Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 31, 2016

A Deal Over Syria That Left The U.S. Out

Thanks to all for the good discussion of Mark Sleboda's post here. His central thesis: the recent Turkish invasion of Syria was against Russian interests, Russia basically left Syria hanging and lost out in the NATO war on the country.

But my sources told me of behind-the-scenes agreements that went against the U.S. orders and plans. All relevant news published recently also points to a different story. Turkey has aligned with Russia and Iran and some, may be temporary, agreement was found with regards to the conflict in Syria. The U.S. was lost in the chaos that followed when two of the U.S. proxy forces, Syrian Kurds and Turkish led "moderate rebel" Jihadists, fought each other around Jarablus.

My own doubts about what was really happening were expressed three weeks when I asked: Who Now Leads The War On Syria - The CIA Or Turkey?. Its conclusion:

It could be that Turkish-U.S. cooperation on Syria, despite the coup-attempt in Turkey, is still excellent. That would imply that major conflicts playing out in the spy world and in the media are orchestrated fakes to confuse Syria and its allies.

But these conflicts may also point to real fighting behind the scenes. Fighting about who will be stuck with the tar-babies al-Qaeda in Syria and other "rebels" are likely to become.

Since then the fog has lifted a bit. There is a real conflict between the U.S. and Turkey. Turkey indeed moved on a plan that Russia, Iran and Syria had agreed with. The U.S was caught off guard. The real tar-baby for the U.S. turned out to be the Syrian Kurds, who in their utter hubris and pushed by the U.S., overextended their possibilities and alienating everyone around them. The U.S. had counted on their fighting prowess to clean Raqqa and to rule over east and central Syria but that dream is now over. The U.S. was eventually forced to side with its NATO ally Turkey to prevent it from moving even further towards Russia. The Kurds lost some 400 men in fighting for Manbij only to be told to move out again - without any gain. They will not give one man to conquer Raqqa.

Three recent reports now add to the discussion. The first by Genevieve Casagrande a "Syria analyst" of the neocon Institute for the Study of War:

Turkey’s intervention in Jarablus is a turning point in American-Turkish relations and the war against ISIS. Erdogan’s willingness to commit military force to the anti-ISIS fight fulfils longstanding American demands for Turkey to increase its contribution to the anti-ISIS mission. The recapture of Jarablus and ongoing operations to clear remaining ISIS-held portions of the border west of Jarablus have set the desired conditions for an offensive to retake Raqqa city by eliminating ISIS’s final supply line from Turkey.

That view somewhat agrees with Mark in that this move is seen as to the advantage of the U.S.  But it is devoid of reality. No one will touch Raqqa now as all U.S. plans towards that were based on Kurdish cooperation. The U.S. is currently outside of the game frame and without control over any of the actors. It has no canon fodder left it could push towards any attack.  Also - moving Turkish soldiers and influence down south and deeper into ISIS land does not cut ISIS's supply lines to Turkey. It just shortens the run to the virtual border crossing ISIS couriers will have to take. There was and is no need for Turkey to invade Syria at all if the aim were to shut down its border to prevent traffic to and from ISIS crossing it.

The "analyst" is in her early to mid twenties, has a BA in English, partied in Dubai and Jordan to learn a bit of Arabic and sorted Youtube videos from Syria for various U.S. foundation. A "Syria analyst" with little relevant knowledge and no experience but trained enough to avoid any critical thought while writing down whatever neocon nonsense she is told. One must disregard any piece that positively quotes her. Was she hired to look good on TV or to amuse the various buffoons of the Kagan clan?

Two news reports by real analysts and reporters who walk the grounds about which they write give some clearer idea of what is really happening. Mohammad Ballout writes for Lebanon's Assafir newspaper. His latest as translated by Yalla La Barra:

The Syrians and the Turks are on the verge of a security understanding that will lead to a political one. The indications of this unprecedented understanding are not yet clear. But its first headline, without any surprises, is a trade off: the Turks backing off in Aleppo and closing the crossings used by some of the armed groups (the most important ones) in the north in exchange for the Turkish forces to be given the freedom to destroy the Kurdish project in Syria. In other words, the city of Aleppo goes to Syria and the corpse of the Kurdish project in Syria goes to the Turks.
It can be said that the Turks have taken a first step to separate the moderate opposition from the extremist groups. Turkey’s recent diversion of thousands of fighters from the fronts of Aleppo and Idlib represents a Turkish initiative to separate the factions it directly mentors from the extremist groups who coordinate their operations.

There are doubts though that the Turks can complete escape from the U.S./NATO frame:

It’s likely that this deal will face questions about the American role, and Turkey’s ability to advance it’s understanding and coordination with the Russians, Iranians and Syrians – namely, the resistance axis – without US approval is unlikely. The ability of Erdogan to shift from Turkey’s traditional/historical position against the resistance axis, and rebel against Washington is questionable.
Until now, real indicators of a change in the Turkish position on the ground still need a lot of time, especially in Aleppo. However, there are indications that the Americans are feeling uncomfortable about the Turkish-Iranian-Russian rapprochement and have instructed their agencies to stop providing the Turks with military/security information in Syria.

Turkey does not depend on U.S. intelligence in Syria. It surely has better sources and connections than the CIA or anyone else but the Syrians themselves. I see little, if any, ability left with Washington to tell Erdogan what to do or not to do. There are also significant measures Russia, Iran and Syria can take to penalize Turkey (or the Saudis) should Erdogan try to deviate from the deal. A few new weapons in the hands of the PKK (or Houthis) could cost Turkey (Saudi Arabia) more than they are able to gain in Syria.

Elijah J. Magnier reports for the Kuwait AlRai on the deal with some special insight on the Russian role:

During their meeting in St. Petersburg and following consecutive reunions later, plus an exchange of visits by high-ranking military officials, Russia and Turkey agreed on the role the Turkish forces could be offered in Syria, within specific parameters that will serve both sides interest, as long as there are limits and guarantees offered by both parties.
Russia has accepted a Turkish incursion into Syrian territory due to the Kurds’ declared hostility to the government in Damascus when YPG forces attacked and expelled the Syrian army from al-Hasakah city to the suburbs, with US backing, – a clear intention to initiate the partition of Syria. Russia stands against a Kurdish state ruled by the US in the new Kremlin Mediterranean base, Syria.
Turkey expressed its willingness to collaborate and instruct many rebel groups under its direct influence, to reject unification, avoid the merger proposed by Nusra, and keep its distance from the Jihadists, mainly in the northern city of Aleppo. [...] Turkey agreed to avoid any contact or clash with the Syrian army, mainly around Aleppo, in support of the Syrian rebels and jihadists.
Russia made it clear to Turkey that it will not tolerate any infringement of the agreement or any clash with the Syrian Army drawing clear redlines, and threatening that its Air Force will hit the Turkish forces and its proxies in case of any similar violation.

All these talks were not just between Turkey and Syria (in Algeria) or between Moscow and Ankara. There was a wide framework discussed between all relevant forces - Syria, Iran, Iraq, Russia, Turkey and others and only the U.S. (it seems) was left out. I do not see this as a loss for Russia - not at all. The Syrian government was barely alive when Russia intervened just 10 month ago. It has now regained a lot of its land and capabilities. The U.S. and Israeli plans for a divided Syria have been warded. The strategic landscape has been changed. That's a lot of progress in a quite short time.

Surely Syria would like to be in a better situation, but its resources are limited and neither Russia nor Iran are willing to go all-in (and risk attacks on their homelands) to recover the last corners of the country. The deal with Turkey will prevent control of the U.S. over significant parts of Syria and the federalization of the country the neocons promote.

The Obama administration is unlikely to implement any new big plan with which it could regain the initiative. It will kick the can down the road and leave the problem to the next president. Meanwhile ISIS will stay alive but will, devoid of resources, continue to deteriorate. That apple will either fall down on its own or be an easy pick for a later time:

Decisional sources told me “Damascus and its allies are not willing to lose one single man to regain control of Raqqah. If the US wants with all its proxies, the Kurds or even Turkey to knock at the gate of Raqqah, they are most welcome to do so. Aleppo, mid Syria and its north are far more important than sending forces to be drained against ISIS that is just waiting to show a last show of strength before being whipped.

Posted by b on August 31, 2016 at 15:25 UTC | Permalink

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The fog of war.Sorry,that's all I can see out of this.Yankee come home,please?

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 31 2016 15:47 utc | 1

Just reading this piece and thought I would share for those of us on the fence of the Turkey coup . "n a Twitter tweet from his own blog, Brzezinski wrote a precis of a new article he wrote for The American Interest magazine. He writes, “The US backing of the attempted coup against the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a grave mistake that could deliver a major blow to the US reputation.” That’s definitely putting it mildly given what’s unfolding in Turkey since July 15.

Brzezinski went on to write, “Turkey was on the verge of reconsidering its foreign policy after failure in the Syria during the last five years, and the US miscalculation in supporting the coup and hosting its leader (Fethullah Gülen, now in CIA-arranged exile in Pennsylvania-w.e.) was so serious that it is no longer possible to put the blame on once-US-ally Turkey if it turns its back on US and rethink (sic) its policies.” He continues, “A potential Russia-Turkey-Iran coalition would create an opportunity to solve the Syrian crisis. If Erdogan had the smallest bit of wisdom, he should have come to the understanding that he could not make an independent credibility with the help of some ‘decayed’ Arab countries,” no doubt referring to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the prime financiers of the Syrian terror war against Assad since 2011.

Brzezinski, who together with Henry Kissinger was one of the foremost US foreign policy strategists of the postwar period, the founding Executive Director of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, and one who still today presumably retains Top Secret clearance access to US intelligence reports, was expressing his fury at the utter incompetence of US intelligence in managing the Turkey relationship. Notably, the person in the US State Department directly responsible for not only the disastrous US coup in February, 2014 in Ukraine, but also for Turkey, is the hapless neo-con perpetual warrior-ess, Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland, wife of neo-con Robert Kagan.

Brzezinski’s candid critique was followed up by an even more detailed expose of US intelligence ties to Fethullah Gülen, charged by the Turkish government with treason and backing the July 15 coup. In a guest article in the EU online mgazine dated 17 August, 2016, Arthur H. Hughes confirms the intimate links between Gülen and the CIA, noting that “Gülen fled to the US with the assistance of the diplomat Morton Abramovitz, CIA agents Graham Fuller and George Fidas, and the above-mentioned Fr. Alexander Karloutsos.”

Posted by: Terry | Aug 31 2016 15:58 utc | 2

I'm not sure the Kurds have completely broken with the U.S. They still might be on board with a siege of Raqqah. Ash Carter stood up for them, and so did Brett McGurk, to a certain extent. This might indeed be a Pentagon vs. CIA/State thing, which you've written about in the past, b. It's an aspect of U.S. gigantism.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Aug 31 2016 15:59 utc | 3

The neocons and their oily cronies have not entirely lost their East-West Corridor dreams. There is still some opportunity for Kurds to go around the south end of Turkish FSA-occupied hump in northern Syria. They could still 'unite the cantons' however improbable via a more southern line roughly from Tel Rifat to Al Bab to Tishreen. Not exactly what they planned for Rojava, but at least a start (if they could hold it). They seem to be moving east from Tel Rifat towards al Bab to that effect. Their intentions from the Manbij/Tishreen side are not clear. Turkey seems perfectly willing to go to as far as al Bab to thwart any such plans, though.

The North-South Corridor on the eastern side of Syria is still very much in the sights of the U.S. - I'm sure that was one of the things driving the fight with government forces at al Hasakah. With the northeast corner of Syria secured by the Kurds, the U.S. only has to scheme to control the southeast corner somehow. I'm sure Saudi Arabia and Qatar will fiance whatever New Syrian Army-type force is needed there. Couldn't they force/coerce Assad/Russia into a similar arrangement as Turkey did in the north? "We'll give you back Deir EzZor and the oil and gas fields, but we get to keep our pipeline corridor along your eastern border."

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 31 2016 15:59 utc | 4

thanks b... over the past few days it seems more clear that turkey is playing a complicated game, but leaning more towards russia/syria, as opposed to usa/saudi/qatar.. that mark post was a good reminder of how someone who is supposed to have a good grasp of this conflict can be wrong.. sometimes it's too early to tell..

Posted by: james | Aug 31 2016 16:13 utc | 5

@Terry | Aug 31, 2016 11:58:05 AM | 2

The last line in that Engdahl quote you cite links to the EurActiv Arthur Hughes article that Engdahl claims is the blockbuster article that reveals all.

Problem is that EurActive has recalled the Hughes article with this note:

NOTE: EurActiv has unpublished this article following confirmation that the author was a fake. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused at a challenging time for Turkey and have taken measures to strengthen our internal processes as a consequence.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 31 2016 16:20 utc | 6

@Terry, so what would Engdahl say now?

Posted by: MRW | Aug 31 2016 16:21 utc | 7

Re: Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 31, 2016 11:59:05 AM | 4

Not much point Russia being in Syria if they let a North-South pipeline be built is there!

There's absolutely no way that will happen!

Posted by: Jules | Aug 31 2016 16:23 utc | 8

Just a very small correnction. The author of the neocon article in the link 'first' is Jennifer Cafarella not Genevieve Casagrande as mentioned above. At first I thought 'B' had made some kind of a play of words on the name but they are two different people, though the pictures and their age/background seem similar.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Aug 31 2016 16:25 utc | 9

See Andrew Korybko long article for an in depth analysis on the Turkish action and the cooperation between Turkey and Russia in Syria and how it counters American-“Israeli”-Saudi influence (collectively referred to as Cerberus.

“Turkey In Syria, The FSA, And The Upcoming Quarrel Over Syria’s Constitution” .

Posted by: Krollchem | Aug 31 2016 16:28 utc | 10

@10 krollchem.. thanks... i skipped over it a few days ago, but reading more carefully now.. good article..

Posted by: james | Aug 31 2016 16:43 utc | 11

from SyrPer

“Live (well Sunday) from Western Aleppo, a Geordie – Tom from Newcastle – describes the current situation there. His version seems fantastically different from the MSM’s.” Listen from the 95-minute mark. (Just click on the timeline, when the right number are showing)

Posted by: Mina | Aug 31 2016 16:44 utc | 12

For anyone wondering who Genevieve Casagrande is, here is a photo of her with one of her mentors that will tell you all you need to know about her.

Note. You'll need a facebook account I believe. It is a publically available photo though.

Posted by: Jules | Aug 31 2016 16:46 utc | 13

@Terry, so what would Engdahl say now?

Posted by: MRW | Aug 31, 2016 12:21:41 PM | 7

Good question and I look forward to hearing what he says about it . On another not I wonder if MSNBC has corrected their erroneous information about the Turkey coup ?

Posted by: Terry | Aug 31 2016 16:47 utc | 14

@ MRW .. I notice that he has a link to ZB twitter . I wonder if that was a fabrication as well ?

Posted by: Terry | Aug 31 2016 16:53 utc | 15

Russia charter flights to Turkey have been re-instated. Russian tourists can pay their bills in rubles whilst in Turkey, so yup, Russia was totally sold out.


james @5

Mark Sleboda apparently sought internship with StratFor a while back. Perhaps he yearns to be on the think-tank circus along with BellingCrap.


Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 31 2016 17:07 utc | 17

Jules@8 - "...Not much point Russia being in Syria if they let a North-South pipeline be built is there!..."

I'll humbly suggest you're projecting the simplistic, imperialistic mentality of the U.S. onto Russia. It's never that simple.

Putin has a hundred different, inter-related reasons for being in Syria - some of those involve thwarting global U.S. economic and political hegemony. If, for whatever reason, he sees the pipeline efforts as futile (I have no idea), then he still has many other important reasons to back Assad and remain engaged in Syria. Even if he does see the pipeline as a real possibility, he may chose to accept it if an equally important set of other Russian interests are fulfilled. In any case, there are still many ways to prevent the U.S. from having any success with either the Qatari gas pipeline or Israel's Kirkuk-Haifa oil pipeline. U.S. land-grabbing is only a piece of what they need to do and Putin knows that.

Everything in Russian foreign relations is intricate and complex, but purposeful. I like to think that there are still some people in the U.S. State Department that think that way too, but the U.S. more often than not comes off like a simple-minded neocon buffoon: "...We came, we saw, he died... [cackle cackle!]"

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 31 2016 17:08 utc | 18

Syria has become a swirling labyrinth of constant chaos and destruction. I pity the people of that historic land.

As a side note, where does China fit in this situation given the news release they are going to be involved militarily in country?

Posted by: PokeTheTruth | Aug 31 2016 17:19 utc | 19

Posted by: Jules | Aug 31, 2016 12:46:56 PM | 13

Bill's tentacles seem to be

Posted by: notlurking | Aug 31 2016 17:29 utc | 20

@Terry, 15

@ MRW .. I notice that he has a link to ZB twitter . I wonder if that was a fabrication as well ?

Doubt it. Engdahl doesn't fabricate. He always corrects his mistakes or misunderstandings. At least that has been my experience with his writings for 20 years. His abiotic oil stories a case in point. And he documents his change in thinking like a scholar.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 31 2016 17:29 utc | 21

But Turkey's "fighting ISIS" is a shame, isn't it? Turkey's action frees headchoppers for use elsewhere, doesn't it? And protects supply lines to the head-choppers.

Turkey won't need to cross "red lines" that cause a clash with SAA - 'moderate' headchoppers can do that.

To accept the US-Turk breach and a Turkish 'pivot', one has to believe that:

>>the US was really 100% behind the Kurds and establishing the Kurdish state - so much so that they chose to ignore/rebuff the concerns of Erdogan/Turkey who has been a key Assad must go! partner (so dedicated, that Erdogan/Turkey downed a Russian jet - now blamed on a Gulenist pilot!) YET US SWIFTLY ABANDONS THE KURDS NOW?.

>> This 'failure' was supposedly compounded by the attempted coup - which has supposedly provided PROOF of the distancing between US and Turkey. BUT THERE HASN'T BEEN ANY REAL BREACH IN US-TURK RELATIONS.

>> Turkey/Erdogan is willing to defying the Sunni alliance that is so dead-set against Iran. THE CLERICS THAT DIDN'T BARK "FATWA!"

And what to make of the Aleppo humanitarian propaganda? The extent of it seemed preliminary to ... something (no fly zones?).

b has much better sources than I do. I am waiting to see the players reveal more of their cards.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 31 2016 17:29 utc | 22

Terry, it was just an honest mistake. He worked off his saved copy and didn't double-check. Who would except publishing interns who do have to do that.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 31 2016 17:31 utc | 23

"...The U.S. was lost in the chaos that followed when two of the U.S. proxy forces, Syrian Kurds and Turkish led "moderate rebel" Jihadists, fought each other around Jarablu.."
Syrian Kurds, proxy force..
Great simplification , congratulations

Posted by: Ιωάννης Τζανάκος | Aug 31 2016 17:42 utc | 24

related from - "13:20 GMT
Moscow urges Ankara to coordinate military operation in Syria with Damascus

Moscow is closely following the Turkish Army’s operation in northern Syria and urges the coordination of Turkey’s military efforts with the Syrian authorities, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a news briefing on Wednesday. “Certainly, we share the Turkish Republic’s wish to struggle against Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL] which is an embodiment of international evil,” she said. “But at the same time we would like to draw attention to the need to follow international law and coordinate all military operations in the territory of a sovereign state with the legitimate government of that country.” Zakharova called for avoiding strikes against the positions of Syrian Kurds."

Posted by: james | Aug 31 2016 17:48 utc | 25

little Eichmans

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 31 2016 17:59 utc | 26

The Saudi/Qatar obsession with Iran and the competition to bring that enormous gas field North Dome/South Pars [the worlds richest gas repository] to Europe via Syria is one of the major causes of this attack on Syria. Pepe Escobar had this to say in Counterpunch "It all started in 2009, when Qatar proposed to Damascus the construction of a pipeline from its own North Field – contiguous with the South Pars field, which belongs to Iran – traversing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria all the way to Turkey, to supply the EU.
Damascus, instead, chose in 2010 to privilege a competing project, the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria, also know as «Islamic pipeline». The deal was formally announced in July 2011, when the Syrian tragedy was already in motion. In 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Iran.
Once again the Saudi/Qatar United States view is that the Islamic pipe line is a Shi'ite one and in keeping with their sectarian nature it cannot be allowed. Similarly the US had to side with the Sunni despots as outlined by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker 'The Redirection' Turkey must realize the inevitable winners in Syria will be the Syrian government, therefore the future lies in doing deals with with Iran, Iraq, Syria with Russian and Chinese backing not with the decrepit though not yet bankrupt Kings and Emirs of the GCC.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 31 2016 18:20 utc | 27

If indeed as we read UAE and KSA had a hand in the coup, I would think Turkey is angry against anybody working for West+Gulf. In my understanding they had been promised a lot to let their borders and hospitals open to the rats (and for removing more than 2-3 million workers in Libya back in 2011), but when they see bombings in their own country and the destruction of their tourism they changed their mind. The failed coup gave the opportunity for a change.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 31 2016 18:25 utc | 28

notlurking @19

Question: is this the correct word? "tentacles"

Posted by: Dean | Aug 31 2016 18:27 utc | 29

The latest BF post on YT might start to get some traction and notice in Turkey . Turkey like Russia might find it a good thing to kick these Soros backed NGO's out of their country .

Posted by: Terry | Aug 31 2016 18:32 utc | 30

Since we're including Magnier in this post, it's worth revisiting his article before this one, which strikes me as one of the best overviews of all the forces in play in this theater. In it he offered this key insight, which to me cleared a lot of confusion through the apparent labyrinth of Syria:

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the most powerful and influential player in the north of Syria among numerous groups of jihadists and rebels, but the oddity of this war in Syria is that it turns allies into enemies and enemies into allies on certain issues (and not on others), keeping alliance at a strategic level even as their proxies fight to death on the ground.

If one force acts a certain way, this doesn't preclude it from acting the opposite way tomorrow, or even simultaneously today. No position of any group or nation can be regarded as precluding alternative positions, even concurrently. Alliances can be maintained at high levels, while actions on the ground can be filled with betrayal. Also, no player will show a card until it's necessary or most valuable to play it. There's no paradox here. It just means we have to get out of the habit of thinking in black and white or zero-sum terms, where an actor can only perform one act. There's much more texture here.

Turkey has no reason to quit NATO today, it would serve no nation on any side currently. The pot hasn't grown anywhere near big enough to play that card yet.


In this regard, reflecting on the putsch attempt in Turkey, I wonder at Iran and Russia being so amazingly rapid with their responses of support for Erdogan. It does seem to tie in with the background about talks from as early as May between the Resistance forces and Turkey, as b illustrates in this piece. Russia and Iran didn't even have to think or ask for a brief from colleagues, the support was instant. Turkey had long been fitted into war games, one assumes, and her usefulness to the Syrian allies was far more apparent and valuable than to the US.

One commenter, Larchmonter, at another site, observed that Erdogan in making his move had deliberately forced the US to throw the Kurds under the bus, which is a great thought that I'm still pondering. If so, he forced the US to play a card it would have wished not to play, if it were really serious in this game, which it no longer has the mental or spiritual capacity to be, I believe.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 31 2016 19:15 utc | 31

It's hardly surprising that the US is losing more allies than it's winning. They've been carelessly unfriending themselves by flogging the atrociously Mafia-like stinker know as the TTIP. Apparently it's very hard to read without holding your nose because your eyes start watering. And if you do hold your nose, then your hand blocks your view of the fine print.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 31 2016 19:23 utc | 32

No, this is not going to work.

1) The Russians can't arm the Kurds and even if they did, Erdogan isn't concerned about a bunch of Kurds in Syria defeating the Turkish Army there. He will simply use any enhanced attacks on Turkish forces to justify an even further invasion of Syria. After all, like every other state leader, it's not going to be him who pays any price for further military action.

2) Mark Sleboda is right: Putin screwed the pooch by not following through on cutting off the ratline from Turkey into Syria.

3) The US doesn't care what happens to the Kurds and is perfectly happy to let Turkey be the stalking horse for imposing a "safe haven" for ISIS and AlQaeda - so long as Obama isn't blamed for any bad results. This is clearly an Obama move because it REEKS of "lead from behind" - which is code for "do stupid stuff - but don't blame me when it goes sideways..."

4) I disagree with Mark in that I think Putin SHOULD warn the US and Turkey that Russia will not allow the tide to turn against the Assad regime EVEN IF they have to turn on those S-300, S-400, S-500, BUK and Pantsir batteries and point them at US planes. If the US is willing to escalate to World War III, which is what they've done with this Turkish move, then Russia should be willing to do the same.

5) Before attacking US planes, however, they should attack any and all rebel forces in and around the Turkish positions and dare Turkey to do something about it. Turkey can not afford to engage in air combat against Russian planes while Russia has its air defense systems active. Therefore Turkey can do nothing to stop Russia halting its advance into Syria. The US can also do little to stop Russian planes while those air defense systems are active. Obama does not have the balls to order direct attacks against Russian planes, whatever the Pentagon may want.

6) He can also take advantage of the Kurds disillusionment with the US to support them from the air and with Russian advisers to continue their advance against ISIS and #AlQaeda, even if he cannot actually use them against the Turkish invasion.

In short, Putin needs to call the US and Turkey bluff and respond forcefully to protect Syria from Turkey. If he does not, Russia will have lost the initiative and as Marks says be reduced to hoping for "negotiations" - and you never negotiate from weakness.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Aug 31 2016 19:23 utc | 33

Yes it's true that the Syrian government was on its last legs when Putin stepped in, it seems, but that is because Syria's allies (apart from Hezbollah) allowed Syria to be crushed little by little by a hegemonic enemy that has no scruples and almost literally infinite resources. Russia and Iran were content to watch Syria die, 'helping' a little here and there. They could have pitched in with a will in the early going and shut down the war quickly. They chose to wait until too late. Perhaps it's best to naively think that they didn't mean to do that. Just a bit of a bobble, you know...

Then when Russia finally did step in and the Syrian Government quickly got back on its feet and began to win the war, Russia suddenly decided to pull back! This was an historic decision. But sure, it was just another bobble, a bit of a bungle ...

Now Russia is making deals with Turkey that look very much like giving Turkey a chunk of Syria. Russia also seems to be making deals with the US that look like giving the US a chunk of Syria (via Kurdish proxies). Russia also seems to have made a deal with Israel giving Israel not only the Golan Heights but de-facto control over a nearby chunk of Syria. Syria is looking more and more like an occupied country, with Russia being the biggest bully in the occupation crowd, presiding over the carve-up. Russia has already has claimed one important chunk of Syria for itself, a rent-free airbase.

The carve-up has begun. I would guess that Assad's role now is to be a major chip soon to be in play. His head will go up on someone's wall pretty soon I suspect. Erdogan seems to want it the most, but if Hillary is "elected", she will surely want it, quite literally stuffed, for her den in the White House.

One shudders to think what further deals Putin may have in mind. Will he force the Palestians under the bus for Israel in exchange for something or other? Will he throw Hezbollah under the bus? Will Jordan get a piece? Putin has lots of imagination and a subtle mind so things should continue to be interesting.

As regards discussing Erdogan's possible loyalty to one side or the other - that is a total joke. This is a man who can change alliances faster than any international figure in history - always standing on principle of course, like Putin. Also there are no sides in this war. There is a victim, Syria, and a bunch of thugs standing around with large knives and a tendency to jostle each other.

I guess you all can argue about the details - who made what current deal with who, who is playing catchup and who has stolen the march temporarily, what city is the deal making city lately (is it Saint Petersberg? Ankara?), etc.. - I know pursuit of such rock-crunching 'knowledge' is a staple of internet fun. It's all in a good day's internet fun.

Posted by: paul | Aug 31 2016 19:31 utc | 34

One thing is clear is that all the forces of subterfuge and deception are in full play. I will believe it when I see it that Turkey has flipped to the Resistance Bloc. Whatever is taking place behind the scenes Erdogan is playing the part of a majordomo over the final outcome of this war on Syria. If the world escapes an ultimatum between the opposing sides we can all count our good fortune. To me it appears that the Americans-Israel et al were forced to make a choice between offending one ally or the other, Erdogan or the Kurds and made the correct one in backing the Turk's invasion of Syria. The recent offensive at Homs by the jihadists to relieve some pressure at Aleppo tells us that this form of proxy war by the CIA mercenaries is not over yet.There is so much conflicting intelligence on who is with who it makes little sense to venture any kind of theory pending events and actions on the ground as these always speak louder than any words of diplomacy.

Posted by: BRF | Aug 31 2016 19:38 utc | 35

As an addendum and being purely 'out there' I could see a chunk of Kurdish Turkey sliced off to combine with the Syrian Kurdish enclave in exchange for an equal chunk of Syria, including Aleppo ceded to Turkey; solving some on going problems for everyone excepting the Syrians and friends of course. This would fit with the Empire's plans in redefining boundaries in the region.

Posted by: BRF | Aug 31 2016 19:51 utc | 36

How can it be restricted to 'against US orders and plans', when murderous chaos planned in the goal of weakening all sides, has been evil US empire MO for over 100 years ? It's like Libya never happened. Weaken , Or destroy, then install puppet. Destroy Syria was initial plan. Then Russian intervention made destroying harder with weaken more likely.

It's proven that Russia cannot sustain its allies state sovereignty. that image has been destroyed, it's gone, it's all over.
If Russia's intervention in Syria was its first foreign military assistance test, then it's been a massive failure so far.
Fake end of war schedule for Putins PR sham.
Inviting Russias and Syrias enemies into Syria.
Agreeing to ceasefires which they acknowledge are resupplies opportunities for US's proxy terrorists, only to immediately then agreed to a new ceasefire.
Refusing to stop Turkish murderous invaders.

I''d run out of digital Inc if I keep going.

Posted by: tom | Aug 31 2016 19:53 utc | 37


But you missed the moral of the story, someone on Syria stuck their necks out for Russian interests with regards to the pipeline from the gulf states to Europe and what has he to show for it?

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Aug 31 2016 20:02 utc | 38

We need a hero but let's not slip into fantasy about there being one.

Posted by: ThatDamnGood | Aug 31 2016 20:06 utc | 39

I linked to Andrew Korybko's recent post on the subject in the earlier thread:

Turkey In Syria, The FSA, And The Upcoming Quarrel Over Syria’s Constitution

His take is close to b's, although written from a somewhat different angle.

Posted by: Demian | Aug 31 2016 20:24 utc | 40

..some counter arguments to b's thesis here US/NATO is in on the whole thing and has achieved a major strategic goal.

Posted by: bassalt | Aug 31 2016 20:32 utc | 41

great piece as usual. a few random thoughts:

1. that specialist - "clinton scholar". HA. that says a lot. i lived in DC for a long time and you're right about her type; all theory, no practice. any time i talked to one i'd inevitably blindside them with facts from actual news sources in the "middle east". it's almost as if you need to listen to people in a region to understand it. nah...that's just crazy hippy talk.

2. i still think the turkish incursion was either a present from the west to make up for the coup attempt (if it was legit and not some bizarre keystone kemalist kops false flag) or a doorway for new recruits to the takfiri side. still haven't figured out why erdogan seems to back those types after the airport attack a while back. it got almost no mention on MSM sites/channels after a few days so maybe it was a scam? or maybe he just didn't care and thought it was the price of doing ugly business. maybe the saudis sent him a fruit basket?

or maybe ballout has it right and they just let the ISIS types slink away for the sake of convenience. maybe focusing on jarablus is short sighted? it is odd that he still mentioned the mythical "moderate opposition".

3. i know the kurds are WAY better than the headchoppers but i still question the wisdom of arming them to the teeth; as fun as it would be to see turkey taken to task for what erdogan hath wrought, the proxy thing hasn't always turned out well in the past and the various kurdish factions don't always show the best judgement. that said, i'd LOVE to see massive shipments of arms to the houthis.

4. "Kremlin Mediterranean base"? hard to take him seriously after that. if that was even somewhat realistic we wouldn't see as much US intervention (like threatening to shoot down syrian planes flying over their own country) and this whole mess might be over by now. as usual someone in russia - maybe putin, maybe not - forgot the "give them an inch they'll take a mile" rule when it come to the west. a big deciding factor will be the "lame duck" period after the election in the US. presidents on the way out tend to do some goofy stuff.

Posted by: the pair | Aug 31 2016 20:53 utc | 42

"Since then the fog has lifted a bit. There is a real conflict between the U.S. and Turkey."

Ever since Obama reconsidered attacking Syria directly, there is a profound divergence between USA and Turkey. Similarly, until now, all attacks by Turkey on ISIS were purely for show, while ISIS was attacking Kurds, in Syria and Turkey in a manner suspiciously close to Erdogan interests. The plan to create "safe zone" had this main stumbling blocks: Turkey would have commit to a non-phony strife with ISIS, and turning on your own pet cobra has to have painful consequences. ISIS is crumbling, if slowly, as slow Iraqi war machinery is slouching toward Mosul. It took a while, but the cooperation of the military and paramilitaries is resolved after a fashion, and unlike SAA, Iraqi do not have to fight on 100 fronts. In the reduced circumstances, humoring Erdogan a little is a wise choice (ISIS leaders may be insane, but they are the most clever in the area).

There are two reasons why the fog lifts a bit only like a cloud on a mountain slope -- I mean, it is dense like milk, but it moves, occasionally exposing this or that. One is that the war lasts already five years, and it drives participants insane, or, in other words, fosters the worst inclinations. There is a certain type of people that in a close proximity to a shapely female posterior cannot resist an urge to grope. Another type, in close proximity to the back of an acquaintance who is distracted at the moment cannot resist reaching for a knife. Opportunistic backstabbing in Syria often does not have any other explanation except, well, the opportunity. The second reason is the logic of limited war. Any move of a major actor can be countered by another actor, at a cost. But at the end of the day, the major actors have their population to feed too, including even KSA. In that spirit, Erdogan and Putin agreed to cooperate on energy projects without resolving their divergence on Syria.

Right now, Turkey can enjoy the fact that Russia and SAA is totally tied on several fronts, and ISIS has troubles as well, while Kurds freshly screwed SAA so they are at the mercy of USA alone. But would Turkey go too far too fast, YPG will be forced to turn to Russia and SAA+Russia would be free to play the Kurdish card. This is YPG's Russian card. There is also Iranian card. Iranian involvement is quite limited so far, but they can send a lot of troops, having reasonably numerous, armed and trained troops with only few necessary commitments, and they can give airbases to Russian use. At the moment, they sent some troops, but not THAT many, and the use of Hamadan airport seems more like a signal what may happen, a preview if you will. There are clearly some tensions in the triangle Russia-Iran-Syrian government, so this preview action was a necessary proof of concept.

The summary conclusion is that we see a game changer, but rather modest. Who will get ahead? I am optimistic for SAA prevailing, YPG getting and accepting a reasonable compromise, but the fog covers most of necessary data. I still think that we will not see a blitzkrieg of any kind this fall.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 31 2016 20:56 utc | 43

"Turkey does not depend on U.S. intelligence in Syria. It surely has better sources and connections than the CIA or anyone else but the Syrians themselves."

I don't believe that. This claim is too hubristic and underestimates the US. The US has satellite intelligence, and the NSA. The US has the best SIGINT in the world, and planes like AWACS and J-STARS. No wonder Russia was forced to stop using computers and has to use typewriters and paper in its most sensitive sectors. Plus the US is part of a network - the 5 Eyes, and gets information from various other partners. The turks have better HUMINT in Syria - thats it.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 31 2016 21:34 utc | 44

Many comments I have seen say that some kind of partition is inevitable, and that Syria as a contiguous state state is up for negotiation, especially after Turkey's 'invasion'. I don't go along with any of that for these reasons.
1/ The US and Russia agreed at the highest level that Syria would remain a unified secular and fully sovereign state.
2/ Militarily conditions have improved, Aleppo is surrounded, both Iran and Russia could commit vast numbers of troops, but they calculate they are not needed. Russia has only been in Syria in force for less than 1 year, with minimum casualties and easily managed financial costs, with the bonus of having their superb armaments showcased.
3/Any diminution of 1 would mean Russia's word could not be trusted, most importantly it would have lost its self respect. That is something Putin will never compromise on. You can take that to the bank.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 31 2016 21:56 utc | 46

Agree with Paul @35 but one must take Putin's well described inconsistencies in his Mission in Syria into the consideration, which initially was support for Assad regime as a legitimate Syrian government and the only force truly fighting ISIL loaded with Chechen commanders, as officially stated as a reason for Rusian intervention. Repeat, the major reason for intervention was support for legitimate Assad government in their efforts to erradicate Islamic terrorists With direct connections to Chechnya I.e. support for Syrians to restore law and order in the country.

By itself it was sharp reversal on Russian policies since 2011 when they are negotiating Assad departure and even refused to deliver to Assad weapons he already paid for. Since this phony ceasefire Putin returns to negotiating Assad departure.

Of course such a erratic behavior, confronting US steady but insane demand that Assad must go is all about big geopolitics being conducted thousands of miles away from Syria and hence does not make sense in isolation.

Such a geopolitical context is often cited for clearer picture of the classical ME political mess at:

Posted by: Kalen | Aug 31 2016 22:23 utc | 47

oded yinon
no mention of the main player

erdogan can not be trusted a bad act
i here like king solomon salman and the house of saud clan
and qatari low life i here erdogan is donmeh.
and who set up the state that is saud if not tavistock mi5.
no talk of the empire of the city of london talk years ago
at chatham house of squeezing and balkanising syria of the crushing war to come.
no talk of israel.
no talk of rupurt murdochs rothschild genie energy pumping oil on the syriana golan.
no talk of these satanist is no talk at all.

Posted by: charles drake | Aug 31 2016 22:30 utc | 48

@ harrylaw | 45

1/ The US and Russia agreed at the highest level that Syria would remain a unified secular and fully sovereign state.

US lied, as always. Balkanization of Syria was one of the major goals all along, why do you think US is pushing so hard Kurdistan project? Sunistan is another one, just on back burner atm.

Russia also doesnt mind Syria's partition (if it doesnt harm Russia's interests). When Assad swore he will reclaim all of Syria's territory, Russia blasted him for it and even threatened to withdraw its support if he tried.

2/ Militarily conditions have improved, Aleppo is surrounded, both Iran and Russia could commit vast numbers of troops, but they calculate they are not needed. Russia has only been in Syria in force for less than 1 year, with minimum casualties and easily managed financial costs, with the bonus of having their superb armaments showcased.

SAA isnt capable to reclaim all of Syria, and even if it were capable, Russia wouldnt allow it. Hence the recent spat between Syria/Iran and Russia, with Iran and Hezbollah withdrawing their forces from Aleppo in disgust over Russia-US deal.

Iran contributes a LOT, but is very discreet about it, and cannot commit its huge army to Syria. Multiple reason's for it, like they dont want to rock the boat over fragile nuke deal and are trying to avoid "snap back" of sanctions. Plus Iran's army could easily get involved in direct confrontation with US, Turkey, etc, which is the last thing Iran wants.

3/Any diminution of 1 would mean Russia's word could not be trusted, most importantly it would have lost its self respect. That is something Putin will never compromise on. You can take that to the bank.

Not to rein on "Putin wouldnt lie" parade, but he does, a lot. Just because he is more trustworthy than Obama or Erdogan, doesnt mean he stops being politician. Like Putin was lying through his teeth how he would never betray Iran, as if Iranians already forgot backstabbing 4 rounds of sanctions under fake nuke pretexts, and lying about S-300 when Iran needed it the most. Only when attack on Iran was no longer on the table, Russia finally delivered, too little too late. Iranians learned the hard way they cant rely on Russia, hence they are pushing hard with their own Bavar 373 for the future, as well as missiles and other projects.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 31 2016 22:38 utc | 49

@43 "The US has the best SIGINT in the world, and planes like AWACS and J-STARS. No wonder Russia was forced to stop using computers and has to use typewriters and paper in its most sensitive sectors." Hubris?

SIGNIT works both ways if both side are using electronic coms. One way if one side is using typewriters and face to face meetings as has been happening in the region.
SIGNIT I take it includes computer hacking or hacking systems to gain information.
It seems a good chunk of one sides methods now reside in Russia along with Snowden.

Posted by: Peter AU | Aug 31 2016 22:39 utc | 50

always thought Syria Girl was real...2 months ago...

Regards Fred

Posted by: fredjc | Aug 31 2016 22:51 utc | 51

harrylaw @45

What is probably meant by "partition" is federalization.

US and Russia both say that Syria should remain unified for their own reasons.

The Assad must go! Coalition's believes that sectarian demographics are on their side. They think the only way that they can lose is if Assad's government conducts the elections. If they can't get a elections without Assad, the next best thing is to force federalization.

A united Syria is useful to the West because a pro-Western Syrian government would almost certainly end support for Hezbollah and terminate Russia's military presence in the country.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 31 2016 22:52 utc | 52

@ Jackrabbit | 51

What is probably meant by "partition" is federalization.

US is preparing multiple projects in parallel:

1. If Syria's new constitution makes country very weak and impotent (what US already done in Lebanon and Iraq), and/or government in Damascus is pro-US, then kurds would remain in Syria as a Trojan horse. The Federalization YPG spoke about was not only de-facto independence, but 99,99% de-jure as well. With Syria having zero say what Kurds do, while Kurds having a lot of leverage what Damascus does. Interesting type of "Federalization", isnt?

2. If Syria remains fully independent, with new constitution which favors Syrians and not the West (or their puppets), then US will push to break country apart with Kurdistan and Sunistan, leaving only a stripped Western part for "Alawis regime".

Posted by: Harry | Aug 31 2016 23:04 utc | 53

Jacrabbit@51 "What is probably meant by "partition" is federalization".
Surely the kurdish move toward the other Kurdish enclave to the west thus forming a nascent federal entity was what brought about the Turkish invasion to stop it. So in a sense Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran are united in their opposition to any autonomy within their respective borders. Turkey more so than any of the others.
As for sectarian allegiances either with or without Assad in my opinion the vast majority of Sunnis both in the army and the electorate would support a continued secular and united Syria. An impossible scenario when Saudi Arabia, Qatar and to a lesser extent Turkey favour some form of Islamist rule.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 31 2016 23:21 utc | 54

My last sentence above should have said, because Syria is a secular state and has been for a long time the attempt by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and to a lesser extent Turkey to turn it into a Sunni Islamic state will fail.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 31 2016 23:32 utc | 55

So it seems that a "false flag" cyber-attack will be used as the casus belli in the coming war against the Russia+China+ block. With recent moves to take over the election's infrastructure by DHS the scenario is becoming easy to see. Expect some other false flag events (a bio-weapon attack) to cause more turmoil.

Clinton Promises Military Force Against Hackers in Most Hawkish Speech Yet

Such heavy lies like these below by Hitlary Killton have the gravest consequences:

“You’ve seen reports — Russia has hacked into a lot of things, China has hacked into a lot of things — Russia even hacked into the Democratic National Committee!” Clinton repeated. “Maybe even some state election systems, so we’ve gotta step up our game.”

My advice to the US citizens - inform as many as you can of your fellow countrymen, that voting for Killary means immediate world war and final demise of the USA.

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 31 2016 23:42 utc | 56

And yes, this is high time to start boycotting all public figures whoring themselves out by supporting Hellary, like one sir Paul McCartney

For sure they all, celebrities and other people at high places, are kept in check by some serious "dirt" on them hidden in their handlers' drawers, but I do not feel sorry for them...

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 1 2016 0:00 utc | 57

This is an excellent post by b.

Some things are clear. Israel supports the Kurds because they are not next door and they are killing lowland Sunnis. Turkey and the Gulf Monarchies support the Sunnis since they are the same religion and are not Kurds. Iran Supports Hezbollah and the Iraq Government since they are Shiites. Russia, Iran and China support the national Syrian government. The USA supports the Saudi Crown Prince and Israel.

The attempted coup has muddied the Turkish NATO relationship. Indications were that President Obama’s October surprise would have been the capture of Raqqa by an American collation of proxy forces including the Kurds and Sunni tribes and Turkey closing its borders. The Turkish incursion was in all probability part of the planning that went rouge after the coup and after YPG and US special operatives attempted to unite Kurdish territory. Even with Russian air support, the Syrian Arab Army has not quelled the Sunni rebellion. If Turkey halts its advance, the Caliphate lives on. If Hillary Clinton is elected President, NATO will continue to try to keep Russia stuck in quagmires in Syria and elsewhere.

Either the USA unites with Russia and China to establish secure national borders and end the Jihadi threat or the ongoing World War will continue its inevitable escalation.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 1 2016 0:04 utc | 58

Well worth reading: Clinton Plan to Destroy Russia

[..] The Saud family are always among the top ten foreign buyers of American weapons. On 26 May 2015, David Sirota and Andrew Perez headlined in International Business Times, “Clinton Foundation Donors Got Weapons Deals From Hillary Clinton’s State Department”, and reported that “In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation.” Then, Secretary of State Clinton approved a $29 billion sale of U.S. weapons to the Saud family, which enables the Sauds to mass-murder Shiites in neighboring Yemen, and (via the Sauds’ surrogate jihadists) in Syria. Moreover, “The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration.” Other than to fundamentalist-Sunni Saudi Arabia, this burgeoning of military exports included weapons to the Sauds’ fellow-fundamentalist-Sunni royal friends who own and run Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar, all of whom had donated to the Clinton Foundation and likewise gained Clinton’s clearance to buy America’s weapons, even as the State Department verbally condemned their countries for corruption, tyranny, and funding jihadists around the world. These fundamentalist-Sunni monarchies compete against both Russia and Iran in international oil and gas markets, and appreciate a U.S. government that slaps economic sanctions against, and that militarily threatens, their main economic competitors: both Russia and Iran. During Hillary’s time at State, military sales to the Sauds who own Saudi Arabia doubled, to the royals who own Qatar increased 14-fold, to the royals who own UAE increased ten-fold, and to the royals who own Bahrain increased nearly three-fold. Other top donors to the Clinton Foundation included the top U.S. military suppliers: Boeing, GE, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, and United Technologies. This is a charitable operation — but certainly not to Russia, nor to the operation’s other victims.

At, one learns that “Creation Date: 2009-01-13T05:00:00Z”, meaning Hillary Clinton had set up her privatized State Department email operation on January 13th of 2009, six days prior to becoming the U.S. Secretary of State.

Here is the operation that has been led by the Bush-Clinton-Obama-Saud-Thani alliance: [..]

n other words: Feltman, who had been central in the operation to overthrow one leader who was friendly toward Russia, Assad (to replace him there by jihadists); was now prominently involved also in the operation to overthrow another leader friendly toward Russia, Yanukovych (to replace him there by nazis) (and Russia, of course, cannot tolerate either jihadists or nazis, so it tries to eliminate both). (And, on 21 November 2014, the U.S. was one of only 3 countries at the U.N. voting against a resolution to condemn resurgent nazism and holocaust-denial. The new, nazi, Americanized, Ukraine, was another of the three internationally pro-nazi regimes.)

In exhibits 1&2, Feltman’s counsel has been sought by Hillary regarding whether she should receive Bill’s assistance in setting up a discussion with “Saud,” who might have been King Saud, or else it was his #2, the Crown Prince, whom Bill personally knew.

It’s important to note that Exhibits 1&2 are from 20 February 2011, which was right before the demonstrations started against the Syrian secular regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Wikipedia’s article “Syrian Civil War” says “The protests began on 15 March 2011,” and so those two exhibits, both dated 20 February 2011, predated the “protests” in Syria by exactly 23 days. [..]

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 1 2016 0:11 utc | 59

@fredjc | Aug 31, 2016 6:51:14 PM | 50

Maram Susli also known as SyrianGirl explains the decision that led to the withdrawal of Russian troops, 4mths ago

SyrianGirl was a contributer in NEO (New Eastern Outlook)

Posted by: Jack Smith | Sep 1 2016 0:13 utc | 60

ProPeace @58

As you nicely described, there is a large set of policies affecting ME that have powerful financial interests behind them. In that sense, Clinton Foundation was not an instrument of corruption, but more like a bonding ritual. One could compare it with Bohemian Grove where members (US elite of the time) could get together, dine, drink, listen to fine music and piss outdoors. Nowadays one has to have rituals that are more amenable to women, Muslim who do not drink etc., so a perfectly non-controversial charity (I mean, something where Zionists, Wahhabis, Liberals etc. could gladly contribute) was a good vehicle.

In retrospect, it is hard to find an innocent reason that propelled Obama to the deal with Iran. At the time, I thought that the goal was to change foreign policy in a rational way, but this is not what happened in the aftermath. Instead if involving Iran in resolution of issues of common interest, like Taliban and ISIS, Iran was largely deprived of any economic fruits of the agreement. But for MIC it was a boon: KSA became more paranoid, and the smaller Gulfie state, totally paranoid. And where they could go with their paranoia? Only the USA and other NATO allies, bribing them with huge weapon purchases. And this is nicely consistent with the ethos of our elite, "if you can shit on the doormat of your adversary, go for it!".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 1 2016 0:48 utc | 61

Unlike Sleboda's whiny nonsense, this analysis is rock-solid.

Posted by: telescope | Sep 1 2016 0:49 utc | 62

the pair @ 41, The airport attack in Turkey, which you mention, was a hoax staged by her intelligence services. It appears all ISIS attacks in Turkey were hoaxes except the one which injured opposition members.
TURKEY BOMB ATTACK ISTANBUL MARCH 19, 2016 - Slow motion debunks this one.


Posted by: Penelope | Sep 1 2016 0:57 utc | 63

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 31, 2016 11:59:05 AM | 4

How could the Kurds connect the cantons via a more southerly corridor - without Turkey blocking that one, too? They've got their wedge driven into Rojava alright.

As for the south-north-pipeline, I don't see it happening either. Training 'moderate' forces has failed time and again, so who exactly should secure the southeast? Also, sooner or later Syria/ Russia/ Iran will get Deir ez-Zor anyway, so they have absolutely no incentive to agree to such a deal.

Posted by: smuks | Sep 1 2016 1:24 utc | 64

@ PB 42
There is a real conflict between the U.S. and Turkey."

Yes real conflict exposed:

”Turkey rejects truce with Kurds, lashes out at US over ‘unacceptable’ comments”

Ankara has summoned the US ambassador to Turkey to explain Washington’s “unacceptable” comments about Turkey’s anti-ISIS operation in Syria, rejecting any talk of a ceasefire with the US-backed Kurdish militia and vowing to “eliminate all threats.”

~ ~ ~ ~
@ PP 58
Hillary may just drop off the ticket.
So many lawsuits vs Clinton and her related family Foundation under FOIA: AP, Judicial Watch, RNC, The Daily Caller News. Add to her woes are the 1000s of damaging emails pending release.

Here is one Federal Judge in the Daily Caller case:

“Judge Orders State Dept To Release Hillary’s Security Training Records, Or Be Deposed”

A federal judge ordered the Department of State Wednesday to produce for The Daily Caller News Foundation the security training records of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin within two weeks, or face direct deposition of multiple government officials.
“I’m sure you can appreciate Mr. Lee, there is a certain time sensitivity on this issue,” U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon told Department of Justice Attorney Jason Lee, representing the State Department. “We’re looking down the barrel of a presidential election from now in two months.”

“Clinton emailed classified information after leaving State Dept.”

Hillary Clinton continued sending classified information even after leaving the State Department, The Post has exclusively learned.

[.] the email, which was obtained by the Republican National Committee through a Freedom of Information Act request, was heavily redacted upon its release by the State Department because it contains classified information.[.]

~ ~ ~ ~
Take a look at the Directors of the Clinton Family Foundation (CFF) – Seamless between State Dept and CFF.
Cheryl Mills one of Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense team was appointed a Director of CFF, (2004-2009). When HRC became SoS, Mills was named her Chief of Staff and after HRC’s demit her post of SoS, Mills returned to CFF (2013 to present)
Then there is Frank Guistra - the Canada pass through.

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 1 2016 1:29 utc | 65

Thanks B for guest posting Mark Sleboda's rambling and amateurish post , because it brings out the fakers and pretenders out in the open in the comments.. now i now who to watch for and who to disregard (tom , paul , mark and other WayoutWest fake trolls).. even the supposedly objective commenter suddenly acted like nuts when they read the sloboda's post..

Remember everyone , government trolls work the social media sphere and they targetted these blogs with the tag team strategy of a) obvious trolls to distract and b) the pretenders who agreed with site mod and posts but inject fake facts every so often and c) the neutral guy who suddenly spouted his opinion as per his standard briefing in DOD..

The a) are easy to spot , the b) and c) are obvious if you saw their pattern of posts.. they cannot their pattern of posting..

Thanks to other people who make the blog lively , Paveway4 and other people... keep on posting...

Posted by: milomilo | Sep 1 2016 1:36 utc | 66

Pretty much agree with the article and @45 harrylaw.
(about those pipelines @28: Preventing their construction by means of war is quite possible, but enabling...I have my doubts. Maybe Qatar had this idea, but the US knew better imo.)

Two questions however:

1. The clashes in Hasakah were quite obviously a major strategic success for the Syrian govt, even if tactically it may have lost. So how do we know the Kurds started them?

2. Of course Turkey consulted Russia before the invasion of Syria; the Russians agreed but don't trust the Turks and observe them carefully. But what could they do in the event of a 'false flag' attack on Turkish forces?

Posted by: smuks | Sep 1 2016 1:38 utc | 67

A bit of cold waters to those who think russia is on the ropes or turkey is deceiving russia , or constantly saying turkish coup is fake..

all we know and analyse should be the actions of these sovereign entities.. not bickering or gossiping like high school kids ..

for example , there's a DAMN GOOD REASON why Iran and Russia congratulate Erdogan on the failed coup.. Why so quick to congratulate erdogan ? only stupid people would think iran and russia got taken in by'fake coup' (the narrative from western MSM and government paid trolls here)

i saw a LOT of kiddies level of analysis during the donbass event , where putin was insulted by posters because he didnt send overt russian soldiers to support fledging donbass people.. as if 'putin' is the only one in russia doing everything like movie villain..

if you want to understand syria and it's possible future , read history on how great powers used proxy armies to fight their wars..

Roman and Carthage using both sides of Iberian people (Spain today) , Greek city states infighting , British Empire playing native tribes against each other..

Posted by: milomilo | Sep 1 2016 1:45 utc | 68

If anything is there to be learned about the swiftly changing alliances and political landscape in North Syria, it is the same old lesson we should have absorbed with our mother's milk, that all so called foreign aid is imperialism.
Blind Freddie can see what Syria needs - for all foreign players to GTFO taking their toys with them. That would allow Syria to evolve according to actual societal pressures rather than imposed foreign ones, and become a society able to function in the larger world.

Yeah I know I'm dreaming that will never happen simply because all the players have allowed themselves to be distracted by potential short term gains and have forgotten that message they should have imbibed with their mother's milk.

What is apparent to me as a bystander appalled at the damage that has been done to decent ordinary people throughout the Middle East and in particular those living in Syria & Iraq, is that a decision has been made in Baghdad, Moscow, Ankara, Tehran and Damascus that Kurds are due for a round of oppression. Not because of any bulldust religious differences, or because anyone believes there is anything innately wrong with being a Kurd, but because they are big enough to matter, but fragmented into small enough pieces to easily have their asses kicked.
Even worse, and stupidly IMO, Kurdish political organisations have made the mistake of getting involved with the worst of the worst, amerika.
I can understand why they turned to the diabolical ones, there was no one else - but surely they must have known that lacking the powerful support of a tightly organised cabal who ensure all media keeps their interests at the top of the list as the zionists have with Hollywood, and lacking the support of millions of amerikan 'voters' dedicated to their nation, also as zionism has with evangelical xtians, that sooner rather than later amerika would sell them down the river.
Kurds live on the other side of the world from amerikans and they can easily be re-cast back into the white noise of media chatter from whence they came with bugger all interest from any portion of the amerikan political class, much less the gazillions of derps & drongos who facilliate it.

The kurds have been the target of Iranian/Iraqi ire since amerika first invaded Iraq & Kurdish political wannabe's foolishly joined with the enemy.
By late 2015 the Iraqi government decided they had enough of trying to work with such stupid tools of amerika.
Daesh had wreaked havoc all across Iraq so the opportunistic Kurdish political leaders in Arbil decided it would be a jolly jape to grab Kirkuk oilfields for themself & export directly, cutting Baghdad out of the agreed royalty payments for any hydrocarbons harvisted outta Iraqi Kurdistan. Mid 2014 the Kurds did exactly that.
The idjits thought (so blatantly that you can practically see their brains ticking over like a clockwork doll) "The Iraqi army is going to be far too busy chasing Daesh to start a conflict with their 'allies' over a coupla billion lost tax".
Amerika backed the kurds on this foolishness - in fact they likely suggested it.
The kurds were correct - going to war over it was silly, the central government asked Iran to underwrite them if needed, then late in 2015 informed the Kurds that Bagdhad was leaving Kurdistan out of the annual rebate of revenues back to states.

In the meantime the Kurds were having a lot of trouble finding buyers for their oil at anything like an economic return, worse transporting the oil out to buyers was becoming impossible.
The obvious flaw of having your strongest ally half a world away became apparent even to the Kurds' leadership.

The 'free market' in Kurdistan is currently rampant with shortages of essentials and runaway inflation.
Erdogan saw an opportunity once he understood that Russia, Iraq and Iran were just as concerned as he was about the movement to establish a Kurdstate, especially a state that was such a willing & capable poodle for amerikan imperial ambitions.
There are two problems with this new configuration 'going forward'. The first is that Iran & Russia in particular see little advantage of neo-Ottomanism over amerikan imperialism.
The second is the real biggie and the one that makes the alliance worthless for anything other than immdediate short term goals.
No matter what this new compact to prevent Kurdistan says or does, one thing will not change. That is all of these nations will still have Kurds making up a substantial minority of people in their societies. All of these states are going to have to deal with kurds in one way or another. The longer that is ignored or worse, the more toxic is the 'workaround', the greater the likelihood of an outside opportunist causing a lot of problems & domestic conflicts again.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 1 2016 1:46 utc | 69

I think Erdogan is no more allied with the Russians, the Iranians, the Syrians than he is with the Americans. He is allied with the Saudis and the Israelis, to the extent that any of those perfidious calculators can be allied with anyone else. Certainly Erdogan will continue to milk US/Russian interests in Turkey and the region for all they may be worth to him, but Erdogan has delusions of grandeur, as do both his other two regional 'allies'.

Nothing good is going to come of this, his most daring adventure to date. He is no more anti-IS than he is anti-al-CIAduh. He will continue to use both, to supply both. They'll be attacking the SAA and the Kurds from every angle along every front they can. The only thing that will stop Erdogan is a 'shocking' military defeat. As it is now, with each setback he survives ... sanctions, coup attempts, whatever ... the more he views himself as the one actor to whom all others must attend. He'll soon view himself as invincible. The US/Russians may end up conspiring at arm's length together to bring about his military defeat in Syria, if not his downfall. The Saudis are riding his coattails now, not the US'. Their in-for-a-penny in Syria and Yemen has grown to in-for-a-pound. It's hard to imagine them backing up. The Israelis will stoke and stroke them both and set them against each other.

The poor Syrians, poor Iraqis, poor Yemenis. The poor Palestinians. The poor Afghans and Pakistanis. Geopolitics is a filthy 'game'. It sickens me, reading about it day in and day out. News of the plague as it spreads, kills, devastates, destroys. I hope their calculations on top of calculations collapse, that the first are made last and the last first. Hope is the only thing left now in the foolish neo-con Pandoras' box, thrown open anew with the millennium.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 1 2016 2:04 utc | 70

MRW @ 6

NOTE: EurActiv has unpublished this article following confirmation that the author was a fake. We apologise for the inconvenience this has caused at a challenging time for Turkey and have taken measures to strengthen our internal processes as a consequence.

There is something strange about that note. Arthur H. Hughes really was the US ambassador to Yemen unless someone has hacked the US Embassy in Yemen website, so that means that if the author was fake, then he wasn't Arthur H. Hughes. Why does EurActiv only apologise to Turkey and why no apology to Arther H. Hughes or his family if he's dead?

Posted by: blowback | Sep 1 2016 2:17 utc | 71

@likklemore | Aug 31, 2016 9:29:14 PM | 64
@Piotr Berman | Aug 31, 2016 8:48:47 PM | 60

Clinton Foundations are just an extension of the global criminal enterprise known as AngloZioAmerican establishment.

Evidence suggests that Killary has been conducting the wars in the ME and Ukraine separately from Obama, as her private endeavors. Kudos to Obama for firing the Hell Bitch in 2012, otherwise the deal with Iran could not have been possible and the war in the ME would have escalated 10 fold.

It shows that there are still forces within the US deep state (behind Obama) willing to compromise with Russia and her allies, but they face desperately fierce resistance (what else would you expect? The evil ones are fighting for survival...). So there is hope, but the push back has been tremendous, including the growing "body count":

Brenda Corpian Expected to Fully Recover - Get Off The BS

The publisher and staff of Get Off The Bs want to thank all of our loyal readers for your cards and sympathy letters for Brenda Corpian (pseudonym) who is now in guarded condition and expected to make a full recovery.

Brenda, one the most active stumpers for Donald Trump was beaten to within an inch of her life last week and left for dead in a trash dumpster in the eastern section of the city Las Angeles California.

Brenda’s injuries took a turn for the worse this past week and required a neurosurgeon to perform and operation to reduce fluid on her brain that was caused by a head trauma that elevated intracranial pressure on her brain (brain edema).

Brenda underwent surgery for approximately 12 hours on Thursday of this past week after falling in to a coma for four days. She regained consciousness yesterday afternoon ...

The three a@*holes who did this to Brenda have not been caught yet. At this time we believe the assault – attempted assassination of Brenda was related to a recent story she was doing research and investigations on...

Failed Trump Assassin Michael Sandford Trained With Omar Mateen ... Senator, Former Clinton Aide and a High Ranking Federal Law Enforcement Agent Have Regularly Met With Robertson ... was releasing the name of a woman that we have a good idea of her identity from his description of her and what was heard of her name before the interview was abruptly ended. [Huma Abedin]

BTW I personally believe that Hitlary and Huma are lovers and Wiener is a decoy.

Posted by: ProPeace | Sep 1 2016 2:18 utc | 72

@65 milomilo... i agree~

@68 dedsisdead.. some good comments. thanks! to quote you "Blind Freddie can see what Syria needs - for all foreign players to GTFO taking their toys with them. That would allow Syria to evolve according to actual societal pressures rather than imposed foreign ones, and become a society able to function in the larger world." ain't that the truth..

as for the kurds - if having barzani as one of the dictators in power over iraqi kurdistan is any indication, i am not sure how together the kurds can get with insider friends like that.. i agree with your end comments though, but i do think ultimately the kurds will have to figure out a way forward for themselves, and getting rid of their own kleptomaniacs at the top would be a good start.. i guess barzani is in their thanks these same foreign manipulators..

@69 jfl.. i tend to agree with most of your commentary.. i think i said something similar on the open thread earlier..

Posted by: james | Sep 1 2016 2:33 utc | 73

Be sure to see Mark Sleboda - Stratfor Research Internship Application - Spring 2011 / WikiLeaks Link to WikiLeaks

Posted by: sri | Sep 1 2016 3:14 utc | 74

I agree with most of the content of this article. The only thing I question is 'kicking the can down the road' until the next US president is 'installed'. I do not believe that has anything to do with the timeline.

Syria and its allies are engaged in war, a purely defensive war for survival of an united people. They will fight it on their timeline, and their's alone. Who is the president of the US, or when, has no bearing.

Posted by: Donny | Sep 1 2016 3:21 utc | 75

milomilo @65:

Why so quick to congratulate erdogan?
IMO Erdogan had already begun discussions with Russia over the sanctions. Russia knew that Erdogan was hurt by the sanctions. Russia also knew or was led to believe that Erdogan was angered by US support for the Kurds.

One could well ask: How strong was US support for a Kurdish state? Would US really chose to strengthen the Kurds so much that they created a hostile state on the border of a NATO ally?

The attempted coup in Turkey seemed to answer that question. It indicated an an irreparable breech in US-Turk relations - which Russia and Iran were quick to show support for. Putin must have been overjoyed. His steady and steadfast leadership looked like it paid off - and just weeks before Russian elections.

Some history: 6 months ago, US and Turkey each faced a major problem. Turkey was reeling over Russian sanctions and the Kurds didn't trust the US. The Kurds wouldn't attack SAA, wouldn't march on Raqqa, and wouldn't be deterred from their main objective: to unite Kurdish held areas.

To solve these problems, US and Turkey needed to distance themselves from each other. And they had to do so in a convincing way.

That's what the "coup" accomplished! Since the "coup" Russia has lifted sanctions and Kurds have attacked SAA. And Putin allowed Turkey to attack ISIS in Syria - perhaps as a first step toward closing the border.

But Turkey has gone beyond attacking ISIS. They are attacking Kurds. Both the US and Russia have condemned the attacks on Kurds. But one of these two is being false. One of these two knew and expected Turkey to push the Kurds back.In that light, it is rather interesting that the US ordered Kurds to move across the Euphrates and has once again urged the Kurds to attack Raqqa!!

The argument that Turkey is "playing both sides" is specious. Erdogan would not 'play' Russia knowing that the US had attempted to overthrow/kill him.

Notably, the main reason that people give for believing that Erdogan would not cross Putin is that Putin can re-impose sanctions and/or cause many other problems for Erdogan. But the "coup" helped to solve that too(!). Erdogan is in a much stronger position after all the purges.

Lastly, I don't believe the Russians and Iranians are devious enough nor have had time enough to construct and coordinate a Turkish invasion that attacks Kurds (under the pretense of attacking ISIS) so as to discredit the US in the eyes of the Kurds. And that incursion is timed perfectly after Kurds are convinced by US to attack SAA?!? And the excuse Turkey uses for the incursion is an attack on a by ISIS on a wedding in Turkey - but it was a KURDISH wedding(!) and ISIS never claimed responsibility(!).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

I know that there is much hope here for a peaceful resolution. And much admiration for R+6. No one wants to believe that R+6 was played and peace is even more distant.

I myself don't KNOW that the coup was a CIA-MIT setup. The Syrian mess is constantly surprising outside observers. But logic argues for caution.

And so I choose to wait and see how this develops. From an R+6 perspective, having demonstrated to the Kurds how unreliable the US is, Turkey should retreat and let R+6 woo the Kurds. Such restraint would help to achieve R+6 goal of a peaceful, united Syria. If Turkey refuses to show restraint - defying R+6 'red lines' - then we will know that Erdogan is not worried about antagonizing Putin / not fearful of the US/CIA and has not 'pivoted'.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 1 2016 4:45 utc | 76


To solve these problems, US and Turkey needed to distance themselves from each other. And they had to do so in a convincing way.

That's what the "coup" accomplished! Since the "coup" Russia has lifted sanctions and Kurds have attacked SAA.

I don't think so.
30 June 2016: President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree which partially lifts restrictions on Russians’ travel to Turkey, the Kremlin said.
15 July 2016: Turkey coup attempt.

Posted by: september | Sep 1 2016 5:19 utc | 77

I don't go along with any of that for these reasons.
1/ The US and Russia agreed at the highest level that Syria would remain a unified secular and fully sovereign state.
Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 31, 2016 5:56:53 PM | 45

I'd encourage you to rethink that belief.
All of the Original Bush II Axis of Evil States were sold to the Public as unstable, divided dictatorships, on the brink of revolution, conveniently ignoring the fact that they were already "unified secular and fully sovereign." That was the problem for USrael's Yinonites. There was no imminent reason for citizens to overthrow their governments so the US had to (Gene Sharpish-ly) create the illusion of a 'spontaneous uprising' (non-violence + guns) and beat it up in the "News" so that the US could self-righteously intervene without any decent, moral, human beings objecting too loudly.
Unified, secular, sovereign states in the M.E. have never been, and will never be, part of USrael's plans for the region. Imo.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 1 2016 5:53 utc | 78

Typo alert
Gene Sharpish-ly = Gene Sharp-ishly.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 1 2016 6:00 utc | 79

Putin was lying through his teeth how he would never betray Iran, as if Iranians already forgot backstabbing 4 rounds of sanctions under fake nuke pretexts, and lying about S-300 when Iran needed it the most. Only when attack on Iran was no longer on the table, Russia finally delivered, too little too late. Iranians learned the hard way they cant rely on Russia, hence they are pushing hard with their own Bavar 373 for the future, as well as missiles and other projects.
Posted by: Harry | Aug 31, 2016 6:38:52 PM | 48

Huh? Iran hasn't been off the (regime change) table since 1953.
"Too little too late" is a rather minimalist way of describing Iran's S-300 stockpile. CCTV showed a 'from-here-to-the-horizon' convoy of S-300s in Iran a day or so ago and there's definitely no shortage of S-300s in Iran.
All Iran is waiting for now is for Bibi to stick his head in the noose to give Iran an excuse to put the "Zionist Entity" and its crocodile tears, out of its misery.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 1 2016 6:52 utc | 80

US foreign policy in the ME has been totally incoherent since 2011 at least. It has been possible to discern some rational responses from some of the other players in reaction to US moves. Turkey, however, has been behaving in ways that make no sense. b's post today and sst's post yesterday sort of make some sense of whole mess. Though to make sense of it requires one to accept that Obama and Kerry still do not know what the F* they are doing.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 1 2016 7:54 utc | 81

Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 1, 2016 2:52:04 AM | 80
Yep, sure enough; the link below is a 2 minute vid of the S-300's in Iran; and there are a lot of them;

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 1 2016 9:21 utc | 82

V. Arnold @ 82
If they're putting them in fixed locations around Fordow then the Iranians are idiots as the whole point of S-300s is that they're highly mobile and should be moved very frequently to keep your enemy guessing as to where they are so that any attack particularly a SEAD one is ineffective. They should have bought cheap Chinese knockoffs of older Russian SAMs or even bought surplus originals and upgraded the radar and networking to make them more resistant to ECM. All the Americans have to do now is launch swarms of Tomahawks at Fordow until all the launchers are destroyed - a couple of billion dollars worth should do.

Posted by: blowback | Sep 1 2016 10:21 utc | 83

@ 76 "then we will know that Erdogan is not worried about antagonizing Putin / not fearful of the US/CIA and has not 'pivoted'."

Either black or white - zero sum...blinkered view. Pivot indicates jumping from one camp to another.

Put another camp in the middle. Erdogans. No pivot required. At the moment the interests of the Russian camp and Erdogans camp align, to the detriment of the US camp - so detrimental that it is at least check, perhaps checkmate to US intentions in Syria.
To Erdogan, Kurds or a Kurdish state is a genuine threat. To Syria/Russia a US controlled Kurdish state carved out of Syria is a genuine threat.

Posted by: Peter AU | Sep 1 2016 10:27 utc | 84

Firstly, b. Very good analysis. Thanks. That the Turkish incursion was a demand of the US rather than a concession by it remains to be seen, I think. I am yet to be convinced, partly because I am not convinced that the coup didn't actually work ... Anyhow ...

The hole in the analysis is what happens East of the Euphrates. If I have understood correctly, you have, roughly speaking, the Kurds to the north and Daesh to the South, with Turkey's corridor to where-ever to the West of that land and Iraqi Kurdistan to the East.
The line "the corpse of the Kurdish project in Syria goes to the Turks." Is blood-curdling in its ambiguity.
Is it suggested that all the Kurdish territory in the north of Syria be handed to the Turks? That would be genocide on a massive scale and would do nothing to settle the security threat in Turkey. Driving the Kurds back to the euphrates (Davutoglu's redlne for both the Kurds and therefore the US, let's not forget) is one thing (Biden actually demanded that the Kurds retreat to that point!); attempting to drive them yet further back using Turkish troops or attempting to instigate a Kurdish - Daesh war is wholly another.
Could we actually be seeing a reduced Kurdistan Project from the Eurphrates in Syria joining the Iraqi Kurdish side? Could that explain Barzani's visit to Ankara on the same day as Biden? What could Barzani, Biden and Erdogan have to talk about which would then result in Turkey reclaiming its 'Red Line' as regards the scale of Kurdistan?
Also, in my opinion, until there is decisive information about the Kurdish situation to the East, it really is too early to state clearly whether the Turkish activity is without US approval or drive. If the Kurds are left the area in the East then US has achieved a very specific goal - a Kurdish enclave whatever form it takes, with oil interests, if I am not mistaken...
And if that is the case, if that area remains Kurdish thn it could be said that the kurds 'being allowed by US' to move beyond the Eurprates and beyond the Turkish Red Line was political positioning that provided a good bargaining chip with which to reach agreement with Turkey. In which case the line "the Turks backing off in Aleppo and closing the crossings used by some of the armed groups (the most important ones) in the north in exchange for the Turkish forces to be given the freedom to destroy the Kurdish project in Syria." refers only to the Kurdish progress west of the Euphrates and not Rojava and East.

Lastly, its worth noting that over the last 12 months Kurdish representatve offices opened in Russia which underscores the fact that Russia is not disinterested in the Kurdish question and has probably be consulting closely with Turkish and Syrian Kurdish representatives for some time.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Sep 1 2016 10:41 utc | 85

@Paul 34
"As regards discussing Erdogan's possible loyalty to one side or the other - that is a total joke."
Tend to agree with you.
This is much more about managing Erdogan than ensuring loyalty one way or the other. His aggressive and bullish stance is a threat regionally and to EU. Therefore it is perfectly in the interests of US and RF to 'manage' him.
(I am not suggesting that the US cares a great deal about the EU, only that it can play the EU card once and will do so against Russia, if at all, not in some Middle East land grab).

Posted by: AtaBrit | Sep 1 2016 11:08 utc | 86

Here is an interesting article in Counterpunch in which our Host at MoA is mentioned several times.
"As I’ve said many times before, those who think all this constant churning of frenemy warfare makes no sense need to understand that there are those for whom it does The American policy in the region is completely incoherent until one understands the extent to which it’s Israeli policy. It’s a program that was developed over thirty years ago, in the Yinon plan, which articulated “the Zionist hope that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation.” It was repeated earlier this year by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon who said “I prefer ISIS” in Syria over Iran and Hezbollah; it was repeated again a few weeks ago by a Zionist theoretician who, in a paper entitled, “The Destruction of Islamic State Is a Strategic Mistake,” called ISIS “a useful tool,” and reminded his audience that: “Stability …is desirable only if it serves our interests.” It has been carried out in practice, with Israel providingfield hospitals for jihadi rebels, where they are fixed up to “ensure their safe return” (to combat, of course).

As the man said: The war is not meant to be won; it is meant to be continuous".

Posted by: harrylaw | Sep 1 2016 11:32 utc | 87

Turkish + FSA = i.e. Qatar? This would explain the very mild tone of French MSM about Turkey these days (they are even selling us the new concept of 'demokratur', i.e. democracy + dictatorship, soon on all your screens

Posted by: Mina | Sep 1 2016 11:40 utc | 88

Qatar/Turkey/France vs US/KSA again (isn't it the same story in Libya with the two governments?)

Posted by: Mina | Sep 1 2016 11:48 utc | 89

Posted by: fredjc | Aug 31, 2016 6:51:14 PM | 51

Syrian Girl Partisan is very beautiful and was great at spreading the truth at the start of the war, now she does a lot of ridiculous Alex Jones rhetoric to help hold onto the very large base of pure conspiracy types who think that various malicious actors move in the shadows rather than publishing their plans in journals and having big conferences. That interview is a mess

Posted by: Cresty | Sep 1 2016 12:06 utc | 90

The momentum is painfully slow in building, but Syria is on the turn compared to this time last year when it was only going one way towards Damascus and Libyan style anarchy. Putin has made clear since the start of Russia's military intervention that the primary objective is the territorial integrity of Syria. It is also very much in Erdoghan's interest that this succeeds. Therefore one can become slightly more optimistic that an end to the rape and pillage is in sight.

Posted by: Freddy | Sep 1 2016 12:23 utc | 91

blowback | Sep 1, 2016 6:21:04 AM | 83

Mercy, where to begin; your post assumes the Iranian's are stupid; nothing further from the truth.
S-300's can deal with cruise missiles as one of their specialties; in fact if the flying object is bigger than a grapefruit it's a target that can be dealt with.
It's hard to deal with your post seriously; so I'll stop here.
Do your due diligence before commenting please...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Sep 1 2016 12:28 utc | 92

723;Fired her?No she left on her own accord to set up her POTUS run,and to distance herself from the disaster she created.And your Obomba innocence stance is hillaryous,as he totally backs her as the way to secure his legacy from scrutiny by Trump,who despite MSM demonizing,is our next POTUS.
When Obomba called Trump unfit for office,in unprecedented fashion,he exposed his fear of that.And coming from the rookie,who had the least govt,experience in American POTUS history,it was hillaryous also.
Syria's best hope is Donald Trump,and the zionists know it,look at their innuendo,slurs and misrepresentation of DT,as they try to create dissent,in their never ending divide and conquer.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 1 2016 13:04 utc | 93

'Only the educated are free' gets further contradictory with each passing moment.

B says: '...but trained enough to avoid any critical thought while writing...' That is what we are up against, the army of 'educated' and mindless. The Matrix wasn't far off.

I wonder if people who help draw war maps or create elaborate mindscapes in order to support and validate history from a certain angle go on to suffer mental illness built upon guilt and self loathing which begin to manifest themselves at the point at which they become aware of the true nature of their nine to five. A kind of post trauma.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Sep 1 2016 13:06 utc | 94

September @77

Thanks! That is definitely a fault in my analysis.

Putin had already begun to normalize relations without further proof of a US-Turk rift.

I still have some reservations (e.g. Would Putin have permitted a Turkish incursion absent the coup attempt?) but I can better see why everyone sees Russia-Syria-Iran-Turkey working together.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 1 2016 13:18 utc | 95


you put so many assumptions and guessing and you come the conclusion that the coup is fake ? now thats what i call kiddie / high school gossip level of analysis,, Russia and Iran certainly have intel assets tasked on turkey and they knew about the coup and highly probable they are the one that warned erdogan on the coup. Also they been talking prior to the coup and trying to get closer and suddenly the coup was sprung (even though it seem to be rush job aimed at killing erdogan , cut off the head)..

US MsM caught spreading lies on erdogan asking asylum in germany.. same old same old psych warfare directed to erdogan's supporters.. and when the coup failed witness the venomous comments by EU big wig on erdogan..

people who have agendas here seem to conveniently assign blame to personality , like "putin this erdogan that" , which showed their lack of understanding on how government worked. Putin or Erdogan do not sit on a giant console and directing their minions like some kind of james bond villain..

every nation acted according to their national interest... erdogan did this and some other nation flip the switch and initiate the coup , a coup thats been planned for some time..

and why no mention of the obvious ? the HUMINT of israeli intelligence and the Saudi intelligence working in turkey..

im sure they have nothing on the coup ../sarc

Posted by: milomilo | Sep 1 2016 13:22 utc | 96

Just to add another view to the mix I am linking to A Penny For Your Thoughts blogspot which is run by a Canadian woman. She is very tenacious in arguing that

1. US/Israel plan to destabilize Turkey

2. US/Israel plan to create Greater Israel across northern Syria and Iraq by hoping to unite the Kurds under the Kurdistan banner controlled by Israel

3. Kurds and Isis work together to destabilize Syria. Isis defeats a SAA held area, then leaves and the Kurds take it over.

She has absolutely no love for the Kurds. She doesn't think US knew about the invasion in advance, which is hard to believe.

Posted by: Peaches and Apples | Sep 1 2016 13:42 utc | 97

The last sentence in above comment should read "She does not think US gave its support to the invasion."

Posted by: Peaches and Apples | Sep 1 2016 13:47 utc | 98

milomilo @96

I'm not a professional analyst wrt Turkish/Syrian affairs. I'm just a guy that is angry at the use of extremists as a weapon.

I spend more time than I would like trying to understand what is going on in Syria/ME. Still, I missed an important detail.

I better understand what others are thinking but I don't fully understand what is going on and I think other questions feel the same way. I just hope that the main players are on a path to more peace instead of escalation.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 1 2016 15:41 utc | 99

We all shall see in the next short time frame which group of armchair analytics is more correct. Whether the "Turkey had flipped to the Resistance Bloc" or the "Turkey remains within the NATO-Israeli nexus" theorists. This question on what exactly is occurring within the backrooms of diplomacy, alliances, counter alliances and deceptions will soon be visible as the fog around the Turkish-FSA-ISIS invasion lifts. Do the Americans still hold sway over all the anti-Assad anti-Syrian nation sovereign borders factions with American bags of cash, the big threat and wholesale assassinations of irritants or has Russia made in roads in this area offering what exactly, membership in the Eurasian Economic Union? This seems a non starter for the aspirations of a Kurdistan or a greater Turkey at the expense of Syria but I may be totally wrong. The Americans have created a bind for themselves in allowing the Kurds west of the Euphrates to Turkey's objections and seem to be trying to smooth the ruffled feathers of their proxies leadership with who knows what promises. Both lines of reasoning put forth strong arguments for their respective hypotheses and the truth will eventually be out.

Posted by: BRF | Sep 1 2016 16:00 utc | 100

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