Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 27, 2016

New Turkish-U.S. Quarrels About Syria

Some 300 U.S. special forces illegally invaded Syria to support the Syrian Kurds of the YPG organization. The Turks see the YPG as a sister organization to the Kurdish PKK guerrilla in Turkey which area designated terrorist organization while they are  fighting for autonomy within Turkey. Only yesterday six Turkish security personal died during fights with the PKK. To Turks the YPG are terrorists.

Yesterday the U.S. special forces screwed up mightily by displaying the insignia of the "terrorists" while combating the Islamic State. Leading U.S. media though try to calm the situation down by misleading their readers.

To mollify Turkey over the cooperation with the YPG the U.S. attached some Syrian Arab mercenaries to the Kurdish units and designated the gang the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). A current operation, probably just a diversion, is to move these forces from the north-eastern Kurdish area of Kobani towards the Syrian capital of the Islamic State in Raqqa. The Kurds do not have any interest in taking Raqqa as they would be unable to hold it and the Arab attachment to them is way to small to give it a try. What the real target of this operation is, except the western public, is yet unknown.

The U.S. special forces leading the YPG were caught on camera yesterday. They were obviously in combat even though the official Pentagon position is that these are just advisors and trainers. They also screwed up the U.S. relations with Turkey.

Here from pictures taken by an AFP photographer.

One U.S. special force soldier wears a green badge with a red star on his upper arm. A soldier on the other picture has a yellow badge with the red star and the letters YPG. Both are long known YPG insignia. You can buy them as lapel pins from Alibaba.

But here is how the New York Times prefered to explain them:

Several of the American troops were seen wearing patches with the United States flag, while others also wore the patches of the Syrian Kurdish and Arab units, a common practice among commandos as a sign of solidarity and partnership, Colonel Warren said.

There were no patches of Arab units. There ain't any. These are purely long term YPG symbols.

The Turks are not amused that U.S. special forces work with groups designated by Turkey as terrorists:

“It is unacceptable that an ally country is using the YPG insignia. We reacted to it. It is impossible to accept it. This is a double standard and hypocrisy,” said [Foreign Minister] Çavuşoğlu on May 27.

He advised the U.S. troops to also wear Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra/al-Qaeda badges. (He could have truthfully added: "That is what Turkish special forces do.")

Another movement against Turkish plans is underway. In the north-west of Syria Turkish supported "rebels" are holding Azaz and several towns near the Turkish border against the Islamic State on the eastern side and Kurdish forces on the western and southern side. Last night the Islamic State took (map) several towns and villages from the "rebel" side in that enclave and might soon be able to eliminate all Turkish supported forces there. Turkey had big plans for the ragtag forces there including defeating the Islamic State and a renewed march towards Aleppo. Those illusions are now gone.

Expect some crazy but serious Turkish reaction in response to this double whammy. Turkish relations with the U.S. are likely to further deteriorate.

Some other recent developments:

  • The Kurds moving towards Raqqa are now said to have reoriented to move north towards the Turkish border. This is unconfirmed and I doubt its veracity.
  • "Moderate rebels" in Aleppo city have shelled government controlled areas throughout the last nights. Some reaction to this will be needed but the Russian imposed ceasefire seems to hold government forces and their allies back.
  • Hizbullah as retracted some forces from Syria because it expects a rather imminent Israeli attack on south Lebanon. I do not see any signs for such an attack but the replacement of the Israeli defense minister by the radical Lieberman does point to a more aggressive Israeli stand.

The current situation in Syria appears very unstable. The U.S. rejection of working with Russia against terrorists of al-Qaeda is endangering the current barely holding ceasefire. Everyone seems to wait for a big move by one of the other sides. Stay tuned for some explosive developments.

Posted by b on May 27, 2016 at 12:29 UTC | Permalink


Perhaps this was intentional, letting Turkey know that its own actions are not in the best interests of defeating ISIL. Touchy for the U.S., especially since Turkey is a NATO member? One can speculate the reaction if Turkey fires on the Kurds with U.S. advisers among the wounded/killed.

Posted by: originalone | May 27 2016 13:08 utc | 1

The Kurdish armed militias, carrying Kurdish flags, came out of the Kurdish areas toward Raqqa, under US air cover actually formed a convincing facade of the US invasion. Must deal with US-Kurdish armed militias as occupiers!

Posted by: ALAN | May 27 2016 14:01 utc | 2

When someone associated with the U.S. or an allied government calls ISIS "ISIL", that's only to be expected. Even though the reason for their stubborn insistence on calling it that is puzzling, to say the least.

When a commenter calls it "ISIL", I sit up and take notice.

Posted by: lysias | May 27 2016 14:16 utc | 3

Always a good read with insightful information at the MoA. Kafka would be proud of such a plot line. We now see Pentagon-NATO regulars now in combat with the CIA's proxy irregulars with the U.S. Govt. supporting all sides against everyone else and against the Syrian people and their desire to plot an independent course. How this is meant to advance the Empires goals of regime change and re configuring the MENA only Kafka could understand. Russia of course wants a diplomatic solution as they are too weak to directly confront the Empire's machinations in this region and must use diplomacy to strengthen their position. This allows for the US-NATO to designate non bombable and bombable terrorist proxy entities , a charade Russia must accept as a partial victory in exposing the Empire's hand in supporting all these various terrorist groups and the subsequent back pedaling by Empire and its redefinition of their proxies into moderates and extremists. This with mean further wrangling over who is who on the diplomatic stage as Russia must continue to try and expose more groups as in bed with the extremists in order to eliminate then on the battlefield. It seems the Kurdish people as ever useful, as in being used, are being set up as the next wave of Empire backed violence in the region in order to effect Empire's goals as their terrorists proxies are slowly eliminated in this protracted war meant to wear down the Syrian people and their sovereign willingness and ability to continue the fight. A miscalculation all around if ever there was one. In the meantime human suffering on a scale of incalculable sorrow drifts into the future and presents as war crimes to be hung around the Empire's neck with far reaching consequences for Empire's viability in the near future in justifiable negative opinion on the stage of international human affairs.

Posted by: BRF | May 27 2016 14:23 utc | 4

lysias @3

The difference between "ISIS" and "ISIL" is, I think, the area over which they are understood plan a claim of dominion. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria versus the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, with the Levant being suspiciously similar in geographic size and shape to the proposed Greater Israel. Just a coincidence I'm sure...

Posted by: Bruno Marz | May 27 2016 14:48 utc | 5

The US, as a ‘Nation’ is acting against it’s own interests in Syria. Syria as a ‘stable, secular, democracy’ or some such would fit US values, US bizness and money-making in big ways, as well as, in the long run, US supremacy: financial, cultural, scientific, locus of control, etc. The same (roughly, skipping discussions) was true of Iraq, Lybia, Afghanistan. Why?

Well there are the neo-cons, the arms trade, the Deep State, the scammers everywhere, etc. Sure. But nutters and short-term profits do not a long-term plan make. And the growing power of ‘Corporations’ and ‘Finance’ aka Wall Street don’t fit with destroying these countries at all. Nor does resource booty.

The rivals of the destroyed countries are ostensibly Israel (in fact Isr. is paid and encouraged to adopt a belligerent attitude, kill Arabs, not that I’m excusing anything), and KSA. Assad (“must go”) and ‘the old’ Saddam, as well as Kadafi, presented models that were less sectarian (ethnicist), a tad more ‘socialist’ and ‘pacifist’ than others, and more strikingly all entertained fair relations with Russia or previous USSR. The same holds (skipping many differences) for Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan (ok complicated history..)

In fine, two interpretations:

1) The US is a weak country at the mercy of infiltration, takes at the top (personal - co. relations, etc., Mafia type), navigating clumsily a foreign policy that makes no sense in any terms, as swaying to please one actor or another in ‘local’ quarrels, so multiple switcheroos, Israel is a main player in a kind of sick symbotic relationship, others can be taken up and discarded, etc. in function of what aims exactly is then inpenetrable.

2) The US is determined to dominate Russia and China at any cost. That probably means a nuclear war and quasi total destruction.

Posted by: Noirette | May 27 2016 15:25 utc | 6

WaPo sez US troops wearing YPG patches ...

"First images emerge of U.S. Special Operations forces in the fight to retake Raqqa"

"But the appearance of a YPG patch on a U.S. soldier’s arm will likely inflame tensions with Ankara as well as some Arab groups aligned against the Kurds, including components of U.S.-backed Syrian rebels."

source -

Posted by: ALberto | May 27 2016 15:26 utc | 7

File Erdogan in the dustbin of history.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: ALberto | May 27 2016 15:29 utc | 8

"The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the US-led coalition, have liberated at least 6 settlements in the operation ongoing in Northern Raqqa – Ayn Issa, Al-Qantari, Al-Fatsah, Bir Sadr, Bin Hammud, Abu Kabra, Matmasraja – and an electricity station near Tal as-Saman. There are reports that some “American fighters”, apparently US special operation forces, are among SDF ranks. They coordinate the military operation."

source -

Posted by: ALberto | May 27 2016 15:48 utc | 9

Some of the men can be seen wearing the YPG insignia. The Kurdish militia forms the bulk of the SDF and has been responsible for most of the gains against the IS in northern Syria. Turkey, a key US ally in the region, regards the YPG as a terrorist organization. Some of the US-backed rebel groups in Syria are likewise hostile to the Kurds, and may take offense at the US troops’ use of the patch, Checkpoint noted.

“Our special operations forces in the past have, yes, worn insignias and other identifying marks with their partner forces,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told reporters on Thursday.

source -

Posted by: ALberto | May 27 2016 16:00 utc | 10

b, hate to overpost but this stuff might be important as I believe that these moves are being made during US Memorial Day Holiday while the citizens are distracted by their personal lives ...

"Separately, there are reports that US heavy “military equipment” arrived in Northern Syria through the Rmeilan airport and deployed, with a part of the US troops, to the area of the Tell Abyad town. This is one of the settlements where the SDF offensive on Raqqa has started."

source -

Posted by: ALberto | May 27 2016 16:08 utc | 11

This is surprising?

Anybody check out John Pilger? An Australian critic of Australia and its puppy dog status with regard to the US. He had the lead article on the Counterpunch site "Silencing America as It Prepares for War." It is worth a thoughtful read.

While I'm at it, Missy Comley Beattie offers "Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief" at the same site. The latter seems to outline what Americans really want in a President.

Thus, what goes on in Syria (while important) is a mere sideshow to what we (that is what US stands for) want and expect from our leaders ... perhaps the least obnoxious of the current candidates (Sanders) still exemplifies our national belief that we are 'entitled." In some sense, perhaps (I actually think the perhaps can be removed) WE ARE ALL JUST LITTLE HILLARYS WANTING TO BE ENTITLED to the myth that has always been America: a greed based cancer of self-indulgence and self-glorification as THE good in the world, bravely facing down the OTHER both around the world as well as at home.

Oh, Happy Memorial Day! Let's go to the nearest AIR FORCE base and watch the THUNDERBIRDS showing off the might (?) that is AMERICA ... !!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: rg the lg | May 27 2016 16:46 utc | 12

I'm way to cynical to take all this at face value. If American soldiers were seen with arm patches, it's because CENTCOM wants them to be seen. There are no accidents like this. I think it's all show to give Turkey a chance to object. They can't have people still believing that the U.S., Turkey and ISIS are all colluding in the Syrian schemes and the Syrian Kurds are to be thrown under the bus.

It's interesting to note that although there has been all this SDF-building activity, the YPG Kurds in the SDF are still claiming they have received very few arms and ammunition to fight anybody. There have also been reports of Asayish (PYD Stazi) press-ganging young Kurd men into the YPG to bolster the SDF forces for a Raqqa assault. The young men object to serving, saying that Raqqa is not Kurdish and they don't want to die to take it back for the Arabs. This was part of my observation months ago that the PYD party has been usurped by the U.S. to gather cannon fodder (young Kurds) to prevent the Syrian government from every taking back the main oil/water towns on the Euphrates. The 'old' PYD would have none of this nonsense, nor did they ever see the need for the massive expansion of their own Stazi - the Asayish (who HAVE been well-armed by the U.S. - go figure).

So we have this usurped PYD leading a Kurdish charge to Raqqa which will cost Kurds dearly. And you have the PYD insisting as late as last week that it is going to leave Raqqa to the original Arabs and other ethnic groups - it will not be part of Rojava Kurdistan. The Arab FSA contingent in the SDF will apparently 'get' Raqqa for their own. Does anyone else see the U.S. just using the Kurds here to create an outpost for the FSA? Kind of like an anti-Assad chaos capital for mid-Syria?

Then - if anyone remembers WAY back - the U.S. had some inordinate interest in the Tabqa Dam - now held by ISIS. If the U.S. was so desperate to get Raqqa (and Dier EzZur for that matter) for their losing FSA side, then the easiest thing would be to blow the dam. It's earth-filled - it would destroy itself in minutes with the smallest of breaches. If ISIS is dug in at Raqqa in force, then jamming communications and blowing the dam solves a lot of problems. The entire episode would be blamed on ISIS of course. All you need are a few days of fake reports of how the SDF is overrunning ISIS. Make it look like an act of ISIS desperation. And what better way to make sure Lake Assad was as full as possible by controlling the al Haditha dam for a few months. Remember, that was suppose to be for the Manbij operation which always seems to be just a few days away, yet never happens.

What does Turkey get out of any of this? Maybe the old Safe Zone scheme via invasion if the SDF and lightly-armed Kurds are busy dying in Raqqa. A second possibility is that the SDF/Kurds are intentionally being fed into the meat-grinder to lose at Raqqa, and Turkey will cross at Tal Abyad to 'help'. This actually creates a Turkish Safe Zone East on the other side of Kobane. It would extend roughly from Tal Abyad to Raqqa. Since the Killis-Azaz head-chopper supply routes are ready to fall, it's time for the U.S. and Turkey to reopen the Tal Abyad - Raqqa route. The bonus effect for Erdogan is to cut eastern Rojava into pieces again, thwarting any attempts to declare independence or create a unified Syrian Kurdistan.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 27 2016 17:25 utc | 13

Re: @ 11 -- rg the leg

Is this the Pilger article you mention?

Posted by: jawbone | May 27 2016 17:36 utc | 14

Also, the Counterpunch for anyone how doesn't have it handy.

Posted by: jawbone | May 27 2016 17:44 utc | 15

Meanwhile in Ukraina, check, this lol, "Ukraine's Poroshenko Appoints Ex-NATO Chief Rasmussen as Advisor"
Read more:

Posted by: Manlek | May 27 2016 17:51 utc | 16

Detailed map of northern ar-Raqqa area and location of SDF push from Cristian Ionita ‏@EdmapsCom. The U.S. soldiers were photographed in Fatisah two days ago. It's near the top of the map, at the tip of the marked disputed area.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 27 2016 17:55 utc | 17

The green patch with the red star is for the YPJ - The Rojava Women's Defense Units. The yellow one is for the YPG - the Rojava men's units.

The YPJ was intentionally split off from the original integrated YPG by its women commanders. They felt they could never achieve recognition as equals under the mostly-male YPG command despite many efforts to do so. They just left and created their own parallel al-women militia. YPJ snipers are fierce - even ISIS is terrified of them.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 27 2016 18:09 utc | 18

Noirette @ 5

Your overview is the clearest, most insightful, and best explanation ever.

For as long as I can remember I've held the simplistic idea that all the brutality and bloodshed in the Middle East, along with the killing and destruction that has supposedly spilled over from the evil there, has been caused by a small group of Israeli psychos who managed to get control of a small group of U.S. psychos, who in turn gained control of the U.S.

Then suddenly, a day or too ago, talking to a friend -- in the middle of a sentence -- it came to me I might be wrong, that maybe Israel was created for no other purpose than to support U.S. aims, and eventually to take the blame for U.S crimes there. When U.S. policy changes, when circumstances change, Israel and it's people will be abandoned to face the consequences on their own.

Mostly, when I need something to keep me up at night I reflect on the environmental devastation of the planet, radiation, chemical poisoning, the slow death of the oceans, and so forth. Yet, as you say, it does now seem the U.S. is hankering for a nuclear war, which would do thousands of years worth of making the planet uninhabitable in the wink of an eye.

I understand there is some reason to believe an outside force is fomenting color revolutions on Russia's doorstep in the central Balkans, especially in the FYRM (Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia) something that could move NATO and Russia closer to a confrontation. In the last few days the IMF has nearly completed the looting of Greece, has almost finished taking the country apart, and many would say Greece as an independent nation no longer exists. Then today Putin suddenly turned up in Athens to discuss common economic issues between Russia and Greece. Is help for Greece on the way? Everywhere things seem to be moving very fast.

Posted by: Ken Nari | May 27 2016 18:29 utc | 19

thanks as always b for the informative article here...

thanks also to noeirette @5, paveway@12 and etc and ken nari@18 for the insightful info...

b quote - "The current situation in Syria appears very unstable. The U.S. rejection of working with Russia against terrorists of al-Qaeda is endangering the current barely holding ceasefire. Everyone seems to wait for a big move by one of the other sides. Stay tuned for some explosive developments."

yes indeedee.. noirette - i think both your interpretations are at work... unfortunately no one can know how this works out, but not good would be an obvious conclusion..

expect the shit to ramp up with more clarity when mars turns direct a wee bit before the new moon in cancer - july 4th area... i suspect this time frame will offer greater clarity where we're collectively headed (via the syria escapades) short term, on the way towards things ramping up even further late summer..

Posted by: james | May 27 2016 19:09 utc | 20

@ Noirette | May 27, 2016 11:25:35 AM | 5

An elephant you seem to have overlooked - a lot of witnesses are no longer talking: Saddam H. of Iraq; Gaddafi of Libya; H. Mubarak of Egypt interred in a military hospital; bin Laden of Al CIAda; various leaders of Taliban; the current attempt to silence B. al Assad of Syria - each and every one knowledgable, in detail, of CIA 'operations' where they held power; each cooperated with the 'services' at their disposal. Some elephant they were.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | May 27 2016 19:15 utc | 21

Interesting view: Syrian General Staff officer: American-Kurdish-SDF "offensive" on Raqqa is an information war bluff

A source in the Syrian General Staff told Russian Spring’s war correspondent in Syria that the information obtained by intelligence agents and UAV’s clearly indicates that we are dealing with nothing more than a big bluff, since no such “huge force”, as it was dubbed by the media, has been deployed to this front.

“Despite the loud PR campaign, there is no such large-scale offensive on Raqqa. The SDF’s groupings have indeed grown and fighting has intensified, but there is nothing unusual in this. For months already, the Kurds have been fighting with ISIS in Raqqa province, slowly trying to move forward. But there is no indication that they are now, or will soon be, nearing the administrative center of the Muhafazah. At this rate, this could go on for years,” the officer of the Syrian Arab Army said.

The source found it difficult to answer why such a fuss has been made, and suggested that this might have something to do with the US presidential elections or the desire to conceal some other operation or inaction.

I'll toss in my own two cents that the U.S. has reportedly made 150 airstrikes either around Ayn Issa or ar Raqqa which killed 30 or so odd headchoppers. So now, I guess the U.S. is taking five JDAMS to kill one headchopper. We're gonnna' need a lot more B-52s out there at that rate. Even with that number of strikes, the SDF only managed to take out a few tiny villages in two days. Something is not right with this whole story.

The guys in the pickup truck might have been JTACs, judging by their high-cut ballistic helmets (accommodates closed-back headphones for communicating with pilots). These guys do not go to the front lines to drop bombs on empty buildings. I'm not sure what to make of their presence there. The strikes may have been made at ISIS positions closer to ar Raqqa without any precision or involvement by JTACS. Either that, or the reports of 150 strikes are as bogus as the massive assault that gained them a handful of little villages.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 27 2016 19:25 utc | 22

Jawbone @13:

No. That is a telling article. Evidently Pilger has not put the article referred to from CP on his site yet.

Again, I see the main issue to be our drive toward war ... led by the very people so many voted for as the lessor-evil. In my view, cynical/heartless, the issue of Syria is a side-show. The REAL issue, the arching over everything else issue, is our push to provoke either Russia or China into war ... .

Hubris is not the only problem with either the neo-cons or the neo-libs. That they collectively are a tiny minority within both of the alleged political parties in the US (combined making less than 20% of the total potential electorate, cf: Robert Urie, ) means nothing. They rule, and they are both driving us to test the theory that a nuclear war can be managed to be small and strategic ... not the holocaust we are supposed to fear. In other words, sow chaos so the 'other' is weakened - then move in to take over. It is the same strategy the first europeans used to take native lands. It worked, and it continues to work, thus it IS our foreign policy.

Anyway, have a nice memorial day ... enjoy the ironies of the past vs the official mythical past (called 'history')

Posted by: rg the lg | May 27 2016 20:01 utc | 23

By using the Kurd militia The evil US Empire is looking to segregate Syria and "destabilise" turkey. The US Will exploit the Kurds and get a two for one. Wearing the Kurdish insignia, not only identifies the US to not be attacked by other Kurds, but also exists as a con to trick the Kurds thinking the US gives a fuck about them one iota.

I fully support Kurdish people's autonomy, sovereignty and statehood, in whatever existing state they are. But of course that will be used as a pre-text by the evil empire to create murderous chaos. And also denied by the despicable Russian leadership to keep their Syrian influence fully intact.
If the Russians were so beneficietly minded generally, why don't they support Kurdish state and give them the same support economically, politically and militarily like they do the Syrians now ?

Posted by: tom | May 27 2016 20:10 utc | 24

OH NO -- it's me again.

Take a look at the ICH article :
by Richard Sakwa.

While b is correct to focus on issues in Syria, and we all do need to be aware, there is a larger issue we should understand Syria in terms of. It may not grab the headlines (I'd frankly be surprised if it did) but it is fundamental.

Posted by: rg the lg | May 27 2016 20:13 utc | 25

@5 noirette

I think both of your 'alternatives' are correct. Having the 90 lb weakling slash Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in office for the last 8 years has institutionalized the setup. Looks like the same setup will obtain after the selection. I don't see anything good on the horizon, just more of the same. Led to perdition by the deaf, dumb, and blind 'elite'.

Posted by: jfl | May 27 2016 22:23 utc | 26

The US is mis-estimating the situation. The Kurds' main interest is defending their own territory. They've had their fingers burnt further east in the past in trying to take over Sunni Arab territory, and they won't do it again. The Sunni Arab element of the SDF is still minimal, so there's no basis for an advance upon Raqqa. Thinking that Kurds will take Raqqa is in the realm of dreams.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 27 2016 22:34 utc | 27

PavewayIV @ 17:

I saw those two photos and a few others on a Washington Post article that claimed that US forces together with their Syrian and Kurdish allies were about to reach Raqqa. The article had been co-written by two reporters, one based in Beirut.

The thing that impressed me most about the US Special Forces soldiers in those photos (and you also see this in the photos in MoA's post) is how they all resemble professional models, clean-shaven in their pristine and ironed uniforms, wearing sunglasses and striking dramatic poses. So there's the possibility that this Washington Post article and similar ones have been produced as propaganda for their dwindling numbers of readers.

Also it's said (I don't know if it's true though) that ISIS jihadis are said to be afraid of being killed by women, because they would supposedly end up in Hell if they were.

Posted by: Jen | May 27 2016 22:55 utc | 28

Also it's said (I don't know if it's true though) that ISIS jihadis are said to be afraid of being killed by women, because they would supposedly end up in Hell if they were.
That's Kurdish bullshit, to justify to the West that Kurdish women are actually taking part. Women are always to be seen in the videos - useful propaganda. I wouldn't like to be one of those women though. They must be in constant danger of being raped, knowing the macho character of most Kurds.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 27 2016 23:24 utc | 29

@28- I doubt they're any more likely to be raped than a female recruit in the US armed forces.

Posted by: Nana2007 | May 27 2016 23:43 utc | 30

@ 11 "Anybody check out John Pilger? An Australian critic of Australia and its puppy dog status with regard to the US"

John Pilger has visited and reported from many, many countries around the world. He has been described as the finest crusading journalist of his generation and I have been following his work for 35 years. He has written at least 25 books and made more than 50 documentaries. In Britain he was one of the team that made the mass circulation Daily Mirror an incredible newspaper in the 1970s. He has been relentless in his quest for the truth in any situation in which he finds himself. For a sample of his work see his documentary "Apartheid Did Not Die" which includes a searching interview with Nelson Mandela. Alternatively, when everybody was hyping up the Japanese industrial miracle in the 1980s Pilger dug out and filmed the pretty nasty reality of backstreet sweatshops.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 28 2016 0:22 utc | 31

Syrian Rebels Armed by CIA Fight Those Armed by the Pentagon In Aleppo District

Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter five-year-old civil war.

The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.

In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq [armed with TOW missiles], or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east.

“Any faction that attacks us, regardless from where it gets its support, we will fight it,” Maj. Fares Bayoush, a leader of Fursan al Haq, said in an interview.

[Link to BooMan ... site appears to be down past few hours.]

Posted by: Oui | May 28 2016 0:23 utc | 32

Posted by: rg the lg | May 27, 2016 12:46:50 PM | 11
Posted by: Lochearn | May 27, 2016 8:22:56 PM | 30

John Pliger?

Ahaaa yes one of the few whom I truly admire. Pilger not afraid to speak is mind and on Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders. "In the US, Bernie Sanders has promised to support Clinton if or when she's nominated. He, too, has voted for America's use of violence against countries when he thinks it's "right". He says Obama has done "a great job".

Posted by: Jack Smith | May 28 2016 1:26 utc | 33

May 27, 2016 - You cannot make this stuff up ...

It’s not uncommon for U.S. special forces to wear foreign insignia on their uniforms when deployed abroad, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday.

The comments come after photos surfaced of U.S. troops wearing Kurdish YPG patches in Syria.

“When they operate in certain areas they do what they can to, if you will, blend in with the community to enhance their own protection, their own security,” Peter Cook told reporters. “Our forces need to take the steps that they need to take in order to carry out their mission and to protect themselves.”

source -

Posted by: ALberto | May 28 2016 2:02 utc | 34

U.S. special ops troops in Syria ordered to remove Kurdish insignia

American commanders have ordered U.S. special operations troops in Syria to remove patches affiliating those forces with the Kurdish rebel group Turkey has labeled as a terrorist organization.


The wearing the Kurdish patches “was unauthorized and inappropriate and authoritative action has been taken,” Col. Steve Warren, the top U.S. military spokesman for anti-Islamic State operations in the region, said Friday.

A few hours earlier Col. Steve Warren had said all is fine with those badges....

Posted by: b | May 28 2016 6:21 utc | 35

b, thanks for the update @34

When is shit like this going to become part of the event horizon of the American public?

It is a testament to the power of the media that they can get away with blatant misrepresentations and the new shinny thing or new fear always distracts the brainwashed dumbed down masses. Meanwhile the dissolution of American empire continues apace.

If the global plutocrats see the writing on the wall they are busy dis-investing in America and positioning themselves to ride out the transition to whatever the New Order might be. And then they pull the plug on the US, watch it default on gobs of debt and become a 3rd world country that it used to harass.

More likely, unfortunately, some hair brained believer in US Manifest Destiny and Exceptionalism will lead a preemptive nuclear strike to cover up the already covered up results of Fukushima radiation and the Cosmos will mark our section of space as off limits for a while.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 28 2016 7:16 utc | 36

Jen@27 - "...The thing that impressed me most about the US Special Forces soldiers in those photos (and you also see this in the photos in MoA's post) is how they all resemble professional models, clean-shaven in their pristine and ironed uniforms, wearing sunglasses and striking dramatic poses..."

That's probably because they were Air Force JTACS. All us Air Force guys look like that.

Seriously though, I'm not really seeing the pristine and ironed uniforms. They look clean, like they just put them on that morning before they drove in from Base 93 or wherever, but not ironed. These would have to be the new batch of SF guys because everything they wear or carry should be covered with red dust. It will be soon enough. The wrap-around sunglasses are pretty standard SF fare. The velcroed patches look new, which would make sense if they just got them from the YPG/YPJ. The I'm-just-like-one-of-you Middle East beards looks like every other SF guy's Middle East beards (which always manage to look different than anyone's beard in the Middle East). Not sure about the posing - could be they're just trying to ignore the guy with the camera. But sure, it could all be staged for the AFP reporters.

There have been 50 or so JTACS and Green Berets in Syria for a couple of months now with the SDF - these definitely are not those guys judging by appearance.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 28 2016 7:45 utc | 37

Here's the largest pictures of them I've seen published on-line.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 28 2016 7:48 utc | 38

Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) is the term used in the United States Armed Forces and some other military forces for a qualified service member who directs the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations from a forward position.

Posted by: okie farmer | May 28 2016 8:39 utc | 39

Turkey: US Troops Should Wear ISIS Patches on Their Uniform

Turkey is furious that US special forces troops spearheading the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria are wearing YPG/YPJ patches on their uniforms that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested on May 27 that US troops add ISIS flags to their sleeves next.

I guess ISIS are fighting against Turkey's pals, Al Nusra as well, aren't they? ISIS is presently pretty much cleaning up that Northwest corner of 'contested territory', right by Turkey's main supply line, aren't they?

Meanwhile the real, anti-terrorist outfit is picking up the cudgel and going after Al Nusra again as well...

Russia Restores and Intensifies Airstrikes against Al Nusra

On Friday, the Russian General Staff reported that Russian had intensified air strikes against oil sites controlled by an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the Al Nusra Front.

Sergei Rudskoy, head of the General Staff’s main operations command said Al Nusra was taking advantage of a previously announced cessation of hostilities in many locations, and of the fact that its units are often deployed in the same areas as the armed groups involved in the political process.

According to the general, Russian warplanes intensified strikes against Al Nusra’s oil production sites and smuggling routes to Turkey.

... seems like Turkey has played both sides against the middle ... but unfortunately, that's exactly where Turkey presently finds itself.

South Front strongly criticizes the SAA'a stated intention to open two fronts simultaneously, in Aleppo and Deir Azzour.

Posted by: jfl | May 28 2016 9:26 utc | 40

PavewayIV @ 22

"...At this rate, this could go on for years,” the officer of the Syrian Arab Army said

US Special Forces and their handlers specialize in treachery, and they've been hard at it in Syria at least since 2012. yes, since the very beginning.

gosh, imagine that!

Posted by: john | May 28 2016 11:09 utc | 41

Silencing America as it prepares for war is John Pilger's excellent and not really off-topic assessment of the US political climate. If they absorb only the mainsream media, none of the warmongering is allowed to penetrate Americans' delicate little ears, and the only foreign news they hear is of heroic but frustrating US 'anti-ISIS' efforts and inexplicable Russian and Chinese 'belligerence' toward Amerikah, world capital of 'freedom'.

So silent in the US, even during the Presidential campaign, when the 'radical left alternative' Sanders is a fully paid up cheerleader of American control or bombing and destruction of other countries.

Is everyone busy looking at their smart phone, so no time for real world political activism? We're being sleepwalked into WW3.

Posted by: fairleft | May 28 2016 12:50 utc | 42

@41 john

And like doctors the CIA buries their mistakes ...

New Syrian Army virtually wiped out by ISIS suicide bomber attack

The U.S. trained New Syrian Army – not to be confused with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – has virtually been wiped out, according to the Washington Post.

It now transpires the small rebel group was hit by a major ISIS suicide attack on May 7, killing most of its members, according to its leader Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Tallaa.

The unit was created in Jordan after receiving training by the CIA. It was subsequently funnelled across the Syrian border into southeastern Homs to combat ISIS.

... now accepting applications from the next group of trainees.

Posted by: jfl | May 28 2016 12:50 utc | 43

Alberto, B and Psychohistorian @ 34 - 36:

"Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977 ...

... Art 39. Emblems of nationality

1. It is prohibited to make use in an armed conflict of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.

2. It is prohibited to make use of the flags or military emblems, insignia or uniforms of adverse Parties while engaging in attacks or in order to shield, favour, protect or impede military operations.

3. Nothing in this Article or in Article 37 [dealing with perfidy or treachery], paragraph 1 (d) [the feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict], shall affect the existing generally recognized rules of international law applicable to espionage or to the use of flags in the conduct of armed conflict at sea ..."

Well I guess that spells it out for Colonel Steve Warren.

Posted by: Jen | May 28 2016 13:07 utc | 44

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 28, 2016 3:45:53 AM | 37 & 38

The camera angle (camera low and aiming up = no identifiable horizon/location) tells me all I need to know about the pics. Welcome To The BS World of Hollywood?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 28 2016 14:31 utc | 45


Thanks for the confirmation of war criminality.

I wonder if there any any left in the military with honor or have they all become religions zealots for empire?

I read yesterday somewhere but can't find the link that Russia downed a Turkish helicopter. I am not finding that story today. Anyone else see it?

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 28 2016 15:05 utc | 46


And like doctors the CIA buries their mistakes ...

...and then covers its ass(hopefully) by lying about them.

Posted by: john | May 28 2016 16:26 utc | 47

To hell with the kurds they butchered the assirian and armenian tribes almost a century ago to steal their land.

Posted by: Fernando Arauxo | May 28 2016 16:47 utc | 48

john@41 "...US Special Forces and their handlers specialize in treachery, and they've been hard at it in Syria at least since 2012...

That's kind of an odd statement if taken at face value. Neither 'unconventional' nor 'covert' really equate to betraying trust or deception.

U.S. political leaders and the DoD order these guys to go and do what they do. If they were ordered to go in and help out the fake coup army we were trying build in 2012, then the onus was on their commanders in the Pentagram to decide whether they were, in fact, supporting and defending the constitution against any real enemies. I don't remember any amendments to the Constitution mentioning the neocon/PNAC Kool-Aid or 'the interests of Israel and big oil'.

A 21-year-old Green Beret sergeant is not a constitutional scholar - if the orders are not CLEARLY unconstitutional, then they are inclined to obey. A treasonous four-star general in the Pentagram who is ordering them there has no excuse for pleading ignorance of the Constitution. That general (and all his/her fellow parasitic Pentagram careerists) swore to ignore any unconstitutional orders they were given. Their job is not to scheme ways around the provisions of the Constitution. They are not suppose to be acting as agents of Israel or any other foreign government. They cannot absolve themselves of blame because the President gave them an unconstitutional order.

Like MANY U.S. commissioned officers throughout history, those generals should have resigned their commission rather than be forced to carry out such an order. In my mind, CENTCOM commander Gen. Joseph Votel is the real traitor to the constitution here. You can't expect a cowardly careerist to worry about blind obedience to the Constitution when his next promotion and paycheck depend on him ignoring it at the behest of his traitorous leaders. I'll gladly stand corrected if Votel can convince a sixth-grader how, exactly, he is supporting and protecting the constitution in Syria (or Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc...).

SF soldiers often end up being the tip of the spear for acts of treason or acts on behalf of foreign agents perpetrated by the Administration or DoD. The SF guys are NOT the problem here - they didn't usurp the constitution, the U.S. government did.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 28 2016 16:57 utc | 49


Neither 'unconventional' nor 'covert' really equate to betraying trust or deception

every SF soldier in Syria knows that he is there illegally. ignorance is no defense. illegal on the ground in a foreign country where you are actually killing people seems to me to be a particularly grave betrayal of trust...

interestingly, in the past 15 years of illegal wars, among the millions who have moved through the ranks, there have only been about 1000 conscientious objectors formally recognized by the US military.

oh yeah, and i did say...

US Special Forces and their handlers

Posted by: john | May 28 2016 18:36 utc | 50

john@50 - Every war the U.S. has been in since I was born violates the spirit of the Constitution. Since the letter of the law as it is today has little to do with the spirit of the Constitution, especially with regards to Foreign Policy and military intervention, then saying it is 'illegal' is meaningless. The U.S. legal system is corrupt and has been usurped by the same powers that usurped the U.S. government. By those laws and the mechanisms that enforce them (or are willing to enforce them), the soldier is NOT there illegally. Since most U.S. citizens stand by their broken and corrupt government, MOST citizens would not say that soldier has violated their trust. On the other hand, MOST U.S. citizens would say the government is guilty of much illegal activity and have themselves violated the people's trust.

I agree with you in spirit far more than I disagree with you, but I've heard these useless arguments since Viet Nam. They're not getting us anywhere, they don't mean a damn thing in the real world, and they deflect attention from the real perpetrators of the unconstitutional and morally questionable activity. You're not ever going to get a 'common soldier' revolution where they all just collectively decide what SHOULD BE legal or not at any given moment. That's an improbable childish fantasy that does little more than assuage one's guilt for tolerating a corrupt, unconstitutional government and their clownfuckery. Wake me up when you decide to blame the actual perpetrators, not the chains of hapless victims.

Are you, by any chance, one of those people that hold up a long line of frustrated customers in the grocery store while you loudly demand that the cashier explain why the prices are so high? "...Ignorance is not defense..." The cashier must be ONE OF THEM!

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 28 2016 19:57 utc | 51

That's an impressive testimony, Paveway.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 28 2016 20:36 utc | 52

Paveway, Okie Farmer + Hoarsewhisperer @ 37 - 39, 45:

Thanks very much for your comments regarding the AFP photographer's pictures and the people in them. They are all very illuminating. What is significant too is that the same photos are appearing in different media outlets in the US and Israel (so far).

These photos must be part of a witless disinformation stunt that backfired on the US when the Turks called it out and said the Americans should be wearing ISIS insignia as well.

Posted by: Jen | May 28 2016 21:41 utc | 53

Laguerre@52 - "That's an impressive testimony, Paveway." And it is in direct opposition to what my president believes:

“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.”

That was Obama about three years ago. The first thing that popped into my mind was, "Well then, we have a f'king PROBLEM here, Mr. President..." I'm sure at least a dozen or so U.S. citizens also had a similar reaction. The other 330 million U.S. citizens? Not so much.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 28 2016 23:38 utc | 54

#54 paveway 'The other 330 million U.S. citizens? Not so much.'

That's a more impressive testimony, according to my lights. The key is not to congratulate ourselves on being members of the 'discriminating dozen' but to work somehow with the rest of our brothers and sisters to change the way things are. As long as that change is uneffected none of us can say we've done enough to make it happen.

It's true that some of us are more invested in the way things are than others, and that that is sometimes a conscious choice. The men and women 'at the top', for instance, are obviously the willing dupes of the system, actively furthering its penetration and extent.

But most of us have just gone along to get along. 'Unconscious'. And trying desperately to remain so.

I think that change can only practically come form those of us most viciously abused by the system, those of us with the least to lose and who thus are the most willing to give change - and in this instance, peace - a chance.

That is, in my view, why real, participatory democracy is essential to our evolution and survival.

The system is desperately trying to disenfranchise those people who are most likely to effect change.

For those of us in middling straits 'elevating' candidates for 'selection' like the current two or three is enough to cause us to neuter ourselves politically, to just not vote at all.

At the very least we can just sweep the system's choices off the table : write-in a candidate for POTUS, senator, and congress that you would like to have in each respective position.

Posted by: jfl | May 29 2016 2:01 utc | 55

I think that change can only practically come form those of us most viciously abused by the system, those of us with the least to lose and who thus are the most willing to give change - and in this instance, peace - a chance.
Posted by: jfl | May 28, 2016 10:01:16 PM | 55

As a purely intellectual exercise, I beg to differ. People who feel themselves to have been crushed by "The System" are extremely unlikely to be capable of leading the way toward anything useful. By definition they were incapable of 'saving' themselves. The most potentially useful people are the ones who are persisting in the struggle, still have their heads above water and their dignity intact, but can foresee the likelihood of the abyss impacting on their lives.
Not trying to repudiate anything but I assure you that crushed people are as dangerous as they are useless and can rarely, if ever, rehab themselves.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 29 2016 4:25 utc | 56

jfl@55 - We'll just have to disagree on this, jfl.

The organization (the U.S. government) is diseased - it's psychopathic - it will NEVER cede power back to the people. This is the very nature of organizational psychopathy. It is infested with psychopathic individuals from top to bottom who will never let the organization become healthy because a psychopathic system enables them - as individuals - to acquire more power for themselves. Mutually beneficial psychopathy that has no other goal than acquiring more power and control. The end state is tyranny - we're closer and closer to it every day.

You are not going to project the will of the people through such an organization no matter which method you use. "If only enough of us..." is useless fantasy. The U.S. government is well-insulated (and well-armed) from such attempts at demagoguery. Psychopathic organizations/individuals acquire power and immediately put in place more interlocking mechanisms to ensure that nobody can ever take that power away from them, ESPECIALLY the little people it stole that power from to begin with. You cannot use broken tools supplied by or administered to by a psychopathic government to fix that government. They are designed NOT TO WORK - that's why they keep encouraging you to use them.

Every single suggestion I keep hearing for 'What to do' is a tediously repetitive list of what I know will be futile attempts to convince a psychopath to not be a psychopath. They can all be distilled to Google's now-abandoned motto of "Don't be evil".

I don't know how to explain it any clearer. You cannot make an evil person/organization morally healthy by telling them to stop being evil. It doesn't matter how loud you yell it at them or how many times you repeat it, nor does it matter how many U.S. citizens say it to their government. It's too late for all that. You may as well be yelling at someone with smallpox to stop being infected. Same effect. They - like psychopaths - are incapable of obeying you even if they wanted to. To make this 'solution' even more improbable, psychopaths have absolutely no desire to obey you and will consider you their enemy for even making the suggestion.

Useless, broken tools like voting, 'the law' or hoping for a non-psychopathic leader are an utter waste of time. Attempting to fix those tools is a waste of time because they were broken on purpose and will be broken again by the same people. Persistence and tenacity are useful traits when the tools work. They obviously don't - our effort has nothing to do with it.

I don't have any solution to offer, I just know what tired, old suggestions are worthless and why they will always be worthless and a waste of time. I'll be dead in 25 years or so - I refuse to keep using broken tools and hope for a damn miracle. That's insanity.

At some point, our founding fathers came to the same conclusion about working with the tools provided by the Parliament of England and King George. Our terroristic founders eventually had to resort to crimes against the state and Crown, treason and insurrection for remedy. I'm kind of hoping to avoid that here if possible.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 29 2016 4:29 utc | 57

@ PavewayIV | May 29, 2016 12:29:25 AM | 57

Great post and point on; dead on.
The utter nonsense and denial persistent in the U.S. and the west in general is stunning and numbing at the same time.
There is in fact only one solution left, but you think it can be avoided? I do not; it's why I left.

Posted by: V. Arnold | May 29 2016 4:52 utc | 58

PavewayIV @ 51

agreeing with me in spirit should be helpful...

mostly if the only other solution for you seems to be dying.

Are you, by any chance, one of those people that hold up a long line of frustrated customers in the grocery store while you loudly demand that the cashier explain why the prices are so high?

no, i'm not. are you, by any chance, one of those people who stood in line all your life, silently, obediently, taking orders from some asshole who clearly didn't have your best interests at heart?

Posted by: john | May 29 2016 10:54 utc | 59

@56 hoarse @57 paveway

Well you've both mischaracterized what I actually said in order to flog your own favorite currs. Go to it.

Posted by: jfl | May 29 2016 13:28 utc | 60

jfl@60 - These are the points I thought you were making: 1) It will take the efforts of more people to affect change, 2) Most people are not inclined to do this, 3) Some people are (most abused/least to lose), 4) Participatory democracy essential, 5) System disenfranchises those most inclined to effect change, 6) Least inclined to affect change - 'Middling straits' - have even less reason to vote in 2016, 7) Write-in is incentive to do something instead of not voting at all.

I tried to frame my reply like this:
1 - 4 are parts the "If only enough people..." solution - (too late - gov't mostly immune from demagoguery today)
5 - Agree
6 -7 variation of persistence and tenacity with broken tools solution (useless for affecting change in gov't)

I don't imagine you agree with my view, but I did not intentionally ignoring what you were saying to get on my soapbox. Nobody comes to MoA to read MY TL:DR posts - I was responding directly to what I thought (mistakenly) your main points. What parts did I misinterpret?

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 29 2016 16:31 utc | 61

john@59 - In real life, I would know better than to get into a discussion in a bar with an anarchist about... well, anything.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 29 2016 16:38 utc | 62

Just a heads-up for an excellent piece on water and agricultural resources in the Euphrates Valley. I was digging for anything new on the Tabqa Dam and found this interesting retweet from W. van Wilgenburg, with the original tweet stating

"SDF declared they opened an 4th front at 15.00 local time today towards Tabqa along the eastern banks of Euphrates."
Rather astonishing considering the undermanned, underarmed three-front North Raqqa campaign that has only netted a few small villiages and some farms. If this is true, then why would the SDF further stretch their forces to make a move on heavily-fortified al Tabqa? The dam, and Lake Assad's importance to both Kurds and Arabs as explained in the article would make Tabqa a much more important target than ar Raqqa. That 4th front could also be related to Charles Lister's questionable tweets about forces moving north (west?). And, of course, both could be just plain wrong.

The article comes from think-tank The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), often regarded as linked at the hip with AIPAC and Israeli-firsters. The organization professes to be anti-neocon in it's policy and generally provides thoughtful and balanced articles on Middle East issues (if unrelated to Israel). Others have stronger opinions on WINEP's biases.

This article explains several long-standing issues regarding mis-managed water resources with the Syrian government. Assad and ISIS have both used water resources as control tools for the Kurdish and Arab farmers. The maps provide a good visual clue as to why ISIS is where it is today and why the Kurds and Arabs are worried about taking and retaining control of their water resources.

Water Issues Are Crucial to Stability in Syria's Euphrates Valley
Fabrice Balanche May 26, 2016

"Regardless of who drives the Islamic State out of the Euphrates Valley agricultural zone, they will need to address the legacy of failed regime irrigation policies that are once again creating tension among local tribes."

The maps also show why Tabqa Dam (al Thawra Dam) might be a prime candidate for weaponization by either side: blowing the dam would also destroy the al Baath Dam. That combination would pretty much wipe out ar Raqqa, Deir EzZor and all this year's crops and nearly the entire food supply for anyone downstream. All the farms downstream to Iraq are in the catastrophic flood plain. Loss of Lake Assad would wipe out most of the irrigated farming between Aleppo and Lake Assad.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 29 2016 20:27 utc | 63

Alloush steps down

“Syria's Opposition HNC Chief Negotiator Announces Resignation”

Chief negotiator of the Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) at the intra-Syria talks announced a decision to leave his post, local media reported Sunday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Mohammed Alloush, who is also a member of the Jaysh al-Islam group, made a decision to resign because intra-Syria talks in the Swiss city of Geneva were not successful, Jordanian el-Dorar al-Shamia news website reported, citing Alloush's statement. [.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~IF HNC had participated instead of walking out of the meetings-- such obstructionist actions do not contribute to successful negotiations.

Posted by: likklemore | May 29 2016 22:13 utc | 64

@56 hoarse @57 paveway
Well you've both mischaracterized what I actually said in order to flog your own favorite currs. Go to it.
Posted by: jfl | May 29, 2016 9:28:08 AM | 60

My #56 made clear that I was critiquing one brief passage extracted from a longer comment above your name. The idea behind it is conceptual and I took pains to avoid personalising it before I ripped into it (NOT YOU). I did not mischaracterise it.

It says: I think that change can only practically come form those of us most viciously abused by the system, those of us with the least to lose...

I thought it was myopic and wrong and explained why.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 29 2016 23:06 utc | 65

Turkish president slams presence of Russia, Iran, US in Syria

"What business have Russia and Iran (in Syria)?” the Turkish president asked in Istanbul Sunday.

“What business do the US soldiers dressed up with the so-called patches of a terror organization have there?"

Since the onset of conflict in Syria, Ankara has been implicated for fanning the flames of war in the neighboring country mainly to bring down the Syrian government by supporting Daesh terrorists through measures including conniving their infiltration into the neighboring country or purchasing their illegal oil.

Apart from Iran maintaining its advisers on the ground in Syria and that with the approval of the government in Damascus, the US and Russia have been militarily present in the conflict-ridden country to fight the Takfiris.

I missed the part where the US received 'the approval of the government in Damascus' for its arming and training foreign mercenaries in their subversive war against that government.

What business does Turkey have in funding al CIAduh and Daesh in Turkey? Oh yes ...

Speaking among what the Turkish media outlets referred to as “around one million” participants, marking the 563rd anniversary of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, the Turkish president pointed the finger at the three countries.

... ah, yes. The Ottoman are the lords of all the Middle East - and more! - and Recep Tayyip Erdogan is their Sultan! How much longer can this guy last? How many are 'around one million' ... the civil servants of the Sultan ordered into the streets in his support?

Posted by: jfl | May 29 2016 23:41 utc | 66

@66 hoarse

You turned 'abused', an objective condition, into 'crushed', a subjective condition, and then carried on demeaning those who are not fully invested in the system as is. My argument is that change will not come from those who 'still have their heads above water' and are yet desperately paddling ... just as long as their heads are 'above water', as long as they feel they have something to lose should change arrive. It's a question of socio-economic position, not 'moral worth'. In my view, at any rate.

Posted by: jfl | May 29 2016 23:54 utc | 67

@64 paveway, 'The organization professes to be anti-neocon in it's policy and generally provides thoughtful and balanced articles on Middle East issues (if unrelated to Israel). Others have stronger opinions on WINEP's biases.'

I'd be one of those ...

Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) is a Washington-DC-based think tank and part of the so-called pro-Israel Lobby; WINEP was founded in 1985. WINEP was founded by AIPAC, and initially WINEP staff and offices overlapped; WINEP’s founding director was Martin Indyk, AIPAC’s former research director. While AIPAC sought to influence the US Congress directly, WINEP is seen as a means to influence US foreign policy, discussion of foreign policy in the media, to serve as a conduit to place its own personnel in key policy-making position, and to recruit important policymakers to its cause.

The plan to blow the dams and starve the population sounds right up their alley though. 'as a means to influence US foreign policy, discussion of foreign policy in the media, to serve as a conduit to place its own personnel in key policy-making position, and to recruit important policymakers to its cause.'

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 0:05 utc | 68

@62 paveway, 'The organization (the U.S. government) is diseased - it's psychopathic - it will NEVER cede power back to the people.'

Skipping the trademark 'psychopathic' bit we agree here. Yet it's your very first sentence, casting my plea for radicle change as some sort of plea for 'mercy' from the 'tyrants'.

You seem big on the 'founding fathers' and the constitution, my vision is to use those parts of our constitution which enable popular sovereignty and to amend the rest. There is no hope is trying to work through the extra-constitutional apparatus that has evolved over the past few decades, but there is an historic basis for change latent in the original document(s) ... in the Declaration of Independence, especially ...

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Not only a Right but a Responsibility, I would say. Your first sentence seeks to lump my plea for radicle change together with pleas for a 'kinder, gentler' treatment of ourselves and our interests by the 'elite'.

I don't believe our constitution and the declaration are 'broken tools', and in any case they are the ones we have. The 'work' is done by the workmen and women, in any case, no matter the working conditions. The effort required is 'what it takes'. And I don't believe in bringing knives to a gunfight, and even if you do believe in the efficacy of violence, you must admit that we the people who want change are out-gunned by the oligarchs and that portion of ourselves presently in their employ. We have to start from where we are, not from where we ought to be.

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 0:30 utc | 69

PavewayIV @62

What 'we' (lefty Americans) do is meaningless in the face of financial capitalism comprehensive control of the state/media. However, there are larger forces at play, so the situation going forward isn't static. Russia and especially China could upset the plans for a world financial borg, and so there are times when 'we' can use our tiny leverage to assist larger forces for 'good' and peace ... In fact, in the case of U.S warmongering in the South China Sea, now is the time to provide facts ... Similar job is at hand in the case of the emerging desire by the PTB for war with Russia.

None of this has anything to do with internal reforms in the U.S., which sadly like you say seem hopeless. But even there, increasing the alienation from and disbelief in the mainstream media narrative seems to me to be a worthy (though admittedly very minor and somewhat tangential) task. OTOH, if you can't take people from alienation to the next step, what good is creating alienation?

Posted by: fairleft | May 30 2016 1:25 utc | 70

jfl@70 - Everything the elites have and do now is shored up by their usurped execution of the provisions of the Constitution via the mechanism of the usurped state/government. To effect the kind of changes you're talking about would necessarily mean revolution then, right? They're certainly not going to let anyone screw up the good thing they have going now unless they're facing the barrel of a gun.

If so, than I misinterpreted what you meant by radical change because of the way you ended your post with the write-in vote thing. That seemed to be the extent of what you were suggesting and that's why I was confused.

The Constitution and Declaration are not the broken tools I was referring to. I mean the traditional means that citizens have to effect change in our government. Specifically, things like voting, petitioning the government, Congressional representation and judicial action. I contend that those are the broken/useless tools we are left with today, especially for the fundamental changes needed. I agree with you that radical change needs to happen at the level of the founding documents - the Constitution and Declaration - to try to collar the... well, whatever word you have that describes evil, power-hungry individuals. You know what label I would use.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 30 2016 1:48 utc | 71

RT article says Syrian government forces along with Palestinian militias advancing into Raqqa province.

Posted by: jawbone | May 30 2016 2:05 utc | 72

@69, @54 paveway

Also note concerning the 'retweeter', Wladimir‏@vvanwilgenburg :

Freelance journalist (MEE, Aranews, NOW), analyst Jamestown Foundation, MA Conflict Studies/Kurdish Studies. ...

Jamestown Foundation

The Jamestown Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank associated with right-wing actors that monitors security trends in a host of countries stretching from Eurasia to Africa. According to its website, the foundation’s mission is “to inform and educate policy makers and the broad policy community about events and trends in those societies which are strategically or tactically important to the United States and which frequently restrict access to such information.” The organization prides itself on using “indigenous and primary sources” and it claims that its material is “delivered without political bias, filter, or agenda.”[1] At various times in its history, however, the group has been dogged by allegations that it secretly works with the CIA or governments allied with the United States.

[1] Jamestown Foundation, “About Us,”

These seem definitely the kind of guys who could blow these dams. It's a play out of the Korean War playbook.

Bruce Cumings, The Korean War, CHAPTER SIX: “The Most Disproportionate Result”: The Air War

Air force plans for attacks on North Korea’s large dams originally envisioned hitting twenty of them, thus to destroy 250,000 tons of rice that would soon be harvested. In the event, bombers hit three dams in mid-May 1953, just as the rice was newly planted: Toksan, Chasan, and Kuwonga; shortly thereafter two more were attacked, at Namsi and Taechon. These are usually called “irrigation dams” in the literature, but they were major dams akin to many large dams in the United States. The great Suiho Dam on the Yalu River was second in the world only to Hoover Dam, and was first bombed in May 1952 (although never demolished, for fear of provoking Beijing and Moscow). The Pujon River dam was designed to hold 670 million cubic meters of water, and had a pressure gradient of 999 meters; the dam’s power station generated 200,000 kilowatts from the water. [10] According to the official U.S. Air Force history, when fifty-nine F-84 Thunderjets breached the high containing wall of Toksan on May 13, 1953, the onrushing flood destroyed six miles of railway, five bridges, two miles of highway, and five square miles of rice paddies. The first breach at Toksan “scooped clean” twenty-seven miles of river valley, and sent water rushing even into Pyongyang. After the war it took 200,000 man-days of labor to reconstruct the reservoir. But as with so many aspects of the war, no one seemed to notice back home: only the very fine print of New York Times daily war reports mentioned the dam hits, with no commentary.[11]

[11] Conrad C. (2000). American Airpower Strategy in Korea, 1950–1953. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

On the topic of The Wars In Syria And Iraq Are Also Water Wars - More Will Come, b's post and the thread are worth a reread.

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 2:18 utc | 73

@72 paveway

The 'problem' with 'elections' as they are is that they are in fact the 'selections' that we all know too well. Superficial analysis tells me that our representation is not what it seems ... Kennedies, Bushes, Clintons ... from a nation of 300 million!? Who are they kidding. And the new 'minority'/new face candidate from 'left' field gambit ... Reagan, Obama, Sanders, Trump ... is equally transparent, to even the most willfully obtuse of us, by now.

I am not such a great devotee of republics, I want direct democracy, Aki Or states the case, although his mechanism is not plausible, as well all know now, post-Snowden. Now it is clear that we need locally administered, locally counted, paper-ballot elections, whether they are initiatives, referenda, recalls or held periodically to fill a representative seat. Because we do need a representative government to administer our governmental organizations. The task is to stop the bubble up of power and to reverse it, to a more democratically tractable scale. Again, according to me.

So we need elections. Just real elections. The only way we're going to get them is to hold them ourselves. If you don't think that's radicle, wait until you see the reaction of the oligarchy once we set off on the road to their attainment.

I have no silver bullet, but assessing where we are now and where we want to be asap ... I've found a path which seems to me can lead from here to there. I'm always delighted ... or would be ... to hear of alternative paths to the same end.

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 4:18 utc | 74

jfl@74 - Thanks for a reminder about b's Water Wars thread. (Your link got messed up)

And in case anyone forgot, the NATO's plan to topple Gaddafi an install their puppet government involved deliberate and targeted destruction of Libya's water infrastructure. Nearly half of its water came from a decades-long Great Man-made River (GMR) project to pipe the Nubian Aquifer water underneath Libya's desert to the cities in the north.

From Libya’s “Water Wars” and Gaddafi`s Great Man-Made River Project:

"...How this relates to the NATO destruction of Gaddafi’s Great Man-Made River Project in July 2011 can be best illustrated by the Hegelian Dialectic, popularly known as the concept of Problem -> Reaction -> Solution. In this case, by bombing the water supply and the pipes factory, a Problem was created with an ulterior motive, namely to gain control over the most precious part of Libya’s infrastructure. Subsequently a Reaction in the form of an immediate widespread need was provoked as a result of the Problem, since as much as 70% of the Libyans depend on the Great Man-Made River for personal use as well as for the watering of the land. A month after the destruction of the Great Man-Made River, more than half of Libya was without running water. Ultimately a predetermined Solution was implemented: in order to have access to fresh water, the inhabitants of the war-torn country had no choice but to fully depend on – and thus to be enslaved to – the NATO-installed government..."

The U.S. and NATO still deny deliberate destruction of the GMR, but the evidence is overwhelming:

War Crime: NATO Deliberately Destroyed Libya's Water Infrastructure

The military targeting of civilian infrastructure, especially of water supplies, is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Yet this is precisely what NATO did in Libya, while blaming the damage on Gaddafi himself. Since then, the country's water infrastructure - and the suffering of its people - has only deteriorated further.

The U.S. sure has a thing about weaponization of water. When the FSA coup fell apart and ISIS suddenly bloomed along the Euphrates, they ended up taking over Syria's only chlorine production facility. This was after sanctions prohibited anyone from selling water purification chlorine to Syria - kind of like they wanted all the already-suffering Syrians to get cholera and dysentery. Turkey turned off the Euphrates and Aleppo went dry. The U.S. bombed water production and distribution facilities in Aleppo.

ISIS keeps their most important prisoners at the heavily-defended Tabqa Dam as human shields against a feared U.S. bombing. I wonder how many CIA agents and mercs they have in cages there? Taking out Tabqa would destroy ISIS strongholds all the way to Iraq.

So is it any stretch of the imagination to picture the U.S. pulling a Libya here? Blow the dam and blame it on ISIS. ZATO moves in with their puppet Sunnistan government after Syria's partition. Kurdistan and Sunnistan now at the mercy of their ZATO overlords to rebuild the dams and restore water. Israel keeps Golan oil and water. Mission Accomplished: ZATO and puppet governments now control 90% of Syria's oil, gas and water resources. "OK, We got what we really wanted. I guess Assad can stay now. War over - your welcome for the peace."

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 30 2016 5:18 utc | 75

Forgot this link to WSJ article on Tabqa:

Islamic State Uses Syria’s Biggest Dam as Refuge and Potential Weapon
Jan. 20, 2016 6:45 p.m. ET

"Militants hiding high-value prisoners and sheltering senior officials at Taqba Dam in conviction U.S. won’t dare unleash deluge by bombing it

Note that it is ISIS that is afraid the U.S. will intentionally destroy the dam. ISIS would be committing suicide if they blew it themselves. Yet the MSM narrative seeds for an ISIS false-flag are already planted in the title with 'potential weapon'. It's not a weapon to ISIS against anyone but themselves. The article explains further in, "...Some Middle East analysts and U.S. officials fear the group could detonate a dam if it felt its power was slipping..." Seems like an odd ISIS strategy: "...if we start losing, we'll kill ourselves..." ISIS fighters don't go to heaven if they kill themselves, and they haven't seem too interested in scorched-earth policies when they're forced out of somewhere. This is too easy a target for U.S./Team Chaos psych... er, 'evil' people.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 30 2016 5:33 utc | 76

@76 paveway

Thanks for the news - to me - of the US/NATO destruction of the GMR in Libya. What does it take to have a war crimes tribunal?

And thanks for the link to WINEP's article by Fabrice Balance. Good maps. The emphasis is on how inept is Assad's government, of course, the literal bottom line is the only mention of Turkey...

Water Issues Are Crucial to Stability in Syria's Euphrates Valley

Restoring stability in the valley will be much easier if Turkey respects the international agreement for sharing Euphrates water with Syria. The agreed minimum flow is 500 cubic meters per second, but the current level seems to be significantly lower today, and neither IS nor the Assad regime is in a position to protest. Accordingly, the water issue will give Ankara much leverage over whoever controls the Euphrates Valley.

... so if Greater Ottoman Turkey takes over Eastern Syria all the poor peoples' problems will be over! And if the CIA/USAF blows the Syrian dams Turkey will be in complete control of the water in its newest province from the 'homeland', where all the dams are.

Let's all root for the Ottoman/Israeli alliance and further War Crimes by US/NATO in blowing the dams in Syria!

This does point up the complete fraud of The Hague, doesn't it?

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 6:11 utc | 77

@77 paveway

Found your link, Islamic State Uses Syria's Biggest Dam As Refuge and Potential Weapon, without having to drop trow for the WSJ ...

Bombing a dam would potentially unleash torrents of water and kill tens of thousands of people, experts believe.

"There is a calculation of unintended consequences and civilian casualties," said Matthew Levitt, a former Treasury Department official who is now director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Sometimes, he said, they bear on "questions about how large of a bomb" to use.

Two things to note about Matthew Levitt ... the revolving door between Treasury and WINEP (reminds me of State saying that the US was placing no barriers to lending to Iran post-sanctions and Treasury saying hell no! we'll break the legs of anyone who tries it) ... and the fact that WINEP is not talking about whether to bomb the dam but of "how large of a bomb" to use.

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 7:18 utc | 78

@62 paveway 'TL:DR'

Not being hip I hadda look it up. Now that's a well-known category I hadn't a name for!

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 7:26 utc | 79

Game on. I hope everyone in Raqqa can swim.

From ARA News:
Syrian Democratic Forces fighting ISIS at three battlefronts north Raqqa
May 30, 2016

"...Moreover, the SDF on Sunday started a new operation against ISIS on the eastern bank of Euphrates, aimed at recapturing the key town of Tabqa.

“We have now launched a battle for Tabqa, by bombing ISIS strongholds there. Our goal is to eventually liberate the entire northern countryside of Raqqa from ISIS terrorists. We want to liberate the people of Raqqa from the atrocities of this barbaric group,” the Kurdish female commander of the SDF said..."

Interesting that the joint commander of the 15,000-strong North Raqqa campaign is a 30-something female YPJ commander Rojda Felat. I'm wondering how that's going over with the Arab tribal militia guys that joined the SDF? I'm guessing they don't bother asking her about not wearing a proper hijab because she would probably shoot them in the neck if they did (joking). Kurds are Sunnis, but Kurdish women don't typically wear headscarves - it depends on their age/region. Judging by Syrian Kurd media, older women often wear one, but younger ones less frequently. There are pictures of YPJ wearing them on occasion.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 30 2016 8:14 utc | 80

Edit: should have said that Kurdish women typically don't HAVE TO wear headscarves, i.e., it's not mandatory or enforced by hose beatings or caning. They do so by custom, occasion or choice.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 30 2016 8:26 utc | 81

I copied Mathaba's paper, Libya’s “Water Wars” and Gaddafi’s Great Man-Made River Project, added a map of the project and a German documentary, complete with a pitiful English language soundtrack denigrating everything shown at every turn. It is a tribute to the pusillanimous Anglo-Saxons.

@81 pw

I hope you're wrong ... 'game on'. Syria/Iraq have suffered far too long at the hands of the Anglo-Saxons already.

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 9:22 utc | 82

re 83

The Brits were quite heavily involved in the Great Man-made River Project. The Yanks may not have been.

You guys don't seem to understand what was involved in the GMMR. Yes, it was a good idea, but it was not sustainable use. The water source is fossil aquifers that date back to the last Ice Age (or something like that), which are not being recharged. A geographer I knew who made a study thought the water would last 30 years once the project got going. The water was being mainly used for irrigation of the Tripoli plain. Not necessarily the most efficient use, given the rate of evaporation. Probably as good as can be done, but in 30 years they would be all out of water again.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 30 2016 12:02 utc | 83

@84 Laguerre

Well, you're right in that they are mining water, as are the residents of California and Oklahoma, for example, and that their rate of replenishment is small enough to dictate the eventual exhaustion of their supply.

The paper listed above puts the amount of water to be mined at 4,800 to 20,000 cubic kilometers.

A paper I googled up (Securing fresh water for everyone) puts Libya's per capita water consumption at 2038 cubic meters per capita per year.

Wikipedia puts Libya's population at 6,416,776.

That puts Libya's consumption of water at ~13 cubic kilometers per year.

Or at about 1/367th of the low end estimate of its water mine's capacity. Of course Libya's use might increase considerably if they went into farming in a big way. That'd seem like a silly thing to do, to me. If they reduced their internal usage of water to the level of that of the UK, their water mine would last at least 594 years. And those numbers are at the low end of the estimate of their mine's capacity. They might have 4 times that much water. If they have twice as much they'd be good for more than 750 years at present consumption levels, or well over a 1000 years at UK levels. That's assuming they eliminate entirely their consumption of water from external sources, which represent nearly 2/3s of their present consumption.

Feel free to check my figures. Maybe my assumptions or calculations are faulty.

I can't say anything about the accuracy of the figures cribbed from the above sources.

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 14:04 utc | 84

Laguerre@84 - The lower-end estimates were based on planned usage after all five phases of the project were complete. They had only completed three, and the remaining two would have been mostly for irrigation whose usage was calculated on pretty wasteful decades-old practices. Using modern irrigation techniques and with awareness of the limitations of the aquifer, the Libyans could have been able to extend that supply to last many more years.

Yes, finite like any other natural resource. But still worth doing considering that most northern wells would have been ruined by now from over-utilization and saltwater infiltration, leaving Libya with almost no fresh water. And the project was costly, but still ends up being far cheaper than the old (European - Italian, I think) solution which was to bulk-ship fresh water to Libya and eventually build a pipeline to sell them fresh water. They were kind of counting on the eventual permanent saltwater- spoiled Libyan wells to ensure their water-for-profit schemes.

Engineering or practicality issues aside, it was still a grievous war crime to bomb the pipeline itself (I think most of the West recognizes the 'terrorist bombing' story as fake, today). There is no justification for denying four million people fresh water because ZATO wanted their puppet government to replace Gaddafi's. Bombing the pipeline factory and chemical stores further proves ZATO intended to keep the GMMR shut down for years and stop the planned expansion.

ZATO simply took the opportunity to destroy it in 2011 - they had actually targeted the GMMR for years. In the late 90's, the CIA was crying about Gadaffi's massive chemical weapons factories and warehouses being constructed all over Libya underground and in the mountains. They had to be destroyed before it was too late - I think Israel was raising quite a stink about pre-emptively bombing them at the time. Turns out these 'massive installations' were nothing more than the giant reservoirs being constructed as part of the GMMR. Something that should have been easy for the CIA and Mossad to figure out given many Western companies were involved in the project.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 30 2016 16:17 utc | 85

The YPG are terrorists. They have now emerged as the prime US proxy force in Syria, for the purpose of stealing as much land and ressources from the legitimate Syrian goverment. Why anyone still believes the MSM's pro Kurdish propaganda blitz is beyond me. YPG have also commited a series of crimes in northern Syria, against Arabs and Assyrian. These includes: Forced relocation, razing entire villages, calling in coalition airstrikes on civilian targets if they do not submit to Kurdish rule or leave. This is what was reported in an Amnesty report.
The Kurds are not being used either, they are willing participants in imperial destruction and warfare. They were foot soldiers in the Armenian and Assyrian genocides, and afterwards stole their victims villiges and land. In the 50's Kurds were trained by the CIA to overthrow the communist goverment in Damascus. They have been allies of Israrl since the 1960's, and have destabilized both Iraq, Iran and now Syria at the behest of empire.
The Kurds are not victims nor heroes. They have a lot of blood on their hands, and should not be supported.

Posted by: Georgiana | May 30 2016 16:27 utc | 86

re 85 and 86.

I don't much mind whether you believe me or not. I haven't studied the subject myself, but my informant was good: a professor of geography in the University of London, who worked on Libya. The information is old, around 25 years. It is possible that estimates of the quantities of water have improved since then. But the replenishment is virtually nil, as opposed to California or Oklahoma.

re 85. Your calculations appear to refer to human consumption, but most under Ghaddafi, and probably now, was being used for irrigation.

re 86.

Using modern irrigation techniques and with awareness of the limitations of the aquifer, the Libyans could have been able to extend that supply to last many more years.
Do you really think that under Ghaddafi, and particularly now, the Libyans use the most efficient modern methods of irrigation?

Of course it was a war crime to destroy the infrastructure, but that's the current Western practice, learnt from Israel.

I did say, and I do believe, that in spite of its limitations, it was a worthwhile project. You use the fossil water now, or in the future. You lack water now or in the future.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 30 2016 19:22 utc | 87

@87 Georgiana... you related to @48 Fernando Arauxo ??

if you think this way of the kurds, i am curious how you view erdogan and turkey? you think there hands are clean in all this? there are no players with clean hands in any of this, least of all the west under the leadership of the usa... that is a fact, indisputable in all of this as i see it.. israel is running a close 2nd as well..

Posted by: james | May 30 2016 20:31 utc | 88

It would appear the green patch on the Spec ops is the YPJ women's militia patch. Oops!

The Women’s Protection Units or Women’s Defense Units (Kurdish: Yekîneyên Parastina Jin‎, YPJ, pronounced Yuh-Pah-Juh) is an all-female Kurdish military organization.

Screenshot_2 (green YPJ patch close up)

On May 26, SouthFront reported that US special operation forces are participating in the clashes against the ISIS terrorist groups, wearing patches of Kurdish organizations. Thus, the Syrian Democratic Forces’ offensive on Raqqa looks in a new strategic perspective.

Posted by: Dean | May 30 2016 20:47 utc | 89

I was trying to find any information on what part of the GMMR was still operating. From what I can tell, the only part that was bombed was the Bregga pipeline plant and a section of the pipeline running to (at the time) Gaddafi's Sirte. Although there's many articles discussing NATO 'destroying' the GMMR, this doesn't seem to be the case. There seemed to have been some disruption in the distribution network after Gaddafi's overthrow (pumping stations electric supply, network management) but nothing stating clearly if it is operating today or not.

Recent news talks about attempts to retake the water distribution facilities in Sirte back from ISIS, but I can't tell if that's the coastal aquifer wells or the GMMR water.

To your point about sustainability, Laguerre: I agree the Libyans would have had much incentive to conserve if water continued to be cheap and plentiful. It seems Gaddafi was also pulling an Assad and encouraging some water-intensive export crops like cotton and corn. I was thinking that as soon as wellhead lifting costs started rising (aquifer running dry) they would have started thinking about conservation. At that point, it's probably too late. My comment about agricultural use in later phases is wrong. There seem to be several different versions online of what each phase covered and what was completed so far. Gaddafi was big on promoting agricultural use, and there are plenty of images of irrigated cropland in the Libyan Sahara.

Sustainability seems to be a larger and more serious issue than just Libyan supply, however. The majority of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer shown in the map in this article runs under Egypt, Sudan and Chad. Whatever the lifetime would actually be, it applies to the entire aquifer. I see Libya also put their well fields suspiciously close to the Egyptian border. I can't imagine Libya's neighbors are happy with the arrangement, even though they have not made efforts to develop that source. The situation is the same on the east side of Libya, with Tunisia, Algeria and Niger losing a good bit of the Nubian Basin aquifer to the GMMR. I think that basin is surface-recharged, unlike the ancient deep Nubian Sandstone Aquifer. There's some mention of Gaddafi's plans to sell their neighbors the water at cost. It would have taken expensive pipelines to Libya just to tap into the GMMR, and the neighboring land is mostly empty desert, anyway.

This presentation says 70% of the water would have been intended for agricultural use.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 30 2016 22:52 utc | 90

@91. pw 'This presentation says 70% of the water would have been intended for agricultural use.'

I think Gaddafi's original idea was to irrigate the Sahara, but nobody came to the party. So he then envisioned the pipelines to bring the waters north, to where the people are. It makes no sense to pursue agriculture in the desert for export to temperate regions. To feed the Libyans, OK. For the perennial 'national security' purposes.

The estimates of capacity for the aquifers are an order of magnitude or two larger in Omar Sarnin's report, based upon the estimate by the UN Center for Environment in the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE). As you point out, that is not all Libya's water. Gaddafi seems to have been cognizant of that fact, and planned on using the Libyan expertise he'd developed to help the other countries avail themselves of their own buried water supplies. That's just the sort of thing that makes US/UN/EU imperialists see green with envy, followed by red with the lust for war.

Listen to the British soundtrack on the German documentary that I added above to your link above. It's such transparently patronizing propaganda it's embarrassing. I wouldn't pay any attention to anything a Brit of any official capacity had to say on Libya.

Water, as we started out saying, is going to be in short supply everywhere starting yesterday. If I were Libyan, I'd be thinking long term about a pipeline in the reverse direction, Mediterranean to Sahara, and about solar distillation of fresh water from salt.

Posted by: jfl | May 30 2016 23:52 utc | 91

Turkey is Preparing an Offensive Military Operation in Northern Syria

It’s obvious that the cease-fire in Syria is not to the advantage to Ankara, whose political leaders seek to overthrow the government of Bashar al Assad.

Now, the most important point of the face-off is Aleppo province. As locals say, more than 1000 terrorists arrived there between April to mid-May. The fighters were accompanied by trucks with arms and ammunition and off-road vehicles with large-caliber machine guns. Notably, the vehicles’ deployment is covered by Turkish artillery, regularly shelling Syrian border regions from the Turkish side. It’s clear that all these actions are the evidence of the fact that terrorists are preparing a large-scale offensive in Aleppo.

While the world is trying to reach a peace treaty in Syria, Turkish leaders are planning large-scale operations involving “opposition” terrorists and radical groups.

International Military Review – Syria & Iraq, May 30, 2016

On Friday, the Russian General Staff reported that Russian had intensified air strikes against oil sites and smuggling routes to Turkey controlled by an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the Al Nusra Front. The Russian Aerospace Forces reportedly conduct air raids against Al Nusra and ISIS militants in the provinces of Aleppo and Homs. However, Russia’s Defense Ministry doesn’t provide information about the number of sorties and destroyed targets.

The perennial 'Turkish invasion'. It does seem a[nother] collison between Russian and Turkish forces is inevitable.

Posted by: jfl | May 31 2016 0:28 utc | 92

I don't think I've said anything about clean hands. I was simply speaking out against the insane pro-Kurdish sentiment, even amongst those against the destruction of Syria, who usually criticise all other militias working with the US. Even when YPG stands besides US special forces, who now wear their patches, they are hardly criticised or refered to as US proxies. There is an odd tendency to romanticize the Kurds, particularly by the left, even when they function willingly as imperial proxies, taking part in the destruction of several nations.
We see this in this thread as well, where some fawn over their female fighters. The SAA have many female fighters as well, but I don't see them receive such fantastic media coverage.

I do not view Erdogan favorable, as he is one of the foremost backers of the jihadists in Syria. I do, though, think that the anti-Erdogan sentiment is exessive. It isn't Erdogan only who leads this policy, he is part of a broad axis of evil. It seems to me that Erdogan has been chosen as the fall guy, for hhe faliure to overthrow Assad.
The US is the chief architect of the plan to destroy Syria and many other MENA countries, and are mainly responsible. Israel plays a big role as well, as does the GCC. I view the policies of all these players as demonic.

Posted by: Georgiana | May 31 2016 13:41 utc | 93

@94 georgiana - i agree with everything you say.. thanks for clarifying that for me..

Posted by: james | May 31 2016 15:31 utc | 94

@94 Georgiana, you have concisely described some of the themes of this war. What has struck me apart from the sheer evil and mendacity of the West, is how the previously hidden alliances of the last 30 years are now in the open, especially between the Gulf and Occupiers of Plastine.

Readers should take a look at Abdel Bari Atwan's piece about the draft Syrian constitution in Al Rai Al Youm, to see what is planned in the next phase of this war. Other journalists eg Al Akhbar, write that this is a UN De Mistura kite, with other hands involved in writing it.

I worry that the essential Arab nature of Syria, it's diversity of tribes and it's independent Army is still threatened, meantime the country is depopulated and wrecked. It still looks as if someone wants the lands but without any Syrians in it.

Posted by: Midan | May 31 2016 17:29 utc | 95

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