Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 07, 2017

Syria: New U.S. Air Support On Request Scheme For Al-Qaeda

On this day one hundred years ago the U.S. joined World War I. Last night the U.S. attacked a Syrian government airport in an openly hostile and intentional manner. The strike established a mechanism by which al-Qaeda can "request" U.S. airstrikes on Syrian government targets. It severely damaged the main support base for Syria's fight against the Islamic State in eastern Syria. The event will possibly lead to a much larger war.

On April 4 Syrian airplanes hit an al-Qaeda headquarter in Khan Sheikoun, Idleb governate. Idleb governate is under al-Qaeda control. After the air strike some chemical agent was released. The symptoms shown in videos from local aid stations point to a nerve-agent. The release probably killed between 50 and 90 people. It is unknown how the release happened.

It is unlikely that the Syrian government did this:

  • In 2013 the Syrian government had given up all its chemical weapons. UN inspectors verified this.
  • The target was militarily and strategically insignificant.
  • There was no immediate pressure on the Syrian military.
  • The international political atmosphere had recently turned positive for Syria.

Even if Syria had stashed away some last-resort weapon this would have been the totally wrong moment and totally wrong target for using it. Over the last six year of war the Syrian government army had followed a political and militarily logical path. It acted consistently. It did not act irrational. It is highly unlikely that it would have now take such an illogical step.

The chemical used, either Sarin or Soman, was not in a clean form. Multiple witnesses reported of a "rotten smell" and greenish color. While the color would point to a mixture with Chlorine the intense smell of Chlorine is easily identifiable, covers up most other odors and would have been recognized by witnesses. Both Sarin and Soman are in pure form colorless, tasteless and odorless. The Syrian government once produced nerve agents on a professional, large scale base. Amateurishly produced nerve-gases are not pure and can smell (example: Tokyo subway incident 1995). It is unlikely that the Syrian government experts would produce a "rotten smelling", dirty, low quality stuff in an unprofessional and dangerous process.

The nerve agents in Khan Sheikoun, should they be confirmed, came either from stashed ammunition at the place attacked by the Syrian government or it was willfully released by the local ruling terrorist groups -al-Qaeda and Ahrar al-Sham- after the strike to implicate the Syrian government. The relatively low casualty numbers of mostly civilians point to the second variant.

Several reports over the years confirm that Al-Qaeda in Syria has the precursors and capabilities to produce and use Sarin as well as other chemical agents. This would not be their first use of such weapons. Al-Qaeda was under imminent pressure. It was losing the war. It is therefor highly likely that this was an intentional release by al-Qaeda to create public pressure on the Syrian government.

For a release incident of powerful chemical weapons the casualty numbers were low, lower than the casualty numbers of recent conventional U.S. air strikes in Syria and Iraq. Despite that fact a huge international media attack wave, seemingly prepared in advance, against the Syrian government was released. No evidence was presented that the incident was caused by the Syrian government. The only pictures and witness reports from the ground came from or through elements, like the White Helmets, who are known to by embedded with al-Qaeda and ISIS (video) and are acting as their propaganda arm.

Last night U.S. president Trump "responded" to the incident by ordering the launch of 59 cruise missiles on the Syrian military airport Al Syairat (vid). The cruise missiles were launched from sea in a volley designed to overwhelm air defenses. According to the Syrian and Russian military only 23 cruise missiles reached the airport. The others were shut down or failed. Six Syrian soldiers were Killed, nine civilians in a nearby village were killed or wounded and nine Syrian jets were destroyed. The airport infrastructure was severely damaged. The Syrian and Russian governments had been warned before the strikes hit and evacuated most men and critical equipment. (Was the warning part of a deal?) The air attack coincided with an Islamic State ground attack east of the airport.

The Pentagon alleges, without any evidence, that Sarin had been stored at the airport and a chemical attack launched from it. Both seems highly unlikely. The airport was accessible for UN inspectors. It is not as well covered by air defenses as other Syrian airports, for example in Latakia governate. Its ground approaches are not completely secured. Some medium range air defense system near al Syairat was recently used against Israeli planes attacking Syrian forces fighting ISIS near Palmyra.

Al Syairat lies in Homs governate, 150 km south of Khan Sheikoun in Idleb governate. It is the main support and supply airport for the besieged Syrian government enclave in Deir Ezzor which will now again be in even more serious trouble. It was also used to launch attacks on the Islamic State which fights the Syrian government troops in east Homs.

Al-Qaeda and its sidekick Ahra al-Sham welcomed the U.S. strikes and Abu Ivanka al Amriki on their side. The theocratic dictatorship of Saudi Arabia offered its full support as did its British creators.

The U.S. airstrike delivers a message to al-Qaeda. Whenever under military pressure al-Qaeda can now stage or fake a "chemical attack" and the U.S. will act to destroy its enemy, the Syrian government. Acts as the one last night are then direct military support by the U.S. on al-Qaeda's request.

A similar scheme had earlier been established on the Golan heights. Al-Qaeda, fighting against Syrian government positions, would launch a mortar round that would land within Israeli controlled territory. Israel would then launch artillery strikes against Syrian government positions because "the Syrian government is responsible for what happens in the area". Al-Qaeda then used the battle field advantage created by the Israeli strike. The scheme and the Israeli military "reasoning" was published several times in Israeli media:

A number of mortars have landed in Israeli territory as a result of spillover fighting over the last several years, raising fears among residents near the border.

The IDF often responds to fire that crosses into Israel by striking Syrian army posts.

Israel maintains a policy of holding Damascus responsible for all fire from Syria into Israel regardless of the source of the fire.

The U.S. administration has now established a similar mechanism, on a larger scale, of direct military U.S. support for al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Syria.

The Trump presidency had been held hostage by unfounded allegation of "Russian interference" in the U.S. elections in support of the Trump candidacy. The air strikes on Syria might have been the ransom that was demanded for the release of the hostage. His opponents are now gushing about him. The allegation of any Trump-Russia connections may now die down.

Yesterday major Democratic leaders in Congress supported strikes on Syria. Despite that they are also likely to attack Trump over them. The strikes are a "strong man" gamble. As Trump said when Obama ordered strikes such are a desperate move. Most parts of the State Department and the NSC were not consulted about them. The chances that these will "blow back" politically as well as strategically are high.

Trump is the third U.S. president in a row who promised less belligerence during his campaign only to deliver more after the election. The "democratic" veil of the U.S. oligarchic rule thus rips further apart.

Open U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria will now cease. U.S. planes in Syrian airspace are from now on constantly under imminent danger. There will also be some larger revenge against the U.S. for last night's strikes. Likely not in Syria but in Iraq, Afghanistan or at sea. A "message" will be send. The U.S. reaction to that "message" will be a decision over a much larger war.

Posted by b on April 7, 2017 at 8:22 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Impeach Trump ! His fanbase is to 90% pissed ! His base will melt like snow in hell ! That wasnt what we were voting for you shabbes goy traitor ! Fuck you !

Posted by: Valhalla Rising | Apr 7 2017 8:31 utc | 1

The U.S. reaction to that "message" will be a decision over a much larger war.

My opinion is that certain people have been waiting for, and will welcome that message. A larger war is they want.

Posted by: alkomv | Apr 7 2017 8:31 utc | 2

Handful of reasons why the victims of the chemical spill cannot have been exposed to sarin.

For one, seen in the above picture, the White Helmets are handling the corpses of people without sufficient safety gear, most particularly with the masks mostly used , as well as no gloves. Although this may seem insignificant, understanding the nature of sarin gas that the opposition claim was used, only opens questions.

Within seconds of exposure to sarin, the affects of the gas begins to target the muscle and nervous system. There is an almost immediate release of the bowels and the bladder, and vomiting is induced. When sarin is used in a concentrated area, it has the likelihood of killing thousands of people. Yet, such a dangerous gas, and the White Helmets are treating bodies with little concern to their exposed skin.

Posted by: never mind | Apr 7 2017 8:38 utc | 3

Eu , nato welcome this, this shows the sick double standard, imagine if Putin did thiis to Ukraine, then we would have eu, nato screaming about Russia breaking international law, now we see the same eu, nato support the US illegal war!

Posted by: neocon butcher | Apr 7 2017 8:41 utc | 4

Posted by: never mind | Apr 7, 2017 4:38:07 AM | 3

No, the photos obviously show the effects of chlorine, Doctors without borders and actually Turkey report the same. They also say that some people showed "neurotoxic" poisoning which might be Sarin or any Pesticide.
So different people were poisoned by different stuff.

The whole photo, video stuff looks staged which maybe because very professional photographers were involved. But obviously they were meant for political effect.

The regime had a motive - to diminish fighters morale by attacking their families - same reasoning as for the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima or the bombing of German cities.

Some secret services had a motive, too, that is evident.

Trump - the US army, the CIA - now have to dare Russian, Syrian air defenses or withdraw from Syria. They won't leave US army on the ground without air cover.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 8:56 utc | 6

Trumps cowardly submitting to the democrat attackers may have reduced his to a 1 term presidency.

Posted by: brian | Apr 7 2017 8:57 utc | 7

Tillerson says there was no warning, no deal.

One doesn't know what to believe anymore.

Posted by: Lea | Apr 7 2017 8:57 utc | 8

"The regime had a motive - to diminish fighters morale by attacking their families - same reasoning as for the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima or the bombing of German cities."

What a ridiculous statement. The "regime" could have done much more damage with a conventional strike that would have attracted much less attention. That's even assuming they would target civilians for the fun of it, which is doubtful.

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 7 2017 9:02 utc | 9

President Trump has been jumped by a shark. Holland and Merkel and the British establishment are mad, as in insane. The folks entrusted with the European Union haven't two operational brain cells to rub together. What's not to like. What fiction does allowing governance into such hands show success? This marks without question, the beginning of the end of the hegemon and its enablers, madmen don't maintain empires of any sort; power will be removed by prising it from their cold dead fingers; not a matter of if, only when and how much collateral damage.

How does one remove the remembered information from *Post a comment*?

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 7 2017 9:04 utc | 10

Considering what is coming, your analysis, b, seems too tame. I think we're done for... Peace is not to be had...

Posted by: GoraDiva | Apr 7 2017 9:19 utc | 11

The traditional enemies of peace are laughing with joy over President Chump's idiocy, with more to come, all for the glory of Apartheid Israel.

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible.

This is a war of an elite. [Tom] Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

Maybe son-in-law Kushner's financial dealings in Iraq will now become much easier.

Posted by: Greg Bacon | Apr 7 2017 9:22 utc | 12

For me, China's silence is deafening.

I commented on another site the following (highly wishful, but as of now highly improbable) turn of events:

Let us just imagine that the Chinese announce that they are building an airbase somewhere in Latakia, they have already delivered 3-shiploads of buldozers, machinery and personnel, and the base would be operational in 20 days, with several air wings of the latest Chinese aircraft exterminating the Chinese takfiris in Idlib. That would be a message.

Chinese peacekeeping forces, deployed to the big cities away from the frontline, would also free up significant forces and serve as a secure rear for the gov forces. Given the size of China’s army and economic and logistic capabilities, a contingent of 10-15 000 troops (even 5000 would suffice) would be a significant step to achieving peace in Syria somewhere along the road. And let us remember who China is – no state entity would be willing to confront them in plain sight.

The above may sound very-far fetched, but I think it would serve best Chinese long-term interests.

Full-time Russian airbases and Chinese naval bases in Iran would also cool many heads off.

Posted by: Gardariki | Apr 7 2017 9:22 utc | 13

Posted by: Lysander | Apr 7, 2017 5:02:01 AM | 9

Chemicals in this context have no strategic or tactical value, except panic and fear, i.e. psychological warfare.

This applies to all sides.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 9:23 utc | 14

10 "How does one remove the remembered information from *Post a comment*?"

Run CCleaner free version. Cleans out a lot of crap.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 7 2017 9:26 utc | 15

Posted by: Lea | Apr 7, 2017 4:57:35 AM | 8

That would explain why they needed 50! Tomahawks to hit one airfield.

Germany has adjusted its statements to being full on board. It can only go down from here ...

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 9:28 utc | 16

Hopefully Russia will move in more S-400 systems to gain complete coverage of Syria and then state that any aircraft not operating with the permission of, and in co-ordination of the Syrian government will be shot down.
Also more close in defense systems like the Pantsir to protect Syrian military bases from US cruise missile attacks.

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 7 2017 9:30 utc | 17

It's now official policy; each new, U.S. president, is vetted in the right of passage; killing one's enemies; real or imagined; but it must be done in defiance of international law and decency. Trump may have been blooded in record time, no?
How does it go? Meet the new boss, same as........
Usian's are proven to be bat shit crazy!

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 7 2017 9:33 utc | 18

France calls for the continuation of the Syrian intervention ....
A few weeks ago they were all against Trump.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 9:35 utc | 19

@ Peter AU #15

Thanks, slight hiccough - it's a MacBook, not PC. Shall now exit traffic, having had my say.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 7 2017 9:36 utc | 20

This is about to go down as Libya
EU, US, NATO and Saudis will start bombing in the coming weeks.

So one day Trump=Bad the next day he start an unlawful war and then..the western elite support him!?

As someone else said, b's analysis is way too tame, this is really dangerous times.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 7 2017 9:43 utc | 21

One last matter. It seems access to RT/On Air is being denied this morning. DDOS attack?

Yesterday deleted all links to BBC and The Guardian as news sources upon The Guardian's headline assertion of responsibility. The lies and propaganda from those sources aren't worth the candle. May other readers beware.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 7 2017 9:47 utc | 22

13 Gardariki:
Chinese president is in the US right now. I expect the next meeting with Trump will be quite cold. This also means that China's real reaction won't happen before he's safely back home.
Coincidentally, this also means there's no risk of Russian nuclear strike for the next few hours - unless in response to a genuine direct US attack.
Still, if Western fools don't stop now and escalate, we're in trouble.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Apr 7 2017 10:10 utc | 23

Add this to the attack on RT

Leith Abou Fadel‏Verified account @leithfadel 20m20 minutes ago
Al-Masdar has been under a heavy attack for the last 3 hours. Over 4,500 attacks on the website and all of the attacks coming from the US

Posted by: Peter AU | Apr 7 2017 10:17 utc | 24

Russian ministry of defense claims all under control.

"It is evident that the US cruise missile strikes against a Syrian airbase have been prepared long before today’s events. A large system of measures of reconnaissance, planning, preparation of flight tasks and bringing the missiles to launch readiness needs to be carried out to prepare such an attack," ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said. ...

Only 23 missiles from US destroyers reached the targeted Syrian airfield, it is unclear where the other 36 landed, the ministry said.

The Russian Defense Ministry also announced on Friday its plans to bolster and increase the effectiveness of the air defense system in Syria after the United States carried out attacks against a Syrian armed forces airfield.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 10:18 utc | 25

Russian FM statement announces the suspension of deconfliction memorandum.

"It is obvious that the cruise missile attack was prepared in advance. Any expert understands that Washington’s decision on air strikes predates the Idlib events, which simply served as a pretext for a show of force.

Russia suspends the Memorandum of Understanding on Prevention of Flight Safety Incidents in the course of operations in Syria signed with the US."

Posted by: Dean | Apr 7 2017 10:20 utc | 26

Macron & Le Pen & Fillon?

What say they about this?

Will escalation in Syria help Macron (pro going to war and possible WW3) or Le Pen/ Fillon - who seem much more sensible on this issue.

Is a Le Pen-Fillon second round battle still really out of the question?

If that happens, there might still be hope.

Well anyway, it gives me something to hang on for the next month or so anyway.

Posted by: Julian | Apr 7 2017 10:45 utc | 27

Guess these latest acts of war by Trump will finally erase the idea's about him being less war hawk and anti terrorist. Cognitive dissonance will let some people still blame parties like the Dems, Israel, whatever, but at the end of the day, his and US policies are in no way different than that of Bush or Obama.

Like a bully on the playground, the US only understands force. Syria has no option but to respond and give the US a bloody nose because it won't even be a war of attrition but Libya redux at 0.5 speed from here on.

Posted by: xor | Apr 7 2017 10:51 utc | 28

If true that attack like this one takes a while to plan, than this is likely what would have happened had Killary won - except sooner. With Trump, TPTB had to blackmail him first to acquiesce (i.e., 'Russia hacked our election' circus). He caved in - very quickly. I still think Russians are naive; they keep thinking amrica can be negotiated with. Also, with N-yahoo - how else to explain the Jerusalem bit? When will Russians learn?
The attack also throws a bone to the sultan wanna-be, who was ready by calling for a no-fly zone (and now will not threaten to leave nato). (It's like the Bay of Pigs invasion - plans are made and go on, regardless of who is president; and it may even be the aug. 2013 plan - fake chemical attack equals us missiles in Syria.) If Russia, China, and Iran do not stand together now and reverse western plans, it's curtains...

Posted by: GoraDiva | Apr 7 2017 11:03 utc | 29

"would be a significant step to achieving peace in Syria"
That's very naive. Asside from the fact that war is the tune, China has its hands full in the South China Sea where it's confronting US, Japan, South Korea, India!, Vietnam, Australia and Philipenes. Iran is sensitive about foreign military forces on its soil so even Russian planes are not always as welcome at their airfields. Besides China already has a port in Gwadar.

Read some or something to be better informed.

Posted by: xor | Apr 7 2017 11:04 utc | 30

@29 "... attack like this one takes a while to plan..."

A comment from ZH likely sets the 'Boardroom" scene: "I'm guessing that this is what got up Bannon's nose and that we can probably kiss good-bye to #Pedogate as well."

Posted by: x | Apr 7 2017 11:08 utc | 31

Was that Homs runway the only target or were that the missiles that actually made it?

Initial Reuters report speaks of targets

The targets hit from U.S. ships in the Mediterranean Sea included the air base in the central city of Homs from which the Syrian aircraft staged Tuesday's chemical weapons attack, said the U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 11:25 utc | 32

Well, this isn't a surprise. The Chump is a warmongering piece of shit (as I and many others predicted) and all the people denouncing him as the new Hitler suddenly approve of the guy. Because, as all right thinking people know, illegal war is good and respectable while inflammatory rhetoric is worse than genocide.

By moving ever further into Kafka's Orwellian Brave New World 21st Century Funhouse of lies, inconsistencies, double-standards, flawed logic and moral cowardice the west is sowing the seeds of its own destruction. Fragmented societies don't last; they destroy themselves from within.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Apr 7 2017 11:30 utc | 33

This was payback for shooting down Israeli jets and an attempt to save Alqaida.

Putin's response is way too mild. Only real consequences will deter this bullshit. Putin, Xi and Iranian leadership need to find a spine. Perhaps they will show one yet. Their real reaction would never come the day after

Posted by: Alaric | Apr 7 2017 11:40 utc | 34
When Tillerson was asked if the US would organize a coalition to remove Assad, the US top-diplomat said: “Those steps are underway.”

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 7 2017 11:41 utc | 35

"Only 23 out of 59 US missiles hit target, damage is "laughable" - Syrian officer" -

Posted by: x | Apr 7 2017 11:46 utc | 36


Just watch Russian response on Libya, at the same time, what could they do?

I wonder though why Syria never got to buy the S300, same with Iran if I am not mistaken?

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 7 2017 11:51 utc | 37

The bold and determined rhetorical stance Russia took with the Obama administration practically daring it to attack Syria is no more. Because when push comes to shove the US military still outguns its opponents by a considerable margin. And they understandably aren't anxious to find out how big exactly that margin is. Also, Chump and his "mad dog" just might be unhinged enough to go all out with the military "option" as they so casually put it.

A few things that come to mind...

What about the S-3/400s that are supposedly in place? Do they work as a defence against incoming cruise missiles?

The alleged "warning call" before the strike seems out of character for any US administration. Maybe they warned Russia, but the Syrian government..?

Now what happens? Do Russia, China and Iran still think their American government counterparts are rational human beings who want to avoid war at all cost?

How can escalation be prevented at this point?

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Apr 7 2017 11:52 utc | 38

@6: "So different people were poisoned by different stuff."

If that is true then the claim that Assad did this has to be false.

We know that for a fact because the only eyewitness to the actual bombing was adamant that there was exactly one SU-22 bomber that dropped exactly four bombs: three with conventional high explosives, and only one that resulted in the release of a "white cloud".

That means that the jihadis themselves are saying that the Syrian air force dropped only one (1) chemical-filled bomb, which is utterly incompatible with an observation that "different people were poisoned by different stuff".

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 7 2017 11:56 utc | 39

Temporarily Sane

Syria doesnt have S300, Russians have S300,400 inside Syria protecting themselves.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 7 2017 11:57 utc | 40

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 7 2017 11:59 utc | 41

@34 Alaric

Only real consequences will deter this bullshit. Putin, Xi and Iranian leadership need to find a spine. Perhaps they will show one yet

What can they do if they want to avoid triggering a catastrophic, possibly nuclear, war with "mad dog" and co?

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Apr 7 2017 12:00 utc | 42

@41 Anon1

Thanks for the info.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Apr 7 2017 12:01 utc | 43

Anything that hopefully draws a line under the chemical attack charade is a positive development in my opinion. A seemingly militarily and strategically irrelevant strike, with the Russians given prior warning, and which could coincidentally end fever pitch speculation of Trump being in the pocket of Putin and thereby pave way to a rapprochement at a later date..

Unless they strike again.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Apr 7 2017 12:08 utc | 44

I believe Trump has good intentions on the beginning. he is just too weak to resist... as an outsider, he also dont have a proper political suppor in american stablishment... It was like taking a candy from a child...

anyway, the political environment in the US is so rotten, that is virtually impossible to anyone to change the course of the disaster awaiting the US... the country is too much zombified to fix itself... something really dramatic have to happen...

Posted by: Dario | Apr 7 2017 12:08 utc | 45

b: The symptoms shown in videos from local aid stations point to a nerve-agent.

b: The chemical used, either Sarin or Soman, was not in a clean form.

These are absolutely a false statements. People repeating the sarin myth only prove how effective this particular false-flag is. Quit being gullible.

Khan Sheikhoun is Ghouta II. In both cases the internet lit up with "Sarin!! Sarin!! Sarin!!" before anyone could possibly know what happened. This is not sarin.

And the reasons I say it are too numerous and too complicated to go into in a blog comment. Here is a 278 page thesis on the Ghouta Massacre that explains the pharmacology of these organophosphate agents.

Here is a shorter version for those not into biology.

Please, people. Educate yourselves. This is important.

This best way to see immediately that the victims have not died from sarin intoxication is that in almost every case their skin is red/pink. Sarin turns people blue -- always. Sarin makes people puke on themselves, urinate on themselves, shit themselves. Show me the evidence of sarin. Scores and scores of "sarin victims," not a single one has the constellation of symptoms produced by sarin. Not a single one.

The red/pink color of the victims in the vids suggests the people were executed with cyanide or carbon monoxide, which, in turn, suggests these scenes are staged after the executions. The evidence for KS is just now being collected. The evidence for Ghouta is very, very strong: those people were gassed by the terrorists using, probably, CO.

Please quit spreading the lie that these are sarin victims and sarin attacks. They are false flags and now that there is a moron in the WH we see how effective those false flags will be unless the public understands what is going on biologically.

My PhD is in pharmacology, specializing in neuropharmacology, University of Virginia. My postdoc was at Harvard in neurosciences. I am a lawyer. I know bullshit when I smell it. This sarin bullshit has to stop.

Posted by: Denis | Apr 7 2017 12:09 utc | 46

Temporarily Sane

Yes there is alot of confusion there and have been for years (on S300/Syria).

"How can escalation be prevented at this point?"

I wouldnt have so much hope in this actually. We see already how media in the west push the usual Assad is Hitler propaganda. They want war and the politicians in the west have not condemned the US, rather it seems they are plotting something bigger. It doesnt look good at all. I hope I am wrong but no..
We also have Tillerson's claim that they plan regime change now so I sense only more escalation,
we also have Tillerson's meeting with Putin next week. Will this be cancled? What will they say? I think this is a key point in the coming days. Whats your take?

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 7 2017 12:09 utc | 47

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 7, 2017 7:56:59 AM | 40

Yep. You can read it in the press release of Doctors without borders.

"Trump's" attack was sheer stupidity as it has served no purpose - Assad is safer now than before with Russia putting protection in place that equals their own country and US planes unable to fly safely without Russian good will, before, Russia hoped for an agreement with the US, not any more.
Putin is now all in at a time when the "rebels" are too weak to cause serious pain.

Even from a PR perspective the Russian army is able to call the strike ineffective and there is a real danger the truth about the "gas attack" comes out.

The danger now is that the US escalate more of the same to get something out of it.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 12:10 utc | 48

"Nine civilians including four children were killed in the U.S. missile attack on a Syrian airbase near the city of Homs on Friday, the Syrian state news agency said."

So now he is not only a billionaire but also murderer.

Posted by: jkls | Apr 7 2017 12:17 utc | 49


"Assad is safer now than before with Russia putting protection in place that equals their own country and US planes unable to fly safely without Russian good will, before, Russia hoped for an agreement with the US, not any more.

This is false, what proection are you talking about? S300/400 is used by Russia itself in Syria, what other anti-missile proection are you refering to?
Secondly. Why would cancel of agreement Russia/US benefit anyone? Just another escalation.

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 7 2017 12:21 utc | 50

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7, 2017 8:10:19 AM | 49

It is possible that the chlorine was - legitimately - stored in the hospital that was bombed.

Pesticides are used in hospitals, too - they are neurotoxins.

Someone said the photos - I can't bear to check - included people with head injuries. So maybe they are the people from the hospital. That would rhyme with the number of casualties which is comparatively low.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 12:25 utc | 51

It's said that 23 out of 59 Tomahawk missiles fired from a US warship in the Mediterranean struck their target at an airbase in Syria. That targeted airbase is being used as a dump for old Syrian military vehicles and equipment. The Russians must have known (?) even before the the attack occurred because they are covering Syrian airspace with S400 radar protection. Might there be a possibility that the Trump administration directed the missiles to be launched and fewer than half reach the intended abandoned airbase as a ploy to appease those on Capitol Hill favouring Assad's removl and also deceive them into thinking that they have Trump by the short-n-curlies?

I realise the idea is far-fetched but it's still early days for the Trump administration and its style and modus operandi will take some time to become obvious and predictable, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility that Trump is trying to have his cake and eat it too.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 7 2017 12:33 utc | 52

Now that Trump has stabbed his base in the back, who is going to support him now? Trump betrayed literally the only people who had his back 100%. I'm so sad I have to eat crow from the naysayers who were right all along.

Posted by: Pareto | Apr 7 2017 12:38 utc | 53

Who cares about a pretext? The US and its allies try to destroy Syria like earlier Libya, Iraq and many other countries. Nothing change. Where was the outrage among Americans when Israel massacred Palestinians? The truth is simple: America is a disgusting country with sick, psychopathic people and Trump is another example of that.

Posted by: jkls | Apr 7 2017 12:42 utc | 54

Somebody @ 52: I have seen some photos of some Khan Shaykhun children supposedly gassed with head wounds and injuries that suggest they were shot and/or bludgeoned to death. Also the children in these photos look very bloated as if they had been dead for some time before the CW attack occurred.

I think there's a real possibility that the jihadis had killed the children on a previous occasion, buried their bodies in a pit with quick lime or some other preservation chemicals, and then exhumed the children to make their video.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 7 2017 12:49 utc | 55


Trump started a war to GET support by the americans, and nato/eu. Thats the tragic and sick state the west lives in today.

Posted by: neocon butcher | Apr 7 2017 12:57 utc | 56

@Posted by: somebody| 19

Sorry, but not quite. I am French and what Hollande said was that he is calling for a "continuation of the Syrian intervention through the UN", meaning he wants a UN Resolution he knows he won't get.
Which is not the same as simply "calling for a continuation".

Posted by: Lea | Apr 7 2017 13:02 utc | 57

Seems like everyone is giving too much credance that these events are pre planned as part of a master plan. That assumes that the American establishment is well organized and very smart, something we all know is far from reality.
The event of the gas being released is nothing more than a local decision to by the terrorists to try and stop Syrian attacks on idlib by making it look like a intentional chemical attack. May also have had some Turkish involvement in making that decision.
What trump did is nothing more than a response to prodding by the neocon group led by McCain to put up or shut up. Trump is an idiot and easily manipulated and is trying hard to show that he is not Obama and can be tough. Although I do believe he agreed to be somewhat cautious by pre warning the Russians of his intent.
Overall, nothing here is surprising. Events took control and fools were manipulated to act.
The key now is the response. In my opinion, Syrian president Assad wins at the end. Putin has been playing this way too safe and now he looks the fool. He now has to take a tougher stand and protect his involvement. Syria will very likely now finally get a functional air defence system, Israel loses. Turkey will be downgraded and very likely, Erdogan Is finished.
Putin has to serve notice that he will not be undermined by a foolish American establishment and that Russia is a force to be reckoned with. We may finally be witnessing the end of the Syrian war.

Posted by: Brad | Apr 7 2017 13:03 utc | 58

Posted by: Lea | Apr 7, 2017 9:02:09 AM | 58

I am relieved.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 13:14 utc | 59

I am not surprised but nonetheless disappointed.

So much for having a rational foreign policy. So much not throwing away trillions of dolalrs in endless, pointless, winless wars. So sad.

So did Trump finally cave to establishment pressure? Or was he, as so many have said, just a buffoon who either never meant or never understood what he had promised, and is now seduced by the need to act macho? Maybe it doesn't matter.

A big question: just how good were the Russian air defenses? If they really could attrit 50% of a massive strike, and force the United States to use 50 very expensive cruise missiles instead of the dozen or so they would normally employ, that could eventually have bigger ramifications than thought. If, however, it turns out that Russian air defenses are more of a paper tiger well that could mean a lot as well.

It's still sad.

Posted by: TG | Apr 7 2017 13:16 utc | 60

@Jen 53/ 56
It's quite pointless to discuss the photos of the victims, since literally no-one believes the official 'Assad did it' narrative. Also, why should the jihadis use old corpses, rather than 'fresh kills' which would make for more convincing photo/ video 'evidence'?

Your point about the 'abandoned' airbase is more interesting...sources for that?
Unsure what it would mean...

Note that the attacks were with cruise missiles from ships, not planes - this usually is a way of conveying a message, rather than achieve a military goal. The clue may well be in the sentence:

Some medium range air defense system near al Syairat was recently used against Israeli planes attacking Syrian forces fighting ISIS near Palmyra.

This action very likely resulted in the downing of one Israeli jet - could today's action be retaliation for that loss? Russia isn't the only player doing 'tit for tat'...

(Israel denied losing a jet, but two days later an F-16 allegedly crashed returning from a 'routine' Gaza mission - connect the dots.)

Posted by: smuks | Apr 7 2017 13:19 utc | 61

Posted by: Anon1 | Apr 7, 2017 8:21:32 AM | 51

Let's assume the US really are interested in removing Assad, they probably are not, but want to split Syria.

If they really want to remove Assad they would have to make a deal with the Russians and Iran considering that all "rebel" offensives have failed.

Why should Iran or Russia end their support for Russia now? Worse, Russia has stopped to regard the US as "partner" so solving anything will get infinitesimal more difficult now.

If the aim is to split Syria they have to be active within Syria. Russia just effectively threw them out. Or Trump will have to risk US military deaths and I don't think this would help his ratings.

Regan very wisely picked poor Granada to show he is a hero. Russia will gladly make Syria an exhibition space for their military gear to a much lower cost than 60 Tomahawks.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 13:24 utc | 62


The Trump presidency had been held hostage by unfounded allegation of "Russian interference" in the U.S. elections ... The strikes are a "strong man" gamble [to put those allegations to rest].
I don't see it that way.

After Obama's 'red line' was crossed in 2013, Trump tweets urged Obama not to bomb. And, because of his previous interest, Trump likely knows that the Ghouta attack is considered to be a false flag by most independent observers.

I don't accept that Trump was forced into this by his political adversaries. What happened to Trump's concerns about "radical Islamic terrorism"? How is this action consistent with Trump's 'America First' ideals? Politically, he looks like a charlatan.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 7 2017 13:24 utc | 63

Trump has also managed to disrespect China's presidential state visit with these (largely meaningless, except "symbolically") retaliatory strikes which have likely endangered Americans (and French and other) foreign 'assets' on the ground working with the Kurds and others. These strikes have at also set back and preempted the "fight against ISIS." The vainglorious shallow stupidity of these strikes may be hidden by further aggression aimed at deposing Assad but the shallow stupidity is evident as talk of Trump's future approval ratings and his past tweets wrt Obama shared front page coverage. I'm guessing the truly "disappointing" jobs report will not be eclipsed ... rising oil prices, etc. Clinton's self-serving bad-taste attempt to "told ya so" appears to have been preempted or at least stalled

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 7 2017 13:34 utc | 64

It is getting funny - this is Fox News

20 jets destroyed, just one missile missed :-))

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 13:35 utc | 65

Trump a charlatan?
I prefer (instead of charlatan): traitor
(your attacks on Circe made you look like a charlatan)

Posted by: From The Hague | Apr 7 2017 13:35 utc | 66

Let it be known – with Donald Trump, the White House has finally converted to democracy, in other words - « Government of the People by the People, for the People », according to the famous phrase of Abraham Lincoln. The United States are in the process of becoming a normal power. They are abandoning their imperialist ambition. They have renounced the Wolfowitz doctrine of global domination. They once again recognise that all Humans are born equal, whether they are Westerners or not( Thierry Meyssan)

another aloof prognostication to soothe your frazzled nerves.


Posted by: john | Apr 7 2017 13:38 utc | 67

Plain and straight:
Egypt was in some areas almost in hunger situation after the 'cold' with KSA (possibly, weakening Egypt and breaking apart Sudan and Libya has had repercussions in the whole region: poverty and hunger, i.e. unrest, child soldiers, militias etc are the expected result).
Trump met with KSA heir, aka prime minister.
Next day, Egypt got back its KSA oil deliveries (in the name of Arab solidarity).
I bet they were informed then that there was no B plan about Syria, just going for the cake with everyone else and end up like Sudan and Somalia.

International politics is just about the smartest way to manufacture zombies for different purposes.

Posted by: Mina | Apr 7 2017 13:39 utc | 68

There seems to be a confusion here about syrian defense. They have none, simple as that, russia have not sold any to syria to begin with, thats why US bomb all these nations because its harmless.

Posted by: neocon butcher | Apr 7 2017 13:44 utc | 69

re Valhalla Rising Impeach Trump!

Indeed, if the Democrats really wanted to impeach Trump, they would have little difficulty now. Unlike the attack on Deir Zor which the US denied was intentional, Trump has willing boasted of committing a war crime.

He has violated the US constitution, ignoring congress, not received the OK from the UNSC, and violated the UN charter, as well as the Nuremburg principles in initiating an agressive act of war on a sovereign state.

No evidence of Russian Trump collusions, but impeachable willing confession of a violation of both US law and international law. What's not to impeach. Go to it Democrats!

Posted by: blue | Apr 7 2017 13:47 utc | 70

@Jack 64

Trump doesn't have any 'concerns' or 'ideals', other than his personal fortune.
Half a year before the election, I talked to a US political analyst. He characterized T. as 'a phoney, a fraud...adept at promising his counterparts whatever they want to hear, just to make them accept his self-serving deals'. Sounds quite legit to me.

@Mina 69

Thanks, very interesting - could you elaborate some more on recent developments in and around Egypt? Still a key country in the region, if only for its huge population and army.

Posted by: smuks | Apr 7 2017 13:57 utc | 71

I think China and Iran's support are critical to Russia being willing and/or able to stand its ground in Syria. Regarding response, Russia can/should upgrade their air defences so they are capable of handling saturation strikes like this incident. I would guess the initially launched cruise missiles flew a holding pattern and after they all were launched, they finally headed towards the target. That only a little more than 1/3 reached their target actually bodes well for defending against future attacks with only modest increases in military hardware.

Russian asymmetrical responses could include ramping up support for Donbass, perhaps even starting a rebel offensive and pushing the lines westward. Iranian response could include increasing support of the Houthis to pressure Saudi Arabia, as well as ramping up militia support in Iraq and Syria. Shifting significant militia forces from Mosul to liberate the area around Deir ez-Zor could allow the expansion of the military base there to allow the establishment of a Russian base with S300/400 coverage. China can escalate things in the South China Sea as well as reaffirm support for North Korea.

Just like many of you, I see a significant possibility of a wider war. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will need to update its doomsday clock, their change to 2 1/2 minutes to midnight now seems optimistic.

Posted by: WG | Apr 7 2017 13:58 utc | 72

b, 'The Trump presidency had been held hostage by unfounded allegation of "Russian interference" in the U.S. elections in support of the Trump candidacy.'

the trump presidency has been held hostage by the ignorance and cowardice of tee-rump himself. i imagine that he was as surprised as anyone else that he won. he had no plans for what to do in the event. the result is his fallback onto the neocons and his israeli lawyers abd creditors. he's a joke. a sick, sick joke that stigmatizes the whole ruling class in the usofa. nothing good will come of his stint as POTUS. this is just the beginning. four more long years of such idiocy are in store for us all. to be followed by yet another four more years of more or less identical idiocy from the 'blue' team. clinton-bush-obama-trump-a.player-to-be.named.later. if we let them. turtles all the way down, and they will take us all the way down, too, if we let them.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 7 2017 14:03 utc | 73


You apparently missed Meyssan's satirical bent...

Posted by: kgw | Apr 7 2017 14:05 utc | 74

Try to look on the bright side.

This ought to help Marine Le Pen in the forthcoming French Presidential Election.
the other candidate, Macron, has thrown his weight behind latest actions by US.

Posted by: chris m | Apr 7 2017 14:08 utc | 75

First of all, Congress is already rallying around Trump on this strike with some exceptions like Rand Paul and no doubt Tulsi Gabbard will vote against her party. Members of Congress on both sides are calling for a vote to give Trump the authority to use force against Syria to expand this war.

There is not an honest word coming out of Trump's mouth. He knows very well that there is no basis, motive or logic for Assad to use chemical weapons at this time. It would be like shooting himself in the foot, asking for the U.S. to turn their fake mission in Syria into a wider campaign against the Assad government and the Syrians who support it.

Okay, now those hangers on whose eyes are still full of fluff over Trump, who can't believe, can't imagine that Trump would betray them like this: SNAP OUT OF IT ALREADY!

I've been warning you for months, taking all kinds of abuse here. I'm glad to see that some of you are starting to see the light. I'm glad that we can finally unite to fight this corrupt, depraved rotten system that is infected by Zionist Neocon terror on both sides of the aisle and owns every President and now Trump.

I agree, that this attack is a support for al-Qaeda and meant to reverse the progress made by the Syrian forces and their Coalition led by Russia and deny this Coalition any victory. This is not going to end here. The Zio-imperialists will pull more shit. Congress is ready to pull another Iraq-style Resolution i.e. AUMF out of its ASS.

The patriotic drumbeat is getting deafening in the media and saner voices are being drowned out, excluded and a mob mentality for war is being incited again. We may be on the verge of an expanded war in Syria and it may include incremental hostility towards Iran and Russia as well and I'm not ruling out that the Ukrainian fascists are going to look on this false flag incident as an opportunity to pull shit of their own to rally Europe with a compassionate and humanitarian casus belli for their own cause that would lead to further build-up of NATO in Eastern Europe corralling around Russia.

This is looking very bad, so you hangers on, get that fluff out of your eyes, cause there's a knife in your back and TRUMP put it there eyes-wide open to the frame being pulled on the Syrian government. He's milking this chemical frame for all it's worth!

Posted by: Circe | Apr 7 2017 14:10 utc | 76

Gardariki 13
I believe the closest Chinese military base is in Djibouti. (but so are others)

I'm still back to the Cheney 1% Doctrine. It's not about evidence (patience and investigation; it's about the response. And this one may have been more for US consumption as well as send a message to North Korea. It implies the neocons are pulling some Trump strings ... very unfortunately. And US presidents enjoy being war presidents while at some point claiming or pretending otherwise. Our nation wants peace so we're going to bomb the crap out of somebody.

Posted by: Curtis | Apr 7 2017 14:15 utc | 77

I would also say that this is an impeachable offense. Trump acted without international authority or even permission from Congress and committed a war crime.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 7 2017 14:16 utc | 78

read: Posted by: blue | Apr 7, 2017 9:47:54 AM | 71

Posted by: From The Hague | Apr 7 2017 14:20 utc | 79


Yes, but Congress is already rallying to give him cover for this preliminary strike and further expansion. They'll probably excuse that Trump had a moral imperative to act swiftly.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 7 2017 14:24 utc | 80

One last matter. It seems access to RT/On Air is being denied this morning. DDOS attack?
Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 7, 2017 5:47:02 AM | 22

No info-management stunt would surprise me any more. In thoroughly Yankee + Zionist-occupied Oz, SBS 32 has been broadcasting RT once a week for a couple of years. This year it's been gradually reducing the duration of the scheduled broadcast from 2 hours down to 16 minutes on 29th March. This week's broadcast for March 5 didn't appear in the newspaper TV Guide, or the Electronic Program Guide, and didn't happen.
Being a Coincidence Theorist, I can't help wondering if we in Oz are being tampered with by the monsters Pat Lang describes as the Borg?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 7 2017 14:24 utc | 81

Shut up with the impeachment bullshit. Trump is now on board, and maybe he always was and was feigning otherwise, with the entire political establishment and they are the ones who would impeach him. They wouldn't impeach him over this — this is what THEY want. Some of you are wrapping yourselves up in your massive & myriad contradictions. Learn from your mistakes or else you will never achieve any form of clarity.

Posted by: The Stephen Miller Band | Apr 7 2017 14:24 utc | 82

Trump's timing during Xi Jinping's visit is about as crude as one can get. He basically dropped his pants and revealed his one inch pecker and said, "see, it's not as small as they said it was."

Mad Dog, like Curtis LeMay, is frothing at the mouth. Jubilant. The waiters no better than to serve him water.

Posted by: The Stephen Miller Band | Apr 7 2017 14:28 utc | 83
As far as it’s ever possible to discern method in his madness, Trump’s attitude towards the war in Syria has been relatively straightforward. Destroying Isis is the priority, he has stated time and again, and if that means bolstering Assad as a side-effect, so be it. This has been the logic of his benign attitude towards Russia, too: Vladimir Putin is a Christian leader willing to use hard power against jihadist Islam, so he’s one of the good guys. Also, Iraq was a mess, and no one wants to start a third world war. Or, as he memorably put it back in November, “I had to listen to [Republican Senator] Lindsey Graham talk about, you know, attacking Syria and attacking, you know, and it’s like you’re now attacking Russia, you’re attacking Iran, you’re attacking.” etc

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 7 2017 14:28 utc | 84

@10 ftb, 'How does one remove the remembered information from *Post a comment*?'

do you mean the name, email, url fields above the textbox entry? ctrl-shift-delete does it on firefox, and on midori too. i haven't checked the mechanism, but i assume that dumping the 'cookies' clears typepad's - if not cloudflare's - idea of whose name and email to fill in there. although it could all be done by javascript running in your browser. typepad is pretty long in the tooth though, so i think it's the cookies.

either way, the contents of those fields are cleared after i type ctrl-shift-delete. i did preferences | privacy | history to tailor what gets dumped when i do type ctrl-shift-delete ... it's not really 'tailored', it's dump everything. same happens when i close the browser, which i do rarely, so i do use ctrl-shift-delete frequently. after every trip to google, for instance. i'll do so after i post this to confirm my 'testimony'.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 7 2017 14:30 utc | 85

So far, I'm seeing virtually no criticism of Trump's actions in the American media which I take to suggest that THEY believe that to do so would be unsafe.
Democracy now had a Syrian humanitarian aid worker decrying Assad "killing his own people"** doubling down after Chomsky's statement of yesterday ("Assad regime is a moral disgrace.")

** which is (duh) what inevitably happens in a civil war, in this case one in which the lawful government is fighting numerous very well funded and powerful proxy forces -- just maybe the rebels could be held responsible -- in addition to those outside actors -- for continuing in this carnage?

demos in the USA later today being coordinated by World Can't Wait

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 7 2017 14:30 utc | 86

(REMOVE REMEMBERED PERSONAL INFO -- uncheck the box that says "remember personal info?" and clear your cache)

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 7 2017 14:33 utc | 87

Speaking of Xi, where is he?
Still chillin' in Florida, or on his way home?

Posted by: hopehely | Apr 7 2017 14:33 utc | 88

Xi is apparently still in Florida ... Trump ordered the launch just before he sat down to dinner with Xi ... gee, I wonder if Xi got "advance warning" that he would be seen convivially consorting with Trump post-launch.

Apparently the Chinese press were very very anxious that Trump not humiliate or disgrace Xi (had he had done May and Merkel and others in their opinion) ... hey, it's all double-good, mission accomplished, another foreign leader pwned ...

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 7 2017 14:39 utc | 89

Rebel Free Syrian Army welcomes airstrikes but fear retaliation
The Free Syrian Army has released a statement welcoming the US airstrikes in Syria but have warned the US “responsibility is still big and does not end with this operation”, Reuters reports.
The rebel group said it was afraid of acts of revenge against civilians by Assad and his allies and said military operations targeting airbases and banned weapons should continue.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 7 2017 14:40 utc | 90

Reply to Gardariki 13 and Curtis 78
China is in the construction business (not the destruction business)
Whatever interests China has in the region,
it has very little to do regarding military matters (yet).

i have been following developments (the peaceful kind) in Djibouti over the past 6 months
($14 billion in investments);

and quite a few of them are "maturing" in the next 6 months.
inc a military base in Obock (to be opened before the end of the year.

apparently there is a guy in Djibouti (i believe hes called Abubak Omar Hadi)
with whom they have been dealing with, who when it comes to real estate development
and all-round business promotion, could be considered Worlds #1 self-made businessman,
(with a little help from Chinese)
He is the future of Africa/ME/ROW; not the usual crew you always get to hear about.


(i like to try to be optimistic about things)

Posted by: chris m | Apr 7 2017 14:41 utc | 91

@10 ftb, @87

typing ctrl-shift-delete greyed out the name, email, url fields ... they were still populated by my informantion. closing the moa tab an reopening it showed 'Name' in the name field 'Email Address' in the email field, and 'Web Site Url' in the url field. so i conclude that, although the cookies were cleared with the ctrl-shif-delete some downloaded javascript kept the information live until the moa page was closed - all of them if there were more than one open at the time. reopening showed that killing the page and the javascript session along with it did the job. i have to allow moa, typepad and yahoo javascript to download if i want to comment. google code is not required. i can allow those three on a session by session basis or blanket, everytime. using the NoScript plugin. i go session by session.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 7 2017 14:45 utc | 92

Re: 92

Of course they will manufacture that retaliation and kill more babies so Trump can
lacrimate and rain more missiles.

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 7 2017 14:45 utc | 93

Must of the issue of the BRICs and the non-aligned nations wrt Syria is sovereignty and the right of a country's leadership to defend itself against insurrection, dissidents and/or wannabe revolutionary and other regime change agents ... which, as Putin/Russia has made clear, does not mean that they approve of Assad's action or to use today's infantile language "like" him.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Apr 7 2017 14:47 utc | 94

Russia Defense Ministry briefing (with English subtitles):

The basic idea - it was a very, very stupid thing to do (and yes, the Russians do mention rebel and ISIS attacks on the heels of the strike), but also a very, very ineffective thing to do. Specifically, the Russians claim only 23 out of 59 missiles have even reached the base and most hits were 50-100 meters away (or more), the airstrips are untouched as are most aircraft (six fighters lost in maintenance hangars but that's all), etc. About four minutes in they show drone shots of the area after the strike (at least two drones, one in infrared and one filming after dawn) to back these claims up. [And, to be sure, at least the airstrips do, in fact, appear to be intact.]

I have to believe this was a stupid thing to do for Trump in terms of internal politics, first and foremost. One strike isn't going to satisfy the militarists, but the fact that you can force Trump to order a strike constitutes an interesting precedent. I'm sure Trump will now attempt to declare victory and spin this as an "I'm tougher than Obama" sort of thing (also much talk of "deterrent" - although if Assad were truly a monstrous and evil dictator with stores of chemical weapons a one-shot strike against one, single airbase with negligible effect is about as much of a deterrent as singing "The Waltzing Matilda" at him in a high-pitched voice, more like a warning to dig deeper bunkers for the stuff). And so perhaps maybe the "base" won't mind at all, we'll see how the polls turn out. But I have to believe that politically this puts the White House in a very vulnerable position viz. Congress, the Pentagon...

...interesting times we live in.

Posted by: Angry Panda | Apr 7 2017 14:47 utc | 95

I've noticed with the Russians MoD that when they don't understand what happened, they put together a hypothesis that matches the known facts rather than one that matches their political aims. Rather naive but quite endearing......
So the Russians know that some people supposedly died from chemical poisoning, the Syrians bombed the area but claim they don't have any chemical weapons, and HTS is known to have developed chemical weapons, so the MoDs claim about Khan Sheikoun makes reasonable sense unless you're an attack dog in the MSM. But what if it wasn't chemical weapons but commercially available chemicals like pesticides and/or herbicides
Does anyone know what the effect of a bomb on a warehouse full of organophosphate pesticides or herbicides would be? Would it completely destroy it, or would it create a cloud of the stuff. One of the bombs landed very close to some grain silos so maybe there was a hit on a warehouse full of organophosphate pesticides and/or herbicides there since farming around Khan Sheikoun doesn't seems to have stopped.

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 7 2017 14:48 utc | 96

kgw @ 75 says:

You apparently missed Meyssan's satirical bent...

and you apparently missed everything, try reading the whole piece, or any of Meyssan's other recent pieces on Donald Trump. he's a French 'intellectual' and political analyst, not a comedian.

Posted by: john | Apr 7 2017 15:00 utc | 97

Only a few days ago, didn't Trump say he was keeping some military moves secret in order to "surprise ISIS"? Even when I try to wear my "naive citizen" hat, that seemed quite strange because I can hardly believe that some 3rd-rate military force can really do much of anything to defend against a determined 1st-rate power regardless of whether it's "telegraphed in advance" or not. I instead suspect that this attack is the "surprise" that Trump had in mind when he was poorly trying to (not) explain the logistics leading up to yesterday.

Posted by: dumbass | Apr 7 2017 15:01 utc | 98

This is completely unimportant. One pretext or another! Look at Yemen, look at Palestine, look at Mosul, why Trump doesn't cry when Yemeni children every day are killed by Saudi regime. The US supports Saudi and Israeli regime for years. Think for a moment who created the whole fake "revolution" in Syria or Libya. Millions died in the Middle East because of US "interventions". American politicians, soldiers, journalists, they are the same type of cold-blooded creature. Iraq and the WoMD... why you memory is so short and why you guys are unable to see thing as they are. No hope and no change. Always the same narration, excuses and always killing people in other countries. They can't stop because they have no remorse at all.

Posted by: onmocome | Apr 7 2017 15:04 utc | 99

Posted by: Ghostship | Apr 7, 2017 10:48:24 AM | 98

Depends what was stored next to it and what was in the missile. It could lead to a small version of this here.

I assume the Russians have similar satellite photos to the US. It is like a Rorschach test, the US assuming one thing and the Russians another.
Photos and witness reports are controlled by the militants on the ground.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 7 2017 15:14 utc | 100

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