Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 23, 2014

Concealed By U.S. Airstrikes Israel Opens Nusra Path To Lebanon

Screenshot from the current NYT homepage:

The first piece is about the U.S. air attack last nights against various targets in east Syria. The second piece right next to it explains that such strikes in Iraq have had little effect. The juxtaposition demonstrates the futility of today's bombing campaign, part of the ongoing wars of proxy in Syria. As a result the Islamic State will only gain further legitimacy.

The U.S. and some "coalition" of Arab dictatorships bombed various targets related to the Islamic State in east Syria. The Syrian government was informed about the attack and did not overly protest against it.

The U.S. did not attack IS positions around the northern Syrian city Kobane where the IS is fighting against Kurdish militia in an attempt to open up a new logistic path for the IS to Turkey. Agreeing to this new logistic path was probably part of the price Turkey paid for recently getting its diplomats freed from IS internment.

The U.S. alone additionally bombed a target related to one specific part of Jabhat al-Nusra in north west Syria. It claims that it hit the "Khorasan group". But that groups is just a Pentagon FUD invention. It is nothing but the a segment of the long established leadership group of al Nusra. While ISIS had prepared for the announced U.S. air attacks and dispersed its personal and material Jabhat al-Nusra was unprepared and lost some 50 of its fighters. One of the Nusra leaders, Mohsen al-Fadli al-Kuwaiti, was killed in this attack.

Also today the Syrian airforce wanted to bomb Jabhat al-Nusra positions in the Golan heights where Nusra is, as first reported here, opening a corridor from Jordan towards Lebanon and for attacks on Damascus right along the demarcation line between Israel and Syria. Israel, in quite open support effort for the Nusra plan, shot down the Syrian SU-24 using U.S. provided Patriot missiles. While Israel claims that the plane violated its border the reported crash site was far from the border near Kanaker, Syria which is halfway between the demarcation line and Damascus.

Under the protection of the U.S. attack on IS and other targets Israel now practically established a no-fly-zone next to the Golan which will allow Jabhat al-Nusra to safely use the corridor and to attack Hizbullah in Qalamoun and in south Lebanon. It also opens space for new attacks on Damascus.

The U.S. attack on the IS in Syria will, as the NYT headlines express, have as little effect as such attacks have in Iraq. Without coordinating air attacks with a capable, available ground force like the Syrian army such strikes on IS will make no conceivable difference. I have yet to see any report that the U.S. planes have hit some of the major weapons or ammunition depots the IS captured from the Iraqi army. There are some 50 main battle tanks and lots of heavy artillery pieces in the hands of IS. What is done to disable those?

Posted by b on September 23, 2014 at 12:43 UTC | Permalink

next page »
Syrian rebel group freed ISIL militants in swap for Turkish hostages

Syrian rebel group Liwa al-Tawhid released 50 members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including the family of a late leader, in a swap deal that ended with the release of 49 hostages abducted from Turkey’s consulate in Mosul, according to security sources.

The wife and children of Samir Abid Mohammad al-Halefawi [nom de guerre Haji Bakr], an ISIL leader killed in Aleppo in February, were among the released ISIL members in the simultaneous exchange for the Turkish mission, the source told Hürriyet.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 23 2014 12:57 utc | 1

Posted earlier in my diary - ISIL Militants In Swap for Turkish Hostages.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 23 2014 12:58 utc | 2

Remember Peter Theo Curtis?

American Hostage Released by Al Nusra Front on Golan Heights

Other western hostages were captured by Jabhat al-Nusra and 'transferred' to ISIL for a ransom.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 23 2014 13:02 utc | 3

b. you are slow to notice the wind changing.

This here is Iranian press tv reporting from "occupied Golan" ie the Israeli side
that Israeli troops have withdrawn.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 23 2014 13:03 utc | 4

The main goal of the US and its vasals is to bomb the Syrian government and destroy the nation state. Question is how long it will take... months, weeks, days or hours?

Posted by: tux | Sep 23 2014 13:11 utc | 5

Posted by: tux | Sep 23, 2014 9:11:52 AM | 5

I'm not so sure.

The goal could be a pragmatic rapprochement with Assad's regime to foil Russia's aspirations in the Middle East. Syria, and Iran to a certain extent, are Russia's key to the Middle East. It would behoove The West to dissuade them from furthering a closer relationship with Russia by implementing a strategy of slow, pragmatic yet progressive rapprochement.

IS/ISIS/ISIL provides the pretext.

If so, it's masterful chess. It certainly has anti-American critics at a loss to explain any of this in their unconventional terms.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 23 2014 13:21 utc | 6

Since Jordan participated in the airstrikes on ISIS (along with the sheikhdoms of al-Saud, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain), and since ISIS is still in control of some of the border crossings with Jordan (isn't it?), you would think al-Baghdadi, if only to back up his bluster, would attack Jordan as the lowest-hanging, juiciest fruit on the tree.

If no attack on Jordan, more proof that ISIS is a cat's paw.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 23 2014 13:45 utc | 7


Add Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and most likely Libya to Putin's Russia sphere of influence. Thanking Ms Clinton, Rice, Power and where the buck stops president Obama for miscalculating the Arab uprising and color revolutions.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 23 2014 13:57 utc | 8

Russia, Egypt Agree to Boost Military Cooperation

Posted by: Oui | Sep 23 2014 13:58 utc | 9

Jordan is protected by a great desert. See the military strength of Jordan, especially air power. Domestic problems are with Palestinians and the Muslim Brotherhood. Be sure the U.S. will protect King Abdullah, all part of the 'peace treaty' of Jordan with Israel. Can Jordan afford a war? No, the nation is broke.

Jordan played an important part in UK/US training Sunni fighters to overthrow Assad. It facilitated a desert military training centre where U.S. forces and a handful of British allies are training commandos in Russeifeh. Jordanian territory is essential to open the Southern front towards Damascus.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 23 2014 14:12 utc | 10


A slow, pragmatic yet progressive rapprochement to the US regime and its vassals... the type that ends with a no fly zone where all that even looks remotely pro-government is blown to dust as in Libya. The US strategy is to take out as much Syrian military hardware with the lowest losses.

Why risk many if it can be avoided through trickery.

Posted by: tux | Sep 23 2014 14:20 utc | 11

Not to be missed: Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Nasrallah to speak tonight on regional developments. Most likely Press TV will relay the speech with simultaneous english language translation.

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Sep 23 2014 14:34 utc | 13

The REAL answer to the ISIS problem:

Posted by: ben | Sep 23 2014 14:48 utc | 14

F-22, that's what this is all about. Pentagon spokesman just mentioned it 3 times in less than a minute.

Posted by: Huntly | Sep 23 2014 15:23 utc | 15

lol Syria getting bombed by the arab dictatorships, how humilitating isnt that?

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 23 2014 15:26 utc | 16

"F-22, that's what this is all about."

I saw that too. I think they will have numerous success stories for resurrection.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Sep 23 2014 15:29 utc | 17

Bahrain isn't even a country. It's just a US military base. And besides KSA, the others are just shopping malls and landbound cruise ships full of western goods and lux 'experiences'.

As usual the 'coalition of the willing' is as substantial and independent as it usually is in these cases, ie Micronesia and Israel.

Posted by: L Bean | Sep 23 2014 15:30 utc | 18

ditto mike @7 and l bean @18.

@6 cold.. knocking over the chess board is not the same as winning a game of chess.. destroying shit is all the usa knows how to do.. what a pathetic country it is..

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2014 15:40 utc | 19

@ L Bean #18

Bahrain hosts the US 5th Fleet an they can't fend for themselves against their Shi'a citizens. They use Pakistanis, Jordanians and Moroccans on loan ( or by giving them citizenship) to do their dirty work against the Shi'a population.

A good example here:

Posted by: Yul | Sep 23 2014 15:41 utc | 20

@colden_holefield #6

Name one "brilliant" move of the western masters of the universe - imperialists, fascists, thugs and neoliberals - that causes you to credit them with a desire for rapprochement with hezbollah, syria and/or iran? They are good - indeed geniuses - at breaking things; and they are masterful evaders of the dictum which states "if you break it you own it" - like a four year old still in diapers - but have manifested no capacity whatsoever for conceiving, implementing, or even understanding, constructive solutions.

Posted by: rackstraw | Sep 23 2014 17:06 utc | 21

"Launched ostensibly to drive out the Palestinian fighters, Israel's June 1982 invasion of Lebanon gave the Jewish state control of the lower reaches of a new river-Lebanon's Litani. The Litani has never flowed into Israel, and the invasion strengthened long-held Arab convictions that capturing its waters and diverting them into Israel has been an important long-term Israeli goal."

The Litani River is one of the longest rivers in Lebanon, exceeding 140 km in length, and providing a major source of water supply -- it has a particularly high quality of water, with a very low quantity of chlorates and nitrates present.

Posted by: rob66 | Sep 23 2014 17:11 utc | 22


What is the point of setting up a real life demonstrator for new shiny high tech (= expensive) hardware if you don't reinforce the message in the sales media (formerly known as news reports)?

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 23 2014 17:34 utc | 23

I agree with your post. The "khorasan" group is a invention to justify expanding the bombing on other terrorists, some of them ally of the 'immoderate' Syrian rebels.
Al Nusra heftily paid by Al Qatar has released 40 ISIS commanders to allow the 46 turkish diplomats to return triumphally in Turkey while Lebanese soldiers are been beheaded or killed by the same Al Nusra.
It is possible that now Qatar and Turkey are turning against their ally, Al Nusra and are allowing the USA and the 'Arab coalition' to bomb them near Aleppo.
Are we seeing a u-turn? The only fighters left to Qatar and Turkey's ambition in Syria are the 5000 'vetted' rebels to be trained and armed by the USA. It sounds absurd. The other explanation is that the 'regime change' plan in Syria has been officially dropped.
The same Arab countries involved in supporting the regime change are now trying a face-saving exit by claiming that they are saving the Syrian opposition fighters from total annihilation by ISIS. In exchange they expect the Syrian opposition to join a reconciliation process with the Syrian government in order to prevent the return of ISIS in Syria
Am I dreaming?

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 23 2014 17:34 utc | 24

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 23, 2014 1:34:30 PM | 24

no, you are not dreaming.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 23 2014 17:47 utc | 25

22;And they actually,literally,stole Lebanese land by absconding with the rivers accumulated topsoil.
Murder incorporated.Syrian pilot?and two suspects? in abduction of Israeli "children".An everyday occurrence by the most pious,religious,Yahweh loving humans to ever grace the planet.And their adherent here in America,judge Lewis Kaplan,sentenced OBLs son in law to life in prison for free speech.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 23 2014 17:55 utc | 26

I think there was concern that any bombing of ISIS in Syria would be accompanied by bombing of Syrian government forces. Obama had hinted at that.

AFAIK, at least in this bombing, Syrian government forces were not hit. So I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts about that.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 23 2014 18:00 utc | 27

@27 Virgile up above has good thoughts on this. Much like bipartisanship, a coalition of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia should never be trusted.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Sep 23 2014 18:05 utc | 28

you can use whatever name you want to describe who the usa and friendly dictators are going after - it still boils down to regime change being the name of the game here.. all the rest is a distraction away from this...

has syria agreed to the usa's bombing? can we get some type of confirmation for that from some outlet other then the usual propaganda outlets?

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2014 18:07 utc | 29

Virgile, I think you're dreaming:

The other explanation is that the 'regime change' plan in Syria has been officially dropped.
The same Arab countries involved in supporting the regime change are now trying a face-saving exit by claiming that they are saving the Syrian opposition fighters from total annihilation by ISIS. In exchange they expect the Syrian opposition to join a reconciliation process with the Syrian government in order to prevent the return of ISIS in Syria
Am I dreaming?

Regime change will not be dropped. It may take years, but US and allies will persist in this proxy war, until they are defeated on the ground by SAA, with whatever help Syria can get from her allies. However, once defeat becomes inevitable, US may try again for, say, a Geneva III, to get Syria to asccept a "coalition govt" or some such face-saving plan.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 23 2014 18:08 utc | 30


@bThe Syrian government was informed about the attack and did not overly protest against it.

In the wee hours of the morning I read several reports from various media that US had "informed" Syria, and Syria acknowleged, but did not respond.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 23 2014 18:15 utc | 31

World War 3 will start when damscasus is in ruins. It's a prophecy.

Posted by: Shoes | Sep 23 2014 18:29 utc | 32

okie - i just read this at rt..

did the usa get rid of al qaeda in afganistan or iraq? 10 years on and the answer is a resounding no.. will it be any different here? meanwhile the country that wants others to respect international borders is doing a fine job of showing just how hypocritical it is on a regular basis..

isis - new improved al qaeda version 2.. or did they come up with another new name when i wasn't watching?

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2014 18:29 utc | 33

From ZeroHedge:


State Department clarifies: "We warned #Syria not to engage US aircraft," Psaki says. "We did not request the regime's permission." #jpost

— Michael Wilner (@mawilner)

So if Syrian regime change is still a priority, then:

Were they hoping that Syria would try to engage?

Are they planning more bombings?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 23 2014 18:31 utc | 34

The U.S. clearly coordinated with Syria at least in the sense that they told them where and when they would bomb and asked for some free space to do so. The Syrian government agreed. The Syrian radars stayed in passive mode. That was quite a risk for the Syrian side but I think Russia had some role in making that arrangement.

Posted by: b | Sep 23 2014 18:48 utc | 35

james, I still think when O failed to bomb Assad last year, Bandar Bush promised "a professional fighting force" to overthrow Assad. He expected to recruit "40,000 fighters" "professionally trained" and "equipped" - rather like IS, don't you think?

Those laid off Bathists military guys were Bandar started, recruited the best jihadis he could find, purportedly paid them $2,000/mo, with survival benefits for their families on death. Bandar started with a lot of home-made jihadis, prisoners in KSA jails, kids recruited out of Madrassas. They weren't anywhere near good enough. That's when he realized he needed men who had seen combat and had military training.

al-Baghdadi had years of trainiing by CIA at Camp Bucca, become a front-man/showman, and a pretty good recruiter to boot.

When US left Iraq, all the Sunni fighters that Petreous was paying not to fight, were immediately cut off by Iraq govt. Lots of pissed off Sunnis easy to recruit to al-Queda in Iraq, later to become IS.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 23 2014 18:53 utc | 36

@35 b.. did the syrian gov't have a choice in any of this? it is like 'we are serving up dead isis/syrian folks' on the menu either way - and it is your only option at the dinner table..

okay, and where does this obviously lead then? does anyone think this is some short term thing? once it is given a green light, it will not stop.. the fact is everyone knows usa has had syria slated for regime change and that hasn't changed..

@36 okie.. that's a good overview that i agree with...

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2014 19:11 utc | 37

I find it very unlikely that US sent any call to Syria. WHich just proves the crazy attitude by Obomber, Syria should start a process against this aggression by Obomber.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 23 2014 19:27 utc | 38

"State Department: Syria given advanced notice". (but no coordination)

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 23 2014 19:27 utc | 39

marcy wheeler's latest for anyone who missed it.. some good comments in the comment section as well..

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2014 19:47 utc | 40

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 23, 2014 2:53:56 PM | 36

Something along those lines. ISIS was meant to form the "Iraq/Syria Sunni buffer state" cutting Hezbollah off from the Iran/Iraq/Syria Shia route.

Everybody seems to blame Turkey and Qatar now, so it must have been a collaborative effort that went wrong when Turkey made sure ISIS attacked the Kurds (Baath would have wanted the oil anyway) and Qatar overplayed the media attractiveness. Syria - and Iran - must have been infiltrating the networks for a long time - Syrian prisons used to be part of Bush's global war on terror, and presumably there are quite substantial Baath Iraq/Syria intelligence connections. Mursi's overthrow in Egypt probably got them a lot of radicalized young Muslim Brotherhood support, too.

Hezbollah, Iranian announcements are full of Schadenfreude. So, I guess the US ended up with a well funded anti-western avalanche they do not control.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 23 2014 20:04 utc | 41

A map depicting the US strikes in Syria. Even the bombing of that mysterious "Khorasan" sect is mapped.

Posted by: Willy2 | Sep 23 2014 20:04 utc | 42

Well said somebody @ 41. The pivot point for the U.S. is definitely when ISIS attacked Kurdistan. Then overnight ISIS went from being ignored to labeled the new existential threat. True, too, your assessment of Qatar and Turkey wearing the goat horns now in the mainstream press. This has the effect of obscuring the Saudi role. Reading the NYT story by Kirkpatrick and Jawoshy that b posts at the top of the page, it is obvious that the Saudis have put enough Sunni tribes on the payroll, as Okie @ 36 mentions, to prevent another Awakening; that's why ISIS remains strong in Anbar.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 23 2014 20:27 utc | 43

ISIS explainer by Russia

"Fundamentalists strive to revive the Ummah - a human form, a phenomenon, a community, which, in their view, was lost. For them, it is important to return to the basic social form, the Ummah, rather than to a particular type of clothing, hairstyles, rituals, etc. Let's look at current realities. ISIS leaders act by canons of Marxism. Ideology is a process to implement a common cause, which involves millions of people. This is not just a matter of class interests that some ideologues express. This is a mass movement of millions. They formulated the ideology and attracted people. The Islamic State serves as the common cause, which these fundamentalists speak of. They also say that this is the goal for all Muslims. They say to others - come here and build the state with us. Muslims from many countries of the world listen and go there together with their families, their children and they try to revive the Ummah."

"Are there any people from Russia?"

"Yes, the Tatars and the Chechens. Tatarstan is a developed, rich republic, but people traveled to the north-western province of Pakistan, where they began to live by the laws of Islam. Why? One of the main contradictions of the modern world is that people lose the sense of the meaning in life.


"I'm not defending fundamentalists, although I share some fundamental ideas. Saddam was an atheist. After Saddam lost in 2003, too many people took to the streets. Saddam had nine secret services - a huge number of qualified, highly intelligent professionals. They say that ISIS consists of fundamentalists, supporters of al-Qaeda and so on. ISIS was created by employees of Saddam's secret services. They became disillusioned in their atheism and turned to Islam. The basic designers, creators of the organizational system of the Islamic State were employees of Saddam's party intelligence that was controlling everyone. Then they took part in the fight against the Shiite government of al-Maliki, because they viewed his government as a puppet one.

"When the uprising against Assad began in Syria, those guys thought that it was time to join in and solve the classic problem between Baghdad and Damascus. This is how they found themselves in Syria. Now they control approximately 30 percent of the Syrian territory.

"In ISIS, I see actions of very clever strategists of Saddam's security forces. In contrast to what is happening in Libya, Mali or Niger, they establish relations with the underground Baath party in Iraq. They interact with the Sufis. In Iraq, there is the Naqshbandi army, the largest Sufi order. Thanks to ISIS, the relationship grows stronger. ISIS finances certain military operations."


"The Islamic State is a very complex phenomenon. There were intelligence services from at least four other countries: Syria, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States that took part in its creation. They needed this organization because al-Maliki started acting stubbornly after the April elections. The Islamic State went on the offensive, Mosul was captured, Iraqi troops fled. Baghdad was surrounded, a terrible blow was struck on al-Maliki, and three weeks later he resigned."

"Is al-Maliki an enemy of the United States?"

"Al-Maliki is a protege, a puppet of the United States. Sometimes, though, a puppet may start wagging its master. We know this by the example of Hamid Karzai. Further, various relationships may develop. Sunni tribes of Iraq support ISIS. The main point is that there is an underlying movement, which already has tens or hundreds of thousands of people. And they will act. The Americans may create a coalition of 15-20 countries and they will defeat them, albeit temporarily.

"As a result of air strikes, it is impossible to win absolute victory. They will go up to the mountains, and a long guerrilla war will start. The idea has been planted. This is the idea to ​​return to the Islamic State, the Caliphate, which carries a certain meaning, which the modern world does not have. About 1.5-2 years ago, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had the population of 10-12 thousand people. Today, this is a 80-85 thousand-strong organization. They have the world's best infantry and best weapons. All secular regimes in the Middle East - from Algeria to Saudi Arabia - tremble with fear."

"Is it a good thing?"

"Yes, it is, because the time of world revolution is drawing near. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates call themselves the Islamic State, but then suddenly a fundamentalist Islamic State appears that is directed primarily against them. ISIS has about 10,000 Saudis - they are fundamentalist jihadists from Saudi Arabia. They already say that their prime goal is to topple the rotten and corrupt regime in Saudi Arabia.

"Ultimately, we are entering a very interesting period. This is not a geopolitical or a global economic period - this is an ideological period. Once again, we are entering the period of ideological wars. Religious wars are one of the most acute forms of ideological war. Ideological wars always last till the end.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 23 2014 20:29 utc | 44

video titled "end the sanctions on syria" posted a few weeks ago..

Posted by: james | Sep 23 2014 20:38 utc | 45

@44 I was always surprised by the religious fervor of the post occupation forces. I had expected more of a nationalist secession movement with the Kurds which was probably the original plan, and the MIC clearly failed to recognize the differences between the Assad and Gaddafi regimes and their recent experience. The 50 year old leaders fought in the Iran Iraq War. Their secular regime didn't win outright. Combined with sanctions, PTSD, and the horror of Paul Bremer (military governors of the past are still rolling in their graves), this makes sense.

I wonder how ISIS will counter. Will they travel? Damascus more than any other city would be representative of casting off Western imperial dominance. Even during the first caliphate, it was a Christian city.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Sep 23 2014 21:10 utc | 46

Coldie @6: "If so, it's masterful chess"

Hmmmm, I would have thought a "masterful chess player" would have refrained from attempting to use proxies to overthrow Assad in the first place.

As it is, Obama has nurtured way-out-whacko fundamentalists in an attempt to dislodge Assad, only to see those way-out-whacko's act so whacky that he is forced to turn to his airforce to whack them, and all the while refusing to co-ordinate his whack-a-mole activities with Assad.

Yeah, "masterful".

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 23 2014 21:42 utc | 47

"ISIS leaders act by canons of Marxism." That's it, no other explanation or defense is given in an article than goes into depth about everything else: Ummahs, Islam, ISIS, Mid-east/Western politics... Oh, but when it comes to communism, trust me, I'm a scholar.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 23 2014 21:45 utc | 48

that was @44, of course

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 23 2014 21:46 utc | 49

If so, it's masterful chess. It certainly has anti-American critics at a loss to explain any of this in their unconventional terms.

Posted by: Cold N. Holefield | Sep 23, 2014 9:21:19 AM | 6

one of the few real duties today for free peoples is antiamericanism

Posted by: brian | Sep 23 2014 22:51 utc | 50


islamic terrorism creates islamophobia....US miliary aggression and regime change habits creates antiamericanism

Posted by: brian | Sep 23 2014 22:53 utc | 51

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Sep 23, 2014 10:34:54 AM | 13

hezbollahs failure to take action aganist islamic terrorists based in lebanon has helped aid the terrorist war on syria

Posted by: brian | Sep 23 2014 22:55 utc | 52

uses of titles like ISIS alnusra ISIL and IS makes conceals the nationalities of the terrorists, makes them seem as if they are local 'rebels'

Posted by: brian | Sep 23 2014 22:57 utc | 53

Uprising against Islamists begins in the capital of Libya, aircraft pound Islamist positions

Posted by: brian | Sep 23 2014 23:07 utc | 54

Pro-ISIS demonstration in Istanbul, Turkey in protest of US airstrikes in Syria.

Posted by: brian | Sep 23 2014 23:09 utc | 55

A few of the statements of "Syrian moderate opposition and rebels" praising ISIS and Annusra/Alqaeda

Posted by: brian | Sep 23 2014 23:12 utc | 56

Good CrossTalk if not already posted - Landis, Leveret, and Maloof:

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 24 2014 0:43 utc | 57

B, do you think the Syrian government will survive this? It feels like it will take some strong Russian assertions to stop this from turning into war against the Syrian government.

@52 Brian
Don't you think it's more in Hezbollah's long term interest to leave the fighting of sectarian rebels to the army? Provoking Hezbollah into a long drawn out conflict was exactly the intent of Bandar when he spent hundreds of millions building up those sunni jihadist forces in Lebanon.

Posted by: Crest | Sep 24 2014 1:03 utc | 58

From abysmal TIME Magazine (of "there are no neo-nazis in the Ukraine" fame):

The exact number of fighters is unknown. Estimates range from a few dozen to upwards of 50 fighters, intelligence experts told ABC News, though their affiliations are loose and shifting within a larger network of al-Qaeda fighters known as the al-Nusra front. Under the protection of the al-Nusra front, the group has secured land and buildings in the areas surrounding Aleppo. Tuesday’s air strikes suggest that it has commandeered a range of compounds, including “training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility, a communication building and command and control facilities,” according to U.S. Central Command.

With 50 guys? They run multiple training camps, two command centers, and a factory?

50 guys... "worse that ISIS"?

This is just the height of yellow journalism: "You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war." has now become "You furnish the tiny terrorist proxy group and I'll furnish the war"

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 24 2014 1:05 utc | 59

@Crest - hope you don't mind if I but in but "It feels like it will take some strong Russian assertions to stop this from turning into war against the Syrian government." It most certainly does.

The speed with which America moved on Russia after it boldly defended Syria from an American air attack - in terms of Ukraine and the Olympics propaganda barrage - was too quick to assume it was simple coincidence.

It seems like the US is ready for round two.

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 24 2014 1:08 utc | 60

The word 'khorasan' in Arabic is meaningless--it either means "earring" or "deaf, mute!" What self-respecting "terrorist" group would give itself such a name?

However, Khorasan is a region of Iran. Stay tuned! Soon they will announce that this is an Iranian terrorist organization coddled by Asad.

Posted by: JohnH | Sep 24 2014 1:13 utc | 61

Khorasan, Shmorasan. NY Times headline: "President Says Group Plotting to Attack US was hit." The President's legal authority to attack IS under the AUMF was dubious, very dubious.

With Khorasan's convenient appearance, the President's legal authority is now only dubious. That authority rests on the claim that Khorasan's is a group whose "leadership [consists] of an unrelated cell of veterans of Al Qaeda, who were said to be plotting an imminent attack against the United States or Europe."

Presto. Legal authority under AUMF is conjured up out of thin air, like the rabbit out of the hat. And who in the media would ever question the plausibility of such an apparition? And why would the American sheople ever question what they hear on the "news?"

Posted by: JohnH | Sep 24 2014 2:51 utc | 62

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Sep 23, 2014 5:10:14 PM | 46

We live in the age of secret service created ideology. Ukrainian Nazis are another manifestation.

On the foundation of VoA and Radio Liberty by Nazi emigres

“[It] abandoned the racial theories and anti-Semitism of the earlier Nazi propaganda. Liberation, in the United States’ hands, was billed as the fulfillment of America’s own revolutionary heritage of resistance to tyranny,” explained Simpson.

The ex-Nazis quickly learned that spouting out anti-Semitic tropes wasn’t appropriate if they were going to earn a living on the U.S. dime.

“Their adoption of lip service to democracy began to provide former Fascists with a platform to promote their agenda to millions of Americans, and it created a shelter, in effect, that protected them from the exposure of their Nazi pasts,” writes Simpson. “They were no longer seen as the triggermen of Nazi genocide in the public mind but, rather, as fervent anti-Communist patriots.”

Fast-forward to 1952 and “liberation” became a central prong of the Republican Party foreign policy platform and a central piece of its electoral campaigns for that election cycle. Simpson points out in his book that many of the same people promoting the agenda abroad as part of the RFE/RL “Crusade for Liberty” came home and aimed the same propaganda at the U.S. public during that campaign cycle.

Harvard Professor Joseph Nye conceptualized "soft power" in his 1990 book "Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power."Simpson believes RT, VOA and RFE/RL all fit within that mold.

"These types of initiatives are very problematic, whether it's Russia, the United States, China or whoever else because what they do is they pursue their international strategy of their sponsors in other countries. It's a global effort to shape attitudes in targeted countries," he told

Indeed, RFE/RL still champions itself today as utilizing rebranded “soft power,” now calling it “smart power.”

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Suzanne Nossel (also formerly a higher-up at Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch) rebranded it as such in a 2004 essay appearing in Foreign Policy by that namesake.

Coming full circle, Nazi Germany coined soft power’s widespread application as “weltanschauung” — German for “worldview warfare” — and better known today as psychological warfare (PSYOPs). Simpson breaks this down in a different book titled, “Science of Coercion.”

As the wielders of the term and the use of U.S. version of “weltanschauung” understood it, PSYOPs are the “scientific application of propaganda, terror, and state pressure as a means of securing an ideological victory over one's enemies,” Simpson explains in his book.

Students of history understand that — as Shakespeare once put it — “What's past is prologue” and “weltanschauung” has reared its ugly head once again in the geopolitical “Great Game” currently unfolding in the Ukraine between the U.S. and Russia.

As Simpson put it in an interview: "In this present situation, one sees a very conscious effort in propaganda to nurture a particular worldview on both sides of this geopolitical tit-for-tat — and it's a worldview favored by the dominant political, social and economic factions in each society — to be used against its rivals."

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24 2014 3:14 utc | 63

Sayyed Nasrallah sets out Hezbollah's stand on the anti - ISIL Coalition led by the US:

Posted by: Abuu Alii | Sep 24 2014 3:43 utc | 64

@somebody #63:

You dig up more illuminating Web pages from all kinds of diverse sources than anyone here, but my personal view is that you should not copy large amounts of text from those Web pages into your posts. Just a paragraph or two. If people find what you have unearthed interesting, they can follow the link. :-)

But this is just a quibble. The main thing is that you always give the link. I hate it when people don't do that.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 24 2014 3:55 utc | 65

Posted by: JohnH | Sep 23, 2014 10:51:30 PM | 62

New York Times coming out against Obama's war

The only choice Obama/US military now has is to bomb Assad back to power and subcontract the micromanaging of Middle Eastern affairs to Iran.

They know the US public won't support a sustained effort - boots on the ground - in Iraq. And that effort would have to be very sustained ie permanent, it would also be countereffective as it would keep recruiting for resistance groups.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24 2014 3:57 utc | 66

@63 thank you, very interesting

@65 it is easy enough to find by copying and pasting part of the text into Google

Posted by: guest77 | Sep 24 2014 4:17 utc | 67

As'ad AbuKhalil on the Syrian Wars of Proxy. Can't tell the proxies without a scorecard---says there's at least eight.

Posted by: ess emm | Sep 24 2014 4:30 utc | 68

@guest77 #66:

Yeah, but if you find an article to be worth sharing with other people, so that you copy paste it, why not give the link as well? There is less effort involved in giving a link than there is in doing a Google search for the source of copy-pasted text. Plus, the person sharing the article only has to give the link once. In contrast, if there is no link, any number of people may have to duplicate the same effort, doing Google searches for where the copy-pasted text came from.

A socialist will give a link. A follower of Ayn Rand won't.

Posted by: Demian | Sep 24 2014 4:31 utc | 69

sombodoy @66: The NY Times is also mystified by the appearance of Khorasan. But they missed the whole point of Khorasan's appearance being directly tied to Obama's need for a legal justification. By inserting Al-Qaeda into Syria under the guise of Khorasan, Obama can suddenly now use the AUMF, which gives him the authority to target Al-Qaeda.

Where there's a will, there's a way. And O'bomber felt that he needed to do some bombing before the November elections. And the mythical chimera of Khorasan/Al Qaeda was conjured up to suit the occasion.

My guess is that this is only the first of many magical appearances of unknown Al-Qaedas, each conveniently manifesting itself before a new bombing campaign.

Posted by: JohnH | Sep 24 2014 4:38 utc | 70

@70 I suppose it could be legal justification in Aleppo, but what about Raqqa and every other place in Syria?

"The fifty Khorasan fighters were in fifty different Syrian towns" --- Barack Obama, probably.

Posted by: ess emm | Sep 24 2014 4:57 utc | 71

Posted by: Demian | Sep 23, 2014 11:55:28 PM | 65

:-)) It is helping MoA in google search.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24 2014 5:25 utc | 72

Here is a link to RT for the Pentagon's commercial message re their latest weapon 'platform'.

Posted by: carlos | Sep 24 2014 5:48 utc | 73

@64 Abuu Alii.. thanks - to summarize from your link -

"Hezbollah Secretary General stated that the party is against ISIL and all the takfiri groups, yet he asserted that he (Hezbollah) has also a principled position against the US military intervention.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the US is not morally qualified to lead an anti-terrorism coalition because it is the mother of terrorism as it supports the terrorist entity (the Israeli entity) and it has participated in establishing the terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq and in other countries.

Sayyed Nasrallah considered that this international coalition was created to protect the US interests at the expense of those of the Arabs and their governments, noting that such a coalition is a pretext for a foreign intervention in our region.

"Lebanon must not be part of this US-led international coalition because it endangers its interests."

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that those who want to support Lebanon can do so through three points -- cutting off the financing of terrorism; halting the training, arming and dispatch of fighters to Lebanon; speeding up support to the army; and helping Lebanon resolve the refugee crisis."

Posted by: james | Sep 24 2014 6:23 utc | 74

Islamic State (IS) Is Fully Active In Turkey

Quite interesting interview and discussion on Dutch news yesterday with Zaman editor Mehmet Cerit and a scholar Michael Leezenberg. IS has numerous terror sleeper cells in metropolitan areas of Istanbul and Ankara. IS enjoys a large backing in the slums, the poorest people. IS has freedom to promote its cause, operate mosques with their religious leaders and recruit fighters which could freely cross the border with Syria. In Turkey, many wounded ISIL fighters are treated for severe injuries before returning to the battlefield.

As NATO partner, Turkey has become an unreliable member in the fight with the Islamic State. In addition, Turkey used the ISIL fighters to push back the PKK fighters in Syrian Kurdistan. The Kurds had complained ISIL fighters used the border with Turkey as refuge, to appear again in another location for an ambush.

Posted by: Oui | Sep 24 2014 6:31 utc | 75

Before Egypt's president Morsi fell from power, Turkey was riding high as example for the states in the Arab Spring …

Sultan Erdogan of the Emirate of Turkey

The Syrian crisis further exposed the sectarian rhetoric. Turkish officials began to call the Syrian Alawites "Nusayri," to distinguish them from Turkey's Arab Alawites, and they persistently described Damascus as a "Nusayri minority regime," framing support from Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah to Syria as "Shiite solidarity."

Read on ...
Qatar-Iraq-Turkey-Europe natural gas pipeline: from dreams to reality

Posted by: Oui | Sep 24 2014 6:31 utc | 76

ISIS Draws a Steady Stream of Recruits From Turkey

NY Times article about support in Turkey for the ISIS and Islamic State raised some eyebrows and commotion in the circles of Erdogan. Do remember, the overthrow of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood was a slap in the face [or worse] for Erdogan personally and lighting path of Islam from Ankara. More media signal the reluctance of NATO partner Turkey to join the coalition against IS and al-Nusra extremists

MB Axis Egypt - Turkey - Qatar Faces Defeat

Posted by: Oui | Sep 24 2014 6:33 utc | 78


Great stuff!

Posted by: Oui | Sep 24 2014 10:04 utc | 81

ISIS began fighting Kurdistan security in October, last year.

The Turkish government has - not yet - designed them as terrorist group. Saudi Arabia did in March - and a lot of other foes including Al Nusra

Turkey designed Al Nusra as terrorist group in June, this year, supposedly after US pressure.

What does this tell us.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 24 2014 10:24 utc | 82

here's what US said to Syria: we have radar fire and forget missiles if you illuminate us you die

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Sep 24 2014 10:40 utc | 83


Thats 4 things...

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Sep 24 2014 10:44 utc | 84


Jeebus, can you not recognize ZNYT PSYOP by now?!

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Sep 24 2014 10:48 utc | 85

The U.S. attack on the IS in Syria will, as the NYT headlines express, have as little effect as such attacks have in Iraq. Without coordinating air attacks with a capable, available ground force like the Syrian army such strikes on IS will make no conceivable difference.


How predictable. You people were never against Western imperialist intervention, only one that would target Bashar al-Assad. For 3 years you have been running your mouth about how the USA was using jihadists to prepare the way for "regime change" in Syria. Does it matter to you that you were so badly mistaken? Probably not. That is the occupational hazard of writing propaganda.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Sep 24 2014 12:54 utc | 86

@86, very interesting LP. Now perhaps you can explain how a complete tool gets to post articles on Counterpunch.

Posted by: ruralito | Sep 24 2014 14:08 utc | 87

Warmongering and lying black faggot this President Redline is. Faked video beheadings are such a great reason to go to war, aren't they?
Gotta get that Qatar pipeline going through Syrian territory to undercut Russian gas to EU.
Everything else is a bullshit smokescreen.

Posted by: Farflungstar | Sep 24 2014 14:53 utc | 88

IS positions along the Turkish border where bombed today. So I guess the price Turkey paid to get their people back wasn't that high... People who saw the bombing said the planes came from Turkish airspace.

Posted by: Bill Smith | Sep 24 2014 15:08 utc | 89

Not.the.Onion: Current NYT

In U.N., Obama Lays Out Plan for Larger U.S. Role in Mideast By MARK LANDLER 25 minutes ago President Obama offered a forceful new blueprint on Wednesday for deeper American engagement in the Middle East, telling the United Nations General Assembly that the Islamic State understood only “the language of force.”

Seriously WTF.
And midterm around the corner ...
Is this theater of the absurd?

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Sep 24 2014 15:14 utc | 90

Syrian rebels angry that strikes hit al Qaida ally but not Assad
By Roy Gutman and Mousab Alhamadee
McClatchy Foreign StaffSeptember 23, 2014

Read more here:

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 24 2014 17:11 utc | 91

Louis Proyect and other former Trotskyist cast-offs are frustrated because they expended their live on behalf of a leftist cause that has gone nowhere.

In his twilight years, Proyect et al. now devote themselves to supporting non-leftist opposition groups because there's no working class movements to support.

Why? Because with the passing of the baby boomer generation from active political life the Marxist parties in the West and internationally are entering their terminal phase. Their final hurrah was the 2003 international protests against the invasion of Iraq. In 2014 they're too old and too jaded to muster such an effort, and younger generations do not have the history or organizational acumen to make it happen. Hence the Marxist left is kaput.

Meanwhile, they've dropped the Latin American anti-imperialist nations, Venezuela, Boliva, and Ecuador, like a hot potato. A decade ago we couldn't hear enough about Hugo Chavez. The Bolivarian regime hasn't gone anywhere - it's just no longer exciting enough for the likes of Commandante Proyect.

Posted by: Cahokia | Sep 24 2014 17:45 utc | 92

Well, Cahokia, I was in San Fransico the weekend before HW launched his invasion of Iraq in 1991. We shut the city DOWN, nothing moved. About 300,000 people. When I got back to OK I asked Tom Fredgren if he saw the march in SF? Nope, it was not on any MSM. That's when I realized policy elites were controlling the narrative by ignoring mass movements. That's one of the main reasons the baby boomers have quit the fight. We all realized it's futile. The events of the last 20 years have confirmed it. Millions marched in US and UK to stop W's invasion of Iraq. Didn't make any difference.

Militarization of police it going to make the "police state" complete.

Posted by: okie farmer | Sep 24 2014 18:14 utc | 93

@brian - stop these one-liner comments.

Collect your thoughts and put them into ONE comment.

Otherwise ...

Posted by: b | Sep 24 2014 18:54 utc | 94

Posted by: b | Sep 24, 2014 2:54:03 PM | 94

i will post as i please 'b'...please dont try to behave like a dictator. it makes you look like the MSM

Posted by: brian | Sep 24 2014 22:04 utc | 95

Posted by: Chip Nihk | Sep 24, 2014 6:44:26 AM | 84

be careful or one liners
will get you banned! by b

Posted by: brian | Sep 24 2014 22:05 utc | 96

B must really hate twitter,
where brevity is a virtue

Posted by: brian | Sep 24 2014 22:06 utc | 97

strange B-haviour

lying at length is OK (witness Cold)
telling a truth briefly is punishable

Posted by: brian | Sep 24 2014 22:25 utc | 98


You, we, are all guests in the home of one of the most gracious hosts that I have ever encountered; along with a host of other attributes and virtues. Plain good manners would suggest you honor him and desist from being a smart-ass and abide by his requests. I sincerely hope you follow this corse of behavior.


Posted by: juannie | Sep 24 2014 23:39 utc | 99

there were landings in Syria under Eisenhower I believe.
the benighted Lebanon incursions caused Reagan to withdraw
guess he still thought he was president

Posted by: Jay M | Sep 25 2014 0:47 utc | 100

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