Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 13, 2017

Syria Summary - Will The Trump-Putin Agreement Hold?

The conflict between the U.S. and Russia over Syria seems to have calmed down after the recent G-20 meeting between Putin and Trump. Some kind of agreement was made but neither its scope nor its bindingness is known. One common current aim is the defeat of ISIS.

Source: Fabrice Balanche/WINEP - bigger

At the meeting between the Presidents Trump and Putin in Hamburg a temporary truce was agreed for the south-west area of Syria. The Syrian government (violet) holds the city of Deraa while various foreign sponsored insurgent groups (green), including al-Qaeda and ISIS, occupy the borders towards Israel and Jordan. There had been some serious fighting after recent al-Qaeda attacks on Baath city neat the Golan. During these the Israeli airforce had multiple times supported the al-Qaeda groups with attacks on the Syrian army.

Under the truce agreement the Russian side guarantees that the Syrian government and its allies stop fighting while the U.S. guarantees that Israel, the various FSA groups, al-Qaeda and ISIS stay quiet. The truce has now held for several days. There were no spoilers. The U.S. seems to have strong influence with ALL those entities.

East of the Deraa area in the governate of Sweida the Syrian army has continued operations against U.S. supported Free Syrian Army groups. Within a few days it has taken a lot of ground against little resistance including a deserted U.S. base that was not publicly known. It is possible that a secret part of the Deraa truce agreement allows for the Syrian army to liberate the whole area next to the Jordan border towards the east up to the U.S. held border crossing at al-Tanf.

The U.S. base in Tanf had become nonviable after the Syrian army had taken all ground north of it and Iraqi militia had blocked it from the Iraqi side. The U.S. had trained some Syrian mercenaries at Tanf and had planned to march those north towards Deir Ezzor. As that route is now blocked some of the trained mercenaries were recently transferred by air to Shadadi base in north-east Syria where they will have to fight under Kurdish command. Others have refused to move north. Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra, previously called the New Syrian Army, is mostly made up of local men who probably do not want to leave their nearby families and do not want to come under Kurdish leadership. The U.S. should send them home and leave the area.

Today a new two-pronged move against the ISIS siege on Deir Ezzor was started. Syrian army forces and its allies moved east from their Palmyra positions and south-east from their positions south of Raqqa. An additional move against Deir Ezzor may come from the Syrian forces further south-east near the Iraqi border. The Iraq air force has recently flown attacks against ISIS position in the Deir Ezzor areas. This was done in agreement with the Syrian government. That may be a sign that Iraqi forces will join the fight to relief the city with an additional move south-west from their positions near Tal Afar. The U.S. military has for now given up its dream of assaulting and occupying Deir Ezzor with its proxy forces.

The west and north west of Syria have been relatively quiet. A rumored imminent Turkish attack on Kurdish held areas has not happened. The mostly al-Qaeda held areas in Idleb governate are still unruly. Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Turkmen, Uighurs, Kurds, local Free Syrian Army gangs all have their little fiefdoms in the area. Assassinations and attacks on each other are daily occurrences. There is no reason for the Syrian government to intervene in that melee.

The agreement between Trump and Putin over Syria might be more wide ranging than is publicly known. For now it seems that the parties have agreed on areas of influences with the U.S. for now; occupying the north-east currently under control of its YPG proxies. It is building more bases there with the total number now being eight or nine. At least three of these have their own airstrips. It is asking Congress to legalize further base building. It is obvious that the U.S. military plans to stay in the area even after ISIS is defeated.

But the Kurds in Syria are only a minority in almost all areas they currently control. They are not united and the YPG, the only U.S. partner, is a radical anarcho-marxist group that has no legitimacy but force. The area is landlocked and all its neighbors are against Kurdish autonomy.

The U.S. effort to impose itself on the area is doomed. The use of the Kurds as a Trojan horse is unlikely to succeed. The Defense Department, it seems, has not yet accepted that fact. It still may try to sabotage whatever Trump and Putin have agreed upon.

Posted by b on July 13, 2017 at 18:09 UTC | Permalink

next page »

The suggestions inferred by Voltaire Network offer some possible answers asked in the this article. It is a worthwhile read and seems deals have been made by Putin and Trump.

Posted by: charles | Jul 13 2017 18:28 utc | 1

thanks b.. regarding the usa role in all of this... they have stated countless times that they will not participate in any working with syria.. they are being encouraged by russia to play a role in all of this, but to me the usa's role continues to be very dishonest.. even if trump and putin hit it off, there are so many players - israel and saudis in particular - who will continue to work against the interests of syria... and as we know, the usa has accidentally done a number of things that go against syria and the people of syria... they claim to be going after isis while showing support to the kurds... it is a good story line, but i think they are full of shit as others here well know... it is a complicated quagmire perfect for the usa's duplicitous actions... i wonder when europe and the west wake up to this, or if it is business as usual? i see trump and macron in a news brief and get the impression - at least with regard to france - that they continue to buy into the lies and deception of the usa for future interests in syria.. sorry - france is just another cog in this fucked up empire building business..

Posted by: james | Jul 13 2017 18:45 utc | 2

Under the truce agreement the Russian side guarantees that the Syrian government and its allies stop fighting while the U.S. guarantees that Israel, the various FSA groups, al-Qaeda and ISIS stay quiet.

I had to take a 2nd read. [.] the U.S. guarantees that Israel!? [.] stays quiet.

Good on Putin to have demanded Israel keep to the cease-fire. How sweet it is. Music, play on.

Trump now needs to rescind the authority delegated to the Pentagon. Now, what he does about the Langley guys is a whole nudder story.

The U.S. effort to impose itself on the area is doomed. The Defense Department, it seems, has not yet accepted that fact. It still may try to sabotage whatever Trump and Putin have agreed upon.

Did I mention the Langley guys? Sabotage is the whole nudder story.

Posted by: likklemore | Jul 13 2017 19:05 utc | 3

@4 "the U.S. guarantees that Israel!? [.] stays quiet."

That has to be conditional on something. Moving embassy to Jerusalem? Rojavan independence? Sanctions on Iran?

Posted by: dh | Jul 13 2017 19:28 utc | 4

A very intermediary report, as I am sure you will agree, b. The Syrian govt is unlikely to recover the Syrian side of the Golan in the near future, as long as Israel wants to defend the jihadis there. The US position in the northeast is a lot more unstable, the area called al-Jazira by the locals, the "island" between the Euphrates and the Tigris. It is like a firebase in Vietnam; it can be maintained as long as the US is willing to put the resources in. Once they don't, it will collapse. Not entirely as the Rojavan Kurds will change sides, and make a deal with Asad, retaining the Kurdish inhabited areas.

What really constitutes the Rojavan Kurdish policy is difficult to detect. They've given in to the Americans for now, and gone to war over Raqqa. But what do they really think is their future? Are they really thinking the US is going to give them a massive Syrian Kurdistan, from which they've ejected all Sunni Arabs? That would be folly (they've been very sensible up to now). My impression is that they go along with the US, because they don't have much choice, but they're keeping a plan B in reserve.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 13 2017 19:34 utc | 5

Now that the US has been blocked north of al-Tanf and Israel seemingly going along with the ceasefire in the south east, their only option was to double down on the Kurds. Understandable, but still myopic.
As b mentioned, the Kurds have little chance of a successful Rojava. They've pissed off the Arabs by not allowing them to cross their lines fleeing ISIS (what a ridiculous decision that was) and their own ethnic cleansing. They will find no love amongst Syrian Arabs. Not even the Barzani-led Kurds will give them any support as Barzani is clutched by the balls by Turkey, the only friendly border they have. So, Syria is against an autonomous Rojava, Iraq is opposed and Turkey is dead set against. Who will trade with them, allow goods across their border or their planes in their airspace? All they have are dead ends and the US military, another dead end. Their rule will be short lived, Turkey incursion or not.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jul 13 2017 19:39 utc | 6

re James 2. I doubt that Macron and Trump are going to go in for luvvies. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the French were more or less obliged to invite the US president for the centenary of the US joining WW1, whether Clinton or Trump. Trump has been invited to dine, not in the Elysées palace, but at the summit of the Eiffel Tower, a rather cold and windy place.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 13 2017 19:47 utc | 7

Will the Trump-Putin Agreement Hold?

I am very skeptical.

1. Trump walked back one of the 3 'baby steps' within 48 hours:

The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen. It can't-but a ceasefire can,& did!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2017

So much for Trump-Putin "chemistry".

PS The 'baby-steps': US special rep on Ukraine; Cyber-security cooperation; Ceasefire in SW Syria

2. The History of US 'deals' wrt Syria and Iran is fraught.

>> Obama reached a peace deal with Iran that US hasn't fully honored (still holding back Iranian $$$)
Was the intent to have peace or just a delay in the onset of hostilities because the Syrian conflict was taking longer than expected? Note: this 'deal' is reminiscent of Obama's 'deal' for homeowners facing foreclosure - many were screwed even more as the delay in foreclosure actually helped the banks as the homeowner paid upkeep until the inevitable foreclosure.

>> US said they were bombing ISIS but they weren't really.
This was proven by Russian satellite images of truck convoys.

>> US said that they would train and arm anti-ISIS fighters but they didn't.
Western media reported that fighters left the program early because they thought Assad was a greater threat - in other words, they were essentially trained to fight Assad - only a handful of fighters graduated from the program, and they promptly handed over the weapons to anti-Assad forces

>> US said that they would separate moderate rebels and extremists but they couldn't/wouldn't.

>> Kerry appeared to have made peace but didn't (US attacked Deir Ezzor)
Anyone who thinks Obama/Kerry was serious about making peace is deluded. AFAIK no one involved in Deir Ezzor attack was reprimanded.

>> During the campaign, Trump talked about leaving Russia/Iran/Syria to fight ISIS.
Yet US is still there. And has bombed Syria and attacked Syrian forces.

3. Israel and Saudi Arabia have great influence on USA leadership (via neocons) - especially wrt ME policy - and they do not want Assad to prevail.
It seems unlikely that this group will every stop their efforts to overthrow Assad.

They might, however, settle for "Sunnistan", which would help (with Kurds) to drive a wedge between Iran-friendly states of Syria and Iraq (and a generally a 'bad actor').

4. Trump is a faux-populist with ties to the Clintons
a) The American political system has been 'fixed' to prevent a real populist from gaining office (see: Citizens United and restrictions on debate participation).

b) Trump is an opportunist and narcissist. Trump companies stand to make a great deal of money. Trump's working WITH powerful interests will be much more financially beneficial to him than working AGAINST those interests.

c) Trump was (is?) so close to the Clintons that he picked up Hillary's 'birther' nonsense against Obama - and Ivanka remains friendly with Chelsea.>

> Hillary WANTED Trump to win the Republican nomination - and US media dutifully gave Trump favorable coverage.

> Hillary ran an exceptionally poor campaign

> Trump said he would NOT prosecute Hillary within days of winning the election

5. The stage is set for another bombing of Syria
> Trump has already bombed Syria (doing so days after his Administration said that Assad could stay). He rushed to bomb despite the objections of intelligence analysts.

> Trump has issued warnings to Russia/Assad that make another cw ff likely.

> Negative press only makes bombing more appealing to Trump - he can expect positive media coverage (as when he first bombed Syria).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 13 2017 20:10 utc | 8


Syrian ceasefire bars Hezbollah from Israeli border

Posted by: somebody | Jul 13 2017 20:11 utc | 9

re 9. that's creating a new buffer zone in Golan, as expected. Nothing however creates a buffer zone in South Lebanon. The Hizbullah missiles are all ready to fire, and the Israelis are terrified.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 13 2017 20:32 utc | 10

The American Borg State dilemma over Syria is that, if they stop financing the proxy forces, then Syria will clearly re-establish economic cooperation with Iran. There's no doubt at all that it was the expansion of Syria-Iran economic cooperation that motivated the Syrian regime change games of Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration (Israel and Saudi Arabia, too) - it's all detailed in the Cablegate Wikileaks releases. From 2008-2010, there's endless obsession from Washington about how to "wean Syria from Iran" and bring it into the Saudi-Isreali axis. For example, UK Telegraph 2012:
That was the reason behind the rabid regime change effort Clinton pushed for.

Not only that, there's the other major external economic actor, China, reaching out to Iran and Syria:

To top it off, there's the Qatar-Iran-Turkey pipeline issue - i.e., Qatar could sign a deal to export its gas to Europe via Iran and Turkey. Again, this is a Wikileaks Cablegate topic. Here's something from March 2009, Hillary Clinton meeting with her Bahraini friends (who dumped $32 million into the Clinton Foundation, if we want to talk about collusion with foreign entities. . .)

The meeting also included a discussion of Iran, military cooperation, and regional politics, including Qatar and the GCC plus 3 plus P5 plus 1 mechanism. Additionally, the Foreign Minister raised the Qatar-Iran-Turkey oil pipeline . . .

The Qatar-Saudi split has been brewing for a long time, and, despite the BS in the American media, it has nothing at all to do with who was financing ISIS and Al Qaeda in Syria.

So looking at all this, I'm guessing that the Borg State's last great hope is an American-Kurdistan client state, a big wedge in eastern Syria, northern Iraq that might just be able to block the revival of Iran-Syria economic ties - but, obviously, that would work a whole lot better if they could connect it to Jordan/Saudi Arabia, isolating Syria from Iran. This seems like a failed effort, entirely.

From the Syrian people's viewpoint, economic cooperation with Iran and China looks like a very good deal indeed, far better than any deal the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia could offer them. The same could very well be true for Qatar, which would put some more nails in the PNAC coffin.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jul 13 2017 20:46 utc | 11

re jackrabbit 8.

Do you think that Putin takes seriously what Trump says? I should think he listens and then forgets. Trump says one thing and then the opposite tomorrow.

I doubt very much that Trump is about to bomb Syria seriously. His electoral base wouldn't support a real war. The 59 Tomahawk bombardment was a good sign. A nice showy event, but no real engagement.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 13 2017 20:51 utc | 12


Do you think Trump cares more about what his electoral base thinks or what TPTB think?

Do you think tPTB care what Trump thinks?

Obama screwed his base many times. If Trump is so loyal to his MAGA base, why did he attack Syria at all?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 13 2017 21:11 utc | 13

"One common current aim is the defeat of ISIS."

Not really. The US military strategy is to keep ISIS going as long as possible, to justify US military presense in east Syria and to allow The Kurds (TM) (Pat Pend) to acquire more turf. The US is bombing al Hasakah in east Syria whilst ISIS shells it. This largely Arab city will be ethnically cleansed courtesy of a combination of US bombing, ISIS shelling and Kurdish occupation. It is also about midway along the riverway between Deir ez Zor and al Qamishli, another SAA enclave.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 13 2017 21:14 utc | 14

It seems that US Soldiers and or proxies are still occupying al-Tanf. No graceful exit? No plans to leave? Provisions must be delivered. Easy FF could be set up here.

The sooner Kid Rock can get in the Senate, the sooner the super brainpower between him and Trump can take effect.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jul 13 2017 21:18 utc | 15

"The U.S. seems to have strong influence with ALL those entities."

There are only two organ grinders (as Mercouris calls them) that Russia has to deal with in Syria. Erdogan and US. The rest are monkeys.
I believe this is why Putin has stated a number of times that the Syrian war only has a political solution.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 13 2017 21:25 utc | 16

re jackrabbit 13

Do you think Trump cares more about what his electoral base thinks or what TPTB think?
I don't think he thinks at all. He reacts. There's no consistent policy. Other than what is deep down in his brain-stem.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 13 2017 21:26 utc | 17

Laguerre @10

Nasrallah has stated there will be a surprise waiting for Israel when the next war is started (implied by Israel). He doesn't make idle threats or bluff. I suspect Israel will go for bust at some stage relatively soon before its original plan for gaining more Syrian territory and isolating Hezbollah finally disintegrates.

Israel's plan to install puppet local councils in the Golan has also been totally opposed by the Syrian Druze.

Meanwhile a large Hezbollah battle group is moving south from Aleppo province to as Suwayda, about 45 km east of Daraa, close to the Syria/Jordan border.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 13 2017 21:26 utc | 18

nonsense factory @11:

I'm guessing that the Borg State's last great hope is an American-Kurdistan client state
I'd guess that "Kurdistan" is not enough.

I think the BIG question is whether Putin would go to war over over a dismembered/federated Syria. Assad and Iran definitely want a whole Syria.

I think the 'Assad must go' Coalition countries are likely to be angling for some sort of independently-run area for BOTH Kurds and Sunnis.

That's why Trump's goals in Syria are so opaque. If there is war, they will sell it as a humanitarian mission, NOT nation-building (which Trump has supposedly sworn-off, LOL).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

For more on this, see:

Putin-Trump at the G-20: The Birth of Sunnistan?

Slight of Hand? The Secrecy and Spin About the Trump-Putin Meeting

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 13 2017 21:30 utc | 19

The cauldron in the central southern area, northeast of as Suwayda, has now been closed by the SAA and allies, gaining ~200 km2 of territory.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 13 2017 21:32 utc | 20

fast freddy @15:blockquote>Easy FF could be set up here. My pick for ff location would be one of the "deconfliction zones". It maximum onus on Syria-Russia for the occurrence of such an event.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 13 2017 21:33 utc | 21

fast freddy @15:

Easy FF could be set up here.
My pick for ff location would be one of the "deconfliction zones". It maximum onus on Syria-Russia for the occurrence of such an event.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 13 2017 21:34 utc | 22

dh | Jul 13, 2017 3:28:10 PM | 4

"the U.S. guarantees that Israel!? [.] stays quiet."

That has to be conditional on something. Moving embassy to Jerusalem? Rojavan independence? Sanctions on Iran?

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem went bye bye. Like over the past 22 years following all his predecessors,

Trump signed the waiver to keep embassy in Tel Aviv.

June 1, 2017

Donald Trump will not order the moving of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in the near future, despite strong lobbying in recent days by senior Israeli officials.

A senior US official disclosed that Trump – like all his presidential predecessors – has signed the six-monthly presidential waiver to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, reneging on a key campaign promise, citing his desire to maximise the chances of “negotiating a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians”.

But the official insisted that Trump still intends to move the embassy. “It’s a question of when, not if,” a US official said, adding that the president “doesn’t think the timing is right, right now”.

“In timing such a move he will seek to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Trump’s move to renew the waiver came as he faced a Thursday deadline to renew or see the state department lose half its funding for its overseas facilities.
Presidents of both parties have renewed the waiver every six months for years.{.]

And a Israel and Palestians peace deal? Wishing badly. Not in Bibi Nuttinyahoo's life. There is all that gas found in the Gaza coastal waters and coveted. Jared Kushner a good negotiator. NOT as in forever..

Posted by: likklemore | Jul 13 2017 21:50 utc | 23

re anonymous 18

Nasrallah has stated there will be a surprise waiting for Israel when the next war is started
Evidently Israel will have thought out carefully what to do in the case of such a war. The problem is that anti-missile missiles don't work, particularly Iron Dome. They may knock off a proportion of Gazan unguided objects, but serious missiles they have no defence against. That's why no new war.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 13 2017 21:52 utc | 24

Dealing with the u.s.-americans is like dealing with scorpions. You never know when they will sting. So far the Russians have made the best of it. They are remarkably successful in Syria considering the clusterfuck there. And this is all one can say about future development; everybody has plans and no plan will work. Should the Korean theater go hot this would sure have an impact in the Near East area and everywhere else. It is unforeseeable.
Tronalds acting largely depends from the situation on the home front. Should that worsen he probably would start a big war in order to force his domestic enemies on his side. (Well, he will anyway probably.)

Posted by: Pnyx | Jul 13 2017 21:57 utc | 25

re Pnyx 25

Should the Korean theater go hot this would sure have an impact in the Near East area and everywhere else.
Haven't you understood that Obama wanted to pivot to the Orient, but was prevented. Well who was preventing, well Netanyahu. Israel wants concentration on the Near East, and that's what happens. Its of no interest to the US.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 13 2017 22:14 utc | 26

SAA's current goals were decided long before the G-20 meet and seem to be going quite well. Assad often states the goal is to regain all of Syria, with that goal duly echoed by Putin and Lavrov. The Turks are engaged in a feint, probably at the behest of Russia, toward Afrin to put a spanner into the Outlaw US Empire's SDF proxy plan, which initially coincided with rumors of Russian MPs pulling out from the region. Canthama's reported on numerous Arab defections from SDF, which along with its reallocating forces North to Afrin has weakened its siege of Raqqa. Seldom making the news are the warnings by Syria to the Outlaw US Empire over its illegal base building, that they will not be tolerated and will be removed by force if necessary. Russia has simply said the Syrians are correct on this point, and since Russia's policy is for the continuance of Syria's sovereignty over all its territory, the message to the Outlaw US Empire is clear--You will not be allowed to remain. Note also the Empire's talk of needing to remain in Iraq after Daesh's eradication for some unexplained reason. Lots of discussion about Abadi and whether he'll go against Iraqi public opinion and Parliament's on this issue.

Overall, as with any "defense" contract, the goal is to milk as much money out of the deal as possible, which is what I think's Deep State's position. Much of the focus is on Syria, but what happens in Iraq is just as important, particularly its Kurdish problem and Outlaw US Empire beachhead. Also in the background is Lebanon, and of course Palestine.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 13 2017 22:21 utc | 27

@23 "Moving the embassy to Jerusalem went bye bye."

In fact it got postponed for 6 months. But I'm sure the Israelis have other demands. If they are cooperating in the Trump/Putin Syria deal there has to be a quid pro quo.

Posted by: dh | Jul 13 2017 22:36 utc | 28

somebody 9
I wonder if the part excluding terrorists includes al Nusra who the Israelis have been helping.

Posted by: Curtis | Jul 13 2017 23:33 utc | 29

somebody @ 9: Thanks for the link, frankly, IMO, this whole deal is about Israel, and trying to keep Hezbollah contained and away from Israel's borders.

Posted by: ben | Jul 13 2017 23:35 utc | 30

The West's experiments with "nation building" in Southwest Asia have been ongoing for almost 100 years and must be admitted as a colossal failure. The region was far more peaceful and harmonious under Ottoman rule. Unfortunately, the region contains massive amounts of hydrocarbon resources fundamental to capitalist development, which made the region a target for Western Colonialism and subsequent exploitation, and has prevented the region's people from exercising their right to self-determination. Actually, this time period ought to be called Colonialism by Other Means.

Overall, I don't think any of the borders other than Palestine's can be redrawn. What must occur is the West's total abandonment of its policy of Colonialism by Other Means, which also means the entity known as Israel must be replaced by Palestine--it's an integral part of the West's colonial control--so all the region's people can get on with developing themselves in a peaceful, productive environment, powered by their hydrocarbon and human resources along with the Russo-Sino Eurasian development regime. Ethnic minorities like the Kurds need to press for autonomy within existing states rather than further disrupting the organization of the nations already present, which they will once the West ceases using them as pawns in their Colonialism control gambit.

Eventually, and sooner rather than later, hydrocarbon resources will be extracted, so the wealth they bring must be put to use in building non-hydrocarbon dependent, sustainable, durable, resilient economies. The sands in the glass of time won't wait for anyone; so, the sooner the region can be transformed the better it will be for its people and for the entire planet.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 13 2017 23:44 utc | 31

dh @ 28.
In fact it got postponed for 6 months.

yes, technically but as with all presidential predecessors, “postponed” every 6 months over 22 years.

Here is why the idea of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem remains controversial

Relocating the embassy would be cheered by many Israelis and the government. But the move would be controversial because it would anger Palestinians, risk destabilizing Arab allies of the U.S., and upend decades of American diplomatic orthodoxy that has resisted moving the embassy absent a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

[.] Trump apparently cooled to the idea of moving the embassy following a meeting this month with King Abdullah II of Jordan, an ally in the U.S. fight against Islamic State extremists and other militants.

Jordan, which holds the status of a custodian of the Muslim holy sites in the Old City, warned the administration that such a move could stir up protests in Arab countries and alienate Sunni-dominated allies. It could also trigger unrest in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem, where allegations of Israeli attempts to assert control over Muslim holy places have sparked protests and attacks.[.]

Though Congress passed a law in 1995 calling for the move of the embassy, successive presidents have exercised a special waiver to delay the move every six months.[.]

Posted by: likklemore | Jul 14 2017 0:31 utc | 32

Mercouris at The Duran has published an item dealing with the presumed death of Al-Baghdadi that raises an important point that I'll let the bar patrons discover for themselves,

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 14 2017 0:47 utc | 33

@32 Trump blows hot and cold on all kinds of shit. Israel wants the embassy moved is all I know. Israel usually gets what it wants.

Posted by: dh | Jul 14 2017 1:25 utc | 34

@32 Trump blows hot and cold on all kinds of shit. Israel wants the embassy moved is all I know. Israel usually gets what it wants.

Posted by: dh | Jul 13, 2017 9:25:28 PM | 34

There are limits. In recent memory, Israeli diplomacy and lobbying were engaged to prevent an arms deal with Saudis. In essence, it was a clash between the military-industrial complex and Israeli lobby. MIC did not even had to engage in a visible campaign, just "everybody who is somebody" on national security gravely and quietly saying that the transaction is in American interest.

American move of embassy to Jerusalem would be troublesome for some reasons, and my guess is that it would be most troublesome for Israel. The Lobby must have issues to mobilize the stupid donors, and Israeli government needs reason to kvetch, but in my opinion this is a mere show. By the way of contrast, stopping settlement expansion is against a core interest for Israel (more precisely, for the ruling coalition that would face internal rebellion otherwise), while MIC could not care less. And the Lobby wins.

Similarly, the Lobby was against the deal with Iran. But who gained on that deal in USA? MIC! The Gulfie yokels were properly scared and redoubled their lucrative arms orders. The deal had other potential merits, but within the context of American politics they were secondary.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 14 2017 3:04 utc | 35

@35 Having the US embassy in Jerusalem is basically a way of validating Israel's historical claim to the city. I'm not sure how the Palestinians would react to the move. Another intifada? That may be just the excuse Israel needs to get rid of them. Obviously some people in the US realize how serious that would be but I don't think it's the MIC.

Posted by: dh | Jul 14 2017 3:39 utc | 36

<<= karlof1 | Jul 13, 2017 7:44:34 PM | 31

Eventually, and sooner rather than later, hydrocarbon resources will be extracted, so the wealth they bring must be put to use in building non-hydrocarbon dependent, sustainable, durable, resilient economies. The sands in the glass of time won't wait for anyone; so, the sooner the region can be transformed the better it will be for its people and for the entire planet.

Actually, this is the case for ALL resources. This would include stuff like zinc and copper, etc. EVERYTHING. Yes, Crazy Eddy is selling IT ALL! The first thing to go? the first one? Fresh water. Cool fresh water. Won't have any. You "take it for granted", as they say. Not forever.

And here is what I think is the brutal truth about the (so-called) Middle East: It was all based on oil. They artificially created a "carrying capacity" with profits from oil extraction. Ah yes, The Spice Must Flow. Until, that is, it doesn't. You get the picture now? What happens when the oil runs out? Take a guess? Refugees maybe? Economic refugees? Technically maybe, but only from a techno-war that WE CREATED.

This little blue planet is a low hanging fruit that we have just about mostly consumed. So, yeah, we'll all fight over the last few shreds.

Posted by: blues | Jul 14 2017 3:45 utc | 37

karlof1 | Jul 13, 2017 8:47:54 PM | 33

SOHR has had good intel from ISIS territory quite sometime for anyone watching.
Also fits in with what b stated. US has control of ALL anti Syria players in southwest Syria including ISIS.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 14 2017 4:43 utc | 38

@7/10 laguerre.. thanks for sharing your perspective on all that.. i think you are right..

@11 nonsense factory.. thanks.

thanks for others posts too.. i notice a few regulars here and not many others..

Posted by: james | Jul 14 2017 6:43 utc | 39

I don't think Israel "really" wants it any more. Never mind the Palestinians, it would destabilize religious sentiment in the whole of the Arab world.
Jerusalem does feature in the Koran, at least that is how it is interpreted.

From what I read in the Jerusalem Post, Israel wants to go on a PR offensive to connect Lebanon with Hezbollah.
If they manage to kick off a war there, and are not able to follow through, like last time, they will hand Iran a Sunni-Shiite uniting event (Saudi already did that with Qatar). Jerusalem would be another one.

In other news the UN as declared Gaza as uninhabitable. I wonder what the fallout from that will be.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 14 2017 7:03 utc | 40

OT - sorry, but this is huge:

Turkey agrees to pay 2.5 B$ for Russian S-400 - Bloomberg

If confirmed, I hereby admit that I was wrong and Ankara has already moved further away from NATO than I had imagined. Any need to elaborate on the (geo)political implications?

Posted by: smuks | Jul 14 2017 8:21 utc | 41

41) There is more going on in geopolitics - the Economist

So Mr Trump could hardly have done more to aggravate German officialdom. He endorsed the Three Seas Initiative. In meetings with the Polish and Croatian presidents he guaranteed a supply of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) and backed a corridor linking LNG pipelines in the two countries. Poland opened its first terminal on the Baltic sea at Swinoujscie in 2015, and the first American cargo arrived there last month. In Warsaw, Mr Trump encouraged the rapid completion of a Croatian LNG terminal at Krk, on the Adriatic.

Though sensible, this looks to officials in Berlin like a bid to divide Europe and weaken Germany’s leverage over its neighbours. They are contemplating responses. One would be a new European infrastructure fund, to test whether Poland and its allies merely want more foreign investment or whether the Three Seas Initiative is actually about geopolitical balancing.

Sounds like the start of a European pipeline war (well, the start was Ukraine, this is the continuation.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 14 2017 8:35 utc | 42

42 add)
Forgot the - revealing - rest of the quote

In years past, Germans developed a vision of a cohesive EU run from Brussels, steered mostly by Germany and underwritten by American power. Now they fear a future in which strongmen in Washington, Moscow and Beijing divide Europe and push around the pieces. Germany led the G20 meeting confidently, but it feels increasingly insecure.

You find this in British media. German media does not talk about it.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 14 2017 8:37 utc | 43

smuks | Jul 14, 2017 4:21:06 AM | 41

Another thought I had earlier about this deal is that the S-500 is close to production and deployment, so S-400 may be viewed as an obsolete system? I would guess that if this is the case, Russia's current S-400 and perhaps S-300 would gain an S-500 electronics upgrade.
That's all guessing on my part. Be interesting to see what happens.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 14 2017 8:41 utc | 44


LNG still looks like a white elephant to me: First deliveries notwithstanding, I simply don't see it replacing pipeline gas on any large scale in Europe. Same with TANAP & TAP: 'Diversification' of a few billion cm/y doesn't change the overall picture. Also, the Qatar crisis & Washington's unpredictable foreign policy show that LNG is less reliable than pipelines, if anything.

If Poland is happy paying more to feel a little less dependent on Moscow, it may do so - nothing Russia and Germany need to be worried about imo. The stationing of missiles in Eastern Europe causes far bigger headaches...

Posted by: smuks | Jul 14 2017 8:56 utc | 45

@Peter AU 44

Not obsolete, but they reserve the latest technology for themselves and export only the second best. To maintain a military edge and prevent any risk of technology falling into the 'wrong' hands. Other states do the same, cf sales of US fighter planes.

Posted by: smuks | Jul 14 2017 9:01 utc | 46

The Resistance Axis is well capable of dealing with a protracted foreign-controlled insurgency, so the US and its allies shouldn't think they're gaining an upper-hand. Resistance fighters thrive in such murky battle fronts but I doubt their enemies have the stomach for the kind of war they will be getting into.

Posted by: MswahiliX | Jul 14 2017 9:05 utc | 47

I read the Elijah.J.M article the other day and what struck me was the absolute lack of any mention of Russia, which made me question not the veracity of his words but his objectivity. Especially given Russia's presence in Afrin and the area's proximity to the more contentious of the De-Escalation zones, Idlib.
I can only deduce from this that in the Afrin area, Turkey is being used to pressure the Kurds into some kind of deal other than outright autonomy. I made a comment in a previous thread that Russia is happy with all kinds of independence but not political, and this I believe is what will happen. Let the US 'throw the Kurds under the bus' and then Russia will step in with the solution to prevent all out conflict with Turkey - a place at the table for Kurds and return of lands to Syrian Governance.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 14 2017 9:06 utc | 48

@ karlof1 | 27

Just read your comment. am in agreement for the most part with the below. Not sure if its at Russia's behest or simply Russia holding the leash ... Having said that, the Managed Coup anniversary has not yet passed and, while unlikely. Erdogan may still make a bold nationalist statement ... :-)

"SAA's current goals were decided long before the G-20 meet and seem to be going quite well. Assad often states the goal is to regain all of Syria, with that goal duly echoed by Putin and Lavrov. The Turks are engaged in a feint, probably at the behest of Russia"

Posted by: AtaBrit | Jul 14 2017 9:16 utc | 49

"The U.S. seems to have strong influence with ALL those entities." especially when Qatar who had consistently refused all agreement is cornered.
The West suddenly decided that terrorists who come to Europe and kill tourism economy were indeed a problem to tackle. As long as they killed Syrians or Iraqis it was just fine.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 14 2017 9:25 utc | 50

Posted by: smuks | Jul 14, 2017 4:56:56 AM | 45

Of course pipeline gas is cheaper, so the policy would be to prevent/destroy the pipelines.

Someone just demonstrated to Germany that they cannot protect any larger city against 1500 young men on adrenalin, drugs and with a strategy.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 14 2017 9:27 utc | 51

Rebel factions in southern Syria reject ceasefire deal
On Thursday, the largest coalition of Islamist groups in southern Syria said they refused to participate in a US-Russian brokered cessation of hostilities stretching across Quneitra, Daraa and western Sweida.

After releasing a long statement on the matter, the ‘Death over Humiliation’ operations room that was formed in February to unite Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions under one fighting force, stated it would not adhere to the ceasefire, rendering it useless..

Well the United States' "guarantees" seem to have been empty. HTS and FSA are saying they won't adhere to the ceasefire agreement and the fighting is back on again. It will no doubt be wrongly blamed by the lying shits of the western MSM on the Syrians and Russians or even on Putin himself. Most likely the Saudis think they have Trump by the balls - perhaps it's time to depose MbS and MbZ in a democratic coup.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jul 14 2017 9:52 utc | 52

After reading this
I wonder if the need for a 'caliph' was not more local than external and 1)for the Iraqi warlords who participated in this playbook to satisfy the hubris of Erdogan and his neo-Ottoman policy and 2) the need on the ground to have a so-called caliph so that all the 'amirs' to whom full power was given don't run amok. Interestingly, empowering petty criminals of all nature with total violence was the Nazi modus operandi in the 30s.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 14 2017 10:13 utc | 53

Peter AU | Jul 14, 2017 4:41:10 AM | 44
Russia's current S-400 and perhaps S-300 would gain an S-500 electronics upgrade.
That's all guessing on my part. Be interesting to see what happens.

That doesn't mean the S-300 - 400 systems are not effective and still very relevent. The S-500 system is a quantum leap, effective against ICBM's, if I understood correctly, the available information.
The S-500 is a unique system having no analogue in the west.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jul 14 2017 10:37 utc | 54

I think it's important to understand that the U.S., as an aggresor, has concentrated on offensive weapons over defensive systems.
Russia, on the other hand, as a non-aggresor, has concentrated on defensive systems; which explains why they (Russia) have superior defensive systems.
While the U.S. is loathe to admit this; a careful read of the media reveals the U.S. is very leary of Russia's air defense systems; especially in Syria.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jul 14 2017 10:58 utc | 55

If I may; the following is a link to a Tom O'Brian interview with John Helmer;
It lays out a non-bullshit view of Russia today and; a no bullshit view of just what the U.S. is trying to do to Russia.
A must listen to any who want the unvarnished facts on the ground.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jul 14 2017 11:06 utc | 56

The cease fire in the south does not look likely to hold. Whatever was the US trying to accomplish on its behalf, and that of Jordan and Israel?

Posted by: mf | Jul 14 2017 11:45 utc | 57

23rd September 2017 is 1260 days after the first blood moon tetrad and 1260 days after first contact in ATO offensive unleashed on Donetsk...ATO announced on 6th April 2014 but actual contact occurred on 15th...Revelations 12,..a great sign appears in the heaven, woman clothed with the sun.

23rd September 2017 is the kick off date for WW3...Westinghouse fuel rods used again to trigger reactor meltdowns in Ukraine

Posted by: Amanita Amanita | Jul 14 2017 13:02 utc | 58

Charles, which article at Voltaire?

Posted by: Morongobill | Jul 14 2017 13:16 utc | 59

Thanks for the podcast link. Fascinating summary and analysis.

Posted by: Musburger | Jul 14 2017 13:18 utc | 60

V. Arnold and others above: this is a general and professedly naive question, born out of my ignorance about weapons r&d. It is also somewhat rambling, since it could be boiled down to one sentence, I suppose. We often hear about or mutually reassure one another about (I mean we sensu lato, we who seek freedom from tyranny)... about the superiority or present unassailability of this or that new device or system or technology being tested or trialled or deployed by, say, Russia or China. F.i., S-500, unpredictable missile flightpaths, China's tangled particle or wave wotnots. Isn't it the case that that the enemy, with their vast financial, intellectual (used advisedly) and manpower resources, not to omit mention of the ubiquitous mycelium of espionage, will be (will already have been)immediately copying / improving whatever new development transpires. My impression is that the USA is deliberately fostering and projecting an impression of "outdated systems", of incompetence, dissatisfaction, among their own, of fractiousness among the multitude of m and i agencies, of failed contracts, of ACCs without effective aircraft (UK, that one), that dud F-fighter we hear so much about and that not only the general "ignorant masses", but also "we" are, in a very high-level way, taken in by it, that we are willing to let ourselves be, in a wishful thinking sort of way. Think of places where they ought to know (and perhaps have a hidden agents). Turcopolier springs to mind. Or that slightly hysterical saker-bird who used to have a (pretty valuable, if approached in a slightly sceptical manner) blog called the vinyard (since transformed into a tedious run-of-the-mill digest site full of syndicated pieces better read at source). I digress. We talk and hear constantly these days, years, about the rising military sophistication of Russia, China and other enemies of the USA, but relatively little about the USA vast historical (I mean post-USSR up to the present day) military might, and when it is mentioned, it is always countered with "reassurances" about falling behind in cutting-edge research, maintenance, etc., yet the budgets alone should provide a wake-up call, let alone the unbudgeted funds, probably greater, and the other factors spy-rings, national pride, sense of mission, wolfowitz doctrine, first-strike, etc.

Surely the one things we can / should be absolutely certain of is that the USA has absorbed every single piece of weapons knowledge that Russia and China have come up with and applied and that they are putting that knowledge to good use behind the scenes, a la Manhattan? Let alone their own autochthonous ideas (assuming they are capable of original thoughts beyond Manifest Destiny, R2P and other such claptrap). Most of the tertiary colleges in the US appear to be intricately linked with defence and the mic.

Posted by: Petra | Jul 14 2017 14:03 utc | 61

Musburger | Jul 14, 2017 9:18:48 AM | 59

Welcome, wasn't it though? Thanks for listening.
Tom O'Brian is one of the very best, IMO.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jul 14 2017 14:05 utc | 62

Petra | Jul 14, 2017 10:03:05 AM | 60

Your word salad is at best, just that.
You greatly over estimate the U.S.'s ability. The U.S. is most assuredly not omnipotent...
But rather a stumbling shadow of its former self.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jul 14 2017 14:13 utc | 63

The USA system or methodology of piecemeal state by state construction via bribery/congressional skulduggery/waste/baksheesh/skim/hookers and cocaine must be considered and compared to more direct state oversight.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jul 14 2017 14:22 utc | 64

V Arnold, yes, I agree that the USA is "a stumbling shadow of its former self", and roll on the day when it crashes, or more likely is brought crashing, to the ground. But much though the fanboys would like them to be so, things are not black and white, so of course not omnipotent. But you have to question the reliability and agenda of those who shruggingly dismiss that the USA remains superior to Russia and China, militarily. In (particularly) mic-funded research, there is an abundance of evidence about (for example) growing in confidence about first-strike survivability (not talking about black-and-white-vision untouchability), along with every reason to play down capability, through a variety of means, not least aforementioned shrugging dismissal.
But, thank you, your reply is a perfect example of exactly what I am drawing attention to.

Posted by: Petra | Jul 14 2017 15:19 utc | 65

I guess that's the end of the ceasefire...

Posted by: WG | Jul 14 2017 16:02 utc | 66

Petra@64 Not sure about US superiority on weapons, I assume the US funded Iron Dome to Israel is the top of the range rocket interceptor. It achieved a 5% success rate against the bottle rockets of Hamas filled with sugar and fertilizer. How could they stop an ICBM coming from space travelling at 7Km/second with decoys?

Posted by: harrylaw | Jul 14 2017 16:57 utc | 67

@55 V. Arnold.. good summation of the different psychology that seems to drive russia verses the usa as relates to defense verses offense and i agree with you @62 as well..

Posted by: james | Jul 14 2017 17:02 utc | 68

@wg - but those are the extra super duper ''''moderate'''' headchoppers that the usa is supposed to have control over, lol... the usa strikes out again, lol...

Posted by: james | Jul 14 2017 17:04 utc | 69

V Arnold and others - after listening to the Helmer interview, which is quite informative - especially his take on Melania Trump's interruption during the 2 hour long meeting at the G20 last week, I recommend watching this 30 minute vid where Prof Stephen Cohen served on a Panel pre G20. He clearly and concisely articulates what he understands to be Russia's view not only of their role in this world of ours, but moreover, his understanding of how Russia/Putin/Lavrov see the very real threat of extreme terrorism such as we've seen in Syria/Iraq via the Islamic State and all of the others.

Also, McGurk gave an update yesterday on Iraq/Syria yesterday providing some detail of events in both regions following a working group of the coalition to fight the Islamic State put together shortly after Trump took office.

The presser -

The Transcript -

Posted by: h | Jul 14 2017 17:04 utc | 70

Bahahahaha....the blatent propaganda campaign using Bana falls flat on its face after we found out she lives next to the Nusra HQ and her dad works for an ISIS court

Posted by: cantmossadtheassad | Jul 14 2017 17:04 utc | 71

Anonymous @14

Support for you point that the US supported the ISIS invasion of Syria and Iraq:

Posted by: Krollchem | Jul 14 2017 17:11 utc | 72


I too do not know what we have and what we fear but I am pretty certain that an overwhelming portion of the Defense budget is pure pork. So very much money is wasted on projects that can never succeed and even if they did would be of little value. The bunker buster nuke springs to mind, countless billions have been allocated to finding a way force nuclear weapon through 30 feet of reinforced concrete and then have it go full yield.

other countries who do not have possibility of spending so very much money and perhaps where government corruption is less can develop their own interesting ways of killing people.

another example is sub watching. the US has all kinds of listening buoys and sub hunting aircraft constantly looking for submarines. The Russians apparently don't but knew and probably still know where all of our subs are. How, do you ask? A spy working inside the Navy told them.

I do agree that this talk of surviving a nuclear exchange by having awesome first strike capability is terrifying and I shake my head whenever I hear serious looking men discuss that.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jul 14 2017 17:25 utc | 73


here's the article by Thierry Meyssan on voltairenet

very interesting point of view:
- Syria (and its "multi-confessional model") managed to survive against the wishes of the "Anglo-Saxons" and other regional states
- Turkey and Israel will reap benefits from the war: Turkey gets to keep parts of Syrian territory, Israel gets to keep Golan indefinitely, protected by a buffer zone with US presence
- Kurds will be abandoned, and Palestinians subjugated

Posted by: claudio | Jul 14 2017 17:36 utc | 74

h 69

This part from McGurk is interesting..
"But what is important here is that what really fueled ISIS and fueled the rise of ISIS were 40,000 foreign fighters poured into Syria over the course of about four years. These are the foreign fighters, the hardcore terrorists, the suicide bombers. And so you had in Iraq a situation in which 2010, ’11, ’12, about five to ten suicide bombers a month, which still – I mean, that’s kind of extraordinary to think about. That went up last year almost to a hundred suicide bombers a month, and even in 2014, it went up to 60, 70 a month.

Any country, if you have all these people coming from all around the world to blow themselves up in mosques, ice cream parlors, killing children, killing children in soccer games – this is what was happening in Iraq. So long as you have that going on, from all these people from all around the world, it’s very difficult to talk about political progress, quite frankly...."

Here he is admitting that the foreign fighters (foreign sponsored I take it) began pouring into Syria 2010 yet not acknowledging that they cause the same or worse problems in Syria as Iraq.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 14 2017 17:43 utc | 75

Yeah Peter AU, I found his candor regarding that particular passage jarring. Honestly though, I found all of his comments of interest b/c his words don't square with what many here and elsewhere are surmising and rightfully so. The political class in D.C. have worked feverishly over the last two decades to ensure the U.S. word meant little on the world stage.

Maybe in time a new day can emerge, maybe. I sure hope so.

Btw, the title given by the 'Reason and Logic' YT channel who uploaded Cohen's comments gave the vid this title "Professor Stephen Cohen Intellectually Destroys Russophobia".

Posted by: h | Jul 14 2017 18:08 utc | 76

Here's a few interesting articles - from Politico and NY Times, so basically it's American establishment propaganda, so you have to read between the lines. Kind of surprising they'd even mention these topics, but the spin factor may be the reason why. I.e., there's a real effort to hide the fact that the American-Israel-Jordan-Saudi axis actively supported Al Qaeda and ISIS jihadi terror groups in Syria and Iraq as part of the anti-Iranian-influence game. The target of this propaganda game is the American voter, ultimately.

"Taken as a whole, Israeli activities in Syria, Jordan, the West Bank, Egypt and the Gulf can no longer be viewed in isolation from one another. Rather, Israel is now involved in the Arab world’s military campaigns — against both Iran and its proxies, as well as against the Islamic State."

That's PR line #1 - i.e. Islamic State has been viewed by Israel as an ally against Assad and Iran. Israeli Defense Minister Ya'alon even said he'd prefer ISIS running Syria to Assad, in the Israel press, 2014. Israel has carried out operations in support of ISIS, as has the U.S. military (Deir Ezzor) Trying to tell the brainwashed devotees of the NYT and WaPo this? Tricky at best.
A few other blurbs:
"Yet there is a major United States-led coalition operation being run out of Jordan to support the various Syrian rebels groups. An open question is whether, or more likely how, Israel is now involved."

"Less well known, however, is the increasingly close relationship with the Arab Gulf states, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Such ties are often referenced only obliquely by Israeli government ministers as “shared interests” in the security and intelligence realms against the common Iranian threat."

The only real point to make here is that Qatar hasn't gone along with this game, and Al Jazeera continues to run plenty of news stories on Israel's long-term oppression of Palestinians, and the Arab street in UAE and Saudi Arabia then gets into conflict with the ruling dictatorships; resulting in ripe conditions for populist revolt and overthrow of the House of Saud and its allies. This is one reason, I guess, that Saudi Arabia went after Qatar and demanded the closure of Al Jazeera.

Here's the other article, it's basically 100% bullshit, but there's one telling quote that reveals all:
http://www.politico. . . trumps-syrian-ceasefire-makes-israel-nervous-215376

None of this should be misinterpreted to mean that Israeli officials want ISIS to stay—they just fear the aftermath of its ouster.

Ha ha ha! Of course Israel wants ISIS to stay, that's their whole game. And, as the other article shows, the ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia and the ties between Saudi Arabia and ISIS, that was supposed to make a neat little circle, i.e. there would be this Salafiist caliphate in Syria that would take orders from the House of Saud.

It's probably the stupidest foreign policy regime change game ever devised (well, 2003 Iraq is also a contender), and it blew up in their faces, and now it's all about damage control and respinning the story.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Jul 14 2017 19:09 utc | 77

@74 peter au.. it would be hard for him to acknowledge what his own country is largely responsible for.... obama is on record saying he had hoped that isis would help remove assad.. they still behave much the same way with their 'moderate headchopper brigade', although they are now apparently going after isis, when not accidentally bombing the shit out of the saa... anyone who believes anything the usa says, may as well believe in tooth ferries and all the rest of it too..

Posted by: james | Jul 14 2017 19:19 utc | 78

WG | Jul 14, 2017 12:02:18 PM | 65

At least six hours and 13 comments too late.

Posted by: Ghostship | Jul 14 2017 19:50 utc | 79

Peter AU 44 smuks 45 46
That's what the Pakistanis did with their first gen centrifuges, selling them to Iran to get money to build newer versions.

Posted by: Curtis | Jul 14 2017 20:46 utc | 80

ISIS now channeling Patrick Henry: "Give me liberty or give me death"

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 14 2017 21:00 utc | 81

Russian has made the claim that the fractured USA command structure is 'agreement incapable.' Don't forget the world was recently given the warning that the USA has plans for another false flag operation against Syria which could scuttle this agreement in an instant by either party. And while the USA has not finished its intrigues in Syria or the whole region it is plain to see the the foreign mercenaries days are numbered in Syria. What the USA et al will pull out of their hat to try and salvage what they can has a slim chance of success as they are running out of proxies and no one new wants to be the fool to fill that role.

Perhaps somewhere else on the globe will be up next for the 'NATO treatment' as the Ukraine situation is in stalemate while the Kiev regime is a rotting corpse that is really beginning to stink as nations around it begin to complain of the smell.

Posted by: BRF | Jul 14 2017 21:13 utc | 82

Petra 60

The F35 is a good place to start. In the past, there have been aircraft designed and built incorporating all new technologies and ideas. Often there are many problems and after a short run the design is scrapped, but the technologies and what has been learnt is incorporated into a new design which works well. The US have bet the farm on the F35. 20 years in the making so far and still a long way from fully combat capable. One aircraft to do all things, not very powerful or maneuverable for a fighter aircraft, relying on stealth and electronics. The cost is justified by saying it has a fifty year lifespan and that it will replace all other combat aircraft.
A few advances in Russian/Chinese electronics will make this aircraft obsolete - if they have not already done so. US has made some good aircraft, SR-71 was well ahead of its time, F22 is a top aircraft but its production was scrapped and the tooling destroyed to put all funds towards the F35.
The corruption, hubris and exceptionalism that the US now operates on will bring them undone.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 14 2017 21:19 utc | 83

Yes, but what about the other places in Syria where the 'Mercans are ensconced? I read something to the effect they have set eight military bases, no less, in Syria. So?

Posted by: Lea | Jul 14 2017 21:20 utc | 84

About the end of ceasefire: I will wait few days. Rebels were not part of the agreement. And one can imagine that they were far from happy, because the government clearly has a strategy to have ceasefire in some areas while finishing off rebels in other areas. The question is if Jordanians will stop the weapon supplies: this is not a "small weapon" conflict, at the very least they need artillery ammo and anti-tank missiles, and replacements for armored vehicles etc. would be also needed. Jordan, if so instructed by USA, can stop it.

One can imagine an agreement that allows "proportional response" in case of rebel violations, and some sanctions for violations on the supply side. I have to admit that it makes to much sense to be probable (OK, "too much sense and good will"). However, the end of jihad is in sight, and there is a problem what to do with the losers. Jordan already had some problems, and the West etc. would not like Jordan going up in flames (the small poor kingdom is not truly independent, but the royals can still make reasonable requests).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 14 2017 21:24 utc | 85

A point of Jackrabbit:

4. Trump is a faux-populist with ties to the Clintons
a) The American political system has been 'fixed' to prevent a real populist from gaining office (see: Citizens United and restrictions on debate participation).

It reminds me a map from Middle Ages illustrated with creatures that were reported by travelers. Humans of various dress and colors, humans with canine heads, gigantic sea snakes, human with mouth and eyes on their torso, unicorns, and somewhere between "Ubi Leones" and "Finis Terra Cognita", genuine populists.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 14 2017 21:33 utc | 86

I found this article by Eric Zuesse on quite interesting.

Royal Saud Family Seek Trump’s Support Against Qatar’s Royal Thani Family

Posted by: claudio | Jul 14 2017 21:41 utc | 87

>>>> ruralito | Jul 14, 2017 5:00:34 PM | 81

What have ISIS to do with the announcement that HTS and FSA won't respect the ceasefire?

Were you so excited about the article that he felt it important to post a third link to it?

Posted by: Ghostship | Jul 14 2017 23:23 utc | 88

So at the cost of what, 300k non Jewish/Israeli dead, Israel gets the rest of Golan, and Genie Energy gets it out of the ground. International law of course does not apply to Israel or its client states.

Next is to steal Syrian/Palestinian/Lebanese gas from the Med. with Noble Energy's help - soon Israel is an energy superpower using mainly Arab resources.

With Syria smashed, next step is a pretext to firebomb Lebanon before Trump attacks Iran.

Iran of course is next on the menu, but as the US expands its Syrian bases, expect a strange resurgence of ISIS proxies in Damascus and S. Lebanon.

Bank on it.

Posted by: Mike K | Jul 15 2017 0:21 utc | 89

@88, oops, didn't notice the other citations

Posted by: ruralito | Jul 15 2017 1:04 utc | 90

What amazes me is that the US - pursuing purely the (short-sighted) Israeli interest in creating chaos and division in Iraq and Syria (and remotely potentially in Iran) - has seemingly decided to support full Kurdish independence in Syria. Turkey obviously must oppose that, so realigns against the US in favor of Russia... and Iran too... And so, eventually and to make a long story short, China ends up winning the Great Game of dominating the world island. The reason will be Israel's virtually complete control of US actions in the Middle East.

Posted by: fairleft | Jul 15 2017 6:16 utc | 91

=>> fairleft | Jul 15, 2017 2:16:30 AM | 91


China will win.

This really sucks.

But it must be better than the alternative.

But it still royally sucks.

Posted by: blues | Jul 15 2017 7:00 utc | 92

The ceasefire

Chicago Tribune

The more likely situation would see a "remote" monitoring agreement, where U.S. military personnel would sit together with Russian officers at the proposed facility in Amman, the officer said, though "we have to figure out exactly what it means, and we have to figure out what the terms of reference are between the Russians and us, and if the Syrians are even a party to it."

U.S. troops won't be working directly with Iranians or Syrians, however. "Our operating assumption is if the Iranians and Syrians will want to be informed, the Russians are going to be the intermediary on all things," the officer said.

"The United States remains committed to defeating ISIS, helping to end the conflict in Syria, reducing suffering, and enabling people to return to their homes," Trump's National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said last Friday. "This agreement is an important step toward these common goals."

But questions lingered about its workability.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 15 2017 7:25 utc | 93

Syria is 70% Sunni. So what sunnistan are people talking about? With millions of christians who have left and never going back most likely it is now 75% sunni. Damascus and all the major cities and majority Sunni. Cant have a sunni Syria since most people in high places and the military are already sunni. Maybe change Sunnistan into Jihadistan to train jihadi's to attack Russia's under belly.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Jul 15 2017 10:01 utc | 94

james 2 and Laguerre 7…

Macron was very, overly even, friendly to Trump at the G20. Macron is an opportunist, and thus a pragmatist, and there is something juvenile about him - not looks, dress, manner, speech but character. Imho his way of compensating for inexperience is to charm and negotiate (which is why Rotschilds hired him to begin with, I am sure!), now he is trying to play fixer and go-between as liaison between Trump and Merkel.

Merkel cannot but loathe DT and oppose him publically, see DT on Germany (ex. somebody at 42), and Merkel as a long time Dem, a Hillary/Obama fan, etc. - though Ukraine of course was a crushing disapointment..for her...

All this would put EM right ‘up there’ in a privileged position that owes nothing to France’s strength / clout, but just him, the rising star, the superb Manu.

Macron has rejected the Assad must go principle so consistently he cannot backtrack on that. That position is coupled with ‘the eradication of terrorist groups’ - on that point there is always the possibility of shifty-shifty of course, but it is Trump’s as well. Macron is concentrating on the post-war scenario.

Sputnik - Radio Free Liberty, a mix..

> 59 - Charles, which article at Voltaire? i think he means this,

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 15 2017 14:46 utc | 95

Igor Bundy @94:

Syria is 70% Sunni.
Yes, that's why the 'Assad must go!' Coalition has supported a whole Syria and elections. But they want those elections to occur AFTER Assad has departed because they believe that the elections wouldn't be "free and fair" while Assad remains.

But Assad isn't leaving anytime soon. Russia and Iran have secured his position in Syria. Thus the speculation about Kurdistan and Sunnistan as alternatives.

Giving Kurds and Sunnis some sort of autonomous territory doesn't mean that the effort to overthrow Assad would stop. It would just be 'banking' gains prior to the next push.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 15 2017 15:55 utc | 96

It also does not mean the effort to overthrow Putin has not stopped.

See John Helmer here.

In this new Senate bill, the targeting is no longer crimes committed, or even the restraint of competition, but Russian wealth itself, and the oligarchs who have most of it. That is revolutionary. So is the exception in Section 241(a)(1)(A) for “their closeness to the Russian regime”. That’s a call for the oligarchs to join Mikhail Khodorkovsky in open rebellion.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 15 2017 16:32 utc | 97

It also does not mean the effort to overthrow Putin has not stopped.

I'm afraid you used "not" one time too much.

Posted by: From The Hague | Jul 15 2017 17:15 utc | 98


double negatives


Posted by: somebody | Jul 15 2017 18:32 utc | 99

Excellent info run in your podcast link.
The Masonic MIC game since the 1700s revels in intrigues ,chaos and
The Masonic lodges were key in the intelligence and run of operations,
Much like our Nato Gladio and False Flag events of Today.
Masonic Lodges and the American Revolution war.
The Masonic Lodge has evolved into Corporate powers,intelligence services...military leadership....banking.
The Game** continues after 2 world wars.
Russian Oligarchs cannot stop the inevitable. ...even if they dump Putin.
It's a Game nations are forced to play.
Jews mock the Goyim that They control the Masonic Lodges.

The American Century meets Peak Jew

Posted by: Brad | Jul 15 2017 19:16 utc | 100

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