Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 22, 2015

That Silly "Chilly" Syria Piece Does Not Get Russia's Strategic Aim

According to the New York Times:

Bashar al-Assad Finds Chilly Embrace in Moscow Trip.

That headline of that page A1 piece awoke my interest because the White House clearly had a different impression than the New York Times scribes:

We view the red carpet welcome for Assad, ...

If this was a "chilly embrace" why was there a "red carpet welcome"? And what about that exclusive dinner?

Senior Russian officials joined Mr. Putin and Mr. Assad for dinner including the defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu; the prime minister, Dmitri A. Medvedev; and Mr. Lavrov, the foreign minister.

Was that also "chilly"? Was the borscht served cold?

There is nothing in the "chilly" headlined piece that supports the claim made in the headline. Indeed not Russian or Syrian voice in it and all who are quoted have no more knowledge about the meetings than anyone who read the news agency reports. The whole thesis is taken from "chilly" air.

Mr. Putin’s military has forcefully intervened to shore up Mr. Assad’s government in its struggle against an array of insurgents, but, even as Mr. Assad flew secretly to Moscow on Tuesday night for a meeting to assess the fighting in Syria, the chilly personal relationship between the two men has not changed, according to officials, diplomats and analysts.

Up to that paragraph there is nothing in the piece that actually establish that Putin and Assad had or have a "chilly personal relationship". There might well have no personal relationship at all. The two have only seen each other once before, in 2005.

By all accounts, the two leaders remain distant and wary of each other.

But what are those accounts:

“It’s not personal, this whole thing,” said Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, referring to Mr. Putin’s intervention. The highest priority of the Russians, he said, has been saving the central authority of the Syrian state as much as Mr. Assad himself in hopes of stemming the spread of chaos and, with it, the fertile ground in which the Islamic State can take root.
“To them, Assad is not a sacred cow,” Mr. Trenin added. “The issue to them is to save the Syrian state, to prevent it from unraveling the way Libya unraveled, Yemen unraveled.”

Fine. So what is "chilly" about that?

“Not being wedded to Assad does not mean that they’re prepared to negotiate a way for him to go,” said a senior administration official in Washington

Correct. And not "chilly".

“There’s not much chemistry in the relationship,” said one long-serving Western diplomat in the region.

Yeah. How could there be when they met only once before ten years ago?

Mr. Assad has, in fact, proved at times to be a reluctant partner in Russia’s efforts to end the conflict. He has stood up on many occasions to the Kremlin, to the extent that diplomats and analysts say it has irritated Mr. Putin.

“I think they know how confused the Assad regime is, and they’re frustrated by it,” said Andrew J. Tabler, an expert on Syria at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who has followed the conflict closely, referring to the Russians.

So the Israel lobby is asked to add to the spin even those Tabler knows nothing about Russia or the relations between Putin and Assad.

The whole spin in that "chilly" piece is without any sources or examples that support the claim. Russia and Syria might have, at times, different views? Of course they have. But they are allies, fight together against common enemies and value each others' contribution. A red carpet and a first class dinner with the most important people of the Russian state bear witness to that.

There is actually no hint at all from Russia or Syria that Russia would make Assad go or that Assad is seeking exile in Moscow. All such talk is silly spin. Russia will fight together with Syria until the Islamist threat is reduced and the Syrian state re-stabilized. There will then be some new government that includes some non-violent opposition members and that government will prepare for new elections to the parliament and for the president. Assad may be one of the candidates and may even win. That and not much less is, I believe, what Russia is willing to settle for.

The main strategic (and value) issue for Russia is to not condone any more U.S. induced "regime change" by "color revolutions" or by force. To end the unilateral catastrophic misbehavior in foreign policies that has become a U.S. habit. That is the most important and often repeated point president Putin has made. No more unilateral regime changes. He again made that point today at the Valdai Club meeting.

If Russia would let Assad fall it would concede "regime change" in Syria to Washington. It can not see Putin, or any other Russian president, do that. Not under any currently thinkable circumstance.

Posted by b on October 22, 2015 at 17:41 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Apparently Netanyahu has lost his mind. Hes claiming Hitler didnt want to do the holocaust, and only did it because the Grand Mufti of Palestine told him to. I AM NOT JOKING.

In response, Merkel is like, "Uh, it was Germany's fault dude..."

I dont have any words. I wonder if he really does believe the holocaust was the Grand Mufti's fault, or if hes just cynically trying to smear Palestine... Either way, this is below the belt...

Posted by: Massinissa | Oct 22 2015 17:58 utc | 2

following the official media and usa spokespeople is like taking a trip to the loony bin... you might want to avoid doing that to maintain sanity!

Posted by: james | Oct 22 2015 18:00 utc | 3

@2 Massinissa.. angry arab was all over that earlier..

Posted by: james | Oct 22 2015 18:01 utc | 4

Still watching hearing. Victoria Nuland, Jeff Feldman, Sig Blumenthal, hmmm. Just who does set policies?

Posted by: shadyl | Oct 22 2015 18:32 utc | 5

Some odd reporting in the Guardian too.

"But [US, Kurdish and Iraqi] commandos freed dozens of Arab Iraqis who were being held prisoner at the school, including members of the Iraqi security forces, local residents and Isis fighters held as suspected spies"

No mention of the released IS fighters is made elsewhere in the article. Why are they going out of their way to rescue these people?

Posted by: Bob | Oct 22 2015 18:32 utc | 6

Shameful, shameful! How shameless can one be, declaring Hitler only wanted to evict the Jews and putting blame on Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini and today's Palestinians as the root cause for the extinction of Jews. How morally corrupt must one be to publicly make these statements in a speech in 2015! Netanyahu is not a leader, he has always been competing with his brother Yonathan. Bibi just destroyed his own legacy as Prime Minister of Israel. This should lead to his political downfall and a pariah statesman in the world ... unless that world is just as corrupt and morally void as Israel has become.

The Zionist spirit of socialism and kibbutz movement has turned the corner to settler violence and the ways of Meir Kahane in political discourse in the US, Canada and Europe. The spirit of pioneers and communal service has evaporated into hatred, superiority and criminal occupation of the Palestinian land and oppression of its people for over six decades. The world watches as the United Stated condones and gives necessary military support for the crimes to continue.

Israel does not need Benyamin Netanyahu, he should be voted out of office the sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Germany says it has no idea what Netanyahu is talking about. [Video Chancellor Merkel]

From my diary - Netanyahu Confirms Holocaust As Political Tool of Zionism.

Posted by: Oui | Oct 22 2015 18:33 utc | 7

Theres definetly something up with that Guardian article. It was initially titled "US special forces free Kurdish hostages" as you can see it remains in the URL.

They removed an entire paragraph quoting the 'Kurdish Hostage Group' that thanked 'our American brothers' for freeing 70 peshmerga. Now it quotes the Kurds as saying none of the hostages were Kurdish at all.

So it went from they saved the Kurds to they saved no Kurds but they did manage some IS fighters. Impressive.

Posted by: Bob | Oct 22 2015 18:51 utc | 8

Eric Zuesse has this take on the Iraqi choice "Either the U.S. had promised the Iraqis that the U.S. will now really get serious about defeating ISIS in Iraq, or else the U.S. had promised the Iraqis that Iraq would be punished — at the IMF or elsewhere — if Iraq followed through on their announced intention to replace the U.S. with Russia. (Or, of course, the U.S. could have done both — the carrot, and the stick.)

In either case (or both), the U.S. has made clear, to the Iraqis, that America will do anything to defeat Russia — even abandon the fight against ISIS in Iraq, if need be — and that the U.S. will absolutely not ally with Russia against ISIS, under any circumstances
In my opinion if the Iraqis decide on Russia, the US has lost the Middle East, that is why they are going ape shit.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 22 2015 18:55 utc | 9

Cold borscht is great! Add a little imported Syrian lemon juice, some sour cream, yum! What's the Arabic for scrumdillyiscious?

Posted by: sillybill | Oct 22 2015 19:08 utc | 10

Putin was very powerful at Valdai--video and partial transcript,

Different excerpts grace Sputnik, TASS, and RT, helping the partial transcript to become whole.

I believe Netanyahoo's crazed because of the looming defeat of Yinon Plan and Outlaw Empire's grip on region means a very strategic Zionist defeat. Given what's likely in the longterm, it's finally become a probability that Israel will vanish into the sands of time and be replaced by Palestine.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2015 19:22 utc | 11

Then there's the story about the theft of evidence of CIA wrongdoing from U of Washington office that reminds one of the hidden reason for the Murrah building and 9/11 bombings--destruction of evidence related to Deep State illegalities.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2015 19:27 utc | 12

Thanks b for blasting the New Joke Times to kingdom come on that one. Anyone who see the official site of the President of Russia could see a picture of Putin genuinely smiling while walking to shake hands with Assad. The Russians went beyond protocol to make Assad feel welcome, and he surely looks relaxed, while in working meetings and/or informal situations. On Putin's right are Shoigu and Lavrov, can't locate Medvedev, but Russian media mentioned him there. Russians will not invest time, effort and money inviting Assad to Moscow, just to give him a cold shoulder.

If the New Joke Times was expecting a kissy/kissy/huggy/huggy meeting between two no-nonsense men, they were delusional. They have to work hard at finding something else to throw at Russia/Syria, the silly "chilly" BS won't get any track.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 22 2015 19:30 utc | 13

If they want to write about "chilly", they should take a good look at photos from Bibi's and Obama's last meetup. jmo.

Posted by: shadyl | Oct 22 2015 19:33 utc | 14

Tabloid journalism use to be constrained to a few media outlets but its become mainstream now.

Maybe it will become a contest to see who can get the American public to believe the biggest lie.

Have all the adults in our world been killed by the fascist global plutocrats? I am certainly not hearing any public discourse that is above high school level these days. It sounds like Benyamin Netanyahu is making up history to suit his personal sociopathy as well.

The war mongers must be coming in their pants these days. We have not seen this level of global tension in a long time. I hope some good comes out of it.

Thanks for the posting b

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 22 2015 19:41 utc | 15

Don't want to hear about 'Kurds' and their 'Kurdistan'.
A State based on ethnicity is ridicule and immoral.
Or do you want another Israel?

Posted by: From The Hague | Oct 22 2015 19:43 utc | 16

"Chilly" Media: CNN praises Chechen terrorism,

Apparently, CNN has gone way too far--caveat, I didn't see the item being written about. However, somehow I'm not surprised.

The only media within the Outlaw Empire I find close to being objective are sports & weather reporters and cartoonists.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 22 2015 20:02 utc | 17


And the rest of you fine folks who keep this site up and going: THANKS! I lurk here, but I'm tired of constantly posting about the downfall of empire and so I keep to myself.

I couldn't keep quiet today because I notice in Yahoo's newsfeed a "story" on how shitty Russian military forces are supposed to be and how they'd have a hard time keeping pace with the West due to our superior manufacturing, our willingness to fight, ect, ect. Pretty much a propaganda piece to keep the average American feeling all warm and fuzzy about the world war the West is aching for.

The Bankers and their political puppets need a big war, otherwise we're going to get a huge financial wake-up call that will probably change the world as we know it... but so will a big war. But at least with a big war the Bankers can still profit and whoever is the victor will feel righteous, and even better, think of all those poor folks who will be dead. Less people, more resources for the remaining few to exploit.

Shucks, I feel better just thinking about it...

Posted by: DaveS | Oct 22 2015 20:03 utc | 18

Harry Law @ 9,

Why in the wide world do you suppose the Iraqis jabbered about the possibility of asking for Russian help for 3 entire weeks? This outcome was entirely predictable. Why weren't they decisive in the first place. How could they need more time to evaluate the intentions of the US? Were the Iraqis really so stupid as to imagine that they were in the power seat and could play the US and Russians off against each other to see which would do more in fighting ISIS? I guess that's why they replaced their real leader w the stupid US puppet. It is so maddening to watch.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 22 2015 20:08 utc | 19

What puzzles the world outside of the Anglo-Ziosphere is that those in power are honestly trying to create their own reality from spin and disinfo. Their media outlets constantly poop rainbow skittles about the crazy economy built on nothing, and then the citizens, er, wait...the consumers swallow and say "Can I have another Sir?"

In similar fashion, media rags like the NYT and WaPo publish whatever their handlers email to them - but they do possibly use spellcheck and grammar-check before going to print. FauxNews parrots the Neocon shrillness and the remainder simply vomit forth less stringent versions of the same canards and outright falsehoods.

My colleagues and friends living elsewhere email me with a link and a simple "WTF?" very often about the insanity of LBGT (left some letters out on that one likely) accomodation/capitulation, pedophilia rings and crazy FATCA and TTIP and such and now the election cycle has begun and there is honestly a criminal and well oiled Oilgarch in the running for USA fearless leader.

We seem insane, but the root of all of this is the crazy amount of money in the system - from Wall Street to the TBTF banks to politics. Whatever other countries have in the way of oligarchs and monopolies and royal families is now dwarfed by what passes for everyday life in the USSA. It is no wonder that Putin and Jinping and Modi and so many others scratch their heads and throw up their hands when trying to even discuss an issue with the USSA.

Posted by: BOG | Oct 22 2015 20:11 utc | 20

The Hague @16
good point

Posted by: claudio | Oct 22 2015 20:19 utc | 21

The NYT is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Deep State in the US that rules over us serfs. It feeds us sh*t like we are mushrooms.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Oct 22 2015 20:26 utc | 22

on Putin-Assad relationship: I think Assad has tried hard to solve the issue with minimal external help; I mean, when you have foreign troops in your country your sovereignty is reduced (euphemism); Hezbollah, as a non-state actor, was less cumbersome; still, I don't understand what new line of propaganda this "chilly" comment is announcing; it's clear Putin is fully behind Assad, for the reasons given by b; and it's quite likely they have great personal esteem for each other

I'd say more: Assad has a whole Russian PR team behind him, organizing events (interview with RT, this personal encounter with the top Russian leadership), meant to assert his role of reasonable and moderate leader of a legitimate government

“Not being wedded to Assad does not mean that they’re prepared to negotiate a way for him to go”: it seems that the NYT is making up reasons for us to believe that sooner or later Putin will sell Assad in exchange for guarantees for Tartus, fight against Isis, etc; westerners can't believe someone may be resisting them for principles, they are always asking themselves with how many colored pearls they can calm the riotous barbarian leader

Posted by: claudio | Oct 22 2015 20:38 utc | 23

In that news briefing about the "red carpet" cited above, a few lines afterwards, Obama's spokesman complains about "Russia propping up Assad after he’s turned his country into a civil war, after allowing extremists to flourish ..".

Talk about the post calling the kettle black! At long last Mr Obama, at long last, have you any shame? Dumb question, right?

Or to quote a gangster in a pulp by Erle Stanley Gardner: "Ain't nothing too crude, if it works".

Posted by: Diogenes | Oct 22 2015 20:53 utc | 24

Whoever thinks Assad has gone to Russia, without a heavy aerial protection ,and drastic security measures provided by Russia, is either a fool or an idiot. They took enormous risks and all for the sake proving to the western world , that they have a strong relationship who is bound to last.This is not some kind of stupid game.It is Putin./

Posted by: Chill | Oct 22 2015 21:07 utc | 25

The so-called "chilly" relationship between V V Putin and Bashar al Assad is a case of "damned if you do and damned if you don't".

If Putin and Assad were meeting at least once a year, or on the telephone to each other once a month, the New York Slimes would be claiming that Syria had become a new Soviet satellite state and was taking orders from Lord Vlademort.

The behaviour of Western mainstream news media can be likened to that of a kidnapped victim totally dependent on his/her captors for survival: Stockholm Syndrome writ large. Except of course the kidnap victim has no choice in the matter and needs to submit to the captors and their interpretation of the kidnapping event in order to survive. The MSM has no such excuse.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 22 2015 21:45 utc | 26

Decades ago when I was out protesting the wars, I would try to explain to my comrades that the NYT was 100% full of bull manure. And they were absolutely shocked. After recovering from their initial shock, they became angry at me for causing them to be associated with a conspiracy nut. That perspective has evaporated like a puddle in sunlight.

There are few protests now that we found out that we couldn't stop the Mafia State from destroying Iraq. But scales have fallen from many eyes. I still resent having had to put up with some people's insouciance. At least the days of unending, unquestioning innocence are behind us.

Posted by: blues | Oct 22 2015 22:01 utc | 27

BOG #20: "the insanity of LBGT .... accomodation/capitulation".

Gee thanks for dismissing us as 'insane' and that getting some long denied (and very hard fought for) basic human rights is 'capitulation', even thought we are (especially trans people) still lagging well behind in every measurable way (legally, financially, employment, health, etc, etc, etc).

Posted by: Lisa | Oct 22 2015 22:06 utc | 28

@BOG #20

No idea what LGBT has to do with ANYTHING anyone is talking about here. It seems completely irrelevant to what you are discussing yourself.

Youre talking about entrenched power and the media... And then you mention gays for some reason.

Posted by: Massinissa | Oct 22 2015 22:13 utc | 29

Eric Zuesse has been exposed as a Mossad asset many times in the past. He is a lying, 'write to order' hack who is a stranger to reality. He writes diatribes on any topic under the sun, but his central message is always: "It's Christian gentile America to blame, folks - not Israel!" (I'm not American or Christian, before anyone accuses me of bias.) Zuesse is a f*cking sh*t. There's no point being polite about it. The man is scum. He is what Gilad Atzmon searingly calls the 'fake Jewish left' - dishonest pro-establishment 'gatekeepers to dissent' who steer the Middle East conversation away from Israel, and write a constant drip-drip-drip of hate-speech about Americans, Europeans and white gentiles as cover for the Israeli state's actions. Zuesse is a mother-f*cking racist masquerading as a truth teller, and that makes me sick to my stomach.

@b: my take, as an ex-intel analyst: we're seeing in the media recently (this NYT story being a prime example of more 'pro-Administraion' media) a battle between the highest levels of American power controlling the Administration (people way above the AIPAC level, the very elite banking families) and the lower-level AIPAC-associated Zionists controlling the US media (the people who are unimportant enough to appear in the Forbes Rich List).

The highest 'Rothschild-Rockefeller-Fed' levels find themselves aligned with the desire to use Iranian oil to back the petrodollar, realising that their profitable stake in the USA is threatened if they don't. The lower 'APIAC' levels are less economically clear-headed, and support whatever Shas or Likud tell them to support. (If Syria falls, Iraen is isolated and Iran is next. Plus, Oded Yinon says Syria belongs to Israel.)

Some newspapers and TV stations are slavishly pro-Administration, printing outright fantasy in his favor because he's the 'top tier's spokesman. Like this NYT story, which basically bolsters the Obama white house. (Obama is strong, Putin is weak, no action is needed in Syria, the USA is masterful, all is well, etc.)

Some newspapers and TV stations (like Fox) repeat the Israei Foreign Ministry line: Obama is weak if he doesn't act in Syria, Putin is a threat, Assad is a new Hitler, Arabs inspired the holohoax, etc.)

The top-tier Zionists love their Isreli cousins and would never jeopardise them, but in this case they're free to disagree because neither Syria or Iran are truly existential threats to anybody.

Posted by: BiffaBacon | Oct 22 2015 22:17 utc | 30

@27 That's not true in the Western world, Lisa. (I assume you're Western because of your name. Apologies if that's incorrect.) LGBT couples report significantly higher incomes that straight couples in most Western nations, and significantly faster career advancement. LGBT citizens of many Western nations enjoy positive discrimination in the courts, policing, university admissions, employee hiring practices, and HR practices. If you live in a nation which treats you badly, I am sorry, and there is no excuse for that. But if you live in Western Europe or North America, the government treats you better than it treats straight people, and you should develop a little empathy and humility, because sadly, you sound like you're becomming a bully based on a false victimhood status.

Whilst oppression is bad, straight people aren't. It sounds like you need to start judging people with an open mind, and stop believing that you're a victim, when you may indeed be a bully.

Posted by: BiffaBacon | Oct 22 2015 22:24 utc | 31

@16 from the hague... now where have i heard of that before and just how well is it working out? loaded question...

Posted by: james | Oct 22 2015 22:40 utc | 32

BOG @20,

I once knew a 10%er accountant who considered the occasional traffic fine a cost of living; it's reasonable to extrapolate that those higher up the ladder consider rape, torture and murder positional goods and exclusive privileges of their class. It might be churlish to simply suggest that all elites are rapists and snuffers, but the more we learn about them the more reasonable it sounds.

Lisa @27, Massinissa @28,

I think in this case LGBTLMNOP might be metonymy for bourgeois society and culture. To be fair, LGBT consumers sold out queers to remake the world in their own delusional image and join the American pillars-of-the-regime class, as bourgies (not necessarily LGBTs) do. Personally, I side with the queers.

Posted by: Jonathan | Oct 22 2015 22:43 utc | 33

Has anyone actually watched the footage of Assad's meeting with Putin and entourage upon arrival?
I have, and what first struck me was how giddy both Assad and Putin looked. Like two cats that each just swallowed the canary!
Both men looked as if they couldn't contain themselves from having the last laugh at the expense of the US and it's front players.

Posted by: spinworthy | Oct 22 2015 23:04 utc | 34

I have to say, b, that the only thing harder than finding an honest fact in the US media would be to locate a reasonable, candid opinion... of course they're bristling with petty, incoherent nonsense. This is what they do.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 22 2015 23:08 utc | 35

@claudio: "Assad has a whole Russian PR team behind him"

This is seems true. I noticed it in the swooping camera shots when Assad spoke (to the Syrian parliament?) following his election win. They were exactly similar to the camera shots featured during the Victory Parade. I don't know if they are on cranes or wires, but they have quite a striking effect. Something Americans seem to reserve for football games...

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 22 2015 23:12 utc | 36

I find Netanyahu's holocaust statement extremely revealing and entirely predictable.

The lessening of the crimes of Hitler are a real ideological goal for the right, even (one would think, amazingly) in Israel.

"That conception [that fascism is the natural and healthy middle class reaction to a rising left] is now being revived by ultra-right and neoNazi German historians, and will doubtless be the accepted doctrine of the future, given its utility to power interests."

That's a Chomskyism, and it contains a lot of truth about the ideological direction of Neo-Liberalism.

For people who really love austerity, Hitler was such a "shining example" in the way he dealt with the German working class, that he apparently gets a pass even on the Holocaust, and even by the grandchildren of those he murdered. Next presumably we'll hear that he was a good guy who took up with the wrong company. Everything was good up until 1942 or so, forget about the naked repression and descent into to dictatorship. He was spurred on by those dastardly Palestinians, probably even tricked into the whole affair, didn't you know?

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 22 2015 23:22 utc | 37

@spinworthy #33

Can you post website footage of Assad's meeting with Putin and entourage upon arrival?


Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 22 2015 23:33 utc | 38

footage of Assad's meeting with Putin and entourage.

Posted by: PhilK | Oct 22 2015 23:45 utc | 39

@guest77 - that kind of treatment is often given to Mussolini here in Italy - "not too bad until the 1939 racial laws", his "big mistake", glossing over how (and why) it got to power, from the "squadracce" -the thugs that (protected by the state) destroyed the socialist local organizations, to the murder in 1924 of the leader of the opposition, Giacomo Matteotti

Posted by: claudio | Oct 22 2015 23:47 utc | 40

#30. "LGBT citizens of many Western nations enjoy positive discrimination in the courts, policing, university admissions, employee hiring practices, and HR practices".

Lol..... I wish.... You are obviously not a LGBTIQ person.
Sigh, "positive discrimination", we would all ecstatic to get "no discrimination". Yes, even in western countries. As a trans person myself I can give you a very long list of the discrimination I face here in Australia and would face in: the UK, US, Germany, Sweden and many, many others.

Sociologically this is such an interesting phenomena, where the dominant, privileged part of society imagine those way down the pecking order have somehow got a higher privilege.
I have seen the same arguments made about women, coloured people, aboriginal people and other 'kicked in the guts all the time' minorities. It is a common argument used to discriminate against them.
As per all those 'poor harassed discriminated against' extreme US Christians as they fight for their 'religious freedom' to discriminate against others they don't like.

This 'argument' applies even in geo-politics, where the thought of a country, initially way down the pecking order, clawing its way up to some sort of decent standard of living against all the rigged odds, is seen as a 'threat' to the already dominant ones, who then massively inflate their actual wealth and power. China anyone?

In hierarchal systems, those who move out of their 'proper assigned place' bring apoplexy to those at the top.

Posted by: Lisa | Oct 22 2015 23:57 utc | 41

Fact check on aisles 29 & 30

Here would be the apparent source of the "outing" of Zuesse. The German "Jude" badge is nice Die Sturmer touch. The assertion that the fascist Banderists in the Ukraine are Jews (hey, some general said so!) was a bit surreal.

Study: Poverty Rate Elevated for LGBT Community would seem to suggest while there are some prominent, successful individuals, access to quality employment remains a problem for this community.

Posted by: rufus magister | Oct 23 2015 0:09 utc | 42

#36 we have seen over the years a debasement of the meaning of the Holocaust. Nowadays in means just the 6 million Jews, but in reality the true toll was in the region of 20 million and, if they had won the war, they were just getting started with plans for another 100 million.

It was called the Holocaust because so many, of so many different types were wiped out.
Such as the mentally ill (the first victims, a 100% death rate and where they first tested using gas), GLBTI people (the second ones), Romanies, non Jewish Poles, Russians, all those other Slavs from many countries, social democrats, non Nazi conservatives, liberals, communists, union leaders and all those many, many, many others....

They created a Death Machine. Auschwitz alone: "At least 1.1 million prisoners died at Auschwitz, around 90 percent of them Jewish; approximately 1 in 6 Jews killed in the Holocaust died at the camp.[1][2] Others deported to Auschwitz included 150,000 Poles, 23,000 Romani and Sinti, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, 400 Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and tens of thousands of people of diverse nationalities. Many of those not killed in the gas chambers died of starvation, forced labor, infectious diseases, individual executions, and medical experiments.". Wiki.

To debase that horror is despicable beyond belief.

Posted by: Lisa | Oct 23 2015 0:10 utc | 43

Vic "Big Balls" Nuland (Fuck The EU) is the wife of a Kagan. The Zionist Kagan Bros. are considered to be "Foreign Policy" (aka Yinon Plan, PNAC) Geniuses by the Beltway Dimwits. The Kagan's and Nuland (by default) are extremely influential now and during he Bush/Cheney Admin.

The Kagans are today's Dulles Brothers; only no Kagan has been fired. And Somebody gets to keep his head in place on his neck.

Nepotism runs deep in the Beltway. Andrea Mitchell & Alan Greenspan, Campbell Brown & Dick, Lovers Karl Rove & David Gregory, Cokie Roberts & Coke; etc.

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 23 2015 0:16 utc | 44

:: Lisa | Oct 22, 2015 8:10:02 PM | 41

"To debase that horror is despicable beyond belief."

Nothing is "beyond belief" if you are some pretend-to-be Jewish Mafia State vassal like Benjamin Netanyahu. Just another sociopathic politician.

"Despicable" can only apply to the little people. Not to the Great Pirates!

Posted by: blues | Oct 23 2015 0:28 utc | 45

BiffaBacon #30. Are you for real?

Posted by: Lisa | Oct 23 2015 0:43 utc | 46

@ spinworthy...

Assad can barely hide his disappointment. Here's a shot from the meeting.....

Posted by: kafkananda | Oct 23 2015 0:48 utc | 47

There was a very important statement made by Putin and Assad after their meeting where they reversed their old position and stated that some of the rebel groups have legitimate grievances and must be negotiated with if they will join the fight against the Islamic State.

It now appears that Putin is directing Assad to make a deal with their version of Moderate Rebels.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 23 2015 0:59 utc | 48

New York is called the Empire State, I remember as a child visiting the observation deck of the Empire State building with my grandfather, and Washington called New York "the Seat of the Empire" ... so the Empire State Times is not at all an unfitting name for Sulzberger's rag.

@36 guest

How true it is, and thanks for the Chomsky quote, has been on point on exactly that case in Germany ...

[T]he professors are working to rewrite history, the IYSSE [International Youth and Students for Social Equality] representative explained. While Münkler has focused on minimising German responsibility for the outbreak of the First World War, Baberowski attempts to justify the war crimes of the Nazis as a legitimate response to “Bolshevik violence”—in the tradition of the Nazi-apologist historian Ernst Nolte.

... although it can be seen to apply elsewhere - significantly in the apartheid state of Israel.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 23 2015 1:01 utc | 49

@46 wow.. funny, but i heard the 'moderate terrorists' were cutting deals with all the others including isis - to go after big bad russia, just like the older generation went after the commies - chuckle!

Posted by: james | Oct 23 2015 1:23 utc | 50

@48 Just another typical disingenuous observation from wow right on cue. Assad has been willing to negotiate with reasonable people all along.

Posted by: dh | Oct 23 2015 1:34 utc | 51

Cold borch is actually pretty good:

Putin is actually a master of "chilly welcome", as experienced by Berlusconi when the latter was on a mission to convince Putin to agree to UNSC resolution authorizing an attack on Iraq. February, rural residence near Moscow, "an informal outdoor supper".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 23 2015 1:40 utc | 52

"It now appears that Putin is directing Assad to make a deal with their version of Moderate Rebels." WoW[suc]

Not at all. Putin is decimating the moderate terrorists. He's even giving the Pentagram generals goose bumps.

They no longer hold superpower status.

They figured out they no longer are "tasked" with protecting the American people. Only the Mafia State.

They must face reality, if they have the balls.

Posted by: blues | Oct 23 2015 1:45 utc | 53

"we have seen over the years a debasement of the meaning of the Holocaust."

I was looking through some oral histories from the Carter Presidential Library - some I just sort of randomly happened upon on the internet. The man making the oral history name was Seymour Bolton (though it is in the third person, not sure the dynamics of these). Apparently there was a huge, internal battle regarding the US Holocaust Museum as to wether it should be exclusively devoted to the Jewish part of the Holocaust. It is fairly astonishing, and says a lot about what Norman Finklestein calls "The Holocaust Industry", that even in regards to an event like this there is the desire for exclusion and exclusivity. It's sad. No one should forget all those who died - dissidents, minorities, and POWs of all ethnicities.

Anyway, here is the part:

Disagreements arose as to the concept of the memorial: should it only be to Jews or also to other victims of the Nazis? This became an emotional issue. SB felt if this was to be an American national memorial, not just Jewish, that it shouJdbe something everyone could identify with, not just Jews. The disagreement caused an uproar and manifested itself in controversy over selection of a successor group, the Holocaust Council, established by executive order. The final report of the commission in Sept; !79 had recommended establishment of a museum as a living memorial and a research foundation. The council spent five months haggling over its membership, all against the background of the fundamental disagreement of making this an exclusively Jewish memorial. SB became "increaSingly disillusioned and frustrated" and "wanted out."

In the meantime, the Holocaust Council had received its own b~dget, recognized by legislation in Sept. '80. It is still under the Department of the Interior (National Park Service), with three ex-officio members from the State, Education, and Interior departments. SB felt this executive branch membership would mean that the council wouldn't "go off without executive branch guidance."
Since the end of the Carter administr~tion, SB has had no further responsibility re the commission or the council. It would be his hope that a memorial might create an understanding of what the Holocaust meant.

I'd also show this short clip of William Styron, it is quite powerful, he is the author of Sophie's Choice. It goes just for a couple of minutes. He talks about the criticism he received for "de-Judaizing the Holocaust" though he notes that the Holocaust holds unique meaning for Jews. Anyway, worth a listen:

Also in the talk is Kurt Vonnegut - so that's well worth watching!

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 23 2015 1:53 utc | 54


I doubt that any of the OK-rebels will fall for this gambit but it was a huge concession for Assad to make or for Putin to force him to make. Since the beginning of the conflict Assad has branded all armed opposition as terrorists and would only consider negotiating with the neutered/unarmed opposition in Damascus and outside Syria.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 23 2015 1:53 utc | 55

And I certainly don't mean that as a criticism of those who suffered. After all, in reading Finkelstein you come to see it isn't even the survivors who desire (or, in fact, receive) these memorials and reparations. Those who went through the events certainly understand better than anyone what it meant and who was involved.

It is those hangers on who didn't go through the events, but seek to involve themselves based on nothing more than an ethnic distinction, who deserve criticism. In making one of histories greatest tragedies an excuse for more exclusion misunderstands the meaning entirely, one would think.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 23 2015 1:58 utc | 56

AmeriKKKa has been regime-changed and is now ruled by cretins.

A Person that is: brainless, stupid, child-like, and full of pointless information that makes no sense and appeals only to other cretins.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 23 2015 2:02 utc | 57

David Irving, the able historian but no friend of the Holocaust grifters, spent time in an Austrian cooler for the catch-all crime of "Holocaust denial". Would the Yahooligan be spending time in an Austrian or German jail for the same; which is, suggesting that Hitler had his mind on deportation instead of extermination of the Jews? More likely the rule that the Chosen are free of the rules imposed on us lesser beings will be invoked.

Posted by: Ivan | Oct 23 2015 2:17 utc | 58

Well, I was waiting for WoW to show up with his rant about the dead Russian soldiers. Whatever happened to them? They should really stink by now, since WoW has been carrying them around for about a week. Even the clown at the pompous "Syrian Observatory" pull out the news about, but not WoW. He's been loyal to the dead soldiers, and want the Russians to acknowledge they were theirs. Any evidence so far? Keep on trucking...

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 23 2015 2:28 utc | 59

Posted by: Oui | Oct 22, 2015 2:33:01 PM | 7

Talking about Bibi, Atzmon (and cretins)...

Hot off the Press; Netanyahu Is a History Revisionist - Gilad Atzmon
October 21, 2015

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 23 2015 2:28 utc | 60

Whomever wonders...
I saw the video recently,still searching where it was
in the meantime, these pictures convey some of the glee, when not discussing more sanguine matters.

Posted by: spinworthy | Oct 23 2015 2:29 utc | 61

LW @ 57,

Putin has already made clear that the fight in Syria is one for the Syrian Army to win or lose. What he and others watching on the sidelines find intolerable, is the prevailing idea that Syria should be turned into a happy-hunting ground for Chechens, jihadists or Zionist inspired troublemakers, or Turks or indeed anyone wanting to try his skill at butchery. The Syrians have to find their own equilibrium, the others should butt out. Putin is upholding the principle of non-interference in the affairs of a sovereign state.

Posted by: Ivan | Oct 23 2015 2:36 utc | 62


You shouldn't worry so much about a few dead Russians, they were bagged and tagged and sent home.

What you really need to worry about now is that Assad will have to sit down to dinner with some of the Liver Eaters or Putin will have to summon him back to the Kremlin for another chat.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 23 2015 2:39 utc | 63

In case you think that vilifying Putin in particular and Russians in general in NYT is a sporadic phenomenon, there is also an opinion piece by a certain Maxim Trudolyubov, a journalist from Moscow that delivers dire news from his neck of the news. He tried to find a fellow city dweller with a rational gloom opinion about the Syrian venture, and alas and alack, he could not find any. Utter madness is sweeping the country, and among few consolations, every month or two Maxim is penning invariably gloom opinion about most recent events in Russia.

In the meantime, Putin does have some peculiarities and far from everything is bright in Russia, but concerning conflict management and macro-economics he does pretty well. On economic front, the standard western story is of a crisis wrecking Russia, but in actuality, it is far from that. Export was halved because of drop in oil prices, so he managed to (a) slash imports quite proportionally, (b) pay back a big chunk of foreign debt, ca. 100 bln dollars, (c) consumption dropped by ca. 10% and (d) employment was steady. There is big investment in import substitution, which helps employment I presume, and a surge of competitiveness in non-oil industries. Unlike Gulf countries, he hardly touch substantial financial reserves accumulated during the years of expensive oil, so the reorganized budget seem sustainable. Mind you, given the choice of collecting the revenue from oil export during "fat years" is more sensible than just leaving all profits with companies, but that inevitably creates a huge drop when the "lean years" are comming. In the meantime, Ukraine had 30% drop in consumption, in spite of allegedly better trade connections with the West than before, and in spite of being energy importer at the time of lower prices.

Putin seems to be of "paleoconservative" school of economics, and he runs a tight shop. We discussed a rant of Saker, which amounts to a correct observation that Putin tries to intervene as cheaply as possible. If it works out, all the better, but I suspect that he does plan for a more intense end game.


Concerning talking with Americans, Saudis and Turks -- I think none of that makes sense in the short term, but it is important to keep channels open for the future.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 23 2015 2:42 utc | 64

Since the beginning of the conflict Assad has branded all armed opposition as terrorists" -- Wayoutwest

Assad is the president of Syria. If the president of the United States was confronted with armed opposition, would he refrain from calling them terrorists? Huh?

Posted by: blues | Oct 23 2015 2:49 utc | 65

wow - for anyone who wants a little diversion and vacuous entertainment, if one could even call it that..

Posted by: james | Oct 23 2015 2:59 utc | 66


Delusional thinking is a side effect of eating too many human entrails. It also causes tunnel vision, which makes it impossible to see the trap Russians and Syrians are preparing for all of you. Much better, you will just walk into it. Enjoy it while it lasts, your days are counted.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 23 2015 3:00 utc | 67


What you write may be true but it is irrelevant now that Putin has ordered Assad to treat with some of the 'terrorists'.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 23 2015 3:24 utc | 68

Dear Weeoutwest:

I, blues, have countermanded Putin's fictitious "order".

So it would be null and void even if it was real. I used my Illuminati connections.

Posted by: blues | Oct 23 2015 3:32 utc | 69

Holocaust? Where? When? Who? I never heard of this before, some kind of biblical story, like the parting of red sea or the burning bush?

Posted by: pall mall | Oct 23 2015 3:46 utc | 70

@ Lisa

I don't care what color people are or who they choose to have sex with (outside of interspecies). What pisses me off is that 3-5% of the population (and that is stretching the definition of gay to maximum) hammering the rest of us about their "rights". Gays are OVER-REPRESENTED in all western media. PERIOD!

I get irritated when every single TV show has to have gay characters or at least a gay story arc. If gay was so very, very ok, then there would be many less of us very quickly. If it is genetic, then it is a dead-end gene because the net result is zero progeny - period.

Adolescents have enough crap to deal with these days without complicating it with several different sexual persuasions. Gay has ALWAYS been around - in some cases considered a quasi-normal thing for certain groups. It is not new - what is new are the screaming hordes of activists tying up the dialog so that things like war and death and destruction get sidelined and instead we get Bruce Jenner in drag parading around and people saying how brave 'she' is...

Hopefully, you can understand the point - because it isn't about gays - other things simply deserve more attention as they affect vastly more people in potentially deadly ways. I could give a hoot about somebody getting their feelings hurt - whether it is micro-aggressive (FMTT) or gay or bullying. Spoiled bourgeois doesn't begin to cover it.

Posted by: BOG | Oct 23 2015 4:40 utc | 71

On a more serious note, the US/NATOstan are beginning to have glimpses of a larger Russian strategy behind the Syrian move. As NATO encroaches into what has traditionally been a Russian security zone in Eastern Europe, the Russians are carving themselves a niche at the Mare Nostrum, right on Europe's underbelly.

Russians already have a naval facility at Tartus, and a few days ago, Russian Colonel General Andrey Kartapalov, in a landmark interview to Komsomolskaya Pravda, stated Russia will likely create a unified military base, with air/land/sea components,

[...] – Can we speak today about the creation of two high-grade Russian bases in Syria – a ground base near Latakia and the Navy in Tartus?

– I think that, most likely, we should talk about the creation of one Russian military base. This will be one base, which will be composed of several components – sea, air, and ground [...]

an idea that was welcomed by the Syrians.

The governor of Latakia, Ibrahim Salim, said that the government of his province welcomes the establishment of the Russian military base. Earlier, there were reports about the possible establishment of a Russian military base in Syria.

The formation of a full-fledged Russian military base in the Syrian province of Latakia would allow its residents to feel more secure, Governor Ibrahim Salim told Russian journalists during an interview [...]

Russian navy has recently secured berthing rights in Cyprus, NATO is now concerned Russians are too close to home.

“Russian surveillance and electronic warfare assets now have the potential to be legally and regularly brought close to the British Royal Air Force base at Akrotiri, home of one of NATO’s most important listening stations.”

The Syrian intervention appears to be but one step in an overarching Russian strategy aimed at stopping the US interventionist policies in the ME, and as a response to NATO's advance into Russia's traditional safety zone. From a base in Syria, Russia can reach the entire ME/Eurostan/Maghreb with Kalibr-NK LACMs, same ones recently launched from the Caspian Sea.

US/NATOstan are even more concerned about the Russian's de facto no-fly zone over Syria.

The no-fly zone in Syria already exists. It is run by Russia and Washington is unable to jam it.

NATO is desperate. The Pentagon is desperate. Imagine waking up one day in Washington and Brussels just to realize Russia has the ability to electronically jam — detect, trace, disable, destroy — NATO electronics within a 600 km range across Syria (and southern Turkey).

Imagine the nightmare of row after row of Russian Richag-AV radar and sonar jamming systems mounted on helicopters and ships jamming everything in sight and finding every available source of electromagnetic radiation. Not only in Syria but also in Ukraine.

Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army units in Europe, was even forced to qualify Russian electronic warfare capabilities in Ukraine as "eye-watering."

As Pepe Escobar calls it, "the empire of chaos is in a jam," and they can't see a way out of it any time soon. The four, ehem, "options" they have for Syria, are what Einstein called madness, which is to do the same thing again and again expecting different results.

[...] The first option is containment — which is exactly what the Obama administration has been doing. The recipe was proposed in full by the Brookings Institution; "containing their activities within failed or near-failing states is the best option for the foreseeable future."

But that, Think Tankland argues, would "crush the popular opposition" in Syria. There is no "popular opposition" in Syria; it's either the government in Damascus or a future under the ISIS/ISIL/Daesh Salafi-jihadi goons.

The second option is the favorite among US neocons and neoliberalcons; to weaponize the already weaponized opposition. This opposition ranges from the YPG Kurds — who actually fight on the ground against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh — to Jabhat al-Nusra, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in Syria and its Salafi-jihadi cohorts. Al-Nusra of course has been rebranded in the Beltway as "moderate rebels"; so this option means in practice the House of Saud weaponizing al-Qaeda while they fight under the cover of US air strikes.

Pure Ionesco-style theatre of the absurd. Compounded by the fact those apocalyptic nut jobs who pass as "clerics" in Saudi Arabia, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, have duly declared jihad against Russia.

The third option will go nowhere; Washington allying with "Assad just go" and Iran — not to mention Russia — in a real fight-to-the-finish against ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Obama boxed himself in a long time ago with "Assad must go", so he remains immobilized by a self-inflicted ippon.

The fourth option is the neocon wet dream; regime change, achieved, in theory, by what I call the Coalition of the Dodgy Opportunists (CDO), as in the NATO-GCC embrace, with a Turkish starring role and attached US air strikes, plus all those thousands of CIA-trained "moderate rebels" slouching all the way to Damascus. As if the Russian campaign did not exist [...]

So, while the empire of chaos remains trapped by their own delusions, without a clear strategy other than mayhem, the Russians are killing two birds with one stone: one, propping up Syria's struggle against the wicked takfiris, under the umbrella of a wide alliance, a struggle for self-preservation; two, building up their anti-NATO defenses, at the edge of the Eurasian mass, with the strategic depth of an entire continent covering their backs.

The empire of chaos never saw the ensnaring bear coming.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 23 2015 5:17 utc | 72

ot from cannonfire, regarding the false flag chem attack in 2012 in damascus..

Posted by: james | Oct 23 2015 6:14 utc | 73

What Putin and Assad discussed during their meeting in Moscow?

Excellent news by Elijah Magnier

Mr. Assad requested an increase of air support and to supply the Syrian army with tanks needed and other military equipment. Mr. Putin gave orders to his Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to immediately increase the air strikes and air jets in Syria, supply the Syrian army with new vehicles replacing the old ones, new Tanks T-72, new electronic devices to monitor all projectiles provenance and to re-build a strong Syrian army to regain main cities and strategic villages. It was also discussed that the Russian Air Force and Intelligence unit will support the ground combat operations to end the military campaign within a duration and time frame agreed between the two parties. ”

“Mr. Putin is aware of every detail of the situation in Syria and the strength and the equipment provided to the Syrian rebels. He explained that Russia has used intercontinental cruise missiles to show to all players with proxies fighting on the ground in Syria its determination to target any regional country providing extremists with anti-air missiles (MANPADs) that can damage or shoot down any Russian jet. Any country that supports terrorists exposing Russian jets at risk would be a legitimate target to Russia.
By receiving his Syrian counterpart, the Russian President showed his undoubted support to Mr. Assad, welcoming him warmly. But above all, Mr. Putin gave himself an international legitimacy for the presence and enlargement of the Russian troops on the Syrian territory within the frame of the international laws.

Posted by: b | Oct 23 2015 6:27 utc | 74

bog 69

*what is new are the screaming hordes of activists tying up the dialog so that things like war and death and destruction get sidelined*

it could just be a coincidence ;-)

Posted by: denk | Oct 23 2015 7:40 utc | 75

I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward
and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a
sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best
interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank

There was no kind of diplomatic chit-chat, trying to throw each other
off balance. There was a straightforward dialogue. And that's the
beginning of a very constructive relationship. I wouldn't have invited
him to my ranch if I didn't trust him
- G.W. Bush

Posted by: john | Oct 23 2015 7:49 utc | 76

b @72 - the other big news item is the following:

Mr. Assad expressed to Mr. Putin his readiness to engage in a political process and reform the existing law, giving guarantees and powers to those within the Syrian opposition but without any link to Salafi – jihadist, including those who are participating and currently engaged in the war in Syria

it means groups that were formerly considered terrorists by Assad will now be included in the political process

it's probably the exchange for regional actors' withdrawing support for Isis and accepting a political process with Assad

Posted by: claudio | Oct 23 2015 8:43 utc | 77

BOG @69 (b, sorry to carry on with this off-topic topic):

I understand where you're coming from, but your reaction is called "taking the bait." I agree that being gay for the last decade or so has been a positive trait professionally in nearly all of US work culture, and is at times over-enthusiastically portrayed in a positive way in the infotainment sphere (in which gays have institutional power far in excess of their numbers in the population (not that that is a big deal). Transgender in particular has long been non-controversial, at least since the late 60s/early 70s when Jan Morris changed sexes and no one cared. She carried on being an outstanding travel writer and that was sensibly people cared about. So, the best reaction (from someone opposed to an identity-politics-dominated political discourse) is "not controversial; like nearly everyone else I support equal rights for all." And then move on to what matters.

But if you want a fun way to engage the excesses of genderism, suggest that gender doesn't exist. We all have sexual equipment that can get us off with any kind of partner, and it's only our bodyist prejudices and bias that prevents us having sex with everyone (even other species, I suppose). So, my argument is that 'being heterosexual' is a body bias against people of your own sex, while 'being homosexual' is body bias against people of the opposite sex. All of us should be pansexual or we are disgusting bigots.;->

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 23 2015 8:52 utc | 78

You must have gone to a really poor high school. Most of what issues from the US propaganda machine sounds more like middle school, except all of it that sounds totally juvenile.

Posted by: Macon Richardsonn | Oct 23 2015 8:59 utc | 79

it means groups that were formerly considered terrorists by Assad will now be included in the political process
it's probably the exchange for regional actors' withdrawing support for Isis and accepting a political process with Assad
Posted by: claudio | Oct 23, 2015 4:43:16 AM | 75

...then again, it probably means that members of groups 'considered terrorists by Assad' will all be dead. One of Putin's earliest stated aims was to prevent battle-hardened ter'rists from leaving Syria and taking their skills with them.
It sounded very unambiguous to me.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 23 2015 9:10 utc | 80

"Russians will not invest time, effort and money inviting Assad to Moscow, just to give him a cold shoulder."
Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 22, 2015 3:30:03 PM | 13


Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 23 2015 9:21 utc | 81

Hoarsewhisperer @78

we are talking about Syrians, not foreigners

Posted by: claudio | Oct 23 2015 9:50 utc | 82

BiffaBacon #30. Are you for real?
And #69" Being transgender myself I can assure you, CAITLYN Jenner is not "in drag parading".

Anyway back on topic:

I have to admit I was wrong about the Iran settlement (it went through and there were no secret 'don't help Syria' clauses), but pretty much right about the other stuff I said a while back:

The US was not attacking IS seriously, just 'nudging' it in the right directions.
The Coalition of the Terminally Insane (CoTI) were feeling very confident they were winning.
But other people had other ideas, including Russia.

Well we now know what Russia has done and is doing.

I did not expect the US (and Israel) to throw the Kurds under a bus to back Turkey's mad dreams, that did surprise me greatly. But it seems they were getting impatient and that was necessary for them to pull off a 'no fly zone'. Maybe Obama wanted it all over before the elections or something.

But the Russian intervention must have been planned in detail for months beforehand, which says something about their operational security.

And it now seems obvious that the 'tired and near defeated' Syrian Army was really just pulling people and stuff back for reequipment and reinforcement for the later planned offensives when the Russians arrived.

Behind the scenes there has been massive amounts of planning and work. Over and above anything else that is remarkable.
It is also clear that there is a single CinC and unified strategic and operational plans, which (to my eyes) have a clear Russian style stamps on them.

As I said on another post, this 'is real war', not the COIN nonsense we have seen to date elsewhere.
But the gains by IS, AN (etc) have only been possible because of endless reinforcements of the jihadists. Some estimates I have seen give at least 100,000 that have been fed into Syria over the last few years. Which makes sense given the certain high loss rate and the estimate of 200,000 Syrian Army casualties.

Therefore cutting off those reinforcement/supply lines is going to be crucial in finally defeating them.
This means closing the Turkish border....

Coordinating attacks with Iraq means IS is going to have to make some real hard decisions soon as to where it is going to fight.

My feeling is that we are seems forming two pincer movements, a long one involving Iraq and IS and a short one against AN(etc). Whether they can pull it off and turn them into cauldrons is another thing of course. But, at least the strategic and tactical initiatives are now in the hands of the Syrian Army, the Iraqis and Russia.

Monty would be proud of this, just the sort off thing he would do...

Posted by: Lisa | Oct 23 2015 9:58 utc | 83

According to my cursory research, Google presently only lists three rather obscure websites with writing in English that report on the Moscow meeting of Putin and Assad. The very best (which still only quotes some anonymous source) seems to be:

“....Mr. Assad expressed to Mr. Putin his readiness to engage in a political process and reform the existing law, giving guarantees and powers to those within the Syrian opposition but without any link to Salafi – jihadist, including those who are participating and currently engaged in the war in Syria.”

It's rather an evasively worded statement. Surely Assad would not be negotiating with them unless they stopped attacking Syria. (I just read that the Salafis are extreme fundamentalist Sunnis who regard themselves as the only true Muslims, and who insist upon some sort of absolute Sharia law.)

It was also stated that:

“Mr. Putin is aware of every detail of the situation in Syria and the strength and the equipment provided to the Syrian rebels. He explained that Russia has used intercontinental cruise missiles to show to all players with proxies fighting on the ground in Syria its determination to target any regional country providing extremists with anti-air missiles (MANPADs) that can damage or shoot down any Russian jet. Any country that supports terrorists exposing Russian jets at risk would be a legitimate target to Russia...”

Which sound a bit concerning. At some point some Russian jet may be shot down. I think they would react rather harshly.

Posted by: blues | Oct 23 2015 11:17 utc | 84

blues #82. But that is classic Sun Tze, alliances (even if only of convenience), starving the enemy by diplomacy (cheaper than fighting) this, as I said before, is real war.

Multi dimensional, everything being used, and diplomacy is a critical element in this.

In Boyd terms a faster (and bigger) OODA loop.

Watching Puntin doing diplomacy all over the place, Israel, Saudi Arabia, offers to the US ...and all the rest...watching a master in action here. He is not a military master, he delegates to the experts ...and right now the Russians are the experts.

Poor Isarel, wet dreams gone, as a major part of the CoTI its mad dreams (well publicised) was cleansing southern Lebanon of its people and AN and all the rest dutifully taking out Hezbollah first. That Lintini River just keeps getting further and further away from them. so I suppose they will take it out on Gaza and the rest of the Palastinians again.

Posted by: Lisa | Oct 23 2015 11:39 utc | 85

Another Op-Ed salvo, with the subtlety of a multi-warhead ICBM, penned by "Michael A. McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, served in the Obama administration on the National Security Council and as ambassador to the Russian Federation." Conclusion:

"Eventually, new Russian leaders also may realize that Russia’s path to greatness requires reform at home and responsible leadership abroad. Propping up failing dictators through the use of force is not grand strategy.

Right now, though, the only way to nudge Russia in a different direction is to contain and push back on Mr. Putin’s current course, not only by our immediate response in Syria, but in a sustained, strategic manner around the world."

Translation into plain language: you look good today, but we will spit in your food and crap on your doorstep and make your life total shit until you see the reason in following the directions from wise people like us in Hoover Institute. The is also some lofty language how wrong it is to prop dictators (who are not hereditary absolute monarchs ruling by the Grace of God), but the translation into plain language is [boilerplate nonsense omitted]. It totally ignores the facts around, namely that propping the rebellion with Western arms financed by rich dictators who are most backward on the planet is very, very bad idea. The success may "humiliate Putin" to satisfaction of some, but apart from peevish pleasure in destruction, what does it offer? Why Libya cannot be put together again? Why Yemen is being converted into a hell hole just to show Iran that its "influence" can be thwarted, with American weapons used to precisely massacre weddings? And was there EVER a reason for USA to oppose jihadists and go as far as to invade and prop government with our troops?

This "realist attitude", bomb jihadists here, tolerate there, prop with money and arms in the third place ignores the fact that they move and inspire each other. And Saudi-center defense of freedom EVENTUALLY will cause a recoil in democratic countries, which is not a weakness. The danger to the West is not "weakness" but stupidity.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 23 2015 12:00 utc | 86

A comment on the demonstrative use of cruise missiles. Contrary to what some armchair strategist think, some international consensus is needed to perform effective actions. Recall that there was a short sequence of attacks which were potentially lethal on Israeli diplomatic personnel. The international reaction was: "Ah, it is surely done by Iran, because lately there were so many Israeli assassinations there. By the way, what is the weather today?" Similarly, if KSA and Qatar shout loudly that they will intervene in Syria to thwart Russian effort (as instinctive warriors for democracy), anti-aircraft weapons appear in rebel hands and THEN some of their oil and gas terminals explode

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 23 2015 12:06 utc | 87

Piotr @84

The McFaul quote is very hilarious given the Outlaw Empire's conduct in doing exactly that.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 23 2015 12:58 utc | 88

@ fairleft 76 -

You lost me with that first "-ism"...

Posted by: BOG | Oct 23 2015 13:53 utc | 89

Peace talks and regime-change

When western politicians talk about not seeing a future for Assad in eventual peace talks, it is meant for their domestic audience. The actual politics of a regime change is unrealistic. You can't impose or exclude a government from the outside in any legal way. And seeing as Assad would probably have the majority of votes in the next election also, no real negotiations can lead up to such a result.
Regime-change would have to be imposed by military force (illegal) or a coup (illegal).

Posted by: Alexander Grimsmo | Oct 23 2015 13:55 utc | 90

If Russian military were as energetic as NYT editorials (some presented as reports, as the "chilly reception" that was somehow undiscovered by others), takfiris would be gone pretty soon. As I scrolled Op-Ed page, there is also "Putin’s Partition Plan for Syria" by an official shill of GCC: "Hussein Ibish is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and a contributing opinion writer."

This guy is of course insane in a different way than McFoul. Not surprisingly, he does not mention dictators or democracy. He surmises that Putin wants to partition Syria, presumably following some neo-con plan to do so, and this is bad because ...?? Ah, here it is: because it would be done without considering interests on USA, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, American allies like the Arab Gulf States. Without a doubt, kings, emirs etc. of the Persian Gulf (I assume that those are not Arab states on the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf = a large body of water with a lot of oil around and under) would partition Syria differently, AND EVEN IF NOT, if Putin does it, it would make YOU AMERICANS LOOK WEAK!

The reasoning that Putin "obviously" wants to partition Syria is based on the fact that Arab Gulf watcher cannot conceive that anything else can be done. The way I see it, if you give taqfiris a peace of land of the size of a post stamp (or larger), they would start fighting each other.

A little homework for Mr. Hussein Ibish: how to advance the skill level of KSA rulers to match graduates of an elementary school? I am not talking about high level engineering skills like securing cranes not to fall over people or prevent participants in a march organized by the Kingdom to trample each other, but a simple task of counting bodies if you have a pile. Other countries figured that there were more than 3000, but the kingdom cannot count above three digits. Back in six grade, I could do better than that.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 23 2015 14:02 utc | 91

81;The only people who have sh*t on the holocaust are the Zionists with their actions that mimic Adolf.They have earned the price of humans worldwide stopping to believe their fairy tales.
Your faith in serial liar tales is touching.May I ask,how many survived the camps?No holocaust no Israel right?
And who created Hitler in the first place?The same people who are trying,inadvertently,to create him in America.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 23 2015 14:26 utc | 92

Sexual preference, about as important as what color sox will I put on today. Totally, "Troll food".

See, peripheral issues do change the debate. Which, for B and BB, is the point.

Posted by: ben | Oct 23 2015 14:32 utc | 93

Some of these Satraps are delusional, Qatar for instance total population in 2013, 278,000 Qatari citizens and 1.5 million expatriates said "it could intervene militarily following Russia's intervention in support of President Bashar al-Assad but said it still preferred a political solution to the crisis." To which the Russian and Iranian response could be "Go ahead make my day"

Posted by: harry law | Oct 23 2015 14:33 utc | 94

On topic, nada about LGTB:

Chilly! Ha ha.

Stressing or inventing negative points about this meeting, that is personalities, etc. is put out to obscure the fact that Russia has shown the diplomatic world that Russia is 100% pushing its plan to coordinate with others and fight IS plus affiliated in Syria.

This was demonstrated through the meeting with supreme high-ups in Russia and thus its apparent seriousness. That is, it wasn’t merely a courtesy meet or exchange of bonhomie, aka with touristy visits, ribbon cutting, cultural pacts, splendid menus and spiffy wives, attendants, etc. Nor was it just a brief cosy intimate Assad-Putin ‘fireside’ talk, which might have been expected in this case, no! it was 5 levels higher. Another aspect that will have struck observers is that apparently (at least for the public, in pix, etc.) Assad was alone. This puts him in the lower position, that of a dependent.

Yes, afaik, Assad and Putin don’t know each other personally or only minimally. But they seemed very pleased… I suppose they all communicated thru interpreters as Assad doesn’t speak Russian or German (afaik), and Putin never communicates in public / important meets in English.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 23 2015 14:50 utc | 95

Fabius will eat another of his hats today

Posted by: Mina | Oct 23 2015 15:08 utc | 96


Thanks, I knew someone would find the translation to verify this major Assad/Putin concession. The Moderate Liver Eaters this statement describes would have to be the same Moderates the US has vetted and supplied.

The concessions described/celebrated here and on other sites supposedly made by Erdogan, the US and Europe about Assad remaining in power during any transition don't seem so clear on closer inspection. The wording and emphasis I've read seems to show that what is being offered is almost exactly what was offered and rejected in 2012. Assad would remain in the government in some unspecified position but without any real power and no power over the Syrian military or security and he would have 6 months to prepare for leaving the country.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Oct 23 2015 15:15 utc | 97

Mina @96 Cooperation between Jordan and Russia obviously means the Jordanians also agree with Russia that there are no 'good' and 'bad' terrorists, and that terrorists, whether good or bad, and material will not have unhindered access from Jordan.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 23 2015 15:29 utc | 98

I think it was meant to mean "Chillying"
It made the US and the world feel chilly...

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 23 2015 15:30 utc | 99

Perhaps someone can elaborate on exactly how the 'transition' will work.

Will the new Syrian leaders be elected? Will the SAA find the new leaders to their liking? Will Maronite Christians, Alawites, Druze and other minorities receive security guarantees? Will the various moderate opposition factions surrender their arms? Will the Russians maintain the Tartus base? Will Israel annex the Golan? Will Hezbullah go back to defending Lebanon? Will the Salafis get government positions?

Sorry to sound picky but the devil is in the details.

Posted by: dh | Oct 23 2015 15:30 utc | 100

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