Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 27, 2014

Syria: "No (U.S. supported) Field Force To Liberate Damascus"

Obama's pointman for the efforts against the Islamic State, Gen. John Allen, gave an interview to the Saudi Asharq Al-Awasat paper. There are lots of interesting bits in it but this part on the role of the "Free Syrian Army" and the "new" forces the U.S. wants to train sticks out:

Q: But you don’t see the FSA units that are being trained to fight ISIS as being those who will later fight the regime’s armed forces?

No. What we would like to see is for the FSA and the forces that we will ultimately generate, train and equip to become the credible force that the Assad government ultimately has to acknowledge and recognize. There is not going to be a military solution here [in Syria]. We have to create so much credibility within the moderate Syrian opposition at a political level . . . that they earn their spot at the table when the time comes for the political solution. Now, there could be FSA elements that ultimately clash with the regime, that may well be the case, as they seek to defend themselves and those areas that they dominate and as they seek to defend their families and their ways of life . . . it could be an outcome. But the intent is not to create a field force to liberate Damascus—that is not the intent. The intent is that in the political outcome, they [the moderate Syrian opposition] must be a prominent—perhaps the preeminent voice—at the table to ultimately contribute to the political outcome that we seek.

It seems to me that the Obama administration has given up on the FSA and the Syrian exile opposition. Reports from inside the insurgency claim that the U.S. support has slowed to a trickle and to many groups simply ended. The Syrian army is gaining the upper hand in more and more battles. The creation of the "new" anti-Syrian force, should it ever come into being, is just a fig leaf for giving up on overthrowing the Syrian government.

The strategy against the Islamic State that Allen describes is some decade long program of social engineering in Iraq by creating some Iraqi National Guard like the U.S National Guard. That is, in my view, likely to fail.

Obama has kicked the can down the road for the next president to kick again, to give up on the issue or to try some yet untried hail mary pass.

---

Another more short term issue is Kobane, the Syrian town held by Kurdish PKK/YPG forces. The Islamic State just released a video in which its prisoner John Cantlie, who may have joined the IS by now, is "reporting" from Kobane: : "The Islamic State won the battle in Kobane, it's nearly over here". The video is impressive with aerial footage of Kobane, a direct view on Turkish tanks and western style stand-up reportage of IS talking points by John Cantlie. But from the media reports Cantlie remarks on one can guess that the video was shot about a week ago and Kobane has still not fallen completely. The IS success claim in the video seems therefor somewhat exaggerated.

The Turkish government is still refusing to let any reinforcement or supplies come to help of the PKK forces in Kobane. The announced reinforcement by peshmerga fighters form kurdish Iraq, considered to be friendly to the Turkish government, has been held up for "technical reasons." The U.S. has bet some prestige on the Kobane issue. The White House will be furious should the city fall because of Erdogan's foot-dragging.

Posted by b on October 27, 2014 at 19:13 UTC | Permalink

Comments

It seemed inevitable. At least until Hillary comes along.

Posted by: Maracatu | Oct 27 2014 19:45 utc | 1

Reports from inside the insurgency claim that the U.S. support has slowed to a trickle and to many groups simply ended.
It is the unequivocal support of Russia and Iran, communicated many time to the USA has caused them to back down, the ZioNATO main target is Ukraine. This is make or break for them.

Posted by: papa | Oct 27 2014 19:50 utc | 2

"Gen. Allen said the US and its allies do not intend to “liberate Damascus” through military force, but will make sure that anti-Assad militants are the prominent military and political power in Syria, contributing to “the political outcome that we seek.”

“We have to create so much credibility within the moderate Syrian opposition at a political level . . . that they earn their spot at the table when the time comes for the political solution,” he said."

Good luck with that.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Oct 27 2014 19:51 utc | 3

Why are Oilybammer's handlers backing him off? Perhaps these extended clusterfucks are perceived as being bad for Hillary.

JEB or Hillary, take your pick, will gladly pick up wherever O leaves off.

The expansion of the Congressional Military Industrial Complex as described by Eisenhower* shall surely continue into the next Presidency.

*Note that Eisenhower didn't do anything to curtail it, he simply warned of it on his way out the door.

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 27 2014 19:58 utc | 4

Will Volkswagen name one of their future SUV models, Peshmerga?

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 27 2014 20:00 utc | 5

The peshmerga are now saying, according to a Reuters story, that all they are willing to provide to Kobani is some artillery, no ground troops.

Last week NYT was reporting that IS was on the run from Kobani. I've got to say that the quality of the reporting on the fight for Kobani, given that it is visible from the Turkish border and people line up to watch the bombs drop, has been unbelievably poor, opaque.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Oct 27 2014 20:10 utc | 6

My belief is the US has already accomplished want it wanted in Syria. Obviously Assad was never a threat or a real concern to the US and the war against him was a merely matter of getting what they really wanted from Syria. The chunk of land broken off from Iraq and Syria appears to have been that real estate.

Posted by: nomas | Oct 27 2014 21:17 utc | 7

'Obama's pointman for the efforts against the Islamic State, Gen. John Allen, gave an interview to the Saudi Asharq Al-Awasat paper'
Q: But you don’t see the FSA units that are being trained to fight ISIS as being those who will later fight the regime’s armed forces? '

regime regime regime..Syria has a government, as even the US general acknowledges!

'We have to create so much credibility within the moderate Syrian opposition at a political level . '

is this something like Vicki(Fuck the EU) Nulands $5 billion support for altenastives in Ukraine? Can syria aid moderate US opposition?

Posted by: brian | Oct 27 2014 21:26 utc | 8

The turks let ISIS flow back and forth , but stop the kurds..

Pity hardly anyone notices this

Posted by: brian | Oct 27 2014 21:28 utc | 9

A minor demon from the Pentagon is out practicing his doublespeak and helping his demon friends in the KSA.

I like what a Syrian commenter stated about the FSA, "It is neither Free nor Syrian or an Army"

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 27 2014 21:53 utc | 10

re first part. Yes, very clear that it's finished. No chance of getting an army together in Jordan or Saudi to reconquer Damascus.

However, let us not forget Israel and its relationship with Jabhat al-Nusra in the Golan. Funnily enough it is Jabhat al-Nusra who are occupying the Palestinian Yarmouk camp in Damascus, and preventing supplies being brought in. The Palestinians don't want them; so why is the Jabha there? Of course it has nothing to do with the fact that Israel is in relationship with them in the Golan.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 27 2014 22:24 utc | 11

re part 2 Kobani.

At first I thought ISIS would be wise to withdraw entirely from Kobani, if they could not get it all in a few days. After all they have the entire region, and a small town squeezed up against the border cannot be that important.

They seem, in its place, to have chosen the Aleppo tactic, understandable given its success, a small number of snipers widely scattered, running from building to building to avoid airstrikes. And concentrating when it's needed for an attack, such as on the border-point.

I would think the ISIS objective here is defensive. Make the Kurds expend their energy on retaking the town.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 27 2014 22:59 utc | 12

it wouldn't be the first time someone said something ( a usa military rep) something and then (some other usa rep.)did something completely different..

Gen. John Allen quote "What we would like to see is for the FSA and the forces that we will ultimately generate, "train and equip" to become the credible force that the Assad government ultimately has to acknowledge and recognize. There is not going to be a military solution here [in Syria]."

well, they are working on a military solution right now aren't they? "train and equip" someone else to be able to continue to destabilize or replace the assad regime.. these fuckers are really bad liars.. sorry..

Posted by: james | Oct 27 2014 23:06 utc | 13

Gen John Allen is an unmitigated liar. Anyone who takes these clowns at their words, is a possible moron. The historical record is clear.

Posted by: ben | Oct 27 2014 23:22 utc | 14

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/27/islamist-militants-storm-government-building-idlib-syria


hate to report this if it hasn't been.

Posted by: truthbetold | Oct 27 2014 23:38 utc | 15

nomas nailed it in @7. Perhaps they only want a right-of-way a few meters wide. Just enough to install that gas pipeline and poke the bear without their boosters feeling the consequences once winter gets rolling. Any more than that is pure cost.

Posted by: Jonathan | Oct 27 2014 23:48 utc | 16

I think the general is trying to dissociate the US military from the 'losing' - in terms of stated goals - actions of the politicians. Sort of a 'who lost the Middle East' prophylaxis.

The USA, the Turks, and ISIS seem all on the same side. The US has historically shamelessly used and then discarded the Kurds. The US is now down to spreading chaos and 'hoping for the best'.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 27 2014 23:58 utc | 17

The Obama administration is just in a holding pattern through the election -- walking a fine line between upsetting the Zionist donors and their dependent congresscritters and totally demoralizing the peacenik Democratic base. In the meantime, he gets to hear not only from neocon pundits and Republicans, but contestants for Hillary's cabinet (like Panetta and Ambassador Ford) about how Syrians would have welcomed us with candies and flower-petals if Obama had only pursued a more hawkish agenda three years ago. Expect Hillary's hat in the ring within hours of the election.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Oct 28 2014 1:36 utc | 18

Erdogan has "offered" to allow the Iraqi pesgmergas in Syria at the condition that they would be "accompanied" by Erdogan's Syrian militia (ex-FSA). He has ridiculed himself once again by announcing that the Syrian Kurds were 'welcoming' that militia. The Syrian Kurds simply told him NO.

He thought that the Kurds were stupid and desperate enough to accept any help. That has been Erdogan's problem from the start. He thinks that, except him, everybody is wrong and dumb.
The Peshmergas deal was delayed for "technical reasons"

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 28 2014 2:27 utc | 19

We were able to watch the John Cantlie video this morning and as usual it was very enlightening. Sure, the guy's acting under duress, but he seems to be adjusting to his role. Gone was the orange jumpsuit. He seems to be growing a beard... has he had a gunpoint conversion to Islam? He wouldn't be the first in history. Why would google remove the video? Do they want IS to cut off his head? One could argue that his willingness to cooperate with his attackers and produce some interesting footage is keeping him alive.

Whoever's actually winning (if anyone), whatever's actually going on in Kobane, is an international cluster fuck of gigantic proportions.

Posted by: tgk | Oct 28 2014 3:17 utc | 20

re 9

The turks let ISIS flow back and forth , but stop the kurds..
Pity hardly anyone notices this

It just gets mentioned every day, every time anyone mentions Turkey.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 28 2014 8:45 utc | 21

So the aim is to generate, train and equip an army that won't fight? For them to become a force that the Assad government ultimately has to acknowledge and recognize, simply by existing? Right..

Meanwhile, the Syrian government has upped its game, recently conducting more than 200 airstrikes in a 36 hours period.

"From dumb bombs to precision weapons, Assad regime ramps up airstrikes on rebels".

RAC MiG, the producer of the Russian-made MiG fighters, has opened an office in Damascus near the Mezze airbase and upgraded at least four MiG 29s to the more advanced 29SM specification..
The MiG 29SM includes new radar and a wider arsenal of air-to-ground weaponry, including guided bombs, as well as advanced air-to-air missiles.

The last wave of regime air attacks were so accurate that some rebels said they believed them to have been carried out by US-led forces, involved in strikes on ISIL in Syria using laser-guided bombs - much more accurate weapons than those typically used by regime forces.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Oct 28 2014 9:44 utc | 22

"It seems to me that the Obama administration has given up on the FSA and the Syrian exile opposition"

If it truly does seem that way to you then you would be sorely mistaken

Obama has not given up on either entity

The FSA will be turned into a Syrian version of the Iraqi "Awakening Councils" Groups of Sunni's the US "trained" to engage politically in Iraq.. you know to win hearts and minds, which of course they never did.

The "Awakening Councils" were mostly NATO anointed thugs who did the bidding of NATO- and got the benefits too- think criminal benefits
Like the NATO lackeys in Kosovo- Thaci and company

Many of the Sunni's in the Awakening Councils joined in with ISIS, not a coincidence.

I did a post at my place September 25/15 on US Plans to create this exact scenario for Syria- which means they will have a future terrorist group on the ground- to force a "political" solution

The very fact that the US/UK/Israel helped to put the "Awakening Councils" in place in Iraq, when they did made it easier to oust Maliki when NATO/Israel wanted him gone.

The US is even going to put the same man at the helm

"Obama has tapped Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata to head the training mission"

That's exactly what the US is attempting to do again, in Syria.
It worked so well in Iraq, why wouldn't they employ their very successful strategy yet again?

As for Kobane- it's a bit of a sideshow.
John Cantlie - joining ISIS?- sure as a spook sidekick
spoon feeding the narrative


Posted by: Penny | Oct 28 2014 11:37 utc | 23

General Allen only talks about the FSA (Free Syrian Army). He doesn't mention Jabhat-al-Nusrah in the south of Syria.

Is the US giving up on Jabhat al Nusrah ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 28 2014 13:38 utc | 24

Crisis in the relationship between Israel & the US ?
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4584052,00.html

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 28 2014 13:43 utc | 25

"Israel and the US are in the midst of a "diplomatic crisis," Finance Minister Yair Lapid told a town hall meeting in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

The latest sign of tension was evident this past week during Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's trip to the US, when he was categorically snubbed by the Obama administration.
The defense minister was denied meetings at the State Department and the White House".

http://www.jerusalemonline.com/israel-news/israel-main-newscast-25-10-2014-9094

I noticed that for some time the Obama administration tried (!!!) to change its policy towards Israel. This could be another step in that changing policy.

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 28 2014 13:54 utc | 26

From RT and George Galhttp://www.democraticunderground.com/1017223199loway:

Posted by: ben | Oct 28 2014 14:04 utc | 27

Try this:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1017223199

Posted by: ben | Oct 28 2014 14:05 utc | 28

At least 27 Egyptian soldiers have been killed recently in an attack on an army checkpoint in Egypt's North Sinai. The attack on Friday afternoon hit an army checkpoint at Karm al-Qawadeis, southwest of Sheikh Zuweid.
Egyptian sources told Al Jazeera that a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives near the checkpoint's magazine, causing it and an army vehicle to explode. Fighters then attacked the site with guns and a rocket-propelled grenade. Hamas has been blamed. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has declared a state of emergency for 3 months

Maggie Michael, reporting fro AP, said “the lawless peninsula (has emerged) as a new theater for jihad.” The Egyptian military has increased its operations in the Sinai but has thus far not launched a major operation as the jihadists have imported sophisticated weapons and the military is preoccupied with restoring order after the ejection of Morsi.

The US has Task Force Sinai, "Best in the Desert!", a brigade-sized element of the Multinational Force and Observers, stationed at North Camp in the same general area, NE Sinai. Its facebook page is here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 28 2014 15:18 utc | 29

I don't think the BBC have mentioned John Cantlie's latest video so perhaps there is some substance to his claims.

Posted by: Andy | Oct 28 2014 15:56 utc | 30

My apologies, they have but it's not headline news like his previous ones have been.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-29796179

Posted by: Andy | Oct 28 2014 15:59 utc | 31

At State, yesterday, the US said Israel isn't working for peace.

MS. PSAKI: The key challenge, Matt, I think, is if Israel wants to see – wants to live in a peaceful society, they need to take steps to reduce tensions and to avoid steps that are going to be incompatible with peace. And that’s consequences that they would – they would – that would impact them directly.

The hypocrisy is monumental. What's next, blaming Israel on human rights?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 28 2014 16:14 utc | 32

@32 as if the usa is ''working for peace''...

training and equipping opposition forces in syria is the usa's idea of peace i guess.. when they are not providing colour revolutions, or supporting pravy sektor actions - peaceful demonstrations, they are sending in cia/military advisers pretty well everywhere on the globe... i guess that all falls in the 'peace' category.. yes - the hypocrisy is monumental..

Posted by: james | Oct 28 2014 16:27 utc | 33

This is really beautiful news. For all of Obama's thousands of faults, resisting the neocon calls to directly intervene in Syria was a moral and correct decision.

Posted by: Crest | Oct 28 2014 17:12 utc | 34

John Cantlie... sounds like variation of the neoist prank name Monty Cantsin.

Posted by: radiator | Oct 28 2014 17:31 utc | 35

re 24 Is the US giving up on Jabhat al Nusrah ?

I doubt it. At any rate Israel is on best buddy terms with the Jabha, so they've got plenty of backup there.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 28 2014 17:41 utc | 36

This is really beautiful news. For all of Obama's thousands of faults, resisting the neocon calls to directly intervene in Syria was a moral and correct decision.

Haha, the reason why ZIONATO has not attacked is because Iran and Russia have unequivocally said this is a red line, that they will not tolerate. The priority is now Ukraine, Kurdistan. This is where the NeoCons have put their resources, ask yourself a question, if your senior staff goes around using the F*** (Nuland), don't you think that person be reprimanded or demoted, has that happen? That shows that the Zionist have still control of the foreign policy. The ancient enemy of the "modern day jews" are the Rus and Persia.

Posted by: papa | Oct 28 2014 18:03 utc | 37

@papa

Neocons control the state department and have tried very hard to get the US involved in Syria, and then in Ukraine, as revenge. But the defense department was against both (generally). And Obama has tended to listen to them, and deep state/CIA. This is good. It's not ideal, but it's better than a Hillary Clinton presidency with military intervention against the Syrian government.

Posted by: Crest | Oct 28 2014 19:22 utc | 38

@38 The Defense Department is largely terrified of being attached to a decision that results in American pilots being paraded through the streets or ships sinking. The lives aren't as relevant as the outrage. Part of America's behavior is based on the belief in an invincible force.

If Americans grasped that Iraqis didn't even try to fight in '91 or '03, we would be a bit less boorish. I think a major element understands multi-billion dollar contracting fraud can stop 20 year old Toyota but may not work against modern air defense.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Oct 28 2014 19:58 utc | 39

http://radioyaran.com/2014/10/28/barrel-bombs-and-beheadings/

I wonder what the fuss about Nusra attacking SRF is. SRFs leader Maarouf was voicing support and sympathy for Nusra not long ago. Could it be that this is only staged? One reason could be that Maarouf which is considered "moderate" gets TOW missiles and other "better weapons" through the CIA supply line in Turkey. As they cannot openly hand these weapons to Nusra they could try to sell this as the result of losing a battle.

http://radioyaran.com/category/syria/

Posted by: Kerkaraje | Oct 28 2014 20:46 utc | 40

"From dumb bombs to precision weapons, Assad regime ramps up airstrikes on rebels".

...

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Oct 28, 2014 5:44:02 AM | 22

the western media never talks of the 'syrian government' just the 'Assad regime'. REGIME REGIME REGIME implying the govt is unsavory illegitimate and a public menace

Posted by: brian | Oct 28 2014 21:44 utc | 41

@Brian

I for one am glad that the forces loyal to the regime of Barack Obama have bowed to internal and international pressures and withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Posted by: Crest | Oct 28 2014 23:26 utc | 42

In a mostly good article at Alternet about Samantha Power, Blumenthal sounds this brief off-note in relation to Syria (but then, he's been off on Syria since he resigned from Al Akhbar):

In 2012, Power turned her attention to Syria, responding to the miasma of bloodshed by convincing the White House to establish an Atrocities Prevention Board (APB). Since its dramatic roll-out by President Barack Obama at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, the vaunted APB remains an empty shell. The Center for American Progress (CAP), a Democratic think tank that usually serves the goals of the Obama administration, concluded in a sharply critical 2013 assessment, “the continuing tragedy in Syria has cast a pall over the board’s work and has led many to sharply question its overall efficacy.” A few months later, a congressional staffer described the APB’s activities to CAP’s John Norris as “a complete black hole.” Thanks to the board’s curious lack of transparency, it is unknown if it sounded the alarm on the rise of ISIS, which was precisely the sort of thing it was created to do.

During her days as a journalist, Power scolded “bystanders to genocide” and exposed the failures of “people in offices” in Washington who had missed countless opportunities to halt the killing in Rwanda. She suggested that the best course of action for an advisor frustrated by presidential inaction in the face of atrocities was “a telling moment for a high-profile resignation.” But during the Syria crisis — one of the greatest moral tests of her tenure in the White House — Power performed no better than the foreign policy handlers she once roasted.

When White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough urged support for the Syrian status quo, arguing that a devastating war between Iranian proxies and Al Qaeda affiliates worked to America’s advantage, the best response Power could muster was to urge more military support for the loose conglomeration of Syrian rebels whose “moderates” were as elusive as the Yetti. When Obama adopted McDonough’s position just as the civilian death toll approached 100,000, Power was hardly prepared to stage a high-profile resignation.

A more accurate reading is that in 2012, fresh from the initial success of regime change in Libya through R2P strategy, Obama gave free reign to hawks in his administration, like Panetta, Clinton and Power, who were committed to enacting PNAC's plan for the Middle East with the "soft" power of the CIA, State Dept. and UN, rather than through the direct use of the US military. In that environment, Obama gave Power the opportunity to foster "humanitarian" regime changes by establishing the Atrocities Preventions Board.

When it became clear that Russia would not be fooled again at the UN by an R2P no-fly-zone and that, in spite of constant anti-Assad propaganda by American Zionist-friendly media, 3/4 of Americans opposed armed intervention in Syria, only months away from his reelection campaign, Obama backed away from attacking Syria. After his reelection and the clear failure of "humanitarian" intervention in Libya (as perceived by Americans in Chris Stevens' death), Power got kicked upstairs to the UN post. Clinton and Panetta left, unhappy that Obama (the Drone Lord) was not hawkish enough. And Obama has been trying to avoid labeling the neolib Syria policy a failure by giving it a chance to unravel on its own while continuing to offer it (and its Zionist donor supporters) lipservice.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Oct 29 2014 19:10 utc | 43

Testing...1,2,3...

Posted by: really | Oct 30 2014 10:47 utc | 44

Not only does American imperialism have no use for the FSA, the WSJ reported today that there is now a detente between the USA and Iran. Just look it up. So this means that the millions of words you people have written warning about an attack on Iran and the Baathists spearheaded by jihadists was utter nonsense. That's a function of the conspiracy-mongering that dominates your sector of the left, using the term left charitably.

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Oct 31 2014 1:35 utc | 45

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Oct 30, 2014 9:35:18 PM | 45

whack-a-mole Louis pops up....to spit out some venom
using the term charitably, LPs sector of the 'left' has been rhetorically aiding the US war machine and the jihadis and their war on the secular states like Libya and syria thru telling Big Lies that would shame Goebbels.

'Not only does American imperialism have no use for the FSA, the WSJ reported today that there is now a detente between the USA and Iran. Just look it up'

the 'Unrepentent Marxist' now quotes with approval the WSJ...his first sin, then that the US war machine which helped craft the FSA and armed it..(remember the weapons pipeline from Libya)

http://www.clarionproject.org//analysis/arms-flow-syria-may-be-behind-beghazi-cover

but of course the US uses terrorists then dumps them...SOP

Marx must be rolling in his grave.

Posted by: brian | Oct 31 2014 2:30 utc | 46

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