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

Comments
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P&A@97

A penny doesn't buy much especially from airhead bloggers however tenacious. 'Greater Israel' is a handy bogyman but the Zionists have their hands full dealing with Lesser Israel although some of them must surely have delusions of grandeur.

Omar Kassem's post about Syria/Turkey a few days ago at Counterpunch is a bit more valuable, interesting and informed but I must warn you it's biased with facts and a non-Islamophobic viewpoint.

Posted by: wayoutwest | Sep 1 2016 16:00 utc | 101

COPYEDIT
The U.S. and Israeli plans for a divided Syria have been warded.
...should read

The U.S. and Israeli plans for a divided Syria have been blocked.

Posted by: Ronald | Sep 1 2016 16:14 utc | 102

The US is pressuring the UN over Syrian government Chemical weapons attacks in Syria. "Russian Senator Vladimir Jabarov said for some players chemical weapons are the last chance to topple the Syrian government.
Another analyst said "The defeated party in Aleppo will lose in the Syrian conflict. A defeat in Syria will lead to the US losing its status in the Middle East," the analyst observed. "It will also put an end to Washington's attempts to maintain hegemony. This is why the US is ready to raise the risk bar to the maximum," the analyst wrote in an article for RIA Novosti.http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160901/1044858142/us-un-syria-attacks.html Too true, the US is going hysterical, couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of gob shites.

Posted by: harrylaw | Sep 1 2016 16:19 utc | 103

@99 jackrabbit.. i am with you on all that.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Sep 1 2016 16:20 utc | 104

Here is the latest on Syria from Katehon:

http://katehon.com/article/russia-syria-and-turkey-have-agreed-joint-operations-syria

Posted by: Peaches and Apples | Sep 1 2016 16:25 utc | 105

@wayoutwest 100
You gave no link so I will not go searching for the reference you made. Glad to hear Israel does not have any aspirations to expand its territory and areas of control.

Posted by: Peaches and Apples | Sep 1 2016 16:32 utc | 106

V. Arnold @ 92
1. I did not say that Iranians are idiots generally, I said that if they place the S-300s around Fordow in fixed locations, they are idiots.
2. However good the S-300 is, if it's radar can't illuminate a low flying cruise missiles with radar then it's useless. The best radar with the S-300 can detect cruise missiles flying at 60 metres at 20 km. The Tomahawk can fly at 15 metres so it seems like Tomahawks win.
3. The United States is vastly richer than Iran so it can afford more Tomahawks even at about $1M a piece than the Iranians can the various S-300 missiles so again it seems like the Tomahawks if sent swarming against Fordow will win and obliterate fixed S-300 launchers.
4. With a deeply buried facility like Fordow, Tomahawks are not a real threat but destroy the air defences with Tomahawks and the B-2s with two 14-ton MOPs a piece win.
With something as advanced as the S-300 you need a new approach, anti-aircraft hunter-killer teams whose job is to shoot down as many expensive enemy aircraft as possible and not to look good posturing around the enemy's targets. If the Americans know where your SAMs are, then your SAMs are dead. If the American don't know where your SAMs are, then their aircraft are going to be dead.
BTW, I thought the Iranians are not allowed to have any fissile material at Fordow and it's subject to IAEA inspections for 15 years so why bother defending it?

Posted by: blowback | Sep 1 2016 16:46 utc | 107

We clearly see now that it was the evil US Empire the put the heat on Turkey to slow down their attacks on Syrian Kurds, after the USs approved and assisted Turkish invasion into Syria.

It was always the US that was the deciding factor in this invasion, and definatly not Russias disapproval against it.

Once again a humiliating sign of Russia's weakness by its leaders.

Posted by: tom | Sep 1 2016 19:07 utc | 108

@ Jackrabbit

I am not a professional Analyst either.

But, If I were in the shoes of Bashar Al Assad, I would let the Turks deal with the nascent power of the Syrian Kurds while screaming wolf. If I were in the shoes of the Iranians (they also have a Kurdish problem) I would welcome their action against the Kurds. Then when Turkey has them smarting, they can always flock to Mama's fold whether Syrian or Iranian to be comforted. This is more likely to give them a sense of belonging.

There will always be a Kurdish problem. For as long as the Kurds suffer the "jewish syndrome" first a Kurd? Jew? then, according to interest, some nationality, they will be seen as potential traitors by their host country. They will always be seen as the Judas selling Christ. A good lever for the meddlers, be they the US, the UK or some other exceptional nation with a white man's burden.

Then there are matters of interest.

Russia want to sell its gas and oil to Europe. If the Kremlin can secure a monopoly or a quasi monopoly on sales to Europe, they would. So they would rather favor their own gasoducts or pipelines to all points of Europe. Of course, Russias rapprochement with China and possibly Japan opens new and substantial markets, less subject to the whims and dictates of the likes of Victoria Nuland.

But since Iran is, at least for now, a tactical if not a strategic ally, Russian must accommodate her interest in supplying Europe with its natural gas in which Russian Companies could have stakes.

Therefore, the symbiosis of Russia and Iran doesn't leave space for the likes of Qatar and therefore they will do their utmost to prevent Qatar from obtaining a right of way for its natural gas line through Syria.

Then it must be remembered that in most parts of the Arabic Peninsula, countries are comprised of tribes many of which are at odds. This makes for fickle and erratic alliances, liable to change on the spur of a moment.

Then , there are the strategic interests of Iran which include those of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. Iran recognises the fact that Israel is, along with the US, the prime factor of destabilisation in the ME based upon the assumption that both want to fragment and divide the potential ennemies of Israel. Therefore, Iran must put herself in a position to be able to effectively contain and restrain Israel in her insatiable quest for lebensraum. For this, access to Lebanon must be secured and since they are not contiguous, friendly relations must exist between Iran, Iraq, and Syria which are the gateways to Lebanon. So whatever must be done by Iran in favor of Syria and their relationship will be done.

No doubt there have been and will be frictions between Russia and Iran inasmuch as Iran probably doesn't like to see Russia toying with the idea of inviting the great satans to the bedside of the sick the great Satan has been poisoning all along.

Vis a vis the Turks and ISIS and their seemingly lenient behaviour towards the ISIS figthers fleeing the battleground, remember that yesterday the Turks were supplying ISIS. The least Turkey can do is allow them to evaporate. It is probably less costly in Erdogan's eye to allow them to leave than to kill or imprison them.

In the end, Syria might have to cede some border town to Turkey, maybe not during the actual conflict but at a later date.

What Syria must obtain from Erdogan is that an end be put to the construction of more dams on the Tigris and Euphrates to the detriment of Syria and Iraq.

As far as the Sauds are concerned, they fear the influence of the Islamic REPUBLIC and they feel compelled to fight it as furiously as it might be to the point of straining their finances. How long can they keep it up? Whenever the Houthis get some good rockets aimed at Aramco facilities and pipelines they will start learning their lessons. And then, the ISIS fighters Turkey lets go will probably be recuperated by the Sauds and shipped to the Yemen theater.

And Now to the US. I will not take into account the opinions of the different EU heads of state which are merely Washington lapdogs.

Lets go directly to Washington and the offices of Victoria Nuland.

There we find a bunch of loonies inebriated with the formidable power of the EMPIRE that doesn't take no for an answer. These do not care about public opinion or laws or treaties or convention. They are set on securing a series of steps traced by the Zionist think tanks. One of these steps is the fragmentation of several states, one of which is Syria.

Nothing is going to distract them from the job at hand. By hook or crook, they prod along, under different guises but always with the same purpose. No goal set is unattainable. They must, they must and by Jove they will...keep trying..

This latest is unfortunate because in the end, they will start WWIII. Because they do not know when to call it quits.

So there you are. I hope you understand it now.

Posted by: CarlD | Sep 1 2016 19:27 utc | 109

Skewed article favorable to US, but interesting nonetheless for Iran using its leverage in Syria and NATO running out of ordinance in Libya

http://breakingdefense.com/2016/08/no-win-in-syria-well-be-glad-to-keep-assad/

In Syria, the U.S. went out of its way to look feckless by warning the regime in 2012 about a “red line” it had better not cross, then standing around with its hands in its pockets after the regime attacked the opposition-held town of Ghouta with sarin gas in 2013. Why? Obama’s desperate need to secure a nuclear deal with Iran. The Iranians told him they would cancel the talks if he punished Assad for Ghouta, so 1,300 men, women and children were asphyxiated.

The U.S. failed to prioritize. It attacked Libya ostensibly out of a concern for human rights abuses but also because its European “allies” hadn’t bothered to buy enough ordnance and asked the U.S. to help. This is the Libya that had surrendered its nuclear and chemical weapons programs and was no threat to Europe or the U.S.; it was just a big gas station for Europe. It wasn’t a useless exercise, though: the Iranian and North Koreans noted what happens to regimes that surrender their nukes. Then it was on to Egypt where the U.S. administration supported the Muslim Brotherhood because…well, it did.

Luckily, the Egyptian army later staged a coup and saved the day, but the U.S. and Egypt were left with a weakened relationship which the U.S. further damaged by delaying the delivery of attack helicopters and fighter jets.

Posted by: Les | Sep 1 2016 19:49 utc | 110

@109

Not too bad of an article from a former US military who, it seems, exhibits a lot of traits which got US strategic thinking in trouble in the first place. This phrase betrays this:

Russia is in the mix, but it’ll support anyone who will guarantee it secure bases on the Mediterranean.

Russia WILL NOT support "anyone" in the region and the only foundation for guarantee for a base(s) is survival of a secular regime. This translates into Assad's rule. These are this kind of statements which make, otherwise sober, article a bit rough at the edges.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Sep 1 2016 20:27 utc | 111

wow 100 'Greater Israel' is a handy bogyman but the Zionists have their hands full dealing with Lesser Israel although some of them must surely have delusions of grandeur.

The Yinon Plan and the PNAC Plan are imaginary.

A husband cannot possibly be cheating on his wife, he is simply too busy and he just hasn't got the time. He's got a full plate, ferchrisakes.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 1 2016 20:40 utc | 112

A lovely piece b.

In short, I think the picture is clearing if ISIS/ISIL/DAESH/Whatever are removed from the picture, though if this actually happens is anyone's guess, but so far it has failed to succeed after years. Good money after bad. On the one hand it makes things a little more predictable, but on the other, I don't see the US coming out of this well. They've pissed off everyone who counts and not only would they need to commit to a massive escalation to get anything more than a sliver of Syria under their control, even harder they have to convince someone to do it for them.


As for InSultin' Erdogan, I would think that once he thinks he has the Kurds contained, he'll stab Russia in the back (he's a cunning & wiley bugger, but not that smart). Russia expects this. I hope the BorkStream pipeline has some very strict contractual terms, sic cancellation by Turkey means they pay the outstanding bills, as we have seen with Bulgaria stuck with a half a billion euro bill for cancelling a Russian nuclear reactor. Speaking of which, I'm sure Putin just humoring Borissov's dream of Russian gas going through Bulgaria. Again. They made their bed, so they should sleep in it.

Posted by: et Al | Sep 1 2016 20:44 utc | 113

FF@111

As I wrote before, some Zionists have delusions of grandeur but their reach exceeds their grasp. Just because conditions now appear similar to their plans and schemes doesn't mean they will be tomorrow or that they had much if any control of these changing conditions.

The Zionists couldn't rule over southern Lebanon's Muslim resistance so it's doubtful they could expand into any other Muslim territory with any better results. Even the Israeli/Kurdish cooperation is mostly mercantile with discount oil driving that alliance.

Posted by: wayoutwest | Sep 1 2016 21:45 utc | 114

Erdogan held a News conference this afternoon:

Announced
Turkish forces ‘liberated’ 400 sq. km of Syrian land

A Turkish incursion in Syria is proceeding successfully and has already allowed the country to “liberate” a vast swath of land from Islamic State militants and US-backed Kurdish YPG forces, President Tayyip Erdogan stated.
“Nobody can expect us to allow a terror corridor on our southern border,” Erdogan told a news conference, as quoted by Reuters.[.]

https://www.rt.com/news/357947-erdogan-liberated-syria-land/"
~ ~ ~ ~

will he hand it over to Syria?

Posted by: likklemore | Sep 1 2016 23:17 utc | 115

Re:#46
"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."

In this day of wishy washy poll driven western national leaders, it is refreshing to observe a leader willing to take the heat and actually stand for something. And a moral person.

To the doubters, look at his history.

Too bad he can't run for president here. The stables are in need of a good deep clean in Washington.

Posted by: Morongobill | Sep 1 2016 23:26 utc | 116

Not long on the heels of Mikhail Khazin advocating the creation of Khazaria at his blog, Saker is now advocating the break up of Ukraine into smaller units. Until recently Russian policy focusssed on the Finlandization of Ukraine; the maintenance of a unified neutral state subject to Russian influence.

Now everything is different.

It should be clear to everyone by now, though frenemies they may be, Anglozionists and Russian internationalists, 5th column Zionists and 'Whites,' are working together to establish the New World Order, decentralized and multipolar at the micro level, but very much unified and unipolar at the macro level, where everything that matters is decided.

There was this Emperor, Alexius of Byzantium, who had trouble with Frankish types, during the crusades. He told the Western Crusaders, OK, you can have your own fiefdoms, because he thought he needed their help to hold off invading armies of Seljuk Turks.

The punchline: those Seljuks were secretly allied to the Frankish Vatican, in a project to destroy the Byzantine Empire, which they accomplished when Constantinople was felled, by same said Seljuk Turks.

What Saker is advocating, knowingly or otherwise, is surrender in a 1000 year war, between Anglo-Leviathan and Russo-Behemoth.

I know, I know. It didn't seem that way to Alexius or his 5th column Judaic advisors either. Their way and the Russian way, is to cede territory until the invader is overextended, then to overwhelm him, as happened at the end of WW2. The problem is always the same, when should the counterattack be launched. If it is too late, then Constantinople will be lost forever.

Posted by: C I eh? | Sep 1 2016 23:38 utc | 117

Terry @2 – “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.”

MRW @6 – See this dated August 14, 2016 by AMN News https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-politician-support-failed-coup-turkey-grave-mistake/ If you have a Twitter account go to Zbig’s thread and you will see the images line up. Note: the link to this story was posted here at MoA on 8/14 Open Thread.

MRW @21 – No. There is no fabrication. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Look at the image. One can easily compare. I did so when the AMN story first appeared. They were/are exact.

FOR SOME VERY QUEER REASON Z-BIG’S TWEET AND AI STORY WAS SCRUBBED! AND/OR the story ran in the print edition but not in the online version.

Just an educated guess, but thinking the tweet and story were scrubbed b/c Zbig was being a bit to truthful…meaning ‘getting out in front of the Erdogan coup story’ before CIA/DOD/WH had laid out their 'we didn't have anything to do with it' propaganda talking points before the public caught on.

Any who follow national security issues knows Z-big is a straight shooter. The older he gets the straighter his shots get – nothing to lose mentality.

Just sayin…

Posted by: h | Sep 2 2016 0:18 utc | 118

@105 Peaches and Apples

That gave me a deep deep laugh, thank you

Posted by: Cresty | Sep 2 2016 2:45 utc | 119

jackrabbit @99

I've appreciated your questions/comments both here and on SST. No one post gets it all, and we are very close in time to the events being discussed. Keep sharing.

Posted by: Castellio | Sep 2 2016 5:42 utc | 120

If you look at the ground being cleared in Northern Syria now by the Turks, the shape it is taking looks very similar to the 'safe zone' agreed by Turkey and Carter in mid-June.
This is Turkey's long-held ambitiom to both 'block' the full scale Kurdistan project and to relocate hundreds of thousands of Syrians - the new towns will of course be built by Turkey, if Davutoglu's original plan is now being resurrected - this would also explain the large mine-clearing operations going on. (Btw Turkey will of course be seeking to play a prominent role in the rebuilding of Syria, the construction industry being key to Turkey's economy.)
For me, the key issue is who is going to police this zone?
I recall during the week that Erdogan and Putin met when there was so much speculation as to what the detente would yield, Binali spoke about Turkey's continuing ambition to create a safe zone. Does this imply that RF has agreed to such a project? Will there be joint policing agreement? Does thisnalso counter the threat of Clinton's No Flu zone and preempt her possible direct action in Syria?
Lastly, if this operation is indeed to create such a zone, then we at least begin to understand the 'scope' of the incursion.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Sep 2 2016 10:37 utc | 121

The U.S. and Israeli plans for a divided Syria have been warded.
...should read
The U.S. and Israeli plans for a divided Syria have been blocked.
Posted by: Ronald | Sep 1, 2016 12:14:57 PM | 101

No it shouldn't.
Everyone reading b's post appended "off" to warded (Ward = Fend).
Did you forget, or didn't you know?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 2 2016 12:40 utc | 122

Castellio @119

Thank you for your kind words.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 2 2016 12:47 utc | 123

AtaBrit @120

And US tried to create a de-facto 'No-fly' Zone over Hasakah.

I read somewhere that carving Syria into safe havens (of various sorts) was advocated by Brookings years ago.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 2 2016 12:56 utc | 124

CarlD @ 108 said:

"Nothing is going to distract them from the job at hand. By hook or crook, they prod along, under different guises but always with the same purpose. No goal set is unattainable. They must, they must and by Jove they will...keep trying.."

Yep, good take on the Empire. The cretins who represent the Empire's interests, will NEVER relent.

Posted by: ben | Sep 2 2016 15:30 utc | 125

So many comments, imho, are missing one crucial element: deep state policies of the regional players such as Turkey, Iran, and Russia.

We have been fed into believe Erdogan grandeur only to see from some with deep ties in Turkey and Russia, he's been swallowed each day by deep Turkish state post July 15th coup attempt by CIA fed Gulen infiltrators into Turkish Military.

Erdogan could be gone in a New York minute, but he has been around long time (14 years and counting) and has been involved in too many dirty plays of the US/Nato operandi (Libya, Iraqi-Syrian ISIS oil, smuggling, Qaddafi gold/money laundering, etc etc). The operandi can not (will NOT) afford to let him talk (simply execution which was what coup attemptots would do had they been successful).

Remember, F-16s bombing the Parliament refuelled from planes took off from Incirlik NATO base. Brzezinski, of course, knows CIA involvement all too well yet the US itself has two separate forces (Pentagon vs CIA) going against each other in some ways, which was even published on mainstream NYT.

The real war has not begun! It will take place when/if Kurds try to take/control Kerkuk and Mosul. Iran and Turkey will never allow a Kurdish state.

Posted by: Truist | Sep 2 2016 15:33 utc | 126

// sidebar // .. mina thx for the links. i‘m going to watch the arte link tonite. i tend to forget about arte, yet they have some acceptable or even great docs (which is very rare), not revolutionary of course, MSM, but they do a good job of showing old footage that one can’t see anywhere else, and also contemp. interviews which they don’t manipulate too much. They get away with it because their audience is minuscule.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 2 2016 18:15 utc | 127

@Jackrabbit | 124
Abosultely right.
The report suggested exactly that to facilitate the creeping military take-over / partitioning of Syria - probably the same report that influences Ckinton's stance. It is dangerous.

Turkey's action is different though. It must be.
By mentioning the timing of the Binali comments, I was implying that RF were in on the plan. I still think that must be the case. I am of the opinion that a lot of the bravado being displayed by Turkey is a face-saving exercise which ia actually being 'allowed' by RF and/ or US. (Turkey has never lifted a finger without one or the other's consent and Erdogan is not in the position to start doing so now.)

A fundemental dialogue is going on, not between RF and TR, but RF and US and this must not be forgotten. Despite the seeming very low point in US and RF relations, Lavrov and Kelly are continuing to meet regularly. Even today it was reported that certain agremments had been reached and could be made public soon. We'll see.

Just like to add, the 23rd of this month is the anniversary of opening of the mosque in Moscow where Putin brought together muslim leaders from all over Central Asia and Erdogan. His speech challenged terrorism, it challenged ISIS's use of Islam and it indirectly challenged Erdogan's authority in the muslim world. The opening of the mosque precipitated RF's intervention in Syria where the sentiments of Putin's speech took life.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Sep 2 2016 19:02 utc | 128

@ Hoarsewhisperer | 80

Huh? Iran hasn't been off the (regime change) table since 1953.

We are talking about different things here. I was speaking about direct bombing attack of Iran, where S-300 could have helped (window is closed for foreseeable future), you - about regime change (US will never leave Iran alone, not until it implodes itself).

"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.

Again, we are talking about different things.

1. When bombing of Iran was possible, it really needed S-300 but Russia betrayed Iran in the hour of need. Now that window is closed and there wont be any bombings of Iran, Russia finally delivered. Hence too little too late.

2. USrael actually well versed with S-300 (many of their alies have them, Israel even did live drills against it), so it depends what modification Iran got, and if USrael knows it.

3. Israel will never attack Iran on its own, at most they would piggyback if US attacks.

So why did Iran bought S-300 now instead of pocketing refund and penalty of contract breach by Russia? S-300 is still an upgrade over what Iran has now (again, if USrael doesnt know this modification, if they do - its usefulness is questionable). It will serve as a stop-gap till Bavar 373 will be mass produced.

The main point of this story - Iranians would be fools to rely on a core security area on Russia (or any other country), and they are definitely not stupid. Therefore Iran's future SAM focus will be indigenous systems like Bavar.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 2 2016 22:16 utc | 129

Harry@129

With the Nuke deal proceeding with the West Iran seems to be wasting a lot of scarce resources defending from an Israeli attack threat that has faded to a low hum of background noise and should remain there for at least a decade. The only reason for this continued buildup seems to be for internal consumption keeping the public focus outward away from the economic shifts and penetration of their markets that will produce much wealth for the few and not much for the many.

Posted by: wayoutwest | Sep 3 2016 0:34 utc | 130

Harry 129

The US I believe has practiced on the Greek S-300 system. Obsolete electronics.
Another name for the Iran electronics - 2500 or something - latest gen.
The old deal was scrapped and Iran aquired a system the US has not wargamed on.

Posted by: Peter AU | Sep 3 2016 5:45 utc | 131

Noirette 127
They have their redlines too... The director of the documentary is the head of I-Tele. I noticed there is not a single mention of the Christians in the documentary, although it speaks of sectarianism, walls between districts etc.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 3 2016 7:43 utc | 132

On a slightly different Syrian issue, I was interested in the death the other day of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, who was said to be a 'key' leader of ISIS. It was said to have been admitted by ISIS, announced by their news agency Amaq (more strictly al-A'mâq). I had my suspicions about this, from past experience, and I checked it out. And yes, it is true, all the communications of Amaq are transmitted to the media only through the SITE Intelligence Group. You know, the outfit run by an Israeli, Rita Katz (who is in fact of Iraqi Jewish origin) with an American assistant (though I suppose the organisation is bigger now), the organisation that published all the videos of Bin Laden. It makes you wonder how much of what we hear about ISIS has any relationship with the truth. I'd certainly doubt that Adnani was dead, on that evidence.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 3 2016 17:20 utc | 134

...
We are talking about different things here. I was speaking about direct bombing attack of Iran, where S-300 could have helped (window is closed for foreseeable future), you - about regime change (US will never leave Iran alone, not until it implodes itself).
...
Posted by: Harry | Sep 2, 2016 6:16:27 PM | 129

No we're not. You're trying to water-proof a couple of leaky non-sequiturs.
It's illogical to claim that Putin's failure to deliver the S-300s on time was a "betrayal" of Iran. Iran wasn't attacked in a manner which would have made the S-300 relevant or useful. Had Iran been attacked while waiting for the delivery then that could be called a betrayal. i.e. No attack = no betrayal.

Similarly, you claim that it's now "too late" for Putin to deliver the S-300 because Iran now has some S-300, which Putin delivered, BEFORE an attack on Iran took place.

You also seem to be trying to draw a false distinction between "a bombing attack on Iran" and "regime change". BUT a bombing attack on Iran, even if precisely targeted & limited, IS regime change because it puts the wishes of the perpetrator above those of the Iranian Govt and People and thereby repudiates their authority to govern without external meddling. That's a change, and a very unwelcome (and illegal) one. Which is why I think Iran should destroy the Shitty Little Country the next time Iran is subjected to a military assault.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 3 2016 17:28 utc | 135

re 136. Nice story. probably true. The stories I've had of Syrians who've escaped are not very different.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 3 2016 20:42 utc | 137

Sorry for the pithy first statement,but after reading this stuff,I have to go with it still.
How the hell will Kurdistan,landlocked and surrounded by historical enemies,exist on its own,as it hasn't been able to do for thousands of years?
Only in federation with surrounding ethnic others in common prosperity is their only hope,but their corrupt leadership,probably billionaires? by now,are typical agents of divide and conquer Israel,the real impetus for all this shite in the region,as yes,they are that malevolent to not give a damn for any other peoples welfare and security.
I'd like to believe that US,Russia,Iran,China,Turkey and Syria will work together to end this criminal bloodletting,as yes,these people are suffering unbelievably,all for yinon.
But until we reject the zionist influence on American govt.,don't expect US compliance.That is why I pray that the Donald will win,as only wackos can see any benefit for America to piss off the world for Israel.
Which seems more likely by the day,as HRC is continually exposed as the leaky vessel she is,mentally,physically and morally.Trump really stole some thunder with his Mexico visit and subsequent speech.Boy, did he hit the right notes for US patriots.
And the thought that Humedin? and she are a couple has crossed my mind also.She hammered 9 mobile devices?She didn't know that C meant classified?She fell down went into a coma and was disabled for 6 months?
Wow.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 3 2016 21:06 utc | 138

Putin and Erdogan held a joint press conference today, 3 Sep 2016. The following is a video snippet from it, 1 minute long. They don't say anything worth hearing. But the body language and atmosphere tells me that the two of them are cooperating on the Syria situation. I watched the video in High Definition and Full Screen to properly observe the body language: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4X55uBYnto

Sami Moubayed is a longtime journalist, and a Syrian native who understands Syrian political society better than most journalists. On 3 Sep 2016 he says his Syrian govt sources are telling him that -- in the wake of the recent re-normalization of the relationship between Turkey and Russia -- there's now soon going to be a substantial -- though incomplete -- re-normalization of the relationship between Turkey and Syria. Turkey and Syria each want to put the squeeze on the Kurdish militias in northern Syria, while Russia wants to get the Turks to acknowledge that the Assadist govt is legitimate. Sami says: "If the Russians cooperate with Turkey on handling the Kurdish threat, Turkey is willing to fall in-line with President Putin’s strategy for Syria.... Serious steps have already been taken in this direction." http://gulfnews.com/news/mena/syria/russian-turkish-agreement-would-keep-al-assad-in-power-1.1890011

The actions of Russia and Turkey in recent days suggests that these two countries have an agreement that the Syrian state is to take over Aleppo city with Russian assistance, and Turkey is enabled to fight the Kurdish militias on Syrian soil.

In a separate report on 3 Sep 2016 Sami Moubayed says 600 Russian ground troops have arrived in Syria within the past two days and have been sent to Aleppo city. Their mission will be to maintain the security in a "humanitarian corridor" at the Castello Road area in Aleppo city. Other news outlets are not reporting this, a significant development if it's true. http://gulfnews.com/news/mena/syria/600-russian-ground-troops-land-in-syria-1.1890008

Posted by: Ghubar Shabih | Sep 4 2016 0:28 utc | 139

Posted by: Ghubar Shabih | Sep 3, 2016 8:28:27 PM | 139

Thanks for the observation. Body language can be telling, yes - I'm sure Putin can control his quite well, but Erdogan probably not.

One thing that isn't mentioned - I'd presume that the US is not entirely out of this game. It doesn't play a very active role anymore, but it quite probably gave its approval to the new deal between Ankara, Damascus and Moscow. Would fit perfectly with the agreement they have with Russia since 2015 on the future of Syria.

Posted by: smuks | Sep 4 2016 3:20 utc | 140

@ Hoarsewhisperer | 135


It's illogical to claim that Putin's failure to deliver the S-300s on time was a "betrayal" of Iran. Iran wasn't attacked in a manner which would have made the S-300 relevant or useful. Had Iran been attacked while waiting for the delivery then that could be called a betrayal. i.e. No attack = no betrayal.

Its ironic you use word 'logic' with illogical claim (seriously, read what you wrote). Iran wanted to deter bombing campaign with advanced SAMs or at the very least to make such campaign costly. What Russia did is exactly the definition of betrayal, so were 4 rounds of sanctions against Iran. You also seem not to understand the different threat levels and how to face them.

I actually doubt you are Hoarsewhisperer, what you are saying makes zero sense whatsoever.

You also seem to be trying to draw a false distinction between "a bombing attack on Iran" and "regime change". BUT a bombing attack on Iran, even if precisely targeted & limited, IS regime change because it puts the wishes of the perpetrator above those of the Iranian Govt and People and thereby repudiates their authority to govern without external meddling. That's a change, and a very unwelcome (and illegal) one. Which is why I think Iran should destroy the Shitty Little Country the next time Iran is subjected to a military assault.

You seem to miss the point of different military objectives. Bombing of nuclear facilities wouldnt have led to regime change, US politicians and "experts" knew and said as much. Not that they wouldnt want to, but if anything such bombing of nuclear sites would increase the support of Iran's government, with people rallying around it.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 4 2016 12:32 utc | 141

1. When bombing of Iran was possible, it really needed S-300 but Russia betrayed Iran in the hour of need. Now that window is closed and there wont be any bombings of Iran, Russia finally delivered. Hence too little too late.
Posted by: Harry | Sep 2, 2016 6:16:27 PM | 129

I think that the basic defense of the nuclear program in Iran was its vaporous nature. The IEAA report shows that there was no detectable weapon oriented activity after 2003. Enrichment could be conducted here, and here, and here, and the spare centrifuges could be here and here, and who knows where else, and so on.

Right now, the key reason some extra defenses are needed is the erratic nature of new KSA leadership. USA allows the Prince of Captagon to do what he wants, for a price of course, so the most important thing is that USA minder of the Prince can explain him, correctly or not, that he would loose planes and face after an attack on Iran. I think that Netanyahu is more lucid than he pretends to be, but Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud? Truly, a question mark.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 4 2016 14:48 utc | 142

Posted by: Harry | Sep 4, 2016 8:32:58 AM | 141

Taking your points one at a time from the top...

"Iran wanted to deter bombing campaign with advanced SAMs or at the very least to make such campaign costly. What Russia did is exactly the definition of betrayal, so were 4 rounds of sanctions against Iran."

This unfounded speculation completely ignores the fact that Iran wasn't attacked while its defenses were compromised by the well publicised absence of S-300. Clearly, the cranks who were so eager to bomb Iran, but failed to exploit this perceived weakness, were adequately deterred by something else.
I don't know what the something else was, but the most likely elses are:
- "Israelis" have got no balls,
- haven't and will never stumble upon a cause worth dying for,
- Bibi couldn't persuade Obama to cover his arse if Iran retaliated.

"You seem to miss the point of different military objectives. Bombing of nuclear facilities wouldnt have led to regime change, US politicians and "experts" knew and said as much. Not that they wouldnt want to, but if anything such bombing of nuclear sites would increase the support of Iran's government, with people rallying around it."

And you seem to miss the point that the unfortunate "Israeli" habit of dressing up in military costumes to commit violent crimes against civilians doesn't legitimise those crimes.

We can agree to disagree on what constitutes betrayal. In my funny little world an act of betrayal must be deliberate, consummated, and leave the target in a demonstrably worse situation than existed before the betrayal.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 4 2016 15:22 utc | 143

@ Piotr Berman | 142

I think that the basic defense of the nuclear program in Iran was its vaporous nature. The IEAA report shows that there was no detectable weapon oriented activity after 2003. Enrichment could be conducted here, and here, and here, and the spare centrifuges could be here and here, and who knows where else, and so on.

All enrichment sites are under 24/7 IAEA surveillance, without exception, and since Iran isnt making nukes, they have no reason to have hidden facilities. Even new sites (which havent even started enrichment) have to be reported to IAEA beforehand. Therefore USrael knows exactly where is what.

"Weapon oriented activity before 2003" never happened. It was just US inserted line based on a notebook files, discarded by IAEA director ElBaradei as fakes, and reintroduced by US stooge Amano as "credible" without any evidence for its credibility.

As for defense, Iran is going for most rational solutions, like Fordow (deep under mountains, good luck trying to bomb it), as well as advanced SAMs.

Right now, the key reason some extra defenses are needed is the erratic nature of new KSA leadership. USA allows the Prince of Captagon to do what he wants, for a price of course, so the most important thing is that USA minder of the Prince can explain him, correctly or not, that he would loose planes and face after an attack on Iran. I think that Netanyahu is more lucid than he pretends to be, but Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud? Truly, a question mark.

Saudis may be extremely paranoid and borderline crazy with anything concerning Iran and Shias in general, but they are not THAT crazy to attack Iran. That would be 100% suicidal and without any benefit. What could they really do to Iran before they die? :)

No, if attack by KSA happens (with "leading from behind" by USrael), it will be Libya 3.0 scenario. For that to happen, Libya 2.0 (aka Syria) must fall first, therefore defeating terrorism in Syria is an existential fight for Iran, and to a bit lesser extent same applies to Russia and China.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 4 2016 16:19 utc | 144

No S-300s at Fordow - Jane's: Iran has not deployed S-300 to Fordow as claimed

Iran does not have any nuclear weapons program to protect. Israel has always had only one goal regarding Iran: a coup to replace the current government with a Western- (thus, Israeli-) friendly one. Israel's principal tool for that was to destroy Iran economically first, creating enough chaos that a coup would seem natural.

The mythical Iranian weapons program was always a U.S./Israeli ruse to generate U.N.-backed economic sanctions against Iran. It worked beautifully until Obama came along. Nettanyahu is not afraid of an Iranian nuclear weapons attack. Just like Syria and Libya, he is terrified of any economically strong 'enemies'.

Israel won in Syria. No matter how that ends up. it's economy has been completely destroyed. They will remain a welfare state of someone - Russia or Western powers - for the next 50 years. Israel wants a Libya and Syria that is dependent on someone else for oil, gas and water. Dependence means control.

Israel similarly wanted Iran destroyed economically. The years of sanctions were working, but then oil prices got crazy. Even at today's oil/gas prices, Iran is exporting about two billion a month in petroleum products. They can easily double that with enough investment. THAT is the juggernaut that Israel must stop. Will nuke violations work any more? Will bombing their suspected facilities hurt them economically? Nope - this is why Israel and the U.S. must start a war with Iran soon (months). It will be some kind of false flag, but nothing we would expect.

The ONLY scheme Nettanyahu has left is to drag Iran into a massive war (internal or external) and destroy what little infrastructure they have. And then partition it into smaller, manageable chunks with U.S. puppet leaders.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Sep 4 2016 21:57 utc | 145

@145 pw, 'Israel won in Syria.'

You talk like the USA is just an innocent bystander. Israel is a virus, it's infected the USA, OK. But it's the USA that does/has done the damage on the scale of the devastation and destruction of entire countries and peoples. Just like the German's of the Third Reich.

Israel might own - to a greater or lessor extent - the 435+100+9+2=546 in AC/DC ... but there 313 million of us Americans who have let/are letting all this happen.

Time to choose the new mascot? ... Trump? or Clinton? We need to just say no to Clinton, no to Trump.

Posted by: jfl | Sep 4 2016 23:05 utc | 146

Russians seem to have a weakness of believing liars when they negotiate. U.S. lies to them so they can stall defeat and so they can resupply their "moderate" terrorists. Turkey lies to them so they can rebuild their supply line to these same "moderate" terrorists. And yet Russia never seems to understand that these countries always will deal in bad faith. Fool me once ...

Posted by: rcentros | Sep 5 2016 7:46 utc | 147

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