Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 27, 2017

Syria Summary - Towards The End Of The Caliphate

This map from the last Syria summary shows the forming of two cauldrons north and north-west of Palmyra. ISIS forces there were enclosed by the Syrian army progressing eastwards on several axes.

Map by Weekend Warrior - bigger

Ten days later the most eastward of those cauldrons has been eliminated.

Map by Islamic World News - bigger

The Syrian army progresses further east and continues to move onto Deir Ezzor on three axes.

ISIS attempted counterattacks towards the supply line to Aleppo and along the Euphrates southeast of Raqqa. Both were defeated within a day or two and the attacking ISIS forces were eliminated. There is clearly a change in the pattern of ISIS deployment. It is now lacking manpower and is giving up in outlining areas. Its counterattacks use swarming tactics and lack the command and force of monolithic military units. In Iraq the army and the popular militia units took just 10 days to liberate the ISIS held city of Tal Afar. Of the estimated 2,000 ISIS forces there only some 200 non-locals had remained. 1,800 had been evacuated towards east-Syria, In the Qalamun area at the Lebanese border the Lebanese army and Hizbullah attacked the last ISIS enclave along that border. Today the remaining 200 ISIS fighters in the area agreed to lay down arms in exchange for an evacuation towards east-Syria.

Three ISIS pockets remain in Syria. One is in Raqqa where the enclosed ISIS units will fight to death. The U.S. military and its Kurdish proxy forces are literally destroying the city to save it. It is unlikely that the remaining ISIS forces in the city will give up or agree to an evacuation deal. In an earlier deal with Kurdish forces a group of ISIS fighters negotiated a retreat from the Tabqa dam in exchange for free passage towards Raqqa. The U.S. military broke the deal by attacking the retreating ISIS fighters.

A second pocket is in the semi desert north-west of Palmyra. ISIS fighters there have dug elaborate cave systems (video). The caves may protect against detection from the air but these positions are indefensible against a ground assault. The area will likely be cleansed within a week.

The third ISIS pocket left is near the Israeli border in Golan heights. The area still awaits a solution but there is no doubt that the Takfiri forces there will eventually be eliminated. Israel has tried to press the U.S. and Russia for protection of the area from an expected onslaught by the Syrian Hizbullah. It also asked to suppress all Iranian influence in Syria. But Washington as well as Moscow rejected the Israeli requests. Netanyahoo lost the war he waged on Syria and Israel will now have to live with a far more capable force along its northern borders.

What is left of ISIS, probably some 10,000 fighters in total, is now confined to east Syria and west Iraq. No more replenishment is coming forward. No new fighters are willing to join the losing project. Its resources are dwindling by the day. The U.S. is extracting its assets within the organization. The Euphrates valley west and east of Deir Ezzor will become the last defensible territory it holds. Six month from now it will be defeated. Its Caliphate will be gone. ISIS though will probably continue as a desert insurgency.

The other Jihadi project in Syria is run under the various names of al-Qaeda in Syria. It is now mainly confined to Idleb province. The estimated strength is some 9,000 fighters with some 12,000 auxiliary forces of local "rebels". Like ISIS, al-Qaeda in Syria is now isolated and no one is willing to come to its help. Its local helpers will give up and reconcile as soon as the Syrian army will move in on them. The hard-core militants will be killed.

The U.S. has told its proxy "rebels" to give up on their political project. Jordan is sending peace signals towards Damascus. The Syrian President Assad will not be removed and the country will stay under the protection of Russia and Iran. The U.S. still supports the Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria's north-east. But its relation with its NATO member Turkey will always be more important than any national Kurdish project. In the end the Kurds, like others, will have to accept the condition Damascus will set for them.

Posted by b on August 27, 2017 at 13:03 UTC | Permalink


I find the differing result's between the U.S. and SAA/Russia very informative; the U.S. plays politics, aka, geopolitics vs SAA/Russia very focused on actually eliminating ISIS to great success.
The U.S. whack-a-mole strategy(?) utterly fails; while the Russian strategy is showing very impressive results; put bluntly; the Russian's don't fuck around when it comes to terrorists.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 27 2017 13:24 utc | 1

Months back, DeirEzzor24 had and article on the US pulling assets from the province sinilar to the SOHR article. This would mean US had assets in place at the time to coordinate the US/ISIS attack on Deir Ezzor.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 27 2017 13:57 utc | 2

"Its Caliphate will be gone." ...???

The Swiss watch wearing PR stunt for MSM Disney consumption?

A ratbag of mercenary criminals on the (3-letter) agency's Saudi A. payroll does not a legitimate 'Caliphate' make.

Posted by: x | Aug 27 2017 14:23 utc | 3

Familiar tropes, memes, themes abound. Destroy the town to save it? A reference to a tactic used in Viet Nam that still continues. One option seems to be to utterly destroy entire cities so no large populations can live there for a while. (scorched earth, no quarter/no survivors) OR let rats escape to regroup elsewhere. In the latter version whack-a-mole tactics result in large-scale devastation and death while letting the enemy regroup. That tactic did not work in Afghanistan (or Viet Nam).

I'm still looking at the Syrian policy change that the White House has never really told the American people about. No more White Helmets "activist" reports in US MSM? Trump told the CIA to stop funding rebels but only released as a leak? And now the announcement to the opposition (via apnews link - thnx). It sounds similar to Libya except there is no real govt there and Assad survived in Syria. Otherwise, the story was the same of push propaganda, destroy the country, and then move on. No admission of truth, US involvement, destruction and death, etc. If the US/West gave up their efforts to remove Assad, what was the war all about in the first place if not the destruction of Syria?

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 27 2017 14:46 utc | 4

Yes, well said as usual. I can remember a time not that many decades ago when one could read an intelligent analysis like this in the New York Times, but no longer - now it's all political propaganda about how Trump is a Russian stooge. Sigh.

I would like to suggest, however, that ISIS is a symptom and not the disease. While there is zero mention of this in the press, what really set this off was the Syrian government's extreme pro-natalist policy that created a population explosion, and when the water ran out things fell apart. Contrary to big-lie propaganda, Malthus has not been disproven, and the Malthusian collapse has been a regular documented occurrence through history, with Syria just one of many recent examples.

When people have more children than they can afford to support, this does NOT create wealth. How can it? And more hands and brains do NOT automatically create more fresh water in the middle of the desert with a working capital of maybe $100/person. And when the water runs out, even the most brutal government has trouble keeping order. Ask the ghost of Mao what happened in China when the communists insisted that everyone have 6 kids as their patriotic duty...

So the big unspoken question is: what does the Syrian government do next? The shock of the war, and having a significant fraction of their surplus population shipped off to europe etc., may have given Syria a bit of a breathing space. Will the Syrian government go back to their pro-natalist policies? If so, then before too long, one way or the other, things will fall apart again. If the Syrian government backs off, and only encourages people to have however many children they can reasonably support, then long-term stability is at least possible.

The press won't talk about this, but I can assure you that the Syrian government knows what their demographic policies have been and knows where those policies led. They will make a decision, and it will make a fundamental impact on the future of Syria. I just wonder what that decision will be.

Posted by: TG | Aug 27 2017 14:49 utc | 5

Sorry for the rant but the wanton unnecessary death and destruction p*ss me off. I noticed in the AP News story another swipe at Assad by saying his forces prevent aid to get areas to surrender. There are so many examples of the reverse here and throughout history especially in European wars. It's called a siege. For some reason when we do it, it's a good thing; when THEY do it, it's bad. (It's like team sport politics here in the US and massive hypocrisy.)

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 27 2017 14:52 utc | 6

Syrian and Russian airforces apparently wiped out a large grouping of ISIS best remaining troops. Yay!

Posted by: WG | Aug 27 2017 14:59 utc | 8

The caliphate will be gone but knife attacks will prosper in Europe; you bet who is going to try to capitalize on that.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 27 2017 15:00 utc | 9

What kind of new invention is that " Syrian government's extreme pro-natalist policy that created a population explosion, and when the water ran out things fell apart"
Anything to support the claim? The pop doubled between 1980 and 2014,from nearly 9 millions to ca 18 or 20 mo, no big deal compared to all the neighbors.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 27 2017 15:07 utc | 10

While the NYT and other newspapers occasionally provide a morsel of truth, they are predominantly propaganda outlets. Importantly, they never saw a war - or the potential for war that they didn't cheer for.

War, of course, primarily means opening up a can of whup ass (shock'n ya'll) on defenseless peasants. It also means subterfuge, mercenaries, coups and proxy forces.

The MSM loves to promote war.

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 27 2017 15:10 utc | 11

The califake is falling, but the bad intentions of the powers that created it still exist and you know they won't stop trying.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Aug 27 2017 15:46 utc | 12

Re: Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 27, 2017 11:10:22 AM | 10

You say that Fast Freddy and yet thus far the US has not sent battalions into Ukraine to take on the Russian backed forces.

The US has plenty of warships in the Black Sea and yet for 3 years - THREE YEARS - they have done nothing to blast the Russians out of Crimea.

Despite what you say - "Importantly, they never saw a war - or the potential for war that they didn't cheer for" - despite that I haven't ever seen the NY Times pushing for overt US military intervention in Crimea.

Can you point me to all the articles that they've written that back up your assertion?

All I've seen is a whole lot of hot air from the MSM about Crimea, I don't even recall any articles pushing for this war in Crimea you claim!

Posted by: Julian | Aug 27 2017 15:59 utc | 13

The US-Kurds will still occupy east of the Euphrates.
The war doesn't end until Assad figures out how to get rid of them.
How do you see that unfolding?

Posted by: plantman | Aug 27 2017 16:02 utc | 14

TG "Malthusian collapse"

Malthusian collapse is a Theory.

Can you show us this supposed "regular documented occurrence through history"?
I want to see if those historical occurrences created ISIS also.


Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Aug 27 2017 16:13 utc | 15

The removal of Erdogan and his Islamist clique is the key to a return to peace in the region.
We may have to wait until Turkish election in 2019 to see Erdogan finally leave power or be eliminated. Before that we can expect a tough time for Turkey, internally and externally and violent consequences in the neighboring countries

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 27 2017 16:35 utc | 16

thanks b... good comments from many here - thank you.. i find it interesting the sohr reporting where they are essentially saying the coalition have been in bed with isis.. that is a switch...i realize the 'moderate' term was wearing thin quite a while ago, but it is still surprising to see how the wests support for it's ''moderate rebels'' appears to have evaporated here...

@5 tg.. interesting post.. it fails to take into account a number of issues - for one - the damming of the euphrates river in turkey where less and less water enters into the lowlands of syria.. of course turkey was all for putting the screws to syria, and as virgile notes @ 15, perhaps once the nutjob erdogan is gone - not a given in 2019 - things will change.. i am with mina @9 in her post directed at you... i think you are on shaky ground in your speculation and almost sound like a mouthpiece for something worse..

Posted by: james | Aug 27 2017 17:22 utc | 18

No matter how much I personally despise the mini wannabe Sultan, Erdogan, the failed US regime coup against him made it clear to me that people hoping to see him removed from power may be very sorry if the US regime manages to get one of their puppet regimes into power.

At least for now Turkey is slowly leaving the NATO sphere and with it its active participation in chaos and terror.

There is still much work to be done but Putin appears to be on the path to establishing Iran,Iraq,Syria, and Turkey as not necessarily allies but a block of stability.

Sure, the treatorus Kurds are going to get smacked down, but I don't think anyone but US and Israeli regimes care about that.

I think Erdogan knows he is a marked man by the US regime and his only future lies with Russia and Putin isn't going to allow the clown to hold on to his dreams of some neo-Ottoman empire.

Posted by: Vannok | Aug 27 2017 17:37 utc | 19

With the complete defeat of IS on the Lebanon border, Hezbollah will be rapidly drawing down its forces in Syria and moving them back into southern Lebanon.

Along with the SAA's Tiger force, Hezbollah is the single most effective fighting force by a gigantic margin in the Middle East. They now have real world battlefield experience that not even a super power could buy with hundreds of millions of dollars in simulation or classroom training.

The Israeli regime is absolutely pissing in their pants. The beating they got a decade ago by Hezbollah is going to look like a training exercise compared to what Hezbollah can do now with their unmatched battlefield experience and much better material.

The dreams of a 'greater israel' are gone and the Israeli regime has to be looking at the very real possibility that Hezbollah and the SAA are going to be in a position to establish security zones south of Lebanon's border in the near future.

Posted by: Vannok | Aug 27 2017 17:46 utc | 20

@TG 5
"I would like to suggest, however, that ISIS is a symptom and not the disease. While there is zero mention of this in the press, what really set this off was the Syrian government's extreme pro-natalist policy that created a population explosion, and when the water ran out things fell apart. Contrary to big-lie propaganda, Malthus has not been disproven, and the Malthusian collapse has been a regular documented occurrence through history, with Syria just one of many recent examples."

That doesn't work for this case. Yes there was a 2006-2011 drought in Syria that put a lot of pressure on the government and on small farmers. But, there was just a similar drought in California that also put a lot of pressure on farmers. Any well-run economy can withstand that - you get some job losses, you don't get civil war. So what are the other factors in Syria?

Well, the Iraq war from 2003 sent a lot of refugees into Syria, This had as much of an effect on population pressure and jobs, etc. as did the drought. But again, this isn't so dissimilar to how NAFTA's attack on small Mexican farmers sent a wave of immigrants north into the United States; civil war didn't break out although there was a lot of political upset due to high rates of immigration. Similar problems hit Europe recently due to the destabilization of LIbya and Syria. Still, no civil wars in Europe.

What it's really all about is Assad's refusal c.2009 to drop economic ties with Iran and let Syria be absorbed into the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. axis. Notably, Syria's image in 2008 was really being pushed as "reformer" in the U.S, media.

The thing was, Iran kept offering Syria better and better economic deals - not just on oil on gas, but on railroads, and airports, and electricity deal, really pushing for regional economic integration - which would have made the Syrian economy a lot more resistant to droughts, immigration, etc. And that's what set off the whole push by Saudi Arabia, Israel, the U.S. etc. to arm insurgents and ISIS and get a civil war going in Syria, from about 2011 onwards. There was also a major (failed) push to have NATO bomb Assad in 2013, over the bogus chemical weapons story; then there was about a billion dollars used to finance ISIS and Al Qaeda jihadists by the CIA and Saudis and Israelis with the training camps in Jordan and Turkey - and then, Russia intervened and that shut the whole program down; Iran came in with Iraqi military on the Iraq side, Turkey abandoned the project too.

Now the Israelis are howling about a "Syrian land corridor" for Iran to Lebanon. . . They just don't want to see an economic boom in the region led by Iran, which would probably tie into China, the SCO, ending American Empire dreams of dominating Central Asia and the Middle East for good. That's what it's all about.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Aug 27 2017 18:10 utc | 21

@5 TG

Do you have a source I can go to for that natalist policy of Mao? I would like to read more on it. The reason I ask is that in the 80's there was the infamous one child policy. It would be important to me to see when and how that transition was managed.


Posted by: les7 | Aug 27 2017 18:23 utc | 22

@18 vannok... your comment is built on the assumption the usa was fully behind the coup on erdogan.. i don't know.. it remains an open question as you who was doing what on july 15-16 2016 in turkey.... further to that, the opposition to erdogan within turkey is quite pronounced.. he was given a mandate for constitutional reforms on april 16 2017 of approx 51% for what he is doing now, with none of the support coming from the major cities in turkey either.. so, while you may be right that erdogan will be around indefinitely, and that turkey moving out of the orb of nato is a good thing - i agree with you on this - it doesn't mean that erdogan represents what the majority of people in turkey actually want... i would say if the april 16 - 2017 election was held now in turkey, he wouldn't get the mandate he now has for pushing his ideas of a supreme presidency where all rivers flow in and out of erdogan at this point...

@19 vannok.. i agree!

@20 nonsense factory.. thanks for that..

Posted by: james | Aug 27 2017 18:46 utc | 23

@ TG | Aug 27, 2017 10:49:36 AM

You are a Tel Aviv Troll.

You say ISIS was but a symptom of a "pro-natalist" policy!? It was a demographics problem!?

I know you Zionist Satanic Atheists hate traditional families and the children they produce (whom you will abuse and kill in a heartbeat) but I am sorry, humans are meant to procreate. The more Syrians in this world, the better. YOU and your MOTHER are the demographics problem, NOT the rest of us.

ISIS was CREATED by Israel as a PROXY force. THAT is the EXTENT of it. Loser.

Posted by: Train | Aug 27 2017 18:56 utc | 24

The "Caliphate" always was and is a project by the enemies of Syria (US, Israel, KSA, ...). The US proxy "SDF" forces are also heading south to Deir Ezzor. What about Syrian "Sunistan" east of the Euphrates and "Rojava" north of it once SDF breaks up?

Posted by: xor | Aug 27 2017 19:08 utc | 25


"treacherous kurds"??

As someone who has lived in the region, studied history, and developed friendships with Arab Sunni, Shia, Christian, Armenian & Kurdish people, would suggest that all have had their moments of treachery, all have been betrayed and all could easily claim victim status.

The Kurds were the Turkish 'knife' used in the Armenian genocide. Those early Armenians warned the Kurds that they would reap what they sowed... and they have. At one point in the early 90's it was a death sentence in Turkey to simply write anything in the Kurdish.
Journalists documenting 'disappearances' were themselves 'disappeared'. UN reposts were buried by a silently complicit NATO partner.

The Kurds in NE Syria though had nothing to do with that sordid bit of history. So why the triumphalism in "the treatorus Kurds are going to get smacked down, but I don't think anyone but US and Israeli regimes care about that" ??

Actually the US and Israeli regimes do not care. Ask the Kurds in NE Iraq who were on the receiving end of the Chemical attacks launched by Saddam. By the way, it was the US that sold the weapons to him and US forces that trained them how to use it.

Back to Syria though, have you read anything about their form of government and values? Seems to me Western 'democracy' could take a few lessons from what they have done. If guilty of anything, it would seem the Kurds suffer from naivety - they do not take western treachery serious enough.

Actually, I anticipate Bashar al Assad will give them a fairly generous offer of semi-autonomous integration inside the Syrian state. It will not be called federation because of the associations that attend the concept in Arabic. I only hope that they are wise enough to accept it.

Posted by: les7 | Aug 27 2017 19:10 utc | 26

"about their form of government and values" should have been "about the Kurdish form of government (in Rojava) and values?

Posted by: les7 | Aug 27 2017 19:13 utc | 27


Posted by: Lozion | Aug 27 2017 19:25 utc | 28

I wouldnt be so confident about Kurds playing nice with Syria. Its the last big project US/Israel/Saudis have in Syria, and they'll do everything for it to succeed. Turkey is perfectly fine with Barzani clan in Iraq, and if similar proxies are installed in Northern Syria, Erdogan could live with it if price is right.

I can realistically see it play out in one of two ways:

1. Kurdistan is created from Syria/Iraq parts, with Turkey somewhat neutral. Kurds stole a lot of land and oil, which could be an additional incentive for Turkey. Even if the rest of surrounding countries are hostile to Kurds as proxy thieves and traitors, if US/Israel/Saudis get them aligned with Turkey and its fears alleviated, this project could go forward.

2. Syria is Federalised as was Iraq, with Kurds having de-facto independence, and with Damascus having little to no say about oil or US/Israel military bases in Kurdish territories. While Kurds would have a lot of say what happens in Syria, i.e. same what US has achieved in Iraq and Lebanon - very weak and castrated central government, with US proxies sabotaging anyway US sees fit.

2nd option is the most likely outcome. Granted, Syria is in stronger position than Iraq was when it was Federalized US-style (i.e. neutered), but US and others wont allow their "efforts" to go to waste either, therefore significant concessions will be extracted from Damascus if Kurds remain part of Syria, even if its just fig-leaf political dependence, while de-facto independent state within state.

Posted by: Harry | Aug 27 2017 19:27 utc | 29


I think much of it will come down to how long Trump is around. If Trump had CIA and neo-con types controlling him, then might agree with your scenario 2. However the Pentagon types currently controlling his information feed have a very different mindset. While admittedly sympathetic to the neo-con views, their version of security sees little use in highly vulnerable bases that give no logistic or intelligence value. Their assets in Incirlik make mockery of anything that area could provide.

Posted by: les7 | Aug 27 2017 20:13 utc | 30

The constitution imposed on Iraq by the occupying Outlaw US Empire giving Kurds semi-independent status is an illegal instrument under international law and would be a dead letter by now had Daesh not been invented so the Empire could return to Iraq to supervise its proxy war against Syria. Once US forces are again driven from Iraq and the central government is again able to assert its authority throughout its nation--100% recovery of sovereignty--the Iraqis will need to formulate a new constitution, which may be very similar in style to the new constitution Syria will deploy once it regains 100% sovereignty.

By decade's end, a new Southwest Asia will emerge.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 27 2017 20:26 utc | 31

TG @ 5 said:"I would like to suggest, however, that ISIS is a symptom and not the disease"

True, but not for the reason's you suggest. If not for the empire's lust for global resource & geo-political hegemony, ISIS probably wouldn't exist.

Posted by: ben | Aug 27 2017 20:51 utc | 32

One more thing, that 2008 pbs/frontline piece generally lauding Assad was written by one Kate Seelye. The whole agenda is really spelled out:
Syria . . . stands at a political crossroads and decides whether to stick with its long-standing alliances with Iran and militant groups such as Hezbollah or move toward closer ties with the West.

There's this famous quote from a U.S. State Department official in negotations with the Taliban in early 2001. . . "“Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs." (A New York Times bureau chief declared it 'conspiracy theory' in 2002 - right as the NYTimes was republishing Bush Administration lies about Iraqi WMDs)

Kate Seelye remarkably enough is now vice-president at the Midde East Institute. That outfit is interesting, here's a blurb on them at the top of Google search results (yes those are getting questionable too these days; regardless:)

Chock-full of former U.S. government officials, the Middle East Institute has been one of the leading voices in Washington defending the joint U.S.-Gulf war on Yemen, which has created the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet, killing thousands and pushing millions of civilians to the brink of famine. While the Middle East Institute and its employees are regularly quoted as experts by large corporate media outlets, what is never disclosed is that one of the Gulf regimes waging the war on Yemen — the United Arab Emirates — is bankrolling the very think tank defending its catastrophic war.

The most recently available annual reports from the Middle East Institute from the years 2012 and 2013 show that the organization has received significant funding from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and even the U.S. State Department. Other top funders have been arms manufacturers including Northrup Grumman, Raytheon and BAE Systems, along with fossil fuel companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil and banks such as Goldman Sachs.

What this really shows is the extent to which corporate media journalism in the U.S. today is influenced by the government and corporate agenda. It's really Pravda-Tass Soviet Union-era reporting. It also points to a mafiosi mentality in Washington in which you don't win good deals overseas by making a better economic offer, but rather by making a bigger military threat.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Aug 27 2017 21:01 utc | 33

les 7 21
Interestingly it was the U K government and scientific community who gave the template for a strict birth control policy system to China as a gift and celebration for the founding of 'the peoples republic' twenty years earlier in 1949. The English mathematicians and economists presented the resource / population action program to Beijing . They showed conclusively to the Chinese that if they did not act with urgency to curb population growth China would inevitably have to resort to war to feed herself . I n the late sixties the English were advanced in this type of long term economic analyses.

Posted by: ashley albanese | Aug 27 2017 21:49 utc | 34

b, excellent summary of the situation, pretty much nailed in the head.

Posted by: Canthama | Aug 27 2017 22:04 utc | 35

Virgile ^^^ ...The removal of Erdogan and his Islamist clique is the key to a return to peace in the region...

No. The removal of the USA from the world stage is the key to a return to peace in the region. [Not only the Middle East but also Asia Minor, the Central Asian republics and Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, SE Asia, and most (more's the pity it's most) of Africa. Germany too, and southern Europe. Quite where Britain and Scandinavian countries would stand is uncertain, but irrelevant. The enemy is not the MB, not islamists, not Ergogan, not "anglo-zionists", not "bankers", "rothschilds", "jew this or jew that", not "perfidious albion", "five eyes" or any other claptrap. Those are handy decoys to divert attention from the excrescence disfiguring the world's surface that urgently needs cauterising, the USA. Remove the carbuncle between Canada and Mexico, and those other problems would fade into manageable proportions, or very quickly, mostly with a little negotiation and accommodation, come right, though a little force here or there may be necessary, in a harmonious and respectful multipolar world. Even India may stand a tiny chance steading the ship and re-discovering some decency towards its own people.]

Back to the USA and its obliteration. Must be done. Must be done, for the sake of the rest of humanity. Quite how is uncertain. Nuke, of course, would be fine, if it weren't counterproductive for the rest of us. Since listening and diplomacy seems to be impossible for US Americans to comprehend, the only solution bar nuke is likely to be that employed against the berserk Nazi regime in '44-'45, thanks to the Red Army in the east and (to some extent) the "Allies" in the west. Pity about the good 'uns, but there you go, at least the 7-Billion minus 300-Million will be safe and happy.

Posted by: Petra | Aug 27 2017 22:04 utc | 36

Since 2001 the Atlantic Empire has had a policy of regime change for unenthusiastic border states; Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine…. Greece was subdued. Since corporate media avoids reporting this, the remarkable similarities are ignored. Charlottesville Virginia looked like Kiev Ukraine or Deraa Syria because all use the same playbook. Despair, lack of jobs, too many young men, privatization, ethnic rifts and environmental degradation are the dough that bakes into chaos that benefits financiers and war profiteers at the expense of everyone else.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Aug 27 2017 22:16 utc | 37

The last BBC report on the ground I heard (interview with commander) said that the Syrians were heading straight for Deir ez-Zor. This I understand - relief of the garrison, plus the question of who gets the oil-fields on the Khabur.

Up till now, Syria has depended on those oil-fields to keep the Syrian army, and the rest of the country, rolling. Through cross-border trading, it has never stopped, never mind the regime. However now the US has announced a new offensive south from Khassekeh, in order to put their hands on the oil-fields. I wouldn't be surprised if the Syrians are now fearful that the Americans will take the oil-fields, and their access will be cut off. To a degree, their fears are unjustified, in the sense that the attacking forces are said to be 7 Sunni tribal units of SDF. People whose chief I heard saying in an interview a couple of years ago were participating in SDF, in order to reunite Syria under Asad. Lots of changing sides could happen, at any rate lots of under the table negotiations which the Yanks will not be privy to.

At any rate I think this will be considered more vital than rounding up a couple of hundred jihadis starving in a desert.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 27 2017 22:23 utc | 38

>>>> V. Arnold | Aug 27, 2017 9:24:58 AM | 1

I find the differing result's between the U.S. and SAA/Russia very informative; the U.S. plays politics, aka, geopolitics vs SAA/Russia very focused on actually eliminating ISIS to great success.
The U.S. whack-a-mole strategy(?) utterly fails; while the Russian strategy is showing very impressive results; put bluntly; the Russian's don't fuck around when it comes to terrorists.

You remember how when the Turkish air force ambushed a Russian jet, many suggested that Putin was a wuss for not taking his revenge immediately by shooting down a few Turkish jets. Well I reckon that was the point that Putin decided to stay in Syria until Al Qaeda and ISIS are liquidated and Erdogan's plans for a neo-ottoman empire are completely fucked over. Putin's revenge on Erdogan will be complete, it will all be legal, and for some reason I reminded of Percy Shelley's poem "Ozymandias".
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Perhaps Putin should erect a statue to Erdogan somewhere in the depths of the Syrian deserts for someone to find broken and eroded in a few hundred years.

Posted by: Ghostship | Aug 27 2017 22:37 utc | 39

By 'extracting the assets' I presume you mean 'transferring the assets' to Afghanistan.

Posted by: Bill | Aug 27 2017 23:01 utc | 40

>>>> Julian | Aug 27, 2017 11:59:14 AM | 12

The US has plenty of warships in the Black Sea and yet for 3 years - THREE YEARS - they have done nothing to blast the Russians out of Crimea.

Actually they don't - the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits places a lot of restrictions on what can transit the Bosphorus into the Black Sea. To avoid these restrictions, the United States would need to bypass the Bosphorus perhaps by building a 250 km ship canal through Greece and Bulgaria or by widening and deepening the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal.

Non-Black Sea state warships in the Straits must be under 15,000 tons. No more than nine non-Black Sea state warships, with a total aggregate tonnage of no more than 30,000 tons, may pass at any one time, and they are permitted to stay in the Black Sea for no longer than twenty-one days. Black Sea states may transit capital ships of any tonnage, escorted by no more than two destroyers.
So no non-Black Sea state aircraft carriers and submarines. Russia can transit it's "carriers" because they classified as ""aircraft carrying cruisers" and are capital ships. I suppose the United States could donate the Gerald R. Ford to the Bulgarian, Romanian, Ukrainian or Georgian Navies but the Ukrainians are probably the only ones dumb enough to accept the offer. I think the United States offered to supply Romania with some warships but the Romanian government wisely turned the offer down. So all the USN has in the black Sea is a couple of warships under 15,000 tons that have to leave within twenty one days of arriving.

Posted by: Ghostship | Aug 27 2017 23:05 utc | 41

>>>> Julian | Aug 27, 2017 11:59:14 AM | 12
Oh, and I forgot to mention that any USN warships that started blasting Crimea would be converted to submarines within ten or twenty minutes or so.

Posted by: Ghostship | Aug 27 2017 23:09 utc | 42

SDF Arab force to take eastern Deir Ezzor? Not long ago, the Saudi's stated backing the Kurds and Kurds made nice public statements about the Saudi's. Saudi's have been backing ISIS and other jihadist groups in Syria, so as now the Saudi's are backing the so called SDF, most of the syrian jihadist types in eastern Syria may well be shaving and joining SDF Arab force.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Aug 27 2017 23:33 utc | 43

Ghostship | Aug 27, 2017 6:37:31 PM | 38

I hadn't thought of that; sounds plausible though.
The Usian's just don't understand; Russians do not think like westerners.
Usian's project from their own limitations and stilted thinking.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 28 2017 0:50 utc | 44


Rest assured, none of the ISIS guys will get away by shaving and trying to join the SDF. There is no hiding there. Everyone and everything you have done is known. Those communities run deep and people pay for mistakes grandfathers committed. They would have to leave the country to even attempt to hide.

Posted by: les7 | Aug 28 2017 1:07 utc | 45

@TG #5

..what really set this off was the Syrian government's pro natalist policy.. Malthus has not been disproven..

You know I'm struggling mightily to restrain myself, but you're a complete imbecile.

I could mention the last census before Turkey began ethnically cleansing it's Kurds put their number at under 200 000. It was over 2 million at the outset of the war. I could mention that the war in Iraq brought in at least 2 million more refugees, Syria keeping it's borders open in an effort to ameliorate the human catastrophe caused by your Malthusian zionist oligarchy, or I could mention that blaming the victim is morally reprehensible, but in this case my initial assessment of your reasoning ability is perfectly sufficient.

Posted by: C I eh? | Aug 28 2017 2:03 utc | 46

We have all known for some time now that Assad will survive the onslaught of the empire. It is the first repelling of its kind and although it is difficult to take a moment and smile with the ongoing violence of the cornered beast and all the mixed signals the msm and war cabinet throw at us, this is indeed a sea change that will be identified for posterity on the empire's geological time line of its march towards oblivion. Second place is anathema to the war dogs who will eventually either jump ship completely or devour their own. Start brainstorming your best ideas for utopia, people. Systematic cock-blocking of the empire's psychotic plans for one-world hegemony looks like it is full-swing, so I'm happy.

Every time b posts something resembling a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel piece on Syria, I always have an urge to hug someone or at least post a reminder that love is here to stay.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Aug 28 2017 2:51 utc | 47

>>>> V. Arnold | Aug 27, 2017 8:50:02 PM | 43

Russians do not think like westerners
I do hope you're not suggesting that there is anything inherently better about the way westerners think.

BTW, the USN now seems to have come to the conclusion that its own fuckups caused the recent problems with its warships. Overworked and undertrained crews is what they're saying. But if I was an American taxpayer what I would be demanding of the regime in Washington is where exactly does all the defence expenditure go as it sure as hell doesn't go on ensuring that USN crews aren't overworked and are properly trained and thus effective at doing their job.

Posted by: Ghostship | Aug 28 2017 2:58 utc | 48

The Kurds were screwed 30 years ago in the initial Gulf War. Marsh Arabs too. The Kurds were also screwed by the Iraq invasion. There should be an independent Kurdistan. Of Kurds, not terrorists. But I'm not sure why Kurds would be proxy fighters of a government that has proven to screw them and will tomorrow too. Do Kurds suffer from a genetic/evolutionary condition where they've only bred dumb people?

Fight for just yourself, Kurds. State your case in the UN. Don't die in Syria or southern Iraq for no reason, and for other governments who obviously care nothing at all about you.

What's next? The US declares war on Sweden and convinces Kurdish forces to join with a promise to have their back later if they want their own state?

The Syrian war has been an absolute mess. Thankfully it hasn't led to WWIII. Clinton might have done such. But anyway--Kurds who thought they were fighting for their fellows in order of a promise for their own country as a resolution are fools. And of course Kurds fighting to defend innocent people from the horrors of ISIS and else--good enough reason, and admirable. If Sweden starts massacring Swedes, and Kurds join against that, noble brave and with no expectations. But it does seem as if some Kurds still believe, and only fight, due to a foolish mistaken idea that the US or whatever will next advocate for their own state. Novel; against a history of abandonment. Optimistic rather than pragmatic.

Good Kurds: Jalal Talabini and Masoud Barzani. At least from my admittedly limited knowledge. Good leaders of a progressive people with good intentions that is continually screwed due to other geopolitics and actors. And not just the US. Iran could also insist on a Kurdistan and/or if not yet, hand over a small portion of territory.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Aug 28 2017 2:58 utc | 49

@36 Petra

Who will nuke us? The whole world? Especially since the empire's architects are scattered and do not necessarily call the US their home, this suggestion is emotionally-based and half-baked. Sure, us Yanks are the policeman, the riot-gear donning first-wave which we all like to throw molatov cocktails at, but just like the Occupy Movement found..."you can't touch this!"

Be patient. Play the long game. We will be out of your hair soon enough and finally policing our own needs. Don't forget that we are prisoners, too.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Aug 28 2017 3:02 utc | 50

Thanks C I eh -- saved me from having to respond. What a pantload TG delivered.

Posted by: rcentros | Aug 28 2017 3:15 utc | 51

Ghostship | Aug 27, 2017 10:58:11 PM | 48
Russians do not think like westerners
I do hope you're not suggesting that there is anything inherently better about the way westerners think.

Good god man; hell No! ;-)
I said; Usian's project from their own limitations and stilted thinking.
Which is to say Usian's are not capable of critical thinking.
Russian's OTOH; are far better educated, and are especially good at critical thinking.
The evidence is loud and clear in Syria on the groud; they (R's) out think us tactically at every turn.
Usian's are playing checkers; the Russian's are playing chess.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Aug 28 2017 4:48 utc | 52

Ghostship @39

Russia isn't in Syria just 'cos it is a nice guy and wants to help out an ally. It is there to eleminate the takfiris to prevent them from being unleashed on Russia. It has seen enough of what they can do at Beslan, in Chechnya and the like. The nice guy/helping out an ally is secondary.

The US has recently moved 3000 troops/contractors to Afghanistan. That is clearly not enough to oust the Taliban. It may be that they want to improve protection for their opium plantations. On the other hand, they have been rescuing top level takfiri commanders from Syria and Iraq. Maybe these will be redeployed to Afghanistan to lead more takfiri groups who will be trained by the recent US contractors (as was done a the KASOTC in Amman, Jordan). These takfiri groups would then be fired at southern Russia. Maybe?

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 28 2017 13:33 utc | 53

Soft Asylum @49

Barzani a Good Kurd? - maybe from the US point of view as they are a corrupt mafiosi that appears to stay bought. The Barzanis loot Iraqi oil which was used to launder oil looted from Syria by ISIS.

As for the Kurds 'deserving' a nation, since when did that work? They constitute ~8% of the population and are looking to hold ~30% of Syria. Most of the major towns are largely Syrian Arab. So they have started ethnic cleansing these major Arab towns they covet.

The Russians/Syrians have developed a protocol for handling those that wish to divide Syria by force. Those Syrian terrorists/rebels who renounce violence and are willing to go for a political solution are offered amnesty. Those Syrians that don't and all foreigners are dumped in one location (Idlib for ISIS/Deash/whatever, somewhere else for the Kurds/SDF) where they can kill each other. The Kurds/SDF will be offered the same deal. Their choice.

BTW, the SDF has a significant foreign component making the Syria Defense Force name a clear propaganda term.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 28 2017 13:52 utc | 54

@5 TG

Well thank goodness for all the many children that were born in Syria, otherwise the Syrian Army would not have been strong enough to survive the first 3 years of war.

There was never a government policy in Syria telling people to have a lot of children. Life was very good in Syria and people simply were able to afford to have a big family. Also it was part of the history and culture in this part of the world not to just have one child. Things have changed though and today young couples mostly don't have more than 2 to 3 children.

As for the water situation (also to James) Syria would have enough water if the Israeli water thieves would give back the Golan Hights.

Posted by: Demeter | Aug 28 2017 14:01 utc | 55

Water and the baby boom in Syria. If I am not mistaken, while this was going on in Syria during a generational drought, Turkey was damming the Euphrates and everything else upstream while Israel Heights into that country. So, it wasn't just irresponsible sex by Syrians causing this problem.

Posted by: Tom in AZ | Aug 28 2017 19:51 utc | 56

>>>>> Anonymous | Aug 28, 2017 9:33:16 AM | 53

Where in that comment do I suggest that Russia is "in Syria just 'cos it is a nice guy and wants to help out an ally"?

Posted by: Ghostship | Aug 28 2017 20:29 utc | 57

nonsense f. @ 21…

Syria drought …began in 2005 about and I am still convinced that the Assad Gvmt. neglected the outside of townie mid-upper class space (if I may call it that) for some of its basic needs … water and gas -for agri; prices rose too high- at the same time a sort of ‘neglect’ of Gvmt services, particularly schools (6-13, this is the stuff I know about, when the teachers leave and the library is shut…terrible…) In the belief the countryside was settled, funded and could / should take care of itself. (My understanding at the time.)

Syria appealed stridently to the UN for aid along the ‘changing climate’ drought etc. scenario but was short-shrifted. (Quarrels about water in the region, other desperate topic…) Assad implemented ‘financial reforms’, he cut subsidies on basics, opened up to intl banking (not completely), and tried to orient to who knows what ‘modernity’, service sector, start-ups, etc. His own Finance Min. at the time protested… Ppl began to leave the land and gravitate to the towns to live a sad slum life .. bad scene…

Syria was, is, a victim of US-isr-uk-EU-poodles-Ayrab-affiliates, no question, and a lot to take on. Assad has held up well, kudos for some kind of courage, — WITH the help of Iran and Russia. Saddam and Kadaffi were to my mind ‘better leaders / or so called ‘dictators,’ ok I tend to personalise things too much. I’m not convinced for now by the Iran seduction move, not that it doesn’t exist, but what role really? ?

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 28 2017 20:32 utc | 58

By decade's end, a new Southwest Asia will emerge.
Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 27, 2017 4:26:34 PM | 31

I would say so... and how could it not? Your entire post reminded me of a quote by George Galloway back in April of this year:

"A united Syria and Iraq would be more than the sum of it's parts. It would become immediately the heart of the Arab world."

A pipe dream maybe. But today, the enemy can be labelled. It is in both nations future interests to bond beyond the instantly outdated lines of Sykes Picot.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Aug 28 2017 21:29 utc | 59

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