Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 13, 2016

Terrorists Commit War Crimes, U.S. State Department: "We continue to have dialogue with them."

Russia asked the UN to blacklist Ahrar al Sham and Jaish al Islam as terrorist groups. The U.S. rejected that. "We continue to have dialogue with them," said the State Department.

A day later Ahrar al Sham joins al-Qaeda in breaking the ceasefire in Syria and in assaulting and ethnically cleansing a village loyal to the Syrian government. Meanwhile Amnesty International accuses both groups of indiscriminate attacks on civilians, including by use of chemical weapons, and of other war crimes.

May 11 Russia's bid to blacklist Syrian rebel groups at UN blocked by US, others

The U.S. and other countries at the United Nations Wednesday blocked Russia’s bid to blacklist two rebel groups in Syria saying it would undermine the war-torn country’s halt in fighting.

Reuters reported that Britain, the U.S., France and Ukraine blocked the bid to blacklist Jaish al-Islam [(Army of Islam)] and Ahrar al-Sham. Moscow claimed the groups should have been excluded because of their ties to militant groups including ISIS and Al Qaeda.

May 11 - State Department Daily Press Briefing

QUESTION: -- on this issue? Both Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam – I mean, they have exactly the same bylaw, almost the same bylaws. They don’t have a constitution. They have what they call internal document. They espouse the same dogma, they believe the same thing, they practice the same practices as Jabhat al-Nusrah and as al-Qaida. Why shouldn’t they be designated as a terrorist organization?

MS TRUDEAU: So we constantly review information. We are constantly assessing these groups. At this stage our position is that these groups are members of the cessation of hostilities. We continue to have dialogue with them. If our position changes, we’ll make that assessment then. But we are in constant review of this.

May 12 - Syria's al-Qaida branch seizes central Alawite village

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syria's al-Qaida branch and allied fighters from ultraconservative rebel factions on Wednesday seized a village of President Bashar Assad's minority Alawite sect in central Syria, following fierce clashes with government troops.
...
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group tracking the conflict, said families disappeared from Zaara after the militants overran the village. Along with Syria's al-Qaida branch known as the Nusra Front, other hard-line factions that took part in the raid on Zaara included Ahrar al-Sham and Faylaq al-Rahman.

May 13 - Syria: Armed opposition groups committing war crimes in Aleppo city

Armed groups surrounding the Sheikh Maqsoud district of Aleppo city have repeatedly carried out indiscriminate attacks that have struck civilian homes, streets, markets and mosques, killing and injuring civilians and displaying a shameful disregard for human life, said Amnesty International.
...
Two of the armed groups attacking YPG forces in Sheikh Maqsoud - Ahrar al Sham and Army of Islam - have sent their own representatives to the UN-brokered negotiations over the Syria conflict in Geneva. The other armed groups have approved other delegates to represent them at the talks.

“The international community must not turn a blind eye to the mounting evidence of war crimes by armed opposition groups in Syria. [...],” said Magdalena Mughrabi [interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.]

Posted by b on May 13, 2016 at 15:17 UTC | Permalink

Comments

wonder what the dialogue is the day after the slaughter and kidnapping of those folks in hamas suburb?

Posted by: james | May 13 2016 15:34 utc | 1

"We continue to have a dialogue with them". Well duh, how else are they to know what arms and funds and supplies they need to keep slaughtering Syrians from Syria who aren't keen on a foreign backed foreign mercenary army of intolerant extremist fanatical jihadi nutjobs hell bent on destroying their country?

Posted by: Colinjames | May 13 2016 15:41 utc | 2

The names are all very confusing, along the lines of the People's Front of Judea versus the Judean People's Front. Pictures make it easier to understand what is going on. This article has images of the three groups - Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam and Islamic State.

The first two are clearly moderates who bear absolutuely no relation to the third, a known western-sponsored terror organization.

Posted by: Yonatan | May 13 2016 15:43 utc | 3

'We need to negotiate with them' is little more than '1984-speak' for "we will continue to support and arm them."

Explaining why we are in the pickle we are in, there was a very worth while article on CounterPunch that I post here in case you missed it. In my somewhat less than humble opinion, the author makes a great case for referring to our geologic period as ...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/13/anthropocene-vs-capitalocene-a-reflection-on-the-question-what-have-i-done/

The sub-title makes it clear that we are ALL complicit. WE are not a solution. Rather we are the problem. As I've suggested before: Humanity is a cancerous growth that will, like all cancers, result in the death of the host.

How's that for a start to a weekend?

Posted by: rg the lg | May 13 2016 15:45 utc | 4

I wrote yesterday about this phenomenon and mentioned an input from Evgeny Satanovsky who would eat for breakfast any "western" ME scholar. His conclusion on the issue of terrorism in the West (US included) is a valuable one. It also underscores my long-standing contention that all those intelligence structures and political class, especially American one, do not really have firm touch with the reality and simply are not learning. Many still think that they are in control--they are not. Any existential threat to Gulfies (Saudis first and foremost), such as the fall of the regime (as an example) or any other destabilization and 9/11 would look like a stroll in the park with this whole Western "security" apparatus being unable to do sh.t about anything. Largely, because of its utter incompetence.

http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2016/05/meanwhile-at-united-nations-security.html

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 13 2016 16:06 utc | 5

rg the lg @4

The cancer analogy is dishearteningly apt, and until we can start making some adult decisions as a species the prognosis for the patient (planet) will continue to be negative.

Posted by: Bruno Marz | May 13 2016 16:27 utc | 6

Does this mean Russia will retreat MORE from Russia? Putin = such a great leader! He is an expert at creating frozen conflicts that just so happen to result in substantial losses for his allies!!

Posted by: aaaa | May 13 2016 16:33 utc | 7

Given that the US State Dept hasn't objected to what its "moderate ter'rists" are doing in Syria, one is obliged to conclude that the State Dept approves of their destructive activities. This being the case, it is much more likely that the so-called dialogue is, in fact, a monologue of instructions delivered by the State Dept to its "moderate ter'rists" in Syria.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 13 2016 16:39 utc | 8

The us never had problems with war crimes, so why should they now?

Posted by: Pnyx | May 13 2016 16:39 utc | 9

Let us redefine what happened in past:

9/11- moderate terrorists destroyed some building while dialogue was on-going at State department.
Brusseles, Paris, London, San Bernadino, Mali, Mumbai, Jakarta and all of them were moderate terrorist, who kill moderately. We are still talking to them.

Posted by: SoDShit | May 13 2016 16:49 utc | 10

@7

Does this mean Russia will retreat MORE from Russia?

Last time I checked (that was about 20 minutes ago) Russia was still within her state borders and my sources tell me she has no intentions of retreating anywhere let alone "MORE", whatever that means.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | May 13 2016 17:17 utc | 11

"The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group tracking the conflict, said"

Seems to me that the best position to take on these anti-Assad, Turk-sponsored shills like Rami Abdulrahman ("Syrian Observatory") and Elliot Higgins ("Bellingcrap") is to never quote a thing they say, whether quoting directly or indirectly. Blacklist them and ignore the Main Stream Morons when they quote them.

Sometimes the BS they spread is so extreme that you almost have to bitch-slap them, but to cite their "reporting" when it supports one's position merely gives them credence they don't deserve. "Just say 'no.'"

Posted by: Denis | May 13 2016 17:42 utc | 12

@3 - nice one - I thought they were the People's Judean Front(very apt) a picture is worth a thousand words - I have a theory that all the variously named factions are running a league as to who can commit the worst atrocities, and that they are being paid bonuses for crucifixions, public beheadings, liver-eating, etc. all stoked up with captagon-fueled blood-lust. Are we surprised that there is 'dialog' with their mercenaries?

MS TRUDEAU: So we constantly review information. We are constantly assessing these groups. At this stage our position is that these groups are members of the cessation of hostilities. We continue to have dialogue with them. If our position changes, we’ll make that assessment then. But we are in constant review of this.

Does anyone else get pissed off when the State Dept. press briefing answers start with 'So we...' - it is reminiscent of those stories that begin 'Once upon a time...' and end with '...they all lived happily ever after.' - you just know a great big fat lie is coming, which will totally contradict what was said yesterday.

On a positive note - they are so clearly making it up as they go along that it is obvious that they are on the back foot all the time.

Say it aint so Joe - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW9tq9ImRTg


Posted by: fredjc | May 13 2016 18:00 utc | 13

@13 The underlying message remains the same. The moderates would welcome a negotiated settlement but Assad and Putin continue to make things difficult for everybody.

Posted by: dh | May 13 2016 18:11 utc | 14

@14 ROFL - Yeah right - very funny!

Posted by: fredjc | May 13 2016 18:15 utc | 15

And the U.S. slips further into totalitarianism. Washington Post: Want a security clearance? Feds will now check your Facebook and Twitter first:

The government will start scanning Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts of thousands of federal employees and contractors applying and re-applying for security clearances in a first-ever policy released Friday.

Posted by: lysias | May 13 2016 18:32 utc | 16

Mark Lane, one of the first to challenge the Warren Commission fairy tale and the object of many government attempts to discredit him, has just died.

Posted by: lysias | May 13 2016 18:35 utc | 17

An update on Zara:

Syrian opposition forces massacre, kidnap 120 civilians in southern Hama

The Syrian opposition’s largest military force, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham, carried out a surprise assault at Zara on Thursday, resulting in the withdrawal of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from this predominately Alawi village in southern Hama. With the Syrian Arab Army no longer present inside Zara on Thursday morning, Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and their Al-Qaeda allies rounded up the remaining villagers and began to summarily execute unarmed civilians, including a large number of women and children. The remaining civilians that were not executed by the Syrian opposition forces were kidnapped and transferred to Al-Rastan Plains. According to an Al-Masdar correspondent in Damascus, the Syrian opposition forces executed and kidnapped approximately 120 people at Zara, making this massacre the deadliest attack against a civilian population in Syria this year.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/syrian-opposition-forces-massacre-kidnap-120-civilians-southern-hama/ | Al-Masdar News

I suppose the State Department will give them serious tongue lashing for this.

Posted by: Dean | May 13 2016 18:53 utc | 18

Russia should stop soliciting approval(s) from the UN,US/Nato, stop being so "nice" to these war mongers. Should publicize their own terrorist list and include the CIA and Ergodan who have been funding/training and supplying Isis scumbags.

Posted by: Hannibal | May 13 2016 18:55 utc | 19

@11 OOps - I meant syria.. the place where Putin authorized military strikes, but then immediately undermined the own forces he was backing, right when they were about to collapse on Allepo and decisively destroy and oust Al Queda. This undermining resulted in many deaths of Syrian and Hezbollah fighters, and allowed for Al Queda to not only get rearmed, but to get substantial diplomatic cover from America and Nato, and begin to recapture areas that they had lost

Posted by: aaaa | May 13 2016 19:02 utc | 20

@11 SmoothieX12.. thanks for sharing your perspective.. i read you and others comments over at sst and hope if the site closes some of the posters will post here.. David Habakkuk, Babak Makkinejad and many others offer worthwhile commentary on the site including yourself.

@ 14 dh.. a sense of humour helps.. thanks for the reminder in an otherwise grim atmosphere..

Posted by: james | May 13 2016 19:07 utc | 21

Russia and Iran need to take offensive measures in the battle against Takfiris. Just responding to Terrorist depredations will not cut it. Why do not Russia and Iran provide the same level of support for Yemen Houthis and Kurds as Turks and Saudis are providing to Syrian terrorists?

Posted by: Andoheb | May 13 2016 19:07 utc | 22

@21 - I grit my teeth!

Posted by: fredjc | May 13 2016 19:22 utc | 23

@22 wake me when Russia does something that doesn't get its own clients' soldiers killed. Neoliberal Putin came to Syria, tested some weapons, got diplomatically pwned by USA (or maybe coerced by some video of him and a little boy? dunno), and has basically allowed Syria to be ceasefired to death

Posted by: aaaa | May 13 2016 19:43 utc | 24

“The international community must not turn a blind eye to the mounting evidence of war crimes by armed opposition groups in Syria. [...],” said Magdalena Mughrabi [interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.]

What dispicable cowardice and war crime propaganda. The International community ( Western empire and allies)are the main war criminals !!
War crimes by the West through Arms, finance and training suppliers of terrorist jihadis too. Oh Media too. So many jails need to be built for terrorists in suits that it will be a boom for the economy ;)

Posted by: tom | May 13 2016 19:46 utc | 25

@24 Asinine.

Posted by: fredjc | May 13 2016 19:55 utc | 26

All of these barbaric terrorists have been supported by Erdogan, Suuds, Qatari, and the mastermind CIA/the US just like when it began 5+yrs ago.

Posted by: Truist | May 13 2016 20:06 utc | 27

Rummy: "We're an Empire now . . . we make our own reality."

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 13 2016 20:07 utc | 28

@28

That was Rove, not Rumsfeld.

Posted by: Captain Cook | May 13 2016 20:30 utc | 29

Richard Silverstein points out, in Israel Independence Day Evokes Nazi-Era Slogan, how the Israeli government made official use (by a color guard in a celebration), on Israeli Independence Day, of two-thirds of a Nazi slogan: אמ אחד (ein Volk) מדינה אחת (ein Reich).

Posted by: lysias | May 13 2016 20:55 utc | 30

I wonder if another "false flag" terror act will happen during Eurovision or in Cannes...?

Posted by: ProPeace | May 13 2016 21:00 utc | 31

Captain Cook @29

Thanks!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 13 2016 21:01 utc | 32

@24 aaaa, i think many, including yourself need to realize wahhabism / salafism are a huge problem for the world, and not just russia, or syria.. the west have been happy to let this monstrousity continue to grow in the madrassahs and mosques around the globe without realizing the malevolent and destructive nature of it, or of the wests apathy towards saudi arabia exporting in the past however many years.. russia can't deal with this on it's own.. it requires the west to wake up to it, as opposed to thinking they can use it as a batting ram of convenience without suffering from it.. the west is wrong.. the us state dept is a messenger for this position of ignorance - willful or unintentional - take yer pick... there position reflects the west's position by and large.. the public need to get involved to demand a stop to this suicide cult sooner then later..

Posted by: james | May 13 2016 21:22 utc | 33

Don't you see that US is trying to talk them out of terrorism by means of weaponry, money. slave virgins and harsh words of persuasion.t

Don't you see they first time in decades (after pampering OBL) they choose peaceful solution. These are those pesky women and children worshiping Assad regime who need to be maimed and killed by peace loving beheaders to make America Great again.

tIt is a madhouse.t

Posted by: Kalen | May 13 2016 21:42 utc | 34

lysias,

Thanks for the heads-up on Mark Lane. He departed this realm on May 10th and your post is the first I’ve read of his demise. I guess the government (i.e. dark state and the real murderers of JFK) are still discrediting him by their lack of acknowledgement.

RIP Mark. You served your country well.

Posted by: juannie | May 13 2016 22:11 utc | 35

rg the lg #4,

Thanks for the link. An important if unsettling article which few will read because it cuts too close to the bone of self righteousness. The “what have I done?” question begs the more apropos question “what am I not doing that I could be doing?” I have some quarrel with the idea that our species is a cancer of the biosphere. I think, or want to believe that it is the institution of capitalism that induces the malignancy not our species per se. An extremely heavy read but worth the while, imo, is “The Cancer Stage of Capitalism” by the Canadian academic John McMurtry.

Posted by: juannie | May 13 2016 22:39 utc | 36

Russia playing the long game with diplomatic airing at the UN...though, it comes at some human cost just to make sure they name the baddy before pulling the trigger.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 13 2016 23:29 utc | 37

rg the lg @ 4,

"The sub-title makes it clear that we are ALL complicit. WE are not a solution. Rather we are the problem. As I've suggested before: Humanity is a cancerous growth that will, like all cancers, result in the death of the host."

For a guy who prides himself on his moral outrage at injustice, you are -- as always-- unjust!

Posted by: Penelope | May 14 2016 2:21 utc | 38

SmoothieX12 @ 5,

Whether Western "security" is incompetent or not depends on what the oligarchs who are in charge WANT. Don't you think they want the maximum amount of death and chaos? Preferably by getting others to pay for it & others to die for it.

Sadly, looks to me like they're pretty successful. The motto is "Order Out of Chaos". They want a lot of chaos and powerlessness so that we can't resist the Order they want to impose. It's Agenda 21, signed by 279+ countries.

http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/05/08/agenda-21-an-introduction/

or a video of how they've started. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3NbhgZUZQo

Posted by: Penelope | May 14 2016 2:37 utc | 39

@37 MadMax2 - I agree. It takes time to be meticulous. The Russians seem to try hard not to kill the wrong people, and equally hard to make sure the correct people are completely dead. If the mercenaries still campaign, it's because there are more of them than Russia has been able to kill or convert yet. The ceasefire agreement and the UN resolutions remain in force and in play. There's no conceivable way that Russia will abandon Syria - Libya was the final straw, and we often forget that Russia crossed its own Rubicon at that point. Therefore, whoever wants to defeat Syria must defeat Russia. These are the true stakes in this theater.

Russia plays a longer game than most of us who watch have patience for. I don't really agree about the human cost, and I suspect you're just trying to be reasonable here. One could equally talk about the human cost as Russia kept retreating during WWII. But the imperative was to win, and there was only one way to do it.

Sooner or later Russia may be forced to kill US assets directly. And while we will all applaud, this will still be a major escalation with the US that Russia appears to prefer to avoid if possible.

I actually think this is because Russia hopes to bring the US into compliance with international law, without breaking the US propaganda myths held over the US population. Rather than show the US as a liar, Russia is happy for the US simply to be a hypocrite, and gradually come back into the rule of law without major shaming. I don't know if this is possible, but it's a noble ambition, and it's not discredited yet by any means. That said, sooner or later, it seems to me, the US has to start taking blowback within her own borders, and recognizably so by the US public. But I don't see any scenario for this yet.

Personally, I have no doubt now that Russia is fully in a state of war, against the US - but battles on battlefields have not arisen yet, and may never. I look to 2020 as a watershed year, by which time Russia plans to be invulnerable to US nukes. The US by then will lag appallingly far behind in all weaponry. I speculate that several nations by then - Iran, China, perhaps N. Korea - will pose tangible threats to US society.

In many ways, Russia's actions must be considered in the light of this longer game, where every day she gains without direct conflict is another day of added strength to her arm, and another step in the systemic decay of the enemy.

Posted by: Grieved | May 14 2016 2:38 utc | 40

Tom @ 25,
"What dispicable cowardice and war crime propaganda. The International community ( Western empire and allies)are the main war criminals !!"

Ah, but, Tom, Amnesty International is funded by Soros.

btw Doctors Without Borders seems to be only for the West's proxy armies. Appears they have lied about the existence of certain hospitals that the Syrian forces "barrel-bombed".
http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/05/05/syria-challenging-the-msf-narratives-and-bias-in-aleppo/

Posted by: Penelope | May 14 2016 3:01 utc | 41

posted this on the wrong thread earlier..opps..

matt lee part 2 on State Dept: Are Ahrar al-Sham & al-Nusra one & the same? 13 May 2016

what is reprehensible is the fact the usa has not agreed to the un request to define as a 'terrorist group' 'ahrar al-sham'... anything else is smoke and mirrors and more bullshite from the usa..

''we've seen some commingling''... thanks for a moment of honesty, lol...

Posted by: james | May 13, 2016 6:41:42 PM

Posted by: james | May 14 2016 3:14 utc | 42

SmoothieX12 | May 13, 2016 12:06:02 PM | 5

Thank you and bookmark your site for regular visit.

Posted by: Jack Smith | May 14 2016 5:45 utc | 43

SmoothieX12 | May 13, 2016 1:17:39 PM | 11

Nicely written piece at your blog. Unfortunately, you lay out an all too real, ongoing present, and possible future scenario(s).
I am not optimistic in view of the course presently steered...

Posted by: V. Arnold | May 14 2016 7:48 utc | 44

I am your new reality.

Posted by: Mad Marx | May 14 2016 10:43 utc | 45

Re: Posted by: Grieved | May 13, 2016 10:38:33 PM | 40

I have no doubt personally Putin is looking through to 2024 for resolution, the end of Putin's next (last?) term.

World Cup in 2018, Putin's re-election in 2018, pipelines to China upgraded to 2018-19 or so.

At least until that point Russia will avoid escalation at all costs.

Hoping against hope the next US President will have a degree of sanity and rationality!

Given that scenario, most definitely this frustrating 'shadow-boxing' could well go on for another 2-3-4-5 years - beginning of the US Presidential term following the 2020 Presidential Election (hoping against hope again).

When could escalation kick off? Basically any time between now and 2021 from the US perspective. Perhaps anytime from 2021-2024 from the Russian/Chinese perspective.

Yep, in the mean-time, it can be darned frustrating!

Posted by: Jules | May 14 2016 13:54 utc | 46

It also underscores my long-standing contention that all those intelligence structures and political class, especially American one, do not really have firm touch with the reality and simply are not learning. Many still think that they are in control .. Smoothie at 5.

Yess… sorta…This is what you get when foreign policy and international relations are run in a scheme that is anchored in personal, heavily ideological, and ‘capitalistic’ (for lack of a better term for the mo) relations, rather like that of a Mafia boss, with the Mafia itself being a parasite on some existing structure (uses violence, graft, blackmail, criminality, to dominate, get ahead, skim profits.)

"Assad must go" becomes a holy mantra in and of itself, never mind if those opposing him are also enemies of a kind. In a ‘family’ situation, those kind of considerations aren’t important, tools (aka ‘leading from behind’) can change day by day, exploitation and finding allies or whatever, that is natural. The end result is not really envisaged. Think of this: the Mafia does not aspire to take over a State, it doesn’t seek any control (except as applied to its own partisans and those it dominates and/or upstart competitors) and is only concerned with day-to day-events. So the control, and/or long term aspect, is way down on the list or priorities, if it ever appears at all.

Posted by: Noirette | May 14 2016 14:35 utc | 47

Apparently when it comes to terrorism and terrorists 'moderation' is a good thing.

Posted by: ALberto | May 14 2016 15:32 utc | 48

Invading Iraq was supposed to be all about ‘the oil.’ The US has not benefited from Iraqi oil - only 3 cos, Chevron, Occidental and Exxon, have or had small projects there. (from news.) The rest is under the control of: Malaysia, China, Turkey, Russia, Korea, France, Angola etc. with the Iraqi ‘Gvmt’ (in whatever parnership agreements etc. they have set up.) OK the oil industry is global so it is hard to judge.

The US doesn’t even import much oil from Iraq, or basically, it hasn’t changed, if anything, gone down.

See here, from 1996.

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTIMIZ1&f=M

Afghanistan (invasion of) was suppposed to be about fantastical mineral wealth. Where did it go? Was it in the mountains? It was never found, never exploited.

Also about oil - UNOCAL pipeline, remember that, and all that oil in THE CASPIAN and transport routes? Heh, down the memory hole. All that happened is that house prices in Kabul bubbled and ‘zones’ with armed guards were set up, barbed wire was a huge seller, clinics to be set up were just a scam. Grafters on the take. In Iraq a stooge Gvmt pretended for personal profit to obey the Americans for a short while until the country fell apart (which they knew it would) before moving to London. (To abbreviate and exagerate.) Freedom - in the shape of Iraq. / US art shows, music, MacDos, women’s lib, gay pride, computers for school kids, scientific cooperation, never took place. Instead, the drug trade (‘mafia’, CIA ..) flourished, AIDS started to kill a horrific amount of ppl, and women’s lib could never admit that prostititution is the no. 1 income for the poorest women who have small children.

In Iraq, Saddam’s land reform was destroyed by bulldozers (shades of Palestine) and cutting off water.

Posted by: Noirette | May 14 2016 16:09 utc | 49

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2016/05/13/turkey-throws-down-the-gauntlet-at-russia/
2 takeaways
Turkey may have begun poking at the Russian bear in its lair in Syria. Last weekend, a contingent of Turkish special forces crossed into Syria for what appears to have been a limited operation to test the Russian reflexes. It’s unclear whether Russian intelligence spotted it but decided to do nothing, or whether it knew nothing about it until the media reports appeared. (WSJ)

At any rate, President Recep Erdogan has now gone a step further to say his country is preparing to “clear” the regions inside northern Syria bordering Turkey. His excuse is that Turkey faces cross-border fire from the Islamic State. It’s probably an alibi, since reports indicate that Turkey is continuing to supply the extremist groups in Syria with fresh fighters and military supplies. (Hurriyet)

Of course, the key factor here is the US reaction to the fall of Aleppo. Is Erdogan defying American advice to the contrary and suo moto ratcheting up tensions in terms of his own political agenda? Or, is there a back-to-back deal or understanding between Washington and Ankara to play the ‘good cop’ and the ‘bad cop’? We can’t be sure for the present. The point is, the tensions between Russia and the US are at an all-time high level, and Moscow’s triumphalism over Syria must be annoying Washington. (Associated Press)

Posted by: okie farmer | May 14 2016 17:40 utc | 50

what a hilariously ironic situation Turkey is in now - and they tried to lie and say it was technical issues that caused the Cobra to fall -Kurdz deserve a state at some point in time and some place, hopefully not to much of syria.

Posted by: Au | May 15 2016 2:01 utc | 51

@40 Greived
Without hindsight, it's always going to be a tough call. Plenty of punters here at MoA I know felt Russia should have pressed on and maybe cleaned out Aleppo before ceasefire. But, in allowing things to play out slowly, openly engaging step by step, the US looks a little grimey...the US appears to lose the moral and diplomatic war as time passes. Putin and Lavrov's spotlight for the world to see 'hey guys, look what is going on over here...?'

Though, now that it obvious to see what sort of shitstorm is being stirred up in Syraq, what percentage of western population has not been brainwashed beyond any critical thought...? Not a care for what is done in their name.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 15 2016 18:55 utc | 52

EgyptAir plane crashed off Greek island of Karpathos in Egyptian airspace, says Greek civil aviation source


An EgyptAir flight which disappeared from radar screens en route from Paris to Cairo early Thursday, crashed into the sea off the southern Greek island of Karpathos while in Egyptian airspace, a Greece aviation source told AFP.

“At around 0029 GMT (3:29 am) when it was in Egyptian airspace, the plane disappeared from Greek radars… it crashed around 130 nautical miles off the island of Karpathos,” the source told AFP.


OK, maybe it wasn't a bomb. Last time EgyptAir was hit it was the Russians on board who were the targets, and the plane took off from Egypt. This time, it took off from France. Maybe they just don't like Egypt?

Think they had a conversation with the US State Department before they placed the bomb?

A straight line from Karpathos to Cairo leaves them pretty far from shore in any direction in the Mediterranean. Deep water, too.

A bomb smuggled on board in Paris?

See who shorted EgyptAir just before the crash.

Posted by: jfl | May 19 2016 14:13 utc | 53

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