Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 26, 2018

Syria - U.S. Moves To Protect Al-Qaeda And ISIS in Daraa

The Syrian government and its Russian ally plan to clean up the southwest region of Syria around the city of Daraa. The move should open the M5 highway, Syria's lifeline, between Damascus and Jordan and secure the border with Jordan as well as the demarcation line with the Israel occupied Golan Heights.

The operation was supposed to start in a day or two, but the U.S. has now threatened to intervene. As the southwest Daraa governorate is infested with a large Islamic State (ISIS) group as well as al-Qaeda and associated groups the U.S.move must be interpreted as protection for these terrorists.

On July 7 2017 The U.S, Russia and Jordan agreed to set up a de-escalation zone in southwest Syria. The parameters were not publicized and the implementation lagged. Russia had offered to let its military police supervise the zone but the U.S. rejected that. The opening of the important M5 highway to Jordan which was originally part of the plan did likewise not happen. The ceasefire in the region was broken several times. There was also infighting between ISIS and al-Qaeda.

In November 2017 the presidents of the United States and Russia met and agreed to a Memorandum of Principals which covered southwest Syria. The memorandum was not published.

The neo-conservatives at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) disliked the agreement. It headlined Southern Syria Deal Fails to Constrain Iran, al Qaeda. Israel had demanded that no groups associated with Iran should come near the zone, but no such rule was agreed upon. ISW also noted:

Al Qaeda has exploited the ‘de-escalation zone’ to develop a new durable safe haven along the Syrian-Jordanian border.

Neither al-Qaeda nor the Islamic State are covered by the de-escalation and ceasefire agreement. UN Security Council resolutions 2249 and 2254 demand that all UN members fight Al Qaeda, ISIS and individuals and groups associate with them. It calls upon UN member states "to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria".

At that time ISW published a map of southwest Syria which shows the strategic positions taken by ISIS (grey), al-Qaeda (brown) and aligned groups (light brown):

full size with full legend

In December 2017 the U.S. stopped payments to "rebels" in the south west. Some of the groups, including al-Qaeda, receive money, weapons and fire support from Israel.

In April 2018 ISW published a new version of its map of the area. Amusingly al-Qaeda had vanished from it:

full size with legend

Over the last days Syrian helicopters have dropped leaflets over "rebel" held towns in the western part of the rebel held areas. They demand that the rebels give up fighting and reconcile with the Syrian government.

The Iranian ambassador to Jordan Mojtaba Ferdowsi-pour publicly declared that Iran has no role in any military operation in south of Syria. He added:

'After ending its mission in Syria, Iran will not remain in Syria and whenever Syrian government ask us, Iran will leave the country.'

It is obvious that the Syrian government and its Russian allies have all rights to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda independent of any de-escalation agreement. The UNSC resolutions even demand that. But the U.S. thinks different.

Last night the U.S. State Department published this threat:

The United States is concerned by reports of an impending Assad regime operation in southwest Syria within the boundaries of the de-escalation zone negotiated between the United States, Jordan, and the Russian Federation last year and reaffirmed between Presidents Trump and Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam in November. The United States remains committed to maintaining the stability of the southwest de-escalation zone and to the ceasefire underpinning it. We also caution the Syrian regime against any actions that risk broadening the conflict or jeopardize the ceasefire. As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations.

One wonders what "firm and appropriate measures" the U.S. has planned for. Strong words? Cruise missile attacks? Nukes?

I have not seen any reaction yet from the Syrian or Russian side.

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Posted by b on May 26, 2018 at 19:14 UTC | Permalink

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US is a rogue state allied with terrorists and other rogue states(Israel, Saudi Arabia. US, Israel, KSA axis of weasels. This Axis must all be defeated.

Posted by: Stephen Kalil | May 26 2018 19:24 utc | 1

Doubtful Russia (Putin) will do anything. The US and Israel has them bullied or has offered them some kind of deal when Netanyahu was in Moscow or both. Don't know what Mr. Putin got in trade but it must have been pretty good for him to dump all the credibility he and Russia built up over the last couple years. Paul Craig Roberts has a post up that possibly explains Russian actions.

Posted by: Ken | May 26 2018 19:28 utc | 2

The US still has dreams of linking Israel to its US/Kurd/ISIS territory east of the Euphrates? US also looking at recognizing occupied Golan as Israel which would bring it under US defense.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 26 2018 19:52 utc | 3

Once again the u.s. is promoting and abiding terrorism. This time it's especially obvious. Russia should call in the UN Security Counsel to discuss the matter and to make it more visible to the rest of the world in the first place. It's not enough to be able to read it here. MSM have to be pressured to write about. As usual bullshit, but telling bullshit.

Posted by: Pnyx | May 26 2018 19:53 utc | 4


Posted by: et Al | May 26 2018 19:54 utc | 5

Probably Israel promised not to interfere with the Daraa operation as long as Iranians were not involved and Russia not delivering S-300 systems to Syria. So, US gets to protect the "rebels" and Israel keeps its promise.

Probable Russian counter action is starting the operation with solely RuAF air cover and the moment a single airframe goes down, proceed to install a Russian S-400 system with Russian operators in Damascus for RuAF protection, while keeping the Russian promise of not delivering any S-300/400 system to the Syrian army.

Posted by: Erlindur | May 26 2018 20:51 utc | 6

Russia is not Syria's ally. I'm sure this very blog has made that point over and over when it served to excuse Russia's acquiescence to attack and occupation by any aggressive power that wants to further torture that country.

Russia is allied to Israel. It seeks alliance with the US. It will stand aside any time Syria is attacked. I suspect it provides coordinates for the attackers and intel.

Russia has switched sides in this war.

By the way, if Russia can have bases in Syria, so can Iran damn well have bases. Oh yeah, but of course, we must never forget that Might Makes Right, mustn't we?

Posted by: paul | May 26 2018 21:10 utc | 7

thanks b..

"UN Security Council resolutions 2249 and 2254 demand that all UN members fight Al Qaeda, ISIS and individuals and groups associate with them." i guess that is why isw made a point of getting rid of al qaeda off there map so quickly! the problem i see it is israel wants to fund al qaeda and isis to retain it's control over the golan hieghts... meanwhile they have told usa how high to jump and the usa has obliged them... nothing new here... usa-israel are supporting their ''''moderate headchoppers'''' and the world, in spite of the msm - is finding out just who those moderate headchoppers are..

Posted by: james | May 26 2018 21:13 utc | 8

paul - whatever you do - don't switch sides... the entertainment value of your posts would be lost!!

Posted by: james | May 26 2018 21:14 utc | 9

I think it's pretty clear that there are a lot of powerful folks in the Russian government who are not happy about Russia having switched sides in the war. This seemed to come to a head when Trump attacked Russia over the fake chemical attack. There were many aggressive voices then coming from Russia at that time. So far as I can see all that has shut down completely. Putin seems to have asserted control. Netanyahu's ceremonial and yet decisive visit to Russia for Victory Day may have been as much a message to his own government as it was a message to Assad and Iran and the world generally.

All of Putin's apologists can't put dignified clothes back on their nakedly rotten hero. The Putin who so nobly called out Syria's tormenters at the UN now eagerly collaborates with them. He looks deep into the eyes of dear Bibi and LIKES WHAT HE SEES!!

I wonder if there will be further drama at the Kremlin? Or will there perhaps be a rash of assassinations, as in Donbass? I'm sure there some folks who don't like being turned into turncoats by their 'leader'.

Posted by: paul | May 26 2018 21:37 utc | 10

When Trump attacked Syria I meant to say...

Posted by: paul | May 26 2018 21:37 utc | 11

This is a comment from a Syrian on Twitter who is usually on the money.

Wael@WaelAlRussi May 16 For the record: The de-escalation agreement in the south was only for 6 months and ended last month. 11-4-2018

More generally and this is new, the Russians have been flying large amounts of 'gear' into Syria over the post couple of weeks, including quite a lot from Kaliningrad. Following unknown numbers of Il-76 and 3x An-124 loads last week, over the past couple of days 4x Il-76 and 3x An-124 arrived. This looks to be equipment that couldn't wait for Syrian Express ships, or was unsuitable for shipping by sea, or the Russians didn't want to expose on the roads out of Tartous. Not a lot of comment on what the cargo might be apart from a suggestion that the Kaliningrad loads might be Tochka MLRS after replacement there by Iskander.

Also newer Kornet-D ATGM have started appearing bringing, unexpected by them, deaths to terrorists as its main feature is the range goes up from 5500m to around 10000m.

Posted by: JohninMK | May 26 2018 21:40 utc | 12

#3, Paul Craig Roberts "knows" about as much as you or me or anyone does. He imagines he knows what is going on. He has an opinion. We all do.

#8, small paul, as ludicrous as a pimple on a beautiful woman's butt. Your comic ways deserve a bigger platform, a stage worthy of such levity. Please, search for one. Let us know where that playground is. We'll want to skip that as we do with your musings here.

As for the US, they want this war to continue. They want to take down Assad. They want to destroy his military.

Should those occur, Russia's stay in Syria would be ending quickly.

Thus, Russia will have to protect Assad, his military and work to clear the DEZ of terror groups.

Since the Russian MPs are not there, most likely, neither are Reconciliation Officers of the RF mil.

So, the Americans will have to act on the ground because the DEZ is but a zone of non-resistance. Wherever terrorists of any stripe have resisted reconciliation, the Russians and Syrians have destroyed them. Of course, Daraa has a deep historic hatred of Assad and his father. But, their number is up. If the US wants a war, it will get one. And then the agreement to withhold Iranian militia and Hezbollah will be gone, also.

This has been coming since 2011. Predictable.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 26 2018 21:58 utc | 13

"As the southwest Daraa governorate is infested with a large Islamic State (ISIS) group as well as al-Qaeda and associated groups the U.S.move must be interpreted as protection for these terrorists."

You neglect one other consideration when you say the US is protecting ISIS. Now obviously ISIS benefits, but I can hear another rationale being used by Generals (Neo-cons) explaining themselves to Trump - this is to protect the US ally Jordan.

When the southern Syrian pocket collapses, ISIS will only have one venue of operations left in the central ME - Jordan. Jordan is NOT stable. Its' supposed 'stability' is a very thin veneer over a boiling cauldron of Muslim Brotherhood/Salafi sentiment especially among the poor of the refugee camps. If ISIS is forced to come home to Jordan roost, it will - as I said a couple years ago, take over the nest.

Cleansing south Syria will lead to the de-stabilization of Jordan. While I pity the fate that awaits individual Jordanians - it is a kind of Karma for all the shit their government facilitated in Syria.

Given NATO's transfer of much of Incirlik's logistical and strategic functions to the US airbase in N. Jordan (Al Mafraq), Idoubt the US will allow their loyal ally to be threatened - hence the stalemate.

The one solution is for ISIS to be allowed to roam the desert east of Sweida & south of the Petra-Deir Ezzour highway in Syria (out to Al Tanf).

Posted by: les7 | May 26 2018 22:05 utc | 14

Curious that yesterday's State Department announcement emphasizes the de-escalation agreement for the area made last November between Putin-Trump, but doesn't mention the confirmation that "efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved."

And, as noted, military efforts directed against ISIS/al Qaeda and associated forces are authorized by the two related UN Security Council resolutions. The American position is schizophrenic.

Posted by: jayc | May 26 2018 22:22 utc | 15

Ok...this is indeed getting ridiculous. Can one help themselves from thinking along Paul-lines that Russia should aid in defensive actions against the U.S. if they were to attempt these illegal incursions? I know more and more Syrian area is folding to the gov't side as these pockets are gradully swept up, but you can't help but wonder if the chip pile is so firmly stacked in Assad's favor that calling the aggressor's bluff and knocking a few teeth out when the time comes wouldn't accelerate the final political agreement over Syria in its favor.

Let's put it this way: "Israeli/U.S. jet shot down over Syrian airspace." I don't think that would rile up the base, like the neocons think. America has no interest in Syria.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 26 2018 22:46 utc | 16

@14 RR

Much respect to PCR, but you are right RR. He is a pro at summarizing current events for the layman, however, and he was a go-to as my eyes adjusted to the truth about Syria and Ukraine. But he usually seasons his writing with a little too much impending-doom. Fear-porn? I don't think so. I have the habit, too, but you have to fight the inclination as a good writer to end all your pieces with: "This will start a hot WW3!"

Another blogger on macro-economic issues in the world that can summarize for the layman is Mike Whitney at "Grasping for Straws." He and PCR are both regular contributors on counterpunch. He has the penchant for impending-doom as well, but America and the EU have managed to keep the sand-pillars standing pat regardless.

Gotta give thanks for all these informed bloggers! Thank you, b! Support coming soon.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 26 2018 23:00 utc | 17

Is there a reason you Are seeking to undermine Putin? Are you hoping for regime change in Russia? Your comments sound a lot like Empire propaganda.

Posted by: mike k | May 26 2018 23:15 utc | 18

Drain the swamp: Flood the netherlands!

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | May 26 2018 23:31 utc | 19

Ya' can't blame some folks for wondering why other powers seemingly "turn the other cheek"
as the evil empire continues to effect regime change in Syria.

Someone, some how, needs to speak the truth about what the empire is up to, and on the WORLD STAGE, as another poster mentioned, maybe at the UN.

At the very least, com' on Russia, com' on China, shake up the globe. At least rhetorically..

The world is waiting...

Posted by: ben | May 26 2018 23:54 utc | 20

P.S. Doesn't anyone else feel Russia & China behave the way they do because, in the real world, they're afraid of the financial repercussions of confronting the "evil empire"?

Posted by: ben | May 27 2018 0:22 utc | 21

@1 nhs

The 2011 “riots” (protests actually) were sparked by the Syrian Ba’athists brutality against citizens peacefully demanding the government respect basic rights. There is overwhelming evidence supporting this and it has not been debunked because it is true. You and the other clones are on the wrong side of history on this issue.

Posted by: Porridge & Lager | May 27 2018 0:24 utc | 22

*Paul* Thanks for telling it the way it is. Unless Mr. Putin is indeed playing a long term strategic chess style game, his actions are pro hegemon.

Posted by: Ralph Conner | May 27 2018 0:24 utc | 23

@ 23: b covered the Syrian protests in 2011, and provided video of snipers on the rooftops shooting at both sides. A favorite tactic of the empire's covert "regime change" battle plans, not only in Syria, but elsewhere..

Posted by: ben | May 27 2018 0:48 utc | 24

One video, there are more:

Posted by: ben | May 27 2018 0:54 utc | 25

It is interesting to watch commentators use the same logic and emotive patterns that make the empire so dangerous.

You are either for us or against us.

First Putin is our hero (although he does not know we exist) then he is to be demonized. The same emotion we put into adulation comes back as betrayal. Putin has not changed. Our perception of him has.

So let's own this "For us or Against us" attitude as from the devil. For it makes each of us a devil

Instead let's think about a Multi-polar world. You can have more than one hero simultaneously and they need not agree. Imagine that. You can have more than one enemy and believe it or not - they will not agree with each other and may be your new best friend when the world turns one more time.

How can we hope for the world to be different when the very people who call for the change have made themselves in the image of the beast that got us into this mess?

Let Multi-polarity take root in your heart as well as in your geo-politics.

Posted by: les7 | May 27 2018 0:56 utc | 26

@15 les7

I don't have any military training, but at the risk of being simplistic - if the US were an honest actor concerned for Jordan, surely that's a safe place for it to put real boots on the ground, to defend Jordan's border from the fallout from Syria?The US actually has a right to be in Jordan (I assume). Given what we know, ISIS can to spme degree be directed by the US, and to whatever degree it is now uncontrollable - especially in retreat from SAA - it can be killed by the US firepower at the border. Or so it seems to me, from a lay understanding of the theater.

The greatest threat to Jordan lies in the fact that the US is its ultimate protector - who could sleep easy in such a case?

Posted by: Grieved | May 27 2018 1:05 utc | 27

@15 les7.. les - i think your comments are quite insightful.. thanks for that post and the one @27 too..

@25 ben.. fully concur with you on this.. thanks..

Posted by: james | May 27 2018 1:10 utc | 28

@18 NemesisCalling

As to the doom & gloom view of things - there's a really good article today by Ollie Richardson at StalkerZone, discussing the tendency to think the sky is falling, or that Russia has sold out, or that WWIII is imminent within hours. He blames social media and today's speed of news cycle for the attenuated view of many people who seem unable to step back calmly and gather all the factors into their assessments.

Richardson's geopolitical perspective is excellent, and I recommend the piece. It's a welcome breath of air, and very clear perspective and analysis of the current global and Russia-regional situation. Today's world makes it harder for WWIII to start, not easier, he explains:

The World Cup in Russia and the "Large-Scale Offensive" in Donbass

Posted by: Grieved | May 27 2018 1:16 utc | 29

@23 Porridge & Lager

The Syria conflict was started in 2011 by unknown snipers killing two Syrian soldiers. In total, 88 soldiers were killed in that first month of the violence, all by unknown shooters. The narrative that Assad was killing his own people was one of the narratives that suddenly arose at this time. The peaceful protests in Syria were escalated by unknown actors, in the same way we have seen color revolutions directed by the US in numerous other theaters.

Sharmine Narwani, one of the very best commentators on the Levant, wrote an authoritative reprise of these early events in an retrospective published by RT in 2016: How narratives killed the Syrian people.

That, for any who may be interested, is the truth of the genesis of the conflict.

Posted by: Grieved | May 27 2018 1:18 utc | 30

@ les7 who wrote: "Let Multi-polarity take root in your heart as well as in your geo-politics."

I agree. I am surprised at some commenters here that should know better than to start drawing lines in the sand and saying that if the line is crossed, something just MUST be done.

We, as a species, are proceeding through what might be a true watershed event in our history. Of course i am referring to the control that those owning the tools of global private finance have exercised for centuries. Are totally sovereign/public finance tools going to go totally replace private finance in one fell swoop? This is not likely in spite of its appeal so more likely will be an ugly transition period as we reject one set of social tenets and develop/adopt others.

As others have mentioned, the bluster and feints of dying empire as shown in another of b's timely postings are clear for all to see.....and eventually for nations to reject by migrating to alternative financial arrangements.

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 27 2018 1:23 utc | 31

@28 Grieved

There are many sides to the word 'legitimate'. Like Russia in Syria, the US is in Jordan at the request of the Jordanian government.

Could they annihilate ISIS as they came back from Syria? Of course. Or they could fly them to Yemen or Afghanistan. Or... Or...

There is one big problem. From my experience of Jordan there has always been a powerful fundamentalist appeal to the poor and to those marginalized in the various camps. ISIS does not return to Jordan as an outside force. Many of those with ISIS in Syria came out of Jordan, and the social, economic, political & ideological factors that gave rise to them continue to exist.

The West simply provided the $ to facilitate the gathering of Salafist types in Syria. ISIS is rooted in Jordan, came out of Jordan and other ME Palestinian camps there, in Lebanon, and in the gulf (there is a host of reasons as to why) and so does not require outside $ to be a local threat to the Jordanian leadership.

ISIS is a threat to Jordan. US ability to stand by its' agreements are also a threat to the Jordanian leadership. Which is greater? I do not doubt we will see the answer to that in the coming few years.

Posted by: les7 | May 27 2018 1:27 utc | 32

As an aside
This is to explain (IMO)why outside $ were needed to deploy Salafist groups against Syria.

The Palestinian camps in Syria did not produce the same kid of fundamentalist breeding ground that Palestinian camps did in the rest of the ME. While Salafist fundamentalism did exist, it was (after the Homs confrontation in the early 80's) a marginal movement.

The main reason for this is that Syria offered full integration into Syrian society to Palestinians. They were welcomed into the country and given full freedom to operate businesses, get education, inter-marry (this was more limited by social stigmas).

Palestinians had a future in Syria, should they choose to take it. This was not true of the rest of the ME. In the rest of the ME, only those who could prove Palestinian identity (paperwork from Israel - ha ha) could get education from the UN. Palestinian businesses were located in the camps. Inter-marriage was their only way out - that or a renunciation of their Palestinian identity.

The large majority of Palestinians in camps outside Syria had no access to education. Those refugee camps became basic slave-labor camps. It does not take a lot of imagination to understand how this could give rise to groups like ISIS

Posted by: les7 | May 27 2018 1:44 utc | 33

@33 & 34 les7

Thanks for adding this depth.

Posted by: Grieved | May 27 2018 1:49 utc | 34


Jordan is a vassal state, a black budget item for the CIA and CENTCOM to use as Master uses slave. They are dependent for financial support, Intel sharing as existential blackmail, enjoy prestige while being subservient, display total loyalty at the risk of decapitation (grandfather met such an ending. King Abdullah was assassinated at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1951 by a Palestinian militant, amid rumors he intended to sign a peace treaty with Israel.). They are useful tools for US and Israelis.

If you paid attention to the meeting in Russia with Putin, the King would have loved to leave the US domination and join the Eurasian-multi-polar world. He hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of escaping the Hegemon.

Jordan does what it is told to do.

Soon it will pay a price for being so close to hell, and chained to the devil.

Assad went to Moscow to discuss the South campaign. If not the Golan, then Daraa is the goal. Inevitable, even with US threats.
The DEZ agreement does not give the US suzerainty over the zone.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 27 2018 1:56 utc | 35

This means the Russians must take a lead in freeing Daraa. Much of that role could be diplomatic.

Posted by: Alaric | May 27 2018 2:21 utc | 36

Mr. Paul has very good economic credentials to make valid opinions. You are correct in hinting I am a laymen. Looking at the present state of the US economy, it appears to this laymen PCR is over the target.

The US is now approaching 110% of GDP. Has a 21 trillion debt. Has lost 21 trillion since the mid 1990's. It has very little production other than weapons and over 50 million citizens on government handouts. Homelessness and drugs are epidemic.

While some jokingly call this doom porn, I call it reality.

Posted by: Ken | May 27 2018 2:33 utc | 37

@38 Ken

No doubt valid points.

I will say that I am not looking forward to the chaos of a thoroughly destabilized economy.

But I am looking forward to the spirit of an age that has had the cloak removed from its eyes. Imagine relating to people in honest terms again:

MAN 1: "Man, they sure ****** us good!"
MAN 2: "Sure did. God, I'm hungry."

Hopefully it's a little more cheery than that, at least after a while. You get the point.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 27 2018 3:02 utc | 38

PL, over at SST, is unequivocal and forthright about the chance of this latest pathetic US anti-Assad stunt bearing fruit. He thinks the Yanks are pissing into the wind...

"Is this for real? Are Pompeo Maximus and Mattis, the Marine Monk, really going to commit US forces to battle against a sovereign state that is attempting to regain control of its own land? Really?"

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 27 2018 3:34 utc | 39

@38 ken

With respect, I suggest it's important to know where Paul Craig Roberts is accurate and where he is not, in his various assessments.

I followed him for several years as a reliable analysts of economic matters. He was an Under-Secretary of the Treasury, I believe, and the national US economy and fiscal matters in general are undeniably his field of expertise. I have always found him very useful in this field, and still today.

And he is undoubtedly a man of integrity. I remember as Ukraine was the big topic, and there were so many geopolitical concerns suddenly, that he wrote in one of his commentaries something to the effect that he was not an expert in military and geopolitical affairs, but people asked him questions because they trusted him to speak honestly, and so he made a great effort to get up to speed on these matters.

I admire this, but personally I'm dismayed that he seems not to understand the geopolitical realities as well as many other analysts I read. In my judgment, he has consistently seen a gloomier picture than is warranted by the realities, and has predicted outcomes that have not come to pass. He doesn't understand Russia and Putin they way that many other commentators do. Bless his good heart, but he sees failure where he could be seeing tremendous success, on the part of Russia.

So, let's not conflate separate issues. The economic realities that you and Roberts (and I) see as reality, are not really the same as the "fear porn" you allude to. Saying that the US nation is in a terrible state is vastly different from suspecting that a global nuclear exchange is about to happen. These truly are different fields of analysis and judgment.

Roberts is good on economic matters, and poor on military and diplomatic nuances. There are many analysts to study. One's view doesn't have to come all from one person, I suggest.

Posted by: Grieved | May 27 2018 3:50 utc | 40

If it comes to direct military confrontation, Russia loses at this point in time. That is one of a few good reasons Russia is playing the long-game.

Posted by: Hassaan | May 27 2018 4:11 utc | 41

@41 well stated.

Posted by: les7 | May 27 2018 4:16 utc | 42

Complimentary article by Magnier to b's analysis. Hezbollah-like popular resistance networks a possible solution to end the Southern Front once for all without triggering a hard US/Israel response..?

Posted by: Lozion | May 27 2018 4:18 utc | 43

ben @21/22:

I feel a lot of people are misreading the Chinese.   They very much prefer to be subtle like the "boiling frogs" approach.   Their win-win approach would require the other party, like the hegemon, to win as well.   Sure the "prize" may not be as "big" as when achieved by the usual methods, but in the end they would still come out ahead.

Posted by: Ian | May 27 2018 6:19 utc | 44

Interestingly, in their maps, ISW labels the red zone "Russia-Iran-Assad", notably not "Syria" and also notably, inserting "Iran" in there in a provocative way. Also, the term "AQ Permissive" in the legend is very creative, you have to admit.

Posted by: BX | May 27 2018 6:34 utc | 45

Grieved 31

Found that, though late in the day, by researching news articles of that period.
In the Russian Crimea documentary, there was a piece on Russia studying the colour revolutions and the step by step method used by the US to bring about regime change or war if the state resisted. Syria resisted.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 27 2018 7:04 utc | 46

Elijah Magnier on the same issue as my piece:

The US will not allow the elimination of al-Qaeda and ISIS in southern Syria: the solution? Syrian Resistance!

This means that the US would like to conserve what remains of al-Qaeda and ISIS (under the name of Jaish Khaled bin Al-Waleed) in Daraa and Quneitra on the triangle bordering Syria-Jordan-Israel. In this actual scenario, the only solution that remains for the Syrian government is to activate the trialogue – “Army- Population- Resistance” – and count on the Syrian armed resistance deployed in the south of the country to avoid exposing the Syrian Army to US or most probably to Israeli Air Force strikes.
Therefore, the US warning to prevent the Syrian army from restoring all of its territory – especially the south adjacent to Israel and the occupied Golan in the provinces of Daraa and Quneitra – does indeed serve principally the interests of Israel.

ISIS is still alive in the north-eastern region (and part of the Syrian steppe al-Badia) under the control of the US-French-British special forces deployed in northern Syria- without the permission of the Syrian central government.
Could the existing irregular but organised Syrian resistance forces take the situation in hand to recover the occupied territories? Not just the territory occupied by ISIS and AQ, but also the territory occupied by Israel, mirroring what Lebanon did in May 2000?

Posted by: b | May 27 2018 8:23 utc | 47


Congratulations. This particular article has touched a nerve. A raw nerve. Seems that Spookbook took issue with the reposting of Moon Of A's Syria - U.S. Moves To Protect Al-Qaeda And ISIS in Daraa article and immediately proceeded to lay down some new guidelines for the first time in the Ron Paul Institute's five years of activity on Stalkbook.

Daniel McAdams executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity:

McAdams writes:

Suddenly I have been told that I must be "authorized" to take out "political ads" on Facebook and I must send them a photo ID with the last four digits of my social security number in order to PAY them for an ad on the Ron Paul Institute Facebook page that is in no way any different from any ad I have PAID them for over the last five years! Please see the photos as proof of this sudden Facebook hostile action against the Ron Paul Institute.

This is Facebook politically-biased censorship out in the open!

Full article + links:

What farcebook doesn't understand however, is that the market chooses business - not the other way around. Arrogance blinds it, other platforms will soon emerge.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 27 2018 9:18 utc | 48

@33 les7
The Jordanian angle you raise cannot be discounted when the squeeze is put on. What will the new 'redirection' of expendable jihadi footsoldiers entail...?

The duplicity in Israel's slaughter of Palestinians throwing rocks 'because terrorism' set against their open support for ISIS is stark. It is impossible be hidden, and while I am sure every sane person wishes for a speedy close to this dirty war on Syria, a long drawn out success for the SAA will no doubt highlight the truth and help remove the wool from western eyes on who their governments have been supporting 'on their behalf.'

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 27 2018 9:46 utc | 49

I will say that I am not looking forward to the chaos of a thoroughly destabilized economy.
But I am looking forward to the spirit of an age that has had the cloak removed from its eyes. Imagine relating to people in honest terms again:

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 26, 2018 11:02:48 PM | 39

After mass incineration, I'm sure the boffins at Lockheed-Martin will ensure corporate survival by selling kitchen utensils, calming supplies and related trinkets to a needy public... just as BMW did after WW2. Of course, in turn, I think China will ensure they never build an aircraft engine again. That will be an fully eastern industry. I hope your agriculture and survival skills are being well practised my friend. It's takes just one small slip of the trigger, from a trigger happy nation.

Posted by: MadMax2 | May 27 2018 10:07 utc | 50

And the ones that the ugly empire can't protect are being relocated to Afghanistan to strike at the soft underbelly of Central Asia.

USA relocates ISIS from Syria Iraq into Russia via Afghanistan

Posted by: meme | May 27 2018 11:11 utc | 51

Battle for Daraa intensifies as rebel forces launch attacks against Syrian Army

Intense clashes broke-out on Saturday afternoon, when the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) Southern Front Brigades began targeting the Syrian Arab Army’s positions inside the Dara’a Al-Mahata District.

The Free Syrian Army fighters used SPG-9 to score a direct hit on a Syrian Arab Army post near the National Hospital, killing and wounding at least three soldiers.

In response to this attack, the Syrian Arab Army launched a barrage of missiles and artillery shells towards the FSA’s defenses inside the Dara’a Al-Balad District.

Posted by: b | May 27 2018 12:50 utc | 52

That could be a trap. The US just gave the FSA freedom to attack the Syrian army with a guarantee of US (and likely Israeli) air strikes.

Pretty much only Russia can resolve this. That’s not good. Russia has allowed the US/Israel to attack the Syrian army, its allies and even Russians with impunity. That encourages more of the same.

Posted by: Alaric | May 27 2018 13:41 utc | 53

@19mk. Yes.... too much time at CN makes one susceptible to boogy men behind any dissenting opinion as that's the main method of squashing it there. Place is like Idlib only packed with ZioShephards instead of Zioshock troops.

Posted by: Tannenhouser | May 27 2018 14:03 utc | 54

Putin will continue to be a disappointment to the Syrians as more Syrians die. Now there are Russian causalities due to US giving intelligence to ISIL in the east of Syria. Putin will try to juggle and the west and Israel view this as a sign of weakness as do the Chinese who are in Syria trying to rebuild. Putin has forgotten his roots in Leningrad when he said, "If a fight is inevitable, then strike first and hard" Putin has dropped the moral part of the equation because of investment in Russia. The money changers have their hooks in him.

Posted by: Nev | May 27 2018 14:32 utc | 55

@51 MadMax2

What do I anticipate? Is there a prophet in the house?

The US openly owns Irregular Warfare (IW) as the dominant form of warfare it will be involved in for the foreseeable future.

The US learned from the Brits that Imperial rule had severe limitations (chief among them an obligation to extend some kind of equitable treatment to the subjects) and in the post-Soviet space instead adopted a form of divide and conquer that relied on insurrectionist/terrorist-support actions. This was simply the projection of the Gladio/Contra style IW operations onto the larger stage of the world.

Color revolutions are a social media, socially engineered form of IW. Syria was chosen for a range of economic (oil/gas pipelines) and political (Neo-con)reasons to become a client state.

When Syria successfully resisted, the empire was severely weakened by the emerging Russian-Chinese (somewhat Iran) alliance that supported Syria. Now a base was needed for an ongoing and more classic form of insurrectionist/terrorist-support IW both locally and in the wider reaches of Asia. Muslim fundamentalism offered the best ideological vehicle - tested and proved by the Brits in Saudia Arabia. Muslim fundamentalism with Ethnicity was the explosive non-imperial version of the same. Think Chechnya. If Syria would not be controlled it would be divided.

However Syria has continued to reclaim its' land and the current division looks unsustainable. The Kurds with visions of Rojava will not allow their area to be a training base. The Turks despite controlling the IDLIB dumping/breeding ground for Salafist fighters, do not want to add to the insurrectionist problem they have with the Kurds. Turkey and Russia seem to have agreed to stay out of each others' back yards.

This leaves one area of Syria as a potential base for future IW - south Syria. However, IMO it lacks both the ethnic dimension and the ideological fervour. It has only been sustainable along the border with Israel in the Golan. While Israel was happy to provide logistical support for such training bases when the fight is in Syria, it will not want to become the conduit of such folk headed out to the rest of the world.

Oppressed Palestinians in Jordan however offer a lot of ethnic and ideological ferment.

What do I anticipate? As long as the division of Syria lasts US supported IW bases will function along the Syrian Iraqi border - especially in the south near SA. Should the division of Syria be resolved with the Kurdish areas returning to Syrian government control, then IW type training camps will be re-directed to places like Yemen & Afghanistan, with fighters being sent to Kazakhstan, Philippines and Thailand. Should South Syria be restored to Syrian government control, then the clock will be ticking in Jordan. The US will not willingly surrender its' position in Jordan. But the US would be on the defensive, on the receiving end of what it itself created. Just like in Afghanistan.

Posted by: les7 | May 27 2018 14:46 utc | 56

“Ask not if I am a conspiracy theorist, a racist, a bigot, a hater, a nazi or an anti-semite,” Birdman says, “Ask only if I am RIGHT.”

One should not criticize Dr PCR & paul comments of calling a spade as spade, but whether if they are Right, that is, Putin as a treacherous shrewd joos-like that out to exploit every allies weakness with betrayal. Putin is pretentious like Obama, with obsession to be praise like a james bond hero of great intelligent, bravery & integrity. Yet his recent Syria actions have exposed his treachery coward inner nature. Watch not what a man speak but what he did.

PCR wrote that Putin is ensnared by his desire of integrating the economy of West. Its more than that imo, Putin is more ambitious to wish having Russia leading a white wasp Europe to balance ZUS & China. But he lacked all the integrity to gain trust from all European leaders. Even China, Eurasia, Asia & ME will not trust him after observing how Syria been tear up by vultures & bear.

Posted by: DrTT | May 27 2018 14:50 utc | 57

Paul Craig Roberts is down on Putin / Russia because his expectations are too high. Other version: PCR perceives the distribution of power as in x state, condition, with Putin not making enough hay, not being exploitative, aggressive, determined, clued in, enough.

In a different register the Saker also moaned Putin was not taking the high road, triumphing, etc. citing that D.M. was nominated VP, Putin not selling some arms to Syria, etc.

End result: ALL bash Russia!

US persons or bodies who blame Russia for any / most or all ills, including organising the election of DT - > totally ridiculous. Russia's malign interference in elections the Dems scream and so on.

US elements who disaprove of US stances, actions, should not expect, or count on, Russia to take any actions in the direction they wish, that is just as dumb.

Posted by: Noirette | May 27 2018 15:09 utc | 58

Posted by: Ian | May 27, 2018 2:19:23 AM | 45

Chinese probably has higher wisdom than juz cooking frog for win win sustainable strategy, they are also bidding for time & opportunity.

A wiser don't pit its weakness with opponent's strength(USM), but to avoid at all means, while try to pit its strength(long term state managed economy) against opponent's weakness(bankrupted economy of greed).

Today China dare to confront US headon in trade war knowing its strength & US weakness. In another decade, this will happen in military & global geopolitical when China build up its integrated strength. China has everything, only awaiting for time.

Russia 140M lack such scale to match ZUS 340M power but it tried to puff up to look big & challenge ZUS that is of anither League, and get punctured now with sanction, military aggression & diplomatic isolation. China help saved its skin.

Posted by: DrTT | May 27 2018 15:11 utc | 59

@57 les7. Dont forget Southern Libya/Northern Niger/South Algeria/North Mali. The Sahara is also a breeding ground for Salafi proxies..

Al Tanf needs to be sorted soon. Its situation enables movement between KSA/Jordan/Iraq/Syria.
Once Daara is secured the US position will become untenable but desperation may kick in and trigger a foolish response..

Posted by: Lozion | May 27 2018 15:16 utc | 60

PCR wrote that Putin is ensnared by his desire of integrating the economy of West. Its more than that imo, Putin is more ambitious to wish having Russia leading a white wasp Europe to balance ZUS & China. But he lacked all the integrity to gain trust from all European leaders. Even China, Eurasia, Asia & ME will not trust him after observing how Syria been tear up by vultures & bear.
Posted by: DrTT | May 27, 2018 10:50:00 AM | 58

That's probably wrong.
Here are some factoids which are hardly ever talked about...

The Empire of Bluffing
"Trump Now Says the Korea Summit is Back on for the 12th" (Anglin). When the two Korean leaders said 'who needs Trump, we'll figure it out ourselves', emergency sirens went off in Washington. What kind of indispensable Empire are you if people start ignoring you? Suddenly, Trump is available to meet again, as if his funny little passive-aggressive letter had never been sent.

The Europeans should take heed in figuring out how to surmount the Empire in dealing with Iran (and Russia, and China, etc). The Empire is a bluff. It issues orders, but has neither the political nor the military ability to enforce them. The American military, burdened by massive white elephant spending (F-35, all those incompetently designed and built warships that just serve as juicy targets), and corruption at inconceivable levels, physically and morally weakened by spending literally all of its time dropping bombs on, and droning, civilians, can't be relied upon to enforce any threat against a determined national actor, and the Washington elites are now trying to ensure that nobody finds that out. Call the bluff! Ignore the Americans, and they will have to come crawling back as they are terrified that the world will find out that the Empire has already died, in the dark, sucked dry by the (((parasite))).

Xymphora May 27, 2018.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 27 2018 15:26 utc | 61

Noirette @59. Good points.

I think that the most anti-hegemonigists in the US can look forward to is a strong stance against hegemony. And this is actually pretty significant as it’s the only thing the hegemony understands.

Posted by: financial matters | May 27 2018 15:28 utc | 62

Posted by: les7 | May 27, 2018 10:46:49 AM | 57

These asymmetric warfare or Irregular Warfare are very cheap yet effective way to disrupt Russia growth & China rise in sabotaging BRI. Ronald Reagan used this in Afghanistan war, as he infamously said, its best to fight a enemy by poisoning it with separatist, making them destroying themselves. British MI6 is highest in such practice. So US has been fermenting terrorism in Chechnya, Xinjiang, Philippine, Thailand, Indonesia, Africa, ME with the help of KSA wahabism & finance.

You will never see ISIS or Al Quida attacking US & its five lies assets & interests spreading all over the world, yet they are coincidentally everywhere in BRI nodes killing Russians & Chinese working on mega projects, flourishing in all countries ZUS intended to control but unable.

Posted by: DrTT | May 27 2018 15:30 utc | 63

@NemesisCalling #18

I believe Paul Craig Roberts no longer publishes in CounterPunch and Mike Whitney who used to have 2-3 articles there each month has not appeared since last February. Counterpunch has seriously declined since the death of Alexander Cockburn but especially in the last year or so. Their vicious attack on Caitlyn Johnstone last summer resulted in many long term readers to quit that site -- I certainly did.

Posted by: ToivoS | May 27 2018 15:31 utc | 64

The empire, neocons, Israelis and Saudis only respond to force. I understand Russia's position and Putin's aversion to direct conflict with these entities but one must eventually put down one's foot or the anlgozionists (to use the Saker's terms) will continue to take territory, money and lifes.

Posted by: alaric | May 27 2018 15:54 utc | 65

Re: Posted by: Grieved | May 26, 2018 9:16:23 PM | 30

Responding to your linked article.

I do wonder about points 3 & 4 concerning the Ukrainian Presidential Election due on March 31, 2019 - incidentally - the very same day as Brexit and around 2 months before European Elections that will see the end of the odious Juncker, and maybe Tusk as well?

Who is the American candidate in the Ukrainian Elections? Poroshenko? Or is he bad news?

Who is the EU/German candidate? Tymoshenko?

Who is the pro-peace (Russian?) candidate?

Surely there is someone advocating detente and peace and better relations with Russia?

It's going to be an interesting election when I see polls with no one getting even a sixth of the vote!,_2019

Highest polling is 15.4% for Tymoshenko! Pathetic.

Interested to know what Ukraine looks like in a post-Porky world.

What are Russia doing to ensure their candidate gets up? What are the Americans doing to ensure their candidate gets up?

Presumably the Russians know Ukraine better than the Yanks so they should be able to pull the levers for whoever they want to get in right?

Anyway, interesting to know because obviously a sane Ukrainian President could lead to an end to that conflict which has been festering for more than 4 years now!

Posted by: Julian | May 27 2018 16:01 utc | 66

PCR understands the terminal consequences of a large US-Russian-Chinese strategic nuclear war (which have been detailed by peer-reviewed scientific studies that US leadership chooses to ignore). Such understanding tends to make one rather gloomy when observing the pathological insanity of US leadership [sic].

I personally prefer PCR's interviews to many of his articles, as he is well-spoken and effectively communicates his points in a way that is perhaps more convincing than many of his short posts on his web site.

Posted by: Perimetr | May 27 2018 16:23 utc | 67

@59 noirette... thanks... unfortunately some folks need you to articulate that, as they're too thick headed to figure it out...

Posted by: james | May 27 2018 16:32 utc | 68

One thing that the maps do make clear is that daraa is very close to home. Once this enclave is cleared the action- and the US/Israel seem determined to keep it going- has to shift into Jordan and the Golan. This brings war very close to Palestine.
As others have made clear Jordan is very unstable, the Royal Family is foreign in every sense, there is very little loyalty to anything except the 'racket' which involves playing Israel, the UK, the US, Egypt and the Gulf kleptocracies in such a way as to keep the money and the military support, which cancels out popular opposition, coming.

In the cutrrent situation stalemate works well for Syria. There is no need for the army to anything more than contain the militias and starve them of resupply by squeezing their lines of communication. This will allow the real relationship between these fake jihadists and Israel to be made very clear.

The clincher will probably be a new intifada in Palestine: the collaboration of the West Bank has been one of the strategic aces that Israel and the US have been able to play throughout the Syrian war. Between Jordan and the Mediterranean there is a substantial majority of disenfranchised Palestinians and other Arabs living, in effect, under Israeli rule. The example being set by Syria will not be lost on them.

All that is required of Russia is to make sure that the fight is relatively fair and that Israel is not able to use its air superiority (thanks AIPAC and Obama) against a defenceless opponent. It looks as if Russia has been and is doing that.

Posted by: bevin | May 27 2018 17:23 utc | 69


Oxymoron= a sane Ukrainian President.

They are all Russophobes, all are corrupt, all are tools of the Khazarians in the State Dept.

Make a new wish.

The end to the conflict will be a Novorossiyan victory.

Putin just told the world press that Ukraine will never be a NATO base. It's Russia's red line.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 27 2018 18:57 utc | 70

Al-Masdar News claims to know the SAA's order of battle! As I understand it, the aim will be first to clear the entire city of Dara’a and to liberate the border crossing at the southern end of Syria's M5. Second, capture Al-Harrah and occupy the surrounding countryside, plus push any remaining rebels from both sides of the M5 into the southwestern corner - the Syria-Israel-Jordan border triangle.

However this plays out, it will be interesting to follow. Godspeed, Syria!

I for one wouldn't mind the odd 'stray' shell going down on the palace in Amman! Those Jordanian f*ck-ups can't have been doing much to seal off the border on their part. Before the liberation of the Ghouta, there were reports like every other week of a truck or van loaded with ammo and supplies that was intercepted and seized by the Syrians. Means there was a steady stream of supplies coming in via Jordan totally unchecked. Just give them a tiny reminder of what war feels like.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | May 27 2018 19:05 utc | 71

#8, small paul, as ludicrous as a pimple on a beautiful woman's butt.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 26, 2018 5:58:25 PM | 14

Something is wrong in that comparison. The image is of something lamentable, but nevertheless a part of admirable scenery if you look at the wider context. To me, it is not just a conclusion that is wrong, but so is the entire mode of thinking and "understanding how the world works".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 27 2018 19:12 utc | 72

Putin is a complex man dealing with an extraordinarily complex situation. Not to say that he is incapable of making mistakes--he himself has admitted to making a few in interviews, one of the more recent ones being believing the assurances of the West during the Maiden crisis. I have not noticed him making the same mistake twice. And I have noticed that Russia is immensely stronger and more important, at home and abroad, than when he started. Those who accuse him of selling out, caving in, cowardice, or whatever are choosing to ignore the facts, demonstrated over TWENTY years, that he is consistently honorable, consistently wise, consistently improving the lot of Russia and, where possible, the rest of the world. Russia's weakness after the collapse of the USSR forced it again to use intelligence and patience against its stronger foes, but always coupled with a tenacious refusal to surrender and an optimism concealed as pessimism, a willingness to absorb blows if it must to improve the overall tactical or strategic position. I say again, because I also see parallels with the Great Patriotic War.

Russia continues to do more than any other nation on earth to combat the forces of evil, so perhaps deserves a little slack. I think they are preparing for renewed attacks on other fronts, which may explain why they are being slightly more cautious and loathe to escalate things in Syria unnecessarily, particularly when Assad is busy winning. I particularly fear an imminent invasion of the Donbass. Preparations have been accelerating for months, and with the arrival of NATO arms and mercs, and the World Cup only weeks away, the time is pretty much now. I have trouble agreeing with the Richardson piece linked above. His arguments seem to boil down to "an offensive would be stupid, and bad for Ukraine and Porky." Seriously? Virtually every step taken by Kiev since the US coup has been disastrous for Ukraine, and in fact the very fact that Ukraine is about to disintegrate, and Porky go away (or be strung up, probably by his own Nazis) is all the more reason to think he will take desperate action to re-ingratiate himself with the US, which is itself desperate to force Russia into another military engagement which can be used to argue for increased sanctions and shore up the wavering Europeans' commitment to NATO and anti-Russian actions (and hopefully distract from Syria). Of course the UAF isn't up to the job, but in typical bizarre US-think, that's wonderful, because it will mean NATO will HAVE to get involved in "stopping Russian aggression." The unique situation caused by Russia will be the perfect reason for again changing IMF and EU rules so as to provide a basis for sending more funds to that lost cause, and someone slightly less abhorrent, perhaps a compliant Ukie general, can be installed as Porky's replacement since he's outlived his usefulness.

I certainly hope I'm wrong, but I just don't think so. And right or wrong, the Russians have to take the threat of a serious escalation on their very border seriously and prepare accordingly. And not just militarily, but diplomatically, which might bring us back around to an explanation for why Russia has been reluctant to be seen as aggressive in dealing with Western provocations in Syria.

Posted by: J Swift | May 27 2018 20:05 utc | 73

@68 There don't seem to be many candidates for the job of sane Ukrainian President.

I'm not sure NATO would know what to do with those Pravy Sektor guys either. They look like serious trouble. I guess if Ukraine joins the EU they might make good nightclub bouncers.

Posted by: dh | May 27 2018 20:22 utc | 74

@65 ToivoS

Thanks for the heads up. I haven't even visited CP in at least a year. They gave space to a lot of writers with Trump-Derangement-Syndrome, but they were not above hosting the dissenter who welcomed the potential for destabilization of a Trump-prez. In addition to this, Joshua Frank was decrying Assad as a butcher for a few years...what a putz. And his spat wth Linh Dinh, a Vietnamese writer/poet who was an excellent regular contributor with his "Postcards from the End of America" soured me completely away from CP.

They can keep all their "death knell for the climate" crap, too.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | May 27 2018 21:01 utc | 75

You might want to explore the meaning of the word "ludicrous", not the modes of thinking and metaphysics you inure.

A pimple on an ass. KISS, Piotr.

Posted by: Red Ryder | May 27 2018 21:03 utc | 76

Julian @68

Brexit time and date is 11.00 GMT on the 29th March 2019 not the 31st. Goodness knows why it is not the end of the month.

Posted by: JohninMK | May 27 2018 21:52 utc | 77

@76 J Swift

I took Richardson's article to state as a clincher that Ukraine was physically, militarily incapable of mounting a major offensive - as we have long known. It would be stupid for many reasons but the biggest one is that it would fail, very rapidly and with major devastation to the power of Kiev. Ukraine lost at Debaltsyevo and no miracle has appeared since to redeem it militarily. NAF meanwhile has become a strong national army.

As Red Ryder reports up-thread, Putin has just stated that Ukraine is a red line: Putin’s big warning to NATO: “Ukraine is our RED LINE”. The US and NATO have shown us - most noticeably in Syria - that it hears these warnings very well.

NATO has encroached as far as it will be allowed. Ukraine is now actually a tripwire for the western powers - if they want to be destroyed by Russia, all they have to do is charge east.

Rostislav Ishchenko is a Ukraine expert and a superb analyst, very much listened to and respected within Russia. I rate him very highly. He has an in-depth treatment of the domestic politics of Ukraine for those who want to see how badly that country now is hanging in the wind: Rostislav Ishchenko: Why Poroshenko Will Go to the End

It's hard to say how Ukraine will be resolved, and how long it will take. I don't think there ever have been any easy answers - the US came in and broke it badly, and the Minsk agreement is the only roadmap towards fixing it. But it requires regime change. Russia is not going to engineer this, NAF can't reach Kiev to do it, the Nazis are very strong, and the US is not going to let go of Ukraine - it just received a court ruling that now allows western oligarchs to strip Ukraine's resources at pennies on the dollar.

Ukraine is a festering sore, but Donbass understands extremely clearly that it holds the high and tragic honor of being the shield for the motherland, keeping the sore pointed more to Europe and NATO than to Russia.

Posted by: Grieved | May 27 2018 23:45 utc | 78

Posted by: Grieved,41: "Roberts is good on economic matters, and poor on military and diplomatic nuances."

Perhaps too broadly and too simply stated?

PCR typically writes with lucidity on a very broad range of topics. He also displays extraordinary backbone. The word "poor" to describe his grasp of "military and diplomatic nuance" may I am sure occasionally be appropriate, but a word such as insightful often applies, in my view.

In so far as a previous comment re PCR's ongoing great concern about a world war being accidentally triggered or stumbled into or initiated, I think his personal experiences and knowledge of history
make this 'unthinkable' outcome quite terribly possible. He has written of one false alarm re Soviet ICBMs 'on the way', involving Z. Brzezinski, and he is aware that there have been other false alarms. In continuing to stress the real ongoing danger, with nuclear missiles on hair trigger, a pathological global domination agenda being attempted, and some top Russians believing an American nuclear attack on Russia might be attempted, he is doing a public service by continuing to highlight this issue.

J. Swift at 76: "Putin is ... dealing with an extraordinarily complex situation."

I think you describe Putin, and aspects of the Russian situation well. I would add that Putin's "extraordinarily complex situation" includes challenging internal complexities. The general positive transformation of Russia under Putin over the last near two decades is quite astonishing, if one considers how difficult things were in Russia was under Yeltsin.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | May 28 2018 0:02 utc | 79

Already Russia got busy sending exactly the wrong signal by showing off their toys (SU-57 + Kalibr) for the umphteenth time: "See? We could actually do something if we really wanted." Yeah right; but you don't. Willingness to fight is THE key issue on which wars are won or lost.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | May 28 2018 0:47 utc | 80

How much does Syria even get from reclaiming the highway to Jordan? In al-Bukamal the issue was communications with the Iraqi partner and neighbor, but Jordan is an enemy. Yes the dwarf is forced into this by its sponsors; doesn't change the bottom line?

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | May 28 2018 0:55 utc | 81

Posted by: DrTT | May 27, 2018 2:20:49 PM | 72
(Why is it wrong (to cite PCR as a Putin expert?))

Grieved made that case comprehensively and clearly in his(?) insightful comment at #41 above. I've been a fan of PCR from around the time of the Sub-Prime crash, but have since had problems taking some of his perspectives seriously. Grieved's assessment nailed the crux of my occasional PCR problem which is: PCR is well-qualified to comment with authority on financial matters but not so much on geopolitics. That simple observation put all of my PCR gripes into perspective.

Imo, PCR and many other 'respected pundits' are suffering from a syndrome I'll label Regular Bulletin Fatigue. It's root cause is the 'obligation' to publish at regular intervals. The Daily News is often caught in exactly the same trap. i.e. if nothing newsworthy happened then the obligation to report leads to desperate attempts to either make 'nothing' sound interesting, OR wing it by making up something more interesting than Today's non-events.

I thought it was very polite, positive and respectful of Grieved to highlight and focus on PCR's positive contributions to Enlightenment and forgive his sins against.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 28 2018 1:48 utc | 82

Since I commented, I ran across Putin's reiteration that there are very real red lines in the Ukraine. It likely helps, as there are at least a few relatively professional people in the US, particularly in the military, who will understand and will be reluctant to try those red lines. Putin is not known for empty bluffs.

And do not think I'm saying anything Kiev does is likely to be successful, in any way. In fact, I think it's far too late for that. But I also think it would be a mistake to conclude that just because the results would be a military failure that it can't or won't happen. Again, there are those who see Ukraine becoming another Libya as a success for the US. It won't get that bad, of course, but it can certainly be turned into a giant, ugly mess to be left for Russia to have to deal with. Perhaps the neocons are just incompetent in their strategizing (and they often are), but when you see consistently the US pushing it's puppets to do things that are so clearly doomed to failure from the start, and the result is chaos, you start believing that there are those who consider chaos a win.

I'm sure Russia is working very hard to come up with contingency plans to try to defuse and correct the situation, and in a few decades I imagine things will be much better. But I am just very concerned that there may be a reckless attempt to hurt Russia, even if it's only temporary. I genuinely hope I'm wrong, as I have family near there, and they have friends in the Donbass--and those people have already suffered terribly for certain assholes' game of chess. Thank goodness Russia has the cool-headed leader it has, or things would be very much more critical.

Posted by: J Swift | May 28 2018 3:28 utc | 83

@J Swift: Chaos being a win is a well-known US strategy expressed in the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

Posted by: S | May 28 2018 4:15 utc | 84

Since I commented, I ran across Putin's reiteration that there are very real red lines in the Ukraine. It likely helps, as there are at least a few relatively professional people in the US, particularly in the military, who will understand and will be reluctant to try those red lines. Putin is not known for empty bluffs.

@J Swift | May 27, 2018 11:28:26 PM | 88

Swift, pls quote one example Putin has never make empty bluff in honoring his redline? If he had Russia Chief of Staff 4* General to draw a red line, then chicken out after been teased by Trump tweeting, to extend of declaring Russia will never fight US no matter what (quote: RT), who else in Russia is more high rank & creditable to draw another red line? USM knew clearly, Putin is man of no honor, so do Nethanyahoo & Erdogan despising him.

Im very sure Ukraine war will be hype up, Nato put on Russia border with no action except some whining. All for Putin's inaction & appeasement approach. What can Kiev & FUKUS do if Russia absorbed Donbass or declared its as protectorate by law? More sanction that can make no different.

More Russians, Ukrainians, Syrians, Iranians, Hezobollah & all allies blood are spilled for Putin's 6 dimensional chess game & peanut trading with FUKUS-Israel-Turkey-India, all allies' lifes are his chess piece of little value.

Im not Russophobe, & admire Russia much, but Putin's despicable way of handling thing is not what i can deceive myself to sing praise.

Posted by: DrTT | May 28 2018 6:59 utc | 85

Already Russia got busy sending exactly the wrong signal by showing off their toys (SU-57 + Kalibr) for the umphteenth time: "See? We could actually do something if we really wanted." Yeah right; but you don't. Willingness to fight is THE key issue on which wars are won or lost.

@Posted by: Ma Laoshi | May 27, 2018 8:47:51 PM | 85

Always good comments Teacher Ma. There is no amount of weapons bragging can scare FUKUS if Putin already declare Russia will never fight US no matter how, & proven never dare to protect Russians & allies when been attack blatantly.

China don't need to brag any super weapon, it juz show its credible will: confront in SCS with small Navy, sent a flotilla to warn off US-India military intervention on Mauritius, prepare for full scale attack in Donglan to scare off US backed India invasion, openly warn USM not to attack NK, the day USN enter Taiwan is the day of liberation…all Paper Tigers back off. If China today will to warn FUKUS not to attack Syria & Iran, all will stop knowing its for real.

Putin's bragging of new weapons is only revealing sign of weakness & fear, after displaying a cart load of weapons in 1Mar to no effect, now see i have another bigger gun this time, i humbly hope you will stop smear shits on my face again. Oops, FUKUS called Russia Paper Bear again(Telegraph).

Posted by: DrTT | May 28 2018 7:19 utc | 86

Rostislav Ishchenko is a Ukraine
expert and a superb analyst, very
much listened to and respected
within Russia. I rate him very
highly. He has an in-depth
treatment of the domestic politics
of Ukraine for those who want to
see how badly that country now is
hanging in the wind: Rostislav
Ishchenko: Why Poroshenko Will
Go to the End
@Posted by: Grieved | May 27, 2018
7:45:29 PM | 83

Highly respected in Russia as a Russia Putin's worst propagandist, good in pointing out every of Putin & Russia faults, but failed to make single explanation besides brushing all off in foolish excuse as Western Pro-Russia Team hysteria screaming. Not worth a single ruble troll fee.

Posted by: DrTT | May 28 2018 8:23 utc | 87


Please, in an all out conflict Russia's position in Syria is untenable, plain and simple.
The Russians know it, and so do their opponents.
It's not only about some kind of superior/inferior weapons systems, it's also about reserves, logistics and supply lines. How to keep up with a continuous stream of supplies for a serious Russian fighting force in Syria when at war with NATO? Any suggestions?

Do you really expect Russia to threaten nuclear war and go through with the threat if their goals aren't met?
That be nuts.

Posted by: Hmpf | May 28 2018 8:38 utc | 88

@Posted by: DrTT | May 28, 2018 3:19:30 AM | 92

China has its own problems of course, and it's a fundamentally different creature (mostly better) than it was under Mao. But when China curtly said "we don't allow it" concerning NK regime change, it carried real weight based on China's role in the Korean War. The intervention of China's peasant army was an astonishing game-changer -- evading US surveillance by advancing only at night. Now THAT was Sun Tzu, fighting while using your head; please find me the passage in Bin Fa where crawling under the bed is counseled as a viable strategy. Everyone is fretting about a possible Iran war in a large part because nothing Moscow could say on the matter would have the same impact.

This notion "Russia/Putin doesn't make idle threats" is a form of pro-Russia virtue signaling--a formula recited to show which side you're on, not really something based in fact. Like during the 2016 election, the mildest critique of the Anointed One had to be phrased "Of course I'll vote for Her, but ..." As if we were ever interested in a media hack's personal preference.

When I search on "Telegraph paper bear" I get links to actual bear attacks; could you please give me a link to the "Paper Bear" quote?

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | May 28 2018 8:56 utc | 89

Americans like PCR and others in the US west would like to see Rambo rather Sun Tzu take down the US empire.
PCR crying others are not doing enough to stop his government... when he should be bitching about Americans not doing enough to stop their governments capers.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 28 2018 9:18 utc | 90

Peter AU 1 @ 96. Yes indeed. "Americans not doing enough to stop their governments capers"

In the US I see the top 20% as being quite pleased with the status quo and getting their stock dividends and watching the stock market rise

The bottom 80% demographic is much less powerful but helped put Trump in office.

Very few people seem to have 'moon of alabama' or 'eva bartlett' type understanding of syria/ukraine etc, probably 20% tops, but things like the white helmet fiasco I think are filtering into the mainstream at least starting people to question an unwavering support of US military actions

Bernie Sanders was also a major threat to the status quo. Bill Clinton seemed enraged that someone was challenging the family dynasty. He wanted to be in power again as well as to protect the Clinton foundation

Support for Clinton/Bush/Obama is fairly strong, I would say 40% and includes the top 20% demographic. (Perhaps will change somewhat as spygate and clinton foundation corruption becomes more exposed)

I supported Bernie Sanders but in retrospect, especially after seeing him back Clinton, I don't think he was strong enough to be what the US needs at the moment. Trump is doing a better job of at least exposing the deep state which I think needs to be done before a true progressive can be effective

It will be interesting to see if Trump can do anything for a growing precariat which is an important part of his base. I think that this precariat is starting to recognize that the huge sums of money that are spent on military adventures and corporate welfare could be spent on universal health care, making education debt free and having better retirement benefits.

In the past, and it seems like they will have more trouble doing this moving forward, the US would label any country that supported such socially supportive functions as being regimes and they would be attacked.

Posted by: financial matters | May 28 2018 10:26 utc | 91

"Please, in an all out conflict Russia's position in Syria is untenable, plain and simple."
@Posted by: Hmpf | May 28, 2018 4:38:55 AM | 94

Yes this is always said, but who wants all-out war? You don't, I don't, and the billionaires that pay for the show on all sides certainly don't want to risk something that'd cause them to (horror!) lose money. The USA is not some computer-game opponent (and even those are often modeled with sophistication) which can just bring its on-paper strength to bear on the Syrian theater. Trump has real domestic enemies which nonstop look for a reason, any reason really, to bring him down. Macron and May tagged along with their boss because they're both very weak domestically. The aggression continues and even escalates because of the Empire's impunity, which is so utterly total that one suspects Putin to play along and want it this way. A bloody nose, even just for one of the poodles, and the rules have changed completely.

Little Kim couldn't last that long by himself in all-out war with the US, and he knows it. But he says "you'd get hurt too" and all signs are that he means it. So at least for now, the Empire backs off. Remember, a fighter likes the challenge of a matched opponent; a bully loves a defenseless, cowering victim. Give the bully one, and you're asking for it.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | May 28 2018 10:28 utc | 92

Ken says:

The US is now approaching 110% of GDP. Has a 21 trillion debt. Has lost 21 trillion since the mid 1990's. It has very little production other than weapons and over 50 million citizens on government handouts. Homelessness and drugs are epidemic

well, God shed His grace on thee,

as the top percent of grifters absconded with everything else, leaving behind a freaking mass of bewildered settlers for whom the idea of imminent collapse is just so much distant cumulonimbus, oddly juxtaposed to the myriad streaming images and reportage from the hinterlands, where collapse is the ongoing reality, out there in the Hooligan Kingdom of marauding evil, savaged by headshots, Solvent spraying TOMAs, pentium acid operation gas, humanitarian gulags, immigration funk…

Posted by: john | May 28 2018 11:08 utc | 93

@Julian #68

> Who is the American candidate in the Ukrainian Elections? Poroshenko? Or is he bad news?

There are two Americas now, Trump's and Hillary's so to say.
One would probably push for Saakashvili.

Poroshenko is hardly needed by anyone - he was used to collect all people despise and hate (caused by Western "shock therapy" against Ukrainain economic) and go away.
What Yanukovich was supposed to do - but he jumped off that grave train. So another Regional Party functioneer - Poroshenko - was set to do it.

> Who is the EU/German candidate? Tymoshenko?

Interesting thing to remember that in 2009 Yanukovich was Amercian candidate pulled by Trump's Paul Manafort.
And Tymoshenko was visiting Moscow to raise money for her campaign, just like Marine Le Pen from France few years ago.

So i would say, there can be no "pro-Russian" candidate in Ukraine, but there could be "least evils" for Russia.
If Russia cares.

Because it seems EU and Russia see Ukraine for a terminally ill zombie which is doomed to disintegrate.
And then who cares about the name of a particular worm that would be eating the zombie's brain for next 4 year?
Better just to keep away and avoid infection.

> Who is the pro-peace (Russian?) candidate?

In EuroUkraine? Pro-peace candidate?
Some suicide seeking maniac maybe?

Posted by: Arioch | May 28 2018 13:00 utc | 94

DrTT - all your posts say the same thing and frankly - i have stopped reading them... i guess i am feeding a troll at this point..

Posted by: james | May 28 2018 16:42 utc | 95

@105 The Telegraph article you linked to is pure propaganda

Andrew Korybko's article that you linked to @102 makes a typical error in simply describing the Russian effort in Syria as being a 'fight against terrorism'. This is of course how it is often characterized by the Russians themselves, and contains an element of truth, but is far from the whole story. The "terrorism" warfare in Syria was carried out by a massive mercenary army, a proxy army, on behalf of Israel, the USA, and Britain, with France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others also involved. Enormous logistical, financial, propaganda, direct military, equipment, diplomatic, etc support, including special forces, has been and is being provided by the various sponsors of the terrorism.

So Russia in Syria for all practical purposes has been going to war, somewhat indirectly, with the PTB of the west, and some of its vassals.

In the face of this formidable array of 'terroristic' intention, much progress has been made by Russia and Syria in defeating the west's proxy armies.

The 'worshipping Putin' meme is also propaganda, as is the converse.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | May 28 2018 16:48 utc | 96

this is cool... now i have someone impersonating me!!! wonder who that might be? lol..

Posted by: james | May 28 2018 20:10 utc | 97

Gee, such a rowdy bar! So many belligerents! I think the Italian Saga rather juicy. Too bad nobody's commenting on what that means for European democracy. I think Gramsci's observation that's being invoked by several commentators is quite apt: "The old refuse to die so that the new remain unborn." But then this thread's supposed to be about the Syrian situation. Given Nuttyahoo's declaration that he governs all of Syria along with Palestine, I think we'll see a very quick and very vicious fight for Daraa, its surround, the clearing of al-Tanf--and when the Zionists come down from Golan--a massive rout of IDF and counterattack that frees all of Golan. The result being Nuttyahoo being arrested for grand corruption and removed from politics once and for all.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 28 2018 22:31 utc | 98

@ comment 64. In terms of US sponsored attacks on OBOR, I think the attacks on the Rohinga (Sp?) in Myanmar, right by the pipeline to China and the increase in ‘insurgents’ in Baluchistan, SW Pakistan where the really big pipeline to China is going, are case in point. When the latter is finished it ensures Chinese energy security and negates the point of the US 7th Fleet (which is of course to threaten China). Tens if not hundreds of thousands of poor people in poor countries will die in order to keep the Imperial show on the road.

Posted by: Mark T | May 28 2018 23:55 utc | 99

@J Swift | May 27, 2018 4:05:39 PM | 76

Russia continues to do more than any other nation on earth to combat the forces of evil

I mostly agree with that. The Russians are certainly being most of the visible resistance to the Evil Empire. But please spare a thought for China. Russia would likely not be able to sustain its defiance of the Empire without some strong support. The other Chinese actions (New Silk Road, AIIB, and so on) are not as visible as Russia's actions, but they will probably be more decisive in the long run.

Posted by: Cyril | May 29 2018 0:04 utc | 100

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