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June 22, 2018

Syria - Damascus And Its Allies Prepare To Remove U.S. Forces From Al-Tanf

On June 8 we asked if the then ongoing ISIS attack on Albu Kamal was part of a U.S. plan:

There is sneaking suspicion that the U.S. directed the ongoing ISIS attack on Abu Kamal to gain control over the crossing and to disable road supplies from Iran through Iraq into Syria.
The U.S. must be given no chance to use the ISIS pretext to take Abu Kamal. The Syrian government must rush to support its forces in the border city. It must immediately request that Iraqi forces cross the border from Al-Qaim and support the endangered Syrian troops.

Some reinforcement came in and Albu Kamal was soon back in Syrian government hands. The Syrian army also launched an operation to destroy ISIS positions in southeastern desert.

Southeast Syria (red: Syrian Army, green: U.S. zone around al-Tanf crossing to Iraq, grey: ISIS, yellow: U.S./Kurdish SDF) bigger

But U.S. interference in the east continued:

The Russian military is warning of a false-flag "chemical incident" in Deir Ezzor governorate. The Syrian Observatory reports that Islamic State remnants in the southeastern desert and in the Rukban camp, both under cover of the U.S. occupied zone around al-Tanf, prepare for a large attack on Syrian government forces. It claims that such an attack is an attempt to occupy the zone between al-Tanf and Albu Kamal at the Euphrates. Both operation would be planned diversions intended to draw Syrian forces away from Deraa and could provide excuses for U.S. intervention on the opposition side.

Late Sunday an airstrike destroyed a building in the Harri area near Albu Kamal directly on the Syrian-Iraqi border. The building was used as a headquarter for the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU) who are securing the border in coordination with the Syrian army in the fight against the Islamic State. More than 20 fighters were killed and more than 10 were wounded. This may have been in preparation for the reportedly planned large ISIS attack.

Another serious incident followed last night when U.S. supported Maghawhir al-Thawra "rebels" (which include 'former' ISIS fighters) attacked Syrian government forces:

A Syrian army officer was killed in a U.S strike on a Syrian army outpost near a U.S. base close to the Iraqi-Syrian border, a commander in the regional alliance supporting President Bashar al-Assad told Reuters.

The Pentagon, said, however, that a U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group stationed in the Tanf garrison had engaged on Thursday evening an “unidentified hostile force” outside a “deconfliction zone” around the garrison, forcing it to retreat. It said there were no casualties on either side.

The Syrian Observatory claims that eight Syrian soldiers were killed in the attack. There is some footage of a desert chase with "technicals" that is supposed to be from these clashes. They took place in al-Halba, 70 kilometers northwest of al-Tanf and only 50 kilometers from Palmyra.

The U.S. sent "rebels" it trains at al-Tanf outside its self declared 55 kilometers deconfliction zone around Tanf to attack Syrian government forces. It supported them by air strikes. U.S. special forces are said to have taken part. This is likely the case as only U.S. special forces can call in such airstrikes.

It seems obvious that the U.S. is using ISIS, U.S. trained "Maghawhir al-Thawra" rebels, and its air power in another attempt to cut the land route between Syria and Iraq. It wants to use the upcoming Syrian campaign against al-Qaeda and ISIS in the southwest around Daraa to make a new move in the east.

But Syria and its allies will not allow that. They are building up their own forces in the east. As Elijah Magnier reported yesterday:

[D]uring my visit to the city of Palmyra and its surroundings, the presence of thousands of Russian troops is striking, indicating that Moscow is sending new infantry and special forces in very large numbers. This large presence has not been announced.

The Syrian army is also sending additional forces into the area and more Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units have arrived in the Al-Qaim/Albu-Kamal area.

Syria and its allies obviously decided to counter the U.S. move. Their operations at the Syrian-Iraqi border are coordinated by the common operation room in Baghdad.


Last night Syria, Iraq, Iran and Russia again discussed the situation in the east and made their decision:

SURA @AlSuraEnglish - 23:47 UTC - 21 Jun 2018

#BREAKING - #Iraq, #Syria, #Russia and #Iran confirm new mission to secure the #Iraqi-#Syrian border from all terrorist groups. The mission was devised in the operations room in Iraq's capital, #Baghdad.

 via Sura - Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian and Russian officers in the operations room Baghdad - bigger

"All terrorist groups" include the Maghawhir al-Thawra "rebels" and their U.S. protectors at al-Tanf.

Meanwhile the Syrian army continues its preparations for the large attack around Daraa which might bring it in conflict with Israel.


The U.S. again issued a nonsensical warning against such an attack but with a significant change in its wording:

The statement, however, omitted a line in a past statement on the subject that said the U.S. would take “firm and appropriate measures” if Syria violated the de-escalation measure.

It has been confirmed that Iran will not be involved in the fight in Daraa (We had noted that three weeks ago.) Hizbullah special forces might take part in the areas near the Lebanese border. Jordan reinforced its position on its side of the border. It is unlikely to join any fight but it will want to keep fleeing "rebels" from entering the country.

The operation in the southwest around Daraa will proceed. The U.S. attempts to use the occasion to cut Syria from Iraq in the east will be prevented by the new Baghdad operations room mission. Its high time for the U.S. to give up on its nonsense schemes in the southeast. The humanitarian situation in the Rukban camp near the U.S. positions in al-Tanf is catastrophic and the civilians there want to come back under Syrian government control. The al-Tanf position is indefensible against any larger force. The U.S. forces there can still move out without a fight. If they do not leave voluntarily, force will be used to remove them.

Posted by b on June 22, 2018 at 10:30 UTC | Permalink

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Lajat area has been liberated and the SAA now controls Busra Al Harir. All going according to plan..

Posted by: Lozion | Jun 26 2018 3:07 utc | 101

The American apologists here are whining about the Neocons' tactical mistakes in alienating other nations and driving their American Empire's adversaries together, but they fail to see that the problem is America itself--not just Neocons.

Americans believe that they have a God-given right to rule the planet because they are a Force for Good or (just as ludicrously) a Beacon of Liberty for the entire world--even though this has never been true.

This messianic belief in America is fundamental to US national identity and can be traced back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony--long before Neoconservatism existed.

Because of this fanatical belief in their own Moral Exceptionalism, the Americans refuse to relinquish their unipolar dictatorship of the world.

They cannot *honestly* accept the rise of a multipolar world, as it would necessarily mean an end not only to their parasitic economy and way of life (via the US Dollar reserve currency) but even the very basis of their national identity as the Shining City on a Hill.

As such, they must increasingly resort to aggression, threats, and belligerence to maintain their geopolitical dominance.

America Is a Religion - An Aggressive One

But imperial hubris produces imperial implosion.

The Anglo-Americans will have to learn this lesson the hard way--and deservedly so.

Let them reap at home what they have sown around the world.

Posted by: AK74 | Jun 26 2018 9:15 utc | 102

@ Jackrabbit 95

I'm all too familiar with all of that. I was merely correcting the false notion that the "Deep State" is anything more than one faction, or indeed several loosely grouped factions, among the elites who control the machine.

Posted by: Russ | Jun 26 2018 10:43 utc | 103

chu teh @98--

Being a former Drumhead, it's nice to see an old Oil Drum entry being cited here. What's omitted from the entry is the existential crisis England faced prior to the item's chronological context--The Spanish Empire and its Armada which was made to subdue the piratical English and keep them within their rapidly denuded islands in 1588. If the Spanish hadn't been so damned inept and Drake so fortunate, history since 1588 would be very much different. Seems more people know of Japan's Divine Wind--Kamakazi--versus the Divine Protestant Wind that defeated the Spanish--an event not taught in US history classrooms despite its world changing importance!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2018 19:16 utc | 104

karlof!. I love the "Divine Protestant Wind" term!

Have you read "Slave and Citizen" by Tannenbaum?

It's a quick read that argues for the much more humane colonialism/slave system under Spain/Catholics than that of Britain/Protestants. And yes, "humane" is a rather fraught term to use when describing colonialism and slavery. But it's a fascinating view of the historical record and how that created the societies as they were in 1947.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 26 2018 20:27 utc | 105

The deep state has a lotta history and many factions.

In his book The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, Col. Fletcher Prouty, who was the briefing officer to the President of the US from 1955-1963, writes about “an inner sanctum of a new religious order.” By the phrase Secret Team he means a group of “security-cleared individuals in and out of government who receive secret intelligence data gathered by the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) and who react to those data.” He states: “The power of the Team derives from its vast intra-governmental undercover infrastructure and its direct relationship with great private industries, mutual funds and investment houses, universities, and the news media, including foreign and domestic publishing houses.” He further adds: “All true members of the Team remain in the power centre whether in office with the incumbent administration or out of office with the hard-core set. They simply rotate to and from official jobs and the business world or the pleasant haven of academe.”

I have adopted the view outlined by Joseph Farrell in his Nazi International, The Reich of the Black Sun and The Third Way, by Alfred W. McCoy in his The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade and by William Engdahl in A Century of War, Anglo-American Oil Politics And The New World Order. See also Peter Dale Scott´s writings. Essentially I am referring to a consortium of intelligence agencies, their bankers and the drug cartels who finance themselves off money laundering and resource expropriation.

Post WW2 theft of Axis booty was used to finance intelligence agencies (see Seagrave: Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold” and the transfer of control over the Asian heroin trade (see: McCoy: “The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade”) has been used to finance off-budget operations of intelligence agencies worldwide. The western deep state’s object is to capture the resources of eurasia and prevent a geopolitical alignment of Russia and Germany, formulated by MacKinder: The Geographical Pivot of History”( and the modern exponents of western hegemony, such as George Friedman ( and Brzezinski, of course. With regard to Russia, didn’t we seen a version of this movie in 1918? (

In pertinent point:

London is now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Gomorrah author Roberto Saviano says 'the British treat it as not their problem'

"The City of London is the money-laundering centre of the world’s drug trade, according to an internationally acclaimed crime expert."

In my view, any attempt to analyse geopolitical machinations that doesn't recognize the everyday efforts of the multiple entities alluded to above will lack depth. I'm not referring to the holdover, identifiable bureaucrats who survive from one political administration to the next. I'm referring to those who administer the funds laundered by the too-big-to-fail-too-big-to jail banks as well as the funds disappearing into the black holes of the defense department: see:

Pentagon Claims That It Has “Lost” Over $18 Trillion, Which Probably Paid Foreign Army Payrolls

9/10/2001: Rumsfeld says $2.3 TRILLION Missing from Pentagon

Cynthia Mckinney questions Rumsfeld and Myers about 9/11 War Games [and accounting]



Earlier this year, a Michigan State University economist, working with graduate students and a former government official, found $21 trillion in unauthorized spending in the departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015.

The work of Mark Skidmore and his team, which included digging into government websites and repeated queries to U.S. agencies that went unanswered, coincided with the Office of Inspector General, at one point, disabling the links to all key documents showing the unsupported spending. (Luckily, the researchers downloaded and stored the documents.)

Now, the Department of Defense has announced it will conduct the first department-wide, independent financial audit in its history (read the Dec. 7 announcement here).

The Defense Department did not say specifically what led to the audit. But the announcement came four days after Skidmore discussed his team’s findings on USAWatchdog, a news outlet run by former CNN and ABC News correspondent Greg Hunter.

“While we can’t know for sure what role our efforts to compile original government documents and share them with the public has played, we believe it may have made a difference,” said Skidmore, the Morris Chair in State and Local Government Finance and Policy at MSU.

Skidmore got involved last spring when he heard Catherine Austin Fitts, former assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development, refer to a report which indicated the Army had $6.5 trillion in unsupported adjustments, or spending, in fiscal 2015. Given the Army’s $122 billion budget, that meant unsupported adjustments were 54 times spending authorized by Congress. Typically, such adjustments in public budgets are only a small fraction of authorized spending. Skidmore thought Fitts had made a mistake. “Maybe she meant $6.5 billion and not $6.5 trillion,” he said. “So I found the report myself and sure enough it was $6.5 trillion.”

Skidmore and Fitts agreed to work together to investigate the issue further. Over the summer, two MSU graduate students searched government websites, especially the website of the Office of Inspector General, looking for similar documents dating to 1998. They found documents indicating a total $21 trillion in undocumented adjustments over the 1998-2015 period. (The original government documents and a report describing the issue can be found here.)

In a Dec. 8 Forbes column he co-authored with Laurence Kotlikoff, Skidmore said the “gargantuan nature” of the undocumented federal spending “should be a great concern to all taxpayers.”

“Taken together these reports point to a failure to comply with basic constitutional and legislative requirements for spending and disclosure,” the column concludes. “We urge the House and Senate Budget Committee to initiate immediate investigations of unaccounted federal expenditures as well as the source of their payment.”

As they say, follow the money.

Posted by: pogohere | Jun 26 2018 22:15 utc | 106

Thanks pogohere for a great collection of inter-related information. I understand that the publicly available documents Skidmore and his team accessed to compute that missing $23 Trillion have now been either taken down or heavily redacted. Though of course, copies were archived before going public.

The missing Pentagon money from less than two decades is greater than the total national debt accumulated over more than two centuries. And yet, this real news gets no or next to no mention in the "news" of either MSM or "alternative" sources.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 26 2018 23:39 utc | 107

I think these elite special forces may be involved. Interesting read on this invaluable asset to Damascus' war effort. Korean special forces on the ground in Syria

Posted by: Latts Razzi | Jun 29 2018 18:31 utc | 108

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