Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 03, 2017

Syria Summary - A New Russian Proposal And A Battle For The South

Russia is extremely active in search of a diplomatic way forward in the Syria conflict. Last month talks were held in Russia with the Syrian foreign minister and the Iranian foreign minister. New plans were discussed and agreed upon.

A few days ago Russia's foreign minister had talks with the U.S. Secretary of State. This week a visit of Merkel to Putin followed. On the same day Putin had a phone-call with Trump. A new round of the Astana piece talks under Russian sponsorship with the Syrian opposition and a Syrian government delegation is ongoing. (Unlike before the U.S. dispatched a high State Department official to this round.) Today Putin met with the Turkish president Erdogan.

Russia is offering a proposal for "de-escalation zones":

According to the documents obtained by Sputnik, Russia proposed to set up four security zones — in the Idlib province, to the north of the city of Homs, in Eastern Ghouta and in the south of the country.

The rough draft offers:

  • - de-escalation zones aimed to "put an immediate end to the violence" and "to provide conditions for safe, voluntary return of refugees"
  • - security zones or buffers created around the de-escalation zones with checkpoints and monitoring centers manned by Syrian government troops and "rebels"
  • - military units from unspecified "observer countries" could be deployed to these security zones
  • - Turkey, Iran and Russia are named as as guarantors and will create a joint working group immediately after the de-escalation is agreed upon between the Syrian parties.

The crux with the proposal is of course al-Qaeda which rules in Idleb and is also an important power in the other areas. Russia offers the de-escalation zones as a way to further negotiations and settlement only under the condition that al-Qaeda is eliminated from the zones. In the press conference with Erdogan Putin emphasized this position:

"About terrorists, in spite of creation of these zones the war on terror will be ongoing - against such organizations as so-called Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and those ones that are put on the list of terrorist organizations approved by the United Nations," Putin said.

But by now the "rebels" are to a large part associated with Jabhat al-Nusra aka al-Qaeda. The al-Qaeda terrorist hardcore is the backbone of their army. The U.S. sees al-Qaeda, at least temporarily, as a valuable proxy. They will surely not agree to give up on that.

The draft proposal is another attempt to get Turkey and the U.S. to finally admit that there is an al-Qaeda problem, that a UN designated terrorist organization is at the core of these areas, and that no peace can be achieved unless al-Qaeda and the associated elements are eliminated. I doubt very much that Turkey and the various sponsors of al-Qaeda in Syria will agree to that plan. The Russian government surely knows this but it sees an advantage in dragging the problem into the open whenever possible.

Map via ISW - bigger

Meanwhile military operations continues throughout Syria. Turkey shelled Syrian-Kurdish areas in the north-east and in the north-west. It is pressing the U.S. to shun the Kurds as partner in the fight with ISIS and offers Turkish troops as replacement. But the U.S. does not agree with that plan. It sent a platoon of Ranger Regiment 75 up to the Kurdish held Syrian-Turkish border in the east to stop the Turkish shelling. Likewise Russia sent a platoon to the border in the western area around Afrin. That was a clear (coordinated?) message to Erdogan from the two big powers involved in the conflict.

Russia deployed airborne warning and control aircraft to Syria. These can detect enemy fighter approaches over 600 kilometer range and direct friendly aircraft against such targets.

In the east the Kurdish troops under the control of U.S. "advisors" have retrieved the city of Tabqa from the Islamic State. The Tabqa Euphrates dam right north of to city is still held by ISIS but will be the next target on the way to Raqqa. So far no further U.S. troops have arrived. There are rumors of a U.S. group concentrating in east Jordan ready to move up through the Syrian desert towards Raqqa. This would split Syria in half and establish an embattled eastern U.S. proxy enclave. I assume that this move has been held back for political reason but could proceed in any moment.

ISIS is also under pressure in the area around Palmyra where the Syrian army is recovering oil-fields and pushing ISIS further east.

ISIS responded to its defeat near Raqqa by dispatching five suicide bombers to Rajm al-Salibi, near Shaddadi, in Hassakeh province next to the Syrian-Iraqi border. This is deep in the Kurdish held areas. The bombers exploded next to Kurdish security forces barracks at a displaced persons camp. Some 30 people were killed. Another suicide bomb went off in "rebel" held areas near the western border with Turkey. The local "rebel" office for civilian services in Azaz was blown up and at least five people were killed.

Near Damascus renewed infighting is ongoing within the "rebel"-held east-Ghouta enclave (map). The "Islamic Army" under Mohammad Alloush is trying to create a monopoly of force in the area presumably to then negotiate some agreement with the Syrian government. Jaish al-Islam attacked the significant al-Qaeda contingent in the area. Over 120 fighters on the various "rebel" sides have been killed so far. The area is surrounded by the Syrian army which enjoys watching the fight.

The U.S., Jordan and Israel have a plan to install a southern "no fly zone" which means to occupy the south-western part of Syria. To achieve that they need to capture the city of Daraa which is the main administrative center for the area.


Daraa city is at the southern point of the government held area. It is under attack from US. controlled "rebel" forces but the Syrian army has held its area. The situation is dangerous for Damascus city. Israel could now march from the west through "rebel" held areas right to the doors of Damascus without any problem. To eliminate that danger Hizbullah has launched a large operation from the north along the Syrian-Israeli border towards the Quneitra area. At the same time forces move from around Damascus to evict "rebels" from the area. This could easily become a major battle involving "rebels", Israeli and Jordanian forces on one side against Hizbullah and the Syrian army on the other.

Russia would clearly prefer to find a political solution instead of continuing or escalating the war. This even if it means to give up control over some parts of Syria. For the moment the U.S. seems ready to listen and may even agree to some deal. But there are still way to many spoilers on the ground (and their sponsors) who will do their best to disrupt any ceasefire or de-escalation attempts.

Pat Lang has long been urging for a big Syrian army attack on Idleb governate and city to eliminate al-Qaeda from the area. But the Syrian and Russian governments know that such a fight, with the too small forces they have, would bog down as long as the "rebels" and al-Qaeda get resupplied through the Turkish border. Their aim in the ongoing negotiations is to move the U.S. and Turkey into some agreement that would stop such supplies to those terrorists. Only when that happens can Idleb and all of Syria be freed.

Posted by b on May 3, 2017 at 17:39 UTC | Permalink


The first map is too old. As per South Front, "rebels" are already deep into the desert on their way to Euphrates. Hence the media circus around North Korea...

Posted by: LXV | May 3 2017 18:01 utc | 1

Goodman and Gopal Lie About Syria

Amy Goodman, the world's most tireless promoter of Al Qaeda and ISIS, has outdone herself in outrageous mendacity about events in Syria.

Goodman this morning brought on one Anand Gopal to explain to viewers who's responsible for the catastrophic violence in Syria.

The very first words out of Gopal's mouth were these: “Well, I think it’s important to understand that there’s no regime change policy from the United States toward Syria. And there never has been a regime change policy.”

He repeated that several times over the next few moments, then came up with “the two biggest sources of violence in the country—number one is the Assad regime, which has just killed incredible numbers of civilians, tortured, maimed, executed anybody who resists, essentially. And the second biggest source of violence in Syria is the Russian regime.”

This was followed by the preposterous “explanation” of why Assad would would suddenly commit political and military suicide when he was finally winning the war against the terrorists: “The principal beneficiary of the chemical attacks was the people who carried it out, which was the Assad regime. This—you have to understand, this comes in the context of, just a week before that, you had statements from the American administration, from Tillerson and from Trump, saying that the Syrian question is up to Syrians to decide, which is a implicit way of saying that even our very weak statement prior to this, that Assad must go, even that we’re dropping. So, he was now operating from a position of what he saw as basically impunity. And that’s—it was under those conditions under which he carried out the chemical attack.”

A little later he again averred: “Obama said again and again that Assad must go, but didn’t give the opposition the means to actually make that happen, and, in fact, spent most of his time policing the opposition to make sure that Assad wouldn’t be ejected.”

He claims that individuals join ISIS “because of the sheer brutality of the Assad regime,” thus carrying forward the absurdity that Assad initiated ISIS. He did not try to explain why citizens of the brutal Saudi regime would care enough about supposed regime brutality in Syria to go there and risk their lives fighting against it.

Finally, he claimed that there is only one force fighting ISIS in Syria -- the Kurdish YPG “which is backed by the United States.”

So Gopal's story is that the US is fighting ISIS all alone except for a few Kurdish fighters, while Assad and Russia expend all their efforts slaughtering innocent Syrian civilians.

The outrageous lies continue for several more minutes; if you have the stomach for it, you can read them yourself here:

And by the way, I copied the transcript and have it here, in case Goodman orders alterations to the copy that's posted on her site.

p.s. Gopal has ties to the Democratic party and the Clintons through Bernard L Schwartz and the “New America Foundation.”

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 3 2017 18:13 utc | 2

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 3, 2017 2:13:24 PM | 2

Thank you since last year stopped watching Democracy Shit. Amy Goodshit the biggest shit bitch in Amerikka..

Posted by: OJS | May 3 2017 18:23 utc | 3

Russia is pushing such plans for couple of years now, which lead to de-facto Balkanization of Syria. On paper Russia is against it, but in practice and de-facto its offered to foreign and local powers for years. As long as its goals are achieved*, its happy and trying to avoid getting bogged down as much as possible. Naturally Syria and Iran are extremely unhappy with it, but Russia already blackmailed Syria to go along (even openly, what to speak of whats happening behind closed doors).

My prediction is the same as before - Russia's plan will fail, even if its quite generous to the Axis of Terror. All the major players want even bigger piece of Syria, provided overthrow wont happen (which is still on the table, as far as US/Israel/Turkey/Saudis are concerned).

*Naval base, Syria's government preservation in the remaining rump, pipelines from Iran and Qatar blocked, terrorists from Russia killed, avoiding hot war with US, placating its friend Israel and to some extent Turkey, etc.

Posted by: Harry | May 3 2017 18:28 utc | 4

thanks b... great overview on an ongoing and what seems like unresolve-able situation.. my impression is some parties are not interested in ending this, as they see it in their best interests to continue..

your quote " The U.S. sees al-Qaeda, at least temporarily, as a valuable proxy. They will surely not agree to give up on that." that is how i see it too..

and your commentt " Their aim in the ongoing negotiations is to move the U.S. and Turkey into some agreement that would stop such supplies to those terrorists. Only when that happens can Idleb and all of Syria be freed." can the usa or turkey be perceived as honest brokers for an agreement? can israel? i don't think so.. sorry.. this approach by russia is one in a long line of disappointments and yet i feel russia is doing everything it can to end this.. it is next to impossible when a few players don't want to..

Posted by: james | May 3 2017 18:29 utc | 5


And it's also the position of "peacenick" Noam Chomsky whose precious Jew only Israel is murdering Syria.

Jew Amy Goodman is subsidized by Jew Soros....

Posted by: Dennis Kearney | May 3 2017 18:31 utc | 6

As I said in my comment here on the 31st of March- the danger (to the Syrian state) will come from the >>South<< of the country.

Posted by: hayder | May 3 2017 18:44 utc | 7

Anand Gopal another reason why Hindu Legal Immigrants should never have been allowed on NATIVE BORN WHITE CHRISTIAN AMERICAN LIVING AND BREEDING SPACE=AMERICA....

Posted by: Dennis Kearney | May 3 2017 18:54 utc | 8

Yes, b, I saw what Pat Lang said on 1st May. It's this...

"Absent significant Russian and Iranian reinforcements, in the end the Syrians, Hizbullah and Iranians will be gradually worn down and defeated nationwide. And what then?"

... which, imo, is an irrelevant hypothetical given that Russia and Iran aren't going to be "Absent" from Syria any time soon - as Col Lang is smart enough to figure out for himself.
So why bother rushing into print when he's obviously got nothing to say?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 3 2017 18:56 utc | 9

launch a campaign from Latakia along the Turkish border, and support a Kurdish push from the other direction. Box in the rebels just like the Tigers did in East Aleppo!

Posted by: lemur | May 3 2017 19:04 utc | 10

AntiSpin | May 3, 2017 2:13:24 PM | 2

You beat me to it. I came here to point out this atrocity. Who is Anand Gopal? I checked out some of his stuff from a few years back and he seemed to promoting the Muslim Brotherhood Morsi in Egypt in 2012. His name sounds Hindi. Why would someone with that background become an apologist for the Sunni Jihadists in Egypt and the Levant?

Anyway Amy Goodman has been a big supporter of the FSA for years without any understanding that those forces are nothing more than a fig leaf for al Qaida and ISIS not to mention bankrolled by the US state department and the Saudis. It is difficult for me to accept this change since I listen to Amy on KPFA here in Berkeley which is a station I have followed since the early 1970s. There was a time when KPFA was a solid left wing, anti-imperialist voice in the wilderness of US mainstream news. Today Amy and her side kick, that one with the heavy eye brows, have become supporters of imperialism.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 3 2017 19:07 utc | 11

@ Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 3, 2017 2:56:16 PM | 9

PL knows full well a major operation/forces deployment against Idleb is NOT a strategic priority and would actually weaken the Syrian Alliance by dilution re other multiple combat zones due to no single 'Front' and uncontrolled & fragmented national borders and would unnecessarily concentrate major forces in the 'wrong' locale ... same for your quote & comment. Romantically nostalgic for a time that never was, and never actually existed, denies operational & administration historical facts re fragmentation/silos of Command & evasion of Executive authority ... no-one defies or subverts the CIC ! & the MIC does NOT exist ?! ... retired ... yet, still serves ...

Posted by: Outraged | May 3 2017 19:14 utc | 12

ot - amy goodman - hack... who listens to her anyway? probably on cia payroll..

Posted by: james | May 3 2017 19:24 utc | 13

@12 outraged.. not a bad summation either, lol...

Posted by: james | May 3 2017 19:25 utc | 14

"Today Amy and her side kick, that one with the heavy eye brows, have become supporters of imperialism."

It seems most of the "liberal" heroes have gone that way - pro imperialist. Many are Jewish which makes wonder if they are closer zionists but most are not. They're clueless and brainwashed

Posted by: Alaric | May 3 2017 19:31 utc | 15

I don't completely understand why the Russians, Iranians and even Chinese don't just end this. I'm sure they could crush the so called rebels. A Balkanization of Syria hurts Iran, Russia and china.

Posted by: Alaric | May 3 2017 19:34 utc | 16

teeing off of antispin #3 and my comment #11.

Before today I have never heard of Anand Gopal. Well he is also a fellow at the Nation Institute. That seems to be the organization that publishes The Nation. For those who follow this publication, they also publish Stephan Cohen who has seriously questioned the latest Sarin attacks in Syria as false flag operations. Also Cohen's wife happens to own The Nation.

Well today Anand Gopal in the Amy Goodman interview said that those who believe the Sarin attacks in Syria might be false flag operations were equivalent to those who believe in Big Foot. What the hell is going on here? What is happening to the Nation? I happen to hold Stephan Cohen in the highest respect. Is it possible that some Saudi funding agency has contributed to The Nation Institute? That the price of the donation is that they have to hire Anand Gopal? Have the Saudi's been willing to support Hindu journalists? These are just speculative questions but there seems to be something going on here.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 3 2017 20:03 utc | 17

retired ... yet, still serves ...
Posted by: Outraged | May 3, 2017 3:14:57 PM | 12

Yes, that thought often crossed my mind when visiting SST in the past. But I've been visiting almost daily since his Jan 20 Trump endorsement and the article we-all are discussing is only the second time he's stepped off the reservation. The first time was when he recently expressed doubts about Trump's purity of purpose - because of the 'unpredictability' factor.
But I took that as a positive because I think Trump is dead (literally) if the Swamp wakes up to him before he's ready to deliver the Coup de Grace. So if he's fooling Pat, it's so far so good...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 3 2017 20:15 utc | 18

Hillary Clinton: "Yes, I did support" the Syria strike

Ugly woman.

Posted by: Anon | May 3 2017 20:36 utc | 19

@12 or,

old soldiers never die, they just fade away. lang has faded away. all that remains is his self-satisfied smile.

Posted by: jfl | May 3 2017 20:38 utc | 20

ontopic ... has al-cia-duh harpooned the 4th session of the russia-iran ... and turkey, right :) ... talks? or haven't they?

looks like the us/al-cia-duh have split the talks in astana into two sets : the russia-iranian ... and turkey ... set, and the us, nato, al-cia-duh set.

and turkey is a us/nato mole on mondays, wednesdays and fridays, and a 'partner' of russis and iran on tuesdays and thurdays. and all for itself 8 days of the week.

the syrians, russians, hezbollians, iranians ... and kurds ... don't need me to tell them to praise the peace talks and pass the ammunition.

Posted by: jfl | May 3 2017 20:57 utc | 21

@ Posted by: james | May 3, 2017 3:25:29 PM | 14
@ Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 3, 2017 4:15:32 PM | 18
@ Posted by: jfl | May 3, 2017 4:38:14 PM | 20

The Syrian Alliance has, in fact, never sought to defend everything, demonstrably quite the opposite.

He who would defend everything, defends nothing. - Sun Tzu

Lesser grade and local militia/regionally 'bound' troops (willing & determined to fight for their homes/families/tribes/communities and with the intimate local knowledge/support to make a difference) have been left to secure & defend less crucial areas whilst the 'fist' of the most capable SAA/Alliance forces have been routinely deployed, rested/recuperated/re-inforced & re-deployed again, in carefully planned modest campaigns where it is determined that the greatest result can be achieved for the least losses/strategic risk.

Determined Force Protection combined with dominant Force Projection surgically applied at the 'local' level.

All concurrent with a sustained & determined ongoing program of properly training, equipping and seeding via veteran 'cadres' the less experienced/capable SAA units as well as freshly raised units. This long disciplined strategy of brutally ruthless application of 'military necessity', in conjunction with periodic RF/SAAF sustained close-air support Ops upon concentrated & exposed moderate & immoderate head-choppers 'drawn' out & into the 'fight', open battle, and/or serially trapped in mini-cauldrons and annihilated whilst concurrently destroying logistics & materiel they brought forward in large quantities in order to, 'campaign'. This is the only viable strategy given the FOREIGN proxy forces arrayed from ever shifting exposed borders and multiple fluid combat zones, from without Syria ...

Hoarse, wonder what happened to all the catchy propaganda pics & footage of the mighty 'airborne/air-landing' assault Ops by the SDF & US advisors ? Carefully framed nifty shoulder patches & Ospreys ! Didn't they capture an ISIS dam(not) and Raqqa was to imminently fall, was it not ?! All the Arruga! & Ooh-Ahh!!! re the mighty proxies reminiscent of 'Grenada '83' ? Hm ? Reminded me very much of holding up a mirror to 'Baghdad Bob' ;)

The Jihadis are ever shifting mishmash of pseudo light infantry forces with 'Technicals' in support, intermittently supported by elements of ad-hoc armor & arty. They are little more than fragmented diverse superior militia(IMV) without actual air defenses nor support. When they are drawn into open battle they are attrited severely, all whilst the SAA & allied forces gradually concurrently improve in quality, quantity and invaluable combat experience & morale/esprit de corps as approximate professional conventional forces. Through careful husbanding, force protection, whilst culling the jihadis over time is how the Syrian Alliance got to where they are, again & again ... winning ... IMHO. the darwinism of the Syrian battlefield has been working in its favor, not against it, under such circumstances, IMV.

This is not the 19th century re conventional army Corps in formation on single defined 'Fronts' fighting other formed up army Corps over territory to declare a 'win' re seizing terrain, the vital ground, nor seeking an ultimate single conclusive decisive battle of annihilation of the enemies army/main force. There is no 'Front'. Syrian Alliance previously conceded territory/borders to defend what 'was' possible in order to protect, conserve, sustain, rebuild & rebound. The 'Manual of Arms & Drill' of the 19th century does not apply, nor combined arms grand 'maneuver warfare', nor WWI/WWII campaigns or similar, IMHO.

The Syrian Alliance IS playing the long strategic game, no matter how humanly painful & difficult, out of necessity re preservation of the State. And it is the Long war that they are winning and will likely win, lacking a fundamental change in the status quo. Ie, the foreigners will tire & move on, negotiate an 'Honorable'(?) withdrawal, or gradually be splintered & reduced re obtaining diminished external support/succor ... for Syrian Alliance this is an existential fight for existence, not so for the foreign aggressors, via proxies, re Syria itself.

All Syrian Alliance has to do is husband, sustain & 'Stay in the fight' over the long haul ... to NOT lose, merely stay in the fight, is to WIN, IMV.

Would seem some never learnt the true lesson of the long running Chinese Civil War or Vietnam I & II ... YMMV

Posted by: Outraged | May 3 2017 21:07 utc | 22

@ 1: Yes, I heard the outright lies Gopal spun on the Goodman show. Sickening to say the least. If Russia, or anyone, believes anything the U$A is involved in, buyer beware!

Posted by: ben | May 3 2017 21:43 utc | 23

Outraged @22

Yeah, those were the good ole days...

To me the Syrian conflict is like no other that we can really draw a fine comparison. For one thing, the jihadis and SA are both severely outnumbered. It's just a matter of who has the will, among the big guns, to commit to all-out destruction of one side or the other, or at least degrading to the point of whimpers. The USNATO pilgrims tending to the fire, pushing a coal here, throwing a log there, keeping an even burn. The R+ meting out punishment in small, measured licks, pushing diplomacy and the "rules of international law".

But Syrian ain't no Aghanistan or Yemen, for that matter. The SAA has fielded some good warriors, but look at the scale. If it comes down to threatening nukes and WW3, even NK seems to have brakes.

I think there is a hope that the borginatti can be brought to heel by a tough little junkyard dog in the ME, some combo of Khameini, Assad, Saleh, some Kurds, with Putin and Kim lending the lethal bar that the West has to cross or fold. Words mean what they mean, but the trigger unpulled taunts the testicular midgets.

Perhaps the historical average will prevail, with most of Syria and Iraq going tribal, devolving into a simmering Palestine-like no-man's land of warlords and oligarchs, with thick walls around the oil and gas fields.

Posted by: stumpy | May 3 2017 21:57 utc | 24

@23 ben

'democracy now' is a dnc organ. always has been. just more apparent now, as their common case becomes ever more desperate.

someone pointed out the other day that the guardian has taken to championing the views of anyone but the british now ... i don't read it often enough to know if that's so or not, but i can easily believe it. so too, with the dnc mouthpieces ... americans are 'deplorable' ... so concerned with their own human problems, when it's the poor, struggling trans-national corporations whose 'human rights' are not being 'defended' with requisite vigor! pigs.

Posted by: jfl | May 3 2017 22:03 utc | 25

Dear 11, upon hearing of 'goodman's ' (small capital meant) I said ' bet she's in the tribe '.
Upon one minute investigation, CONFIRMED! That's all you need to know.

Posted by: col from oz | May 3 2017 22:17 utc | 26

ToivoS 17
I've wondered why some media sources do this, too. It may be a pretense at balance. Or it could be a judas goat thing by luring in seekers of reality in the alt media only to betray them with Official story backers.

Posted by: Curtis | May 3 2017 23:14 utc | 27

Democracy Now has been one of the few internet and radio programs - for many years promoted by Amy Goodman - that has bravely given ALTERNATE views of USA policy.

Glen Greenwald, Richard Cohen, Assange, Alan Nairn (I think he is her hubby), Chomsky and an incredible lineup of commentators REGULARLY giving the alternate picture of USA policy. She has been doing this for decades.

I can't recall the multiple of times that the show has delved into American imperialism all over the world --- 1954Iran, Latin America, Asia, Vietnam with luminaries on the left illustrating our heinous role.

Sheer lunacy to judge her as a CIA agent or closet right winger or whatever nonsense.

That she brought upon the show someone who disagrees with the common parlance - well, that perhaps is unfortunate. But it might mean she is attempting to air opposing views. Who knows? She has been a hero painstakingly giving the public the truth on American forign policy - especially on Israel - for as long as I can recall.

I really think its an awful thing to smear a persons name who doesn't deserve it......

Posted by: bernie | May 4 2017 0:23 utc | 28

The idea that Democracy Now is a DNC organ .... or that.... Amy Goodman is an agent of zealot Jews is beyond ridiculous. Research first before making observations is a good idea!

Posted by: bernie | May 4 2017 0:27 utc | 29

As someone who does read the guardian most days, altho it is a chore that angers depresses & irritates IMV it is vital to have some sort of notion of what the msm issues de jour are, I would say the over arching goal of the guardian is to restore the power & influence of its little cabal.
That comprises the cadre who ran the UK Labour Party in the days of 'new' Labour up until the members' takeover.
Usually graduates of 'good' universities who claim their working class authenticity despite a staunchly bourgeois background they regard their ability to unquestioningly chew & spew neoliberal cliches as proof of their divine right to rule over all of the UK.
The fact that they couldn't win a bar raffle much less an election doesn't deter them, because like the amerikan DNC they are content to lead an opposition indefinitely as long as the corporate sponsorship dollars and promises of private enterprise stipends continue.
Unlike amerika the political structure has been wrested from them so now they spend their days desperately trying to subvert the party they swore fealty to. So the fact that Mr Corbyn is implacably opposed to violence & conflict as a way of determining international issues has meant that even those neolibs at the guardian who once shared that view have now become as hawkish as the neocons of DC.
As far as the 2017 guardian is concerned raising issues about whether the oppression of Palestinians is just, is now akin to being a neonazi. On the few articles that still allow btl comments any reference to israeli crimes is immediately censored by the 'moderators'.
Although a little more tolerant on Syrian comments, the editorial angle is totally anti-Assad. Right from the first day of the latest chemical weapons beatup the guardian decided that it was down to the Syrian govt - before even the any of the lies that constitute 'proof' had been circulated.
Mr Corbyn supports a negotiated settlement, therefore the guardian begs for more war.
Pretty sad state of affairs for a journal that was once fairly objective about ME issues.
So the guardian can only be trusted to be wrong, but as I said above, it is a reasonable indicator of what fake issues the msm is currently spruiking.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 4 2017 0:41 utc | 30

@ 28 & 29

I have been watching/listening to Democracy Now for years. Goodman has done a lot of good work.

That said, she has spent the past many, many months flacking for ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria, whitewashing their atrocities by blaming them on Syrian and Russian forces and leaders. She regularly brings on "Gopals" to spout the Empire's propaganda, helping the globalist oligarchs to destroy that country for their own evil purposes.

Occasionally -- very occasionally -- she will allow an alternate voice like Richard Cohen, but then she usually makes sure that that person is up against not just one, but two "Gopals."

In behaving like this Goodman is contributing, in no small way, to the death and suffering of the Syrian people.

Whatever the reasons for these reprehensible actions may be, they are simply inexcusable.

Posted by: AntiSpin | May 4 2017 1:09 utc | 31

Outraged @22

On point as always. What the SAA has chosen to defend, or to defend lightly, or retreat from fully has never been easy to stomach on the front end, but pretty much always turned out to be the right move militarily. Most of eastern Syria isn't worth fighting for simply because there ain't much there. The west is where all the prizes reside.

I think the real question is what would happen if US/Israel/Jordan push up from the south. One wildcard b alluded to is Hizbullah. It would portend a new Lebanon-Israeli war, but they could light up northern Israel. The question would be, is that within their calculus; they rarely act unless forced. It would bring Lebanon into the war fully, which is why I think they might hold off.

An enlarging of the conflict would also be why Russia might leave Daraa to fall, it would be WWIII if they intervened. They could ship better and more arms to Syria, which would be fighting the three the whole way north. But in the end, a concerted invasion into a small peninsula of Syria would be very difficult to overcome, IMO.

I think Damascus would find it better to wage a guerrilla campaign against US/Israeli forces and their Jordanian poodles. The surprise would be, sooner or later, an occupation would begin to feel like an occupation and the 'rebels' would slip their leash and bite the hands that feed them. So in the end, the invaders would end up fighting their rebel allies (only a matter of time, IMO) and/or their supporters as well as a guerrilla campaign by the SAA and Hizbullah. Again, it may be painful to watch, but it would put time, once again, on the Syrian side.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | May 4 2017 1:33 utc | 32

The de-escalation zones - this wasn't clear to me but the "moderates" are supposed to get rid of the crazies:

We decided to go this way to create such zones in which the fight against terrorist organizations will be directly taken up by the moderate opposition themselves with the support of the guarantor countries," he said.

The quote is from Russia’s special presidential envoy for Syria, Aleksandr Lavrentiev.
Who will be the last group standing?

Posted by: Ghostship | May 4 2017 1:52 utc | 33

28, 29, 31: All well reasoned and thoughtful posts..thanks. Democracy Now, with all its warts, STILL, beats the hell out of 99% of the Mainstream Corporate press. Exposing ones self to varied points of view, no matter how offensive, makes for a more well informed populace. A rare thing in today's world, where so many folks are totally tribal.

The thought that Syria will be divided into sections, of ANY kind, just rubs me the wrong way.

Posted by: ben | May 4 2017 2:02 utc | 34

Democracy Now selling out is good reason for disappointment,but not for surprise. Everyone has their selling price or their particular sensitivity to threats, whether of the physical or the blackmail type.

Nobody wants to believe they live in a world where long-established and supposedly humanitarian orgs like Human Rights Watch , Amnesty Int'l , or MSF can become the propaganda organs of Dirty Wars for Dirty Profits,Inc.,but that is precisely the world we live in. The same holds for the media.Once-reliable BBC,NPR,PBS - all gone,down the rat hole. Mother Jones , The Nation , Rolling Stone-ditto. If you've got hard-won credibility, and reach an audience that the war machine wants to influence,you become their target,and you will either do their bidding or close up your shop. That's your "choice".

None of this denies that these institutions may have done much wonderful work in the past, or even that they continue to do some good work today. They have and they do. It's just that you can no longer trust them to do so routinely,and on matters of war-making,you can't trust them at all.

Posted by: Marko | May 4 2017 2:30 utc | 35

Re: Posted by: Outraged | May 3, 2017 5:07:38 PM | 22

You might be right, but I hardly think a long-running war - for instance like the Korean War (1950-2017) serves anyone. That's a 67 year war - how is that possibly winning in any sense for the North Koreans?

Posted by: Julian | May 4 2017 3:13 utc | 36

Re: Posted by: Debsisdead | May 3, 2017 8:41:44 PM | 30
Re: "The Guardian" (a joke of a news source)

I must admit to having a certain guilty pleasure reading the Guardian (or rather skimming their heavily biased articles) and skipping to the comments which are invariably majority negative against their editorial line.

What also gives me a chuckle is them having the nerve to ask for a "contribution" to support their "good journalism" on every article they publish these days!

Are they kidding?

Reading the comments which tend to be against their viewpoint assures me that most of those who read guardian probably do so for the reasons you outline and won't be offering a red cent to support their yellow journalism.

Their conversion rates of hits to coins will no doubt continue to be atrocious!

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Posted by: Julian | May 4 2017 3:30 utc | 37

'This could easily become a major battle involving "rebels", Israeli and Jordanian forces on one side'

please! lets not use even the marked word 'rebels' it islamist terrorists, Israeli and Jordanian forces on one side....make it crystal clear or u just muddy the publicmind

Posted by: brian | May 4 2017 3:46 utc | 38

@Julian #36
That's a 67 year war - how is that possibly winning in any sense for the North Koreans?
Setting aside the silliness of considering any complex situation as a binary construct of winning/losing and considering the war from Pyongyang's POV; while they haven't 'won' neither have they 'lost' the conflict. North Korea has managed to continue to exist for 67 years without suffering the destruction of control, loss of national sovereignty and imposition of destructive antihuman neoliberal policies that has been enjoyed by just about every other nation in the world who bent over and took it from amerikan imperialism.
No small feat. If their primary production techniques remain old school at least everyone in North Korea who needs it has an occupation. How many other nations is that true of?
The result of the demolition of the USSR provided a salutary lesson for any socialist economy considering moving to the dark side. Unemployment, inequality and mass poverty were the rewards for citizens in the old Iron Curtain countries. More than 1 million poles are currently living in the UK now because they cannot find a paying job at home.
The consequences of that have been disasterous it has reignited englander racism and provided the impetus to leave the EU. The catch 22 is that the east european eu members will not allow the UK to leave unless it is agreed all the economic refugees can stay. Englanders won't accept that because they hold the reason they wanted to leave was to get rid of all the eu migrants.
Brexit will end in a war - not immediately but once england is out the englander media will continue to blame others for the daylight robbery committed by the englander robber-baron class and many englanders will choose to believe that their problems are down the the alleged bad deal the EU gave. At the same time hostility towards UK will grow among EU nations as their pols/media seek to shift blame for their own robber class' rorts.

A war with limited shooting as has been the case for most of the time N Korea has held out, is infinitely preferable to the really nasty shooting kind especially considering that it is the strategies developed in european conflicts which have been honed in europe then spread around the globe.
IMO more people have been killed in conflict since the end of the last euro conflict thanks to the bombing, usage of tanks and vastly improved lethality of ech infantryman that was developed in that war, than the numbers killed during it.
The N Korea lesson is the opposite - how to wage war while restricting casualties.

Posted by: Debsisdead | May 4 2017 3:46 utc | 39

@antispin What a bummer. I almost wish I didn't see your comment. I read No good men among the living and thought it was the best book written about the war there. I had so much respect for Gopals reporting I couldn't believe your post until I watched it myself. I find it really disappointing when a journalist I highly respected and admired is suddenly telling lies and spouting government propaganda.

Posted by: Sara E | May 4 2017 3:51 utc | 40

May be I am alone here thinking that Russian plan about zones and effectively partition Syria is a horrible idea [remember Trump safe zones] that would hold Russians in this quagmire in Syria for decades to come possibly.

Sometimes I wish Putin read some book about WWII and how despite agreement will allies Red Army pushed west omitting, circling or surrounding the Nazi strongholds to gain as much control as possible knowing that suppose friendship with the West would end as soon as Hitler was dead and hence they had to secure the positions militarily under the guise of miscommunication with the leading forces or even "supposedly" disobeying orders from Moscow and push over Elba river in some parts.
Americans did the same entering Tchechoslovakia too much to the east.

I am sorry but with limited resources in Syria I would expect more Russian wit.

And I find, withdrawing Russian aircraft from Hemmnimn air base after Trump Tomahawk attack on other base, inexplicable in any other way as S400 does not work and Putin wanted to save his planes before they are attacked. It is even more inexplicable especially since it is for a second time in over the year and by that hindering the quick military advance of SAA in 2016 and now.

if Russians are defeated or withdraw from Syria in this situation Putin will be next on Soros plate to be consumed by DC neocons.

Posted by: Kalen | May 4 2017 4:34 utc | 41

Link below to a good half-hour doc video by Tom Duggan and Sinan Saeed called "Aleppo Renaissance". It reviews the looting of factories by U.S. ally and NATO member , Turkey , under the direction of Erdogan ,a common thief , as well as the ongoing damage caused by the current sanctions and embargoes imposed by the West. It finishes on a more upbeat note , showing some of the recovery that's already occurred in Aleppo :

Posted by: Marko | May 4 2017 4:39 utc | 42

@41 Kalen,

Do you not agree that denying the US the benefit of ELINT wrt the S400 is a valuable consideration that might merit the loss of a temporarily abandoned base? Is it so unlikely, owing not least to the advance notice, that the Hmeymim airbase attack might have been kayfabe, Trump's very business once upon a time? Have you heard of something called a "gambit" or a "hush puppy"?

Posted by: Jonathan | May 4 2017 5:41 utc | 43

@31 , 34

Antispin states: "That said, she has spent the past many, many months flacking for ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria, whitewashing their atrocities by blaming them on Syrian and Russian forces and leaders. She regularly brings on "Gopals" to spout the Empire's propaganda, helping the globalist oligarchs to destroy that country for their own evil purposes".

Antispin, i won't even request you document the above as its just plain wrong. Its ok. You don't watch the program - you took a tidbit and have generated some chic 'oligarchic' chat.
Goodman not does NOT flak for ISIS and Al Qyada - she has been one of the FEW journalists that have IDENTIFIED the USA $$$ flowing into the Jihadist hands.

Additionally, she has continually brought Sy Hersh onto the show. And in his last interview based from the London Review he reveals that 2013Ghouta Sarin Attack was most likely the work of the Turks/Jihadists.

You are smearing a terrific journalist that has been revealing, USA forign and domestic policy criticism, via Greenwald, Snowden, Binney, Drake, Kirakou, Sy Hersh, Richard Cohen, Hedges, Richard Parry, Assange and many other journalists that the mainstream media have banned. She has been tirelessly giving air time to the left for decades.

And she has been telling the story of E. Timor, the truth of Venezula and all the areas that require review of American Imperialism. Additoinally, she regularly covers the global climate conferences in Copenhagen, Paris, Latin America in depth – not to mention her extended coverage of the Dakota shameful incident recently.

She is a giant among journalists.

Posted by: bernie | May 4 2017 6:07 utc | 44

@Marko #35

So very well put. ~10 years ago I was still a subscriber to MJ, RS and The Nation, and a regular listener to PBS and Democracy Now. I was a big Vice fan too. By 2013 I was done with all of them. Their reporting on Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Snowden/NSA, and Michael Hastings proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Body Snatchers and/or Operation Mockingbird and/or their corporate masters and/or their "business model" had won out over investigative journalism. Sad, frustrating, and scary. We are lucky to have forums like MoA and sites like Consortiumnews, GlobalResearch, AntiWar, Unz, etc ...several of which I have begun to donate to. I don't think it is an overstatement to say that these are the last bastions of independent reporting and unfettered truth left on this planet. If anyone thinks it is an overstatement, please make me feel better and explain why.

Posted by: HD | May 4 2017 6:22 utc | 45


Sara, I think you are just being unduly influenced.

Gopal is not lying. He is giving an opinion.

Gopal is correct, that the USA is not into regime change. Antispin is wrong, in my opinion, in that respect. All Gopal is stating is that the USA, wants a potentate in Syria. We have always wanted strong monarchs. We just don’t want Assad to be the dictator.

Gopal expands on it. He states that we didn’t want Musharaff because he became a liability – but we replaced him with Sisi – just as anti-democratic a strongman as was Musharaff, in Egypt. He gives another example of Yemen. We removed Saleh, for another strongman in Hadl with Saudi support.

The USA policy of empire hasn't changed. Gopal states if we wanted regime change, look at Afganistan in the 80's, Iraq in 2002 (even Iran 1954).

Gopal is correct in all this – people are just not listening to his words.

Additionally, Gopal credits that Alleppo could not have been taken without the Russia and Syria. So Antispin is incorrect when he states that Gopal is declaring the USA the only force in the area fighting ISIS.

Where Gopal is differing with the ‘left’ normal interpretation is: he gives more weight to the fact that the Syrian regime has been incredibly vicious – and that AlQyada, in that state, is a ‘response’, in great part, to the Syrian revolution.

The ‘running’ interpretation, as I understand it, of the ‘left’ is that Syria is some proxy war, conceived by the West, to alter the makeup of the area to benefit the Western powers. Gopal, again is correct, that there was some sort of revolution. That wasn’t faked. And HOW the dynamics played out – has probably, more to do with mideast politics with the USA, both being used as a handmaiden, exploited and exploiting the Sunni states at varying times.

Where Gopal is on shaky ground, seems to be that he doesn’t give credit to the USA SUPPORTING jihadists to oust Assad. That seems a major mistake. Its unassailable as I see it. Even VP Biden mentioned it during a speech.

If you actually listen to the interview, the co-hosts pepper Gopal with questions, surprised to hear that he is voicing some views antithetical to the common line of leftist thought. They even interrupt the show to bring Cohen and Jonathan Cook on to rebut Gopal.

I did not hear once, Goodman and her co-host agree with anything that Gopal said. They just allowed him to speak.

Apparently, any thought that departs from the mainstream left opinion, is now considered traitorous and Goodman, The Nation, etc are part of some conspiracy.

Posted by: bernie | May 4 2017 6:41 utc | 46

Wrote above: The "Islamic Army" under Mohammad Alloush is trying to create a monopoly of force in the area presumably to then negotiate some agreement with the Syrian government.

Some confirmation that Jaish al-Islam is now talking with the government:
BREAKING: Jaish Al-Islam releases hundreds of Alawite prisoners in rural Damascus

Posted by: b | May 4 2017 7:10 utc | 47

@bernie at numerous spots

amy goodman has always been 'soft' on israel. the harder israel has gotten itself, the more apparent has her 'soft spot' for zionism become. syria is israel's war as much as it is anyone's. so it's been amy goodman's war too.

Posted by: jfl | May 4 2017 8:59 utc | 48

JFL at 48

The multiple times that Chomsky, on the program, has railed against the Israeli govt, including coverage of his speech to the UN criticizing the USA for hindrance of a Palestinian state ---

The broadcasts and coverage of the Gazans being brutalized - and the UN, schools being hit during the prior war ---

The long coverage of the ship Mari Mavara ship/flotilla --- and the Goldstone report ---

Incessant coverage of boycotts and votes against Israel by the UN ---

All the shows featuring MAX BLUMENTHAL - a leading critic of Israel unable to find air time on any MainStreamMedia show-----

All the shows featuring Ali Abuniah, head of Electronic Intifada ----

All the shows featuring Edward Said ----

All the shows featuring Richard Falk ----

I am naming just A FEW of the commentators, many who are from the ME that have been allowed to share their views!

Its one thing to make an assertion, its another to support it -- how has Amy Goodman been 'soft' on Israel?

Posted by: bernie | May 4 2017 12:24 utc | 49

Apparently, any thought that departs from the mainstream left opinion, is now considered traitorous and Goodman, The Nation, etc are part of some conspiracy.
Posted by: bernie | May 4, 2017 2:41:21 AM | 46

'mainstream left' is a slur adopted by cranky right-wing ideologues to collectively smear people whose evidence of neolib malfeasance can't be refuted by the right-wing criminals responsible. The notion of an organised/mainstream left is as ludicrous as the notion of a truthful right-winger.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 4 2017 12:44 utc | 50

Unfortunately, our mainstream media, all of it, has been co-opted by the rich guys and they expect allegiance in all things, just as do the main two parties in politics.

There's a pattern there we simply cannot afford to ignore. And for some of us, myself being one, the price is too much to pay. It's not any longer a question of two sides to a debate - lives are being lost, blood is being spilt, people are dying because old allies against this mental assault for whatever reason have been forced into compliance with the status quo, here in this very country where the press was enshrined in the Constitution itself as inherently free.

Farewell Oedipus; we loved you.

Posted by: juliania | May 4 2017 14:40 utc | 51

>as ludicrous as the notion of a truthful right-winger
Oh please, and those nice Antifa lads and lasses aren't lefties, then?

Posted by: Grim Deadman | May 4 2017 14:43 utc | 52

No reason to be surprised at the Guardian; it has 'previous', as we say in Cockneyland. For its approach to the Balkans conflicts, inter alia, see . For the antidote to the Guardian's remorseless fakery, read Off-Guardian.

Posted by: Shakesvshav | May 4 2017 14:50 utc | 53

Russia, Iran, Turkey agree on Syria safe zones, opposition cries foul

Official source: Syria supports Russian initiative on de-escalation zones

Erdogan says de-escalation plan would 'half solve' Syria conflict

The de-escalation zones may not work everywhere, every time. Al-Qaeda and others will be spoilers.

But it is significant that four major parties have agreed on them (Russia, Syria, Iran & Turkey) and that the U.S. and its "rebels" did not agree to it.

Turkey is extremely miffed about the U.S. support for Kurds. That it now possibly "changed sides" could be very much of help to the Syrian government side.

Posted by: b | May 4 2017 15:00 utc | 54

Canthama at SyrPers reports about developments between Kurds, Russia and Syrian government in Afrin which have the potential for a major impact:

"Lately we have seen, widely reported in the media, Russia and SAA presence in Afrin. This is a different set up from Manbij deal, it is a much deeper and inclusive one toward re assimilation to the Syrian State, and maybe military cooperation. The following Statement has been official by the PYD yesterday, of course we will understand whether it will be fully implemented or not in a few weeks, if implemented, it will be a major shift in this conflict toward unity and a peaceful solution.

"“The ruling Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) has recently met with representatives from the Syrian Government and Russia, signing an agreement on further coordination in north of Syria, a source said.

"The meeting was held on Monday, May 1st, in an airbase on the vicinity of Afrin, northwest of the county, the source told BasNews, revealing that the sides agreed on establishing a joint command center which will be leading military offensives on the villages around Aleppo and Idlib.

"According to the agreement, the PYD is committed to opening the routes for the Syrian army’s forces to mobilize in and around Afrin. The Kurdish party has also agreed on the establishment of an additional Russian military base in the province.

"The Menagh airbase is also said to be put under the control of the Russian forces present in the country.

"The Syrian regime will be allowed by the PYD to run government offices responsible for public services and local governance. They will also be restructuring the PYD armed forces with the police forces of the Syrian regime.

"The source stated that the agreement is said to be put into action “within weeks”.”"

Posted by: karlof1 | May 4 2017 15:21 utc | 55

Well, it would seem probable now that the attempted coup (rushed/compromised) against Erdogan was real and US/NATO instigated, given a swathe of indicators lately ... including those dozens upon dozens of Turkish officers throughout Europe assigned to NATO having applied and been granted political asylum ... Turkey is apparently changing camps (Ex-EU/Ex-NATO) or at the very least moving to the 'non-aligned' grouping ...

Chief advisor of Turkey’s president, Ilnur Çevik, gave statements about the conflict in Northern Syria and Turkey’s involvement in the region.

Answering questions of radio show host Erkan Tan during a program on CRI FM, Çevik said the US soldiers ‘may be hit accidentally’ in the region.

According to reports of Turkey’s online news portal OdaTV, Tan asked Çevik: “So, what do you say about the USA? They’ve become a protective shield for the PKK terrorists. They’ve literally become shield so that we don’t attack!

In response, Çevik said: “If PKK terrorists continue their acts within Turkey… You know, they leak into our country from Northern Syria; from that region. What happened to DAESH? One night, we went there all of a sudden and we found ourselves in Al-Bab. The same goes for Northern Syria. If they step up too far, our troops will not care that Americans’ armored (troops) are there. Out of nowhere, you’d see that maybe a few rockets hit them accidentally.”

Having got shocked by statements of Çevik, the host Tan said: “Well, that’s a little harsh, though. You’re talking tough.”

Çevik replied: “Well, if they (USA) do that, what else could we do?

(Source: Chief advisor of president Erdogan, Turkey may hit US troops in northern Syria


Russia, Turkey underline need to continue anti-terror fight, Erdogan-Putin

Russia and Turkey have both underscored the need to continue the fight against terrorism and step up safe zones in war-tron Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Wednesday that the two countries were boosting cooperation to battle terror.

While exchanging opinions on the regional and international agenda, we paid much attention to the fight against terrorism. We agreed to intensify the cooperation between the intelligence agencies and ministries of defense in particular, to continue regular consultations on battling terrorism between the departments,” he said.


Regardless of the safe zones, the fight against the Daesh, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and other terrorist groups operating in Syria should go on, the Russian president pointed out.

Erdogan, for his part, supported the formation of safe zones in Syria and expressed hope that "this zone of de-escalation will be accepted" at the Syria peace talks underway in the Kazakh capital, Astana.

Moscow, Ankara to scrap trade curbs except for tomatoes

The Turkish president said Ankara and Moscow had agreed to lift all trade restrictions, except those on exports of Turkish tomatoes to Russia.


Bilateral ties recovered

Putin said Russia's relationship with Turkey had fully recovered after a "crisis" caused by Ankara's shooting down of a Russian warplane near the Syrian border in 2015.

"Sometime ago our bilateral relationship faced some challenges, but now we can state with assurance that recovery process in our relationship has finished. We come back to the normal partnership," he said...

(Source: Russia-Turkey-Erdogan-Putin

Posted by: Outraged | May 4 2017 16:25 utc | 56

@34 ben... no ben, i personally don't think bernies comments are reasonable.. at this point amy goodman has been bought and paid for promoting Anand Gopal... she is a shill for soros, or the deep state, or forces along these lines.. take yer pick.. bernie is an apologist for all of this... when b does a post on Anand Gopal showing the guy encouraging people to join isis and go to syria, bernie again tries offering cheap rationalizations for what amy goodman is offering up.. we see it differently here and bernie can sweet talk all he wants..

Posted by: james | May 4 2017 17:35 utc | 57

Outraged @56--

Thanks for those news items; they help explain Putin's order to begin laying the Turk Stream pipe in Black Sea,

Several years prior to the invasion of Syria by Outlaw US Empire terrorists, I opined that Russia and Turkey seemed to finally be overcoming their longstanding enmity and might be heading for a game-changing alliance based on shared interests as it was very clear Turkey would never be allowed into EU. Time will tell, of course, but it seems someone had a serious talk with Erdogan about where Turkey's long-term strategic interest lays, and it's not to the West.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 4 2017 18:03 utc | 58

Realistically, "De-escalation Zones" will probably amount to nothing.

At this point, "De-escalation Zones" are primarily a diplomatic construct to push-back on "Safe Zones", whose flaws are masked by a humanitarian gloss. But practically, DZ's would quickly turn into R+6 protected areas due to attacks by 'Assad must go!' proxies. They are workable ONLY if Western democracies decided to REALLY end their covert support of the proxies.

Furthermore, when civilians are killed - or fail to show up - the 'Assad must go!' Coalition would then feel justified in pushing harder for 'Safe Zones'.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 4 2017 18:08 utc | 59

Outraged @56

I remain skeptical

I wouldn't read Turkey's support for fragile 'de-escalation Zones' as evidence that Erdogan has 'changed sides'.

Erdogan: Am I Hot or Not?
After the Russians embarrassed Erdogan with information about Erdogan's benefiting from trade with ISIS and slamming Turkey's economy with severe trade sanctions after the downing of its jet, Turkey was forced into a neutral position. Erdogan was badly weakened. A military coup was then a possibility.

Military coup plotters knew that NATO support would be important to success. And they thought that they had obtained that support. But a coup would mean political turmoil in Turkey that would almost certainly neutralize Turkey in the anti-Assad/anti-Iran effort. Only a strong leader could involve Turkey in such nasty business. Thus, CIA-Mossad had motivation and opportunity for arranging to defeat the brewing coup. STRENGTHENING Erdogan - who had been 110% on board the 'Assad must go!' bandwagon was in their interest.

The ErDOGan that didn't bark
If the coup was actually backed by CIA-NATO, wouldn't Erdogan be aggressively anti-West? (Supposedly he came close to being assassinated.) As a key member of the 'Assad must go!' Coalition, Turkey - and Erdogan specifically - likely has info that, if released, could really hurt the West. But Erdogan has become neutral, not partisan. (What am I missing?)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 4 2017 18:21 utc | 60

Got timed out, so resubmitting.

My thanks to all who wrote on the Anand Gopals' interview on Democracy Now! on May 3rd.

I listened with growing unease and horror at how blatant he was in deriding any and all discussion of the Syrian situation. He used the questions to merely get back to his hack talking points. But, while Amy Goodman does much good work, she seems totally blinkered about the Syrian situation. Is The Nation that way?

I listened to find out more about GOpals (never heard of him before either) and heard The Nation Institute.

I just looked up his Wiki link:


And The Nation Institute list of fellows:

Posted by: jawbone | May 4 2017 18:44 utc | 61

You have to ask why haven't Russia and Iran ended this? Either they can't due to domestic pressures (I doubt this) or they want to let this play out. I suspect the latter is the case for the Russians.

Perhaps Putin's real goal here is flipping Turkey and to a lesser extent Egypt and maybe Jordan both of whom are threatened by Isis and al-CIA-duh. Turkey is vulnerable because the US is clearly trying to establish a Kurd state.

PS: the US can't stop the Russians and Iranians from crushing the Syrian rebels. The US has no legal right or popular support in the US to confront Russia and Iran over Syria.

Posted by: Alaric | May 4 2017 19:28 utc | 63

@57 and @34

James, can you furnish any documentation that Soros supports Democracy Now or.......

that Gopal has ever advocated or promoted people to join ISIS?


Posted by: bernie | May 4 2017 19:34 utc | 64

Bernie @64--

You must be blind or unwilling to see what's right in front of your nose!! b posted a screen shot of Gopal's tweet informing people to do join Daesh on the main page!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 4 2017 19:39 utc | 65

follow-up @60

Its very difficult to read where Erdogan really stands. He was forced to be neutral, and it seems that he uses that neutrality to be opportunistic. But where does his heart/his interests really lie?

Take, for example, the recent bombing of Kurds. Did this show Erdogan acting against US interests (by attacking a US ally)? US dutifully made a show of placing troops "in harms way" so as to protect Kurds. How noble of them!

But the practical consequence of the attack seems to have been to delay further US-Kurd-SDF action against ISIS. Whether one believes THAT was the real objective depends on one's view of US-Erdogan relations.

Unraveling the hairball that is the Syrian conflict requires a good bit of time to understand the players involved. Once you figure out who the 'bad guy' is, though, the conflict becomes more tractable. And, of course, one can expect 'bad guys' to act badly (deceitful, cruel, etc.).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 4 2017 20:26 utc | 66

@64 bernie, as karlof1 points out - for an example of this asshole gopal advocating joining ISIS, read more carefully the thread from today you have already commented on.. as for soros - no concrete example (the art of deception is to keep as much secret and undisclosed as possible - which would explain why people and organizations like wikileaks, snowden, manning and etc are such a pain in the empires ass), it's conjecture ( as you already know) on my part based on all of his support for colour revolutions and the fact the guy is a warmonger of the first order... it's really a shame your dear amy goodman has dropped to such a low level, but whoever is supporting her in her misguided approach here, is someone of similar ilk and persuasion... too bad you appear incapable of acknowledging what a sell out she is or that people do sell out from time to time!! for all i know you're just another shill for this same despicable support for war 24/7 based on false pretense and worse - outright lies.. you can't pass that shit off here.. might still work at the beloved 'dumbfuckery now' though..

Posted by: james | May 4 2017 21:24 utc | 67

I'm fascinated by the outbreak of historical amnesia around here. Some years ago Bernhard shut down this watering hole for a number of months, and opened it again under the apparently hopeful advent of revolution in the streets of Egypt. I don't recall, that at the time, there was much crabbing about DemocracyNow, or its exhaustive coverage of what was happening in the streets of Cairo.

That kind of totally committed coverage was pretty much a one-off, as far as Goodman and her outgoing producer were concerned. DemocracyNow doesn't have the resources to maintain that kind of effort. The quality of international coverage has been inconsistent in Goodman's organization, but they have had their brighter moments in covering the sorrows and depredations of imperialism and empire.

Also, its fair to say that coverage of social, and racial injustice in the United States, has been of high quality for years. I don't watch DN as regularly as I used to; but when a friend emails me, regarding something especially good that they have done, I am not disappointed in the result. The fits of apoplexy I see here, over the Gopal interview is something extraordinary. For anyone of sufficient literacy or knowledge, Gopal's depravity is evident. Amy Goodman and Normeen Shaikh have done a public service in exposing him to scrutiny. The actual language they use in the interview is the most prudent and modest that can be imagined. It must be conceded that viewers can draw their own conclusions about him.

Posted by: Copeland | May 4 2017 22:30 utc | 68

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 4, 2017 2:21:19 PM | 60 & 66

You are either with us, or agin us!

Hm, 'changing sides' in retrospect lacked nuance ... however, see above declarative quote from the alcohol-addled Bush jr. Direct military-military ties are sought to be maintained even with countries being 'couped', under sanctions, 'targeted', etc. Erdogan & Turkey cannot be half-NATO, or half in the Empire camp, such is not permitted. And, any leader/government who fails to comply by pulling too hard on the leash or ever dares take the collar off, is rabidly pursued, hounded to the end, see Whitlam - Australia for the former, Saddam - Iraq re the latter, et al, etc.

NATO is used to suborn the governments of the States that are members, just as any officers serving in NATO are actively targetted for recruitment, to be compromised/suborned, to serve the 'higher' goals of NATO (US Empire).

The widespread and active culling of Turkey officers in NATO clearly indicates a defensive, reactionary, immunization response from a counter-intelligence perspective.

Erdogan is likely an unstable meglomaniac, certainly erratic, however, one can never reconcile with the guys who ordered the 'Hitmen'. An active coup authorization is a one-shot gamble, all or nothing try ... no going back.

You’ve been wrong from the beginning. No one cares what you think.”
Kennedy, beset by serious doubts on the wisdom of dumping Diem, had interrupted Harriman to say that he liked Nolting and wanted to hear his views.
I have grave reservations about proceeding against Diem,” Nolting told the group. “Only Diem can hold this fragmented country together.” Nolting also said, “I think President Diem could be persuaded to remove Madame Nhu from the scene and at least to make brother Nhu less conspicuous.”
Hilsman countered, “The generals could put the Vice President of Vietnam in power and govern the country the way the generals have in Korea.” He admitted, however, that “we have little information on how the generals plan to run the country if they are successful.”
Harriman, who continued to maintain that the generals had not been a party to the pagoda raids, contended, “We had been winning the war with Diem because the generals were with him. The generals are defecting now because of the recent actions which Diem has taken against the Buddhists.”
Ball said, “We can’t win the war against the Communists with Diem in control. The U.S. position in the eyes of the world is being badly damaged.” It was too late, Ball maintained, to renege on support for the conspirators. “We are already beyond the point of no return,” he avowed.
I do not believe we should take the position that we have to go ahead because we have gone so far already,” Kennedy responded. “If a coup is not in the cards, we could unload.” Kennedy was particularly troubled by the generals’ lack of enthusiasm and by a report that pro-Diem forces within the Saigon area outnumbered anti-Diem forces by a two-to-one margin. “At present, it does not look as if the coup forces could defeat Diem.”
The White House transmitted the President’s reservations to Lodge and asked him for more information.
- Moyar - Triumph Forsaken; the Vietnam War, 1954-1965 (2006)

Note: The above was from golden boy, JFK, and the only real consideration was likelihood of success and consequences of failure. Ultimately, subsequently, JFK ordered the coup activated re Diem an asset installed since '54, and we all know how that worked out re the future stability of Sth Vietnam ... note the reference to the CIA coup re Sth Korea replacing Syngman Rhee, an asset since '45, via the April Revolution, leading to the coup with General Park Chung-hee, who was then assassinated via fumbled CIA/KCIA coup in '79 ...

Given a whole swathe of actions and events, including some interesting statements, considered as a whole ... likely at least moved to the 'non-aligned' group, seeking an 'independent' agenda. That means an inevitable exit from NATO, even if merely unstated defacto ... and further attempts to kill him, or merely take the government down along with him.

Am no fan of Erdo, entirely untrustworthy, don't have to take sides to assess a range of events and actions to attempt to divine 'intent'.

Maybe he and his followers are just jockeying for position re a better deal from the upcoming meeting with Trump on 16th, tho doubt it, as 'vassals' are NEVER truly forgiven for 'pulling on the leash' ... Never ... retribution and overt punishment as an object lesson, always follows ...

Not a normally useable source, however, has a few key quotes from a few days ago ... that add to the picture along with Karlof1 post above when looking at the timeline of events/actions/responses ...

US troops seen patrolling Syria-Turkey border as Washington tries to stop Turkish air strikes on Kurds (UK Telegraph)

... "The patrols' purpose is to discourage escalation and violence between two of our most trusted (counter-Isil) partners and reinforce the US commitment to both Turkey and the SDF in their fight against ISIS," a statement from the US-led joint command said.

US troops on the ground were only a few miles from where the Turkish jets struck, and Washington was reportedly only given a 52-minute warning.

However Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did little to ease the tension on Sunday night, threatening a repeat.

"We can come unexpectedly in the night. We are not going to tip off the terror groups and the Turkish Armed Forces could come at any moment."

Erdogan said the sight of American flags in the convoy alongside YPG insignia had "seriously saddened" Turkey ... called for the coordination between the US and YPG to "come to an end."

"This needs to be stopped right now. Otherwise it will continue to be a bother in the region and for us. It will also bother us as two Nato countries and strategic partners," he said.


The International Crisis Group (ICG) said in its latest report on the Syria crisis that the US had "a singular dilemma" on the future of its relationship with the YPG.

It said the YPG "is indispensable" to defeat Isil but there is also "no avoiding the fact" that the US is backing a force "led by PKK-trained cadres in Syria while the PKK itself continues an insurgency against a Nato ally."

It said that Turkey had pressed ahead with the air strikes despite US objections and this "should serve as a warning for what could lie in store."

Posted by: Outraged | May 4 2017 22:30 utc | 69

karlof1 @65
james @ 67
Copeland @ 68

You are both misunderstanding. The link to the screenshot that b gave does NOT work. At this time there is no evidence whatsoever that Gopal has been advocating people to be pressed into the AlQyada service. Let me know if you can find the link - and I would surely change my mind about Gopal. Who wouldn't.

And James, I don't think it consistent that you stated that Soros funds Dem. Now and then criticize me when you can't profer the support for your own statement of fact. As far as I know, DN is ad-less and public funded.

Myself? I have voted Nader 3 times and then Stein twice. I am affiliated with the Green Party. And in fact, Democracy Now has been one of the few spots in ANY media that have featured 3rd party candidates and have given them full show debate time. This year, Amy Goodman, even broadcast the GOP/Dem highly scripted debate and interrupted, the prime time debate, so that 3rd party candidates could answer the same questions on her show.

Copeland, good post. And yes, I didn't discern any support from the interviewers that they were agreeing with the fact, I thought they were expressing surprise at much of his analysis and glad they were ready to punctuate Gopals thoughts with Richard Cohen and Jonathan Cook in rebuttal..

Posted by: bernie | May 4 2017 23:31 utc | 70

@70 bernie... the screen shot was taken prior to your buddy gopal removing the post from his twitter account... can you not see all the deception and tricky that is being used regularly? it sure appears not!! i would like to be kind and continue to engage with you, but at this point you come across like a poor disinfo agent at best!

Posted by: james | May 5 2017 0:36 utc | 71

@71 James...

lets assume, ok, the screen shot is an accurate description of a tweet by Gopal. What? what does it signify? We don't know the context of why he is tweeting it. It could be he is reduplicating a message from the daily 2012.

Do you really think that Gopal is displaying messages to people on how they can join ISIS? that is gullible.

Posted by: bernie | May 5 2017 1:03 utc | 72

@72 bernie... lets assume you are right.. why did he take it down? why doesn't he explain why he took it down.. he could be a very good liar and fool a lot of people... he has opted for none of these options so far... lets hope he comes up with a good story line on that one to keep on convincing the gullible of his deception... b's post from today is all one needs to know, to know where this dude is coming from, but for folks like you - i guess you will just have to keep on finding ways to be creative in why he says and does what he does...

Posted by: james | May 5 2017 1:11 utc | 73

@ james and others responding to bernie

bernie makes comments that are great examples of agnotology.........are we sure, we are sure, we are sure, we are sure that smoking causes firms made millions pushing those lines......and bernie may be an example that they still are, just in other contexts.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 5 2017 2:09 utc | 74

@ Posted by: james | May 4, 2017 9:11:45 PM | 73
@ Posted by: psychohistorian | May 4, 2017 10:09:47 PM | 74

Yup. No doubt about it.

Posted by: Outraged | May 5 2017 2:12 utc | 75

Just to be clear: is a Canadian website that pretends to support open sources by allowing anyone to upload anything on it. Some publishers find recent publications there and get them removed, but Canadian law has one of the lowest number of years for copyrights (that's what i gathered, if jurists read they can correct). It is probably easy to find on archive everything from bomb manuals to wild propaganda to any sect or movement and certainly the step-by-step guide. It does not say (and b does not say) that Gopal uploaded it, only that he refers to it. The link does not appear completely on the tweet so it is hard to check, but i suspect specialized websites or the journals published by the djihadists would advertize it.

Amy Goodmann screwed on Syria from the beginning and lost many DNow fans.

Posted by: Mina | May 5 2017 7:36 utc | 76

@76 mina... i don't know about canuck copyright laws being all that different from everywhere else.. if they are, it is news to me.. i read over the wikipedia page on it.. it seems there were going to be some changes thanks to tpp agreement, but it seems that is not happening now..

Posted by: james | May 5 2017 15:12 utc | 77

bernie is probably AG himself, so much whitewashing and fake excuses.

Bad news from the front today - Russia stopped bombing jihadis in "safe zones" and forced Syria to stop all attacks on them, even though Al Qaeda is a dominant force there. Its especially ironic since its as one sided as it goes, as not one "rebel" agreed to it. Russia stressed US and Saudi Arabia loved the plan, why wouldnt they? One more "humanitarian" pause enforced to stall winning Syrian side, with jihadis reinforcing and resupplying for new offensives. And even defensive wise, they will be far better prepared for SAA, which will have to shed so much more blood to clear the territory from the terrorists.

Posted by: Harry | May 5 2017 20:09 utc | 78

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