Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 20, 2016

U.S. Ignores Own UNSC Resolution - Tells Russia "Stop Bombing Al-Qaeda!"

UN Security Council Resolution 2254 calls for a "ceasefire" in Syria. A "ceasefire", unconditioned according to the resolution, would be for the whole country but would exclude certain groups:

[r]eiterates its call in resolution 2249 (2015) for Member States to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, [...] and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria, and notes that the aforementioned ceasefire will not apply to offensive or defensive actions against these individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, as set forth in the 14 November 2015 ISSG Statement;

The resolution also underlines Syria's sovereignty. The UNSC is:

Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, ...

The whole UNSC, including the U.S., France and Britain, agreed to this resolution.

But the U.S., France and the UK now want to erase these significant parts of the resolution.

  • They no longer want a ceasefire but only a "cessation of hostilities".
  • They demand that under such a "cessation" all bombing of al-Nusra/al-Qaeda and its associated entities should stop.
  • They now want to ignore Syria's just reaffirmed sovereignty.

The Saudis and its puppies in the Syrian opposition disagreed with the UNSC resolution. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry promptly blamed them for preventing a ceasefire but was then pulled back. In last weeks negotiations in Geneva Kerry took the Saudi position and thereby sabotaged any real ceasefire talk which would include much more than just a stop of firing. Kerry agreed only to a lower level "cessation of hostilities". As the former Indian ambassador to Turkey M K Bhadrakumar remarks:

Whereas a ceasefire brings in legal obligations, which would commit the US to sit across the table and meet the Russian – and, more importantly, Syrian – military counterparts and draw up detailed modalities of implementation, UN Security Council supervision and so on, the ‘cessation of hostilities’ can be punctuated at will without breaking international law.

Meanwhile, US and its allies are keen to gain access to all nooks and corners of Syrian territory, which will eventually help to mobilize any military operations under Plan B, especially ground operations. The humanitarian missions provide the cover for reconnaissance and ground work.

The West has let loose a massive propaganda barrage against the Russian operations. Equally, the refugee crisis moulds the western opinion. The NATO is inching towards the conflict zone.
At any rate, a humanitarian intervention in Syria may be just what President Barrack Obama needs to salvage his reputation.

Bhadrakumar quotes Lavrov who was livid over this foul play which ignored the agreed upon UNSC Resolution.

U.S. rhetoric and propaganda over alleged Russian human rights violations in the war has since increased.

Despite Russia's concern over the low level of a "cessation of hostilities", it insisted on common meetings at the working level to lay out the rules for the "cessation". The first meeting only took place yesterday, the day the "cessation" was originally supposed to begin.

It was the U.S., especially the Pentagon, that had dragged out the start of the talks. At the meeting the U.S. inserted a new condition, copied from the Saudis string puppet opposition, into the talks.

The U.S. now demands, contrary to the UNSC resolution, that the terrorist group al-Qaeda in Syria should no longer be fought.

The Washington Post reports of yesterday's meeting:

The deadline for a cease-fire in Syria’s civil war came and went Friday, as joint diplomatic and military teams from the United States and Russia tried to agree on rules covering where the shooting would stop and where it would be allowed to continue.
“Everyone recognizes the complexity of this endeavor, and there is certainly a lot more work to do,” Kerry said in a statement. “These discussions have been serious and so far constructive, with a few tough issues still to resolve.”

Translation of Kerry's diplomatese: "Let's drag this out as looooong as possible."

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter was said to have opposed the high-level contact with the Russians, at least initially. But Kerry and others in the administration argued that the subject matter demanded military expertise.
Under the terms of the Munich deal, the United States and Russia are co-chairs of a task force to work out the terms of a cease-fire, including where airstrikes against “terrorist” groups are permitted to continue and how to resolve violations.
One of the many problems to be overcome is a differing definition of what constitutes a terrorist group. In addition to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Russia and Syria have labeled the entire opposition as terrorists.

Jabhat al-Nusra, whose forces are intermingled with moderate rebel groups in the northwest near the Turkish border, is particularly problematic. Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out.

Read that again. The U.S. supports opposition that "intermingles" with al-Qaeda? Are these not "entities associated with Al Qaeda" which the UNSC 2254 explicitly excludes from any ceasefire? And the U.S., which over the years killed thousands of civilians while droning alleged al-Qaeda personal, now demands that all bombing of al-Qaeda in Syria stops?

The breathtaking new U.S. condition to let al-Qaeda continue its slaughtering without interference is directly based on demands by the Saudis submitted through the Saudi controlled opposition.

That opposition today presented "new conditions" under which it would agree to the ceasefire. Hala Jaber, Sunday Times journalist in the Middle East, noted:

Hala Jaber Verified account @HalaJaber
#HNC leader #RiadHijab reached consent with rebel groups 4 "temporary ceasefires",but only if certain conditions met

2/ New statement being made to sound as a break through when, in effect, it's the same stance as pre #Geneva talks.

3/ Conditions entail:
1-Ceasefire 2 kickstart simultaneously by all sides
2-End of all siege
3-Provision of aid
4-Release of all prisoners.

Reuters later added:

A source close to peace talks earlier on Saturday told Reuters Syria's opposition had agreed to a two- to three-week truce.

The truce would be renewable and supported by all parties except Islamic State, the source said. It would also be conditional on the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front no longer being targeted, at least to start with, the source said.

The Nusra Front is considered a terrorist organization by the U.N. Security Council and banned.

Asked if the opposition's insistence on the Nusra Front no longer being targeted was the main stumbling block, he described it as "the elephant in the room".

These are of course unacceptable pre-conditions which are not in line with UNSC 2254 which calls for a political process "in parallel" to a full ceasefire, not as precondition for a "temporary" "cessation".

The foreign sponsored terrorists in Syria are on the run and need a pause to resupply and reorganize. At the time they and their sponsors introduce demands that make any truce or "cessation of hostilities" impossible.

That the U.S. demand to stop bombing al-Qaeda is also hypocrisy squared. It yesterday bombed, without any base in international law, some houses in Libya and killed some 50 people including two Serbian diplomats. It alleges that some of these people belong to the Islamic State, formerly named al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Russia yesterday introduced a new resolution at the UNSC as a counteract to Turkish artillery fire which is hitting the Syrian Kurdish groups YPG which is also supported by the U.S.:

The Russian draft, seen by Reuters, would have the council express "its grave alarm at the reports of military buildup and preparatory activities aimed at launching foreign ground intervention into the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic."

It also demands that states "refrain from provocative rhetoric and inflammatory statements inciting further violence and interference into internal affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic."

The Russian one page paper only restated basic sovereignty principle of the United Nations Charter which were also reconfirmed in UNSC 2254. But now the U.S., France and UK rejected those statements and no new resolution was adopted.

The U.S. is now ignoring or even contradicting the UNSC 2254 resolution it had endorsed just a weeks ago.

  • It no longer wants a ceasefire in Syria.
  • It wants al-Qaeda off the terrorist list on which it was put on demand of the U.S.
  • It wants to ignore Syria's sovereignty.

This is a quite amazing turn away from the earlier positions. But do not expect any U.S. mainstream media to point that out. That would require some real reporting about the impetus for these moves and the intent behind them.

Posted by b on February 20, 2016 at 15:24 UTC | Permalink

next page »

And me who thought yesterday that they finally came to their senses. Like many said here, do not trust the US.

Posted by: jeanv | Feb 20 2016 15:35 utc | 1

Obama had a long phonecall with Erdogan. Result in a nutshell; the u.s. is supporting the turkish position. This means; the possibility of the Turkey Regime attacking the Kurds on Syrian territory, or even a full scale invasion is growing. And this means likely a war with Russia. And much more...

Posted by: Pnyx | Feb 20 2016 15:49 utc | 2

The US diplomatic version of "who's on first?". On top of the insult to the towns who were so excited to finally receive brokered aid only to have the shipment be fill of useless items and stale food, no one's laughing. A sick joke. I think this lends credence to Engsahl's piece concerning deception as an official strategy in US policy.

Posted by: Colinjames | Feb 20 2016 15:57 utc | 3

While Washington keeps on dithering, the Russians are well prepared to any eventuality according to the latest Southfront report:

This quote is interesting and explains the YPG offensive: "Likewise the Kurdish units which in the past waged their own uncoordinated struggle against ISIS have now been fully incorporated into the Russian-led coalition in return for Syrian government’s political concessions."

Posted by: jeanv | Feb 20 2016 16:05 utc | 4

The US MIC will not be denied its profits.

Posted by: D | Feb 20 2016 16:09 utc | 5

US, UK, France. Well there is always the Hague. The International Court of JustUS that has NEVER prosecuted a Kosher Amish criminal.

The events in Syria and the resultant outcry of US, UK, France signal the ending of the criminal conspiracy known as NATO. Originally conceived as a defensive force that would contain Russia NATO along with the U$A has degenerated into a vast criminal conspiracy. An economic vampire sucking the life blood of the people of the ME.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 20 2016 16:20 utc | 6

Just when you think the U.S can't stoop any lower it somehow manages to defy expectations again and again.

"Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire..."

This is just so far beyond shameful, to think that less than 15 years after 9/11 that the U.S would be advocating a cease fire to protect Al-Qaeda that it beggars belief.

A Russian 'success' in Syria (saving Assad, maintaining integrity of country) will establish the 'high water mark' for U.S post Cold War power and the U.S probably fears this could begin a cascade of further failures as more and more countries stand up for their own interests.

Forget Russian intervention signifying weakness, current U.S actions demonstrate panic, confusion and indecisiveness.

Posted by: WG | Feb 20 2016 16:22 utc | 7

GREAT stuff b! We all know Al Qaeda support is the actual U.S. position, but it's cool to see the Washington Post (inadvertently) exposing reality.

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 20 2016 16:23 utc | 8

Meanwhile, Serbia, (yes you heard it right )want closer ties to Nato, beyond stupid!

Hundreds of pro-Russian Serbs protest govt deal for closer NATO ties
Hundreds of pro-Russian Serb nationalists held a protest on Saturday against a government deal that is forging closer ties with NATO. The protesters in downtown Belgrade chanted slogans against the Western military alliance, Serbia’s leaders and carried portraits of Russian President Vladimir Putin while waving Russian flags, AP reported. NATO bombed Serbia, which has historic ties with ally Russia, in 1999.

Posted by: Flexhun | Feb 20 2016 16:27 utc | 9

The battlefield situation's rapidly deteriorating for the terrorists and thus their sponsors, so they're desperation's so extreme that they're saying the UN Charter doesn't apply to Syria, nor do UNSC resolutions apply to them or their terrorists. All their actions do is motivate Russia and its allies all the more, and that motivation's easily seen in combat. The Turks have apparently told their terrorists to stand and die within the cauldrons, not to surrender. I wonder how that will work.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 20 2016 16:28 utc | 10

If I was Russia I would focus on bombing the Nusra Front primarily.

I hope that Russia and China can force a new Bretton Woods world finance meeting soon to address continued world domination by the cabal of families that own private finance.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 20 2016 16:36 utc | 11

There was a big NATO meeting and the Syrian Donors Conference the week before the Munich conference which brought all the craziest and most destructive forces together. They somehow changed everything and got Obama to change course. I'll never understand Obama. Was he so moved because they said he was weak and a loser?

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Feb 20 2016 17:04 utc | 12

The US,UK and France failing to back Russia's UNSC Resolution [which as b stated above only sets out UN charter principles] has given the green light to Turkish aggression, unfortunately for Turkey any aggression will mean they are on their own, and in no position to face down the combined might of Syria,Russia,Iran and Hezbollah and possibly Iraq.

Posted by: harry law | Feb 20 2016 17:04 utc | 13

Any delays accrues to the benefit of the Syrian army and the Russians. They are winning on the battlefield. The longer this goes on there will not be many jihadists left in Syria.

Posted by: ab initio | Feb 20 2016 17:10 utc | 14

Pnyx @2:

Obama had a long phonecall with Erdogan.

Note: According to b's FOXNews link, Putin spoke to Saudi King Salman on Friday.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 20 2016 17:24 utc | 15

b quotes M K Bhadrakumar as saying:

The NATO is inching towards the conflict zone.

NATO Warns Turkey It Won’t Support Ankara in Conflict With Russia
Its important not to read too much into this. NATO would likely defend Turkey from Russian incursion/attack on Turkish territory. But they will not support Turkish aggression against Syria.

There is an very important and very delicate positioning going in the last two weeks whereby there is a distancing from Turkey but hate towards Russia. This has the associated effect of making US/NATO look reasonable when they have effectively been supportive of using extremists as a weapon for years.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 20 2016 17:40 utc | 16

From Obama's perspective, what do you do if your wretched allies refuse to agree to any reasonable ceasefire terms, if their strongest fighters are Al Qaeda, and if they just completely refuse to back off and understand that they lost this war? What do you do if you're Obama?

Another thing that occurs to me in answer to the question of what the HECK happened to cause the major shift/backtrack by Obama and Kerry last week -- maybe it was Israel demanding this from the US and declaring that they will side with Saudis and Turkey in a ground war. The US can tell Turkey they're on their own but can they do that to Israel? I think Obama and the EU want to avoid this ground war at all costs (even at the risk of supporting AQ). What would you do if you were in their place? None of these 3 countries care how many people get killed or displaced.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Feb 20 2016 17:43 utc | 17

Let's drag this out as looooong as possible

yeah, 'cause, i mean, we've only killed or displaced about half the population, only destroyed about half the hospitals and only decimated about half the agricultural infrastructure...

Posted by: john | Feb 20 2016 17:48 utc | 18


Translation of Kerry's diplomatese: "Let's drag this out as looooong as possible."

US/Kerry may want to drag it out. But doesn't a long delay in reaching a CoH/ceasefire work to the advantage of the 4+1 Coalition?

IMO Kerry's lack of urgency is more reflective of the non-negotiability of his position.

This is part and parcel of the strange diplomatic dynamic where Russia gets blamed for any failures because they are portrayed as 1) the aggressor and 2) not interested in 'peace'.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 20 2016 17:49 utc | 19

America Is Now Fighting A Proxy War With Itself In Syria

Confusion in the Obama administration’s Syria policy is playing out on the ground as US-backed groups begin battling each other

Posted by: Ol' Man River | Feb 20 2016 18:13 utc | 20

Interesting article. It shows the mess Washington got into and the conflict of interests between the Pentagon (behind the YPG) and the "moderate rebels" (backed by the CIA).

Poor, poor moderate head choppers. Time to pack before it's too late folks. I just hope those cauldrons around them will close soon, that might stop their sponsors whining.

Posted by: jeanv | Feb 20 2016 18:32 utc | 21

@10 karlof, @13 hl

I think you're both right. Negotiations will continue on the ground. The US has set up Turkey - Erdogan - for catastrophic failure. The US is content just to keep the death, devastation, and destruction in Syria going as long as it can. Meanwhile, Obama's war in Libya is picking up again.

I wonder if the trajectories of the shells/satellite pictures/something cannot give the Syrians/Russians the precise coordinates of the Turkish guns shelling Syria? They've tried the UNSC, they have no recourse left but either to accept Turkey's 'right' to shell Syria at will or to put an end to it. Once the guns are silenced, what are the Turks going to do ... take Syria/Russia to the Hague over the interdiction of their 'right' to shell neighbors across their borders?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 20 2016 18:43 utc | 22

Pentagon discreetly provided Russia with US special forces’ location in Syria | RT |

In December 2015, the US began deploying special forces teams of up to 50 operators into northeastern Syria to support Syrian rebel groups fighting there. Cook said that around the same time, high-level Defense Department officials shared information on the general location of those troops with the Russian Ministry of Defense. He declined to say whether the US and Russia had any formal written agreement.

Air Force Lieutenant General Charles Brown Jr., head of the US Air Force Central Command, told journalists in a briefing {Feb. 18, 2016] from his office in Qatar that the request to Russia was informal.

    “I don’t have any assurances, really, from the Russians. But we told them … these general areas where we
    have coalition forces. And we don’t want them to strike there because all it’s going to do is escalate things,”
    Brown told reporters, as quoted by the Military Times/DoD Press Release.

    “The Russians have actually outlined some areas — some of the airfields that they're worried about, that they
    don't want us flying close to, and really, typically, we don't fly there anyway. So, that hasn't been an issue.”

Lt. Gen. Brown repeatedly referred to “operational security” and declined to say publicly where US special forces troops are operating in Syria.

Posted by: Oui | Feb 20 2016 18:49 utc | 23

Won't this be about the ninth or tenth time you people have predicted an Nato intervention in Syria? I don't see why Naked Capitalism keeps touting this site. Especially since y'all went vaxxer on zika. When is the web store going online? I want an official MOA tinfoil hat.

Posted by: rebar | Feb 20 2016 18:53 utc | 24

Hey King, let's talk ... then I won't need to wipe a city of yours off the map. Sounds like a repeat performance when Prince Bandar visited the Kremlin ahead of the Sochi games. Prince Bandar threatened with terror strikes inside Russia, it didn't work out well for him and was retired.

Salman, Putin hold talks on Syria crisis | The Saudi Gazette |

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Friday received a telephone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders discussed bilateral relations with special emphasis on the 90th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

The Kremlin said President Putin and King Salman “expressed interest in settling the Syrian crisis and ensuring stability and security in the entire region of the Middle East and North Africa.” Putin also reaffirmed his invitation for King Salman to visit Russia at a time that would be convenient for him.

On Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said any participation by Saudi forces in a US-led ground operation in Syria would focus on fighting the Daesh (the so-called IS) group not President Bashar Al-Assad.

Posted by: Oui | Feb 20 2016 18:58 utc | 25

We should not forget that Jabhat al-Nusra (in the south) is also supported by Israel.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 20 2016 18:58 utc | 26

thank you b for spelling it out so clearly...

russia is going to have to use nuclear weapons.. they have no choice... usa/nato supporting al qaeda sums it up.. these fuckers will stoop to whatever level necessary on their rape and pillage campaign... does russia have the metal to call bullshit? if they don't - we're fucked...

there's that word again - 'moderate'.. there's a sucker born every day.. and below a re-quote of a very bad joke had on all suckers..

"Jabhat al-Nusra, whose forces are intermingled with moderate rebel groups in the northwest near the Turkish border, is particularly problematic. Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out."

Posted by: james | Feb 20 2016 19:07 utc | 27

Hold Fast. That is all.

Posted by: Lozion | Feb 20 2016 19:09 utc | 28

It shows what fraud the war on terror is.

How many Americans realize JAN is al-Qaida and their own government is trying to protect them ?

Posted by: Lacilir | Feb 20 2016 19:12 utc | 29

i see ssr has an article articulating my basic thought @27... that doesn't surprise me..

Posted by: james | Feb 20 2016 19:13 utc | 30

So, CIA and Pentagon have had the excuse since 9/11 to destroy the culture and economies of several ME countries, and then they have created and paid militias to fight each other. Therefore, in order to be able to support their families the locals have had little options.

How wonderful, we have shared our values throughout the world.

Either grow poppies or join a western sponsored militia....or starve. Sad state of affairs. JMO.

Posted by: shadyl | Feb 20 2016 19:13 utc | 31

@29 lacilir.. the americans who follow the msm are butthead stupid..

Posted by: james | Feb 20 2016 19:14 utc | 32

jfl @22

Russia has counter-battery radar it could employ to take out the Turkish guns. Syria can invoke its right to self-defense and take them out. Aside from actually invading in force, there's nothing the Turks can do. The border really must be secured, so something's gonna give; I believe that something will be the Turks. I also think Assad's going to let the Kurds finish the job, maybe even provide them with the artillery for it, and the Kurdish Belt will be complete. But whatever happens, it's going to happen soon as the situation's moving very rapidly.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 20 2016 19:15 utc | 33

U.S.-backed rebel leader in Syria who was attacked by another U.S.-backed group: "I don't understand U.S. politics."

Posted by: Lacilir | Feb 20 2016 19:15 utc | 34

I guess the US isn't actually an evil empire at all, because it's frequently constrained, bound and accountable to UN resolutions....... What a sick joke. Anyone who believes in the power of UN resolutions over the evil empire is a moron. What, the Iraqi genocide from 2003 wasn't enough for you ?

Posted by: tom | Feb 20 2016 19:16 utc | 35

By rejecting the UNSC resolution to humiliate Syria and Russia, the West is giving a green light to the Turks to escalate the attacks on the Syrian Kurds. The YPG leaders may see this as a treason and as a sign that the West gives a low priority to their security.

As a result, the Syrian Kurds may want to get closer to Russia and to the Syrian army with whom they share the same enemies: ISIS and Turkey supported Islamist militias.

It is probable that Russia will turn the rejection of the UNSC resolution into a weapon against Turkey and the West.

If the West handpicks only the content of a UNSC resolution that is convenient to them, Russia will do the same.
I expect the fall of Azzaz to accelerate with the help of the Russian planes.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 20 2016 19:28 utc | 36

Copied from a poster on talk Saker thread :

Davutoglu in Sarajevo:
“Now is the time for reunification. … From the 15th to the 20th century, the history of the Balkans was a history of success. We can have this success again.”

“We have a common history, a common destiny, a common future. Like in the 16th century, when the Ottoman Balkans was ascendant, we will once again make the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East – together with Turkey – the center of world politics in the future. That is the goal of Turkish foreign policy, and we will achieve it. We will reintegrate the Balkans, we will reintegrate the Middle East, and we will reintegrate the Caucasus on these principles of regional and world peace, not just for us, but for all of humanity.”

Posted by: Lacilir | Feb 20 2016 19:29 utc | 37

Actually, re my 26, where I mentioned Israel's support for al-Nusra, I wonder whether it is still the case. The Israelis are notorious for dropping people when they're no longer useful. According to the latest ISW map (Neo-Con, I know), Jabhat al-Nusra is no longer on the Golan frontier. And they've served their purpose for Israel in destroying the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk. So I wouldn't be surprised if they've been dropped.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 20 2016 19:52 utc | 38

@27 james

I cannot imagine Russia being the first to use nuclear weapons short of its own borders being overrun by NATO kamikazis. But the US seems trying to find out if my imagination is correct. I think the rhetoric is several levels above the actual, physical level of conflict. Hope it stays that way. Actually, wouldn't hurt if the rhetoric were toned down. I also cannot imagine just one side using nuclear weapons once they've been used at all.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 20 2016 20:09 utc | 39

The "War on Terror", like the "War on Drugs", has had the same outcome. Think of dropping a bowling ball into a puddle of mud. The result of both has been to transform a puddle into a sea of misery. But profitable! Very, very profitable if farming misery is how you earn your squillions of black money.

Posted by: Hal Duell | Feb 20 2016 20:25 utc | 40

The RT article linked by Oui here...
Posted by: Oui | Feb 20, 2016 1:49:07 PM | 23

...raises the probability that the Yankees breached the Gentleman's Agreement with Russia, by attacking the SAA, so Russia decided to breach it too. The agreement outlined in the article makes no sense at all to me, considering that when it came into effect Kerry was still parroting the "Assad must go" trope. One could (and should) assume that the US Special Ops folks referred to were up to no good in Syria but the Russians were prepared to adopt a "wait and see" attitude. And then kill 'em all as soon as they showed their hand...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 20 2016 20:29 utc | 41

There's a lot of anger here, on the part of Erdogan and the Saudis, but I'm not convinced that it's going to lead to actual action. The US won't want the situation to get out of control, that is not decided by the US. Otherwise, as commenters have said, it could lead to nuclear war.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 20 2016 20:33 utc | 42


The ISW maps indicate Russian air strikes only ... is NOT updated for territorial gains: see these two maps:

Syria Security Update: Jan. 26 – Feb. 1, 2016 | ISW maps |
Syria Security Update: Oct. 27 – Nov. 5, 2015 | ISW maps |

Posted by: Oui | Feb 20 2016 20:36 utc | 43

One exception here:

Russian-Enabled Regime Gains in Syria: Dec. 30, 2015 | ISW maps |

Posted by: Oui | Feb 20 2016 20:37 utc | 44

In previous articles, b has published accurate maps of the moving front lines in the rush to Raqqa!

The situation in Syria – Maps   by Thomas van Linge

twitter info @arabthomness

Posted by: Oui | Feb 20 2016 20:46 utc | 45

@35 @36,

While the U.S. plays Calvinball , saner nations try to adhere to the rule of law.

Posted by: b4real | Feb 20 2016 20:50 utc | 46

re 43

"The ISW maps indicate Russian air strikes only ... is NOT updated for territorial gains: see these two maps:"

I didn't look at Russian airstrike maps, but in any case all show the same thing. Al-nusra is longer on the Golan, which is what I thought from reports. The point is is that for Israel, Jabhat al-Nusra has served its purpose in destroying Yarmouk, and is no longer of importance, and can be dropped.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 20 2016 21:12 utc | 47

The U.S. Senate is poised to give President Obama and the next president unprecedented war powers that amount to declaring martial law upon the entire world.

Unfortunately, there is no ONE person who can be removed that would change the course we are on.

If the U.S. financial system is not crashed soon, nuclear war is inevitable. U.S. is counting on remaining unscathed as once again the lands of Europe and Asia bear the destruction.

History rhymes.

Posted by: b4real | Feb 20 2016 21:15 utc | 48

re 48. Of course if the US wants nuclear war, we will have it. i remember the same threat in 1983-4 with Reagan.

Go to nuclear war for Turkey and Saudi, though, sounds a bit fantasy.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 20 2016 21:29 utc | 49

james @ 27 says:

russia is going to have to use nuclear weapons..

ya know james, i think the Russians are keenly cognizant of the fact that the USA is the only nation on earth that has ever used nuclear weapons against fellow human beings.

Posted by: john | Feb 20 2016 21:29 utc | 50

Looks like US is still trying to nudge Erdogan to jump, but I think he's too shrewd.

Posted by: Penelope | Feb 20 2016 21:42 utc | 51

@39 jfl and @ 50 john.. all worst case scenarios, but have to keep these options open...

meanwhile in the silly news headlines dept(daily sabah) "Turkey has right to self-defense against terrorism, Obama tells Erdoğan" ....... but apparently syria doesn't have a right to self-defense against terrorism, but must run it by the west first to see if they might accidentally hit a 'moderate' terrorist by mistake..

can't make this silly shit up any better..

Posted by: james | Feb 20 2016 21:43 utc | 52

Likely dated, this map shows the sanctuary of Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria. I'm sure al-Nusra is controlling the region along the Golan Heights.

Jabhat al-Nusra Sanctuary
Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria | Vice News |

Posted by: Oui | Feb 20 2016 21:44 utc | 53

re 53. As you say, dated, not in the latest map. That was the point of my thought.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 20 2016 21:50 utc | 54

5 and 52

Today Trump is selling the apocryphal story of General Pershing's 'bullets dipped in pig's blood', as a call to arms against all Muslims, everywhere, when the truth of the story is the US is being overrun by Mexican drug cartels, not Muslims.

The truth of the story is the US bought the Philippines for $20M from Spain, and immediately occupied Luzon as a USA COLONY. The villagers, who today would be called 'moderate freedom fighters' were armed only with barongs, short machetes, against US machine guns and cannon.

The US slaughtered 600,000 Filipino men, women and CHILDREN on Luzon, which is NOT a Muslim region, despite Trump's apocryphal story, in what was an illegal war of COLONIZATION.

?So who is spreading this anti-Islam fever, as the US occupies and subjugates Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Libya, and sponsors coups in Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and the Ukraine?

?Who is spreading this anti-Islam fever, now RAMPANT in the media?

The New American Century Zionists ... only 2% of the US population!

The New American Century Zionists
who own Trump, (literally owning his casino mortgages)
who own Cruz, (the crypto Bible thumper from Alberta)
who own Rubio (his campaign slogan is 'New American Century')
who clearly own Clinton, with her proud Jewish heritage and
who own Sanders, who is Jewish.


There is nothing 'silly' about this New American Domino Theory of the Levantim.

Posted by: NoReply | Feb 20 2016 22:07 utc | 55

Here's latest situational map of Aleppo showing the ongoing reduction of the cauldron,

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 20 2016 22:25 utc | 56

Video of the liberated Aleppo Thermal Power Plant,

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 20 2016 22:42 utc | 57

@ 48

Go to nuclear war for Turkey and Saudi, though, sounds a bit fantasy.

Yet V. Putin signed the document authorizing such action with his own hand. A question,,will the order be given Putin or if not by Putin then some one else.

I shall point out that Russian politics is no different to that in the West, factions vie for power, and there is always some one ready to make hard decision if others fail in their duty.

Posted by: alkomv | Feb 20 2016 22:43 utc | 58

The Arc of Resistance is obviously winning
(from Reuters, the whole article)

EU leaders told Russia to stop bombing Western-backed opposition fighters in Syria and accused Moscow and Iran of threatening peace efforts, as well as helping Islamic State and worsening refugee flows in Europe.

Leaders made the call a week after major powers agreed a pause in combat in Syria, where Russia has focused on attacking rebels opposed to its ally President Bashar al-Assad, and urged that the "cessation of hostilities" be respected.

"The European Council calls on the Syrian regime and its allies to stop at once attacking non-terrorist opposition groups, which threatens the prospects for peace, benefits Da'esh and drives the refugee crisis," EU leaders said in a joint statement following a summit, referring to Islamic State.

Russian and Iranian military involvement in Syria's six-year civil war is reinvigorating the Syrian government's fightback, bringing swift gains for Assad in recent weeks and putting full encirclement of the rebel stronghold of Aleppo, a major symbol of the uprising, within sight.

"A nationwide cessation of hostilities must urgently be implemented," leaders said. They said the pause in fighting should apply to "any party currently engaged in military or paramilitary hostilities" that was not designated a terrorist group by the United Nations Security Council.

EU leaders also condemned the bombing of Syrian towns and called for an end to bombing in civilian areas near Aleppo and Syria's border with Turkey. Missiles hit five medical centers and two schools in rebel-held Syrian towns this week, the United Nations and residents said.

The attacks came as Russian-backed Syrian troops intensified their push toward Aleppo.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 20 2016 23:16 utc | 59

Syrian opposition says temporary truce possible, but deal seems far off

BEIRUT Syria's opposition on Saturday said it had agreed to the "possibility" of a temporary truce, provided there were guarantees Damascus's allies including Russia would cease fire, sieges were lifted and aid deliveries were allowed country-wide.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 20 2016 23:20 utc | 60

from the Reuters link @60
The truce would be renewable and supported by all parties except Islamic State, the source said.

It would be conditional on the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front no longer being attacked by Syrian government forces and their allies, at least to start with, the source said.

The Nusra Front is considered a terrorist organization by the U.N. Security Council.

No halt to Russian bombardments looked immediately likely. The source close to peace talks said Russia had so far rejected the idea of halting attacks on Nusra.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 20 2016 23:26 utc | 61

Russia Defense Report – Feb. 20, 2016: Russian Military Grouping in Syria

Vid and transcript

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 21 2016 0:00 utc | 62

@59 The logic of that article is appalling.

"EU leaders told Russia to stop bombing Western-backed opposition fighters in Syria"....

Logic dictates that if the EU is A-OK with Russia bombing *this* group or *that* group then those groups are not "Western-backed".

Equally, logic dictates that it must be true that everyone else is a "Western-backed" militant. There can be no other reason why the EU *doesn't* want them whacked by the R+6.

Either/Or, I don't care.
Take your pick, but only pick one.

Now with that in mind.....
...."and accused Moscow and Iran of threatening peace efforts, as well as helping Islamic State and worsening refugee flows in Europe."

Sooooooo, the only group that the EU is A-OK with Russia bombing is Islamic State.

Nobody else. Just..... Islamic State.

QED: the EU has excluded Al Qaeda in Syria from the list of groups that Russia can whack, which must mean that Al Qaeda is a "Western-backed" organization.

There is no other possible interpretation.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Feb 21 2016 0:21 utc | 63

YH @63

That's correct! All of NATO are terrorist supporters as well as terrorists themselves, but you already knew that.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 21 2016 0:26 utc | 64

NoReply @55

Trump noted the wall surrounding the Vatican but neglected to mention the wall around Israel. US and Europe are being flooded with illegals and refugees while Israel is not. 2 + 2 =

A great read on the subject you summarized is "The Imperial Cruise" written by James Bradley


Posted by: ALberto | Feb 21 2016 1:56 utc | 65

Just more nonsense from the US Empire of Mendacity.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Feb 21 2016 2:17 utc | 66

I hope the Russians realize that it is they that ARE the target, they (US,UK,Nato) want to balkanize-destroy Russia as we know it today, steal and control Siberian resources. The "West' is not your friend, they are not your "Partners"!

Posted by: Capitan | Feb 21 2016 2:18 utc | 67

Great news ... especially the underlying argument!

Saudi Arabia halts $3bn [military] package to Lebanese army

Hollande's France losing jobs too!

Posted by: Oui | Feb 21 2016 2:20 utc | 68

@ALberto #65

Trump did mention the Israeli wall earlier and the Israelis were not pleased.

On further matters Trump, he just won in South Carolina and the Bush campaign folded.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 21 2016 2:38 utc | 69

@69 "the Bush campaign folded."

So George W Bush finally kept us safe from somebody !!!

Posted by: PhilK | Feb 21 2016 2:54 utc | 70

Very interesting article at South Front: “The Turk is not as terrible as he is painted”

It's translated by J Hawk from Russian commentator Yevgeniy Krutikov, first published by Vzglyad, neither of which I'm familiar with.

It offers a welcome perspective on Turkey's actions that shows the situation to be less dire than we tend to assume - certainly no cause for nukes or anything of the sort. In fact, it shows Turkey's actions to be focused exclusively on its fight against the Kurds, and not really even involving the Syrians, much less the Russians. What I take from it is that the Kurds are now so powerful, in coordination with the Russian command, that they alone are enough to cause a crisis for Turkey.

I combine this article with another good piece over there, their latest video yesterday of the military situation. It's an excellent video, with very clear narrative, and it takes a very upbeat view of the full force currently assembled in Syria, especially in terms of neutralizing Turkish action. It makes the point that Turkey was essentially outmaneuvered as Russia gradually brought weaponry into the theater sufficient to back down any Turkish military threat:

Russia Defense Report – Feb. 20, 2016: Russian Military Grouping in Syria [with transcript]

The video without transcript is also on YouTube if you have trouble viewing that useless modern player they insist on using at South Front.

I keep hearing how crazy Erdogan is, and therefore unpredictable, but I wonder if he's really that crazy. The fundamentals on the ground seem undeniable, impossible to buck. I find it hard to believe that the real situation on the ground will do anything other than continue to get better, with the continual advance of Syria against the invaders. Everything else is theater and empty rhetoric, I think.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 21 2016 3:25 utc | 71

MOU between US and Russia since Russia started airstrikes
Pentagon discreetly provided Russia with US special forces’ location in Syria

Posted by: Les | Feb 21 2016 3:49 utc | 72

Grieved @71

You left out the part about Erdogan family stealing crude oil from Syria and Turkey. Stealing from Kurds. This is how World Wars begin.

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 21 2016 3:53 utc | 73

Make that Syria and Iraq.

Posted by: ALberto | Feb 21 2016 3:53 utc | 74

@ALberto #73, 74

The scale is a vastly different thing. This is how family vendettas start maybe, but surely not world wars? The Syrian Kurds, as far as I can see from the latest reports, have now grasped a much larger geopolitical promise in their reach.

They appear to be showing enough maturity to turn away from clan feud and disparate action, and to unite in the idea of regional stature within a sovereign framework. Imagine the opportunity of being a large and stable bulwark of the Syrian nation, having Russia as a friend, and Iran and Iraq. Being part of the same Middle East that Pepe Escobar calls Southeast Asia. Being legit. A part of Eurasia, and a respected part of the world of nations. And all this still within the existing borders of existing nations.

In other words, no Kurdistan. Simply recognition of their regional existence, their impressive force as a unified people, and their adherence to international law. This can bring them everything they ever dreamed of, if they will take on the kind of patience that comes naturally to their allies, Russia and Iran.

Pipelines and trade routes, treaties and tourists, all will be safe within their territories. The world can sleep peacefully at night, grateful for the Kurds. Now there's a dream for you, O Ye Kurds.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 21 2016 5:41 utc | 75

@75 - I mean Southwest Asia, of course.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 21 2016 5:50 utc | 77

@ 71 Grieved

Russia to Turkish Translation

Konstantin Rykov, Duma member and publisher of Vzglyad via Yevgeniy Krutikov a moderate Atlanticist, writes these words..

The Russian Government respects Turkish Military Officers and the people of Turkey. It also understands that Turkish Military may not neccessarly want to follow their leader down a very dangerous path.

Nothing is as it appears to be ;)

Posted by: alkomv | Feb 21 2016 6:28 utc | 78

You are getting hit B. take a look at 78

Posted by: Peter AU | Feb 21 2016 6:31 utc | 79

Grieved@75- I heard a Middle East expert give a talk on Syria tonight and he spoke of a Kurdistan along Syria/Turkey border as already existing, but that Assad would eventually renege and discard the Kurds. I'm not sure why he spoke of a Kurdistan in the present tense, but it made me wonder if the west is not now maneuvering for this as the optimal outcome- in which case it should be avoided at all costs.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Feb 21 2016 6:49 utc | 80

@Grieved | 71

What a strange post.

it shows Turkey's actions to be focused exclusively on its fight against the Kurds, and not really even involving the Syrians, much less the Russians.

So when Turkey transported over hundred thousand terrorists to Syria, supplied them with over 100.000 tons of weapons and is directly responsible for over 200.000 Syrians deaths, you call it what? That Turkey isnt really involved in Syria's war?

I keep hearing how crazy Erdogan is, and therefore unpredictable, but I wonder if he's really that crazy.

Erdogan is textbook crazy - megalomaniac psychopath. Now if your definition of crazy only applies to morons, then no, Erdogan is not crazy. He is intelligent and cunning, so was Hitler.

Posted by: Harry | Feb 21 2016 7:01 utc | 81

Identity theft!

Someone stole my handle Oui ... ugly sob.

Posted by: Oui | Feb 21, 2016 1:03:03 AM | 78
Posted by: Oui | Feb 21, 2016 1:03:50 AM | 79

Someone got burned or offended?
Any suggestions how to get rid of the jerk??

For now I'll change the linked webpage to my most recent articles @BooMan.

Posted by: Oui | Feb 21 2016 7:48 utc | 82


2 + 2= $3B a year looted from US taxpayers to fund Isreali occupation of Palestine, what little is left that isn't occupied, and build walled condo communities for the Khazarim.

$20B + $20B is the cost of DHS building a southern wall on the US border with Mexico, and Israel is the largest DHS subcontractor, so you know there will be massive cost overruns, and the NON-COMPETED IDIQ DHS procurement of lands by eminent domain and private brokers.

$10B + $10B will pay for the 3x more DHS/ICE agents stationed along that wall in new Toyota pickup trucks, the massive buildup of 'special prosecutors, judges and SuperMax prisons', and the whole 'flow' of living in a pan-Israeli super-state.

Meanwhile, trade with Cuba will be relaxed and the flow of illegal drugs resume unimpeded.
You see, the police state is a metastasis, you seem to not understand that. It doesn't stop. It doesn't adhere to the rule of law. It's Peron, it's Pol Pot, it's Stalin.

It's the Skull and Bones. And it's coming to the USA, by way of Tel Aviv.

Posted by: NoReply | Feb 21 2016 9:30 utc | 83

Another lovely day in KSA

Posted by: Mina | Feb 21 2016 11:18 utc | 84

@55 no reply

?Who is spreading this anti-Islam fever, now RAMPANT in the media?
The New American Century Zionists ... only 2% of the US population!

Concurrently, with the death of the fourth estate, the hasbara machine is losing control of the narrative as the internet/youtube reveals the true face of Zionism. This has led to an orchestrated campaign whereby Zionist organizations in western countries have succeeded in using their outsized influence to enact legislation criminalizing both the BDS movement and criticism of Israel.

As all the major western countries (U.S., Canada, England, Germany, France, Australia) and various institutions within them have jumped on this bandwagon, one can only marvel at this level of sycophancy to a cabal representing a tiny minority within their respective countries. This ability to simultaneously manipulate the laws of various countries and to actually corrupt one of the basic principals (free speech) of the western world is yet a further testament of Zionist power within the political theatre.

Greatest Threat to Free Speech in the West: Criminalizing Activism Against Israeli Occupation
Glenn Greenwald

This may sound like an extreme infringement of free speech and political activism — and, of course, it is — but it is far from unusual in the West. The opposite is now true. There is a very coordinated and well-financed campaign led by Israel and its supporters literally to criminalize political activism against Israeli occupation, based on the particular fear that the worldwide campaign of Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment, or BDS … is succeeding.

"To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise" - Voltaire

Posted by: pantaraxia | Feb 21 2016 13:07 utc | 85

A question occurs to me.

The Russian/Syrian plan has been described here, having as its first step the control of the Syrian border with Turkey, so as to cut off rebel supply and reinforcement lines.

The Kurds, understanding that successful guerrilla war is based on the assistance of the local population, has generally avoided the seizure of land not populated by Kurds, since to hold it would be difficult.

Now take a look at this map, which shows areas of Kurdish population in the region:

If I'm not mistaken, the greyish area not populated by Kurds, which extends across the Turkish-Syrian border in a pocket on both sides, is precisely the section of border which the Kurds have yet to connect.

First, what is the ethnic demographic of this area?

Second, are the Kurds actively trying to change the demographic of this area (e.g. through "ethnic cleansing")?

Third, if the Kurds will not take and hold this area for demographic reasons, what forces will, not merely take temporary control of that section of the border by tactical means, but keep control of it through occupation forces, to prevent the rebels from retaking it (or infiltrating lines of communication through it)?

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 21 2016 14:01 utc | 86

Lavrov, Kerry discuss conditions for Syria ceasefire | RT News |

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have spoken on the phone about the Syrian crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. They talked about ceasefire conditions that would exclude operations against groups "recognized as terrorist by the UN Security Council," the ministry added.

Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry continued to discuss the cessation of hostilities in #Syria | MFA Russia |

Proof: Oui@BooMan

Posted by: Oui | Feb 21 2016 14:07 utc | 87

Voice of the White House (NSC Susan Rice or VP Biden?)
U.S. Embassy Syria @USEmbassySyria

Well, not in sync with diplomacy and efforts by Kerry/Lavrov.

US propaganda ambassador @UN Samantha Power is usually hawkish on issues and NEVER agrees with views expressed by Ambassador Churkin of Russia. Does Samantha report to Vicky Nuland?

Proof: Oui@BooMan

Posted by: Oui | Feb 21 2016 14:11 utc | 88

@Emil Pulsifer

There have always been two pockets of Syrian Kurds along the border with Turkey, see:

Sectarian divisions in Syria and Lebanon - Mapped
Understanding Syria: From Pre-Civil War to Post-Assad | The Atlantic |

Proof: Oui@BooMan via link of handle!

Posted by: Oui | Feb 21 2016 14:22 utc | 89

Is the terrorist attack in Homs Turkey's retaliation for the attack in Ankara? or is it the first manifestation of the proxies of the Turkish-Saudi 'military' coalition.

The tit for tat will escalate now at a growing speed as Turkey and Saudi Arabia are loosing ground in Syria and are trying to prevent any peace negotiation that will keep Bashar al Assad in power. They just can't admit defeat as it will shake the leaders power and possibly destroy them.
What is needed now is a terrorist attack inside Saudi Arabia that would shake the kingdom and realign the clock ..

Posted by: virgile | Feb 21 2016 14:40 utc | 90

@Emil Pulsifer

Previous inquiry about the location of Jabhat al-Nusra relative to the Golan Heights.

From the map it's clear both the Druze population and Sunni majority are crucial to the Israeli government. IDF intelligence opt with both groups to cooperate and give intelligence about movement of the Syrian Army.

Due to sectarian divide, both Syria and Lebanon have been close allies. The old colonial powers have been meddling for decades with domestic affairs and which parties should lead the government.

In both nations, the Saudis have indoctrinated the citizens with money funding madrasses for the Wahhabist form of Islam. All that was needed was the spark of revolt, supplied by NGOs from the USA, Britain and France and the extremist preachers inside the countries from Saudi Arabia.

Proof: Oui@BooMan via link of handle!

Posted by: Oui | Feb 21 2016 14:42 utc | 91

Obama Meddling in Lebanon Politics - 2009
Qatar and Saudi Arabia Financing Salafist Extremists in Mali and Sahel

Proof: Oui@BooMan via link of handle!

Posted by: Oui | Feb 21 2016 14:43 utc | 92

Emil Pulsifer

now take a look at, rather than your CIA generated map, this one, or this one, or this one, or, well, you get the picture?

Posted by: john | Feb 21 2016 14:52 utc | 93

"Analysis Facing Assad's Battleground Advances, Israel Is Changing Its Approach to Syria War"

"Israel has been quietly wishing success to both sides and would not have been against the bloodletting continuing for a few more years without a clear victor."

"But three understandings are emerging as Israel updates its positions in light of developments: First, an Assad victory would be bad for Israel because it would also mean victory for Assad’s allies, Iran and Hezbollah. Second, despite the heavy Russian bombings and internal disagreements in its ranks, the Syrian opposition is far from vanquished. The third is that the West must rouse itself from its inaction and try to send real military aid to what Israeli security officials describe as a kind of third force, the less extreme Sunni rebels and the Kurdish militias, so they, too, will stand up against the regime as well as against the Islamic State."

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Feb 21 2016 15:07 utc | 94

What happened in the Geneva meeting (Syria task force) on Thursday and Friday? Besides nothing of importance or unfortunately unknown? (see above a few articles from Reuters etc.)

On Thur eve the Russian and US delegation decided to spend the night together (link is to Rolling Stones) and they continued the same behavior the next day.

They excluded the other 15 delegations from their talks. (Unheard of. Normally one puts up with some waffly meetings and announces a break for one-on-one sessions, etc.) The 15 delegs. all sat unable to move, waiting all day and part of the night…for the Russkies and the Yanks. - from Swiss Press (paywalls etc.), unreported in MSM

I thought this was interesting enough to post.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 21 2016 15:11 utc | 95

Just read the Observers editorial on Syria, biggest load of bullshit I have ever read in my life, here is a sample If Russian policy were directed by a more enlightened, or even a vaguely normal, leadership – meaning one that broadly observes international law, UN treaties and human rights norms – then there might be scope for optimism. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s rogue president, is pursuing his own malevolent, neo-colonialist agenda in Syria. His priority is the survival of the Assad regime, his long-time client and main Middle Eastern ally, no matter the cost in blood and human suffering. His larger objective is to reduce US regional influence and, if possible, weaken and divide the EU and Nato.
Fortunately in the comments section the authors are torn to shreds.Virgile @96 I don't know how they could do it, but I would like to see the Saudi port at Ras Tanura take a hit, killing two birds with one stone, “An assault on Ras Tanura, however, would be vastly more serious. As much as 80% of the near 9m barrels of oil a day pumped out by Saudi is believed to end up being piped from fields such as Ghawar to Ras Tanura in the Gulf to be loaded on to supertankers bound for the west.”

Posted by: harry law | Feb 21 2016 15:14 utc | 96

Not a bad idea if they decided to kick out the Frenchies

Posted by: Mina | Feb 21 2016 15:15 utc | 97

87;The Zionists hate Trump and his call for neutrality in the conflict.They can't Howard Dean(milquetoast) him though,the people are on to them.
If America puts up a wall on the border,we aint stealing no one elses land like the Zionists,so its a totally different thing.
And the Hell Bitch still hasn't won a popular vote.I bet they stacked the caucus with illegals.In fact a Hispanic said the Sanders supporters chanted English only,another hit on BS.

Posted by: dahoit | Feb 21 2016 15:18 utc | 98

Re 99:

No, frankly I don't see your point. Those maps appear to show the same non-Kurdish pocket that the CIA map does; though frankly it's difficult to make a survey, since instead of linking to individual maps you linked to several Google search pages, each containing dozens of maps.

Re 95: " There have always been two pockets of Syrian Kurds along tborder with Turkey..."

Thank you for those useful links and for the historical picture.

Perhaps some of the resident military experts can answer my questions about who will not only seize but hold the border area in question, control of which is a prerequisite to the success of the Russian strategy?

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Feb 21 2016 15:24 utc | 99

Proof: Oui@BooMan via link of handle!

Posted by: Oui | Feb 21 2016 15:59 utc | 100

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