sep 15 2013 2:14 utc | 54

@ 40
Crone, you can easily get the link you want by selecting a not-too-long random phrase from the text, enclosing it in double quotes, and putting it into the query box of Google or any other search engine. Try it. You'll get pages of links, including to this page.

Posted by: sarz | Sep 15 2013 2:17 utc | 55

"Chapter 7

Just what they wanted"

Well, mmmmm, they haven't got Chapter VII yet. Amd, if they do, they will find that it is empty without the sort of extraordinary conjunctions, including Blair and Bush, a marriage made in Hell, they found in 2003.

Times change, people learn, what worked then will never work again. Chapter VII may serve as "face changing" (you know how important 'face' is to occidentals -they are weird that way) but not as a casus belli.

Keep the wheel spinning, the odds always favour the 99%.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 15 2013 2:18 utc | 56

@Lysander 41

I think there is truth in saying that some of the framework of the agreement doesn't look so good. The optimism over this agreement may be misplaced. I get the impression that the inspection regime is very open-ended; and it could serve as a mechanism to poke around into many aspects of Syria's military security that would have no bearing on, or relationship to chemical weapons. This agreement could make it possible to undermine Syria by revealing details of military preparedness, disposition of equipment, details about particular military installations which could be obtained in no other way.

Perhaps the bilateral calculation, between US and Russian diplomats, has been resolved by focusing less on Syria, and the survival of its secular government, and more on diffusing the chance for a flashpoint of war between the bigger nations whose naval forces are standing off the Syrian coast.

I don't wish to minimize the good that has come out of all this--either the stand-down that is good for the peace of the world,-- or the sea change in the attitude of the American public that passionately rejects yet another and more dangerous kind of war. But those who have witnessed this history should be aware that giving Obama a way out of the international crisis, which has temporarily unhitched him, with all his hubris and psychopathic urges, from a potential conflagration; has therefore changed his essential nature, or made him rethink his service to the "indispensable nation" theory.

The wicked remain ever busy, and are unlikely to lose sight of their objectives.

Posted by: Copeland | Sep 15 2013 2:19 utc | 57

@ lyssander - comment 41.

Perhaps Lavrov & Putin want to keep the door open to intervene themselves in Syria under UNSC - Chapter VII protection, if the Jihadis start to threaten Russian interests (moving north into the Caucasus). I can imagine they’d prefer to dispose of those Jihadis outside of their borders. Or even better, let Obama’s boyz do it (drone and hellfire and all that)…

Alternatively, they’ve made sure that any further ‘escalation’ would go through the UNSC, where they can have a certain measure of control, instead of unilateral action under the R2P-humanitarian banner. It does seriously weaken the space for Obama’s amazons to make a mess. And as Bevin notes, the the whole geo-political environment is different from both the Iraq case and the Libyan case.

Posted by: Philippe | Sep 15 2013 2:56 utc | 58


i think the russian ships were central

Posted by: remembererringgiap | Sep 15 2013 3:07 utc | 59

@ 58 I wonder if the reports on the two failed 'Israeli' launches, really did play a role in stopping Obomber's designs...?

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 15 2013 3:19 utc | 60


Yes my friend, it was a courageous act and came at the right time.

Posted by: Copeland | Sep 15 2013 3:20 utc | 61

Excellent analysis (as usual) "B" The only thing not covered is the "unauthorized" missile "test" in the med the other week, but I can understand not including mention of it - it's a tad murky as to who did what and why. Again well done explained in a rather large nutshell !

Posted by: DonNeedNoUserName | Sep 15 2013 3:25 utc | 62

Excellent work b, thank you for it's clarity.

Posted by: estouxim | Sep 15 2013 3:32 utc | 63

@ 61 Is that you, db, back from your Sierran Jaunt...? ;-)

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 15 2013 3:39 utc | 64

All I can see is Russia and the US saved their "partnership" as a face off is not in their interest. As long as there is no agreement between the US/Israel and Iran everybody will keep doing what they are doing - minus the US being the air force of Al Qaida.

Of course Syria lost souvereinty in this - Lavrov and Kerry added an additional UN mechanism to enforce compliance.

Basically it ensures fighting can go on till the Geneva conference in October - and the US still has no side they can present as the opposition.

The way this is heading the Syrian government will be decided by Russia and the US.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 4:54 utc | 65

US-Russia agreement is even worse than I feared it could be. 'b' and others were too optimistic, unfortunately. How could Russia agree to this? It seems like sell-out of Syria, but we dont know whats happening behind closed doors. Such phrasing and open-ended interpretations means de-facto US getting their way with Syria.

"or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter."

This is not blunder or mistake, this wording specifically means that red-flags WILL happen and US with alies automatically gets an upper hand calling for Ch7 under this agreement against Syria.

"immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria."

Iraq deja-vu. Inspectors (i.e. spies) will be able to spy on any military base or object, mark them for bombing or direct terrorists attacks from the ground, track army movements, check conventional stockpiles, etc. Having satellite surveillance was a big help for terrorists, but spies with unfettered access working from inside Syria's military will be an IMMENSE boost for terrorists attacks and/or USrael bombing. US will know exactly where to direct hits to inflict the maximum damage to Syria's army, regardless if they do it themselves or through proxy. If they'll find a weak point, they'll press on it as hard as they can.

"deviations from the plan, including attacks on UN inspectors, would be brought to the UN Security Council"

If Syria as much as tries to object of conventional bases inspections, thats an automatic "deviation" and call for Ch7, a la Iran and Parchin, just much worse.

Terrorists already attacked and shot at UN investigators, already kidnapped UN peacekeepers (twice), and now they didnt waste time declaring yesterday "we will not protect the inspectors or let them enter Syria.”

Guess who will be blamed when investigators will be shot at? Thats right, Syria will be brought to UNSC with yet another official charge of either committing this crime, or not providing enough security. Regardless what Syria does it will be blamed, this time on the highest UNSC level.

Bottom line: all Syria got was a very short breathing window, just a couple of months. After that it will be worse, much worse. I'm not sure what Russia was thinking, I dont believe it was sell-out (even though it looks like it), but at this time its unclear what concessions they got to agree to this abomination deal. I do hope these concessions arent entirely for Russia itself...

This deal made a living hell for Syria and its army. Argument "at least its better than bombing" doesnt fly, because if US didnt want to bomb, they wouldnt have, and if they want to, they will anyway, but this time with spies on the ground directing where to hit, for bombers and Al Qaeda alike.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 15 2013 5:13 utc | 66

Muy, muy, muy bien. Fantastico!
I will translate this tomorrow, many in Latin America still believe Dr el Assad simply woke up one morning and decided to butcher his own citizens. Even if I present them with this they won't fully believe it. However, it will blunt their accusations and others who are seeking the truth will appreciate the appearance of this.

Muchas gracias, b

Viva la libertad!!!!

Posted by: Fernando | Sep 15 2013 6:09 utc | 67

@Claudio @34 b, what happened in 1991 Israel didn't like?

Bush senior cut some subsidy to Israel. A $10 billion loan guarantee Israel wanted was rejected. Congress, despite AIPAC intervention, agreed with him. The tussle was one reason why Bush I lost the 1992 elections.

@Harry @66

Russia did not send its fleet to give up on Syria. It will not agree to unseemly manners during inspections. The U.S. has right now more (FSA)spies on the ground in Syria than ever before. A few inspectors looking around would not change the picture.

Posted by: b | Sep 15 2013 6:11 utc | 68

66) We only see part of the agreement. On the ground FSA does seem to fight Al Qeida which seems to be in everybody's interest.

Al Akhbar has an interesting take on Al Qeida groups in Syria.

The number of foreigners flocking to fight in Syria is on the decline, and with it, the extent of areas under al-Qaeda’s control in the embattled country. Local mujahideen are now in high demand.

Until this moment, the identities of the leaders of the two al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria – al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – remain unknown. The only public communication from the two leaders are voice recordings or written messages leaked through unknown sources, or perhaps even through the same source.

Also unclear is the groups’ funding sources, despite reports that point to Iraq or other centers where the global jihadi organization is active. The two radical groups have also been able to seize local revenue streams, for example, with fees collected at border crossings and profits from crude oil sold to Turkish companies and local vendors through unofficial channels.

Activists familiar with the two groups spoke to Al-Akhbar, saying that al-Nusra Front and ISIS, like other armed factions in Syria, are constantly seeking to recruit more fighters with a view to expand their territorial holdings. Consequently, the two groups are looking to attract local “mujahideen,” especially in rural areas.

ending the article thus

On a different note, leaders of al-Nusra Front and ISIS acknowledge that their groups have been infiltrated. In a previous interview with a local website affiliated to the Syrian opposition, Abu Musab al-Suri, deputy ISIS commander of the northern region (Aleppo, Idlib, and Latakia), admitted to breaches in the group. At the time, he said that al-Nusra Front and ISIS were infiltrated by regime-planted elements, but also by agents of foreign intelligence services.

Syrians will get a solution that is imposed on them. But anything is preferable to the war taking place now.

"The West" - probably - failed in two aspects - and that is the only Russian red line - a) they did not manage to split Syria (like Yugoslavia or Iraq) across ethnic and sectarian lines b) they did not take Syria out of the Russian/Iran/Hezbollah alliance.

So yes, b. is right, presumably Assad has got an "out of jail" card, and will survive guaranteeing the above. That does not mean the terror war in Syria and Iraq will end any time soon.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 6:33 utc | 69

@b, 68
"It will not agree to unseemly manners during inspections."

Russia already agreed, "immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria." Thats carte blanche as far as inspections/spying goes, signed by Russia.

The U.S. has right now more (FSA)spies on the ground in Syria than ever before. A few inspectors looking around would not change the picture.

Not from within all military installations. After inspections starts, US and its terrorists will be able to do more hurt on SAA than anytime before.

I can already imagine: "precise coordinates; two bunker boosters", "precise coordinates; one ton C4 suicide truck here", "precise coordinates; Israel missiles there."

Accurate intelligence is half of the battle, and FSA simply didnt had the access to such extent even with their own supporters within, now they will. Russia just handed all of the SAA and administration info on the silver platter.

Another ironic point, despite all this intense spying and sabotage, this doesnt have any upside for Syria in the longer run, same as it didnt had for Iraq or Iran, etc. Month or two postponement of bombing (if it was suppose to happen anyway) wont solve anything either, SAA wont beat terrorists in this short window, and after that it will be much worse for Syria.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 15 2013 6:54 utc | 70

Harry 70

Great post, some people here are very naive, they dont understand it seems what these inspections really mean.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 15 2013 7:58 utc | 71

70) It is only the starting point of negotiations - they are talking now, and the US missile doctrine seems to have been stopped, that is progress, but it will be a long process. Different to Iraq - which was the starting point of US agression, the US is war weary now and - has not achieved anything to its advantage by 10 years of war, quite the contrary. They can continue that strategy - it is simply not in their interest. something Iranians rub in whenever they can.

There is also some wondering going on if Israel joining the Chemical Weapons Treaty is part of the agreement.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 8:00 utc | 72

Ahji #27
Indeed, most people's anger was directed at the prices that had been going up in the last two years and the neo-liberal policies.
Others were there simply because being more and more wahabized by preachers on Gulf satellite channels, they couldn't take "socialism" anymore and started dreaming of the "shari'a islamiyya" magic stick that would solve all their problems (without realizing that on a civil/tribal/family level they were already living in applied shari'a islamiyya).
Some people were angry against the power of the different secret polices because they had relatives on the wrong side (the wrong side becoming somehow more and more blur because of Bashar's concession to the Saudis).

But the main point is that these angry people were not so many on the streets, because for the majority, the mosaic of Syria, with minorities somehow comparable to the Iraqi one, cannot function without such a state. That's why Aljazeera always had to lie about the places of the demonstrations and the number of people there. That was organized professionally by the so-called activists and their good PR in perfect English towards the main TV networks.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15 2013 8:07 utc | 73

Mina, if they perceive "neo-liberal policies" as "socialism", they're so stupid (not just misinformed but stupid) that it might be better if AQ just cut their heads off and got it over with.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 15 2013 8:12 utc | 74

Oh yes, I forget the sadest one:
some people were there simply because they had seen the Tunisians and the Egyptians on TV doing it, and considering themselves superior to these, while at the same time identifying themselves as Arab and/or Muslim like them, wanted to do the same thing "to be on the picture".
(That's what a friend who had been to the early Daraa demos told me: "we saw the Tunisians and TV, and I mean, if the Tunisians can do it, we can do it".)
I had to explain that in Tunisia school was obligatory for every kid until 16, but it didn't get through. When I mentioned that how then "just by chance" the MB had been ready on the Jordanian side of the border with packs of weapons to be sent to Daraa, he started to think twice.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15 2013 8:24 utc | 75

@Rowan Berkeley #74 - AQ would have to work overtime: in the Us, many perceive Federal aid to banks as socialism

Posted by: claudio | Sep 15 2013 8:27 utc | 76

Not many in the Arab world unerstand what means "neo-liberal policy".

For Islamists, "socialism", in their Baathist experience of it, simply means "we are all brothers, muslim, christians, druzes etc". Add to it the presence of Russian experts here and there. Islamists preachers sell a dream where "in the Gulf, because they have shari'a islamiyya, and that women are kept under tight control, God grants them with money and happiness". Of course, laymen are asked to forget quickly about the slaves needed for the "dream" to be just like on TV.
The reality of "neo-liberal policies" was felt in the prices of housing, for example, which was the result of the bad economies in the West, having as direct consequence that the Middle Eastern (Syrian, but also Turks etc) expats in US/EU would start investing back home: appartments, restaurants, etc. It was also felt in the prices of meat etc. Just similarly as the EU has seen its prices double after the euro.
The anger is here, just as we have it in the EU. The whole problem is who points to the cursor to which direction it has to take to make a maximum damage. These days I feel that the main program of the European Commission is to have all the EU voters vote for the extreme-right at some stage and then find a reason for existence in playing the saviour. At the same time, I cannot understand how the EU survive with a fake president, a fake minister of foreign affairs, and no agreement on anything. The Syrian crisis should be the last nail in the coffin.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15 2013 8:32 utc | 77

Actually b., this has always been dual track. Your timeline from 2006 is correct but there also is the "Great Bargain Option" discussed here by Nick Kristof (yes, I know) in 2007 in the New York Times - reaching back to 2002.

Iranian Ambassador Zarif mentioned in the article is now Iran's Foreign Minister.

The fun of this "Great Bargain" document is that Israel's governemnt does not want the 2 state solution as stated as US interest - they want the 1 state solution.

It is quite likely that Middle Eastern client states do their utmost to avoid this Great Bargain.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 8:33 utc | 78

Posted by: Harry | Sep 15, 2013 2:54:56 AM | 70

You seem to be assuming that Russians are as recklessly over-optimistic, and as addicted to indecent haste, as the Obama Mafia. But all the evidence to date illustrates quite the reverse. I remember an Afghan Resistance leader saying, several years ago, something like "The Americans have watches - but we have time."

Russia seems to be playing the same game. All the good ideas re Syria have come from Russia. I doubt that the Russians have run out of good ideas yet but, more importantly, it's highly unlikely that there's a rabbit (or a half-assed scheme) the Obama Mafia can pull out of its hat that the Russians haven't contemplated and planned for.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 15 2013 9:06 utc | 79

Yes, Mina, I know, it's all gibberish in the media, who can blame them. I was brought up surrounded by lies, myself, but some point quite early in my childhood I stopped even trying to believe any of it. I had a very bogus sort of family. I've just taken it for granted ever since then. I don't think that makes me fortunate, because it hasn't improved my life chances. I've always been almost unemployable, because of this cynicism of mine, and now I have reached pensionable age, so at least I have survived a lifetime almost unemployed.


I'm reading "Workers of the Nile" by Joel Beinin and Zachary Lockman. It's the only history of the Egyptian working class that exists in english, AFAIK, and it stops at 1954. But the story is very familiar. First, the concept of the working class is very confused: the Egyptian trade unions initially tended to embrace small proprietors as well as wage workers, as long as the small proprietors worked with their hands. Manual labour is a visible, tangible criterion, whereas 'relationship to the means of production' is totally abstract and I suppose no one would even think about it unless they were taught to do so. Second, the fiendish british undermined everything, with their horrid mixture of public school rectitude and underhand secret police tricks. Thirdly, and most relevant, everyone was far more easily impressed by speeches about national greatness, and so they kept falling for the pitches of the nationalist parties, mainly the Wafd. It's hard to see how class politics can ever beat nationalist politics, until the country is actually successful, highly developed and wealthy, which is when working class revolutionary politics was supposed (at least by Marx himself) to finally come into its own.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 15 2013 9:16 utc | 80

It's easy to forget that ALL (every bit of it) the nonsensical bluster and bullshit coming out of US/UK/Fr is designed to overload the audiences' bs detector and induce feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. There's growing evidence that arrant nonsense and lies have worn out their welcome.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 15 2013 9:17 utc | 81

In the Seventies, as everywhere else, Marxism was quite big in Algeria, Morocco, among Palestinians, not to mention real bastions such as Syria, Iraq, and South Yemen.
The whole work of the evil axis UK/US/NL/Gulf monarchs since the 80s has been to make it impossible to Marxist ideas to make their way into a Muslim head. Too dangerous. These are communities who live with some sort of solidarity that big Capitalists cannot accept, and the whole concept would be far too dangerous to the monarchs' families. And if "we" can't control the tribal balance, we'll never be able to manage long-term economic interests (see the jumping frogs of Badhrakumar in Afghanistan).

Interesting read

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15 2013 9:23 utc | 82

As a result, poor Egyptian families think normal to have to gather 2,000 dollars everytime a family member needs surgery. This goes through family solidarity, borrowings from the larger familial/tribal allegiances, plus calls for a simple collect from believers in the mosque on Friday.
They would never dare to say it is not just and that the state should subsidize it. It simply sounds completely irrealistic. Same in the Gulf. Just like in the US, or am I wrong?

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15 2013 9:26 utc | 83

BTW - Not emphasized in the "western" media but pretty obvious. Kerry admitted that the insurgents have some access to chemical weapons.

Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Press Remarks After Their Meeting

Therefore, since these weapons are in areas under regime control predominantly, Sergey raises questions that maybe the opposition has some here or there, and absolutely, fair is fair.

Posted by: b | Sep 15 2013 9:48 utc | 84

@Hoarsewhisperer | 79

"You seem to be assuming that Russians are as recklessly over-optimistic, and as addicted to indecent haste, as the Obama Mafia."

Where do you see that it my posts? :) No, my notion is that Russia is self-interest driven (only!), their goal isnt preserve Assad or even Syria, we see Russia protecting Syria as much as it serves their interests.

As soon as Russian interests are protected in Syria and/or that region, with extra chips from USrael, Russia will easily sell any of their alies. Just ask Iran (many, many times), or Libya (it wasnt a miscalculation on vote abstaining as some presume, they knew exactly whats coming), etc.

Having said that, I dont think Russia betrayed Syria, even though it seems like that in agreement. There should have been under the table concessions from US, and they better be good ones to sign for such bad for Syria agreement.

"All the good ideas re Syria have come from Russia."

Based on what? What exactly were those great ideas, and why only from Russia? We dont even know if this CW disarming is Russia's idea. There are rumors it was discussed beforehand by Iran and Syria and got picked up by Russia later. However agreement so far seems like a major diplomatic failure on Russia's part, but again - there might be back-door deals. We'll know soon enough.

IMHO the best idea in all this mess would be to send the message to terror organizers they will pay for it, with their fat lives if it comes to it. As long as they with full impunity risk only their cheap petro-dollars and cannon-fodder jihadists, they'll continue reign havoc. What Russia, Iran, etc. have done about it? As far as we know - nothing, hence terror continues.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 15 2013 9:56 utc | 85

84) actually he seems to contradict that in the next sentence - this is the full quote

Therefore, since these weapons are in areas under regime control predominantly, Sergey raises questions that maybe the opposition has some here or there, and absolutely, fair is fair. Both sides have to be responsible. If they do, that also – and that may present a larger challenge. But those of us who have been supporting the opposition have a responsibility to help create access there, and the regime has responsibility where we believe the – the measure – in fact, we believe the only weapons are – ought to be accessible because the Assad regime controls the access.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 10:00 utc | 86

Kerry go to Isarel to get OK on Syria deal..

But people still love the deal?

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 15 2013 10:02 utc | 87

re 87 Kerry go to Isarel to get OK on Syria deal..

The bit I like about that, is that Israel has been maintaining for ages that it has no interest in the Syrian civil war, and does not want to interfere. But, the first thing Kerry does is to run to Israel...

Posted by: alexno | Sep 15 2013 10:17 utc | 88

About CW - specifically sarin - in the hands of the rebels, not in Turkey but actually in Syria, there is an item in the earlier of the two ITC Herzliya documents I cited yesterday (the ones with the Windows trojan stuck to them, so I won't give the links again). This document like most others is largely composed of items from the press, but including them gives them the implied support of the author. It says that, according to a news report of Jun 3 2013, “Opposition forces were also found to control two containers of sarin in a raid by Syrian government forces on a militant hideout in al-Faraich, Hama."

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 15 2013 10:55 utc | 89

87) Well the deal seems to give Obama cover to let Assad finish off the "rebellion".

It also enables continued pressure on Russia/Syria via the UN. The objective of that pressure has been narrowed down from "crimes against humanity" to "access to chemical weapons sites" - it is a "get out of jail card".

The US can of course repeat the course of action on Iraq - in the end it would have to - like in Iraq - act illegally and unilaterally. It has become obvious that Americans would not support that.

We will only know what has been agreed by watching what happens on the ground. At present Al Nusrah seems to be at war with the FSA for some reason.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 11:01 utc | 90

Harry @ 85.
Thanks for the reply. It addresses my queries.

Where do you see that it my posts? :)
I don't. I think of "Harry" as restrained and un-sensational which is what prompted me to seek clarification.

Based on what?
* Joining China to block a UN resolution.
* Deploying some sharp military instruments to the Med and dousing any hope that it was an accident or a holiday.
* Bringing the CW plan to the World's attention.
* Getting Putin's letter published in the NYT - a clear 'diplomatic' statement of Russia's attitude to US bs and warmongering.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 15 2013 11:24 utc | 91

The official communique of the agreement is here. These seem to be the dodgy features:

The US and the RF have further decided that to achieve accountability for their chemical weapons, the Syrians must provide the OPCW, the UN, and other supporting personnel with the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria.

The US and the RF believe that the work of the OPCW and the UN will benefit from participation of the experts of the P5 countries.

So that means that western military intelligence types will be attaching themselves to the OPCW teams and demanding "the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria." That phrase is repeated later, in Point 8 of annex A:
The decision should provide stringent special verification measures, beginning within a few days, including a mechanism to ensure the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 15 2013 12:20 utc | 92

@Rowan Berkeley | 92

Precisely, spies wont even need to pretend they are inspectors (although some of them will definitely be), they'll be a part of "other personnel and experts with unfettered right".

Another pearl: "support the monitoring and destruction mission of the OPCW, both directly and in cooperation with the United Nations and other States concerned."

Monitoring and destruction with "other States concerned", that means Israel, Turkey, PGGC, etc. will happily "monitor" and other nice things, in Syria's most secret facilities.

Much like terrorists wont even need to red-flag SAA now, any use of CW will make Syria accountable in front of UNSC.

"rapid elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, thus reducing the threat posed to the people of Syria."

So Russia agrees CW in SAA control poses threat to the people of Syria..

This document literally looks like written by US, and with barely (if any) changes, signed off by Russia.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 15 2013 12:40 utc | 93

Concerning the doubts of some let me state that b evidently neither owns a reliable crystal ball nor did he try to be a modern and more precise version of Nostradamus.

b "simply" wrote down what happened so far and how it evolved - and that he did very well, well informed, and insightful.

Concerning those who doubt Russia and her being seriously and reliably involved or saying the agreements having little worth as any whatsoever use of CW by whom so ever might destroy in an instant what has been achieved:


For one and to once use a zusan phrase for Russia: There are still all options on the table - for Russia, that is. Whatever Russia could do until now, she can still do. Even better any "difficulties" in implementing the CW agreement, for instance due to terrorists using CW, would simply lead to Assad to ask for "international" (read: Russian) troups to help and then Russian para troupers would be in Syria as "international peace troups" enhancing Assads freedom of action in terminating terrorist vermin.

To put it differently: zusa cares about their image, about how they look, no matter the sad facts - Russia cares about facts and reality. While zusa is a broken rotten weak country that has just been put check-mate that wants however to look mighty, smart, and powerful, Russia *is* mighty, smart, and powerful and therefore can easily afford to let zusa have its little parade.

Concerning Syrias "loss of military power" due to losing its CWs: That was a strategy made in and for other times. Todays miltary facts are different; Syria doesn't need CWs to frighten israel (population). Having increasingly powerful Russian weapons and a military that has proven its quality and vastly outnumbers israels criminal war troups israel has every reason to not try funny games with Syria.
And there is another angle to it: Syria giving up its WMD strongly invites to look at other countries in the region, too, namely israel and its WMD. So israel has damn enough reasons to be very quiet. With Russia having immensely increased and strengthened her influence and position and elegenantly shown its diplomatic power, it would be noticed all over the world if Putin ever has reason to ask the WMD question looking at israel.

A final remark concerning S-300, as many seem to not know that: S-300 are *not* the system one wants to have to defend against cruise missiles. Not even so much because both the system and the missiles are relatively expensive and therefore better used against high $value target (like F22); but because the S-300 radius of ca. 200km is for *high altitude* targets, i.e. jets, ICBMs and the like. S-300 radius against cruise missiles (like the ones zusa wanted to use against Syria) is typically in the 20 - 40km range only. There are other and way cheaper systems like Pantsir and Tor that are more adequate against low altitude targets and offer similar ranges.

Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 15 2013 12:43 utc | 94

My original theory about why USrael was so hot about Syria was that if Syria could be occupied, the supply lines to Hezbollah could be cut. So if Hezbollah's rockets are supposed to be the alternative deterrent to Syria's CW, then we should expect these so-called inspectors to take a very great interest in these supply lines, perhaps by intentionally confusing them with purported channels whereby Syrian CW could be sent to Hezbollah (as of course the pathetic Idriss is already claiming).

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 15 2013 13:05 utc | 95

95) Obviously Russia is granting Syria's security and has come to an agreement with the US which is granting Israel's security.
There will also have to be an agreement with Iran on Gulf state security.
Western (and the World's) economy simply can't afford an arm's race threatening oil supply.
I think the "Sunni rebel" strategy has been stopped.
There are suddenly photos of this type of rebel weaponry on the net via @Charles_Lister
never mind "light weapons"

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 13:42 utc | 96

This here is the link to the rockets photo

Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 14:00 utc | 97

Me and my students will translate your piece into Brazilian Portuguese. Tomorrow I'll post the trslation and 'll send you an address. Great piece! (Future is another problem, yes, it is.)

Posted by: Vila Vudu | Sep 15 2013 14:28 utc | 98

Well, ok, everything is right on track

Obama said he is optimistic but cautious that Putin will be a reliable partner.

"I don't think that Mr. Putin has the same values that we do," Obama said in response to Putin's controversial op-ed.

"I welcome him being involved. I welcome him saying, 'I will take responsibility for pushing my client, the Assad regime, to deal with these chemical weapons,'" he said. "This is not the Cold War. This is not a contest between the United States and Russia."

If Russia wants influence in Syria, Obama added, "that doesn't hurt our interests."

Obama Sends Message to Iran

The president suggested that he even sees a potential role for Iran in helping to stabilize Syria, despite reports that Iranian fighters have been streaming into the country to support the Assad regime.

Obama confirmed publicly for the first time on "This Week" that he has exchanged letters with new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, who has vowed to act forcefully to prevent any Western military intervention in Syria, using "all efforts to prevent it."

Obama said he believes his threat to use U.S. military force in Syria, and subsequent pause to pursue diplomacy, sends a signal to the Iranian regime in the ongoing dispute over its contested nuclear program.

"What they should draw from this lesson is that there is the potential of resolving these issues diplomatically," Obama said.

"I think this new president is not going to suddenly make it easy," he added. "But you know, my view is that if you have both a credible threat of force, combined with a rigorous diplomatic effort, that, in fact … you can strike a deal."


Posted by: somebody | Sep 15 2013 14:30 utc | 99

Good article B. unfortunately, I have to agree with Harry and his concerns about the wording of the agreement, the unfettered access is a big parallel to Iraq and not sure how this was allowed to be included.
Things can change in the future and Syria has lost some of its deterrent which makes Israel very happy, question now is how long before the Americans find an excuse to say this is not working so we will go for ch7. If Russia vetoes, this will still be enough for Americans to say, we tried but the Russians are reneging on the deal.
I don't trust the Americans and unless we see some real changes on the ground i think they managed to turn a bad situation to their advantage by buying time to build more support. Hopefully I'm wrong, but history says otherwise.

Posted by: ana souri | Sep 15 2013 15:05 utc | 100

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