Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 01, 2017

Syria - These Maps Show A Year Of Progress

Three maps of Syria show the immense progress the Syrian government forces and their allies have made over the last few month.

During the last half year the Syrian Arab Army not only liberated al-Qaeda held parts of east-Aleppo city, but also the Islamic State held eastern part of Aleppo governate. The closing move happened yesterday when the last ISIS held area in the governate was cut off and the enemy retreated. The area north of the arrows is now free of ISIS fighters. Mines, IEDs and sleeper agents still need to be searched for.

via IslamicWorldUpdate - bigger

In a next step the Syrian Army will move simultaneously from north and south to connect the red areas between (roughly) south of Al-Thawrah and Palmyra. This will enclose and clean the ISIS bulge in the west and secure Homs governate as well as the supply line to Aleppo city.

The Russian rearming, retraining and reorganizing of the Syrian Army has really helped. Russian air support delivers the necessary protection and interdiction capabilities for large movements. De-conflicting zones in the western part of the country as well as the cleanup of several pockets of "rebels" near the big cities freed up ten-thousands of Syrian soldiers. The reinforcements provided through Iran created the additional temporary manpower needed to regain and clean the liberated areas. A total of 40,000 men are engaged in the eastern campaign. When the local Syrian government structures are re-established in the liberated areas the additional forces will no longer be needed.

On a larger scale the immense progress of the Syrian government during the last six month becomes even more obvious. The (red) government held areas were enlarged considerably:

January 1, 2017

via Chelsea4Life - bigger

July 1, 2017

via Chelsea4Life - bigger

Note that most of the (grey) ISIS area in the east is uninhabited steppe or desert. ISIS is concentrated in a few villages and cities along the Euphrates river. The south-eastern green area, currently held by U.S. supported "rebels", is also mostly empty space. To liberate these areas still requires some diligence and time to prevent ambushes and to remove the few enemy strongholds along the way.

The above maps put to rest the often repeated propaganda about a presumed "unwillingness" of the SAA to fight ISIS. According to IHS Janes the forces of the Syrian government coalition, not the U.S. supported "rebels", are the most engaged in defeating ISIS in Syria:

Between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017, 43 percent of all Islamic State fighting in Syria was directed against President Assad’s forces, 17 against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the remaining 40 percent involved fighting rival Sunni opposition groups -- in particular, those who formed part of the Turkey-backed Euphrates Shield coalition.

Without external hostile interference the legitimate Syrian government will be back in control of all significant parts of its country by the end of this year.

Posted by b on July 1, 2017 at 4:44 UTC | Permalink


Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst that Team Chaos has to offer. Godspeed SAA!

Posted by: HD | Jul 1 2017 5:11 utc | 1

Bibi: I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Trump: We're just the guys to do it.
Mattis: [stands up] Let's do it.
Kushner: Let's DO IT!!

Actually that was Animal House, but still.

Posted by: HD | Jul 1 2017 5:47 utc | 2

Inch Allah..

Posted by: Lozion | Jul 1 2017 5:51 utc | 3

fantastic progress.

but the 'bigger' for July 1, 2017 doesn't work when clicked on. please check and correct.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jul 1 2017 5:57 utc | 4

The correct URL for July 1 2017........

Posted by: Whozhear | Jul 1 2017 6:05 utc | 5

Like an iceberg, the biggest/toughest part of the battle to date took place beneath the surface, in the diplomatic world. The current sweep through to the Euphrates is just a cleaning up job, sweeping up the trash.
After that, the really tough part. Kicking the US out of Syria and Iraq.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 1 2017 6:09 utc | 6

Maybe a dumb question, but how does that green-tinged rebel pocket above Homs get its resupply of ammo?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 1 2017 6:21 utc | 7

thanks b.. you hit the nail on the head with your last comment "Without external hostile interference the legitimate Syrian government will be back in control of all significant parts of its country by the end of this year." i stress the first 4 words in your sentence... i hope that the external hostile interference is not of significance, or includes any number of possible false flag - chemical weapons attacks and etc... these fuckers just don't know how to stop that shit..

Posted by: james | Jul 1 2017 6:35 utc | 8

@7 yeah right - that is turkeys helpful hand, although they would claim otherwise...

Posted by: james | Jul 1 2017 6:37 utc | 9

History is written by the winners b and I hope that yours is included in the annals.

@ Peter AU who wrote: "After that, the really tough part. Kicking the US out of Syria and Iraq."

The snide option I thought of was for the US to leave Syria and Iraq but enter Iran......isn't that what we are reading is the next country to invade?

Are we really watching the end of empire or the feints of an old pro that holds all the cards/debt of the world's nations in its control?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 1 2017 6:45 utc | 10

@psychohistorian 10: The end of an empire; but the endgame will still take some time. Clearly it doesn't - and never did - hold ALL the world's nations in its control; and more are getting free all the time.

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | Jul 1 2017 7:29 utc | 11

b, 'Without external hostile interference the legitimate Syrian government will be back in control of all significant parts of its country by the end of this year.'

certainly the number one contingency lies in the first four words, as james points out.

yet if we get over that hurdle ... the grey areas seem eminently reclaimable.

the yellow might be regained via miraculous diplomacy on the part of the syrians the kurds and the russians. the green might be regained by sheer dint of force, as is ongoing ... aided by internecine wars among the rival saudi/qatari headhunters.

but the sdf have been making all the wrong noises of late, and regaining the territory they're sitting on means giving the us the heave-ho, in the event of open hostilities.

the turks have been making all the wrong noises of late as well ... if they take up the cudgel against kurds in the west and join idlib to euphrates-shieldonia, then regaining that territory means giving turkey the heave-ho as well.

and then there're the israelis in the southwest.

i hope diplomacy regains all the territory and the people living in syria for syria. but if it cannot, short of warfare more massive than we've seen so far against 'external hostile interference ', syria will still be in three or four significant pieces at year end, and for as long as the us, turkey, and israel are committed to keeping it that way. won't it?

Posted by: jfl | Jul 1 2017 7:36 utc | 12

I think the most important step was that the SAA managed to separate ISIS from the Turkish-occupied "Euphrates Shield" area, which happened in late February. Since then, without direct coonnection to Turkey, the "caliphate" started to collapse.

Posted by: CE | Jul 1 2017 9:38 utc | 13

According to this map (see below)US has started with renovations at the al tabka base:

Posted by: mikhas | Jul 1 2017 10:11 utc | 14

"Coalition sources have denied the news reports about transferring the MaT from Tanf, they comment also, that the Tanf base is the main base for defeating ISIL in Syria Badia and it will be important in South and East of Syria future for countering terrorism"

Posted by: mikhas | Jul 1 2017 10:18 utc | 15

On June 30 the live map (Liveuamap to be specific) listed a major ISIS attack south of al-Tanf on the Iraqi side of the border, supposedly killing 28 ISF troops and seizing a bunch of vehicles and hardware. I haven't seen anything in other sources (eg. Southfront, alMasdar) about this or any other corroborating reports. Anyone else wondering about this or have additional info to share?

Posted by: HD | Jul 1 2017 10:22 utc | 16

You can find that on the same map i linked to above, but no i havn't seen it anywhere else.

Posted by: mikhas | Jul 1 2017 10:30 utc | 17

Thanks B and thanks Mikhas, very informative map that one.

Posted by: mikee | Jul 1 2017 10:34 utc | 18

Yeah, Right @7

Via small scale smuggling. They stuff cow carcases with ammo packets wrapped in protective films. They also convert trucks to carry ammo in small trays beneath the load bed. There are also numerous tunnels which cross beneath the front lines. The smuggling techniques get the ammo to a suitable tunnel then they ammo is unloaded and carried in via the tunnels.

Posted by: Yonatan | Jul 1 2017 10:43 utc | 19

Have you ever followed this "blog"?

It's an interesting one to follow but I'm not sure what to think. The last post in particular has me puzzled. Perhaps you can shed some light on some of his(or her) posts.

Posted by: CRMH | Jul 1 2017 11:14 utc | 20


You found that on the map i linked to above, didn't you?
I did too, but if you read the comments below you will find out that it's pure BS

Posted by: mikhas | Jul 1 2017 11:29 utc | 21

With this war being so unjust on the part of US involvement, I would like to add a few things.

1) It has been reported back in January, which gave some insight into a background that is often not remembered, that the US Military has been assisting Russian/Assad coalition forces with intel that has helped with their targeting and strategic takedown of these areas on the map ( Recall this was a whoopsie story that RT released, which they weren't supposed to let that cat out of the bag; reasons being that it showed US Military in a state of a "soft coup" against the US government (Obama Admin.). Promptly the US denied this and Russia walked it back, albeit quietly.

2) War is war and the stories we get, even if some might be from valid sources, will not be full and complete. For many reasons even mid-level brass don't have all the info as compartmentalization is key in wartime. Truly, things often are not what they seem and we rarely get that glimpse behind the veil. We can extrapolate, but that image is still not rendered in full. For bad or for worse the propaganda in Syria is controlled by Assad-Russia-Iran-Turkey from the ground, where US propaganda is created from afar. Understanding tactics in regional propaganda is important to get a clearer picture. Not saying one way or the other, but Assad-Iran-Russia-Turkey have it really easy for their propaganda mills right now considering their control and the geography/demographics from where this stuff is coming.

3) What this map doesn't show is geo-locations of air support/bombing raids from SAA and US backed coalition forces. There are many maps that are pretty good on this, but as always you have to sift through with subject #2 in mind. If you spend the time, you will find some odd coalition strikes that "seem" to pave the way for SAA advancements per these maps. Google search livemaps Syria with multiples of those 2 words and check at least three of them out. Don't want to point people anywhere, the journey shows more info.

4) There is so much to go on about, but I'll leave this here. I will say, keeping in mind that war is war, The Kurds have done a tremendous job considering the very minimal backing from only the US as the SAA has regime-Russian-Iranian and some Turkish support, where all the aforementioned too, save Russia, have been impeding or outright attacking Kurdish/SDF forces. Just food for thought. I'd like to see Moon write up on this if it hasn't been done.

Posted by: Brett | Jul 1 2017 13:13 utc | 22

@Brett #22

As to the propaganda situation, the Arab satellites are still full of myriads of Saudi-sponsored and/or originating channels, and even Al Jazeera is still on the air, whose Arabic version has been instrumental in creating the protests in the beginning of the crisis. Back then, the Syrians like the people back in the Soviet Union knew that their state media was mostly propaganda, while AJ had a very good reputation.

Posted by: CE | Jul 1 2017 13:31 utc | 23

Re: 20

The scene, faked or not, shows a preparation for interrogation. The photos from Abu Ghraib were about that: American troops, recruited from American prison guards who were reservists, were preparing captured Iraqis for interrogations. (It tells something about American prisons that the guards are so readily available for such duty.) Note that the hammer is not striking the captured person but forces him to evade, one palm is bloody, so he did not evade one of the strikes completely. It is strange to make a "terrifying sign" in Russian, and easy to make a Russian voiceover, so the video can be a fake. The voice was hard to follow, and I have no skill in distinguishing accents in Russian.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 1 2017 13:33 utc | 24


The US has claimed it has signed a "deal" with the SDF for the use of Tabqah airbase. At the same time there has been a report that water from the pumping station at Tabqah has been cut for the population of 1 million in Aleppo and another (different source - ISIS based) saying that they will cut the water supply to Deir Ezzor. The two are presumably linked (if confirmed). Note that the "deal" for Tabqah airbase will become part of the area covered by a "referendum" to be held by the Kurds in an ethnically cleaned area. (in September)

Posted by: stonebird | Jul 1 2017 13:39 utc | 25

@10 psychohistorian

If there are any feints, the old pro is not the US apparatus but whatever rules it. I think it's more the unwinding of empire, and the unraveling of its thoughts and schemes. This will take time, fortunately - one can hope for a gentler ride than pure collapse as happened post-USSR. What will be interesting is to see how the parasite leaves its host, and where it settles next.

NenesisCalling made a superb comment on this in the last open thread:

I'm sorry my country has been hijacked by global elites. I will pay for this double one day, to be sure, while the main architects of this calamity will have escaped into perhaps your domain.

I look forward to seeing maps of this kind of progress also one day - imagine the charts of the diminished geopolitical alliances the US holds now compared with just 2-3 years ago. And when you add Eurasian capital as an axis on those charts - the capitalization of AIB, BRICS bank, and all OBOR investments, as well as the rise of the Yuan in the IMF basket of currencies, AND the shift of gold from west to east - you'd be looking at significant color changes in maps of the world to show the decline of empire.

As for the debt, you of all people know best that all of the loans are owned privately, as is the creation of new debt. Interest is what the vampires live on and all they care about. Principal is largely a fiction, but collateral is a prize worth seizing. Widely off-topic now, but I hope to have much longer discusions with you about public money in some open thread some day.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 1 2017 13:52 utc | 26

The "hitler","the butcher" etc... has shown to be the smartest and most resilient Arab leader in the region.
By the end of the year,if Syria is liberated, Bashar al Assad will become the historical young leader who eradicated Sunnis fighters made up into ISIS, Daesh and others militias all funded by billions of dollars from the pocket of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. The Western leader (including the clown Johnson)are now facing their own ridiculous defeat: Bashar al Assad not only is still here but he is a now hero.
What these countries will have to deal with is the return home of the same Islamists they have nurtured and sent but who are now frustrated and ready to blow up the countries that betrayed them. Good luck!

Posted by: virgile | Jul 1 2017 14:44 utc | 27

I wonder what the writer thinks will happen to the Syrian land east of the Euphrates. Does he believe that the SAA will recapture 100% OF Syrian territory in due course?

Posted by: Hesllng | Jul 1 2017 15:15 utc | 28

@22 bret

so russia's and syria's successes have actually been the us' successes? i guess you all are desperate to put a good face on your defeat.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 1 2017 15:42 utc | 29

Posted by: Brett | Jul 1, 2017 9:13:21 AM | 22

I will say, keeping in mind that war is war,

Yeah sure, and Brexit is Brexit and enough is enough. And boys will be boys.
To the US war is BUSINESS. The business has been doing pretty good so far, so as long as the US manages to avoid direct confrontation with Russia or China, the victory is guaranteed, because victory in the business world is good and healthy revenue stream with great prospects for future growth.
However, if the confrontation with those 2 countries starts, any of them, the business model will break down because it is pointless to make business plans and future contracts if there is no future and all bets are truly off.

Posted by: hopehely | Jul 1 2017 16:15 utc | 30

Jackrabbit@31. Alastair Crooke is always worth reading, thanks for the link. He answers James query some days ago about the numbers of Sunni and Shia in the region...
"The Shi’a — pilloried by the Sunni Establishment as discontents, rejectionists and revolutionaries — have over a thousand-year history. Language changes, but the Shi’a as (false) innovators, apostates, heretics – and now “terrorists” – are as old as Islam. Terrible persecutions have ensued over the centuries. And Shi’a Islam is no insignificant 10 percent minority — in the Arab heartland, it is more like 60-40 percent. In the northern crescent, it is some 100 million Shi’i to 30 million Sunnis. And Sh’ism is undergoing a profound revival".
Of course Egypt the largest Sunni majority country is in North Africa.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jul 1 2017 18:21 utc | 32

Brett 22

Regarding airstrikes and maps. I have seen the maps.
A better picture is gained from the US DOD site. Most US strikes away from SDF frontlines have been on Syrian infrustructure. Perhaps one in ten of these actually hit ISIS fighters.
The purpose is to leave a destroyed country if Syria retakes it, or if a Kurdish area is partitioned off, the Kurds are totally reliant on outside funding - unable to simply start selling oil or whatever and so never achieving independence from the US.
Most news from within Syria comes from many small time journalists in the area and there reporting is usually within the ball park.

Any propaganda coming out of Syria cannot be compared in any way to the total lies fed to us by western MSM. The R+6 does not seem to have set up propaganda units like the white helmets, SOHR, belingcat ect.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 1 2017 18:42 utc | 33

Peter AU @33. "or if a Kurdish area is partitioned off" In my opinion the least likely outcome. Syria Iran nor Russia would accept this, Turkey would certainly go to war to stop it, no matter what the US did. The most likely outcome is a degree of autonomy for the Kurds in Northern Syria, which does not compomise the territorial sovereignty of Syria and does not threaten Turkish sovereignty, such a deal can be worked out without US meddling.

Posted by: harrylaw | Jul 1 2017 19:07 utc | 34

@34, hl 'The most likely outcome is a degree of autonomy for the Kurds in Northern Syria, which does not compomise the territorial sovereignty of Syria and does not threaten Turkish sovereignty, such a deal can be worked out without US meddling.'

make that 'most desireable' rather than 'most likely' and i can only agree.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 1 2017 19:15 utc | 35

i guess because american independence day is nearly upon us - the 4th of july - there is a post at counterpunch in appreciation of one of the last talks given by howard zinn, three holy wars. i imagine the post at counterpunch is good, but i cut to the chase and watched howard zinn. i recommend it. i'm sure karlof would like it if he hasn't seen it already. does still like it if he has. the subject is american history, but the 'lesson' is universal.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 1 2017 19:36 utc | 36


I suspect Russia's plan is to wipe out the designated terrorist organisations and then freeze the war at a point that leaves Syria in a viable position. US will be left occupying the ground west of the Euphrates, but for them it may just be another bleeding sore.
After that, perhaps the fight between US and Russia will move to another front - Libya, Afghanistan?
My reason for thing that is the frozen wars of the ethnic Russian enclaves in the ex soviet countries, and also the Minsk agreement which has frozen the frontlines in Ukraine.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 1 2017 20:10 utc | 37

jfl @36--

Thanks for the h/t!

Unfortunately for Syrian/SDF relations regarding Tabqa airbase, Southfront has a story saying SDF is going to let the Outlaw US Empire use the base instead of turning it over to its rightful owners,

Should the report prove correct, it cements the Kurds's traitorous designs in the minds of many, myself included. For the sake of the many who will die uselessly if this is correct, I hope it isn't.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 1 2017 20:41 utc | 38

karlof1 38

US moved forces across the Euphrates originally to take full control of the dam and power generation rather than to encircle Raqqa. A big loss for Syria, but difficult to see how the US can be kicked out in the short term.
How much use the airport will be to the US is difficult to say, as SAA lines are very close to the airport perimeter - within MANPAD range

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 1 2017 21:00 utc | 39

Latest gas attack claims have hit the US media. "FSA" claims this time rather than white helmets

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 1 2017 21:46 utc | 40

September this year by chance sees a rare event...2 and a bit thousand years after the last time it occurred...ish...a great sign does appear in the heavens...the astrological woman is clothed with the sun and she is crown with 12 star, the moon at her feet.

But what to make of the appearance in just a few short days time of a crowd funded micro satelite which will be the brightest star in the sky...possibly as bright as the moon...the Star of Man...perhaps.?

Posted by: Amanita Amanita | Jul 1 2017 22:11 utc | 41

It's like folks are trying to paint a pink picture with blue colors. The Kurd/US combination is digging in. The Turks are digging in. Israel is asserting itself, with virtually no pushback. You can declare that a carveup isn't a carveup...

Posted by: paul | Jul 1 2017 22:40 utc | 42

@16 HD
There was some attack near the border, a surprise, I read the coverage, it didn't amount to anything and no ground was gained

Posted by: Pespi | Jul 1 2017 23:09 utc | 43

Dang B, you do have a nice way of presenting information. I was going to do something similar and post it on my facebook but you saved me the trouble. For content on Syria, nothing tops the Col's website but you do have a knack for organization.

The only thing I'll add, is that I think it was key that the SAA and the Kurds / SDF linked up in Northern Syria cutting them off from the Turkish supported Jihadis in 2016. This cut ISIS off from their flow of foreign fighters and oil revenue and started some irreparable bleeding. Of course, ISIS can continue to fight because they have stockpiled supplies and they are a small fighting force but I think this really harmed their logistics.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jul 1 2017 23:23 utc | 44

@Grieved 26

Actually I was thinking of making such a map, complete with military bases, alliances, financial/ military/ diplomatic support, strategic resources, pipelines, trade routes...

Careful about that 'parasites' thing.
The conflict is systemic, deeply rooted in the current (dominant) socio-economic order. Reducing it to a narrative of 'parasitic global elites' risks encouraging simplistic 'answers', i.e. laying the blame on certain groups of people. Last time it was the Jews...who's turn now?

Posted by: smuks | Jul 1 2017 23:42 utc | 45

What's with al-Tanf now?

I read the article about the 'withdrawal', but I'm not quite convinced of the sourcing.
Why give it up so quickly? Of course it's of no military use, but it can be a bargaining chip in negotiations...or has it been traded in already?

Thanks for the map update & comparison.

In a way, this is a very 'classic' war, all about connecting territories, linking up with allies etc. In other ways...not at all. East of the Euphrates is rather uninteresting now, strategically. No hurry to get there.

Posted by: smuks | Jul 1 2017 23:56 utc | 46

Jackrabbit @ 31 & jfl @ 36: Great links all, thanks!

Posted by: ben | Jul 2 2017 0:05 utc | 47

Howard Zinn = 9/11 Deniar

Posted by: Babo | Jul 2 2017 0:13 utc | 48

Just one thing B, can you find a map of the state of Syria at the start of the Russian intervention? I can find a many on my own, what I mean is one that uses the same color scheme and scale that you are displaying here.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jul 2 2017 0:36 utc | 49

Babo @48--

Lots of goodwilled people find it impossible to believe Operation Northwoods was executed. Indeed, many don't even know of its existence, or that such thought was indeed contemplated by that time's Neocons. I can't speak for what Zinn knew, but some things are just beyond people's grasp; however, both him and Chomsky ought to know better.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 2 2017 1:39 utc | 50

@48, bb @50 k

unless we are replaced by a clone population there will always be differences among us. my idea is to take people as i find them, especially people of the calibre and dedication of zinn and chomsky. if it's true that zinn died believing that bin laden was behind 9/11 or some variation on that theme, i'm saddened. if chomsky still believes the same i'm sorry as well. but that one point, or any other collection of a few singularities doesn't affect my appreciation of their lives' works. alexander cockburn was a climate-change denier as well as 9/11 denier, but he did some great writing, and his counterpunch was a great fistful of analysts of the present dispensation and spinners of alternative narratives.

people! not clones! our strength is - certainly - not in our individual perfection but in our collective approximation of 'perfection' ... as off center as it is, it is the (only? i think so) alternative to oligarchy, republic, 'elite'-rule. evolution requires variation in the genotype, not to put too much reliance on the 'scientific' biological metaphor.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 2 2017 2:20 utc | 51

CW propaganda videos hitting social media now.

Posted by: Peter AU | Jul 2 2017 4:43 utc | 52


Liveuamap has listed the Iraqi side of the SAA-controlled border crossing with PMF as still belonging to ISIS for at least a couple of days prior to the latest successful DAESH attack on the Iraqi side of PMU.

This tells me that the Ukrainian-friendlies behind Liveuamap are likely getting their Daesh/ISIS "next cab off the ranks" information from the same source as Daesh/ISIS gets their strategic commands.

Given who the Ukrops are, and who the "ISIS"/Daesh are, this comes as zero surprise whatsoever.

Maybe the SAA, PMU and friends should keep a closer eye on Liveuamap to alert them to the coming ISIS-CIA offensives.

Posted by: Quadriad | Jul 2 2017 6:39 utc | 53

Sounds like the Brits are not in for this CW too

Posted by: Mina | Jul 2 2017 7:40 utc | 54

@54 mina

is that the right link? it's about a suicide bomb attack by automobiles in damascus ... nothing on chemical weapons or britain.

and your wording is confusing in any event.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 2 2017 8:13 utc | 55

I mean that if the MSM wanted to spread the news they would mention it in the news on Syria.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 2 2017 8:51 utc | 56

smuks @ 45

maps are too cool. i found this one recently. food for thought?

b.s. thanks for the heads-up regarding those simplistic(aloof) narratives. took the words right out of my mouth(minus the expletives,lol)...

so i'll hold my tongue.

Posted by: john | Jul 2 2017 9:11 utc | 57

Russia enters NATO’s bedroom - M K Bhadrakumar

" Moscow disclosed on Thursday that Russia’s contract with Turkey on the delivery of S-400 long-range air defense missile systems has been finalized. The Russian Presidential Adviser for Military and Technical Cooperation Vladimir Kozhin said, “The contract has been agreed and everything is understandable there but the issue of a loan, funds has not been settled yet.” (TASS) The Russian press reported that Turkey has sought a loan to finance the purchase and Moscow is actively considering the proposal.

Within hours of the “breaking news”, US President Donald Trump was on the line, phoning up Turkish President Recep Erdogan. The White House readout said that Trump discussed “numerous subjects”.....Interestingly, no sooner than the conversation with Trump ended, Erdogan telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin. ,,,


Putin had phoned Erdogan on June 23 to mark the formal launch of construction work on the deep-water section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. The 900-kiolmetre undersea pipeline, estimated to cost around $13 billion will supply Russian gas to Turkey and southern Europe. The first leg of the pipeline will be ready next year and the second one in late 2019.


Erdogan is asserting his independent foreign policies and flaunting his strategic defiance of the US. The decision to acquire the Russian ABM system is a hugely consequential one because by placing the Russian weaponry on its soil, Turkey shall no longer have access to the NATO signals, while for NATO, in the event of a regional conflict, its aerial assets will not be able to operate in the vicinity of the Russian S-400 system deployed in Turkey."

Posted by: pantaraxia | Jul 2 2017 9:57 utc | 58

pantaraxia | Jul 2, 2017 5:57:14 AM | 58

Very interesting, thanks for that.
Erdogan and Trump are both about as stable as nitro-glycerin.
We'll see...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Jul 2 2017 10:36 utc | 59

@54 mina

ah. that's the brits ... how about the franks? those are the two who piped up in loudest support of making assad pay a heavy price for whatever al-cia-duh did involving what they claimed were CWs in his country.


that map is cool, the venn diagrams especially.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 2 2017 11:27 utc | 60


missing the sco, though.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 2 2017 11:31 utc | 61

The Frankish chief is today in Mali where he is trying to find an honorable exit to the Franks army failure there.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 2 2017 12:02 utc | 62

I am afraid the guy who came up with the cunning plan on a CW attack today had not heard of Bhadhrakumar's article on the Turkish-Russian deal. Headaches in DC and at NATO's quarters in Brussels must be of the heavy kind, not to mention the French and German govs.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 2 2017 12:50 utc | 63

@45 smuks

Careful about that 'parasites' thing.
The conflict is systemic, deeply rooted in the current (dominant) socio-economic order. Reducing it to a narrative of 'parasitic global elites' risks encouraging simplistic 'answers', i.e. laying the blame on certain groups of people. Last time it was the Jews...who's turn now?

Only a supercilious windbag would presume to lecture Grieved on the need for caution in regard to his comments, the implication being he is unable to grasp the complexities of neoliberal economics. The condescension implicit in this cautionary statement is particularly ironic coming from one who has succumbed to the very narrative propagated by these 'parasitic global elites' and their paid minions. (They are after all only "doing god's work" as Goldman Sachs' Blankfein told us and therefore should be venerated for their sacrifices.)

Your obvious apprehension over the demonization of 'parasitic global elites' is addressed here:

New Rule: Save the Rich Fcks | Real Time with Bill Maher

ps: Its interesting to note that in the context of discussing 'parasitic global elites' you bring up the subject of jews, contextually implying some sort of association. There are numerous jewish organizations that would accuse you of practicing ‘dog whistle politics’ here.

Posted by: pantaraxia | Jul 2 2017 13:08 utc | 64

We also must keep in mind Turks getting S400 might mean US getting hands on them, just like there are many examples with S300. Erdogan is flipping sides faster than wind changes directions. Therefore I wouldnt be so fast to think Turkey is divorcing NATO militarily and marrying Russia's as Bhadhrakumar thinks, I would rather guess it WONT happen.

Also he makes a mistake that S400 cant see NATO planes as 'friendlies', of course it can, simply update S400 on friends-foes signatures, and next thing you know, S400 might treat Russia's (or especially SAF) planes as foes (Russia likely has a backdoor plan against that).

Posted by: Harry | Jul 2 2017 13:27 utc | 65

Bibi: I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Trump: We're just the guys to do it.
Mattis: [stands up] Let's do it.
Kushner: Let's DO IT!!

Actually that was Animal House, but still.

Posted by: HD | Jul 1, 2017 1:47:23 AM | 2

One can easily recognize a fake. Such degree of self-awareness can happen only in fiction (or perhaps, in fraternity houses). To search for fiction that realistically shows political process, I would recommend "Simpsons". I surmise something like that:

POTUS: The nation will be bereft without tweets that do not show decisiveness and power. I need more material!
First Son in Law: Recently [...] Can we do something about that?
SoD: [....] Obviously, we will inflict the damage and secure video clips.
POTUS: Excellant!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 2 2017 14:39 utc | 66

OMG. I screw up. Dear household gods of MoonOfAlabama: is it possible to make posts editable for 10 minutes after posting? Some websites have that feature.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 2 2017 14:41 utc | 67


Thanks for the MKB link - but as I said, I believe it when I see it.
S-400 in Turkey means no future confrontation with Russia possible...and more, as @Harry mentioned.

The other subject is too complicated to discuss in the form of short forum posts, I'm afraid.
Your reply #64 shows that you completely misunderstood my post & intention. I'm not blaming you for it, the topic is complex even face-to-face, and pretty much impossible to handle in fast, confrontational online debates where few posters even take the time to listen to each other.
If you want to judge me based on a few lines you misinterpreted, go ahead, but it says more about yourself than about me.


nice map indeed.

Posted by: smuks | Jul 2 2017 16:33 utc | 68

Posted by: Mina | Jul 2, 2017 8:02:40 AM | 62

Looks like all is not well between France and Qatar.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 2 2017 16:34 utc | 69

thanks others.. yeah, cw propaganda is out and from bhadrakumars article "“The contract has been agreed and everything is understandable there but the issue of a loan, funds has not been settled yet.” (TASS) The Russian press reported that Turkey has sought a loan to finance the purchase and Moscow is actively considering the proposal."

i think what i find shocking is how the OPCW uses the white helmet data, while the white helmets are paid by the US/UK to make war propaganda.. they are paid a lot of money for this, so i suppose they are doing a good job of it, but what is the OPCW's excuse for running with it??

Posted by: james | Jul 2 2017 16:53 utc | 70

i am with smuks.. i will believe it when i see the russia/turkey deal completed.. until then, it is more hanky panky, dancing in the window kinda stuff..

Posted by: james | Jul 2 2017 16:55 utc | 71


Breaking News Item

Chinese fighter jets, ships warn #USSStethem entering Chinese territorial waters #USChina

Posted by: fast freddy | Jul 2 2017 16:57 utc | 72

@2 HD:

Very funny stuff! I like that Trump takes John Belushi's place.

Posted by: runaway robot | Jul 2 2017 17:02 utc | 73

Somebody, have you seen on German Arte the "wars of Daesh" with the madman who in the high times of the Hollande-Qatar romance was saying that Daesh had been welcomed in Mosul as liberators (sure the Christians were on the front line of the demonstrations of happiness) and that other guy in Dubai saying that the Sunnis feared the Kurds and the Shiites more than Daesh (but did not say why)? I wonder why the same brilliant mind (representing French state research institution) does not explain us that AQMI is a state actor to whom we should give a few uranium mines and a piece of Mali, of Niger, and why not of Burkina Fasso?

Posted by: Mina | Jul 2 2017 17:14 utc | 74

@67 No editing feature please. One of the joys of MOA is watching people shoot from the hip.

Posted by: dh | Jul 2 2017 17:31 utc | 75

@james | 70

what is the OPCW's excuse for running with it??

OPCW director is a turk, and these organizations (UN, IAEA, etc) are in general under heavy influence by US and alies. If any head of these institutions doesnt follow the guidelines from Washington, they are replaced by puppets.

I remember how previous director of IAEA El Baradei refused to accuse Iran of nuclear weapons program, and rejected US pushed "stolen laptop documents" as fakes, then US and alies replaced him with subservient Amano, who admitted "stolen laptop" as credible evidence, and it was a basis of many rounds of sanctions on Iran, and you can bet if it was a weaker country than Iran, invasion too.

Posted by: Harry | Jul 2 2017 17:34 utc | 76

I m pretty sure that the US will not let stituation get ou of their control, they will stop SAA by doing False flags , that s why when they couldnt control border ( al tanf) they start preparing public to new chemical attack.

Posted by: outofthebox | Jul 2 2017 17:51 utc | 77

Yes, wipe them out forever.
Negotiate truces, advance x exchanges or local giveups from the rats, but once encircled, the SAA should show no mercy.

Posted by: augusto | Jul 2 2017 17:55 utc | 78

Anyone seen this? [US Planes Transfer ISIL Terrorists from Raqqa to Unknown Destinations]

Posted by: Rawdawgbuffalo | Jul 2 2017 18:00 utc | 79

@45 smuks - would love to see such a map, but before you make it, surely others have already done similar things? Might be worth checking around, which you'd be doing anyway to make your own map.

@64 pantaraxia - I greatly appreciate your thought, but it's distressing to see people call people names. Your ideas can certainly stand on their own. I enjoy reading them, but I look away when I see ad hominem.

I like what jfl wrote @51 - we take the good out of people and overlook the parts we don't like. Everyone has ill-considered positions and bad moments. It's how I'm sure many people read these threads - and write them, for that matter :)

I've wanted to ask some of the old-timers here, was it always the way that people attacked other people here? Ad hominem seems to me to have increased somewhere in the last, oh maybe 6 months, maybe a year? I always associate it with military trolls, of which we see flurries from time to time. Is the forum becoming coarsened by trolling? Or was it always this way?

@68 smuks again - I agree that it's a complex subject deserving of much discussion. And there are layers here. As with so many of the "what's really going on" subjects, which words you use often depends how deep you want to go down the rabbit hole. At different levels, different names.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 2 2017 18:33 utc | 80

Well, Qatar seems to have been hedging by sympathizing with the Tuareg.
This is Al Jazeera from 2014.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 2 2017 18:43 utc | 81

Check this out:

Posted by: rawbuff | Jul 2 2017 18:44 utc | 82

And this. Took some digging;

Posted by: rawbuff | Jul 2 2017 18:46 utc | 83

I found this also, very interesting:

Posted by: rawbuff | Jul 2 2017 18:49 utc | 84

France and Qatar:

Posted by: HD | Jul 2 2017 18:57 utc | 85

@76 harry.. thank you... i kinda figured all that, but i appreciate you sharing your perspective here.. that sums it up really well..

as for usa transferring isis members from raqqa elsewhere - makes sense given everything else they are doing to destroy syria...

Posted by: james | Jul 2 2017 19:09 utc | 86

@80 I've been coming here since Billmon days. You'd get the odd spat but I don't remember hearing 'ad hominem'. Most of us didn't know what it meant.

I think what's happened is the general sensitivity to anything that seems offensive. Some topics can't even be mentioned. Jews, muslims, LGBT etc. are rapidly becoming off limits. Why? Who knows? Blame the internet.

Posted by: dh | Jul 2 2017 19:19 utc | 87

jfl @51--

Yes, I certainly agree with your sentiment. We're all human and thus we all err, hopefully not too egregiously. I introduced the existence of Operation Northwoods to about 1,000 people and allowed them to use their minds in contemplation of that truth and 911. If I'd have taught longer, I'd have informed many more people. An RT headline today states: "Trump: Fake media trying to silence us, but people know the truth," but that is certainly not the case whatsoever despite his context differing from mine,

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 2 2017 20:56 utc | 88

I am counting on elements inside the American army that will nuke New York and Washington. Russia/Iran/China should make PLANS in case of such an event.

Posted by: Thucydides | Jul 3 2017 0:02 utc | 89

@80 grieved and @86 dh.. i agree.. kinda too bad and i tend to ignore those comments but keep it in mind when i think of what they are saying... my excuse for using swear words it is always general and typically directed at the usa!

Posted by: james | Jul 3 2017 1:20 utc | 90

Wouldnt be possible without Trump being the POTUS...

Posted by: ProPeace | Jul 3 2017 2:58 utc | 91

Deir Ezzor

One of the things that bears mentioning regarding Syria's contribution towards the defeat of ISIS is their Verdun attrition defense of Deir Ezzor. While not much ground has changed hands, ISIS has lost many fighters trying to take the city.

Finally, a wikipedia entry, I like how they put the caveat, 'pro-govt source claim' on 1,869 ISIS fighters killed. Wow, they take everything that comes out of the mouths of the rebels as Gospel truth, they'll even take things from ISIS media but only govt sources has to have a special disclaimer.

The Syrian govt is basically truthful. Had they been fabricating, feel good stories for 7 yrs they would have lost the war because it would have demoralized their population. If you claim victory after victory while losing a war or not gaining, as was the case in 2015 then basically everyone leaves the country.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jul 3 2017 13:20 utc | 92

@Grieved 80

Agreed about the 'rabbit hole' theme. My (probably exaggerated) worry is always that since language creates 'realities', we should be careful when using simplified or somewhat crude terms. There's a chance of them developing a life of their own and leading to unintended consequences, e.g. scapegoating (usually of minorities).

Posted by: smuks | Jul 3 2017 23:22 utc | 93

@93 smuks

scapegoating the minority of the 1%? agree that scapegoating is theatre, and dangerous, but the 1% are the problem and they must be called to account. they are not just the 'victims of circumstance'. this is not a 'no-fault' situation.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 4 2017 1:16 utc | 94

@92 chuba

things are beginning to look up at deir ezzor, the saa is closing in along three axes, from aleppo in the north, from homs in the west, and from their salient in deir ezzor itself in south ... and they have expert help as well ...

Syrian Army cheers as Russia destroys ISIS suicide tank

On stand by are tank units of the SAA 5th Army Corps, who on a daily basis come face to face with the enemy in the desert areas of the provinces of Homs and Deir ez-Zor.

ISIS has begun an offensive in an attempt to slow down the rapid advance of Syria's armed forces. Some of the fighting was captured in the video, where attentive viewers noticed an interesting detail:

Around 11 seconds in, we see a tank explode, which was a suicide vehicle that was loaded with explosives. The Syrian military shouts: "Bravo, Oleg! Bravo, Oleg! "

Military advisers are the officers who train soldiers of the allied forces, but also adjust their actions during actual combat, helping to consolidate skills in practice.

The video captured that very moment.

The soldiers of the 5th Army Corps of the SAA, together with Russian support, were able to destroy around 50 terrorists.

Posted by: jfl | Jul 4 2017 1:35 utc | 95

"Without external hostile interference the legitimate Syrian government will be back in control of all significant parts of its country by the end of this year."
I guess it all hangs on those first four words.....

Posted by: Shahna | Jul 4 2017 15:18 utc | 96

Freebeacon claims Trump Admin. has authorized force against Iran in Syria.
Please remember that to the Americans, everything east of Palmyra looks like Hezbolla.

Posted by: wwinsti | Jul 6 2017 4:02 utc | 97

Syrian delegation blasts Turkey’s refusal to accept de-escalation zones: video

“... [W]e came to Astana and the agenda of the fifth round was specifically to conclude the details of the agreement over the de-escalation zones, and the mechanisms of implementing the agreement over the four de-escalation zones.”

“The Turkish side opposed this and practised a policy of blackmail against this subject, which is the main subject of the agenda, and also against other documents that the parties intended to adopt.”

“This is why I cannot say but that the Turkish delegation, unfortunately, for the fifth time sought with all their might to hinder reaching positive results that could practically serve the interests of the Syrian people.”

my golly, my gosh ... someone's printed syria's take on the astana talks! does syria actually have a place at the table? astana is the place where russia, iran, and turkey divy up syria, decide syria's fate, right? does syria think those three are interested in its opinion on the matter?

a little strong, perhaps. but i've never before heard a peep on syria's opinion of the 'talks'.

the official take ... from one of the Big Three ..

Syrian peace talks to resume in Kazakh capital late August

Iran, Russia and Turkey have agreed to resume the next round of Syrian peace talks in Astana in late August following their decision to continue discussions on creating four de-escalation zones in Syria.

“[It has been] decided to hold the next high-level international meeting on Syria in Astana in the last week of August 2017,” the three mediators of the peace talks said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“During these consultations, the Turkish side said it needed more time in order ... to make an appropriate decision,” top Russian negotiator Alexander Lavrentyev said at the end of the Astana talks.

If the agreement on the de-escalation zones is finalized, Russia, Iran and Turkey will be able to immediately deploy forces on the borders of those zones within weeks, the Russian diplomat noted.

surely sounds like a partition of syria to me ... i guess turkey wants more?

Posted by: jfl | Jul 6 2017 7:06 utc | 98

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