Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 28, 2017

The End Of Mingling - "Moderate Rebels" Join Al-Qaeda In Syria

There was a lot of confusion about the infighting in the "rebel" held Idleb governate in Syria. The situation is now clearing up. After other tricks, like renaming the group, did not work to deceive, al-Qaeda finally pulled back the veil. It is no longer hiding between the "moderate rebels" but is now (again) a clearly identifiable groups. Groups near to al-Qaeda integrated with it, other groups split with significant parts joining the al-Qaeda organization.

Qalaat Al Mudiq @QalaatAlMudiq
N. #Syria: Tahrir Al-Sham Corps is born. Zinki, #JFS, Jaish Al-Sunna, Ansar Al-Din & Liwa Al-Haq merged under unified leadership (Abu Jaber)

The Zinki (Zengi) group had CIA support and received anti-tank weapons from the U.S. and its Gulf proxies. JFS is the short form of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the official al-Qaeda group in Syria. It is the strongest "rebel" group on the ground. Abu Jabar is a former Ahrar al-Sham leader who had long argued for integrating both groups. The Turkish and U.S. supported Ahrar al Sham has now officially split. The probably larger part under Abu Jabar has joined al-Qaeda.


The "new" Hayyat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) is not a coalition of the various groups but THE new al-Qaeda group on the ground with a unified command and ideological structure. The operative military leader is Abu Jabar while the founder of al-Qaeda in Syria, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, will stay in the background as the overall emir of the group. Hayyat Tahrir Al-Sham has a military alliance in Idleb with the smaller local ISIS group Jund al-Aqsa. Joining with them is not (yet) convenient.

The now further enlarged al-Qaeda formation under the new name Tahrir Al-Sham is by far the biggest "rebel" dog in the Idleb-region town with now many more than its previous 10,000 active fighters. Of all other groups the "moderate" side of the split Ahrar al-Sham is the biggest one. It is estimated to have some 5,000 fighters. Left beside it are just splinters of those groups (like Zinki) that mainly crossed over to al-Qaeda. Some local warlords and their small gangs are also still around. These groups will continue to receive Turkish and U.S. support. But they will have no chance against the much more powerful al-Qaeda collective.

The leader of al-Qaeda in Syria al-Julani made a huge mistake by initiating this open split from the "moderates". The group can now no longer hide by "mingling" with the CIA supported "moderates". When it is attacked by the Syrian government it can no longer claim to be a victim. As it is a UN designated terrorist group it will receive no significant outside support. It can not even go into guerrilla mode because the "fish" (the guerrilla) will have no "water" (a sympathetic local population) to swim in.

This plays well into the Russian hands which initiated the Astana peace conference exactly for this purpose. The U.S. under Obama and Kerry had declared it impossible to separate al-Qaeda in Syria from the "moderate rebels" it supported. The Astana conference and in its consequence the now open al-Qaeda conflict with the "moderates" achieved the separation. The "moderates" left now can only join al-Qaeda, make peace with the Syrian government and its allies or flee the country to survive.


In other news the Syrian government forces have finally recaptured the Ayn al-Feejah in Wadi Barada that supplies Damascus with drinking water. 5.5 million people were cut off from tap water when the Takfiris captured, poisoned and blocked the spring 44 days ago. After three earlier deals had failed the now defeated Takfirs agreed to being transported to Idleb.

Posted by b on January 28, 2017 at 19:56 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Thanks to Trump, we may finally see the end of Al-Qaeda "mingling" at the points of entry into the USA. Let the Germans and French admit as much of this scum as they want, lol. Today is beautiful day.

Posted by: telescope | Jan 28 2017 20:08 utc | 1

Takfiris blocked the spring? But Bellingcat said Assad barrel-bombed it, and those guys are smart. They use the intertubes.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 28 2017 20:10 utc | 2

And in an on-topic note, what does this mean for the so-called Turkish SDF? They were mostly al Zinki or turkomen (or both) - do they get a free pass because of the SDF thing, or are they with the Zinki freaks that joined Da Real al Sham? Now we have to separate the Tahrir head-choppers from the Turkish army before we bomb them. It's like playing Whack-a-Mole on drugs, for God's sake. Not that I would know... I mean, it's just an example. But it's just like that. Trust me.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 28 2017 20:22 utc | 3

b, have you considered safeguarding the MoA Archive for future historical use? You should probably do so. I read about Friedrich Kellner earlier, who did OSInt work in Nazi Germany, and now is a valuable source on the question of how much people actually knew about the state of affairs. I was reminded of you.

Posted by: persiflo | Jan 28 2017 20:30 utc | 4

I'm glad to hear that Damascus can look forward to an adequate supply of drinking water. One piece of good news is always welcome!

Posted by: Quentin | Jan 28 2017 20:43 utc | 5

What a Pyrrhic victory taking back Wadi Barada from the rebels. Syria is rapidly running out of water. Back in 2007 there were water shortages that kept people from using the water much of the day. The groundwater in Syria has been exhausted through the irrigation of cotton fields, an export crop. On top of this, climate change has created a drought that has lasted for the past 8 years, worse than California's. The only way to sustain development in such a semiarid terrain is to adopt drip irrigation and even to begin using desalinated sea water but that would require an enormous capital expense that the Baathists can ill afford. The nation has been bankrupted by 6 years of war and doubly compromised by Rami Makhlouf and other crony capitalists salting away money in Panama banks. Assad will be ruling over a corpse basically. None of this was necessary. If the Baathists and their rich bastard supporters had accepted some other servant of their interests to rule the country, that would have mollified the opposition. But this guy was such a zealot that he delivered on the promise of his supporters: "Bashar or the country burns".

Posted by: Louis Proyect | Jan 28 2017 20:50 utc | 6

@3 The part of Zinki that Turkey is babysitting in the north merged with Faylaq al-Sham.

Posted by: Jesrad | Jan 28 2017 20:59 utc | 7

Poor Louis Proyect. Your side is losing badly. Now all you can do is whine that Assad is guilty of not preventing the terrible drought. Unfortunately, you and your foolish comrades supported Jihadists and their head chopping allies who would have purged Syria of it Christian, Alawite, Shiite, druze, kurd, etc citizens in order to install the perfect Wahabbi (is that now another Trotskid sect?) that could have led the entire ME into a perfect utopian future consisting of an internationalist worker vanguard.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 28 2017 21:15 utc | 8

b, 'Tahrir Al-Sham is by far the biggest ... with now many more than its previous 10,000 active fighters.'

so how many 'fighters' does the new, amalgamated al cia duh of syria actually have? how does that compare with daesh? i have the feeling that al cia duh is now larger than and perhaps better supported than daesh? al cia duh is supported by the eponymous cia and gcc? daesh still draws from those same two fonts? the turks are running all those who don't fit into al cia duh or daesh? or are on sabbatical, or just moonlighting?

will tee-rump continue the us support for terror - both directly through al cia duh and indirectly through the gcc?

i know that last is t-h-e question.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 28 2017 21:23 utc | 9

@8, ts, 'internationalist worker vanguard'

aka the dictatorship of the proletariat ... the nomenklatura ... the jacobins. indistinguishable in practice from the salafist capitalists.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 28 2017 21:27 utc | 10

Louis 'the clown' Proyect proffers the fake-ist of fake news. A mere change of leadership would not have satisfied the foreign head-choppers.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 28 2017 21:33 utc | 11

One thing is for sure about 99% of al-Qaeda leadership and its financiers will still enjoy freely traveling into amerika since Trump's 'muslim' ban has left Saudi Arabia off his list. The order is apparently aimed at Shia, you know that mob who abhor suicide bombing and killing civilians. I guess Donny's mates in the oil industry had a quiet word eh.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 28 2017 22:10 utc | 12

Louis Proyect, what artful dribble. ToivoS has it right. But let's add some details:

Without ISIS and other jiahdi terrorists, what would Syria look like today? Deir Ezzor would have been a center of trade between Iran and Syria and Iraq. Iran and Syria had planned to link up their power grids in Deir Ezzor; Iran was also going to extend its railway system into Syria. And there was that joint Russian-Iranian-Syrian plan to pipe Iranian gas to Turkey and the Mediterranean, eventually supplying Europe. Economic growth and prosperity.

But Israel and Saudi Arabia and Qatar couldn't handle that vision. The GCC countries have large Shia populations, mostly on top of their oil fields - they might demand democratic representation. And Israel, well, they're run by paranoid nutcases sitting on a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons, they're trying to banish all Arabs to South African-style Bantustans, and yet are in dread of Iran? The House of Saud, their ally, lives in perpetual fear of replacement by parliamentary democracy and so finances radical nutcase Wahhabist-Salafi terrorism all over the region.

Meanwhile Trump bans visa travel from a set of Muslim countries not implicated in ISIS terrorism! Strange. I found this funny comment about that via Google:

Maybe Iran should negotiate with the Trump organization to build a Trump Towers in Teheran and a golf resort in Shiraz. Just think of the marvelous carpets that could decorate the club house. Then, perhaps, they’ll get the same consideration as the Saudis from the current Administration. - Sic Semper Tyrannis.

At the very least, we should put Iran on the same basis as Saudi Arabia, and Israel, well, send them some psychologists and therapists?

This leaves one problem: what to do with all the crazy foreign fighters who've entered Syria and joined Al Qaeda and ISIS? Maybe Putin can re-open the Siberian gulags? Kinder, gentler gulags, of course. Healthy exercise, decent food, calming surroundings?

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 28 2017 22:35 utc | 13

Hard to say what this means, really depends on what Trump will do. If he really changes course, maybe it was not so much a 'huge mistake' as part of the plan: Washington needs new 'facts on the ground' if it wants to adopt a new Syria strategy.

Anyway...I had always wondered whether Ahrar al-Sham and JaN were actually two separate entities, or rather the same thing with different flags, to be used according to the situation. Maybe will never know.

Posted by: smuks | Jan 28 2017 22:39 utc | 14

ToivoS@8, Jackrabbit@11, nonsense factory@13

Sorry, but Louis Proyect@6 is basically right. I would only argue that Whether the Baathists replaced Assad or not is immaterial. The greedy psychopaths were ill-equipped psychologically to set aside profitable export schemes for a few years and deal with the drought. One could almost argue that Assad was actually opposed to the Baathist mafia on this one point, but far too meekly to make any difference. There were a whole chain of apparently bad decisions that lead up to 2012. This isn't the sole reason for Syria's dismal state at the time, but it's a pretty representative symptom.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 28 2017 23:11 utc | 15

FSA and "moderate" are brand names that Syrian rebels and terrorist use when they operate under U.S. command or with U.S. provided weapons. "FSA" may be little more then the name of weapons warehouses and the logistic network that moves them to Syria.

If FSA closes shop as a result of the Trump presidency, then the end of the "moderate" branding is inevitable.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jan 28 2017 23:30 utc | 16

Oh? And what is the expected role of their masters: CIA, Mossad, US govt (aka: deep state)?

I don't see them at the table, and until they are ... the only question is: If Syria is off the table for the time being ... who is next?

I'm betting Iran if the Trump is to be believed.

Posted by: rg the lg | Jan 28 2017 23:37 utc | 17

So, is the Pink Revolution an attempt by the deep state to make the president (put in place by the deplorables) removed?

The lumpen have spoken ... not the elites/oligarchs are sponsoring revolution?

Fascinating ... ya gotta love it!

Posted by: rg the lg | Jan 28 2017 23:57 utc | 18

jfl @ 9 said: "will tee-rump continue the us support for terror - both directly through al cia duh and indirectly through the gcc?"

THAT, my friends, is the main question. Is it not?

Debs @ 12 mentions another highly relevant fact:"One thing is for sure about 99% of al-Qaeda leadership and its financiers will still enjoy freely traveling into amerika since Trump's 'muslim' ban has left Saudi Arabia off his list."

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Looks like more smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: ben | Jan 29 2017 0:05 utc | 19


Yes there was a drought. Yes it was handled poorly. But plans to destabilize Syria were outlined in 2006 as per Sy Hersh in "The Redirection". And at what point was Assad's departure demanded? My understanding is the protest movement was compromised from the start.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2017 0:23 utc | 20

ToivoS@8, Jackrabbit@11, nonsense factory@13

Sorry, but Louis Proyect@6 is basically right. I would only argue that Whether the Baathists replaced Assad or not is immaterial. Posted by: PavewayIV

Quite innumerate comment. There is an order of magnitude difference between providing adequate water supply to urban areas and to agriculture. I do not know if rainfall in Anti-Lebanon mountains (in the context of war news, Qalamoun) was severely affected by climate change, but it remains fairly high, and this rainfall feeds the flows captured in Wadi Barada. Combination of smaller rainfalls and Turks damming rivers that cross the border was a blow to traditional agriculture in Syria, but like Los Angeles and San Diego, Syrian metropolitan areas should not be threatened by thirst, in the absence of war, of course.

For that matter, Israel is en route to the elimination of Dead Sea, and to grabbing the last drop of water from West Bank, and thus it enjoys Pyrrhic victory at the moment, as it rapidly increasing number of people has to make it with slowly decreasing amount of water. People with foresight invest in the real estate in Chukotka: this winter is milder on the shores of Bering Straight than in Pennsylvania!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 29 2017 0:36 utc | 21

Sorry, but Louis Proyect@6 is basically right.
Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 28, 2017 6:11:07 PM | 15

Louis is a Christian-Zionist dickhead & Liar watching the Yinon-inspired fake "civil war" in Syria collapsing in front of his beady little eyes. The fact is that The Empire's attempts to delegitimise the popularly-elected Assad Government and transfer power over Syria's future to Washington and London's Banksters, has run into (Russian) 'headwinds' and The Empire hasn't the balls to salvage the SNAFU.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 29 2017 0:47 utc | 22

Turkey has u-turned on Syria, therefore it has significantly reduced the funds it was providing to 'moderates' rebels intermingled with Al Nusra. On the other hand Qatar has reaffirmed that it will continue to fund Al Nusra as long as they fight Bashar al Assad.
Therefore to survive many moderates have moved to Al Nusra. The others are debating surrendering to the Syrian army or moving to Turkey. It is mater of time for the USA cracks down on Qatar. Al Nusra will collapse.

This is the political and military end of the 'moderates'.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 29 2017 1:00 utc | 23

Putin and Trump agree to try to rebuild U.S.-Russia ties, cooperate in Syria - (Reuters)

The most tangible outcome of the phone call, as the Kremlin described it, appeared to be what it said was an understanding that jointly fighting international terrorism was a priority and that the two nations should cooperate in Syria.

"The presidents spoke in favor of setting up genuine coordination between Russian and American actions with the aim of destroying Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria," the Kremlin said.


The Kremlin said Trump and Putin had agreed to establish "partner-like cooperation" when it came to other global issues such as Ukraine, Iran's nuclear program, tensions on the Korean peninsula and the Israeli-Arab conflict.


Posted by: Outraged | Jan 29 2017 1:36 utc | 24

White House: Trump, Putin discuss working together on Syria, Islamic State - (Reuters)

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin talked about how they could work together on fighting Islamic State and achieving peace in Syria, the White House said on Saturday.

"The positive call was a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair," the White House said in a brief statement about the hour-long call, released hours after it ended and long after the Kremlin gave its account of the conversation.

"Both President Trump and President Putin are hopeful that after today's call the two sides can move quickly to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern," the White House said.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 29 2017 1:42 utc | 25

# ben # 19 yeah I think we're both just basically pissing in the wind - they're not listening - still too in love with the orange man - while we're on that am I the only one who has noticed that the trumpet's hair colour has changed, from the pinky sorta Grecian 2000 tint to a straight presidential grey?

I said I would give the trumpet a go, that I wasn't gonna diss him until/unless he did something really stupid or egregious, this ban on students finishing their studies is just fucking wrong on so many levels that I'm down on the creep exactly as much as I was on Oblamblam or the shrub.
I cannot think of a single instance where anyone from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen, the countries listed on the trumpet's 'executive order' has done anything even vaguely terroristic in amerika.
On the other hand I can remember a mob of examples of when people from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel & Qatar have done bad shit that killed civilians.
Speaking of Qatar, AJ news this morning was side splitting stupid in it's effort to criticise the ban without mentioning the elephant. At one point when they were interviewing a youngish Muslim immigrant who is apparently a regular AJ talent, he made the point that the ban avoided any of the nations who had actually engendered people who committed violent political acts on amerikan soil. It was just in passing without naming names & he was extremely disconcerted when the idiot talking head said "So actual sources or terrorism have been left off the list, can you tell me what countries they are?" There was an uncomfortable pause while the talent simultaneously squirmed and thought then said "Russia!" semi triumphantly yet timorously the talent continued, "The Russians have never been made to answer for the Boston marathon terrorism that came from close to the Russian region".

So despite the Russians having warned amerikan Homeland Security about Tamerlan Tsarnaev and on many occasions they also pointed out that amerikan assistance to Chechen resistance was not being helpful, now the whole thing is Russia's fault? Gimme a break this is just the same old same old ass wipe lies used to support every twisted vainglorious and fucked up amerikan regime since 1776.

Leaving Saudi off the list while putting the poor bastards from Yemen on, leads me to conclude this is just gonna be the same shit as always. I doubt the cheques to al Qaeda are gonns be disrupted for a day.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 29 2017 2:01 utc | 26

Obama’s administration made the “Muslim ban” possible and the media won’t tell you


"So I was outraged, and then I read the executive order. There are many full texts of the order online, such as at CNN, the NYT, the WSJ or Independent. According to most reports Trump was banning “nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least the next 90 days.” This bars people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

I had to see for myself, so I read the executive order.

But, wait a sec. According to the reports “The order bars all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.”

Critics had attacked Trump for selecting these seven countries and not selecting other states “linked to his sprawling business empire.” Bloomberg and Forbes bought into this.

But, wait a sec. I read the order and Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are NOT mentioned in it.

Go back and read it again. Do a “ctrl-f” to find “Iraq”. Where is “Iraq” in the order. It’s not there. ONLY Syria is there. So where are the seven nations? Where is the “Muslim ban”? It turns out this was a form of FAKE NEWS, or alternative facts. Trump didn’t select seven “Muslim-majority” countries. US President Barack Obama’s administration selected these seven Muslim-majority countries.

The Department of Homeland Security targeted these seven countries over the last years as countries of concern...

Posted by: SR6719 | Jan 29 2017 2:30 utc | 27

hoarsewhisper @ 22 said: " The fact is that The Empire's attempts to delegitimise the popularly-elected Assad Government and transfer power over Syria's future to Washington and London's Banksters, has run into (Russian) 'headwinds' and The Empire hasn't the balls to salvage the SNAFU.

You got it. b documented those goings on way back when. This was no grass-roots movement.
The Syrian snafu was caused by the empire and it's minions as part of it's quest for hegemony in the region.

Debs @ 26 said.."Leaving Saudi off the list while putting the poor bastards from Yemen on, leads me to conclude this is just gonna be the same shit as always. I doubt the cheques to al Qaeda are gonns be disrupted for a day."

Yep, IMO that's the litmus test for Mr. Trump. You can't seriously oppose "Terrorism", and not deal with Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: ben | Jan 29 2017 2:54 utc | 28

Well whatever the executive order says, it seems to be people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen who have been refused entry thus far. e.g. Two Iraqis traveling independently Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi were detained at JFK until the ACLU & other civil liberties organisations persuaded a judge to place a stay on their deportation so as to allow the paperwork from the trumpet's craziness to catch up with the actions the new regime has ordered.
Both these fellas are long term residents of amerika with families in amerika wondering WTF has happened to their loved one.
Whatever some stray blog claims, a Federal Judge is certainly of the opinion that the order applies to people from seven nations, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, which is why she has issued a national stay against deportation for anyone from them : "who was in flight en route to the US when the order was signed and landed with a valid visa".

Now I will be the first to concede that the graun makes up a big mob of lies and runs plenty of bullshit opinion pieces to support their untruths, but fabricating then publishing something as easily checkable as a judge's decision is a whole new level of deception for the graun to try on. I don't reckon they would since a move like that has a totally untenable ratio of risk to reward.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 29 2017 3:09 utc | 29

SR6719 | Jan 28, 2017 9:30:31 PM | 27

From SST.. "None of the countries are specifically named in the executive order. They are “countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12).”

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 29 2017 3:10 utc | 30

... So there was a Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, two years before Trump? There was a kind of “Muslim ban” before the Muslim ban? But almost no one critiqued it in 2015 because it was Obama’s administration overseeing it.

So for more than a year it has been US policy to discriminate against, target and even begin to ban people from the seven countries that Trump is accused of banning immigrants and visitors from. CNN even hinted at this by noting “those countries were named in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas as ‘countries of concern.'” But why didn’t CNN note that the seven countries were not named and that in fact they are only on the list because of Obama’s policy?

Because mainstream media has been purposely lying ... They want to blame Trump for a “Muslim ban” because they were ready with that script since last year.

And indeed Trump has enacted a harsh executive order cracking down on visitors from these countries (particularly Syrians), but his crackdown only includes those seven countries because of Obama’s policy. Trump’s decision to go beyond the policy and increase the Obama policy harms refugees, but it only increases an existing discriminatory policy, it doesn’t invent it. Reading media reports you would never know that. Most disingenuous, truly bordering on fake news, are the reports that claimed the seven countries were connected to Trump business interests, as if Obama’s DHS picked them because of Trump?

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 29 2017 3:34 utc | 31

@ Peter AU

You're right, apparently none of the seven countries are specifically named

Epic – Is Team Trump Baiting Liberal Media and Refugee Protesters By Using Obama’s Own Policy?…

"If you review the actual text of the executive order (copied below in full) what you will immediately notice is the order doesn’t specify ANY countries to be included in the Visa suspension (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen)."

Posted by: SR6719 | Jan 29 2017 3:35 utc | 32

@15, Trying to blame the civil war and destabilization of Syria on the drought is utterly ludicrous. California had a similarly severe drought, the worst on record, but hasn't dissolved into conflict and warfare. There are many more examples: Spain, Australia, Northern India, Northern China, Southeast Brazil - and yes, Syria.
As far as Assad's response, by Jan 2011 he was acknowledging the need for reforms - quite unlike the Saudis and Bahrainis, who cracked down on their protesters with tanks and the active support of Hillary Clinton, as the Clinton wikileaks files show.

DAMASCUS—Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who inherited a regime that has held power for four decades, said he will push for more political reforms in his country, in a sign of how Egypt's violent revolt is forcing leaders across the region to rethink their approaches. . . Mr. Assad said he would push through political reforms this year aimed at initiating municipal elections, granting more power to nongovernmental organizations and establishing a new media law. - WSJ Jan 2011

The U.S. was already secretly backing Syrian rebel groups by that time, as this story shows:

Syrian authorities “would undoubtedly view any U.S. funds going to illegal political groups as tantamount to supporting regime change,” read an April 2009 cable signed by the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Damascus at the time. “A reassessment of current U.S.-sponsored programming that supports anti-[government] factions, both inside and outside Syria, may prove productive,” the cable said.

If the covert regime change effort hadn't been in place, do you really think the drought would have caused this?

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 29 2017 3:49 utc | 33

Trump is not suspending visas from countries his team selected, they are simply suspending visa approval from countries President Obama selected. Additionally, Trump is suspending ALL visa applications from those countries – nothing to do with Muslim applications.

• In 2013 President Obama suspended refugees from Iraq for six months.
• In 2015 Congress passed, and Obama signed, a law restricting visas from states of concern;
• In 2016 Obama’s DHS, Jeh Johnson, expanded those restrictions.
... is taking the same action as Obama 2013, and applying Visa restrictions to the nation states Obama selected in 2015 and 2016.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 29 2017 3:51 utc | 34

When the Saudis are on the list, maybe, we'll have some fire to go with the smoke. Until then, BFD.

Posted by: ben | Jan 29 2017 3:53 utc | 35

Sorry, but Louis Proyect@6 is basically right.
Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 28, 2017 6:11:07 PM | 15

#'s 21 and 22 have adequately answered this nonsense. We all know that the neoliberal reforms Assad instituted and the drought exasperated social tensions inside Syria. These tensions were exploited by the Muslim Brotherhood and their sponsors to create the catastrophic war. Before the Syrian "Arab Spring" I was no fan of Bashaar Assad and that has not really changed. However, soon after it was clear that Syria was in the cross hairs of western imperialism and were using the jihadi terrorists as their mercenary army. At that point any self respecting person on the progressive left had no choice but to support the Syrian people in their struggle against foreign aggression'.

Paveway IV, this raises an interesting question about you. You sound like some kind of lefty, anti-imperialist type. Have you been infected with the Trotskid disease?

Posted by: ToivoS | Jan 29 2017 4:42 utc | 36

TS @ 36 said: "However, soon after it was clear that Syria was in the cross hairs of western imperialism and were using the jihadi terrorists as their mercenary army. At that point any self respecting person on the progressive left had no choice but to support the Syrian people in their struggle against foreign aggression'."

Yes! For those posters then, b made it very clear to all, that foreign aggression was the problem.

Posted by: ben | Jan 29 2017 4:58 utc | 37

hey b - thanks for this update!

@12 debsisdead.. that is real irony isn't it? headchopper country - saudi arabia and qatar - welcome to the usa!!! if you are shia from iran or whatever and not into headchopping - the usa doesn't want you.. funny how israel is on side with this ideology as well.. something very fishy and right on the surface for anyone with 1/2 a brain to see very quickly.. ditto @19 bens comment to you.. your comment @26 also needs to be heard more widely.. i can't believe this stupidity called usa foreign policy..has to be intentionally meant to be ugly. i see no other possibility..

@15 paveway.. i think the kleptomaniacs in syria would be hard pressed to be in a race with the ones running the usa or israel... everyone has issues with water and the availability of it.. it doesn't help all the dam projects that turkey is responsible for on the euphrates either.. i wouldn't be agreeing with yuk yuk or anything.. the guy is a first rate reject who is only selective in his choice of kleptomaniacs he would like to see in power... essentially reading down the comments, i am more in agreement with @20 jackrabbit, @21 petri,@ 33 nonsense factory and etc..

@16 petri.. i hope that happens..

@23 virgile.. i hope you are correct in the analysis..

@30 peter au... thanks.. ttg @sst's site on this.. it is the same as i said to debsisdead - iran on the list and saudi arabia is off.. up is down and down is up in usa orwellian foreign policy.. some things don't change..

Posted by: james | Jan 29 2017 4:59 utc | 38

Après Washington et Londres, Berlin change de politique étrangère

Chancellor Angela Merkel has swapped her Minister of Economics, Sigmar Gabriel, to the German Foreign Ministry.

Mr. Gabriel is a former trade unionist known for his criticism of the US imperial policy of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In particular, he advocated against the colonization of Afghanistan.

He strongly criticized the apartheid implemented by the Netanyahu government vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

He was the first Western leader to go to Iran after the signing of the 5 + 1 agreement.

He called for a solution to the Ukrainian conflict respecting the population of Donbass and Russian interests in the Crimea and called for the lifting of sanctions against Russia.

Concerning the conflict in Syria, he denounced the financing of Islamic terrorism by Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: ProPeace | Jan 29 2017 4:59 utc | 39


This is ALL on Trump! He was free to subtract or add whatever country he wanted; as he has no problem cancelling previous policy through executive order. The buck stops with him; no one twisted his arm. He knows exactly what he’s doing. If he’s playing political games with people’s lives then he’s even more sick than he’s demonstrated already.

Trump is using a fake AQ and ISIS excuse to ban Muslims from Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen because he knows that those countries are in a dire situation mostly because of U.S. policy, and the people there are fleeing in desperation. All through the campaign he demonized Muslim refugees smearing them with the ISIS brush.

Basically, he’s resorting to the terrorism justifies all manner of injustice, deception and repression excuse straight out of the Neocon playbook.

So let’s see: first he excuses the biggest sponsor of Wahhabi terrorism, Saudi Arabia. Then he probably checked his rolodex and excused every country where he has business partners, interests and holdings. Then he excused Pakistan, a Salafist haven; the country that harboured Bin-Laden and AQ in Waziristan.

In other words, AQ/ISIS is Trump’s blanket excuse for Muslim discrimination but these terrorist groups are not the ones being targeted as usual. So the U.S. completely destroys countries like Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen with the help of Israel and the Saudis and then it’s okay for Trump to slam the door on the people whose lives were devastated and are left with nothing and to separate families that already suffered so much.

So Iraq with the help of Iran are paying a big price helping to decimate ISIS, but instead of showing gratitude, Trump punishes their people; so this proves ISIS is not the real target. Iran that suffered years of crippling financial tyranny, but is a resilient and technically-advanced country with unlimited potential is once again targeted only because it’s on Israel’s hit list and there’s nothing Trump won’t do for Zionists.

Then he picks on Yemen, a dirt poor country, pounded relentlessly by the Saudis with U.S. support experiencing the worst famine in modern history ignored by the media and Hollywood.

Somalia also suffering poverty, drought and famine is on the list as well. However, Salafist and Wahhabi terrorists and their sponsors can rest easy; cause they have a protector and friend in Trump and Trump can always count on you to defend the indefensible time and time again!

Posted by: Circe | Jan 29 2017 5:02 utc | 40

SR6719 | Jan 28, 2017 10:35:55 PM | 32

As yet the new admin department of state is not fully up and running, new heads for intel and military just moving in.
This 90 day executive order based on old admin assessments/laws, is just for the interim until the new admin is up to speed. Just my guess. Seems we have to wait and watch for the first 100 days or so before we can see which way the Trump government is heading.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 29 2017 5:04 utc | 41

james | Jan 28, 2017 11:59:48 PM | 38

Wait and watch on this one. See my post @41. A few negatives (includes possible negatives) and a few positives for Trump so far.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 29 2017 5:13 utc | 42

ToivoS | Jan 28, 2017 11:42:26 PM | 36

Paveway IV, this raises an interesting question about you. You sound like some kind of lefty, anti-imperialist type. Have you been infected with the Trotskid disease?

I do not agree with Paveway's assessment either, but it raises no questions about Paveway.
If you have not been reading Paveway's posts for any period of time, your post may be excusable, but if you have been reading Paveway's previous post's then this raises questions about yourself.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 29 2017 5:19 utc | 43

Circe @ 40: Damn, nice rant.

We'll all wait and watch. Saudi Arabia is the litmus test. All the non-aligned posters here know this to be true.

Posted by: ben | Jan 29 2017 5:42 utc | 44

@42 peter.. thanks! i agree with you @43 as well..

Posted by: james | Jan 29 2017 5:51 utc | 45

@ Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 29, 2017 12:04:45 AM | 41

The Trump faction has artfully continued through the first week to play the MSM, vanguard of the anti-Trump faction, like a fiddle.

The MSM has constantly been caught out seeking to set the 'frame' of discourse with slanted mis-reporting, as usual, full of omissions and lack of context. The result is 'delivering in spades' for the Trump faction base and undermining even further the credibility of the MSM. This last week is a further refinement of the strategy that enabled Trumps election/s win, and the MSM appears to have learnt no lessons from the nomination period nor the actual campaign, re identity politics, etc, whatsoever.

Trump may be many distasteful things, however, he is clearly no-ones fool, and to believe so plays directly into his faction re underestimation. The Trump has been playing his part as a court jester to the MSM as well as a foil to his appointments/staff to a tee. Beginning to doubt his 'faux pas', outrageous statements, are as spontaneous, 'off the cuff', all the time, as they are portrayed/believed ... ie. Torture/Waterboarding, 'Mattis & Pompeo are 100% opposed, so that's decided then.'

Time will tell ...

The Trump faction undoubtedly has a questionable mixed bag of policies (Climate Change/Oil/Energy/Renewables/Wall, etc), certainly, however am surprised by the emotive(?), conditioned(?) reactions the MSM manipulative narrative triggers. Very surprised ...

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 29 2017 5:53 utc | 46

ot - fb ali shared this 1:05 video on sst.. it's good.. - Andrew Bacevich ─ America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

Posted by: james | Jan 29 2017 5:54 utc | 47

"The "moderates" left now can only join al-Qaeda, make peace with the Syrian government and its allies or flee the country to survive."

It would be interesting to see how many fighters Russia has taken off the battle field through its ceasefires and other diplomacy, knee jerkers tend to knee themselves in the chin over these. The Sultan pulled a lot out of Aleppo to break up the US Rojava and now Erdo's headchoppers are fighting ISIS headchoppers. And then there are the many Syrian militant groups that have surrendered in return for amnesty (A Russian initiative?).

Russia threw down the gauntlet to Obama and his regime change operations at the 2015 UNGA. Since then, Russia, in line with international law have been bombing the crap out of Obama's proxies, UN designated terrorist groups and those groups that aid them.

Now the Trump admin. A big unknown. Another month or two and I guess we see will where Trump is headed.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 29 2017 6:12 utc | 48

So Trump's choice of states to ban somehow becomes Obama's fault? Sorry, I meant Obomber. Give me a chance, I'll get up to speed.

We all know what a no-good son of a whore that Obomba was. He was the guy who restrained from voting on the latest UN motion against Israel and their settlements. It sent a clear message that appropriating more land for settlements was wrong. Can you believe that?? What a dick.

Not to worry,trump's fixed it. There's something like 3,000 new building permits being handed out. That's good, Right?

Then there's all the other fucked up executive orders, a real breath of fresh air. We knew he could do it. It may take some real brainstorming, like only the posters on this board are capable of, to see through the fog and realize just how smart he really is. He's gonna save Syria.

And your arse is a star.

Posted by: peter | Jan 29 2017 6:16 utc | 49

peter - you can always blame putin - which seems to be your default position on most of the moa threads i have read your comments... continue, lol..

Posted by: james | Jan 29 2017 6:22 utc | 50


Nope, I'm a big Putin fan.

But Trump is stupid and dangerous and it irks me to see the adulation he gets. Somehow he's a threat to the deep state? He is the deep state ffs.

Posted by: peter | Jan 29 2017 6:45 utc | 51

As someone who tries to only care about ordinary human beings I will always get pissed at a fucking supercilious ass wipe who, even if it be through laziness or ineptitude pulls a stroke which fucks over a bunch of ordinary human beings. I double down on my dislike in situations such as this 'muslim ban' where it is obvious the lazy/incompetent toerag is screwing over humans purely for the sake of political pointscoring.
There is no excuse for that type of behaviour, it is the tipping point where populism becomes hubristic bullying and there is very little worse than that shit.
A bunch of young people who are already doomed to live a life much worse than the one most of us old farts enjoyed, have just had the rug pulled out from under them - for what? So the trumpet can do his "see my virtual dick is bigger than CNN's virtual dick" act? Fuck that shit it stinks and there can never by a justification for it, especially given that places that do actually export terrorists have been left off the list.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 29 2017 7:18 utc | 52

@ Debsisdead about virtual dick size.....I agree. Fucking with people makes Donald's dick is part of his gold-spoon-up-his-ass upbringing hurt.

Out of the frying pan and into the f......urnace. Hopefully the fall of America will be over quickly.....but not likely given recent US Treasury sales to foreign countries.

I agree with wanting to break the neocon president mold but believe that the alternative will be much worse for a period....the Trump period....the true height of male bullying politics by the global plutocrats.....but we need to give him another few weeks/months to fully bloom his inhumanity and pettyness.

The Fake News is that the Western way is thought of as "civilization" this posting also illustrates.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 29 2017 7:58 utc | 53

Debsisdead | Jan 29, 2017 2:18:36 AM | 52

When the boat people were coming out from Vietnam, my children where young and it changed my view on refugees. I thought of what it would be like to be in a position where I took my family on a very risky journey to hopefully start a new life in a new country.
Although my views on refugees have not changed since that time, I also recognise that many of these refugees are also traitors to their country. The Vietnamese refugees where those that backed the French, then the US occupation of their country.
Same elsewhere.

This current post from SST by TTG..."Within 24 hours of this executive order, at least two Iraqis who worked with American Forces during our war in Iraq have been denied entry into the United States. One was an interpreter with the 101st for ten years. He and his family have been threatened with death for his loyal service. This situation offends me personally as a retired Army officer. It is an affront to the honor of this country and our Armed Forces."

As far as I am concerned the Iraqi was a traitor who worked with the forces that were occupying his country.

The young people that run off from Syria to Turkey, Europe ect, all traitors to their country. Many refugees from US full spectrum dominance operations seem to run off to the countries that are attacking their countries.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 29 2017 8:00 utc | 54

Outraged | Jan 29, 2017 12:53:05 AM | 466

Trump appears to be a thinker/strategist. Similar to Putin. Time will tell.
Some time ago, I commented at another blog that Trump may well turn out the alfa male in the shark tank that is US politics.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jan 29 2017 8:03 utc | 55

@Peter AU | Jan 29, 2017 1:12:35 AM | 48

Now the Trump admin. A big unknown. Another month or two and I guess we see will where Trump is headed.

Sorrie, you are a slow learner to grasp what going on, another month or two will be over. Trump objectives’ oil, oil, oil and more fucking oils. He's using Syria as baits to show Putin he's a serious player and nag Putin to cross the blue line. Promises equal with respect to the chess Grandmaster - immediately western oil’s companies to explore Russia unexplored territories and restart drilling by Exxon Mobil Corporation abandoned one-billion investments when Obomo imposed sanction earlier.

Trump doesn't need NATO, EU or Merkel permission to recant previous sanctions. All Trump needs executive order with a stroke of a pen. Crimea, Ukraine? Blah peanuts! Think of the billion and billions his pals will pockets even before his first term end.

Have you counts how many executive orders he had signed since January 10? Have you notice his popularity votes surged? He had even able to build the wall he promised and fuck that Hispanic across the border and executive order again! Immigration Ban to Include Green-Card Holders & Dual-Nationalities?

While the NeoLiberals' foot soldiers protest, Trump's sheeple are applauding - Trump the man, will bring changes in just 8-days after that black warmonger handed him the keys. While that black president signed more executive orders than the last two previous presidents combine. Trump will beat all presidents' combines since George Washingmachine even before he completed his first terms in office.

Truly Trump will be one of the best presidents since George Washingmachine. He deserved a Nobel pizza pie.

Posted by: OSJ | Jan 29 2017 8:30 utc | 56

Mexico censures Israeli support for US border wall

In a tweet on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin expressed support for US President Donald Trump’s plan, saying a similar barrier built by Tel Aviv along the Egyptian border “stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”

  Irked by the Twitter post, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry released a statement later in the day, saying it had expressed to Tel Aviv via the regime’s ambassador to Mexico City “its profound astonishment, rejection and disappointment over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s message.”

Meanwhile, the Central Committee of the Jewish Community in Mexico also issued a statement and “forcefully rejected” Netanyahu’s message.

“As Mexicans and Jews, we support the actions taken by President Enrique Pena Nieto in negotiations with the US,” the statement said.

the statement by mexican jews is excellent. just as it was necessary to separate the sheep from the goats in syria - the 'moderates' from the takfiri headchoppers - so to is it necessary to separate the jews from the zionists, not only in mexico but worldwide.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 29 2017 8:43 utc | 57

Donald Trump’s executive order on immigrants: Full text

Section 1. Purpose. The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans.

Al Qaeda Funded by Royal Sauds, U.S. Gov’t. Documents

There were 19 hijackers on 9/11: 15 Saudi, 2 UAE, 1 Egypt, and 1 Lebanon. Trump’s order ignored all four nations. His order focused more against the Shiite-led countries, Iran and Syria, whose leaderships the Saud family are (with U.S. government assistance) trying to overthrow and replace.

Basically, Trump chose the most-anti-Saudi of the Islamic-majority nations, and he ignored not only Saudi Arabia, but also the other main sources of jihadism against the U.S: Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, and Pakistan. Maybe Trump, too, is a Saudi agent.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 29 2017 9:34 utc | 58

“A December 13, 2006 cable, "Influencing the SARG [Syrian government] in the End of 2006,"1 indicates that, as far back as 2006 - five years before "Arab Spring" protests in Syria - destabilizing the Syrian government was a central motivation of US policy. The author of the cable was William Roebuck, at the time chargé d'affaires at the US embassy in Damascus. The cable outlines strategies for destabilizing the Syrian government. In the cable, Roebuck wrote:
We believe Bashar's weaknesses are in how he chooses to react to looming issues, both perceived and real, such as the conflict between economic reform steps (however limited) and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. This cable summarizes our assessment of these vulnerabilities and suggests that there may be actions, statements, and signals that the USG can send that will improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising.”

Posted by: James Charles | Jan 29 2017 10:21 utc | 59

James Charles @59. And there is this......
"Ford assured us that those taking up arms to overthrow the Syrian government were simply moderates and democrats seeking to change Syria’s autocratic system. Anyone pointing out the obviously Islamist extremist nature of the rebellion and the foreign funding and backing for the jihadists was written off as an Assad apologist or worse.

Ambassador Ford talked himself blue in the face reassuring us that he was only supporting moderates in Syria. As evidence mounted that the recipients of the largesse doled out by Washington was going to jihadist groups, Ford finally admitted early last year that most of the moderates he backed were fighting alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda. Witness this incredible Twitter exchange with then-ex Ambassador Ford" see more at

Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 29 2017 11:48 utc | 60

The other side of the coin is the state of the Ahrar al Sham group. They have been joined by Jaish al-Mujahidin, Tajamu Fastquim Kama Umirt, Sukour al-Sham, Kataib Thawar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam (Idlib), Shamia Front (W. Aleppo), Mujahidi Ibn Taimia and Liwa Miqad Bin Amro.

This map shows the estimated disposition of the two new groups. Dark green is the rebranded al-Nusra, light green the Ahrar al-Sham franchise, and mid green contested.

Most of these I have not heard of, and it does sound a bit like Judean People's Front and People's Front of Judea [without the humor]. However, the Sukour al-Sham lot are deeply tied into Saudi Arabian interests. The Saudis constructed a massive underground base for the in the al-Jawieh mountain. I may have posted a video earlier showing it in its luxurious splendor after being captured intact by al-Nusra (as was then) forces.

Posted by: Yonatan | Jan 29 2017 11:55 utc | 61

Trump's List looks clumsy - at least in its execution.

Nonetheless, it serves a strategic purpose in the initial manic-mode of the new "You're Fired!" reality-show administration.

Airport border control: It is another yank-on-the-chain system 'shock' to see how well (or otherwise) the control system chain-of-command works. Observation and learning will inform next-steps (including purges at weak points).

Countries on the list: While many look backwards to the seeming lack of correlation between selected countries and actual terrorist attacks on the USA (if we assume 9/11-Saudi links are accurate) it is also possible to see sense in looking forward (next point). Iran is on the list because the Israeli-Zionist apartheid state agenda is programmed into every opportunity possible. Iran is not a threat to the USA but remains (in the official narrative) an existential threat to Zionist entities and strategies. All others are zones of chaos and high risk.

Looking forward: Trump has already signalled the need for 'safe places' in the ME/Syria. Russian dialogue has started. He has also signaled that ISIS is a soon-to-be-extinct entity unfunded by a new-CIA (without columns) and about to be thumped by whatever he accepts from the DoD in their 30-day planning task. Expect the military industrial complex to shift some serious inventory and thus also making space for 'demand driven' replacements (it's the only 'real' economy in town, stupid!).

Sidestepping simplistic arguments about racial profiling, the likely underlying rationale for this airport control system 'upgrade' is risk of blowback from the imminent 'Shock and Awe 2.0" that may soon rain down on Obama's and Clinton's little ME ISIS project.

Saudi Arabia, obnoxious as it is, poses little threat by way of unknown unknowns. They know who passes through the airports.

If the next tidal wave of refugee chaos about to be unleashed with his decommissioning of ISIS is a core underlying concern for Trump then blocking the rat-lines back to the USA (at least) -- America 1st and all that -- via airports and southern Mexico makes some sense.

A door slam and then a controlled 'open' as pragmatic necessity requires serves many purposes. The signal is sent, the order issued -- and a small time judge can deal with the temporary staying orders for in-transit individuals if required (as has occurred). Makes little difference to the strategic aim.

If this is the plan then expect quiet changes in Russian and European border security as well -- at least in the UK (holding the UK Prime Minister's tiny little feminine hand, and all that).

Posted by: x | Jan 29 2017 12:14 utc | 62

@ Peter AU - what planet are you on? So kids who go off to study overseas are now traitors. In case you haven't been reading anything other than claptrap on right wing blogs the vast majority of people who are getting fucked over by this stunt are students who have managed to scrape together the money (mostly through loans) to get a post grad qual in amerika - that is who your traitors are. I bet they still get stuck for tuition and still owe for their loans even tho they never got to complete. What sort of a scum-sucking apologist for scum-suckers labels everyone who travels a traitor? How about accepting there are a million different stories 99.99% of which all the vicarious observers playing Judge Judy can never know or even imagine.

As I have posted here before I have met a number of humans who left Syria since the civil war kicked off. Few if any support the Takfiris but they aren't exactly brimming with love for the government either. Mostly they are just people who want to live their lives free of the buffeting and bullshit created by the power hungry assholes on both sides who put their own need to be top dog over and above the need of all other Syrians to live their lives.
I recognise that isn't a popular position to hold on a board most of whose readers have deluded themselves into believing Assad's shit doesn't stink, but there you go.

As for the Vietnamese boat people, I lived in Darwin during the time when the boats came in and as I wrote the other day, my flatmate was an Immigration department employee who for a couple of years had the job of getting aboard the boats to interview the new arrivals as soon as they appeared. The truth is that the vast majority weren't capitalists and they weren't communists, they were young ethnic Chinese people whose families paid to get the kids a passage on a boat because the pointy end of the new regime decided to appease Saigon locals by waging a pogrom against the Saigon Chinese. A well known old trick but a goodie. Pick an unpopular ethnic minority and fuck em up - you win over the bulk of the assholes at the same time as you scare the living bejeesus outta the 'normal' population who think "there but for fucking good luck go I".

There was a time before I knew the 'boat people' that I had a similar position to yours, imagining quite incorrectly these people must be counter -revolutionary cads. Then I got to know them and learned that they were a/ non-political - apolitical actually, and b/ none of em had worked for amerika - most of them would have been pre-pubescent when amerika was butchering Vietnamese.
The anti Chinese pogrom ended after a time and friends I made among the Vietnamese refugee community brought their families across to Australia, established good relations with the Hanoi government and now work to encourage trade between Vietnam and Oz. The Vietnamese certainly don't consider them traitors, so why would you? My own contact with them was through our union, good members who always followed through on any action we had to take - unlike a lot of the middle class whitefellas.

Life is never that simple, only looney wanna-be mass murderers ever dismiss a whole group of people on the grounds that they have breached some theoretical morality, usually one dreamed up by wannabe butchers.

Imagine for a moment you are a 20 year old stateless person born in Damascus. You don't have a home country or a passport because your grand-parents were driven outta Palestine by a gang of child raping zionist thugs. Your parents who don't know Palestine either and they still talk about going 'home' but it means nothing to you because you feel no connection, the PLO just summons the image of a bunch of fat old gangsters parasiting off everyone else in the camp - which isn't a camp it is/was a suburb of Damascus. Sure you loathe the zionists but all these types sitting around talking about a day that can never happen because everything is just despair and frustration, don't inspire you with any confidence either. Yep it makes you really angry when you think about that is how the zionist nazis want you to feel, but that doesn't magic you away to a better world it just leaves you angry.
You can rationalise why everyone feels like that and accept that israelis are the lowest life shit-bags who ever drew breath, but you still ask yourself "Is this it?" "I'm 20 and all I'm ever gonna know is this hopelessness, this total despair?"

Back before amerika forced their closure, the UN made sure everyone in the camp went to school and got a good education - trouble is you can't work in Syria, see you're not allowed to do that. It was a condition the Ba'athists made when your grandparents arrived. They didn't object cos they only expected to be away a year or two but it has been more than 50 years and that doesn't look like changing anytime soon.
Once the terrorists and the government started fighting using your home suburb as a battlefield you truly had no home, so you decided to leave Syria and get a job so you could provide for your family. After more money, danger and sheer shit scary uncertainty you made it to europe waited filled out enough forms to wipe a million assholes, then eventually got a gig in a 'western' country on the basis of your great tech/scripting skills. Now you have a job, your wife has had your children, and everything should be fine but some no-nothing in Oz claims you're a traitor - who to? Who has this dude betrayed? I can name about a kazillion low lifes who betrayed him, but I just don't see how anyone can claim that some bloke who has put everything of himself on the line, risking his life & his sanity to just live a normal life, can be accused of treason.
Did he betray the 'revolution'? Silly me I always thought the revolution was about providing ordinary people with a life, I didn't realise it was an end in itself, that when it couldn't deliver that promised life, everyone must still keep on in their misery for the sake of this 'revolution' even though blind Freddie can see it is never gonna happen. Not unless a whole lot more people currently sitting around judging everyone get off their own asses and actually take a few real risks themself.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 29 2017 12:14 utc | 63

US commandoes attack Yemen’s Bayda, kill 57: Reports

US forces have carried out a series of ground and air raids against a village in the Yemeni province of Bayda, killing a total of 57 people, among them civilians.

US paratroopers parachuted in Bayda’s Qifah district and raided the Yakla village there, with some 30 aircraft such as Apache helicopters and drones taking part in the operations.

Saudi media said 16 civilians, among them women and children, lost their lives in the US assault.

Reports said the rest of those killed were militants with the al-Qaeda terror group, including three of its ringleaders.

“The operation began at dawn when a drone bombed the home of [al-Qaeda ringleader] Abdulraoof al-Dhahab and then helicopters flew up and unloaded paratroopers at his house and killed everyone inside,” an unnamed local told AFP.

The Lebanese al-Mayadeen television channel reported that a US soldier was also killed during clashes with militants.


The Riyadh regime has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in a bid to reinstall the country’s ex-government and crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement.

The Houthis and the Yemeni army have been defending Yemen against the Saudi offensive for almost two years.

The military aggression has claimed the lives of over 11,400 Yemenis, including women and children, according to the latest tally by a Yemeni monitoring group.

in between there are accounts of saudi ineptness and its consequences.

this is tee-rump, working with saudi terrorists against the people of yemen.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 29 2017 12:34 utc | 64

@ jfl 64
SSDD in Yemen, too with an American soldier getting killed and a few more hurt. Why? To kill family considered an ally of al Qaeda while looking for an al Qaeda leader but they still "captured 'information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.'" You can't make this stuff up.

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 29 2017 13:50 utc | 65

@ Paveway IV 15, ToivoS@8, Jackrabbit@11, nonsense factory@13 Louis Proyect@6

It's a good point that Assad's govt has corruption. But would changing the face from the "meek" Bashar to someone else have truly ended the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi/Qatari/US jihadist infiltration and overthrow efforts?
It reminds me of the PLA situation where the Palestinians were disgusted with the corruption of the PLA and Fateh, the offshoring of money, and Ms. Arafat's Parisian spending sprees. So they had a vote encouraged by outsiders like the US, and they put in "the other guys" Hamas. The difference is that while there are no good choices for the Palestians the choice in Syria was to work with the secular although somewhat authoritarian govt of Assad.

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 29 2017 14:04 utc | 66

I believe that the drought had a lot to do with Turkey stealing the river water.

Regardless, every country has factions and real disputes. What typically creates civil war in a country is the US and its allies pouring money, support and weapons into one or several factions. Probably the most peaceful country can be brought crashing down into civil war this way.

But of course the smart ones will invariably tell us that the war was caused by everything BUT US and allied intervention because that would be a - horrors! shudders!! - CONSPIRACY THEORY!!

Can't have those little devils wandering about, no matter how right they may be - stamp them out! Stamp them out!

Posted by: paul | Jan 29 2017 14:34 utc | 67

Debsisdead @63

Students get student visas.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2017 15:06 utc | 68

Debsisdead @63:

... I have met a number of humans who left Syria since the civil war kicked off. Few if any support the Takfiris but they aren't exactly brimming with love for the government either.
Its those "few" bad apples that Trump wants to guard against.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2017 15:30 utc | 69

this is tee-rump, working with saudi terrorists against the people of yemen.
Posted by: jfl | Jan 29, 2017 7:34:28 AM | 64

...or jfl compiling a list of sins for which Hillary & Obama are responsible and then blaming Trump for them.

Trump is playing the consensus game - flirting with an idea and then watching for a consensus to pop up. He did it with 'torture works' and went along with the "No" consensus which emerged. He has flirted with banning certain immigrants and a consensus is emerging. He'll get around to flirting with Saudi Barbaria's reputation as a Beacon of Hope, Sweetness and Light on Human Rights - and gasps of horror will emerge...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 29 2017 15:39 utc | 70

Debsisdead @63:

I recognize that isn't a popular position to hold on a board most of whose readers have deluded themselves into believing Assad's shit doesn't stink, but there you go.
You have to decide for yourself what you think is the greater evil: Assad or the Assad must go! Coalition that is using extremists as a weapon of State.

To me, the paramount evil is the use of extremists. It's a crime against humanity. And, as I'm not Syrian, I don't feel that I can say who should lead Syria.

Most commenters here seem to have a similar view.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2017 16:34 utc | 71

Debsisdead @63

There were three waves of migration from Vietnam:

In 1975, after the Fall of Saigon, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese (especially those who supported the defeated South Vietnamese government) fled their country by sea.

In 1978, after the communist regime imposed an economic restructuring, another wave of Vietnamese fled the harsh economic reality.

In 1980-82, after the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese War, the Vietnamese government retaliated against ethnic Chinese living in Vietnam.

The later migrants were most resented. Not because they were collaborators but because they were viewed by many as economic migrants, not refugees.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2017 16:42 utc | 72


According to you! It makes real sense to punish the many for the alliances of the few; please spare us your failed logic and twisted projection and convenient excuse for an inconvenient reality.

This ban is a pathetic means for keeping the refugees out to release himself of the responsibility of sheltering people who have nothing from countries that the U.S. destroyed and refusing to have the U.S. assume this burden as it should rightly do; it's about doing Zionist bidding on Iran, and it's also about controlling the Muslim population in the U.S. as in: discrimination, because through normal immigration the numbers are much lower. Quit spinning an inconvenient fact.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 29 2017 16:44 utc | 73

Nobody is under illusion Assad is a saint, however he is democratically elected benign autocrat and is wildly popular in Syria. Western leaders would kill to have so much citizens support. Its up to Syrians to decide who should lead them, not US or Saudis. His popularity is also the reason why US so emphatically against embracing democratic elections in Syria, since their puppets have no traction whatsoever in the country. So much for US/EU representing "democratic values."

Plus Assad is better than other leaders in that region, or somebody would prefer Nutjobyahoo or megalomaniac sultan instead?

Posted by: Harry | Jan 29 2017 16:50 utc | 74

@ Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 29, 2017 10:39:54 AM | 70


The previous Congress did not create a legal precedent by breaching International & Domestic Sovereign Immunity Law and opening a Pandora's Box, to allow for prosecutions of the State of Saudi-Arabia, it's citizens and government officials, even subsequent sanctions & more, by passing the relevant legislation in 2016 by accident. And the KSA and House of Al-Saud and all their moneyed lobbyists, did NOT prevent it ... as some would tritely wish to suggest/project ...

Just as Saddam Hussein was lured into attacking Iran in the Iraq-Iran War & then Kuwait, suspect we may have 'lured/enticed/encouraged', hands-off, the KSA into their 'Mini-Vietnam' in Yemen. It is necessary to set the stage, undermine the foundations, weaken the structure, before demolishing the House ... it takes time and preparation, a lead-up and lead-in ... what if 'dramatic' incriminating evidence re KSA & GCC involvement with ISIS and Al-Qaeda, etc was conveniently 'discovered' & publicly dramatically exposed re Syria, and then referenced back to 9/11 & the 'Secret' Saudi appendix (never actioned) ?

IF the current administration truly seeks the destruction of ISIS & Islamic Terrorism, then the KSA & GCC may well be on borrowed time ... and conveniently sitting on an awful lot of feebly protected 'Oil' and 'Natural Gas'. Protected, security guaranteed, ironically, by us.

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29, 2017 11:34:52 AM | 71


@ Posted by: Debsisdead | Jan 29, 2017 7:14:08 AM | 63

The reference Paul AU made was specifically to 'Interpreters' who enter into service for a foreign nation, an invading aggressor, and similar context re many refugees as 'collaborators/traitors' re the Sth Vietnamese puppet government and the aggressor, the US of A ... and is it not strange, that many flee to seek refuge from the very country most responsible for the tragedy that is their lot, and has been and is Syria today ...

In Somalia in the early '90's, it was realized after about 8 months in, that our 'surprise' snatch n bag raids, cordon & search and other operations were regularly hitting 'empty air', despite sound intel work in the lead-up ... all OPSEC was reviewed, and certain CI Ops were conducted to confirm suspicions ... result, 9 out of 10 of the 'Volunteer Interpreters/Guides' were confirmed as actively working as double agents for Aidid and/or the other warlords ... the volunteer 'walk-ins', as in most similar situations (Embassies/Consulates) are usually ... charming, persuasive, opportunists ...

Most were 'walk-ins', some were approached/recruited directly, however, virtually all were discovered to be fundamentally compromised, either before they 'walked-in' or targeted and 'turned' shortly after they were recruited ... this lesson was not learnt re the Iraq Invasion of 2003 ...

On the ground, in person, it was considered those who had shared meals, quarters and served alongside, yet worked for Aidid, were traitors ... yet from the perspective of the Somali's, those who 'collaborated' with UN/US forces ... were the real traitors ...

In Chinese antiquity inward & converted spies (traitors/collaborators(interpreters?/guides?))(Sun Tzu) were typically treated with great respect and given wide liberties/privileges, comforts and rewards ... yet, when the 'conflict' was over ... they were usually promptly put to death ...

The Treason pleases, but the Traitors are odious - Miguel De Cervantes

No wise man ever thought that a traitor should be trusted - Marcus Tullius Cicero

I forgive those who murder and steal because they did it out of necessity, but a traitor, never - Emilio Zapata

Grasping at whatever chance presents to protect/advance oneself and family, as 'uninvolved' human flotsam caught up within the maelstrom, is entirely understandable, as you say.

@ Posted by: Circe | Jan 29, 2017 11:44:10 AM | 73

Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, Zionist bidding, blah, blah. Maybe you should do a search on the keywords 'ADL Trump' & 'AIPAC Trump', hm ?

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 29 2017 16:53 utc | 75


And this ongoing illegal U.S./Saudi allied unrelenting assault against Yemen has provoked widespread famine. They're scorching the earth; it's basically a genocide against the Yemeni people. It's genocide.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 29 2017 16:58 utc | 76

@51 peter.. okay thanks.. i must be mixing you up with paul or someone else..

@54 peter au... i wish it was as simple as that.. you seem like a bright guy otherwise! i think it is much more complicated.. i do understand the desire on the part of some to leave there country when they are being invaded by 'moderate headchoppers' that the usa, saudi arabia and etc are sending to there country... no doubt there are people that are traitors to their country as well, but that gets difficult to read in complicated situations which is what syria and iraq - as 2 examples - are..

@60 harrylaw... thanks for the link... ford is a first rate a-hole and bullshitter persona.. - i guess that is why he got the gig and position of power he had as ambassador to syria.. to quote him "I don’t agree at all with Ahrar al Sham’s desires to set up an Islamic State (in Syria).. but I have to admit that they accept the needs to be a political negotiation.." fuck off with that shit - political negotiation.. who negotiates with fanatics who want to set up sharia law and are willing to chop people's heads off, if they don't jump on board? what a friggin' horrible liar he is... i hope he rots in hell with his headchopping buddies..

Posted by: james | Jan 29 2017 17:04 utc | 77

Jackrabbit - this would make sense, sort of, if not for the fact that "Syrian Extremists" are MERCENARIES, paid to blow shit up in SYRIA. Not the US. As USians, they would be like every other expat community who arrived here after fleeing nascent democracy in their home countries, being on the losing side economically or politically or both; the "Persians", the Cubans(another people whose "later waves" are resented - by fellow expat Cubans! - for being economic as opposed to political refugees), Vietnamese, Hmong, post-WW2 Ukrainians, Nazi scientists and so on.

You can be "hopeful" for whatever Trump might accomplish, but can we cut the lies of omission crap? There is NO GOOD in this action. Even if it did include the pertinent terror-states of Saudi Arabia etc.

Posted by: sejomoje | Jan 29 2017 17:27 utc | 78

@ Paveway IV 15

You & b are the main reason I slog thru the Comments of every MoA post - much respect.

I am not in support of the 21st Century ruling class of Syria, but I offer this mitigating argument, sadly without citation:

Assad did try to obtain financial and technical help from the USA to combat the drought and decrease in crop yields. At the time, he felt that his cooperation with the CIA's "black site" operations gave Syria the right to expect American support from the USDA, USAID, and other agencies. I'm sure that they strung him along with promises of support that never quite materialized. The lack of drought support also coincided with the American indifference to the Iraqi refuge crisis. By the time Assad saw the true American policy towards Syria, he was quite a bit behind the curve for easy solutions.

Posted by: Enrico Malatesta | Jan 29 2017 17:44 utc | 79

sejomoje @78:

As USians, they would be like every other expat community ...
They are indoctrinated, fanatical killers. Maybe some could adjust. But I wouldn't welcome them to my neighborhood.

It is very sad. I feel for them. They are essentially victims of human trafficking. These people were set up to give their life for the ambitions of an evil cabal that are guilty of crimes against humanity.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2017 17:56 utc | 80

Harry @ 74 says:

Plus Assad is better than other leaders in that region,...

Assad and Nasrallah were the two most popular leaders in the Arab world before the war was even started. the fact that Assad's popularity has soared since 2012 is all the proof you need to know just how horrified the Syrian people are of the prospect of having head chopping lunatics running rampant in Damascus.

also, in these last five years, well over 100,000 SAA soldiers have lost their lives in allegiance to their commander-in-chief.

Posted by: john | Jan 29 2017 18:08 utc | 81

@Louis Proyect | 6
The water shortages were part of the weakening of Syria. Turkey had been waging and continues to wage water wars on Iraq and Syria for years - a tactic readily copied by their terrorist protogees.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jan 29 2017 18:37 utc | 82

Again Jackrabbit you're avoiding the fact that most Syrian fighters aren't even Syrian. So that you see Syrian refugees as a monolith of "indoctrinated, fanatical killers" requiring historically special sanction, is sort of weird. Especially for a MoA regular. (Losing Project not included ofc)

Posted by: sejomoje | Jan 29 2017 19:20 utc | 83

@79 Enrico Malatesta, if you want reliable reports on what drove the U.S. to try to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, trying digging through the Wikileaks documents from Manning, "CableGate" - for example, here's something on Syria competing with ExxonMobil for access to Iraqi oilfields:

Syrian Minister of Petroleum Sufian Allaw approached Prime Minister Maliki at the mid-July Nabucco Pipeline conference . . . Syria was ready to make the Iraqi government a deal to connect the Akkas gas field in Western Iraq with a Syrian gas processing plant and pipeline infrastructure some 35km across the Syrian border. . . . Malki reportedly told Allaw he doubted the Syrians could make Iraq as lucrative an offer for rights to Akkas as ExxonMobil. . .

Another irritant to the Iraqis [was] Syria's non-payment for some USD 400 million in oil that had been shipped to Syria from the Suwaylah field in western Iraq. The oil shipments began over a year ago in a trade deal whereby Syria would export electricity to western Iraq in return for regular shipments of Iraqi oil. . . Iraqi politicians believe Syria will never pay for the oil and justify their non-payment as "compensation for supporting Iraqi refugees" living in Syria.


That's just one example. The cables also reveal an obsession by the US with "luring Syria out of Tehran's orbit."

There was also a push by Saudi Arabia to form an alliance with Syria, but Syria apparently tried to do a balancing act with both Iran and Saudi Arabia:

While the Syrian government responded positively to Iranian requests for public statements of support on the nuclear issue and against Israel, it remained silent after the Iranian Minister of Defense's arrival statement denounced Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

This wasn't acceptable to the Borg; either Syria cut ties with Iran and joined the Saudi alliance, or it was going to be targeted - and within two years, we see the initiation of the U.S.-Saudi-Qatari-Turkish-Jordanian-Israeli effort to overthrow Assad, which turned more and more towards supporting and financing the radical Wahhabi jihad groups, Al Qaeda and ISIS. And, notably, in these cables there is no mention of "humanitarian concerns" or drought or anything but straight-up imperial power politics, control of oil supplies, isolating Iran, establishing regional dominance - that's what it's about, end of story, nobody gives a damn about "human rights".

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jan 29 2017 19:36 utc | 84

Speaking of composition of the rebels in Syria, 'b' mentioned that even SOHR(!) admitted that 62% of dead fighters are foreign. Considering the source, I can bet that actual number of foreigners is greater than that.

Also its neither all fanatics or all mercenaries, its both (although IMHO most are mercenaries). For example, Syria's economy is nearly killed, and people have to feed their families, so if Saudis/Qatar approaches them with 500-1500USD monthly salaries, for some less scrupulous people it can be enough to turn against own country.

What to speak of several billion of starving people around the World, a massive and nearly never ending pool of cannon fodder who are stupid enough (or too desperate) to sign on. Unless terrorists are defeated decisively (or terrorist sponsors pursued to stop), this terror war can continue indefinitely.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 29 2017 19:49 utc | 85

@ john | 81

Precisely, as Assad mentioned in an interview, if he didnt had support of majority Syrians as the West claims, he would have been overthrown long time ago.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 29 2017 19:52 utc | 86

Then [Trump] excused Pakistan, a Salafist haven; the country that harboured Bin-Laden and AQ in Waziristan. Circe

It may be a surprise, but Pakistan is NOT a Salafist haven. While a large majority of Pakistanis are Sunni Muslim, and there are extremist organizations that have a "haven", but even the extremist Sunnis of Pakistan are mostly non-Salafi. I was not aware of that until I read about theological justifications for ISIS - al-Qaeda split, which is roughly how one should deal with non Salafis. And it is precisely in Afghanistan and Pakistan where it makes a huge difference. To wit, al-Qaeda was and is cosy with the Taliban, and Taliban follows Deobandi theology which leads to similar conclusions as Salafis/Wahhabis, but with a different justification, different fiqh. So Salafists of al-Qaeda are OK with deobandis like Taliban, as long as they do the same things as they do, but ISIS requires to follow the same fiqh, and I can never remember who is Hanbali and who is Hanafi, but to those people it makes a huge difference.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 29 2017 20:00 utc | 87

sejomoje @83

That's why Trump wants to have 'extreme vetting' for people coming from multiple countries.

Wherever they come from, takfiri monsters are controlled by people/states with interests that are not aligned with own. For example: GCC may not be pleased that US takes steps to be energy independent. Might that mean attacks against refineries or pipelines?

Also see Harry @85.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2017 20:12 utc | 88

"Speaking of composition of the rebels in Syria, 'b' mentioned that even SOHR(!) admitted that 62% of dead fighters are foreign. Considering the source, I can bet that actual number of foreigners is greater than that." Posted by: Harry

That is not completely representative, because the command has to choose who goes on suicidal missions or attacks with high casualty rates, and that is mostly foreign jihadists, as they the commanders need some modicum of local support. But it shows that without foreign jihadists, the war could be already over.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 29 2017 20:14 utc | 89

@ Piotr Berman | 89

There are more important aspects than suiciders, for example Syria and Russia were mainly focused on "moderate" Al Qaeda than ISIS (until recently), and there are by far more Syrians in Al Nusra groups than in ISIS. And despite of that at least 2/3 of dead terrorists are foreign. That would make foreigners in total terrorists composition 80+%.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 29 2017 20:29 utc | 90

Globalists/Democrats are focusing on how "America First" is inconvenient for women and refugees.

What they like to ignore is the suffering that "Empire First" caused. Where is outcry at Obama's "leading from behind" while so-called 'allies' used extremists as a weapon of State?

Unhappy with Trump? Stop complaining and help to create a progressive Movement that throws off the corrupt Democratic Party and the financial backers that they really work for.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2017 20:31 utc | 91

@ Enrico Malatesta 79
Re: renditions. During Bush II, the US renditioned a dual-citizen Canadian/Syrian citizen (Maher Arar) to Syria for the "treatment." He was NOT a terrorist and sued the US. AG Gonzalez insisted it was not a rendition but the facts say otherwise.

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 29 2017 23:38 utc | 92

Enrico Malatesta@79 - Much of what I understood about the conditions prior to the war is covered in this rather longish but detailed William Polk article in The Atlantic: Understanding Syria: From Pre-Civil War to Post-Assad. He mentions USAID's refusal to provide help to Syria, but I suppose the R2P writing was already on the wall by then. It was only a matter of when - not if - the U.S. would move to overthrow Assad.

Mina in another thread said the situation was bad, but not enough (at least by itself) to account for any kind of organic revolutionary uprisings - that the initial protests were entirely manufactured by the U.S. and cronies. There was dissatisfaction, but the protests were never impoverished Syrian farmers demanding social justice (as Polk's article would lead one to assume). All the public protests were 100% foreign-inspired jihadi revolutionaries piggybacking on the general discontent, but not representative of it. I'm not doing justice to her argument. Please jump in if you're reading this, Mina.

My argument for the ever-popular Louis Proyect@6 post wasn't for justifying revolution. The part of Proyect's argument I agreed with was that 1) as explained in The Atlantic article, the drought precipitated the dire conditions in Syria (at least by 2008), and 2) the Baathist government - with or without Assad as president - would have continued to not- or mis-handle the situation (as they had done prior to 2008) and only made things worse in the near-term. That doesn't automatically mean Syrians would eventually have revolted themselves without outside meddling. I don't know what they would have done, but there was little to suggest things would be getting better any time soon. It is not entirely the Baathists fault, but they offered little (that I can see) in the way of relief. By that time, the Syrian Baath party seemed to have devolved into factionalized squabbling and corruption (but probably no worse than other Middle East neighbors).

That doesn't mean I think Syria needed a revolution and damn sure didn't need any U.S. R2P-inspired one. It means I think Syria was kind of screwed by 2008 and things would have continued to be bad because of - in part - the drought. Neither the Baathists nor Assad seemed to be the cure (looking in from the outside), but replacing them was't anyone's call to make but the Syrians.

The bottom line is that - if left alone - Syria would have muddled through it somehow and adjusted. There's no reason to think they wouldn't have - they've been living there for a few millennia. Instead, the U.S. just took the opportunity to kick them in the head when they were temporarily down to beat some R2P neocon central-banker hegemonic sense into them.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 30 2017 6:36 utc | 93

"... and entrenched, corrupt forces, the Kurdish question, and the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists. ..."
Posted by: James Charles | Jan 29, 2017 5:21:25 AM | 59

So it is clear from the wikileaks cables that designs had already been laid by at least 2006 to destabilise, but to what extent was Assad facilitating, if at all, extreme Islamist elements transiting Syria ...? I assume these extremists were transiting to and from Iraq. Of course the choice now for Syria is a binary, but was Assad complicit to and then bitten by an animal he couldn't tame...?

Louis is a Christian-Zionist dickhead & Liar
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 28, 2017 7:47:03 PM | 22

Yes. It would appear so. So many repeat offences. Guy is paid a wage for for it I'm betting.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 30 2017 7:41 utc | 94

Unhappy with Trump? Stop complaining and help to create a progressive Movement that throws off the corrupt Democratic Party and the financial backers that they really work for.
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29, 2017 3:31:42 PM | 91

Spot on assessment of the current state of play, and there is - and was - plenty to take Trump down with policy wise. Instead we got #FakeNews and "he grabbed my muffin". Sorry, that's not an attack on policy and exactly why Trump won.

The Dems haven't been able to throw off the Barry O'Clinton corrupt pay-for-play/pay-for-office model of inept governance. The corpse of 2008-2016 is still trashing about, still half full of dirty cash. Still hurt by not allowing/theft of a Bernie candidacy...who knows, new blood like Gabbard may have risen naturally within the party before 2017, and not get smeared by her own for not towing the establishment narrative after 2017. What a colossal mess. Haha. Comical.

I share your view from a post in a previous thread re: a large space for a fledgling party to emerge eg;Pirate Party. Trump has filed to stand reelection yet the dems are mobilising around what exactly...? Around a departed charlatan...?

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 30 2017 8:04 utc | 95

@79 enrico malatesta


From: Syria Damascus
To: Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Iraq Baghdad, National Security Council, Secretary of State, The League of Arab States, Turkey Ankara, Turkey Istanbul, United Nations (Geneva), United Nations (New York)


Classified By: CDA Maura Connelly for reasons 1.5 b and d.

1. (SBU) This is an action request cable, see paragraph 7.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: UNFAO (Food and Agriculture) Syria Representative Abdullah Bin Yehia is seeking USG commitment to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2008 Drought Appeal. Yehia proposes to use money from the appeal to provide seed and technical assistance to 15,000 small-holding farmers in northeast Syria in an effort to preserve the social and economic fabric of this rural, agricultural community. If UNFAO efforts fail, Yehia predicts mass migration from the northeast, which could act as a multiplier on social and economic pressures already at play and undermine stability Syria. End Summary.


7. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Post received several queries as to whether the U.S. intends to contribute to the 2008 Syrian Drought Appeal, and we request department guidance on the matter. UNFAO is seeking immediate donor commitments that will allow them to borrow against the UN CERF. According to Yehia, UNFAO is trying to get seed stock to farmers in Al Hasakah by mid-December to ensure that they do not miss the window for planting a 2009 crop.

8. (C) COMMENT: Given the generous funding the U.S. currently provides to the Iraqi refugee community in Syria and the persistent problems WFP is experiencing with its efforts to import food for the refugee population, we question whether limited USG resources should be directed toward this appeal at this time.


no money for drought relief. unlimited funds for headchoppers.

Maura Connelly

Ambassador Connelly was the Chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, Syria from 2008-2009

i believe the cda is the resident cia official in us embassies.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 30 2017 8:04 utc | 96

P4 that s not what i said. I ll expand later.

Posted by: Mina | Jan 30 2017 9:35 utc | 97

Damascus and other mid size towns around the country: the middle class, emulating the 'heroes' from Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, which had been on TV for 2-3 months when they joined. 'Arab' spring so why shouldn't they join. There is a huge 'emulating' factor here, powerful among Arab males... But these demos were small (in Damascus) and they reached a no-end when the FB-rich kids ended up at a full MB demo. Same as Egypt.
Areas near the borders: half-mafia half-well organised (MB, Hariri). Here are the people who have suffered from the aftermaths of the 2008 crisis and play on prices of first comodities. There was some dry years here and there in Syria during this period 2008-2011 but it still had more water than any country around, and the cheapest fruits and vegetables, no need for import etc, in the whole Near East (with the exception of Turkey). But even so, tomatoes rised from 20 dollar cent a kilo to 1 dollar because of recurrent fungus (touched Jordan and Egypt even more) etc. This kind of 'problems'.
Drought started thanks to the Turks and their cotton, drying up half the country (East). Massive rural exodus in the 80s and 90s because of that. The bourgeoisie (both Muslims and Christians) in Aleppo looked at these people who massed in the suburbs and got the cheap jobs with a freightened look, knowing what it might turn into (+ their clanic organisation). But almost no demos in Aleppo for a year. Other places around Aleppo or in a 1 hour radis, where MB/Beduin tribes more conservatives than the Baath can be found started to want to punish Aleppo for not following. Some groups of the Kurds, strong in some Aleppo peripheral neighborhoods, held demos. They do have a citizenship problem and had claims for year. Some opponents in exile were influential (check joshualandis website 2011-2012).
There were also 'legal demos' in which different sectors of the bourgeoisie and middle class shared in Aleppo. This was during the attempt from the gov at an appeasing policy: they freed some Islamists and asked the people to express their grievances legally (spring 2012?)
You probably misunderstood my overly shrinked posts because i assume the posts and comments at landis for 2011-2014 are read.
Having said that, there is no doubt that people were afraid of the air intelligence, of Maher al Asad, of any stupid local governors. But they were not afraid for their children or daughters (they are in other countries where the Gulfies roam freely), they were afraid only for their relatives who spoke against these guys and their mafia-businesses. The same fears exist in each one of the 22 states of the Arab League. Syria was never North Korea and far less dictatorial than a dozen of countries in the Arab League. Another issue was the war in Iraq. Prisons under Maliki are almost as bad as under Saddam Hussein, so without letting a chance to countries such as Tunisia and Egypt to lead the change, building on the fact they had a weaker clanic/sectarian/tribal system than Syria (and a good record in mixity), the end result is guaranteed to be worse. But here is where the West+Gulf steps in: no way they ll let a country where Arab women have been empowered (such as Iraq or Syria, and adding the fact you have to understand that this empowerment has not reached the Beduins and more clanic segments of the society; or Tunisia and Egypt, for other reasons that include colonization, and again with the warning that this is not true in many areas/segments of society)

Posted by: Mina | Jan 30 2017 10:30 utc | 98

Oh dear. After much speculation during the past week, President Donald Trump spoke with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman by phone on Sunday, and they have agreed to support safe zones in both Syria and Yemen, according to the White House.
Strengthened military cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia will have immediate repercussions in a region where the US government has been at war since 2001.
Trump was joined during the call by National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, chief of staff Reince Priebus, and chief strategist Stephen Bannon. Could Trump be doubling down on backing the Saudis/Israelis in their war against Assad?

Posted by: harrylaw | Jan 30 2017 12:16 utc | 99

thanks mina.

Posted by: james | Jan 30 2017 17:09 utc | 100

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