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April 17, 2018

Open Thread 2018-18

The post I worked on did not pan out. You are on your own.

News & views ...

Posted by b on April 17, 2018 at 17:43 UTC | Permalink

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Syria: US in talks over Arab force to replace American troops

Very Vietnamish, no? Bound to come sooner or later. The US won't want an open-ended commitment to defending the Kurds.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 18 2018 8:01 utc | 101

re 93

It is possible, that Syrian air defenses wasted 112 missiles firing at imaginary targets created by radar jaming and electronic countermeasures. To argue otherwise we would need to see photos of the downed missiles. So far we have seen nothing but fakes, with the exception of a few missile parts that might have come from a missile that hits its target.
So what was it the people on the ground saw and heard (and indeed videoed)? This is conspiracy theory gone mad.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 18 2018 8:06 utc | 102

So what will happen now?

1. OPCW finds nothing = Western MSM will say Russia cleaned it up!!!!!!!!!
2. OPCW finds chemicals = Western MSM will say Look we were all right in bombing
BUT
If they find chemical use that doesnt mean Syria/Assad was the perpetrator, but that is of course a fact western MSM will deny.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 18 2018 8:10 utc | 103

Ref Arab Legion redux
The Saudis get a new chance to empty their jails and Uk/Fr find new jobs from the WH who they prefer to see on videos than in their own countries disguised as refugees?

Posted by: Mina | Apr 18 2018 8:18 utc | 104

The Colonial Christian ratfuckers recent unprovoked, lie-based attack on Syria got me wondering about Russia's apparent impotence. I'm quite uncomfortable with that notion but can't dismiss it completely because I can't get a 'handle' on what Russia's strategy is.
Steve Gowans' latest commentary on Syria sets out his summary of US/NATO's (Christian ratfucker) Permanent War agenda in Syria.
https://gowans.wordpress.com/2018/04/16/a-prolonged-war-in-syria-is-on-the-us-agenda/
Despite its pessimism (if one takes it as a 'realistic' assessment), it goes a long way toward explaining the magnitude and complexity of the task Russia took on when it agreed to intervene in Syria.
Being pessimistic, it doesn't broach the subject of potential Bright Sides to the conflict, or the flaws in the US/NATO Strategy.
One rather obvious flaw which came to mind is the fact that Christian Colonialism has inflicted pain on almost every country on the planet and have recently underlined their God-given right to continue doing so ad nauseum - without opposition or consequences.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 18 2018 8:28 utc | 105

Re: Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 18, 2018 4:28:52 AM | 102

Russia's strategy. I'm fairly sure Putin doesn't want to let down the Russian populace by having a massive World Cup "boycott" or god forbid, cancellation on his hands.

Look for Russia to play "less nice" from July.

There are heavy personal political incentives for Putin to "play for time" at the moment.

Posted by: Julian | Apr 18 2018 8:31 utc | 106

Oh boy isnt this cringy?

'I am the EQUAL of Putin' – Emmanuel Macron BOASTS over Syria airstrikes
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/947639/Syria-airstrikes-Putin-Emmanuel-Macron-France-USA-UK-Donald-Trump

Posted by: Anon | Apr 18 2018 8:33 utc | 107

I don't think its premature to declare game over. Russia won WW3 - there will be a few minor skirmishes, but nothing strategic.

And by continuing to adhere to the legal frameworks Russia has the high moral ground.

The West and Nato is fragmented - witness the last strikes - the UK only managed 6 missiles and the French zero, but the telling thing was the number of countries that declined. Turkey has changed sides. The US is hopelessly bogged down in the ME at huge cost, which cannot be afforded. The Western political systems are in chaos. And the Western economies are bust.

The US dare not confront Russia directly, which has superior arms, and Russia has out-thought the US.

All Russia needs to solve is the demographics, which it will will so many good looking Russian women.

We are witnessing the end of an Empires.

Posted by: cdvision | Apr 18 2018 8:33 utc | 108

An excellent summary of the whole Syrian war right up to the present, should open the minds of friends, family and colleagues still partially under the MSM propaganda spell but starting to realise the truth not what they’ve been told.
Listen and share:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wHsfc49Y_Fk

Posted by: apHarri | Apr 18 2018 10:41 utc | 109

Posted by: PavewayIV | Apr 18, 2018 12:19:38 AM | 83

Sadly, I think your assessment is more right than wrong. I happened to read Israel's Times newspaper yesterday and picked up many of the same messages.

This is not over yet. I feel a land invasion from the south, using proxies, mercenaries, some regular US and 'allied' forces, plus Israeli and US air support (or Israeli electronic interference of air defence systems?) is on the cards.

Looks like the UK role might be concurrently to carry out a massive cyber attack on Russia, Syria and Iran. All the signs for the reverse to happen – Russian cyber attack on UK – have been in the newspapers here since first editions Monday. Preparing us for a 'necessary retaliation'? Lord knows what the French will be doing – diversionary tactics from North (Manjib?) – but we can be sure Macron wants to be in there and doing. See: France is sending troops in Syria

Personally I do not think this looks good whichever way up you hold it.

Posted by: Carrie | Apr 18 2018 11:05 utc | 110

@89 I will look for the coverage on RT. Thanks. Of course the MSM would not be expected to cover it, because it is at variance of their concept of themselves as the saviors of the Syrian people. Maybe I've just not come across it, but I'm curious at the lack of notice in Syrian TV media. For example, why did they not, cover the central Damascus gatherings, as they did very well, and then link to video of the protests in Raqqa? (At least in my preliminary looks.)

I still recommend viewing all the video in Ivan Sidorenko's thread on the topic, for those who haven't.

Posted by: Norumbega | Apr 18 2018 11:13 utc | 111

Paveway IV:

Thanks, this info - even if only partially accurate - provides some interesting pieces for the mosaic. The electronic battlefield is largely unseen to the casual observer, but one gets the impression that it seethes and writhes across the landscape. If the advantage ebbs and flows like the tide, I guess my next question is whether the Russians have the appropriate resilience and ECM to prevent themselves from being stranded at the high-water mark?

The United Sates and Israeli's certainly appear to have pedigree when it comes to electronic warfare. That said, my personal hunch is that the Russians and Iranians are hardly novices themselves.

Posted by: Glossopteris | Apr 18 2018 11:36 utc | 112

PavewayIV @ 83 & Carrie @107


From the Al Mayadeen report published by Sputnik 4/12:
They are believed to be a part of international military forces deployed in the region to launch a ground assault in Damascus in cooperation with the US. According to the report, the US and other NATO countries, Jordan and Israel planned to launch attacks from several fronts, but the plot failed as Syrian armed forces made a series of rapid advances in Eastern Ghouta in March. The plot allegedly involved massive airstrikes by US and Israeli planes that were supposed to pave the way for ground forces.

From Elijah Magnier's 4/17 report:
The US plan was to hit Syria, cripple its military capability and effectively to destroy it completely....Sources within Syria’s allies believe that the Israeli attack against the T4 military base earlier this month was intended to be a test of the Iranian capability and readiness to retaliate against attack....So the Israeli attack was testing the Iranian reaction prior to a general hit, seemingly planned way ahead between Washington and Tel Aviv, and where countries of the Middle East were to be informed of it without the timing and proportion of the attack...Iran and its allies considered that the slightest lack of response to an American attack meant a possible war on Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah’s capability, another war on Iran, and the total destruction of Syria’s capabilities, allowing the Jihadists the upper hand once more. Over 150,000 militants and jihadists are today under Turkish and US control in the north of Syria and at al-Tanf and can be used again to attack the Syrian armyn being detailed....

Posted by: WJ | Apr 18 2018 11:47 utc | 113

EO @78

Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate them.

Posted by: Castellio | Apr 18 2018 12:03 utc | 114

@Glossopteris 109
The United Sates and Israeli's certainly appear to have pedigree when it comes to electronic warfare.

Really?
...from an expert in the field (no relation)

WASHINGTON: Former Air Force electronic warfare officer Rep. Don Bacon just introduced a bill to fix something he’s long decried: the US military’s neglect of EW, the highly technical art of detecting, jamming, and spoofing the sensors and communications on which a modern military depends.
“We had the dominant electronic warfare capability in the world and we let it atrophy. Now we’re behind,” Bacon, a retired one-star general, told me today. “I want us to be dominant again. I don’t want us to be second or third best after Russia and China. I don’t really see the impetus right now in the military,” Bacon said. “I’d like to light a little fire underneath them.”
Despite some high-level attention in recent years, he said, US electronic warfare remains underfunded, poorly organized, poorly understood, and overshadowed by its sexier sister field, cyber warfare. . .here

Electronic warfare. Military action involving the use of electromagnetic and directed energy to control the electromagnetic spectrum or to attack the enemy.
Cyberwarfare is any virtual conflict initiated as a politically motivated attack on an enemy's computer and information systems.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 12:48 utc | 115

BZ samples tested at Swiss lab in Skripal case ‘nothing to do’ with Salisbury – OPCW chief
https://www.rt.com/news/424475-opcw-swiss-bz-agent-salisbury/

Read their comments, they make no sense!

Posted by: Anon | Apr 18 2018 13:01 utc | 116

@Hoarsewhisperer
While this isn't a great analogy consider the USA as a huge, immensely strong, obnoxious drunk that is being belligerent and needs to be arrested. The police show up, a bunch of them, and now need to corral the drunk. The drunk is so insensate that it can't feel any damage and the police need to be careful of how they use force. Generally the best outcome for the cops is the drunk trips and collapses whereby the police restrain him and hope he doesn't choke to death on his own vomit.
The USA is a zombie(drunk) country; dead but doesn't know it yet. Yet it is enormously significant in the world. If it suddenly collapses the rest of the world is going to be hugely impacted. While it has an enormous military it is extremely brittle and has virtually no depth; it can't sustain any meaningful military engagement for more than a couple of months.
Israel has created a really stupid situation for itself. It's dug this very small pit and stuffed it full of Jewish folk. A single nuke dropped on it would end the question of Israel. Yet the strut and bully like they are bullet proof.
In each case be too aggressive with them and they will panic. Conversely, and frustrating as hell, both the US and Israel have lots of leeway to cause mischief.
Russia and China are doing their best to patiently sheppard the USA along the path of its decline. They will grit their teeth and suffer humiliation but the alternative is a global economic collapse and many millions dying.

Posted by: Bakerpete | Apr 18 2018 13:01 utc | 117

Don Bacon @112

Thanks very much for that. So certain factions within the US Military claim that the US has allowed it's dominant position in this field atrophy? That certainly puts an interesting spin on things, even if one allows for the usual disinformation and misdirection.

Posted by: Glossopteris | Apr 18 2018 13:03 utc | 118

@WJ 110
From Elijah Magnier's 4/17 report:
The US plan was to hit Syria, cripple its military capability and effectively to destroy it completely...

I don't believe any of that. There's no basis for it.
...from Kori Schake:

[Trump's] strategy is to limit American involvement, to push responsibility for outcomes in the region back onto states in the region, and to let power determine outcomes. He has no particular affinity for states in the region, and professes to be a devoted friend to each without committing to enduring obligations to any. He is indifferent to government type, and just as likely to be a benefactor to authoritarians as to democrats. It is an approach international relations theorists call “realism,” of the variant called “offshore balancing,” as he seeks to withdraw U.S. forces from the region. . .here

Currently Trump is trying to get KSA assistance in Syria; god luck on that. Anyhow the plan (such as it is) is for the US military to leave. Senator Graham ws "unnerved" by a recent adminstartion briefing on Syria. "It seems to me we are willing to give Syria to Assad, Russia, and Iran, and we're trying to find some way to leave Syria to keep ISIL destroyed, and I don't see how that works. I hope I am wrong."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 13:18 utc | 119

@115:

It's more of what product makes it easier for customers to open their wallets.

Posted by: Ian | Apr 18 2018 13:25 utc | 120

Anon @113,

Can you elaborate? The claim I think is that the OPCW added BZ to the sample sent to the Swiss as a control--embedded proof that the sample the Swiss analyzed was the same sample they received from OPCW. I don't know enough about OPCW procedures to assess this claim, but it strikes me as a conceptually coherent, if also very convenient, explanation. I guess I would be surprised to see Lavrov overextend himself in the way he did if what the OPCW is claiming is true.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 18 2018 13:32 utc | 121

A correspondent for US network CBS gained access to the alleged attack site in Douma on Monday. Seth Doane spoke to residents of a building where at least 30 bodies are reported to have been found.

"All of a sudden some gas spread around us," one man said. "We couldn't breathe, it smelled like chlorine."

Another resident, who said many members of his family were among those killed, showed the CBS crew a yellow compressed gas canister that appeared to have punched a hole in the roof of the building. The canister looked similar to others photographed in the wake of other alleged chlorine attacks.

A Swedish journalist who also visited the building in Douma said he had felt a discomfort in his throat and smelled a strong odour as he entered its basement.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43792120

Posted by: ninel | Apr 18 2018 13:33 utc | 122

Ninel@119,

"he had felt a discomfort in his throat and smelled a strong odour as he entered its basement."

All these years and I didn't get it, but now it becomes clear: the basement of my home in the US Midwest was once clearly the site of a chemical weapons attack!! That god for the intrepid Swedish journalist.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 18 2018 13:39 utc | 123

@119
A CBS reporter backs up the US claims. That's no surprise.
Anybody remember Dan Rather, the iconic CBS "reporter?"
Dan Rather: "Look I'm an American. I never tried to kid anybody that I'm some internationalist or something. And when my country is at war, I want my country to win, whatever the definition of 'win' might be. Now, I can't and don't argue that that is coverage without prejudice. About that I am prejudiced." . -- from Norman Solomon's "War Made Easy" -- How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 13:49 utc | 124

Don Bacon @116,

"From Elijah Magnier's 4/17 report:
The US plan was to hit Syria, cripple its military capability and effectively to destroy it completely...

I don't believe any of that. There's no basis for it."

I think if you take a longer view--one that includes the Skripal event, the embedded operatives in Ghouta, the planned false flag (and not merely staged) chemical attack, the intended coordination of these events into a massive wave of war propaganda--then there is a great deal of support for this view. It is not the strike of 4/14 taken in isolation that tells us the whole story, in my opinion. The issue has still not been decided in the US, which is why Trump and (I bet) Mattis are pushing the Saudi plan as an acceptable compromise to the neocon faction.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 18 2018 13:49 utc | 125

@119
A CBS reporter backs up the US claims. That's no surprise.
Anybody remember Dan Rather, the iconic CBS "reporter?"
Dan Rather: "Look I'm an American. I never tried to kid anybody that I'm some internationalist or something. And when my country is at war, I want my country to win, whatever the definition of 'win' might be. Now, I can't and don't argue that that is coverage without prejudice. About that I am prejudiced."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 13:50 utc | 126

@121
The claims of a US plan to conquer Syria were poppycock when Petri Kohn advanced them and they still are. No basis for it, and using Salisbury & Douma as factors in a US military assault on Syria is pretty weak tea. The simple fact is that the US is defeated in Syria, and the episodes you mention are merely the dying throes of a defeated empire. (I still like my simile of a caught fish flopping around on the boat deck... .The flops are ineffective and so is the US. Graham (and others) see it.)

There is a basic undercurrent here with many moa readers/bloggers that Russia is losing and the US is winning in Syria, that the current US setbacks are merely temporary. I don't understand it. Even the US generals are admitting defeat, for heavens sakes.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 14:03 utc | 127

WJ
Don Bacon

Mattis said the strike was a “one-off”.

But AFAIK the carrier fleet is still on the way to Syria.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 18 2018 14:12 utc | 128

@Bakerpeter 114

I think they are serious though about limiting future damage done by the US.

I think there was a good reason that Mattis came out less than an hour after the attack started and said 'ok we're done'

Also, I think the financial worries are overblown. I think the world would be much better off being less dependent on the USD. These worries help feed financial institution welfare.

Posted by: financial matters | Apr 18 2018 14:15 utc | 129

PavewayIV

Microwaves? OK, maybe. But I think that you may be too decent a chap to strategize in the way that the ’Assad must go’ arseholes do.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 18 2018 14:16 utc | 130

@124 Where that carrier ends up, off the Syrian coast or off Iran will be illuminating. Carriers are great against 3rd world countries but for goodness sake anyone would think this is still WW2. Russia has specific missiles to take out carrier fleets which can be fired from thousands of km away. In this century carriers are sitting ducks for a prepared opponent.

Posted by: Bill | Apr 18 2018 14:27 utc | 131

re 124

But AFAIK the carrier fleet is still on the way to Syria.

Before this gas attack thing came up, the Truman was going to the Gulf. Has anyone actually said that the plans have changed?

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 18 2018 14:33 utc | 132

@Jackrabbit 124
re: US carrier on the way
Fighter aircraft have been obsoleted by missiles, both long-range and air-defense, and carriers are obsolete too in modern warfare. Just as the battleship was obsoleted by the carrier, with the range of planes greater than gun range, so carriers have been obsoleted in turn by long-range missiles.

The US is still investing big bucks, tens of billions, on complex fighter aircraft and carriers. That's an indication right there that they don't work (except for profits) in a corrupted military acquisition system.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 14:35 utc | 133

Bill beat me to it at 127.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 14:37 utc | 134

Don Bacon @123,

I agree with almost everything you say. But, from my perspective, your account and the account of Kori Schake simplifies and somewhat idealizes the mechanism of--call it--"US policy." What Trump himself wants the US to do in Syria--disengage completely--may very well be true. But "US policy" is not determined by what Trump wants, but by the negotiations and struggles between the President and other powerful state-corporate factions. The ongoing nature of these negotiations and struggles produces no coherent or rational narrative behind US action in Syria, but rather a series of self-contradicting escalations and de-escalations, depending upon who holds the strongest hand at any given moment. The truth of this scenario is * one* thing that leads Russia to point out that the US is essentially incapable of acting as a rational international "partner." It is not *just* the US's deception that makes this so, but the fact that not even the US' deception in recent years can be gamed, because there is no *single* coherent aim behind it: not even American deception can be trusted, in other words.

I find all this pretty convincing. And so I am less certain than some others that *anybody* is yet in a position to say what the US will do or not do in relation to Syria in the next few weeks or months. I do think that a careful reading of several reports coming out of the White House since late February suggest that Trump is neither in control of nor even always aware of the concrete policies toward Syria and Russia that have been planned and implemented by his administration. So while I hope that you are right, and that everybody is able to recognize what is obvious--that there is no way for the US to "win" in Syria at this point without risking nuclear war--I am unfortunately not convinced that this is so.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 18 2018 14:57 utc | 135

We dont have to rely on seeing missile parts to know the Pentagon is lying about the air strikes. We have high resolution pictures of the target site at the research center and we have the claim that they hit that site with 76 cruise missiles with 1000 lb warheads! The level of damage does not match that claim. Not even close. Carefully examine the photos. One building is still heavily intact...maybe 30-40 %. Only the smaller one is obliterated. But notice, not only are these rather small college campus size buildings, each one is hollow. They all have an open courtyard inside. So they are in fact smaller than they first appear. It would take no more than 3 or 4 missiles to destroy each one, if that. We are looking at a strike from about 10 missiles, not 76. That is an absurd claim, and they were forced into it because that was the only site they could show extensive damage on. The other two shown were much too small to obscure the truth. This claim of an electronic attack and the Syrians firing at phantom targets is also absurd. While Russia certainly networked the Syrian long range radars to tighten up their airspace, most of Syria's guns and missile systems are elderly.They are not even digital nor can they be slaved to a network. For a buk system, for example, to fire on a target...the operator must acquire that target on his tracking and guidance radar on the launcher. If the target cant be detected (it's not really there) by the guidance radar, no launch is possible. It doesn't matter if the networked surveillance radar tells them something is out there, the guidance radar must lock onto something to fire.Even more so for some of their other systems. The only thing they would possibly launch towards a phantom target would be an s 200, on the chance that its semi active homing head would be operational by the time it was near the presumed target...sort of like getting a jump on the target.

Posted by: Indrid Cold | Apr 18 2018 15:06 utc | 136

Israel is very concerned about Iranian forces in Syria, and the US should also take note.

IRGC-controlled Syrian militia declares jihad against US forces in Syria

Syrian militia led by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) declared jihad on April 6 against US and allied forces in Syria. Since 2017, the US has twice come into direct contact with the group. The IRGC is likely to boost its military support to the group as it explores avenues to drive the US out of Syria.

The Baqir Brigade (AKA Liwa al Baqir or Liwa al Imam al Baqir) published on its social media page a statement with the Baqqara Tribe, to which its members belong. The tribe claims descent from the fifth Shiite Imam, Muḥammad al Baqir, the brigade’s namesake. The group’s open declaration features a militia logo that is a replication of the rising hand and AK-47 in the official logo of the IRGC and militias under its control. . .here


The US military units in Syria are not in a contiguous force. Vulnerable US "bases" in Syria are small spread-out outposts, totaling (they say) 2,000 troops plus probably several thousand contractors . . .(latest report on Iraq and Syria (combined) here.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 15:09 utc | 137

Indeed Cold

I think maybe you meant to post that comment to the “Syria - Pentagon Hides Attack Failure” Thread, and probabably in response to Just Sayin’ who asserts that he can’t find ANY photo evidence online of US missiles downed/diverted.

It’s best to keep that conversation there.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 18 2018 15:10 utc | 138

@WJ 131
I find all this pretty convincing.
Myself, I don't find anything convincing about the FUBAR administration you describe. Certainly it is not a government fit to go to another war (not having won a war in fifty years, not for lack of trying). The simple fact is that Syria controls the majority of the populated part of the country, and gaining more every day. The US can do nothing about it on a lasting basis. That's clear and pretty convincing.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 15:18 utc | 139

@7 Cassandra,

The French “explanation” for a chemical attack (Assad’s ostensible need to create negative PR for himself by sadistically punishing people who did not leave town on the Idlib Express) is literally the only theory true believers can come up with. Because killing and punishing Syrians who chose not to collaborate with the forces fighting the state totally makes sense....if you desperately need a gas attack story to keep your narrative from unraveling. Almost as funny as the Pentagon’s “all 100+ missiles we fired successfully hit their targets” and then showing pictures of the sites with barely any debris visible and no large craters. Must have been brand new super duper nano missiles or something. Sadly the average dimwit will believe it because for him the “news” is a proxy for thinking. Besides( everybody knows the “news” is never wrong.

Posted by: Moshe Mossad Schlomostein | Apr 18 2018 15:26 utc | 140

@100 Anon,

I predict Trump will be goaded into launching air attacks on Iran before his term expires. If he takes Bolton and Pompeo seriously we may even see an all out war against Iran. Russian objections against such an illegal assault will result in another ridiculous game of nuclear chicken. Oh joy.

Posted by: Moshe Mossad Schlomostein | Apr 18 2018 15:38 utc | 141

Don Bacon

Trump’s actions have not matched his election rhetoric. Just like faux populist Obama. Obama also “caved” to pressure, and even set himself up for failure by emphasing “bipartisanship”.

That is how the political mechanism of faux populism works.

Obama: Change you can believe in
Trump: Make America Great Again

Obama: Most transparent administration ever
Trump: Drain the Swamp

Obama: Deceiver: “Man of Peace” engaging in covert ops
Trump: Distractor: twitter, personal vendettas

Weakened by claims of unpatriotic inclinations:
Obama: Birthers (led by Trump who was close to Clinton’s) - “Muslim socialist”!
Trump: Russia influence (pushed by ‘NeverTrump’ Clinton loyalists) - Putin’s bitch!

There’s more but I won’t belabor the point.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 18 2018 15:42 utc | 142

Hoarsewhisperer, Russia's involvement in Syria has never been other than to protect Russia from terrorist infiltration. A destabilized Syria as US policy still seems determined to promote simply brings about more of the same.

The path of peaceful diplomacy advocated jointly by Russian Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis (both Christians!)would alwayshave been Russia's preferred course of action.

Posted by: juliania | Apr 18 2018 15:46 utc | 143

@Financial Matters 125
I totally agree we will be better off once the US dollar is no longer the dominant currency; it's how to get there that is the trick.

Posted by: Bakerpete | Apr 18 2018 15:56 utc | 144

WJ
Don Bacon
PavewayIV

The West wins by making Syria a hell on earth. That means no reconstruction funding, no trade, and continuous harassment by “rebels”.

The clearing of Ghouta puts a serious dent in this plan. Demoralizing the population of Damascus is now almost impossible.

But Lebanon is only about 15 miles from Damascus, and US/Israel would have to deal with Hez at some point anyway, so why not sooner rather than later?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 18 2018 15:59 utc | 145

@131 WJ and 134 Don Bacon

I appreciate this discussion.

On a side note I would add that 3-4 years ago when Ukraine was boiling, much of the discussion by concerned people focused on countries outside of the US, and the damage caused by the US. The US, in this context, was largely regarded as an evil but coherent entity.

But that coherence has now come more and more into question. Discussion shifted gradually, as the US made more and more mistakes and lost battle after battle in so many theaters, and revealed itself as a failing actor. And in the last year or two there's much more discussion about the US itself, largely trying to pierce the obscurity of how that country is actually run and by whom. This shift was already happening, and Trump of course added to the fascination.

I was glad to see that gradual shift. To me it indicated the war itself was won, while many battles were yet to be fought. I think it's true that Russia, China, Iran and others are increasingly concerned with curtailing the damage that the US can still inflict. Every day they increase in actual, effective power, and the US decreases in that power. Yesterday's battle will be fought differently tomorrow, because the balance of that power will have shifted again by then.

Syria has been an enormously useful magnifying glass to show us so much about the relative power balances of many nations. And even as the US lashes out in its death throes, it is increasingly cornered and stymied. The same is true of Israel. It's reaching the point - if not already there - that every move made by the US will result in clear damage to itself, with no gain, and no damage to its targets.

The other side has had sufficient time to wargame countless contingencies, and think them through and make preparations for them. Increasingly, it gets to choose what damage to allow and what to stop, because the costs of every action have now been calculated - and the passage of time reduces the costs too, so the equation constantly updates.

This is true outside of Syria also, in all theaters and on many planes of activity.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 18 2018 16:00 utc | 146

@ Bakerpete 140

Yes. It seems hard to convince people and especially governments that austerity is self defeating. It's sad to see how money is being spent in military actions, bank bailouts etc.

People seem to accept that they need to tighten their belts while inequality just keeps increasing.


Austerity is the problem for Britain not Brexit

Posted by: financial matters | Apr 18 2018 16:12 utc | 147

Just my few thoughts here.

I actually think that idea of having an Arab force (Egypt, Jordan) as in Syria in place of the US and the mercenaries is not too crazy idea of current US administration.

Also I think that deal of having iran a bit sidestepped right now is good plan for bringing some sort of a stable foundation to negotiate a US pull-out and Israeli agreeing with that.

What is your take there?

Posted by: laserlurk | Apr 18 2018 16:19 utc | 148

re 144

I actually think that idea of having an Arab force (Egypt, Jordan) as in Syria in place of the US and the mercenaries is not too crazy idea of current US administration.
It's just a forerunner of losing the war. See what happened in Vietnam.

Posted by: Laguerre | Apr 18 2018 16:28 utc | 149

Grieved 142

In reading a Reuters article the other day the writer referred to Russia as a super power.
It is the first time I have seen the MSM refer to current Russia as a superpower.
As you say the balance of power is shifting.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 18 2018 16:37 utc | 150

@141 jr.. i see it much as you do here... the west continues to win by making syria an ongoing hell... and for the record, the usa/uk do what israel wants.. so the question "what does israel want?' becomes central to the ongoing syria dynamic... syria is like a proxy playground for usa's attempt to mess up russia or israels attempt to mess with iran.. lebannon as jr mentions is an obvious place to do more meddling..

Posted by: james | Apr 18 2018 16:43 utc | 151

@144 "I actually think that idea of having an Arab force (Egypt, Jordan) as in Syria in place of the US and the mercenaries is not too crazy idea of current US administration."

And the 'Arab force' would do what exactly? Protect the Kurds from Turkey? Deprive Syrians of their oilfields? Stop the SAA from crossing the Euphrates? And who would provide the 'Arab force' with air support?

Posted by: dh | Apr 18 2018 16:46 utc | 152

The US already has Arabs fighting in Syria on its behalf. They're called ISIS, Al Nusra, AQ, and etc.

The FUKUSi may still rain missiles upon Syria from the Med Sea.

The FUKUSi is cocky and belligerent. It believes its own bombastic propaganda.

Occam's razor suggests that Trump is nothing more than another puppet cut from the same cloth as all the other puppets before him. They differ only in style.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Apr 18 2018 16:48 utc | 153

Russians found one of the actors from the Douma chem attack fake - https://www.instagram.com/p/Bht2xhwHTKt/

Posted by: dewn | Apr 18 2018 16:50 utc | 154

Israel wants to expand its borders from the Nile to the Euphrates and to infinity and beyond!

Posted by: fastfreddy | Apr 18 2018 16:51 utc | 155

@ 149 fastfreddy... yeah, but this will be the '''moderate''' version of same, lol... and if anyone believes that, they will believe all the other lies and deceptions regularly manufactured out of washington/telaviv/london...

Posted by: james | Apr 18 2018 17:05 utc | 156

Grieved @142--

What I find rather interesting is the evolution of Fox News into the more reliable news source versus CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC as shown recently by Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity's reporting as they seem to be adopting what would be termed Paleo-Conservative/Libertarian views of Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan--Carlson's been active in debunking the chemical attack, Russiagate and other provocative Deep State actions, while Hannity correctly pointed out the deep connections between various Democrat Party personages, their criminal activities and Deep State ties: All of which he termed America's Crime Families. (If I hadn't seen that particular Hannity show's content for myself, I doubt I'd have believed it if told by another, such has been my anti-Fox News bias. I've posted a link to it twice; here it is again.)

Conservative political philosophy within the USA is confusing in that it often works at cross purposes. Remember who first claimed the mantle of Progressivism--Republicans--and after the Populists, who claimed to be the champion of the Common Man--Teddy Roosevelt, Robert Lafollette (The Socialist-Republican), and Henry Wallace (Wallace's 1942 Common Man Speech is quite remarkable when compared with what's occurred since 1945 and the Vaunted 4 Freedoms). In his 1944 New York Times essay "The Danger of American Fascism," Wallace described quite well the personages who would soon take command of the USA and start us on our path to our current malaise. FDR refused to prosecute those industrialists and banksters who colluded in an attempt to stage a coup--a massive mistake for which an big unanswered WHY? remains deeply imprinted on a few historian's minds, for members of that cabal are the ones Wallace wrote about, were already deeply placed within the War Department, backed Truman, took control of the nation through the 1947 National Security Act, and have yet to be removed from power.

Putin is a Conservative and a Russian patriot--his stated program for Russian revival could've been written by Teddy Roosevelt: He wants the Russian people to have a Square Deal. I find it hilarious that some paint Putin as some sort of radical, as if demanding the Rule of Law be made paramount and cordiality as the fundamental basis for international relations differs in any manner from Wallace's 1942 speech. If the citizens residing within the Outlaw US Empire want to see their nation as Great again, they must reject much of what's been done to law and government since 1945 while rediscovering the moral-based, pro common man political philosophy that the Populists promoted and Republicans adopted. Putin's reviled by the Deep State precisely because he promotes that sort of philosophy, as well as Xi, with their Win-Win outlook that looks to make the Common Man a partner instead of an adversary to milk until death as with the Corporatism fancied by the Deep State.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 18 2018 17:24 utc | 157

Don Bacon @135
Jackrabbit @141
Grieved @142,


I agree with the assessments of Don Bacon and Grieved that the "US can do nothing [about Syria] on a lasting basis" [Don Bacon] and that the more fundamental "war"--the war premised on the convincing global projection of US financial-military power--has "itself [already been] won." [Grieved]

But the difference between reality and the perception of reality is real, and it produces real effects. The death throes of a man who is dying might be perceived by him as the sudden return of his virility. We can all agree that he is wrong. But we can also all agree that he is not yet dead. And therein lies the problem.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 18 2018 17:38 utc | 158

@150 dewn.. thanks.. good score...

Posted by: james | Apr 18 2018 17:42 utc | 159

The US Zionist Deep State doesn't want to "conquer" any country. Then they'd have to pay the bill for the destruction they caused... think an actual Marshall Plan, not the Iraq and Afghan Debacles. It is not trying to "win". It is trying to destroy those countries' ability to function outside the iron-fist influence of the Rothschild/IMF/BIS/etc. banks/economy. In the Middle East, this means to the ultimate benefit of the Zionist Israel Project, the preeminent Rothschild wet dream since long before the Balfour Declaration and Sykes-Picot. Russia becomes a target as the defender of Syria, Iran etc., and so the Zionist Rothschild MIC/Bretton Woods/IMF/etc. bankster system is brought to bear in the form of Ukraine regime-change, currency wars and trade/economic sanctions. China has allied with Russia, and also has the Rothschilds on a short leash, so the fooferah over the South China Sea and North Korea... which also has no Rothschild-controlled central bank.

As for US operations in Syria being handed off "to others", i.e. to Prince's latest iteration of Blackwater/Xi/Academia, the last we heard of Erik was trying to sell a budget airforce/drone system to countries in Africa. What a joke. Not going to happen in Syria, because Russia, Iran, Hezbolla and Syria would have no qualms about directly assaulting Prince's Kurd/Arab/Wahabbist mercenaries... Eric may be a self-serving parasite, but he's not stupid enough to directly take on the Russian military, or even the SAA for that matter. Especially with no NATO air cover... Killary is not around to unilaterally impose a Libya-style no-fly-zone.

Trumpty Dumbdy is trapped, just trying to convince his base that he really is getting the US out of being Israel's and the Rothschilds' bitch, but that is not a potential reality. It would involve dismantling the FED and cutting off the yearly $multi-billion military aid tap to Israel. I doubt he is smart or informed enough to comprehend the situation he is in. Any sane, intelligent person would walk away and tell the Zionist/Rothschild/Deep State to find another patsy.


Posted by: A P | Apr 18 2018 17:42 utc | 160

dewn 150

No actors in the victims this time round. Just people who suffocated from or were affected by dust and smoke inhalation.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Apr 18 2018 17:54 utc | 161

"All of a sudden some gas spread around us," one man said. "We couldn't breathe, it smelled like chlorine."
_____________________________________

The videos showing persons (White Helmets?) rushing into the site of the alleged chemical attack and pouring water on the "victims" speak for themselves. Likewise, the ancillary first-person reports by medical personnel: 1) affirming that there were no symptoms of chemical poisoning among the dead or injured, and 2) corroborating the reports of third parties rushing in and clamoring "Gas!", "Chemical attack!", etc.

It's obvious enough to any observer with a modicum of rational skepticism that this is the old "fait accompli" version of the Big Lie: just keep repeatedly and firmly insisting that X took place (or X never happened), until a critical mass of complacent, credulous, and submissive useful idiots accept the assertions as fact.

It wouldn't surprise me if, along with all that water being thrown around, a few White Helmet-types also poured around, or even boiled, some ordinary household laundry bleach to provide the unmistakable whiff of chlorine gas in the air.

In sleight-of-hand and similar deceptions, once the audience buys into the premise, it only takes minimal cues to reinforce the fake reality projected by the illusion-master.

Posted by: Ort | Apr 18 2018 18:03 utc | 162

@Peter AU

I agree calling him "an actor" is wrong, however this particular boy, according to their (the boy and his father) interview did this for food, he wasn't affected by the dust and smoke event.

Posted by: dewn | Apr 18 2018 18:04 utc | 163

Putin bows to Trump, ready for deep Concessions

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-18/putin-reportedly-ready-deep-concessions-seeks-deal-trump

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 18 2018 18:16 utc | 164

Rossiya 24 TV channel has interviewed a Syrian boy named Hasan Diab who participated in the filming of the "chemical attack" video. Here is my translation of the article:


Syrian boy Hasan Diab, who was presented in a staged White Helmets video as a victim of a chemical attack in Douma, revealed the details of its filming.

"We were in a basement. Mom told me there's nothing to eat today, we'll only eat tomorrow. We heard someone yelling on the street, they yelled "go to the hospital". We ran to the hospital, and as soon as I have entered, they grabbed me and started to douse me with water. Then they put us on a bed with other people." — said the boy during his appearance on Rossiya 24 channel.

The channel's military reporter Evgeniy Poddubny noted that the boy was compelled to take part in the video.

"The boy had nothing to eat, he was offered rice, dates, and cookies for this filming." — said Poddubny.

Hasan's story was confirmed by his father, who added that there had been no chemical attach in the town.

"When I found out that my child was in the hospital, I asked for time off at my work and ran there. There were no chemical weapons whatsoever. I smoked on the street and felt nothing. I entered the hospital and saw my family. The militants gave me dates, cookies, and rice for participating in that filming and let us go home. My child was fine." — the boy's father told the channel.

(Source)

Posted by: S | Apr 18 2018 18:23 utc | 165

@144&148

Remember, this is the Nth attempt by KSA to muster a pan-arabic force to be involved in Syria.
Its a complete sham. Without Egypt it simply isnt credible (Am struggling to find the article I read but first reactions are Egypt wont participate in such an endeavor)..

Posted by: Lozion | Apr 18 2018 18:24 utc | 166

@Passer by 159,
Smart move if true.

Posted by: Bakerpete | Apr 18 2018 18:25 utc | 167

@160 s... that is the same people captured in @150 dewns link...

Posted by: james | Apr 18 2018 18:38 utc | 168

@163 james: Yes, Hassan Diab and his father.

Posted by: S | Apr 18 2018 18:46 utc | 169

news report
Saudi Arabia is in discussions with the US to send troops into Syria, according to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
This impresses nobody.
from BusinessInsiderMilitary--

Saudi Arabia is the fourth-largest spender on defense products in the world, just behind Russia. But its military has been largely ineffective in Yemen.
Almost three years after Saudi Arabia, supported by other Gulf and Arab states, launched a military intervention to support Yemen's ousted president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, Iran-backed Houthi rebels are still active and continue to hold Yemen's largest city and capital, Sana'a.
Additionally, the Houthis have proved capable of launching high-profile attacks against the Saudis. Those include multiple cross-border raids into Saudi Arabia, successful attacks on Emirati and Saudi navy ships, and the launching of ballistic missiles into the heartland of the kingdom. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 18 2018 18:53 utc | 170

So here is confirmation that at least four French missiles (1 Scalp, 3 MDCN) were not downed by the Syrian air defense

...

they could not be fired.

http://www.lepoint.fr/monde/frappes-en-syrie-l-un-des-missiles-scalp-n-est-pas-parti-du-rafale-18-04-2018-2211787_24.php
(source in French)

Posted by: fx | Apr 18 2018 18:55 utc | 171

Many stating the Douma chem attack never happened: Fisk, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Peter Ford, that TV fellow Tuckbox, no Tucker - Fox, no doubt many others I forget now, ppl on the ground, doctors, Vanessa Beely, etc. Others saying there is no evidence, such as Mad Dog Mattis, that takes the cake, it does.

Good news in a way, signals breaches in the information stranglehold of USuk-F. Yes. However it can go many ways.

To break the stranglehold of the PTB (USuk-isr with now F, others like KSA not influential in information terms) it is necessary to flip a good part of the 20%. Not the top 20% in economic terms, but what the F call the “intermediary corps”, those who provide the interface between the top echelons and the lowly proles. In other contexts, the cadres of the régime, defined loosely, widely. I.e. ppl / small groups who are positioned at decision nodes (e.g. tech, military) — who possess mega social capital and influence (e.g. media) — experts who make important decisions in the shadows (e.g. health care, big pharma) — gvmt. officials, high security chiefs, etc.

As the US is a corporatist oligarchy possibly the 20% is only 15% or so. It has now (imho) become necessary, for change to occur, for this structure to be liquidated or at least be severely impacted. Is that what is going on? I think not.

The other possible positive outcome is that proposed by Trump the candidate, and mentioned above in comments and all over…: The USA gradually retiring its hegemonic policies, re-trenching at home, and accepting a “”multi-polar”” (double quotes as double-speak) world. I see this happening in a way, in the sense that the latest missile *attacks* on Syria represent a failed sortie, a non-event, a face-saving exercise tolerated by others. Yet, it will be followed by low-level harassment or escalation, who knows...

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 18 2018 19:06 utc | 172

@Bakerpete | Apr 18, 2018 2:25:41 PM | 167

It would depend on the concessions, though. Key word here *deep*

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 18 2018 19:13 utc | 173

BTW, for those who haven't seen it yet, here's the full unedited Lavrov's interview with BBC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFhORWVFBUw .

Posted by: S | Apr 18 2018 19:15 utc | 174

@ the shill link from zerohedge. It's a stupid Bloomberg article insisting that the Empire is winning. My favorite part was "the Kremlin was livid" about Russians claiming they'd shoot down missiles if attacked.

If anyone wants to read more trash, this is somewhat funny: https://www.thedailybeast.com/russia-probably-cant-shoot-down-us-missiles-over-syria-but-they-have-other-ways-to-retaliate The title alone is amusing, but the article admits that the patriot missiles are "only 30-percent effective" and assumes the s-400 is similar. What happened last week must be very uncomfortable for them.

Posted by: Jesrad | Apr 18 2018 20:08 utc | 175

Re Yemen,

It would seem that the incessant bombings of the SA and UAE kill very few people.

Why is it that war deaths in Yemen are only given as 10,000? Even on RT this magic
number stays the same year after year after year.

How come nobody dies from cholera? And malnutrition? Aren't these war deaths?

I am truly baffled.

Posted by: CarlD | Apr 18 2018 20:10 utc | 176

>>>> Passer by | Apr 18, 2018 2:16:32 PM | 164

Putin bows to Trump, ready for deep Concessions

Unlikely - US simply cannot be trusted to conform to any agreement - Trump might be prepared to do a deal and stick with it but others in White House and Congress would see it as a sign of weakness, bank what was offered then make further substantial demands on Putin and Putin understands that.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 18 2018 20:11 utc | 177

@Passer by | Apr 18, 2018 3:13:15 PM | 173

I lean towards what was hinted in the article. Putin has thrown a piece of red meat in the midst of the Deep State chickenhawks. Let's see them crawl all over each other trying to chew on it.

Posted by: Bakerpete | Apr 18 2018 20:22 utc | 178

"Noirette @ 172 said:"…: The USA gradually retiring its hegemonic policies, re-trenching at home, and accepting a “”multi-polar”” (double quotes as double-speak) world.

I'd like to believe that could happen, and if it did, I'd be forced, as I've said before, to change my perception of one DT, as just another corporate empire puppet..

Posted by: ben | Apr 18 2018 20:25 utc | 179

The claim that Russia has never been in Syria for anything other than killing terrorists there to keep them out of Russia seems to be paraded out more and more unquestioningly. It's patent bs. Yes that is part of Russia's reason, but anyone not glued to corporate media knows that this war has never been centrally about Syria. It has always been, in a way, more about Iran and Russia.

Posted by: paul | Apr 18 2018 20:39 utc | 180

The priority for 'the West' will be to protect Israel from what they wantonly inflict on their neighbours. The threat of Hezbollah and not knowing how prepared it is to resist and then counterattack, is the critical point. I suspect the firepower at the Americans control could overwhelm both Syrian and Russian defences, I hope I'm wrong. This bloodshed is all for Israel and at some point they will pay the price.

Posted by: duplicitousdemocracy | Apr 18 2018 20:50 utc | 181

The claim that Russia has never been in Syria for anything other than killing terrorists there to keep them out of Russia seems to be paraded out more and more unquestioningly. It's patent bs. Yes that is part of Russia's reason, but anyone not glued to corporate media knows that this war has never been centrally about Syria. It has always been, in a way, more about Iran and Russia.

Posted by: paul | Apr 18, 2018 4:39:50 PM | 179

this is a pretty stupid distinction to make, even by your already admittedly abysmally low standards, paul.

After all it's not like the Russkies asked ZATO to make a mess of Syria just so they could rush in to pretend to defend it, now is it?

Syria is where the action's at, and Russia had a Naval base there, so they obviously considered it worth defending. If ZATO hadn't attacked then russia would have to defend it [pretend or otherwise]

I bet you'd be the type to blame the woman for being there in the first place, when she claims someone raped her? After all, look what she was wearing. Asking for it obviously.

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Apr 18 2018 21:08 utc | 182

"then russia would have to defend it" = then russia would not have to defend it

obviously

Posted by: Just Sayin' | Apr 18 2018 21:09 utc | 183

Noirette @172
Ghostship @176,
These are very helpful comments. I am betting they are in the vicinity of the truth.


I am still wondering about Russia's promised "consequences" for the FUKUS illegal strike against Syria and whether they might pertain to either or both of the two apparently quixotic diplomatic endeavors Russia has taken on:

the first being to convince the international community that the Skripal hoax was in fact a hoax perpetrated by the U.K;

the second being likewise the public claim that the alleged chemical attack in Douma was not only staged, but was staged by the direct command of certain persons in the U.K. government.

What makes these endeavors seem quixotic is that Russia already knows how this game is played: the UK, US (and its client states) will never admit to either, no matter what evidence Russia supplies, and in any case have already expressed their disdain for international law--which is the presumed context within which both endeavors are being pursued.

So why is Russia investing so much of its energy into these endeavors? They are just as likely to lead to a *worse* result for Russia at this point than simply doing nothing. The U.K. and U.S. are not above inflicting vindictive reprisals for this kind of doggedly annoying diplomatic behavior.

But then I read this--as reported by both the Sunday Times and Sputnik over the past couple days:

"The Sunday Times recalled in this vein that since the alleged poisoning of the Skripals, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has received "intelligence risk assessments" pertaining to Russia's possible retaliation in the form of releasing "embarrassing material on members of May's Cabinet as well as highly-placed British ministers and MPs."

Is this an early attempt by the U.K. to get out ahead of these promised Russian "consequences"?
What *kind* of "embarrassing material on members of May's Cabinet" might Russia possess? And how do we know that such material would be *only* embarrassing--and not, say, politically catastrophic?

Is Russia planning to reveal the "irrefutable proof" of the U.K. role in staging the Douma chemical attack it claims to possess? Is it this "proof" that lies behind Russia's dogged diplomacy on these two issues?

Posted by: WJ | Apr 18 2018 21:10 utc | 184

Saudis sending in the marines

Could you imagine what would happen to the Saudis if they went up against the SAA, Tiger forces, Hezbollah, or IRGC. It would not be pretty, especially if those groups had air proper defenses.

All this flailing over MbS's ego trip. I'd love to see Thomas Friedman cry as his heroes forces got caught to shreds.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Apr 18 2018 21:15 utc | 185

"The bulk of the remaining ISIS fighters are located in two areas: along the Syria-Iraq border around the town of Haijin, in the Euphrates River Valley north of Abu Kamal, and just west of Deir ez-Zoir.

Dillon would provide no figures on the numbers of ISIS fighters remaining in the country."

https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/04/17/us-forces-remain-near-manbij-isis-has-moved-on/#.WtdlNBYQJII.twitter

ISIS mostly remains inside US-controlled territory as confirmed by the US military.

Posted by: Les | Apr 18 2018 21:15 utc | 186

@185 "ISIS mostly remains inside US-controlled territory as confirmed by the US military."

Wait till those Saudi marines get there....they'll sort the buggers out.

Posted by: dh | Apr 18 2018 21:23 utc | 187

Is anyone having trouble with reaching Elijah Magnier site today?
I am not able fro a while already, but I can see his twitter account....

Posted by: From the resistance trench with love | Apr 18 2018 21:23 utc | 188

@ 183 WJ

I'm wondering about the same things too. Also, if another US naval group is heading towards Syria, WHY is it?

Posted by: spudski | Apr 18 2018 21:39 utc | 189

@157

Who's Win-Win? Xie's wife?

But seriously.....

I don't think Hannity has had any sort of awakening about the Deep State. He's just a partisan hack who happens to have come across Deep State related information in pursuit of the Democratic Party. Carlson seems more of a conservative who is puts his intellectual honesty above ideology. The "liberal" neocons who dominate the Democratic Party, bureaucracy, media, and academia lack his degree of openness and honesty. The left-sympathizing diaspora that coalesced around Sanders is completely marginalized unless they're willing to look outside of their abusive coalition towards paleocons and America-Firsters who have been driven to the margins by "conservative" neocons. But they'll need to shed their postmodernist baggage to do so or they will forever be chasing the toxic crumbs tossed their way by the "liberals" who hold sway in the power structures that still have their loyalty.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Apr 18 2018 21:47 utc | 190

U.S. carrier group

It might just be part of a normal rotation. We have what, 10 - 12 carrier groups but keep 6 near the mainland and 4 deployed at all times and rotate them because the sun wouldn't shine if we didn't.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Apr 18 2018 21:48 utc | 191

WJ @183--

I submit that Russia is essentially doing this all for the benefit of the Global Court of Humanity--the actual International Community--to bolster its and China's drive to re-establish a Rule-of-Law based world order that provides actual consequences for individuals and nations who violate those laws. In other words, Russia is asking the International Community to make a choice as to what sort of world it wants to inhabit--one where all nations have the same standing and are able to freely express their views, or one where they're enslaved by a single hegemon and restricted to only doing its bidding. When you read Putin's speeches going back to his meteoric rise in the late 1990s, he keeps this same thread of thinking as he addresses the West--and the rest of the world. There's a very good reason Putin's seen as the #1 statesman on the planet. Also, thus the reason for the intensity of the Russophobic anti-Putin campaign being waged. I think Gallup ought to rephrase this query: "Turning to global political leadership, should the USA retain its role as arguably the most powerful state in the world? Or would survey respondents prefer the USA and Russia to exercise global leadership together?" Instead, it ought to ask if people would prefer to live under a Unipolar global dictatorship or retain the sovereignty, dignity and freedom of a Multipolar world. In that regard, it's very important for Russia and its Multipolar Alliance allies to show/teach the world that the Outlaw US Empire is anything but benevolent and is an Imperialist robber just as its mentor and mother the UK remains.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 18 2018 22:06 utc | 192

Re BZ and novichok: If Lavrov referred to a control sample, it appears that the same control sample that contained BZ also contained A-234 (novichok). How on earth did they create it? Or did they mix the original sample with BZ?

Posted by: Cherrycoke | Apr 18 2018 22:06 utc | 193

@140 MMS "[MSM] 'news' is a proxy for thinking" - nicely said - those in the west have abdicated their responsibility to themselves, their families & communities, and outsourced their thinking to various, previously trustworthy (OK maybe only a little) professions, ie. politicians, journalists, teachers, doctors, etc. - only to find, years later, that doing so was to thier own detriment & others as well

@146 Grieved - thanks...

Posted by: xLemming | Apr 18 2018 22:15 utc | 194

OPCW:

"There was no other chemical that was identified by the Labs. The precursor of
BZ that is referred to in the public statements, commonly known as 3Q, was contained in the
control sample prepared by the OPCW Lab in accordance with the existing quality control procedures. Otherwise it has nothing to do with the samples collected by the OPCW Team in
Salisbury. This chemical was reported back to the OPCW by the two designated labs and the
findings are duly reflected in the report."

https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/M-59/en/ecm59dg01_e_.pdf

Also:

"The Technical Assistance mission carried out by the Secretariat is over. However based on the outcome of this mission in relation to the identity of the toxic chemical used in Salisbury,
the Organisation will need to consider some follow up actions. I would like to inform the Council that I will soon seek the advice of the Scientific Advisory Board on the issue under discussion here today. Based on the SAB’s recommendations we may consider other steps."

What is that about?

Posted by: Cherrycoke | Apr 18 2018 22:20 utc | 195

@183 wj.. it won't matter what ''proof'' russia provides.. it will be ignored and especially by the msm...

@186 dh... when the saudis get their, isis and them will be able to practice the headchopping wahabbi death cult rituals together.. get the grand mufti from turkey to join in the fun.. offer free holidays in idlib for those especially religious ones..

Posted by: james | Apr 18 2018 22:22 utc | 196

Indeed Cold @ 136:

"... For a [BUK] system, for example, to fire on a target...the operator must acquire that target on his tracking and guidance radar on the launcher. If the target [can't] be detected (it's not really there) by the guidance radar, no launch is possible. It doesn't matter if the networked surveillance radar tells them something is out there, the guidance radar must lock onto something to fire ..."

I'll remember that bit of technical advice the next time a Boeing 777 travelling 900+ km/h at 10,000 m above sea level disappears over Ukraine and the Ukrainians try to convince us that a couple of BUK missile delivery system vehicles sprinted over the border, did a roundabout course just to shoot the plane down and then sprinted back in double-quick time.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 18 2018 22:25 utc | 197

Cherrycoke @192,

My view is that they are trying to bury the whole issue by appeal to crucially important, though highly professionalized, particular technicalities of chemical testing.

One commentator over at Craig Murray's (4/18 20:29) hypothesizes from the stated facts of the UK ambassador at the UNSC that the TWO biomedical samples were the two samples "spiked" with BZ in control samples, while the TWO environmental samples were not. (The idea is that there were four labs--four controlled samples--in total, only two of which were spiked with BZ.)

Why might it be the two biomedical samples were the two controls that were spiked with BZ? I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious.

Posted by: WJ | Apr 18 2018 22:30 utc | 198

>>>> WJ | Apr 18, 2018 5:10:42 PM | 183

I am still wondering about Russia's promised "consequences" for the FUKUS illegal strike against Syria

Don't hold you breath waiting because the "consequence" will most likely be a diplomatic/political solution in Syria in which FUKUS will play little or no part and Israel will have a walk-on part with no lines. It will take time but time is something Russia understands and the morons in Tel Aviv and Washington and their poodles in Paris and London no longer do.

the first being to convince the international community that the Skripal hoax was in fact a hoax perpetrated by the U.K
As the latest travails of the Conservative government, such as Grenfell, Windrush, etc., demonstrate, it cannot be trusted by the people who elected it. Why should it be trusted by anyone else.
the second being likewise the public claim that the alleged chemical attack in Douma was not only staged, but was staged by the direct command of certain persons in the U.K. government.

It wasn't the Syrians or Russians but the White Helmets who staged the incident, more correctly took an event that really occurred - people suffocated by dust and smoke - and made it into a chemical incident. Who created and funds the White Helmets? The British, so they are guilty of conspiring with terrorists to overthrow a legitimate government.

Even a former British First Sea Lord finds it incredible that the Syrian or Russians would organize a chemical attack in Douma and is then slapped down by his BBC interviewer for siding with the Russians in the "information war".

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Apr 18 2018 22:30 utc | 199

Thanks S@165. Southfront carries the story, too: https://southfront.org/journalists-found-boy-filmed-in-white-helmets-douma-chemial-attack-video-he-did-it-for-food/

Posted by: Maracatu | Apr 18 2018 22:31 utc | 200

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