Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 15, 2014

The New "Regime Change" Plan - Attack Damascus From The South

There are serious active preparations for a new attack on Damascus. Anti-government forces, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, have been trained and equipped in Jordan and are now moving into their starting position in Quneitra governate in south-west Syria. (A similar plan in spring 2013 was only partially executed and later aborted,)

Quneitra governate is a strip next to the Israel occupied Golan heights with a southern border to Jordan and a north western border with Lebanon.


The anti-government forces cooperating for this operation are the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF), which is backed by the United States, assisted by the Islamic Front, backed by Saudi Arabia, and al-Qaeda's Jabhat al-Nusrah which just received some $20 million from Qatar. These forces infiltrated from Jordan through Daara and then up north-westward along the border with Israel. This movement, during which some UN observers were kidnapped by these forces, was supported by Israeli artillery strikes against Syrian units that tried to prevent it. The sole border station between Israel and Syria is now in the hands of the anti-government forces. The Israeli military is also providing medical support to these anti-government forces. The UN has pulled out all peacekeepers from the Syrian side of the Golan height demarcation line.

The anti-government forces now control a 40 miles (70km) long, three miles (5km) wide strip from Jordan along the Golan frontier up to Lebanon. This strip can be used to infiltrate into Hizbullah territory in south Lebanon but its main purpose is likely an attack on Damascus from the south. The Syrian military would have great difficulties to dislodge the anti-government forces from this strip as it is covered by Israeli anti-air and artillery fire.

There are rumors that Jabhat al-Nusra is leaving positions it has been holding in Hama governate in north Syria. It's groups are pulling back into Turkey to be transferred to Jordan and then as reinforcements into Quneitra.

The rather empty Quneitra area makes little sense to conquer except to be used as a launching pad for an attack from the south towards Damascus. The distance to the capital is only some 40 miles (60km). While two Syrian army divisions are stationed between Quneitra governate and Damascus coordinated air attacks against them could open and secure a route from Quneitra governate into the capital. Recent truce agreements between the U.S. supported Syrian Revolutionary Front and ISIS in the area south of Damascus may have been concluded with these attack plans in mind.

The U.S. military in the joint Arab-American operations room for the Syrian insurgency in Amman Jordan may well plan to use the murky new "war on ISIS" as pretext for attacks on the Syrian army divisions protecting Damascus from the south. Coordinated with a ground attack by Jabhat al-Nusra and others from Quneitra such air attacks would seriously degrade the Syrian forces and enable a destructive push into Damascus.

(update) Obama already announced the escalation path for such air attacks:

He made clear the intricacy of the situation, though, as he contemplated the possibility that Mr. Assad might order his forces to fire at American planes entering Syrian airspace. If he dared to do that, Mr. Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria’s air defense system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS because its locations are better known. He went on to say that such an action by Mr. Assad would lead to his overthrow, according to one account.

The stampede to attack ISIS may have been pure maskirovka to hide this violent regime change attack plan against Syria under some "anti-terrorism" label. This at the same time as the plan is coordinated with and actively supported by Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, and made possible through truce agreements with ISIS.

Posted by b on September 15, 2014 at 15:42 UTC | Permalink

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And here is the other part :-))

Rebels on Syria’s southern front ‘closer to the doorstep of Damascus’

AMMAN // Western and Arab military advisers based in Amman have quietly stepped up their role on Syria’s southern front, helping win recent advances for opposition factions.

After weeks of heavy fighting, rebel groups announced the seizure of 80 per cent of Qunietra province on Saturday, including areas along the border with Israel. The territory could prove to be a key link between opposition forces in the south and those fighting in and around the Syrian capital.

Qunietra borders the south-west side of rural Damascus and rebel commanders say they will now be able to work on establishing a reliable supply chain to besieged opposition units in districts on the western and southern sides of the capital, areas that have been largely cut off by regime troops since last summer.


These changes are not part of the latest US-led diplomatic push to build a coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after the beheading of two US journalists this month, rebels said. Instead, they have been gradually unfolding over the last three months.

This timing coincides with the rapid rise of Jabhat Al Nusra, an Al Qaeda affiliate, on the southern front.

In May, Al Nusra captured Colonel Ahmed Nehmeh, a prominent and controversial commander in the moderate western- and Arab-backed rebel coalition, embarrassing and alarming his international supporters.

Bolstered by an increase in fighters and funding, Al Nusra, once considered a bit-player in southern Syria, suddenly seemed poised to become its most influential actor.

That prospect appears to have galvanised the western and Arab states involved with the southern front into more concerted action designed to better organise moderate factions.


There are also signs of a more coordinated effort between international supporters of the opposition, a rebel commander with links to the MOC said, with countries scaling back their independent supply channels to rebels and working more closely together.

“There is increased cooperation between the countries supporting Syria and increased cooperation among rebel factions. There are also promises of quality weapons, and of increased amounts or weaponry, although we have not seen deliveries yet,” said a second rebel field commander.

In addition, senior rebels described the MOC as redoubling its efforts to establish contact with various factions, excluding extremists such as Al Nusra, trying to forge closer ties with them and to persuade them to remain in the moderate camp.

Now, who is facing Israel in Qneitra, al Nusra, ISIS or "moderate rebels"? What was this thing about the UN peacekeepers and the demand to put Al Nusra off the terrorism list?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16 2014 21:49 utc | 101

Posted by: somebody | Sep 16, 2014 12:36:04 PM | 91


Posted by: brian | Sep 17 2014 1:36 utc | 102

to outraged @ 71 --

I agree with really @ 78, well said.

Back folks into a corner, they'll fight, even or perhaps if the odds don't seem good. You can't use force to ensure compliance indefinitely, what goes around comes around.

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 17 2014 3:47 utc | 103

oops, correcting myself at 103 "eve or perhaps especially if the odds don't seem good."

Posted by: rufus magister | Sep 17 2014 3:50 utc | 104

Syrian amabassador to UN

Israel Helping Golan Rebels, 'Playing with Fire'

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 5:19 utc | 105

From the above link to an Israeli site

In essence, Syria appears to be alleging that Israel, Jordan, and Qatar and the United Nations are conspiring to enable Israel, in Amb. Ja’afari’s words, “to fight a war of attrition against Syrian forces,” similar to that which Israel fought against Lebanon during the 90’s.

I guess Israel might have second thoughts.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 5:42 utc | 106

This here is vice news

The UN reports the IDF has quietly made contact with Islamists groups, meeting them at points along the extremely narrow southern portion of the disengagement zones - where the two lines are but a few hundred meters apart - to exchange wounded and convalescent individuals.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 6:00 utc | 107

And now Fox News quotes an American Zionist blaming Qatar

“The Qataris have clearly indicated that they don’t mind Islamic radicals running rampant over neighboring countries,” Weinberg said. “Formally they are part of the anti-Islamic State coalition, but they are among the actors most responsible for radical Islamists becoming the most dominant element of the Syrian opposition.”

Israeli leaders have long called out Qatar as a prime sponsor of international terrorism and asked Western governments to take appropriate action, something that has not yet happened due to, according to some experts, Qatar’s now far-reaching influence on international business and the world of finance. But its shadowy relations with Sunni terror groups around the world are hard to square with its claims to be a broker of peace.

“Qatar has leverage with Al Nusra, which has been designated a terror group by the U.S., and other hard-line Islamist rebel factions in Syria because of the military and financial aid Doha provided to many of these groups,” the Abu Dhabi-based The National reported last month. “Qatar is reported to have cut off much of this assistance after demands by Washington. Yet, Qatar’s history in Syria and close ties to Islamist political and militant groups across the Muslim world has left Doha vulnerable to a chorus of accusations that it directly or indirectly funds the Islamic State.”

Weinberg charged that Qatar is working to undermine the U.S. on another front, as well. The oil-rich nation owns Al Jazeera, and the news network is relentless in its criticism of U.S. ambitions for energy independence, Weinberg notes. Basing its opposition to fracking in the U.S. on environmental concerns is phony, given Qatar's dominance in the fossil fuel arena, he said.

“Qatar has spent at least half a billion dollars launching the Al Jazeera network here in the U.S. which is virulently opposed to American energy independence,” Weinberg said. “To see the Qataris funding an outlet that is obviously expressing disingenuous concern on their part about greenhouse gasses and global warming, when Qatar is the world’s No.1 liquid natural gas exporter and the No.1 source per capita of greenhouse gases, is clearly a foreign policy power bite.”

oh yeah. pop corn please.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 6:09 utc | 108

@105, the speech to the un from the syrian ambassador says a lot.. thanks for pointing that out.

Posted by: james | Sep 17 2014 6:25 utc | 109

More pop corn. The people trained by "the West" to threaten Assad happen to be Palestinian.

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs - The Ties Between the Nusra Front – the Syrian al Qaeda Affiliate – and Hamas

With the news that the terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra (al Nusra Front)1 is one of the organizations that took control of the Kuneitra Crossing on the Golan Heights on August 27, 2014, attention should be paid to the close ties between al-Nusra and Hamas, specifically the role played by Khaled Mashaal in establishing and directing the terror groups.

And there is a new Iran axis

Israel charges Iran, Qatar, Turkey renewing aid to Hamas: ‘Where is the world?’

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 6:35 utc | 110

More new Iran axis Iran Qatar plan joint free trade zone

From last year: US will up support for Syria rebels

US president speaks with emir of Qatar, another backer of Syrian opposition, during latter’s visit to the White House

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 6:55 utc | 111

@ 111.

The Iranians are beginning to look (almost) as smart as Russians.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 17 2014 7:37 utc | 112

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 17, 2014 3:37:28 AM | 112

They are in place to be the mediator in Syria.

There is also this Pepe Escobar - energy ballet

So in a sense the Supreme Leader has it all covered. If Rouhani shines and there is a final nuclear deal, the economic scenario will vastly improve, especially via massive European investment. If Washington scotches the deal over pressure from the usual lobbies, Tehran can always say it exercised all of its “heroic flexibility,” and move on – as in closer and closer integration with both Russia and China.

And of course this

SAUDI Arabia is turning to its biggest crude oil customer, China, for help in developing domestic nuclear and renewable power as the oil-rich kingdom seeks to diversify its own energy base.

Saudi Arabia may spend up to $US80 billion on nuclear power plants and $US100 billion on solar power projects between now and 2032, making the country’s energy sector one of the biggest investment opportunities in the world.

Under an agreement signed in Beijing last week), state-owned Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Saudi Arabia’s energy research centre, known as the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K. A. CARE) agreed to cooperate on developing and producing nuclear and renewable energy to meet Saudi domestic demand.

The arrangement will build on a nuclear cooperation agreement reached by the two countries in 2012.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 8:02 utc | 113

plus 112

They have been renowned for strategy since 480 BC. Russia learnt it from Prussia doing Clausewitz. Does not come close.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 8:11 utc | 114

It was only 12 months ago that Obama tried and failed to create the political conditions for US air strikes against the Assad regime, making allegations of the use of nerve gas weapons that were later discredited. Now Obama is seeking to achieve the same goal by a different route, using ISIS as a pretext to get American military forces into Syria, where they will become the spearhead of the campaign to oust Assad and install a pro-US stooge regime in Damascus.”" - See more at:

Posted by: Tom Murphy | Sep 17 2014 9:03 utc | 115

A deal has been struck: autonomy for South Eastern Ukraine for a piece of Syria and autonomy for the Kurds. UK/US can't wait to get some return on the heavy investments they've made in Iraqi Kurdistan.
And if by any chance the Syrian gov would disagree with the new Sykes-Picot, he has a few oil fields to lose around Deir al Zor.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 17 2014 9:07 utc | 116

Posted by: Mina | Sep 17, 2014 5:07:47 AM | 116

I doubt it. Russia would not be interested in this type of deal. They are negotiating for a European Russian integration that respects their interests and their security concerns.
Kurdish independence would upset Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, which would be/is a huge unifying factor much like IS is a unifying factor now.

Barzani went to Turkey to discuss it and did not cut any ice it seems

After Rouhani's recent visit to Ankara, comments by a senior Iranian official that Turkey and Iran share a “strategic horizon” about a Kurdistan state in the region attracted attention.

“US President Barack Obama is against the division of Iraq and the emergence of an independent Kurdish state," wrote Yavuz Baydar in Today's Zaman. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for African and Middle Eastern Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian claimed July 14 that the division of Iraq is an Israeli plan that Iran will never allow to happen. Abdollahian also said that Tehran and Ankara are on the same page strategically with regard to an independent Kurdish state in the region.


On July 12, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the umbrella group of the PKK and its affiliates, issued a strong warning to Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Firat News Agency reported that it read, “The AKP must abandon its 'three monkeys' policies. The settlement process in [Turkey's predominantly Kurdish] north and support of IS in Rojava [northern Syria’s Kurdish area] cannot go together. The AKP should either support IS or respect the spirit of the peace process. Otherwise, the spillover of the revolution from Rojava to the north or vice versa will be inevitable. No force will be able to stop this.”

The KCK and PKK resorted to reasoning that could best be treated as a conspiracy theory that supports a direct connection between the Erdogan government and IS. According to Firat, the warning added, “IS gangs are crossing the Iraq-Turkey borders and attacking our people. There is a sinister and dangerous plan in the works. IS has made a deal with the AKP state. Seizing Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) and wiping out the Rojava revolution is the joint strategy of both sides. The basis of such an accord is the release of Turkish consulate personnel. … The attack against the Rojava revolution and Kobani is organized by the AKP state.”

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 9:55 utc | 117

just change "independent" with "within a federated iraq",
you think they've organized school curriculums for christians in their own chaldean/syriac language and attracted all the people who didn't want to find refuge in syria or jordan for the latest decade to no avail?

Posted by: Mina | Sep 17 2014 10:33 utc | 118

Posted by: Mina | Sep 17, 2014 6:33:17 AM | 118

Iraq already is a federation, Germany by the way, too, there is nothing terrible about it.

The conflict, I understand, is local control of oil resources.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 10:43 utc | 119

Western nihilism remains the best recruitment factor for IS and others

Posted by: Mina | Sep 17 2014 11:47 utc | 120

Notes of the Obama - Erdogan meeting revealed

Good explainer of ISIS and Erdogan's policies.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 17 2014 12:11 utc | 121

"Lest we forget, from the outset of the war on Syria in March 2011, the US and its allies supported so-called “Freedom fighters” largely composed of the Al Nusrah and ISIS brigades. Trained in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, these pro-democracy terrorists were routinely involved in atrocities including beheadings directed against Syrian civilians."
Read more:

Posted by: Kathryn | Sep 19 2014 20:15 utc | 122

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