Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 14, 2018

Syria - Al-Qaeda And Turkey Stage "Peaceful Civilians" Events

Turkey and other supporters of the terrorists in Syria arranged for fresh Friday demonstrations by "civilians" in Idleb governorate. These are supposed to show the 'western' public that the population of the al-Qaeda controlled province is still in favor of the anti-Assad "revolution".

Source video - bigger

Some tweets from yesterday make clear that these demonstrations are a highly choreographed propaganda exercise:

TØM CΛT @TomtheBasedCat - 17:34 utc- 13 Sep 2018

Supposedly, an array of European press agencies with security will enter Idlib city tomorrow to cover some demonstrations there.

Idelb is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), an internationally banned al-Qaeda organization. Turkey, which has friendly relations with al-Qaeda in Syria, will have arranged for the security of the foreign media.

Some prominent people also spoke about the event:

Harald Doornbos @HaraldDoornbos - 19:08 utc - 13 Sep 2018

Interesting. Son of Al-Qaeda co-founder Abdullah Azzam, Huthaifa Azzam, calls on opposition in Idlib not to raise black/jihadi flags during tomorrow's protest but only revolution flags because there are international journalists on the ground reporting on the protests.

original tweet - bigger

For once al-Qaeda does not want its flag to be seen. The demonstrations must only show "peaceful civilians".

Sam Heller, now with Crisis Group, caught two voice recordings that were distributed via Telegram. It is not completely clear that these are legit, but they make sense:

Below are translations of two voice recordings purported to be of Tahrir al-Sham emir “Abu Akramah al-Urduni,” via anti-Jabhat al-Nusrah/Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group “JAN Violations.” The voice messages are notable for their apparently acute sensitivity to the optics of Idlib’s protests and those protests’ portrayal in foreign media ..

The first message is an advise similar to the one given by the son of al-Qaeda co-founder Abdullah Azzam: Do not let any HTS/al-Qaeda flags appear in the choreographed demonstrations. It seems that HTS fears that these could be used against it:

“Brothers, a very important issue: We don’t want it to be come out in the Western media that the people opposes us, and that the people brought down our banner and stomped on it. Pay attention: If the banner is raised, there will be people placed just to pull away the banner and stomp on it. And it will appear in the Western media that they stomped on the Hayah’s banner. This is a big issue, brothers. It means that the battle will be against us, in the future. They’ll say that the people is ready now to announce the battle in these protests. Because these protests are what, the people, the public. If the people and the public pull away our banner in front of the media and stomp on it, that means the battle is ready against us now.”

The second message is an order to accompany the demonstrations and to take care that everyone behaves:

“Peace and God’s blessings be upon you, something very important to say: Coordinate with those responsible for these protests and say to them, ‘We’re with you, your brothers, and whatever you need, we’ll walk with you. And for your protection.’ Talking is free, brothers. Why not speak to them kindly. They’ll say, ‘God reward you, we don’t need anything.’ Tell them, ‘Okay, we’ll walk with you. We’re Muslims, too, and we demand the toppling of the regime.’”

The demonstrations, arranged for the media, took place as ordered.

Now the regime change propagandists are out to promoted the first videos from these staged events:

Thomas van Linge @ThomasVLinge - 12:41 utc - 14 Sep 2018

Once again protests against the #Assad regime have erupted all over rebel-held #Idlib and northern #Aleppo.
Syrians in the town of #Kafranbel sing "we want freedom!"

The demonstrations are similar to those staged in 2011-2013. Green-white-black French-colonial Syria flags and a few Turkish ones get waved -all new it seems- and a few dozens men and young boys, no women or girl in sight, chant some sectarian slogans:

"Let the Nusayriah [Alawites] hear, we are people who drink blood." Protesters: "Allah Akbar"

No black and white HTS/al-Qaeda flags is visible and no weapons are in sight. The video shots are tightly controlled and concentrate on the civilian clothed men and children. Where a wider frame is shown fighters in camouflage can be seen at the edge of the crowds.

Source video - bigger

The intended message of these stunts:

"Do you see us? There are only peaceful civilians in Idelb. No fighters are here. We are not terrorist. We only want freedom!"

The message is false.

Idleb governorate is completely controlled by Hayat Tahrir al Sham (vid). HTS, foreign Jihadis, as well as 'moderate' Islamists affiliated with Turkey. These are terrorist who prevent civilians from leaving and oppress the population:

In the northern Syrian town of Harem, militants last week erected a gallows in a public square, saying it was for “frogs,” or traitors.
[O]pposition fighters linked to al-Qaeda are seeking to head off the kind of negotiated surrender that has sealed the fate of other opposition areas.

The gallows, which the militants publicized on their official news website, was “set up to intimidate the traitors that worked on reconciliation agreements to the regime, so that they know that in the end their fate is death,” said an activist in the town, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation. “The purpose of its construction is to strike fear.”

Al-Qaeda has not vanished from Idleb. It still terrorizes the population. What would have been the punishment for not following the orders for these demonstrations. The gallows? A customary beheading? Or just some whipping of the soles of ones feet?

These videos of demonstrations are propaganda clips directed by the Turkish president Erdogan, in co-production with al-Qaeda, to delay the liberation of Idleb.

No one should fall for them.

Posted by b on September 14, 2018 at 15:52 UTC | Permalink

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Speaking Truth to Power within the US Congress, 100% ignored by BigLie Media.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2018 16:18 utc | 1

You can be sure the corporate media will fall for them.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 14 2018 16:25 utc | 2

Putin/Erdogan to meet Monday in Sochi. Today, Putin met with his Security Council about Syria in preparation for Monday. Be nice to know the content of their conversation. Guess we'll need to closely watch the customary post-Summit press conference besides listening to their words.

Meanwhile, SAA and RuAF have remained active clearing Daesh from the desert West of Deir Ezzor.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2018 16:41 utc | 3

After the coup in Turkey failed members of the Turkish army allegedly instrumental in the coop escaped to Greece and to Europe to seek assylum.
Some that escaped to south Europe were allegedly captured by Turkish secret services, like 4 or 4 gauys hidding in Malta and 10 guys hiding in Kosovo.
Of particullar interest are 8 Turkish officers that are allegedly hiding in Greece. Supposedly there is an ongoing operation from Greek army and Police forces sheltering them and protecting them, after the National council of Justice ordered that they can ask for assylum and not be extradited to Turkey. Before he elections in Turkey Erdogan was vocal about Greece supposedly hiding the coop plotters as he labeled them. This by all means was a show from both the Turkish and the Greek side. People fell for it. Yet the result of the Turkish pressure against Greece was that Donald Trump demanded Greece to surrender more of its territory to the US hegemony in order for more bases, more accomodations, the expeling of the Russian diplomats with no reason at all, the denial to members of the Russian orthodox clergy to visit Greece etc. Unfortunatelly Greece is powerless to react n any defensive way, and has to cower to these demands every time, thanks to the German austerity programs that crippled her.

I would not be suprised IF, a deeply secret operation is under way, between Turkey and Greece (which is forced to participate) being controlled by the CIA and the Mossad, in order to entrap Russia in a war with either one of the two countries be it Greece or Turkey. My bet is that it will be Turkey. Israel seems desperater in not losing Idlib and Golan. They will do whatever it takes. Turkey and israel and also Donald Trump cooperate very closely with each other no matter what other BS they try to sell to the world.

Though if WWIII errupts which seems that this would be the point of all these operations, then as much as it is in the hands of the US and Israel, and Turkey, Germany carries also a huge part of the blame. Germany also wears a mask just like Turkey, only that one will be the one that will fall last.

For some reason I believe that: THEY ARE NOT WHAT THEY CLAIM. The Turkish coop is a rouse

Posted by: Greece | Sep 14 2018 16:50 utc | 4

thanks b.. the ongoing propaganda exercise continues...if it isn't the usa, it's erdogan and his friendly group of terrorists.. oh well.. this must and will end..

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2018 16:56 utc | 5

Pro-HTS parade on film. And another.

I watched each several times and looked very closely but I saw no women in either, which seems very unusual for normal Syrian life. There are probably many such samples circulating on Twitter making the debunking of BigLie Media reports easy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2018 17:07 utc | 6

#2 - It's not that the corporate will "fall" for this; it's what they WANT to promote. They believe the easy lie that "Assad is bad and all who oppose him are good/pro US" and cannot accept any semblance of truth.

Posted by: worldblee | Sep 14 2018 17:27 utc | 7

No major offensive planned in Syria's Idlib - Lavrov

Posted by: John Gilberts | Sep 14 2018 17:59 utc | 8

Why Interventionism in Syria is Crazy by Caitlyn Johnstone is an excellent piece of work--short, concise and 100% factual: all the attributes missing from BigLie Media reports like the disgusting Stevens op/ed in yesterday's New York Times. In a Just Society, Stevens would get arrested for advocating murder, and the newspaper would get shut down for abetting a felon.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2018 18:05 utc | 9

@ 1: Thanks for that k1.. Jesus, these never ending refusals to cover noteworthy events and information is sickening. Good for Gabbard..

Posted by: ben | Sep 14 2018 18:07 utc | 10

B, you need to add sharing options on your posts so we can share them around. People that read your blog obviously are awoken to this propaganda BS. We want to share these for people that fall for these things.

Posted by: shoes | Sep 14 2018 18:14 utc | 11

Lavrov announced that there will be no major attack. Russia and Syria have time on their side. The attack will not take place in the present atmosphere where the westerm media are focused on it.
Russia wants to give more time to Turkey in its attempts to exfiltrate the HTS commanders out of Edlib with the hope that the fighters will give up theoir weapons... discreetly
In the meantime the Syrian government will keep the pressure by floating the imminent attack. November will focus the Western media on the US election.. That would be the right time for Russia and Syria to finish off the job whether Turkey succeeded or failed.
Patience pays...

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 14 2018 18:17 utc | 12

Ditto # 8. Caitlin J. should be required reading. Hey k1, ever feel like a salmon constantly swimming upstream?

One of my favorite quotes is; "Always drink upstream from the herd".

Because of efforts by posters here, and with b's articles, that's what we're all engaged in here at MoA, in an informational sense.

Posted by: ben | Sep 14 2018 18:23 utc | 13

What's to stop you from copying and pasting the url from your browser?

Posted by: bjd | Sep 14 2018 18:23 utc | 14

Semi-OT, but relevant to the region and geopolitics along with this one. Sorta boggles the mind. Bet Neocons are steamed over this development.

ben @12--

Thanks for your replies. To answer your query, no; salmon spawn-out and die upstream. Rather I think it was Herman Hesse who said it's like being on an endless belt like a treadmill--the feeling of advancement but not ever arriving at your destination.

Garrie on Idlib and Sochi. I don't know of his sources, but Garrie's very clear as to what he expects to happen in Idlib. My opinion is that such an outcome ends up rewarding Erdogan for waging a war of aggression on Syria which is against International Law and violates the pledged sanctity of Syrian Sovereignty and its territorial integrity--two very important and often repeated points I don't see how Russia can rationalize backtracking/reneging, unless it's deemed temporary--although with all the recent influx of Turkish military assets into the area, it doesn't look as if Erdogan sees his win as temporary. (I wish Garrie allowed commentary at his site!) Of course, his conjecture could be 100% incorrect.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2018 19:12 utc | 15

I suppose this staged peaceful civilian display will be broadcast across MSM networks tonight.

Watch Rachel Maddow report on it - even as she must not call attention to the fact that NO WOMEN or girls are present. (Al Qaeda Style!).

Or the fact that the crowd is hemmed in and scutinized by terrorist militants funded, armed and supported by FUSUKIS.

Of course, I will not be watching warmongering propagandist Rachel Maddow; perhaps someone else can stomach it.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 14 2018 19:26 utc | 16

@ 15

"I suppose this staged peaceful civilian display will be broadcast across MSM networks tonight."

Not to worry Freddy. The only news tonight will be the hurricane and the fact that Manafort flipped and agreed to cooperate on "any and all matters"

You might not be able to stomach the Manafort part either so stick to Bugs Bunny.

Posted by: peter | Sep 14 2018 19:59 utc | 17

@15 fastfreddy

I totally agree. Observing how this has played out in the past, they will spend the weekend hyping this when many eyes and ears are on Facebook, the idiot box, and National Petroleum Radio, while the few working journalists are spending time with their families. They need to do something to counter statements about supporting the US Al-Qaeda by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Ron Paul.

The only uncertainty in the brainwashing will be the headlines Hurricane Florence will play on the American national psyche.

Posted by: Michael | Sep 14 2018 20:00 utc | 18

The Is-raeli press is reporting that the government has been 'pressured' to sell its useless Iron Dome system to Saudi Arabia. The words false sense of security spring to mind.

Posted by: et Al | Sep 14 2018 20:05 utc | 19

".......The demonstrations are similar to those staged in 2011-2013......."

Are you saying all protests between 2011 and 2013 were staged in Syria by Muslim extremists, al-Qaeda? That seems like a reckless statement if that is what you mean. Do you believe that Arabs are capable of understanding political rights, or having a say in their government regardless of whether it's a democracy or not? Remember, Assad promised reforms when he took over for his ruthless pop so he must have believed that Syrians wanted political reforms (which he never delivered).

In response to the protests, Assad ruthlessly cracked down on the protesters. The Assad regime initiated the civil war indiscriminately attacking (mostly) peaceful protesters. According to Amnesty International (posted May 11, 2011):

".........When army tanks recently rolled into the city of Dera’a in southern Syria and began shelling residential areas, the human rights crisis in the country reached a new low. More than 400 people have died across Syria since protesters calling for political reform took to the streets in mid-March. Hundreds of people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained incommunicado, placing them at serious risk of torture [or execution] and other [documented] ill-treatment. Torture of detainees has long been common and endemic in Syria.....Amnesty International has repeatedly urged the Syrian government to rein in the security forces......The Syrian authorities have failed to take these steps and intensified repression......." my insert in brackets

According to Marie Colvin (How the Assad regime tracked and killed Marie Colvin for reporting on war crimes in Syria by @johnnyddwyer @rj_gallagher; February, 2012):

"...........After pulling back to a village outside the city, she decided to return to Baba Amr, a neighborhood under constant government bombardment, telling her colleague Paul Conroy “this was today’s Sarajevo,” and that she refused to “cover Sarajevo from the suburbs.” Her final reports detailed the brutal human toll of the indiscriminate violence. On February 21, she did a series of live interviews over Skype with Channel 4 and the BBC in the U.K. and CNN in the U.S. Speaking to Anderson Cooper, she recounted the death of a small child from a blast injury. “We just watched this little boy, his tummy heaving and heaving as he tried to breathe,” she said. “It’s a complete and utter lie that they are only going after terrorists. … The Syrian army is shelling a city of cold, starving civilians.”........"

According to Max Blumenthal (on his resignation from al-Akhbar in 2012):

"..........This is a point where, by all accounts, the Assad regime had killed as many as 10,000 people in order to remain in power, possibly 13,000, according to people I know inside Syria who’ve come out. I’ve done extensive interviews and during the past few weeks, partly prompted by my anguish about my own position as a staffer at Al-Akhbar. The Assad regime was running an institution of torture in prisons. Possibly 100,000 people are in prison right now. And this makes Israel look like, you know, a champion of human rights........"

As far as the terrorists go, Syria served as a pipeline for jihadists entering Iraq to fight the US occupation - supported by the Assad regime. So when it benefited Assad politically, he had no problem working with the "terrorists".

Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 14 2018 20:10 utc | 20

Xinhuanet via Qatari emir gifts Turkey's Erdogan luxurious Boeing 747-8 jet

The Qatari emir has given Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a Boeing 747-8 aircraft as a gift, reportedly the world's largest and most expensive private jet, a local newspaper reported Thursday.

The luxurious jet, worth about 367 million U.S. dollars, landed in Istanbul's Sahiba Gokcen International Airport from France, Daily Yeni Safak reported....

Love is in the air...

Posted by: et Al | Sep 14 2018 20:11 utc | 21

karlof 1
Ron Paul made a recent video asking the same question. Why is the US protecting al Qaeda in Idlib (as well as ISIS in other areas)? MSM ignores truth and common sense questions. One question I always had was why did Tulsi Gabbard feel the need to create a law called the Stop Arming Terrorists Act of we weren't actually doing so.

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 14 2018 20:18 utc | 22

fastfreddy 15
The mostly (if not all) male aspect is one seen in the migrants going to the EU. The MSM will make a comment about women/children on those very rare occasions that any can be mentioned. But most of their videos of the boats/ships and the "refugees" show almost all young males.

Posted by: Curtis | Sep 14 2018 20:21 utc | 23


Not impressed with Garrie's analysis.

1) He states truisms like: USA has no troops on the ground in western Syria.
This is supposed to show the fundamental weakness of USA in Syria but it doesn't.
a) USA is not alone, they are part of the 'Assad must go!' Coalition, and b) the Coalition has proven to be adept at employing proxies, shifting alliances, etc.

2) He makes questionable assumptions: USA strike would disadvantage Turkey.
USA simply threatening a strike helped Erdogan to become more assertive and that has caused headaches for Russia and SAA.

3) He expresses hopium that Turkey and Russia will work things out at Sochi.
This hope can only stem from his drinking a certain funky tasting Kool-Aid favored with half-truths like:

>> The 'Assad must go!' Coalition is defeated and out of the game in Syria so there's no value for Turkey in working with them;

>> Furthermore, Erdogan has completely and irrevocably "turned east" leading to Turkey's willingness to hand over Idlib in stages to his new allies;

>> Furthermore, Erdogan really does care about the civilians - so much so that he's willing to piss off his new allies by writing a Op-Ed in the WSJ calling on them to "save Idlib".

But we have seen that 'Assad must go!' have not given up (b has talked of this). They have adjusted their strategy to one of occupation, hindrance of reconstruction, guerrilla action, and attrition - aka "quagmire". And Turkey appears to be a willing participant in that strategy.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2018 20:31 utc | 24

@14 karlof1.. thanks for your various links and etc.. i don't agree with garries latest article, with this in particular " It has become clear that Russia and Turkey are essentially in the midst of working out a plan to “divide” Idlib into a formalised Turkish zone of influence which de-facto already exists in the northern parts of the Governorate while in exchange for guarantees of separating Turkish and Syrian forces, Ankara would allow the Syrian Arab Army to retake parts of southern Idlib under the eye of Russian supervisors and possibly some Iranian allied forces, thus representing a Syrian flagged Russian zone of influence with Iran also possibly getting a slice of the south." as peter au has mentioned - he has given over to just watching, as opposed to commenting.. maybe i could try that too, lol..

@20 et al... lol.. makes sense..

ot - max blumenthal... this is a guy that can't make up his mind what side of an issue he is on and as a consequence, changes his mind quite frequently... words from 2012 have been updated with a different story line for 2018... he realized all he was doing was supporting the military industrial complex and it's regime change agenda around the globe.. he had a moment of insight.. lets hope it sticks..

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2018 20:34 utc | 25

craigsummers @21

Asked and answered.

We don't need yet another long discussion on this topic.

Search the archives. That's why they're there.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

In your browser window:

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2018 20:37 utc | 26


Does not change one iota what he said in 2012 based on - as he said - "extensive interviews". No doubt he reverted to what he does best - US and Israel bashing.


Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 14 2018 20:39 utc | 27

The last part of the search string didn't print. It should be: then add search terms

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2018 20:43 utc | 28


Also look for b's posts about max blumenthal (suggestion: read the comments too).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2018 20:45 utc | 29

good luck with telling a troll something..

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2018 20:46 utc | 30

Curtis @23--

Paul's and Gabbard's efforts prove BigLie Media to be what it is, not Trump's allegations of Fake News. Unfortunately, both are ignored, with every effort made to airbrush them out of the picture completely. The lack of dissemination of Gabbard's Congressional address by supposed alt-news sites is damning to those sites.

Jackrabbit @25--

Neither of us liked that article. In addition to what you've pointed-out, he makes no attempt to explain the glaring contradictions such an arrangement would have for Russia's & Turkey's publicly stated positions. We'll need to await the outcome of the Sochi meet on Monday for answers.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2018 21:00 utc | 31


jackrabbit actually post some good ideas although to post "The demonstrations are similar to those staged in 2011-2013" is to invite a discussion about the initiation of the conflict. By the way, what is a troll - someone who disagrees with you politically? Would it be better to run a sanitized comment section like at ConsortiumNews? As far as I can tell, no one at this site or Consortium has a monopoly on the truth although at both places, some commentators believe they do.


Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 14 2018 21:18 utc | 32

Criticism of Maddow does not a wingnut make. To be sure, ALL networks will do their duty to portray terrorists in Syria as boy scouts. It's the CIA. You're soaking in it.

Television. Telling lies to your vision.

Posted by: Fastfreddy | Sep 14 2018 21:40 utc | 33

@21 & 26 cs

Your supposed sources are either suspect or long ago discredited (see archives for details)

As for US & Israel, they don't need bashing as they fall on their own swords quite nicely all by themselves - all that's needed is shining a light on their hypocrisy & evil deeds - something the folks at MoA do very well

Posted by: xLemming | Sep 14 2018 21:51 utc | 35

The subject of whether the protests were based on grassroots support was laid to rest before they began. The Washington Post published leaked cables from the US embassy in Damascus that they had planning the whole thing since 2005. Various organizations were created for the express purpose of distributing propaganda, organizing demonstrations, and feeding press coverage in the US and Europe to support military intervention. Weapons and militants were funneled from Libya, Europe, and other points of origin by the governments backing the rebels. Various ministers of EU governments have openly bragged about sending criminals to Syria.

Posted by: Les | Sep 14 2018 22:07 utc | 36

@21 craigsummers

re: ".......The demonstrations are similar to those staged in 2011-2013......."

Would you believe the Washington Post:


Posted by: b4real | Sep 14 2018 22:16 utc | 37

A positive development!: The Damascus International Fair was the largest ever with over one million people attending--and no terrorist interference!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2018 22:17 utc | 38

Jackrabbit @25
karlof1 @14

The unfortunate fact that we can't outright dismiss Garrie's analysis, is frightening in itself. Just food for thought.

Now to the issue of Idlib: The only reason i am confident that Russia and the SAA will sooner or later be forced
(even if they are not willing) to retake the entirety of the province is simply : geography. One just needs to look at a map and it becomes clear that neither Aleppo city nor Latakia are secure unless the entire province returns under government control.

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 14 2018 22:20 utc | 39

@38 b4real.. good link and highlights b's post very well too... same shit, different time frame..

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2018 22:28 utc | 40

Adam Garrie's article on Idlib doesnt make sense, and no, Turkey wont be allowed to create new "Golan" in the North. They do want something in return for leaving, but it wont be a territory of Syria. Even if Russia would be fine with it, Syria/Iran/Hezb wont be, hence Russia wont go for splitting Idlib either.

I'm more curious how Kurds question will be solved, with US digging in and trying to spoil any agreement with the government, even sending Kurdish thugs to ambush SAA in Qamishli. Iran is also tired of US backed Iran's Kurds terror attacks and some days back beheaded its entire leadership in Koye (Iraq), with 7 precision missiles.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 14 2018 22:47 utc | 41

redrooster @40--

Yes, you're quite right. I've advocated the 100% elimination of terrorists and foreign occupation forces and restoration of all Syrian territory--including Golan. Clearly, Neocons are not giving up their policy goal to control the planet. IMO, they're every bit as evil as their terrorists and must be eliminated as payment for their many crimes.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 14 2018 22:54 utc | 42

Following US statements of intent to attack Russia/Syria forces, irrespective of any CW FF, if they take action against Idlib, it seems that Russian S-400 systems and Pantsir local defense systems have been deployed to the high ground near Masyaf, Syria (~ 40 km east of Tartus). The deployment to high ground will give better coverage all round, and more importantly, better visibility eastwards. This has probably created a real NFZ for al Tanf.

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 14 2018 23:07 utc | 43


... he has given over to just watching, as opposed to commenting.. maybe i could try that too, lol..
We need your equanimity at MoA.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2018 23:17 utc | 44

@44 yonatan... nice look at the snow plows in salisbury march 3 2008...

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2018 23:17 utc | 45

This chaos is made by israel. That's why we're going to hell.

Posted by: fayez chergui | Sep 14 2018 23:47 utc | 46

The Trump admin told the jihadists in the southwest they were on their own, but it does seem like US will attack if Syria Russia try to retake Idlib from Al Qaeda. Why the difference. The only reason I can think of - Trump wants to build a Kurdistan taking in some of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq to give the US a solid base in the area and to use against Iran. Whatever the deal between US and Erdo is it seems like Idlib is his reward for the US using the Kurds.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 14 2018 23:50 utc | 47

Making crowd look larger is the point of this tweet, which is explained in its thread. The Arabic is a bit more specific than the translation given: Eno and Jazeera taught them. Again, not one female in the crowd; totally unrepresentative of Syrian society.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 15 2018 0:09 utc | 48

If the Russians and the Syrians have decided to hold back on the offensive for now it is probably due to some well thought out reasoning. What that is one can only make some guesses. I am sure they would love to drain the pocket of combatants by luring them to the great welfare states of Europe where they can continue their war in comfort. That would make some sense because they have been offering free passage out of other areas in lieu of combat. In fact, they pushed them up to the border with Turkey so if the Turks agree it would be fairly easy to accomplish. Notice they did not move them to the Jordanian border where it would be more difficult.

The tension on the Anglo American European side is rather high. The Zionists seem to be backing away a little.

Who knows? Trump has little to no control over his warmongers and the neocons who consistently undercut him.. I was hoping for better for the Syrians. Given time it may work itself out. The level of hatred for Russia and the desire for war is at levels as high as I have seen in a long time. The press is doing their job, as usual, to whip up the crowd.

Posted by: dltravers | Sep 15 2018 0:23 utc | 49

The fact that Jabhat al-Nusra (HTS) openly flew its flags alongside those of the FSA only serves to discredit the narrative that the "jihadists" and the "rebels" are distinct factions. This actually undermines Turkey's ostensible efforts to give the radicals a new rebranding on behalf of the U.S., since the HTS flags are clearly visible in the otherwise choreographed imagery of the tightly controlled, small demonstrations. Plus, the HTS and FSA flags fly beside Turkish flags, proving a major embarrassment for Turkey. Despite all the bluster and weaponry, perhaps Turkey is quietly seeking a way out, since there are few would-be refugees in Idlib to begin with and no serious observer can ignore the jihadist presence in the staged demonstrations, as the flags indicate.

Besides, Turkey has no justification for its presence in Idlib, Afrin, and Jarabulus, since it has never attacked the PKK-linked Kurdish factions (YPG/YPG/PYD) of the SDF, though it has attacked the PKK in Iraq while siding with the rival KDP of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Iran is also fighting the PKK (PJAK) and its KDPI and PAK allies. In Syria the PKK-linked groups under the SDF umbrella have routinely collaborated with Turkey-backed jihadists against the Syrian government, including the FSA, DAESH, and Jabhat al-Nusra. Much of the Turkey-Kurd split is exaggerated and only pertains to Kurdish separatism in Turkey, not Kurdish separatism in Syria, the latter of which Turkey has routinely supported, enabling U.S. supply routes over land to both the Kurds and jihadists.

In Syria, the goals of the jihadists and Kurds against Assad and his allies have put other concerns aside. So long as the Kurds don't become too strong in Syria, Erdoğan has no problem encouraging their and jihadists' ambitions. That is why Turkey worked out a deal with the U.S. to allow the Kurds to withdraw from Afrin to other areas in northeastern Syria, hence the relative absence of fighting during Turkish operations there. DAESH freely operates from U.S. bases within the SDF-controlled Kurdish zones on the eastern bank of the Euphrates. Russia has clearly stated that the U.S. and Turkey must withdraw their forces from Syria and that parallel governance must submit to the authority of Damascus.

Thus, I don't expect Russia, Syria, or Iran to put up with a Turkish sphere of influence in Idlib, Afrin, or Jarabulus, much less an independent or federal (as opposed to autonomous) Kurdish-Arab U.S. protectorate in northeastern Syria. The talks and opening of SDF offices in Damascus are just smokescreens that don't alter the endgame, which is that the Syrian central government must control all of Syria to be considered a sovereign state, thus serving the overlapping goals of Assad, Putin, and Khamenei. Syria will regain control of Idlib once the chemical-weapons show is over in a few weeks.

Posted by: Daniel | Sep 15 2018 0:39 utc | 50

@ 15 fastfreddy

NO WOMEN or girls are present.

You missed her. In a couple of films there is a little girl about 4 or 5 with a pink bow in her hair riding on her father's shoulders. In the second one she is waving a Syrian flag.

I don't think even Al Quaeda would object to a 4 year old being in public with her father.

Great demo there. They must have a good choreographer. I wonder if there were rehearsals?

@ 24 Curtis

most of their videos of the boats/ships and the "refugees" show almost all young males.

Situations are not analogous. Young male undertakes hazardous 5,000km trip to find work is not the same as demo that is two streets away from home.

Still, I am not surprised that there were no women in the demo. Conservative Muslims, even if not jihadi, are unlikely to want their female relations out in that mess and I doubt there a lot of liberal secular Syrians in Idlib. I have never been to Syria but have worked with Syrians; in Damascus or Aleppo I would have expected women.

Posted by: jrkrideau | Sep 15 2018 1:12 utc | 51

Jrkrideau @ 52: 4-year-old girls are not yet at the age where they would be desirable to men. Plus the kid with a bow in her hair riding around on dad's shoulders makes for good publicity.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 15 2018 1:30 utc | 52

@11 Virgile

Thank you for this observation. Pretending still to support the terrorists, as Erdogan has to do, is one thing. But I had trouble understanding why even he would go this far in his support. Of course, no situation is wasted. It makes sense that during this pause, Erdogan is useful to maintain the confidence of the terrorists, even while the secret whispers and encouragements are made, to loosen the commanders from their rigid positions.

It's a very viable, and realistically low-key, scenario that you present.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 15 2018 1:46 utc | 53

So basically, calling off the invasion means a false flag CW attack will be required to give the PTB the excuse they need to attack Syria.

I imagine its something they want to do before the elections

The staged "civilian "demonstrations will generate sympathy for the victims,one of whom may be that 4yo girl with the same bow in her hair.

Posted by: Pft | Sep 15 2018 1:49 utc | 54

People quoting what they read in the MSM are off their rockers. The msm , particularly in the the US and GB, is blatantly spoon fed shit and nonsense. I is very acutely filtered, and events not reported on by them did not happen. Joseph Goebbels would have ben awestruck by the efficiency of the MSM in controlling thought, and poor Geoge Orwell would have torn his hair out in desperation of the gullibility of ordinary man.
I I now work as a teacher at a academy of higher technical education and when probing carefully, I am appalled by the outright ignorance and mis-information displayed by students and co- teachers. They outright accept official sentiments without any question.
That was not what I was taught in school back in the wild 70 ties, critical examination of motive and source were important then.
I guess the whole Scripal saga is a sign of times, when MSM can earnestly peddle such rubbish and a pile of unsubstantiated allegations without any opposition, well anything goes!
And on top a British Prime minister declares the suspects liars in a case where charges have not yet been declared!!!
It is symbolic in a way that the "suspects" went to see Magna Carta in Salisbury.
Sorry for the off route ;)
Erdogan is now at cross-roads , he is now to decide where to stand. Russia or the US. Both have the power to ruin Turkey economically with the wink of a finger. Turkeys membership of NATO is not that important to Turkey anymore, Nato is just an ol boys club of people who like to throw bombs at other people, i. e. people who should be hanged in lampposts, God (I am actually an atheist) willing that will happen in a couple of years. In the meantime European Nato is not really engaged in neither Ukraine or Syria and European Nato countries populace are directly opposed to any kind of military intervention anywhere, being mostly deeply divided by the surge of rightist populist parties.
Here in Sweden SD made gains, becomming the third largest party in Riksdagen :(, so discontent is more on the agenda than Syria or Ukraine, of course with a healthy dose of Russophobia.
Many Swedes believe earnestly believe Russia is about to conquer Gotland!! Its quite entertaining, how people can detach themselves from reality and express opinions based on thin air, devoid of actual facts.
Anyway Syria goes largely unreported, Skripal saga is not even repoted ( I suggest it is even to ridiculous for Swedish MSM) and everyone knows that Ukraine is a basket case.
What did I forget ?

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Sep 15 2018 2:23 utc | 55


Re the Garrie article: " It has become clear that Russia and Turkey are essentially in the midst of working out a plan to “divide” Idlib into a formalised Turkish zone of influence which de-facto already exists in the northern parts of the Governorate while in exchange for guarantees of separating Turkish and Syrian forces, Ankara would allow the Syrian Arab Army to retake parts of southern Idlib under the eye of Russian supervisors and possibly some Iranian allied forces, thus representing a Syrian flagged Russian zone of influence with Iran also possibly getting a slice of the south." Retaking Syria is more than just pride or rhetoric, Syria needs its occupied parts to regain its self-sufficiency. As Syria needs its eastern oil fields and agricultural lands for food and energy independence, it also needs its infrastructure and major highways through Idlib secured for the smooth transportation of its people, commerce and military. Bits of Southern Idlib would be insufficient for securing the health of Northeast Syria from Latakia to Aleppo.

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Sep 15 2018 2:43 utc | 56

Make that "the health of Northwest Syria."

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Sep 15 2018 2:48 utc | 57

Den Lille Abe @56:

People quoting what they read in the MSM are off their rockers.
It's even worse when it's those "people" pretend to be analysts and pundits only to spouting MSM-derived nonsense which may sounds plausible to those without a solid understanding but only serves to strengthen underlying false narratives.

Many know that they have to be wary of MSM, but then fall for dubious punditry of non-MSM sources.

What is suspect:

>> Touting personalities and political parties over policy and events;

>> Assumption that West is a democracy;

>> Turning the focus on suspected deficiencies of other countries ("Russian influence") with little, if any, concern for: media propaganda, corporatism, oligarchy, income/wealth inequality, etc.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 15 2018 3:10 utc | 58

@ craigsummers | Sep 14, 2018 4:10:09 PM | 21

Marie Colvin lost one eye in Sri Lanka while smuggling herself out ot the LTTE terrorist camp. This terrorist "freedom fighters" invented the explosive belt, send hundred of young girls to blow mostly civilians.
there were picture of her in full camouflage uniform at the terrorist compound.

Up to the end of the LTTE cadres on the laguna Mary Colvin was backing this murderous outfit and trying to pressurize Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair and the Red Cross to save the 400 top terrorists.
They were exterminated. Enough is enough.

I was very pleased by the news of her death.

Posted by: Charles Michael | Sep 15 2018 3:26 utc | 59

@ 50

"Trump has little to no control over his warmongers and the neocons who consistently undercut him." Well, he could start by firing the neocons he appointed - Bolton, Haley and Pompeo.

Posted by: Schmoe | Sep 15 2018 4:26 utc | 60

cs @ 21 said: "So when it benefited Assad politically, he had no problem working with the "terrorists".

Gee cs, that's certainly true, because, if memory serves me correctly, Assad used to accept
prisoners from the empire to torcher them in Syria. He did at one time work with the greatest terrorists of all time, the U$A's corporate empire.

Posted by: ben | Sep 15 2018 4:29 utc | 61

P.S. I don't think too many people think Assad is the "second coming", just that the Syrian people should decide who rules them, not the empire and their sycophants.

Posted by: ben | Sep 15 2018 4:32 utc | 62

Trump has complete control over his warmongers. Appointed by Trump, they serve at his pleasure and he can dismiss them at any time. It is a war cabinet to destroy Iran and other enemies of Israel.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 15 2018 4:33 utc | 63

Elijah J. Magnier confirms Adam Garries view, Russia is backing down.

If you knew something about Russia you would know that all they do is psychological games, but they won't fight directly because they are too weak (conventionally). Unless they are assured to win.

Trump is best for punching through Russia's bluff, Obama would have never done that.

He is actually a good player, he punched through many other's bluffs too. The world is based on raw power and when you are the biggest dog you use this for your own advantage, including brute force if needed. Many people underestimated the US because they never showed their real claws during the last 30 years. Well, you are seeing them now. What a surprise, eh? I bet the europeans are still in shock. They never understood how power works.

With that said, they (the US) are still declining power, but they are now fighting for their power pretty well. Trump is now going to hit the chinese with 200 additional billion in tarrifs, he is punching through their bluff too. He put Erdogan on his knees. The strategy vs Russia is the same Cold War strategy and it worked well last time. Terminating JCPOA was the only way to stop Iran's expansion of power too. The US thinks that it is better to fight instead of doing almost nothing (like during Obama) and that's the right strategy, which does not mean that it will win, of course. But they are preventing the expansion of their competitors pretty well.

Posted by: T | Sep 15 2018 4:37 utc | 64

@ T who seems to write like the Fat Lady has sung

ChinaNet has a posting up with this take away quote for you
The post-Idlib era is also what bothers the United States, as it has bases in northeastern Syria and also in the southeast in the al-Tanf area.

When the army captures Idlib, it would surely move toward the next stage, which is the departure of foreign forces that have entered Syria without the consent of the Syrian government such as the U.S.-led coalition and Turkey, according to Hmaidi Abdullah, a Syrian political analyst.

Don't go writing history quite yet.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 15 2018 5:12 utc | 65

T 65

Raw power as in a suicide bomber. Any conventional conflict between US an Russia will quickly go to nukes especially if it is the US that comes off second best. Russia runs numerous strategies simultaneously to get to a given goal. When it comes to Idlib, it will be interesting to see how they take it as take it they will.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Sep 15 2018 5:18 utc | 66

So what are the chances of the false flag in Idlib happening now? With the upcoming Putin-Erodgan talks and the Russian drills in Med. being completed?

Posted by: David | Sep 15 2018 6:56 utc | 67

At any time China could have cut Hong Kong's water supply through to handover . Actual power , implicit - explicit is difficult to quantify ?

Posted by: ashley albanese | Sep 15 2018 7:22 utc | 68

@ T | 65

Elijah J. Magnier confirms Adam Garries view, Russia is backing down.

No, he doesnt. Garries point is Russia is ok with Turkey annexing Idlib, which is false. Magnier says Turkey might want that, but others dont, and wont allow it to happen. Whether clean up happens in a few days, in two weeks or a few months, but its inevitable.

Trump is best for punching through Russia's bluff, Obama would have never done that.

Trumps fanboy, are you? Russia isnt bluffing, while Trump does empty posturing. Like launching missiles without doing actual damage, all under fake pretext.

You can admire Trump all you want, but what he is actually atchieving is expediting the demise of US influence, and very soon US will be without alies too (who already are looking for ways to circumvent US, which was unthinkable just few years back).

Posted by: Harry | Sep 15 2018 7:35 utc | 69


You do know those tarrifs are paid by US importers and consumers? Maybe they lose some sales but at the cost to the US or lower quality or higher cost and perhaps delayed shipments. The added tax revenue subsidizes his handout to the oligarchs that include himself

Idlib is contained and no threat to Syria or Russia. No hurry for Russia or Syria. They aint going nowhere. I remember at one time we went to war against AQ but now we protect them. Poor Winston, he must be busy

The US are only in Syria because of Obama. I remember Trump saying it was a bad idea. He also said he wanted better relations with Russia and would develop infrastructure in US. 70 houses exploding/burning in Massachusetts within hours due to gas lines, Much of the Carolinas without power over the weakest possible hurricane that wouldnt cause many developed countries to blink. Maybe he should put America First over Israel and forget about Syria

Posted by: Pft | Sep 15 2018 7:54 utc | 70

If I may add an overview. The West has timed several things to come together at the time of the beginning of the operation to liberate Idleb, for example two Russian gay tourists finger pointed as GRU agents, visiting the place where Magna Carta is kept (I just break a laugh whenever I think about this) and so on. Putin and his team of advisers, as good Russian chess players, would never do what the opponent expects - that has consistently been their guiding principle. Thus FUKUS ends up with a huge expansion of energy, it is not easy to keep blaring from the MSM trumpets the high level of hate that primes their population for an extremely dangerous attack on Russia. By delaying the cleanup of Idleb the Russians are giving the remaining forces of sanity in the West a chance to dissipate the propaganda crescendo and dissipate the hate fervour achieved. The only smart move now is to wait a bit to outmanoeuvre, losing face is completely irrelevant.

Purely by accident my eye caught a program on one of the TV propaganda channels, wabout young US ballet dancers as they prepare for a big competition in LA as their chance to launch themselves. Now as you can imagine all the dancing is done to the music, but in the whole hour the only music played is the Russian ballet music. Not even one melody was not Russian. This brought a thought that these talented young US kids would probably be dancing some aboriginal dances around the fire if the Russian nation did not survive all its previous trials and tribulations such as the one that US is putting it through now and produce the beauty that they dance to so well.

Posted by: Kiza | Sep 15 2018 10:35 utc | 71

Elijah J. Magnier is occasionally interesting but he is consistently wildly pessimistic about Syria's war against foreign terrorists only later to be proved completely wrong.

It is why his articles fail to get anyone commenting on them.

Posted by: Ferrick | Sep 15 2018 11:20 utc | 73

@ T | 65

Elijah J. Magnier confirms Adam Garries view, Russia is backing down.

No, he doesnt. Garries point is Russia is ok with Turkey annexing Idlib, which is false. Magnier says Turkey might want that, but others dont, and wont allow it to happen. Whether clean up happens in a few days, in two weeks or a few months, but its inevitable.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 15, 2018 3:35:30 AM | 70

Both Adam Garrie and Terry Meyssan appear to be controlled opposition. None of what they write is worth reading or paying attention to, in my opinion - it is all low quality and suspect analysis, spiked with totally implausible utter nonesense, such as the Garrie claims cited above. It is just crap, designed to mislead, confuse and muddy the waters. Anything true on those two sites can be found on other alternative news sites, always with more reliable analysis, and anything not found elsewhere is pure misinfo.

The difference between Garrie and Magnier cited by Harry is a case in point. Garrie's version is garbled misinformation designed to make people lose confidence in Russia and confuse peoples' understanding of the situation. By contrast everything Magnier says makes perfect sense and is consistent with the long-established policies of President Putin, namely slow, dogged, meticulous and dedicated legwork, accompanied by persistent good results, and refusal to be provoked into reacting. President Putin is always prepared to wait, always prepared to adjust his tactics, and always achieves the desired result eventually, even if it takes a long time and a lot of pain along the way. Time is on his side. His policy always gives preference to deconfliction over conflict, the opposite of the US.

Posted by: BM | Sep 15 2018 11:22 utc | 74

Posted by: BM | Sep 15, 2018 7:22:42 AM | 75

Ha! My comment turned out more strategically placed than noticed before posting! Kills two birds with one stone.

Hey, the trolls are hyperactive these days. Empire must be feeling cornered.

Posted by: BM | Sep 15 2018 11:30 utc | 75

The problem with this discussion, like all the Syria discussions, is there is not now nor has there ever been one iota of moral shading to any side of the conflict. Whatever validity any one side possessed (and I'm saying never but just for rhetorical purposes here assuming there may have been a kernel of something uplifting somewhere inside someone in the beginning) no one among the political players wears a white hat to this particular shoot-out. In fact, the "sides" themselves are 100% mutable for political purposes.

This has always been a pure shitshow going back (at least) to Assad's lovely daddy so please please please.

Syria as a national construct is already kaput. I don't wish for this nor wish for its opposite. There is nothing to believe from any side.

Although that probably won't stop many of us from buying into a fantastical propaganda-derived moral posturing dreamed up by someone we want to believe.

Someone like Vladimirovich Ayatollahish Bushiest Obamacare (get the) Netanyahu writing for the Trumpenproletariat Gazette.

Hail to the cheeze.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 15 2018 12:53 utc | 76

Donkeytale @77

The difference, I would suppose, is that if the US had engineered regime change, or were on a roll against the Syrian regime, or had destroyed whole cities without regard to civilian casualties (like Raqqa and Mosul), or countries (like Iraq and Libya) you wouldn't feel the need to make such a 'moral equivalent' posting!

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 15 2018 13:24 utc | 77

No women
That's exactly what the West wants. The message is: There should be no such thing as a pluralist Muslim country (or even half Muslim, or quarter Muslim). They want to depict these cave men as ultra religious and are happy to show this kind of pictures. A few people will wonder "where are the women", others will say "ah yeah in their religion women don't go out". Terror is the perfect method to get this kind of result (see Iraq, Libya).

Posted by: Mina | Sep 15 2018 13:46 utc | 78


Yes, good point.

The US involvement in ME is immoral.

I'm stating something closer to "immoral equivalency" wrt Syria. I guess it's the same meaning either way but I hope you catch my drift.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 15 2018 13:54 utc | 79

".. Whatever validity any one side possessed (and I'm saying never but just for rhetorical purposes here assuming there may have been a kernel of something uplifting somewhere inside someone in the beginning) no one among the political players wears a white hat to this particular shoot-out. In fact, the "sides" themselves are 100% mutable for political purposes..."

donkeytale, you appear to regard the situation in Syria as an unconvincing entertainment- a badly written morality play.
None of your objections is relevant.
This is a clash between an Empire which has been imposing its will on the rest of the world for decades and a nation which is proving, for a variety of reasons, a tough nut to crack. Whether or not Assad is a nice guy, the Russians committed to Parliamentary Democracy (excuse me while I laugh) or the Iranians innocent of narrow religiosity on their own turf is irrelevant. None of these things is our concern.
The morality of it lies herein: when the Empire is defeated and returns home, licking its wounds, to face its own problems, particularly the galloping degeneration of US society, the rest of the world can start to put is own houses in order without fear of Washington's micro-managerial interference to ensure that American oligarchs get what they want everywhere.
The problem with the current international situation in which the US decides who will govern in every capital and what policies it will allow, for example, the Venezeuelans or Brazilians to implement is that there is little point in attempting anything else until the question of the dictatorial Empire is settled. And the world set free from the need to take Uncle Sam's stupid and suicidal desires into account.
In recent years not only has the USA turfed out the governments of dozens of countries, single-handedly trashed international humanitarian law, legalised kidnapping, torture and detention without charge or trial but it has also vetoed every attempt to deal, internationally, with Global Warming and other massive-existential- environmental challenges...and much, much more, from sponsoring the conquest of Palestine to smashing the economies of numerous IMF clients, reducing billions to the status of debt peonage.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 15 2018 14:01 utc | 80

I should add ..and that is why the defeat and taming of the Empire is of immediate and overwhelming importance. It is the epicentre of a capitalist cult which holds, as its central belief, that the immutable god of the market alone will decide man's fate.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 15 2018 14:05 utc | 81

Bevin - first of all, long time no talk to but thanks for your response to my hyperbole. I see "Syria" only as a political power play. The moral quality of the conflict is irrelevant, if it exists at all, which I'm saying it doesn't. Of course, I also admit nothing is ever totally black and white on the international stage (there's that darn entertainment metaphor again!)

The US will not suffer any sort of defeat here except again in terms of the propaganda one may wish to believe in. With all due respect, your positing Syria as a battle between empire (US) and the hidden hand of moral righteousness (Russia, Iran) to defeat imperialism or at least convince a wounded empire to return home and clean up its own act is a sidewinder at best.

Capitalism is always germane to any discussion and one on which we largely agree. However, I don't see how capitalism or class struggle figures into the Syrian conflict at all in the terms you describe. This particiular part of your argument seems artificial/fanciful.

Yes, the epicentre of capitalism is changing and yes conflicts and war are shown historically to cause the downfall of empire. Logically it follows from that argument that we should be pro-war and cheerleading for US entanglement everywhere.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 15 2018 14:50 utc | 82

@ Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 15, 2018 10:50:13 AM | 83

Yes, Syria is a textbook proxy war (only the Korean War was more evident than it).

However, that doesn't mean there isn't a right and wrong sides: Bashar al-Assad is the democratically elected governor of Syria, and he, by the power confered to him by his office, asked for both Iran and Russia to help the legitimate Syrian government to restore its full sovereignity (territory is one of the three elements that constitutes a Nation-State, the other two being its people and the State structure itself, which includes the Armed Forces).

That doesn't mean Russia and Iran will always, for all eternity, have truth on their side. However, in this epoch, and, specifically, in Syria, they do.

Posted by: vk | Sep 15 2018 15:03 utc | 83

Those young demonstrators in the photo at the top look like the quintessence of democracy supporters, don't they?

No, actually they look like the quintessence of jihadi terrorists - every single one of them. Not a single normal person in the picture.

Posted by: BM | Sep 15 2018 15:22 utc | 84

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 15, 2018 8:53:18 AM | 77

Syria as a national construct is already kaput.
A lot of Syrians (mainly living in the US) have said this to me, but it's self-evidently far from the truth. Syria is being reconstructed, as we write. I suspect it comes from believers in the omnipotence of the United States, as many of the people on this blog are, surprisingly. Even if you rightly insist on the evil aims of the US, you are still believing that it is capable of carrying out its wishes. It is not.

Posted by: Laguerre | Sep 15 2018 15:30 utc | 85

Clearer images here. Note: I do not presume to vouch for their authenticity.

Posted by: nwwoods | Sep 15 2018 15:31 utc | 86


Whatever you wish to term the current Syrian political system, "democratically legitimate" doesn't spring immediately to mind. This is a long read but worthwhile if you wish to understand the historical context, especially since it was written well before the current Syrian crisis tended to cloud more recent perspectives on the al-Assad family.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 15 2018 15:35 utc | 87

Donkeytale @83

OK you wish to persist promoting your view (ideology) of the passive observer of 'immoral equivalents'. This is a very comfortable 1st world position to take.

I happen to think Gaddafi and Assad have been very badly defamed and these Syrian/Libyan (proxy-type) wars as being unjust and steeped in western hypocrisy. But even if I am mistaken I would have a very self-interested reason for not wanting war inflicted on Libya and Syria.

I am old enough to remember when the only real world problem (for Europeans) appeared to be finding justice (a solution really) for Palestinians. Now let's fast forward 40 or so years and what I see is a Europe surrounded by conflict, along North Africa, through the Middle East and up through Central Europe; all riddled with conflict zones and unstable countries and that these problems are not being resolved but rather are growing. I also see Europeans who imagine that these problems do not really effect them and will only have a minimal impact on Europe; I think that is a collectively irrational viewpoint. Europe itself is at risk it these conflicts continue.

European society cannot allow the Syrian war to continue, it cannot allow a war on Iran to start, it cannot allow Ukraine to undermine the Minsk agreement, and it cannot allow destabilisation of more states bordering Russia.

All evidence that I can see indicates that Europe would be overwhelmed by increasing conflicts on its borders. The solution is obvious and based utterly in self interest; it is peace, conflict resolution and promoting stability.

Posted by: ADKC | Sep 15 2018 15:55 utc | 88

Lookin’ up on goog: Idlib assault

yesterday + day before, 12 - 13 sept. it was clear that no good pix, photo stills / brief vids professionally narrowly focussed, would be considered good prop.

The available images and vids were of of valiant Gvmt. attacks, huge refugee camps, poor children .. (err?)

Something HAD to be organised right quick.

Protesting, demonstrating, crowds can be mustered very rapidly. (Pay.)

Camera-wise, reporting-wise, if one can organise 100 -> 400 (more is no use) ppl it is easy to produce convincing images. Directions must be given, the signs organised (in Eng. > the W, new banners, some who sport them can’t read them, etc.), pay small stipends and smooch with vague assurances for future deals, roles, you are good guys, we love you.

See the confusion on CNN. It churns up a mix of Gmvt. force, rebels, what is going on, etc. to confuse. Their first version said that the reporters were escorted by Gvmt. forces (gone in 2 hours..i saw it i swear) so then... ??

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 15 2018 15:56 utc | 89

ADKC, I don't believe my view is any more or less passive than anyone else commenting here from the comfort of my first world sofa.

In fact, I'll bet my view is probably very much akin to both Putin's and Assad's in this instance.

Neither strikes me as a moraliser when it comes to playing geopolitics and both are world renowned for their abilities.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 15 2018 16:53 utc | 90

LOL, "from their first world sofa." Get off my couch!

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 15 2018 16:54 utc | 91

Just checking in guys.

Posted by: DjangoCat | Sep 15 2018 17:03 utc | 92

@ADKC #88

Europe needs to quiet the conflicts on its borders..

That is the rational view. The other view is that Europe needs to enflame the conflicts in order to drive waves of immigrants into Europe, to crush and dilute the European peoples and create a divided and incapable population. That is the reality of what is happening. There is evil afoot in all this.

Posted by: DjangoCat | Sep 15 2018 17:12 utc | 93

@44 jackrabbit.. thanks! that is very kind..

@ T - i will know not to trust anything you say about what you read!

@74 BM.. i think it is more nuanced then that.. both garrie and magnier are good and informative writers.. garrie got it wrong in this latest post that karlof1 shared, but if you read the magnier article, i think magnier is on track.. so, i would keep an open mind to what they have to say, but just not rely solely on someone else's judgment on what they actually said. - T post being a case in point.

@76 donkeytale.. i ordinarily enjoy your posts, but this one i think you're way off track.. it isn't russia, syria or iran vying for regime change in turkey.. it is something very different... the usa- israel- ksa and etc were intent on destroying syria for the purpose of regime change.. they have no moral authority whatsoever in this and a number of other recent world events.. so i think you are wrong to say what you've said, and i see others feel that way too.

Posted by: james | Sep 15 2018 17:51 utc | 94


Your "immoral equivalency" stikes me as newspeak for moral cowardice.

You get to that formulation by jumping through hoops that conflate past with future, principled action with corruption, big lies with small, Assad with his father, etc.

Morality protects by motivating a response. People inherently understand that the response should be appropriate to the wrong committed. It is not black and white like you portray it.

If you want to put it into terms of power, here it is: we have seen how Western elites would run the world. It is shockingly brutal, immoral, and self-serving. That's why it's clear that a multi-polar world is much much better for ordinary people.

So this is not a fight that is just between morally-challenged leaders. Everyone has a stake in the outcome, whether they know it or not.

And if they DON'T know it, it's because of propagandists which you too easily dismiss.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 15 2018 18:33 utc | 95

The day before Deraa: How the war broke out in Syria

If you really want to know how it really all started, I think this will get you closer to the truth than anything else that I have seen

Posted by: AntiSpin | Sep 15 2018 18:41 utc | 96

James and JR - I said what I said in 76 because...truth. No one yet has come close in this thread to dissuading me. In fact, every argument consists of extremely weak attempts to claim moral superiority for support of Assad, which simply confirms my original point.

I'm not even sure why you feel the need to defend. After all, the US and Russia are on the same side as they coordinate every move.

Moral arguments on Syria are an extremely slippery slope, whether you wish to disqualify some or all of the catastrophic history or not. Many have become so heavily invested in justifying "our side" there is no longer a truth we can consider without damning ourselves. The moral argument is a broken crutch because "both sides" are abysmally horrid and the results on the ground speak for itself.

Talk about newspeak! LOL. Sonny Boy Assad in practice is not different from Daddy H. who was also a very discriminating butcher of his "own" subjects in order to maintain his "legitimate" power. Read all about it in the link above which emanates crucially from a time before the internet hijacked history for its own purposes.

Posted by: donkeytale | Sep 15 2018 19:07 utc | 97

@ donkeytale who now reads like a paid shill to me

Donkeytale wrote:
Many have become so heavily invested in justifying "our side" there is no longer a truth we can consider without damning ourselves. The moral argument is a broken crutch because "both sides" are abysmally horrid and the results on the ground speak for itself.
The everyone is as bad as empire lie does not sell at MoA, IMO

The donkeytale statement: "After all, the US and Russia are on the same side as they coordinate every move." is another lie that does not sell at MoA, IMO

I don't think, like Jackrabbit, that you dismiss propagandists, you build on each others lies.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 15 2018 19:34 utc | 98

bevin @ 80 said in part:

"The morality of it lies herein: when the Empire is defeated and returns home, licking its wounds, to face its own problems, particularly the galloping degeneration of US society, the rest of the world can start to put is own houses in order without fear of Washington's micro-managerial interference to ensure that American oligarchs get what they want everywhere."

Perfectly encapsulates the essence of the globes problems..99%caused by the new 4th Reich, the corporatist empire.

Posted by: ben | Sep 15 2018 19:54 utc | 99

The long post I just wrote to Donkeytale appears to have unfortunately vanished. So may I just say Assad wouldn't still be President of Syria and might not even still be alive if he didn't have the strong support of the great majority of the Syrian people. He's in a far stronger moral position that corrupt, self-serving war criminals like Obama or Trump.

Posted by: Glenn Brown | Sep 15 2018 20:29 utc | 100

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