Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 03, 2014

Israel Lobby Supports Jabhat Al-Nusra, Insurgents In Aleppo Surrounded

Israel gives cover and opened a corridor for Jabhat al-Nusra along the Golan height demarcation line to reach south Lebanon and the southern approaches to Damascus.

There seems to be no concern in Tel Aviv that one day Jabhat al-Nusra could turn against Israel too. That is somewhat astonishing as both Hizbullah and Hamas started with Israeli support as counterweights to the Palestinian Liberation Organization only to later become the most capable foes of the Israeli occupation forces. One might have thought that Israeli strategists had learned from such foolishness.

But obviously they have not and now their lobby in the United States, here in form of the Washington Institute, supports that dumb policy by calling for further support for the Al-Qaida affiliate:

The risk of empowering an al Qaida affiliate is a small price to pay for Nusra’s contributions on the battlefield, said Jeffrey White, a former senior Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who’s now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank.

But while the White House Syria policy is foolish enough to continue its feud against the Syrian president Assad it is unlikely to give direct support, silently or openly, to a designated part of Al-Qaeda.

That would be of no help anyway. Jabhat al-Nusra recently lost several hundred of its fighters. These left their positions in Idleb and Aleppo and went to Raqqa in east Syria to join the Islamic State. This again enabled the Syrian army to regain control over several villages east of Damascus and to now close the ring around the insurgency held parts of Aleppo. Cut off from resupply and under constant bombardment those parts will likely fall within a few weeks.

Posted by b on October 3, 2014 at 13:11 UTC | Permalink


"it is unlikely to give direct support, silently or openly, to a designated part of Al-Qaeda."

Seriously? You really believe this assertion? One would have to simply ignore decades of consistent history... including most everything else referred to in this very post to reach such a conclusion. I mean let us just start with the very beginning of al Q.... the U.S. created and funded them in Afghanistan from the get-go. Names may change, but the game hasn't. Multiple names and herding them around like cats doesn't either.

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Oct 3 2014 13:43 utc | 1

None of this is accidental. It's all part of the Yinon plan to balkanize the Middle East.

As for Israel creating its own enemies, that's a feature not a bug. Israel needs enemies to justify its racialist political system.

Posted by: Cahokia | Oct 3 2014 13:59 utc | 2

I guess, Israeli thinking goes what is good against Iran is good for us. They are all attack without having their defense covered. It all hinges on the assumption that Islamic State and Hezbollah are incapable to unite.

There it is

Khamenei Calls for Muslim Unity for Israel's 'Annihilation'

Iranian supreme leader uses annual Hajj pilgrimage message to insult Israel and call for support for Hamas. "The conspiring enemy is aiming to stoke the fire of a civil strife among Muslims, to misdirect the motivation for resistance and jihad and to secure the Zionist regime and the servants of Arrogance (America - ed.) – who are the real enemies," said Khamenei referencing the bloody conflicts rocking the Muslim world.

Calling for Muslim unity against Israel, the same Friday that Arab MK Ibrahim Sarsour (Ra'am-Ta'al) called for the establishment of the "United Islamic States" and bashed Israel as being "crueler than ISIS (Islamic State)."

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2014 14:06 utc | 3

"it is unlikely to give direct support, silently or openly, to a designated part of Al-Qaeda.", Seriously ?

As for Israel creating it future enemy , its good for business.

I always think , So what Hezbollah , Hamas or some future enemy kills few Israeli or few american, The elite 1% need get to lose anything ... Its only the programmed drones that live in these countries like US , Israel that always seems to get affected.

Posted by: Nini | Oct 3 2014 14:21 utc | 4

This here is the Iranian version of what Khamenei said

Leader: ISIL Created by West to Split Muslims

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2014 14:28 utc | 5

From Yemen

Saudi Arabia has preferred the pact between Iran, Hezbollah and the Houthis over the continuation of the presence and power of the Muslim Brotherhood and has allowed the Houthis’ advance and ultimately capture of Sana’a. Is this viewpoint in line with the reality of the political scene in Yemen?

- From the beginning, no strong and strategic role was seen for Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Saudi Arabia insisted from the beginning of its entrance into Yemen that the Security Council issue a resolution. At the same time, it attempted to internationalize the situation in Yemen. But this was not to the benefit of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and even other Persian Gulf Littoral States. Saudi Arabia has realized that the leadership plan of the Persian Gulf States has not succeeded in Yemen. This analysis that Saudi Arabia should use the Houthis and Ansarullah to fight the Muslim Brotherhood is also illogical. The reason is that with the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis in Yemen, the Houthis can interact with all the political groups in order to achieve unity and meet the demands of the people. Therefore, the future of Yemen will be to the benefit of the Houthis and Ansarullah and not to the benefit of Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2014 14:32 utc | 6


And do you agree with what he's saying, that ISIL was created by the West to sow division among Muslims or not ?

Posted by: ATH | Oct 3 2014 14:42 utc | 7

But while the White House Syria policy is foolish enough to continue its feud against the Syrian president Assad it is unlikely to give direct support, silently or openly, to a designated part of Al-Qaeda.

But of course the US has supported Islamic fighters, who then became more radical, for a very long time, and the idea of "al-Qaeda" is itself suspect.
NATO and CIA Support Al Qaeda Terrorists in Syria

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2014 14:46 utc | 8

Khamenei is onto the US divide-and-conquer strategy, which I wrote about here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2014 14:49 utc | 9

@ 9,

Yes Khamenei and Iran figured out that strategy ages ago. But I'm waiting for some influential Sunnis to figure it out and start saying so publicly.

Posted by: Lysander | Oct 3 2014 16:08 utc | 11

creating a mosquito bed so that you can spray it with chemicals is about the size of it.. if israel was a chemical company they would be in business.. as it is these countries are all into the military industrial complex.. making ISIS or whatever lunatic brand of nuts to create war is what these countries do.. they figure they have the means of getting rid of them too while supporting their main industry..

speaking of which, is saudi arabia even a country? my impression is it is a group of old men completely at odds with the people of the region.. either that or they are down with the wahhabi slant.. they had a lock hold on head chopping until ISIS came along.. now they have some competition i guess.. if you get rid of the head choppers, you have to do away with this fiction called saudi arabia..

Posted by: james | Oct 3 2014 16:44 utc | 12

Funny, isn't it, that Al-Nusra call for jihadists around the world to strike against the global alliance opposing the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. But not, it would seem, along the border with Israel where they're settled in nicely.

@Don #8
Divide and conquer? No need to conquer. It's division that is causing Syria to bleed; blood that the US military machine now intends to feast on for "years". Conquering suggests an exit strategy.

Anyway, back on Turkey. It's a convenient convergence of IS and apparently millions of Kurdish refugees in Kobani, aka Ayn al Arab, and its proximity to the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, isn't it?

Look at a map. Unlike any other crossing along the 900km border between Turkey and Syria, a supposed refugee crisis has erupted at a point which is a straight drive to the tomb.

And the entire incident leads us back to March 2014, when the Turkish Government temporarily blocked Youtube because an audio recording was leaked detailing conversations involving the Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (now prime minister) hatching some scheme where the alleged encirclement by IS of the tomb and a few staged "regime" missiles into Turkey would be used to justify military intervention.

Soon, Syria will be so ingrained with special ops from the so called "coalition of the willing" pouring over the Iraqi and Turkish border that there will be no need for military intervention per se. Even the Aussies have now pitched in with their special boots. Useful, especially when you're looking to enforce a no-fly zone from the ground to protect a rebel army.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Oct 3 2014 16:49 utc | 13

pat - and some folks have the audacity to suggest this isn't about regime change..

Posted by: james | Oct 3 2014 17:19 utc | 14

It seemed last winter that the Syrian Army was on the verge of capturing all of Aleppo. Then their offensive just stopped. I have not seen an explanation for that development.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 3 2014 17:19 utc | 15

Posted by: Lysander | Oct 3, 2014 12:08:32 PM | 11

Very likely they need the divide and rule to remain in power. They would have to get rid of their patron first, too, there go the security guaranties.

I guess Khamenei was talking to the "Arab Street".

Posted by: somebody | Oct 3 2014 17:47 utc | 16

OT about Ukraine, no recent thread so posting here:

Russia is breaking Novorossia's hands to enforce very humiliating ceasefire conditions (links with lots of current info right from the sources, if you read Russian). I'm actually surprised, I was always saying Russia cares about its interests first and foremost, but thought they cant just openly sacrifice Novorossia. I was wrong, the backstabbing I see now is the worst since Iranians felt it on their skin. Russia despite its tough public rhetoric is literally kneeling behind the curtains trying to avoid sanctions and confrontation. Sure, 100% betrayal is impossible for multiple reasons, but it seems Novorossia might be getting 80% of that or so. Sad days indeed.

Saker keeps trying to rationalize Russia's behavior, and with the pretty sad info coming in during last few days (links bellow) its quite a travesty to hear "ceasefire was signed just about at the perfect time for NAF", its 100% ridiculous.

Its ironic Saker is the same as those "Putin bashers" whom he so despises, he is just the other side of the same coin - Saker keeps defending Russia's interests (which lately often goes against Novorossia's). Ironic fact is, "sliv" (betrayal) theory proponents actually are closer to the truth than Russia's apologists.

P.S. I do support Russia in general, but its bending-over trying to avoid sanctions at any cost (including pretty much sacrificing Novorossia) is getting extreme lately, its rather sad.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 3 2014 17:48 utc | 17

Links doesnt go through, delete spaces:



Posted by: Harry | Oct 3 2014 17:50 utc | 18

@17- your posting these comments here because you're banned/deleted by saker is rather lame. Why don't you put a sock in it?

Posted by: Nana2007 | Oct 3 2014 18:11 utc | 19

Harry @17 - nice concern trolling.

Posted by: Anon E Mouse | Oct 3 2014 18:13 utc | 20

This is doubly ironic, given Netanyahu's recent speech at the U.N.

Posted by: Edward | Oct 3 2014 19:15 utc | 21

The Pentagon has yet to come up with a catchy name for its ongoing unsuccessful bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq. The 'placeholder' name is Operation Inherent Resolve but they don't like it. It doesn't have the selling power of Operation Odyssey Dawn (Libya), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan and other GWOT) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq 2.0). Operation Inherent Resolve? “It is just kind of bleh,” said a military officer according to msn news.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2014 19:19 utc | 22

@22 Operation Whackamole?

Posted by: dh | Oct 3 2014 19:33 utc | 23

@23 -- Operation Whackamole?
That's good. The State Department has been playing Whackamole with ISIS's social media, shutting them down on one site and then ISIS goes to another. According to CBS News:

The State Department is fighting back. Over the last few months, it has ramped up efforts to combat the extremists' messaging, in part by creating Twitter and YouTube accounts of its own. One video is called "Welcome to the Islamic State Land."

So the State Dept. could also set up its own fighting force to go with that! --Waitaminnit, it already has.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2014 19:49 utc | 24

@15 ToivoS

The autumn offensive in 2013 ended with the army in the Aleppo 'suburbs' so to say. They went on to capture Idlib and a broad region to the west of Aleppo. The city remained in rebel hands.

Posted by: Crest | Oct 3 2014 20:20 utc | 25

The GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb dropped by F-15E is the most widely used weapon so far in Iraq-Syria. It sprouts wings after its release and glides to its target which might be fifty miles away. It has a penetration warhead, good for penetrating 3 feet of reinforced concrete, with circle area of probability (50%) of 5-8 meters according to the government.

Being a stand-off weapon used in Syria probably reduces the need to coordinate with Damascus for a bomb run.

The USAF F-15E aircraft probably originates in Qatar, Al Udeid Air Base. Take a flight in an F-15 Strike Eagle here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2014 20:56 utc | 26

Each new piece of information supports the theory that The Yinon Plan is the Plan.

The US, NATO, Great Britain, Israel and their lapdogs are not interested in "fighting terror". Regime Change plus remaking the ME in the image of Israel is the objective.

According to the founding father of Zionism Theodore Herzl, “the area of the Jewish State stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.” According to Rabbi Fischmann, “The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon.”

Posted by: Fast Freddy | Oct 3 2014 21:09 utc | 27

Assad takes Aleppo while ISIS takes -- Baghdad? Could it be?

Islamic State militants have taken control of key cities in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and have begun to besiege one of the country’s largest military bases in a weeklong offensive that’s brought them within artillery range of Baghdad.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2014 22:45 utc | 28

One of the problems with not having a name for -- SyrIr? IrSyr? -- is that the Pentagon can't strike and issue medals for the participants. Maybe that's why a majority of the troops don't wish to go?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2014 22:49 utc | 29

@ 29
I wondered why ISIS was messing with a border town.
It could be that it was meant to draw off US air assets while ISIS had more important business.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 3 2014 23:05 utc | 30

More OT. Sorry Harry, disagree about the Ukraine. This is the perfect time to create a ceasefire. And the Russians, having a more strategic and objective viewpoint have picked it right. There are several reasons for this of course but a quick summary:

It stopped the Novorossians from over reaching themselves through the dreaded 'victory disease'. Despite their wins they are a small and relatively weak force, they cannot afford a big loss anywhere. And if they ever suffered such the Ukrainian Govt, which in the end has greater resources to draw on, would never compromise.

Wars, especially civil wars can take on a momentum of their own. The anger and bitterness can grow so great that a peace settlement can become impossible until one wins totally or both sides become totally exhausted, this could take years.

The shock (to everyone) of the Novorossian forces' massive victories created a climate where the Ukrainian Govt backs off in shock and are prepared to compromise. But these sort of emotional shocks are short term. Given more time and more fighting it would start to wear off and the Ukrainian Govt would dig in.

It snookers the EU and US (at least temporarily).

So, 'big picture' it was the right thing to do at the right time for the Novorossians and everyone else, including Russia of course.

Posted by: OldSkeptic | Oct 3 2014 23:06 utc | 31

If this thread is segueing into Ukraine let me add my 2 cents. The ceasefire last month was a major victory for the people of Donbas and their militias. The Poroshenko government basically conceded their sovereignty over large parts of Lughansk and Donetsk. The Donbas people gained recognition (de facto if not formally) of their autonomy. Whatever political settlement gets worked out (without more all out war) the central Kiev government will not be able to station regular army formations in that region. The Novorussians will have the right to engage in trade agreements with Russia to the exclusion of the Kiev regime. That has to be considered a major victory.

Of course, it would have been nice if Novorussia included Mariupol and Odessa but it seems clear that the militias simply did not have the offensive capacity to take those cities. The people there will just have to suffer under neo-Nazi rule for the immediate future. It is hard to imagine that the right sector thugs will give up their control over internal "security" any time soon.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 3 2014 23:42 utc | 32

@OldSkeptic #32, ToivoS #34:

I agree with both of you. As for Harry, I don't trust anyone who writes "I do support Russia in general". That reeks of concern trolling. I follow Colonel Cassad closely, and he does not think that Russia has betrayed Novorossiya, or that the ceasefire is "very humiliating" to the rebels. (Of course, he would have preferred for Moscow not to stop the fighting.)

I will repeat what I posted in the open thread:

Europe, NATO (re)engage Russia

In sum, the ice will break in the standoff between Russia and the European Union. Simply put, European leaders are directly engaging Putin. Now, the countdown may be beginning for the rollback of the EU’s sanctions against Russia.
Of course, the German-Russian relationship is making all this possible, as Putin noted in his meaningful congratulatory message to Merkel on the German Unity Day.
If a ceasefire wasn't called, there would have been no reengagement. And it is harder for Russia to help Novorossiya if it is facing major pressure from the West. That whole piece is worth reading, btw.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 3 2014 23:59 utc | 33

i agree with @32 and 34 also, but it always gets my shackles up when someone accuses someone else of trolling.. but that's just me.. people can say what they want to say. labeling someone a troll might be valid, but unproductive regardless.

Posted by: james | Oct 4 2014 2:47 utc | 34

@ Nana2007 | 19

@17- your posting these comments here because you're banned/deleted by saker is rather lame. Why don't you put a sock in it?

You are wrong on both accounts, my post is right there as well:

@ OldSkeptic | 32

"This is the perfect time to create a ceasefire."

The breaking point when the good guys started winning is obviously the worst time for ceasefire.

"It stopped the Novorossians from over reaching themselves through the dreaded 'victory disease'.

You are assuming NDF leaders are incompetent, yet IMO they know perfectly well how much can they extend themselves.

While you may say "everyone can have their own opinion" and its fine, but I base my opinion not only on what I think, but also what professional military NDF leaders say (like their head of intelligence general Petrovskii or ex-leader Strelkov), and they know better than you, me, and everyone here combined.

"Despite their wins they are a small and relatively weak force, they cannot afford a big loss anywhere."

Thats precisely the point, they could have taken Mariupol and maybe few other key near-by points when junta was running in panic. When NDF wants to take anything from resupplied entrenched enemy now, partisans are suffering major manpower losses.

Plus, NDF can be as strong as Russia would want them to, i.e. send more "volunteers" and we could speak about more than just Mariupol. Fact is, Russia didnt want Novorossia to be bigger due to its interests (and deals made with Ukies, West and oligarchs), hence it sabotaged the offensive.

P.S. Those speaking about "trolling" should look up what it means, then look at the mirror, and then read up the links I provided, they contain the most fresh info from the front.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 4 2014 5:11 utc | 35

Harry I think you are wrong about the Novorussian successes in August of this year. They were spectacularly successful avoiding direct confrontation with concentrated Ukrainian forces, retreating in the face concentrated attacks and then sending small units to attack Uki flanks and ambush their supply trains. This worked in creating multiple cauldrons that had dissipated the offensive potential but did not really destroy the attacking forces. Even in the first week of September many of those cauldrons remained as potent fighting groups that the militias were unable to liquidate. Most of those groups were allowed to retreat towards the west provided they left their armor and heavy artillery behind. (those that tried to retreat with their heavy weapons suffered severe losses in the open country due to militia artillery barrages).

The point here is that the militias did not have sufficient military power to liquidate those surrounded Ukie forces. To this day, they are unable to retake the Donetsk airport even though it is almost completely surrounded. It is absurd in the extreme to think they could have overrun Mariupol. Though they had enough forces to sever road links to that city they did not, nor do to this day, have a navy that could have cut off supplies by sea.

As I said above, the ceasefire was a major victory for the Donbas liberation forces since it resulted in the Kiev regime acknowledging that they no longer retained sovereignty over much of the Donbas. It is now up to the politicians to consolidate that victory.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 4 2014 6:13 utc | 36

@Harry #37:

OK, sorry about the "concern trolling" remark; I can now see that you are sincere. But I think that the Saker and ToivoS have a point when they say that one cannot know whether the rebels could have easily taken Mariupol. Also, I still think that you were vastly overreacting when you wrote that the rebels were subjected to "very humiliating ceasefire conditions". With the ceasefire, the DNR and LNR got de facto recognition from Kiev.

Strelkov has always argued that the US assault on the Ukraine must be seen as an assault on Russia. Thus, no matter how much one cares about Novorossia, one must understand that what is of overriding importance is Russia's being able to defend itself from the current Anglo-American attempt to destroy it. Even a greater Novorossia (Kharkov to Odessa) would not be a satisfactory outcome for Russia, if Kiev still remained in the hands of fascists. The objective is not just to create the new state of Novorossia, but also to eradicate the virulent Ukrainian Russophobia somehow. And to achieve the latter goal, ending this civil war as soon as possible, at least in the war's current phase, was probably the right move.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 4 2014 6:53 utc | 37

Thats precisely the point, they could have taken Mariupol...

Possibly. Or not. You make a good point about Russian "volunteers", which makes be think Russia didn't want Mariupol, or Odessa, because as you said, "... Fact is, Russia didnt want Novorossia to be bigger due to its interests (and deals made with Ukies, West and oligarchs)." More probably though, Russia has a lot on its plate involving Europe, ME, Asia, even Africa, not to mention the dough they're pouring into Crimea at a time when they're under sanctions. Russian leadership is, in the end, always practical, unlike the West. And it's pretty easy to criticise them for it, as many posters here and over at Saker's place do.

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 4 2014 7:01 utc | 38

@ ToivoS | 38

About partisan tactics we are in agreement. What you miss is that it doesnt matter how stronger enemy army is if its running away in panic.

NDF (same as Ukies) have a hard time taking on enemy on defensive, fortified positions. Thats why its hard to take airport, and NDF couldnt take Mariupol now even if they wanted to.

What you again miss, Mariupol had a much smaller garrison back then, and big part of it was running away. Strelkov, general Petrovskii and others are claiming they could have taken Mariupol, you think you know better than them? I respectfully disagree.

"As I said above, the ceasefire was a major victory for the Donbas liberation forces since it resulted in the Kiev regime acknowledging that they no longer retained sovereignty over much of the Donbas. It is now up to the politicians to consolidate that victory."

It was more of a loss than victory according to NDF itself, and they have actual arguments to support their point of view. Kiev regime didnt really acknowledge anything, and they "granted" temporary autonomy on a fraction of Donbass region (its neither "much of" or "large parts of", its just 1/3 of pre-war region). That fraction is getting smaller too, by the Minsk agreement.

Example, by the agreement NDF leaves much of territory around Mariupol, instead gets the airport back. You know what? After NDF retreated, Kiev refused to hand back the airport, and now NDF is spilling even more blood to regain it. All the while Kiev says "give us even more territory, then we'll give you back the airport", while EU says "if NDF takes the airport, we'll introduce more sanctions". Business as usual.

Speaking of politicians, Russia keeps sacrificing Novorossia interests, and keeps pushing for it to remain in Ukraine. Funny how it works, first Russia denied accepting Novorossia as they did with Krym, then denied them independence, and now if they'll have to remain in Ukraine, we see a spin "its the best thing what could have happened for Novorossia, and totally worth spending tens of thousands people lifes for it!" Appalling, and cynical use Novorossia just as a token in negotiations among powers.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 4 2014 7:08 utc | 39

...overriding importance is Russia's being able to defend itself from the current Anglo-American attempt to destroy it.

Exactly, Demian. The point I was trying to make which you expressed better.

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 4 2014 7:08 utc | 40

@okie farmer #42:

Thanks. I'm glad you're not mad at me for being grumpy on another thread.

@Harry #41:

Two points. (1) Even if the NDF could have taken Mariupol relatively easily, it's very possible the process would have involved significant civilian casualties. Unlike the English and Americans, Russians try to avoid civilian casualties. (2) For Russia, and hence for humanity, the overriding objective here is not the new Novorossian state (whose existence is now pretty much assured, as Colonel Cassad maintains, among others), but extirpating the Western imperialist project called "Ukraine". When one takes the long view, Novorossia must be seen as a means to that end.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 4 2014 7:37 utc | 41

On Cassad appeared new interview with Strelkov:

The very first question was how he views ceasefire Minsk agreement after some time passed:

"I think signed agreement will very negatively affect the future of Novorossia nation, the future of Russian nation of Novorossia. If agreement will be implemented fully, especially if its how Ukrainian side planning to, it will be a catastrophe."

But of course, what does intelligent military leader knows with his first-hand information, anonymous internet posters knows better...

Posted by: Harry | Oct 4 2014 7:41 utc | 42

@Harry #44:

One of my guiding assumptions is that the Russian government acts in the interests of Russia, despite the highly unfortunate political power that oligarchs still have.

Yes, of course, Strelkov understands infinitely more than I do about all this, but who has a better understanding of the Ukrainian situation: Strelkov or the Russian state?

Think about this: people are now saying that it looks like the tension between the EU and Russia that was produced by the Ukraine crisis is beginning to subside. Would it have been better for Russia if a decades long new cold war had started instead, just so that Novorossia could have had a somewhat larger territory? (Remember, it is unlikely that the borders that are set for DNR and LNR in the near future will be significant, since the prospects for the survival of what remains of the Ukrainian state are slim.)

Posted by: Demian | Oct 4 2014 8:49 utc | 43

continuing @Harry #44:

I just looked through comments at the Saker from the current thread. There is much discussion of Mariupol. But that reminded me of another factor in Russia's pushing for a cease fire: the first Minsk agreement was reached while NATO was having its summit in Newport, Wales. The US was hoping to launch another escalation against Russia at that summit, but the Minsk ceasefire took the wind out of its sails.

Assuming that Mariupol could have been easily taken, would doing so have been worth the US succeeding at the NATO summit to further enmesh the Europeans in a more hostile posture towards Russia?

Posted by: Demian | Oct 4 2014 9:44 utc | 44

continuing @Harry #44:

I just looked through comments at the Saker from the current thread (link not given to prevent this post from being blocked). There is much discussion of Mariupol. But that reminded me of another factor in Russia's pushing for a cease fire: the first Minsk agreement was reached while NATO was having its summit in Newport, Wales. The US was hoping to launch another escalation against Russia at that summit, but the Minsk ceasefire took the wind out of the emperor's sails.

Assuming that Mariupol could have been easily taken, would doing so have been worth the US succeeding at the NATO summit to further enmesh the Europeans in a more hostile posture towards Russia?

Posted by: Demian | Oct 4 2014 9:48 utc | 45

Since we have been discussing the Saker's take here, I am going to mention the only problem I had with his latest post, something I had intended to do but then forgot. It is this passage:

the only explanation I have for the apparently insane behavior is that these Ukies have been terminally brainwashed. They are like the SS in 1945 who screamed "Heil Hitler" while standing in front of a Soviet firing squad. Just like the SS, these guys apparently believe that their "honor is called loyalty" and they are apparently willing to fight to their last breath for the opportunity to terrorize civilians.
I find the comparison of Ukrainians to the SS extremely offensive. That just repeats the old worn out meme that German soldiers under the Nazi government were some kind of zombies, as portrayed in the film Shock Waves, for example. Germans fighting for Germany under the Nazis were not zombies. But Ukrainians fighting for the imaginary country Ukraine most definitely are.

Posted by: Demian | Oct 4 2014 10:34 utc | 46

Demian @47

In Saker-land, 'Ukies' refers to the armed forces fighting in the east, not to Ukrainians in general. You ought to try reading mainstream Ukrainian media to see the level of propaganda. It makes the western MSM seem tame. Here is an infographic shown on Ukrainian TV showing how the rebels in Slavyansk were responsible for the destruction in the city. The ordinary Ukrainians are brainwashed by the MSM. The Nazis on the other hand are beyond redemption.

Saker often complains about people claiming he said things that he didn't. Your final paragraph is a perfect example.

Posted by: Anon E Mouse | Oct 4 2014 11:17 utc | 47

Since this is turning into a commentary on the Ukraine, I would like to suggest that wherever one's sympathies lie, it seems to me, with the US and it's minions or with Russia, there is a tremendous amount of underlying hypocricies. The US is obvious, but Russia's main motivativations are also tied into the material interests related to oil.

Posted by: geoff29 | Oct 4 2014 12:20 utc | 48

It's hardly surprising that Jabhat al-Nusra and Israel get on well together. The Jabha has been running the extermination camp in Yarmouk for Israel, starving thousands of Palestinians to death. Been going on for a couple of years now, the occupation of Yarmouk. It's been one of the most successful of Israel's awful policies - starving thousands to death - and nobody's even noticed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 4 2014 13:55 utc | 49

OT Ukraine. As OT is seemingly accepted.

I too think the cease-fire, or rather hold off on major offensives, came at the right time for the ‘separatists.’ The Novorussia forces had - as far as I can make out which is not far so? - reached the maximum of what they could accomplish without massive, overt, aid from Russia or direct intervention by it, which escalation most parties wished to avoid. Russia, the US-EU, the Ukr. Gvmt (in part, and certainly under some pressure, well if one call it a Gvmt.) all had strong motives to put a stop to further carnage, a spiralling deathly civil war. Morevoer, the fault-line or split-line (roughly, Donbass vs. the rest) thus remains what it has always been considered to be, no new divisions are created. New - or more extensive separations - were, are, dangerous for all parties, including Novorussia.

One difficulty not mentioned in the previous posts on this topic is once a territory is taken in a military fashion it must be held, another can of worms. It implies a strong and continuing presence on the ground: military, lots of support staff, turning and dominating the civil / other staff present, such as police, communications, not to mention finance, transport, food… This depends of course on the adherence of the population to the ‘invader’ - ‘occupier’ - ‘glorious adulated savior’ - ‘friend’ - as the case may be. I’m of the opinion that reaching out beyond Donestk and Lugansk was not realistically possible.

These considerations point to a larger question: Who actually controls which parts of Ukraine? And at what levels - military checkpoints, the mayor - the town hall, banking, financing, industry, use of the land for agri? A tough question, and one that needs to be answered before one can reasonably discuss who might wrest control of one or another part and how they might accomplish it.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 4 2014 13:56 utc | 50

Mr Toivo, get yourself liquidated so that others don't have to do it - Lingua Tertii Imperii

Posted by: xyz | Oct 4 2014 14:15 utc | 51

I'm getting fed up of all this off-topic stuff on Ukraine. There are plenty of Ukraine threads to go and write on. It's obscuring what there is to say about Israel's involvement with Jihadi groups - it's an important issue!

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 4 2014 14:28 utc | 52

from a neoliberal, not a neocon
The war on Isis defies logic
By Gideon Rachman

The west’s air campaign is unlikely to improve the situation in the Middle East

“Why is everybody so eager to use military force?” asked an exasperated Barack Obama in April. The US president added: “We don’t take action because somebody sitting in an office in Washington thinks it would somehow look strong.”[...]

A few months later and Mr Obama has committed his country to an open-ended military campaign to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis – the jihadist force that has grabbed control of large parts of Iraq and Syria. The armchair warriors whom the US president derided a few months ago are cheering. But Mr Obama should have trusted his first instinct.

The US and its allies are bombing Isis, but are also committed to ousting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which is also fighting Isis. In theory, the answer to this Catch-22 conundrum is the “moderate” opposition forces, whose military training the US is now organising and funding. Yet just weeks ago Mr Obama said that it had “always been a fantasy” to believe that arming the Syrian moderates would make a decisive difference in a war against the Assad regime.

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 4 2014 14:57 utc | 53

Latest from Cannonfire:

Posted by: ben | Oct 4 2014 15:06 utc | 54

@48 geoff29.. i get your point, but i don't agree with you..

@49/52 Laguerre.. thanks for your posts.. b could start an 'open thread' to make it easier.. it is much harder to discuss ukraine down on some thread however many threads back.. as a consequence i think it makes sense folks are talking it thru here and i think it is something many of us are interested in understanding better.

Posted by: james | Oct 4 2014 15:20 utc | 55

"It's obscuring what there is to say about Israel's involvement with Jihadi groups - it's an important issue!"

Agreed. It's a very important aspect to all of this.

The US is running the strategy here, but the Turks, Israelis, Saudis, and Gulf States are running things on the ground. And there are all kinds of cross-currents and cross-purposes going on there.

If there is a divide and conquer strategy to be played out against the Empire, it is amongst these actors. Unlike Iran, Russia, Hezbollah, and Syria who have only to survive, these actors are all trying to work out schemes and dreams. The US, I'm sure, is trying to manage all of this, but there is no telling who is telling who what, promising who what, and telling the truth or lies about who to who.

When have we ever actually seen these powers work together easily? Maybe it will all go to pieces. In any case, this would be an interesting mix to hear some intercepted telephone conversations from.

As always, a link to Galloway's Comment

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 4 2014 15:33 utc | 56

re 55. it is much harder to discuss ukraine down on some thread however many threads back..

It used to be standard practice on MoA in the old days. You didn't hesitate to go back and post on previous threads, which could be revived. b doesn't close them. Suffocating a thread just because you're too lazy to look back and find the pertinent thread is not good. Your post won't be lost and unread, because of the list of posts in the right side-bar. You can see when an old thread is being revived.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 4 2014 16:00 utc | 57

re 56 The US is running the strategy here,

You mean Israel is obeying the US?! You have to be joking. Netanyahu is running his own show. It is difficult to imagine Obama telling Netanyahu what to do, and the NeoCons are not far off being the same thing as AIPAC.

It's more a question of whether Israel is running the strategy, with the normal tail wagging the dog imagery. But it's complicated than that, I think.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 4 2014 16:21 utc | 58

@57/58 Laguerre.. true enough.. i agree with your perspective on this topic as well..

Posted by: james | Oct 4 2014 16:44 utc | 59

Seems to be no mention of Biden's explosive remarks regarding the Gulf States, Turkey and ISIS in Western Media

Which is shocking, because Biden lets it all loose. RT had the full remarks, he blatantly states that Turkey and the Gulf States (no mention of Israel, of course) armed "whoever would fight" and indicts them for the creation of ISIS.

Wether this is another "gaffe" or is simply the opening shots of Biden 2016, its hard to say.

@Laguerre: You mean Israel is obeying the US?! You have to be joking. Netanyahu is running his own show.

My entire post is entirely about this dynamic. So, No, I did not say "Israel is obeying the US". In fact, that all these sides are running their own show was the entire point of the whole post.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 4 2014 16:56 utc | 60

Meanwhile in Ukraine:
Poroshenko threat to ban learning Russia in ukraine

Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 4 2014 16:56 utc | 61

Here are the full remarks of Biden:

Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria

And here is a Google News search for the most important phrase from Biden's remarks.

See many western papers there that mention it? ANY western papers there that mention it outside of a "spat with Erdogan"?

Now, why would it be news worthy that the vice-President of the US is admitting that the very countries the USA is trying to get into an "anti-ISIS coalition" were the ones who created ISIS?

Seems newsworthy to me, but I guess that's why I'm not the editor of a major American newspaper. Free press my ass.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 4 2014 17:06 utc | 62

Abby Martin's Breaking the Set is really pathetic. They actually have a paid mouthpiece for something called "The Coalition for a Democratic Syria" holding up propaganda photos, and claiming that "the 200,000 dead are mostly from the regime" and that the Syrian government doesn't fight ISIS, using "The Daily Show" as a reference.

Fucking awful. It's one thing to bring on someone with an opinion. It's another to bring on someone paid to hold one.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 4 2014 18:41 utc | 63

Guest77 @62.. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are finding out why Henry Kissinger once said that being America's ally is more dangerous than being its enemy.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 4 2014 18:47 utc | 64

Excellent post by Bhadhrakumar today

Posted by: Mina | Oct 4 2014 18:59 utc | 65

What is Erdogan smoking? Even the pro-Syrian-revo newspapers have reported seeing djihadists dressed in the complete Salafi outfit and going in and out the hospitals in Eastern Turkey!
“Nobody can prove it. Foreign fighters never crossed from Turkey to Syria. There were people coming to Turkey as tourists and went to Syria, but nobody can suggest that they were armed while crossing the border," Erdoğan said.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 4 2014 19:04 utc | 66

@65 mina.. thanks.. good overview.. i liked the last line " All in all, Turkey’s entry into the US-led war against the islamic State introduces yet another contradiction."

@66 - that info has been out for a few weeks.. it is another contradiction in turkeys changing position.. he has been caught in a lie regarding the IS members getting medical attention on eastern turkey..

Posted by: james | Oct 4 2014 19:53 utc | 67

Apparently Islamic State have drawn up 25 tanks and other artillery pieces in the siege of Kobane, no sign of the coalition attacking them, why?

Posted by: harry law | Oct 4 2014 20:10 utc | 68

@68 harry law.. because they don't want to? this is the crazy thing about this so called war on ISIS.. the usa and it's partners aren't getting rid of the military equipment that ISIS is using to win or hold their positions.. i guess we won't be hearing about this in the msm.. only fake videos of beheadings qualify.. they could substitute them for the beheadings that happen in saudi arabia, but i guess that wouldn't be good coverage for saudi arabia would it?

Posted by: james | Oct 4 2014 20:41 utc | 69

World Reacts to IS Execution of British Aid Worker

“the government did nothing to help him. Instead they voted for air strikes, which may well have sealed his fate.”

I think that the AIPAC and its UK equivalent are delighted to see US and UK citizens beheaded on TV. Like 9/11 it's "very good for Israel".

I think the CIA, together with the KSA, the other kingdoms and Israel, having funded and armed ISIS, having created ISIS, are all quite happy to see ISIS' victims dispatched on TV. It's good for the regime-change-in-Syria business.

Americans don't think twice of the hundreds of children blown to bits by Barack the Nobel Peace Prizer Obama's drones but want war now - against 'Islam' - when they see these people setup and abandoned by the CIA beheaded on TV.

If Kobani falls, Turkey and the US Will Have Blood on Their Hands ,,, everything about this vile, Nobel Peace Prize-winning war stinks.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 4 2014 22:29 utc | 70

popes aside, why would IS threaten a president no where near the middle east? why not threaten the french or US or canadian leaders? and how would they do that? using local muslims?

Posted by: brian | Oct 4 2014 23:57 utc | 71

jfl @70 Thanks for the article, which includes this "For almost three weeks now, the men and women of the YPG — armed only with light machine guns and a few rocket-propelled grenades — have been battling the extremists in close quarters combat. ISIS has deployed heavy U.S.-made weaponry, including at least 20 tanks and armored vehicles seized in the sack of Mosul, but since they advanced onto Kobani in relatively open plains they were vulnerable to airstrikes"
The US have satellites that can read a car number plate from space, yet they cannot see tanks and armored vehicles traversing open plains approaching Kobani, even knowing where to look, just like those hundreds of Toyota trucks kicking up tons of dust into the atmosphere, as they crossed from Syria to Iraq with 1000,s of IS fighters. Do the US take us all for fools?

Posted by: harry law | Oct 5 2014 8:47 utc | 72

Biden would have apologized to Erdogan.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 5 2014 9:59 utc | 74

Could be that he is getting senile..

Posted by: Mina | Oct 5 2014 10:00 utc | 75

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