Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 18, 2015

Talks About A "Political Transition" In Syria Are Not Serious - Yet

A few days ago U.S. Secretary of State Kerry met the Russian president Putin in Moscow:

Mr. Kerry appeared, more carefully than on previous occasions, to couch America’s insistence that Mr. Assad leave office as a recondition of any settlement.

The United States, he said, was not seeking Mr. Assad’s ouster per se, but rather considers it unlikely that he could preside over a successful settlement.

“The United States and our partners are not seeking regime change in Syria,” Mr. Kerry said.

That the U.S. is no longer looking for regime change in Syria is doubtful. Kerry made somewhat similar remarks in March but was then immediately contradicted by the State Department's spokesperson.

This time so far Kerry's "no regime change" remarks in Moscow have not been contradicted. The U.S. also pulled back F-15 air superiority fighters from Turkey which can be interpreted as a step of deescalation. But NATO is still building up additional forces around Syria. That is sold as preventing Turkey from doing more foolish nonsense like shooting down another Russian plane. But the military reality as seen from Syria is an increase in potential enemy forces right at its borders. If the U.S. is serious it should show that by stopping the military build up and its support for Syria's enemies.

The combined air defense of Russian S-400 long range air defense in Latakia and Syrian SA-17/BUK medium range systems in other areas for now protect against air incursions into Syria. To knock them out means all out war. Putin says he will not allow any outside force to decide who rules in Syria and he is backing that up with all of Russia's capabilities. "Western" diplomats' claims that Russia is ready to dumps Assad are just face saving rumors. It is Russia that is calling the shots. The Russian support has now reached a level that enables the Syrian army to slowly defeat and destroy the various terrorist forces attacking its people. Meanwhile more anti-Syrian propaganda gets debunked and public support for the Syrian government's position increases.

In Iraq the army is also back on its feet and is making progress against the Islamic State. The Iraqi government has rejected U.S. offers of its Apache helicopters and more U.S. special forces. It is rightly suspicious that the U.S. is aiming at splitting up Iraq and Syria. Today the U.S. again bombed and killed Iraqi government forces that were moving against the Islamic State. That surely will be explained away as an "accident" but too many such "accidents" have happened. Should the U.S., with its support for the Kurds and Sunnis, continue its ambiguous stand in Iraq it will be kicked out and Russia will get invited to move in.

There are some talks today at the UN to proceed towards ceasefire negotiations in Syria. I do not expect any serious outcome. The opposition that met in Saudi Arabia was a collection of random 5-star-hotel exiles and terrorist groups. The U.S. and its allies claim that these can take over Syria. But they have no real constituency and no abilities to fight Jabhat al Nusra, the Islamic State or any of the other big terrorist groups that are not part of the negotiations. Why should they have any say over Syria?

There are also some evidence that the Obama administration does not really want any solution in Syria. The negotiations are smoke and mirrors to simply run out the clock and to dump the problem to the next president. This could change though, some say or wish, if a big attack on a U.S. target would happen and be claimed by or blamed on the Islamic State.

A solution of the war in Syria will require elections in which the current president Bashar Assad will be one of the candidates. Until the agrees to that position all talks about a "political transition" are just a waste of time.

Posted by b on December 18, 2015 at 13:59 UTC | Permalink

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Riad Hijab is the anointed one. Get used to the name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riyad_Farid_Hijab

There are some nasty rumours about him being bribed to leave Syria but let's not spoil things.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18 2015 14:32 utc | 1

“The United States and our partners are not seeking regime change in Syria,” Mr. Kerry said.

This is a bald-faced lie. The entire project in Syria has been about destabilization so that the territory can be depopulated and then restructured with yet another pliable puppet government willing to do Israel and the United State's bidding. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey are just bit players doing as they're told. The BIG players want that territory so they can transfer their stolen oil and diminish Iran's influence in the region.

As nice as it was to feel like maybe cooler heads were going to prevail following the news over the past few days of what appeared to be multiple instances of the United States capitulating on what had formerly been steadfast positions (see: F-15's at Incirlik, Assad's removal, Turkish troops in Iraq, and the $3 billion Ukraine owes Russia), I fear now that what we're really seeing is similar to when Colin Powell delivered $43 million cash to the Taliban in the summer of 2001 as a way of thanking them for eradicating the poppy crops. It's like leaving a horse's head in someone's bed, frankly.

War is still on the horizon, no matter what the empire says to buy itself time to regroup.

Posted by: Bruno Marz | Dec 18 2015 14:51 utc | 2

I was hoping for something a little more concrete from Kerry's visit to Moscow. Yes, there were hints of the U.S softening its stance on 'Assad must go' to get some talks off the ground, but already, the press briefing this morning from the state department is contradicting Kerry once again.....on pretty much everything that was said in Moscow.
The terrorist goons from the recent Riyadh meet is just laughable, how can anyone take this seriously. I fear that unless the U.S and its band of aggressors capitulate on this issue then the prospects of a successful resolution for Syria and its long suffering people looks bleak at present, a very hard road.
All the more important that the Russians must remain firm on the essentials, Syria must not be divided and only the Syrian people should decide their government.

Posted by: Pejman | Dec 18 2015 15:19 utc | 3

@3 -- this "state department" is not an exercise in alternative government, it has become a tilt at an alternate reality!

Posted by: doveman | Dec 18 2015 15:33 utc | 4

b, good to see you fully back on your feet.

I really cannot find any cohesiveness in the behaviour of the different mouthpieces of the US. Susan Rice was claiming "no change in US position" while Kerry was saying otherwise.

It is apparent that there is a furious fight among the would be carriage postillions and whoever follows the different declarations cannot but be utterly confused.

Add to it the tug war between doves, hawks, neocons, CIA, Pentagon lower desks of the State Dept. and general congregation of Kol Nidrel exponents and cacophony is the order of the day.

The left hand disavows the right and vice versa.

Nobody can be trusted to voice a final decision.

Who is at the Helm? Is the helm connected to a rudder?

Posted by: CarlD | Dec 18 2015 15:35 utc | 5

This is the time to ask:

Quo Vadis America?

Posted by: CarlD | Dec 18 2015 15:37 utc | 6

Until someone from a position of authority in the US emerges and admits to centuries of self serving subversion,collusion and corruption on an international stage, I will remain in doubt of any and all attempts to soothe public trust. As kids I'm sure we all heard of the boy who cried wolf..

Posted by: TrueNorth | Dec 18 2015 15:38 utc | 7

h/t RT article ...
US war party, fully armed, caught at Libyan airport by militia and send packing homewards. Most likely this group of special forces were on a reconnaissance mission for new NATO intervention, especially bombing raids on IS forces approaching key oil installations. Embarassing for the empire.

Secret US mission in Libya revealed after air force posted pictures | The Guardian |

Posted by: Oui | Dec 18 2015 15:44 utc | 8

@1 dh
I thought Riad Farid Hijab had already left syria, way back in 2012. Perhaps he's rumoured to make a come back with the rumoured bribes...?

Posted by: Pejman | Dec 18 2015 15:46 utc | 9

From what I've read, Syria's political reconciliation process won't begin until all the terrorists are defeated and the country made secure again, although it can be said that informal aspects of that process are beginning to take place. I also suspect that at some point Iraq and Syria will formally ally against the terrorists, and that the formal aspects of the process won't begin in earnest until Daesh and all its manifestations are defeated in both countries, NATO removed, and the Barzani Mafia arrested or at minimum dispersed due to its illegal oil extraction, which will provide the Kurds with the opportunity to unify its polity while retiring its ties to NATO and Israel. Two unknown speculative points I have are whether Russia will help the Kurds gain territory at the expense of Turkey for the formation of a new Kurdish nation, and if Russia will force the return of Golan to Syria in exchange for not prosecuting Israel for its supporting terrorism through its purchase of oil stolen by Daesh.

I can't imagine Putin and Lavrov not knowing the importance of solving the problem of Palestine in relation to solving international terrorism and taking advantage of the situation to do something. Indeed, I think Palestine will be solved before Afghanistan. And with resolution, a whole new dynamic can start as the Ummah confronts the even bigger problem it has with the Saudis.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18 2015 15:47 utc | 10

Two takeaways from b's AP story:
For one, the Russian division of "terrorist" vs. legitimate rebel forces differs significantly from that of U.S. and Arab governments, diplomats say. And no agreement can be reached if Russia isn't satisfied.

An even bigger divide concerns Assad himself, with Washington desperate to secure a guarantee that he will eventually leave office in a transition, having abandoned Obama's previous demand that the Syrian leader step down immediately. Russia has spent the last five years blocking any international strategy or U.N. resolution that would show Assad the door.

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 18 2015 15:52 utc | 11

@karlof1

Would it ever make sense to just give the Gaza Strip and West Bank to Israel but then to move the Palestinians into the Golan Heights? I'm totally speaking out of school here because I have no idea if that's a viable solution, but it's obvious the Israelis will never treat the Palestinians with even a shred of human dignity, so why not just extricate themselves from their current locations and set up shop using a swath of what is now northern Israel so the Palestinian state could act as a buffer between Israel and Lebanon/Syria. By annexing northern Israeli territory for this solution, the Palestinians could also receive a length of coastal access to the Mediterranean.

Voila! Problem solved.

If Israel insists on more land, let them move towards the south/southeast into Saudi Arabia, which is essentially a vassal state of theirs already, anyway.

Posted by: Bruno Marz | Dec 18 2015 15:55 utc | 12

Sorry, I wasn't clear. He's just been nominated for PM.


http://yalibnan.com/2015/12/18/syrian-opposition-groups-pick-ex-pm-riad-hijab-to-represent-them-in-talks/

Posted by: dh | Dec 18 2015 16:00 utc | 13

@13 That's not quite right either. He's to be the 'co-ordinator'.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18 2015 16:02 utc | 14

Something odd I just noticed. I pulled up a map of Israel using Google and accidentally clicked over the Mediterranean and a pop-up appeared at the bottom of the screen saying "Mediterranean Sea 31.408007, 34.075420".

I then clicked within Israeli territory and no matter where I clicked, it returned the name of the town and its grid coordinates.

However, when I clicked inside of Gaza, every single time it says "Unavailable" along with the grid coordinates. Not a single road or town is mapped on Google for the Gaza strip. Same for the West Bank...everything comes back "Unavailable".

Unbelievable is more like it.

Posted by: Bruno Marz | Dec 18 2015 16:03 utc | 15

@ 10 Karlof1

'I can't imagine Putin and Lavrov not knowing the importance of solving the problem of Palestine in relation to solving international terrorism and taking advantage of the situation to do something. Indeed, I think Palestine will be solved before Afghanistan. And with resolution, a whole new dynamic can start as the Ummah confronts the even bigger problem it has with the Saudis'

'...and if Russia will force the return of the Golan to Syria...'

All wishful thinking at present from what I see, don't get me wrong I too would like to see that happen, but Russia has been particularly silent on the Palestinian issue for many years plus no criticism of Israeli bombing raids on Hezbollah and Iranians in Syria throughout the recent conflict. Has a deal been made with Netanyahu?

Posted by: Pejman | Dec 18 2015 16:18 utc | 16

IS George Friedman Erdogan's vizier?


https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/turkeys-time-has-come

Posted by: meofios | Dec 18 2015 16:20 utc | 17

karlof1 10, Palestine, the elephant in the room. Sunnis blowing themselves up, radicalizing, etc.

Posted by: shadyl | Dec 18 2015 16:21 utc | 18

dh from your wiki link:
On 6 August 2012, the Syrian government released a statement saying that Hijab had been dismissed.[2] Shortly thereafter[3] a man describing himself as Hijab's spokesman and several news organizations stated he had resigned and defected to the rebel side in the Syrian civil war.
~~~
Hijab was born into a Sunni Muslim family of the city of Der Ezzor in Deir ez-Zor Governorate in 1966.

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 18 2015 16:25 utc | 19

meofios @ 17,

articles on stratfor behind paywall, some articles like this one will be emailed to anyone who requests it but most of us probably don't want to be on stratfor's mailing list. can you give us a summary?

Posted by: sillybill | Dec 18 2015 16:27 utc | 20

@19 See posts 13 & 14.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18 2015 16:30 utc | 21

@5 Before Obama "endorsed" guy marriage, OFA just killed the opposition to an anti-gay resolution in North Carolina in early 2012. Activists started to notice, and in an unprompted moment, Biden gushed about Obama's support of gas rights. Democratic strategists said Joe was runnin' his mouth, but after a few days, Obama made a tepid but positive statement about gay marriage.

Clearly, Biden saw a problem and tried to force Obama into addressing the image problem, and I believe Kerry is closer to reality than Rice and Powers and is trying to force Obama to accept a reality of sorts by making this about Obama's image much like Biden did in 2012. Kerry might be banking that the criticism of the President's handling of terrorism combined with the difficulty of replacing Kerry with a GOP senate will force Obama to skip the back nine and reassess his public image.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Dec 18 2015 16:36 utc | 22

Putin and Lavrov re. Syria have consistently said there must be an election knowing full well that Assad would win it, thereby openly critising the US for their ‘freedome and dimocracy’ strident screechy rants.

Syria adopted, thru referendum, a new Constitution in 2012, which removed the Baath party hold. It does however specify the Pres. candidates must be Muslim, and was written by a “Const. Committee” that was appointed idk how, by Assad it is said.

From news, it is the Russians who have been calling for a new constitution. (Not the US, but who knows..not me…)

Their plan, daily mail, nov. 2015 (best short description i could find):

http://tinyurl.com/h8nl7ru

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 18 2015 16:40 utc | 23

@20

George Friedman always talks about how Turkey will become a great power once again, see his book The Next 100 Years. He says Turkey will expend its territory into Arab countries and captures their oil fields, Egypt will become a source of cheap labour for Turkish companies, Turkey will expand its influences into the Caucasus, come into direct conflict with Russia. Russia will collapse and end its its dominance of central asia allowing Turkey to extend influence into Central Asian muslim nations.

Posted by: meofios | Dec 18 2015 16:42 utc | 24

@12 Bruno Marz

Absolutely not. The Israelis should be forced to return all territories as per UN resolution 242. I believe that states that they withdraw back to the 1967 borders, return the West Bank and East Jerusalem for the rightful return of the Palestinians....all this at a minimum should be the demand on the Israelis.

Golan heights back to the Syrians, no need for any buffer zone on the Israeli northern front. Assad/Syria has not been a threat to Israel for many decades.

IMO the Middle East needs to see some justice and enough of all the double standards and land grabbing, perhaps then we'll see some peace in the future.

Posted by: Pejman | Dec 18 2015 16:46 utc | 25

@20

"To supply its forces in Syria, the Russian navy has been relying on the so-called Syrian Express, a naval supply route from Sevastopol on the Black Sea to its Eastern Mediterranean naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus. As gatekeeper of the straits, Turkey could theoretically complicate this supply route. In peacetime, Turkey could still claim it is abiding by the Montreux Convention and allowing Russia free access while increasing inspections on passing Russian ships. While it would prove an annoyance to Russia, Moscow's main worry is Article 20 of the Montreux Convention, which says that in wartime Turkey as a belligerent has full discretion when allowing or preventing the passage of warships through the strait, potentially cutting Russia off from the Mediterranean.
Turkey's Double-Edged Sword

The straits are powerful tools Turkey can use against Moscow, but Ankara cannot easily quit Russia. Turkey is the second-largest buyer of Russian natural gas, a significant importer of Russian oil and metals, and the largest buyer of Russian wheat and sunflower oil. A contentious relationship with Russia will bring enormous economic pain to the Turks. Nowhere is this truer than in their energy relationship. Unlike oil, coal or wheat, which can be sourced from alternative suppliers, Turkey has no quick and reliable alternative for natural gas, an important energy source for industry and households. Russia supplies around 55 percent (or about 27 billion cubic meters of its 50 bcm annual needs) of Turkish natural gas consumption. That supply is split between two pipelines that each can hold 16 bcm of natural gas; Blue Stream, which runs directly from Russia to Turkey across the Black Sea; and the Gas-West pipeline, which transits Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria before reaching Turkey. Turkey is not close to closing the straits to Russia nor is Russia close to cutting off natural gas to Turkey. But even so, Turkey must start taking its energy security much more seriously now that it is in an open confrontation with Russia."

Posted by: meofios | Dec 18 2015 16:52 utc | 26

I think the real game changer was the refugee issue.

Merkel knows it will destablize the EU borderless dream, the Schengen vision. Kerry/Obama now have to adjust. Merkel also now knows that giving Erdogan billions only embolden him. Shooting down Russian planes was NOT the plan. Well, maybe it was the McCain/Graham Plan, but they are far from the blowback.

Syria Stunner: German Intelligence "Cooperating" With Assad, Berlin May Reopen Embassy In Damascus


“Germany's spy agency is working again with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's secret service to swap information on Islamist militants,” Reuters writes, citing the German daily.

Reuters continues: “Citing well-informed sources, the mass-circulation newspaper said German foreign intelligence BND agents had been traveling regularly to Damascus for some time for consultations with Syrian colleagues.”

snip
If Bild's report is accurate, it raises all manner of interesting questions about the West's ongoing military campaign in Syria. If Germany, France, and Britain adopt a more conciliatory stance vis-a-vis Damascus than the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, Washington will need to figure out how to reconcile its hardline stance towards cooperating with Assad in the war on terror with the divergent approach adopted by America's Western allies.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-18/syria-stunner-german-intelligence-cooperating-assad-berlin-may-reopen-embassy-damasc

Posted by: shadyl | Dec 18 2015 16:57 utc | 27

I'm used to public duplicity and Newspeak coming from the US/West but Putin's words that, he will not allow any outside force decide who will rule Syria, elevate Newspeak to a new level.

The only outside forces actively involved in dictating who will rule Syria, with troops and military power projection, are Russia, Iran and their various foreign militias. The Syrian rebels are the only active military forces trying to overthrow Assad and the foreign volunteers who have joined them are not an organized outside military force.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Dec 18 2015 17:00 utc | 28

@20

"The most geopolitically compatible energy source for Turkey is Azerbaijan, which is preparing to send 6 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Turkey starting from 2019 through the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (and another 10 bcm that will be sent onward to Europe through the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline). This will help Turkey shave down its energy dependence on Russia by about 12 percent, but Turkey will still need to look elsewhere to truly loosen Russia's grip. The Caucasus, like the Middle East, will redevelop into another big arena for Turkish-Russian competition. Russia is already hard at work trying to pull Baku closer to the Kremlin through diplomatic maneuvering over Nagorno-Karabakh and will do what it can to obstruct plans by Turkey and Azerbaijan to create an energy link across the Caspian with Turkmenistan.
The Turkish Awakening

Four years ago, Stratfor co-hosted a simulation in Istanbul with the Turkish Industry and Business Association to paint a picture of the energy world in 2040 and Turkey's place in that world. We saw a world in which a reluctant Turkey was inevitably going to be drawn into conflicts in the Middle East and with Russia, making it all the more imperative for Turkey to strategize a future that would deny Russia the ability to cripple Turkey economically. Then-Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (now prime minister) concluded the simulation with a message that Turkey is "not about to follow a new expansionist policy" and that Turkey's way of coping with energy challenges is to take advantage of its geographic position and maintain a stable relationship with its neighbors.

This was a time when Davutoglu's "zero problems with neighbors" policy was still clouding the vision of the Turkish political elite. The policy proved to be shortsighted, but was also expected from a country that was awakening from a decadeslong geopolitical slumber and was in no mood to create trouble in the region. But all the signs were there: Russia was already making aggressive moves in its near abroad, the European Union was showing early signs of unraveling and the Syrian civil war was just getting started.

Four short years later, Turkey has shot down a fighter jet belonging to its main energy supplier and is preparing for a military push into its Mideast rim. And Putin now has to figure out how to manage a Turkey that is much more willing to work with the United States and its Central and Eastern European peers to balance Moscow's aggressions. Ankara has been suppressed for some time, but there is no denying it now: Turkey's time has come."

Posted by: meofios | Dec 18 2015 17:08 utc | 29

thanks b.. glad you are back!

what i don't get is the usa playing any role in anything... they just murdered 20 iraqi soldiers, and wounded another 30.. if they were american soldiers, the usa would have started ww3 already... americans just need to get the fuck out of the middle east, but it ain't gonna happen with liars like kerry continuing to carry water for a completely different agenda and not having the guts to state anything openly.. kinda like a better known version of wow basically..

Posted by: james | Dec 18 2015 17:13 utc | 30

The creation of the SDC may be a decisive factor in moving the transition forward with a strong Kurdish representation, to the despair of Erdogan


New Kurdish-Arab political alliance seeks role as player in Syria talks


Turkey's dire situation in North Syria with the YPG

Posted by: virgile | Dec 18 2015 17:44 utc | 32

I think the US is willing to 'give' on some issues to get a ceasefire. The FSA is getting pounded and losing ground every day.

USA is only one of many actors in this 'play' for ME domination by Israel+KSA+Turkey.

There are still important questions, like:

>> What ground force will attack and occupy ISIS-held territory?

>> How/when will refugees be returned? Who controls that return? Would the West seek to incentivize non-Syrian EU immigrants to migrate to Syria? (This would mean 'stuffing' the ballot box in the future vote.)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 18 2015 17:45 utc | 33

Posted by: shadyl | Dec 18, 2015 11:57:14 AM | 27

Can't agree ... Europe plays no role in Syria. The refugees Erdogan lets exit is to intimidate the EU to cooperate with Turkey's ascession to become a member. Just call it blackmail.

The true game changer was Russia's military involvement from it's base in Latakia and the Naval might in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The downing by Turkey of the Sukhov SU-24 fighter bomber and the Paris attacks inspired by IS did the rest for regional powers to talk with Putin and enter a political discourse on Syria's future.

Posted by: Oui | Dec 18 2015 17:48 utc | 34


Posted by: Bruno Marz | Dec 18, 2015 9:51:32 AM | 2

War is still on the horizon, no matter what the empire says to buy itself time to regroup.

Same here, I believe there should be regime changes in Amerikka, Saudi, Turkey and other Gulf States. More likely WW3 regardless what happens.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Dec 18 2015 17:56 utc | 35

Since we are on the subject of Turkey,

this assessment of the situation in Turkey by a turkish columnist points to serious problems in Turkey.

http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist/lale-kemal/turkey-comes-close-to-the-brink-of-civil-war_407263.html

Considering opposition at home and the possibility of civil war in the country, it is possible and plausible
that through the downing of the Russian jet as well as the invasion of Iraq, Erdogan is trying to divert his citizens
attention towards an external threat by poking the bear to provoke a bellicose reaction in hopes of coalescing wills
around his leadership.

Posted by: CarlD | Dec 18 2015 18:00 utc | 36

Interview of Bashar al Assad with Dutch TV

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-q9_Dsb2OE&feature=youtu.be

Posted by: virgile | Dec 18 2015 18:06 utc | 37

I think Kerry's remarks have more to do with what went on in the meeting Kerry had with Putin and his advisors. I believe the meeting went pretty much as Mike Whitney speculated in his December 15th column, that Putin showed Kerry proof that the US and ISIS were fighting side-by-side when they bombed a Syrian military base. Whitney's concluding paragraph:

"If I am not mistaken, Kerry is in for a big surprise on Tuesday. He’s about to learn that Putin takes war very seriously and is not going to let Washington sabotage his plans for success. If Kerry’s smart, he’ll pass along that message to Obama and tell him he needs to dial it down a notch if he wants to avoid a war with Russia."

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/mike-whitney/65196/putin-throws-down-the-gaunlet

Posted by: madisolation | Dec 18 2015 18:30 utc | 38

@ 38 madisolation
Didn't know that the US is afraid of proof of their evil behaviour.
Mostly or Always they just carry on (and punish the one who came with the proof).

More than any proof of whatever, the rulers of the US have two problems:
-- > In Syria: S-400
-- > At home: Trump
(see also my postings in Open Thread 48, # 109, 111, 121, 122, 123, 124)

Posted by: From The Hague | Dec 18 2015 19:11 utc | 39

John Kerrys transparent BS is to try to keep the US's intentions disguised ( fooling only fools),
-Standard PR diplomatic talk directly towards the public to make the US look reasonable,
-faking it to keep exploiting Putins 'partnership with the West against terror' absurdity. how can you have a partnership with grotesque, genocidal evil, and be in partnership when you're treated as the US empires enemy number 1.
-Trying to create a fake PR condition where they say that US troops in Syria wouldn't look so bad. Since the US says that they don't want to overthrow Assad ( a lie ) , why would anyone complain about us sending our troops to Syria ?

And more reasons

Posted by: tom | Dec 18 2015 19:22 utc | 40

So Putin's compliment of Trump - opinions?

Posted by: bbbb | Dec 18 2015 19:32 utc | 41

Posted by: Pejman | Dec 18, 2015 11:46:30 AM | 25

Sorry I wasn't more clear in my statement: I meant the new Palestinian state could serve as a buffer to protect Lebanon and Syria from continued Israeli aggression, not the inverse. From my perspective Israel is the nexus of not only the Middle East's problems, but also most of the western world's problems. Fix that problem and things get much easier for all of us.

Posted by: Bruno Marz | Dec 18 2015 19:35 utc | 42

@41 A polite exchange no more. Putin doesn't want to get involved in US politics but Trump complimented him so he responded.

Posted by: dh | Dec 18 2015 19:41 utc | 43

virgile@32

The creation of the SDC may be a decisive factor in moving the transition forward with a strong Kurdish representation, to the despair of Erdogan

Although I can't offer anything but unsubstantiated speculation at this point, I'll throw this out there for everyone's consideration:

The U.S./Israel/Barzani/Turkish evil alliance has created sort of a corrupt, fake YPG unit(s) for the SDF. Remember, Erdogan considers the YPG equivalent to the PKK - no distinction (his characterization, not mine). Yet we hear about Erdogan's Turkish pipeline guards 'training' YPG and Barzani Peshmerga units. That's highly unlikely if those were real YPG units.

Barzani's historical animosity with the YPG makes that unlikely as well. Barzani's beef with them is that they are unwilling to take orders directly from him or his KDP party. They can't be easily controlled or ordered to non-Kurdish territory for military conquests. All they want to do is protect their homes and farms, not belong to any state army with questionable motives. Barzani wants the Rojava (Syrian) Kurds under KRG control and obedient to him.

As far as I can tell, the PYD political party offers some direction and coordination for the YPG/YPJ militias in Syria, but doesn't 'command' them in any practical sense. The U.S., especially, has been working their magic on the PYD leaders (bribes, promises of arms, intel, etc.) and the PYD has morphed into a proto-U.S. puppet enabler. The YPG/YPJ militias have further distanced themselves from the Syrian PYD party because of that. Just like with Barzani and his KDP party in Iraq, the U.S. and Western MSM sycophants seem to be dismissive of the real Rojava YPG/YPJ units sympathies and reinforcing the idea that the PYD enthusiastically supports a Barzani-ruled Kurdistan.

The Rojava don't seem to know the Kurds in the fake YPG units and suggest they were Kurds recruited in Turkey and obedient to Barzani. With a smattering of CIA and Mossad assets no doubt.

The reason for this elaborate ruse is that Peshmerga units are associated with clans in Iraq, not Syria. Sending Peshmerga to northeast Syria - supposedly to help the Kurds there - would never be allowed by Assad. The U.S. does not want to arm the YPG/YPJ units in Syria with anything but the most basic weapons because they are of no use to the U.S./Israeli/Turkish schemes and would resent their involvement. The response seems to have been to create fake YPG unit(s), drop arms to them (the 50-ton U.S. airdrop went to them, not 'real' YPG) and train them in Turkey or Iraq. They were then sent across the border to Syria to form the SDF with suspicious Sunni Arab militias supposedly from around Raqqa.

Regardless of their ultimate purpose in whatever U.S./Israeli/Turkish intrigue is planned, the fake YPG does not have the same motivation or political orientation as the real YPG. They are embarking on military adventures (as part of the SDF) that go well beyond territory that the real YPG would pursue, especially with regards to Raqqa.

The fake SDF YPG and anything coming from the Syrian Kurd PYD party should be viewed with the utmost suspicion until more knowledgeable people (which excludes the Western MSM) can analyze this more. They may be nothing more than the Rojava version of how the west has presented Barzani/KDP in Iran: a Kurdish front to the world to hide the machinations of foreign powers acting in their own interests, not the Kurds.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 18 2015 19:47 utc | 44

The only thing that matters at this stage is boots on the ground, all the bombing from the coalition of the bastards is not going to partition Syria. The Syrian army and Hez only need to close off that 60 mile corridor where Islamic state bring in arms and manpower, then victory is just a matter of time. Iran has been biding its time and does not need to commit any armed forces, which is probably wise since sanctions may be lifted early next year.

Posted by: harry law | Dec 18 2015 19:50 utc | 45

Bruno Marz@12

Would it ever make sense to just give the Gaza Strip and West Bank to Israel but then to move the Palestinians into the Golan Heights?.

Bruno, I take you've never been to Palestine, and witnessed the fierceness with which every inch of territory is fought for by the Palestinians, despite the overwhelming odds. I've met Palestinians on the street who said to me "my family has been here for 700 years, why do you think I would want to move?" Palestinians are strongly rooted to their land, and that is the only reason they haven't been pushed out by the zionazis. Plus, you can't just "move" a people like cattle, that's what the Israelis have been doing for almost a century now.

If Israel insists on more land, let them move towards the south/southeast into Saudi Arabia, which is essentially a vassal state of theirs already, anyway.

I would give them the Mare Nostrum.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 18 2015 19:59 utc | 46

Touche on the Mare Nostrum Lone Wolf, touche. I agree.

Posted by: Bruno Marz | Dec 18 2015 20:14 utc | 47

from Obama's presser today:
“When you have an authoritarian leader that is killing hundreds of thousands of his own people, the notion that we would just stand by and say nothing is contrary to who we are,” Obama says.

“You cannot bring peace to Syria, you cannot get an end to the civil war, unless you get a government that is recognised by the majority as a legitimate government... This is the argument I’ve had with Mr Putin.”

Posted by: okie farmer | Dec 18 2015 20:33 utc | 48

Bruno Marz @ 12

I think your suggestion of moving the Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank to the Golan Heights must have been considered by the Knesset and/or the Israeli Defense Forces at some time or another during the past 40+ years.

There'd be people already living in the Golan Heights whose families have been there for hundreds of years. Why would you want to create a new conflict between those people and resettled Palestinians?

Also by moving Palestinians to that region, you risk a potential conflict between them and people living in southern Lebanon, parts of which are Hezbollah territory. The Golan Heights area is not large and moving several million people there might strain its capacity to support them all. People would be forced to move into Lebanon and this would create problems for the Lebanese government and Hezbollah.

You should be aware also that the Golan Heights have oil and natural gas deposits and that Genie Energy, a US-based company whose advisory board includes Dick Cheney, Rupert Murdoch and ex-US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, claims the right to explore and drill there.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 18 2015 21:06 utc | 49

kerry's blather has the idiomatic timbre of hollow bromides(with a stench of war and poverty). he seems to be channelling some fanciful adaptation of the Indian Removal Act, where the intended victims get to have a voice in their own subjugation.

the American Imperium has a rich heritage of removing people from their congenial habitats.

Posted by: john | Dec 18 2015 21:13 utc | 50

“When you have an authoritarian leader that is killing hundreds of thousands of his own people, the notion that we would just stand by and say nothing is contrary to who we are,” Obama says.
_____________________________________

"Who 'we' are"? The royal "we" notwithstanding, this is rich coming from an authoritarian leader who is killing hundreds of thousands of Other people and cheerleading a bankster-owned domestic economy that oppresses ordinary unprivileged citizens to death.

Also, while I admit it's a matter of intuition and "vibes", it seems obvious enough to me that US leaders and sycophantic allies are tacitly clinging to the "Assad must go" dictum.

In recent weeks-- or is it months by now?-- the Western spokespersons have made a habit of rhetorically backing down from the absolute condition that Assad must leave office. But they've only pretended to be more "flexible" on the issue: Assad still must go sooner or later, but we (the West) grudgingly accede that it might be a little "later" than we'd prefer.

This is presented as though it were a major concession, with the Western powers collectively graciously deciding to act as "the bigger person".

The US/NATO hegemony does not share Putin's stated belief that there is absolutely no authority or justification for any nation or alliance of nations to unilaterally demand that a head of state be removed.

Posted by: Ort | Dec 18 2015 21:15 utc | 51

Yes, Moonies assiduously avoid their Infallible Leader's endorsement of Donald Trump.

It is of a piece with the Pope of Moscow's tendency to align with the Euro far right: the Hungarian government, the French National Front, and so on.

Posted by: Matt | Dec 18 2015 21:43 utc | 53

Russia selling out syria again, amazing.

Posted by: rob | Dec 18 2015 21:43 utc | 54

#48
http://news.yahoo.com/obama-says-syrias-assad-lost-legitimacy-needs-leave-194046757.html

Yep, Kerry says one thing and then his boss says the opposite. Everything is normal in the New Amerika.

Posted by: jo6pac | Dec 18 2015 21:51 utc | 55

@44 PavewayIV.. thanks.. that's an excellent overview that i haven't read or heard articulated before..

Posted by: james | Dec 18 2015 21:57 utc | 56

Russia selling out syria again, amazing.

Posted by: rob | Dec 18, 2015 4:43:23 PM | 54

There is a Russian tale about a coin that allows you to buy things but it always reappears in your pocket. Thus you can use it to pay again and again.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 18 2015 22:15 utc | 57

@ 40 Tom has it right. Kerry's play acting is only to make the home audience think that Amerika is the reasonable one. " We tried to reach out to Russia and they rebuffed us". Again, Putin is the evil thug bent on conquering the world. The Anglo-Americans have this playbook down to a science. When this escalates, Amerikans will go along because it's good against evil. Anglo-Saxons can never be trusted, period. It's not an about face, but more duplicity.

Posted by: Kraken | Dec 18 2015 22:21 utc | 58

New UNSC Resolution related to starting talks and peace process was passed, but I've yet to find the document, although it seems that news outlets have it based on reportage. How many of the 160 terrorist organizations tabulated by Jordan operating in Syria will be included is unknown, although Daesh and al-CIAda will continue to be fought. No outside interference will be tolerated and Assad will remain President. IMO, Russia clearly won this, but the overall process for arriving at peace and justice within the region has just begun.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18 2015 22:24 utc | 59

Sorry all - in my post@44, the last sentence should read "... of how the west has presented Barzani/KDP in Iraq..." (not Iran)

Iraqi Kurds under the KRG:
*Real* Peshmerga in poorly-equipped non-Barzani units loyal only to Kurdish people
*Fake* Peshmerga in well-equipped Barzani/KDP units for new, fake Kurdistan Stazi

Syrian (Rojava) Kurds:
*Real* YPG/YPJ local militias unaligned, sympathetic but not aligned with PKK
*Fake* YPG merc units aligned under usurped PYD party (loyal to Iraqi Barzani/KPD), part of U.S. construed SDF, ethnic cleansers and PKK haters

Turkish Kurds:
PKK are militant arm of Turkish Kurdish independence movement, classified as terrorists, often cross border into Iraq and hide in northern border mountains and hunted by Turkish units stationed in Turkey; Barzani opposes PKK (delighting Erdogan) and repeatedly calls for Turks to cross into Iraq to attack PKK or defend Kurdish pipeline from sabotage. The *Real* Peshmerga and YPG/YPJ are sympathetic to PKK cause but do not participate in military operations with them.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 19 2015 0:20 utc | 60

Chuck 'BugOut' Hagel, former SecDef who realized what a gaping flesh-eating disease the CIA-State-Defense had become, with engorged funding veins reaching into every CongressCritter's back pocket, a gelatinous, inoperable Stage 5 Mil.Gov Metastasis on Social Security Trust Fund, is back in the news for no greater purpose than to flog the US media for the $1,100B Omnibus Bill, to fund McCain's 10,000 ReInvasion of Iraq.

It was bad enough that Hagel made no effort whatsoever to MANAGE the Pentagon and to audit a run-away blow-out IDIQNB Defense, as Pannetta promised, then didn't, and as Rumsfeld revealed $2,300B had gone AWOL, then blew up the Pentagon 24 hours later to hide.

It was bad enough that Hagel allowed the 32 MFN foreign nation "Buy American" contractors to hire millions of unvetted foreign nationals to work on the Mil.Gov $ payroll, hacking first the Defense Contractor's database, exposing all those business transactions and bank accounts, then just a year later hacking into the Military and Civilian Employee database, compromising all their PII, their security clearances, their bank accounts, ...and all on Hagel's watch.

But now he's such a bitch, he's become a flogger for the NeoCon PNAC! Hey, Chuck! You got a $175,000 pension for life! Go retire somewhere!!

So now we have a CISA Patriot Act II, at least $85B already looted by Congress for a Black Ops war chest, we got McCain's 10,000 rampaging around Iraq destroying Kirkuk oil fields on behalf of House of Saud, and now they've opened the US oil and gas export floodgates to a world which is rapidly dying under the US$ petro-dollar regime.

Visit XE, compare the binaries. Really look. It's not just a decline in global energy purchasing power, it's a *second-order acceleration* of that decline, in currencies of at least FIVE BILLION HUMANS falling at records rates before the US$ petrodollar, one ring to rule them all.

Now Chuckie has to open his mouth about Syria and the Need to Bleed!
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?! We are in a Global Apocalypse, Chuck! STFU!!

Posted by: Chipnik | Dec 19 2015 1:01 utc | 61

Thank you PavewayIV.

It's difficult enough trying to figure out who is who among the Kurds, add to that real and fake factions and it's nearly impossible.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Dec 19 2015 1:02 utc | 62

@59 karlof1 un press release..

rt has the data on this link embedded in scribd, but i am not linking to a site that rips off authors of their work and that would be scribd..

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2015 1:13 utc | 63

29

"But there is no denying it now: Turkey's time has come."

And that's why anyone who reads STRATFOR, and then respams it forward, is what Netanyahu refers to as Zion's "useful idiots".

Turkey couldn't find a cup of water at a car wash without NeoCon help.

Posted by: Chipnik | Dec 19 2015 1:15 utc | 64

One good thing about neocons is that they tend to broadcast their views and aims, one way or another. This WaPo editorial seems to show that what they want most is to stop the Russian airstrikes and the progress of the R4+1 coalition. Maybe ceasefire to regroup? Or just need some time.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-happened-to-regime-change-on-syria-the-white-house-accommodates-russia/2015/12/17/62238450-a370-11e5-b53d-972e2751f433_story.html

I also note that in the Vienna agreement, now put forth in a UNSC resolution, the "transition" period lasts for 6 months. Then 18 months til the election. I do wonder if, before he leaves office, Obama intends to see "Assad must go" carried out to vindicate himself, but as part of some "transition" (the 6 month time period fits in his term, 18 month doesn't). The Assad govt, or at least some of them who have gone on the record, definitely have a different idea.

I also think there has to be some territory involved in a backroom deal either in Syria, Iraq or Ukraine or some combo.

All that being said, I still do hope there was a real epiphany in which the Obama admin realizes that stabilizing the country has to come first and that nobody has come up with a way to do this that doesn't involve the Assad govt.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Dec 19 2015 1:17 utc | 65

No doubt some massive ego stroking going on between Putin and Trump. Giving one other a cheeky virtual reach around here.

But, the world could do worse than Putin Trump US/RU heads of state. The US has been pretty poor leadership wise. Russia has been open for business to the west since the post cold war collapse - at the hands of the US - and what do they get...? More cold shoulder. Putin's patience is pretty legendary in my opinion. If you would've told me a decade ago that Putin would be the leading moral authority on global affairs, then I would've pissed my self a little bit. But through successively weak terms of leadership in the US has seen room open up for a new leader of 'the free world'.

Trump is different as he doesn't want to see the US$150,000 per hour 'speaking engagement/corporate donation' circuit at various full of shit charity luncheons. Trumps right wing ideology is pretty dangerous but there is no doubt that on an economic level the US would be hard pressed to find a better president to repair the US's oncoming crash. Why not send some early SOS signals out there to new chum Putin - soon they may dine in Post Superpower Current B Grade World Power togetherness.

The powers that be since 9/11 have been foolish. Their greedy want to use fear (false flags?) of all descriptions via an MSM well versed in whipping up hateful, fearful frenzy to suit an end at home or over seas is backfiring - and not just back firing on the US. Extreme right movements on the rise everywhere. Through the constant state of terror and fear preached by the MSM. No leadership, and no real knowledge of what's going on...just the blind leading the blind. At least Trump has an interest of exposing what is actually going on (albeit in a fashion that lacks humanity.)

We to watch Greece...they've tried everything in the face of this gutless and heavy handed financial machine, the EU. But it hasn't swung so heavily to Golden Dawn...yet.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Dec 19 2015 1:20 utc | 66

Also, one bad thing about the neocons is that they never give up. Never ever.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Dec 19 2015 1:22 utc | 68

@61 Chipnik
I want to see the transcript of that Hagel interview. Anyone know if FP published it? I wonder if the overall message would be the same if we could read the whole thing.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Dec 19 2015 1:24 utc | 69

15

Historical maps of Palestine as it existed prior to the insertion of "Israel" are disappearing from university and college archives, from the internet, rand-mcnally, national geographic, like a darkly evil Bolshevikim rewriting of history, so that "Palestine never existed".

And why not? The current political and economic leadership of Israel are the 26% super-minority of former Soviet immigrants, the same 26% that re-elected Netanyahu to office, while the original 24% Sephardim and 49% 'other' Jews from other lands are forced into ghettoes, until the Sephardim are forced to beg Spain for political refugee status.

That 26% Soviet-born ruling caste, dubbed 'White Israelis' for their white skin and Turkic features, have brought the Breshnev Doctrine with them, having no original political or economic thinkers among them. They're squatters, doing what squatters will do, when you gift them $3B a year under a 'Right of the Chosen' hegemony. They increase in power.

Then there is no 'solution' to the Levant. As Napoleon observed, the Apocalypse is 'baked into' their geography and their religious state, indeed into their Turkic DNA. EU is at the colon end of the pipeline.

Time for Cheney to bake another Yellow Cake.

Posted by: Chipnik | Dec 19 2015 1:33 utc | 70

Pejman @ 25: Yes!A thousand times yes!

BM @ 42 said: "Israel is the nexus of not only the Middle East's problems, but also most of the western world's problems. Fix that problem and things get much easier for all of us."

Everything in the ME should begin with JUSTICE for the Palestinian people. Without that, you have achieved nothing.

Posted by: ben | Dec 19 2015 2:03 utc | 71

@madisolation@38

Thanks for bringing your comments and that very important link to the thread, and for introducing me to Mike Whitney and "The Smirking Chimp."

Usually, Kerry travels to Russia without a large entourage, this time all his deputies were there, signaling the grave importance of the meeting, even La bitch Nuland, who by her expression looked as if she had been dragged to the meeting by the hair. Whitney's speculation about the possible content of the meeting might be on target, possibly there were other items added to the IS support by the US, probable proof of US companies/US allies dealing with oil smuggled through Turkey, ISrael among others.

Whatever transpired at the meeting, it worked on the appearance, but as b suggested on his post, the US is just kicking the can down the road, ready to drop the Syrian hot potato on the next (quasi fascist?) administration. Russians are clear their main focus is helping the 4+1 win the war, in the meantime, they can play the diplomatic game all along, their time limit measured by the upcoming US election.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Dec 19 2015 2:13 utc | 72

@15&70
Ethnic cleaning, hidden in plain sight.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Dec 19 2015 2:23 utc | 73

@ 70 Chipnik

Historical maps of Palestine as it existed prior to the insertion of "Israel" are disappearing from university and college archives, from the internet, rand-mcnally, national geographic, like a darkly evil Bolshevikim rewriting of history, so that "Palestine never existed".

What we still have, a bit chaotic but very detailed, is:
http://www.palestineremembered.com

Posted by: From The Hague | Dec 19 2015 2:38 utc | 74

Sorry if this is a double-post. I don't have time to read the comments right now. This is a must-read article, chockfull of footnoted facts that I didn't know about the whole Turkey/oil/Israel/Syriaq situation. Wow! I'm going to go back & read it again.

http://thesaker.is/chess-in-the-age-of-isis/ by Tom Mysiewicz

Posted by: Penelope | Dec 19 2015 2:40 utc | 75

10 minutes - matt lee verses us state spokesperson kirby on dec 17th prior to this resolution... part 2 - 35 seconds..

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2015 2:41 utc | 76

# 68Agree.... Stalin have to kill one of them after 13 yrs in exile in Mexico.. His name was Trotsky. He could not help himself and stop. Agree with you ,they never give up...

Posted by: sejmon | Dec 19 2015 2:52 utc | 77

Andrew Cockburn says U.S. foreign policy driven by Saudi Arabia. Harper's Mag issue Jan. 2016. http://harpers.org/archive/2016/01/a-special-relationship/?single=1

Posted by: Daisee | Dec 19 2015 2:52 utc | 78

Never saw this.
A leading presidential candidate saying things like this


"He's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country," Trump said when asked by "Morning Joe" Republican host Joe Scarborough about Putin's alleged killing of journalists and political opponents.

"I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe, so you know. There's a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, a lot of killing, a lot of stupidity," he said.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/12/18/politics/donald-trump-praises-defends-vladimir-putin/

MSM is making sense??? Way to Go, Trump!

Posted by: From The Hague | Dec 19 2015 3:43 utc | 79

@77
Fantastic article. Really good stuff. Guvna backed, Cleric driven jihadist recruitment was so 80's!! Somehow it brings clarity to what is to most a totally schizophrenic relationship the US holds with Al Qaeda. Just mind blowing...and as the west was trumpeting victory andthe 'end of terror' with arab spring and death of bin laden, this broad new jihad took hold. And certified psycho Hilary decides to tear apart Libya - nice helping hand for the jihadist cause.

Seems the US are 'All In' with the House of Saud...maybe better to keep your enemies close in this case..
From June 2015:

Obama under pressure to release secret pages of 9/11 report 'showing Saudi Arabia financed attacks'

A long running campaign over redacted pages of a Senate report into 9/11 which allegedly reveal Riyadh as the principle financier is gathering new momentum

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/september-11-attacks/11653706/US-report-claiming-Saudi-Arabia-financed-911-attack-redacted-by-Bush.html

Media was all over that like a bad case of herpes mid-2015.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Dec 19 2015 4:05 utc | 80

Daisee @77

It's all too easy to blame Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the other Gulf monarchies. However, if you think back to the time after the Iraq War, you may recall that there was much speculation regarding whether KSA would develop a nuclear program to compete with Iran. They had the money to do so but were dissuaded because that would not only be a 'response' to Iran but a threat to Israel.

The solution that worked for KSA and Isreal, and which the USA helped to make possible by being the guarantor of each country's security, was described by Hersh in "The Redirection" (2007).

In the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction. At least four main elements were involved, the U.S. government consultant told me. First, Israel would be assured that its security was paramount and that Washington and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states shared its concern about Iran.

Second, the Saudis would urge Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian party that has received support from Iran, to curtail its anti-Israeli aggression and to begin serious talks about sharing leadership with Fatah, the more secular Palestinian group... The third component was that the Bush Administration would work directly with Sunni nations to counteract Shiite ascendance in the region.

Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations. Syria is a major conduit of arms to Hezbollah.


Building a nuclear capability for Saudi Arabia would've meant hundreds of billions of dollars in contracts for Western countries. But instead, the strategy that was decided upon was for all of these countries to knowingly support extremists that would fight a sectarian proxy war.

No, I'm not suggesting that the West should've supported a nuclear arms race in ME, but was using extremists as a tool the right answer?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19 2015 4:27 utc | 81

Ort@51 said:

"The US/NATO hegemony does not share Putin's stated belief that there is absolutely no authority or justification for any nation or alliance of nations to unilaterally demand that a head of state be removed."

That is it in a nutshell, and a reason for Lavrov to be looking worried and sad, while Obama continues to lie. And lest we forget, regime change has been considered a right of the USNH ever since our elections stopped being verifiable.

Posted by: juliania | Dec 19 2015 5:05 utc | 82

This is what Purin said regarding Trump. The MSM have twisted it. Posters here should question more. Putin was asked about Donald Trump.

“It’s not our business to define his accomplishments,” Putin said. “But he is the absolute leader of the presidential race [in the US]”.

“He is a bright, talented person, no doubt about that,” Putin added. Trump recently stated he would like to see the US strengthen ties with Russia. “We welcome that of course,” said Putin.

Earlier in the same Q&A session, Putin had said he was prepared to work with whoever turns out to be victorious in the 2016 US presidential election.

Posted by: James lake | Dec 19 2015 6:24 utc | 83

It seems clear to any rational observer that Kerry made a very simple statement that the US is no longer requiring that Assad "step aside" before the US agrees to engage in talks over a negotiated cessation to the Syrian war (once a civil war but now a war of aggression on the part of Turkey, SA, Qatar and Kuwait, not to mention other Western nationas). Kerry's statement was unambiguous. If Samantha Power announces from her seat in the UN that US policy has not changed then it is time for Obama to demand her resignation or just fire her. Obama has to take responsibility for the statements of his appointees. He should have done this two years ago with Victoria 'fuck the EU" Nuand and Ambassador Pyote. That is one way that Obama could send a message to Russia that we are serious about negotiating a settlement. Otherwise his and Kerry's words mean notion.

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 19 2015 6:56 utc | 84

Iraqi Kurds under the KRG:
*Real* Peshmerga in poorly-equipped non-Barzani units loyal only to Kurdish people
*Fake* Peshmerga in well-equipped Barzani/KDP units for new, fake Kurdistan Stazi
Aren't you going a bit over the top, Pave? All the Peshmerga have tribal allegiances. Some are Barzani-loyal, some Talebani. The idea of a united Kurdish people is just for the propaganda, as emanating from Washington.

Though I don't know anything about the Syrian Kurds. The notion of 'fake' YPG units sounds conspiratorial to me. These people just have other allegiances that you don't happen to like, I would have thought.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 19 2015 9:34 utc | 85

@ 82 James lake

Yesterday morning I placed the Reuters news report in the Open Thread 48 (#123)

In the official paper there is only this:


And your second question?

Ilya Petrenko: It is about the next US president.

Vladimir Putin: The next US president. First, we need to figure out who it is going to be.

No matter who he or she may be, we are prepared and willing to develop our relations with the United States. I think the recent visit by the US Secretary of State showed that the United States is willing to make certain moves towards jointly addressing issues that can only be resolved together. This is already a sensible position. We have been supporting it in every possible way and will continue to do so in the future.

We are never closed to this, no matter whom the American people elect as their president. It is them who are constantly trying to tell us what we should do in our country, who should get elected and who should not, and what procedures to follow. We never meddle in other people’s affairs. They say it is dangerous to do so in America. They say that if foreign observers get closer than five metres to a line of voters, they could end up in prison. We are not doing even that, right? We are open and will work with any president voted in by the American people.


http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50971

So I don't know what Putin said about Trump.
Besides that, it must be clear to everyone -so also to Putin- that there is but one strong presidential candidate with respect for Russia and with disrespect for all those warmongers.

Posted by: From The Hague | Dec 19 2015 10:33 utc | 86

Russia and Syria is naive thinking the terrorism against Syria will stop, another success for Obama if Assad steps down and his allies taking over.
https://www.rt.com/news/326506-assad-interview-year-conflict/

Posted by: Seder | Dec 19 2015 11:26 utc | 87

Here's a funny:

A woman told me yesterday that she wished (Oh! How she wished so much!) that the brilliant, intellectually gifted, sincere and sensible Bill O'Reilly would run for President.

Posted by: fast freddy | Dec 19 2015 13:22 utc | 88

The USA is sending mixed messages about Bashar al Assad to preserve the sensitivities of Saudi Arabia already seriously affected by the humiliation of the nuclear deal, the failure of the Yemen repression and the international accusations of the role of Wahhabism role in the spread of ISIS.
I believe that thee USA has been quietly undermining Saudi Arabia and Turkey by throwing them into traps while officially taking side with them. Are they stupid enough not to have noticed that? Does it explain the recent move from Saudi Arabia to announce an anti-ISIS Sunni military front and Turkey's sudden return to Israel?

Posted by: Virgile | Dec 19 2015 14:40 utc | 89

james @63

Thanks for the links. Your rancor's understandable.

The Saudi-led Counter Coalition has named Hezbollah a terrorist group along with others allied with the 4+1 group. So it seems another front has opened.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 19 2015 15:02 utc | 90

87;O'lielly's mom?The MSM desperately want Americans to distance themselves from Trumps comments on Putin,but the criminals are in for a big surprise,as many many Americans see him as a far better leader than almost any American pol.
Hagels take on Syria;Obomba backed down from his red lines on Syrian gas attacks(bogus of course)and should have called Assad out.What a maroon.Oh,and Susan Rice keeps attacking his legacy.sheesh.
And the turks at the UN say the Iraqi govt is helping ISUS.Sheesh again.

Posted by: dahoit | Dec 19 2015 15:06 utc | 91

Maybe the same case could stand against McCain?
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/9/173906/World/International/Swiss-open-criminal-proceedings-against-Islamic-Co.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Dec 19 2015 15:33 utc | 92

The Asad couple does not seem to be packing anytime soon
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/173903/World/Region/Assad-makes-rare-visit-to-church-in-Damascus-front.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Dec 19 2015 15:33 utc | 93

Posted by: Virgile | Dec 19, 2015 9:40:50 AM | 88

On the other hand, considering how much effort and energy the US is putting into keeping their Syria Lost Cause in the headlines, with BS-as-usual nonsense, the Syria hype is probably just a distraction from all of their other destabilisation & Regime Change projects worldwide.
Forgetting South America, Yemen and Ukraine for a moment, they appear to be targeting joint Chinese/local infrastructure developments in several African countries. The malcontents in these places are 21st Century Luddites - dirt-poor rural villagers (no roads, huts instead of houses, subsistence farming) protesting against their govt for the disruption of their Traditional (Dirt Poor Villager) Way Of Life - with railways, roads, schools and clinics. One wonders how much more than $1-00 per day one would have to pay each DPV to protest 24/7 about anything the bag-men told them to get angry about?

Putin's got "Syria for Syrians + Assad" in the bag. The barrage of baloney is a distraction from something else. Probably more than a dozen something elses.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 19 2015 15:47 utc | 94

Putin didn’t say anything extraordinary about Trump. As I understand he responded to a Q, impomptu. He called Trump flamboyant, and said he was a leader in the polls. Putin, as was usual in the ‘old normal’ diplo relations, returned a vague compliment (not personally addressed, so maybe he shouldn’t have answered) with calculated acknowledgement. Putin’s main point was ‘it is up the the American ppl to decide, this in not our biz’ (paraphrase), and ‘how could /one, we/ not welcome /statements, positions / about closer — better relations with the USA?’ vid clip eng subs (guardian)

http://tinyurl.com/q9kg5vq

Hilarious, imagine:

Vladimir: You understand that Russia’s S-400 renders obsolete//

Donald (interrupts): You got great potential for tourism more hotels Russia is a great country great great people, investment, more hotels, yeah the missile thing, what about, we all gotta defend //
…….

.......


Posted by: Noirette | Dec 19 2015 16:06 utc | 95

@83 ToivoS.. i agree

@84 laguerre.. PavewayIV's comments highlight the complexity of dynamics within the region... the kurds will be exploited to present a made for reality for the msm crowd back home in the west.. whether the details are exact, doesn't matter... the '''moderate''' ideology we have seen with the wests mercenary forces will be replicated here with heaps of '''moderation''' of course..

89 karlof1.. thanks for that.. well ISIS are really just more '''moderate''' rebels according to saudi arabia i am sure... for them to label hezbollah a terrorist group is just so us-rael of them!

trump - the exceptional leader for an exceptional nation, rof!

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2015 16:43 utc | 97

US bombs kill 10 Iraqi soldiers and "invites" Iraqi government to participate in the "investigation"

The U.S. will investigate what happened and has invited the Iraqis to participate, saying "We are fully committed to the safety of our Iraqi partners while pursuing the destruction of our mutual enemies."

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/iraq-soldiers-killed-by-friendly-fire-u-s-military-says/

Posted by: Les | Dec 19 2015 16:46 utc | 98

Posted by: ToivoS | Dec 19, 2015 1:56:11 AM | 83

once a civil war but now a war of aggression on the part of Turkey, SA, Qatar and Kuwait, not to mention other Western nationas[sic]

No. It was a war of aggression from the start, as explained by Hersh in "The Redirection". And pro-Syrian sources have insisted that the early demonstrations (in 2011) were manipulated by provocateurs.

And you fail to mention Israel, who was involved from the start (as per Hersh) and has: bought/sold ISIS oil, treated wounded extremists, provided military support.

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MSM keeps the public occupied with the evils of ISIS while developing the backstory that the problem is really KSA. But the real 'problem' is that Israel and USA were members of this criminal conspiracy and other Western countries (like France and UK) chose to look the other way.

It disgusts me every time Obama or Cameron talks about how we must act in the ME in accordance with our 'values'.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 19 2015 16:52 utc | 99

@98 jackrabbit.. thanks for going into the details on toivos comments.. i agree with you in the breakdown of that...i was agreeing with the thrust of there post - especially the last part, without breaking it down for clarity..

i especially agree with the 2nd part of you comment.. thanks.

Posted by: james | Dec 19 2015 16:57 utc | 100

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