Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 25, 2016

A Phony War On ISIS

Soldiers of the Turkish Land Forces engaged in intense firefights when entering Syria to dislodge the Islamic State from the border city of Jarablus. (Not.)


The Turkish HDP parliament member Hişyar Özsoy claims (vid) that the Turkish operation is to save ISIS from the Syrian Kurds, not to liberate Syria of ISIS or to secure the Turkish-Syrian border. There is some logic in that.

Posted by b on August 25, 2016 at 9:53 UTC | Permalink

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Since it can be safely assumed that most readers/viewers have no idea what is happening in Syria, Turkey and the Middle East in general, news agencies can pretty much report whatever they want to on the topic.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Aug 25 2016 10:08 utc | 1

War by hashtag.

"Syria must be whole, united, not carved into little pieces, US VP Biden says"

This is surreal.

Posted by: david | Aug 25 2016 10:22 utc | 2

I'm not sure I'd put myself in front of the barrel of a machine gun, like in the photo. I can think of better ways to live a long life.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 25 2016 10:49 utc | 3

Well done.

This is US's 'concession' to Turkey - in disarray after RF sanctions and a 'Coup attempt'. 'You can have Cerablus and score some points at home, but no killing anyone!' ha ha!

Anyone say that the coup 'didn't work'?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25 2016 10:49 utc | 4

Anyone know what happened to Daesh?
Did they get swallowed up by the 1.5k - 5k US supported militia disparity?
Someone trying to save their assets? :-)

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25 2016 10:54 utc | 5

Turkey now planning to claim a 100k chunk of Syria, from which to continue the war on Assad, now openly not just a proxy war on the parts of both Turkey and the US.

Putin calls for drills and decides to wear his extra tight torso support.

What a mensch.

Posted by: paul | Aug 25 2016 11:03 utc | 6

It's reported in that US and RF 'authorities' are meeting in Geneva this week - or have met - to discuss Syria ... anyone know if this is true?
Kerry made the claim in Kenya on the 22nd.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25 2016 11:12 utc | 7


Unannounced inspections in all European military districts. This is the first time all troops have been put on alert at the same time.

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation - August 25, 2016 11:14 am (Moscow)

Russian Defence Minister General of the Army Sergei #Shoigu has declared the start of an unannounced combat readiness inspection of the Central (#CMD), Southern (#SMD) and Western MD (#WMD) troops.

Upon the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, the troops of the Southern MD, separate formations and units of the Western and Central Military Districts, the Northern Fleet, the Aerospace Forces, the Airborne Troops are put on full combat readiness.

Intensive preparations for the #Caucasus-2016 strategic exercise are held in the Southern MD.

The Russian Defence Minister ordered to check within 24 hours the capability of troops to perform missions under full combat readiness within the inspection; to deploy formations and units at the assigned ranges and training areas, to prepare for training task performance; to estimate the readiness of the Southern MD to deploy self-sufficient groupings in order to localize crisis situations; to check troop buildup capabilities of Central and Western MDs in the south-west strategic direction; to carry out full procedure of preparation of the Armed Forces for protection of national interests in case of security treat.

Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov is ordered to inform foreign military attachés of the unannounced inspection.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 25 2016 11:24 utc | 8

Would you like to play a game? Two can play at this one. I wonder, will anyone blink first, or perhaps misjudge the objective?

Posted by: originalone | Aug 25 2016 11:34 utc | 9

ralphieboy says:

Since it can be safely assumed that most readers/viewers have no idea what is happening in Syria, Turkey and the Middle East in general, news agencies can pretty much report whatever they want to on the topic

lol. and lots of chatter, but still, it does kinda feel like the end of the world.

Posted by: john | Aug 25 2016 11:58 utc | 10

Looks like a Turkish invasion with fool NATO backing... This war is far from over

Posted by: Zico | Aug 25 2016 12:03 utc | 11

by "fool" I mean full.. But in any case, it is what it is..

Posted by: Zico | Aug 25 2016 12:12 utc | 12

Well, Well, Well...

The DWN is reporting that Obama has agreed with Turkey that the Kurds will not get a Kurdish state.

Listen to The Atlantic Council propagandist explain why the Kurds have to move back to accommodate Turkey's invasion.

Posted by: tsuki | Aug 25 2016 12:40 utc | 13

I guess, "fool NATO backing" should be "foolish". I would not say that it was "full NATO", no resolution of the members.

A mystery: what was the deal with "American air support" for this glorious operation? It seems that SDF/YPG, with American weapons and other aid, down to participation of "instructors" in fighting, did the hard work removing ISIS from Manjib region, and now they are supposed to retreat across Euphrates. At best, they will loudly complain all the way to the bank, I mean, they can be threatened, cajoled and bribed, but they will not be happy.

This is a limitation of meddling from outside. If you have two states/groups that hate each other, putting them together under your aegis is often impossible, and one or the other will bolt. If this is a cosy deal with ISIS, there will be no blitzkrieg, and ISIS will have their supply point further south than Jarabulus (why "access to Turkey" had any strategic value to ISIS, a naive person may wonder). Would Turkey double cross ISIS, they would not meekly grumble while taking a larger bribe, but they would bomb more non-Turkish targets in Turkey. (My interpretation of Gaziantep bombing: when ISIS whacks Kurds in Turkey, ISIS relationship with Erdogan remains cozy, when ISIS bombs tourist spots, the relationship is strained.)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 25 2016 12:45 utc | 14

@2 -- ""Syria must be whole, united, not carved into little pieces, US VP Biden says" This is surreal."

Correct -- it is Surrealism@work.

And, decoded, it means that ... (surprise, surprise) -- "ASSAD MUST GO!" (yawn).

Posted by: x | Aug 25 2016 12:46 utc | 15

Erdogan is terrified by ISIS as he knows that if he antagonizes them too much he will pay dearly inside Turkey. Jarabulus is a great opportunity to show them "sympathy" by pushing away the Kurds. The ISIS fighters left to Turkey willingly, shaved their beard and came back as FSA soldiers.
Erdogan may think he has calmed the ISIS and avoided more terrorist acts inside Turkey but he should get ready for an increase of PKK violent acts.
As time goes, the Gulenist will regroup and work again to undermine Erdogan and his party. That is why Erdogan wants Gulen before this happens...
Under Erdogan, the economical future seems bleak for Turkey...

Posted by: virgile | Aug 25 2016 13:01 utc | 16

Wag the dog! It's to be expected now and oddly enough no one really questions it in the media. Take the boy with pitiful look, prop him up in the ambulance, take pix/vid, distribute, have media make him the poster boy to escalate US intervention. While GOP uses hate and anger to justify their wars, the DEM uses humanitarian reasons. But it's like George Carlin said, Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 25 2016 13:02 utc | 17

It doesn't look good for Syria. The US and Turkey have just divided Syria into occupation zones. And it's not over yet. Aleppo City may be the next target.

Posted by: anonymous1242 | Aug 25 2016 13:07 utc | 18

Following US Orders, Kurdish Forces Withdraw from Manbij, Other Areas East of Euphrates River

This move is de-facto transfers Manbij and nearby areas to the control of the Turkish-backed militants. Yesterday, the YPG officially claimed that the group will never withraw from the area. However, it was not able to ingore the US order to do so.

Kurds ... cut the US loose. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Fluch der bösen Tat: Die EU ist nur noch ein Schatten ihrer selbst

The EU Remains Only a Mere Shadow of Its Former Self

Excellent article, finally a response to the question do you realize, now, what you have done?

What sort of a readership does this paper have in Germany?

Posted by: jfl | Aug 25 2016 13:08 utc | 19

The beat of the war drums continues in The Guardian
Syrian regime and Isis carried out chemical attacks, say UN investigators

The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, urged the security council to take “strong and swift action” against the perpetrators, and accused the Syrian government of violating a September 2013 resolution which ordered the council to impose measures under chapter 7 of the UN charter for “any use of chemical weapons by anyone in the Syrian Arab Republic”.

Further down in the article we get to what the UN-OPCW investigators really said:
“The information suggests the involvement of both the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and other actions in these alleged incidents,” the team’s report said.

This is like a policeman standing up in court and claiming:
The evidence, from the sworn enemy of the defendant, suggests that the defendant murdered the alleged victim, who I'm not sure actually exists

Samantha Power should be laughed out of the UNSC but she won't.

Posted by: blowback | Aug 25 2016 13:18 utc | 20

“The UK has spent over 5 million pounds [$6.5 million] since the start of the conflict supporting the Syrian opposition,” a Foreign Office spokesperson told Al-Monitor in an emailed statement. “This includes providing negotiation and communication support along with advice and training to staff at their international offices.”

The Conflict Pool was created in 2009 to “reduce the impact of conflict and instability around the world,” according to the British government. It is described as a “flexible fund for small-scale conflict prevention activities” jointly managed by the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.

The fund was replaced in April 2015 by a 1 billion pound ($1.3 billion) Conflict, Stability and Security Fund under the direction of the National Security Council, a Cabinet committee created in 2010 to help coordinate British national security policy. That fund made headlines in the UK earlier this year for spending 2.4 million pounds ($3.2 million) to run a shadow press office for the Western-backed opposition aimed at building support for the "moderate" rebels within Syria while showcasing their battlefield successes to their military backers, notably the Pentagon.

Separately, Riyadh pays to provide "media support" for the Syrian High Negotiations Committee, an umbrella group that includes the opposition coalition, as part of a broader contract with MSL Group worth $7.96 million in 2015. The PR firm has helped to get the opposition's message out to major media outlets such as Fox News, Reuters and The New York Times, according to the latest available lobbying records.

The rebels can also count on assistance from the Syrian Emergency Task Force, a US nonprofit founded in 2012 by a Syria-born former congressional staffer named Mouaz Moustafa. The task force declared $289,000 in revenues in 2014 — down from $498,000 the year before — according to its latest available filing with the Internal Revenue Service.

The task force played an active role in shaping US opposition to Assad in the early years of the conflict, when its political director Elizabeth O'Bagy was a familiar face on US news shows. The group helped organize a meeting with the rebels inside Syria by their fierce advocate Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., but its luster was tarnished when O'Bagy (now a McCain staffer) was forced to resign after she got caught inflating her academic credentials.

Posted by: Les | Aug 25 2016 13:18 utc | 21

Well the USA has probably just caused the Kurds to give back those rose colored glasses they were presented with. A lot of them died taking Manbij and now, the USA that orchestrated that loss says "leave it" and ISIS walks.

It will now be interesting to see who the USA expects to use in taking Raqqa. More US "boots on the ground" to replace the YPG that has no interest in the place? What body bags in the election year? Never. So what was the point? I think just destabilization, that makes Israel happy.

Posted by: Dean | Aug 25 2016 13:21 utc | 22

paul @ 6

A question for you. In your opinion, what exactly should the Russians be doing?

Please, refrain from the lame short comments that you usually post and write us a paragraph or two. Thanks.

Posted by: Dean | Aug 25 2016 13:27 utc | 23

Dean @ 22
You have to admire the bastard who came up with the idea of causing the Kurds to break with Damascus the day before the Kurds got shafted over Manbij, Jarabulus and the whole west of the Euphrates to Afrin thing. That was some really deep and devious Machiavellian shit which makes me think whoever he was, he wasn't American.

Posted by: blowback | Aug 25 2016 13:31 utc | 24

@22 Dean. Exactly. The idea that the Kurds will march south towards Raqqa or, indeed, anywhere that the USA wants them to march is now exactly zero.

After all, what's in it for the Kurds except to be bent over a table and take a swift shafting from Uncle Joe Biden?

The only sensible move from the Kurds is to lick their wounds, withdraw behind the Euphrates while leaving those Special Forces "advisors" stranded on the western bank, and then signal to Assad that "You ain't so bad, maybe we should talk....."

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 25 2016 13:53 utc | 25

24;That description fit Yahoo perfectly,and remember that zion is the Kurds biggest supporter as they divide and conquer.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 25 2016 13:54 utc | 26

Putin calls for drills and decides to wear his extra tight torso support.

What a mensch.

Posted by: paul | Aug 25, 2016 7:03:50 AM | 6

I suspect that "extra drills" are precisely what Russia needs. Their main security issue in Europe is that Ukrainian government may decide to attempt a blitz krieg in Donbass, once they amass enough troops and tanks that do not spontaneously turn upside down (something like that was photographed in Kiev, but I cannot make web searches in Cirilic). I assume that Russians want to assure that Ukrainian government will not get overly optimistic.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 25 2016 14:11 utc | 27

As Mark Sleboda (Facebook) sees it:

US-backed Turkish invasion of #Syria w proxies in tow moves on now further into Syria to seize Al-Bab in a landgrab to create Erdogan's (and the US neocon Brookings Institute's) long desired jihadi "safe haven"/"no fly zone" for #AlQaeda & friends to operate and stage from with impunity from Russian and Syrian airstrikes.
- Al-Bab is a "backdoor" on key routes south to #Aleppo from Turkish border
- Turkish supplies for the Islamic Army of Conquest attacks offensive in South Aleppo and Latakia: arms, ammo, supplies, even artillery, tanks have been reported as flowing like water over the Turkish border
- Turkey is obviously not coordinating its incursion with Syrian govt who condemns it as a violation of their sovereignty. Kremlin's impotent calls for Turkey to coordinate with Damascus while waving the old Geneva communique have been completely ignored.
- Both the Turkish and FSA flags, (not the Syrian flag), were raised over "liberated" #Jarablus
- Securing the Jarablus corridor from a Westward YPG advance in attempt to link their "cantons" East and West along the Turkish border prevents supply lines to "Syran rebels" from Turkey from being cut.
-Turkey's incursion was backed by US aircover, drones, and embedded special forces per the WSJ. These were there largely to prevent Russia and Syria from even thinking about taking action against the invading forces.
- Turkey is moving into Syria not just with its own military, but with thousands of "rebel opposition groups" including US-backed FSA brigades allied with #AlQaeda/Nusra/Sham and the child head-chopping Al-Zinki who are reported to form the vanguard. Syrian territory is outright being turned over to them by the Turkish military, simply exchanging control from one group of terrorist jihadis (ISIS) to others who are more media acceptable and more direct proxies of the Erdogan regime, US, Saudi & Qatar.
- That said, #ISIS has not resisted the Turkish advance at all - simply "melting away" (or exchanging one set of uniforms for another?). No stay-behinds, no suicide bombers, no IEDS, nothing. No fighting. Zero casualties. Turkish and "Syrian rebel" forces literally strolled in to Jarablus taking selfies and posing for cameras. Tag-team turnover.
- The Kurdish YPG/SDF have proven that they have become nothing but lackspittle currs for US, despite being betrayed, dutifully responding to the leash and withdrawing from Manbij which they bled for, and all positions East of the Euphrates on Biden's orders as he staged a press conference in Ankara with Erdogan. They have served their part in providing another layer of pretext for Turkey to invade Syria.

Posted by: x | Aug 25 2016 14:30 utc | 28

david @2
x @15

Its not surreal.

The Assad must go! Coalition fully believe that together Sunnis and Kurds will control a federated state.

The West wanted Assad to go before elections to ensure that the elected government was friendly to their interests. R+6 rejected that. Now there will be a defacto partitioning and push for federation.

Russia wants federation in Ukraine - so how can they justify blocking a similar solution in Syria?

Russia knows that a federated Syria with a central government that is friendly to the West will seek to eject them from their bases in Syria; build the Qatari pipeline, and harrass Hezbola in Lebanon.

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

While Obama-Hillary talk unity and political correctness in the US, often with a scolding demeanor, the Assad must go! Coalition that they "lead from behind" (how ass-inine!) does everything possible to force a sectarian divide in Syria.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 25 2016 14:33 utc | 29

Reuters: Russia Says Deeply Worried by Turkish Operation in Syria>

Foreign Ministry Statement on Increase of Tensions on Syrian-Turkish Border I think this is the statement referred to in the Reuters article.

Anyone want to claim now that the silence from Russia is... "deafening"?

Iran will be next to protest's Turkey's incursion...

Posted by: David | Aug 25 2016 15:03 utc | 30

@ Atabrit 7:

(posted 25 Aug.) From local press: Decisive meet between Kerry-Lavrov on Fri -Sat, 26-27 Aug. 2016, for a *final* (? ..) cease-fire agreement on Syria. F:

Kerry is expected here (Switz…) on 26 - 29 Aug. Where he stays is kept kinda secret so hush, but the meets take place at an Intercontinental Hotel. Press writes Syria will be discussed but *Ukraine* is top of the agenda, that is from the official press pre-meet announcements.

Kerry and Lavrov are long-time, relatively close, *real friends.* Of course they are just one little nexus in this whole scene, prisoners in their own device. I don’t expect much to come from this meet.

More, anticipatory and speculative, F:

voafrique (african news is often better than the controlled F MSM.)

Le Figaro (r-w MSM F news)

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 25 2016 15:09 utc | 31

Yes, local villagers around Jarablus have stated there was no fighting, merely a deployment of Turkish and "moderates" forces replacing IS gangs that left in the direction of the Turkish border. The locals said the artillery volleys were just for show with Daesh gangs now replaced by "moderate" gangs, this according to the New Cold War web site. Whether this is in agreement with Russian and Syria et al or subterfuge in setting up a "safe-no fly zone" with the Americans while stopping the Kurd's advance westward remains to be seen.

Posted by: BRF | Aug 25 2016 15:11 utc | 32

Also to avoid any confusion, I am not the 'david' @ 2.

Posted by: David | Aug 25 2016 15:23 utc | 33

Biden claimed in Turkey that he and Obama were taken by surprise by the attempted coup in Turkey. Biden Attempts To Smooth Relations With Turkey After Coup Attempt:


VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I remember at the time, when he and I heard the news, we weren't sure whether it was real or whether it was some concoction made up on the internet, on the web. I'm serious. It was so startling.

It sure looks like a lie, because it's hard to believe that NSA wouldn't have had advance knowledge of the troop movements within Turkey through signals intelligence and have given Obama and Biden a head's up.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 25 2016 15:46 utc | 34

Consider this post my attempt of trying to wrap my brain around the most recent convoluted, twisted, nutso events regarding Turkey, Manbij, Jarabulus, Aleppo, Islamic State, Kurds and the U.S. -

In summary - The latest events start with Hasaka, the U.S. scrambling Syrian air force and Russia intervening. Then the U.S. backed Kurds purge Manbij, a border area located a mere 13km from Jaralubus. Jaralubus is then purged by Turkey and SDF.

Biden, during his scheduled visit to Turkey, is quoted as saying @2 -- 'Syria must be whole, united, not carved into little pieces' and he 'promised that if Kurds do not leave the territories near the ‘Euphrates Shield’, the US will stop to provide support to them.'

So the U.S. backed Kurds who are loathed by the Turks liberate Manbij for the Turks. Crazy, right?

The Syrian Kurd forces 'have withdrawn from Manbij and other east of the Euphrates river in order to “prepare for the eventual liberation of Raqqa' according to Southfront. So, the Kurds did their part freeing Manbij and will now have some time off to prepare for Raqqa.

Am I correct so far? What key detail am I missing? Other than a deafening silence from Russia and Iran.

Then comes the New Atlas who is quoting Cartalucci from a July 18 piece -

"...the coup was staged - not against Turkey - but in part by it, with the help of not only the United States, but also Gulen's political faction. It will represent a 21st century "Reichstag fire" leading to a 21st century "Hitlerian purge," removing the last remaining obstacles to President Erdogan and the corrosive institutions he has constructed in their collective bid to seize absolute power over Turkey."

"And quite to the contrary of those changes one would expect Turkey to make if truly the US engineered this coup to oust, not abet Erdogan, Turkey is very likely to double down on hostility toward neighboring Syria and its allies."

Taken in totality, six weeks ago Erdogan and et al, according to Cartalucci and others, stages a coup. They purge any/all perceived enemies of the state. They 'play' Russia like a fiddle, which is unfathomable to me, but if it walks like a duck. Once the Kurds flushed out the Islamic State fighters from Manbij, Turkey's operation 'Euphrates Shield' is officially launched.

Again, am I putting these disparate pieces together into a sensible understanding of what in the hell is going on?

Here are a few questions for all of you smart folk - I'm assuming Jaralubus + Manbij including all other territory b/w these two cities is a back door into Aleppo. By creating this 'safe zone' along the Euphrates backing up to Aleppo via al-Bab am I safe in assuming that this 'zone' will serve as a 'safe' corridor for terrorists/mercenaries/idiots to enter into Syria more freely than ever before, while also serving as a hub for resupplying ALL of the proxy forces fighting Syrian government forces? How does the Euphrates itself play into this 'zone'? Could, just maybe, but could this operation 'Euphrates Shield' been born during the first Aleppo ceasefire? Recall the Syrian coalition was kicking ass in Aleppo when all of a sudden the victors agreed to a 'cessation of hostilities'. Anybody know where Islamic State fighters headed to, if anywhere at all, following the Kurds purge of Manbij and the supposed Turkish purge of Jaralubus?

It seems to me al Nusra forces in Aleppo can either just pack up and head safely to al-Bab which serves as the tip of this new 'safe zone' OR the territory b/w Aleppo and al-Bab just became the new front U.S. backed al Nusra rebels and Islamic State fighters plan to fight and protect.

Posted by: h | Aug 25 2016 15:49 utc | 35

Is it time for Russia to station nukes in Syria just in case?

Posted by: Jules | Aug 25 2016 16:00 utc | 36

Oh, and now we know why Incirlik airbase went dark following the alleged coup.

Now I'll go read Russia's 'I'm shocked. I'm shocked' statement.

Posted by: h | Aug 25 2016 16:02 utc | 37

thanks b..

@17 curtis... carlin summed up american foreign policy really well! "Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity." did carlin say anything about getting 72 virgins in the afterlife?

@18 anonymous1242.. the bluff has yet to fully play out.. a few players are showing their hands though..

@21 les.. it seems uk foreign policy is summed up well by carlin too..

@22 dean.. good comment. thanks.
@23 dean.. i wouldn't bother, lol..

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2016 16:03 utc | 38

@37 -- "did carlin say anything about getting 72 virgins in the afterlife?"

Technically, they are called 'Houri' (and of course the female human has the other equivalent but it is not spoken of) -- and one might reflect for a moment on what the words "eternity" and "virgin" imply.

Perhaps, for our torments, our unresolved sexual fantasies get to be plagued by a 'see-but-no-touch' policy?

Ha! Divine Checkmate.

Better to do therapy here under Freud, Jung, Reich (pick your choice) and reduce your capacity for torment at the hands and eyes of eternal virgins.

Posted by: x | Aug 25 2016 16:14 utc | 39

Ok. I've read Russia's statement.

They can 'believe' any and all that they want BUT 'belief' doesn't save lives and win wars.

Focus, strategy, might, tenaciousness and determination do.

The U.S. and her allies are demonstrating a ground game that they are in this fight to win it and they are willing to pull every dark, evil, Machiavellian trick out of their 'dark hat' to achieve their goal.

Syria/Russia and her allies, on the other hand, are demonstrating a ground game that is only prolonging the suffering of the very people they are fighting to protect. If anyone is demonstrating more humanitarian means it's definitely the Syrian/Russian coalition given all of the cease fires they've agreed to.

We all know what the U.S. and her allies were doing during these moments of quiet as does Syria/Russia/et al. Yet, Syria/Russia continue to agree to them.

But they continue to 'believe' all will work out if only everyone...talked...Pppfffftttt!

Posted by: h | Aug 25 2016 16:22 utc | 40

Nice to see you're not losing your sense of humour, b.

Soldiers of the Turkish Land Forces engaged in intense firefights when entering Syria to dislodge the Islamic State from the border city of Jarablus. (Not.)

In 21st Century Enigma World, firefights = photo ops.
Weird the way ter'rists are addicted to being snapped shooting at nothing. Does this Kodak Kourage have anything to do with their de-flowering campaigns?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 25 2016 17:02 utc | 41

Canthama at SyrPers weighs-in on the Turkish "invasion." Please note his opinion on Hasakah. Also, there's been a major development outside Damascus at Darayya where the besieged terrorist occupiers have sued for peace and reconciliation with Syrian government that will free several thousand battle-hardened SAA soldiers to move to other fronts. Also, the situation in East Ghouta is nearing its climax, and its resolution will also provide several thousand more troops for other chores.

"I believe this [Turkish incursion] is part of a broader understanding between Russia-Iran-Turkey-Syria. The western MSM is trying to convey the US is behind it but my best guess is that the US is surprised with it. There will be fight between the turkish backed terrorists and SDF, there is already in few villages, the SDF is trying to race to the border to keep the turkish backed terrorists in a pocket, ugly battles will be fought.

"In my humble opinion, the US and SDF were too bold, the new US military commander in Iraq is a arrogant bastard, he is the one that order the Kurds to attack Hasaka and to scramble jets to intercept SAAF over Hasaka city, he is trying to show power and what he brought down is certain defeat.

"It is impossible to know the backstage, but one can clearly sense there is some sort of major bargain done between Russia-Iran-Turkey-Syria, Iran is having a high level meeting in turkey in few days and Syria is the subject.

"It will be interesting to see whether western Aleppo battle will end soon, if a bargain was reached, Aleppo will be encircled and the terrorists inside will have to leave or die without help. Furthermore it seems the Kurds will have a much tougher life in Syria from now onwards, the Hasaka showdown will cost a lot.

"As soon as thousands or SAA are relieved from Damascus (after west and east Ghouta are totally under control or most of it), then the soldiers will move to link Palmyra to Der ez Zor, ISIS is dying and speed is a must to re captured as much ground as possible, and Der ez Zor is vital for the future of Syria, besides, with a proper link and supplies, the SAA could move up to Hasaka in no time, or head to al Bukamal, but my best guess the Iraqi militia will move up the Euphrates and kick ISIS out from SE Der ez Zor, so maybe the Kurds will face the SAA soon enough in Hasaka Province, a hell of year end."

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2016 17:24 utc | 42

x@28 If Mark Sleboda and Tony Cartelucci are right and the Brookings Institute policy comes into play, and that area between Jerablus, Azaz and Al-Bab becomes a kind of staging ground for "moderates" to leach into Syria, and if the US threaten Russian/Syrian aircraft to stay away from that area, what will Russia do? That's the 64,000 dollar question.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 25 2016 17:45 utc | 43

@ Noirette | 31

Thanks for the info.

The meeting might explain some of this activity - poaitioning prior to negotiation etc.
We'll see.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25 2016 17:45 utc | 44

It has been reported that Russia tipped off Erdogan about the impending coup before it happened. So they did have advance knowledge of it, presumably through signals intelligence.

Meanwhile, a press release from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey (one of the centers from which the coup emanated) informs members of the U.S. Air Force at that base of reenlistment bonuses for persons with a number of military specialties, including: 1A8X1 Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst; 1A8X2 Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Operator; 1N2X1A Signals Intel Analyst – Electronic; and 1N4X1A Fusion Analyst, Digital Network Analyst.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 25 2016 17:53 utc | 45

#6 1st) There are Lower House elections in Russia on Sept 18th. It may be that your hero has other things on his mind at the moment, and has good reason to be vigilant at home. Erdo has until Sept 18th to make hay with the US at Putin's expense, but Erdo is really playing for keeps, because Russia can bring the Turkish economy to its knees. 2nd) Anytime Biden shows up anywhere he speaks for Netanyahu. This may be why the Kurds turned back from Manbij and went home, they know who their friends are. 3rd) I still think there are not-insignificant odds that it is Biden who is elected in the US on Nov 8th. Hard to get from here to there, but we will see. Wall St has this way of delivering.

Posted by: S.H.E. | Aug 25 2016 17:54 utc | 46

@ karlof1 | 41
Great piece. Thanks.
The lacklustre 'military' activity surely points to a premeditated and staged effort much in line with the comment in your quoted piece.
I read in Sputnik that a three day Ceasefire had been agreed in Aleppo by Russia and UN - not sure who else. This timing seems to coincide with a RF-US merting in Geneva that Noirette informed us about ...
could this positioning be the sign of longer settlement to come? It would explain why the US allowed Turkey to movr against the Kurds by returning them across the Euphrates which was always Turkeys declared red line.
Always optimistic.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25 2016 17:59 utc | 47

karlof1 @41 syrian perspective compliments Katheon's

"In fact, on December 3rd, 2015, a few days after the tragic downing Russian jet over Turkish-Syrian border, Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted very openly towards a Russian-Turkish agreement on Syria, stating:

“We were ready to cooperate with Turkey on all the most sensitive issues it had; we were willing to go further, where its allies refused to go. Allah only knows, I suppose, why they did it.”

"After the restoration of relations between Turkey and Russia, Eurasian forces once again gained the chance to eliminate American presence in Syria and in the region. This operation coincides with the interests of Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Russia, Mr. Perincek said."

Which is the polar opposite of New Atlas' take...

Posted by: h | Aug 25 2016 18:08 utc | 48

@zico - I wouldnt be too worried - Erdogan was allowed to do this by Russia, Iran and Damascus. This means the Turks now have to battle Isis - let them get involve with the snake pit keeping each other busy. This allows the resistance axis to deal with Muhaysainis and JASF head chaoppers. It also allows Erdohan to save face - he couldnt get rid of Assad but he got a Kurd free zone. Saving face is important to Oriental despots.....

Posted by: Irshad | Aug 25 2016 18:51 utc | 49

@41 karlof1.. thanks...

ot - ongoing problems loading still.. Israeli Think Tank: Don’t Destroy ISIS - It’s a “Useful Tool” Against Iran, Hezbollah, Syria .. hope biden's turkish visit was a good one, lol..

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2016 18:52 utc | 50

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 25, 2016 1:45:02 PM | 42

Yeah, but they have been in Syria, they are doing a retreat .... Of course they can retry.

Russia can tell Turkey they are back to square one - economic blockage plus support of PKK. I wonder what Iran will do to Turkey.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 25 2016 18:53 utc | 51

@49 Get rid of the backslash....

Posted by: dh | Aug 25 2016 18:57 utc | 52

Handover from ISIS to ISIS through the Turkish Army: Jarablus

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2016 19:04 utc | 53

thanks dh.. usually i get that right, lol..

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2016 19:05 utc | 54

I believe someone or more has been had.Of course Russia may not retrain the Donbass Republics from increasing their size up to the Dnieper River and to the mouth of the Danube next time around as a tit for tat for this bit of trickery. All's fair....

Posted by: BRF | Aug 25 2016 19:09 utc | 55

I see no reason to believe Russia didn't approve of this move.

Try to explain why you think Erdo just stabbed Russia in the back.

Posted by: What the Dickens | Aug 25 2016 19:59 utc | 56

The sand storms in Syria are blinding. It is a challenge keeping track of who is in whose corner. Is Mr. Erdogan trying to prove to Mr. Putin that his word is his bond and that he is now a reliable ally? Imho, I suspect that is exactly the guarantee Mr. Putin demanded. Show me.
If b’s observation is correct – Turkey’s “phony war on ISIS” – then Mr. Erdogan proves the old adage leopards and zebras, try as they may, cannot change their spots.

Today’s winning idea:

US’ Department of State spox, Elizabeth Trudeau, said:

"It’s important to note that Kurdish forces are a critical component of the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces]," Trudeau stated. "We’ll continue to support all components of the SDF, Arab, Kurd, Turkmen, all, as we look to pressure ISIL [Daesh] and ultimately liberate Raqqa."

Which ever one of these happens first, please give me a shout out:

(a) Aleppo is liberated by Assad and his allies or
(b) Turkey ceases its membership in NATO.

And as if Syria to Yemen is not enough war just let’s add another to the mix.
Game of chicken being played out in the Strait of Hormuz – Iran and the great exceptional one.

Where are the grown-ups to be found?

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 25 2016 20:21 utc | 57

Russia proves its incompetence in securing the sovereignty of Syria, and then Biden just rubs it in his face by faking state sovereignty concerns - used for PR BS.

Not a big deal, turkey is just securing it's widening democracy. Remember how b told us that after the Turkish coup. Well now the criminal Turks must be securing Syrian democracy too.

The evil empire and its allies have made gains in the breaking up and the destruction of Syria and they are trying to ram home the advantage. Let's see.

Posted by: tom | Aug 25 2016 20:23 utc | 58

I just successfully accessed RT with no problem.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 25 2016 20:32 utc | 59

Came across this on July 12. Turkeys plans have followed it so far. The timeline is until the end of September. The source says he is a Turkish insider and hasn't been heard from since. He said that Ergodan is no longer in control and is being controlled by Perinçek who is pro Russian.

Turkey Allies with Egypt, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria
Turkey lets Russia use Incirlik air base
Turkey clears out all Kurds from North Syria, 3 "camps" in total, finally ending with Qandil
American and NATO forces will be banned from Incirlik
Nato will take back B61's and other systems
USA will start to lose control in the Middle East, starting toward being more isolationist (could indicate Trump wins)
Some huge leaks will be published by RT and Snowden
ISIS and FSA will be completely destroyed in a conventional war against terrorist forces, including Kurdish militants
Saudi Arabia will start heavy economic decline as Russia, Turkey, Iran and Israel agree to oil pipeline deal
USA's Iran dream will end as Israel will start defensive politics. Netanyahu will have problems but he will be replaced soon
Putin, Ergodan and Jinping will meet in China, starting a new Eurasian Union
NATO will disolve, again hinting at Trump win
Immigrant crisis will continue in Europe and probably in Turkey too

Can't say for sure if the source is speaking the truth but his predictions have come true so far

Posted by: anonymous Turkey | Aug 25 2016 20:55 utc | 60

karlof1@42; h@48 - Although I respect the opinions of both Canthama at SyrPers and Katheon, I have to say I'm just aghast at their seeming inability to grasp basic math. I though they would have at least raised the possibility of head-chopper conversion, but everyone seems obsessed with the wider implications.

Let's focus on Jarabulus itself for a second. Am I the only one that sees what has happened here? I feel like a lunatic for even pointing this out.

At the time of the Jarabulus 'invasion', Jarabulus should have had somewhere between 2,500 and 3,500 ISIS fighters (not fighters + families, I'm just talking fighters) in my reckoning. That's base on 1,500 - 2,000 that should have been there already, plus the thousand or so (minimum) that have been driven there over the last two months by the Manbij campaign. Some refugees and a handful of ISIS went to their certain deaths at al Bab, but most fled north to Jarabulus. Jarabulus isn't a huge city, but at the time of invasion it should have been brimming with ISIS head-choppers. The lack of fighting is explained by "Well, they had advance notice and fled for al Bab" WTF?? Really?

Any exodus from Jarabulus could only have been around the northern edge of the Manbij AOA. That would have been thousands of cars, motorcycles, technicals and buses moving across a relatively sparsely populated area. Everyone would have noticed that a few days before the operation - everyone - yet there were exactly zero reports of such a mass migration. Just the opposite, in fact: there were still accounts of head-choppers trickling INTO Jarabulus the days leading up to the invasion.

Likewise, there was one report of maybe a hundred cars and trucks leaving Manbij for al Bab a couple of weeks ago. A different, larger caravan consisting of 'hundreds' of vehicles was pictured on the road to Jarabulus - Reuters (IIRC) claimed they were heading to al Bab (they were not). Regardless of how you split it up, there should have been several hundred more head-choppers in Jarabulus in addition to the ones already there. Let's be reallyconservative and say there were only a thousand total after Mnabij. Where are they?

They're not still in Jarabulus (according to Turkey). They didn't go south - the SDF is there. They didn't go west or someone would have noticed, and they sure as hell didn't go to al Bab.

Conclusion: Either Turkey helped a thousand plus ISIS head-choppers escape into Turkey (which I doubt), or the ISIS head-choppers have now magically become moderate rebels. I wasn't just kidding with the comical head-chopper dialogue I wrote earlier. The vast majority of those thousand leftovers in Jarabulus may well have converted. They are now on the al Nusra v2.0 payroll, or on the al Zenki child beheaders payroll. They have not left Jarabulus (yet) but probably will soon. And they're going back to Aleppo to kill Syrians, Iranians and Russians. They will either be added to the existing FSA to secure a head-chopper safe zone across the northern Syrian border (Jarabulus to Kilis), or they'll just be put on buses and sent back to Aleppo.

While the Kurds are digging in expecting the Turk tanks to roll south (they won't, they're going straight west), the original Jarabulus ISIS clowns are being integrated into the moderate head-chopper ranks, added to the CIA's payroll, rearmed and probably trained up on TOW-2 usage.

I contend Jarabulus WAS A RESCUE/RECRUITMENT OPERATION. Why would anyone even entertain the notion that the Jarabulus head-choppers fled anywhere?

CENTCOM - Show me the couple damn thousand ISIS prisoners or their bodies, you traitorous head-chopper supporting, Kurd-backstabbing chickenhawk rodents.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 25 2016 20:59 utc | 61

Tom is having another go at it. Oh thou who hath no patience. This Syria civil war does not equate with instant…. nano-second results.

Well Tom, here is some of Russia’s incompetence for you. In the ME it appears Russia is sidelining the U.S.A.

Israel News – Haaretz
Egypt: Russia's Putin Willing to Host Israeli, Palestinian Peace Talks

'The Russian president has informed me that he has invited Palestinian President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu for a meeting in Moscow,' Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi says.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed a willingness to host Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for talks in Moscow, Egyptian media reported on Monday.

Sissi's remarks came as Israeli and Palestinians officials reported unsuccessful efforts on the part of European officials to try and arrange a similar summit.
"The Russian president has informed me that he has invited Palestinian President [Abbas] and Prime Minister Netanyahu for a meeting in Moscow," Sissi said.

"Egypt supports these efforts and both sides are urged to participate and respond positively to the initiative for the sake of finding light at the end of the tunnel for Palestinians and establishing their state alongside Israel."

According to Sissi, "Egypt's relationship with both sides, Israelis and the Palestinians, permit it to play a central role in the attempt to renew the diplomatic process." Nonetheless, he said, Egypt cannot be solely responsible, but will rather be "that which convinces the sides that if peace will be attained light will shine on the entire region."

~ ~ ~ ~

Is that under-cutting Obama – the peace prize guy? Last offer from Russia for peace talks was in 2005 and the US opposed.

Posted by: likklemore | Aug 25 2016 21:22 utc | 62

@60 paveway.. for the record - i totally agree with you in your suspicions..

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2016 21:22 utc | 63

IMHO Turkey has been asked by Russia to dissolve their ISIS personnel under their command. It would be a way to corral terrorists and pay them salaries to hang out where they cannot do much harm. Obviously these transformed "FSA" troops will not be allowed to attack the SAA much less try to break through to Aleppo. Aleppo is probably agreed to by Turkey to stay under SAA control. They obviously can't command people there to leave. There will have to be battles. But I can see an evac to the north part of Aleppo province later this fall. Obama will want ISIS dissolved. ..transformed into FSA by election day November 8. So Turkey is playing both Russia and the US to go to Raqqa and officially control that land. It's better to have Turkey in control there than Saudi Arabia. I'm hoping Turkey evade rebels out from Idlib to insert in the north and go for Raqqa. Assad would rather get Idlib back than Raqqa.

Posted by: What the Dickens | Aug 25 2016 21:26 utc | 64

Something BIG is up. No new articles posted on for August 25, 2016. I have been accessing Global Research for several years and have yet to see a day go by where new information pieces are not published.

Posted by: ALberto | Aug 25 2016 21:34 utc | 65

Paveway IV @60 - you raise an extremely valid observation that is where did these Islamic State fighters go following Turkey's tanks rolling into and encircling Jarablus? And your educated assumption is nowhere. All estimated 2,500 to 3,500 stayed put b/c there is no need to go anywhere.

At least we had photos of tanks and Toyota's heading out of Manbij but no such reports out of Jarablus let alone Turkey's side of the border.

But your observation that no such evac was done much less any true battles being reported suggests Turkey just rolled into Jarablus and took what appears to be theirs. Odd. Or maybe not.

I still don't get how this 'safe zone' helps Syria/Russia coalition. That is unless this Turkish 'safe zone' has been established by Turkey for the sole use of the backdoor into Aleppo. If that's the intent behind this move then al Nusra and friends will be surrounded on all sides with no where to exit.

I think I still remain confused on some of the finer details of all of this 'crazy' maneuvering. I believe the appropriate term is 'fog'. I'm definitely in a fog.

Btw, is it Jarablus or Jarabulus? I've seen multiple variations and would love to know the correct name of the city in English. Maps don't seem to help b/c I've scanned many and see both variations.

anonymous Turkey @59 - I'd never seen the name Perinçek in any of my readings until today. That doesn't mean anything other than it's a new name. I first read about him over at Katehon. Might you know a bit more or suggest some helpful reading material?

Posted by: h | Aug 25 2016 22:19 utc | 66

PaveWayIV @60--

Canthama wasn't discussing anything specific about Turkey's incursion, only broad generalization about motives, as you read. The no combat fact hasn't been overlooked; rather; it has yet to be commented upon, and that won't happen until Friday at the earliest for him/SyrPers. You and I both observed the same thing--absolute lack of combat--and I did make a brief comment about that at SyrPers, to wit: "Seems Turks still enjoy total command of Daesh given the lack of resistance at Jarubulus."

As for your hypothesis: Where did the headchoppers go? I agree with your points. I don't trust the Turks whatsoever or any other entity connected with the Outlaw US Empire. Maybe Erdogan's trying to pull a Poroshenko and get Russia to invade Turkey by backstabbing Putin again, which as Saker points-out is highly unlikely, My only option is to wait and watch what unfolds.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2016 22:24 utc | 67

The US mission name and supposed air cover were face saving exercises for the US, with the 'advantage' of suggesting a realignment away from Russia. However, Syria and Russia were in on the action from the beginning (see below). Neither wanted the Kurds partitioning Syria for the benefit of the AngloZionists, but they are fully stretched over Aleppo. The Kurds moving west crossed a well known real red line for Turkey. In this case, Turkey would not wait for approval from the US particularly given the earlier coup attempt. The logistics would take some time to set up even if the action was pre-planned as a contingency so Biden's visit was reactive not proactive. The end result was that the US had to chose which was more strategically significant - Turkey or the Kurds. I bet the US military firmly directed the dumbfuck politicos that Incirlik was worth more than the Kurds.

So what do we have:

i) the Kurds have been put in their place and they know that the US is not trustworthy.
ii) Turkey has put a block on their nightmare of Kurdish expansion. It can see that the US has betrayed the Kurds and will betray Turkey again at any time.
iii) The US has been forced to trash one 'ally' for no real gain. Indeed it has told the Kurds to move back giving the Turks what they want almost without firing a shot.
iv) The extremist jihadist occupiers of the west of the Euphrates have been replaced by carefully vetted moderate rebels, so no real change there.
v) Turkey has got rid of a load of takfiris into Syria where they can be trashed later by Syria/Russia leaving Turkey's hands clean (assuming the Turkish border is sealed prior to that).
vi) The token protest of Syria and 'concern' of Russia suggest they were in on this. If so that would suggest Turkish presence is token and will withdraw at a sutiable date.

However, Erdogan is a perfidious bstrd so would he stay in Syrian territory? What would he gain? Brownie points from the US? The ire of Syria and Russia, possibly Iran too? The Russians closing down trade againcrashing the economy? Throw away the prospect of fees from South Stream away now the ISIS oil revenue stream is dead? Lots of negatives and no positives.

The takfiris at Darayya have surrended and are being allowed to move to Idlib without money or weapons. Maybe the plan is to concentrate them in a well defined area with diiminishing supplies of arms and food and let them see hell, Chechen style. Certainly letting them walk away to other countries is not an acceptable solution as they would be used to stir up shit elsewhere.

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 25 2016 22:36 utc | 68


I'm not sure about Perinçek. From what I heard the guy said he's pulling the strings. Frankly I think some of his predictions are rather crazy. I mean. Why would Israel agree to a pipeline deal with Iran of all countries. Just thought it was interesting because he did predict:
Turkey Allies with Egypt, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria - well..meetings took place in the last week between Turkey and Russia/Iran. Both have been quiet about Turkish incursion into Syria.

Turkey lets Russia use Incirlik air base (they offered the use of it this past week)

Turkey clears out all Kurds from North Syria, 3 "camps" in total, finally ending with Qandil (Jarabulus, Manjib? and somewhere else?)

American and NATO forces will be banned from Incirlik (german lawmakers were denied entry today, threatening to pull out their aircraft now)

Nato will take back B61's and other systems (rumors were that the US pulled nukes out last week).

So far he's been right, if we cherry pick....the next predictions are a stretch. I guess we'll see. I can't see that pipeline deal happening but if it does I'll believe that this guy is nostradamus himself

Posted by: anonymous Turkey | Aug 25 2016 22:45 utc | 69

Yonatan @67--

Most of your points seem likely except for iv and v, which are totally unprovable and thus unlikely. Events will soon indicate what actually occurred.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2016 22:55 utc | 70

@58 lysias.. thanks.. i can access now at 430pm pst time..

@ 67 yonatan - i agree with you and agree of the likelihood of iv and v too, although as karlof1 says - not provable but highly likely from my own pov..

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2016 23:33 utc | 71

Christopher Lehmann has good Syrian contacts. Says ISIS long gone from Jarablus & Turks have entered in suport of FSA & against Kurds w US on his side. Possibly leaving some US Specl Forces high & dry w the Kurds.

"That’s right, the FSA fights the U.S.-backed YPG just south of Jarablus, not ISIL. That is, the very PYG/YPG that had just signed a local ceasefire agreement with the Syrian government and the PYG who stressed that it would respect the outcome of a local referendum on the status of the northern region of Syria."

In other words Kurdish rapprochment with the Assad govt led US to call in its Turkish proxy forces.

Posted by: Penelope | Aug 25 2016 23:35 utc | 72

h@65 - "...Btw, is it Jarablus or Jarabulus? I've seen multiple variations and would love to know the correct name of the city in English. Maps don't seem to help b/c I've scanned many and see both variations..."

The city has no proper name using English alphabet letters - everyone is just attempting to represent the phonetic Arabic name somehow, and there are several ways to do that (assuming Jarabulus is the original/Arabic name - IDK). Romanization of Arabic has several standards - overlapping, but still distinct. That's assuming there was one single universally-agreed Arabic name/pronunciation for the place. I have no idea for the specific issues with 'Jarabulus', but I'm sure you could get people to argue for days about what the proper Romanization should be.

As a practical matter, I tend to use whatever the MSM/Google/Twitter is using just so people can find other English-language references. That's hardly correct or scientific - the MSM seems to flip-flop on names quite often. American writers tend to use the American Library Association - Library of Congress (ALA-LC) standard - an example seen in the Wikipedia entry. That's useless information if an article originated in Australia or Canada and the author spelled it differently, or for obscure little towns like Rmeilan.

You just have to keep in mind that these are various attempts at phonetic Romanization - what it sounds like in English. Jerablus, Jarabulus, Jerebolus - there's probably a dozen other versions floating around. One of them is 'more' correct under one of the standards, but that's useless if nobody is using that version of the name. I'm sure there are an entirely different set of considerations/rule in the academic world - I'm just speaking as a random fool on the internet.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 25 2016 23:53 utc | 73

blowback 20. Power and Rice are Hillary's tag team of neocon interventionists. No telling what they would do in a Hillary administration. I'm guessing NSC.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 26 2016 1:20 utc | 74

It dawns on me that where the Syria/Russia/Iran coalition had three professional military groups on the ground in Syria, and the Saudis had nothing but ex-Saddamists, riffraff, dentists, and religious loons backed by a Hollywood/Tavistock p.r. machine and Murdoch's in one town at a critical junction the Saudis have the very-professional Turkish army. Biden seems relieved, like someone coming in late and trying to get back to the front of the parade. I agree with #60 P-IV..they issue the riffraff new ID cards and march west. The next 24 days, until the Russian elections, the news will be fast-and-furious - only to be followed by the High Holidays in NYC and then the *October surprise.*

Posted by: S.H.E. | Aug 26 2016 1:48 utc | 75

Paveway @60
Sounds convincing, though I wouldn't completely discount the possibility that they retreated from Jarabulus to Turkey (which wouldn't make a big difference). Actually I wrote the same about Sirte's disappearing ISIS fighters a few weeks ago.
Most people don't seem to grasp that ISIS or al-Nusra are just labels - tear em off, stick a new one on.

So far, looks like the Turkish invasion was well coordinated with all sides. Question is whether everyone sticks to the script, Russia and Syria sure are wary of this.

Posted by: smuks | Aug 26 2016 2:13 utc | 76

Remember, not that long ago, when Russia said that any attempt by Turkey to create a buffer zone in Syria would transform them into mincemeat? That failed coup in Turkey changed everything. Now we have Turkey establishing that buffer zone and Russia, Iran and even Syrian govt merely said a word. I doubt that Russia would allow "moderate" head choppers backed by Turkey to take Jarablus and let the border wide open again for more men and arms heading to Aleppo. There must be a deal somewhere. I agree that Erdogan is untrustworthy, but there were so many signals heading to a closer cooperation btwn Turkey, Russia, Iran and even Syria. I really doubt that Erdogan would betray Putin so fast.

I agree that the moderate headchoppers presence in northern Syria looks bad, but I think the deal is something like that: Turkey makes sure that there won't be no Rojava south of its border, while facilitating the liberation of Aleppo by stopping the flow of new headchoppers there. Those already there will leave or get their 72 virgins. It might be farfetched, but we will know pretty soon.

What I find farfetched, is to think that the failed coup and all that followed was planned btwn the US and Turkey. I think reality is simpler. Erdogan is stubborn and irritable and absolutely does not want any Rojava. He's been complaining about the US help to the YPG for months. Now, on the very same day that Biden was there, he gave no choice to the US: you bring back your kurds east of the Euphrates, or else. Hence the betrayal of YPG by the US. That's quite a game changer.

Things are evolving on high gear these days. So we will find out soon what's the real game played by Turkey and who are its allies. jmho

Posted by: Jean | Aug 26 2016 2:37 utc | 77

@60, @66, @76

What you all said. Wait and see.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 26 2016 3:10 utc | 78

Irshad | 49
'face saving' very good point. explains the massive media manipulation going on to.
RF, Iran, Damascus, but also US must be in on it. The day Biden arrives the action is taken. The coalitiion were involved.
Turkey, having had its wings clipped economically, by RF sabctons and militarily by the 'coup' is now being managed.

"The noble art of losing face shall save the world" - Blix

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 26 2016 4:42 utc | 79

A great article by John Pilger;

I am starting to feel that a shooting war is inevitable as the events unfolding in the last week or two cannot not lead anywhere else, IMO.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 26 2016 6:52 utc | 80

To be clear; in the above, I mean between Russia and the U.S..
Russia will not back down and the U.S. will lie and make some unfounded claim or charge to justify its stupidity and hubris.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 26 2016 7:16 utc | 81

Are there any S.E. Asian countries that will allow a non-citizen to get a second pass port?
Any countries in close proximity?

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 26 2016 7:22 utc | 82

So who was responsible of this?

"The very same day, the commander of the SDF Jarabulus, Abdulsetar Cadir, was assassinated by unknown persons. The incident took place just hours after the SDF set up the Jarablus Military Council, an operation room aimed to seize the strategic border town of Jarabulus from ISIS."

Initially I thought it would be a Turkish spec Ops, but now I wonder if it wasn't a US spec Ops to get rid of a "rogue" element.

Posted by: Dean | Aug 26 2016 7:39 utc | 83

....and Kayla Mueller's very bad acting

Posted by: xyz | Aug 26 2016 9:59 utc | 85

FWIW The photo in the article appears to be a recirculated image dating from late 2014/early 2015.

Posted by: Yonatan | Aug 26 2016 11:43 utc | 86

@72 thank you for taking your time to help explain the variations we're seeing on the spelling of the town of Jarabulus. Most appreciate.

@68 I'm intrigued by this Mr. 'P' aka Perinçek fellow. Time will tell if his predictions continue to be born out on the ground.

Posted by: h | Aug 26 2016 13:56 utc | 87

And I thought the Burqini was the hot drink craze this summer: Standard dry martini, but skip the olive and lemon. Mix in one part red sumac liquor. Quite refreshing.

Posted by: Vapors | Aug 26 2016 14:30 utc | 88

Well folks, the Kurds did not leave Manbij afterall.

"But Ankara also had a surprise for the U.S. vice president. The Turkish military incursion into northern Syria to push DAESH away from our borders and to push the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) militants out of Manbij, on the same day that Biden arrived in Ankara, was a clear message to Washington. Turkey had been telling the U.S. that it was unhappy with its alliance with the PYD terrorists, who are an extension of the PKK, which is recognized by Washington as a terrorist organization. Turkey had been telling the U.S. it would not allow PYD militants to cross west of the Euphrates in northern Syria but the Americans promised that once Manbij was cleared of DAESH terrorists, the Kurds would go back to the east of the Euphrates.

However, Turkey realized that the Kurds were in Manbij to stay and had no intention of withdrawing to the east of the Euphrates and that the U.S. would not keep its promise. So Ankara took matters into its own hands and will now clear our neighboring areas of DAESH and will push the PYD out of Manbij and into the east of the Euphrates. So Biden went home with a bitter smile."

The fog is lifting...

Reposting link to M K Bhadrakumar piece...lots of detail...

Posted by: h | Aug 26 2016 14:53 utc | 89

And the predictable response from the world at U.S. trustworthiness

From Brett McGurk, Special U.S. Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL:

@brett_mcgurk 1:30 PM - 25 Aug 2016
We are now focused intensively on setting the conditions to eject #ISIL terrorists permanently from its HQs in #Mosul and #Raqqa. 6/10

Which garnered the following choice replies

Savaş Kerkûki ‏@PeshmergaEU 19 hours ago
You can have FSA and Turks take care of Raqqa for you now. Kurds wont die for anyone else anymore.

hevalKarimi ‏@heval_karimi 19 hours ago
both peshmerga shouldn't part take in mosul operation since America will sell kurds out like they did before

O.Serhad ‏@KRDMAP 20 hours ago
I prefere IS snakes at Kurdistan border instead of having US backstabber behind me
O.Serhad ‏@KRDMAP 20 hours ago
How will you motivate kurds to go to Raqqa or are you going to blackmail them with canceling air cover?

nosce te ipsum ‏@liberationsyria 20 hours ago
And expel the Arabs of the SDF after they fought bravely for 72 days to liberate Manbij. Traitor, traitor, traitor

Marianne آرزو ‏@Mwforhr 19 hours ago
Good luck getting SDF to help. @brett_mcgurk

bohtan ‏@ciwane_kurd 20 hours ago
Kurds will only fight isis in raggah on condition that free independent Kurdistan agreed by UN, Kurds don't trust you anymore.

Hevale ‏@arbetarsolen 20 hours ago
No one will want to move to Raqqa and have you backstab us again.

ProudYezidi ‏@AzadiBerxwedan 20 hours ago
good luck with your Al Qaida Friends, Kurds will not sacrifice blood for your dirty games. #traitors #Raqqa

Barry de la Tasse ‏@Eikbosserweg 20 hours ago
does the word hypocrite mean anything to you #backstabbing

L K ‏@ALasyerli 20 hours ago
maybe you should fly in some more jihadists from Turkey to clear the job. You can then train them and wear black flags.!

Kache ‏@Kacheling 15 hours ago
Turkey wants a secure border? Patrol the damn thing from the Turk side - it's just that simple.

Maya Nebula ‏@MayaNebula 19 hours ago
That you really have the nerve to betray those who gave their lives fighting Daesh

MezopotamyaKurdistan ‏@curdoAriano 19 hours ago
go defeat them by yourself and with your new allies. We are not your mercenaries!

Kobane Barxudan ‏@KobaneBerxudan 16 hours ago
seriously doubt if u have anyone to take on Raqa,how can u ask men&women to die for Raqqa after what u done to them in Manbij?

Mike ‏@Pericles216 15 hours ago
After stabbing Kurds in the back if I were them I would not lose a single man for Raqqa

opOmran ‏@omranhawary 13 hours ago
"Why you betraying the Kurds"

This one was particularly poignant:

theWatchers888 ‏@thewatchers888 12 hours ago
@brett_mcgurk Hey breadhead Gurke.u R telling nearly 3-4yrs.jihadis+ Isis is turkeys-us nazis best friend.hope meteor falls on uSA. destroys

I think that sums up much of the world's opinion with regards to my country:

"...hope meteor falls on uSA. destroys"

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 26 2016 17:21 utc | 90

@90 Now, now Kurds.....don't take it to heart. We'll give you more air cover next time...honest.

Posted by: dh | Aug 26 2016 17:39 utc | 91

h @89

So let me get this straight. Erdogan had Biden come to Ankara only to humiliate him? And Biden obliged (cheerfully!)?

Erdogan himself called the supposed coup, a "gift from god" that has allowed him to gain complete control. Why tempt fate by antagonizing the US after such good fortune? Whatever you may think of Erdogan, he is NOT so reckless.

And these commentators make no reference to other Assad must go! countries that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with USA. How would they view such a snub to their partner-in-crime? Where is the outcry from these countries about Turkey's so-called 'pivot'?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 26 2016 18:09 utc | 92

@ h | 66

I still don't get how this 'safe zone' helps Syria/Russia coalition.

This helps to prevent Kurds taking over entire North of Syria and creating a viable Kurdistan (tripled their land by stealing it and most of oil fields from Syria and Iraq) with access to Mediterranean Sea.

'b' many times said Kurdistan isnt viable as it would be landlocked among hostile states, however if US/Kurds get their way and "liberate North of Syria from ISIS" (bogus pretext, but would work just fine as excuses go), first unite with Afrin and then move to carve up corridor to the coast and they no longer would be landlocked.

If you think Kurds wouldnt go for non-Kurdish territories, you must have slept the last 5 years, they have no problem doing it. What they usually do with US help, Kurds do "one-two punch" strategy with the help of Al Qaeda. I.e. terrorists occupy the territory and drive locals away, then Kurds "liberate" those cities and claim as their own, while kicking out the rest of local Arabs (or making a deal with them).

YPG did a big mistake rushing with ethnic cleansing and attacking SAA in Hasakah, this effectively made rapprochement between Turkey-Syria-Iran not only feasible but necessary, at the very least on the specific issue of preventing viable Kurdistan. Even with Turks likely using new "buffer zone" as a terrorists safe haven, still it probably was considered as a lesser evil by Syria/Iran. Its better that Turkey fights Kurds directly instead of Resistance opening another war front.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 26 2016 22:28 utc | 93

@,h | 89
Sorry, but the Sabah and other link make no sense in that initial reports in Turkey openly stated that the move was backed by the 'coalition' specifically French air support and others.
The 'hype' in the Turkish press - and Sabah is wholly AKP supportive - is Erdogan's theatrics for domestic audience. None of the 'no fires shot' stories are in the Turkish media, it is all full out 'war hero' coverage and bad at that - Anadolou Agency had to cut off its broadcast from Cerabalus because the Arab abd Turkmen US backed jihadists started fighting each other!

Biden went with a present, that present was walking into Cerabalus. (To save his assets? Lets not forget northern syria is crawling with special ops Turkish soldiers - somw claim that they have been working alongside ISIS, and to stop the Kurdish progress) - Erdogan was allowed to 'save face'.

By the way there have been a series of attacks by Syrian Government against Al Nusrah - or Sham sibce the RF - TR meetinga. Have they been sold out by the Turks? It would@,h | 89
Sorry, but the Sabah and other link make no sense in that initial reports in Turkey openly stated that the move was backed by the 'coalition' specifically French air support and others.
The 'hype' in the Turkish press - and Sabah is wholly AKP supportive, is Erdogan's theatrics for domestic audience. None of the 'no fires shot' stories are in the media ut is all full out 'war hero' coverage and bad ata that - Anadolou Agency had to cut off its broadcast from Cerabalus because the Arab abd Turken started fighting each other over loot!
Biden went with a present, that present was walking into Cerabalus. Erdogan was allowed to 'save face'.

By the way there have been a series of attacks by Syrian Government agaibst Al Nusrah - or Sham since the RF - TR meetinga. Have they been sold out by the Turks? It wouldnt surprise ne. Does anyone have any info?nt surprise ne. Does anyone have any info?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 26 2016 23:11 utc | 94

Wladimir van Wilgenburg's materiel from a London School of Economics Middle East Center workshop Rojavaat4. A good, concise 3-minute background on the PYD and YPG - well worth the read. It's not nearly as long and boring as the title suggests - it's a short memo-like format:

Dissecting the YPG: Operations and Strategies as the Defender of Rojava

There was a more detailed Rojava-specific 12-page proceedings paper from the LSE workshop itself:

Rojava at 4: examining the experiment in Western Kurdistan

Abstract here.

The workshop and papers were produced before the Turkish recruitment drive in Jarablus. The papers are unbiased in tone and free of much of the hyperbole I tend to throw in when writing about Rojava or the PYD. I blame the cane beatings I suffered as a child while confined in a burlap bag.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 27 2016 2:26 utc | 95

@95 pw

Thanks, Paveway, for the articles at the links. The one is from Jamestown, a rightwing operation in Washington, and the other keeps referring to the Civil War ... I just glanced at the second, I'll have to read it more thoroughly.

Appreciate it. Just having a list of the alphabet soup is a benefit for me.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 27 2016 3:05 utc | 96

jfl@96 - Unfortunately, all my sources are biased - every last one. I just find van Wilgenburg consistent and reliable in spite of the Jamestown connection. And unlike a Jamestown pencil-neck neocon cubicle analyst, van Wilgenburg was on the ground in a helmet and flak jacket reporting from inside Manbij, Qamishli and Hasakah for ARA News and Al Jazeera. He might be on the CIA/BVD payroll for all I know, but - keeping that in the back of one's mind - he provides a great perspective and plenty of difficult to find information. (BVD = Dutch Intelligence)

I'm not whining about you pointing out the Jamestown connection - that's important for everyone here to consider. I just find that I use van Wilgenburg references here a lot because he's one of the few that offer any solid information about the Kurds - biased or not. I'm not a fanboy nor do I take his word as gospel, but he seems like a good analyst. I hope Jamestown and the CIA pay him well.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 27 2016 5:33 utc | 97

The London School of Economics Middle East Center (source of the workshop/paper above) is kind of a toss-up. It accepts donations from rich Middle-East donors like every other Middle East studies deparments, so is often accused of pro-Saudi or GCC bias or anti-Israeli bias. They raised a fuss when they accepted a donation from Qaddafi's son for something a few years ago (before Clinton Qadaffied Qadaffi). It's sort of a mixed bag, but then they intend their studies to be consumed by people with at least some critical thinking ability. If anyone else has any insight/opinions about their Middle East Center, they would be welcomed.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 27 2016 5:56 utc | 98

@98 pw

I note that the MEC was founded in 2010 ... just in time for Syria, eh? A purpose-built propaganda tank? I've come to distrust the Brits at least as much as I distrust the Americans. Maybe more ... distrust, less trust. They've been spinning for centuries compared to American decades. I realize that not only yours but all of our referents are biased. Every last one, as you say. I just pointed out what Jamestown is for non-Americans who might not know them by name.

On the phony war on IS, I note that ISIS recaptures Al-Rai following massive attack, and that Erdogan, Putin agree to speed up efforts for Aleppo aid delivery.

Elsewhere, Russia, US reduce areas of misunderstanding on Syria as Lavrov & Kerry agree concrete steps

“We have agreed on concrete ways in which we will work with the sides: Russia – with the government and the opposition, that is working with us, the United States – with the opposition, which is cooperating with them,” Lavrov said.

Sounds like they're both about to stick their knives right down the throats of their 'sidemen', baby, and that'll probably hurt.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 27 2016 6:24 utc | 99

re 98 Paveway

The London School of Economics Middle East Center doesn't have a specific political orientation, as the Jamestown people have. It's more like a conventional academic operation, which is mostly about advancing the career of the prof who founded it. This one's quite new - 2010 - so the founding administration is still in place. Academics will do anything for money. It doesn't mean in UK that they're slaves of the Gulf or Libyan financiers. It means they're not going to say anything against the interests of those countries. That's all.

The workshop you link to looks pretty mainstream, though I've not been all through it.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 27 2016 8:33 utc | 100

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