Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 12, 2015

There Are U.S. Special Forces In South Syria

Hassan Ridha @sayed_ridha
Drone downed by #SAA over Izraa #Daraa countryside

More pictures of the debris can be found here.

The various munition experts on Twitter agree that this is debris of an Aerovironment Switchblade (Datasheet-pdf) loitering munition "for use against beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) targets":

This miniature intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and lethal platform can be operated manually or autonomously. Switchblade provides the operator with real-time video and GPS coordinates for information gathering, targeting or feature/object recognition.

The switchblade has the size of a remote piloted hobby plane but features a visual and infrared camera and an explosive charge. It can be "suicided" on a target. According to the datasheet the battery powered killer drone has a "10 km radius of operation".

Izraa, where the debris was found, lies (map) at the crossing of the M5 highway from Amman in Jordan north to Damascus and road 109 which runs west to east through south Syria. Izraa is about 40 km north of the Syrian Jordan border and 40 km east of the Golan demarcation line. Anyone who used this armed drone must have been on Syrian ground.

The U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corp are the only known users. Since 2012 the weapons has been used in Afghanistan. The system surely requires significant training. Controlling a remote plane 10 km away over unknown terrain is not easy. This excludes the use of the system by some more or less untrained Syrian mercenaries.

My conclusion is that U.S. soldiers, likely some special forces, are in south Syria on Syrian ground on either reconnaissance or targeted killing missions. This is an invasion in violation of international law.

Russia plans to more than triple the airstrike sorties it flies per day in Syria. This to support the several thousand new fighters coming in now from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Lebanon to help the Syrian government and its people.

There should then be enough available flights and men to expulse the intruders from south Syria.

Posted by b on October 12, 2015 at 10:41 UTC | Permalink

next page »

The Sunday Express had an interesting story a couple of weeks ago about SAS soldiers dressing as Da'esh, driving Hiluxes and waving the flag.

Instead the teams, part of a force known as the Coalition Joint Special Operations Task Force, are under American command.

Dubbed "smash" the units, which travel in civilian pick-ups, can even launch their own unmanned aerial vehicles, or mini-drones, to scan terrain ahead of them and pinpoint IS forces.

Posted by: jaqwith | Oct 12 2015 11:03 utc | 1

@jaqwith - if the SAS are hunting Daesh they are not in south Syria. Few Daesh there so far, though silently growing.


As always an excellent overview of the diplomatic shenanigan that is going between Russia, the U.S. and the Gulfies:
2 powerful Gulf sheikhs talk Syria with Putin By M.K. Bhadrakumar

Posted by: b | Oct 12 2015 11:40 utc | 2

Well, publishing russian flush of "victory" pieces, jeremiads and arab hate posts, alternately, is certainly distractive and entertaining. I know, I fell to the trap myself for a while.

Posted by: TomGard | Oct 12 2015 11:41 utc | 3

Controlling a remote plane 10 km away over unknown terrain is not easy. This excludes the use of the system by some more or less untrained Syrian mercenaries.

"excludes"? Really? Maybe a poorly trained operator is why it crashed.

We all know US tax-dollars have been inappropriately spent to unseat Assad, thank you war-mongers of congress, McCain, King, etc. and so on.

b, you may be correct, but so far I see a lot of very real possibilities that might indicate otherwise.

Posted by: Bardi | Oct 12 2015 12:17 utc | 4

Very interesting.

After visiting Russia the Saudis DROP "Assad must go" as a precondition to a political solution.

Saudi FM says kingdom seeks political solution to Assad’s ouster

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday said his country was committed to a political solution that would lead to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad giving up power.

Speaking in Russia, Jubeir also reiterated that a road map discussed by global and regional powers in 2012 should be the guiding principle for any Syria talks.

Posted by: b | Oct 12 2015 12:43 utc | 5


Most likely scenario given what we know of things known, and known unknowns.
Russia seems to have some new-fangled jamming gear.


Sufficient plausible deniability is built into operations in the planning stage. Complicit Media makes it a slam dunk. Freedom Fries.

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 12 2015 12:44 utc | 6

We're talking about flying a drone here, not some rocket science. Everyone half-way skilled with a gamepad can learn it within a few weeks or even days, if talented.

No proof for anything IMO, although it's pretty much known that there are western soldiers going in and out of Syria all the time.

"Maybe a poorly trained operator is why it crashed."

Or that, also possible.

Posted by: zedz | Oct 12 2015 12:46 utc | 7

@Bardi "b, you may be correct, but so far I see a lot of very real possibilities that might indicate otherwise."

I see no circumstances under which the U.S. would allow others to use such a system. It would be for example ideal to assassinate a politician during a public speech. Small and easy to hide but deadly. There is no good defense against these little suckers. You don't give such stuff away into somewhat dubious hands.

Posted by: b | Oct 12 2015 12:48 utc | 8

It doesn't make any sense for the alleged US forces to be making use of such Rambo kits where it is said to be used. And how is such a thing brought down almost intact?

Posted by: Ivan | Oct 12 2015 13:16 utc | 9

It's not just flying a drone it's about this rather special drone that has the ability to become a guided missile. Don't minimize how challenging flying something like this is , it's not an off the shelf quadra copter. It's also not something that would be transferred to just any third party.
b's hypothesis has credibility since this helps explain the heavy Israeli support in that area.

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 12 2015 13:36 utc | 10
Turkey is the next failed state in the Middle East: Spengler
By David P. Goldman
Betrayed by both the United States and Russia, and faced with the emergence of a Kurdish state on its borders and the rise of Kurdish parties in the parliamentary opposition, Erdogan is cornered. At risk in the short-term is the ability of his AKP party to govern after the upcoming November elections. At risk in the medium term is the cohesion of the Turkish state itself.
Until last Friday, America and Turkey both supported the Sunni opposition to the Assad government with a view to eliminating Assad and installing a Sunni regime. That policy has been in shambles for months, but it allowed the Turks leeway to provide covert support to ISIS, the one Sunni force that shows effectiveness in the field. Russian intervention exposed the fecklessness of America’s attempts to find a “moderate” Syrian opposition to back.
The Russians forced Washington to find something credible on the ground to support, and Washington turned to the Kurds, the only effective fighting force not linked to ISIS or al-Qaeda. That was precisely the result Turkey had wanted to avoid; the Kurdish military zone in northern Syria links up with Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Iraq, and the two zones form the core of a prospective Kurdish state.

Russia humiliated Turkey, meanwhile, by challenging Turkish fighters inside Turkish airspace, leaving NATO to protest loudly. Nonetheless the US and Germany have deactivated Patriot missile batteries–the only weapon system that represents a threat to Russian fighters–despite urgent Turkish requests to leave them in place. Russian fighters over Syria prevent the Turks from providing air cover for ISIS and other Islamist groups in Syria, as I noted Oct. 6 in our Chatham House Rules blog. M.K. Bhadrakumar observed in Asia Times Oct. 9, “Turkey’s scope for maneuvering vis-à-vis Russia is actually very limited and it has no option but to reach an understanding with Russia over Syria.”
(in collusion)
In short, Erdogan now contemplates American heavy weapons in the hands of Syrian Kurds; the end of Turkey’s ability to provide air support for Sunni rebels in Syria; a Russian campaign to roll up the Sunni opposition, including Turkey’s assets in the field; and a collapse of his parliamentary majority due to an expanding Kurdish vote at home.

Whether the AKP government itself ordered the Ankara bombing, or simply looked the other way while ISIS conducted the bombing, both Turkey and global opinion will assume that the ghastly events in Ankara on Saturday reflect the desperation of the Erdogan regime. Regimes that resort to this sort of atrocity do not last very long.

The best thing that Turkey could do under the circumstances would be to ask the United Nations to supervise a plebiscite to allow Kurdish-majority areas to secede if they so chose. The mountains of southeastern Turkey with the highest concentration of Kurds are a drain on the national budget and of no strategic importance. Neither Erdogan nor his nationalist opposition, though, will consider such action; that would undermine both Erdogan’s neo-Ottomanism as well as the old secular nationalism. The pressures under the tectonic plates will only get worse. Saturday’s bombing may have demarcated the end of the Turkish state that arose out of the First World War.

Posted by: okie farmer | Oct 12 2015 13:37 utc | 11

Concerning the "plan" to triple the number of airstrikes. This comes from an unfriendly source, so one can question it. The gist of the Kuwaiti link is that the current "tempo" is failing to make a difference on the ground, but that does not seem to be the case. In the last week the ground progress in north Hama province is quite convincing: yes, there was a "tank massacre", but probably exaggerated by pro-jihadi sources, but subsequently the advance on Kafr Naboudeh was completed; the salient of the Army of Conquest in north Hama is much thinner than before, and now it also becomes deeper. A Syrian Debaltseve in preparation? Government offensive exhibits the punching power that should make it possible. The advances in mountains Jabal-al-Akrad, a northern flank of Al-Ghab covered less ground, but in mountains a slower tempo is expected. I would theorize that in mountains helicopter supports can be particularly effective.

North of Aleppo rebels lost positions to ISIS, and the government picked one or two. Yes, this is a complex three way war, and multiplying forces always work, but if the current tempo would be tripled, we are talking about a steamroller. So yea, perhaps it will be so.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 12 2015 13:43 utc | 12

@b 2

Thanks for the link, very interesting.

We can see that the Saudis and the UAE got terrified by the attack in Turkey that happened in the capital despite Turkey's very strong intelligence agency.
Saudi Arabia is full of potential suicide bombers that could show up any time. The open borders for the GCC citizens may allow the terrorists to target the weakest link.
The Saudis are realizing that the USA is ambiguous concerning Al Qaeda and its affiliates. After more than a year of bombing, they have not been able to crush them. Yemen will soon become another of Al Qaeda war zone and Saudi Arabia may need Russia's help to stop its spread there.

Saudi Arabia seems more ready than ever to find a compromise on Syria to get Russia on its side,
By the end of the year it is highly probable that they'll officially accept that Bashar al Assad stay in power in Syria until next elections.

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 12 2015 13:47 utc | 13

@b "You don't give such stuff away into somewhat dubious hands."

Indeed. Unfortunately, everything has a price and dubious hands can easily belong to trustworthy eyes.

Good point about the drone's uses. Shades of Dune.

Posted by: Bardi | Oct 12 2015 14:12 utc | 14


And how is such a thing brought down almost intact?

Any and all electronic devices can be hacked and redirected, even the "hack-proof" built, not an easy fit, but possible for the Russians cutting edge technology in EW. There is no mention in b's post of what caused the UAV to come down, only that it was found. Malfunctioning is a possibility, hacking another, and let's not exclude booby-traps. After all, it is a war, ain't it?

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 12 2015 14:34 utc | 15

okie farmer @12
In what way did Russia betray Turkey, when they have made clear all along their commitment to the territorial integrity of Syria and their support for the legitimate government of President Assad? Goldman is just another windy Zionist full of himself at the end of the day.

Posted by: Ivan | Oct 12 2015 14:41 utc | 16

I'm surprised b doesn't assume the drones were operated by the Israelis. That's what the Syrians think: Six Israeli UAVs Downed in Southern Syria: Drones Caught Spying on Hezbollah Positions. US training up Israelis on our latest spy tech seems very US/Israel symbiosis normal to me. My only questions are who shot them down, how, and how easy was it.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 12 2015 14:41 utc | 17

"And how is such a thing brought down almost intact?"

It could simply malfunction and drop down. Any software controlled system with complex functionalities has bugs which are even harder to remove than opportunities for "hacking". Consider what happens when US government unrolls a complicated piece of software, like improved support for IRS or Obamacare: bugs keep disabling the system for months, then it works (most of the time). For comparison, the story that several Russian cruise missiles dropped over Iran is plausible, if unverified (claims and counterclaims, no public photos of the wreck sites).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 12 2015 14:52 utc | 18

OT sort of...

So we poked the bear enough that he came out. Now we are telling the dragon we will be stepping on his tail, daring him to snap. It's WSJ, so it is sanctioned by the appropriate cabal operatives.

Methinks that "Master Control" is looking for a little bloody diversion from the economic quicksand they have put us in, maybe? Would also take eyes off Syria for a few days, with the boat drivers able to engage the op at a time of their choosing.

As for the drone - these toys are never built to sit on a shelf and drool over, especially by the USMIC. They sell to anyone as long as they are "channel partners", to use a marketing term. They are not any more difficult to fly than playing a 1st-person-shooter space video game - IF you know the terrain. So I am thinking it isn't just one lone guy using a BLOS drone. But it could be any group that is a "channel partner" for USMIC - CIA, NSA, IDF - pick an acronym that has an interest and an adequate budget, and that is a "channel partner".

Posted by: BOG | Oct 12 2015 14:55 utc | 19


Thanks for posting Bhadrakumar article. I love reading his stuff, as I always think he is spot-on. Pepe Escobar is worth reading too.

I watched Obama closely last night. Not too happy explaining anything under hot lights. Was he just a little uncomfortable saying out loud that the US was justified in taking out legally elected governments when we don't like what they are doing??? Regarding Ukraine. "Too close to Russia" are grounds for starting civil wars in countries? And the justification for taking out Assad was barrel bombing? What ever happened to the claims of sarin gas? Guess it was the "rebels" that did that.

From Bhadrakumar's article:

The most interesting part could be that Mohammed bin Salman flagged the Saudi interest in increased cooperation with Russia in fighting terrorism. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow sought to assuage Riyadh’s concerns on Syria and both sides shared the objective of preventing a “terrorist caliphate” from taking root in Syria.
One key point to be noted is that Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the two key GCC powers, have opened a direct line to the Kremlin within no time after the US President Barack Obama summarily decided that the $500 million program to train a Syrian rebel force is being terminated.
Now, annoying Russia or confronting Russia would be the last thing on the Saudi mind today. Russia has a great tradition in diplomacy and without doubt, Putin’s confidence that the improvement of the security situation in Syria will open the door for negotiations leading to a political settlement is well-founded, contrary to the apocalyptic visions being disseminated by the US media reports.

Posted by: shadyL | Oct 12 2015 14:56 utc | 20

Lone Wolf@16
Yes I suppose it is possible.

Posted by: Ivan | Oct 12 2015 15:02 utc | 21


I'm surprised b doesn't assume the drones were operated by the Israelis.

Good point, fairleft. Al Masdar being a Syrian propaganda outlet needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but the location they went down/brought down, "Dara’a Governorate city of Izra’a [...] along the Dara’a-Izra’a Highway," is about the same b pointed out on the Google map for the UAV he highlighted. Wonder what makes the Syrian thinks the UAV's are Israelis, which doesn't contradict b's assertion the US Army/US Marines are the only "known users." As you well stated, the "US training up Israelis on our latest spy tech seems very US/Israel symbiosis normal to me."

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 12 2015 15:32 utc | 22

those are not special force drones. Those are Israeli drones.

Six Israeli UAVs Downed in Southern Syria: Drones Caught Spying on Hezbollah Positions

Posted by: max | Oct 12 2015 15:38 utc | 23

I'm no friend of Oboma, please listen CBS 60 minutes how Steve cornered Oboma... If you can't listen in the USA or elsewhere. Here the weblink.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 12 2015 15:42 utc | 24

I don't have TV here another websites
for CBS 60 Minutes video and audio the lies. Enjoy!

Posted by: Jacj Smith | Oct 12 2015 15:51 utc | 25

@ Jack S.

I think the only reason Obama agreed to the 60 Min interview was to clean up Hillary's scandal. The only reason. And I think he managed to sneak in that it was NOT "his idea" to train rebels. I still believe this was lead by Hillary's State Department.

Obama probably made promises to Hillary for 2016 elections.

@farleft...are you the farleft that use to blog @DK?

Posted by: shadyL | Oct 12 2015 15:54 utc | 27

shadyL @28: No, have always been fairleft with an i. What's DK? I've been awandering since being banned at Dkos in 2007 for just daily blogging the casualty numbers of the Israel war on Lebanon. This is by far the most sensible place I've found to hang out.

Posted by: fairleft | Oct 12 2015 16:03 utc | 28

I'm waiting for the US army to be sufficiently shamed by the neocon faction within to do something about it.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 12 2015 16:06 utc | 29

I looked at the 'switchblade' drone's spec sheet and although it claims a 10 km range, it's endurance is only 10 minutes.
So - I believe the answer to the question 'how did it come down?' is simply - it ran out of power. That also explains why they found several at different places (I guess I better recheck on the linked pages to ensure they were all the same type of drone)
It would work like this - special team dropped off a couple miles from where other intel indicates something interesting is happening, they launch one of the drones (it's launched from something like a mortar tube and a couple can fit into a backpack) for initial look-see, then it runs out of power in ten minutes, so maybe they have to launch another, maybe a few till they find what they're looking for. When they find what or who they can then use the final one to attack or call in other forces, or come back later, depending.
They can push the self destruct button to make it blow up but exploding one of the drones before they get to the main mission would give up the game so maybe they have to decide to just let it fall to the ground unexploded and hope it doesn't get discovered.

As far as the rooskis hacking it - not sure they have to, with the power of some of their EW gear they could just jam it. And you don't need to be able to decode the transmissions to be able to detect and home in on the control site (dude with backpack and laptop in the middle of nowhere).

Running an operation like that, in that environment, with that many different hostile forces, would be a little dangerous. Severe pucker factor. Someone has a lot of balls.

Posted by: sillybill | Oct 12 2015 16:15 utc | 30

@shadyL no. 28

Within the limited framework of imperial US politics, I don't believe that Obama and Hillary are political allies. If anything I would suspect Obama would favor Biden for the nomination.

Hillary has already come out with a weasel-worded opposition to the TPP which Obama looks on as a signature bill.

Posted by: sleepy | Oct 12 2015 16:21 utc | 31

thanks b.. @24 max.. same info @18 fairleft shared.. i think that has high odds.

at any rate, it stands to reason anyone interested in a particular outcome in syria is in the country in some form, to help it along.. '''special'' forces.. it's a given.. that is, unless the financial support gets pulled.. it looks like that's a possibility, but i wouldn't conclude this automatically due a few royal dictators visit to sochi as bhadrakumar basically implies.. i think the horrible event in ankara can definitely happen in saudi arabia or uae.. these fuckers need to reconsider what they are supporting, but since they all seem to support the whacked out religious ideology of whabbism, i think it unlikely they will soften there rabid fundamentalism/sickness..

Posted by: james | Oct 12 2015 16:24 utc | 32

@sleep....I agree. I also think Om let H run wild in State Dept.

@ Fairleft....we know each other, I missed the i.... DK: Daily Kos. Those were the times. LOL. Nothing changed.

Posted by: shadyL | Oct 12 2015 16:30 utc | 33

Is the drone US or Israeli?
The writing on the wing in b's main pic looks arabic and legible enough to read/translate.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 12 2015 16:30 utc | 34

@Piotr "Concerning the "plan" to triple the number of airstrikes. This comes from an unfriendly source, so one can question it. "

Na - source is one thing, information something else. That unfriendly source quotes a friendly one. The information is directly from the Baghdad 4+1 ops room via Elijah Magnier and AlRaij newspaper in Kuwait.

I also believe it is true.
@fairleft "I'm surprised b doesn't assume the drones were operated by the Israelis."

Three reasons:
1. It is quite deep in the country and the Israelis are always extremely anxious and careful.
2. The Israelis build their own drones and are extremely proud of that. They don't use foreign ones (they just copy these)
3. The U.S. is only known buyer and the item is export controlled.

Could it be Israeli? Yes. Is it likely? In my view not.

Also the report about those six drones does not answer the real question. With such limited range how can six drones be there? Where would the more then one operator sit guarded by whom when driving these drones?

Posted by: b | Oct 12 2015 16:32 utc | 35

how much do those things cost? could russia buy them off israel?

Posted by: james | Oct 12 2015 16:42 utc | 36

b at 6 quoted: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday said his country was committed to a political solution that would lead to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad giving up power.

KSA (that is 5 - 10+K or more Royals plus 10 - 30 K hangers on) is in a terrified melt-down and rife with (I guess?) internal quarrels.

Patron and protector US is becoming more hesitant, France doesn’t fit the replacement bill despite its sucky-up efforts. Other masters may have better success ..

Lowered, very low, oil prices mean the population can’t be bought off indefinetly, something has to give somewhere, sadly any move results in unfortunate consequences. The war on Yemen isn’t working out too well, the scandals of the Ben Laden crane and the Haj pilgims being killed (far more than the official figures, maybe several thousands, Iran outraged) is severely damaging in the Arab world.

KSA, the Gulf states, were of course spared the Arab Spring(s) as US vassals - protectorates which does not mean the population isn’t close to revolt, see for ex. Bahrein. KSA’s support or not of any entity, religious / pol strand, is totally confused.

A case of the curse of black gold, submission to a greater power, the desperate hold onto an intermediary position, stuck betwen subservience and domination…that is without mentioning ‘ecological’ challenges such as water, agri, food imports, a consequent population in poverty and slums, slave labor that is hard to control, etc.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 12 2015 16:51 utc | 37

And now this from NPR:

Yes, the Kurds and ISIS are now partners.
You just can't make this shit up.

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 12 2015 17:02 utc | 38

Just to make certain that there is no confusion in the heading of the article mentioned @38 from the google news site this:

Rebel groups that oppose both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and terrorist group ISIS have formed a new coalition, called the Syrian Democratic Forces. Led by Kurds, the coalition could receive U.S. air support in Syria. From Beirut, NPR's Alison

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 12 2015 17:15 utc | 39

This drone seems like the wrong kit to be flying recon with. According to the data sheet it flies for 10 minute at 35m/s (20-25 km range) then drops out of the sky all by itself.

A silly promotional video by the manufacturer. Launch the Bird!!

Virtual Kamikazi.

Posted by: Nobody | Oct 12 2015 17:18 utc | 40

Yemen and the status of Adens "liberation":

Posted by: KerKaraje | Oct 12 2015 17:41 utc | 41

RE propaganda..who is with who on Monday, I don't think anyone knows for sure. Shifting loyalists and who has the money? If Saudis make nice with Russia, who is left?

Posted by: shadyL | Oct 12 2015 17:44 utc | 42

@30 penelope

I'm waiting for the US army to be sufficiently shamed by the neocon faction within to do something about it.

You know what they say about watching what you wish for ... you just might get it. The military have a dense and dangerous pride, but they have no shame. And greed. They're driven by personal greed at the top now. The revolving door beckons.

Thanks for the news, b. News, analysis, informed opinion ... you do it all well. And its free. Unbelievable. Proves you're one of the best things in life.

I'd go with the Israelis on the drones ... but the US has got to be paying for them. Israelis would never throw their own money away like that.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 12 2015 17:49 utc | 43

If Russia has plans to triple their efforts and the Sultans of Squat are all on the red-eye to Moscow ... must be the Russians are establishing the facts on the ground they need before heading to the negotiating table?

Posted by: jfl | Oct 12 2015 17:53 utc | 44

Lack of "Arab Spring" in the Gulf: with the exception of Bahrein, with the majority (still?) of Sunni citizens, the structure of those states is that at least half of the population are temporary workers who are kept under rather tight control, and are deported promptly if they do not behave (riots were ensuing in the process, but later they are out), and population that is heavily policed plus "bribed to submission".

Tripling of Russian air force in Syria: perhaps. It could also be a signal that if the supplies to rebels increase, they can match it and more. Right now, the priority is to gain as much ground as possible with forces at hand, to send a signal to Turkey that what they were doing will not work, to secure wider perimeter around Latakia bases and create more places for more secure airports (like to the north of Homs). There is also a PKK angle: since its network is extensive, they can be invaluable intelligence partners, and they can attack shipments inside Turkey, or simply alert Russians when and where the shipments cross the border. Apparently, Americans now try to "preventatively bribe" them with weapon drops in Hasakah, but ultimately, Erdogan did more than enough to be hated by them. And if PKK does not have enough of, say, Kornets to attack MIT trucks, that can be easily helped. Once Turkey is tamed, Jordan will be quite isolated.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 12 2015 18:28 utc | 45

According to CNN, more than 100 pallets (50 tons) of "ammunition" were parachuted into Northern Syria from fighter-escorted U.S. C-17s to Syrian rebels, presumably overnight.

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 12 2015 18:31 utc | 46

Well there's your explanation why we're so irate about Russian airstrikes against "US-backed assets". There are probably special forces dressed up like Syrian rebels all over the place. Cables released by Wikileaks noted there were likely special forces from UK and France in Syria as early as 2007.

Posted by: gemini33 | Oct 12 2015 18:45 utc | 47

If this drone has a lethal charge that can be "suicided" or detonated, I'm wondering why the operator didn't set off that charge rather than let it be captured. Unless, as some comments above suggest, it was jammed.

Posted by: gemini33 | Oct 12 2015 18:54 utc | 48

Another important question, the information that's gathered from the drones, who is it being sent to ?

If these drones are in southern Syria, then is that info passed from US special forces to then Al Qaeda ? Without US boots on the ground or Western strikes happening in southern Syria, its possible that info is being sent to Al Qaeda or other jihadi terrorist "moderates" that occupy southern Syria.

Posted by: tom | Oct 12 2015 19:24 utc | 49

Erdoğan sheds light on Syria ... a blue flame

In a recent statement following the Russian air raids, President Erdoğan threatened to end all gas-line cooperation with Russia , adding that Turkey might consider other sources. Since the other source is Qatar, Erdogan's statement brings us to the real origins of the destabilization of Syria.

Syria suffers a double whammy in our world which is made up of the pillaging of the poorest. Not only has it discovered a large gas field along its coast but, in addition, its location made it the natural host for pipelines to supply Europe.

Assad, refusing the transit of Qatari gas and becoming a potential competitor in the European market, would have to be be eliminated. Physically, according to Fabius; at least politically, according to Western leaders.

Is that what its all about? Gazprom offshore of a rump Syria? Or the icing on the cake, the cake being crippling ISIS before it gets to Russia ... and China, if the Chinese ever show any interest.

It does seem to make Turkey expendable, from Russia's point of view.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 12 2015 19:34 utc | 50

@46 locheam

In fulfillment of b's 'now the USA/CIA will just arm everyone' prophecy.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 12 2015 19:39 utc | 51

"The EU has said Russia “must cease” strikes on “moderate” Syria rebels and that its ally, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, must, sooner or later, go."
The joint statement was adopted by foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday (12 October).
Looks like the EU has its marching orders from Washington. Just goes to show how regime change is always there. To hell with what the Syrians have to say. Hopefully Russia is all in, the stakes are high, whoever wins in Syria will dominate the whole of the middle east.

Posted by: harry law | Oct 12 2015 19:41 utc | 52

jfl@ 43,
"You know what they say about watching what you wish for ... you just might get it. The military have a dense and dangerous pride, but they have no shame. And greed. They're driven by personal greed at the top now. The revolving door beckons."

Yes, we know well that the top level of govt, incl military, has been corrupted by the wealth of the banksters/mega-TNCs/arms industry. But already a few years ago I saw reports that jr officers were concerned that their seniors were retiring to cushy positions w the arms industry. I cannot but believe that the suicide count among enlisted men must have created great concern among that part of the military establishment which isn't totally corrupted.

Also, even the corrupt require a rationalization. When one has entirely betrayed the ideals of one's youth, the rationalization is no longer effective inwardly but is for that reason all the more tightly grasped so that one's deluded public may confer for a moment the illusion of honor, admiration & prestige.

Many of the young officer corp must have grasped the reality of the moral bankruptcy of their seniors. When I see youthful idealism confronted w such an affront I am yet hopeful.

You and I are outraged at the moral failings we see in our polity precisely because we regard it as a breach of "common" decency. All unconsciously still we regard decency as the norm, and I think we are correct in this evaluation. As Wm Engdahl says, "yes, they are in control, but their control is only a quarter inch deep."

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 12 2015 19:46 utc | 53

US drops tonnes of weapons/ammunition in northren Syria

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 12 2015 20:04 utc | 54

@51 jfl.. that idea about qatar and a gas-line out to the med thru syria has been floating around for the past 2 or 3 years anyway, maybe longer..

@53 harry. thanks.. goes with the spec about a weapon/ammo drop info release on the same day.. euro leaders are impressive in there ability to goose-walk if true...

Posted by: james | Oct 12 2015 20:11 utc | 55

US Paradrops 50 Tons Of Ammo To Syrian Rebels

50 tons of ammo? for 4 or 5 fighters, that seems like overkill.

Posted by: john | Oct 12 2015 20:23 utc | 56

Russia has been buying drones in bulk from Israel
The same country that had the skills to build the StuxNet attack virus.
So who knows what backdoors/ trapdoors are built into the Israeli drone microprocessors

Anti Drone systems ( Disables in 15 seconds?) are available commercially in the west
It is unlikely that the Russian have not developed something similar, given the strategic
importance of battlefield intelligence

Posted by: DavidKNZ | Oct 12 2015 20:29 utc | 57

@Piotr Berman@45

Tripling of Russian air force in Syria: perhaps. It could also be a signal that if the supplies to rebels increase, they can match it and more. Right now, the priority is to gain as much ground as possible with forces at hand, to send a signal to Turkey that what they were doing will not work, to secure wider perimeter around Latakia bases and create more places for more secure airports (like to the north of Homs).

Russia can exponentially multiply sorties against the takfiri rats, and it would help, problem is that "to gain as much ground," the SAA needs an injection of more than 7k men. Minimum, it needs 30k to 50k seasoned fighters, to be able to contain and reverse takfiris advance/moves, and probably double that amount in order to encircle/annihilate them. I have no idea where and how Syria can get more manpower, but the lack of at least the necessary, if not sufficient "boots-on-the-ground," could turn the "normal" attrition of any war into a sluggish carnage, a Mexican standoff, with hundreds of thousands more killed, trillions gone into gunpowder, and the rebuilding of Syria and Iraq postponed forever, fulfilling the intentions of the Empire of Chaos and his bastard neozionazi child.

IMHO, the Russian airstrikes solve only half of the equation, the other half and no less important, is yet to be addressed. The 4+1 already know what they need, and probably they are preparing a surprise for us in due time. I certainly hope that is the case.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 12 2015 20:44 utc | 58

The Critic @ 58

Let's edit out your claptrap…

"Obama Officially throws in the Towel, Unofficially though…"

…"Obama Launches A Proxy War On Russia In Syria."

What's your point?

Posted by: paulmeli | Oct 12 2015 20:45 utc | 59

Penelope @ 54

You and I are outraged at the moral failings we see in our polity precisely because we regard it as a breach of "common" decency.

A succinct summary in one sentence :-)
Daniel Barenboim (A Jew) and Edward Said (an Arab), both speaking for the common man
Norman Finkelstein ( A Jew) speaking in common with the oppressed (Arabs) of Palestine
Noam Chomsky, devoting a lifetime to holding the lamp of truth up to those who would suppress and destroy

There's actually a long list of the courageous, who acknowledge commonness of the life we share,
and are unafraid to spell out the end results of greed and materialism.

Helpful when I see the consequences of yet more loot and plunder

Posted by: DavidKNZ | Oct 12 2015 21:19 utc | 60

ingore the bozo.. same tired rant..

Posted by: james | Oct 12 2015 21:26 utc | 61

More on 'morals' ala penelope...

Imminently due for release, the Dutch report on MH17
Here is 'moral' comment from an American visitor to the crash site
Worth reading, esp the last paragraph :-)

Posted by: DavidKNZ | Oct 12 2015 21:37 utc | 62

I've recently had some online interactions with a fluent English speaking Syrian, and much of what he had to say didn't conform well with either the incoherent mess that is the MSM's narrative or what I'm getting from places like MoA. Among other things he had to say was that it is a genuine civil war, and that the vast majority of the fighters are native Syrians fighting against the tyranny of the Assad government. There are a lot of different groups with a lot of varying views and motivations of course, but many of them, especially those under the FSA grouping are regularly fighting ISIS and while they may make tactical and strategic alliance in the short-term with Al-Qaeda, they no more want AQ in charge after the fighting stops than they do ISIS. He says there's a widespread understanding that once Assad is gone the various fanatical nutjobs will be next on the list. He also doesn't like the wahhabist Saudis at all, but is happy to take their TOW missiles.

He also claims that within Syria the Pentagon/CIA backed fighters are something of a joke, never particularly well equipped at the best of times, and that was before their units started disintergrating and deserting. And from his perspective Russia is merely propping up the illegitimate Assad regime; the majority of their strikes are against non-ISIS groups, and that's only when they're against military targets at all. Says that within the last few days Russia bombed a daycare center in Kafranbel, a town famous for its anti-government propaganda posters. Though that attack didn't kill any civilians, he says plenty of other Russian strikes have.

I also asked him why barrel bombs were supposed to be worse than normal weapons, and his explanation was that the barrels tumble uncontrollably in the air and it's usually impossible to predict where they'll land, which is usually not on whatever they were aimed at. They've killed a huge number of civilians and have become a uniquely horrific symbol of how far the regime is willing to go, at the expense of its own citizenry, to stay in power.

Oh, and he's well aware of the 'liver-eater' insult. He finds it annoying. According to him it was literally one guy, who was the leader of a non-FSA group. He was also deposed by his own men right after the incident, declared wanted by the FSA, and, last he'd heard, was on the run and had fled to Turkey. He maintains most of the rebels are decent people, who are sometimes willing to work with AQ on a pragmatic, temporary basis, but they often leave because they can't stand the preaching, and at least one entire group of substantial size has outright deserted from AQ. And he seemed especially upset about the Russians bombing the Falcons of Mount Zawiya Brigade.

This guy on the internet clearly spoke fluent Arabic, and provided a lot of evidence that he was what he claimed to be. I know it amounts to a bunch of anecdotal evidence, but his being an actual Syrian I feel I have to at least give his opinions on the matter serious consideration. I'm especially intrigued by his portrayal of the rebels as not dominated by jihadis, which is in stark contrast to what I'm hearing from sources like Patrick Cockburn (who also maintains that it is a genuine civil war).

Thoughts, discussion? Is the guy full of shit? If so, how?

Posted by: Plenue | Oct 12 2015 21:57 utc | 63

@ 62,63,64,66 and 68

Contribute to our edification as we try to sort the dis/misinfo or else go troll elsewhere. Nothing you have written is of substance - merely accusatory, divisive and self-congratulatory. And where are YOUR highly accurate predictions and insightful comments?

Oh crap! Wait - you have none....

Posted by: BOG | Oct 12 2015 21:57 utc | 64

jfl / 51

The pipeline rivalry before Syria hostilities was like this:
Qatar & Iran split the gas reservoir located between them. Qatar proposed to Syria that a pipeline s/b built to Europe via Qatar-KSA-Syria. Syria declined. Iran then proposed a pipeline to Europe via Iran-Iraq-Syria, and Syria agreed.

It was of course wholly unacceptable to US that the total percent of Russian + Iranian gas to EU s/b so high, cuz influence wd be inevitable.

The masses are told the war is cuz US is principled so R2P Syrian population from brutal dictator Assad. The more knowledgeable and the alternative community think its the pipeline struggle + KSA's struggle for influence w the Shia Iranians.

I think that the pipeline is only part of it. I think all 7 of the countries targeted by US before the pipeline controversy didn't belong to IMF, World Bank, WTO. That is, they were all outside the IMF/Fed system and actually controlled their own central banks, issuing currency according to need. Further, they rejected the charging of interest on religious grounds.

But the supranational institutions ARE the NWO or the neoliberal economic system or whatever you want to call it. Together w the mega-"free" trade treaties they usurp from sovereign govts the ability to manage their own monetary & financial systems & their trade relations. Voters everywhere have no possibility of controlling decisions taken by a supranational, rather than their own govt. So the Mid-East, as a resistor to this system, had to be taken down.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 12 2015 22:00 utc | 65


Yes, I can see why you're pissed. The events aren't going to plan and you feel that sense of helplessness. But after all the situation is dynamic where one day the US says they're training those special vetted rebels and then shortly thereafter we find out that the number left is actually smaller than the digits on our fingers. Shortly after that we hear there won't be any more training program. Those anti ISIL air strikes also have a ring of resounding success. You just never know how that construction equipment will be used do you? That's an original dual use technology. So many sorties and so little damage. The value of what was destroyed vs. what was spent to destroy it explains why the national debt exceeds $18T. It's just a poor value all around.
Predicting the future is not a perfect science and b does a great job doing it with the available facts he has.
My only prediction is that you'll be gone soon because you add nothing to the discussion. If you have a point then make based on your own analysis rather than trying to discredit others. It's just a sign of weakness.

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 12 2015 22:07 utc | 66

Girlfriends son-in-law is Syrian and family (mother, brothers, father killed in bombing in Aleppo) over there. It started out as Civil War (rebellion) but got hijacked by more than one faction of crazies. The rebellion was for elections. His family has gotten out to Egypt at this point, but it took them a YEAR to get there through Jordan.

Over this time, he has heard of israeli, wahhabi, ISIS, AQ, nusra, hez and every other tiny faction you can think of in his phone conversations with mom and brothers. His family has no idea WHO to trust, and went from safe spot to safe spot (finding out by phone and WOM) to get away. HE can't tell me what exactly has happened, because his own family do not really know.

That's why this is interesting to us - and why he is worried about Russian intervention, because it seems more about Assad support than anything else from where he sits. His hope is that elections of some type come out the end of the grinder, but he is also sure that whoever gets in power will be little better than what is there now. This mainly because they will require military and financial support, which doesn't come without large and scissor-proof strings to keep the puppet in play.

Posted by: BOG | Oct 12 2015 22:11 utc | 67

@ 74

Is your arm cramping from all that patting of your own back?

Long walk - short pier - enjoy!

Posted by: BOG | Oct 12 2015 22:15 utc | 68


But the war is winding down. More damage has been done to anti Assad forces in 2 weeks than the last 2 years. The next few weeks will have more reports of the same. It won't take long. Wait for it.

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 12 2015 22:17 utc | 69

@70 An online acquaintance who can put thoughts into two of the most widely spoken languages in the world has made claims. Wow!

What is the strength of the FSA?

Who elected them? Was it done at the end of the gun?

Would the FSA have formed without foreign meddling and promises?

Perhaps this is American conceit, Al Qaeda isn't my friend (my government is another story), but given 9/11 doesn't he see the problems with trying to win both Al Qaeda and Western popular support? How does the FSA intend to maintain power when they seem to be a minor figure among opposition groups?

My personal view is your friend can have his civil war all he wants just don't come crying when it turns out to be difficult.

As for barrel bombs, it's a war. What did he expect? Day camp? Lose a few pounds and steal from a few houses to earn a few extra bucks? Interestingly enough, he has time to converse with you instead of fighting the good fight. Perhaps, he should call foreign reporters with his on the ground exclusive.

Even if your acquaintance believes he is being honest, it should be pointed out there were even Germans who gave candy to the little Jewish kids in the ghettos. "Das Boot" is a wonderful story. There is a tendency among humans to assume everyone is the average. We make generalizations about our personal experiences, and we tend to like people we meet in person. We are social animals. Just because your acquaintance knows nice "rebels", it doesn't change anything. Even if the rebels were all noble warrior poets who always said please and thank-you, it wouldn't change that this conflict was driven by promises of Western military support and hopes that Syria would be In the EU by Christmas.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Oct 12 2015 22:17 utc | 70

@70 plenue.. here is a stark viewpoint that contrasts 2 radically different ways of viewing the war in syria.. the first one from today - bbc and the 2nd one from much further back and captured in this link here..

"Why is there a war in Syria?

Anti-government protests developed into a civil war that four years on has reached a stalemate, with President Bashar al-Assad's government, Islamic State, an array of Syrian rebels and Kurdish fighters all holding territory."

no mention of any of this below

" The cables gave the public a recent window into the strategies and motivations of US officials as they expressed them to each other, not as they usually expressed them to the public. In the case of Syria, the cables show that regime change had been a long-standing goal of US policy; that the US promoted sectarianism in support of its regime-change policy, thus helping lay the foundation for the sectarian civil war and massive bloodshed that we see in Syria today; that key components of the Bush administration's regime-change policy remained in place even as the Obama administration moved publicly toward a policy of engagement; and that the US government was much more interested in the Syrian government's foreign policy, particularly its relationship with Iran, than in human rights inside Syria.

By 2014, the sectarian Sunni-Shia character of the civil war in Syria was bemoaned in the United States as an unfortunate development. But in December 2006, the man heading the US embassy in Syria advocated in a cable to the secretary of state and the White House that the US government collaborate with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to promote sectarian conflict in Syria between Sunni and Shia as a means of destabilizing the Syrian government."

depending on what your syrian acquaintance has filtered in terms of these kinds of drastically altered viewpoints, he could come to a conclusion that was or wasn't missing some important details...

why is it that syria is suffering from this and saudi arabia isn't? do you think this might have to do where the usa and it's western hyenas have poured gasoline in one place, but not another? do you think the leadership of these separate places has anything in common? surely it can't be about that then, if you do.. personally i see the over-riding focus on regime change in one place and not in another.. i attribute this to outside forces pushing for a particular outcome.. the syrians are the ones who have suffered in all of this..

let me quote bevin, a poster who used to frequent here..
"Hundreds of thousands killed, other casualties approaching a million. Millions of people driven from their homes, families shattered. lives ruined. Entire communities, for example the ancient Christian churches, facing the prospect of genocide, through the daily reality of massacres, gang rapes, enslavement. The economy in ruins, trillions in investment-social and private- torched or bombed. Millions driven into exile, many of them refugees from the attacks on Iraq (take a bow, USA, UK and the coalition of the prostituted!)
Just pawns in game played in the beltway.
“Do you realise what you have done” Putin asked. And their answer was to do it again, airdrop tons more materiel, rush in more anti personnel mines.
And most of all to watch their “enemies” Al Qaeda and ISIS, racing around the desert in convoys of shiny new half ton trucks, exporting , millions of dollars in oil, piling up financial reserves to pay their mercenaries and smashing up Palmyra and other sites in which civilised people have an interest not shared by Messrs Obama. Erdogan, Saud, Harper, Cameron et al."

Posted by: james | Oct 12 2015 22:27 utc | 71


Well with the last post you've just proved what an idiot you are. Of course I can't see you laughing it's the internet Bozo.

Posted by: anon48 | Oct 12 2015 22:28 utc | 72


Your online friend is disingenuous, I'm afraid, when he states that this is a civil war. Perhaps it would help to revisit the following counterpunch article:

Already at this point of time, the factions tearing Syria apart were clearly defined. And the world powers pouring in weaponry to destabilize the regime could not contend with the Syrian people and their affirmation of Assad's leadership. That is the point that has to be reckoned with.

The point I note in re-reading the counterpunch article is that refugees voted overwhelmingly for Assad, so even a year ago in June, what they were fleeing was not their government but those fighting against it. And once again, that legitimate government invited the Russians to assist them. Obama has had no such invitation, nor has he requested one - he is violating international law by his actions.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 12 2015 23:03 utc | 73

mentioning bevin is like waving a red flag in front of a jackass.. works every time!!!

Posted by: james | Oct 12 2015 23:10 utc | 74

Penelope | Oct 12, 2015 6:00:57 PM | 72

Yes, I completely agree, any country not under control of the central banks are a target.

Plus, Israel has been on Bibi's hot list for a while, for anyone unfamiliar with Clean Break (Perle/Feith):

Securing the Northern Border

Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil. An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon, including by:


Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.

Posted by: shadyL | Oct 12 2015 23:11 utc | 75

A diversion...

US Plans to Prevent China From Helping Russia to Fight ISIL

Washington is said to be planning to send warships close to the Spratly Islands which China claims for its own to stop Beijing from assisting Russia in its campaign against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria, Marco Maier wrote for Contra Magazin.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 12 2015 23:13 utc | 76

@70 plenue. What you're giving us is just the FSA type line. Certainly propagandistic rather than a real personal point of view. He's selling you a line. He spoke very good English. That's a sign. Most Syrians don't speak good English, and thus can't be used as trolls. I had to interview some Syrian refugees last week, so I have a pretty good idea.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 12 2015 23:19 utc | 77

3 minute video
Crazy Russian low altitude helicopter runs! from yesterday..

FSA point of view bombing and cannon fire as FSA are fixated at the stunning low altitude fighting style of the Russian airforce.

Posted by: james | Oct 12 2015 23:21 utc | 78

Here is the Guardian's account of the massive airdrop. Note that this account does not mention any opposition to the Assad government - calling the forces being supplied an Arab force in opposition to Isis. I'm relieved to see it.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 12 2015 23:21 utc | 79

@90. There is no edit button, "Bibi has Syria on his list".

Posted by: shadyL | Oct 12 2015 23:26 utc | 80

Sorry if this has been posted, but the admission from the NYTimes today is important:

With air support from Russia, the government of Mr. Assad is trying to retake territory seized this year in Idlib and Hama Provinces by insurgent groups that include both the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and American-backed units calling themselves the Free Syrian Army — but not ISIS, which is strong in northern and eastern Syria into Iraq but has little presence in the west.

Instead, the advances there, which have posed the most immediate threat to Mr. Assad, have come from a coalition of Islamist insurgents called the Army of Conquest, which includes the Nusra Front but opposes the Islamic State.

Advancing alongside the Islamist groups, and sometimes aiding them, have been several of the relatively secular groups, like the Free Syrian Army, which have gained new prominence and status because of their access to the TOWs.

"Advancing alongside" and "aiding" al Qaeda, these are the forces backed by the US. Slowly but surely the USA is beginning to openly back al Qaeda.

An interesting if not altogether surprising turn of events for the "Global War on Terror" to take, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 12 2015 23:35 utc | 81

Sorry, the link for @97:

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 12 2015 23:35 utc | 82

Hahaha... foff is now "the Critic"? Talk about pretentious.

Calling you "the Critic" is like calling a farting dog "the Poet".


Posted by: guest77 | Oct 12 2015 23:45 utc | 83

@101 What part of calling it "not surprising" leads you to think I'm surprised by it?

You get dumber by the day, you really do. You're lame desire to prove how smart you are really makes you one of the dumbest clowns around.

Posted by: guest77 | Oct 12 2015 23:46 utc | 84


Posted by: Louis Proyect | Oct 13 2015 0:00 utc | 85

No. The proper name is al Jizma.

Have lots of brainwashed kids.

Projizzerate and conquer.

Meanwhile, our Dear Leaders will infest deep underground military bases. Morlocks.

Consumer beware!

Posted by: blues | Oct 13 2015 0:01 utc | 86

If b inaccurately predicted diminishing war, the Critic was claiming the Kurds and Israel would be doing big oil deals long since.
That Iraq would already long since be permanently divided in three, irrevocably.
The Critic quoted Netanyahu calling for an independent Kurdistan as if that settled the matter,
what Israel wants, Israel gets.
b the optimist, The Critic the defeatist.

Posted by: critic's critic | Oct 13 2015 0:07 utc | 87

please don't feed the troll...

Posted by: crone | Oct 13 2015 0:07 utc | 88

92, 70: I would not automatically dismiss the perspective of a Syrian, but in the same time, this is just that. For example, there was only one liver eating incident, but plenty of incidents of killing captured war prisoners, including the wounded. Moderates were kidnapping journalists and selling to ISIS. Moderates were kidnapping Christian nuns, demolishing Christian villages, an Armenian quarter, an Armenian town (the latter, with copious help from Turkey, where the hatred of Armenians seems to be alive and well under Erdogan. But they were not dropping barrel bombs.

Barrel bombs or "dumb bombs" are of course a bit of hobgoblin, we know that weddings and hospitals can be precisely massacred, which is not more humane at all.

In my opinion, it is not the case that "It started out as Civil War (rebellion) but got hijacked by more than one faction of crazies." It is more that craziness took over the civil war. It is not an environment in which the sane can easily survive and keep a sane, detached perspective. The guys who get to the top in the scramble are not the most sober types but the most resolute, and all too often, the resolute either start as blood thirsty maniacs or evolve that way: think of Jacobins, Bolsheviks etc. We moan about poor veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Over there, you have entire societies in un-ending stress.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 13 2015 0:07 utc | 89

nowhere did jsorrcritic predict
a powerful Russian Iran anti-American axis in the Middle East. That would have been too optimistic.
And Kurd Iraqi infighting helping thwart an Israel-approved Kurdistan doing big oil deals? Not really.
Just Israel getting its way in all spheres, inexorably building a Greater Israel.

"President Obama’s Iraq strategy is in as much trouble as his Syria strategy; despite the U.S. help Obama extended, there’s little chance the Iraqi forces will retake Ramadi anytime soon. The country seems to be deepening its links to the Russia-Iran axis, creating a powerful anti-American bloc in the heart of the Middle East. To complete the grim Iraq picture, riots have broken out in Iraqi Kurdistan over problems. Factionalism has been the traditional bane of the Kurds; a recurrence of infighting would significantly weaken the one group in the region that seems to remain disposed to working with Washington."

Posted by: critic's critic | Oct 13 2015 0:17 utc | 90

US airdrops for its proxy terrorists just makes a great open target for the Russians to attack.
US Airdrops is also a test for if the Russians will attack those airdrops, how soon, or if they even bomb them at all. It's a real risk to attack too soon. Or the Russians might wait till the weapons boxes join the storage locations and bomb them from there.

The dipshit mouth pieces of the US empire are still calling the weapon drops delivered to "vetted" Syrians only. Thats right, vetted and delivered straight to Al-qaeda and other terrorists.

Posted by: tom | Oct 13 2015 0:23 utc | 91

The primary dispute between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which began as “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” is when to start a fundamentalist caliphate. The Islamic State believes the caliphate can begin now while Al Qaeda says the priority should be mounting more terrorist attacks against the West.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 13 2015 0:35 utc | 92

Your family is dead and your home destroyed. You have no money or possessions. You are hungry and have no way to work because everything is in chaos and rubble.

You may leave, because you have no options and nothing to tie you down. You are hungry. Maybe you don't leave, because you know where you are or you meet up with people who have food. You are very hungry.

Now, I am guessing very few of the people here have ever been hungry for weeks on end. It is very enlightening.

When one has nothing left to lose, nothing to treasure but what is in your pocket - things are different. If you want to understand swapping allegiances and how it can happen - look at the reality of hunger when next you go shopping for groceries in a nice air conditioned market replete with a gourmet aisle.

If you want to know why people make "bad" choices - how hungry are you? When have you ever been really, gnawingly hungry? I'm betting not a lot of options for groceries in the area just now - so how many folks have nothing and are hungry??

I've had sex offered for food - and not just once. When one is really hungry, it is consuming.

Think of the leverage...because it is planned for and utilized. Weapons drops? hmmm...

Posted by: BOG | Oct 13 2015 0:47 utc | 93


I think his point was that the barrels are much more inaccurate and random than even normal dumb bombs. They aren't exactly aerodynamic and can land pretty much anywhere.

Posted by: Plenue | Oct 13 2015 0:53 utc | 94

I apologize for muddling my announcement of the Guardian account previously - but they muddle it as well, so perhaps I can be forgiven. Returning to the item I see the headline: "US airdrops ammunition to Syrian REBEL groups after strategy shift" (my emphasis) - then follows that with the following:

"The United States said on Monday it carried out an ammunition airdrop for Syrian ARAB groups battling Islamic State, as Washington shifts its focus to arming fighters inside Syria after ending a failed program to train a new rebel force. . ."(my emphasis again)

I felt this was a softening of the intransigent position of the US, but that's just me polyanna-ing as usual. I note that Putin is still annoyed that the US doesn't furnish information that would be helpful, so all is not a bed of roses.

Thanks for many informative posts.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 13 2015 1:01 utc | 95

@54 penelope

A military coup cannot help, no matter the stated reasons for it.

@56 james @72 penelope

I agree on the US/EU interest in the destruction of Syria ... and all the others, I was trying to add flesh to the bones of the Russian interest in defending Syria in particular ,,, and in its call to "create a genuinely broad, international coalition against terrorism, similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces resolutely resisting those that, just like NAZIs, sow evil and hatred of human kind.".

Posted by: jfl | Oct 13 2015 1:07 utc | 96

@charles drake@111

charles drake, thanks for the link to that video, a very illustrative piece of Jewish history. The presence of your absence has certainly been felt. I very much enjoy reading your snappy...prose?

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Oct 13 2015 1:07 utc | 97

I have to say that one of the (few) bright points coming out of the USA is how the MSM appears to be struggling with the job of selling Washington's spin.

Take the latest from the NYTimes:
"Supply of U.S.-Made Missiles Picks Up, Syrian Insurgents Say"

The article itself is stunningly amoral in its outlook, which is no real surprise.

But look at the talkback.

They are universally dismissive of Washington's latest bit o' opportunistic adventurism.

They can all understand the immorality and illegality of Washington arming rebels with weapons whose only utility is against the tanks of the Syrian Arab Army of Assad.

They all draw the same conclusion: the Administration's claim that it is intervening inside Syria because That's Where ISIS Is must be a fabrication, and one that is now so transparent that it insults the reader's intelligence.

Here is a "rebel".
He is a "good rebel".
We want him [chuckle] to fight ISIS [chortle].
So let's arm him with anti-tank TOW missiles!
Even though.... err.... ISIS doesn't have all that many armoured divisions.

People are noticing that the emperor has no clothes.
Not only that, but people are pointing and laughing.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 13 2015 1:07 utc | 98

jfl / 123, I never meant to suggest a military coup. There is the possibility of changing the culture from within, and I wd be surprised if it is not already well on its way.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 13 2015 1:27 utc | 99

Juliana / 122

I'm glad you noticed the "Syrian Arab" limitation on who should receive arms. The wording originated w Obama when he announced it.

Posted by: Penelope | Oct 13 2015 1:29 utc | 100

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