Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 24, 2016

Kurds Lose Out As Neo-Ottoman Turks Steal Syria's Jarablus

Early this morning Turkey invaded Syria. A contingent of 1,500 Turkish sponsored "Syrian rebels", aka Islamist from all over the world, were accompanied by some Turkish special forces and twenty tanks to capture the city Jarablus at the Turkish-Syrian border. The move followed a night of artillery warm-ups and bombing raids. Shortly after noon the "Syrian revolution" flag and the Turkish banner(!) were raised over the city.

There was no resistance to the move. The Islamic State, which had been informed of the attack, had evacuated all fighters and their families out of Jarablus. (The families went to Raqqa but the fighters went where?) No shots were fired. As one commentator remarked: They even left mints on the pillows. The toleration of ISIS by Turkey, which includes some not so secret support, will likely continue.



The claimed aim of the Turkish move is to close the Turkish border to ISIS. That claim is obviously nonsense. The border can be closed on the Turkish side. To move the crossing point a few kilometers south does not change anything. The second, more plausible claimed aim, is to prevent the movement of the Kurdish YPG forces, under the U.S. assigned label SDF, towards west-Syria. Such a move would create a Kurdish statelet all along the Turkish border and endanger Turkey itself while it is fighting a Kurdish insurgency on its own ground.

The Kurds had announced the move west and recently taken the city of Manbij away from the Islamic State. This with the help of heavy U.S. bombardment. As part of their future plans a new SDF-Jarablus Military Council was announced yesterday. But the head of that entity was assassinated just three hours after the introductory press conference. The Kurds blamed the Turks for the killing. Today the Turkish government announced that it will not only take Jarablus but also Manbij and throw the Kurds back east behind the Euphrates river.

The U.S. had so far supported the Kurdish move towards west-Syria with special forces and air support. But it reacted to the Turkish move against its alliance with the Kurds as it always did over the last 30 years. It immediately betrayed the Kurds as a bigger interests arouse. Turkey is a NATO ally that threatens to move to a closer alliance with Russia and Iran. The U.S. can not condone that. The Kurds will therefore again have to suffer for their gullibility and ambition.

U.S. vice president Biden arrived in Ankara today for a penitential pilgrimage. The Turkish government accuses the U.S. to have been involved in the recent coup attempt against it. There may well be some truth to that. In a public snub Biden was received at the airport of the Turkish capital by the deputy mayor of the city. For now the Turkish president Erdogan will continue his way no matter what the U.S. says or does.

The real plan behind the Turkish invasions is way beyond ISIS or the Kurdish issue. As Turkish papers were eager to point out, the invasion happened to the day 500 years after the battle of Marj Dabiq north of Aleppo:

The battle was part of the Ottoman–Mamluk War (1516–17) between the Ottoman Empire and the Mamluk Sultanate, which ended in an Ottoman victory and conquest of much of the Middle East, ...

The choosing of this date points to Erdogan's real ambition: To recreate an Ottoman empire which would include at least north Syria and north Iraq.

There has been little protest by the Syrian government against the Turkish move on Jarablus. It lamented a lack of coordination in fighting terrorism. Not that it could have done much else. After five years of war there is no capacity left to oppose its big northern neighbor. No protest at all came from Syria's allies Russia and Iran. Blunt words were reserved for U.S. behavior on the Syria issue and its support for al-Qaeda. There clearly is some kind of agreement between Russia, Iran, Syria and Turkey to accommodate the Turkish invasion.

Any sympathy for the Kurds, which might have led to some countermove, has vanished after Kurdish YPG fighters recently attacked Syrian government forces in the north-eastern city of Hasakah. That attack, completely useless and unnecessary in the big picture, cost them- as predicted - their dream of a viable nation state. The Kurdish gamblers, like they always tend to do, became overambitious and now lost all they had gained. They will have to retreat eastward, surrounded by enemies and without any friends left in today's world. What can the anarcho-marxists of the YPG do now? Ally with and bleed for wahhabi Saudi Arabia? For how long?

The "Syrian rebels" Turkey used to march towards Jarablus were pulled from the ongoing attack on the Aleppo city front. The Syrian government forces will be somewhat relieved to have less enemies to kill (vid) in their defense of the 1.2-1.5 million of their people in the city. But that relief will only be for a short time. As the emphasis of the Marj Dabiq battle shows, Erdogan's ambition are much bigger than some rural strip of land along the Syrian Turkish border. He wants to rule over Aleppo in Syria as well as over Mosul in Iraq. The war on Syria in the west, run by Turkey, the U.S. and various Gulf states, will continue. In this bigger context the Turkish move to Jarablus is a mere skirmish on the side.

Posted by b on August 24, 2016 at 16:45 UTC | Permalink

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The "Neo-Ottoman" meme is just more of the usual Zionist Bullshit. Surprised to see it surfacing here

Posted by: AtaTurk | Aug 24 2016 16:55 utc | 1

So what does Russia do? Surely they must prioritise with the SAA and Iran the taking of Aleppo ASAP.

There is now doubt a President Clinton would come out in full support of Turkey's ambitions in Northern Syria.

The facts on the ground must be made indisputable. It may be too late for Syria to reclaim the northern strip between the two Kurdish areas.

They may have to accept that area is gone.

Posted by: Jules | Aug 24 2016 17:10 utc | 2

I suppose you could add to that "strip" the Western portion of Syrian Kurdistan/Rojava.

Perhaps Syria, or more correctly, Syria's "protectors" Russia & Iran, would be prepared to sacrifice that currently Kurdish territory to Turkey as well - at least insofar as also attempting to 'buddy up' with Turkey.

This could well be the accepted outcome despite "muted" protestations to the contrary that we hear about Turkey's incursion.

I guess the question then is, can Russia/SAA/Iran win back Aleppo in the next few months and can they win back the areas around Idlib as well anytime soon?

One wouldn't be hopeful on that second point.

It is looking to me increasingly like there could be some kind of of 'carve up' of Syria which especially benefits Turkey.

If the Americans are offering Turkey a slice of Northern Syria and the Russians aren't, which way do you think Turkey will turn in the end? Despite the apparent attempted coup?

The Russian goal in Syria is to essentially prevent a competing pipeline from Qatar going through the area. Giving up certain bits of Northern Syria is not something they'll want to waste time and money and men on defending because quite obviously it won't impact on the viability of the pipeline if Syria can regain control over it's eastern desert areas to block any mooted route.

Obviously, the problem for Russia with this strategy is selling it to the Syrian Government - but to be fair, the Syrian Government is in a very weak position without the external support of Russia & Iran who both for their own reasons want to improve their relations with Turkey.

Posted by: Jules | Aug 24 2016 17:18 utc | 3

Us a democracy ? why no one to protest against the bloody foreign policy of obama on behalf of american people ?

Posted by: stranger | Aug 24 2016 17:31 utc | 4

This orientalist crap is getting old. It's NATO [American] expansion with Erdogan as the frontman, plain & simple. Any references to a 'new Ottoman empire' is just thinly-veiled racism to obscure American ambitions. Turkey, like the Kurds, like Al-Qaeda, like "FSA", and "ISIS" & all the rest of them will do what their paymasters in Washington tell them to do. These people/groups have no independence, make no decisions & call no shots. Get serious.

Posted by: Mark | Aug 24 2016 17:31 utc | 5

The whole strange situation proves once again that ISIS, FSA, YPG are all only puppets.

Posted by: anonymous1242 | Aug 24 2016 18:16 utc | 6

Dabiq is also the name of IS gruesome magazine. The name is not famous at all for Arab readers, so this point to the direction from where it was invented.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 24 2016 18:17 utc | 7

Once again the Hegemon had an exquisite battle plan.

Putin was distracted by the fake coup in Turkey and fake peace talks with Turkey. Turkey's Biden snub was a particularly exquisite touch. Putin went for the Russia-Turkey reunion fairy tale hook, line and sinker. He was convinced that Turkey was his friend how and he apparently acquiesced to an aggressive Turkish move towards Jablus as a down payment for new relations. But when Turkey made its move to Jablus, it was with US air power. Now the carve-up of Syria is a fait accomplis and it was done with US air power, so it's clear that the soap opera between Turkey and the Hegemon was bogus. Apparently Manbij is next for Turkey. Then Aleppo?

Putin looks awkwardly away, shuffles his feet and considers chewing his tie or banging his shoe on the table. August isn't even over and Aleppo has been lost and northern Syria has been lost. Will anything of Syria be left come September, at this rate? How will September elections om Russia go if the humble pie keeps accumulating on Putin's international plate?

So,again, is Putin stupid? If he's not, what is his real game? Controlled opposition? The Too-Little-Too-Late hero?

Posted by: paul | Aug 24 2016 18:18 utc | 8

Operation Euphrates Shield now has a Twiter account. From the look of it this looks very much like an U.S. operation.

The latest: Syria must be whole, united, not carved into little pieces, US VP Biden says during press meeting with Pres. Erdoğan (Nice photo of Biden and Erdoğan shaking hands.)


There ia an article on ACLOS from February 2016 on the planned Turkish military incursion into Syria. Operation Euphrates Shield is covered in this section.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Aug 24 2016 18:39 utc | 9

And so the worm turns yet again. IMO, Erdogan's move has no impact on current Syrian aims to free Aleppo then move West into Idlib to finally scrub the terrorists from Western Syria on a North-South line running from Aleppo-Palmyra-Deraa & Jordanian Border. With Syria's heartland secured, the effort could then turn to the East and North to join with the Iraqis and clean the Kurds out of their redoubts along with their Outlaw US Empire advisors. As for the Turks, I think Erdogan now understands the Big Picture better after his discussion with Putin and knows Turk Stream won't become a reality if he continues to contest Russia's interest in Syria's unity and stability. The big unknown is what Erdogan will do when the Outlaw US Empire refuses to extradite Gulen to take the fall for the coup he had nothing to do with. Erdogan has already admitted the dream of joining the EU will never amount to anything further and thus Turkey must awaken from that chimera, but what about NATO? I believe Gulen will be sacrificed to keep Turkey within NATO, but I also see that as being done by whoever becomes the next POTUS, not by Obama.

That's my Crystal Ball gazing for now as I await the materialization of further facts on the ground.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 24 2016 18:40 utc | 10

Thanks for posting, b. As usual, Erdogan's useful idiots on this blog will cry about "da ebiillll Kurds hurr durr" and be completely blind to the genocidal, dictotorial, land-grabbing, Neo-Ottoman maniac Erdogan really is. No love for Putin -- but slobbering up for old Erdo.

I'm glad that at least one analyst (aside from Pepe Escobar) is sane enough to see Turkey's ambitions for what they really are.

Posted by: David | Aug 24 2016 18:55 utc | 11

"Meanwhile some 5,000 Free Syrian Army fighters, including groups from the Sultan Murat Brigade, Sukur al-Jeber, Sham Front and Feylek al-Sham, were reportedly advancing toward central Jarablus."

It looks many of the fighters have been pulled away from the frontlines with the Syrian government forces.

Posted by: Les | Aug 24 2016 19:01 utc | 12

So, the US betrayed the Kurds and the Turks betrayed Russia?

Posted by: Jean | Aug 24 2016 19:02 utc | 13

I'd also like to add that "anarcho-Marxists" is a contradiction. Anarchists are not Marxists, and vice versa. Bakunin publicly broke with Marx over the role of the state in transition to communism during the First International.

Posted by: David | Aug 24 2016 19:02 utc | 14

One wonders if the "fleeing IS fighters" might lead the US/Turkish "pursuit" right to Aleppo? Did Biden sweeten the pie by throwing in old Gulen?

Posted by: nationofbloodthirstysheep | Aug 24 2016 19:03 utc | 15

I've been reading this blog and most of the links found in it. I don't know what to make of it yet.

It could be that the Turks take much of Northern Syria if they so choose. Depends on what the US told them they can have.

So what about the Russians? Fucked if I know, haven't heard a peep out of them. Maybe they're part of a larger deal that isn't yet fully understood. Or maybe they just took it up the ass.

One thing's pretty clear, the Kurds are outside looking in. Their usefulness has been trumped by larger interests.

Posted by: peter | Aug 24 2016 19:04 utc | 16

Oh dear. I'm struggling to keep up here. The Kurds want an enclave but the yanks want chaos and the Turks really don't want a Kurdish anclave but the allies they host, the yanks, do. And the Iranians don't care too much about the Kurds, just as long as their enclave doesn't mess with Iranian pipeline ideas. And the Russians are desperately trying to stop any possibility of competition for European gas supply. Meanwhile the Lebenese are loyalty defending an old ally, and the Iraqis are struggling to breathe under US, Iranian, Syrian and KSA pressure while trying to reclaim a huge portion of their country from a multinational tribe of head chopping assholes, who, from what I can tell so far, have the full support of KSA and the yanks, and don't rock up at peace talks. The UN, a global political organization created under the auspices of universal peace, is busy supporting an unholy alliance of uncompromising capitalists and idealistic Wahabi child eaters, at the same time as putting KSA, probably the most indiscriminate of all the abhorant regimes to abuse whatever the "west" thinks of as human rights, on the throne of its " human rights" round table. The Yemenese are fucking the KSA up properly despite a serious cash deficit and no food. The Irealis are laughing watching their allies and their enemies do military and political backflips, while rubbing their hands with glee, and the Libyans are becoming fed up with European imposed anarchy, and even as the Houthis slowly invade Saudi, the Libyans take a metrosexual, confused Europe. Am I missing something here?

Posted by: dan | Aug 24 2016 19:04 utc | 17

So thousands of ISIS fighters disappear from Jarabulus, and thousands of moderate takfiris surface in Turkey to fight the fighters that have disappeared?
I guess they pulled down the extremist ISIS black flag and run up the new moderate al Nusra white flag.
This move shows how closely connected ISIS leadership is to NATO/Turkey/US.Simply a handover of control between allies.

Posted by: Peter AU | Aug 24 2016 19:04 utc | 18

@ #4 Stranger


A very fitting notion of Max Liebermann comes immediately to mind:

"One cannot eat as much as one wants to vomit."

He said then when he saw the Brownshirts marching through the Brandenburg Gate.

Posted by: Stillnottheonly1 | Aug 24 2016 19:09 utc | 19

"Syria must be whole, united, not carved into little pieces, US VP Biden says during press meeting with Pres. Erdoğan"
Ah Yes, that would be under the "temporary" custody of Turkey, perhaps?

Posted by: nationofbloodthirstysheep | Aug 24 2016 19:14 utc | 20

Looks to me like the kurds and turkey are acutally working together here, under the umbrella of "western" cooperation. Move the kurds in, who have no chance of keeping the town, then have NATO take it over in a fake "fight". Kurds and turks both working for the US, thats how it looks. The US-turkish animosities may be faked, don't they? Is this the first actual land grab that's meant to last?

Posted by: radiator | Aug 24 2016 19:25 utc | 21

BREAKING AP: VP Biden says Syrian Kurdish forces will lose US support if they don't retreat to east of Euphrates.

If true, this is brazen backstabbing. Now, I do not what to think. After all, if pressed too much, YPG can throw itself on the bosom of Mother Russia. If I were Putin, the price for helping YPG would be restoration of status quo and acceptance of some united, if federated, Syria, and the price for ditching YPG would be closure of Turkish border to taqfiris and their supplies. Then again, Biden has some reputation as an idiot, so he can be used to "send signals" that can be denied or subjected to "never mind".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 24 2016 20:04 utc | 22

The cake is being shared, US base in Hasaka to keep an eye on the Sunni tribes of Iraq; Aleppo will be given back to Syria, as long as it leaves the Turks organize their buffer zone north to fix the Sunni refugees there. Christian and Shiite refugees will go back to Aleppo, Qamishli and Hasaka for the first, to their villages for the second.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 24 2016 20:16 utc | 23

A brilliant move by Erdogan right after the attack by the Syrian Kurds on the SAA. Erdogan rightly calculated that for the Syrian government the threat of a potentially hostile Kurdish statelet was now greater than a Turkish presence in the North. After all, Turkey can always retreat back while the Kurds consider it their land. Furthermore, a weak Kurdish state would be chicken feed for the designs of the Israelis/Americans.

I disagree with b. that there is a neo-Ottoman land-grab element in this case. Turkey is desperate to stop the two Kurdish regions from uniting, and is backed by Iran for obvious reasons (their Kurdish population). Erdogan needs to get the economy back on track and the political situation stabilized first. For their parts, Russia and Syria probably gave the go-ahead but set a red line at Aleppo city.

For the Americans/Israelis their hand was forced. Compared to the highly unpredictable Erdogan they would have far preferred the Kurdish link-up, which, if it had worked, would have been a remarkable victory. Indeed, the whole Syrian war could well have been interpreted as a fiendishly clever strategy to create a Kurdish state, forever owing them a debt of gratitude. But they failed to hold back the Kurds for long enough. Like the proverbial drunk the Syrian Kurds chose the worst possible moment to completely fuck up.

Posted by: Lochearn | Aug 24 2016 20:17 utc | 24

So if Russia can forgive the Turkish murderers of Russian soldiers, but Russia can't forgive, or even can't be friends, of Syrian Kurds ?
the double standards is ludicrous.

How many Russian soldiers have the Kurds killed ? What's that number, I didn't quite hear it ?

And when the Turks invade Syria, not such a big deal when they are less so on the US side, but if this criminal invasion happened six months ago, it would be a big big a deal ? AMAZING.

And what does this say about the Russian ability to protect a states sovereignty ? It says pathetic weakness.

Posted by: tom | Aug 24 2016 20:20 utc | 25

thanks b.. i personally think you're bang on with your comments..

@6 anonymous1242.. looks that way to me too. @18 peter AU and @21 radiator say something similar.. that is what it looks like to me.. plenty of actions to confirm all this, in spite of the public pronouncements suggeting the opposite..

@10 karlof1.. i kinda see the gulen thing the same way as you.. thanks.

while it is obvious a dangerous game is being played, everyone has a different agenda.. bottom line, it hasn't boded well for syria and future tense is unlikely to as well... meanwhile erdogan is a complete loon as i see it.. the kurds are quite gullible if they believe much of any player in all of this.. the whole thing looks like moving chess pieces on a board with major moves yet to be played...

Posted by: james | Aug 24 2016 20:24 utc | 26

How far will the Outlaw US Empire go to keep Turkey within NATO? Putin/Russia have lived long with Turkey in NATO and haven't ever seemed too troubled by that, even when the nuke-tipped Jupiters were there. Throwing some of the Kurds under the bus is one step, but the Kurdish statelet in Iraq will also need to be dismantled to completely satisfy Erdogan, and I don't see that happening.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 24 2016 20:27 utc | 27

Posted by: Mina | Aug 24, 2016 4:16:32 PM | 23


Posted by: somebody | Aug 24 2016 20:48 utc | 28

If the YPG were Marxists, they would be defending the Syrian government and not fighting against it, thereby helping the capitalist hegemon and the Zionist entity.

Posted by: Diana | Aug 24 2016 21:05 utc | 29

Or . . . the alternative explanation, which is the simplest, it is what it is on its face, which is what the Turks say it is: a response to the wedding bombing by Daesh in Gaziantep last Sunday. I mean, that's a possibility that should at least be addressed because it opens a window for all the wacko conspirados to claim that the bombing was a false flag attack ordered by Erdogan to have a reason to cross the border.

But if it was a revenge attack against Daesh that was pre-cleared by all parties, that would explain why it has not been criticized by Putin, Assad, Obama, Rouhani. The Kurds may just be a side-issue. In a week we'll know.

Posted by: Denis | Aug 24 2016 21:07 utc | 31

Posted by: ProPeace | Aug 24, 2016 5:07:02 PM | 30

That would explain this Ignatius article in the Washington Post claiming Obama's and the CIA actions are "separate".

Posted by: somebody | Aug 24 2016 21:34 utc | 32

Trump said that about the CIA in Turkey a week ago. And this is the first I've heard of it. U.S. media have not reported it.

Posted by: lysias | Aug 24 2016 21:42 utc | 33

Can't resist re-posting this quote from Magnier:

"...the oddity of this war in Syria is that it turns allies into enemies and enemies into allies on certain issues (and not on others), keeping alliance at a strategic level even as their proxies fight to death on the ground."

As far as one can deduce, Turkey has moved with at least the secret permission of Syria, Russia and Iran. The question is, where will Erdogan stop? And how will Turkey eventually leave? This will show some things about Turkey's commitment to the righteous path.

It remains the case that Syria's future will settle on its current sovereign borders. I can't see any force able to partition the country, and any reason why the resistance axis would want to promote or allow it.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 24 2016 21:46 utc | 34

@31 denis.. did you read b's post?

"There was no resistance to the move. The Islamic State, which had been informed of the attack, had evacuated all fighters and their families out of Jarablus. (The families went to Raqqa but the fighters went where?) No shots were fired. As one commentator remarked: They even left mints on the pillows. The toleration of ISIS by Turkey, which includes some not so secret support, will likely continue."

Posted by: james | Aug 24 2016 21:47 utc | 35

- Turkey supposedly moves against ISIS but it also would allow Turkey to increase its "influence" over the Kurds. Or Turkey wants to kill/disrupt Obama's "October surprise".

Then question becomes: Are the iraqi kurds still willing to participate in/join the fight against ISIS (think: "October surprise") ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Aug 24 2016 22:04 utc | 36

Or Turkey wanting to show Russia it might be trusted give said region back to Syria.

Posted by: jo6pac | Aug 24 2016 22:06 utc | 37

This all sounds like a smoke screen for the "safe-no fly zone' the Americans have long been seeking in northern Syrian when taken in context of the recent U.S. threat to engage any aircraft that pose a possible danger to American illegally embedded troops with the Kurds....or easily shifted to whoever they are embedded with. The Syrian-Russian response to this crucial situation is being awaited.

Posted by: BRF | Aug 24 2016 22:31 utc | 38

Jarabulus is not yet a done deal. The SDF plans to fight against then so called Syrian rebels now in charge of Jarabulus. Will the Turkish army obliged to take full control of the town?

Clashes break out between Turkish-backed rebels and Syrian Democratic Forces

Speaking to ARA News, Ahmed al-Jadir, a member of the SDF-led Jarabulus Military Council, said: “We, as members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, will not allow some mercenaries to take over our city. We will liberate Jarabulus.”

“Those Turkey-backed rebels are no different from ISIS. We will free our people from all radical suppressive groups,” he said
“We now consider our city occupied by Turkey and its mercenaries. The city of Jarabulus was exposed to heavy bombardment by the Turkish army, and we have not seen any resistance from ISIS against those troops. We are aware that ISIS militants have entered Turkey today after shaving their beards and dressing like Free Syrian Army,” he said. “We, as a faction of the Syrian Democratic Forces, are waiting for the general command of the SDF to give orders to enter the city. We are ready.”

Posted by: virgile | Aug 24 2016 22:34 utc | 39

So now everything is clear, a fog of war and lies has rescinded and naked truth was revealed and it is apparently not a picture author wanted to see.

First, what the hell was the Iran deal all about since Iran had no nukes to give up? It was as recently revealed that it was all about privatization of Iranian people’s national treasure namely oil reserves for frozen Shah money (ransom money) and the rest payable upon introduction of western oil giants into Iran. Recent deal with Turkey and Iraq (and Russia???) about eradication of PKK was a supplement to it that seals fate of Syria as a unified country, namely Syria has been effectively partitioned. I must say that gullibility of such a move facing imperial evil is astonishing even by low standards rotten brains of Iranian clerics, Sultan of Ankara, or on some other days sane Putin.

Second, As anyone who reads Syrian War Update and other sources knows Russia in last months since the phony ceasefire, de facto, under unrelated geopolitical pressure, switched the political sides and joined the US coalition [w/ Israel] via abandoning the Assad regime, politically if not entirely militarily, blackmailing desperate Assad to go along with anything including things that will soon lead to his demise as all Syria leader now enjoying 55% of popularity and having won two elections since 2011.

Do Russian care? No a bit, they are interested in their own short sided goals in Syria while watching their global interests, and believe me they will be fu..cked again like in was in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, ridiculously whipped up for war which made Russians pay, now so far monetarily not with their blood yet. And in the same way it goes for apparent disastrous ceasefire supposedly to prevent Turkish invasion. It did not.

Sadly today Russia, by acquiescing to naked aggression of Turkey in Syria, no UN resolution, or open condemnations of that blalant illegal act, lost significant moral capital of her engagement in Syria what was her primary strength in this conflict as pointed out by excellent last year Putin’s UN speech, the only vice left for international law and order, and stooped to a level of just another political toy in the US imperial hands.

What happening on the ground in Syria [loss of military strategic initiative since this phony ceasefire] and in wider geopolitical real cannot be characrized in any other way as another Putin political and propaganda defeat. And no illusion of a Turkish pivot to the East as a “brilliant” move to draw Turkey out of US imperial hands, even peddled by this respectable blog, can change that. What a BS. The coup was not American otherwise Erdogan would have been dead, it was his own political consolidation ploy to show he will not be dislodged and that he is ready to be a US killer again and will kill anyone he pleases friend and foes ‘du jour’ as good attack dog would do. If Puttin believes that he can make a deal with US or Turkey not from the position of overwhelming power he is an idiot. I am sorry.

Such worries have been expressed six months ago:
An excerpt from:

“Vlad, they will not lift the sanction and forget about sailing on your yacht in Tuscany anytime soon, you are better than that, just keep, steady, do not let Russian superior political, military, legal and moral position to be tarnished by some half backed political maneuvers.
Do not even fake making deal with those medieval gangsters, it won’t work, western propaganda won’t ease, that’s the fact. Turkey won’t be controlled by the US, since she is doing US bidding unless corrected by Russian forces on the ground and in the air. Politics of appeasement won’t work, as history teaches us, only steady gravitas and determination will do the job.

Vlad, you pumped natural gas to Kiev fascist regime for free in winter 2014/2015 for humanitarian reasons and transit to your western friends who spitted in your face while they were slaughtering your kin in Donbass. And to add insult to injury they never paid for it and now defaulted of your eurobonds with no consequences.
You do not have to be too friendly to US western stooges, who want you and your friend Assad dead.”

And one more thing, It is such a appalling attitude to Kurds even that MoA expresses lately. No, Kurds, PYD, YPG is not a problem in Syria never were, per old agreement with Turkey Assad granted them controlled autonomy and in 2012 expanded the autonomy broadly [practically for a first time allowing them to rule themselves and explicitly put them in charge of defending themselves from ANF and later ISIL], by withdrawing from Hasakah province massive SAA personnel and equipment to fight elsewhere while leaving practically a bit of a SAA protection force for Arab population on their requests.

There was no fighting there between Kurds and SAA from 2011 until now as I recall. It was that way before the YPG/PYD leadership was corrupted/bribed by the US, mostly with weapons, when they were the only force to effectively resist assaults of US terrorist proxies [ISIL+old moderates] while SAA was disintegrating and Assad survival was in question.

Kurds did not revolt against legitimate government of Syria, they did not become traitors of the Syria secular state, in anytime during the war until their quite recent incoherent utterances about ridiculous Rojava or something, they did their job of protection Kurds ethnic people for ISIL savages.

At worse Kurds are victims of their corrupted leadership and vicious geopolitics once again, fake, switching alliances and fake declarations of support and that includes gestures from Russians and even Iranians. The fact is that Syrian Kurds did not break any international or internal state laws, and blaming them for the situation they have been forced into [not trying to realize some ridiculous dreams] while ignoring true conniving culprit i.e. global geopolitics of lies and deceit and dealings with imperial evil, is preposterous at minimum and what’s worse devoid of any merit.

But I guess to understand that complexity one needs to read something like that posted in January of this year:
Excerpt from:

As they successfully did with KRG and Peshmerga, a Barzani Clan Militia in Iraq, the US became interested in taking over YPG and Syrian Kurdish leadership of PYD, in an attempt to corrupt/control them as well in order to calm down of some of Turkish well-founded fears about highly trained YPG under command of PYD sister party of PKK at Turkish borders.
Facing with annihilation just 18 months ago, YPG temporary and seemingly accepted the US air support in fighting ISIL, and tolerate some US boots on the ground, in Kurdish areas but this marriage of convenience cannot last and is politically so fragile that could be broken on a moment notice. And as soon as ISIL is substantially weaken or defeated, US Special Forces, illegally operating on Syrian soil, will quickly be forced out under any pretext of Syrian national sovereignty or something else.

Again, US wet dream of doing the same with Syrian Kurds as with they did with Iraqi Kurds is bound to fail, first of all because the situation in Syrian is diametrically different.
Back then, in 1990-ties US provided the only possible protection against still strong Saddam Hussein army for the Iraqi-Kurdish forces under CIA control while now in Syria, Assad is much weaker and already conceded strong Kurdish autonomy and local self-rule, facing the fact of infeasibility of enforcement of his political reign over Kurds for many years after the war.

However, Assad demanded Syrian territorial integrity, and Damascus veto in the Syrian defense and international relations being respected by Kurds. Both sides are considering Turkey as being common enemy and a threat to their particular interests and both would do anything possible to find a compromise, with Turkey on a losing side. They have no illusions that, for global geopolitical reasons, the US ultimately will support Turkey and hence the PYD political/military embrace of US is treated as temporary and tactical measure.

Posted by: Kalen | Aug 24 2016 22:38 utc | 40

The Kurdish state is inevitable. Massive demographic advantage of Kurds over Turks, Syrians and Iranians make that inevitable. The question is only how soon and how big it will be. The longer the fight continues, the larger the area that Kurds will be entitled to, since their population is rising faster. It's in the interest of Turkey, Iran and Syria (Iraqi Kurds are de-facto independent already) to negotiate the creation of Kurdish state ASAP - and be done with it.

Posted by: telescope | Aug 24 2016 23:14 utc | 41

Looks to me like Russia, Iran and Syria (reluctantly perhaps) have allowed Turkey to move into and claim Jarabulus with the proviso that if Turkey can control this area, Ankara can have it.

At the same time this frees Syria to recapture Aleppo and its surrounding areas and to consolidate its control. Syria is in no position to try to secure all its pre-2011 territory, even with Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah help, when so many external forces are arrayed against Damascus. Syria must try to regain its territory with effective tactics and strategy, not spread itself thin because this might be what the US wants the Syrians to do. Damascus must try to guess what trap the West has set for it and either avoid it or walk around it.

So it's now Turkey's responsibility to secure its side of the Syrian border and the area it has always wanted.

The example of Jarabulus could very well be a poisoned chalice that Erdogan might later regret drinking from.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 24 2016 23:32 utc | 42

I wonder what all the folks who were welcoming the Turks to the SCO are thinking now? Still trying to fit fact to theory? Russian and Iran silence and 'some not so secret support' ... jeezus. I guess I'll wait a few days to see what's really happened, but my illusion of understanding of what was going on in Syria ... the Chinese are coming ... right ... is gone. The only thing that remains is the opportunistic, unpredictable Erdogan. And the unfailing ddd&D of the USA.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 24 2016 23:59 utc | 43

Andrew Korybko has a very good piece on this situation, published at Katehon, here's the repub link at Fort Russ: Turkey crosses into Syria: Unipolar Conspiracy or Multipolar Coordination? .

He states clearly that this is multipolar coordination.

"...Russia and the SAA – for reasons of political sensitivity and long-term strategy – do not want to attack the YPG and proactively stop it from occupying all of northern Syria, whereas Turkey has no such reservations in doing this and is more than eager to do the ‘heavy lifting’, especially if it could con the US Air Force into helping it target actual terrorists on the ground during this time. The American intent in all of this is to prove that it’s a ‘loyal ally’ of Turkey and to contribute to the attempted reconciliation that Washington is trying to carry out with Ankara, though in this case, it’s being exploited as the ultimate ‘useful idiot’ in helping the Multipolar Community in its quest to destroy the second ‘geopolitical Israel’ of “Kurdistan”."

The purpose is to preempt the partitioning of Syria, which began as a likelihood when the Kurds crossed the Euphrates. Assad still has to make peace with all his Kurds and settle them into a dignified position within Syria's sovereign borders, but he's been a little busy lately, and until Aleppo and the west is secured, he can't turn to the north.

Korybko offers much collateral for the multipolar aspect. Here's a snippet:

"...Damascus and Ankara have been engaged in secret talks for months now in the Algerian capital of Algiers, as has been repeatedly confirmed by many multiple media sources ever since this spring. Moreover, Turkey just dispatched one of its deputy intelligence chiefs to Damascus a few days ago to meet with his high-level Syrian counterparts, so this might explain the reason why Russia and Iran aren’t condemning Turkey’s incursion into Syria, nor why the Syrian officials aren’t loudly protesting against it either. More and more, the evidence is pointing to Turkey’s operation being part of a larger move that was coordinated in advance with Syria, Russia, and Iran. Nevertheless, for domestic political reasons within both Syria and Turkey, neither side is expected to admit to having coordinated any of this, and it’s likely that bellicose rhetoric might be belched from Ankara just as much as it’s predictable that Damascus will rightfully speak about the protection of its sovereignty."

There's lots more in the article, all good. And while we know that some people will resist these notions almost by reflex, scratching the itch to put Russia and Syria into some kind of loser's position, Korybko has many words for these naysayers also, although it's doubtful that any will recognize themselves from wise words, ever.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 25 2016 0:01 utc | 44

jfl @42--

Like you, I await the fog clearing--there's too much hodge-podge and not enough info, although the broader Syrian situation is clear with lots of terrorists being cleared out of the greater Damascus region and SAA offensives in Homs, Hama, and Golan Heights. While what's happening in the North's important, Syria doesn't have the assets to alter the current situation on the ground there, and the clearing operations around Damascus rate a higher priority. Securing the Western side of the line from Aleppo to Daraa rates #1 politically with the Syrian government, then it can combine with Iraq to rid the region of Daesh and its Outlaw US Empire advisors while dismantling Iraq's nascent Kurdistan.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2016 0:27 utc | 46

@43 g

Turkey Crosses Into Syria: Unipolar Conspiracy Or Multipolar Coordination?

The major qualifying variable that must be mentioned at this point is that serious Russian and Iranian condemnation of Turkey’s ongoing operation would signal that something either went wrong with their multilaterally coordinated plan, or that Turkey was just a backstabbing pro-American Trojan Horse this entire time and the skepticism surrounding Moscow and Tehran’s dedicated efforts to coax Ankara into a multipolar pivot was fully vindicated as the correct analysis all along. ...

there’s actually a novel, contextual touch to that which needs to be further elaborated on ...

With Turkey crossing into Syria to preempt the YPG from unifying all of its occupied territory in northern Syria and breathing sustainable geopolitical life into the US’ latest divide-and-rule project in the Mideast, and keeping in mind the fast-paced diplomacy between Russia, Iran, and Turkey and the months-long ongoing secret negotiations between Ankara and Damascus, all empirical evidence suggests that this latest development in the War on Syria is less a unipolar conspiracy and more a multipolar coordinated plan to bring an end to this conflict and preempt the internal partitioning of Syria.

Well, that last'd be wonderful if that's the way it works out, g, but these guys at Katehon seem a faith-based crew to me.

There's lots more at Katehon, though. I'll have to gie it all a read. They do have a unique perspective.

Sad to see the Kurds thrown under the bus again in any case. Seems like the attitude here, and all around, is they had it comin'. It's true that their attitude seems as opportunistic, if more predictable than, Erdogan's ... but look at how they've been dealt with by everyone else ... forever.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 25 2016 0:28 utc | 47

@45, karlof, 'Syria doesn't have the assets to alter the current situation on the ground there, and the clearing operations around Damascus rate a higher priority'

You said THE mouthful, there k. No sense getting bent out of shape and working their own mouths over something the Syrians cannot ... and the Russians cannot/choose not to ... do anything about.

Maybe the Turks have to be mollified and the sideeffects of doing so somehow make up for the mess this screams out to be.

I'm still no fan of Erdogan, though. More than that I think he's the guy lighting and tossing the matches in the Levant.

I hope Russia/Iran/Iraq/Syria can somehow contain and constrain him, but my hope is based on faith that I really do not have in Erdogan's ability to play with others.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 25 2016 0:39 utc | 48

@35 In fairness, to note that ISIS decided that discretion is the better part of valour doesn't in itself "prove" that this was a pantomime show involving Turkey and its puppet.

It may indicate nothing more than that Erdogan is not as "unpredictable" as some may think, and therefore ISIS was perfectly capable of predicting that blowing up a wedding party inside Turkey would elicit exactly this response by Ankara.

So they left before things got hot, and are now laughing all the way to Raqqa.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 25 2016 0:47 utc | 49

@35 yr

This has been the pattern in Iraq and at Manbij as well ... IS disappears, to fight another day, and the 'victors' occupy the territory formerly occupied by IS. IS seems clearly the tool of US/NATO/KSA/GCC/TR/IL to me. Has been since its inception.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 25 2016 1:05 utc | 50

@47 yeah, right... i give that low odds. turkey has openly supported isis for many years now, in spite of it's claim otherwise.. they could seal the border.. they don't.. isis is okay with turkey.. it is the kurds that aren't okay with turkey which also explains why so much of the terrorist activities inside turkey are against the kurds.. that's my quick view on it..

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2016 1:10 utc | 51

@48 jfl.. yes.. that is indeed how i see it too... listening to these fucking liars at the usa state dept daily briefings is nauseating.. i liked this one from yesterday where a reporter asks the dod what the usa means by ''our forces''? ... it is punishing watching these 3 or 4 minute videos.. one wants to reach out and straggle the bullshit artists..

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2016 1:15 utc | 52

paveway on the previous thread captured my own view really well here...

"A NATO country has just rolled tanks into Syria and sent in head-chopper ground forces - the same ones Syria, Russia and Iran have been trying to kill for months on end in Aleppo and Idlib. ISIS isn't putting up much resistance in Jarabulus because they're too busy trading their ISIS ID cards/flags for al Nusra or al Zenki ID cards/flags. Head-choppers need paychecks to feed their families, too:

Headchopper #1: "Snackbar - somebody is shooting at us! What flag are we suppose to be flying today, brother?"

Headchopper #2: "Look on your paycheck, brother..."

Headchopper #1: "No good, brother - it's from ISIS. That was last week!"

Headchopper #2: "I'll get on the radio - our leaders should know, God willing..."

(a few minutes later...)

Headchopper #2: "Nobody knows for sure, but put on this white helmet for now, brother. Soros' checks are clearing."

Headchopper #1: "Does that mean I have to shave? Snackbar... can't we just be al Nusra this week?"

Headchopper #2: "No flags yet.. But you have to shave anyway, brother. The CIA won't pay you for FSA Nusra if you look too Wahhabi head-chopperish. Have a Captagon and calm down. Our Turkish brothers will be here soon."

Posted by: PavewayIV | Aug 24, 2016 11:41:49 AM | 78

Posted by: james | Aug 25 2016 1:19 utc | 53

From Katehon ...

The Operation in Syria – the first fruits of Russian-Turkish cooperation

We know that the US wants to open a Kurdish corridor from Northern Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea. For this purpose, they have two tools: the Islamic State and the Kurdish “Democratic Union” and “People’s Self-Defense Forces”.

After the restoration of relations between Turkey and Russia, Eurasian forces gained a new chance to liquidate the American presence in Syria and in the region. This operation coincides with the interests of Syria, Iran, Iraq and Russia.

Turkey has shown its disaffection for America

This operation in Syria is being held against the Americans' will. On the one hand, it is against ISIS while, on the other, it is also being carried out against other elements in Syria who want to divide the country along ethnic lines. Hence why the operation is called “Euphrates Shield.” Previously, Turkey officially declared that it would not accept the Democratic Union Party (PYD) crossing West of the Euphrates, something which the Americans supported.

This ongoing operation is also a clear-cut message against the US’ support for the PYD and their attempt to cut out a corridor in Northern Syria.

It is also revealing that the operation began immediately before the arrival of American Vice-President Joseph Biden, who was symbolically welcomed at the airport by only the vice-governor of the Ankara province. This is also a clear-cut message. Turkey will not discuss this operation with the United States. This operation is aimed at maintaining the unity of Syria, which is vital for maintaining Turkish territorial integrity.

We at the Patriotic Party think that this operation is happening contrary to American will and does not involve the US. If they were involved, then Turkey would have waited for Biden’s arrival to discuss the details of the operation. All signs show that this operation has no connection with the Americans. Just a few days ago, there was fighting between the Syrian armed forces and the PYD in the city of Hasaka, to which the US sent its aircraft to protect PYD elements. Today, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu also clearly declared that Turkey would not accept any kind of new ethnic entity in the North of Syria or a PYD presence in the region. Thus, this operation was not cooperated on with the Americans - it was and is against them.

... That's the Russian interpretation - Katehon's, anyway - of what's going on. We'll see.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 25 2016 1:36 utc | 54

@50 j, 'listening to these fucking liars at the usa state dept daily briefings is nauseating'

Don't do it. Turn off your TV ... and its evil spawn on googletube. Your blood pressure will drop. Your mind will clear.

There is no information there. Only dis. A dis is just a dis as time goes by

Posted by: jfl | Aug 25 2016 1:52 utc | 55

Is it or is it not the case that what happens on these border towns is meaningless in comparison to Aleppo. Aleppo is what counts. Motel Jarabulia is just another song by The Eagles. In fact, isn't it reassuring that there was no fighting at The Motel Jarabulia Potemkin Village? Is Turkey really going to occupy Syria, a little Putin Crimea action? I doubt it.

Wake me up when the Battle of Aleppo is decided or when Russia leaves Syria.

Posted by: Burt | Aug 25 2016 2:11 utc | 56

From ...

Damascus slams Turkey’s military 'aggression' into Syrian territory

"Any party conducting a battle against terrorism on Syrian soil must do so in coordination with the Syrian government and the Syrian army,” the statement read, adding, "Chasing out Daesh and replacing them with terrorist groups backed by Turkey is not fighting terrorism."

From South Front ...

Kurds: Al-Nusra Terrorists Fight at Side of Turkey in Syria

“This attack is a part of Erdogan’s plan to revive the Ottoman Empire,” the [head of the the Syrian Kurdish representation in Moscow, Rodi Osman] said.

In March, a creation of the federal region of Rojava was declared in the north of Syria. Damascus called this initiative illegal, the international community, including Russia and the US, also called the move premature. Minister for National Reconciliation, Ali Haidar, stressed that a federal structure would not allow to restore unity in Syria.

.. I guess neither the Syrians nor the Kurds got the memo from Erdogan/Putin/the Leader in Iran?

@54 Burt

You're right.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 25 2016 2:15 utc | 57

Grieved @43
James @44

It seems rather like a set-up. Each action having followed so quickly after the former. This indicates some coordination. Why would they coordinating if Turkey is 'pivoting' away form US/West/Assad must go!?

The Turks couldn't/wouldn't/didn't move on Jabablus until the Kurds attacked Hasakah. The Kurds were enticed to attack Hasakah after the Syrian forces were weakened by the action at Aleppo.

End result: Kurds are in conflict with Syrian government and headchoppers are freed for the Aleppo fight. A win-win for Assad must go!.

I think Russian and Iranian silence indicates confusion. But they may be catching on.

Russia's meeting with Saudi's may be more disturbing. I disagree with Bhadrakumar's rosy assessment (ht telescope). Talks with the Saudi's seems to have gone nowhere. I wonder if the talks were prompted by / suggested by Erdogan, or if they were simply preliminary to an escalation in the conflict. Either way, the 'non-result' seems like a bad omen.

Lastly, could the airing of dirty laundry be anymore public and hilarious? Biden's is met at the airport by a low-level official!! Nukes rumored to have been moved!! Trump is said to have info of CIA involvement!! C'mon, this is theater.

The October surprise takes shape (you heard it here first!!): Erdogan threatens to leave NATO. Trump says stupid stuff. Hillary travels to Turkey, patches up the relationship with Erdogan. Cheers for the very Presidential Mrs. Clinton.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 25 2016 2:17 utc | 58

I think the question is, would Syrian Kurds prefer to be ruled from Ankara or from Damascus? An independent state is a non-starter.

Posted by: William Rood | Aug 25 2016 2:51 utc | 59

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 24, 2016 8:01:31 PM | 43

Well, the US have just lost the Kurdish ally they trained.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 25 2016 3:01 utc | 60

@56 "I think Russian and Iranian silence indicates confusion. But they may be catching on."

There's no confusion, every one knows what's happening. But what should they do ? The only solution is the one that Russia cannot take because it to war with the US.

Posted by: alkomv | Aug 25 2016 4:18 utc | 61

@57 -- from Damascus. IIRC, the Kurds in Syria have a less hostile relationship historically with the central government.

@ 56 Jackrabbit -- I like your thinking. If you saw from the comment above, there was a Syrian statement that condemned Turkey's incursion into Jarablus. I think the events we've seen in the past month or so, with the coup and all, there's a 'fog of war' aspect to them. Erdogan is the same old Ottoman Sultan maniac he always was. The "Eurasian pivot" is just theatre. Nothing really came from the much anticipated Putin-Erdo meeting.

With each passing day, what you've said about the Turkish coup and related events seems more and more likely...

Posted by: David | Aug 25 2016 4:43 utc | 62

From ...

Syria won't reach democracy with Assad, Erdogan says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Syria will never "reach democracy" under the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Erdogan made the remarks on Wednesday following a joint press conference with visiting US Vice President Joe Biden and hours after the Turkish military launched an operation on Syrian soil under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

“As of this moment, the Free Syrian Army and residents of Jarablus have taken back Jarablus. They seized the state buildings and official institution buildings in the town. According to the information we just received, Daesh had to leave Jarablus," he said.

In his turn, Biden said the US hoped to continue to work closely with Turkey in the battle against Daesh.

"We believe very strongly that the Turkish border must be controlled by Turkey, that there should be no occupation of that [Syrian side of the] border by any group whatsoever other than Syria that must be whole and united but not carved in little pieces," he added.

“The people of Turkey have no greater friend than the United States of America," he added, while emphasizing the continuation of Washington’s “unwavering support” for Turkey.

.. I guess Biden means 'really' unwavering, which is different from the 'unwavering' support previously given the Kurds.
On so many occasions.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 25 2016 4:44 utc | 63

My take, the US got exactly what it wanted and Iran/Russia are flabergasted. The 2012 pentagon paper specifically mentioned Hasaka as a must in term of isolating the syrian government. Coincidence that the Kurds attack right when American special forces are in the area? After 5 years of peace? Doubtful. The US wants the kurds in NE Syria, at least for now. They also want Assad gone. Turkey double crossed Russia and Iran. They likely were offered a sweet deal by Biden, and took it over the Russian deal. So they tell Russia, "hey we'll invade and stop the kurds, because they're clearly a threat to assad (orchastrated attack from Kurds in hasaka by the US to drum up fear), and we'll take out isis at the same time. We cut off supplies coming from Turkey, and you guys defeat the rebels, everybody wins. In return we get Jarablus". Russia and Iran agree. Turkey then pulls the ol switcheroo, takes jarablus with terrorist scum along side them, and create a safezone nobody can touch with airstrikes. This frees up an even easier corridor for terrorist supplies, because we all know Turkey loves ISIS and Nusra, and they can recruit and build a large enough force (50-100k?) head choppers to assault Aleppo.

Posted by: Chad Jackson | Aug 25 2016 4:44 utc | 64

@61 @ 62 This is a very worrying development. Well, I knew Erdogan himself would never accept Assad. But the Turkish government seems to release somewhat contradictory statements on Assad's inclusion in a future/transition Syrian government. The ones pro-Erdogan analysts (for lack of better term) pick out as supportive, are in reality, vague.

I remember reading a Turkish official's statement that non-commitally said something like, "We are open to a future inclusive Syrian government." Next day: "Assad must go!" from Erdogan. I think we can safely take Erdogan's position to be the official Turkish position.

Any other statement from other officials even slightly contradicting that sentiment is BS (and there have been many such vague statements desperately quoted by analysts like Korybko).

This is a very good point to keep in mind going forward.

Moscow and Tehran got punk'd. Question is now, did they wise up, and what will they do next?

Posted by: David | Aug 25 2016 4:58 utc | 65

AtaTurk | 11
Actually the 'New Ottomans' label was coined by Davutoglu - not a kniw zionist as far as I am aware, rather, Turkey's former foreign Minister then PM.
Given that this action in Cerablus was originally part of Dautoglu's Syria strategy, the use of the term 'New Ottoman' in this context is perfect.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25 2016 5:19 utc | 66

Turkey invades Syrian territory 500 years to a T after the Battle of Dabiq and Ottoman annexation of Syria..
ISIS believes in Dabiq will be a clash of the Nations, starting what islamic eschatology calls Al-Malhama al-Kubra (Armageddon), a non-Muslim vs. Muslim war.. Ominous indeed..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 25 2016 5:22 utc | 67

Reading between the lines in today's Pentagon press briefing, a bombshell US policy shift is becoming more apparent: Syrian forces and their Russian partners are being told that conducting military operations in some parts of Syrian airspace opens them up to being shot down by the US military.

Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook was asked numerous times in numerous ways whether this amounts to a US "no fly zone" over parts of Syria. His first response was vague but threatening:
We will use our air power as needed to protect coalition forces and our partnered operations. ...We advise the Syrian regime to steer clear of [certain] areas.
The policy shift was so apparent that, one-by-one, the press corps asked for clarification. Does this mean that the US would shoot down Russian or Syrian planes if they attacked any US-backed partners even if they were engaged against Syrian government forces? Are those "coalition forces" and "partnered operations" receiving US protection against attack from the air always in receipt of that protection, or only when they are actively engaged in military operations? What are the rules of engagement?

There was no clear answer from the Pentagon spokesman.

"Is this a 'no-fly' zone, then," asked another reporter. It's not a "no-fly zone" Cook responded.

Another journalist tried to get some clarity:
How is telling Syria not to fly in certain areas not a 'no fly' zone?
"Call it what you will," Cook eventually said.

Another journalist asked, "Do you think the Syrian regime has the right to fly over its own territory?"

Same answer: "We will use our air power as needed to protect coalition forces and our partnered operations."

The anti-Russia rhetoric in Cook's comments was inexplicable as well. According to the Pentagon spokesman, the suffering in parts of Aleppo is not due to its ongoing occupation by al-Qaeda's Nusra Front, but rather by Russian and Syrian government attempts to expel Nusra from the city. Cook's explanation defied logic. Russian actions in Aleppo are...
...only adding fuel to Syria's civil war and [do] nothing to degrade extremist groups, which is Russia's original reason for its military intervention in Syria.
The sentence only makes sense if one accepts the premise that al-Qaeda in Syria is not an extremist group, as it makes no sense to argue that bombing a certain group does nothing to weaken that group. Unless the Pentagon is suggesting that Russia and Syria are only bombing the civilian population, presumably for fun?

Whatever the case, this is a trial balloon. If this de facto "no fly zone" becomes a fact on the ground, it will be expanded beyond Hasakah and may be a US last-ditch effort to prevent Syrian government forces, aided by Russia, from taking back Aleppo and thus breaking the back of the foreign-backed insurgency.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 25 2016 5:24 utc | 68
The Islamic State's (ISIS, ISIL) Magazine

All of the issues of the Islamic State's glossy propaganda magazine 'Dabiq,' named after a key site in Muslim apocalypse mythology can be found here.

Posted by: okie farmer | Aug 25 2016 5:30 utc | 69

very interesting development but we must separate reality from propaganda.

Watching the 'activity' unfold reminded me very much of the 'coup' in that it was so veru well staged.
Original reports emphasised the coalition's role which leads me to believe that this is an American move primarily.

Cerablus and kurds 'not crossing the Euphrates' is a remnant but well shouted and well known remnant of the Davutoglu Syrian policy and therefore carries weight with the Turkish public. By 'allowing' this move by Turkey to establish a corridor, the US has both given a concession to Turkey - there is no way to return Gulen - and thereby added some counter balance to the Turkey-Russia detente; and by pullimg back Kurdish ambitions the US has alsi added balance to the Turkey-Kurdish situation. The latter would be in-line with recent talk (again) of some peace initiative between Turks and Kurds.

As for the 'New Ottoman' games, we must see these in a new light, I believe - They are no longer as threatening as even a year ago and are primarily a propagandist play to domestic nationialsm - the flames of which must be kept burning by Erdogan in order for him to retain his OHAL - Martial Law - under which god only knows what evil is being carried out, and to keep his public and media compliant to his wishes. This idea is also supported by the nature of the reporting in Tutkey which is mega nationalist and so very overblown as though Turkey had actually gone to war, rather than simply rolled engines a few hundred metres south! The exageration is comical but the Turks are buying it and feeling much better about themselves. The 500 year mark is far more luck than planned methinks!

Suffice to say, as much as I hate the idea of Turkey on foreign soil, there has been no return to bombing the kurds and no real aggression of any kind. So, not a bad 'staged' play to right the balance in the region.

(Really makes me wonder once again if RF and US aren't working together in their 'management' of Turkey)

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25 2016 5:58 utc | 70

@ okie farmer

What is the US going to do if China decides to fly some planes in Syria? Are they going to involve themselves in the negotiation over the carving up or stay in the background?

I think that the US is fighting a losing war of ongoing empire. My hope is that private finance gets taken out but am beginning to wonder in who's lifetime that might occur. I was thinking for a while maybe mine but private finance probably was involved in the Ottoman annexation 500 years ago and this is just another chapter in their history propping up one fanatic religious faction or another to suit their needs.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 25 2016 6:06 utc | 71

From reports in the MSM, Russia's role in Syria is being all but ignored. That smells like Fear & Loathing and Panic to me. Ru & Cn are on the diplomacy warpath. The Yankees can't engage all of the enemies they've created, simultaneously. But I suspect that this is the spectre Russia and China & Friends are working hard to create.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 25 2016 6:20 utc | 72

I suspect that the Yankees will soon be offered a choice...
"We've had enough of your cowardice and crap. Shit, or get off the pot!"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 25 2016 6:29 utc | 73

AmeriKKKa's dozens of fake wars are creating havoc in most of the World's countries and economies.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 25 2016 6:35 utc | 74

Hoarsewhisperer @ 70

"The Yankees can't engage all of the enemies they've created, simultaneously. But I suspect that this is the spectre Russia and China & Friends are working hard to create."

Nope. Russia China and friends don't have to work hard to create it. The Yankees done all the hard work creating their combined enemies themselves.

Posted by: Peter AU | Aug 25 2016 7:21 utc | 75

The End of the Dugin's Fairy Tale about Erdogan fight against the USA for an oniric eurasian empire in Korybko-style.

Posted by: SitoAurora | Aug 25 2016 7:48 utc | 76

My guess is, Putin knows he has more options available than the U.S. and is biding his time.
I can't see the U.S. being allowed to establish a no fly zone anywhere in Syria.
A genuine nail biter.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 25 2016 8:05 utc | 77

A UN report blaming the use of chemical weapons on the Syrian gov. is about to be released. From Al Monitor:

Several Turkish tanks have been sent into reinforce Ankara's armored incursion into Syria. Also from Al Monitor:

Posted by: wwinsti | Aug 25 2016 8:23 utc | 78

Biden speaking re: the Kurdson the west side of the Euphrates river.
Also, Trent University professor Baris Karaagac speaks to the Kurd's position; not good.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 25 2016 8:29 utc | 79

Tony Cartalucci has an interesting take on the Turkish aggression..
"Plans for such safe-havens were disclosed as early as 2012, with US policymakers in a Brookings Institution paper titled, "Assessing Options for Regime Change," stating (our emphasis):

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under [Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's] leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts. The safe havens in Cartalucci's map extend from Jarablus to Azaz and north of Al-Bab.
It must be remembered that according to many US government officials Russia is enemy number 1 and for many, Orwell's two minute of hate directed at Oceania is nothing to the 24/7 hatred against Russia. From now on Russia should not exhibit any Mr nice guy/partner antic's. In this conflict there is no such thing as international law since as veto wielding protagonists both Russia and the US are above such things in any case, the Russians have the whip hand here, they should not relinquish it with any sweet talk from the US.

Posted by: harrylaw | Aug 25 2016 9:31 utc | 80

Posted by: dan | Aug 24, 2016 3:04:50 PM | 17

It's always good, if someone occasionally summarizes matters. So one doesn't get lost. thanks. Oil, finances, special interests, CIA, Neo-Ottomans seemed to be missing? But again, good you at least tried. ;)

As one commentator remarked: They even left mints on the pillows.

Hmm, reminds me during travels this year, I found no sweets on my pillow in any location. Imagine, I didn't even miss them.

Posted by: telescope | Aug 24, 2016 7:14:26 PM | 40

The Kurdish state is inevitable. Massive demographic advantage of Kurds over Turks, Syrians and Iranians make that inevitable. ...

democraphic factor and some other items make me wonder: history always repeats itself?

And now I throw in the towel.

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 25 2016 9:58 utc | 81

Ooops, didn't close the italic tag, apparently.

You can delete everything, b. if this starts an italic thread.

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 25 2016 10:03 utc | 82

A lot of people seem to think that this latest action is a stab in the back to RF by Turkey.
That simply doesn't add up however, or at least deoesn't seem to, as yet.
We mustn't forget that Turkey's detente with RF was because Turkish economy took an estimated TL70bn hit the first half of 2016 directly as a result of RF sanctions against Turkey. This was across three sectors construction, toursim and fruit and veg exports.
Turkey's eceonomy is tanking and Erdogan needs RF business. If Erdogan fucks about with the economy he loses his electorate no matter how hard he plays the nationalist card.
Added to which, RF is pragmatic and will not expect complete turn around in Turkey's loyalties, just a rectification of the imbalance, and maybe this move was actually had actually been anticipated. It is no secret that Turkey's fear is the Kurds, so limiting their potential allays that fear to some extent; Assad basically handed the North to 'whomever wins it' years ago so while he would not be happy with Erdogan 'invading' I dont see him doing much - different story with Alleppo of course, and RF knows that Turkey will need some placating, and US maybe gets to keep its Kurds and Rojava!

that's my twopence-worth.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25 2016 10:09 utc | 83

@ harrylaw | 80

Bilali Yildirim spoke about zones to be created for refugees - a container city - at the time of the Turkey-RF discussions but did not speak about no-fly! Maybe that is what we are seeing. But RF would never agree unless their were strict conditions - mainly no risk of the territory being swallowed up into the Sultans republic!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25 2016 10:15 utc | 84

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 25, 2016 6:09:03 AM | 83

And Turkey's tourism industry cannot afford terrorism, never mind the population.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 25 2016 10:18 utc | 85

The silence from Russia and Iran is deafening. While there are no official statements the tone of the articles on Russian and Iranian press concerning the Turkish invasion is non-approving. That makes me believe that Russia and Iran got punk'd by Turkey and USA.

Syria on the other hand clearly and rightly condemns the invasion. Exactly how does Syria benefit from replacing the Daesh terrorists with "Assad must go" moderate headchoppers FSA under USA and Turkey air cover and protection?

One last thing about the Neo-Ottoman issue:

you are fools if you believe no other imperialist power besides USA has it's own imperialist projects. As long as the Neo-Ottoman empire does not interfere with USA's own core objectives and plans in the Middle East, Turkey will be allowed to pursue its own project.

The coup in Turkey might have been all about that. Turkey demanding the Neo-Ottoman empire for its service to the USA and USA believing it was a too high price to pay. Well the coup failed and the USA gave Turkey the green light. Thats all there is to it.

Posted by: redrooster | Aug 25 2016 11:21 utc | 86

@ redrooster 86

I wouldn't say Iran and Russia "got punk'd". That would indicate a level of unforgivable naivete in understanding of the chessboard of the M.E.
It is my firm thinking that Russia actually understands the M.E. far better than the U.S..
If you look back at recent "situations"; Russia has out played the NATO forces at every turn. That is a fact; not conjecture.
Pres. Putin is a cool hand to the U.S.'s reactionary hegemonic actions.
The U.S. is constantly putting itself in the looser's seat...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 25 2016 12:14 utc | 87

Posted by: redrooster | Aug 25, 2016 7:21:34 AM | 86

The coup in Turkey might have been all about that. Turkey demanding the Neo-Ottoman empire for its service to the USA and USA believing it was a too high price to pay. Well the coup failed and the USA gave Turkey the green light. Thats all there is to it.

The "Neo-Ottoman" empire was an Obama idea who thought the Muslim Brotherhood would be a "democratic" option in Egypt, Libya and Syria producing a "non costly" US friendly takeover.
Qatar was used as opposed to Saudi Arabia as Qatari rulers don't have a fundamentalist population they need to consider. Erdogan/AKP was part of this strategy as an example of a successful democratic Islamist party. It was not Erdogan's idea as AKP started with a "no problems with neighbor's policy that was in AKP's and Turkey's interest.
Israel and Saudi did not like this and effectively sabotaged it by supporting the Egyptian military coup. I suppose the Turkish coup was supported by them, too, whoever else was involved. Turkey had negotiated with Syria for six months in Algeria when the coup happened.

It is likely that the coup was about the present change of Turkish policy back to "no problem with neighbours" plus fighting the Kurds i.e. for the opposite reason you quote. The US had switched the Muslim Brotherhood strategy to a Kurdish strategy.

Ottoman imperialism (as a lot of colonialism) was all about ruling a huge area and population with very few Ottomans. They did this by population transfers and preference setting tribes and religions against each other. That's why today's ex-Ottoman empire is such a thinderbox.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 25 2016 12:19 utc | 88

The Kurds in the Middle East may share a similar fate to the Mong tribesmen in Vietnam.

Posted by: Edward | Aug 25 2016 12:39 utc | 89

Edward | Aug 25, 2016 8:39:27 AM | 89

That's an interesting comparison and likely right on.
The U.S. has played many as tools (fools ?) across the planet and will find a bill long past due...
As the old saw goes; You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 25 2016 12:52 utc | 90

@88 somebody

Creating a safe heaven inside Syria for the "Assad must go" Muslim Brotherhood moderate headchoppers is not a return to a "no problems with neighbours" policy, which in the first place never existed and never was or can be in Turkey's or AKP interests, because Turkey's interests are expansionist.

Posted by: redrooster | Aug 25 2016 13:04 utc | 91

From a strategic PoV the USA is now in an inenviable position.

Obama sent those SF troops into Syria in order to "encourage" the Kurdish ground forces to march south towards Raqqa.

That was always going to be a hard-sell because there's no real benefit to the Kurds in marching south: even the best result sees them taking a lot of casualties in return for capturing a city that they will never be allowed to keep no matter who ends up winning the wider war.

As far as the Kurds were concerned it always made much more sense from the Kurds PoV to strike out west to link up with their enclave in Afrin.

Well, kiss that notion goodbye, dudes.

Not only has the Turkish army stepped in, but Uncle Joe Biden has now stood side by side with Erdogan and ordered to Kurds to go back over the Euphrates. Quick-smart, if you know what's good for you.

OK, fine. Perfidious Albion in a new suit and a different accent. Nothing new under the sun.

But what do you think the Kurds will say when the USA reminds the Kurds that they are now expected to march on Raqqa, just like we always told you to.

The Kurds are going to answer with: F**k you, and f**k yo' momma.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Aug 25 2016 13:41 utc | 92

Posted by: redrooster | Aug 25, 2016 9:04:30 AM | 91

Their constituency are business people. War is not that good for business only for some profiteers. I don't see how a stretch of a few kilometers can be a "safe heaven" in practical terms - housing, jobs, schools ... or do you think Turkey (and the UN) intend to create a second Gaza on its border.

I'll change my opinion if the Turkish army proceed to Aleppo.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 25 2016 13:43 utc | 93

All I know is Erdogan will be disappointed in President Trump.
He's better get along with Russia,as America is coming home.
The presidential Hell Bitch?Hahahahaha...(jackrabbit)

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 25 2016 13:45 utc | 94

Somebody @88

"Tinderbox" is a poor metaphor when outside powers arrived with a blowtorch.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 25 2016 13:56 utc | 95

Posted by: redrooster | Aug 25, 2016 7:21:34 AM | 86
Posted by: somebody | Aug 25, 2016 8:19:24 AM | 88
Posted by: redrooster | Aug 25, 2016 9:04:30 AM | 91


Creating a safe heaven inside Syria for the "Assad must go" Muslim Brotherhood moderate headchoppers is not a return to a "no problems with neighbours" policy, ... expansionist.

that was an interesting exchange.

redrooster, I was close to ask you to define neo-Ottomanism the way you use it, why "Neo" to start with? Same old? Old grudges going back to WWI, that's all? Wanting something back?

somebody, I don't want to underwrite your complete narrative, or story really, but this I seem to remember too:
It was not Erdogan's idea as AKP started with a "no problems with neighbor's policy that was in AKP's and Turkey's interest.

Not too long ago I watched a you tube video by some one (excuse, but forget name) interviewing Sibel Edmonds and James Corbett, if I recall correctly.

Sibel, anyway, managed to weave this part, I seem to vividly remember too, quite neatly into her own exited "Turkish hope"* story.
* that's as close as I get to grasp her excitement or for that matter can put into in words.

Posted by: Xenotude | Aug 25 2016 14:09 utc | 96

@93 somebody

War is the continuation of the bargaining of competing business interests by non-peaceful means. If the competing business interests cannot come to an agreement of sorts (a deal) peacefully they are more than often inclined to solve the dispute by military means, forcing on the competitor a better deal for themselves. The prize which the competing businnes interests so fiercefully fight over is access to markets, raw materials and routes (both market and energy).

Since you asked me about the "stretch of a few kilometers", Turkey intends to use it as a safe heaven for the "Assad must go" Muslim Brotherhood moderate headchoppers from where they will continually pound and pressure the Syrian government until it agrees to surrender to the will of Turkey.

Muslim Brotherhood puppets will take the place of Assad in government and Syria will become a puppet state of Turkey. That is the ideal outcome for Turkey. If Turkey eventually succeeds in getting a 100% or less is something I of course cannot predict at this stage of the war, but the general idea of Turkish expansionism should be clear.

Posted by: redrooster | Aug 25 2016 14:12 utc | 97

Posted by: redrooster | Aug 25, 2016 10:12:17 AM | 97

Business people prefer a deal to getting harmed. As of now Turkey in general, not counting war profiteers, got zero, zilch out of the Syrian war, most likely losses, and some people seem to be intent on making sure Turkey is busy fighting the Kurds.

CHP leader's motorcade shot at by PKK.

Posted by: somebody | Aug 25 2016 14:34 utc | 98

@97 somebody

Obviously they prefer to get what they want peacefully, but if they are powerful enough (compared to the competitor) they wont hestitate to take what they want by force. That's the reality of this life. Deal with it.

Posted by: redrooster | Aug 25 2016 14:47 utc | 99

Relevant to many of these recent moa postings.
While the old architects get ready to die out (please G_d, take them asap: Kissinger,Soros, Brzezinski et al) the smashed pieces of this failed generation of a policy of domination fall like shards of a broken mirror onto the many fields of operation. A last manic putsch before the tide goes out on all the Empire's boats.

(Mike Whitney, August 25, 2016)

“The Broken Chessboard: Brzezinski Gives up on Empire

The main architect of Washington’s plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinski’s article in The American Interest titled “Towards a Global Realignment” has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extent US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia.”

Posted by: x | Aug 25 2016 14:58 utc | 100

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