Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 16, 2016

Are Green Berets Leading The YPG In Taking The Azaz Pocket?

The Syrian Arab Army and the YPG troops of the Syrian Kurds are making good progress in the Azaz pocket. The pocket formed after the Syrian army cut through the "rebel" corridor between Aleppo city and the Turkish border. The aim now is to push all foreign proxy forces who are still in that pocket (green) back north into Turkey and to get full control of the border.



The Syrian-Russian command decided to let the YPG (yellow) have the fun of cleaning the pocket only to taunt the Turkish President Erdogan. Erdogan has a serious domestic policy problems when the Kurdish forces gain control in parts of Syria that the wannabe Sultan Erdogan regarded as sacred neo-Ottoman ground. His court jester, the Prime Minister Davutoglu, announced that his country would not allow the town of Azaz to fall to Kurdish fighters. He will have to eat a flock of craws over that.

The Turks are firing artillery from Turkish ground in the north onto Kurdish position in the pocket. Turkish special forces are likely near the front line to control that fire. But artillery alone can not make the difference. The Kurds have air support from the Russian airforce which Turkey no longer dares to attack. The Russians will not attack the Turkish artillery as such an attack could widen the war. The Kurdish troops will have to suffer through that barrage as they push out the Turkish and CIA paid proxies. Some reinforcement for the CIA proxies arrived from Idleb. These passed from Idleb into Turkey and from Turkey into the pocket. The destruction of these forces in the Azaz pocket will make the further fights  of the Syrian army in Idleb and elsewhere a lot easier.

The Turks see the Kurds as terrorists and demand that everyone joins that view. The U.S. declined and several other states have protested against the Turkish use of artillery against the Kurds. The U.S. sees the Syrian Kurds as friendlies. In east Syria it helped the Kurds to kick the Islamic State out of Kobane. There are U.S. special forces on the ground in east Syria to prepare the Kurds for new attacks on the Islamic State. These also act as Forward Air Controller to direct U.S. air strikes.

The Kurds in the Azaz pocket have also some support from a professional military. Their moves are very purposeful and controlled. They are clearly coordinated with the Syrian army. The coordination with the Russian airforce works well and there is ground fire coordination with the SAA. The line of demarcation between them has likely been agreed upon a while ago. This animated GIF shows the development in the pocket over several days. The town Kafr Naya was, for example, first taken by the Syrian army, but then the army pulled back from it and the Kurds immediately took over. Some local forces, former "rebels", in Kafr Naya then joined the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is the U.S. label used for the YPG whenever it has some local Arab forces attached to it.

Who are the professionals that are helping the YPG to take the Azaz pocket?

My first thought was of course Russian Spetsnaz. But I asked around and none of my usual sources would confirm this. The sources acknowledged that the YPG in west Syria has special force support but there was some quite unexpected silence over who these forces were. It is clear to me that these are not Syrian special forces. The YPG does not want to be seen as an adjunct to the Syrian government. No one would confirm to me that these are Russian forces even as that would be of no great surprise to anyone. This leads me to speculate that some U.S. special forces are directing the YPG in the Azaz pocket. This in coordination with the Syrian army and the Russians.

Is that a crazy thought? Consider: The Syrian YPG Kurds are supported by the U.S. military. They received weapons and ammunition from the U.S. military and, at least in the east, have some U.S. military special forces embedded with them. These Pentagon supported YPG troops currently fight foreign proxy forces in the Azaz pocket which are supported, equipped and paid by the CIA, the Saudis, the Turks and other Arab U.S. "allies". The CIA is running the show. The Turkish NATO member is shelling the Pentagon supported YPG to protect the CIA supported "moderate rebels". The current CIA director was once the CIA Chief of Station in Riyadh and has intimate connection to the Saudi rulers (and their pockets?).

It was the military's Defense Intelligence Agency that warned in 2012 of the emergence of a "Salafist Principality" - the Islamic State - in Syria and Iraq. It warned against continuing the CIA support for the "rebels". It was the Pentagon that sabotaged the White House intent to create another "moderate rebel" force to attack the Islamic State:

The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an ‘all-source’ appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration’s insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria. The new intelligence estimate singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama’s Syria policy. The document showed, the adviser said, ‘that what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The so-called moderates had evaporated and the Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey.’

Clearly, the Pentagon hates the CIA support for the "moderate rebels". The CIA support has fed not only the "rebels" but also al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. Continuing that path would likely result in a radical al-Qaeda controlled Syrian government and another thankless, years long military expedition to oust it.

The U.S. has several kinds of special forces. The famed SEALs as well as the army's Delta Forces are by now mostly door kickers. They do night raids and other SWAT commando like stuff. The Army Rangers have joined them in the bloody business of killing Afghan farmers. The U.S. special forces that are trained and able to direct a local guerrilla are the Green Berets. A very discreet type of people that work in small teams and are trained in local languages and habits.

So who is helping the Kurds. My hunch is that these are not the "polite green men" of the Russian Spetsnaz, who enabled the people of Crimea to rejoin with Russia, who are now helping the YPG. I believe that the Pentagon sent some of its own "green" people to help the YPG to kick the asses of the CIA supported Jihadis out of Syria. This in tight coordination with the Syrian and Russian forces.

The Obama administration for now decided to accept the Russian offer to pull its chestnuts out of the Syrian fire. But it does not want to give the Russian any credit for doing so. And while the Pentagon has firmly joined the Russian camp some years ago, the White House interventionist borg are ready to again change course and to again support the CIA, the Saudis and Turks in their "moderate Jihadis" mischief. The Green Berets, should they indeed be in north-west Syria, better do their job well and defeat the CIA proxies in a decisive manner.

The above is speculative based solely on my personal hunch and it may be completely wrong. It would probably make for a good movie plot. But could it be right? Has the Pentagon send its specialists to help the Syrians, Russians and Kurds to kick out the CIA sponsored Jihadis? Please let me know your take.

Posted by b on February 16, 2016 at 22:35 UTC | Permalink

next page »

wow who would have thought the war would spread to DC?

Posted by: heath | Feb 16 2016 22:47 utc | 1

Really excellent post because you are putting emphasis on the really radical aspect of all this that most anti-imperialists miss. That is, as I've been saying for years, that there are deep divisions within the Deep State/National Security State that are unlikely to be resolved any time soon. One of the things that limits us is the notion that the President is in charge of foreign policy--he's not--he does have input but his orders may or may not be carried out. Though this has always been the case since 1947 at least, it is particularly the case now. We first saw this graphically in Iraq as a chaotic hodge-podge or both highly corrupt and highly ideological true-believers each seemed to have their own policies, goals and clients in Iraq--it was a bloody mess until Patreus came in and sort-of unified policy (and made many enemies in the process).

Today, I see at least half a dozen major factions within the U.S. government and these are further subdivided into various "crews." Now who they are at this time is hard to gauge and you've hit on a beginning. I think that drama is the most important. The Russians know this very well which is why they put their markers down in Syria to force clarity in Washington.

Posted by: Banger | Feb 16 2016 22:55 utc | 2

Frankly, your scenario sounds insane. Essentially two different divisions of the US government fighting a war with each others' proxies. If true, will indeed make a great movie.

Posted by: Russell | Feb 16 2016 22:59 utc | 3

The Syrian Kurds march in the battlefields against the Islamic State, having secured the support of the US and Russia, in the province of Aleppo. Syrian Kurds now control 14% of the country's territory and international analysts estimate that they are close to proclamation of an autonomous region on the border with Turkey.

As Syrian Kurds gaining ground, Turkey seeks a pretext for invasion

Posted by: nmb | Feb 16 2016 23:03 utc | 4

Civil war in the Deep State would map well over the dysfunction of all our major governing institutions. It looks to me like the President wants to see his Iran deal stick and is now just trying to get through the year without GFC2 or WW3 starting on his watch.

Posted by: jsn | Feb 16 2016 23:07 utc | 5

thanks b.. very interesting speculation on your part... i have no way of knowing, but if it is in the ballpark, it certainly suggests the wheels are coming off the usa foreign policy in the me...

i suppose erdogan will be the last to know, although he seems to be coming to a similar conclusion based on turkish action on the ground..

Posted by: james | Feb 16 2016 23:08 utc | 6

ah...this i interesting and the puzzle pieces make more sense in this light. It's painfully obvious there is some factional split in the deep state which I've been mis-reading as "arm everyone, it's all profits anyway."

I think you may be on to something although, the Administration's hold on the CIA may be specious...who are they really acting for? DOD's ownership is pretty straightforward. Sounds like Graham Greene all over again.

Posted by: Shh | Feb 16 2016 23:18 utc | 7

"... intimate connection to the Saudi rulers (and their pockets?)"

I think you nailed it here.
That a central 'intelligence' agency is acting in the field is a given (although in essence a contradiction of terms and mission).
And there is always likely tension between legitimate military forces and budget vs the covert drug/crime funded CIA operations.
However, this is less significant than the likelihood of a doubly corrupted Saudi funded sub-network in the CIA.
It's worked well for the apartheid state of Israel.
And their pockets? ... indeed!
Business as usual, imo.

Posted by: x | Feb 16 2016 23:18 utc | 8

So basically The hawks would be in The CIA and the Dove in the pentagon...They are all imperialist but of a different kind.I do think there is Hawk in both camp but it makes sens that they are mostly located in the CIA which is linked to wall street firms representing powerful oil and gaz corporations and financial institution(which are certainly at some level or another an important part of the deep State).
Great post b

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Feb 16 2016 23:20 utc | 9


I don't know about green berets running the YPG in northwestern Syria, but I think you are certainly right about the feud - for money and power and control - between the CIA and the Pentagon. It even surfaced - with Tulsi Gabbard - on the political side. Obama has been the CIAs blonde-haired blue-eyed boy since day one and the military are tired of it. Whether or not they have actually come to open warfare yet - their rivalry is yet another unknow known.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 16 2016 23:23 utc | 10

Why not Iranian special forces?

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 16 2016 23:33 utc | 11


Interesting that, if you google Tulsi Gabbard at youtube, you come up with many instances of Wolf Blitzer/Tulsi Gabbard show. Wolf is a mainstream USraeli MSM fixture. I guess the corporate MIC feels their boys in the CIA have got away from them ... not unlike al-CIAduh and CIASIS itself ... and are teaming up to put the bread and butter, directly corporate-run pentagon back in charge of the US Wehrmacht?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 16 2016 23:35 utc | 12

@11 karlof

Yeah. I like that. The thought of ... a shotgun wedding ... between the Iranians and the Kurds is sweet.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 16 2016 23:39 utc | 13

Eu apostaria em alguns homens de Kadirov em campo.

Posted by: Proftel | Feb 16 2016 23:56 utc | 14

It's possible, but for it to be "cost-effective" the overarching goal would have to actually be peace, and frankly there is just so much more evidence to the contrary of that.

Cool film plot though, that is if there are such a thing as film plots in the future.

Posted by: L Bean | Feb 17 2016 0:05 utc | 15

I think that this scenario is quite possible.
I have been convinced that the Pentagon and the White House have decided to give a serious lesson of humility to Erdogan and to neutralize him as much as possible while a peace process is in the making.

The USA has systematically rejected all requests made by Turkey for a no-fly zone especially after Turkey showed its indifference to the tragedy of Kobane. It became clear that Erdogan doesn't want to confront ISIS. He preferred to make use of them in his fight against the Kurds and the Syrian army.
Yet in its effort to undermine Erdogan, the USA doesn't want to be too obvious as this would antagonize the already worried Gulf 'allies'. Therefore it has agreed that the CIA in relation with the Saudi and Qatar would continue to openly advise Syrian rebels in their fight against the Syrian Army while the Pentagon would covertly supporting the YPG both in their fight against ISIS and in the expulsion of fighters that Turkey supports. Erdogan has become aware of that and has angrily summoned the USA to choose between him and the YPG.
His membership with NATO now hinders his range of actions. The USA will continue encouraging the Syrian Kurds to fully control the borders with Turkey, thus blocking both ISIS and rebels replenishment of weapons and fighters. If this costs the demise of the 'moderate' rebels, so be it.
Erdogan made the mistake of fighting the Kurds and not ISIS, he is now paying the price and it is only the beginning.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 17 2016 0:07 utc | 16

I asked Pat Lang over at whether he thought this was credible. Here's his response:

"I think it very unlikely. Obama is allowing the GBs to help the YPG at the east because that fits his fantastical opinions about IS, but at Azaz that would seem to him to be contrary to his desire to destroy the Syrian Government/YPG cooperation". pl

Posted by: Seamus | Feb 17 2016 0:08 utc | 17


Iran has its own Kurdish issues, so I doubt that they are actively fomenting potential blowback.

The R2P people may have pissed off too many Pentagon folks with casual dismissal of "costs" and crossed lines they scarcely acknowledged to exist. I hope so.

Posted by: Cortes | Feb 17 2016 0:14 utc | 18

If plan B is to drop IS, since it failed to achieve plan A-regime change, to now support Kurdistan and further balkanisation of Syria then why not support the YPG/SDF gain as much territory as possible? I see it has a change of tactics and not an internal feud. The "moderate" rebels are as expendable as IS is/was and so is Erdogan.

Posted by: Lozion | Feb 17 2016 0:36 utc | 19

Fascinating b.

Your guess seems plausible except that JCS Chair Dunford seems like a company man. I think Demsey was more of an independent thinker.

I would be inclined to agree with karlof1: Iranian SOF.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2016 0:40 utc | 20

@10 karlof

Iran military advisers in Syria on Damscus demand: Zarif

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iranian military advisers are in Syria at the request of the Damascus government.

“There we have military advisers at the request of the government of this country (Syria). We will move out military advisers when the local government deems it necessary for us to remove them,” he pointed out.

We've heard that many times before, read of the deaths of Iranian generals in Syria, and in this instance the Iranians are emphasizing the fact that their aid to Syria is taking place within a legal, request/response driven framework.

But they're there, somewhere ... probably in Aleppo along the Turkish border. That they're working with the Kurds is speculative, yet not only not out of the question, but likely. And Hezbollah and the Palestinians, too?

I still think that a rapprochement among Arabs and Kurds and Iranians along the Syriaq-Iran axis is essential for the stability of their hard-won victory over USrael-EU in the region - in all of their shared homelands. Yes, there's a lot working against it, but their survival depends upon it. Just my opinion.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 17 2016 0:44 utc | 21

I've already said there's some kind of communication.

When you're marching, you're not fighting. I think both the us and Russia understand this. Kerry and Lavrov are just for show.

Posted by: peter | Feb 17 2016 0:50 utc | 22


... why not support the YPG/SDF gain as much territory as possible?

b has already noted that the Kurds have little interest in territorial gain. They mostly just want to defend what they've got. Doing more than that means that they are probably being used.

I'd guess its also because the Assad must go! Coalition want to create a Sunni state not a bigger Kurdish state.

In any case, despite Erdogan's hatefulness, it's important to be nice to the Kurds because they could be useful in many ways:

> Syrian election? Kurds will have some representation;

> Syrian partitioning: Kurds might lend much support for that if they get their own partition;

> There are Kurds in Iran: could they be influenced to revolt?

> Etc.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2016 0:55 utc | 23

Banger @2

Today, I see at least half a dozen major factions within the U.S. government
Please name the major factions that you see and tell us how strong you think each one is.


The Russians know this very well which is why they put their markers down in Syria to force clarity in Washington.
AFAIK, this is a novel theory. Please elaborate on Russian motives for getting involved in Syria.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2016 1:08 utc | 24

It appears that the invasion of Syria has been averted - could this mean that Turkey/Saudi Arabia have been left out in the cold - Does that mean Thierry Meyssan could be right about the US/Russian initiative?

Just a thought...

Posted by: fredjc | Feb 17 2016 1:11 utc | 25

Green Berets? I thot that schtick went out with John Wayne. Special Forces now.

FWIW, I was the only known USMC "Green Beret" in VN. I wore a Girl Scout beenie on patrol with Force Recon.

Posted by: Denis | Feb 17 2016 1:49 utc | 26

Jerusalem Post

Israel should support the YPG and gain a great friend in the Middle East

It's a complex world.

I think Erdogan promised the Palestinians to open the Ottoman files on ownership.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17 2016 1:57 utc | 27

Source of maps: Twitter Военный Советник @miladvisor
Excellent for latest updates on troop movement.

Posted by: Oui | Feb 17 2016 2:00 utc | 28

""I think it very unlikely. Obama is allowing the GBs to help the YPG at the east because that fits his fantastical opinions about IS, but at Azaz that would seem to him to be contrary to his desire to destroy the Syrian Government/YPG cooperation". pl"

It seems the point is that the DoD is deliberately fighting against Obama sans obamas blessing and maybe knowledge. I can imagine many people in the military and even CIA are unhappy aiding al Qaida and other jihadists after 9/11 and the numerous other jihadists blamed attacks. We know the joint chiefs of staff under Dempsey were undermining obama's syria genocide. Dempsey is gone but his collaborators remain so maybe.

I hope b is right for many reasons but also because that would mean Turkish forces are shelling US troops and that ain't gonna fly.

Posted by: Alaric | Feb 17 2016 2:21 utc | 30

This theory (Green Berets on the ground with the YPG) correlates with activity of 'retired'
SOCOM advisers on SOF blogs. There were a number of 'advisers' posting on these blogs, getting advice from their colleagues. In mid 2015 all went silent, which is also a hint that U.S. SOF operations were underway in that theater.

Posted by: J H | Feb 17 2016 2:43 utc | 31

I don't have the link or even the context anymore, but back in early last century in the US, two billionaire brothers were supporting opposing candidates for US President, and learned this in casual discussion between themselves. Presumably the rivalry was resolved.

The point is that even that long ago - I'm pretty sure it's almost a century - factions could arise. When the wealth gets that big, options multiply, and become luxurious in scope.

The scenario presented by b could easily be the case, but without it meaning anything about policy, as we think of the term.

I have no knowledge to add to the discussion here. But I am delighted to see the view turn towards the actual inner working of the US. None of us really knows what's going on inside that nest of privilege, and it is now becoming time to examine and learn. Because it is certainly failing, and in its demise we would all like to know what fallout to watch for, and how to duck.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17 2016 2:59 utc | 32

One interesting thing is that according to the plan to redraw the middle east revealed By Ralph Peters the united state and Israel want to separate the middle east in small confessional state without any possibility for nationhood ,independent, laic and patriotic state.But the Kurd are an exception to this overall plan.They sure will be part of this greater middle east project but rather as a nation than a confessional state.That is why I believe Mad Erdogan and the Saudi are so afraid and to some extend Iranian because this redrawing of the middle east will backfire on them. They can see that the United states are playing with them. .Soon or later Saudi Arabia, turkey Afghanistan and Iraq will be break up in a way or another.Either by pushing federalization or creating new states no one wants that.
What is funny is that The war Saudi Arabia is waging to the US about oil production is probably even pissing off even more Uncle Sam and preparing the split between the two old allies. Royal Saudi seems to forget that The United state are the only Reason they can hold on to their power and security in the region.And I would not be surprised If Saudi Arabia was reminded that soon or later.

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Feb 17 2016 3:01 utc | 33

I think it's possible that a Pentagon assisted YPG is fighting CIA assisted rebel groups. Seems crazy, but it wouldn't be the first time the CIA, State and Pentagon and/or JSOC were working at cross purposes, whether intentional or not. An e-book I read about Benghazi made that very claim. At the time it was Brennan in the White House running his own commando special forces units that caused the conflicts.

Another reason why I think it might be the case in NW Syria is Charles Lister's reaction to it. Look at his Twitter feed today. He's pissed and kind of dumbfouded that the YPG are hitting CIA backed rebel groups.

On the other hand, I think I remember Elijah Magnier making an interesting comment in the past few days. He said the Kurds have a lot of friends. He implied that meant more than just the US and Russia. When asked for more detail I think he hedged because it wasn't something he could disclose. I wish I could find the link. Assuming my memory isn't failing me, which friends might that be?

What would be really weird would be if some Israeli special forces were helping them. My understanding is that Israel and the Kurds have a good relationship. But it would be really bizarre for them to be fighting in Syria sort of on Assad's side, wouldn't it? How about the Germans? Swiss? Swedes? Just wild guesses but Sy Hersh said that Gen. Dempsey was working with the Germans, Russians and Israelis to pass intel to Assad. So that's why I picked those two. The Swiss is a wild-arsed guess. The Swedes I guessed because I've seen some commercial flights from Sweden to Erbil. There's a lot of interesting flight activity in Erbil.

One last thought -- what if US genuinely has ditched the "Assad must go" idea and it's time to clean up the shock troops? What if the CIA is rolling up their "moderate Syrian rebel" operation? Just a thought.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Feb 17 2016 3:11 utc | 34

@23 JR
b has already noted that the Kurds have little interest in territorial gain. They mostly just want to defend what they've got. Doing more than that means that they are probably being used.

They are, as we speak venturing outside their cantons, hence you last sentence illustrating my point.

Posted by: Lozion | Feb 17 2016 4:17 utc | 35

February 16, 2016 - Ash Carter PBS Charlie Rose interview stating that Assad must step aside. Turkey and Saudi Arabia are our allies. He is also twisting Russia's role in Syria accusing them of bombing legitimate opposition in the Syrian civil war. He then goes on to state that we, the USA will attack Isis or Isil. This interview is not yet posted online but when it is watch it. Amazing 'through the looking glass' pretzel logic.

During the interview there is a closeup of Carter's hands. They are shaking like a leaf. Pathetic!

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 17 2016 4:19 utc | 36

I can buy b's speculative scenario if b can accept that the Russians would be crazy to trust Yankees. And since Russians clearly are not crazy, they would take any sign of (token) Yankee cooperation as a trick and make sure that there are enough lurking Spetsnaz operatives in the cauldron to keep a sharp lookout for the first sign of Yankee double-speak/ betrayal.

The Yankees lose wars through abusing trust and believing too much of their own cowardly bullshit and, thereby, being out-smarted by the people they thought they were out-smarting.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 17 2016 4:40 utc | 37

The US does not see the Syrian Kurds as friendlies, they see them as expendable tools to be dispensed with, use for its benefit or slaughtered at the will of the US and its allies.

On your second point I don't think the US army would care nearly at all. We have already seen in Kobani, Lybia and with the Russians in Syria, is That if you provide local ground troops with overwhelming fire power from the air, that is a pretty sure victory against a low level army, jihadis or militia.

Sure the US Army would be somewhat pissed about cleaning up a CIA mess, but in service of the evil US empire it's not even a conflict at all between army and CIA.
What's more the threat, a state army or some jihadis ? The state army of course and the Zionists have said exactly the same thing in Public, as well as backing Al Qaeda in Syria.

Posted by: tom | Feb 17 2016 4:44 utc | 38

O/T but I'm still waiting for someone to notice that most, if not all, of AmeriKKKa's (and the Euro-Colonials) Imperial Ambitions could be achieved by non-violent trickery instead of violence and trickery. Imo this proves that the violence is a product of criminally psychopathic, self-indulgent, bloodlust.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 17 2016 4:59 utc | 39

Since this has to be speculative since even if there was evidence it would likely be misinformation, I'm gonna have a punt.

I don''t see Iran's military leaders seeing involvement with a militarised movement to create Kurdish self-determination as a smart move. Iran has eschewed using Kurds as scapegoats handy to blame all tough problems on, as Turkey has, but that doesn't mean it is all cuddly unicorns and fluffy pink hearts between Tehran and Iran's Kurds either.

Things have quieted down considerably since the failed 1979 attempt by Kurds to seperate from Iran.
A great deal of blood was split on both side - up to 30,000 Kurds died & that is unlikely to have been forgotten by either. The PJAK ( Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan) began an armed struggle against the Iranian central government in 2004.
While the YPG has made public pronouncement decrying alleged terrorism by both PJAK and PKK, privately it probably supports them - certainly many Syrian Kurds do. The YPG is pragmatic and that is a major reason it goes from strength to strength - making short term decisions which will alienate Kurds long term isn't smart pragmatism.
I just don't see Iran and the YPG achieving the trust essential to develop a shared strategy or having the trust needed to unquestioningly follow each others, tactical calls.

As for Russia well interestingly and weirdly, back in 1946 the old Soviet Union provided munitions and logistic support to the KDPI (Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran) when that organisation attempted to form a breakaway state in the NorthWest Iran called the Republic of Mahabad

Soviet support for the sheep-shaggers was, just like USSR 'backing' for Iranian leftish movements, damned half-hearted. It had to be - Uncle Joe had already agreed to giving amerika an interference free hand in Iran back in 1943 at the Tehran conference as payment for amerikan war materiel to be used against A Hitler and his assholes.
Still the USSR succeeded in sticking a handful of thorn's into amerika's side at the kick off of the cold war to express their disgust at the way that the Russians who won WW2 for everyone, got recast as villans while the actual villans, German Nazis, copped a pat on the back and a gig butchering the indigenous peoples of Latin America.

So the YPG is unlikely to desire Iranian or Russian special forces doesn't that mean it must be amerika qho are providing the command and control support?

See I can't go with that either since Kurds experienced the unprincipled selfishness of the empire in Iraq. amerikan relations with Iraq's kurds blew hot and cold throughout the occupation according to whatever bullshit 'theory' the evil empire considered the most expedient at the time.
Consequently I accuse the highly regarded Aspic ( Andorran Stouthearted Paladin International Corps) of being the special forces unit tasked with support for the YPG.

The commonalities between Andorrans are Kurds are too great for it to be anyone else. Both societies inhabit moutainous terrain that straddles international borders. Both are well experienced guides and smugglers, and now the kicker - both peoples have an excessive fondness for sheep.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Feb 17 2016 5:04 utc | 40

Makes perfect sense since the USA foreign policy is all the place. Nothing makes sense.

Posted by: Fernando | Feb 17 2016 5:05 utc | 41

I don't think your speculation is that unreasonable.

Think of it as the self licking ice cream cone.

Assuming the US is more interested in maintaining conflict in the region and continuing to sell war pron, it makes "sense" for them to be on all sides of the conflicts.....and maybe even goose a few along.

This is a win/win for private finance. Everyone is focused on historic ethnic ebbs and flows instead of the ebb and flow of the billions to pay for all this misdirection and waste of humanity.

As a species we would be a lot better off giving education all the money it wants and making the MIC hold bake sales to fund their hissy fits.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 17 2016 5:13 utc | 42

The overall strategy hasn't changed IMO: balkanize the ME. Just a question of tactics. Sic the Turks on the Syrians, or carve out a toehold among the Kurds and declare it "free" and "independant".

Posted by: ruralito | Feb 17 2016 5:34 utc | 43

fredjc @25

It appears that the invasion of Syria has been averted - could this mean that Turkey/Saudi Arabia have been left out in the cold - Does that mean Thierry Meyssan [TM] could be right about the US/Russian initiative?


TM's speculation is that:

1) Obama has "regained control" of Syrian policy;

2) Russia and USA have a secret agreement whereby USA has abandoned the goal of regime change or partitioning Syria (with the possible - but acceptable - outcome being that Erdogan falls and there is a civil war Turkey and KSA).

fredjc has said that he believes that this is so because Syria is a "sideshow" that is unimportant in the larger scheme of things (peace with Iran, pivot to Asia). I suppose that this reflects TM's thinking.

As I explained in the last thread, TM's narrative makes no sense to anyone that is paying attention. It strikes me as disinformation (and I have seen similar complaints about TM from others). He makes unsupported assumptions, like 'palace intrigue' and builds a narrative around that.

Today's post by Pat Lang at SST makes a strong case that Obama is fully on board with the Syrian mis-adventure. And no one that pays attention buys the "sideshow" theory.

PS fredjc's link to the TM post is incorrect. It goes to a post by a different author.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2016 5:53 utc | 44

Correction: that was Pat Bateman that saw Syria as a "sideshow", not fredjc.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2016 5:55 utc | 45

I'd bet my money on ruralito's explanation. On a relative basis or on an absolute basis in zero sum games, it's profitable to engineer scenarios in which other powers waste resources fighting each other or merely curtail their economic trade with one another. Innit?

And it doesn't mean a whole lot if one party provides token assistance to any one side. Probably does it for all sides. Can't pretend to be everyone's friend and not play along a little. "Keep your enemies closer."

Posted by: dumbass | Feb 17 2016 6:01 utc | 46

Interesting question. As a preliminary, I took a look at the official bio of the only U.S. special forces member (that I know of) to be identified in a combat role against Islamic State, Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler.

"February 1997, he transitioned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington, where he served for over seven years as an infantryman, rifle team leader, squad leader, weapons squad leader, and anti-tank section leader, deploying three times in support of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Wheeler was assigned to U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2004, and deployed 11 times in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"The Special Operations Command integrates special forces from all four branches of the U.S. military and paramilitary forces of the CIA.

Now, here are a couple of possible clues:

"The US military denies any special operations forces involvement in combat on 11 September or in three other other incidents listed by the peshmerga. Yet in interviews with the Guardian, a dozen Kurdish fighters and commanders said that US special forces troops have been participating in operations against Isis for months."

"They won’t allow anyone to take photos of them, but they take photos of everyone.”

"In another video, dated 11 June, an American soldier wearing the fatigues and insignia of a Kurdish counter-terrorism unit can be seen walking alongside two dozen peshmerga in the aftermath of a seven-hour firefight with Isis militants in the village of Wastana and Saddam settlement, according to the peshmerga who filmed the video."

This sounds to me an awful lot like CIA paramilitary:

"Special Operations Group (SOG) is the department within SAD responsible for operations that include high threat military or covert operations with which the U.S. government does not wish to be overtly associated. As such, members of the unit (called Paramilitary Operations Officers and Specialized Skills Officers) normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate them with the United States government. If they are compromised during a mission, the United States government may deny all knowledge."

This would also explain the reticence of your sources.

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 17 2016 6:07 utc | 47

A little more on the CIA paramilitary (from the Wiki link above):

"SOG is generally considered the most secretive special operations force in the United States. The group selects operatives from other tier one special mission units such as Delta Force, DEVGRU, ISA, and 24th STS, as well as other United States special operations forces, such as USNSWC, MARSOC, US Army Special Forces, SEALs, SWCC, Force Recon, Pararescuemen, Combat Controllers, and the Army Rangers.

"SAD/SOG has several hundred officers, mostly former members of special operations forces (SOF) and a majority from the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). The CIA has also recruited individuals within the agency.

"The CIA's formal position for these individuals is "Paramilitary Operations Officers" and "Specialized Skills Officers." Paramilitary Operations Officers attend the Clandestine Service Trainee (CST) program, which trains them as clandestine intelligence operatives (known as "Core Collectors" within the Agency). The primary strengths of SAD/SOG Paramilitary Officers are operational agility, adaptability, and deniability. They often operate in small teams, typically made up of six operators (with some operations being carried out by a single officer), all with extensive military special operations expertise and a set of specialized skills that does not exist in any other unit. [9] As fully trained intelligence case officers, Paramilitary Operations Officers possess all the clandestine skills to collect human intelligence—and most importantly—to recruit assets from among the indigenous troops receiving their training. These officers often operate in remote locations behind enemy lines to carry out direct action (including raids and sabotage), counter-intelligence, guerrilla/unconventional warfare, counter-terrorism, and hostage rescue missions, in addition to being able to conduct espionage via HUMINT assets."

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 17 2016 6:20 utc | 48

Wrote b. : "These Pentagon supported YPG troops currently fight foreign proxy forces in the Azaz pocket which are supported, equipped and paid by the CIA, the Saudis, the Turks and other Arab U.S. "allies". The CIA is running the show."

The last sentence says it all, when it comes to U.S. operations in Syria. The fact that some of the rebels fighting the Kurds for control of the pocket might include FSA or other groups who have received U.S. support does not in the least render CIA involvement unlikely. The CIA takes stone cold pragmatism to the point of fickleness and beyond. Double-dealing is quite common, provided there is something to be gained and a good chance of getting away with it.

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 17 2016 6:32 utc | 49

Has the Doomsday Clock advanced another 30 seconds toward midnight? Obama and Putin can in no way be on the same wavelength. Can they? The US President is apparently bonkers.

Obama was doubling down on a claim made in December last year that Russia was getting bogged down in an “inconclusive and paralyzing civil conflict” in Syria. He dismissed the recent victories of the Syrian Arab Army and the Kurdish fighters north of Aleppo as “initial advances,” and said that three quarters of Syria was still controlled by forces other than the government in Damascus.

“What would be smarter would be for Russia to work with the United States and other parties in the international community to try to broker some sort of political transition,” Obama said.

“The fact that Putin finally had to send his own troops, and his own aircraft … and invest [in] this massive military operation … was not a testament to a great strength; it was a testament to the weakness of Assad’s position,” Obama reiterated, refusing to recognize the anti-terrorist nature of Russian military operation in Syria.

“[President Obama] doesn’t want to give Russia any legitimacy, not does he want to give Syria, or Assad any legitimacy. The intruders, the ones operating from outside the country are in fact the US and the West,” Pierce said. “Assad is the legal government of Syria, and Russia has been invited in to help them. Inherently they have legitimacy because of that.”

Posted by: Copeland | Feb 17 2016 6:33 utc | 50

"So who is helping the Kurds. My hunch is that these are not the "polite green men" of the Russian Spetsnaz, who enabled the people of Crimea to rejoin with Russia, who are now helping the YPG. I believe that the Pentagon sent some of its own "green" people to help the YPG to kick the asses of the CIA supported Jihadis out of Syria. This in tight coordination with the Syrian and Russian forces"

Sounds preposterous

Posted by: aaaaaa | Feb 17 2016 6:40 utc | 51

Why war between the Pentagon and CIA? I think that the key phrase in your post is this

Some local forces, former "rebels", in Kafr Naya then joined the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is the U.S. label used for the YPG whenever it has some local Arab forces attached to it.

Sure, CIA is deeply involved in lots of "moderate" groups but not all of them. And surely they do not have full control over them. So, they do a nice little purge. Obey CIA and join SDF or bye bye. Turkish, Saudi and other ally thugs that promote their separate agendas can either submit or die. So, CIA is left as the only player with full control of the "moderates" and their agenda. Simple as that.

Posted by: Erlindur | Feb 17 2016 7:31 utc | 52

Keep in mind this is not out of the realm of possibility during the Cold War there was a known secret rift between KGB and GRU as well that's very similar on paper to a possible cia vs. pentagon rift

Posted by: severian | Feb 17 2016 7:51 utc | 53

Re 50 (From the RT article linked to):

"Washington has sent weapons, ammunition and Special Forces advisers to the Kurdish militia in northern Syria, hoping to use them as ground forces against the IS. In recent weeks, however, the Kurds have been liaising with the Syrian Army and the Russian air group instead, delivering a crushing defeat to the Islamist rebels in the so-called Azaz Corridor, between Aleppo and the Turkish border."

All the more reason to expect an intensification of covert support to the Kurds by Washington.

The Kurds have exceptional light infantry skills. They were taking and retaining land held by Islamic State along the southern border of Turkey before anyone else was making significant inroads.

Washington shows a familiar pattern. The rebels had been begging for weapons for a long time, but Washington was stingy. Then the Russians show up and suddenly it is a question of geopolitical influence and prestige; and all of the sudden Washington starts providing literally tons of anti-tank guns and ammunition, which incidentally have other battlefield uses.

Now the Russians have been liaising with the Kurds, who are the only effective ground force neither in the camp of Muslim extremists nor firmly aligned with Iran, Russia, or other geopolitical enemies of Washington. Expect them to compete for favor as long as Russia is using them as a foreign policy weapon against Turkey.

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 17 2016 9:53 utc | 54

"Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who has called for banning ground troops from combat roles in Syria, said Friday that an AUMF passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2014 "specifically banned the presence of U.S. troops on the ground in Syria." "

The CIA is not a branch of the U.S. military. That means, the CIA's paramilitary forces are not part of the U.S. military, even though its members are mostly drawn from U.S. military special forces; so neither constitutional restrictions nor congressional authorizations limiting U.S. military forces, nor the lack of congressional authorization of U.S. military force in a particular theater of operations, can crimp the Executive branch's ability to employ such special forces. The deniability factor only lends additional flexibility.

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 17 2016 10:29 utc | 55

Speaking of "a good movie plot", am I the only person here who can imagine this scene: a hung-over Green Beret is given a briefing by Harrison Ford, the brief containing a photo of a very senior CIA operative (a.k.a. "rebel co-ordinator"), which ends with that SF's dude being told in no uncertain terms that it is his job to "Terminate with extreme prejudice" that spook?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Feb 17 2016 10:56 utc | 56

"The most notable form of direct American support to the Syrian opposition has been the supply of BGM-71 TOW tube launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided anti-tank missiles to rebel groups, vetted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. The missiles themselves most likely come from Saudi Arabia’s stockpile, although by law the supply of American-made weapons to a third party must be approved by the U.S. Reports indicate that the TOWs are handed out to groups by the Northern and Southern MOC (Military Operations Command) based in Turkey and Jordan respectively, that are run by Western and Arab intelligence agencies. Groups apply for missiles for specific operations, and small batches are supplied by the MOC as needed. No more than a handful are given to a group at any time. In order to prove the rebel groups are not selling them or giving them away, each launch must be recorded and spent casings returned to the MOC. It is due to these requirements that there is such a wealth of knowledge regarding which groups have been supplied with and fielded these weapons."

"...This covert and highly successful TOW program is run by the CIA and is separate from the American Department of Defense’s highly publicized and now-failed train-and-equip program that sought to counter only ISIS. Despite the safe measures put in place by the MOC, both the Al-Nusra Front and Islamic State have captured a small number of these weapons. Regardless the program seems to not only be continuing but constantly expanding. The following is a list of all rebel groups that have used TOW missiles. The groups approved by the CIA to take part in the TOW program overwhelmingly belong to the FSA and all have stated their commitment to letting the Syrian people decide their own future. The strengths of these groups range from several hundred to several thousand fighters."

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 17 2016 10:56 utc | 57

@55 "The deniability factor only lends additional flexibility."

True enough. It also allows the Pentagon to squish those CIA para's like bugs, and when the Time For Accounting comes they can simply shrug their bemedalled shoulders and say "Oh, well, how were we to know they were there, hey?"

After all, deniability works both ways.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Feb 17 2016 11:01 utc | 58


Your 'speculation' is not far-fetched by no means!

Pentagon and CIA have been allying with different actors for some time in Middle East, especially in Turkey!

CIA puppet/major operative Mullah Gulen, whom residing in Pennslyvania since 1999, pulled out major faux-forged allegation (via his criminal network of prosecutors, judges, journalists etc) against staunch secular generals/intellectuals/journalists/academicians under SledgeHammer, the Ergehenekon, et el since 2009 (a good source for unbiased is Harvard Econ Prof. Dani Rodrik's blog, whose 5-start father-in-law got prisoned and he started digging out dirt on this CIA-led coup against secular Turkish Military generals/high ranking officers). Turkish Military (specifically Navy) got 'cleaned' up off these Ataturk following secular independent minded generals/high ranking officers so that Erdogan-Gulen duo could bring Turkey under 'moderate Islam Neo-Ottoman' role model as depicted under 'Greater Middle Eastern' plot drawn by no other than Neocons (Perle, Fuller, Condi Rice, et el).

The US knew this major operation and after awhile one side from the US (Pentagon) assisted to get rid off this faux-forged sham trials into end to help secular side of the Army, but the damage had been done and upper ranks of Turkish Military has started to be filled with 'moderate' generals, whom wannabe Sultan loves as he has more room to take Army into his delirium/obsessed Neo-Ottoman policy.

Ergo, this dichotomy is no illusion, it's been going on at some levels under the Obama admin. The US population, by large, is sheeple, have no idea how the US state have been hijacked by power elite. Same is taking place in Turkey under Islamist Erdogan with almost no independent judiciary and press in the country. And, of course, we do not need to point anything for criminal Mullah regimes of KSA/Qatar.

Posted by: Truist | Feb 17 2016 11:16 utc | 59

USA isn't the only Western country with special forces fighting in 'Kurdistan':
And Canada's Special Forces have worked with Uncle Sam before in Afghanistan. We know they're in Iraq, but maybe Syria too?

Posted by: John Gilberts | Feb 17 2016 11:40 utc | 60

Kerry: What do you want me to do, go to war with Russia?

Syria: the US has over-reached with its proxies. (Compare to Iraq and Lybia, Assad has held on for 5 years.) The ppl on the ground are unreliable and acting with mixed motives (ISIS etc.), and are difficult to direct and control. The situation is confused, volatile. Two of the state supporters, The Riyad opposition, and Ankara, have now gone ‘rogue’, in the sense that they are taking independent actions and not coordinating with the Master first, and screaming for support — huh they will be disapointed!

The US has lately been reactive rather than pro-active. It has muddied, possibly lost the plot, mostly because different factions in the US are at logger-heads. No coherent strategy emerges, policy lurches all over the map *day by day!* These quarrels and indecisions spill over on Europe and NATO, where some want or need to be subservient to the US, the others want to resist parts of the aims. This leads to failed ‘peace conferences’ etc.

Ankara - one of the main spears against Assad - has behaved so wildly and blatantly for its own interests (Kurds, etc.) a backlash is evident, and on the move to grow. The US is put in the uncomfortable position of scuppering allies / subservient minions, vs. supporting them, one miscalculation after another leads to that. Same facing it’s poodles (EU ..) The Ukraine disaster looms large in the minds of many.

That is the background imho, I wrote this in reponse iirc to harry law on a previous thread but could not post.

B’s speculation thus fits (though I have some difficulties with it.) Great movie, the US fighting the US - on the ground! Ha ha ha.

If b is right, it would seem to imply that Turkey cannot count on NATO support?

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 17 2016 11:49 utc | 61

"Since then, the C.I.A. and its Saudi counterpart have maintained an unusual arrangement for the rebel-training mission, which the Americans have code-named Timber Sycamore. Under the deal, current and former administration officials said, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles.

"...Months later, Mr. Obama gave his approval for the C.I.A. to begin directly arming and training the rebels from a base in Jordan, amending the Timber Sycamore program to allow lethal assistance. Under the new arrangement, the C.I.A. took the lead in training, while Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency, the General Intelligence Directorate, provided money and weapons, including TOW anti-tank missiles.

"...The C.I.A. training program is separate from another program to arm Syrian rebels, one the Pentagon ran that has since ended. That program was designed to train rebels to combat Islamic State fighters in Syria, unlike the C.I.A.’s program, which focuses on rebel groups fighting the Syrian military.

"...While the intelligence alliance is central to the Syria fight and has been important in the war against Al Qaeda, a constant irritant in American-Saudi relations is just how much Saudi citizens continue to support terrorist groups, analysts said.

“The more that the argument becomes, ‘We need them as a counterterrorism partner,’ the less persuasive it is,” said William McCants, a former State Department counterterrorism adviser and the author of a book on the Islamic State. “If this is purely a conversation about counterterrorism cooperation, and if the Saudis are a big part of the problem in creating terrorism in the first place, then how persuasive of an argument is it?”

"...The job Mr. Brennan once held in Riyadh is, more than the ambassador’s, the true locus of American power in the kingdom. Former diplomats recall that the most important discussions always flowed through the C.I.A. station chief."

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 17 2016 11:51 utc | 62


The current CIA director was once the CIA Chief of Shaytan in Riyadh and has intimate connection to the Vampire Jázaros - La Treceava Tribu, who are now busy seeding Xaos in the Belarus.

There, fixed it for you.

Posted by: Chipnik | Feb 17 2016 11:58 utc | 63

The Russians know this very well which is why they put their markers down in Syria to force clarity in Washington. Banger at 2

AFAIK, this is a novel theory. Please elaborate on Russian motives for getting involved in Syria. - Jack Rabbit at 24

I agree with Banger’s phrase. While one can give a long list of reasons for Russia getting involved in Syria (regret at not vetoing Iraq, US actions in Syria going one step too far, Assad as an ally, Assad’s request, and more, see link for ex.) I interpret the “to force clarity in Washington” part as pardon the French, shˆt or get off the pot. You, USA, either support terrorists or you don’t; you either want an IS in Syria, or you don’t; and if you do, you must make up your mind, engage openly and publically. Then we - and the world - will know what the situation is, and we can fight, or not, have peace conferences, or not. But we, Russia, have had enough of your indeterminate, lying, sneaky behavior.

Mercouris (Russia insider) has a post about why Russia reacted suddenly / Syria.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 17 2016 12:07 utc | 64

Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Tim Geithner, Jack Lew, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Ashton Carter, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch,...

such a gaggle of psychopaths is fashioned to liaise with whatever 'factions' that may crop up within the deep state, and green-lighting 'rogue' elements and 'black-ops' is critical to criminal imperial authority, much more so than the plausible deniability barfed up in the aftermath.

Posted by: john | Feb 17 2016 12:08 utc | 65

Re 58: "It also allows the Pentagon to squish those CIA para's like bugs, and when the Time For Accounting comes they can simply shrug their bemedalled shoulders and say "Oh, well, how were we to know they were there, hey?""

Competition between the Pentagon and the CIA might lead to intelligence hoarding and active obstructionism, but not that sort of homicide. After all, the CIA paramilitary come mostly from U.S. military special forces; and quite aside from the loyalties and links that implies (and you can bet that the Defense Intelligence Agency debriefs a large fraction of these loaned forces), the rules of the game simply don't permit it. A couple of comments mentioned Hollywood movies, and that's squarely where it belongs.

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 17 2016 12:10 utc | 66

nice article, thank you for sharing

Posted by: طراحی وب سایت | Feb 17 2016 12:17 utc | 67


When the Nuremberg Tribunal II is held, and the Bush's and Cheney's, the Rumsfeld's and Powell's, the Clinton's and Milliband's are seated in the docket with their translation headphones and ferile attorney's whispering in their ears, at some point in the month's long litany of crimes, from the opening days of 'a carpet of bmobs' to the Rout of Aleppo, the Defense will jump up with a confirming nod from Cheney, and be shouting, objection, your honors, this is all potted history, hearsay, rumor and speculation!! Where are the ISIS leaders, the generals and lieutanants, the financiers and politicians?

Their honors will direct the tribunal bailiffs to bring in the perpetrator prisoners, ...but then after a long wait, they will find Chalabi and Karzai and Poroshenko dead in their sleep with pillows over their faces, and the mass of captured perpetrators merely innocent victims of bounty hunters, after all the real perps were rounded up into pockets then cauldrons and finally skillets, mass mrurdered from 30,000 feet at Mach 3 by their paymasters, because dead terrorists tell no tales.

Then the Bush's and Cheney's, Rumfeld's and Powell's, the Clinton's and the Milliband's will be set free for lack of witnesses, to return to their estates, and recount over and over again their 12 shiney New Israeli Silver Sheckels.

Posted by: Chipnik | Feb 17 2016 12:20 utc | 68

Debs is dead @ # 40
I found the sheep information gave me pause for thought. Perhaps we aren't looking far enough into left field here in regards to foreign spec ops. New Zealand's SAS would seem to fit the bill, considering the PM's denials of them being there & the old adage about not believing anything until it's been officially denied. ( ͝° ͜ʖ͡°)


Chris in Ch - Ch

Posted by: kiwicris | Feb 17 2016 12:20 utc | 69

Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Tim Geithner, Jack Lew, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Ashton Carter, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch,...such a gaggle of psychopaths is fashioned to liaise with whatever 'factions' that may crop up within the deep state, and green-lighting 'rogue' elements and 'black-ops' is critical to criminal imperial authority, much more so than the plausible deniability barfed up in the aftermath.
Posted by: john | Feb 17, 2016 7:08:10 AM | 65

I'm not convinced that Hagel belongs in anyone's list of Yankee psychopaths/ stooges. The pro-Israel Lobby opposed his appointment as Def Sec and, as I've mentioned here before, he didn't lie once between his appointment and his replacement by auto-cue zombie and Frequent Liar, Ash Carter.

Staring down the Jewish Lobby wasn't wimpy and although he hasn't done anything heroic yet, I'm still holding my breath...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 17 2016 14:19 utc | 70

If anyone's got some dirt on Hagel, I'd like to see it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 17 2016 14:30 utc | 71

Anybody have any thoughts on Engdahl's latest at

Posted by: Spudski | Feb 17 2016 14:48 utc | 72

Sorry, no "?" in link. Corrected link:

Posted by: Spudski | Feb 17 2016 14:54 utc | 73

As usual, Erdogan hides his impotence with loud accusations and threats to the whole world while he continues to kill his own people. He presents Turkey as the object of a worldwide machination that he, the glorious sultan, will defy.

Erdoğan slams UN, US, vows to keep hitting PYD ‘terrorists’

Posted by: virgile | Feb 17 2016 15:20 utc | 74

Spudski @ 73: Truly, an excellent read, thanks for the link. We'll know soon of it's validity.

Posted by: ben | Feb 17 2016 15:25 utc | 75

50;The graun had an article about how Russia has put pictures of Obomba smoking in their bus kiosks,saying you don't want to be a smoker like him,who kills innocents.(something like that)The WH said Obomba hasn't smoked in 7 years.Yeah,I believe it !

Posted by: dahoit | Feb 17 2016 15:27 utc | 76

@73 spudski, @75 ben

Really? I thought the guy was chasing his own tail. Starts off saying the cosmodemonic neocons are not at odds, not confused, know exactly what they're doing. Ends up saying they're at odds and confused. I flip between the two myself, like Necker's cube, as we all seem to, but I don't claim to be any more of an analyst than anyone else here with an opinion.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 17 2016 15:59 utc | 77

Monday February 15, 2016 - Alexander Yakovenko Russian Ambassador to Britain stated ...

“Last summer we were told by our Western partners that in October Damascus would fall to IS (ie. the Islamic State – AM).

What they were planning to do next we don’t know. Probably, they would have ended up painting the extremists white and accepting them as a Sunni state straddling Iraq and Syria”.

The fact Yakovenko says the US told the Russians this would result in the Islamic State capturing Damascus by October explains why the Russians felt they had to act as they did.

source -

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 17 2016 16:02 utc | 78

Hoarsewhisperer says:

I'm not convinced that Hagel belongs in anyone's list of Yankee psychopaths/ stooges

hmmm. Yugoslavia. Afghanistan. Iraq. Patriot Act. support for NATO. ISIS fear mongering. Syrian intervention. the Russian 'threat'.

oh yeah, and he served as liaison between the fall of Mubarak and the rise of Sisi as well.

i dunno, maybe Hagel's a good candidate for the 'moderate' faction... still, an obedient apparatchik and minion for Empire.

Posted by: john | Feb 17 2016 16:05 utc | 79

Peter Ford is a former UK ambassador to Syria (2003-2006)

Former UK Ambassador to Syria: Assad is not going to be overthrown

Posted by: virgile | Feb 17 2016 16:06 utc | 80

The CIA proxy "moderate rebels" fire a Saudi/CIA sponsored TOW ($50,000) on a pickup ($5,000) used by they Centcom sponsored proxy SDF/YPG

Posted by: b | Feb 17 2016 16:12 utc | 81

Noirette @64

So you believe that Putin entered Syria principally to clarify US intentions?!?

You don't think they did so - at nearly the last minute - to save Syria from becoming a failed state like Libya, or worse? (As they have claimed.)

You don't think that they already had a pretty good idea of US intentions after Libya, Ukraine, and a proxy war in Syria that was going on for years? (to mention but a few)

Banger has a long history of amorphous musing about "Deep State" factions. Like others that ply that trade, he provides little to no info - leaving the reader with only the ardent hope that a benevolent faction will prevail. Fear the Deep State! Is a self-defeating, self-fulfilling dictum.

I'm not saying that there is no 'Deep State' / factions, but I those that talk about it, and claim specific info, should be challenged.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2016 16:30 utc | 82

Adding to b's speculation:

Obama's news conference as related by Pat Lang at SST and Ash Carter's interview with Charlie Rose as described by Alberto @36 lead me to wonder if the 4:30am call that Putin placed to Obama was prompted by a US ultimatum: CoH/stop bombing or we will intervene.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 17 2016 17:05 utc | 83

This may be relevant, since I think it's been confirmed US 'helping' in east Syria:

Regime Faces Discontent from Loyalists After Officers 'Betray' Soldiers in Ambush, Massacre

The page said: “The general told them they needed to penetrate about 1-2 km into the militant-held areas. The soldiers told him that the area was very dangerous and the attack should be preceded by artillery fire. The general accused the soldiers of being a ‘fifth column’ and said what was demanded were military orders, and those who violated them would be transferred to military courts (…) The soldiers were forced to attack, and found themselves in an ambush prepared with all types of weapons. From among 250 fighters only 60 survived”.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Feb 17 2016 17:29 utc | 84

Noirette #64, Jackrabbit #80 - I like the concept of clarifying the US position but more as an incidental result than a cause. I do think there's something that could be said about this, but I'm not going to try it here.

It's well established that the US was on the verge of declaring a no-fly zone over Syria, and that Russia intervened in order to prevent this. And it worked.

I didn't want the Mercouris link from Noirette to get lost, it's a short piece about how the Russian ambassador to UK revealed that the US has told Russia last summer that IS would be in Damascus by fall - i.e. this was the plan of US.

Even more I liked the older Mercouris piece that he links to in this story. Dated Nov 7 last year, it's amazing to re-read it now and see how well Mercouris really did nail the situation. His descriptions of what would have happened if the Russians hadn't intervened are masterful, and very chilling.

As he said at the time, Russia's entry changed the whole calculus for the US. Realists like Kerry soon understood that a Geneva agreement could be the only ending, and in essence one part of the US administration was now waiting for the hardliners such as the neocons to catch up with this realization.

The current story about the ambassador is here:
Russian Diplomat Drops a Bombshell: US Expected ISIS to Seize Damascus by October

and the older story, which I really recommend, is here:
How Russia Is Saving Syria

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 17 2016 17:43 utc | 85

jfl @21

Agree that Kurds must be fairly dealt with by Syria, Iraq and Iran as their homelands form the buffer belt between them and a Turkey that's very likely to remain unfriendly. Indeed, the 10K security belt Erdogan's demanding be placed outside Turkey's borders I see as being placed within Turkey's borders as the price it must pay for its support for the terrorist invasion of Syria and all the death and destruction its caused. We may find out which special forces are helping Kurds, or we might not. My hunch about them being Iranian seemed logical and practical.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 17 2016 19:03 utc | 87


The US does not see the Syrian Kurds as friendlies, they see them as expendable tools to be dispensed with,

I am stumped, I thought that Webster definition of "friendlies" is "expendable tools while they are operating". However, on practical level, once some personnel is delegated to work with "friendlies", they often develop personal ties and advocate for their friends, and at times, they go beyond mere orders.


both peoples have an excessive fondness for sheep

I beg to differ. Sheep are adorable, and I cannot imagine "excessive fondness": they deserve any amount of fondness! Check this:

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 17 2016 21:01 utc | 88

Grieved @ 85,
"It's well established that the US was on the verge of declaring a no-fly zone over Syria, and that Russia intervened in order to prevent this. And it worked."

I don't think it IS well established; at the end of July Gen'l Allen (neocon faction) leaked his intention to set up with Erdogan a "safe zone". It was covered prominently by the NYT, and Obama denied it, and even made Turkey quit (at the time) attacking the Syrian Kurds.

Please remember that imm'y after Obama's re-election the honey-pot trap was sprung on Petraeus & Allen-- but so powerful was Allen that Obama cdn't make it stick. It was only after Allen's push for the "safe zone" and the accusation of false intell being given to the President that Allen was forced to resign.

Brookings Inst [neocon] put forth various refinements of the no-fly. Tony Cartalucci was helpful in spotlighting these. But Obama has not wavered on denying these even when very powerful people pushed for the no-fly.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 17 2016 23:08 utc | 89

I am not looking at the fine-grained details that most here are aware of, and I live mostly on a different area of the Web. What gets my attention is that the Russians would not have become involved unless they felt both a compelling need, and believed they could change the outcome in Syria. So therefor: That they have a very different approach to "security" than the United State. And, somebody in the United State's "intelligence community" made a bad miscalculation here. So yeah there's going to be some internal strife. Seems it almost could not be otherwise. Maybe the people at the top have walked away and the various agencies are more or less out of sync here?

Posted by: blues | Feb 17 2016 23:11 utc | 90

For my part, I believe that it is the Obama faction which has been for peace in Syria with Assad-- not the US military faction. I will not repeat here the actions by the US which cleared the way for the Russia/Iran campaign in Syria. Obviously it's Obama's resistance which has prevented a no-fly both before & after the beginning of the Russian campaign, and his resistance which has prevented US troop deployment to the Syrian theatre.

I'm aware of only two factions in the US power structure.
The neocon faction includes Bush, Cheney, CIA and military intell, Zionists, Exxon-Mobil, and elements of the military including Joint Chiefs, Gen Allen, Petraeus, Hillary, Jeffrey Feltman and many other neocons, some segment of the military, and especially the Navy.

Three factors I've indentified behind the factional differences--
1) For a global oligarchy you don't have to conquer everyone: More powerful countries should be invited into the plan, w a seat at the table (China & Russia). Neocon faction disagrees, puts faith in subjugation of everyone.

2) The Obama faction has been willing since 2009 to retire the dollar as world reserve currency. The neocon faction isn't ready for that, wants to continue dollar status.

3) The Obama/Rockefeller faction has a strategic preference: it prefers the covert to visible military action. Its preferred tools are GMOs, pharmaceuticals, biologicals, trade pacts and bleeding the powers of national sovereignties into the supranationals which it controls.

Obama faction includes BIS, Rockefeller, Soros, Gates, NSC (Snowden op was a CIA op against NSC), most of the FBI,

The goal of both factions is an oligarchical global feudalism w a greatly reduced population, the form of which may bepromoted as "socialist" but will strip individuals of all power.

*Strauss-Kahn was arrested in an obviously false set-up for abusing a chambermaid in NYC. According to T Meyssan this was a last-minute overthrow of a plan to step down the dollar, replacing it w a partially gold-backed currency out of Libya. Strauss-Kahn was then heading up the IMF & the deal was already G20 approved. Scroll down to "The Zhou Project".

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 18 2016 0:42 utc | 91

Wrote b. : Some reinforcement for the (rebel forces fighting the Kurds) arrived from Idleb. These passed from Idleb into Turkey and from Turkey into the pocket. The destruction of these forces in the Azaz pocket will make the further fights of the Syrian army in Idleb and elsewhere a lot easier."

But also wrote: "The aim now is to push all foreign proxy forces who are still in that pocket (green) back north into Turkey and to get full control of the border."

If they are destroyed, as in the first quote, it should certainly ease the fight of the Syrian army in Idleb. If they are driven out of the pocket into Turkey, then they will reenter Syria via Idleb (the reverse of the reinforcement process described); and not only the balance of the reinforcements, but also the balance of the forces that were in the pocket already, before the reinforcements arrived. That would result in a net increase in rebel fighters in Idleb, which would make the task of the Syrian army there more difficult.

The question is whether a strategic retreat is more likely than a stand to the last man, and in the case of a strategic retreat, what kind of attrition occurs before the pocket is abandoned. That assumes the Kurds are triumphant. But depending on the number of reinforcements sent (which in turn depends on how secure rebel positions in Idleb are from Syrian army and/or Iranian/Hezbollah attacks), the Kurds may have a long and perhaps nondecisive slog in front of them.

Three questions:

(1) What sort of pressure on rebel positions in Idleb is the Syrian army and allies putting on Idleb rebels during this Kurdish offensive?

(2) What numbers of combat forces (including those free for redeployment as reinforcements to the pocket) are available to both the Kurds and the rebels fighting for control of the pocket?

(3) Given that Islamic State is at odds with the other rebel groups, it is unlikely to send fighters to help with the Azaz pocket fight. (Or is it?) On the other hand, IS wants the Azaz border with Turkey to remain open for important logistical reasons. By opening up a second front against the Kurds elsewhere, they can prevent the Kurds from reinforcing Azaz as much as might otherwise be possible, or even draw off some of the Kurdish forces from Azaz. Is there any indication of this happening?

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 18 2016 1:13 utc | 92

Re 81:

I watched the YouTube video. The target is not a "pickup" -- you can clearly hear the large diesel engine and steely noises of a tracked vehicle like a tank, and the slowness and profile of the target also make it look like a tank. The Kurds do not field tanks in Syria.

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 18 2016 1:40 utc | 93

I think much of your info comes from T. Meyssan. I don't find him to be credible. I don't follow him but I see, from time to time things he writes or memes he promotes. Now he is saying that Obama has "regained control" of Syrian policy and that Russia and USA/Obama have agreed to a plan for Syria.

IMO, the 'factions' that you mention are a smokescreen. Much like the theater we see from the Democratic 'Third-Way' Centrists (Obama and the Clintons) and the 'batshit crazy' Republicans. One is the 'heavy' that exerts constant hard-line political pressure, the other calibrates when and how much to give in.

Don't be fooled. The continuity in government policy from Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama says a lot.

PS the use of covert forces and 'soft power' came about because Americans were disgusted by the Iraq War (the lies, the abuses, the cost, etc.) It is NOT because Obama prefers these. In fact, Bush Administration neocons had already mapped out the new strategy well before Obama took office.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 18 2016 1:52 utc | 94


T Meyssan seems like an Obama apologist. Obama "regains control" to reach accord with Russia is fanboi fantasy based on unsupported assumptions of factional palace intrigues.

The view that Obama is a good-hearted, peace-loving, progressive-minded guy has been disproved time and time again. Anyone that is still pushing that line is just not credible.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 18 2016 2:27 utc | 95

Why on earth would I listen to some "T Meyssan" French guy? He has some inside info?

What? Really? Probably not.

Posted by: blues | Feb 18 2016 3:28 utc | 96

Jack Rabbit at 82. So you believe that Putin entered Syria principally to clarify US intentions?!?

Yes, as a *necessary* corollary, not ‘principally.’ (See also Grieved.) As I said in my post, one could list many reasons, and I mentioned Assad as Ally and defending Syria or what not, your: to save Syria from becoming a failed state like Libya, or worse — the stated, primary, and sincere aim. But follows from that aim, and putative plans on how to achieve it, a need for a definition of who the enemy is, how best to fix, deliminit, all the elements/factions in play. (Officially, against Daesh, terrorism, etc.) That means clarifying the role of the US (Turkey..KSA..) and forcing the parties into stances/actions that can be countered (guns, diplomacy or other.) It requires bringing lies and duplicity at least somewhat to light. And of course, exposing the US’s contradictions and unacknowledged acts - which is working quite well. Many ppl all over the world over no longer believe that ISIS is just a bunch of spontaneous nutters…In this way, Russia tells the Hegemon, you cannot continue these policies: or, if you want to, you must go public, and expect severe backlash and condemnation.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 18 2016 11:38 utc | 97

@93 Emil Pulsifer

It's a flatbed truck with something on the back.

(Not that anyone is interested, but I added a y to my name, because I realized 'crest' sounded neo-fascist. I intended the toothpaste, foamy and clean)

Posted by: Cresty | Feb 18 2016 15:33 utc | 98

re 98

The Arabic text of the Youtube actually calls it a 'pickup', though that's not quite right.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 18 2016 16:59 utc | 99

To reiterate what I posted over at STT, my take is that those are Russian trained Kurdish forces.

"Dear Turkey, here you get to observe what properly trained and equipped Kurds can do. If you dont stop your antics, your opportunities to observe such Kurds will soon multiply exponentially. Love, Russia."

Posted by: A.I.Schmelzer | Feb 18 2016 17:45 utc | 100

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