Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 29, 2016

Another U.S. Proxy Force Defeated By IS - Incompetent Training or Intent?

The U.S. military has again failed in one of the training programs it runs in support of fighting the Islamic State. Earlier training missions had failed to create competent and willing forces. Supplies for U.S. supported forces ended on the black markets or directly in the hands of the Islamic State. Is all this really incapability or is there some intent behind this?

Yesterday the U.S. created and supported New Syrian Army, a large gang of Salafists from Deir Ezzur, proudly announced that it was attacking the Islamic State at the Syrian-Iraqi border:

ISIS has gone on alert as US-backed rebels aim to advance toward the border town of Al-Boukamal in a bid to cut the jihadist group’s supply lines between Iraq and Syria.

On Tuesday, the New Syrian Army announced the start of its campaign to gain control of Al-Boukamal, which lies across from the Iraqi border town of Al-Qaim deep behind ISIS’s main frontlines in eastern Syria.

Hours after the start of the offensive, the shadowy group active in remote stretches of the eastern Syrian desert seized the defunct Al-Hamdan airbase five-kilometers northwest of Al-Boukamal while fighting also raged overnight southwest of the border town, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The attacked town is 250 desert kilometers away from the only other New Syrian Army position at the Tanf border crossing. The forces were dropped by helicopters and had U.S. air support. These New Syrian Army fighters were trained In Jordan and newly equipped by U.S. and British special forces and are said to be led by "foreign airborne fighters", likely Jordanian specialists.

Three coalition helicopters landed New Syrian Army troops approximately four-kilometers west of Al-Boukamal on Tuesday, according to the SOHR, as coalition airstrikes in the meantime targeted ISIS north of the town.

The New Syrian Army also claimed its forces were airdropped, saying their troops “landed behind enemy lines” after which they took the Al-Hamdan airport and nearby village, which are located northwest of Al-Boukamal.

According to a statement issued Wednesday morning by the group, its fighters also seized “the Al-Husaybah area and border crossing [outside the town] as well and the southern southern desert and the whole eastern regions in the vicinity of Abu Kamal.”

The US-backed force further claimed that “sleeper cells of rebel clans in the Al-Boukamal countryside facilitated the advance of our troops.”

Reuters reports that the U.S. supported this attack in a way it usually ascribes to the Russians:

U.S.-led coalition jets fired missiles at the town's Aisha hospital used by Islamic State ..

We are waiting for Human Rights Watch's urgent condemnation of this outrageous war-crime ...

One assumes that such a large operation is well prepared with thought out fire-plans, good intelligence and extensive logistic support. Fresh, well trained troops with the best available equipment, and with surprise on their side, should have had no real trouble to prevail in such an attack.

But the whole operation failed terribly within just a few hours A total fiasco.

The Islamic State killed five "spies" in Al-Boukamal who were allegedly working for the New Syrian Army. It killed some 40 NSA troops during fighting and wounded some 15. It seized 6 brand new U.S. supplied trucks with miniguns and another 6 trucks with ammunition as well as satellite telephones. The rest of the New Syrian Army retreated to the defunct airbase they had started at and are waiting for exfiltration.

If this was a mission to resupply the Islamic State it indeed had some success. Otherwise it was another very embarrassing failure, not only for the New Syrian Army but of the professional militaries that trained and supported it.

One wonders what the highly paid U.S. military has been doing here. How can such an attack, with all advantages on the side of the U.S. proxies, fail? The British government orders its air force to bomb the Islamic State only when such "success" is need for some (inner-)political event. Is the U.S. way to "fight" similar? Is this intentional failure or sheer incompetence? Does the U.S. really want to fight the Islamic State? Or is this all just obfuscation?

Posted by b on June 29, 2016 at 17:59 UTC | Permalink


Yep,Or is this all just obfuscation

Posted by: okie farmer | Jun 29 2016 18:14 utc | 1

"En toute chose, il faut considerer la fin." (Jean de la Fontaine)

The ultimate goal of the infiltration must have been the delivery of trucks, satellite telephones, miniguns
and other goodies to IS. Since Turkey seems to have drastically altered its position maybe resupply is no longer possible from Erdogan's side.

Reports of casualties remain to be verified as they may well be exaggerated or even invented.

Such are the brainchildren of the expert false flag events creators. Maybe the goodies contain manpads, and new anti armor weapons.

We shall see in the coming days how IS deals with the SA.

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 29 2016 18:21 utc | 2

from Libya to Syria to Ukriane to Pakistan and Afghanistan, the US interventionist attempt to forge a global order with blood and bullets will go down in history along with the authoritarianisms of the 20th century as one of humanity's darkest chapters.
Here is the short version of Ambassador Bell to Budapest: "to be our partner means you do what we say whether or not it is in your interest."

Posted by: ALAN | Jun 29 2016 18:27 utc | 3

Interesting story. Intentional or incompetence? Certainly seems to be either one, or even both. Almost appears that the stress of being at war-like 15+ years in the MENA, is showing up. Time for the U.S. to stop wasting time and money and get the hell out. Either that, or bomb the backers of ISIS. Of course, that won't happen, so the best and easiest, is to pull out period. After all, the idiots who planned all this, surely have achieved their objective, haven't they? Total Clusterfuck.

Posted by: originalone | Jun 29 2016 18:34 utc | 4


ISIS is bragging about all the goodies left behind and which are in the possession of its fighters

Posted by: Yul | Jun 29 2016 18:34 utc | 5

b - excellent coverage and questions... thank you..

sounds like a resupply process going on to me and don't expect hrw to mention anything about the bombing of the hospital.. that only gets coverage when it is the bad guys doing it.. msm, just like hollywood script...

Posted by: james | Jun 29 2016 18:38 utc | 6

ot - meanwhile isis apparently responsible for the istanbul airport attack... is that because erdogan is trying to make amends with russia and israel, while holding the guy apparently responsible for the death of the pilot? more blowback at any rate... too bad so many innocent people have to die such a needless death due the empire of chaos, with erdogan showing a moment of remorse, or realizing the business managers in turkey a pissed at the wheels falling off their apparatus..

Posted by: james | Jun 29 2016 18:41 utc | 7

Question to State Dept spokesman, "Are you hoping they [the Syrian Army] push Islamic State out of the city [Palmyra] "So all of that is under consideration, our priority is defeating and destroying Islamic State, that remains our priority and yet we also recognize that replacing Islamic State's barbaric rule with Assad's tyranny is not a great trade off or solution.
The US should be honest and say the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The Russians/Syrians must know the US want regime change at any price, and make the physical defeat of Islamic state its top priority. The US cannot be trusted, therefore all opposition carrying weapons must be eliminated, including any UK/US in beds.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 29 2016 18:50 utc | 8

Doesn't sound like one of the brightest of US operations. I guess it was intended to create an area of disruption behind enemy lines, to be resupplied by air, before an advance by Kurdo-Syrian troops down towards Deir ez-Zor. We should either expect an advance towards Deir ez-Zor, or more likely it's a cover for another attack. After all, what does the US care about Syrian lives wasted?

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 29 2016 19:01 utc | 9

I'm not sure why any one wouldn't call this a success. The Amerikan vendor that was in charge of training made a bundle of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and now will be hired again to do the same thing over and over with the same ending. Madness you say?

Posted by: jo6pac | Jun 29 2016 19:22 utc | 10

Earlier US proxy "failures" didn't have US Air support, and anyway the US's proxy terrorists were winning against Asad and against the Syrian people. "Failure" was an acceptable, or even the goal for the grotesque destruction of Syria - Libya style.

But now they do have USA Air support and the division of Syria is the short to midterm US plan, so this time it's more likely incompetence.

Posted by: tom | Jun 29 2016 19:28 utc | 11

There's a general rule here, though it's difficult to get the wording right.

If an event happens in the Middle East, which is careless of local lives, it's usually the Americans behind it. US planners don't care whether Syrians or Iraqis live or die.

On the other hand, if it's an attack deliberately aimed at the local civilans, like a bomb outside a mosque, that's ISIS, or another sectarian group.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 29 2016 19:40 utc | 12

Air support is by its very nature on "from time to time" basis, and it cannot completely change the facts on the ground. ISIS is a hard opponent, so mere "competent" does not suffice. From what b wrote, the operation was not a total loss: enough participants survived to resist in a better location. But what type of "trucks" can be dropped from helicopters? Presumably, "technicals", i.e. pickup trucks. And the contracts of the satelite telephones can be cancelled (or transferred to other phones? what type of payment plans does Pentagon have?). To address another point, if you "care about lives of your soldiers/allies", you cannot fight ISIS. Their tactics stress bold exchanges of lives of their fighters for enemy lives, e.g. VBIED.

However, with all understanding, I must admit that this has a fingerprint of Obama style that can be summarized with two words: "limited disaster". No grandiose FUBAR operations. Losses rather limited, but hard to figure out how it was supposed to work.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 29 2016 19:51 utc | 13

james @7: more blowback at any rate...

I think the term "blowback" no longer applies. IMO the more appropriate term for death and injury by extremists is 'collateral damage'.

As described by Foreign Policy magazine in 2001:

“Blowback” is a CIA term first used in March 1954 in a recently declassified report on the 1953 operation to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. It is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the US government’s international activities that have been kept secret from the American people.

But supporting extremists means that the consequences are not really "unintended" in the normal sense of unexpected. The consequence are predictable and highly likely to occur.

Furthermore, blowback's original meaning (related to firearms) was a unintended consequence that affects the person that takes an action. Since our society has become much more unequal, the benefits of using extremists as a weapon accrue to oligarchs while the consequences are borne by ordinary people.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 29 2016 19:54 utc | 14

If we can accept this story on its face then the results of this fighting can be easily explained. The US sent in a group of recently trained troops (read green) against a battle hardened opposition. Even with superior firepower the green troops will fail against a battle experienced veterans. This very well may be what happened. In previous wars, the victorious armies were led by experienced commanders that became commanders because they learned lessons in actual combat, failed commanders were demoted. Today the commanders of the FSA are not battle hardened but rather those who have successfully gained the backing of US bureaucrats who never get demoted even if their plans fail.

Then again, this might be a convoluted plan to just resupply ISIS. Though I doubt it. Total incompetence is the simplest explanation.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 29 2016 20:05 utc | 15

According to the Military Times, there's no indication that anyone was killed. Just some fighter and weapons were captured by IS.

Posted by: Les | Jun 29 2016 20:08 utc | 16

HRW, Human Rights Watch, is one among many agencies co opted by the CIA. It will not buck the CIA or the USG. There will be no condemnation of the bombing of a hospital by US and or its proxies. There will be no significant report of the event in the MSM.

The US could be very effective at defeating IS if it wanted to do so. Obviously, this was a resupply mission which will be played up as an unfortunate accident blamed on the incompetence of patsies (the US-friendly paid mercenary actors).

Posted by: fast freddy | Jun 29 2016 20:19 utc | 17

@ToivoS 15
I agree, too convoluted just to give a minor bit of equipment.

It seems like the usual set of strategic conflicts leading to failed operation. Need to fight ISIS, but can't help the actual effective forces due to ideological chains. Okay, we'll train some men, and we'll send special forces to keep discipline. Alright, we're training, equipped, ready. Now we go in, our supposed local assets never were assets, the behind the lines sneak attack becomes outnumbered fighters who lose heart once they realize things are bleak. That's how your coup de foudre becomes a typical fuck up.

Compare that with letting ISIS run rampant in Iraq, spool up army bases, with not a single attempt to alert Iraqis or stop them, that was purposeful. This is our infinite military spending and reactionary ideology in action.

Posted by: Cresty | Jun 29 2016 20:32 utc | 18

As long as Assad is still in charge in Syria, the US wants to pretend to attack Daesh in Syria without really inflicting any harm on them. If their green salafists get a victory, the US can trumpet about how they're fighting Daesh better than the SAA and Russia. If they lose, Daesh gets re-supplied with arms and the loss will not be spoken of again. Money will be made, Daesh will have arms to attack the SAA and the Syrian people, and all will be well inside the Beltway echo chamber.

When you own the media message and can spend made up money on your projects, it's pretty easy to have a win-win situation a lot of the time. If only it weren't for those pesky pro-reality Russkies making the US look bad by actually helping Syria/Iran/Hezbollah gain ground in Syria! *Uncle Sam shakes fist at Putin.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Jun 29 2016 21:13 utc | 19

Seems to me like ISIS has spies and/or collaborators inside the various Arab militaries and moderate head chopper militias. From what I have read, the Russians do their own targeting which probably avoids putting the information into the hands of ISIS and Nusrat Front ahead of time. Which may partly explain why the Russian air force has been effective almost immediately.

Posted by: Erelis | Jun 29 2016 21:22 utc | 20

@14 jackrabbit... thanks for clarifying those terms.. i was mostly thinking of the ataturk airport bombing as blowback...i see the distinction in these terms though and thanks for bringing it up.. all and all - a rotten system for anyone on the outside, and maybe eventually on the inside too...

just yesterday usa state dept. was asked some pointed questions about this ongoing (accidental or otherwise) issue of weapons getting into the wrong hands.. how many red flags have to appear before some start concluding the usa is indeed supplying isis, al nusra and etc? 'no comment' is the main 'stonewalling' approach given from the state dept spokesperson..

Posted by: james | Jun 29 2016 21:38 utc | 21

Wag the dog. Let me be absolutely clear, there is no NSA or now even FSA in Syria or elsewhere but in an expense report of corupted US generals and the event described never happened in any form or shape as described by Reuters based on fabrications of psychological warfare outfit of SOHR run by MI6 and CIA. What ever it was, some Arab desert thieves were involved in their trade of selling, stealing, killing for money.

Other "news", I think weather is ok today.

Posted by: Kalen | Jun 29 2016 23:57 utc | 23

The Empire's goals have not changed. First, last, an always, regime change in Syria is the goal. Until the global reserve currency changes, money is no problem, they'll simply create whatever is needed. The moral bankruptcy however, continues unabated. U$A U$A! Barf!

Posted by: ben | Jun 30 2016 0:05 utc | 24

Turkey has been brought back to reason by ISIS attacks. Nobody seriously want Bashar al Assad to go anymore except Saudi Arabia. As Saudi Arabia is unofficially funding ISIS there is theoretically little chance ISIS will provoke terrorist attacks inside Saudi Arabia.
Yet if the the Saudis army continues to hit ISIS in the south of Yemen, ISIS may decide to give a lesson to the Saudis by a terrorist attack on the Saudi army in Yemen or worse inside Saudi Arabia during the crowded Hajj... That may make them tilt..

Posted by: virgile | Jun 30 2016 0:17 utc | 25

DF sends reinforcement to north amid tensions with Syria, Hezbollah, Iran
After airstrike attributed to Israel kills top Iranian general alongside six Hezbollah fighters, IDF shifts forces to north.,7340,L-4618184,00.html

Posted by: Les | Jun 30 2016 2:56 utc | 26

Clearly it's obsfucation. The Empire has big plans for IS. They will be used to destroy Hizbollah (goodbye forever Lebanon), will be redirected at Iran, and finally Central Asia, where they will cause a multigenerational headache for Russia and China.

Posted by: Secret Agent | Jun 30 2016 5:21 utc | 27

According to the Military Times, there's no indication that anyone was killed. Just some fighter and weapons were captured by IS.
Posted by: Les | Jun 29, 2016 4:08:24 PM | 16

Interesting point. Considering the seamless carpet of lies on which the Fake War on/of Terror is based. A shorter, truer version of this story could go something like...

"The US landed 3 choppers full of advanced weapons close to an ISIS stronghold, unloaded the weapons, provided air cover until ISIS secured them, and then told the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (in London) to make up a story about a fierce battle - which didn't happen."

It's not believable that a bunch of mercs equipped with, and trained in the use of advanced weaponry were out-gunned by a gaggle of ISIS goons in a 'stronghold' equipped with less-advanced weaponry.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 30 2016 5:49 utc | 28

b - Another great post; thanks. Link to the tweet got scrambled in "...It seized 6 brand new U.S. supplied trucks with miniguns..." I was curious about the minigun reference because - assuming U.S. weaponry - that would specifically mean an M-134D six-barrel 7.62mm belt-fed electric Gatling gun, aka 'minigun' (at least to a weapons geek). I would be worried if the (((CIA))) was distributing them anywhere.

The tweet now reads "...6 vehicle-mounted autocannons" which is curious as well. Did they change it or were you going by a translation? An autocannon is basically anything over 20mm. In Syria, the standard anti-aircraft autocannon is the 23mm twin-barreled Russian ZSU-23-2. Although you could possibly mount one on a Toyota HiLux or other small pickup, it's... well, unusual. They usually reserve those for a larger utility truck. The much smaller 14.5mm anti-aircraft machine gun (Russian ZPU) is more common. Here's a picture of what they look like side by side on pickup mounts.

I know you're just going by the Tweet. The statement is actually from ISIS's very own Amaq Agency, so who knows. As far as Twitter pictures claiming to be looted NSyA arms, I saw U.S. .50 cal machine guns mounted 4 on a larger truck as well as a technical or two with them. There were picutures of may cans of .50 cal ammo. A picture of a U.S. 60mm mortar round. Some 7.62mm ammuniton. And what looked like a Russain SPG-9 73mm Recoilless Gun ('Heavy' Bazooka) with boxes of new PG9-V anti-armor rockets (looks like black RPG round) and expeller charges (white cylindrical bags). I can dig up links to those Tweets if anyone can't find them.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 30 2016 6:07 utc | 29


"The empires goals have not changed."

Please stand by, we have a massive ISIS document dump just discovered by those oh-so moderate, US friendly heroes of the New Syrian army.

I wonder what shocking, incriminating, smoking gun evidence we'll have the pleasure of reading about in the next few months.

Posted by: wwinsti | Jun 30 2016 6:41 utc | 30

@30 wwinsti.. i saw that too.. this shit gets so predictable!

Posted by: james | Jun 30 2016 6:43 utc | 31

I'm pretty sure it was the Syrian Defense Force, not the NSA, my bad.

Posted by: wwinsti | Jun 30 2016 7:21 utc | 32

I have to say I disagree with the general consensus that this mission did not go as planned or was a failure. Tin-foil hat warning: conspiracy theories ahead.

First, anything the NSyA says is either at the direction of their (((CIA))) handlers, or just an outright lie. Here's their statement: "#Syria|NSyA Secretary explains why the battle of Bukamal against Daesh failed". Low number of fighters? Yeah... how about impossibly low? They never intended to 'take' Al Boukamal, period - it was never their actual objective. Secondly, the statement claims the attack was suppose to be coordinated with the Iraqi Anbar fighters who couldn't make it in time. Of course, if the NSyA is planning this fake operation, then they had no reason to check just before launching if their much larger and well-equipped force of Iraqis were still on their way. The Iraqis are inching their way towards the border crossing, but no way in hell would have ever showed up anywhere near al Boukamal in time.

And in case anyone was wondering, this 'attack' was no surprise at all to ISIS in al Boukamal. They knew the NSyA campaign to take the entire southeast Syrian border was proceeding up from al Tanf for weeks now and would eventually reach them. The town was on an 8-to-8 curfew. Coalition aircraft leafleted the town last month announcing that the NSyA was setting up a radio station in the desert to broadcast anti-ISIS information. A few days ago, they leafleted warning residents to avoid ISIS headquarters. ISIS started mining the roads approaching al Boukamal from al Tanf last week.

They'll go after al Boukamal someday, but this was little more than a raid. One purpose may have been to lure ISIS out in the desert at night where they are easy prey for U.S. AC-130U gunships or airstrikes. Another reason may have been to let them 'seize' the designated weapons and ammo - all of which have been booby-trapped to kill anyone trying to use them. It's standard practice in real armies to destroy any enemy weapons or ammo you find because it may be rigged - it's not worth the chance. Another reason for a raid is intelligence-gathering. Send a few drones over and watch where ISIS scurries off to (like headquarters, ammunition depots, weapons caches, etc.) when there's an attack. That comes in handy for, oh... say precision coalition airstrikes in town where they don't kill too many civilians.

In any case, the town of al Boukamal itself isn't the border crossing, and the bridges across the Euphrates were destroyed. The Syrian-Iraqi crossing at al Bukamal/al Qaim is about three more miles down the N-4 highway from al Bukamal city. The crossing has not been a supply route for a while now - there's only a few tens of miles of ISIS territory down the Euphrates into Iraq. The Anbar forces have taken back everything further into Iraq - there's nobody to supply and nobody to get supplies from. The crossing is useless to ISIS now.

The southeastern Syrian border and the east side of the Euphrates north from al Boukamal is of special interest to the U.S. and Israel. They screwed up their Iraq project for now, so pipelines crossing Iraq are kind of risky. A partitioned Syria would work as long as you could circumvent Syrian government-controlled territory. You can do that if you have a NSyA push north from al Bukamal, through the oil fields and up to Kurdish-controlled territory. This gives you the Jordan-Syrian-Turkey route for the Qatari gas pipeline without going through the Turkish Corridor. This also gives you a north-to-south route through east Syria for Israel's long-fantasized Mosel-to-Haifa pipeline.

This strategy works for the U.S. because 'the coalition' can simply ignore al Raqqa, Deir EzZor and Mayadin - taking all the sparsely-populated and relatively undefended land to the east of them. If the Syrian Army tries to stop the U.S. land-grabbing, then they'll have to fight their way into and through three heavily-defended ISIS strongholds to get across the Euphrates. But the U.S. conveniently took out all the bridges - what a coincidence. The U.S. can also ignore cleaning out the Turkish Corridor because they don't need it for pipelines anymore. Instead, let Russia and the SAA grind away at it.

There's a rail line running all the way from al Bukamal on the east side of the Euphrates and Khabur Rivers all the way up to al Hasaka. Easy enough to build a pipeline and cross over to Iraq at Singar, then over to the (now) Kurdish oil fields. Since the 'route' in eastern Syria also runs through the Omar Oilfields, the FSA/NSyA/Sunnistan land-grab could just pipe Omar field oil down to Jordan and over to Israel. That Qatari gas is going north, though. The (((CIA))) has been trying to run pipelines through Syria since 1949 and they're starting to get cranky about it.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 30 2016 8:01 utc | 33

Hmmm. Maybe the aim of that russian strike against the NSA was to destroy weapons they dont want ISIS to get?

Posted by: Jean | Jun 30 2016 10:25 utc | 34

Maybe the 'hostages' are actually US military advisors. They bring ISIS intelligence, communications equipment, and heavy weapons. This was one of the ways it was alleged that Boko Haram was receiving outside aid. European military advisors were 'captured' by Boko Haram, but were released unharmed after they received their ranson. According to the article, the EU used all their Nigerian humanitarian aid budget for ransoms.

Posted by: Les | Jun 30 2016 12:17 utc | 35

The leader of US-backed moderate rebel group boasts of fighting with and not against Al Nusra

Posted by: Les | Jun 30 2016 12:34 utc | 36

After they screwed up ( with their new ilks- the NSA in al-Abu Kamal), the coalition forces are taking credit for what happened near Fallujah:

#US-led coalition refused to hit the convoy and now everyone is giving them credit using footage of #Iraq's strikes.

I guess it is a repeat of Palmyra after the Pentagon, HWR and R2Pers in the abyss of the UN bitch about the RuAF during the offensive against ISIS there.

Posted by: Yul | Jun 30 2016 12:37 utc | 37

As all players found that they cannot dominate the Middle East, all strategies have shifted to make the place unlivable so none of the players can gain.
Something like Sykes/Picot is needed between Russia, the US and China. Plus the US should finish the business of getting Britain and France out of their former colonies.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 30 2016 13:02 utc | 38

The US as player (not as amalgam of special interests) is extremely stupid in this colonial game - nothing has changed since Vietnam:
A) They support a national independence movement against France
B) When France loses they take over from France
C) The national independence movement throws them out
D) They find an economic agreement with Vietnam benefiting their interests

They could have moved from A) to D) directly and looked good - it was their supported national independence movement, right?

Posted by: somebody | Jun 30 2016 13:10 utc | 39

Who or what do we blame for the ass whupping the SAA took at the hands of ISIS east of Raqqa a few days ago?

Posted by: peter | Jun 30 2016 13:39 utc | 41

@Jean. It's rumored Obammy wants to clean up his messes so as to help build up his puny legacy. If you were Russia would you take the offer? Obama is also trying to clean up the Ukranian debacle. Vic Nuland is running around to that end.

I don't know what to make of it. It's not even clear of Obama is calling the shots. His state department is like a herd of cats, Obama himself is feckless, and whose side is Kerry on again?

If I was Russia id take a polite pass. You can't trust a single thing America says, and they fuck everything up.

Posted by: Secret Agent | Jun 30 2016 13:55 utc | 42

Jean @40.You just could not make this stuff up.
Under the proposal, which was personally approved by President Obama and heavily supported by Secretary of State John F. Kerry, the American and Russian militaries would cooperate at an unprecedented level, something the Russians have sought for a long time.

In exchange, the Russians would agree to pressure the Assad regime to stop bombing certain Syrian rebel groups the United States does not consider terrorists. The United States would not give Russia the exact locations of these groups, under the proposal, but would specify geographic zones that would be safe from the Assad regime’s aerial assaults.
'Safe zones' where have I heard that before? The exceptional ones have to be taught a lesson, Syria is that place. If not, Hezbollah, Iran and then Russia will be next.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jun 30 2016 14:02 utc | 43


Though Obama might be sincere about this. He could ride the Russian coattails to victory over IS and claim it as his own triumph. That would look good on his legacy. A victory after 14 fruitless years of war. But who knows with Obama. He still has his head up his exceptional ass. And he is arrogant. Though he is desperate for a legacy. Any legacy.

Posted by: Secret Agent | Jun 30 2016 14:02 utc | 44

No, Russia getting the Assad regime to stop bombing U.S.-supported rebels.

Posted by: okie farmer | Jun 30 2016 14:17 utc | 46

Well said. It could be anything - or perhaps, everything. As our elites become increasingly corrupt and unaccountable for their actions, as there is no longer any punishment for either policy failure or using an official position to enrich yourself, why not all of the above?

I propose that the mess in Syria is due, not to one thing, but to many things all operating at once:
- incompetence
- arrogance
- a desire to cut the knees off of any stable secular arab government (maybe because Israel wants this?)
- a joy of exercising power and playing intricate little games for their own sake
- the external manifestation of inside court politics: our proxies may start fighting each other as various US government factions advance separate agendas
- setting up massive opportunities to cash in on all those juicy military contracts
- many government officials with loyalties to countries other than the United States, pushing what they think might be good for their 'real' nation - and often in conflict with each other
- people believing their own propaganda
- Refusing to acknowledge the fundamental impacts of demographics and water, turning a blind eye to anything that conflicts with established ideology.
- Making world safe for looting by Wall Street and the big western banks

When civilizations begin to rot, I suspect that things fall apart in multiple ways, not just a single one.

Posted by: TG | Jun 30 2016 14:30 utc | 47

To err is human...To completely fuck something totally up requires U.S. Military Intervention

Posted by: Adam Baum | Jun 30 2016 15:28 utc | 48

@ Jean #40

The Kremlin has successfully made itself the most powerful party to this war. The best the White House can do now is to make them own it.

Posted by: Yul | Jun 30 2016 15:59 utc | 49

From Les's link at #36 (Jun 30, 2016 8:34:58 AM)

The United States continues to arm Nuruddin az-Zinki as it fights dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces. But in an interview posted online last week, az-Zinki founder Tawfiq Shihab Al Deen acknowledged teaming up “with Al Nusra (an al-Qaida affiliate in Syria), which is a group that proved themselves to be forceful fighters.”

“Our groups, Nuruddin az-Zinki, along with Al Nusra, are the only groups continuously fighting against the regime in the al-Malah area in Aleppo,” Shihab al-Deen told Abdullah al-Muhasayni, a radical Saudi preacher said in an interview posted on YouTube June 21.

I have never heard of this fighting group, but, it seems, there are an amazing number of "named" groups.

Anyone seen a comprehensive list of all the fighting groups, with all the names (the aka's) a group has used? I figure the tactic is to thoroughly confuse anyone trying to keep up with news about Syria and the area, but not boring deeply into it. That makes it easier to lie to the pubic.

Posted by: jawbone | Jun 30 2016 16:12 utc | 50

Hey b, have you seen this yet? I'm thinking you'll want to take a look at it -

Posted by: h | Jun 30 2016 16:25 utc | 51

OT - good quote "Ankara should give up its double-standard definition for terrorism. You may not call the terrorist groups in Syria as "moderates" or "freedom fighters" and provide them with whatever they need from open and unmonitored highways and border crossings to weapons and financial aide, but see their same operations at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport as terrorism."

and, great line of inquiry at 3:19 of this video - Saudi Arabia on UN rights panel despite Yemen war crimes? 29 June 2016 us dept of state daily briefing..

Posted by: james | Jun 30 2016 16:40 utc | 52


"Who or what do we blame for the ass whupping the SAA took at the hands of ISIS east of Raqqa a few days ago?"

I'm not some military genius over here, but as a general rule, having a front that's a few miles wide (the width of the road and firing range on both sides)& 30 miles long is asking for trouble. It's common in dessert fighting especially when the combatant numbers are low. How many times were the regime/Russians cut off at Palmyra? More than a couple as I recall.

Posted by: wwinsti | Jun 30 2016 17:36 utc | 53

From Al Masdar:

"The offensive was far fetched and poorly planned, but even more surprising was the fact that local tribesmen in Deir Ezzor did not provide any support to the New Syrian Army. The tribes of Abukamaal that have been known to clash with the Islamic State militants in the past did not partake in this offensive, leaving many doubts about whether or not a U.S. backed force could garner enough support from the locals to expel the terrorist group." | Al-Masdar News

No love lost for ISIS from the tribemen, but who can blame them for not cheering for the NSA's bozos after their failed operation (unless the goal was to arm ISIS)!

Posted by: Jean | Jun 30 2016 19:38 utc | 54

Aug 7, 2015 US Intelligence Confirms US Support for ISIS

A partially-declassified DIA report brings disturbing details about US support for jihadists in Syria. What kind of game is the US government playing in the Middle East?

Posted by: Agent76 | Jul 1 2016 16:39 utc | 55

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