Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 06, 2016

Was This Fantasy Syria Timeline Leaked To Push For Open War?

Last years weed harvest at the White House must have produced some extraordinary strong stuff. That at least would explain this leaked administration timeline for regime change in Syria:

An internal timeline prepared for U.S. officials dealing with the Syria crisis sets an unspecified date in March 2017 for Assad to "relinquish" his position as president and for his "inner circle" to depart.
The document obtained by the AP starts Syria's new political process next month. An 18-month transition period would be initiated, consistent with the plan endorsed by the U.N. Security Council last month. The U.N.'s special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has set a Jan. 25 date for government-opposition peace talks to begin in Geneva.

The U.S. timeline envisions the Security Council signing off on a framework for negotiations between Assad's representatives and the opposition, leading to the formation of a security committee in April. That would be accompanied by an amnesty for some government and military members, and moderate opposition leaders and fighters. The transitional governing body would then be created.

In May, the Syrian parliament would dissolve, according to the timeline. The Security Council would recognize the new transitional authority and lay out the transition's next steps. These include major political reforms, the nomination of an interim legislature and an international donors' conference to fund Syria's transition and reconstruction.

The next six months, through November 2016 — when Obama's successor is elected — would be devoted to the sides drafting a new constitution. The Syrian people would get a chance to vote on that document in a popular referendum in January 2017, according to the timeline.
In March 2017, the timeline reads: "As[s]ad relinquishes presidency; inner circle departs."
Syria's new government would assume full powers from the transitional body after the parliamentary and presidential elections in August.

This reads as if a White House intern got high and dreamed up a wishlist for regime change planers. There are more problems here than actual steps:

  • Who is "the opposition"?
  • What is a "security committee" and who would decide who joins it?
  • Who would legislate an amnesty under what legal authority?
  • What is a "transitional government body" and who would decide who joins it?
  • On what basis should such a presumably unelected body have any authority to institute "major legal reforms"?
  • ...
  • Why would Assad "relinquish" his presidency?
  • Why would the "inner circle", which presumably includes Syria's military leaders, agree to depart?
  • What about the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Syria?

Following this fantasy timeline would constitute a complete surrender of the current Syrian government and its allies. With the Syrian army progressing on all fronts there is no reason for them to agree to it.

The people who leaked the above nonsense must know that it is complete unrealistic. Why then was it leaked?

My hunch is that the leak is from someone who has a "faster please" mentality for spreading more chaos in the Middle East. The Associated Press story is framed as "Assad would outlast Obama presidency".  It is to incite the war hawks like Clinton to demand an faster if not immediate "solution". Such would require an open war including with Russia.

We expect this leak to be followed by new calls for a "no-fly zone" and other war starting gimmicks.


Posted by b on January 6, 2016 at 16:20 UTC | Permalink


One hopes based on current trends in Syria that in another 14 months the Syrian govt. will have prevailed on all fronts and Assad will be the one dictating terms to whatever remains of the opposition. There will be revelations forthcoming ( maybe from our Russian "partners") that will result in embarrassment to the US Govt. and loss of whatever remains of our credibility.

Some of this crap coming from Washington and mouthpieces like NYT and Whitewashington Post reminds me of what went on in James Michael Greer's work of narrative fiction: "The twilight's last gleaming".

Posted by: erik | Jan 6 2016 16:30 utc | 1

When US speaks of transitional government, they mean all power should be handed over to their assigned puppets. When the elections would happen in this scenario in the future, it would be a farce, i.e. only US puppets would be allowed to participate, others will be denied or simply killed. Oh, and Syria already has modern Constitution, so by "major reforms" US means Syria should become US client state not only de facto, but de jure as well.

'b is right, its a fantasy scenario. Nonetheless its a Plan B as predicted couple of years ago, when Plan A failed - direct overthrow of Syria's government. Since obviously Syria wont go for it, scorched Earth tactic will continue.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 6 2016 16:40 utc | 2

Note the inclusion of the UN. They want it to sound official.

Posted by: dh | Jan 6 2016 16:43 utc | 3

In addition to #2, since Syria wont surrender, US will try to break apart Syria to statelets, primarily Kurdistan and Sunnistan, this way also cutting off Assad's Syria from Iraq, and severing Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezbollah landline as well as air transit.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 6 2016 16:44 utc | 4

US neo con economic and political jihad vs Russia/China is pure insanity. In their calculus, all global markets/investors, human being are nothing but cannon fodder.

Posted by: Steve | Jan 6 2016 16:44 utc | 5

I'm not convinced this is anything more than the US war party faction's vision of how the process should go and an attempt to undermine Kerry, or to demand that he pursue this. I guess it could also be a head fake to the furious Saudi/Turkey/Israel axis.

I am not convinced this was agreed upon by the NSC or the White House. It might just be one War Party person's view or demand of how it should/would go.

Obama is getting a lot of heat that his Syria policy sucks, that he's not tough enough. There were recent reports that they put their Syria policy propaganda campaign into overdrive.

A lot of the language is squishy.

"An internal timeline prepared for U.S. officials" -- prepared by whom? Did anyone agree to it? Apparently not. Probably war party trying to elbow in a battle they are losing

"The timeline, however aspirational, shows how U.S. diplomats and policymakers are determined to outline an exit plan for Assad "

"The U.S. timeline envisions"

"the biggest challenge to the U.S. timeline is still that no one else has yet agreed to its specifics, particularly those related to Assad's departure."

"Russia and Iran may object to the U.S. timeline's call for Assad to leave six months before elections would be held." Ya think?

This plan sticks the transitional govt in power and holds the elections later. Sounds a lot like Libya. Who knows if the elections would even be held? I can't see how Syria, Russia, Iran would agree to this. If the UN Security Council resolution dictates this, I'm not aware of it yet. I thought it called for some opposition participation in the govt before elections but not a full take over.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 6 2016 16:58 utc | 6

who were those bozos who said 'we just make reality up and while others are studying it, we move on to something else'? glad the exceptional nation is looking after the planets interests... i was worried there for a minute..

Posted by: james | Jan 6 2016 17:09 utc | 7

I couldn't agree more, b, except for the part about Yankees wanting a war with Russia; and China;
You can't have one
Without the o-o-oth-er.
Try, try, try and separate them,
It's an illusion etc.

Let's not forget that Yankees are still the second most gutless people on the planet, after the "Israelis." I 'liked' all the things you 'liked' about this fantasy, b, but this one is definitely my favourite slice of brainless over-enthusiasm...

In May, the Syrian parliament would dissolve, according to the timeline. The Security Council would recognize the new transitional authority and lay out the transition's next steps. These include major political reforms, the nomination of an interim legislature and an international donors' conference to fund Syria's transition and reconstruction.

Hold it right there.
Assad, being a good sport, and allergic to queue-jumping, could legitimately, and Humanitarianously, insist that Syria would rather wait until AfPak, Iraq, and Libya's international donors' conferences have done their stuff, before exposing Syria to their loan-based, Shylockian largesse.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 6 2016 17:12 utc | 8

@8 Hoarsewhisperer

I think they held that international donor conference already. Months before the planned 2013 regime change that wasn't!

If you hadn't already seen this from April, 2013:
"A Los Angeles banker, the head of a Middle Eastern investment bank and retired General Wesley Clark plan to announce Monday the formation of an investment fund to help rebuild Syria.

The fund will be a collaboration between Avenue Ventures LLC of Los Angeles and Gulf Financial House, an investment bank in Bahrain. A press conference to provide more details has been scheduled for Monday in Beverly Hills."

The weirdest thing is Wes Clark was the one who revealed the 7 countries in 5 years regime change plan to begin with. He was mad about it back in 2007. Guess he isn't mad anymore.

There has been a lot of talk about how China wants in on the reconstruction too. You can bet Germany will be in on it too. I didn't realize til Syria how big a factor the reconstruction thing is. Blow shit up. Rebuild it. Govts pay for it all or most of it. Sometimes private entities pay for it -- probably get their pick. Plus some of those lovely public-private deals.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 6 2016 17:22 utc | 9

It's obvious the WH didn't inhale.Those who do have a much clearer picture of the world than those who don't.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 6 2016 17:25 utc | 10

Wall Street Journal's Saudi correspondent calls it Obama admin's "best case scenario". I wonder if he knows more about this document or part of a larger document.

Obama administration’s best-case scenario for political transition in Syria sees Assad staying until March 2017

— Ahmed Al Omran (@ahmed) January 6, 2016

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 6 2016 17:28 utc | 11

I am not as surprised as b.

This is a logical result of the ISSG talks in Vienna & UNSC resolutions.

The anti-Assad Coalition has always wanted Assad to go before elections.

They believe that they can win Syria via Sunni-majority votes. And they want to control that voting and/or make certain that Assad can't control/influence the voting.

If the 4+1 Coalition is not amenable, then I would guess that the anti-Assad Coalition will say that their hand is forced: they must move to take ISIS-held territory. Because in their warped view, Assad's resistance to change (i.e. chaos and slaughter) led to - and spurs on - ISIS. And such a move would be perfectly legal under UNSC 2249.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 6 2016 17:31 utc | 12

Maybe they are huffing glue.
Today's lying times has Masha Gessen attacking Putin.Same old same old,from the Zionist gender confused.The commenters were terrible also,must have been filtered.
NK hydrogen bombs!Well we've got em,why not them.Described as one of the most dangerous nations on the planet.And how many nations have they invaded?
The BS keeps coming,and it seems its going overdrive.Look at the Cruz support by the Zionists towards Trump.They are defending the pos and his Cuban Canadian roots.They like his fealty.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 6 2016 17:32 utc | 13

This "leak" is just continuation of MSM psychotic delusions about Syria, refusing to acknowledge the fact that US illegal attempt to overthrow Assad failed.
Here is an interesting take on the media delusions about Syria:

Posted by: Kalen | Jan 6 2016 17:59 utc | 14

great questions B

Posted by: Au | Jan 6 2016 18:06 utc | 15

The timing of that leak is interesting.
It is as if the USA was making the Saudis pay for the absurd timing of Sheikh Al Nimr execution by hitting them with a timeline totally alien to their demands.
This also appear like an attempt of a 'face saving' for the USA after months of contradictory statements. They now want to show the international community that they are not confused anymore. They have a solid timeline and 'ultimately' Bashar al Assad would go. In two years hopefully..

Saudi Arabia and the GCC still shaken will probably react mildly to this 'timeline' coming two weeks before the Geneva meeting between an absent opposition and the Syrian government.

The USA as well as Russia seem to be in full agreement that enough is enough with the so-called opposition that in 5 years has not been able to set a united front and an acceptable leadership. It is time to validate the idea that at the end of the day Bashar al Assad is still the only leader who can bring back security in Syria as a first step to solving the complex crisis.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 6 2016 18:13 utc | 16

The State Department is now playing down the leaked timeline:

AP now added this graph to the story

Spokesman John Kirby described the document as a "staff-level think piece" that is "preliminary and pre-decisional" and not "an official position." He also said it is "not an accurate projection of plans by the international community to effect a political transition in Syria."

Posted by: b | Jan 6 2016 18:15 utc | 17

Kalen says:

This "leak" is just continuation of MSM psychotic delusions about Syria

yep, more imperial cacophony. deluded furtiveness from our benighted overlords. oblivious and indifferent to the fact that the Syrian people are exhausted and distressed not only from the death, displacement, and destruction, but also from the cheap falseness of US diplomacy and its vacuous haughty ideals. at least since Operation Straggle...decades of transgressions of moral, intellectual, and divine law have left too many people, people with a sophisticated knowledge of humankind, deeply offended.

Posted by: john | Jan 6 2016 18:29 utc | 18

"Ashton Carter’s Plan to Expand U.S. Military Presence Across the Globe Even Further"

Posted by: Willy2 | Jan 6 2016 18:37 utc | 19

Why, they'll do all this on the back of David Cameron's 70,000 Silver Armour Plated Unicorn Division course.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 6 2016 19:29 utc | 20

I think if we're to go by how events have played out in Syria over the past few years, it's fair to say US opinions(read, halucinations) don't mean nothing on the ground.

These state department reps need to come up with something every now and then to justify their paycheck.

Nothing to see here...move along :)

Posted by: Zico | Jan 6 2016 19:34 utc | 21

I have a similar plan for transitioning the United States to democracy. Anyone want to read it?

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | Jan 6 2016 19:52 utc | 22

@22 -noyk.. send it to the western msm and let them smoke it.. they are smoking on some bad shit at present!

b - thanks for the update.. in answer to your thread questions - i doubted it very much... your update is confirmation that it isn't.. one wonders about the insanity that seems to run thru much of the wapo/nyt/wsj's and on down.. do they really think people are that stupid to believe any of the crap they regularly dispense? i would have thought anyone with a brain would have stopped reading them a long time ago, but alas there are more fools then wc fields can handle at any time in history.. today is no different..

Posted by: james | Jan 6 2016 19:57 utc | 23

And another bonus is both amnesty int'l and hrw have disgraced themselves in their role as toadying shills for american imperial depredations. It's another welcome nail in the plastic coffins of two "human rights" organizations whose apparent position on the issue is that "we have to destroy human rights in order to save them."

Posted by: Wazzadoodness | Jan 6 2016 20:00 utc | 24

Perhaps the timeline was leaked because, even after all the pot-smoking, magic mushroom ingestion, inhalation of herbal oils, mindless mantra drills and meditation sessions, and doing more lines of cocaine than a delinquent student can write in a year's worth of daily after-school detentions, the US State Dept employees still could not find enough creative inspiration and original thinking to pump up this tired Plan B template for regime change. So they have thrown it open, as it were, to the public for suggestions through AP.

I guess if the US State Dept had any spare change after its Plan A attempt to jump-start regime change in Syria in 2011, it would have organised a public competition, with prize money and the chance of becoming Syrian Minister for Finance or the Economy, to find a more credible and original version of Plan B.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 6 2016 20:21 utc | 25

Actually, I'm fairly certain I've seen this timeline before ... maybe a couple months ago ... and it was as laughable then as it is now, even after the "convocation of the rebels" in Riyadh in early December nyt 12/10/2015: Syrian Rebels Form Bloc for New Round of Peace Talks

The United States has to (at very least) pretend to believe that there are "moderate rebels" who are willing to negotiate ... and that this diplomatic mission is more than a bound-to-fail "at least we tried" temporizing ... I'm guessing waiting for ISIS to show its vulnerability/strength, see also Iraq/Iran ground forces ... and waiting for the American election cycle to "do its magic" in galvanizing (hopefully) local forces of all stripes who would rather sit down with Kerry and Company in Geneva rather than wait for the new American administration (Trump or Clinton should give them pause) to figure out their positions in mediating between everyone and the Saudis/Gulf States/Sunni/Wahabbi factions...

It might have been leaked to sharpen all parties' appreciation appreciation that the clock is ticking down wrt to the Obama Administration... "better the devil you know" versus .... The Saudis might prefer a Clinton or a Trump in theory ... but a lot can (and will) happen in the next 12 months

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 6 2016 21:28 utc | 26

Thanks b for scooping this one out.

Posted by: b | Jan 6, 2016 1:15:34 PM | 17

The State Department is now playing down the leaked timeline:

Bullshit. They let the genie out of the bottle, can't put it back.

The "leaked transitional plan" overlaps lame duck Obama's term with the next clown, tying up both administrations to the neo-cons "Assad must go" policy. The new, ehem, "president" will have no need to elaborate new policies re: Syria, national security will require a continuation of Obama's policies by other means.

As for a war with Russia, that's a farfetched idea, the Deep State knows they don't have the strategic edge anymore, though they have the strength to create chaos wholesale. Russians too recently "leaked" info about the Perimeter, a strategic nuclear deterrent system [...] And at the Pentagon they are well aware of this, and therefore burn with anger.

"The deterrent is a compelling force," considers the Director of the Center for analysis of strategies & technologies Ruslan Pukhov. "The proverbial arms race that existed between the USSR and the USA allowed our country to get the right security at the expense of a powerful military potential, including in the nuclear sphere. Now no one will dare to speak with Russia from a position of strength, knowing that the response will be devastating for any opponent. And it's good that we have such a potential. But this is not the full potential of the Russian army, which in recent years has reached a whole new level of armaments. Including information technologies that have already affirmed our involvement in the Syrian conflict, where the apparent success of our operation has been acknowledged even by our enemies. And the "Perimeter" system is like a battleship, which stands on the side, but is always ready for action."

From open sources it is known that the upgraded "Perimeter" system was replaced for combat duty in 2011. All other secrets are hidden under the stamp of secrecy.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 6 2016 21:31 utc | 27

Good luck with that, Uncle Shlomo. Everything about this Obama presidency reeks of "Up in Smoke" sketch comedy and would be amusing if so many people didn't have to die...I'm still waiting to see a tranny on the JCS crossing and uncrossing his / her legs inappropriately.
The MSM was bad when Bush was president, now it's in overdrive to sell the immense, towering pile of bullsh*t Obama and Co. want to shove down our throats. And no other reason than US "democracy" replete with advanced suck-ups and sycophantic expats running Syria.

Posted by: farflungstar | Jan 6 2016 21:33 utc | 28

re: the retraction, sort of, from the State Dept. The Obama administration has been known, in the past, to leak things and then deny them. However, in this case, I don't think that's what happened. But if rogue administration war hawk leaked it and told the AP this was the plan, you'd think they'd get fired or something. But somehow neocons and neoliberalcons don't get fired no matter what they do (eg you'd think Nuland would have been fired for the "F the EU" disaster but nope). Makes you wonder.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 6 2016 21:45 utc | 29

I would guess that it was leaked to remind co-conspirators business and government leaders of the price on Assad's head big payday to come:

an international donors' conference to fund Syria's transition and reconstruction;
in advance of high-pressure "negotiations".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 6 2016 22:01 utc | 30

I remember clearly the jaw-dropping presumption that after the elections Assad would leave (as if he and/or his party/successor could not take office if they won) and the utter vagueness of exactly who/what would be this "security committee" running Syria between April 2016, oh, and writing a new constitution ... because having unelected people writing a "new constitution" under the gun worked so very well in Iraq (just kidding) .... in getting a unacceptable (to many in the electorate) and unfinished constitution "ready" just in time for an election boycott ...
"We" also ignore that the Syrian parliament is not a one-man-band or single-party affair.

How the refugees will be represented seems to have been ignored.
interesting shifting demographic graphics here (even if economist sucks):

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 6 2016 22:28 utc | 31

@ Joanne Leon | 9

"The weirdest thing is Wes Clark was the one who revealed the 7 countries in 5 years regime change plan to begin with. He was mad about it back in 2007. Guess he isn't mad anymore."

Perhaps it's a case of "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Besides, a US General never stands so tall as when he stoops to bankroll nation-rebuilding.

Posted by: Ort | Jan 6 2016 23:18 utc | 32

Ah, the same old same old from the Imperialists. Now what did you (and I) expect: something else from the regime and the oligarchs? This shit has been going on since Jamestown and the Pilgrims ... it is in our genetic code as genocidal settlers who now look at the whole world not just from sea to sea.

But, I will admit it is kinda fun reading about the angst ... .

Posted by: Rg an LG | Jan 6 2016 23:29 utc | 33

I need to be reminded of who gives us the authority to demand this of Assad....Obama better hope the farmers in Oregon don't start shooting.

Posted by: shadyl | Jan 7 2016 0:13 utc | 34

Harry @2

The west has lost their prime candidate to replace Assad now that the moderate headchopper Alloush has been removed.

Hezbollah has also exacted a price tag from the murder of Kuntar,. They have used a 25kg remote controlled IED placed under the very nose of a high security Israel / Lebanon border post. When it explded it destroyed one armored vehicle and blew another one 50 metres through the air. The IDF lost 4 men as fatalities, a Genral in the Intelligence staff and two aides. The Israelis have absolutely no idea how Hezbollah did this as the area is under extreme elecronic and drone surveillance. It was even heightened in the expectation of a response from hezbollah.

Posted by: Yonatan | Jan 7 2016 0:40 utc | 35

If the Neocon maroons keep poking the bear, they may find a few Kalibr cruise missiles heading towards their home towns. The Russians know that to fight terrorists, you have to strike first and hard, on their home turf.

Posted by: Yonatan | Jan 7 2016 0:48 utc | 36

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 6, 2016 12:22:36 PM | 9

Thanks for the info. I'd either forgotten or never knew, most of it; especially the timeline. It's un-cute the way spin-tanked word-smithing is used to sanitise the crimes of the reptiles, allowing Predatory Parasites to become International Donors.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7 2016 1:49 utc | 37

There were some rumors reported a week or so ago that the US and Russia had agreed on a deal for a political transition in Syria. Assad would be allowed to run for President if he chose to but that a member of the so called moderate opposition would be made prime minister.

'Sources confirm that "it was agreed that the next prime minister of Syria, whatever the results of presidential elections, is a person approved by the parties, a (London) businessman who is known to represent the moderate opposition and will have two important main drafts of a new constitution for the country, and will start the reconstruction and national reconciliation process, but we are well aware of the difficulty of the cease-fire and attempts of the takfiri Salafi organizations to reject reconciliation, such as "the Nusra Front" and "Ahrar al-Sham" and others, but we have agreed to consider all those who reject the cease-fire, under UN auspices, an enemy and target of an important project and a recipient of funding with political motives in the region".'

It has also been reported that Churkin offered to remove Assad in a peace deal back in 2012 but that the US rejected it.

"Ahtisaari held talks with envoys from the five permanent members of the UN security council in February 2012. He said that during those discussions, the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, laid out a three-point plan, which included a proposal for Assad to cede power at some point after peace talks had started between the regime and the opposition. "

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Jan 7 2016 2:02 utc | 38


Someone is trying to rewrite or at least warp history a bit about what Churkin 'may' have offered the US. Agreeing that Assad would leave 'at some time' in the future could just as easily have meant 10 years in the future.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 7 2016 2:13 utc | 39

It's a strawman, just to put pressure on any errant allies trying to negotiate on their own interpretation of the principles.

IMO the safest thing for any outside power is to drag the crisis out as long as possible, end up with a Syria that is not capable of hurting anyone, regardless of whose side it ultimately takes, and in the short-medium term, lock in a stalemate during the transition.

Posted by: peteybee | Jan 7 2016 2:27 utc | 40

Just another expeditionary trial balloon, to see if anybody gets excited, or an informal American offer that was refused. US and her Arab head chopper King plus the el Presidante Wierdogan have not much left to show or say in Syria. It is notable that the Europeans have quietly pulled away from being in theater of Syrian news, not even promoting their participation in any meaningful action.

Posted by: kooshy | Jan 7 2016 2:29 utc | 41


But anyway we are waiting and Allah loves those who wait. The response is coming, coming, inshallah.

Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah, 01/03/16

The Israelis are deeply scared, the ghosts that defeated them during the 2006 Summer War, are even more ghostly and battle hardened now after sharpening their combat skills in Syria. Yesterday, the so-called "liberal" zio-rag Haaretz announced an Israeli Military Officer Killed During Training Exercise in the Negev and another soldier "lightly wounded in the accident, which was the result of a mortar being fired in the wrong direction."


Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 7 2016 2:31 utc | 42

It is difficult to believe in all that. If you ask me but why? I would have the answer. It is not that I do not trust the Finns. But to say the Churkin proposed him something like that in "private conversation" is beyond belief.

On the other hand there is possibility the West was certain that Assad will end up like Qaddafi and they want to play Veni, Vidi, Vici. But who knows.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 7 2016 2:31 utc | 43


But anyway we are waiting and Allah loves those who wait. The response is coming, coming, inshallah.

Shaykh Hassan Nasrallah, 01/03/16

The Israelis are deeply scared, the ghosts that defeated them during the 2006 Summer War, are even more ghostly and battle hardened now after sharpening their combat skills in Syria. Yesterday, the so-called "liberal" zio-rag Haaretz announced an Israeli Military Officer Killed During Training Exercise in the Negev and another soldier "lightly wounded in the accident, which was the result of a mortar being fired in the wrong direction."


Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 7 2016 2:33 utc | 44

The article didn't include any details about a timeline for Assad to leave, but because his departure was part of a peace plan one can gather that peace was dependent at least in part by purging Assad. I don't know if either of these reports have much merit, but the first is from a proRussian blog, so it was surprising.

Posted by: yellowsnapdragon | Jan 7 2016 2:41 utc | 45


This is a repeating meme to deflect and defend the Russian unchanged pro Assad position.

I doubt the US/UN intentionally released plan with exact timelines for Assad's departure will go anywhere because Russia and Iran are wedded to Assad and if he leaves they will be forced from Syria. This plan may have been bait for the Syrian rebels to sniff to see of they could tolerate another 18 months of Assad.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 7 2016 3:03 utc | 46

Isis is a proxy force it has been said. More accurately it is the Zionist golem to, inter alia, fulfill the Oded Yinon Plan

Netanyahu must be in a hurry.

This doesnt stop until people stand up and shout that this is very largely about Greater Israel. But I guess decades of war and millions killed and maimed is better than being called an 'antisemite' for identifying one (surely not the only one in pipelandistan) fir speaking the unvarnished truth.

Syria is about Iran and Iran is about Lebanon and its all about gas, oil, water and lebensraum. Hence sendibg the refugees to Europe to destroy European identity also empties Israel's matches of Arabs.

But the 'speech' one needs to describe this state terrorism and media manipulation and the purchase and sale of western politicians is *precisely* the speech which one is least allowed to engage in - and not because it is false, but because it is, in essence, true.

Posted by: mike k. | Jan 7 2016 3:03 utc | 47

If I was Assad is be telling Putin, and if I was Putin is be backing him up on this timeline, we'll have Surian National Elections when we have peace and stability on the ground in Suria and when the various terrorist groups - primarily ISIS, Al-Nusra/Al-Qaeda and the other assorted word soups are completely and utterly destroyed on the battleground.

Given all that - we'll have elections in Syria not before 2018 - same time Putin goes to the polls for the next Russian Presidential Election.

The other benefit of waiting til 2018 is that by then Obama, Biden, Hollande & Merkel will all be gone by the wayside - a victory of sorts for Assad in outlasting all these craven warmongers.

Posted by: Julian | Jan 7 2016 3:07 utc | 48

Well, first we have to have that first meeting in Geneva and see who shows up, who is willing to sit down at the negotiating table and STAY THERE ....
Then there's supposed to be a negotiated cease-fire ... which has to be agreed upon, implemented and maintained ....
and that's just the beginning ...
America may have its timeline .... but they/we really aren't -- even remotely -- among the parties at the table with the most at stake ... the rebels and the EU probably have the most urgent needs, Turkey and KSA have their "interests" foreign and domestic ...
Since the Minsk agreement could be reached without American blessing or involvement ... gosh, the other parties wrt Syria may feel similarly empowered.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 7 2016 4:01 utc | 49

White House says US can’t stop ‘tsunami’ of boycott and isolation if Israel won’t end ‘occupations’

The press is expressing marvel/shock at a speech by Philip Gordon, a White House adviser, saying that Israel’s ongoing “occupations” and settlements are driving its international isolation and the boycott movement.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 7 2016 4:08 utc | 50
discussion of this timeline .... "Licensed from Inter Press Service"

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 7 2016 5:11 utc | 51

@49 MadMax2

The take away quote from that link is
But as Israel’s greatest defender and closest friend we owe it to you to ask fundamental questions—which in fact many Israelis are asking themselves: how will Israel remain democratic and Jewish if it attempts to govern the millions of Palestinian Arabs who live in the West Bank? How will it have peace if it is unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupations and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security, and dignity? How will we prevent other states from isolating Israel or supporting Palestinian efforts in international bodies if Israel is not seen as committed to peace?

I would have to say it is nice to see these questions being asked

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 7 2016 5:32 utc | 52

@35 Yonatan.. you have a link for that story you shared? thanks.

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2016 7:41 utc | 53

when on this timeline does Syria get it's very own Rothschild owned central bank?

Posted by: SimonC | Jan 7 2016 8:16 utc | 54

Susan Sunflower | Jan 7, 2016 12:11:33 AM | 50

that guy = CIA, that's maybe OK for you and him. If the truth mean anything anymore than I wouldn't use his name for anything, except to mop a floor.
that guy was fierce supporter of murder of Libya state.
that guy would do the same in Syria case, but Assad is there, in Damascus.

is this enough for you?

Meet Professor Juan Cole, Consultant to the CIA

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 7 2016 9:45 utc | 55

' An internal timeline prepared for U.S. officials dealing with the Syria crisis sets an unspecified date in March 2017 for Assad to "relinquish" his position as president and for his "inner circle" to depart. '

I think that's the key. There's no one at the head of the table any longer. There never was, this set, but we've just finally noticed. In the midst of the White House food fights the various factions fax their various daydreams to their 'friends' - co-dependents - in the msm and try to build support each for his/her own particular program in 'the press'. But no one outside the WH is paying any attention to 'the press' any longer. The press've gone from the greatest show on earth to a flea-bitten side show, a flea circus, picked up for chump change by the people who are buying and selling us all, day in and day out as we keyboard away.

As far as Washingon goes, early 2016, there's no 'there' there any longer. It's just the overlapping, overstaying set of unreal 'operatives' from Peoria, working for the MIC, Wall Street, the oil patch, or the Frankenstein set, each pushing her/his bosses' angle, having stopped thinkin' about tomorrow long ago.

We really oughta do something about that.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 7 2016 10:02 utc | 56


That's very good point.

Usually with "Donor Conference". They pledge tons of money and the recipient country got a fraction of it. But the country will be get tons of preconditions and army of "consultants" like Juan Cole. They write or bring the "laws", colonial ones, where the Central bank must be "independent" (sic).

While Syria won't see Ian Bremmer the dangers is will see several dozen of "little Bremmers" from IMF and WB. This is where the dangers come even from nominal Syrian allies since both of them have embraced so-called neoliberal economic policy. The Syrian might win the war but the peace will be lost.

How the Germans see the future of Syria? Read here:

"Leadership for Syria"

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 7 2016 10:04 utc | 57

Maybe one of the boiled wonder fetuses at the State Department accidentally CC'd his PWPPIP paper to the journalist he was banging on the side and using as a vehicle for the occasional targeted leak. And what's the Security Committee you ask? I believe you mean the Future Planning Committee.

Posted by: Plenue | Jan 7 2016 11:16 utc | 58

What the effin uck is wrong with saudiarabia? Are they high or something?

Saudis bomb Iran embassy in Yemen

Posted by: Seder | Jan 7 2016 12:02 utc | 59

Seder@58. The Saudis are getting plenty of help from the Neocons.

Posted by: harry law | Jan 7 2016 13:15 utc | 60

You know what? I think that this little piece of fantasy was “leaked” simply because some high-paycheck individual in the State Dept. or CIA needed a job. I recall reading about “churning”. (I use semi-British punctuation these days.) Churning is when you turn over your money to a “money-manager” and they then make unnecessary buys and sells simply because this results in higher fees for them.

So I think some government schmuck simply makes big bucks for writing fantasy memos that have nothing to do with anything.

(Off topic): Over at Zero Hedge, it really looks like the Chinese have succeeded in setting off a global stock market crash. Damn.

Posted by: blues | Jan 7 2016 13:25 utc | 61


I do not think so. I believe that in politics nothing happen by accident.

If you read this you will see structured, systemic and deliberate policy of destruction one country and murdering its head. They use all lever around the world to enforce and implement that policy toward Libya. In sane world that's amount to war crime. Hillary is just personification of that policy, as I said whole political apparatus is behind it along with UK, France, and Germany.

The policy is now, or for 5 years now, in Syria, exactly the same one with exactly the same players.
The US is now in attempt to recreate history by Hersh's help that Pentagon top brass was against that policy and similar nonsense.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 7 2016 13:48 utc | 62


What the effin uck is wrong with saudiarabia? Are they high or something?

Saudis bomb Iran embassy in Yemen

The Saudis assassination of Al-Nimr is the equivalent of Turkey's shooting the Russian Su-24, a blatant provocation with the expectation of opening up another front to divert the 4+1 from Syria/Iraq. The subsequent Saudi/GCC break in relations had already been planned in advance with the purpose of sabotaging the upcoming Syrian peace talks, even though they were framed as a reaction to the legit, though stupid as b rightly called it, ransacking of the Saudi embassy in Iran.

The Erdogan/Saudi duet, erratic loose cannons in appearance, are the wild cards the US/UK/NATO/ISrael are using to create greater chaos in the ME with unpredictable consequences. The bombing of the Iranian embassy falls within this taunting context, another provocation with the hope Iran will fall into the trap of elevating the conflict to a conventional war.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 7 2016 14:02 utc | 63

wrt: Neretva'43 | Jan 7, 2016 8:48:35 AM | 61

Well, Neretva, I read everything you say carefully.

Libya has a population of about 6,000,000 – so basically it has 3/4ths the population of New York City. Wikipedia (the encyclopedia anybody can subvert) says “Libya holds the largest proven oil reserves in Africa...” So what does that mean?

Syria has 17,000,000 people and is actually importing some oil. And it's looking pretty clear that “regime change” is just not going to work in Syria. So I don't really see the point of planning for it.

You say: “I believe that in politics nothing happen[s] by accident.” And that sounds eminently reasonable, but I really wonder. I would say “In politics nothing happens by accident, and everything happens by accident, all depending on how you look at it.” And what I mean is, I seriously suspect that all these wars and shenanigans have done absolutely nothing positive for the U.S. At some times of the day, I believe that it all is because some idiot needs a job.

Some people even say I'm cynical.

Posted by: blues | Jan 7 2016 14:59 utc | 64

"And what I mean is, I seriously suspect that all these wars and shenanigans have done absolutely nothing positive for the U.S. At some times of the day, I believe that it all is because some idiot needs a job."

That's correct if you take the US as whole as a society. It has done tremendous damage to the US people by the ruling oligarchy. People looking at me weirdly when I say that the most dangerous enemy for people is their own government. Just take a health care issue for instance.

Regarding your second part "some idiot needs a job" not sure who is an idiot here? They of us.

Posted by: Neretva'43` | Jan 7 2016 15:52 utc | 65

45;Yes,the Israeli expansion project.A nation of Johnny Roccos,who just want more,yeah,that's it more.

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 7 2016 16:27 utc | 66

Here's a brief January 5 analysis by Steve Gowans which is directly related to the subject of this thread. It focuses on a named group of fake lefties and lists the flaws, omissions and contradictions in the "reasoning" deployed by the "Assad must go" crowd.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7 2016 17:49 utc | 67


I linked to the same in the OpenThread. :)

It struck me as very much in sync with Malooga's glorious rant (see "Syria: The Feckless Left" in MoA sidebar) from May 2013.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 7 2016 17:57 utc | 68

@56 Neretva'43.. yeah - ditto simon's comment @ 53.. puts it all in '''proper''' perspective doesn't it? that link you provided.. how sickening and low the powers that be go down to.. i'd be embarrassed to be german, or french or whatever weasel country dreams up this shit..

Posted by: james | Jan 7 2016 18:05 utc | 69

It would be interesting to know how all those progressives see the situation now, it was obvious from an early stage who was behind the opposition to Assad, several years ago the Doha debates [no friends of Assad] found that 55% of Syrians supported Assad, and of course Assad's election victory more than confirming his support in 2014.

Posted by: harry law | Jan 7 2016 18:12 utc | 70

Is Assad Christian?

Alawite doctrine incorporates Gnostic, neo-Platonic, Islamic, Christian and other elements and has, therefore, been described as syncretic.

Other beliefs and practices include: the consecration of wine in a secret form of Mass only open to males; frequently being given Christian names, burying the dead in sarcophagi above ground; observing Nowruz, Epiphany, Christmas and the feast days of John Chrysostom and Mary Magdalene; the only religious structures they have are the shrines of tombs, the alleged book Kitab al Majmu, which is supposedly a central source of Alawite doctrine; and the belief that women do not have souls

The above information condensed from a wikipedia entry

Posted by: Alberto | Jan 7 2016 18:21 utc | 71

PRAYER (contemporary wording)

O God, who gave to your servant John Chrysostom grace Eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering your Word, that your people shall be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted by: Alberto | Jan 7 2016 18:28 utc | 72

You'll have to forgive me for not checking, Jackrabbit. Last time I looked OT was still being used as the venue for a Swap Meet (for insults).
Looks as though b's prediction ... "We expect this leak to be followed by new calls for a "no-fly zone" and other war starting gimmicks" was closer to the truth and more imminent than I imagined.
About 20 mins ago BBC Radio (World Service) had a conga-line of suckholes waxing hysterical about tens of thousands of "Syrians" (including children) starving to death in a city near Damascus under siege by the Regime's SAA. Two smaller cities in similarly dire circumstances. = Urgent calls for Humanitarian Aid.
All extraordinarily anecdotal, unsubstantiated and Bliar-Sarkozy-Libya-ish, of course.
Syrian Govt has given permission for UN to deliver aid.
Possible Bear trap?
(Excellent time for Yankees to do what they does best - bomb some aid vehicles prominently marked UN with civilian volunteer occupants. Then blame Russia)
Is that a deadly S-400 umbrella I can hear...?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7 2016 19:47 utc | 73

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7, 2016 12:49:03 PM | 67
After 5 years of war it's very hard to know the opinions of those who remain ... like most of the middle east -- there is probably an enormous city-mouse versus country-mouse divide -- as there was in Egypt ... that did the "unthinkable" and elected Morsi ... to the horror of the big-city protestors and power brokers.
My impression is that the original dissident/protestors were students ... however, questions have been raised as to just how early on significant American/Gulf State and KSA assistance started ... possibly, quite early, meaning that there may be the usual NGO pro-democracy suspects... so logistically adept at swelling their ranks and bussing in protestors and talking to the media about "reform" (cultural, neoliberal and of course "corruption") ... which may have serious roots in reality and/or may be sound-byte friendly to Western ears.

I linked earlier that the Economist says that the population has shrunk for 22 million to 16.6 million ... if the wealthy and well-educated have reluctantly given up and left ... the demographics of the voting pool may have shifted... what that will look like in the event of any of these negotiations (and/or how the votes of those 6 million refugees will be recorded) will "matter."

The Western press says that all those refugees fled Assad ... and every death of any Syrian is his fault for not promptly surrendering.... the Syria of 2011 would seem a poor predictor of Syria of 2017.... Much as the will of the original anti-corruption, pro-growth crowds in Kiev have never been well-represented by the hard-right militias

Plenty of room for mischief

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 7 2016 21:14 utc | 74

Mischief? Lets not forget about the early reports of sniper fire in Homs & Tripoli in 2011 or Kiev in '14.
Complimentary to the work of various NGO's directing the herds, imbed a few teams of talented snipers shooting on BOTH sides of the crowds and let the media pick up from there.. ACME Civil War..

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 8 2016 2:09 utc | 75

Yep, straight from the Gene Sharp recipe book for Non-violent Regime Change.
(non-violent protest + guns + violence)

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 8 2016 3:04 utc | 76


You don't seem to be tiring of being wrong over and over and over again about the US taking the bait and attacking Assad. Putin was the one who removed the only acceptable reason for a direct US attack on Assad, his chemical weapons so you may have to send him a sternly worded missive about not interfering in your diabolical plans.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 8 2016 3:22 utc | 77

Happy New Year, Wayout!

We can't both be having a memory lapse, can we? My recollection is that "killing his own people" was the stated REASON for US wanting to snuff Assad. Chemical weapons were just the EXCUSE. If I wanted to send anyone a message it would be Lavrov - for noticing that Kerry was asleep at the wheel, and exploiting the dopiness.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 8 2016 5:36 utc | 78

This seems like a good place to link Gilbert Doctorow's analysis of the documentary the Russians produced recently on world order and the US/western policy of color revolutions, regime change and whatever the heck we're doing. It's propaganda, he emphasizes, but perhaps propaganda we should pay attention to.

Here's the intro to the Doctorow piece on Stephen Cohen (et al) site EastWestAccord and the Doctorow article.

Actually I'll just copy the intro here:
"The first, by ACEWA Board Member and European Coordinator Gilbert Doctorow notes that the film 'illustrates through graphic footage and the testimony of independent world authorities the tragic consequences, the spread of chaos and misery, resulting from US-engineered regime change and color revolutions, of which the violent overthrow of the Yanukovich regime in Ukraine in February 2014 is only the latest example.'"

Here's a link to the full English subtitled documentary on LiveLeak:

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 8 2016 13:15 utc | 79

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