Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 14, 2017

Free Passage Deal For ISIS In Raqqa - U.S. Denies Involvement - Video Proves It Lies

After free passage negotiations with the U.S. and its Kurdish proxy forces, ISIS is moving its fighters out of Raqqa city. When the Syrian government reached similar agreements the U.S. childishly criticized it. The U.S. coalition claims that it was "not involved in the discussions" that led to the Raqqa free passage agreement. A BBC News report shows that the opposite is true.

Over the last two years the U.S. and its Kurdish proxy force in Syria made several deals with the Islamic State. In 2016, for example, they negotiated a deal with Islamic State fighters to move from Manbij to the Turkish border to avoid further casualties in the fight about the city.

But when in August 2017 Hizbullah and the Lebanese and Syrian government negotiated a deal with some 300 besieged ISIS fighters and their families at the Lebanese-Syria border, the U.S. loudly protested. The U.S. military blocked and threatened to bomb the evacuation convoy over several days and the U.S. envoy McGurk ranted against it:

7:20 AM - 30 Aug 2017 - Brett McGurk @brett_mcgurk

Irreconcilable #ISIS terrorists should be killed on the battlefield, not bused across #Syria to the Iraqi border without #Iraq's consent 1/2
Our @coalition will help ensure that these terrorists can never enter #Iraq or escape from what remains of their dwindling "caliphate." 2/2

Over the last months U.S. supported Kurdish proxy fighters besieged the city of Raqqa and fought to take it from ISIS. An immense amount of U.S. bombs was released to lower the casualty numbers of the U.S.proxy forces. The city was literally "destroyed to save it". Many of its civilian inhabitants were killed. During the last days rumors abounded that a deal was made between the U.S. and ISIS. It would give ISIS fighters free passage when leaving the city. Today these rumors were confirmed:

[SOHR] received information from Knowledgeable and independent sources confirming reaching a deal between the International Coalition and the Syria Democratic Forces in one hand; and the “Islamic State” organization in the other hand, and the deal stated the exit of the remaining members of the “Islamic State” organization out of Al-Raqqah city.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirms that this agreement has happened, and confirms that all the Syrian members were gotten out already, and if some members remained until now it is because they are of the non-Syrian nationalities of whom the French Intelligence objects getting them out of Al-Raqqah city, where the French Intelligence considers that some of those involved in Paris Attack are present inside the city ...

Other sources said that buses had arrived to take the leaving ISIS fighters towards the Syrian-Iraqi border area. Local officials say that foreign fighters with ISIS are also leaving. The U.S. coalition generally confirms the evacuation, but it denies any involvement:

A convoy of vehicles is staged to depart Raqqah Oct. 14 under an arrangement brokered by the Raqqah Civil Council and local Arab tribal elders Oct. 12.
The Coalition was not involved in the discussions that led to the arrangement, but believes it will save innocent lives and allow Syrian Democratic Forces and the Coalition to focus on defeating Daesh terrorists in Raqqah with less risk of civilian casualties.

The hypocrisy stinks to high heaven. A deal made by Hizbullah with besieged ISIS fighters and their families was condemned. The evacuation convoy was blocked for days in the desert by U.S. drones and air interdiction.

Now the U.S. and its allies make a similar deal and let ISIS leave its besieged position. They bus those fighters towards the Syrian-Iraqi border where Syrian government forces are engaged in heavy battles against ISIS.

What is next? CENTCOM providing ISIS with air transport to the Israeli border? There ISIS is free to openly train new forces. The area is safe from Syrian and Russian attacks. The Israeli airforce keeps anyone away who might be hostile to ISIS.

The U.S. says: "The Coalition was not involved in the discussions". That is a lie. Only two days ago BBC News reported on the meeting where the deal was discussed and then made. Here you can see (vid) U.S. General Jim Glynn meeting on October 12 with Raqqa officials to negotiate the deal. While the General claimed at that time that no deal was made, later news and the situation today proves the opposite. ISIS convoys are moving out of Raqqa and the U.S. and its proxy forces are sitting tight and simply watch them leave. No U.S. air asset is blocking the convoy and no Brett McGurk is raving against the deal.

The criticism of the Hizbullah deal in August by the U.S. military was unprofessional. The blockade of the earlier evacuation convoy was childish behavior. McGurks rants were puerile. To lie today about involvement in the deal making after having invited the BBC to film the negotiations is just utterly stupid. No grown-ups seem to be involved on the U.S. side of the Syria conflict.


Posted by b on October 14, 2017 at 17:51 UTC | Permalink


Did they give them SDF uniforms on the way out? Buses are most likely heading towards omar field to defend from saa/ capture for SDF/US

Posted by: Garrett | Oct 14 2017 18:03 utc | 1

Point taken but SOHR is not a reliable source.

Posted by: CD Waller | Oct 14 2017 18:28 utc | 2

hey - it wouldn't be the usa if it wasn't based on outright lies or hypocrisy... they are taking the mossad saying 'war by deception' to bigger heights.. bottom line - the usa is not interested in the well being of syria, or the syrian people, but they will do anything they can to protect israels self interest as we continue to witness.. rogue nation with a rogue regime - usa..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2017 18:49 utc | 3

From bits and pieces I have seen, it looks like Syrian ISIS were given new uniforms and foriegn ISIS are being moved out, I would guess to a position where they can fight the SAA.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2017 18:51 utc | 4

any comment on syrian demands that turkey leave idlib?

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2017 18:55 utc | 5

SOP. A denial is the same thing as "it's none of your f'king business."

Posted by: PostingComment | Oct 14 2017 19:07 utc | 6

james 5
Syrian government made same statements about Turkey in Jarabulus area. Since Turkey moved into that area, apart from a couple of small localised skirmishes, there has been no fighting between the moderate terrorists and SAA. I am guessing this is a move that Syria, Russia, and Turkey are making to take Idlib under state control by Turkey to be dealt with in the future.
Putin's public position has always been to bring about conditions for political negotiations to end the war in Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2017 19:13 utc | 7

So where are the adults in the room? Trump blowviating, the Military protecting the enemy, stifling the chances of rebuilding - as any bully in the sand box does - again being suckered by Israel into doing the dirty work, putting the U.S. as a whole, in danger, is by design. How long will it be before the new American military base inside the Israeli military base is attacked with loss of life, as a pretext to going all out @ Iran? Careful what you wish for, should be the watchword. Considering both Trump & Netanyahoo have problems, invading Iran surely will take the heat off both of them, at least in the short run, of course to the detriment to the rest of the world.

Posted by: Eugene | Oct 14 2017 19:18 utc | 8

@7 peter.. thank you.

@6pc - and what is the business of the usa on every fucking place on the planet sticking their fucking nose where it doesn't belong 24/7? really it is none of the fucking business, of that - i can agree with you on...

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2017 19:51 utc | 9


Last 4 countries on earth with NO Rothschild Central Bank (Putin kicked out dear Mr. Rothschild)

Starting to make sense?

Posted by: ~ Occams | Oct 14 2017 20:33 utc | 10

Posting Comment @6

“Never believe anything until it is officially denied.”

~ Credited to Otto von Bismarck way back in the late 19th century

Posted by: Daniel | Oct 14 2017 20:33 utc | 11

From what i understand, military men with honor have been driven out of the MIC, including the revolving door with the industry side.

When profit and usury are your God then truth, honor and rule of law are for those outside of empire but don't apply to the acolytes within.

I am ashamed of the actions of my country and appreciate other countries trying to stop the curse of empire.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 14 2017 20:37 utc | 12

Letting fighters go is just normal for Syria, no different from the fighters in Aleppo. If it gets them out into a less stable situation, probably a good thing.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2017 20:53 utc | 13

b.: The hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

b., That use of language doesn't sound like you. More and more other posts here don't sound like you.

Are you all right? Is someone else now co-writing your posts?

A few posts back you inserted a sentence in a comment by Karlofi (?) and used the F-word. Has anything like that ever happened before?

MoA is changing. It's sounding more American now. What's going on?

Posted by: Ken Nari | Oct 14 2017 20:57 utc | 14

@13 Not disputing the utility here. Just the monumental hypocrisy and exceptional lies on display.

Posted by: Meh | Oct 14 2017 21:06 utc | 15

Plausible deniability, no? I've read it's the CIA thing - It's all the army's fault, and it probably is....just following orders don't you know.

What I like is the Beeb is joining in on this show, the British being the past masters of double speak - they've been at it for centuries.

Now what to do next, eh Bibi?

Posted by: sadness | Oct 14 2017 21:15 utc | 16

The Iraqi attack on Kirkuk is more the issue of the moment. I have no idea who is going to win. Evidently, the attack is resultant on the Kurds voting for the independence of KRG, and "the Kurdistani territories outside the KRG". This is a claim without limit. Kirkuk is outside KRG.

My judgement is that the Peshmerga are lazy, and need US airstrikes (not available here). However, the Shi'a militia (al-Hashd al-Sha'bi) are very sectarian, and may push an offensive through to its conclusion.

By the way, I was in Iraq in March, and saw the situation from quite close.

I don't know whether the Iraqis will win, but I'd give them evens.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2017 21:43 utc | 17

@5 re 'Syrian demands' I see the Syrian protest as a formal but very necessary thing, just to make clear that it is not part of the current deal, and any current deal is not ceding sovereignty.

@7 when it comes to Turkey, no occupation is 'temporary' - just look at Cyprus & Antioch. If Putin thinks it is a temporary arrangement he is deluded, certainly Bashar Al Assad knows better.

A bit OT, but awhile back I suggested there would be no extensive cross- Euphrates action until the Deir Ezzour airbase was functional. The first Russian Su 25 just landed there. Give them a week to get things functionally operational and that is when to expect major operations east of the Euphrates.

Posted by: les7 | Oct 14 2017 22:00 utc | 18

@18 les.. you might be right about all of that. thanks - and for your additional comments.

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2017 22:04 utc | 19

Sorry, forgot to add an additional piece of information to 17. the KRG is bankrupt,and hasn't paid its employees for years. THe US agreed to pay the salaries of the Peshmerga for the attack against Mosul, but now according to report, they are stopping.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2017 22:11 utc | 20

glad to see the us training paying off in raqqa campaign this is great news for the us slowly but shirley like libya the usa can end the reign of these dictators new hitlers.

as for kirkuk these lands are a vital part of a new kurd region the iraqi must stand down.
norway,usa,uk france,australia and canada and israel must not allow another 1939 like stopping hussein and gadaffi the iraqi must be stopped from killing of the kurdish innocents.

the pmu must be put on the us terror group lists like iran and hezbollah this is the moment for the world to sanction a new exodus from the 4 corners of the earth home ways.
already 100s of thousands of proud kurds are leaving israel and going home ready to forge a new begining.
hail kurdistania

Posted by: menechem golani | Oct 14 2017 22:12 utc | 21

@ menechem golani

Don't you have better things to do on the Sabbath...?

Btw...I would not be too worried about your neighbors in Iraq, Syria etc...

Your temporary lease in the Levant is likely not going to be renewed much longer...

Happy house-hunting...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 14 2017 22:55 utc | 22

@22 flanker - lol... next thing you know charles will show up now...

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2017 23:19 utc | 23

@ James...

Just trying to be helpful...

I understand the housing market in Birbidzhan is quite attractive right now...Best to get in on the 'ground floor' so to speak...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 14 2017 23:36 utc | 24

your articles never disappoint ... spot on and nothing but truthful and enlightening

Posted by: Mdranix | Oct 15 2017 0:50 utc | 25

It is Hezbollah, not Hizbullah.

Posted by: westc0ast | Oct 15 2017 1:48 utc | 26

Americans lie?

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Oct 15 2017 1:59 utc | 27

@26 westcoast.. don't make us westcoasters appear ignorant..

"Hezbollah (pronounced /ˌhɛzbəˈlɑː/;[13] Arabic: حزب الله‎‎ Ḥizbu 'llāh, literally "Party of Allah" or "Party of God")—also transliterated Hizbullah, Hizballah, etc.[14] from -

Posted by: james | Oct 15 2017 2:40 utc | 28

"The hypocrisy stinks to high heaven."
MoA is changing. It's sounding more American now. What's going on?
Posted by: Ken Nari | Oct 14, 2017 4:57:42 PM | 14

Stop being a stupid prick.
b's English has satisfied the basic requirements for clear, unambiguous communication since I arrived here in 2010/2011.

On the other hand, English barely qualifies as a language. It was designed by self-absorbed supremacist arseholes to hilight and emphasise educational shortcomings in the masses. For example, it's the only language in which EVERY SINGLE "Rule" has an exception. Hardly benign or benevolent...

"stinks to high heaven" is English vernacular (everyday English for English speakers). No-one can claim to have mastered English as a second language until he/she has come to grips with the Creative Abuse which mastery of the vernacular enables. There are no books about it. It has to be picked up, in context, with experience.
It is a tribute to b's dedication to excellence that he's even bothering to put in the (largely unnecessary) effort to do so.
You, however, are a waste of space.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 15 2017 2:52 utc | 29

We know that Obama promoted the ISIS presence for political reasons:

...The reason, the president added, “that we did not just start taking a bunch of airstrikes all across Iraq as soon as ISIL came in was because that would have taken the pressure off of [Prime Minister Nuri Kamal] al-Maliki.” That only would have encouraged, he said, Maliki and other Shiites to think: " ‘We don’t actually have to make compromises. We don’t have to make any decisions. We don’t have to go through the difficult process of figuring out what we’ve done wrong in the past. All we have to do is let the Americans bail us out again. And we can go about business as usual.’ ”. . .NYTimes, Aug 8, 2014

And now we see that nothing has changed with a new administration. Trump is on the warpath against many Obama policies, but not on ISIS -- it's still good to go. Well the US has never admitted that Operation Iraqi Freedom was a huge mistake that converted Iraq to an Iran ally, for one thing. Washington STILL pretends that Iraq is a US ally that can be influenced by daddy. (not)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2017 3:09 utc | 30

@29 Hoarsewhisperer

I must jump in and say I have long admired b's command of English drollery. I'm actually somewhat awed by it.

If he starts quoting P.G. Wodehouse I will not be surprised.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 15 2017 3:26 utc | 31

@21 menechem golani - "as for kirkuk these lands are a vital part of a new kurd region the iraqi must stand down."

Speaking of droll, thank you for this. I was going to respond to Laguerre @17, who knows Iraq and only gives it even odds to take Kirkuk back from the Kurds. I give Iraq far better odds, because I tend to think the tide of history has a say in outcomes.

I've always taken your comments under the golani alias to be satire of the bluntest kind. Once reversed, your summations are usually very on point. Your words here agree with my thoughts. Israel will fail totally, of course, because it pushes against history.

If it were simply between the Iraqis and the Kurds, I might give Kirkuk even odds too. But with Israel adding its pathos and desperation to the cause I suspect that history will show it has a sense of distaste as well as irony, and sweep the Zionist plans out of the theater.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 15 2017 3:41 utc | 32

Second your take on MG Grieved. Some of the best satire I've seen for awhile. Winds up a few blogs.

Away from that, looking at what is happening since Russia entered the war in Syria, Syria has been stripping the clothes off the emporer. US wont go out of Syria just without the shirt on its back. It will go out without even its jocks to cover the family jewels. Iran will most likely administer the coup de gras when the US attacks. Perhaps just Trump reneging on the Iran deal will be enough. Whoever, the world will owe a huge debt to thoser small countries that have stood up to the empire, and through a lot of blood and treasure have played a big part in taking it down.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2017 4:13 utc | 33

I think what Ken Nari is complaining about is simply that b's command of the english language has improved. So much so that b is now comfortable with a phrase like "stinks to high heaven".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 15 2017 4:23 utc | 34

@ Grieved...

I think you maybe meant to say 'bathos' in reference to the squatter state in the Levant...

PS: I hear through the grapevine that Harv Weinstein has already put a deposit on a cozy duplex in Birobidzhan...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2017 4:24 utc | 35

In 2003 Cheney approved a $34B psyop budget for domrstic propaganda. In 2013 Congress removed the last restriction on public brainwashing by so-called Deep State, which is an Axis of CIA:State and Fed:Wall Street. This unleashed Gog Magog, as shown here:
There is no longer any discovery of either pricrs or

Posted by: Chipnik | Oct 15 2017 4:35 utc | 36

...either prices or international order. Mil.Gov and Fed:Wall Street are carving ever larger chunks out of the public treasury. The Natuonal Debt is a fiction, and doesn't reveal the $10Ts that have been looted and disappeared, jyst like the Israeli junta in Kiev.

Prognostication is now reduced to the Oracle of Delphi level. Chicken bones. Quequeg.

Posted by: Chipnik | Oct 15 2017 4:38 utc | 37

@35 flankerbandit

I had to look up bathos. Great point. History would approve.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 15 2017 4:56 utc | 38

"Stinks to high heaven" worried me a bit too, but if b was put away and somebody had taken over the site, it would be the yanks rather than the pom's. Then again, maybe it is MI6.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2017 4:57 utc | 39

Since we seem to be parsing the entrails of owls with the "Stinks to high heaven" phraseology from b, let me add more english/monotheistic snark...

So if something stinks like hell is that the same place as high heaven?

According to the Intertubes you can also hope to high heaven and shriek to high heaven but couldn't find any discussion of the specific corner of heaven called high.

And I suppose if you want to get really insightful you could fault b's understanding of english by saying that he should have used the stunk like hell to damn those folks more than some nebulous place in high heaven.....grin

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 15 2017 5:27 utc | 40

westc0ast | Oct 14, 2017 9:48:43 PM | 26
It is Hezbollah, not Hizbullah.

Not true or correct.
There are many spellings, including both of those.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Oct 15 2017 6:03 utc | 41

“Never believe anything until it is officially denied.”

~ Credited to Otto von Bismarck way back in the late 19th century

I have seen this credited to Claude Cockburn, an Irish communist reporter active in the 1930s. Somehow I doubt von Bismarck would have said any such thing.

Posted by: ToivoS | Oct 15 2017 6:08 utc | 42

@18 The Great Test, soon to begin..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 15 2017 6:29 utc | 43

Since this is now a topic...I will say that, to my ear at least, b's writing voice sounds more appealing than many...

A writer with something to say, says it best without a lot of fancy words, rhetorical flourishes or some kind of pretensions...

Thoughts neatly arranged, in service of a message of substance...

This is more than can be said of many in the blogosphere...or even the so-called 'pros'...

I honestly just assumed that English is in fact this writer's first language...but it makes no difference...

What's refreshing is what's left out...particularly that tendency of certain writers to deliver from a in 'my qualifications/experience...blah, blah...'

Those writers that have the fortitude to stem that tendency, have my respect and ear...because it speaks of intellectual confidence that does not require the mental equivalent of elevator shoes...

As for the initial silly remark that started all this...I can say I was glad to hear Hoarsewhisperer shut the lid on this useless waste of mental bandwidth ...[plus I actually learned something about language...]

Being new here...I don't know how b does what he does...but I like it...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2017 6:55 utc | 44


while I agree that 'Test' is coming, I would not call it soon.

Once the Deir Ezzour airport is militarily functional, I think the SAA will first cross the Euphrates and take control of the oil fields opposite Mayadin to the east (but will not go all the way east to the Iraqi border) before moving south to Abu Kamal to seal the Saudi border and cut that supply line. Second it will swing back south and west to take the T3 pumping station, those oil fields and Al Tanf to then seal the Jordanian border - and then close the pocket formed by that circle. Only once that pocket is closed will it return east and north along the Iraqi border until it meets up with the SDF just NE of Deir Ezzour.

As long as the Idlib pocket remains silent the 'Test' will proceed. The key sign will be the placing of S300, pantsir and perhaps S400 missiles in Deir Ezzour. Without these missiles close at hand, the confrontation cannot occur. (they were just placed outside of Homs to control south and central Syria) - a message to Israel. The missiles in Deir Ezzour will be a message to the US/Kurds.

With ISIS removed from Syria, Syria and Russia will demand/request the US to leave. Then in the name of controlling their national resources the SAA will move to take the oil fields east of Deir Ezzour - currently under SDF control. Will the US intervene? Will the Kurds cut a deal, or series of deals? or will the Kurds fight?

'Soon'? - I would put it at the end of November at the earliest as the Russians like to give any 'request' time to happen. I definitely think it will be before the year is out but such opinions come easy when sitting in front of a computer.

Posted by: les7 | Oct 15 2017 7:34 utc | 45

LES 7 no. 18.
"Antioch" was given to the Turks by the League of Nations after a plebicite. It is not occupied, it is an internationally recognized part of Turkey.

The intervention of Cyprus was carried out legally under an internationally legal treaty between the three guarantors: Britain, Greece and Turkey. Until an agreement is reached by the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, the Turkish troops can legally remain in Cyprus per that international agreement. Anything the UN "passes" is irrelevant as it cannot invalidate a legal treaty.

Note: it is the Greek Cypriot side which is preventing an agreement, not the Turkish, as evident from the Turks voting for the Annan plan in 2004 and the Greeks voting against. One sticking point, is that the Greeks do not want another guarantor treaty. This so that any Turkish intervention in the future would thereby be illegal, unlike the present intervention.

Posted by: Blue | Oct 15 2017 7:35 utc | 46

LES @ 18
I should add that what Turkey may be up to now in Syria is nothing like Hatay or Cyprus. Erdoğan is less interested in legal niceties.

Posted by: Blue | Oct 15 2017 7:40 utc | 47

Tomorrow's headlines:
"Masterminds of Paris attacks free to leave Raqqa with their Yazidi sex slaves as hostages and human shields".
Fixed it for you.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 15 2017 8:10 utc | 48

Fabrice Balanche said in a radio interview today that the Mosul final battle took ca 40,000 civilians and that in the case of Raqqa the deal was arranged to avoid huge numbers of casualties + that the coalition refuses to release the number of victims for their bombing of Raqqa in the last months so that we'll never know.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 15 2017 8:12 utc | 49

The pic that won't be on the frontpage

Posted by: Mina | Oct 15 2017 10:53 utc | 50

@10, good point

Ellen Brown discussed this relative to Libya in 2011. Now Russia, China and Iran seem to be at the forefront of working on an alternative international currency. An international currency needs a combination of trust and power. Those traits are shifting to the Russia/China/Iran sphere.

The handling of the 2008 financial crisis by bailing out Wall Street and enabling massive fraud in the financial sector helped tip this curve.


“The most renegade of the lot could be Libya and Iraq, the two that have actually been attacked. Kenneth Schortgen Jr., writing on, noted, “[s]ix months before the US moved into Iraq to take down Saddam Hussein, the oil nation had made the move to accept Euros instead of dollars for oil and this became a threat to the global dominance of the dollar as the reserve currency and its dominion as the petrodollar.”

According to a Russian article titled “Bombing of Lybia – Punishment for Ghaddafi for His Attempt to Refuse US Dollar,” Qaddaffi made a similarly bold move: he initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar. Qaddafi suggested establishing a united African continent, with its 200 million people using this single currency. During the past year, the idea was approved by many Arab countries and most African countries. The only opponents were the Republic of South Africa and the head of the League of Arab States. The initiative was viewed negatively by the USA and the European Union, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy calling Libya a threat to the financial security of mankind; but Qaddafi was not swayed and continued his push for the creation of a united Africa.”

Posted by: financial matters | Oct 15 2017 12:37 utc | 51

Reuters with a some drops on the issue - U.S. also allowed foreign ISIS fighters to leave Raqqa.

Raqqa evacuation included some foreign fighters: local official

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Some, but not all, foreign Islamic State fighters have left Syria’s Raqqa city on Sunday as part of a withdrawal deal with U.S.-backed militias, a local official told Reuters on Sunday.

and U.S.-backed SDF to let Syrian Islamic State fighters leave Raqqa

Omar Alloush, a member of Raqqa’s Civil Council, said the evacuation would include foreign fighters. He said it would take place overnight into Sunday. The jihadists would be taking some 400 civilians with them as human shields, he said.

The "human shields" are the families of the fighters.

Posted by: b | Oct 15 2017 13:59 utc | 52

re: “We do not condone any arrangement that allows Daesh terrorists to escape Raqqah without facing justice, only to resurface somewhere else."
Syria: Local militants evacuate as Raqqa battle nears end

BEIRUT — The U.S.-led coalition and local officials said Saturday that Syrian Islamic State fighters and civilians will be allowed to evacuate Raqqa, a deal that signals the imminent capture of the city but flouts earlier U.S. protests of negotiating safe exits for the extremist group.
Foreign fighters will be excluded from the evacuation deal, the coalition said.
The U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said the final battle for Raqqa was underway, apparently propelled by negotiation efforts that secured the surrender and evacuation of dozens of Syrian militants still holed up in the city.
In a statement, the U.S.-led coalition said a convoy of vehicles was set to leave Raqqa following the deal brokered by a local council formed by their Kurdish allies and Arab tribal leaders.
The tribal leaders said they appealed to the coalition and the SDF to allow the evacuation of local Islamic State fighters to stem further violence.
"Because our aim is liberation not killing, we appealed to the SDF to arrange for the local fighters and secure their exit to outside of the city, with our guarantees," the tribal leaders said in a statement. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2017 14:01 utc | 53

There ISIS is free to openly train new forces. The area is safe from Syrian and Russian attacks. The Israeli airforce keeps anyone away who might be hostile to ISIS.

The link to the article quotes Nuttyahoo as saying that he is not going to tolerate ISIS at Israel's border very much longer.

Like the cat with the canary in his mouth. "What canary?"

Re: Br'er Rabbit and the Brier Patch.

Posted by: fast freddy | Oct 15 2017 14:17 utc | 54

So? All is fair in love and war as much as we like to condemn the hypocrisy. We do now get to view the relative strengths of the opposing forces. The Syrian-Russian side relocates ISIS with some difficulty to a zone not in heir control while the NATO-YPG side does it freely within their zone of control. showing us a not quite equal strength both on the battlefield or in the backroom dealings,

So far the YPG-SDF has been getting a relatively free ride but when the battle and war turns their way to either put up or shut up I wonder what the Kurdish leadership will choose for their people?

Posted by: BRF | Oct 15 2017 14:33 utc | 55

As for b's use of English...

Not complaining at all. Just pointing out that I've noticed (or imagined) a subtle change in idiom.

Nor was I implying that b's English is lacking in any way. Only that it sounds different lately.

He's been keeping this show running, apparently by himself, for a long time. A tough job for sure, and there'd be nothing wrong with taking on help now and then.

At the same time, I notice more anger and elderly tantrums sneaking in at the expense of intelligent comment. (Hoarsewhisperer and James, that would be you.) Maybe just an aging readership growing cranky. :)

Posted by: Ken Nari | Oct 15 2017 14:39 utc | 56

Ken Nari | Oct 15, 2017 10:39:47 AM | 55

I saw no enmity in your original post; just surmising at what you percieved as differences.
A bit reactionary? Sure. Age? Who knows; possibly.
In any event; water off a duck's back, yes?

Posted by: V. Arnold | Oct 15 2017 14:55 utc | 57

The Washington Post has found a new name for ISIS. They are now "local militants" ...

Deal reached to evacuate civilians, local militants from ISIS-held Raqqa

BEIRUT — Preparations are underway to evacuate civilians from the Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa under the terms of a deal that could also see local militants boarding the buses.

Posted by: b | Oct 15 2017 14:56 utc | 58

@ ken nari

Aw for cripes' sakes...

Give it a rest're just continuing to throw up useless noise that for me is irritating and a waste of time...

When I hear something from you actually worth the time it takes to read it I will be amazed...


Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2017 15:03 utc | 59

@Ken Nari @14

It is still the same b and he is still writing without any help (except from commentators who point out mistakes).

My writing may have improved a bit over the years. I am still capable of learning ;-)

The quality usually depends on the time I put into a piece. The above took some 4 hours of writing, editing and reedit. (This does not include the very significant time I invest in research and the continuous collecting of links and information). When I don't have that much time to write/edit the quality of the pieces and language I use is lower.

Posted by: b | Oct 15 2017 15:05 utc | 60

@55 ken... i thought you might be responding to my comment.. how very childish, but hey - continue.. i don't see your comment as adding much of anything to the discussion, although it's cloaked in politeness.. for that, some folks will give you high marks!

Posted by: james | Oct 15 2017 15:18 utc | 61

More hypocrisy. SOHR may not be that trustworthy but they are reporting something that makes their buddies look bad.

I can't help but laugh when I see a new "coalition" ally in this case the Syria Democratic Forces. Are they truly Democratic or only for themselves acting as lackeys for others? Whatever happened to al Nusra/Jayesh whatever Sham and the White Helmets?

Posted by: Curtis | Oct 15 2017 15:47 utc | 62

PS I realize that article link is a posting from Carnegie Endowment so take with some grains of salt. But it is an interesting point of view of who/what SDF is ... maybe.

Posted by: Curtis | Oct 15 2017 15:48 utc | 63

Blue @ 46 said...

'...The intervention of Cyprus was carried out legally under an internationally legal treaty between the three guarantors: Britain, Greece and Turkey. Until an agreement is reached by the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, the Turkish troops can legally remain in Cyprus per that international agreement. Anything the UN "passes" is irrelevant as it cannot invalidate a legal treaty...'

All of this comes as complete news to me...

As I understand it...Cyprus independence came about in way of the London-Zurich 'Treaty of Guarantee...'

Article 1 states...

'...It Republic of Cyprus] undertakes not to participate, in whole or in part, in any political or economic union with any State whatsoever. It accordingly declares prohibited any activity likely to promote, directly or indirectly, either union with any other State or partition of the Island...'

Article 4 of the Treaty says...

'...In so far as common or concerted action may not prove possible, each [of] the three guaranteeing Powers reserves the right to take action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty...'

Turkey's invasion in 1974 is in violation of this provision, even though they appear to want to use it as legal cover...

The violation is the fact that the Turkish invasion did not act to 'restore the state of affairs' agreed to in the treaty...but to in fact carry out actions prohibited by that, partition and declaration of independence etc...

This violation brought about four UN Security Council Resolutions...from 1974 to 1984 [365, 367, 541, 550]...

Each resolution more unequivocal than the last in ruling the illegality of the Turkish independence of ambassadors etc...

I believe your interpretation that UNSC resolutions take a back seat to multilateral treaties among nations is not factually valid...

The UNSC is the ultimate arbiter of international law...

' is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states...'

UNSC Resolution 550 [1984] is the final say in this matter as of now...

Although it does not order the Turkish military to withdraw...the UNSC could do so and it would be the final say in international law...

Therefore it is stretching facts to say the Turkish military is there 'legally' is there because they haven't been asked to leave...[yet...]

that is not the same as 'legally...'

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2017 16:04 utc | 64

Patrick Cockburn: Underground in Raqqa

Next conflict: Kurdistan.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 15 2017 16:14 utc | 65

les7 @ 45...

good take on the game playing out in Deir Ezzor province and possible moves by the good guys...thank you...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2017 16:18 utc | 66

Add to 64
Sputnik News:VSyria: Russian 'Transparent Interests' vs Murky US Claims - Kurdish Politician

Müslim praised Russia’s role in Syria, saying that Moscow has significantly helped the "legitimate Syrian government" led by President Bashar Assad and "changed the balance of power" in the region.

"We [Syrian Kurds] hope that it is Russia who will play the key role in the democratic solution of the Syrian crisis," he said.

Looks like someone has lost a proxy.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 15 2017 16:20 utc | 67

let me add more english/monotheistic snark...

So if something stinks like hell is that the same place as high heaven?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 15, 2017 1:27:07 AM | 40

My 2 cents: (a) monotheism, in the hind sight, seems to be a mistake. That said, deities of Iron Age vintage have a keen interest in body fluids and related stuff, so I can imagine one of them sniffing with interest what reaches Him from below. Concerning the existence of high heaven, we have troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere. More spiritual heaven has the Lord on top, and then layers occupied by Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels (I was surprised that they are actually rather close to Earth!), Angels. Statements like the one discussed in the post are reputed to be body exhalation, and as that stink wafts higher, it can be filtered out by the denizens of the intermediate levels, or passed through on the account of hilarity, things that have to be noted during the Last Judgment etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 15 2017 16:37 utc | 68

OT, has anyone got any links or evidence of Putin/Russia calling out Israel/AIPAC/Saudi Arabia for it's obvious influence on Merican politics?
It seems rather strange I haven't seen any media stating or showing this as it seems an obvious tit for tat given the circumstances. Thanks in advance.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | Oct 15 2017 17:01 utc | 69

The claimed authorship of this article stinks to high heaven as a result of the use of the phrase 'stinks to high heaven'. If olfactory metaphors are the order of the day, then I smell a rat

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Oct 15 2017 17:47 utc | 70

somebody @ 64...

Patrick Cockburn is an extremely useful idiot to the Zio-Atlanticist empire...

He is cagey enough to throw up enough truth dust to appeal to anti-establishment folks who are not easily fooled...yet knows precisely the boundary to which he can push his truthiness...

Which means he must, by necessity, occasionally slip into disneyland territory...

This latest article is actually a worthwhile read...and in fact many of his are...

'...As a US military ally against IS from 2014, the Syrian Kurds field an army about 50,000 strong. Their fighters are now moving into eastern Syria, where they will confront advancing troops of the Syrian army...

'A collision is probable and its outcome uncertain, but for the Kurds it is fraught with danger, since they can’t know what American policy towards them will be under Trump...'

And there's the disney moment...

This is pure US mouthed recently by various SDF spokespuppet warnings to SAA...

Cockburn dazzles us with breathtaking footwork about first-hand accounts of ISIS tunnels...only to drop the core infowar message that the SAA [BAD] is about to lower the hammer on the poor SDF...

What a load...

The facts of the matter are clear to anyone paying attention...and as articulated here quite succinctly by les 7 @ 45...

Nobody gives a crap about SDF in eastern Syria [except maybe Erdo...but that's another story]...

SAA, directed by Russian competent military men, is moving methodically to regain the last ISIS territory in southeast Syria...which includes the oil fields on the west bank of the Euphrates and south of the Khabur river...

And more important, the Iraqi frontier...

SAA have already taken Mayadin...the last IS stronghold in Syria, except for Bukamal on the Iraq border...

This whole hair-on-fire US crap about an SAA confrontation with the SDF is farcical on its face to anyone who cares to look at a map...

It is desperate yowling signifying nothing...just like Trumpenstein's hot air about Korea and Iran...

What we have seen from the US side is dirty tricks...including tag-teaming with ISIS through the SDF franchise [as per the current article on this site]...

And the odd pinprick provocation against SAA and even Russian personnel...[which, I suspect has been repaid already by an accidental Kh-101 shot on US SOF embedded with ISIS]

I opined some days ago that the SDF had shot its bolt in Deir Ezzor...and indeed they have not made any gains since fact the ISIS has rallied and counterattacked at the Jaffra oil field and the area is again contested...

And now we have reports from southfront that a new and heretofore unknown 'FSA' unit is launching small scale attacks against SDF in the Hasaka area...

This is actually far from the action on the ISIS front in Deir Ezzor province...but it may foretell of much bigger problems in the context of the coming infighting between the Kurds and the Arabs that the US has coaxed into this crazy and unworkable coalition it calls the SDF...

Everybody knows this conglomeration has clay feet...and is bound to disintegrate of its own weight...

Everyone except the famous and insightful war correspondent Cockburn...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2017 18:03 utc | 71

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 14, 2017 11:41:44 PM | 32

Actually, I also had wider reasons why I did not want to put Iraqi chances for Kirkuk too high.

On the positive side, the Shi'a troops/militias are very fanatical. If Sistani oks it, as I think he does, they are not too bothered about dying in the cause of the Imam (though they don't do suicide attacks). Sistani is for the unity of Iraq, I believe.

On the negative side, Israeli advisors are evidently in the Kurdish command centre, advising away. They may be able to persuade the Yanks to help the Kurds subtly, though open help is out of the question. The Yanks evidently are also with the Iraqi command, and may leak sensitive military information to the Kurds. Trump will not be told.

The Iraqi government have still done nothing to reconcile the Sunni Arab community. Northern Iraq is like a militarily occupied country. The Sunnis are flat, having lost on all fronts. The hostility to the Shi'a army/militias was very evident to me. The question will be whether the Arab community of Kirkuk (and the Turcomans) will go over to the Baghdad government or not. It's rather questionable.

The Kurds will resist. Kirkuk is their only active oil-field. However, the US has just said it will stop paying the salaries of the Peshmerga. KRG being bankrupt, I don't know how the Peshmerga will react to not being paid, again.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 15 2017 19:46 utc | 72

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15, 2017 2:03:21 PM | 71

Cockburn is very pro-Kurdish. He drinks up any word uttered by the people in Erbil. That's enough to explain what he says.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 15 2017 20:01 utc | 73

@72 Laguerre

Thank you for taking the time to share this detail. This offers a more life-like appreciation of the situation.

So Kirkuk is a place with many stakeholders, all of them with true interests - more like a story about to unfold, than something which history has already decided.

A certain sympathy goes out to all parties involved. This sounds like the kind of impasse where you just want some Russians to come in and sort everything out through serious negotiations.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 15 2017 20:10 utc | 74

On Iran, the principal crisis now is not the JCPOA, it seems to me, it is the possibility of war with Iran because the US has a policy of killing terrorists and even suspected terrorists, and also those deemed guilty of supporting terrorists (e.g. Taliban). The "war on terror" is a terrible thing and it may be about to get worse regarding Iran.
The US Congress and State Department have accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of supporting terrorism. They have not labeled the IRGC as terrorists. But President Trump has said: "The Revolutionary Guard is the Iranian Supreme Leader’s corrupt personal terror force and militia." It's not a formal declaration, but close to it, and the formal declaration may come because the US-supported Syria regime change forces have been defeated by the IRGC and the US seeks revenge.
Previous to this, IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said: "If the scattered news about the stupidity of the U.S. government regarding the IRGC as a terrorist group is correct, the Guards will also consider the American military all over the world, especially the Middle East, as equal to Daesh." That would mirror the US policy of war on"terrorists," an imprecise sobriquet that applies to many groups, the principal qualifier being US dislike of the group.
Iran is saying, in essence, what's fit for the goose is fit for the gander. You designate terrorists and kill them, and if it's us then we will counter you.
A war is an easy thing to start but difficult to end as we have learned.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2017 20:39 utc | 75

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15, 2017 4:39:44 PM | 75

A war with Iran will only occur if the US decides to attack Iran, no-one else will start one. The US may start droning Iran, intended to provoke a war. I don't know how the Iranians will react, the best reaction would be sub-military. Knock the drones out of the sky, for example.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 15 2017 21:02 utc | 76

Grieved @74

Very well stated!

Posted by: les7 | Oct 16 2017 0:38 utc | 77

Given that the AmeriKKKans have admitted that the CIA invented Al-CIA-duh in the 1980s to thwart Russia's joint stabilisation efforts with Afghanistan, in Afghanistan, how much credibility would AmeriKKKa have in 2017 if the MSM's reptiles had called Al-CIA-duh Al-CIA-duh from the outset, instead of Al Qaeda?

Is it too late to banish the label Al-Qaeda from the lexicon and start calling it by its correct name?
Lets find out...
One suspects that it's not too late. Much future fraud, angst and strife could be avoided, and the perps of the Fake War on Terror could be fingered 24/7/365, if everybody, henceforth, resolved to refer to Al-CIA-duh as Al-CIA-duh and only Al-CIA-duh.

In 1954 Kitty Kallen sang Little Things Mean A Lot.
Despite the confusion inspired by Identity Politics, Little Things probably still mean as much in 2017 as they did way back in the Good Old Days of 1954, if not more so.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 16 2017 3:50 utc | 78

the children go back home to live in their parents basement....

Posted by: a | Oct 16 2017 9:31 utc | 79

The Guardian has an article about the "fall" of Raqqa with not a single mention of the deals done to secure the "victory". Just so much fake news.

Posted by: Ghostship | Oct 17 2017 13:20 utc | 80

The comments to this entry are closed.