Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 25, 2014

A Too Complicated Game: Obama's Deals With The Saudis And Al-Nusra

According to the Wall Street Journal Obama made a deal with the Saudis. They will lend legitimacy for his attacks against the Islamic State and AlQaeda in Syria (aka Jabhat al-Nusra) and he will later overthrow the Syrian government under president Assad. Like the Saudi prince Bandar, who nutured the Jihadists, was ousted over it, but is now back in the deal, the neocon editors of The Economist are doing victory jumps. They managed to get the U.S. back into their war. Hurray!

But as I understand it Obama's part of the deal is supposed come only later. It will take a year to train the "moderate, vetted" insurgents in Saudi Arabia and only when those are ready, and Obama a lame duck, may such action start (or not). U.S. voters know very well that Obama always keeps his promises (not). A year can be a quite a long time and who knows what will happen in between.

The urgency of the deal with the Saudis may have come because some folks felt a time-critical need to attack the al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra) leadership in Syria. It may also have come from the low polls of Obama's leadership and his need to keep the Senate in the hands of Democrats after Novembers election. The second reason seems more likely.

To justify the hit on the leadership group it had to be differentiated from the ""the moderate Jihadis" al-Nusra organization with which there is cooperation on other issues. The "Khorasan" group was invented and a FUD campaign launched to justify the attack. The U.S. media predictably ate it all up and propagandized every fearmongering bit of what "officials said" about Khorasan. Only after the attack has taken place are doubts allowed to be aired:

Several of Mr. Obama’s aides said Tuesday that the airstrikes against the Khorasan operatives were launched to thwart an “imminent” terrorist attack, possibly using concealed explosives to blow up airplanes. But other American officials said that the plot was far from mature, and that there was no indication that Khorasan had settled on a time or location for the attack — or even on the exact method of carrying out the plot.

Some speculation: Jabhat al-Nusra is a nominal part of the al-Qaeda organization. It was led by al-Qaeda veterans who had been fighting in AfPak but came to Syria when the insurgency started. The U.S. relabeled these veterans the "Khorasan" group to have some reason to separately eliminate them. Their replacement may well turn out to be local men currently leading the groups in southern Syria and willing to further cooperate with USrael. A new version of the moderate cuddly homegrown al-Qaeda ploy.

The whole game played within the various proxy wars within the current Syriraq war is becoming increasingly complicate. I would not be astonished to see Obama throw the towel on this whole affair. After the November election he may well say "enough" and just leave the chaos behind him.

Posted by b on September 25, 2014 at 16:45 UTC | Permalink

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"Airstrikes target Mobile Refineries"

Mobile refineries ????? Remember the "Mobile weapons labs" supposedly used by one Saddam Hoessein ??

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 26 2014 23:17 utc | 101

thene thers sunni convert Yvonne Ridley
'ISIS has been trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guard," claims late Syrian rebel leader.'

and the Ridley interview goes on down from there./..her 'rebels' are good muslims who hate secular states and like well Muslim brotherhood promise:

'His legacy is now in the hands of a new commander who has taken control of at least 20,000 fighters who form the main force in the Islamic Front alliance, which was created to counter ISIS, as well as to fight the troops still loyal to Bashar Al-Assad.

Ahrar Al-Sham seeks to have a state run on Islamic principles, which protects the rights of women and religious and ethnic minorities. It disagrees profoundly with the approach taken by ISIS. Abboud's untimely death came as the US government is seeking to unify the Syrian opposition and pull together its own loose coalition to act against the rogue "Islamic State".

I'm really not sure if Abboud would have signed up to the US venture as he was highly critical of what he called the "double standards" of the West. His ultimate goal was to establish Islamic rule, not democracy, in Syria and that would be at odds not only with the democratic West but also with the leaders of other regimes in the region.

After reading through my notes I sent a text message to Shaikh Abboud and asked him if he was sure that I could use his interview in full. The next morning a message was waiting for me in response: "You can attribute my analysis to me. I declare it."

It remains to be seen if his vision and legacy will live on.'

its an interesting interview, and reads like Muslim brotherhood propaganda. Ridleys language shows she agrees with smiley, which only confirms my views on sunnis islam a now full tilt in search of caliphate.Does Ridley support a caliphate in ME? would she in UK? or does sopme part of her still hold to a secular democracy?

Posted by: brian | Sep 26 2014 23:17 utc | 102

Chechen muslims fighting in Syria ??

ISIS threathens to "liberate" Chechenia & Caucasus. Sounds credible.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 26 2014 23:23 utc | 103

chechens have been killing in syria for ages

back in 2013

and a simple google search shows theyve been there a while.
Meyssans latest sees them and the uigyars as an effort to extend the jihad into russia and china

since there are sunnis everywhere, they provide a pool of fighters/terrorists to be used by the US where they want to extend their cutrate war on everyone

Posted by: brian | Sep 26 2014 23:44 utc | 104

What's happened to J Sorrentine? He/she should be living at this hour - this recent turn of events with IS/ISIS/ISIL cries out for his/her take-no-prisoners style. Where are you, Sir or Madam?

Posted by: Fern | Sep 26 2014 23:53 utc | 105

Demian @ 91, I agree with you about Paul Craig Roberts. For months now each piece he writes on Russia and now China is just that bit more OTT than the last. Russia has suffered a great deal from jihadi terrorism - the idea that it should supply IS with heavy weapons is beyond absurd.

Posted by: Fern | Sep 27 2014 0:02 utc | 107

When this story is reliable then it confirms my notion that ISIS has decided to step up military actions. It wants to establish irreversible "facts on the ground". Conquer more before its enemies are strong enough to go on the counter offensive against ISIS.

Is this an "all or nothing" offensive of ISIS ? Is ISIS getting desparate ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 27 2014 0:20 utc | 108

@brian #95
You said (or rather, Pepe Escobar said which you quoted): "You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade Bahrain and crush the pro-democracy movement in their neighbor in exchange for a "yes" vote by the Arab League for a no-fly zone over Libya - the main rationale that led to United Nations Security Council resolution 1973. "

I like Pepe - he is highly entertaining. However, while the first part is believable (US gave green light to Saudis), the second part isn't. The Arab League isn't a security council member and had no bearing on the vote for resolution 1973.
In fact, no Middle Eastern nation was in the Security Council which voted on 1973 - and the primary reason it passed was because China and Russia abstained.
Now if Pepe said the Saudis had some role in getting Russia and China to abstain, I might believe the China part but not the Russia part.
Seems like a stretch to me.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 27 2014 0:37 utc | 109

@clue #109:

Sorry, I have to defend Pepe – and by extension brian – here. It is not hard to fact check in the age of Google and Wikipedia

Permanent members China and Russia had reservations about the no-fly zone, including the practicalities of enforcing such a zone and concerns about the use of force when other means had not been exhausted, but had noted requests by the Arab League and the "special situation" in Libya and therefore abstained.[6][7]
I think that the prudent course is to assume that people like Pepe know what they are talking about, unless one has clear evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 27 2014 1:18 utc | 110

Pentagon spokesman:
“Last night’s strikes are the beginning of a credible and sustainable, persistent campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” Lt. Gen. William Mayville, director of operations for the Joint Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon. “I think it would be in terms of years, yes,” Mayville said when asked about the length of the campaign.

General Dempsey, Chairman Joint Staff:
"Twelve to 15,000 is what we believe [moderate Syrian rebels] would need to recapture lost territory in eastern Syria . . .Five thousand [approved by Congress] has never been the end state. . .There’s no airpower alone solution to ISIL either in Iraq or in Syria . . . it will be a long time before the rebels can become an effective fighting force, even with American training"

SecDef Hagel:
The lack of leadership among the rebels presents a real challenge to U.S. officials who want to build a large rebel fighting force. “We don’t have a head of it.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 27 2014 2:07 utc | 111

@TovioS: "That is another disaster Obama probably regrets."

I guess we'll have to wait for the autobiography, The Paucity of Hope and Dreams of my Job Offers.

If Obama actually does regret any of this, then he is even a more pathetic, spineless louse than I imagine. After all, even if he didn't stop such things because he hasn't the power, he could at least refrain from the endless hyperbolic speeches.

The man is clearly a pathetic wretch...I suppose the autobiography will maybe tell us what kind of pathetic wretch. Either a vapid, warmongering puppet, or vapid, spineless weakling.

... Thanks Demian for remembering the joke!

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 27 2014 2:10 utc | 112

The Zbigots are on the war path, that much is clear.

Israel is being left to its own devices, but at the end of the day they are still a shitty little country - albeit one that controls the US Congress.

But the US Congress doesn't order bombing strikes these days. The Zbigots in the White House do.

They are trying to peel Iran away from the SCO - RT had this headline today: US softens position on Iranian nuclear program. France is apparently playing the bad cop - declaring "no progress" has been made in the talks. Of course, they were the ones that scuttled the deal last time.

That shows how much in the pocket of the Zionist Lobby and the USA the French are - and how little the views of their working people hold. After all, It costs France...what was it: $4B Euros and 8,000 jobs to their car makers alone to go along with the Iran sanctions.


@Don Bacon - great work Don, on your Caliphate piece and you posts here. Very, very informative.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 27 2014 2:17 utc | 113

@Don: "Twelve to 15,000 is what we believe [moderate Syrian rebels] would need to recapture lost territory in eastern Syria"

So the plan - we are to believe - is that the Pentagon will train 15,000 "rebels" who, instead of fighting Assad, will rush east to do battle with the ruthless fanatics in ISIS where they will presumably conquer all of that territory...and then turn around to fight Assad and continue the war for another 3 years?

The Cold War looks positively benign now, remember - peace plans? Truces?

Though I suppose maybe this is what happens when you have some generals and a flamboyant SecDef design your statecraft. "Here's the plan: we made one rebel army too strong, so we're going to make a NEW rebel army, have that kill the other one, so that we can continue this war for another with the rebels we like. We hope."

This is high-proof insanity. It would be too ridiculous for Dr. Strangelove.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 27 2014 2:31 utc | 114

@ guest77 #113 -- Thank you.

The Pentagon also requires new funding -- the Pentagon estimated the cost of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria to be roughly $7 million to $10 million per day. But that's peanuts to the US. The US deficit last month (Aug-14) was $4.2 billion DAILY, seen here.(table in millions)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 27 2014 2:42 utc | 115

I bet the Syrian gov wish they'd have kept going for a nuclear program right about now. I suppose any state that could potentially be on a neocon hit list is having those thoughts.

Posted by: Crest | Sep 27 2014 3:19 utc | 116

There's a lot on Obama's table, but he asked for it, didn't he.
Afghanistan is being retaken by the Taliban as the US & allies do an exit.
Several insurgent groups are actively engaged in crossfire's with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) throughout the country, but according to security official's signs of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, notoriously known as ISIS, have surfaced near central Ghazni province.

Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. -- turn the lights out.
Asia? It appears that the heretofore moribund Shanghai Cooperation Organization may take a more active role in the region as the US presence in Afghanistan, and Central Asia in general, fades.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken over the presidency of the organization. Putin has stressed that the expansion of SCO is of great importance. “Taking over the presidency, we believe that the process of expansion of SCO will take a real shape in the coming year. We will waste no effort to facilitate this.” Russia has been forced by the Ukraine situation to look away from Europe and toward Asia, where the growth is.

There is talk that Iran, Pakistan and India will be admitted to the SCO next year.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 27 2014 3:37 utc | 117

@Crest #116:

I think that Syria realized that Israel would never let it get the bomb when Israel bombed its nuclear reactor. That was the first time that I recall any Anglo-Zionist country conducting an air strike that clearly violates international law, by the way. Since Clinton, this has become routine for the US, but it is the Israelis who started this practice. (As they did with assassinations. Reagan denounced the Israeli practice of assassinating its "enemies".)

As for Iran's nuclear program, I think all reasonable observers have concluded by now that its nuclear program is purely civilian. The West's obsession with Iran's nuclear program, which again ignores international law, is simply an excuse to economically isolate Iran. (This is not to say that the West's obsession with Iran's nuclear program is not also influenced by Israel's craziness. But here, the West is simply caving in to Israel, not actually believing that Israel is right.)

The idea that a country's having a few thermonuclear bombs protects it from attack by the US seems to be based on the fact that the US destroyed Iraq, but not North Korea. But that can also be explained by the fact that the US considers Iraq to be of strategic importance, whereas the same does not appear to be the case for North Korea.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 27 2014 3:47 utc | 118


"Khorasan is led by senior al-Qaeda operative Muhsin al-Fadhli, a man with a U.S.-sponsored $7 million dollar bounty on his head. 'Some' have alleged that al-Fadhli played a role in soliciting Iran’s 'cooperation' in al-Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks against America."

Que? ...Iran's 'cooperation' in 9/11?????" WTF?

'Some' of course, are the new $7 BILLION in CIA domestic cointel contracts on America/UK let by DoD last week to 12 spook outfits in NOVA. Now the PSYOP presses are running hot!

Any tom fool can see the ISIS Made for TV 'BeHeadings' were pure Brit PSYOP to prevent the defeat, as last year, of the PNAC Putsch on Damascus and then Tehran, on behalf of QATARI GAS PIPELINES to EU. Now the Brits are falling over themselves to approve a Perpetual War.

QED. The West are sheep. 'We have always been at war with MENA'.

Just one slight problem ... the Qatari gas pipeline to EU will be continuously blown up!
And the much-hyped American Fracking Revolution will flash out in less than seven years.

By 2020 US/UK/EU population will be beggared and frozen out, just like the former Soviet Union's Zeks, and we'll be all the way back to the 12th Century in a kurtzen augenblick.

More Useless Potato Eaters

Posted by: ChipNikh | Sep 27 2014 5:12 utc | 119

The global jihad movement has split in two. Members of al-Qaeda will now have to choose between two different emirs. The so-called "Khorasan pledge" was the final nail in the coffin of the reconciliation between al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The rift no longer pertains to Syria only, but has spread to the other arenas of global jihad.

Nine al-Qaeda emirs from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran declared their allegiance to the new emir of the faithful, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - the head of ISIS - in what is being termed as the "Khorasan pledge."
• Abu Ubaida Lebanese.
• Mohannad Abu Jordan.
• Abu Jarir northern (Abu Thaer).
• Abu al-Huda Sudanese.
• Abdul Aziz (brother of Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi).
• Abdullah Punjabi.
• Abu Younis Kurdish.
• Abu Aisha Cordovan.
• Abu Musab solidarity.

A copy of the statement to:
Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Al-Qaeda in Somalia, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Brothers in the Mujahideen Shura Council in the environs of Jerusalem, Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus; And to all whom it may concern: jihadist factions in Muslim countries.

[Source: Khorasan pledge splits al-Qaeda By Radwan Mortada | al-Akhbar | April 23, 2014 |]

A long read via my link:
Terror Group Al-Qaeda Is Spelled K-h-o-r-a-s-a-n In Syria

Posted by: Oui | Sep 27 2014 5:46 utc | 120

@Demian "Reagan denounced the Israeli practice of assassinating its 'enemies'"

With his fingers crossed of course, but it does show the effect that the exposures of the Church Committee had on the US, at least on the discourse.

The hearings investigated along two lines: first, the US security state's domestic activities, and second, it's foreign. Of the latter, a large part of the hearings were focused on US attempts to murder independent leaders all over the globe. The list include heroic Patrice Lumumba, some Chilean generals, ostensible US allies like the Dominican dictator Trujillo. And - of course - Fidel Castro was targeted (many, many times).

But the hearings were very effective, and hence Reagan made statements like you brought up, and a law was even passed by Congress at that time (i thiiink) to make assassinations of that type illegal.

The Church Committee was only one aspect of the immediate post-Vietnam shift in US politics and society. Reagan was under a lot of pressure outside pressure from a very, very active anti-war movement. This was the Vietnam generation all grown up. These were church groups who fought against Reagan's Central America policy by sending Americans to live in targeted villages in the hopes it would make the government forces think twice before attacking. It often helped... but not always. Of course the US was still active in wars all over the globe, but the push back was immense - including the resignation of the CIA officer overseeing the war in Angola: John Stockwell (an amazing speaker if you have time, watch him on YouTube.) And you also had exposures by other CIA officers, like Frank Sneep, Phil Agee (though he was much earlier), Ralph McGehee, and Victor L. Marchetti.

Nothing of the sort exists today. Snowden and Manning are much different phenomena - low level employees leaking documents who are both prevented from speaking openiy in the US vs high level dissenters who were able to get their message out in speaking engagements. As for the anti-war movement seems largely neutered, and part of the reason, I am convinced, is the fact that these have been branded as "religious" wars instead of ideological ones. That the enemies have been branded in such a way that they are cut an unsympathetic figure to both the right and the left. What American figures they'd be welcomed to live in a home in Baghdad? Where as many felt at home and protected in Managua. Wether this is by design - I think there is no doubt considering the media manipulation we face, as well as the fact that the CIA has had a hand in branding the Islamists since their inception.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 27 2014 5:46 utc | 121

Good explainer of the insanity of Western Islam politics

In short, portraying Saudi as 'leader of Sunnis' (by US) will have dire consequences for US and West. In essence, an ordinary Sunni has no chance to escape the reach of Saudi (supports ~20,000 marassas in Pakistan alone) Wahhabism. If Saudi is the leader, than by logical reasoning, Wahhabism must be better option within Sunni Islam. If that is so, than what is to prevent 1Billion Sunnis from converting to Wahhabism? As mentioned already, all anti-US/West militants are Wahhabi. If US was successful in its Pro-Saudi stand, it will help convert 950M Sunnis to become Wahhabis.


US and allies can diminish organization capacity of Daesh but destroying it does not seem plausible since in essence US is major supporter of Salafi / Wahhabi nations. US is caught in its own faulty strategy. Portraying Saudi as leader of Sunnis, divides Islam in two prominent halves: Sunni and Shia (which as explained above is a very incorrect view of reality). Both US's partners that defines US's foreign policy, Israel and Saudi/GCC are extremely against Shia Iran. This means letting go of 300M Shias (i.e. one would be hard pressed to find an example of a major Shia ally of US anywhere in the world). Within 1Billion Sunnis, US will be hard pressed to show a prominent single moderate Sunni group (eg. Barelvis, Sufis) as an ally (we are not talking about people like Kurds since they are already distinguished separately). It might be tempting to point out that Wahhabi Arab governments are with US in attacking Daesh. This is only happening because their own survival is at stake at the moment. Arab regimes do not like Wahhabi ideologues/grass root Islamist orgs (eg. Hamas, MB) it cannot control!
Question, however, was whether US can destroy Daesh.

Does US really want Daesh destroyed?
GCC/Saudi, Israel, US (Western allies of US) all share a common goal: taking down Syrian regime of Assad. Daesh has provided the best opportunity to do so. While US is attacking Daesh positions inside Syria, it is simaltaneously arming and training Anti-Assad regime. This means that US is still committed to a regime change in Syria (even when Assad itself is enemy of Daesh). Therefore, history, logic, ground reality, and US policy puts a big question mark on US intentions that it wants to destroy Daesh.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 27 2014 6:08 utc | 122

@guest77 #121:

Thank you for that illuminating history lesson. Yes, the kind of post-Vietnam and post-Watergate push back that occurred in Washington is impossible now. The United States has gone from having the semblance of a democracy to becoming Orwellian before our eyes and in our lifetimes.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 27 2014 6:11 utc | 123

@Demian: "The United States has gone from having the semblance of a democracy to becoming Orwellian before our eyes and in our lifetimes."

You're right. Though the elite has always been violent, mean repressive scumbags and still are. They've ALWAYS been trying to get away with this same shit - spying, prisons, crackdowns.

The saddest part is what's changed - what's missing - is the resistance. What's missing is us fighting back.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 27 2014 6:45 utc | 124

@Demian - thanks for reading it. That's what I like about MoA. The engagement. Means a lot, so - thanks.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 27 2014 6:52 utc | 125

I do wish bevin would stop by. I was always greatly interested in his analysis. On par w/ b.

I miss certain aspects of what Sorrentine contributed too.

But who knows. I just hope they aren't sick or something. I've seen Sorrentine around on various forums though.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 27 2014 6:58 utc | 126

Posted by: Demian | Sep 27, 2014 2:11:06 AM | 123

:-)) Just because you are old does not mean nothing is going on.

Denver-area students accuse school board of censoring U.S. history

The proposal calls for a new panel to review the schools' curricula, but that's not the part that has students and parents outraged. It is the call for a review of the Advanced Placement curriculum for U.S. history classes to ensure that teaching materials present positive aspects of U.S. history and its heritage. According to the wording of the proposal, teaching materials should "promote citizenship, patriotism ... (and) respect for authority" and not "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."

"I understand that they want to take out our very important history of slavery and dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because it portrays the U.S. in a negative light," said Casey McAndrew, a high school senior.
Ben Murky, a high school junior, said, "The censorship of U.S. history is wrong, and I think it's pretty communist."

The protest followed walkouts by students on Monday and a protest Friday, when at least 50 teachers called in sick, according to KDVR.
"I think it's time we hear from the kids on how it's impacting them, because it is, and it's very scary for them what's happening here," parent Andrea Stevens said.

Jefferson County Superintendent Dan McMinimee tried to stem the outrage by stressing that no changes in the curriculum have been finalized.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 27 2014 7:13 utc | 127

@127 - very good find.

I would suggest looking at the way Occupy was dealt with as contemporary examples. As well as of course the treatment of Jeremy Hammond, Chelsea Manning, Barrett Brown, Ed Snowden, John Kiriakou, and Julian Assange for more contemporary examples of repression in the US.

Not to mention the rise of the prison industrial complex.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 27 2014 7:21 utc | 128

"The saddest part is what's changed - what's missing - is the resistance. What's missing is us fighting back. "

Why is that? People dont get out anymore? Our society is going down but no one cares it seems.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 27 2014 8:04 utc | 129

Brandon Turbeville points out that the eastern Syrian refineries bombed by the US, particularly at Dayr al Zor, were close to being recovered by the Syrian army. "Thus, as SAA forces moved in to retake control of the oil refineries managed by terrorists funded by Western powers, the United States initiated airstrikes just in the nick of time to deprive SAA forces of the opportunity to seize some of the oil refinery infrastructure it desperately needs."

Is The US Targeting Oil Refineries To Stop ISIS or Assad?

Posted by: sarz | Sep 27 2014 10:43 utc | 130

Tip of the hat to somebody #72 and Don Bacon #78 @MoA

FARA registration statement – July 18, 2014 [pdf]

Name of registrant: Mark K. Alsalih
Principal: Common Council of Iraqi and Arabic Tribes
Address: Hay Babel, Jadriyah #18 Baghdad Iraq

State the nature of the business or activity of this foreign principal:
The Council is a cooperative entity of willing members of the community that seek the development of security, prosperity and equal rights for all Iraqi citizens and children regardless of ethnicity or; religion. The council will seek the prevention of conflict and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes through civic engagement and creation of an environment to develop peace.

The council rejects the use of violence and terrorism, and will use any legal means to combat both. We will assist the council and its decision makers by providing the skills, tools and access needed to create partners in peace. The council wants to develop a strong society and educational system for the future of Iraq and rebuild it after years of conflict and suffering through our work with the US government and others.


Full article about the history of Awakening Councils, National Salvation, Ramadi protests and lobbying in Washington DC, which has been a failure: Iraqi Tribal Leaders Pledge March to Baghdad or Not?.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 27 2014 11:22 utc | 131

What the hell man?

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 27 2014 12:30 utc | 132

131) logic is dead

To ask for a no fly zone at the Syrian-Turkish border where ISIS threatens Kurds in Kobani is a joke as air strikes there are needed to help the Kurds - but it is the PYD/PKK fighting, so ...

Posted by: somebody | Sep 27 2014 13:11 utc | 133

logic is dead no 2 - Erdogan calls for no fly zone

Regarding Erdogan's "secure area" proposal, Dempsey said: "A buffer zone might at some point become a possibility, but that's not part of our campaign plan presently."

Hagel noted that both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden spoke this week with Erdogan over how Ankara might contribute to the global coalition to counter the Islamic State group. He said Turkey's desire for a buffer zone "is not a new issue."

"We discuss all these possibilities and we'll continue to talk about what Turks believe they require," Hagel said. "They know clearly that ISIL and what's happening in Syria and Iraq is a clear and present threat, danger, to them."

Erdogan said Friday that Turkey is considering how to support the U.S.-led coalition. In New York, Erdogan had told Turkish reporters that Turkey's involvement could include its military.

defying logic no 3 - A very disturbing map for Turkey

However, as you can observe from the photos above, the map shown during Hagel and Dempsey's testimony showed the route of potential ISIL militants through Turkey to Syria.

The most used route is the one starting from the Istanbul’s international Atatürk Airport. Then, ISIL recruits find their way to the 910-km-long Syrian border either with local flights to the border cities of Hatay, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa or by land routes. The map shows the crossing points as being the towns of Reyhanlı, Kilis and Akçakale, all of which have official border gates.

Now, the following are from the testimony map, but they are necessary to understand the bigger picture better: The Syrian side of the Cilvegözü border gate of Reyhanlı is under the control of the rebel Free Syrian Army and Islamic Front forces fighting against the forces of Bashar al-Assad, ISIL and al-Nusra. The Syrian side of the Öncüpınar gate near Kilis is under Islamic Front control and Çobanbey is under ISIL control. ISIL also controls the Syrian side of the Akçakale gate. (Look at the map, HDN, Sept. 16, 2014)

Both the U.S. and Turkey have far more detailed maps than the one exhibited in the U.S. Senate, but the fact that the map shows Turkey as the main passage to Syria for ISIL terrorists disturbs Ankara.
But the map is there and Turkey will have to work hard to alter the perception of at least being tolerant of ISIL. The situation and what is to be done about it was the subject of an emergency security meeting chaired by Erdoğan and the security-related members of the government, the joint chiefs of staff, intelligence officers and diplomats. Perhaps the time for Ankara has come to take public and concrete steps about the crisis on its southern borders.

So - a no fly zone to protect ISIS from Syrian government attacks?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 27 2014 14:02 utc | 134

The 'plan' is getting clearer. Establish a no fly zone. The Turks will help. Call it Free Syria or something. It will be a base for moderate rebels. ISIL members who see the error of their ways will be welcome to join after the usual rigorous vetting process.

Posted by: dh | Sep 27 2014 14:27 utc | 135

Afghan villagers hang Taliban fighters as battle for district rages
GHAZNI Afghanistan Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:06am EDT
(Reuters) - Afghan villagers hanged four captured Taliban militants from a tree on Saturday as security forces battled the insurgents for a sixth day in a district of Ghazni province, an official said.

The hangings were carried out after Taliban fighters had killed more than 100 people in the area in the past week, including more than a dozen who were beheaded, according to Ghazni deputy governor Mohammad Ali Ahmadi.

The battle in the Ajrestan district of Ghazni, southwest of the capital Kabul, is part of an escalation of Taliban attacks around the country as the militants take advantage of dwindling U.S. air support as foreign forces leave.

The assault by an estimated 700 Taliban fighters began about six days ago but Afghan army commando reinforcements and the threat of NATO air strikes have so far prevented the district from falling under Taliban control, said Ahmadi.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 27 2014 14:40 utc | 136

@Demian #110
Wikipedia is not a good reference for activities which have no actual written record.

The belief that Russia acted on the Arab League's request is difficult to believe given that Russia has no positive interactions with said League for many years due to Qatar's natural gas rivalry and Saudi Arabia's antithesis with Iran - whom Russia has been building bridges to.

In fact, both of the so called references to the Wikipedia assertion made no mention whatsoever of Russia's rationale for abstaining from the voting for UN resolution 1973.

From what I recall, that incident is one of the main moves which discredited Medvedev and his Atlanticist clique, something lesser but similar to Gorbachev's faith in US claims - thus it was much more a sign of a clear error by Medvedev as opposed to some amorphous accession to a request from a toothless and meaningless political entity.

As for Pepe - his credibility is very much in doubt. Do you not remember the assertion that Prince Bandar was assassinated? Clearly very much wrong, and a very cogent example of why you cannot take anything Mr. Escobar writes on faith.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 27 2014 14:46 utc | 137

@guest77 #121
You said: "Reagan was under a lot of pressure outside pressure from a very, very active anti-war movement."

Sadly, the "anti-war" movement appears to have been primarily a Democrat Kabuki theater. Protests against Bush's wars have mysteriously evaporated under Obama's "kinetic" actions.

To me, this reads as astroturfing by Democrats which was withdrawn as soon as "their guy" got in power - multiplied by a polarization of the interested demographic in the populace between the 2 public puppet face parties rather than debate and compromised resolution over specific issues.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 27 2014 14:54 utc | 138

Posted by: dh | Sep 27, 2014 10:27:37 AM | 134

:-)). Of course, brilliant idea.

Obama considers focusing on Isis bases in Syria as study finds jihadis have anti-tank rockets seized from rival rebels there

The report was compiled from a list of weapons captured from Isis by Kurdish militias over a 10-day period in July.

Of most interest was the capture of two M-79 rockets that were identical to a batch of such weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to rebels in southern Syria in January 2013. The rockets had been sourced from a Croatian arms supplier and ferried to anti-Assad fighters who were identified as non-jihadis.

The potential for weapons provided to one group to fall into the hands of other militants fighting in Syria has often been cited by the US and others as a reason not to heavily arm groups involved in the civil war.

Calls by rebels for heavy weapons that would allow them to confront Syria's air force or tanks have regularly been turned down. But with the war zone now flush with such weapons – largely in the hands of jihadis who oppose both mainstream rebels and the Syrian regime, Washington is rethinking its involvement.

Moderate rebels in northern Syria have in the past fortnight confronted Isis forces who arrived in Humvees and armoured troop carriers supplied by the US to Iraq. The rival rebel groups found it difficult to stop Isis with the weapons they had.

The vehicles were seized en masse from bases near Mosul and driven across the Syrian border, where they have revitalised a battlefield that had become a three-way stalemate in eastern and northern Syria.

US jets have in the past six weeks bombed Humvees and US-made troop carriers in northern Iraq. Many were used by the US military during the nearly nine-year war and occupation, then handed over by US officers as they left Iraq. Others were bought directly from Washington.

Using such vehicles, Isis fended off assaults on Sunday in far the western Anbar province by Iraqi forces, backed by fighter jets. US jets again attacked Isis positions near the Haditha dam, the second one of Iraq's two most important waterways, which has become a key target for jihadis.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 27 2014 15:28 utc | 139

@130 sarz.. that is how i see it too.. it must be obvious to everyone who can get their head outside the msm propaganda bs..

@135 dh.. yes, but the goal remains the same - get rid of assad anyway, anyhow using any excuse..

@137 c1ue.. that is interesting. thanks.

@139 somebody.. quote from the article "Moderate rebels in northern Syria have in the past fortnight confronted Isis forces who arrived in Humvees and armoured troop carriers supplied by the US to Iraq." they were 'our guys' until they weren't.. but hey - it makes for great military industrial complex money making projects which is what the exceptional nation does best..

Posted by: james | Sep 27 2014 16:17 utc | 140

Excellent comment/analysis on Obama's deal with the Saudis & Qatar.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 28 2014 0:26 utc | 141

@141 willy2.. i didn't really think coles commentary was all that informative or honest.. i am not sure who his audience is, but to take one line from his article "Jordanians are not just dealing with a refugee crisis created by the meltdown in Syria and Iraq" - the meltdown has been created by the usa in very large part.. i didn't read cole mentioning this, and instead choosing to avoid mentioning this. at this point coles work is coming across as a type of propaganda to me personally..

Posted by: james | Sep 28 2014 1:10 utc | 142

@somebody #139
Two rockets?
There will be no shortage of arms merchants making their way to Raqqa. --$$$$$$$$
Not Americans, of course, because it violates US law unless the government does it.

The study by the London-based Conflict Armament Research consultancy found that Islamic State (Isis) militants had access to large numbers of US weapons, which they were shifting to key battlefields. The report drew no conclusions about how the weapons were sourced.

Actually, public conclusions might be fatal, considering whom the consultancy's customers might be.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 28 2014 2:38 utc | 143

@c1ue: I think you are right unfortunately, in terms of the Iraq war. I wouldn't say astrotuf in the sense that it wasn't real feeling, but any effective movement needs organization.

I would say that those who organized against the Iraq war betrayed those they organized, in precisely the terms you mentioned. They built up these contacts, and then when Obama came on, instead of taking a stand against the war, they used their lists to send emails saying "Obama's wars are wars of neccessity" or simply nothing at all.

The feelings were real, but the organization was - we must assume - intentionally sabotaged.

Those who were serious radicals know this - you hear, I believe it is Hedges, rail against "the mighty Move On". "Where are they now?" he asks, and rightly so.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 28 2014 3:28 utc | 144

@guest77 #144
Fair enough - I do also agree there was some real sentiment.
I term it astroturfing, though, because without the artificial support - no real "movement" is created...much as you describe organization which was suddenly taken away.

Another possibility is that many of those who were so against Bush simply chose anti-war as their vehicle of discontent - and the election of a Democratic president who acts the same way shows that it was the man and not the actions.

Sadly, the former possibility is less scary than the latter, because the latter - to me - represents the ongoing successful divorce of sentiment in the American populace away from issues and into personalities. Some types hate Bush because he appears to be yokelish even as perhaps the same like Obama because he sounds intelligent.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 28 2014 3:56 utc | 145

@Willy 2 ; @James

Who is Lars Berger?
Associate Professor in International Security at University of Leeds

Does write about the Saud family and regional repercussions of proxy wars with Iran. The global threat of the extreme teaching of Wahhabism.

Dr Lars Berger on the political situation in Saudi-Arabia

His article published by Juan Cole mentioned above by Willy2 was originally published at The Conversation. Lars Berger fails to mention Israel even once in his "analysis." Israel's interests in Lebanon and Syria are aligned with Saudi Arabia, and has been for decades. His article is very one-sided and could have been written by any neocon think-tank in Washington DC.

His most laughable effort:

This is of particular importance for President Obama, who has invested considerable capital over the years in distancing himself from the Bush administration’s war in Iraq.

As he put it in his brief statement announcing the strikes: “The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America’s fight alone.”

Continuing Bush's War on Terror and Al-Qaeda without mentioning the names … Khorasan in Syria. President Obama had hired the same neocon people who could have served under Bush, just to mention one specifically: Dennis Ross, the epitomy of failed US ME policy. A propaganda piece of the White House even stated the "Arab nations are taking the lead." Sure!

It should be noted Netanyahu has already stated in July there will be no two-state solution and even dictated a few days ago, the Arab peace initiative of 2002 is outdated … null and void. Saudi King Abdullah would truly appreciate being in the U.S. coalition!

Netanyahu on Arab peace initiative of 2002 in Rosh Hashana interview with The Jerusalem Post

Posted by: Oui | Sep 28 2014 8:21 utc | 146

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