Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 27, 2016

Palmyra's Liberation, Ishtar's Resurrection And The Easter Walk

The Syrian Arab Army and its allies have taken the Palmyra ruins and Tadmor city next to them from the Islamic State. To the chagrin of the U.S. State Department (vid), the Islamic State occupiers pulled back into the eastern desert after losing some 500 men. The Syrian government can now use the air base in Palmyra and from there regain control of the eastern desert country up to Deir Ezzor and the Syrian/Iraqi border in the east and towards the Jordan border in the south.

The Easter holidays and the fertility symbols of the hare and the eggs are said to be derived from the Germanic goddess Eostre or Ostara. But it is probably more likely that they derive from the older Mesopotamian goddess of Ishtar:

Ishtar is the Mesopotamian East Semitic (Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian) goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. She is the counterpart to the earlier attested Sumerian Inanna, and the cognate for the later attested Northwest Semitic Aramean goddess Astarte. Ishtar was an important deity in Mesopotamian religion which was extant from c.3500 BC, until its gradual decline between the 1st and 5th centuries AD in the face of Christianity.

Interestingly the myth of Ishtar includes her descent into the underworld of death and her resurrection and return to life after higher divine intervention:

One of the most famous myths about Ishtar describes her descent to the underworld. In this myth, Ishtar approaches the gates of the underworld and demands that the gatekeeper open them.  ... The gatekeeper hurried to tell Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld. Ereshkigal told the gatekeeper to let Ishtar enter, but "according to the ancient decree". The gatekeeper let Ishtar into the underworld, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Ishtar had to shed one article of clothing. When she finally passed the seventh gate, she was naked. ...

After Ishtar descended to the underworld, all sexual activity ceased on earth. The god Papsukal reported the situation to Ea, the king of the gods. Ea created an intersex being called Asu-shu-namir and sent it to Ereshkigal, telling it to invoke "the name of the great gods" against her and to ask for the bag containing the waters of life. Ereshkigal was enraged when she heard Asu-shu-namir's demand, but she had to give it the water of life. Asu-shu-namir sprinkled Ishtar with this water, reviving her. Then, Ishtar passed back through the seven gates, getting one article of clothing back at each gate, and was fully clothed as she exited the last gate.

Ishtar brings us back to Palmyra which hails from the same age:

Palmyra entered the historical record during the Bronze Age around 2000 BC, when Puzur-Ishtar the Tadmorean (Palmyrene) agreed to a contract at an Assyrian trading colony in Kultepe. It was mentioned next in the Mari tablets as a stop for trade caravans and nomadic tribes, such as the Suteans.

Today there is a hotel named Ishtar just a two minute walk away from the ruins of Palmyra. Book it for your next years Easter holiday.

For me Easter (or Ishtar?) is no Easter without rereading Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Easter Walk from his Faust I opus:

Look from this height whereon we find us
Back to the town we have left behind us,

Where from the dark and narrow door
Forth a motley multitude pour.

They sun themselves gladly and all are gay,
They celebrate Christ's resurrection to-day.

For have not they themselves arisen?
From smoky huts and hovels and stables,
From labor's bonds and traffic's prison,
From the confinement of roofs and gables,
From many a cramping street and alley,
From churches full of the old world's night,
All have come out to the day's broad light.

The people of Syria, of Palmyra/Tadmor, have good reason to celebrate today. And to take a happy Easter walk. Happy Easter!

Posted by b on March 27, 2016 at 9:21 UTC | Permalink



Posted by: dan | Mar 27 2016 10:34 utc | 1

Yes, a joyous morning to hear that Palmyra/Tadmor is rid of Islamic State. May the rest of that laudi/Qatari/Turkish---American (?) entity be quickly obliterated everywhere so Syria has a fighting chance of finding some renewed balance, with the Al Assad government being a bit more accommodating to all the people's wishes and needs.

Posted by: Quentin | Mar 27 2016 10:43 utc | 2

Thanks! You led me to research it a bit on the web.

Posted by: Maracatu | Mar 27 2016 10:50 utc | 3

Thank you 'B' for this easter message. Your blog is the best of blogs, 2016.

Posted by: Ejnar Ek | Mar 27 2016 11:03 utc | 4

Great stuff b. Happy Ishtar. So good the Syrians took back Palmyra. Such finesse for the Russians to have 'left' when they did. Glad to see the demonic hordes conjured up by the CIA and the Saudis driven into the dessert where they belong. On to Raqqa.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 27 2016 11:14 utc | 5

Thank you, b, for your blessing on a day that we celebrate a love strong enough to break our chains and change the world.

Posted by: Berry Friesen | Mar 27 2016 12:18 utc | 6

Yes,Happy Easter.
That video of the SD creep sure was revealing about IsUS.
The bird is the word.Congrats to BS for kicking the hell bitches ass.

Posted by: dahoit | Mar 27 2016 13:13 utc | 7

Meet, Bob Wilson...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 27 2016 13:32 utc | 8

Once again Robert Anton Wilson scores a direct hit on the idiocy prevalent in western society. As a thelemic female I am enchanted with his wit, humor and superb usage of cynical observation. If you are an easily offended feminist, more than likely you will be irate after reading this attempt to look at social customs prevalent in modern life. I found some of his *explanations* totally hilarious, so I must not be in the overly sensitive bracket.
Considering the morbid fascination with female anatomy and the ludicrous *morality* assigned to viewing what in fact all adult females posess, (up to and including the legal sanctions in many places against seeing female nipples) the breast fixation idea becomes even funnier. His discussions reguarding cinema "sex-goddesses" and the approval/disapproval demonstrated by the Public (towards the late Marilyn Monroe for example) were compelling, and sadly, all too true.
Bob Wilson is definitely one of the kewler writers around; literate, interesting and intellectually satisfying. Even if you do not agree with everything he states, you have to admit his style is impeccable. I collect his works and proudly display them right next to Crowley, Kraig, Reguardie,and the assorted OTO/Magickal/Philosophical books I own. Thank you for making it easy to order and obtain cherished works, Bob Wilson is hard to find these days in the local bookstores. I agree with the Denver Post review which referred to Wilson as "...the Lenny Bruce of Philosophers". Satire remains one of the most definitive methods of social commentary, and Wilson excells in this genre.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 27 2016 13:35 utc | 9

b. This is so moving. You devote so much time and good work. Thank you.

Palmyra's liberation is so fitting for this Easter Day. Forward on to Raqqa and the eastern/southern borders.
Some 4 years ago, President Al-Assad warned the West these were not insurgents trying to overthrow his government but terrorists and that those aiding them would come to regret.

Perseverance aided by Mr. Putin.

The promise of Easter: a renewal of faith and blessings.
A joyous Easter for those who celebrate this renewal of faith.

Posted by: likklemore | Mar 27 2016 14:12 utc | 10

Happy Easter to all. Echoing thanks to b for the blog.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 27 2016 14:58 utc | 11

Happy Easter and

We celebrate Syrias' resurrection today!

I would like to thank b for this blog and all his work and all the comments. There is a lot of hope that mankind is on a good way.

Posted by: Demeter | Mar 27 2016 15:01 utc | 12

so antiutopia recedes into the desert...

while in Palmyra they're finally breaking out the hookahs and turning on the music.

Happy Easter

Posted by: john | Mar 27 2016 15:20 utc | 13

For those who celebrate Easter, and those who don't, have a great day!

As always b, thanks for the information and therapy. Your service is vital.

Posted by: ben | Mar 27 2016 15:45 utc | 14

Happy Easter b, and to everyone at MoA.

Thank you b, for taking the time to enlighten us once again with the story of Ishtar.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 27 2016 16:04 utc | 15

thanks b. great info and insights on the changes on the ground this easter weekend in syria..

Posted by: james | Mar 27 2016 16:09 utc | 16

In my wildest dreams during the Cold War, I could never ever have thought a KGB man would stick out his neck to save Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and so many more minorities from the scourge of devils from the hordes of Arabia.

A Joyous Easter and blessings to all ... b thanks for those magnificent analyses and articles ... great stuff!!

Posted by: Oui | Mar 27 2016 16:29 utc | 17

Yes, it is amazing that it is Russia that we Orthodox turn to while the supposed Christian West aids and abets the jihadi head choppers and liver eaters.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Mar 27 2016 16:50 utc | 18

@17 Not too hard to understand. Christians have had their noses rubbed in things like the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Holocaust, pedophilia etc.etc. for so long they've morphed into neo-liberals.

Posted by: dh | Mar 27 2016 17:05 utc | 19

Happy Easter to those who gather here. And thanks to b for his post today.

Posted by: Copeland | Mar 27 2016 17:26 utc | 20

Христос воскрес! "Christ is Risen!" a traditional greeting on this day........


Posted by: Dr. George W. Oprisko | Mar 27 2016 17:43 utc | 21

19 --

Nothing like a little denunciation of the "Judeo-Bolsheviks" here on Easter. A classic trope from the early part of the last centur; guess who popularized it?

Would it be impious to point out you forgot to denounce them for killing the Christ as well?

I was a graduate student in the subjected at the time. Academic studies published back in 1980's-90's, using Soviet archival census data, suggest a figure of somewhere on the order of 5 mil. "excess deaths over births" (a term of art in demography, it seems; J. Arch Getty was the lead US author). If memory serves, the Purges took about 100,000, heavily but not exclusively in the party and elite. Bad enough.

Posted by: rufus magister | Mar 27 2016 18:03 utc | 22

b, thanks for this inspiring post, which also helps understand what's really at stake in Syria (and the rest of the world) in the long run - the perpetual war and exploitation machine versus civilization and humanity (without mythologizing anyone)

Posted by: claudio | Mar 27 2016 18:07 utc | 23


Great source of information and opinion here. Thanks. ALberto

Posted by: ALberto | Mar 27 2016 18:16 utc | 24

'The Bern' shifts to full kosher bovine excrement mode ...

Posted by: ALberto | Mar 27 2016 18:49 utc | 25

thank you b
Happy Easter to you too!

Posted by: lebretteurfredonnant | Mar 27 2016 19:13 utc | 26

Boa Páscoa a todos(as).

Posted by: Proftel | Mar 27 2016 19:37 utc | 27

Thank you Assad, Hezbollah, Russia, and Iran.

Posted by: Sasan | Mar 27 2016 19:37 utc | 28

Easter, or Oestre, also celebrates and symbolizes the emergence from darkness into light, from ignorance into wisdom, from materialism into spirit, from the unreal to the Real. There's an awakening happening worldwide in which millions are opening their eyes, and minds, to the folly of current political and economic institutions. Shift happens.

Posted by: Bill Pilgrim | Mar 27 2016 20:01 utc | 29

Congratulations to the people of Syria in reclaiming Palmyra from ISIS and their foreign backers! Well done!

There is still a lot to be done and we can be sure that US / Turkish / Israeli designs on the Fertile Crescent region will not let up, but for now this can be the start of Syria's resurrection.

Posted by: Jen | Mar 27 2016 20:34 utc | 30

@jfl 5

It is now clear why the Russians left just before. They wanted the liberation of Palmyra, Aleppo and the rest of Syria to be from the hands on the Syrians and their regional allies under the command of Bashar Al Assad and not from a foreign army.
Who would dare now ask a hero who stood defiant for 5 years to reach such victory to abandon his job to a turkish, french or Saudi hotel dweller?

Posted by: virgile | Mar 27 2016 20:53 utc | 31

Some will have heard about the fate of the Spetnatz officer spotting for the RuAF in Palmyra. What follows is the transcript of his final radio transmission:

Officer: command I am compromised, repeat I am compromised.
Command: please repeat and confirm
Officer: They have spotted me, there are shooting everywhere, i am pinned, request evacuation immediately
Command: evacuation request acknowledged
Officer: please hurry I am low on ammo, they seem to everywhere, I can’t hold them for too long please hurry
Command: Confirmed, hold them off, continue return of fire, go to safe position, air support is monitoring, state coordinates
Officer: gives coordinates which are blurred in the translation
Command: command repeats coordinates which are blurred. Confirm
Officer: confirmed, please hurry I am low on ammo, they are surrounding me, bastards
Command: 12 minutes until evacuation, return to safe line, I repeat return to safe line
Officer: they are close, i am surrounded, this may be the end, tell my family i love them dearly
Command: return to green line, continue return of fire, help is on the way, followed by air support
Officer: negative, I am surrounded, they are so many of these bastards
Command: 10 minutes, return to green line
Officer: I can’t they have surrounded me and are closing in, please hurry
Command: move to green line, repeat move to green line
Officer: they are outside, conduct the airstrike now please hurry, this is the end, tell my family i love them and i died fighting for my motherland.
Command: negative return to green line
Officer: i cant command, i am surrounded, they are outside, i don’t want them to take me and parade me, conduct the airstrike, they will make a mockery of me and this uniform. I want to die with dignity and take all these bastards with me. please my last wish, conduct the airstrike, they will kill me either way.
Command: please confirm your request
Officer: they out outside, this is the end commander, thank you, tell my family and my country i love them. Tell them i was brave and i fought until i could no longer. Please take care of my family, avenge my death, good bye commander, tell my family I love them
Command: no response, orders the airstrike

Happy Easter.

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 27 2016 21:03 utc | 32

Mark Toner is Jewish. Lots of Jewish guys in key positions in US Government. Hard for him to discern which is the greater evil - DAESH (ISIS, ISIL IS, AL Qaida) or Syria's Legitimate Government. (Assad attacked his own ppl. Similarly, Lincoln attacked his own ppl - though they may not been armed and funded by a foreign entity.)

Posted by: fast freddy | Mar 27 2016 21:11 utc | 33

"a Holocaust of 40-60 million mostly Orthodox Christians"

Is this sarcasm, because I'm going need to be told how 40-60 million bodies can be made to vanish.

Posted by: ruralito | Mar 27 2016 21:14 utc | 34

OT, and sexist, but Syrian Girl's lips need to be declared a sovereign nation unto themselves.

Posted by: ruralito | Mar 27 2016 21:18 utc | 35

Sorry to rain on the victory parade, but Pakistan Sunni fanatics carried out another massacre of Christians on Easter Suday. The latest in a long series of Shiite and Christian masacres. Government obviously unable or unwilling to stop them. What happens if they should manage to get one of PAK army several hundred nukes?

Posted by: Andoheb | Mar 27 2016 21:37 utc | 36

Way back in the 1960s a Jewish producer named Hershel Lewis made a blood soaked gore fest entitled BLOOD FEAST. The plot line was an Egyptian worshipper of an Ishtar death cult was cutting up pretty American women and using their blood as a sacrifice to Ishtar.

So the defamation of Ishtar as a satanic cult long predates the so called war on terror

Posted by: Andoheb | Mar 27 2016 21:46 utc | 37

@31 virgile

That was my point exactly.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 27 2016 22:13 utc | 38

Congrats B on a great post

Posted by: Fernando | Mar 27 2016 22:25 utc | 39

Not hard to believe for MOA readers.

Posted by: S | Mar 27 2016 22:36 utc | 40

@40 jfl

And beautiful to read, it was. Finesse indeed.

And all the allied forces on the ground seem always to have expected the Syrians to bear the brunt of the work to the limit of their capacity, and naturally to reap the honor of the triumphs.

This always seemed to me to stem simply from a natural sense of propriety by the allies, such as people of principle will accord each other.

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 27 2016 22:39 utc | 41

Hillary grateful that CFR can tell her what to do.

Posted by: fast freddy | Mar 27 2016 22:45 utc | 42

@25 ALb

But to be successful, we have also got to be a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people, where in Gaza unemployment today is 44 percent and we have there a poverty rate which is almost as high.

So when we talk about Israel and Palestinian areas, it is important to understand that today there is a whole lot of suffering among Palestinians and that cannot be ignored. You can’t have good policy that results in peace if you ignore one side.

Bernie ignores the side that is reigning terror from the skies and via armored incursion, committing serial massacres of the Palestinian people : genocide. That'd be the US/Israeli side. To reduce the problems of the Palestinians to unemployment is what ... the prelude to their enslavement?

The road toward peace will be difficult. Wonderful people, well-intentioned people have tried decade after decade to achieve that and it will not be easy. I cannot tell you exactly how it will look – I do not believe anyone can – but I firmly believe that the only prospect for peace is the successful negotiation of a two-state solution.

The first step in that road ahead is to set the stage for resuming the peace process through direct negotiations.

The first step of the road ahead is recognition of the state of Palestine on the basis - at least - of the 1967 borders; the complete evacuation of Israeli settlers from within Palestine; the removal of the Israeli Apartheid wall from Palestinian territory; and the suspension of all American aid to Israel until those steps are complete.

Those funds formerly directed to Israel can be redirected to the reconstruction of Gaza and the West Bank, and to the costs incurred by the UN in breaking the Israeli blockade of Palestine - the US and Russian Navies might work together toward that end. The UN will also have to see to the physical connection of Gaza and the West Bank.

Just as there is a blank in Bernie's narrative on Palestine where the bloody hands of the US/Israel are, so too is there a blank in his narrative on ISIS where the rain of US/EU/Israel death, devastation, and destruction is in the ME.

It's a statement of the vast distance between American political consciousness and reality that this speech might be considered by to be 'the full reversal of American policy in the Middle East'.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 27 2016 23:01 utc | 43

@16 oui

What b has joined together you have rendered asunder.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 27 2016 23:11 utc | 44


You'll be interested in Sanders's brief remarks on today's State of the Union interview program,

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 28 2016 0:03 utc | 45

The Pakistan mass murders. Horrible. My intent is to not make light of this horrible act of animalism. But watching the video I cannot help but notice pools of human fluids and blood as well as profusely bleeding victims alive, dead and dying. These effects are absent from all western terrorist attacks. From Kent State to Brussels no blood?

Posted by: ALberto | Mar 28 2016 0:07 utc | 46

Христос воскрес! "Christ is Risen!" a traditional greeting on this day

Not exactly. "This day" in Orthodox churches is next week.

In discussing the Palmyra battle, one should note that several forces were moved to Palmyra from front lines with "moderate rebels" who in a large part observe the ceasefire. There are several indications that the idea of that ceasefire was forced by Putin, unless Assad played the unhappy party. The end result is that reduced Russian presence is more effective than the "full presence", because there are fewer active fronts of battle.

Remarkably, this battle seems to be a major turn around in Western media. Just few days earlier NYT had a typically snide "analysis" titled "The Scorpion’s Tale: Did Assad Take Putin for a Ride?". Today two surprises: the success of Syrian government was reported, and rather prominently. Second, the only snide aspect in the report was in the title "Syrian Troops Said to Recapture Historic Palmyra From ISIS". For example, no title "Bernie Sanders said to win in three states".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 28 2016 0:07 utc | 47

What does the arrest of Zarrab have to do with the Saudi's devastation of Yemen or the FATCA[T]'s with the final, silent 'T' ?

Plenty. They're all about the US and its blundering, flailing about trying to rule the world and the 'unintended' consequences of same.

The arrest of Zarrab was surely aimed at Iran ... it has consequently involved the US' other instrument in the ME, Turkey. Erdogan in particular, who is clinging to Israel for all he is worth in order to gain their intercession with Daddywarbucks on his behalf.

The Saudi devastation of Yemen is the direct result of the US' jones for arms sales, which morphed into a fanatasy of the Saudis becoming their muscular stand-in in the region, a la Israel, as well.

The FATCA is just another manifestation of the control mania of the neo-cons in DC. A not insignificant driver of which is all the solidly 'middle-class' office jobs provided by the web of enforcement ... FATCA, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA ... the Information-industrial Complex. With plenty of megabucks to be made riding herd on top of the middle-class cattle.

Now all this mess is unrolling. The entire world is waking to the designs the US has for their total dominion, and of the alarming degree to which it has already been accomplished.

The Saudis are hopeless ... at everything. The Yemeni's are kicking sand in the face of the US' overbanked, overarmed 98 pound weakling.

Turkey is descending into civil war, the foothold of NATO in Asia/the ME is dissolving right before the US' eyes. And they helped!

The wiseguys in Washington never were. When Allen Dulles was there, messing things up, the global disparity in wealth and power between the US and everyone else was real, and the US could whether any storm of blowback from its would-be Napoleans, but now that disparity is reputation, not reality, the Napoleans in drag and the language that they use have inflated into a gigantic bubble, just like the US economy, and it's all headed to burst, dragging the US' acolytes in the EU down with it, and not one person in the rest of the world will shed a tear. They will be dancing in the streets. Ishtar lives! She is risen!

Posted by: jfl | Mar 28 2016 0:22 utc | 48

ISIS sounds more and more like a creation of the CIA and Mossad

The article's main point is in complete agreement with the recent RFK Jr. article. The West has been supporting these jihadist groups to take down the secular Arab nationalist governments since the creation of the CIA.

Posted by: Les | Mar 28 2016 0:26 utc | 49

Posted by: jfl | Mar 27, 2016 7:01:51 PM | 45
Posted by: ALberto | Mar 27, 2016 2:49:01 PM | 25

My personal opinion the two-states solutions are over there can never be, a two-states Israel and Palestine. Palestine is chops, slice and mashes into Israel's settlements.

Moreover you should watch Gideon Levy talks to journalist Max Blumenthal if you have not.

Interesting how he feels about Palestine, Gideon Levy in 1978 to 1982 an aide to Shimon Peres, then the leader of the Israeli Labor Party.

More detail episodes in TRNN.

Taking out of context Levy said: “I'd rather vote for Donald Trump.” I had stated previously I too will vote Trump and not that I like him but denial Sanders or Killary becomes president.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Mar 28 2016 0:36 utc | 50

@47 karlof

How would the Bernie Sanders war against ISIS differ from the war that Barack Obama has been waging?

SANDERS: Well, I think, in fairness to the president, I know he gets criticized a lot.

Some of the Republicans think he hasn't been tough enough. His job is twofold, number one, to destroy ISIS. And, by the way, let's be clear. We are making, on the military field, real progress. ISIS is on the defensive. They are retreating. They have lost, I think, 30, 40 percent of the territory they held in Iraq in the last year. So, we keep that up. But what the president is also trying to do -- and I agree with him -- is make sure that the United States, our brave men and women in the military, do not get sucked into perpetual warfare in the Middle East.

Second of all, obviously, we need better intelligence-sharing. We have got to do everything that we can to make sure that we do not have continuation of a tax against our allies in Europe or even here in the United States of America. We have got to be incredibly vigilant, federal, state, local government, international intelligence-sharing, looking at social media, doing everything we can to prevent young people from joining these fanatical terrorists.

Well, First of all, it's the Syrians - with Russian, not American help - who are 'making real progress' against the US/EU/Saudi-GCC-Turkey creature, ISIS, isn't it? And Obama is the one who went after Syria at Israeli instigation, who armed and trained ISIS, isn't it? Bernie?

And then you morph into this no price too high to pay the spies at NSA, FBI, CIA, now Google, Facebook and the CISA Privateers ...

I support the aspirations, confused as they may be, of the people who are supporting Bernie in the face of the iron curtain of silence and deceit that the corporate media have turned on their efforts. They may well defeat Hillary at the polls. I hope they have sense enough to write-in Bernie - or someone else - if Hillary defeats them in the back room.

Posted by: jfl | Mar 28 2016 0:58 utc | 51

jfl @53

Last year I felt that the Ukraine NeoCon backed putsch's purpose was;

1. A mission to secure a fall back safe zone for ZioCons when Israel goes Ka-Boom.
2. A plot to steal Ukraine's gold reserves and strip anything of value regardless of how many are killed.
3. Kick some sand in Russia's face ala Georgia to show the Bear how bad the Kosher Amish are.

But now in 2016 with Hezbollah being battle hardened in Syria I see the days of Israel being numbered and I see the situation in Ukraine ending in a 'Lord of the Flies' type scenario. All of this could have been avoided if the 'exceptional' people had just used a bit of tact and diplomacy. It is unfortunate that they have no one to blame but themselves. What a sense of entitled hubris. 1492 Spain Jewish expulsion will look like a cakewalk compared to what is in store for the 'chosen.'

Just my opinion.

Posted by: ALberto | Mar 28 2016 3:08 utc | 52

@jfl Bernie also forgot to mention that prior to Hamas sending missiles there is always a major provocation by Israel. The war on garza started when an Israeli gun ship butchered a family on a gaza beach.

Posted by: Shadyl | Mar 28 2016 3:17 utc | 53

Syrian army's blow to Islamic State presents a paradox for Obama

But for the Obama administration and its allies, the retaking of the storied city by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, backed by scores of Russian airstrikes, highlights a dilemma: Washington has endeavored to portray the battle against Islamic State as a project of the United States and its allies, while accusing Moscow of attacking “moderate” rebels instead of the extremists. Palmyra seems to embody an alternative narrative.

The White House, which has struggled for years to find effective “partners” on the ground in Syria, has difficulty publicly lauding advances against Islamic State by Assad and his allies, including the Russians and Iranians, after years of calling for Assad’s fall.

Posted by: virgile | Mar 28 2016 3:58 utc | 54

The excellent Sharmine Narwani had a great piece in RT the other day about the start of the current Syrian conflict in 2011, and the color revolution tactics used by the US to distort and re-shape the common narrative:

How narratives killed the Syrian people

She ends the piece with a surge of power:

Syria changed the world. It brought the Russians and Chinese (BRICS) into the fray and changed the global order from a unipolar one to a multilateral one - overnight. And it created common cause between a group of key states in the region that now form the backbone of a rising ‘Security Arc’ from the Levant to the Persian Gulf. We now have immense opportunities to re-craft the world and the Middle East in our own vision. New borders? We will draw them from inside the region. Terrorists? We will defeat them ourselves. NGOs? We will create our own, with our own nationals and our own agendas. Pipelines? We will decide where they are laid.

But let's start building those new narratives before the 'Other' comes in to fill the void.

A word of caution. The worst thing we can do is to waste our time rejecting foreign narratives. That just makes us the 'rejectionists' in their game. And it gives their game life. What we need to do is create our own game - a rich vocabulary of homegrown narratives - one that defines ourselves, our history and aspirations, based on our own political, economic and social realities. Let the 'Other' reject our version, let them become the 'rejectionists' in our game… and give it life.

As an aside and for reference, she links in the piece to her own 2012 analysis of the 2010 Unconventional Warfare (UW) Manual of the US Military’s Special Forces - it's pretty stunning reading for a newcomer like me to learn that color revolutions, psy-ops and dirty wars are actually in a Pentagon manual, as well in formal doctrine that expects this to be the mode of US combat for the foreseeable future. (Going Rogue: America's Unconventional Warfare in the Mideast)

Posted by: Grieved | Mar 28 2016 5:54 utc | 55


Comments by "Tim Osman" aka "That Hideous Strength" aka "Daniel Shays" aka "Selous Scouts" deleted.

IP banned.


Posted by: b | Mar 28 2016 7:39 utc | 56

virgile @54: I was a bit surprised that the quote was from LA Times. I do not watch TV and the major newspapers I see, NYT and WP, present "think tank" vision of the foreign lands (within USA, reality creeps into reporting more regularly). But are the think tank forces so depleted now that they cannot spare manpower to enlighten Californians?

It would be good to compile a short but somewhat comprehensive version of the "think tank vision", with proper asterix explaining why appearances to the contrary should be disregarded. Two examples:

Humanitarian project X: restoration of freedom to the oppressed inhabitants of Crimea who were snatched from democratic Ukraine (just as it became democratic! imagine the cruelty of that!) and placed under the boot of authoritarian Russia.

Humanitarian project Y: restoration of the democratically elected government to Yemen. (Somehow that description got down-graded to "internationally recognized", think-tanky resolve seems to be flagging.)

Of course, there are many projects, including bringing freedom, democracy, happiness and appreciation of Western values to Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and perchance Lebanon, Somalia and South Sudan. Improving health of the deprived nations by jacking up the prices of medicine through "intellectual property rights" clauses in trade agreements which likewise improve prosperity at home by decreasing the number of tedious and boring industrial jobs.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 28 2016 11:27 utc | 57

It is now clear why the Russians left just before. They wanted the liberation of Palmyra, Aleppo and the rest of Syria to be from the hands on the Syrians and their regional allies under the command of Bashar .. virgile at 31.

Imho, that’s right. With hindsight, I also guess at a "don’t expect Russia to save you on its own step up to the plate please" sorta attitude. I say this because while Russia is on the whole ‘conciliatory’ in its public speech - at the Geneva talks they notched down their public support of Assad quite a bit (imho.) Of course, Russia announced the ‘withdrawal’ as a show of ‘goodwill’ right at the start of the talks, but the message meant more than a temporary ‘make nice move’ to W powers. The Russkies were signalling to Assad "we can do so much but possibly not more though we stand firmly behind you." Just my interpretation fwiw.

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 28 2016 14:19 utc | 58

It is now clear why the Russians left just before.
(They wanted the liberation .. to be .. Assad's .. not a foreign army).
Posted by: virgile | Mar 27, 2016 4:53:01 PM | 31

Absolutely! The non-withdrawal withdrawal rewrote the rules on diplomacy and Chess on every conceivable level. Brzezinsky now ranked as Grand Novice.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Mar 28 2016 15:41 utc | 59

jfl @ 5 said the same thing as virgile @31... either way - i agree..very well thought out strategy here.. i have followed the usa's crazy actions too much.. one looks like a chicken with it's head cut off, the other with the tool to cut if off..

Posted by: james | Mar 28 2016 16:12 utc | 60

B, thank you. You always say the right thing.
Karlof1 @ 32, thank you for posting the final transmission. I play the Black Raven for him.

The characteristic I most noticed about the Eastern Ukrainian (Russian) people when the conflict was first started, before they were armed, was a kind of transcendance. I remember the men with machineguns attacking a polling place. They shot a man who protested their stealing of the ballots. The others dragged him away to safety and returned at once, shouting at the machine guns as if they saw something more important than personal survival.
Transcendance, a pecularly Russian characteristic. Noted at Eastertime.

Posted by: Penelope | Mar 28 2016 16:19 utc | 61

Thanks b! Amazing post!
Happy Spring to all!

A friend told me that yesterday in her village Christians and Muslims were filling the souks and buying chocolate eggs and painted boiled eggs.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 29 2016 1:46 utc | 62

Noirette 58: Bhadhrakumar has a post confirming your humble opinion of the Russians throwing Bashar under the bus (deal for the West throwing the rebels in the pit of hell ?)
It would be hard for Putin to be in charge of saving Maher al-Asad's ass, for sure.

Posted by: Mina | Mar 29 2016 5:19 utc | 63

Point of clarification on observance of Orthodox Easter this year. It will occur May 1st. My feeling is, the determination is a technical one, hence this year we have two Easters to celebrate. Let's make the most of it. Happy Easter to all.

Posted by: juliania | Mar 29 2016 22:36 utc | 64

The US/UK governments are choking over Palmyra.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Mar 30 2016 1:27 utc | 65

Great text! This is a beautiful analogy. I would add that Ishtar is also the origin of the word "star" (Stern in german), and of course, the name Esther. In arabic, it means "intelligence"... like what your text reflect. Thank you so much.

Posted by: Rumbero | Mar 30 2016 16:29 utc | 66

@50 js

Just got to the Max Blumenthal - Gideon Levy Interview. Fascism in Israel - the forest kept hidden in the trees by the corporate media. Of course we, all of us Americans and Israelis, know what's going on, we just ignore it - by common, tacit agreement.

Joseph Kishore at makes the same point about war in the US campaign ... and the history of Democrat contrivance to keep all talk about the wars out of campaigns since 2004. Of course we, all of us Americans, know what's going on, we just ignore it - by common, tacit agreement.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 1 2016 1:43 utc | 67

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