Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 23, 2017

Syria - This U.S. Occupation - Or "Presence" - Is Unsustainable

[It takes time and effort to write such analyses. Please consider to support their publication.]

The U.S. is now occupying north-east Syria. It wants to blackmail the Syrian government into "regime change". The occupation is unsustainable, its aim is unattainable. The generals who devised these plans lack strategic insight. They listen to the wrong people.

The Islamic State no longer holds any significant ground in Syria and Iraq. What is left of it in a few towns of the Euphrates valley will soon be gone. Its remnants will be some of several terror gangs in the region. Local forces can and will hold those under adequate control. The Islamic State is finished. This is why the Lebanese Hizbullah announced to pull back all its advisors and units from Iraq. It is the reason why Russia began to repatriated some of its units from Syria. Foreign forces are no longer needed to eliminate the remains of ISIS.

Map by Southfront - bigger

In its UN Security Council resolutions 2249 (2015) for the fight against ISIS the UNSC was:

Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and unity of all States in accordance with purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter,
Calls upon Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter, ... on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq, to redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL ... and entities associated with Al-Qaida ... and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria;

There is no longer any "territory under the control of ISIL". Its "safe havens" have been "eradicated". The task laid out and legitimized in the UNSC resolution is finished. It is over. There is no longer any justification, under UNSC Res 2249, for U.S. troops in Syria or Iraq.

Other legal justifications, like an invitation from the legitimate governments of Syria and Iraq, could apply. But while Syria has invited Russian, Iranian and Lebanese forces to stay in its country it has not invited U.S. forces. These are now illegally occupying Syrian land in the north-east of the country. The Syrian government explicitly called it such.

(One wonder how long it will take the sanctimonious European Union to sanction the U.S. for its egregious breach of international law and for violating the sovereignty of Syria.)

According to official documents more than 1,700 U.S. troops are currently in Syria. The publicly announced number is only 500. "Temporary" forces make the up the difference. (Overall U.S. troop numbers in the Middle East have increased by 33% over the last four month. The numbers doubled in Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. No explanation has been given for these increases.)

The U.S. troops in Syria are allied with the Kurdish YPG. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the internationally designated Kurdish terrorist organization PKK. Only about 2-5% of the Syrian population are of Kurdish-Syrian descent. Under U.S. command they now control more than 20% of Syrian state territory and some 40% of its hydrocarbon reserves. This is thievery on a grand scale.

To disguise its cooperation with the Kurdish terrorists, the U.S. renamed the group into the "Syrian Democratic Forces" (SDF). Some Arab fighters from east Syrian tribes were added to it. These are mostly former foot-soldiers of ISIS who changed sides when the U.S. offered better pay. Other fighters were pressed into service. The people of the Syrian-Arab city Manbij, which is occupied by the YPG and U.S. forces, protested when the YPG started to violently conscript its youth.

New troops were added to the SDF during the last days when ISIS fighters escaped from the onslaught of Syrian and Iraq forces in Abu Kamal (aka Albu Kamal aka Bukamal). They fled northwards towards YPG/U.S. held areas. Like other ISIS fighters the U.S. helped to escape their deserved punishment these forces will be relabeled and reused.

The Russian Ministry of Defense accused the U.S. of blocking the lower airspace over Abu Kamal while its Syrian allies were trying to liberate it. For eight days Russian high flying long range bombers had to come all the way from Russia to provide support for its troops on the ground. In a recent TV speech the leader of the Lebanese Hizbullah, Hassan Nasrallah, accused the U.S. troops in Syria of providing drone intelligence to ISIS in Abu Kamal. ISIS used it to shell Syrian and allied forces. Several high officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed in such attacks. Nasrallah also said that the U.S. used electronic warfare measures to disable the radios of the attacking force. He said that it rescued fleeing ISIS troops. Nasrallah's accusations are consistent with reports from the ground. (The U.S. and its allies also continue to supply other terrorist groups in north-west and the south-west of Syria.)

Neither Nasrallah nor the IRGC will forget those misdeeds. The operation commander of the IRGC, General Quasem Soleimani, recently reported to Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei:

All these crimes have been designed and implemented by US leaders and organizations, according to the acknowledgement of the highest-ranking US official who is currently president of the United States; moreover, this scheme is still being modified and implemented by current American leaders.

The U.S. has changed its rule of engagements and unofficially declared a no-fly zone for Russian and Syrian planes on the east side of the Euphrates. It says that it will attack any force that crosses the river to pursue ISIS. It is openly protecting its terrorists.

Ten days ago the U.S. Secretary of Defense General (rtd) Mattis announced U.S. intentions to illegally occupy Syria:

The U.S. military will fight Islamic State in Syria “as long as they want to fight,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday, describing a longer-term role for U.S. troops long after the insurgents lose all of the territory they control.
“We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction,” he added.
Turkey said on Monday the United States had 13 bases in Syria and Russia had five. The U.S-backed Syrian YPG Kurdish militia has said Washington has established seven military bases in areas of northern Syria.

A report in today's Washington Post is more specific. The fitting headline: U.S. moves toward open-ended presence in Syria after Islamic State is routed:

The Trump administration is expanding its goals in Syria beyond routing the Islamic State to include a political settlement of the country’s civil war ..
With forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies now bearing down on the last militant-controlled towns, the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria could be imminent — along with an end to the U.S. justification for being there.

U.S. officials say they are hoping to use the ongoing presence of American troops in northern Syria, in support of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to pressure Assad to make concessions at United Nations-brokered peace talks in Geneva.
An abrupt U.S. withdrawal could complete Assad’s sweep of Syrian territory and help guarantee his political survival — an outcome that would constitute a win for Iran, his close ally.

To avoid that outcome, U.S. officials say they plan to maintain a U.S. troop presence in northern Syria — where the Americans have trained and assisted the SDF against the Islamic State — and establish new local governance, apart from the Assad government, in those areas.
“By placing no timeline on the end of the U.S. mission . . . the Pentagon is creating a framework for keeping the U.S. engaged in Syria for years to come,” [said Nicholas Heras of the Washington-based Center for a New American Security.]

Even the propaganda writers at the Washington Post admit that there is no longer any justification for a U.S. presence in Syria. The U.S. intent is to commit blackmail: "to pressure Assad to make concessions". The method to do so is military "presence". There is no way that Syrian government and its people will give in to such blackmail. They did not fight for over six years to give up their sovereignty to U.S. intrigue. They will call the U.S. bluff.

No military handbook includes "presence" as a military mission. There are no rules for such an undefined task. The last time the U.S. used the term was in the early 1980s during the civil war in Lebanon. The task of U.S. troops stationed in Beirut was defined as showing military "presence". After such units and naval forces of the U.S. interfered on one side of the civil war, an aggrieved party took revenge against the U.S. and French military stationed in Beirut. Their barracks were blown up, 241 U.S. and 58 French soldiers died. U.S. military "presence" in Beirut ended.

The U.S. military "presence" in Syria is likewise doomed.

The U.S. alliance with the YPG/PKK pushes Turkey into an alliance with Russia, Iran and Syria. Several thousand Turkish soldiers and civilians have died due to PKK attacks. Last week Russian transports planes crossed through Turkish air space on their flights from Russia to Syria. This was a first. The U.S. had urged its NATO allies, including Turkey, to prevent such flights and Russian planes had to take the longer route through Iranian and Iraqi air space. Due to the U.S. alliance with the YPG and for many other reasons Turkey feels alienated from the U.S. and NATO. It is moving into the "resistance" camp.

The northern border between Turkey and Syria is thus closed for U.S. supplies to its forces in north-east Syria. Towards the west and south Syrian forces and their allies prohibit any U.S. supplies. Iraqi Kurdish territory to the east is for now the only way for a land supply route. But the government in Baghdad is allied with Iran and Syria and it is pushing to regain control over all the border posts of Iraq, including those still held by the Kurds and used by the U.S forces. Several Iraqi militia who fought ISIS under Iraqi government command have announced their hostility to U.S. forces. The Iraqi government may try to reign them in but they will hardly vanish. The U.S. land supply route through Iraqi-Kurdish areas can thus be closed at any time. The same goes for any air space around Syria's north-east.

The north-east of Syria is surrounded by forces hostile to the U.S. On top of that many Syrian people in the now occupied north-eastern Syria continue to be loyal to the Syrian state. Syrian, Turkish, Iranian and Hizbullah intelligence are working on the ground. There are lots of local Arabs hostile to Kurdish overbearance. The U.S. bases, outposts and all its transports in the area may soon come under sustained fire. While Russia said that it will not intervene against the U.S. allied SDF forces, many other entities have motives and means to do so.

The mission of the 1,700+ U.S. troops in north-east Syria is undefined. Their supply routes are unsecured and can be blocked by its enemies at any time. The local population is largely hostile to them. All of the surrounding countries and entities have reasons to attain the end of any U.S. presence in the area as soon as possible. It would require a ground force that is at least ten-twenty times larger to secure the U.S. presence and its communication and supply routes.

The presence is as useless and unsustainable as the southern U.S. presence at al-Tanaf.

Trump had spoken out against such occupation and interference in the Middle East:

The U.S. president [..] campaigned on a pledge to avoid getting sucked into intractable conflicts.

The military junta that controls Trump and the White House, (former) generals McMaster, Kelly and Mattis, are not acting in the interest of the United States, its citizens and troops.

They are following the call of the Zionist Jewish Institute for National Security of America which is pushing for a war on all Iran related entities and interests in the Middle East. JINSA advertises its huge influence on the higher U.S. officer corps. It is not by chance that a recent speech at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington described The U.S. Military as a Zionist Organization. But like other such wish-wash, it fails to explain why unquestioned support for a colony of east-European racist in west Asia is of "American interest".

The military mission of the U.S. occupation force in north-east Syria is undefined. It positions are not sustainable. The aim this "presence" is said to have is unattainable. There is no larger concept into which it fits.

The generals ruling the White House may be tactical geniuses in their fields. They are neophytes when it comes to strategy. They blindly follow the siren call of the Lobby only to again wreak the U.S. ship of state on the cliffs of Middle Eastern realities.

Posted by b on November 23, 2017 at 15:05 UTC | Permalink


US forces in Syria coming under sustained attack by all and sundry in the area sounds good. Sacrificial goats to take the US to war against Iran? as no doubt this will be portrayed in the US as Iranian aggression/terrorism directly against the US.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 23 2017 15:43 utc | 1

Gee, what a surprise, huh? Shame it only took 6 months for b and his naivety to come to terms with the planned occupation of Syria, which by the way has always been a part of the Zionist "ISIL aftermath plan".

P.S. Focus on what (((they))) do, not at what (((they))) say, especially in "public"...

P.P.S. Death to the Anglo-Zionist Empire and all its peons!

Posted by: LXV | Nov 23 2017 15:52 utc | 2

good post b.. thank you.. some quotes "Foreign forces are no longer needed to eliminate the remains of ISIS." but foreign forces were needed to sustain and perpetuate ISIS, and the usa continues to be an active partner in same agenda in all this... as friend of saudi arabia and israel, they continue to support the reason for this paid for mercenary armed group - getting rid of assad, carving up syria and to a lesser extent being a caliphate for the whackjobs ideology..

"...a recent speech at the Jewish Policy Center in Washington described The U.S. Military as a Zionist Organization"... someone was speaking the truth..

Posted by: james | Nov 23 2017 15:55 utc | 3

Superb article which I will be sharing with others in my circle. When you wrote at the start of the article: "The generals who devised these plans lack strategic insight. They listen to the wrong people" I said to myself, I hope he points out that a lot of those wrong people are Israelis or Israel-firsters. And at the end you did, thank God. From what I can see, key parts of DoD are getting more and more Zionized - and not just at the top, but in the enlisted ranks as well.

Posted by: Mantiq al-Tayr | Nov 23 2017 16:20 utc | 4

Good post, laying bare the hypocrisy. The WA POST piece cannot avoid contradictions in the propaganda spewed onto Syria over the years with its "no excuse to remain" vs. "loss to Iran" in which Iran-Assad are conjoined to wash the American populace with "monsters" and "barrel bombs." The "no excuse" is contradicted to "concessions at the UN for the kurds from Assad." Tell an American the Syrians support Assad (including returning refugees) and you'll get a stupefied rejection and "no way." As of last January that was 55% and I guess that's higher now.

Posted by: Sid2 | Nov 23 2017 16:22 utc | 5

In a previous post I expected the US to do exactly that. Stay in Syria.

This is what the Zionist Master wants. and what he wants, he gets.

Russia does not want to go to war with America at this point. At least,
they do not want to be accused of starting WWIII. They are taking steps
to face what is probably inexorable. ( like getting their industry ready for war)

The key element here is Turkey:

Turkey has a vital interest in keeping the Kurds at bay. And a sizable enough
Army. If they allow oil to flow through their border, then they would be accepting
the de facto Kurds entity.

If the Kurds realize that Erdogan will never allow them to sell oil through
Turkey and that the US will not be able to persuade him to do so, then they
will be forced to compose with Assad. Unless they open a road to the sea
with the thousand TOWs they supposedly have (and die doing it).

Of course, the real intention is for Iran to fall into the trap and attack
the US positions and pave the way to a declared war between Iran,
Saudi Arabia Israel and the US.

The Iranians are too fine chess players to fall into this trap. However, they
can be false flagged into it.

Militarily, Saudi Arabia is a non entity as its feud with the Houthis has amply
demonstrated. But war with the US/Israel combo will be too much to bear
for the Iranians, unless, of course, the Hezbollah, the Syrians,, The Irakis
and the Turks come to its defense.

So, the stage is set. The implacable will of the dog waggers will send us to
at least a regional war, at first, and from there on, WWIII?

Posted by: CarlD | Nov 23 2017 16:49 utc | 6

This would never happen, but if the Syrian forces surrounded the US contingent and set up S-400s to block air access, the US would have no choice but to leave as they wouldn't want to expose the fact their aircraft were defenseless against S-400s.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Nov 23 2017 16:51 utc | 7

b, correction: The Kurdish population in Syria is not 2%. It is somewhere around 2 million people, in the range of 10% of the Syrian population.

It's also a simplification to call the YPG "the Syrian branch" of the PKK. This is Erdogan parleur. In fact they have the same mentor Öcalan but unlike the PKK, the just five years old YPG has never used terrorist methods.

Posted by: CE | Nov 23 2017 16:55 utc | 8

Wow, great summary.

Some thoughts:
1) I think USA would say that that it’s “supporting allies” not occupying land - but the effect is essentially the same;

2) Adding to CE @8: It’s Erdogan’s animosity toward the Kurds that’s keeping YPG bound to USA, isn’t it? In that regard, he is actually helping the ‘Assad must go!’ Coalition. AFAICT Erdogan is a master of the ‘double game’;

3) Geneva vs Sochi: clarification please. AFAIK Geneva is UN authorized peace talks while Sochi is organized by R+6.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 23 2017 17:21 utc | 9

Interesting to read the comments on that WaPo article...many there expressing skepticism of US presence in Syria...

I have to quibble with that link to the supposed US imposed no fly zone on the left bank of Euphrates...that author linked to cites no sources for that...

Highly doubt anyone is going to stop Russians from flying anywhere in Syria...

In fact US is only flying in Syria with Russian it cooperation...deconfliction whatever...

I think we will see in the coming weeks how things shake out...Kurds are only 2 to 5 percent of Syria's population...but they now hold 20 percent of its territory...

The logistics problem for the US that b talks about in detail is a big issue...the Iraqis only need to push north to secure the rest of their border with Syria...and the SDF territory is sealed off...with enemies on each side...

Turks to the north...Assad to the west...and Iraq to the east and south...

That Omar field alone is 75,000 barrels a day...even at $50 a barrel that is $1.4 billion a year...

How is that oil going to get out of SDF land...?

Russia has already taken over much of the Iraqi oil pipelines...and Turks are not likely going to let PKK/SDF keep their project alive by letting oil go through Turkey...

Turkey is now even talking openly about leaving Nato...

The big picture is that the US is toast in West Asia...they have no credibility left and no one wants anything to do with them...

Even their dalliance with the Syrian Kurds is doomed to fail...for one thing there is no love lost between the Arab tribes that were those ISIS foot soldiers until a few weeks ago...when they were pressed into the Big Tent the US has made there in order to seize the oil and gas fields...

At the end of the day the Kurds will turn to Russia...and that will be game over for the US...

The fact that we have seen this bizarre Hariri escapade only shows the panic that has set in...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 23 2017 17:23 utc | 10

Yes, I agree. The US position is indeed unsustainable in the long run, and the same is true in Iraq now. I was surprised you didn't bring up Iraq in the article. If it's correct that the KRG Kurds have made a deal with Baghdad for abandonment of independence, and return to permanent autonomy, then the US has been cut out, with little future role.

Of course the US can't be forced out militarily. But there is the Achilles' Heel of the legal status of US troops, which tripped up Bush in 2008. There is no prospect of a future SOFA. The Syrians or the Iraqis could pick some US troops, even one, and put them on trial, on some charge or other. The resulting public fuss in the US could well lead to a new withdrawal, as there's no real point for the US to stay. That's just one example. One could imagine other ways of triggering a withdrawal. As was done by the Marine bombing in 1983.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 23 2017 17:26 utc | 11

Revelations of a High-Profile Qatari Official Reveal a Wider anti-Syria Conspiracy

It seems the former Prime Minister of Qatar has decided to blow the gaff of the phony Civil War created by the usual suspects.

Makes you wonder why. And why now?


Posted by: el sid | Nov 23 2017 17:28 utc | 12

Christ-Judeo Fascism at its best. These are Fascists by religious affiliation. Their terror will continue until they all croaked. But they also have willful and eager successors, that are so devoid of any humanity that they should be removed from the face of the Earth and flown to a Moon Penal Colony for Fascists and terrorists, since they make up for 99% of all the terror on this planet.

Hopefully the Universe pulls the plug on christianity, judaism and islam soon, or all others will find themselves under the thumb of corporate Fascism the likes never seen before.

Fascists have a brand new toy and it will be necessary to destroy their chokehold on the American, European, Asian and African people before htey start using it on these populations to achieve their goals of total global "Endloesung". Everybody that is a threat to the MIC-Dictatorship will be exterminated this way:

So, no, no happy anything for the most murderous Nation to ever terrorize this planet in the name of their decrepit, hateful gods.

How much longer have innocent women, children and the elderly to die for Fascist US and EU MIC profits? Would a world without Fascism be boring? Is that what it is? Not enough drama in the world already, without any wars and 'state'/regime terror?

One is left to wonder what it really takes for this perversion to end.

May the Universe give all those who camp out for the 'black Friday' consumer frenzy come down with diarrhea. While these sad excuses for human beings engage in mindless consumerism, their masters are torching Earth and all life on it.

Not even Orwell could have envisioned how bad it really will be. 1984 is a hunch. The reality is infinitely more perverted in 2017 US.

And then this blatant hypocrisy about "Thanks-Giving". Disgusting how Fascism takes over every aspect of society.

Posted by: notheonly1 | Nov 23 2017 17:49 utc | 13

"Last week Russian transports planes crossed through Turkish air space on their flights from Russia to Syria. This was a first."

The Russian air force has been using Turkish airspace for its military actions from early October.

Russian humanitarian aid missions bringing aid from Rusia have been using the al Qamishli airbase close to the Turkish border since early September. While the aircraft could have flown through Iranianian, Iraqi and east Syrian airspace to get there from Russia, practicalities indicate access via Turkish airspace.

Posted by: Anonymous | Nov 23 2017 18:35 utc | 14

@ 8 regarding b's correction - [1] it is true that Syrian Kurds represent close to 10% or less of the total Syrian population. [2] b is correct in stating that YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK according to an article by Stephen Gowens
The Myth of the Kurds in Syria YPG’s Moral Excellence


Kurdish fighters in Syria operate under the name of the YPG, which is “tied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a radical guerrilla movement combining [anarchist ideas] with Kurdish nationalism. PKK guerrillas [have] fought the Turkish state from 1978” and the PKK is “classified as a terrorist organization by the European Union, Turkey and the U.S.”

Cemil Bayik is the top field commander of both the PKK in Turkey and of its Syrian incarnation, the YPG. Bayik “heads the PKK umbrella organization, the KCK, which unites PKK affiliates in different countries. All follow the same leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who has been in prison in Turkey” [4] since 1999, when he was apprehended by Turkish authorities with CIA assistance.

When PKK fighters cross the border into Turkey, they become ‘terrorists’, according to the United States and European Union, but when they cross back into Syria they are miraculously transformed into ‘guerrilla” fighters waging a war for democracy as the principal component of the Syrian Democratic Force. The reality is, however, that whether on the Turkish or Syrian side of the border, the PKK uses the same methods, pursues the same goals, and relies largely on the same personnel. The YPG is the PKK.

A second point worth remembering is that the YPG/PKK is engaging in ethnic cleansing of large multi-ethnic population areas:

“Large numbers of Arab residents populate the regions Kurds designate as their own.” The PKK has taken “over a large swath of territory across northern Syria—including predominantly Arab cities and towns.” Raqqa, and surrounding parts of the Euphrates Valley on which the PKK has set its sights, are mainly populated by Arabs, observes The Independent’s veteran foreign correspondent Patrick Cockburn—and the Arabs are opposed to Kurdish occupation.

Kurdish forces are not only “retaking” Christian and Muslim Arab towns in Syria, but are doing the same in the Nineveh province of Iraq—areas “which were never Kurdish in the first place. Kurds now regard Qamishleh, and Hassakeh province in Syria as part of ‘Kurdistan’, although they represent a minority in many of these areas.”

The PKK now controls 20,000 square miles of Syrian territory, or roughly 17 percent of the country, while Kurds represent less than eight percent of the population.

In their efforts to create a Kurdish region inside Syria, the PKK “has been accused of abuses by Arab civilians across northern Syria, including arbitrary arrests and displacing Arab populations in the name of rolling back Islamic State.” The PKK “has expelled Arabs and ethnic Turkmen from large parts of northern Syria,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The Journal additionally notes that human rights “groups have accused [Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish fighters] of preventing Arabs from returning to liberated areas.”

the YPG/PKK's goals and aims that b has been writing about for some time is echoed in this same article:

Representing an ethnic community that comprises less than 10 percent of the Syrian population, the PKK, a Kurdish anarchist guerrilla group which operates in both Turkey and Syria, is using the United States, its Air Force, Marine Corps, Army Rangers and Special Forces troops, as a force multiplier in an effort to impose a partition of Syria in which the numerically insignificant Kurd population controls a significant part of Syria’s territory, including areas inhabited by Arabs in the majority and in which Kurds have never been in the majority. To accomplish its aims, the PKK has not only struck a deal with a despotic regime in Washington which seeks to recolonize the Arab world, but is relying on ethnic cleansing and denial of repatriation of Arabs from regions from which they’ve fled or have been driven to establish Kurdish control of northern Syria, tactics which parallel those used by Zionist forces in 1948 to create a Jewish state in Arab-majority Palestine.

Posted by: thirsty | Nov 23 2017 19:09 utc | 15

@10 flankerbandit.. good post. thanks.

@ 13 notheonly1.. thanks for that video.. sounds about right...

Posted by: james | Nov 23 2017 19:10 utc | 16


What do you think about this article?

"These recently developed capabilities might well surpass any display of air power seen in military history thus far. They are based on an ability to use precise intelligence, combine it with precision-guided weaponry, and destroy up to several thousand targets in just a matter of hours."

Posted by: Nick | Nov 23 2017 19:17 utc | 17

I guess "occupation" is suggesting more than happens, i.e. one can wonder what kind of control can US forces exercise. They are probably paymasters, and as US military flights are not hindered over Iraq and Turkey (?), they can bring supplies. They can issue protests if SAA or Turks would attempt to enter the SDF triangle. But can they resolve conflicts between Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians? In principle, they can, but in practice, Americans were never good at it (e.g. why Afghanistan remains a mess? my guess is that the putative government side is fragmented into fiefdoms of local strongmen with assorted rivalries that Americans are not able to sort out, not that it is easy to prevent Afghans to stab each other in the back, but is it really impossible?).

Nevertheless, my impression is that Putin got some tacit support from Trump for "deconflicting" that allows to take care of taqfiris in stages. Logical macro-stages would be to (1) finish ISIS as a territorial force (they will be able to be a dangerous terrorist group for years), (2) then to pare down the size of Idlib "garbage can", apparently, by taking over the eastern part, and somewhat concurrently, (3) enclaves that are not connected to the southern jihadist territory (five, in my counting). At this time, two divisions with offensive capabilities are in Euphratus region, and they will change the balance of power after moving west. (4) Then the rest of the Idlib and the Jordan border. (5) SDF territories.

Russians promote formulae for local autonomy in "reconciliation deals", and there is a hope that the largest deal will be (6), finishing SDF as a supra-ethic indepenent administration. Syria and allies can protect them against Turkey, or not, and Turkey has many ways to harrass them. In the same time, American payroll or not, they will want some peaceful jobs, including jobs in Aleppo which probably will be restored as the main production center of "import substitution economy". A bit helpfully, it will take forever to lift EU sanctions.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 23 2017 19:18 utc | 18

i think Orlov is correct
ISIS did not start syria war and its defeat does not end the conflict
which usa/saudi/israel and other still continue to fight to get rid of assad
and take over syria

> People are already beginning to forget that in March 2011 the Syrian Civil War was started, not by DAESH and the other terrorist groups allied to it, but by the Sunni forces opposing B. Assad’s regime, including many well-known political and military figures who had until then been ‘friends’ of Damascus. And all that happened with the support of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, the U.S.A., France and England, just as Hamad bin Jassim explained in detail to the whole world in an interview with the B.B.C. Many Syrian officers and soldiers bribed by Washington and its allies fled to Turkey where they formed the Free Syrian Army, which was trained by Turkey and the U.S.A. using funds provided by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It was they that started the war. The other militant factions including DAESH and the Al-Nusra Front only appeared a lot later.

Posted by: mauisurfer | Nov 23 2017 19:27 utc | 19

In addition to the Qatar Prime Minister, the former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai (a person put into power by the U.S. occupation forces and widely seen as a puppet for his tenure) has been making the media circuit with revelations about U.S. collusion with the Taliban, terrorism and now ISIS. I have yet to see any coverage in western media

Hamid Karzai: US colluded with ISIL in Afghanistan

ISIS Using U.S. Bases in Afghanistan

for a full interview:Hamid Karzai Special: Former President of Afghanistan on the Legacy of US intervention

while Karzai was president of Afghanistan he had made similar charges of U.S. collusion, at that time the Taliban
U.S. Colluding with the Taliban

Posted by: thirsty | Nov 23 2017 19:34 utc | 20

Somebody asked laconically the other day if, now that the Syrian was was won, we could now retire the word "quagmire". The answer it appears is that we dust it off for the US, surrounded by hostiles in NE Syria, and stuck with a strategy racing towards failure.

I've long wondered why in the Astana talks and in all visible diplomatic moves, Syria has always been kept separate from the other players, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Iraq. As the big diplomatic peace negotiations now get underway, following the triumphant accord between Putin, Rouhani and Erdogan the other day - and with all of this obviously coordinated with Assad, from his own private meeting with Putin - where does this leave Syria?

Will it be Syria that starts to kill the US troops, visibly before the world, while the other nations stand legally aloof at the UN, supporting Syria's right to evict illegal occupiers from its lands while pleading for calm? Or will it be as simple as unknown local villagers in the night? Either way, the US is setting itself up for a massive humiliation here, one that it's been invoking for years.

As others have said, we'll see how all this shakes out over the next 2-3 weeks. It's important to remember that the US has invariably retreated behind smoke clouds of bluster and theater that always appear to be going forward aggressively, and that end in withdrawal. This will be the same thing. The more dire the position can be made to look, the greater the humiliation the US is trying to cover over.

Always remember that the US fights on two fronts, one in the outside world and one to its domestic propagandized population. The task of feeding the propaganda is by no means trivial, and we've long seen inordinate posturing from the US to keep the fodder fresh.

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 23 2017 19:42 utc | 21

after all the kurdish people have suffered and that go on suffering shirley it is time for the leading democratic nations france,israel,germany,uk and usa and norway to give to make a new home kurdistania. as we speak thousands of kurdish folk are alraedy leaving israel for this brave new exodus. what we have at the moment is a lack of clarity we really need hollywood someone like spielberg matt damon or ben aflick to make a movie or an imaginative documentary drama story of the actual actuality of the kurds suffering .which after the people of israel is second in it's horror show tables.
if the usa does not help kurdistania to grow then who.

Posted by: daniel moloch | Nov 23 2017 20:14 utc | 22

The Outlaw US Empire has always been in violation of UNSC 2249 due to its covert terrorist support, which has been shown as overt on several occasions. By calling Daesh essentially exterminated, the Empire is now gross violation of UNSC 2249; thus, Syria can cite said violation as grounds for whatever military operations it undertakes to secure its sovereignty--the Outlaw US Empire has zero grounds for any objection or retaliation: It's one and only option is to leave town and not return. In Iraq, the situation is more complicated, but the endgame will be the same as 2008.

If US soldiers want to wear hero as a moniker, they must defend their Service Oaths by attacking and defeating the Deep State that is the #1 enemy of the USA--only then can they be said to have "defended our freedoms."

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 23 2017 20:47 utc | 23

re moloch

Kurdish Jews moving from Israel to Erbil to reclaim their houses may be either premature or too late. The KRG is lacking a president since the departure of Mas'ud Barzani. He has not yet been replaced, but a deal has been made with Baghdad, to restore the previous KRG status of autonomy. May well be an internal battle over who will become president. The winner may not be pro-Israel. Indeed making a deal with Baghdad implies moving away from previous good relations between Barzani and Israel.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 23 2017 20:47 utc | 24

Wow. If it were a speech, she'd be brilliant. With the exception of certain one-sidedness of content, which makes the world more rational and logical than it is, I agree. At the same time I am pessimistic about it, the u. s. troops will be attacked and the answer, in contrast to the mentioned Lebanon case, will not be a retreat but an escalation.

Posted by: Pnyx | Nov 23 2017 20:54 utc | 25

Dm @ 22

The solution is simple... the Kurds need to get rid of their current "leaders" and replace them with ones that better represent the people

Come to think of it, most western countries need to do the same thing!

Posted by: xLemming | Nov 23 2017 21:13 utc | 26

@ xLemming | Nov 23, 2017 4:13:26 PM | 26

Depends what is in the new leadership. Many people in the ME, especially the young generation, are simply fed up with the different „...isms“. Baathism, Islamism, neo-Ottoman grandeur etc. They just want to live with a neutral state that does not try to sell to them by force any ideology. Such offers come only from the YPG in Syria and from the HDP in Turkey at this moment. The people of Syria support Assad apparently as he was able to keep things together, including the most important thing: defeating Sunni type Islamism. To admit no political power to people who want to enforce general rules based only on their own religion is the hidden constitution in whole Syria. But do not expect that they love Arabic nationalism that much.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Nov 23 2017 21:38 utc | 27

@ 22 daniel moloch - hasbara artist.. see how well it worked out with israel? and now you want to do the same with the kurds for all the same manipulative reasons... well, at least we know how israel thinks and of course what israel wants - israel must get!

Posted by: james | Nov 23 2017 21:39 utc | 28

ps - that qatar ex pm story sure has been making the rounds the past 4-5 days or so!

Posted by: james | Nov 23 2017 21:40 utc | 29

Posted by: Mina | Nov 23 2017 21:47 utc | 30

@ 30 mina - "Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir: "No country has provided more aid to Yemen than Saudi Arabia"." all those wahabbi 101 educational programs have cost a lot of money ya know! i am blaming saudi arabia, with the usa/uk in tow for anything that happens in yemen at this point...

Posted by: james | Nov 23 2017 21:54 utc | 31

Eschatological imperatives are at work. For certain people a messiah is about to come and everything in Daniel etc must be aligned on the ground. Sad madness. Damascus must for them be a smoking ruin. Ninevah and all other sites on the eschatologcal hit list have met their fate. Nothing can stop this process. They will set the world on fire. A dreadful future for all lays ahead.


Posted by: gut bugs galore | Nov 23 2017 22:37 utc | 32

bbc ms liar doucet below

once worked at chatham house proofs enough indeed that this is a rothschilds zion shakedown and mbs is just a bearded act and frontman.

The BBC's Lyse Doucet was the first journalist to be allowed inside the hotel. She was given access by Saudi authorities.

EXCLUSIVE: Inside Saudi Arabia's gilded prison at Riyadh Ritz-Carlton - BBC News

Posted by: bradley fink | Nov 23 2017 23:18 utc | 33


There should be no mystery to this if you consider the relevant facts:


Prince Salman is a puppet of the US-British-led Western cabal running things in SA.


The efforts of the cabal in utilizing militarized Sunni mercs under the banners of Al Qaeda, ISIS, IS etc. as proxies for the regime change operation in Syria has failed.


This failure and waste has caused a great deal of dissention with Sunni leaders in and out of SA and many are very reluctant to continue playing the game of helping the cabal conquer the entire Levant for some dream of sharing in Israeli-Saudi silk-road spoils.


Efforts are now being made by the cabal to unify SA for further militarily and more aggressive military ends – hence the appearance of subjugating all internal opposition.


The US, Britain and Israel, together with their Western oligarch, multinational owners unlike with Iraq and Libya are unable to directly instigate war against more stable nations like Syria and Iran. They have to use proxies or false flags.


With the insurgency proxies in Syria is being wiped out, the cabal is now pressuring SA to instigate war ultimately against Iran with further escalating of Sunni and Shia divisions in the ME.


It is no coincidence that the US has recently “sold” $180 billion in arms to SA.


The SA air force with US support continues to relentlessly bomb Shia Houthis cities and towns in Yemen.


Iran has been accused by the Wester cabal of supplying the Shia Houthis in Yemen with arms.


Hezbollah out of Lebanon is Shia and Israel has designated that force as an enemy of Israel and a threat, and as such it is their pretext for attacks on Hezbollah positions in Syria which are helping the Assad government and protecting Shia groups in that nation from the Sunni proxy insurgents.


SA military forces can be utilized for not only attacking Shia in Yemen but also for attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon and in Syria.


The Assad government is neither Shia nor Sunni but Baath and prior to the US-British-Israeli-Saudi regime change operations and war which has devastated that nation, all religious groups including Christians were protected by the Assad government.


The Western cabal in further militarizing and unifying SA intends to use the SA military as a proxy for more direct intervention likely into Lebanon and then into Syria, on the basis of essentially the Sunni and Shia divisions which they have orchestrated. The ultimate ME target being Shia Iran.

Posted by: fbaggins | Nov 23 2017 23:26 utc | 34

Another excellent post by Grieved...@21

Also good comments by mauisurfer @19...and thirsty @ 20...

...both of which raise the question of who corrals these international terrorist groups...

Two years ago...president Putin made public that the Russian FSB has prima facie evidence of US support for Chechnya terrorists in the 1990s...

In this article William Engdahl tells the story...

So we see here that gangs of international terrorists...[more accurately mercenaries, since their adherence to Islam seems more and more a cover for psychopathic violence than anything else...]

...are being transported to various hotspots for the US-directed chaos du jour...

This all started with the Mujahedin in Afghanistan back in the 1980s...after that these same cut-throats...always well equipped and trained...were funneled into Bosnia to fight the Serbs that were being ethnically cleansed from their homes and farms...

That succeeded pretty we have news of Gen. Ratko Mladic being sentenced to life for 'genocide' in Srebrenica...but the other side of the story is never told... those 'mujahedin' fighting in Bosnia under Bosnian Muslim criminal Naser Oric were chopping off Serb villagers heads for three years in what was supposed to be a UN 'safe zone'... for the US-controlled terrorists brought in from around the world...not for ordinary folks who just happened to live there...

Then after the Yugoslav success story we see the terrorist road show moving to Chechnya...

That didn't actually work out that well for the Nazis in charge of US foreign policy...

No matter...911 conveniently happened and the 'road show' moved to Iraq...

Then Syria and Afghanistan as Karzai tells us quite believably...[amazing how getting to know the devil can help you find religion...]

[Incidentally that kind of change of heart might explain the Qatari former PM and his recent revelations...]

Are we supposed to believe that these massive mercenary armies are able to globe-trot anywhere in the world whenever it pleases them...?

And they do this on their own dime...?

How do these logistics work...?

It's simply not possible to move entire terrorist armies around like that...unless you have the transport planes and helos and trucks and weapons and training camps etc etc etc...

How much longer are people going to believe in the tooth fairy and this fighting ISIS crap...?

...when every ganglion in your brain is screaming at you...CIA...CIA...CIA...

Yes...all of this takes a lot of money and resources...and that's why those several billion a year in drug money come in helpful...

No money simply didn't happen...

Ever hear of the underground economy...happens in every country...

Why should there not be an underground global economy in terrorist mercenaries...?

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 24 2017 2:20 utc | 35

So, the stage is set... Oil, gas, and LNG interest will continue their Empire protected war and chaos to WWIII or until the American domestic discovers and understands what is happening outside of his propaganda controlled domestic environment. Laguerre, 11; karlof1, 23; Grieved, 21; chaos Hausmeister, 27
The unseen weapon at work to keep domestic tranquility is copyright and patent monopoly power made possible by rule of law and international treaties. Without that monopoly power profit making and political posturing would be impossible, the Internet and media companies would not have been able to turn America into a media studio bathed in 24/7 propaganda. Copyright and patents are very powerful weapons because they allow to deny 1) interference from messages that compete with psychological conditioning and because these laws allow private parties to gate and prevent user attempts to gain access to mind adjusting information and because the technology that is protected by such laws, could if available, in open source form, be used to gain access to highly revealing information(just as Wikileaks has shown).

the meaning and cost seeming beyond American public comprehension.
1. six 24/7 continuous recon surveillance satellites over Syria.
2. two eah military op cmd ctrs to outsmart Syrian Government.
a. Incirlik, AFB for N. Syrian ops USA, Turkey, SA, UAE, Morocco,
Jordan, Israel, France, UK.
b. King Hussein, AFB, covering S. Syria ops, USA, Jordan, Israel,
UK, SA, UAB, and Qatar
3. $137 billion wasted to topple Assad's Government.
4. $50 million to RF Hijab, ex PM Syria exiled in Jordan
(Hummm Sunni Trojan Hariri to return to Lebanon)
5. continued, stubborn media silence and prosecution blocked I-law and UN charter violations associated to invasion and overthrows of legitimate governments.
7. Arab Nationalism divides, conquers and establishes ME chaos.

Posted by: shmoe | Nov 24 2017 2:28 utc | 36

having trouble posting a comment here...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 24 2017 3:35 utc | 37

Pepe Escobar sums up the Sochi Tri-Summit. It seems we have the Outlaw US Empire ignoring events in Astana where the real negotiations are occurring, while Syria doesn't want to have anything to do with the Geneva negotiations favored by the Outlaw US Empire. It shouldn't take a genius to understand why.

The war against Daesh is about over. The ongoing war against al-Ciada--whatever moniker/trademark currently--is about to get escalated, and that escalation will also attack its main sponsor--the Outlaw US Empire--because too pig-headed to leave.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 24 2017 4:27 utc | 38

This is nonsense from the word go. The SDF can change patrons at will, and would much prefer Russia or even China as a protector. Putin could easily do this - as he has in Afrin - but prefers to involve Turkey and Iran directly in Syrian affairs for geopolitical reasons that have nothing to do with Syria.

Posted by: Mark | Nov 24 2017 4:31 utc | 39

There is a word which perfectly describes the present US government;
Kakistocracy. Coined by British author Thomas Peacock in 1829 but ascending to new heights of terrifying relevance in our present ‘interesting times’. It denotes a system of government ruled by the least competent and most corrupt.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 24 2017 5:07 utc | 40

The US will be ejected from North-East Syria
An anti-American alliance is forming around them.
The sooner the better.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Nov 24 2017 5:29 utc | 41

I wonder how the planned Saudi nuclear tender (described in my previous comment) relates to events in Syria. Would awarding this to Russia come with conditions - essentially, that Putin agree to a partition of Syria?

KSA and Israel want to counter Iran but I would guess that they don't fully agree on how to do that. It's likely that Israel would greatly prefer that KSA NOT get nuclear weapons tech which might be why we see 'leaks' from Israel that undermine MbS by depicting an embarrassingly close KSA-Israel relationship.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 24 2017 5:51 utc | 42

@17 The article is utterly worthless.

It boils down to this proposition:
IF the Israelis have perfect intelligence on enemy dispositions and
IF Israeli pilots have 100% success in putting cross-hairs on those positions and
IF Israeli precision bombs never, ever, ever miss those targets
THEN the Israelis will win the next war hands-down.

Yeah, they would. Anyone would, IF those propositions were all correct, which is highly unlikely.

Look, prior to the 2006 war Israel was completely, 100% confident that all three conditions held true w.r.t. Hezbollah, and that Israeli air-power would quickly and effortlessly humiliate Nasrallah.

Until the fighting started, at which point the IDF proved utterly incapable of playing whack-a-mole with all those Hezbollah rockets that they never knew were there, or with all those Hezbollah ground positions that they never expected existed.

Indeed, the IDF fighter-bombers were so ineffectual that they soon resorted to doing what they do best i.e. dropping bombs on helpless civilians.

All that article tells us is that the Israelis has learnt nothing from that experience, and still expects to win the next war via air-power alone. Just like they did in 2006.....

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 24 2017 9:20 utc | 43

Yeah, Right | Nov 24, 2017 4:20:39 AM | 42

You seem to be forgetting Israel went in on the ground; tanks, troops, the whole gambit.
Hezbollah killed Israel's tanks with modern ATW's. Hezbollah's bunker system defeated Israel's ground troops.
Hezbollah's modern weapons, superbly used, by superbly experience Hezbollah ground forces.
Yes, Israel's airforce was ineffective against asymetrical tactics used by Hezbollah.
Civilian's paid the price, as is always the case in war...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Nov 24 2017 9:54 utc | 44

A fantastic article. It's a shame that plenty of anti-imperialists overlooked his catastrophic policies in the naive hope that he'd rein in the military aggression.

Posted by: sigil | Nov 24 2017 9:54 utc | 45

on b at:

"The military mission of the U.S. occupation force in north-east Syria is undefined. It positions are not sustainable. The aim this "presence" is said to have is unattainable. There is no larger concept into which it fits.

The generals ruling the White House may be tactical geniuses in their fields. They are neophytes when it comes to strategy. They blindly follow the siren call of the Lobby only to again wreak the U.S. ship of state on the cliffs of Middle Eastern realities."

Today Mike Whitney reports on NYTimes propwash as the US nobly standing by kurds and other enemies of Assad with Iran (and coincidentally to MbS today talking about Khameini as Hitler) in the process of taking over Syria Hitler style, so the implied necessity of US staying in the region as the usual honorable protector . . .

But Whitney ends with what seems a naïve question on whether Trump will go to his noninterventionist campaign line or continue to buy war, given the deals to be make selling arms (good for American workers!) and his hatred of Iran.

Posted by: Sid2 | Nov 24 2017 17:03 utc | 46

Why are the MSM talking about an 'explosion' in North Sinai, when it should be called an 'attack'?

Posted by: Mina | Nov 24 2017 17:13 utc | 47

@45 "But Whitney ends with what seems a naïve question on whether Trump will go to his noninterventionist campaign line or continue to buy war, given the deals to be make selling arms (good for American workers!) and his hatred of Iran."

Trump will probably try to do both. He must know that war with Iran will be a catastrophe. But he'll want to keep the arms factories busy.

Maybe the real question is at what point will the Saudis say they have enough war toys sitting around becoming obsolete.

Posted by: dh | Nov 24 2017 17:17 utc | 48

Just admit the Obvious,...
Putin/Lavrov deconfliction agreements gave Legal recognition to
US to stay in Kurd Syria,
For Netanyahu to say - Never giving the Golan back,
And who knows what Mad Caliph says from day to day.
Putin/Lavrov will be toasted in Jewish/Masonic lodges ,
While Syrians pick up bricks and shell casings as F 22
Fly overhead.

This is the Occupation. ...the Russia/Iranian victory.

Posted by: Brad | Nov 24 2017 17:17 utc | 49

According to hürriyet

Trump promised Turkey not to supply weapons to YPG

“President Trump instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said that this absurdity should have ended much earlier,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters after the phone call

True? But nobody knows what really goes on on the ground. US presence against the Syrian state is not sustainable.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 24 2017 17:28 utc | 50


The US left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.
There is a total brain disconnect. The right giveth? The left taketh.

I believe that if we must take into account the interests of the
actors involved, a conflict in the ME between Iran and the Sauds
serves the interests of Russia and the US.

Russia captures the Chinese oil and gas markets from the ME.
US producers fill some of the gap left by the dwindling supplies
coming out of the Gulf. Prices skyrocket and the MIC of both countries
benefit enormously.

Iran will probably buy Russian and Chinese hardware and must be at it
immediately before it is too late.

The unhappy ones will be Iran, Sauds, UAE, Bahrain, Iraq Syria, Lebanon
Palestine and finally, Israel itself will suffer from its warmongering.

I would be surprised if the Antonovs are not busy ferrying all kinds
of supplies to Iran. The Caspian Sea must be very active at this point.

Neither the US nor Russia, I presume, would hurry to intervene. At most
they would withdraw their forces from the Gulf and intervene only later
in the conflict when both sides would be weaker.

Posted by: CarlD | Nov 24 2017 18:36 utc | 51

@44 "You seem to be forgetting Israel went in on the ground; tanks, troops, the whole gambit."

That statement is 100% revisionism.

Hezbollah smacked an IDF patrol, killing all and dragging two bodies back into Lebanon.

Israel responded by launching massive air attacks against know Hezbollah position, and *limited* ground incursions that had no objective other than to smack a few Hezbollah patrols in a "yeah, see, we can do that too!" fashion.

That was Israel's game-plan as championed by Dan Halutz, who was utterly convinced that his beloved airforce could take out Hezbollah on its very own.

Halutz, July 12, 2003: "All the long-range rockets have been destroyed. We’ve won the war."

No, Dan, you hadn't. And, no, Dan, you wouldn't.

This needs to be stressed: within 4 days the IDF airforce had taken out all the targets Israeli military intelligence had identified. So as far as Israeli pre-war planning was concerned Hezbollah had been "wiped out", yet it was still there and still fighting as ferociously as ever.

It was only after that failure that Olmert pressed Halutz to send troops over the border. And even then they were sent in piecemeal, scarcely going further than villages like Bint Jbeil.

Israel didn't go in with "tanks, troops, the whole gambit" until after the text of UNSC Resolution 1701 had been drafted (but before it was voted on) because Olmert wanted the IDF to invade as far as the Litani River to exploit a loophole in the wording of UNSCR1701.

That was the only time that Israel went all-in with their ground troops, and it was as pointless an exercise as you will ever see.

But prior to that brain-explosion from Olmert the Israelis had relied upon the exact same "logic" that Nick had highlighted i.e. a misguided belief by the Israelis in the omniscience of their military intelligence allied with the omnipotence of their warplanes.

If that article by Yaakov Lapin is any guide - and it surely is - then the next war against Hezbollah will have exactly the same result: the humiliation of the IDF.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 25 2017 2:18 utc | 52

Sorry, typo: Dan Halutz claimed "victory" on July 12 2006.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Nov 25 2017 2:19 utc | 53

Indeed, Trump elaborated on "temporary, transactional and tactical" relationiship of Syrian Kurds:

As Carl noted, it does not mean that cash and supplies will not be provided covertly, with Trump knowledge or not, but it will not be a flagship project, and YPG/SDF will be correspondingly more pragmatic dealing with the government in Damascus. The successful reduction of the area controlled by KRG in Iraq and forced change in the leadership there encourages such pragmatism even further. This is probably one reason for SAA to abandon a bridgehead on the east bank of Euphratus and lack of attempts to control oil fields in that area: it is not important, so they can save resources for other battles, of which there will be still quite many.

Trump is surprisingly pragmatic in Syria, and Putin allows him to save a lot of face. Oilfields in eastern Syria matter very little from the point of view of an alliance that combines Russia, Iran and Iraq, this alliance will need to produce some cash and investments for the reconstruction of Syria, but for that, a temporary decrease of production in eastern Syria does not decrease the revenue in the situation when they have to control the size of global oil production by commitments to pump oil below their capacity. I would actually expect that both SDF and KRG will be allowed some export through Turkey, conditional on "good behavior", giving Turkey more leverage AND commissions. Projection: SDF statelet will be relatively undisturbed till the end of 2018.

Actually, since the American aid is conditional on fighting ISIS, some ISIS fighters who have seen democratic light and joined SDF may rebel or covertly engage in terrorist bombings, suitably extending the period of that fight.

Actually, there can be some game to convince Iraq to throttle the production down

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 25 2017 3:09 utc | 54

Piotr @54

Supplies to Kurds can be curtailed if USA has indeed established a No-Fly Zone (NFZ). Erdogan's positive response to Trump's call belies Erdogan's affinities (suspicions are confirmed!?). Will Erdogan now allow transport in/out of the SDF/Kurdish 'partition'? (Seems quite likely.) If so, a Turkish supply route (ostensibly for "non lethal" material?) would mean that b is wrong: US presence is sustainable.

Your prediction: SDF statelet will be relatively undisturbed till the end of 2018 sounds about right. One could view the threats to Lebanon as a threat to open a new front if the SDF statelet/partition is threatened.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 25 2017 4:20 utc | 55

"The military junta that controls Trump and the White House..."

That's a completely unfounded bare assertion. Do they even control Teflon Don's mouth and hands? And how did Teflon Don get himself surrounded by all these "people" in the first place? They didn't appoint themselves, right? And why doesn't Teflon Don start firing some of these warmongers, starting with, say, Nikki Haley? In light of everything else Trump's done (or failed to do), it's nonsense, IMO.

The much more plausible explanation is that Teflon Don's whole campaign was a calculated bait-and-switch fraud from the beginning. I wish people would quit making excuses for the traitorous Trojan horse that we let inside the gates.

Posted by: Harold Smith | Nov 26 2017 16:14 utc | 56

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