Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 09, 2017

Syria - ISIS Is Defeated - The U.S. Is Next In Line

The Islamic State in Syrian and Iraq is officially defeated. The UN resolution which allowed other countries to fight ISIS within Syria and Iraq no longer applies. But the U.S. military, despite the lack of any legal basis, wants to continue its occupation of Syria's north-east. The attempt to do so will fail. Its Kurdish allies in the area are already moving away from it and now prefer Russian protection. Guerrilla forces to fight the U.S. "presence" are being formed. The U.S. plan is shortsighted and stupid. If the U.S. insists on staying there many of its soldiers will die.

Two days ago the Syrian Arab Army closed the last gaps on the west bank of the Euphrates. Having fought all the way from Aleppo along the river towards the east the Tiger Force reached the liberated Deir Ezzor from the west. All settlements on the way are now controlled by the Syrian government. The remaining Islamic State fighters were pushed into the desert where they will be hunted down and killed.

Map via Southfront - bigger

Two days ago the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, declared a "complete victory" in Syria:

“Two hours ago, the (Russian) defense minister reported to me that the operations on the eastern and western banks of the Euphrates have been completed with the total rout of the terrorists,” Putin said.

“Naturally, there could still be some pockets of resistance, but overall the military work at this stage and on this territory is completed with, I repeat, the total rout of the terrorists,” he said.

Today the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi declared victory and the 'end of the war' against ISIS on the Iraqi side:

"Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I therefore announce the end of the war against Daesh (IS)," Abadi told a conference in Baghdad.

North of the Euphrates the U.S. proxy force SDF had recently negotiated another agreement (42) with the remaining Islamic State fighters there. ISIS allegedly handed over a border crossing with Iraq to the SDF and in exchange was guaranteed free passage through SDF controlled areas. This agreement came after an earlier one in which the U.S. and SDF let 3,500 ISIS fighters flee from Raqqa to fight the Syrian Army in Deir Ezzor. That was a U.S. attempt to delay or prevent the victory of Syria and its allies. It failed.

Shortly after the claimed new ceasefire between the U.S. SDF proxies and ISIS, Russian officers met with officials of the Kurdish YPG, the central force of the SDF. The talks completely changed the situation. In a joint press conference the Kurds and the Russians committed to work together to fight ISIS east of the Euphrates. It seems that the YPG is no longer convinced that the U.S. is willing to do so. The Russians took command and the Russian air forces has since supported the YPG in its fight against ISIS in Deir Ezzor governate on the eastern bank of the river:

“A joint operative staff has been created in the town of Es-Salhiya to provide direct control and organize the cooperation with the popular militia units. Apart from Russian advisors, representatives of the eastern Euphrates tribes are taken part in it,” Poplavskiy said, noting that in the “coming days” the entire territory east of Euphrates River will be free from terrorists.

Mahmoud Nuri, a representative of the Kurdish YPG, stated that the militia “battled ISIS under Russian command very effectively. Kurdish forces have also expressed readiness to ensure the safety of the Russian military specialists operating on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

The U.S. is seriously miffed that the Russians are suddenly supporting the U.S. proxy in Syria's north-east. The U.S. wants to claim the area for itself. (It probably also wants to protect the rest of ISIS there to reuse it when convenient.) The U.S. claims that the Russian air support for the Kurds is violating "coalition airspace".

The U.S. is not invited to Syria but now claims airspace above the country? The Russians, allied with the Syrian government, are invited to fly there. It is obvious who has a sound legal justification to be in the area and who has not. But the U.S. military hates to confront its own malice, and a competent adversary who knows how to play chicken:

In one instance, two Air Force A-10 attack planes flying east of the Euphrates River nearly collided head-on with a Russian Su-24 Fencer just 300 feet away — a knife’s edge when all the planes were streaking at more than 350 miles per hour. The A-10s swerved to avoid the Russian aircraft, which was supposed to fly only west of the Euphrates.
Since American and Russian commanders agreed last month to fly on opposite sides of a 45-mile stretch of the Euphrates to prevent accidents in eastern Syria’s increasingly congested skies, Russian warplanes have violated that deal half a dozen times a day, according to American commanders. They say it is an effort by Moscow to test American resolve, bait Air Force pilots into reacting rashly, and help the Syrian Army solidify territorial gains ahead of diplomatic talks aimed at resolving the country’s nearly seven-year-old war.

ISIS is gone. There is no justification for any "coalition airspace". Where please is the "deal" that allows the U.S. to indefinitely occupy north-east Syria as it now officially demands?

The Pentagon plans to keep some U.S. forces in Syria indefinitely, even after a war against the Islamic State extremist group formally ends, to take part in what it describes as ongoing counterterrorism operations, officials said.

There are approximately 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, along with an unspecified number of contractors supporting them. Last month, the U.S. military withdrew 400 Marines from Syria, which U.S. forces first entered in the fall of 2016.

Officials earlier this week disclosed the plans for an open-ended commitment, known as a “conditions-based” presence.
The Pentagon has said the forces will target parts of Syria that aren’t fully governed by either regime or rebel forces. The military says it has the legal authority to remain there.

The U.S. military has lots of fantasies about "legal authority" and "deals". We had already noted that such a "presence" in Syria is obviously illegal. The fig leaf of a UN resolution 2249 to fight ISIS no longer applies. Putin intentionally emphasized the "total rout of the terrorists" and the "complete" victory to point that out. There is absolutely no justification for the U.S. to stay. Moreover - the presence there is unsustainable.

The commander of the paramilitary forces which support the Syrian and Iraqi government sent a note to the U.S. to let it know that any remaining U.S. forces in Syria will be fought down:

[T]he commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp Brigadier General Haj Qassem Soleimani sent a verbal letter, via Russia, to the head of the US forces commander in Syria, advising him to pull out all US forces to the last soldier “or the doors of hell will open up”.

“My message to the US military command: when the battle against ISIS (the Islamic State group) will end, no American soldier will be tolerated in Syria. I advise you to leave by your own will or you will be forced to it”, said Soleimani to a Russian officer. Soleimani asked the Russian responsible to expose the Iranian intentions towards the US: that they will be considered as forces of occupation if these decide to stay in north-east Syria where Kurds and Arab tribes cohabit together.

In 1983 U.S. and French military barracks in Beirut were blown up after their forces had intervened on one side of the Lebanese civil war. Several hundred soldiers died. After the attack the U.S. pulled out of Lebanon. U.S. soldiers staying in north-east Syria can now expect a similar fate.

The U.S. claims that it has 2,000 soldiers in north-east Syria. This after it had claimed that the number was 500.  This new number was announced after it had already pulled out 400 marines and it is still way too low:

The updated figure does not reflect troops assigned to classified missions and some Special Operations personnel, Mr. Pahon said.

The U.S. had for months claimed that it only had 500 soldiers in the area. It did not even mention the contractors that follow its troops everywhere. The real number of U.S. personnal must have been ten times as high as the official one. The new official number is "2,000 and some".  The real new number is likely still above 3,500 plus several thousand contractors. This revelation confirms again that the U.S. military lies whenever and wherever it can.

The now remaining "more than 2,000" will need tens of tons of supplies each day and the U.S. has no secured supply line into north-east Syria. It is arrogant idiocy to keep the troops there in place. A few roving guerillas can easily choke those supplies. Each of the camps those troops occupy will be a target of external and inside attacks.

The YPG Kurds are already skipping out of their coalition with the U.S.. They are now making friends with the Russians who provide them with air-support where the U.S. wants to keep ISIS alive. How much longer will the U.S. soldiers in the YPG controlled areas be able to trust their "allies"?

The Pentagon says that the presence in Syria is “conditions-based” but it does not name any condition that would have to be fulfilled for ending it. General Soleimani seems to believe that a few hundred body bags arriving at Andrews airbase near Washington, DC might be enough condition fulfillment to do the trick.

The situation in other parts of Syria is largely unchanged. The various Takifiri groups in Idelb governate continue to slaughter each other. The Syrian forces will likely hold back their planned attacks into the area as long as their enemies there are devouring each other. But a year from now Idelb, and north-east Syria, will likely be back in the Syrian government's hand.

Posted by b on December 9, 2017 at 16:37 UTC | Permalink


middle of your paper, you forgot the *no* i guess.

There is justification for any "coalition airspace" - > there is NO justification for any yankee bastard.

about that, the usa could wait for an attack by Syrians to invade more.. their hubris knows no limit!

Posted by: Bertrand | Dec 9 2017 17:03 utc | 1

thanks b for your thorough coverage here.. the only rationale for the usa being in syria is for all the wrong reasons... they can say whatever they want thru the nyt, wsj and etc, but it doesn't change the fact usa has never been invited into syria.. but then, this is typical usa behaviour too - set up shop in prep for a permanent base in a country that you haven't been invited into and you are not welcome..

Posted by: james | Dec 9 2017 17:06 utc | 2

Soleimani's warning will get turned into "Iran Threatens US!!"

Posted by: dh | Dec 9 2017 17:30 utc | 3

@4 There's no date given for Soleimani's note to US via Russia. It's not clear if Pompeo was reacting to it on Dec 2nd.....or if this is a new warning.

Posted by: dh | Dec 9 2017 17:40 utc | 4

@5 The Arabic (Farsi?) version is dated...... 09 ديسمبر 2017 12:00 ص

Posted by: dh | Dec 9 2017 17:44 utc | 5

@Bertrand @1 - thank you, I corrected my mistake.
@DH - the Magnier piece describing the Soleimani message was written on Dec 9. We don't know when the message was transmitted.

Posted by: b | Dec 9 2017 17:53 utc | 6

The Russian MOD have just issued a statement that, on November 23, a USAF F-22 fighter actively tried to prevent two Russian Su-25s proceeding to attack ISIS positions near al Mayadin. The F-22 rapidly retreated into Iraqi airspace when a Russian Su-35 went along to protect the Su-25s. The Russian MOD stated that the two sides almost came into conflict.

It was around this time that the US was allowing ISIS members to retreat into US-held territory on the eastern side of the Euphrates.

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 9 2017 17:59 utc | 7

nhs @3

A cable from 2006




This cable also covers the origins of that KASOTC which was/is used to train 'carfeully vetted moderate rebels' in activities such as urban combat, building wall breaching, sniping, and other useful skills.

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 9 2017 18:10 utc | 8

Saw a report about a F-22 trying to stop two Russian/Syrian planes SU 25's from attacking a Daesh strongpoint on the WESTERN side of the Euphrates. It dropped flares and simulated an attack (or attacks). It rapidly left at the approach of a Russian Su-35S.
Al-Masdar news

It appears that the Russians will have to stay longer if the US tries to make a "Coalition only" airspace over Syria.

Posted by: stonebird | Dec 9 2017 18:11 utc | 9

It would have been good watching the SU-35 play chicken with the F-22. The Russian report added 'super maneuverable' to SU-35S, so I guess it was doing some of that.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 9 2017 19:01 utc | 10

b said:"Where please is the "deal" that allows the U.S. to indefinitely occupy north-east Syria as it now officially demands?"

The "deal" is in the minds of the corporate empire's minions and enablers. The goal is hegemony on a global scale, as always.

"It's just business, get over it."

Posted by: ben | Dec 9 2017 19:28 utc | 11

I wonder if this was retaliation: MiG chief designer found with throat cut

The US is still unmatched in two areas: Propaganda and Assassination.

Posted by: Richie | Dec 9 2017 19:33 utc | 12

Are US soldiers deliberately being left in Syria as bait?

Is the intention that large numbers of them get killed?

If large numbers of US soldiers are killed in Syria and the killings blamed on Iran, is that not one step closer to the Zionists' goal of getting the US to destroy Iran?

Would the US MIC not, quite literally, drool at the potential profits to be made from the US engaging in a full scale war with Iran?

Posted by: Jonesy | Dec 9 2017 19:42 utc | 13

Thanks for the posting b and the commenters that are adding clarity about the attempts by the dying beast to incite any sort of WAR to try to maintain its supremacy in our new multi-polar world.

We are experiencing quite a watershed moment in history I believe.

Let Peace Prevail!!!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 9 2017 19:54 utc | 14

>>> by: stonebird | Dec 9, 2017 1:11:30 PM | 10

It dropped flares and simulated an attack (or attacks). It rapidly left at the approach of a Russian Su-35S.

I'd say stealth is pretty over rated. It's not much use during daylight and if you don't have airbases and air tankers, it's fuck all use anytime. Why do think Russia has invested so heavily in long range ship or submarine-launched cruise missiles and long-range surface-to-air missiles? The Israelis recently announced that their possession of F-35s gave them air supremacy in the Middle East for the next forty/fifty years but happily that particular train has already departed.

As for the Russians withdrawing, the term used was "winding down" which basically suggests to me as a cynical Brit that the Russians have decided that they've reach the "beginning of the end" phase of the war. In western WW2 terminology, that phase was the Anglo-American landings in northern France, much delayed according to Stalin, so I expect the war in Syria will go on for about another year - plenty of time to clear out the shitpile that is Idlib. Who says the Russians forget, it's the Americans crime gang with their "agreements" (we'll tell you what you can and can't do) who have memory loss.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Dec 9 2017 20:10 utc | 15

The Pentagon says that the presence in Syria is “conditions-based” but it does not name any condition that would have to be fulfilled for ending it. General Soleimani seems to believe that a few hundred body bags arriving at Andrews airbase near Washington, DC might be enough condition fulfillment to do the trick.

I see wheels within wheels. Even if troops are removed, there will be plenty of off-book clandestine activity to be had. The Trumpian declaration of Israel owning al-Quds set off a firestorm, to what extent remains to be seen. Pakistan threatening to shoot down US drones is an interesting development. Erdogan, I can't tell, could just be posturing to protect his Muslim creds. Lady Liberty has a run in her stockings, though, perhaps even a cracked heel?

Fars is reporting Syrian troops engaging militants for the high ground overlooking the Golan heights. I'd say that Muslim anger may well have emboldened and, most importantly, unified the Muslim world against its natural enemy, the Zionists and their big friend. Looking forward, should Israel be attacked and be destroyed, will a) the US avenge the death of Israel by blowing up Iran, or b) will Israel put its nukes in play? What next?

Posted by: Stumpy | Dec 9 2017 20:11 utc | 16

This piece adds nicely to the Soleimeini announcement (today) that with ISIS cleaned out US forces must leave:

Note also Russian position to stay neutral if Iran attacks US forces.

Posted by: Sid2 | Dec 9 2017 20:22 utc | 17

But the likelihood of this going ahead seems dubious, to me.

So they developed a new plan. Firstly, the goal is now not the defeat of Hezbollah or Iran. For all their rhetoric, the Israelis know that neither they nor especially the Saudis are able to seriously threaten Iran or even Hezbollah. Their plan is much more basic: initiate a serious conflict and then force the US to intervene. Only today, the armed forces of the United States have no way of winning a war with Iran, and this may be a problem. The US military knows this and they are doing everything to tell the neo-cons “sorry, we just can’t.” This is the only reason why a US attack on Iran has not already taken place. From the Israeli point of view this is totally unacceptable and the solution is simple: just force the US to participate in a war they do not really need. As for the Iranians, the Israeli goal of provoking an attack on Iran by the US is not to defeat Iran, but just to bring about destruction – a lot of destruction – and then watch as Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims kill each other.

So everything is simple. Let the Saudis attack Lebanon, the Iranian troops in Syria and/or Iran under any pretext. At the same time America runs a full on pro-Israel propaganda campaign, explaining to the average American, easily fooled by TV, that Iran poses a threat to the entire region; that it is the aggressor, and that the Saudis are just protecting themselves from Iranian aggression. Thus congressmen and senators from the Israeli lobby on Capitol Hill are under orders to explain to the American people that the United States should “lead the free world” in order to “protect the only democracy in the middle East against Iranian aggression” and that the United States bears “responsibility” for preventing “the seizure of Saudi oil fields” by Iran etc.

Posted by: Sid2 | Dec 9 2017 20:31 utc | 18

Our "leaders" want to go to war against Iran. Leaving the troops there might be a deliberate provocation so the Iranians will attack and kill a bunch of them. Then the masses of Murkan peepul would all scream in unison for blood and the MIC could have its all-out war.

Posted by: PrairieBear | Dec 9 2017 20:43 utc | 19

Trump's decision to violate UNSC resolutions and other aspects of International Law by saying the Zionist Outlaw US Empire's embassy will move to Jerusalem is a sign of utter desperation to maintain the chaos it deliberately sowed in the region to deter peace from having any opportunity to arise.

As for the use of Imperial Stormtroopers as bait a la Operation Northwoods/911 for blaming Iran for their demise, Iran needn't lift a finger as that task will fall to Iraqi and Syrian troops who are more than capable for the job.

Nasrallah's speech marks a change in rhetorical tone regarding the entire situation, calling Trump's decision "a Second Balfour Declaration"--it "threatens to wipe out Palestine & Aqsa Mosque." Nasrallah's logic to arrive at this understanding is sound, which makes the reactions of Arab states far worse than portrayed.

So, the Outlaw US Empire wants to keep its terrorists within Iraq and Syria to tie down some of their forces during the Zionist's war to conquer Jerusalem and destroy al-Quds--for that is their longstanding, declared aim.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 9 2017 21:17 utc | 20

The response by the Jordanians to the al Quds connivance by Yankees an do zionazis will be most interesting. There is serious possibility of that beautiful country becoming collateral damage to Yankee madness.

Kingdoms do fall, as the Shah of Iran.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 9 2017 21:17 utc | 21

And the excitement continues as after Nasrallah's speech, according to Twitter, Hezbollah offices were inundated by volunteers: "According to high ranking Hizbullah sources, shortly after Nasrallah threatened Israel with 10s of 000s of fighters from Resistance Axis countries, Hizbullah's offices were inundated with delegations of reservists volunteering their services."

And just now breaking is Lebanon's demand for its fellow Middle eastern nations to sanction the Outlaw US Empire for its breaking international law as well as to combat the threat to al-Quds outlined in Nasrallah's speech.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 9 2017 22:06 utc | 22

Thanks for the updates karlof1 and the successful link embeding.....grin/sigh

Please keep it up.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 9 2017 22:16 utc | 23

We will see the first nuclear bomb false flag in Syria and the West will scream Russia nuked our boys.

Posted by: gut bugs galore | Dec 9 2017 22:21 utc | 24

And so it begins. Via Twitter:

"The Syrian resistance to liberate the occupied golan declares its first operations against the Israeli enemy & strike Katsirin settlement - the largest settlements built by the enemy in our beloved golan - with 2 missiles type Golan - 1 & the upcoming is greater."

It appears Trump's decision acted as the equivalent to waving a green flag to begin an automobile race. The lack of any attempt to refute/rebut Nasrallah's speech is quickly apparent. Given the logic employed by the Zionists, Muslims would be 100% justified in their invasion and destruction of Israel as an act of self defense.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 9 2017 22:26 utc | 25

So the best thing they can do is, as time is on their side: do not take the bait of any further provocation, stay cool, think twice before acting out anything, clean Syria step by step, Golan being the last step, and let the time continue to work for you. As it seems by now that the US have lost so much power to be a respected and trustful ally they will not even be able to keep their grip on SA.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Dec 9 2017 22:53 utc | 26

@Jonesy, 14:
Yes, the MIC would love a war with Iran, but US soldiers/sailors and their commanders perhaps not so much.

Posted by: William Rood | Dec 9 2017 22:54 utc | 27

@Ghost Ship, 16:
Seems to me that recent events demonstrate the birds, not F-35s, have air superiority in the Middle East.

Posted by: William Rood | Dec 9 2017 22:57 utc | 28

If "The Bibi" thought that with this move of declaring Jerusalem as his capital he was going to avert the protests against the thousands of cases of corruption he is involved, he failed the account, and, while continue the protests by the Arabs and Palestinians, as well Israelis have gone out to the streets in various locations asking for his resignation, for second day in a row:

‘Bibi to prison’: Thousands demand Netanyahu resignation over corruption in Israel

Posted by: elsi | Dec 9 2017 23:03 utc | 29

Thank, b, for the update.

Interesting to see the "opposition" cross Is and dot Ts.

It send the grand game is rule based.

Posted by: Forest | Dec 9 2017 23:33 utc | 30

It seems.. dumb smart phone.

Posted by: Forest | Dec 9 2017 23:35 utc | 31

The USA feels humiliated that Russia, not they announced the end of ISIS. It is clearly a Russian lead victory and they deserve the credit. No country participating to the so called coalition has made any announcement on the end of its operation in Syria.
Once they will, then the USA has no justification to stay there alone...
Now the USA is looking for a face saving by insisting it is not finished and that their presence in needed. When the dust of their failure will settle, they will have to discreetly move out...

Posted by: Virgile | Dec 9 2017 23:51 utc | 32

Chaos is the key objective in the region, not conventional victory but perpetual war. If they have to sacrifice a few of their own to find a new enemy and gain public support they will. It occurs to me they may realize people are seeing through the ISIS charade and like in 1984 a new enemy must be annoited and who better than Syria or Iran? Preferably both.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 10 2017 0:12 utc | 33

Re: actions to pressure a US withdrawl

Some months ago I suggested the Syrian army would not be ready to confront the SDF/US presence on the eastern bank of the Euphrates until it had first consolidated Deir Ezzor, turned south to take AbuKamal, then went on to cleanse the ISIS pocket formed in the desert to the south of Deir Ezzor by that action and then finally moved north to cleanse the Syrian/Iraqi border. The SAA cleansed Deir Ezzor, took AbuKamal, the ISIS pocket is formed and the Iraqi's took control of the border.

I do not think that the SAA will be in a rush to cleanse that ISIS pocket south of Deir Ezzor and west of the Euphrates. I believe they will be content to work at it slowly, taking about 3-4 months, while simultaneously nibbling away at the Idlib pocket, reducing the East Ghouta enclave outside Damascus, while testing the Israeli nerve in the Golan.

By doing this the SAA has time to guage US intentions via 'negotiation', has time to gauge Turkish & Israeli intentions, gains the Russians time to undermine the SDF/US alliance by bringing more of the Kurdish groups onto its side, all the while waiting out the winter weather that advantages ISIS actions and tactics.

It will be in the spring (March/April) of 2018 that we see a consolidated SAA/Russian and perhaps Iranian action to 'persuade' the US forces to leave.

Posted by: les7 | Dec 10 2017 1:07 utc | 34

I think the US will declare a no fly zone over the SDF area. Theyll do this following so called elections of a peoples council in Raqqa. The council will declare the current SDF area independant from Damascus. Tge US will justify their presence by claiming theyre defending a young democracy.

Posted by: Hermius | Dec 10 2017 1:14 utc | 35

@36, Hermius

No Fly Zone? It requires destruction of all possible competing air forces and and all anti-air systems, missiles and guns. Destruction of all "enemy" airports, bases, air fields is pro forma for a NFZ.

The US would have no chance of imposing a NFZ in Syria.

Can it win an air domination contest with Russia?
Of course. It has 100:1 advantage in numbers of aircraft in the theatre.

The question is, if the US launches an air domination operation over Syria, how many American planes are downed, and pilots killed or captured before they goal is achieved?

It is video game stuff to think the US would try.
All Russia has to do is bring one more S 400 unit to Syria to cover the East of the SAR and game over.

It's coming if the US keeps the sh*t up. And that unit will cover several hundred kilometers of Iraq airspace, also.

Don't poke the bear.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Dec 10 2017 1:39 utc | 36

@ les7 with the interesting scenario

The only argument that I can make for it to be still this year is using the seasonal disruptive disorder to rally the Evangelicals and like minded to rally about a false narrative like Paul Craig Roberts latest posting title "Walking into Armageddon".

Just extrapolating the current escalating shit show into next March seems impossible but just how long is that fuse?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 10 2017 1:43 utc | 37

@ 38


Posted by: Forest | Dec 10 2017 2:19 utc | 38

The discussions report deceitful intentions and actions by the leaders of the nation states (it is not the nation state speaking, but its leaders trying to hide behind the nations they lead). Pitting the people governed by the leaders of the nation against each other is the game.. The leaders yell at each other, and kill each others housekeepers ..the nation state leader unable to keep his home clean first is declared the looser. The looser who is a leader of the defeated nation must direct the people the loser governs to clean for free the house of the winner. Quite a game!
What should the governed do to control those who govern?

Posted by: fudmier | Dec 10 2017 2:32 utc | 39

Given the U.S. betrayal of the Kurds under Saddam Hussein (encouraging them to revolt; and failing to back them when they did), and a number of other recent double crosses; what the hell are the Kurds doing helping the U.S. in any way?
This is a part of human nature I don't understand...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 10 2017 3:40 utc | 40

fudmier | Dec 9, 2017 9:32:38 PM | 40

If you understand the failure of U.S. citizens to guard and maintain their democracy; then you'll know the answer to your question.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 10 2017 3:45 utc | 41

V. Arnold | Dec 9, 2017 10:45:19 PM | 42

With all due respect, the US citizenry never had a chance. The form of the federal government was made such that its control by an "aristocratic" upper class would be assured, the only time that caste was seriously threatened was during the Depression with its Neutrality Acts and widespread agitation by the citizenry, which the 1947 National Security Act was designed to prevent while further entrenching the already prevailing Deep State.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10 2017 4:32 utc | 42

@35 les7 and @38 psychohistorian

I agree on the timetable. Timing is everything in this life, it seems. Just as there is a lot of ruin in a nation, there is a lot of building in the process of peace also. Victory can be marked by history as ocurring at a certain point in time, but its achievement on the ground plays out over much longer time.

For people like me, raised on Hollywood's zero-sum game of "action = reaction", it has been a learning experience to watch the Russians slice the path of escalation into 20 gradual increments. And when its enemy each time was looking for a reciprocal scale of action to react to its provocation, each time the enemy was nonplussed by the thin slice, that it hadn't thought of and hadn't seen coming. But for the Russians, apparently, this was just how they see life and the world.

In truth, for those of us born of the west, all our 2-dimensional training for life has failed, consistently, to match reality. We in these forums used to debate if the empire was pretending to be incompetent, but this is rarely asked anymore, because the answer is so obvious. All our pretensions are collapsing, or have collapsed.

It becomes clear that the west and its centuries of imperial and colonial theft and plunder was nothing but the "zero" of the zero sum. Take it away and all the rest of the world gains, simply by breathing easy in its own footprint.

I'm glad that Asia is taking over the dominant culture of the world now. Time for the grown-ups to step in and give us the compass to navigate by.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 10 2017 6:04 utc | 43

karlof1 | Dec 9, 2017 11:32:00 PM | 43

Respectively; I do not entirely agree with you. The Memo PPS23 (1948), by George Kennan, had a far greater reach and subsequent effect.
I do not hold the U.S. citizens harmless; change was still possible until about November, 22, 1963, IMO.
The democratic convention of 1968, in Chicago was a seminal event with an all out police riot against U.S. citizens right of assemby.
I freely marched in anti-war marches in the 60's with zero police interference (Washington, DC was another story).
The hegemon publicly showed its true colors towards the end of 2002; ignoring, by some counts, 26 million people world wide marching against invading Iraq.
As an ex-activist Usian; I cannot hold harmless my fellow countrymen. Ignorance on that scale is willfull
I would now concede, a change of the deep state is impossible...

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 10 2017 6:28 utc | 44

@ Grieved with the big picture comment

Nicely reflection on the ethnocentrism of Americans. I agree with with the desire for grown-ups to step in and give us the compass to navigate by.

China had developed and executed 13 5-year plans and the West gets private finance with its myth of capitalism and a list of the global 500 richest individuals but nary a word of the global 500 richest trust funds/families.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 10 2017 7:05 utc | 45

Seems to me that recent events demonstrate the birds, not F-35s, have air superiority in the Middle East.

Posted by: William Rood | Dec 9, 2017 5:57:17 PM | 29

We can conclude that we need some of their brains in Pentagon, National Security Council etc., the quality of strategic thinking would improve in leaps and bounds.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 10 2017 7:13 utc | 46

In support of the discussion from b about US troop levels there is this ZH report of Stars and Stripes article

Dude! Where are my troops?

The take away quote is the first line from the Stars and Stripes article

"The U.S. military has more than 44,000 troops across the globe that the Pentagon claims it cannot track, according to a recent report."

Where are the grown-ups?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 10 2017 7:22 utc | 47

Dude! Where's my guvmint?

Posted by: Forest | Dec 10 2017 7:57 utc | 48

Greetings from Iran, the capital of the free world.

What is happening in the Middle East is basically a conflict between a rising regional power (Iran) and a waning superpower (Uncle $cam), with Russia stepping in to protect its Mediterranean naval base and pipelineistan turf. Methinks that the key element in this conflict is Uncle $cam's air superiority, which is gradually being eroded by Iran's advances in air defense and armed drone technology. This explains Iran's "Strategic Patience", if you will. I know that Iran successfully tested its Bavar-373* air defense system about a year ago, and that its radar arrays and missiles are in production, but I do not know how many of them if any are deployed. But I do know that once there are enough of these deployed to cover all of Iranian airspace, and then some batteries are given to Hezbollah and Syria, that will be a complete game-changer.

* The Bavar-373 is a native Iranian S-300 air defense system, with claimed improvements in range and the number of targets that can be tracked simultaneously.

I would be interested to know, if anyone has such knowledge here on this blog, the state of development of this system, as well as that of the state of mass production of the Iranian attack drones that have been tested out successfully in Syria. My personal thinking is that what Soleimani said was a bluff, for if this conflict were to occur without Russia taking Iran's side and actively being involved (and taking the lead, in other words), then it will have occurred about three to five years sooner that what would be optimal timing from Iran's perspective.

Nuff Sed.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Dec 10 2017 9:49 utc | 49

Nuff Sed | Dec 10, 2017 4:49:26 AM | 50

I read this back in Oct 2016. I take it research and development were completed, and the system was ready for production. Have heard nothing more since, other than Russia delivering the updated S-300.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 10 2017 10:29 utc | 50

"Dude! Where's my guvmint?" [Posted by: Forest | Dec 10, 2017 2:57:04 AM | 49]

Dude, you've got the best clusterf_ck set of politicians fiat money can buy!

Posted by: x | Dec 10 2017 11:15 utc | 51

Thank you for the link, Peter.

According to this press TV article, the system was successfully tested in August 2014. That's well over three years ago.

The article goes on to say that "the country’s domestically-built Bavar-373 air defense system would be ready for deployment by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 19, 2016)," which did not happen.

This more recent article (from September of this year) states that the "Bavar-373 air defense system has been tested and will be employed alongside the Russian-made S-300 missile defense system by March 2018;" which is only three months away.

Given that there has already been a two year delay built in to this last date, I imagine it will be met this time. It will probably be unveiled in the military processions that accompany the ten days between February 1 and February 10 each year in celebration of the triumph of the Islamic Revolution. If that is the case, then it should not be too much longer after that for production to reach the stage where the whole country's airspace is covered; perhaps one or two more years, rather than the three to five I originally estimated.

More from the more recent article (which has a good picture of the system's radar array):

Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, the commander of the Iranian Army’s Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, said during a TV program on Saturday that all of the Bavar-373 sub-systems have been completed and its missile tests have been conducted.

The Bavar-373 “is made completely in Iran and some of its parts are different from those of S-300,” he said, adding the country wants to use the Bavar-373 alongside the Russian S-300 system which it received in 2016.

The Bavar-373 will be handed over to Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base by the end of the new Persian calendar year in March 2018 and put into operation as soon as it is delivered to the base, he said.

Later in the same article, we read the following, which leads me to believe that a decent amount of deterrence has already been attained:

Elsewhere in his comments, Esmaili said Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base had issued warnings to US reconnaissance aircraft on two separate occasions on March 21 and August 26.

In the first incident, an American U2 spy plane capable of flying up to 80,000 feet was given a warning at the same time by two radar stations of the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base as it was confirmed to be approaching Iran's borders.

"The aircraft's pilot whose uniform was designed not to reflect the radar's waves had to respond because the missile defense systems of the Air Defense Base and Air Force fighters as well as IRGC’s drones were ready to confront it," Esmaili said.

"In another case at 6:30 a.m. on August 26 this year, an American RQ-4 aircraft was warned by the Air Defense Base. We do not allow such filthy aircraft to enter our territory and, if necessary, we do not hesitate in destroying them," he added.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Dec 10 2017 11:17 utc | 52
@50, while I agree the Bavar-373 s-300 ADS has a prominent place in today’s technology, the recent downing of Israeli weapons over Syria two 2 recent successful skud attacks by Yemenis in Sauda Arabia suggest defense against missile technology still lacks...

Posted by: fudmiery | Dec 10 2017 11:56 utc | 53

UNSC Resolution 2249 does not legalise the US invader presence in Syria.

It specifies "respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence and unity of all States" and requires action against ISIS to be "in compliance with international law." That requires the consent of the Syrian government for the presence of any foreign forces on its territory but the US has not sought or obtained such consent.

The need for Syrian consent could have beer overridden if the resolution had been adopted under Chapter 7, but it wasn't.

Posted by: Richard C | Dec 10 2017 13:29 utc | 54

For those who are debating about the BIG picture, an illuminating video on the real state of the nation in the US, prospects and possibility of change in the mid term....Well, I have only seen the first 30´, but seems quite discouraging by the difficulty to straight the way to autodestruction the US has embarqued in from, may be, its inception....?

It seem that there have problems with the US American soul....and mainly with your educational system.....After viewing the video, for those who still are over here and there defending The Donald, what possibilities of change to straight your suicidal course you see in the apointment of that Betsy DeVos, sister of Erik Prince, two of the main beneficiaries of US politics, in charge of education?
How is this going to drain any swamp?

The video was provided by a real analyst ( or group of analysts.... they call themselves sometimes "a tribe of gorillas" ) who appears from time to time at Fort Russ, and previously appeared at The Saker until they were banned,....I had a hard time defending his/their right to comment at the moderators set where everybody wanted to label them as trolls ( when I was a moderator there, and still had no idea of what was going on there, being I myself against censure of any kind, especially censure directed against well argued and correctly exposed points of view who oppose the line of the blog, so as to make see that your point of view is shared by most of the people who comments, when it is not ):

Why America failed

Posted by: elsi | Dec 10 2017 13:48 utc | 55

elsi | Dec 10, 2017 8:48:47 AM | 56

Is it possible to learn their views from a written source? And: why have they banned by The Saker?

It makes sense to study this article , in German, you have to use a translator. Interesting details about the SDF cooperating with both Russia and the US on the expense of Turkey. Who wants to know what the Neo-Ottoman Turks try to achieve may have a look here.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Dec 10 2017 14:43 utc | 56

I think there is a lot of fantasy going on here. The Hegemon has seeded the now Kurdish area of Syria with bases. They are going nowhere

Posted by: paul | Dec 10 2017 14:53 utc | 57

@ fudmiery

While what you say is true, the important point is that with these systems in place, the risks they pose to US and Israeli pilots make their usual modus operandi prohibitive.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Dec 10 2017 15:29 utc | 58

V. Arnold | Dec 10, 2017 1:28:48 AM | 45

My memories as well.

Attended a Fogerty "Fortunate Son" concert in Vegas in September, bringing to mind a time when music reflected our generation's [futile] hopes for change. Among the CCR hits, there was one new song dedicated to the plight of veterans and their sacrifices. Yet, unlike the 60s, now there is not even the slightest thought given WHY veterans are -- or should be -- making sacrifices, or even put in harm's way. It is just a given nowadays that Americans need to insert their military everywhere in the world, and wreak havoc as desired. The loss of moral compass is bewildering.

Posted by: zakukommander | Dec 10 2017 15:33 utc | 59

If the SDF is now showing signs of aligning with the Syrian government in accepting Russian air force protection I wonder what the 'deal' made for such a re-alignment might have been? It seems the Kurds may have learned how to use those who formally have used them one too many times.

Do not the Americans and their running dogs not realize that their presence in Syria, and likely Iraq now, is wholly unwanted and that they had better leave on their own accord before painting themselves into a corner, losing face by being forcibly pushed out?

Posted by: BRF | Dec 10 2017 15:42 utc | 60

@Hausmeister | Dec 10, 2017 9:43:04 AM | 57

Is it possible to learn their views from a written source? And: why have they banned by The Saker?

No, it is not possible since they do not belong to any written source, they appear or dissapear at so called "alt-media" unexpectedly.
They were banned because of being ingeniously sarcastic towards the owner of that blog. The same as happened to me when I started to express doubts, in my more direct style, about the editorial line, mainly before and after the last US election....The thing is that the team of moderators at The Saker, acts right now as a sectarian police corps to ban every comment which could put in a bind, or question the "wisdom" of, the owner ( you go to find right now any dissent there, except mild intents, most probably produced by the staff...) I tried to convince the guys at moderation that that was not good for the blog, when I was totally loyal to the owner, and even apreciated him a lot...( well, he got to convince me that he liked ideological diversity and even had got to appreciate communist people by getting to the conclusion they were not but good people after all )but, in the end, I got to the conclusion that the least interest for that blog was to provide a lively site for discussion, but instead their goal is to broadcast certain line of thinking and even confusse I got to think it is the goal of all the so called "alt-media", imo, all created to rise The Donald to power and promote the coming fascist order.

From interchanging with him/them for about fours years at diverse media ( although they deny they talk to me, but instead say that they "broadcast", even after having mantaining long interchanges at old threads during several days, well, to me this is indiferent, they just teach me a lot, and give me a damn if they say they are talknig to me or to whoever when interchanging... ), they have many times advanced information which later I could test it was going to be the Russian position in many issues, they speak Russian very well and for advice related to travels they have given me, they know Russia very well, so I took to the conclusion they are Russians...Anyway their links are always very interesting on illustrating the real state of things, many times even picked up from US sites....They seem to be collecting data, as they often affirm, and use a kind of "technical language" which was labeled by another commenter, at the first times they appeared at Saker´s, as "for professionals"....They talk every time like in code, repeating many sentecnes at every "broadcast" of those of them. For example, talking about "linear" or "lateral" thinking, "good guys in white hats and bad guys in black hats", "thank you for the datastream", or "thank you for your illustration of immersion in the opponents' notions of "exceptionalism", or "Enjoy your journey" as a way to say good bye, are some of his/their classics....

You get to your own conclussions....

P.S: Forgot to add that they post under various, sometimes ridiculous, nicknames, so you are able only to recognize them when having following them for a while by their "style"...This is why there is no way to look for them....unless to wait that they

Last interchange at Fort Russ, as a sample:

"This is why I am kinda relaxed about the coming apocalypsis.." ( this is me, elsi )

Assumptions are best left to opponents. ( this, and the rest following, are them...)

The opponents are trying on Louis 16th's cloak of "apres nous le deluge" without benefit of grave.

Spectators tend to ponder what is, and wise practitioners how to - as in - does a drowning man suit your purpose and if not; how to drown a drowning man with the minimum of blow-back ?

Enjoy your journey.

Posted by: elsi | Dec 10 2017 16:03 utc | 61

"“Naturally, there could still be some pockets of resistance, but overall the military work at this stage and on this territory is completed with, I repeat, the total rout of the terrorists,” he said."

Not total rout. The Americans remain in business.

Posted by: StephenLaudig | Dec 10 2017 16:19 utc | 62

@ elsi | Dec 10, 2017 11:03:04 AM | 61
Thanks a big lot for having taken the time. Before I had a similar impression of The Saker: a site that tries to sell specific narratives, with a distinct own political interest. What the MSM do as well, I do not mind that much, but in this case I want to know which aims they have. And in case people do not want to be frank about it I get to be sceptical. With the same attitude I read comments here as well. To guess some guy tells the truth because you know he has similar attitudes like you have is a very bad advice, normally.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Dec 10 2017 16:42 utc | 63

There have been several reports now that the bulk of, or all of Tiger forces have been moved from the Euphrates to take part in Idlib operation.
From this report
troops-flood-idlib-amid-unprecedented-russian-airstrikes/ the Idib front is now winding up, though Tiger forces are still positioning for a push from the north east into Idlib.
Also reports of Russian airforce working with Kurdish forces to clear the remaining east bank of the Euphrates, so a big change there from US airforce trying to block Syria Russia on the western side just a few weeks ago.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Dec 10 2017 16:51 utc | 64

@ Nuff Sed | 50

then some batteries are given to Hezbollah and Syria, that will be a complete game-changer.

Neither Iran nor Russia will give their latest and best equipment to alies, as counterintuitive as it sounds due to many sensitive issues. Russia is happy to sell S-400 to Turkey and Saudis, but wont sell to Iran and few such systems in Syria are in Russia's bases, and wont be given to Syria (and Russia wont use them against Israeli jets). Then what to speak of non-state actor as Hezbollah, who is provided with solid but decades old, easy to use and store equipment, most suitable for it.

if anyone has such knowledge here on this blog, the state of development of this system

I keep an eye on news on Bavar-373, and it seems pretty good system. Not completely finished/tested as its not deployed yet AFAIK. Developed from S-300 (either licensed or reverse engineered), but with many modifications. In one sense its better than S-300 because no one knows its exact strengths and weaknesses, unlike S-300 which is widely accessible to the Coalition of the Killing. And Iranians will want to keep it that way, hence one of the reasons why it wont be sold or given to anyone else, including Syria/Hezb.

If US or Israel will attack Iran (highly unlikely), then they will be flying blind without known countermeasures against Bavar, other than giving a wide berth around known installation sites (after its deployment).

My personal thinking is that what Soleimani said was a bluff

Soleimani isnt of bluffing kind and he more or less represents Iran in Syria, thats why that message was so highly unusual for Iran's policy to fly under the radar. Its expected if US continues to occupy Syria's North, body bags will follow, but to OPENLY threaten US means Iran might have decided to up the stakes.

Recently it was leaked US threatened Iran that if anything happens to its troops in Syria, Iran was the one considered responsible. In that case, if Iran "is responsible" in any case, then they might just as well do it more openly 'as you do me, we will do you.' US while still highly dangerous, but on a quick decline, while Iran is on a quick rise, and such semi-open confrontation was expected sooner or later. Russia-US are dancing with such threats on a daily basis for years now. Iran is not as strong as Russia Worldwide, but in ME Iran can hurt US way more than Russia could.

Posted by: Harry | Dec 10 2017 17:38 utc | 65

re 58 paul

I think there is a lot of fantasy going on here. The Hegemon has seeded the now Kurdish area of Syria with bases. They are going nowhere
The fantasy is more in your own head.

Americans can stay in isolated fire-bases, like in Vietnam (Dakto, wasn't it?), forever as long as there is a point. If you're hated by everyone around, it's doesn't take long for the Pentagon to start thinking isolated bases are not worth the effort. That is what is coming - isolated individual bases, which will just have to be fortified and reinforced more and more.

The ground was recently cut from under the US feet in Iraq, by the Iraqi-Kurdish agreement over Kirkuk behind the back of the US. The KRG Kurds are no longer US agents. And yesterday, Abbadi anounced the end of the war against Da'ish. So what reason for the US to stay? We'll be back to the situation of 2008 - the only way for the US to stay legally is a SOFA. And we know what happened then. I'm pretty sure Abbadi is manoeuvring to get the US out now.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 10 2017 17:42 utc | 66

@55 richard c.... thanks..

@64 peter au... thanks as well..

@66 laguerre... thanks for that too..

Posted by: james | Dec 10 2017 17:56 utc | 67


as well stated by Harry @65, Soleimani does not bluff

@50 Nuff Sed
There is a lot of things that seem to come together near 2022 in terms of Russian, Chinese, and to some degree Iranian & Indian military prep that will end the era of 'strategic patience'. Several years ago I suggested 2018 as the year in which the threat of first strike against Russia and China is neutralized, and Putin's multi-polarity gains a chance to breathe.

This by no means indicates the defeat of the empire - only a change in tactics.

2022 is the point at which the main "multi-polarity" actors will be able to respond in kind, and not just sit and suffer in silence.

Posted by: les7 | Dec 10 2017 18:04 utc | 68

@56 elsie

My profound thanks to you for elaborating on your history with the Saker. I followed and commented at that site from early on until about mid-2015 when his agenda got over-bearing. Many other commentators also abandoned the site at that time. It was sad because there was overall a good collection of perspective, experience, and depth of analysis until that time.

For whatever part you played in keeping that community of comment alive at that time - thank you. Your comments here have also been a great source of reflective wisdom. May you continue to do the same in all the forums to which you contribute

Posted by: les7 | Dec 10 2017 18:18 utc | 69

@les7 | Dec 10, 2017 1:18:48 PM | 69

Well, les7, thank you, but I have elaborated only a little, only what I deemed was needed to make clear to Hausmeister what the background of that/those analyst/-s is.
My history with The Saker is a bit more extended, some happened at personal level, at first I tried to tell my history, but then I became aware of these media belonging almost all to the same mothership, and so, I found it a waste of time. The same commenters are all over the "alt-media" with the same or different nicknames...May be the genuine commenters are those who you said left from that blog by mid-2015.... I have the theory that the change you are talking about had to do with the preparation of the blog as a platform of support for The Donald for the following US election. I arrived there around the end of 2013, because I was following the events in Ukraine and found that the blog was mainly about that, but I never agreed with his authoritarian and bigot style, especially I find annoying the way he answers anyone who could disagree with him on whatever, always in an insulting tone and undervaluing the commenter in question, simply horrible. The next stage is finding you banned....
Well, this is all what I want to talk about that man, he does not deserve this publicity for free.


Posted by: elsi | Dec 10 2017 23:08 utc | 70

It takes unrestricted air power to supply isolated bases.
Either the US fights for land corridors into the bases or it supplies by airdrops.

The strategy of isolated bases is not going to hold. It didn't in 'Nam, it won't in Iraq and Syria.

The US lost. Most importantly, it lost its proxies, and its coalition is mythical.

The question is does it want to lose big or lose as is where they can lie about winning, lie about the Russians doing nothing, lie about Assad's popularity and lie about their own illegitimacy.

CENTCOM has 20 years of futility in the Middle East, if "winning" is the goal.
Even the IDF has no victories for two decades. Chased from Lebanon and then beaten like a steel drum by Hezbollah five years later, the IDF is desperate for a victory. It can't even dare to operate in the region without using proxies like al Nusra.

The expense of victory is enormous. If you don't want to pay with thousands of lives of your own soldiers, you can't win just because your weapons are awesome and you outnumber the weak.

Syrians and Hezbollah and Iranian militias and IRGC troops and leaders were willing to fight and die. With Russian assistance they defeated Takfiris on meth.

There is no sign that Israelis and Americans are willing to go into Syrian turf and fight and die for some geopolitical plan of dominance.

McMasters and Maddog and Bibi can roar their phlegm-throated belligerence, but it won't win them squat.

They have a bad strategy, weak tactics and no courage.
In Syria something propitious occurred. Muslims fought for Christians, Shia fought for Sunnis, Sunnis for Shia, and all of them fought against the godless and satanic alliance of US and Israeli and Wahhabi terrorists.

It was the first war for the New Eurasian World where sovereignty matters.

If the Hegemon tries to linger, Vietnam's exit will look like a day in the park.
Best to pack and leave while the leaving can be pitched as noble.
There are Kalibrs in the Caspian, Black and Mediterranean Seas with Lat-Longs programmed for the malingerers' locations, I am sure.
It won't be pretty if Syria's sovereignty is put to the test.
General Soleimani's warning should be heeded.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Dec 10 2017 23:20 utc | 71

Red Ryder | Dec 10, 2017 6:20:29 PM | 71
It was the first war for the New Eurasian World where sovereignty matters.

I hadn't thought of it like that; but, I think you're correct.
Well done you.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Dec 11 2017 1:37 utc | 72

I think the Syrian Kurdish YPG have smelled a rat, and remember independence was never really on the agenda in Syria i contrast to the Barzani agenda in Iraq. I doubt Abadi has the strength to demand the US leaves, a reduction yes, but he will not be rid of them. Syria is another thingie, if the YPG is convinced that Russia will mediate between them and the Syrian AND Turkish government, that will probably fall in line. Erdogan will at least demand they renounce the use of violence in Turkey.
However you add it up, Russia and Iran has gained a lot with their intervention in Syria. Especially Russia on the global scene.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 11 2017 15:42 utc | 73

thank you all, esp. RR @71

when the world is engulfed in chaos & anarchy, coming here is a welcomed oasis of clarity & hope...

Posted by: xLemming | Dec 11 2017 16:35 utc | 74

Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria during surprise visit to Khmeimim Airbase. I wonder if they're going to "withdraw" through Idlib?

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Dec 11 2017 16:40 utc | 75


Putin ordered the troops to their permanent bases.

Which probably means that Khmeimin and Latakia bases will be kept fully manned.
Those other units not stationed in Syria will then resume station at whatever base
they operate from.

But Russias long range bombers will reach whatever objectives they have to bomb.

If assistance is needed, those planes stationed in Syria will respond to the needs
of Bashar's government.

It means that the SAA, the Hezbollah, The Iranians staying in Syria are competent
to face whatever threats are coming Syria's way.

By doing this and announcing it in such a remarkable way, Putin is telling the US:
"We, who have been invited over by the legitimate Government are withdrawing
because our task is finished. It behoves that you, uninvited, do the same."

However, the "Exceptionnals" are of such a devious nature that they could see
this withdrawal as an invitation to unleash the remnants of ISIS back onto Syria.
But it could be that this move would backfire as these remnants could then
find themselves butchered by a quick reaction of the Syrian allies. This would also
fly in the face of the US "commitment" to peace in Syria. This would demonstrate,
even to the most ardent Trump's fans that the US is a treasonous snake with a
forked tongue.

Also, while the spectre of war looms over the Korean Peninsula, Putin may want
his troops closer to home for they may be needed in a hurry.

Kim Jon Un trip to the sacred volcano of Korea this week end may mean that he has
taken or is looking into some portentous decision. What will it be?

On the other hand, Putin is at this juncture a candidate for reelection. He may want
to bring back a victorious Army to his eventual electors. And who could blame him?

Posted by: CarlD | Dec 11 2017 17:52 utc | 76

Gen. Soleimani has been rather cranky since Trump had the IRGC declared a 'terrorist group'. Perhaps he interpreted this as a threat, after all, we drone strike and bomb terrorist groups so perhaps this is his way of saying, 'watch out, we fight back'.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Dec 12 2017 0:02 utc | 77

It is interesting how Franklin Lamb on Counterpunch has been sounding a totally different view.
He's put up several articles, the latest of which sounds like it came straight off a CIA/State Department briefing.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 12 2017 17:22 utc | 78

@79 c1ue... maybe counterpunch is going the way of the guardian or the medium?

Posted by: james | Dec 12 2017 17:27 utc | 79

@78 cc... the usa seems to excel at labeling, but not much else...

Posted by: james | Dec 12 2017 17:28 utc | 80

The comments to this entry are closed.