Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 05, 2016

Is Fighting Al-Qaeda In Aleppo Good Or Bad? - U.S. Unable To Decide

There is currently a barrage of propaganda in the "western" media in support of "rebels" in east-Aleppo. It is all about "hospitals" and "children" but the aim is to stop a Syrian army assault on the "rebel" held quarters of the city. U.S. officials are again talking about "intervention", meaning open war, to prevent the Syrian army and its allies from storming the "rebel" held eastern parts. It would not work but that is not the only reason why it is a strange idea.

"It is primarily al-Qaeda that holds Aleppo," said (vid) the spokesperson of the U.S. led 'Operation Inherent Resolve', Colonel Warren. That was back in April and al-Qaeda (aka Jabat al-Nusra) has since strengthen its capacities in the city. The French Syria expert Fabrice Balanche tells Le Monde Le Figaro (translate from French):

[Al-Qaeda's] grip on Aleppo's east has only increased since the spring of 2016, when it sent 700 reinforcement fighters while moderate brigades fighters began to leave the area before the final exit was closed. The provisional opening of a breach of the siege of Aleppo in August 2016 (Battle of Ramousseh) has further increased its prestige and influence on the rebels.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria DeMistura told (vid, 27:43) the UN Security Council:

We have seen information from other sources that tell us more than half of the fighters present in eastern Aleppo are al-Nusra. We have also seen reports alleging the intentional placement of firing positions close to social infrastructure, inside and aside civilian quarters.

So why does the U.S. want to stop the Syrian government forces in their attempt to free the parts of the city which are undoubtedly held by al-Qaeda?

The U.S. voted "Yes" on several UN Security Council resolutions that demand to fight al-Qaeda and "to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria."

Following the UNSC demand, Syria and its allies have surrounded the al-Qaeda held parts of east-Aleppo. They currently bomb targets of opportunity, take starting positions all around it and prepare to eventually storm and capture it. Measures have been taken to allow civilians to escape from the area.

This whole operation is primarily in defense of west-Aleppo where 1.5 million civilians live under the protection of the government. Daily artillery strikes from al-Qaeda held east-Aleppo have killed and wounded many people in the government help parts. 

But some U.S. officials believe that defeating al-Qaeda in east-Aleppo will be useful for al-Qaeda:

A U.S. official says Jabhat al-Nusra has been the “main beneficiary” (other than the Assad regime) of Russia’s onslaught. “Until Moscow stops bombing hospitals and aid workers, Nusra will continue to exploit the situation . . . and portray itself as the defender of the Syrian people,” the official explained.

"Hospitals and aid workers," are often unfortunate collateral damage in urban fighting. That will not surprise the U.S. military, especially after its bombing of several hospitals in Afghanistan and after it recently practically destroyed Kobani in Syria and Fallujah in Iraq to eradicate the Islamic State from those cities.

The claim that fighting al-Qaeda in Aleppo strengthens al-Qaeda seems dubious to me. But even if that is the case what is the alternative to fighting it in the city areas it holds?

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry is urging a new ceasefire with a pause in fighting and aerial bombing of at least seven days. State Department spokesperson Toner explained that yesterday. But he also admitted (vid @14:50) that al-Qaeda and other militant groups use such ceasefire periods to regroup and to resupply:

... we can talk about that some rebel groups or opposition groups may have used the pause to resupply...

It is even more than that. Al-Qaeda wins in every ceasefire (even if those generally do not apply to it) in many other ways. A new study, specifically about al-Qaeda and ceasefire, details that and concludes:

While the establishment of the truces was supposed to help to weaken the most radical factions of the insurgency, Jabhat al-Nusra emerged indisputably strengthened ...

Another ceasefire would help al-Qaeda to resupply and regroup and to regain strength in east-Aleppo and elsewhere.

Despite that and despite agreeing to the UNSC resolution the U.S. does not want the Syrian government and its allies to fight al-Qaeda in east-Aleppo because it believes that would strengthen al-Qaeda. It wants a new ceasefire. But any ceasefire or truce strengthens al-Qaeda.

Somehow the U.S. position does not compute.

It gets even more confusing:

"..,” one senior administration official said. “The CIA and the Joint Staff have said that the fall of Aleppo would undermine America’s counterterrorism goals in Syria.”

Fighting al-Qaeda in east-Aleppo and "eradicating" it from the area it holds, as the UNSC demands, would undermine U.S. counterterrorism goals?

That is strange. The alternative in east-Aleppo is to keep al-Qaeda well and alive and to let it hold the area it currently holds. Would that further U.S. counterterrorism goals? How?

What then are the actually goals?

Posted by b on October 5, 2016 at 19:53 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Check what happened of the Erythrea enquiry today at the UN. Seems no one care about the organization anymore.

Posted by: mina | Oct 5 2016 20:06 utc | 1

Actual goals from position paper written and distributed to Clinton's State Department staff. From all appearances, the current neocon establishment has adopted Clinton's position.

It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel's security — not through a direct attack, which in the thirty years of hostility between Iran and Israel has never occurred, but through its proxies in Lebanon, like Hezbollah, that are sustained, armed and trained by Iran via Syria. The end of the Assad regime would end this dangerous alliance. Israel's leadership understands well why defeating Assad is now in its interests.

It just does not matter to the neocons that butchers (the same ones whose parent organization killed thousands of Americans) take over Syria so long as the Iran/Syria/Hezbollah link is broken.

Posted by: Erelis | Oct 5 2016 20:25 utc | 2

The goal is bvious Russia, Iran, Assad, hizbollah not to win at any price, even at the price of having another 911, Paris ,etc.

Posted by: Kooshy | Oct 5 2016 20:27 utc | 3

The best thing to do is destroy the terrorists while ignoring the Alzheimer's-like Outlaw US Empire's protestations about everything. Then advance South to clear the Zionist terrorists from the Golan. Once Syraq is secure from terrorists, all non-allied foreign forces must be asked/forced to leave the region, leaving Syria and Iraq free to reassert their sovereignty over the entirety of their nations. Then the massive cancer in Palestine must be addressed, again, ignoring the bleats of the Demented Outlaw US Empire.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 5 2016 20:28 utc | 4


You have the causality backwards. The neocon establishment didn't adopt Clinton's position, they developed it many decades ago and she fronts it to ensure their support.

Posted by: Castellio | Oct 5 2016 20:54 utc | 5

Part of this is about establishing the talking points to be parroted in the MSM. The meme that the attacks will drive the "moderates" into the embrace of al-Qaeda started up a few days ago and duly become an unassailable part of the narrative, facts be damned, because it will smother the inconvenience truth that any so-called moderstes had already embraced al-Qaeda long before. I am just surprised that no one has yet claimed Assad is using the WMDs Saddam stashed in Syria back in 2002, but I suppose that is being held back for later.

Posted by: jayc | Oct 5 2016 20:56 utc | 6

There are, I would guess, tens of thousands of "neocons" all across the United States. They are not an organization nor even a movement. They suffer from a severe mental illness. They are somewhat like sociopaths, and some among them actually are sociopaths. However they tend to show loyalty to one another. I call their mental illness "arrogapathy". They could not care less about people they perceive as "below them". They don't care if millions of American peasants or foreigners are maimed or killed. All they ever really desire is to always "win". That is all. They must always be winning by crushing the "others".

They have no ideology at all. They have only their mental illness of arrogapathy. They simply believe they are superior or more valuable than the "peasants" they are must always be destroying. Since they are insane, they could destroy the whole world, and they would probably prefer that to ever having to lose to the "peasants". So it's not an ideology, or even an agenda. It is simply a form of psychosis, and they will never stop.

And that is what all of this is about.

Posted by: blues | Oct 5 2016 20:59 utc | 7

While abhorrent US position now openly supporting terrorists in diplomatic talks is beyond condemnation it is a little disingenuous to say that liquidation of East Aleppo ANF is not the only solution to defeated them.

About a year ago all Russian strategists agreed that Assad taking control over border between Syria and Turkey in cooperation with Kurds is a necessary strategic move to win the war and spare civilian population and material devastation.
And Russian allies followed this scenario until this phony ceasefire that did one thing rebuild strength of almost defeated terrorists while pushed Kurds in US embrace even more.

The March 2016 ceasefires was a blunder of the war pushed hard on Syrians by Russians who tried and failed to deal with Syrian war in global geopolitical context while entering American trap.
Even now cutting off terrorists from Turkey and Jordan would hasten terrorist defeat much faster than trying to raise all those terrorist enclaves.
Jobar example illustrate it, a small suburb of Damascus experience fourth year of heavy fighting including Syrian Air Force with no end in sight due to elaborate system of tunnels underneath. The same is almost elsewhere.

For updates and independent opinions abut Syrian war try:

Posted by: Kalen | Oct 5 2016 21:01 utc | 8

Speaking of propaganda, Al Jazeera English is currently running this front and center on their frontpage:

Perhaps I'm overthinking things, and AJ just has crappy, inept editors. But the article is incredibly weak trash; it entirely consists of White Helmet members saying they 'totally aren't foreign funded, honest!'. It presents no solid evidence to back up its claims, and it literally links the far longer, and much better sourced, Alternet article within the first three paragraphs. The AJE piece really only serves to direct attention to the thing they're ostensibly attempting to counter. Could Qatar be trying to move away from their policies regarding Syria?

Posted by: Kuma | Oct 5 2016 21:18 utc | 9

@Kuma | Oct 5, 2016 5:18:27 PM | 9

Dun trust Al Jazeera. They're part and pacel of the greater Amerikka regional ally to fool you.

Remember U.S. Fifth Fleet locate in Qatar and may relocate to Barian..

July 29th, 2013.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 5 2016 21:27 utc | 10

For sale: one slightly used HSV-2, low mileage, in need of slight touch up, otherwise ready to go. Serious offers only. Buyer collects. No time wasters.

Posted by: yonatan | Oct 5 2016 21:34 utc | 11

b, not that I'm against it, but another wail about US hypocrisy is hardly new. The issue today is estimating whether the Syrians/Russians are going to take East Aleppo in the near future. You've said a lot of useful stuff on SST. We need your point of view.

Some are already thinking beyond the taking of Aleppo. That is foolish. This is a major issue, and not achieved yet.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 5 2016 21:34 utc | 12

What then are the actual goals?

The Empire of Chaos (EoC), soon to be governed by the Queen of Chaos as a front/mouthpiece of the sociopathic neocons with their psychopath mindset, only cares about spreading chaos. The more the EoC creates chaos, the more the EoC is able to control the things that matter to it.

What makes the EoC particularly pernicious is NOT the poor, propagandized, duped citizens of the EoC, it is the fact that the citizens actually support the goals of the neo-cons. All of those Queen of Chaos supporters are only interested in the continuity of the status quo. Those who support the alleged opposition (Trumpites) are no better. The reality the US faces is that only about 5% (some of those who support Stein or Johnson) actually support actual real change to the capitalist/militarist system referred to as the US.

The way it is, as viewed from the depths of the Llano Estacado ...

Posted by: rg the lg | Oct 5 2016 21:40 utc | 13


It is Le Figaro not Le Monde.

Posted by: Yul | Oct 5 2016 21:51 utc | 14

re 13

What then are the actual goals?
Are they not well known? we've been through them a hundred times.

The question is, are they going to fail, or is the US going to uprate their militarism, and go for war with Russia.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 5 2016 21:53 utc | 15

yonatan | Oct 5, 2016 5:34:30 PM | 11
Looks as though it had a bad case of genital herpes(HSV-2). :>)

Posted by: Ghostship | Oct 5 2016 22:00 utc | 16

From b's first link above Syria: What are we going to do now?

As a former military planner though, I side with President Obama when he says that he hasn’t seen a military option that stops the civil war short of the deployment of large numbers of ground troops.

The US goal is not to stop the war but to keep it going ... Destroying Syria: a Joint Criminal Enterprise

“This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win — we’ll settle for a tie,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli consul general in New York told the New York Times in June 2013. “Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here.”

Did I Say That? State Department Official Admits Ties to Terrorist Groups

... the CIA and their allies are responsible for this global scourge and use its agents on the ground to pursue their own interests. In effect, Al Nusra is performing the same function that US foot soldiers performed in Iraq. They are the tip of the spear, the faceless grunts who execute the imperial policy, regime change. The fact that no American soldiers are killed precludes the bodybags, the flag-draped coffins, the wailing mothers at military funerals, and the blood-soaked headlines, all of which fuels popular resistance to misguided military campaigns. The use of proxy militias is designed to avoid all of those potential pitfalls.

Ya gotta go by the results achieved when assessing the original goal claimed. Afghanistan has been destroyed, Iraq has been destroyed, Libya has been destroyed, Syria has been destroyed, Ukraine has been destroyed, Yemen has been destroyed ... the US/NATO goal is the destruction of resource-rich nations and the strategic exploitation of that destruction. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate scam was the perfect vehicle.

Russia can only do so much. She can probably force America to back off in Syria, and bear her everlasting enmity for that. The only people who can stop America aggression are the American people. So far ... not much action there. Or do you think Clinton/Trump will mean a change? Sorry for the black humor. Some say puns are the lowest form thereof, I disagree.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 5 2016 22:10 utc | 17

thanks b..

i agree with laguerre @ 15... which way is the rogue empire going to go from here forward?

but really, why try to figure out an incoherent foreign policy? or, better yet - call it coherent - make war on anyone who doesn't go along with your 'exceptional nation' status and destroy the infrastructure and place under dispute..

there is not a shred of integrity of anything the usa is doing.. but, they state the exact opposite and they have to state the exact opposite, or they would be doomed.. so, back to the main question " which way is the rogue empire going to go from here forward?" my guess is open war with russia.. why bother maintaining more pretense when most folks can see it plain as day?

Posted by: james | Oct 5 2016 22:20 utc | 18

Fuller article on HSV-2 Swift at The Drive.

Posted by: Ghostship | Oct 5 2016 22:23 utc | 19

@15, LG 'The question is, are they going to fail, or is the US going to uprate their militarism, and go for war with Russia.'

Yeah. It's s guessing game. Is it a bluff? or will they stumble in? No one here knows. No one there cares about what anyone here thinks. It's not going to take long for this next bit to play out. Either Aleppo will fall to the Syrian/Russian effort, or the US will ratchet up its warfare. Speculating on the results of actions taken is one thing, speculating on the next arbitrary action of the side that thinks its calling the shots - of the arrogant aggressor - is probably not fruitful.

If the US is bluffing Aleppo will soon be back in the hands of the Syrians. If the US tries a cruise-missile assault on Syrian and Russian airfields - the Russians formerly took over their airfield the other day, I believe - we'll see what sort of defense is possible against such an assault, and whether retaliation is necessary. I would guess that if the Russians were successful in disabling US cruise missiles then they would not target the ships that launched them ... the first time.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 5 2016 22:29 utc | 20

17;Trump will do what he does for US,and not zion.I think that will be a major shift in policy right there.
No,he is not JesusChrist,and no, Stein or Johnson are not viable,so we had better hope he wins,or else the Hillaryous one will have the most chaotic mess of a POTUS in our history,making Bent Dicks circus a small fish fry,and the current conflagration worldwide just a warm up for the inferno.
And he will win,I think,as only idiots would believe anything serial lying pos spew,including bogus polls,but I guess out on the staked plains the heat plays tricks on the mind.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 5 2016 22:32 utc | 21

@19 GS

The US just unloaded a few of their new aluminum tincans on the Saudi's didn't they? I remember noting some more billion dollar expenditures by the Saudis on such items a month or two ago. Great to see those on the bottom ... just aim a bit lower? Maybe this way is best, though. A lot of the pollution is towed back to port and kept out of the sea.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 5 2016 22:40 utc | 22

@20 ... they would not target the ships that launched them ... the first time. And the Syrians and Russians will persevere and recapture Aleppo. Just to complete my thought.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 5 2016 22:49 utc | 23

@jfl.. i think the russians know the importance of a slow and steady grind in a particular direction.. it is very different then 'immediate gratification' which was come to define western psychology.. i don't think any move forward is going to be fast and along the lines that some here would like to see.. i am sure there will be more curves and twists along the way as well..

@11 yonatan.. i had seen that the past few days.. that is quite an interesting development and i wonder how the oil futures traders are processing it...

Posted by: james | Oct 5 2016 22:57 utc | 24

Ghostship @19.

Thanks for the info.

It the US military had brains, this incident might give them pause about their under-manned aluminum Littoral ships. But then again, those ships seem to have difficulty with the wrong kind of waves.

Posted by: yonatan | Oct 5 2016 23:03 utc | 25

jfl @20

The S-300V system specifically includes cruise missiles in its design target list. Interestingly it is also more mobile than the wheeled variants such as the S-400 system based at Hymeim.

Posted by: yonatan | Oct 5 2016 23:13 utc | 26

The Syrian Arab Army and the Russian, Iranian & Hezbollah allies need to liberate East Aleppo.

Full stop. Period. End of.

If the US wants to start World War 3 to save Al-Qaeda - the guys who apparently knocked down the Twin Towers and killed 3,000 Americans 15 years ago well god help us.

I would expect any escalation by the US of the war in Syria I would expect a string of countries to immediately announce their resignation from NATO and declaration of neutrality.

First in the queue would be Hungary I expect.

Posted by: Julian | Oct 5 2016 23:18 utc | 27

What terrorizes a terrorist is potential destruction of terror.

The US Government feels terrorized by the possibility that their terrorists may be eradicated. So, in their eyes, the REAL terrorists are those who are terrorizing their third party terror providers. How can you perform beneficial acts of terror if your main focus is on your own survival? So, the Russkies are absolutely terroristic in their reckless, barbaric destruction of very useful terror.

This all makes perfect sense to me. I'd be pretty f**king pissed off at those dirty Slavic barbarians, too.

Posted by: Quadriad | Oct 5 2016 23:25 utc | 28

#27 Julian, you are overanalysing this shit, seriously.

Just read your morning WaPo and NYT, and get with the fucking program. The good guys will win, and in the end Al Qaida will realize and admit the error of their ways, and join the good guys who will then protect their wayward sons openly.

Everything is AWESOME!

Posted by: Quadriad | Oct 5 2016 23:32 utc | 29

@ james 18

I have the opposite feeling, that the elites in the United States have no intention of going to war with Russia. They have made their money; they have made more than enough for their offspring to live comfortably. If America goes down the pan, so what? Big capital is totally mobile and does not give a shit about patriotism. They just move somewhere else, like say Singapore or Hong Kong, near where the action is. What they do not want is for them and their families to die, and facing Russia’s 8,400 odd nukes I would guess there’s a pretty good chance of that happening. They love a war when it’s the poor who go off and die. But when it’s their asses on the line then it’s a different matter.

They’re going to bluster and bully but that’s all they are going to do. They know their scam is going to be over pretty soon, war or no war, so they are already preparing to get the hell out. That’s why there was a special meeting at Davos about whether New Zealand was a better place to move to than Patagonia. The idea wasn’t to get away from possible nuclear war; it was to get away from a lot of very angry people who may want to see them suspended from lampposts.

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 5 2016 23:32 utc | 30

@yonatan, Ghostship #11,18:

I called it wrong on the swift as the missile appears to have hit the starboard-front, not the top.

Posted by: Wwinsti | Oct 5 2016 23:36 utc | 31

@11 Priceless indeed!

@28 Great way of saying it..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 5 2016 23:40 utc | 32


Tangata Whenua will be waiting for you is all I can say to those who wish to move to Aotearoa to survive the well deserved pitchforking up North.

Those folks have been historically known to literally eat humans (such as their own Maori cussie POWs) far less deserved of that fate then the likes of Justice Ginsburg. Her and her whanau, they might meatgrind and feed to their staffies and pitbulls.

West side, bro.

Posted by: Quadriad | Oct 5 2016 23:42 utc | 33

@ 30

Yes! Alister Barry made some exceptional documentaries about the nasty, brutal neoliberalization of New Zealand, led by its "Labour Party". Here is a link to one of them titled "Someone Else's Country":

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 5 2016 23:58 utc | 34

I meant @ 33.

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 6 2016 0:00 utc | 35

Pence and Kane = total Plan A Plan B guys. Isis bad guys, etc., terrorists possibly living next door, etc. Putin is the ANTI-______________ (fill in the blank). BOOGAH! BOOGAH! I wonder if the FEC will be supplying barf bags for the people who actually do vote.

I think that the "Talking Heads" nailed it when they sang "same as it ever was."

Just my opinion

Posted by: ALberto | Oct 6 2016 0:06 utc | 36

#34 Lochearn

I wouldn't call it "nasty" and "brutal". I would call it "highly experimental".

The truth is, NZ was a semi-socialist country back in the early 1980s, even during the Muldoon era (who was a closet socialist himself despite all his sociocultural affection for the Yanks), so the Neoliberal experiment in NZ was little different from the "privatizations" in post-socialist Eastern Europe. It's just that the Kiwis were a bit more civilised and, let's be frank about it, less dodgy as a people than Eastern Europeans were after 40+ years of totalitarian socialism (not that they had ever experienced true democracy before, with the possible exception of Czechs and Slovaks), so the whole process went in a bit more civilised manner than the openly ultracorrupt theft and robbery that took place in the formerly Soviet Block.

Also, the fact that NZ was a 3M people country at the time meant that if it went horribly wrong, the global consequences would have been negligible.

I think the biggest final outcome of the whole thing was the evolution into a far less caring society than NZ used to be. And the fact that NZ has become one of the most unaffordable places to live in as a homeowner, thus benefiting the global lending mafia. You could call that loss of that caring culture and that affordability and prior ease of existence pretty brutal, and I'd tend to agree. But most of the people went along, so I'd say they those people fully deserved what happened to them and then maybe even more, but maybe even worse is yet to come...

Posted by: Quadriad | Oct 6 2016 0:15 utc | 37


Yoni, that was bloody priceless. LMFAO. That should go to ZH, but then you'd make Will Banzai feel jealous and inferior - and he's a good guy.

Posted by: Quadriad | Oct 6 2016 0:28 utc | 38

Iraqi Militias combating Islamic State at home pour into Syria to support Assad

"Iraqi militia fighters are pouring into Syria to reinforce the Assad regime’s siege of rebels in Aleppo, further complicating the tangled web of alliances the U.S. relies on to fight Islamic State, which can turn an ally on one side of the border into an enemy on the other.

The Shiite militias, who have fought alongside U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces against Islamic State in Iraq, are now fighting Syrian Sunni rebels, some of them armed and trained by the U.S.

More than 1,000 Iraqi Shiite militants have traveled from Iraq since early September, joining the ranks of as many as 4,000 others already on the ground near Aleppo, the militia leaders and Syrian rebels said. They make up about half of the regime’s estimated ground force of 10,000.

The siege they are helping to enforce has tilted the battle there in favor of President Bashar al-Assad, whose ruling Alawite sect has drawn on fellow Shiite powers to shore up government forces depleted by deaths, defections and attrition over five years of war: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia and Afghan Shiite fighters.

The regime, along with its ally Russia, has been heavily bombarding rebel areas of the divided city over the past few weeks. The offensive has killed hundreds, including scores of children, and caused the collapse this week of joint U.S.-Russian efforts to forge a lasting cease-fire and restart talks on a political solution.

In an update on the Aleppo situation published on Tuesday, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said living conditions for the roughly quarter of a million people in besieged neighborhoods of eastern Aleppo have deteriorated, and “an assessment conducted in eastern Aleppo city concluded that 50% of the inhabitants expressed willingness to leave if they can.”

More at

Posted by: h | Oct 6 2016 0:32 utc | 39

@ 37

The documentary I linked to explains why I called it nasty and brutal a thousand times better than I could ever do. I hope you watch it for it gives a better insight into the mechanics of neoliberalism and its effects than anything I have seen or read.

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 6 2016 0:34 utc | 40

@39 Funny thing about articles like that. As soon as I see 'regime' I lose interest.

Posted by: dh | Oct 6 2016 0:58 utc | 41

“Words are not just wind. Words have something to say. But if what they have to say is not fixed, then do they really say something? Or do they say nothing? People suppose that words are different from the peeps of baby birds, but is there any difference, or isn’t there? What does the Way rely on, that we have true and false? What do words rely on, that we have right and wrong? How can the Way go away and not exist? How can words exist and not be acceptable? When the Way relies on little accomplishments and words rely on vain show, then we have the rights and wrongs of the Confucians and the Mohists. What one calls right, the other calls wrong; what one calls wrong, the other calls right. But if we want to right their wrongs and wrong their rights, then the best thing to use is clarity.

Excerpt From: Watson, Burton. “The Complete Works of Zhuangzi.”

Posted by: Cresty | Oct 6 2016 1:09 utc | 42

@30 lochearn.. i pray you are right and i am wrong!!!

i was reading a quote from wendell berry a short while ago.. it is relevant and worth keeping in mind.

"The single goal of the industrial economy, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, has been the highest possible margin of profit. That is to say that its single motive has been greed. This economy justifies itself as a sequence of innovations that it calls "progress." But is is progress for the sake of the biggest possible profit. Industrialism is the most effective system ever devised for the concentration of wealth and power. Its most characteristic "progress" has been the increasing ability to concentrate wealth and power into fewere and fewer hands. People are talking now about the imperialism of the United States, but the real imperialist power is that of the corporations that are in charge of the global economy. These corporations have no national allegiance and no patriotism. They simply employ or purchase governments to serve an ambition for wealth and power that is global. The United States government, at present, is a hired servant of this corporate imperialism." this is taken from page 212 of the book "Conversations with Wendell Berry'.

Posted by: james | Oct 6 2016 1:15 utc | 43

@30 lochearn - thank you for putting this into words. I agree. It makes sense more than anything else does.

There is no profit in nuclear war, and wars are run for profit. By the same token, there is no profit in peace either, if you are one who profits from war - and all the bankers whose names we toss around are.

So if events are controlled to an extent, then to that extent there is also no desire for nuclear war. There is also no desire for peace. How they must hate Russia, which strives so forcefully for peace. The profit lies only in the margin, of endless fear.


@42 Cresty - beautiful Taoist wisdom, like a cooling breeze and rain in the desert. We look at this world in the same terms it uses to get through its limping and broken day and think we can make sense of it. And all the while, answers abound, and wisdom is limitless and unbounded by any constraints placed on it by delusion, except to the deluded, upon whom even wisdom cannot descend.

This is the case, indeed, for asymmetrical war and one might even say the Systema of the Russians: "But if we want to right their wrongs and wrong their rights, then the best thing to use is clarity."

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 6 2016 1:47 utc | 44

Whether neo-con or neo-lib, the people of the Empire (the people of the United States) only care about maintaining the status-quo. The status-quo, for those who don't get it, is simply that the US has a MANIFEST DESTINY to rule the world. The rest is simply bullshit so often smelled that it seems to be a tolerable fragrance. MAYBE 5% of the citizens of the US don't believe in the MANIFEST DESTINY of the US to rule the world.

No rain recently on the Llano Estacado ... I'll bet Johnson knows where that is? Without looking it up ... does it matter? I doubt it.

Posted by: rg the lg | Oct 6 2016 2:00 utc | 45

From Wapo as quoted in b's post:

One proposed way to get around the White House’s long-standing objection to striking the Assad regime without a U.N. Security Council resolution would be to carry out the strikes covertly and without public acknowledgment, the official said.

Do they even hear themselves think? Forget sneaking around the nanny's back, when you kill Assad you say the tooth fairy did it? wtf.

Posted by: stumpy | Oct 6 2016 4:51 utc | 46

@ stumpy about official acknowledgment of covert strikes

Haven't you heard of the excuse that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. That only works until you are brought to trial at the Hague, Nuremberg or such.

One can only hope for such justice and for it to be extended to those that pull the strings on the sociopathic puppets of the Western world playing these killing "games".

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 6 2016 5:56 utc | 47

It is said that wars are fought for profit and there is no profit in nuclear war. Isn't this a little naive? What is the value of profit? In itself, profit is a number on a balance sheet. For those who have unimaginable wealth many times over, is pushing that number on a balance sheet really the ultimate motivation? Or is there more?

I think the ultimate goal of those who seek war is power, not profit. This is why it is conceivable that what they look to be doing - that is, seeking nuclear war - is in fact what they are doing. These are folks who seem to be hell bent on absolute global dominion 'by any means necessary'. These are folks who, it seems, don't want a leaf to stir on a tree without asking permission.

Putin asked at the UN, in one of his most eloquent moments - in fact I would call it the most eloquent moment I have seen from a political figure in my lifetime - "do you understand yet what you have done?" He seemed to be talking primarily to the 'west' and about Syria, but he could have been talking about Ukraine, or Libya, or Iraq. He could have been talking about Congo. He could have been talking about Afghanistan. Did he have all these things in mind? We can't know, I guess. Putin vacillates between telling comments that seem to imply much and obfuscatory stuff, endless talk about 'our partners', etc..

I would guess that Putin understands what even 'alternative' commentators in the 'west' continue to somehow avoid seeing clearly: that US foreign policy is a policy of force; that the US does not prefer to be seen this way and so it prefers to work through proxies much of the time; that Al Quaeda began as a US proxy force and continues in that role to this day.

Posted by: paul | Oct 6 2016 5:59 utc | 48

@paul 48

Bingo! Because the US policy is a policy of force, they have discarded the practice of diplomacy. Witness the hysterical performance of the harridan Samantha Power. Place John Kerry against Sergei Lavrov, and again the US comes off not second best, but much lower than that.

Once the Soviet Union fell, the Borg in the US felt secure that there was no power on earth could oppose them. There was no longer a constraint on them or their actions. Nemesis visits those who suffer the stupidity of Hubris. I think that Russia and China and the SCO represent Nemesis for the USA. I also think that, if history comes to be written, Vladimir Putin will come to be known as Vladimir the Great.

Posted by: Razor_Edge | Oct 6 2016 7:10 utc | 49

The drum beat for war has been so relentless of late that, like myself, many of you might feel a little fatigued perhaps? Well, amidst the constant flood of calls for a humanitarian war, I happened upon a sliver of hope today, er maybe. Amanpour over at CNN has former convict/general David Petraeus talking about using force. He was dutifully adding his voice to the list of headliners calling for action against Assad, but within his analysis he floated a proposal that's been taboo thus far, i.e. He says Assad should remain in power as the leader of an Alawite section of Syria. Now, I don't know how well connected our guy still is
in neoconistan, but could this represent our first hairline crack in the wall of R2P banality?

Posted by: Wwinsti | Oct 6 2016 7:18 utc | 50

Posted by: Razor_Edge | Oct 6, 2016 3:10:58 AM | 49

Just let's hope there is no miscalculation. At present it is a game of chicken.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 6 2016 7:18 utc | 51

‘EU responsible for chaos in Syria' - France's Marine Le Pen

“You’ve done everything to bring down the government of Syria, throwing the country into a terrible civil war, while accusing Russia which is actually fighting Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL],” the right wing party leader and France’s presidential candidate said, speaking at the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

“You cannot hide your responsibility […] for plunging this part of the world into an absolutely monstrous chaos," Le Pen added, noting that policies advocated by both the United States and the European Union had contributed to the state Syria is currently in, as well as neighboring Iraq.

That's music to my ears. The child pointing out that emperor is naked. They probably aren't used to hearing that in Vienna. Or anywhere in Europe or the US. RT, and it's reposters, is the only account I've seen.

Posted by: jfl | Oct 6 2016 8:10 utc | 52

The title reveals lack of understanding of the concept of "good and evil", at least as it being used by most people, including members and wannabe members of US government. What comes first is the determination of who is good, and who is evil. God is good, Satan is evil, even when they are making dubious bets. The status of the rest is determined by the web of relationships, so it forms a "lattice" (that means roughly that everybody is on a chain from God to Satan, and when I compare myself with, say, b, either we are on the same chain together, and I am closer to God, hence good as compared to b, or there is no such chain, and we just cannot tell. Importantly, there should be no cycles like "A better then B, B better than C, C better than A". We could also contemplate that b is better than me, but I will skip that possibility.

An act is not per se good or evil, but it may be gainful or detrimental to good or evil folks. So its status is clear if it is gainful for the good and detrimental to the evil, otherwise we need a more complex reasoning. In case of Russians, Syrian government as al-Qaeda we lack direct comparisons, chains from God to Satan that would involve them, so it is tricky indeed. I guess in Aleppo we can find the good people using the principle of "worthy innocents" who are clearly closer to God that either of them, and Russian bombing was harming those.

Aha, but the argument that Russian bombing is bad because of being beneficial of al-Qaeda is more suspicious. A naive person would doubt the utility of being bombed. But that is simple an example of the twisted ways of the evil which is, alas, a bit to hard to be used by simple and corruptible folks like b. However it can be trusted if invoked by the party that is closer to God, like US government. I guess that al-Qaeda can pose as victims and gain the popularity among the worthy innocents, thus supplying them with weapons can propel them to hubristic acts that decrease their popularity among the worthy innocents, hence detrimental to them, hence good. Advantage: US government and its allies.

So, one could ask, why even bother with evaluating the activities of US and Russia when we know that in direct comparison, US is always good and Russia is always bad? Indeed, it is a bit superfluous, so the effort is not always as spirited as it should be.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 6 2016 9:33 utc | 53

Balanche tells Le Figaro actually, not Le Monde, first one has never been as obscene as Le Monde on syrian propaganda and you could even read occasionnaly decent papers on Syria, while Le Monde is worst than NYT, Washington Post&Guardian combined on Syria, their blog "un oeil sur la Syrie" was run under pseudonym by french intel and for the Ghouta attack, they were used as agents to bring chemical samples as supposed proof against Assad, as ridiculous as 2003 infamous Powell Iraki WMD presentation...

Posted by: ratatat | Oct 6 2016 9:59 utc | 54

QUOTE: Actual goals from position paper written and distributed to Clinton's State Department staff. From all appearances, the current neocon establishment has adopted Clinton's position.
It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israel's security — not through a direct attack, which in the thirty years of hostility between Iran and Israel has never occurred, but through its proxies in Lebanon, like Hezbollah, that are sustained, armed and trained by Iran via Syria. The end of the Assad regime would end this dangerous alliance. Israel's leadership understands well why defeating Assad is now in its interests. END QUOTE Posted by: Erelis | Oct 5, 2016 4:25:56 PM | 2

It goes well beyond that. It's not just about Iran supplying Hizballah with weapons.

As I've said for the last several years, the entire goal of the Syrian crisis is a long-term war with Iran. Taking out Syria's military via a US/NATO air campaign would allow Israel to attack Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon via Syrian territory without worrying about engaging the Syrian military (a two-front war no strategist wants.) Once Hizballah has been degraded or pushed back further north into Lebanon so its missile arsenal would not be as much a threat to the whole of Israel would enable Israel to not be concerned about Hizballah missiles forcing Israeli citizens into bomb shelters 24 hours a day, thus pissing them off and wrecking the economy. This would allow Israel and/or the US to start a war with Iran without Israel having to deal with potential military threats from Syria and Hizballah, the latter especially. A decades-long war with Iran would 1) remove Iran as an effective actor against Israel and US plans for the region, and 2) provide the US military-industrial complex the sort of war profits they've gotten used to from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Syria is the lynchpin of the Middle East. Lose Syria, you lose the Middle East.

Which means the US and Israel absolutely CAN NOT stop the war in Syria. They NEED Syria's military to be degraded, over and above whether Assad is replaced or not if their long-term intentions for the Middle East are to succeed.

Russia is the only thing stopping those plans from succeeding.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Oct 6 2016 10:10 utc | 55

Richard Steven Hack @55 I agree with you, unfortunately for Israel technology waits for no man, Hezbollah's rocket arsenal is now over 100,000, many with GPS guidance, care of Iran. The longer the 'arc of resistance' lasts the more potent it will become. Victory for Syria will come, it is inevitable. Iran and Russia know defeat is not an option because they know they are next. All the backing of the GCC states was planned by the Bush Jn government see 'the redirection' Seymour Hersh It will all come to nought since, unlike the Saudi satraps the 'Arc of resistance' at least has the backing of the vast majority of their electorates. Saudi Arabia must pay a high price when this is all over, preferably before its all over.

Posted by: harrylaw | Oct 6 2016 11:04 utc | 56

@55: it even goes beyond Israel's interests in the region. Too many parties have interests in removing Assad, like
sunni golf states eager to break this shiite resistance axis and their encirclement by it.
Israel to isolate and weaken or even destroy Hezbollah and so to diminish Iran's influence in the region
These countries alone have a incredible soft power and well able to push the US against their own interests in the region.

There are talks about gas pipeline routes from Qatar trough SA, Jordan and Syria, connecting to Turkeys piplines to supply Qatar gas to Europe.
If true and a connection over the Mediterranean is not possible (I think it is possible), this supply of gas would be in the interests of the US, by which they would rival Russian gas attacking its main source of income.
Remember that the gas fields found in front of the Israeli/Lebanse coast needs to find its way to Europe too.

Posted by: slikkus | Oct 6 2016 11:37 utc | 57

"So far we see in the actions of primarily Western countries no concern for the humanitarian situation in Syria, but the desire to protect al-Nusra and affiliated forces and militant groups," Zakharova said.

Read more:

Posted by: LEvel3 | Oct 6 2016 11:55 utc | 58

I think that Russia and China and the SCO represent Nemesis for the USA.
Posted by: Razor_Edge | Oct 6, 2016 3:10:58 AM | 49

Nemesis for the US is mainly the US itself I would argue. Other would-be powers only have sit back and watch the US fumble south on it's way through a reality that it builds for itself...a reality that it expects other nations buy into.
If the US is an Empire, it will be seen as an incredibly foolish Empire. The winners of the war get to make final corrections to the pages of history, and this Empire hasn't won a war in some time. The empire's parasitic corporations have won over time however, yet corporate monsters dont care for history...todays vampires care only for profits of any shape.
So while Hillary Clinton of the NYC Theives Guild and her partner in crime Bill give €125K/hr talks to Goldman Sachs big nobs on details of what change in financial legislature may or may not occur in the near future, countries like China will continue to engage the contrarian economists to relay stories of the ongoing wind down of the western hegemon...stories like the one about the currency wars that are an inevitable part of a failing global private debt backed money systems, or why nation states are choosing to uncouple themselves from unelected centralised governments.
Russia and China will oversee the wind down of the US Empire as hegemon, and they will try to do it without fanfare as they both have no interest in seeing massive US collapse. US will be it's own Nemisis as Russia and China wait for the US to wake from it's very own Hollywood fantasy.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Oct 6 2016 11:57 utc | 59

@ h | 39

More than 1,000 Iraqi Shiite militants have traveled from Iraq since early September, joining the ranks of as many as 4,000 others already on the ground near Aleppo, the militia leaders and Syrian rebels said. They make up about half of the regime’s estimated ground force of 10,000.

Thats the most curious part, the rest is the usual garbage. Why on Earth wsj assumes Syria's total ground forces (army, volunteers, Hezb, Iranians, Afghanis, Iraqis, now Russians too) is just 10k? It doesnt make any sense. Syria would have lost war long time ago if they had so few soldiers, facing 100+k of terrorists with massive support by US and its stooges.

The only reason I can think off, its a part of propaganda campaign, "regime has so few soldiers, so a small surgical cruise missiles campaign against Syria's airfields will finish off Assad, promise!"

@ jfl | 52

I worry about Marine Le Pen, Empire would absolutely hate if she not only says the truth, but also becomes the president of a major NATO country. I dont really look into France politics, has character assassination campaign already started against her? If that wont work, actual assassination (cue Gladio) might be in works, with blame put on terrorists or Russia, whichever will be more convenient, or both.

Posted by: Harry | Oct 6 2016 12:05 utc | 60

Lina Arabi has a good one on her Twitter A/c:

According to the French diplomats in Turtle Bay, Aleppo is Gaza:

Guess AMC- funded by th eFrench govt must be doing a fine job :

Posted by: Yul | Oct 6 2016 12:48 utc | 61

AFP: Finally the word 'hostages' is used for East Aleppo

De Mistura said if the militants lay down their weapons "in dignity" and leave, he would "personally" accompany them out. He said the militant are in essence holding "hostage" roughly 275,000 people in Aleppo. The U.N. considers the Nusra Front a terrorist group.

Posted by: virgile | Oct 6 2016 12:49 utc | 62

In Response to “Blues” @ 7.

Not just the Neocons or the sociopaths. All of us ultimately have an interest. We in the West - even in Germany - are living above our income and Russia and China really do threaten the Pax Americana that makes this happy state of affairs possible. There’s the problem. Our pensions and savings are on the line, not to mention what goes to the cronies and the .1 per cent.

Think of the West as a starving predator that sees prey just over the fence. The cries of indignation coming out of Washington and the European capitals are because that fence is nuclear and we're not sure how to get round it. What we see in Syria and the Ukraine, and might see in Serbia and various other places we're active in, are our attempts to get round the fence.

The primary objection to all this is that there are people living in all these places. We get them fighting each other - not difficult since their countries are usually on the verge of falling apart anyway - support one side or the other with munitions and Special Forces and then say “What a mess. Must go in and sort it out." In amongst it all millions die or lose their homes.

Revolting business and we should all wake up and stop being part of it. Except there are those pensions and savings to think about, of course.

English Outsider

Posted by: EnglishOutsider | Oct 6 2016 13:03 utc | 63

It is all about US pride.

How can the USA accepts that Russia, Syria and Iran are able to destroy Al Qaeda's haven within a year when they have failed to do so in Mosul and the decades long attempts to eradicate it in Afghanistan, Yemen and Egypt?

The USA appears 'smaller and smaller' now in the eyes of many thanks to Obama's overcautious avoidance of committing the US into a war that would inevitably create US troops and civilians casualties. Russia and Iran have not stopped at that short sighted consideration. They accept the fact that terrorism is like a gangrene. If you have allowed it spread by negligence then you may have to cut off the wounded member before it spreads even more.
No wonder Trump's aggressive attitude is popular.

Posted by: virgile | Oct 6 2016 13:03 utc | 64

UN often contradicts US, but in due time acquiesces to US. Think of Old Pat Lehey's "sternly worded letters".

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 6 2016 13:12 utc | 65

It looks like di Mistura has just admitted East Aleppo is about to fall.

Eastern Aleppo could be destroyed by Christmas, warns UN envoy for Syria

Only 900 jihadis left, who he is willing lead out of Aleppo personally. It'll be a great, great, victory for Asad. The definitive turning-point of the war.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 6 2016 13:18 utc | 66

To go along with the imminent collapse of East Aleppo (long before Christmas, of course), there's also the imminent collapse of the British economy in the post-Brexit era. A massive crisis for Sterling is shaping up in the immediate future. It's not only the US government that is run by irresponsible idiots.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 6 2016 13:26 utc | 67

News on RT, that looks to be an official warning.

Russian MoD warns US-led coalition not to strike Syrian army

Posted by: djacko31 | Oct 6 2016 14:02 utc | 68

Russia has some new anti-aircraft missile systems up now and warned the collation to back off of Syria,so why is it nobody is listening ?
The issue is the same as always Greater Israel and LESSER USA.

Posted by: NobodsaysBOO | Oct 6 2016 14:19 utc | 69

@Laguerre | Oct 6, 2016 9:26:28 AM | 67 & 67

Thanks for the links. :-)

Would you believe this is the first time I read Guardian since Glenn Greenwald departure?

[Sarcasm on] How could the world stand idly by while SAA and Russian warplanes continue the slaughters Islamic oppositions rebel-held eastern Aleppo?

USA and the coalition of the willing must stopped the suffering of the Syrian's people. This is by far worst than Vietnam, Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Cambodia, Loa, Yemen and not forgetting Yugoslavia regime changed. I could go on, but what's the point? [Sarcasm off]

Coincidentally, French FM Ayrault and Russian's Lavrov having a news conference on RT live. What a load of trash!

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 6 2016 14:20 utc | 70

@djacko31 | Oct 6, 2016 10:02:58 AM | 68

Thanks for the link :-)

[Sarcasm on] "...adding in Syria there are numerous S-300 and S-400 air defense systems up and running.."

I dun believe anything both defensive systems never tested in battlefields, it's duds as far as I can see. I still believe USA have far more superior anything Russia can bring out.

Peace me fren, Peace to coalition of the willing and the Islamic oppositions. [Sarcasm off].

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 6 2016 14:32 utc | 71

Re: Posted by: Wwinsti | Oct 6, 2016 3:18:17 AM | 50

The partition of Syria? That will not find favour unless the Assad section includes almost the entire Eastern border with Iraq - we are a long way from that scenario at present!

Posted by: Jules | Oct 6 2016 14:36 utc | 72

Re: Posted by: jfl | Oct 6, 2016 4:10:54 AM | 52

Marine Le Pen could well be the last hope for World Peace come next April/May. I really can't see an insurgent winning in Germany - there are too many stooges willing to step into Merkel's shoes if she's deposed as seems almost certain.

Posted by: Jules | Oct 6 2016 14:38 utc | 73

Take a look at msm in the west today, horrendus warpropaganda, this is the very reason the new media are so important! Spread links guys, through that we might make a small change, stop more wars etc.

Posted by: 500 | Oct 6 2016 14:48 utc | 74

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Oct 6, 2016 6:10:15 AM | 55

The US (Neocons) doesn't want to fight another major war itself in the region - it wants others to do so to further its interests. The aim is a long protracted war between the two blocks over Syria, with western support able to tip the scales in favour of one side or the other at any moment.

Posted by: smuks | Oct 6 2016 14:59 utc | 75

It's getting increasingly obvious that there's open conflict between the State Department and the Pentagon. So it doesn't make sense any more to speak of 'Washington's goals' or 'US strategies', you have to say which faction within the US you are referring to.

As for Aleppo, my guess is that its liberation would be seen as major failure of US foreign policy, so they don't want it to happen just before the elections. Which is why there's all sorts of threats lately, some empty (ending talks), others maybe more serious (Gulf states sending more powerful weapons).

Posted by: smuks | Oct 6 2016 15:09 utc | 76

An Israeli Air Force pilot was killed Wednesday after ejecting from his F-16 fighter jet while attempting to land at the Ramon air base in southern Israel, the army said.

Posted by: ALberto | Oct 6 2016 15:09 utc | 77

As many as 44 Afghan troops go missing while on US military training visits – Pentagon

....44 more Headchoppers embedded in the USA to make us more safer?

Posted by: Jack Smith | Oct 6 2016 15:12 utc | 78

Thursday October 6, 2016 You cannot make this stuff up ...

Finally, the New York Times published a front-page lead article Wednesday warning that Russia was using the period between now and the January 2017 inauguration of the next US president as a “window of opportunity” to “move aggressively” in providing military support for the Syrian government. The article favorably reports proposals for US air strikes and goes on to cite unnamed US officials as arguing that Washington could turn Syria into a “quagmire” for Russia, “particularly if the Arab states that support the rebels supply them with antiaircraft weapons and Islamic terrorists decide to retaliate by attacking Russian cities.”

Among the most explicit examples is an opinion column by John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, published in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal. McCain indicts the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, for having “slaughtered countless civilians” through “relentless, indiscriminate bombing.” This is being written by an individual who was one of the most enthusiastic proponents of the “shock and awe” war in Iraq that cost over 1 million Iraqi lives.

Posted by: ALberto | Oct 6 2016 15:25 utc | 80

In his latest analysis, the Saker admits that US forces in the region outnumber the Russians and probably would win in all out confrontation.

But Russia would make US pay a heavy price and could retaliate on other fronts.

Posted by: Vollin | Oct 6 2016 15:45 utc | 81

re 76

As for Aleppo, my guess is that its liberation would be seen as major failure of US foreign policy, so they don't want it to happen just before the elections.
I'm sure no-one would disagree. The question is whether they can prevent it without a major escalation of the war, i.e. US in direct conflict with Russia, which could have consequences reaching far, far, beyond November 8th, or whatever the date of your election is.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 6 2016 15:51 utc | 82

Alberto @60 - McCain is also responsible as Chair of the Sen Armed Forces committee to cobble together the Pentagon's Christmas Tree, aka annual military operation budget, every year. Funding for the Pentagon's and I believe (not a hundred percent certain, but I believe the CIA annual budget as well. This is but one of the vehicle's funding U.S. proxies everywhere engaged in covert wars.

Harry said - @ h | 39

"More than 1,000 Iraqi Shiite militants have traveled from Iraq since early September, joining the ranks of as many as 4,000 others already on the ground near Aleppo, the militia leaders and Syrian rebels said. They make up about half of the regime’s estimated ground force of 10,000."

"Thats the most curious part, the rest is the usual garbage. Why on Earth wsj assumes Syria's total ground forces (army, volunteers, Hezb, Iranians, Afghanis, Iraqis, now Russians too) is just 10k? It doesnt make any sense. Syria would have lost war long time ago if they had so few soldiers, facing 100+k of terrorists with massive support by US and its stooges."

Your question is one that leaves me scratching my head. Maybe they are trying to say they, SAA and et al, are too weak or too small for the U.S. to even consider going through the exercise of securing authorized military force. Just a guess. And not a very good one at that.

Here are a couple of links to Syria/Aleppo folks may be interested in reading -

Battle of Aleppo is End of History in the Middle East by M.K. Bhadrakumar -

Did I Say That? State Department Official Admits Ties to Terrorist Groups by Mike Whitney - (I think jfl may have already posted this link but just in case...)

The Real Reason the US Can't Separate Moderates from Al Qaeda in Syria by Tony Cartalucci -

Happy Reading...

Posted by: h | Oct 6 2016 15:57 utc | 83

If anyone needed further proof that 9/11 was an Inside Job, then what is happening to Syria should remove all doubts that the USA was attacked by certain actors, like the CIA, MOSSAD, NSA and traitorous elements in the Pentagon on that day.

In Syria, the USA is giving air support and political cover to Fatah al Sham, which was al Nusra, which had been al Qaeda in Syria.

In other words, Barry and Co are supporting the same thugs that we've been told six million times attacked the USA on 9/11.

Posted by: Greg Bacon | Oct 6 2016 16:07 utc | 84

How close to the end are we now?

Posted by: Copeland | Oct 6 2016 16:08 utc | 85

@48 paul / @52 jfl / @ 55 richard steve hack / @ 63 englishoutsider - thanks all for saying all that..

@81 vollin.. what region is that in reference to?

Posted by: james | Oct 6 2016 16:12 utc | 86

this article by sundance on the Conserative Tree House deserves a read. It sets the context of Benghazi and goes into other matters. (lybia, syria.) - well sourced (as far as that is poss! ok and make up own minds and so on...) and speaks to different US official bodies being at odds. from 2014.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 6 2016 16:15 utc | 87

@ 81

The Saker says that it is possible to establish a no fly zone but the cost would be overwhelming. One thing the Saker
has not taken into account is whether the part of the US fleet operating from the Persian Gulf would be safe from
attacks by Yakhont missiles and other such goodies.

But maybe the top brass wants an expensive war so that it can ask for more trillions from the US taxpayer.

Posted by: CarlD | Oct 6 2016 16:25 utc | 88

Can someone confirm the Russian ultimatum list the was reported on Ria Novosti? I haven't been able to establish it's legitimacy. No one else in the news seems to be talking about what is, in my estimation, a profoundly important and strong step by the Russian government.

Posted by: Bakerpete | Oct 6 2016 16:33 utc | 89

Canada's Foreign Minister: His (US) Master's voice...

Stephane Dion Condemns Russia Over Escalating Fighting in Syria

"Dion says Canada supports the US..."

Meanwhile Canada's 'left' parliamentary opposition, the NDP urges support for White Helmets' Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted by: John Gilberts | Oct 6 2016 16:38 utc | 90

re: EnglishOutsider | Oct 6, 2016 9:03:11 AM | 63

{quote}Not just the Neocons or the sociopaths. All of us ultimately have an interest. We in the West - even in Germany - are living above our income and Russia and China really do threaten the Pax Americana that makes this happy state of affairs possible. There’s the problem. Our pensions and savings are on the line, not to mention what goes to the cronies and the .1 per cent.
Revolting business and we should all wake up and stop being part of it. Except there are those pensions and savings to think about, of course.{end quote} -- EnglishOutsider

With all due respect, I have long pondered the argument you just gave and have come to the firm conclusion that it's just total nonsense. The peasants cannot just "wake up" and stop being part of it", since we simply are not part of it at all. We have zero power and we make no decisions. Mostly through the voting machine, choose-one voting system, we are only able to vote for so-called "lesser evils". The choose-one voting method traps would-be voters within a corporate elite (arrogapath) sponsored two-party system that always features two "lesser evils" who generally are both in thrall to the arrogapaths. As I have stated, all this would be be substantially disrupted by the use of hand counted paper ballots and strategic simple score voting. These may not provide perfect protection from rigging and manipulation, but they would be adequate. Consider: You can kill people just as dead with stones as with guns, but licenses for possessing stones are nonexistent for a reason.

The peasants certainly did not have any say in the matter when all of the industry in cities like Detroit were not shipped off to foreign lands, and all of their productional jobs were thus lost. Nor do they have any say regarding the many, many ruinous wars "ostensibly" being fought over hydrocarbon fuels. We should be trying to develop fusion reactors based on "aneutronic" "inertial confinement" rather than "magnetic confinement", which obviously will never work. But the insane arrogapaths decree that we must fight wars for oil, and spend hundreds of billions on hopeless "magnetic confinement" fusion.

The peasants gain nothing from these disastrous policies, but the political system provides them with absolutely no power to alter the course set by the insane rulers.

So no, the peasants cannot just "wake up and stop being part of it".

In other news:
{quote} Russian MoD warns US-led coalition against airstrikes targeting Syrian Army
Russia’s Defense Ministry has cautioned the US-led coalition of carrying out airstrikes on Syrian army positions, adding that Syria has numerous S-300 and S-400 air defense systems up and running.

US-led coalition jets bombed positions of the Syrian government forces on September 17, resulting in the deaths of 83 servicemen. Washington said the airstrike was a mistake, however Damascus claimed the incident was a “blatant aggression.”

DETAILS TO FOLLOW {end quote} --
RT Com -- Oct. 6, 2016

Posted by: blues | Oct 6 2016 16:41 utc | 91

Alright, I've found this link but would still like others to confirm this is accurate please.

Posted by: Bakerpete | Oct 6 2016 16:41 utc | 92

Russian Major General Igor Konashenkov:

"I point out to all the 'hotheads' that following the September 17 coalition airstrike on the Syrian Army in Deir ez-Zor we took all necessary measures to exclude any similar 'accidents' happening to Russian forces in Syria," Konashenkov said.

Ria Novasti

From RT:

“Russian air defense system crews are unlikely to have time to determine in a ‘straight line’ the exact flight paths of missiles and then who the warheads belong to. And all the illusions of amateurs about the existence of ‘invisible’ jets will face a disappointing reality,” Konashenkov added.

Posted by: Copeland | Oct 6 2016 17:00 utc | 93

re: Copeland | Oct 6, 2016 1:00:39 PM | 93

None of the above links, including the one "From RT", point to RT. And Firefox claims the site at that address is dangerous and misconfigured.

Posted by: blues | Oct 6 2016 17:10 utc | 94

blues - try this one over at the duran -

Posted by: h | Oct 6 2016 17:32 utc | 95

Harry | Oct 6, 2016 8:05:22 AM | 60

"More than 1,000 Iraqi Shiite militants have traveled from Iraq since early September, joining the ranks of as many as 4,000 others already on the ground near Aleppo, the militia leaders and Syrian rebels said. They make up about half of the regime’s estimated ground force of 10,000."

"Thats the most curious part, the rest is the usual garbage. Why on Earth wsj assumes Syria's total ground forces (army, volunteers, Hezb, Iranians, Afghanis, Iraqis, now Russians too) is just 10k? It doesnt make any sense. Syria would have lost war long time ago if they had so few soldiers, facing 100+k of terrorists with massive support by US and its stooges."

Two points here:
I think that's referring to the ground forces for the Battle of Aleppo. MSM estimates suggest there are 5,000 terrorists in Aleppo, so for urban warfare, the toughest form of warfare, you'd probably need a ground force of about 20,000. But de Mistura is saying there are about 1,000 Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in the city and since they're supposed to be the majority of terrorist fighters that suggests that there about 2,000 terrorists remaining. My guess is that the Syrians and Russians have a much better idea of the number of terrorists than they're letting on to. Taking Aleppo with 5,000 terrorists seems more important than if there are less than 2,000. But for a terrorist force of 2,000, a ground force of 10,000 should be adequate, but I hope they've all been put through an intensive urban warfare battle school.
The other point I've noticed is that certain MSM particularly the Guardian has been pushing the sectarian point that many of the soldiers on the government side are foreigners and Shiites - presenting this as a sectarian war of occupation against the oppressed Sunni majority, a frequent Saudi PR claim. The Guardian should change it's title to Der Stuermer.

Posted by: Ghostship | Oct 6 2016 17:49 utc | 96

sorry blues, I don't know what's up with that. I use a midori browser and am using an antique computer.
A search engine inquiry for RT or Ria Novasti (Sputnik) will give today's story, which seems to give a grim report in the news from Syria.

Posted by: Copeland | Oct 6 2016 17:53 utc | 97

@blues and all since it's an important piece of news: link to RT.

Russia has by this de facto declared any attack on Syria an attack on Russia.

Considering who runs the US now it might not ever matter but if you can then please vote for Trump. It will still remain an uphill battle for sanity in the US even if he gets elected but it has to start somewhere.

Posted by: Outsider | Oct 6 2016 18:02 utc | 98

re: Copeland | Oct 6, 2016 1:53:00 PM | 97

The Midori browser is said to be extremely "lightweight" so it probably has much less protection than Firefox. So that's understandable.

I generally give complete, non-URL shortened, non-HTMLed links. Then people can see where they are going.

Posted by: blues | Oct 6 2016 18:02 utc | 99

@96 I seem to remember reading something about '100,000 rebel fighters' somewhere. Maybe Kerry said it. Unfortunately I didn't keep the link so don't quote me.

Posted by: dh | Oct 6 2016 18:07 utc | 100

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