Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 11, 2015

Sistani Orders Turkey Out Of Iraq - Syria Oppo-Conference Fails

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq the U.S vice consul Paul Bremer tried to install a handpicked Iraqi government.  The top Shia religious authority in Iraq, Grand Ajatollah Sistani, demanded a democratic vote. The issue was thereby decided. There was no way the U.S could have circumvented Sisitani's edict without a massive revolt by the 65% of Iraqis who are Shia and mostly follow his advice. Bremer had to fold.

Now Ajatollah Sistani takes position against the Turkish invasion of Iraq:

Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on the government on Friday to show "no tolerance" of any infringement of the country's sovereignty, after Turkey deployed heavily armed troops to northern Iraq.

Sistani's spokesman, Sheikh Abdul Mehdi Karbala'i, did not explicitly name Turkey, but a row over the deployment has badly soured relations between Ankara and Baghdad, which denies having agreed to it.
...
"The Iraqi government is responsible for protecting Iraq's sovereignty and must not tolerate and side that infringes upon on it, whatever the justifications and necessities," Karbalai'i said in a weekly sermon.

The issue is thereby decided. Turkish troops will have to leave or will have to decisively defeat all Shia of Iraq (and Iran). If Erdogan were smart he would now order the Turkish troops stationed near Mosul to leave Iraq.

The Russian President Putin also increased pressure on Turkey:

President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered Russia's armed forces to act in an "extremely tough way" in Syria to protect Russian forces striking Islamic State targets there.

"Any targets threatening our (military) group or land infrastructure must be immediately destroyed," Putin said, speaking at a Defence Ministry event.

Note to Erdogan: Beware of funny ideas...

---


There was some Syrian opposition conference yesterday in Saudi Arabia were the Saudis tried to bribe everyone to agree on a common position. But the conference failed. Some 116 delegates took part under "international guidance" of their various sponsors. A spokesperson for the al-Qaeda aligned Ahrar al Sham, which closely cooperates with the al-Qaeda entity Jabhat al Nusra in Syria, also took part. No women were present.

The conference resulted in the decision to hold another conference. The 116 delegates at the conference decided to select 33 delegates for a conference which would decide on 15 delegates to confer and maybe take part in some negotiations with the Syrian government side. The NYT's Ben Hubbard, who was there, tweeted:

Ben Hubbard @NYTBen
...The meeting created yet another new opposition body, a high commission, meant to oversee negotiations.

There was debate about how large it should be and what proportion should represent armed groups. Final was 32, changed after meetings to 33.

Those 33 now tasked with choosing a 15 person negotiating team. So, yeah, umbrella groups making a new umbrella.

The political demands the conference agreed upon include non-starters for negotiations like the demand that the Syrian President Assad would leave within 6 weeks of the negotiations start. There was also this illuminating word game:

Islamist delegates objected to using the word “democracy” in the final statement, so the term “democratic mechanism” was used instead, according to a member of one such group who attended the meeting.

The Ahrar al-Sham delegate at the meeting signed the deal while the Ahrar al Sham bigwigs, who took not part, damned the deal and announced they were completely against it. They demand an Islamic State in Syria that would follow their militant Salafi line of believe. Hubbard again:

Ben Hubbard ‏@NYTBen
Re: @Ahrar_Alsham2. It's main delegate did not walk out. Before meeting ended, members not present released statement announcing withdrawal.

The session's moderator said Ahrar delegate was not aware of statement by his group until later, but did sign the final communiqué.

Then Ahrar members like @aleesa71 and @a_azraeel complained on Twitter, suggesting a split between military and political leaders.

The Saudi and Qatari Wahhabi rulers want Ahrar al Sham to be part of any future solution in Syria. They hired "western" think tanks like Brookings Doha to propagandize that Ahrar is "moderate". But Ahrar can not be "moderate" when it is fighting together with al-Qaeda and kills civilians because they are "unbelievers". It is now in an uncomfortable position. If it takes part in a peace conference with the Syrian government its Jabhat al-Nusra ally will roast it, if it doesn't take part its Saudi and Qartari financiers will fry it.

Since the start of the war on Syria no unity has been achieved in the opposition of the Syrian government. The U.S., in form of the CIA head John Brennan, teamed up (again) with al-Qaeda while the State Department tried to sponsor more "moderates". The ensuing chaos continues today.

To prevent further blowback from this nonsense strategy will obviously require a change towards a position that supports the Syrian government. It is doubtful that the U.S. is capable of such foresight and flexibility.

Posted by b on December 11, 2015 at 13:18 UTC | Permalink

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UNSC resolution 2249


To my mind, the IS problem is much much more than one of terrorism. This needs to be understood. (Read an excellent essay by William Polk This Is How Paris Fits into ISIS’s Long-Term Strategy.)There is a whole history of injustice, manipulation, coercion, repression and state violence against the Muslim peoples in various regions through our modern history that cannot be pushed under the carpet. All that R 2249 can achieve is that it will legitimize the horrendous violence that is about to be let loose in Syria and Iraq by the interventionist powers in the coming months. Russia lost the moral high ground it was painstakingly climbing. It should not have got carried away by the dizzying thought that last night its diplomats stood shoulder to shoulder with their Western counterparts for the first time after the coup in Kiev in February 2014.

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2015/11/21/shame-on-un-security-councils-p-5-members/

Posted by: From The Hague | Dec 13 2015 9:55 utc | 201

@doveman
Excellent and a very good reminder of trh similarities between our current situation in teh Syrian conflict and world war 1.
@LoneWolf
I doubt Israel will do anything.Israel respects too much Russia and a influential part of its population is of Russian origin and tradition.Plus entering a conflict with Syria will require Israel too much troops while she is virtually in a state of war with Palestinians.Furthermore Israel fears Hezbollah since its defeat against it.So I doubt Israel will enter this conflict aside from using his secret services plus the rewards for Israel is bigger by just waiting and letting its enemies to fight and to destroy each other.The main focus of Israel is first and foremost Palestine.
@secret Agent
In fact Putine had nothing to fear about the false revolution in Ukraine beside losing Crimea,really.As they said in Games Of Thrones "winter is coming". His energy leverage through gaz will be enough to bring Ukraine to his knees in due time.That s why Ukraine was never a challenge for him.Plus Ukraine economy particularly from the east is too much tie to Russia by destroying it through civil war NATO is just creating a boiling revolt that could swap the entire government away.Plus Russia is the only country ready to invest billion in Ukraine.At some point reality will come back into play and Ukraine under its shortage of energy and basic needs will see its people rise against its government and the civil war will have to end to accept the federalization of the country.

@Glenn Brown

I kind of agree with Penelope about Global warming. A few decade ago people were talking about Global "colding".. Furthermore The ice sheet in Antarctica is growing(and has been for years) contrary to the common lies we hear here and there. Most importantly we don't know the science behind the weather How it works and what are the scientific laws that explain it.Climatology is nothing like physics chemistry or mathematics yet for us to be able to affirm sure that Global warming is man made.I have one thing that always bothered me with this all climate change stuff it is teh fat that it is an ally of the Rockefeller and oil sale man who spread the idea of Global warming and stated the rule for it at UN.His name is Maurice Strong.I don't wanna sound like a crazy conspirationist but when you see that you have fair question to ask and you are not so sure about teh so call dangers of Global warming.I am not denying it but I am not sure it is as harmful as people want us to think.IT might as well be natural.To me i am more concern about environment and pollution more than weather itself.

I think the west(particularly the US)is in the defensive now. If Putine succeed to wash away all these terrorists in Syria in due time they will cut a deal with him (if they haven't already) and they will give up on their regional allies in the Golf.They will force them to evolve to save the very few honor that is left for the US and for them in this situation.I have notice since the takeover of international affair by Putin with his actions in Syria a change(at least some) in the mouth of the media and the politicians that condemn much more the Golf states.I have no doubt the US wants to change Saudi Arabia and is backing now the Muslim brotherhood.As some of you might recall during the Arab spring which was in large part manipulated and created by the secret service Saudi Arabia too was under threat.And it was only because of a ruthless repression and some powerful contacts in the united state that they avoid their regime change.Of course the US is mad at Russia and they would like to use Syria as a graveyard for Russia but it seems unlikely if Russia keeps it together.

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Dec 13 2015 10:25 utc | 202

The Guardian //Books today has a piece concerning Thomas Merton - George Orwell about the language of war:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/dec/12/words-on-war-a-summons-to-writers-orwell-lecture

Several paragraphs down, this:

In another essay on war, Merton argues that it is not really true that war happens when reasoned argument breaks down; it is more that “reason” has been used in such a way that it subtly and inevitably moves us towards war. In his great 1946 essay on “Politics and the English Language”, Orwell is clear that linguistic degeneration is both the product and the generator of economic and political decadence. And if so, the critique of this degeneration is not a matter of “sentimental archaism” but an urgent political affair. Like Merton, he identifies the stipulative definition as one of the main culprits: a word that ought to be descriptive, and so discussable, comes to be used evaluatively. “Fascism” means “politics I/we don’t like”; “democracy” means “politics I/we do like”. “Consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.” This is really just a symptom of a deeper malaise. Vagueness, mixed metaphor, ready-made phrases, “gumming together long strips of words”, pseudo‑technical language are ways of avoiding communication. And those whose interest is in avoiding communication are those who do not want to be replied to or argued with.

The above has some close relevance to the conversations here.

Penelope's contributions bring to mind a field recently grazed by sheep - little round sheep ball shit everywhere and one cannot traverse the field without wellie-boots that can easily be cleaned in running water, her conspiracy theories are as plentiful and as hard to avoid - maybe that is where sheeple originated. A Penelope alert might be in order to automatically engage an elision […] … [/…] program.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Dec 13 2015 11:45 utc | 203

170 Penelope

1. We dont know who own these trucks, where they are coming from
2. We dont know where the trucks are going
3. No proof have been presented showing Erdogan complicit.

That Russia hasnt showed any evidence after what, 3-4 weeks, says that Russia made up that claim. Totally idiotic if thats the case.

Posted by: Seder | Dec 13 2015 13:14 utc | 204

@201 OK. 2249 huge mistake. Got you the first time.

Posted by: dh | Dec 13 2015 14:42 utc | 205

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2015/12/11/israels-syrian-blues/
At the Brookings Institution in Washington last Friday, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon gave an expose of his country’s perspectives on the conflict in Syria. Ya’alon is a former chief of staff of Israeli armed forces. His extensive remarks betrayed Israel’s acute dilemma on the policy front following the traumatic defeat its diplomacy suffered in attempting to forestall the Iran nuclear deal. Israel is finding it hard to turn a new leaf, while other protagonists in the region and indeed the Obama administration are moving on. Ya’alon made the following points:

Russia is playing a “more significant role” than the US in the Syrian conflict at present. This is not to Israel’s liking, because Russia supports the ‘Shia axis’, which includes Iran, Syria (Assad regime), Hezbollah, Houthis in Yemen and other Shia elements in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, etc.
Israel disfavors the Syrian peace process devolving upon the UN-sponsored International Syria Support Group and the Vienna talks because it recognizes Iran’s key role in reaching any settlement, which can only lead to the consolidation of Iran’s ‘hegemony’ in Syria.
The geopolitics of the Middle East in general and in Syria are centred around three groupings: a) The “very solid” Shia axis which at present enjoys the support of Russia, is anathema to Israel; b) Te Muslim Brotherhood axis which comprises Turkey, Qatar, and Gaza (Hamas), which is “not on the same page” as with the US or Israel; and, c) The Sunni Arab camp, “the most significant camp” in the region, which lacks leadership, but brings together Israel with Saudi Arabia and other GCC states, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco.
The US should “orchestrate” and lead the Sunni Arab camp; in Syria, this means defeating Daesh with the foot soldiers provided by Sunni Arabs and Kurds, whom, therefore, Washington should ‘empower, support, finance and arm’. The US should have done this from the very beginning, but it is not yet “a lost cause. There is still a chance to do it”.
One of the dangerous implications of the Iran deal is that Tehran is increasingly perceived as “a part of the solution” in Middle East’s hot spots, whereas, a resurgent Iran is a more confident Iran which is all set on the path to become a big military power. The S-300 missiles supplied by Russia recently “are going to be operational within a couple of weeks.”
The Russian military operations in Syria have been a failure insofar as Moscow had estimated that a 3-month offensive would gain more territory for the Syrian regime, whereas, this hasn’t happened, and, therefore, pressure has built on Moscow to explore a political settlement.
A settlement is hard to reach in Syria and the country will remain unstable for a very long time to come.

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 13 2015 15:47 utc | 206

@Hoarsewhisperer@193

Thank you much, buddy, you finally got it.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 13 2015 16:10 utc | 207

@dh@204

@201 OK. 2249 huge mistake. Got you the first time.

He's a broken record retard troll, was given a one-line to work against Russia, hasn't stopped ever since.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 13 2015 16:15 utc | 208

@Jackrabbit 199, well bin Laden was a Saudi, as were most of the hijackers. So, it was Saudi money. Plenty of blame goes to the Saudis, one way or another.

Posted by: shadyl | Dec 13 2015 16:21 utc | 209

follow-up to 199.

It may sound outlandish to ask if ISIS 'blow back' attacks are cover-ups but we too often give TPTB a pass.

From the perspective of Western elites (especially MIC), its ALL good: ISIS does the dirty work that expands the Empire and keeps a fearful citizenry willing to support whatever.

To the un-elected/unaccountable, non-democratic 'exceptional!' class, there is no 'blow back' until their power is threatened. What WE have been calling 'blow back' is, to them, just 'collateral damage'.

We have much evidence to support these understandings:

>> ISIS was created and supported by 'allies' of USA/West;

>> Many countries are secretly working together to topple Assad/counter Iran/remake the Middle East;

>> Western democracies are actually very undemocratic in how they operate 'in the real world';

When the influence that USA 'allies' have with ISIS and the influence that USA has with its 'allies' is properly understood, speculation that there may be an ACTIVE/OPERATIVE connection between ISIS attacks and Western elite (mostly neocon/MIC) interests seems not so far-fetched.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 13 2015 16:23 utc | 210

@Shadyl:

They are all to blame. Would you give a free pass to the guy that drove vicious home invaders to your house? He/she didn't enter the house - only ENABLED the killing/rape/torture/stealing/destruction (which is what Syria has gone through). This person KNEW what they were planning, KNEW the nature of the attackers, acted to provide cover (intercepting police/neighbors, for example), and was going to share in the plunder - but he/she should not be accountable???

When its a group of countries in a far away place it all seems so abstract. By on a human level, it is monstrous.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 13 2015 16:44 utc | 211

@ Jackrabbit 210, agreed, I just hate when our "friends" the Saudis get a free pass in the western press. As do the Pakistanis.

I have asked this question before, isn't it always the Sunnis blowing themselves up? I never hear Shiites blowing up mosques. When did this start? Is this due to the ongoing Palestinian/Zionist war that has now metastasized to the whole world?

I still remember Bibi being overjoyed after 9/11, claiming the US could then understand what the poor Israelis experience.

Posted by: shadyl | Dec 13 2015 17:00 utc | 212

@ psychohistorian #190

I agree with all but the capital flight from City of London. I see the Fed and City of London as the two operating centers of private finance owned by the global plutocrats. Together they stand in opposition to sovereign finance. When is soon? 3/6/9 months? 3-5 years?

The point is that the debt purchased by Russia from Ukraine was carefully packaged in London. The credibility of the city is at risk.

I can't be certain of timeframe, what is your estimation?

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Dec 13 2015 18:10 utc | 213

Posted by: From The Hague | Dec 13, 2015 4:55:23 AM | 201

Unfortunately for the Axis of Naughty Big Girls, UNSC 2249 is superceded, somewhat, by this...

President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered Russia's armed forces to act in an "extremely tough way" in Syria to protect Russian forces striking Islamic State targets there.
"Any targets threatening our (military) group or land infrastructure must be immediately destroyed," Putin said, speaking at a Defence Ministry event.

...which means whatever Vlad wants it to mean. Which in turn explains why the AoNBG are merely fondling & filming their hardware (before kissing it goodbye).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 13 2015 18:21 utc | 214

@212 Sun Tzu

Thx for reply

I admit to not knowing who has who at the greatest financial risk but know that it is a house of cards and when the music stops the house of cards will fall down and knock everyone out of the not enough chairs.

Time frame is hard to estimate when you are in the start/middle of it. Having been watching the world go round since the early 70's I have to say the energy of the past 5-7 years far exceeds all those years before. And there seems to be a quickening of the pace of madness transpiring before our eyes. But does that mean imminent climax? Will the lead up to the US 2016 election be the fire or will it be some crisis elsewhere in the world (Fukushima)? We waste so much food that hunger probably won't get the majority before Gaia smacks us hard or we pollute ourselves to extinction. While I see some international countervailing power struggles going on, when/if they may effect change for the better can only be hoped for. Ok, back to a guess. I think either less than 2 years and not more than 5 will show a totally differently motivated world.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 13 2015 22:34 utc | 215

@ psychohistorian #214
What if after Turkey has moved into northern Iraq, Turkey uses any excuse to close the Bosporus & Dardanellos straits? Would that be soon enough to trigger the hot phase of WWIII? Russia is testing all their weapons systems. Some are being tested ahead of schedule. Doesn't that tell you something is coming down sooner than you think? How about this, Turkey roll called all soldiers vacationing in Russia. How about this, Russia started more overtly funding kurds operating in Turkey. Do you think this is developing soon enough?

Posted by: Sun Tzu | Dec 13 2015 22:58 utc | 216

@215 Sun Tzu

But when is the fat lady going to sing? And will it be taps for all of us?

My breath exercise has made me ready for whatever happens......or will help me recover and move on, physically or just my cosmic energy

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 14 2015 0:00 utc | 217

What if after Turkey has moved into northern Iraq, Turkey uses any excuse to close the Bosporus & Dardanellos straits? Would that be soon enough to trigger the hot phase of WWIII? Posted by: Sun Tzu | Dec 13, 2015 5:58:48 PM | 215

By Monteaux treaty, close of Turkish straits is permissibly only when Turkey is at war with the respective Black Sea power, so it is a declaration of war if there was no war yet. In that case, I suspect that Iran would join Russia in economic attack, closure of the pipelines, and they could extend it to the pipelines from Azerbaijan and Kurdish Region. For that, one needs a bit more violent flare up of Armenian-Azeri hostilities and using Russian helicopters with Iraqi crews (or crews borrowed for the occasion) to enforce the writ of Baghdad government. The most notable effect is MEAD, Mutual Economic Assured Destruction, somewhat sweeter variant of MAD. I guess this sword will remain in its sheath.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 14 2015 22:56 utc | 218

The trucks..

The Kurds in Iraq have claimed ownership of the oiltransport trucks Russia are blowing up.
The Kurds also publicly sell oil to the Turks.
The same trucks the Kurds claim to own are going between IS oilfeelds and Turkey.

Isn't the picture quite clear?

Posted by: Alexander Grimsmo | Dec 15 2015 7:12 utc | 219

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