Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 13, 2018

Syria - Turkish Tantrum Delays Liberation Of Idleb

Turkey is again turning to the U.S. to achieve its aim of controlling and annexing north Syria.

At the Tehran summit of the Russian, Iranian and Turkish presidents, Turkey presented a (likely U.S. induced plan) for Idleb governorate:

It included:
  • prolongation of the deescalation ceasefire
  • 12 armed groups, including Hayat Tahrir al Sham to be disbanded
  • Turkey will train a new rebel force to control Idleb under Turkish command
  • Groups who resist will be targeted in counter terrorism operations
  • ...

Russia and Iran rejected the plan. Idleb is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS) (vid) which is an internationally banned terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaeda. Turkey had over a year to solve the HTS problem under the existing de-escaltion agreement and failed.

HTS, foreign Jihadis, as well as 'moderate' Islamists affiliated with Turkey prevent civilians from leaving and terrorize the population:

As a possible showdown approaches, the rebels have arrested and tortured people they accuse of conceding defeat, sowing fear in the local population. A doctor was recently pulled from his home at night, witnesses said. A pistachio peddler was arrested as masked men patrolled the street.
Monitoring groups and local residents put most of the blame on HTS, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, but say the Turkish-backed fighters have also arrested dozens of people.
[R]ebel groups have embarked on their wave of ­arrests, accusing those they ­detain of secret communications with government representatives. Many have been taken to secret prisons and tortured, groups documenting the arrests say.
“Although this is certainly why some people have been arrested, the problem now is that it is also being used by al-Nusra to arrest the people who criticize their behavior, or to arrest their opponents,” said Fadel Abdul Ghany, director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a monitoring group.

After the Tehran summit the Syrian and Russian operation to liberate Idleb was to commence. The troops were in place,  air as well as artillery attacks to 'shape' the battlefield were ongoing.

But Erdogan again turned on his partners and is back flirting with the U.S. he otherwise despises. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal he  begged for U.S. and NATO help:

All members of the international community must understand their responsibilities as the assault on Idlib looms. The consequences of inaction are immense. We cannot leave the Syrian people to the mercy of Bashar Assad.
It is crucial for the U.S., which has concentrated on chemical attacks, to reject its arbitrary hierarchy of death. Conventional weapons are responsible for far more deaths. But the obligation to stop the next bloodshed is not the West’s alone.
If the international community, including Europe and the U.S., fail to take action now, not only innocent Syrians but the entire world stands to pay the price. Turkey has done everything in its power to stop the bloodshed next door. To ensure that we succeed, the rest of the world must set aside narrow self-interest and throw its weight behind a political solution.

At the same time Erdogan is pushing the U.S. to do his bidding in northwest Syria, he accuses the Trump administration of supporting anti-Turkish PKK/YPK terrorists in northeast Syria. Turkey also continues to insist on buying Russian air defense systems instead of a U.S. produced one.

To halt the Idleb Dawn operations Erdogan shipped new weapon supplies to insurgent groups affiliated with Turkey:

Senior rebel officials said Turkey had sent more military aid to rebels in and around the Idlib region since a summit meeting with Iran and Russia last week failed to agree a deal to avert a government offensive into the area.
“They pledged complete Turkish military support for a long, protracted battle,” a senior FSA commander who was privy to talks in recent days with senior Turkish officials said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly.

All border areas between Idleb and Turkey are under control of HTS. It takes a share of every load that comes through the border. Turkey is effectively arming the organization it is supposed to eliminate. Turkey also sent reinforcements to its observation posts in Idleb, including tanks (vid).

Erdogan claims that he fears a new wave of refugees coming towards Turkey. He uses this to press the European Union to support his position:

Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said a refugee influx across Turkey’s borders would have international repercussions.
“The global community also needs to take responsibility,” Kalin said after a Cabinet meeting Tuesday. “Another migrant wave coming to Turkey at a time when we already host millions of refugees will cause other complications,” he said. “This will spread from here to Europe and other countries.

But the concern over a new refugee wave is exaggerated and likely a diversion. The real plan seems to be much larger. Turkey wants to annex Idleb.

bigger (pdf)

The new Turkish 'plan' for Idleb which it offered to Russia and Iran is said to include:

  • no Syrian army attacks on Turkish supported groups
  • no Syrian army entry in areas controlled by Turkish supported groups
  • Turkey and Russian troops are to enter to eliminate HTS
  • Turkey and Russia will police the areas after HTS is cleared out
  • Turkey will only leave when the Kurdish YPG, the U.S. proxy force in northeast Syria, is dismantled

The YPG in Syria, which operates as the PKK terror organization in Turkey, is under U.S. protection. It can not be disbanded. The condition Turkey sets out is unfulfillable.

Moreover Turkey is preparing a 'legal' claim on Idleb. It uses its proxies in Idleb to claim 'Ottoman' ownership of the areas they control and to installs its own state structures there:

[T]he sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that there are 15 villages in the south-eastern sector of Idlib countryside, in the area between Maarrat Al-Nu’man and Sinjar area, including Al-Sayyadi, Barsah, Khyara, Seraa and Saree, have been owned by the Turks, since the time of the Ottoman presence in the area, which pushed the Turks, according to the sources, to interfere strongly and bring grand military forces and large numbers of members, equipment, ammunition and vehicles in addition to fortifying their military posts stationed in Idlib, Hama and Aleppo.
Turkey depends to prove that it owns these areas, on titles and deeds of ownership of these villages, and what supports this claim is that Turkey deliberately established 3 observation posts in the east of the International Highway which passes through Idlib province and links between the Syrian – Turkish border and the Syrian – Jordanian border, and Turkey also depends on similar proofs to prove its ownership of other areas such as Jarabulus, Manbij and the areas where Ottoman commanders had been buried
Turkey will work on preventing the regime forces from starting any battle in the western countryside of Idlib, and will not allow this to happen along with requesting the factions to be completely ready in the case that any changes that may take place, while a request will be submitted to Ankara for the services and the restoration of schools, as well as a request that will be submitted about the demanding of the return of Jabal Al-Akrad and Jabal Al-Turkman and putting them under the Turkish protection and the return of their residents to them.”

The claims are of course ludicrous. The Ottoman empire is gone and the territory is internationally recognized as part of Syria.

Russia seems to be willing to give Turkey more time:

“We are saying the situation in Idlib should be settled most preferably in a peaceful way. It is possible to abstain from using military force,” Alexander Lavrentiev, Russia's Syria envoy, told reporters after talks in Geneva with U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Idlib province is...a sort of zone of responsibility of Turkey; it is their responsibility to separate the moderate opposition from the extremists, from Jabhat al-Nusra and other groups, other terrorist groups,” he said.

Syria and Iran will be very unhappy about this delay but they need Russia's backing to proceed.

Russia anticipates that the 'west', with the help of Turkey, will try to use the Syrian liberation of Idleb for an all-out attack on the Syrian government. The Russian Defense Ministry continues its warning of another fake a chemical incident which would be a pretext for a 'western' attack on the Syrian government. For the last 48 hours, all Syrian and Russian air attacks on the terrorists in Idleb have stopped. This is probably to prevent that such strikes are used to claim a 'chemical bombing':

Another U.S. attack on Syria would help U.S. President Trump on domestic issues, most importantly in the upcoming elections for Congress. In two weeks Trump will chair a UN Security Council meeting which he could use to propagandize against an Idelb attack. It is possible that Russia will hold back until these events are over.

For Russia this is a tricky situation. Erdogan can probably be pressured into retreat. But Russia also wants to prevent that it falls back into the U.S. fold.  The typical Russian reaction in such a situation is to hedge, to play for time and to hope that some other incident happens which then helps to turn the situation. Such an event may come sooner than expected.

This morning Erdogan called on the Turkish central bank to lower its interest rates. He believes that high interests rates drive high inflation. The Turkish Lira fell 3%. Two hours after Erdogan's call the Central Bank raised the interest rate by 625 basis points to 24% and the Lira rallied. This will over time bring down the inflation rate but Turkey's economy will stall.

Such economic turmoil increases Turkey's dependence on Russia and Iran which are the main energy suppliers to Turkey. The Central Bank move is also a threat to Erdogan's personal authority which he can not to let unanswered. But attacks on the independence of the Central Bank will bring 'western' punishment.  Who will then back him if not Russia and Iran?

Posted by b on September 13, 2018 at 11:13 UTC | Permalink


When will Ergdogan stop playing ping-pong? Is he calling for his assassination from one of the sides?

Posted by: AG17 | Sep 13 2018 11:30 utc | 1

Breaking news from ALMasdar:
the Syrian army has started a large offensive on the Hama-idlib axis, spear headed by Tiger Forces

maybe a purely Syrian move.
maybe with discreet Russian approval
maybe face-saving Erdogan still bargaining with Russia

Posted by: Charles Michael | Sep 13 2018 11:59 utc | 2

Erdy isn't very smart, in fact one of the strongest but frequently missed arguments for the coup not being a false flag event is that Erdy is a reactive sort who 'doesn't do' long range strategical thinking. But he is as cunning as a sh1thouse rat so when the coup did go off and he saw he had popular support, after his initial hide under the bed freak-out once he realised his fat blubbery arse wasn't in any immediate danger, he used the situation to purge all opponents toute de suite.
Now he's gonna try to ju-jitsu the Idlib take back by Iran Russia and the Syrian Army so that he can daydream that he's an Ottoman sultan.
It won't work and that is where things could go tits up for all of us trying to keep breathing on this rock.

Erdy chucks a tanty and sh1t gets real as amerika tries some idiotic stunt that has them tossing it off big by firing missiles at the Russian Navy - total chaos with Erdy and agent orange going hard to beat the other in a game of "who is the most moronic derp?" by dropping trou and reaching for the tape measure to prove once and for all which one has the least microscopic old fella.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 13 2018 12:22 utc | 3

Isn't it better for China, Europe, and even Russia for this part of Syria to remain unliberated? Tens of thousands of fighters will stream out of there and some will try to go back home where they will self detonate. If that part of Syria becomes Turkey's terrorist protectorate then that delays their home coming.

Posted by: quote | Sep 13 2018 12:24 utc | 4

quote @4:

Not necessarily so. Idlib could be used as a training ground for terrorists to carry out their agenda in those countries.

Posted by: Ian | Sep 13 2018 12:33 utc | 5

Ergdogan's plan is simple, straightforward and above all tested. He wants a new Northern Cyprus scenario for north Syria and as long as he plays USA vs Russia he will probably get it. He may have to fake a war between his army plus his moderates (like Arfin) and HTS (where HTS simply change sides after faked battles). After that his troops stay there to protect the civilians, thus keeping a part of Syria hostage.

So just like Cyprus, Syria will have to accept his terms, for example greater integration of the Turkish minority in the Syrian government, up to the point that it gives him more or less control over it or stay divided for ever.

Posted by: Erlindur | Sep 13 2018 12:42 utc | 6

@4 Ian
It is obviously "better" for the EU, US and China that the terrorists remain in Syria. Russia has said they won't accept theirs back again after the Chechnya war. Which saw several very nasty massacres and contained a certain amount of CIA manipulation.

An example of what a terrorist enclave becomes: Tanf area. The undeclared "justification" for the US military of the Tanf area, is that it serves the purpose of training terrorists from the Rubakan refugee camp. The unfortunates there have been given the alternative of being retrained as terrorists (for the US) or starve. Humanitarian input is withheld or noticibly absent.

Note that the Israeli attacks on Palmyria by air, flew along the Jordanain border and then turned left over Tanf. Using an "accepted" corridor for the US airforce. It is not known if the IDF also used US identification for this to hide from Syrian defenses until the last minute.

Posted by: stonebird | Sep 13 2018 13:01 utc | 7

Sorry that should have been "Quote @4 not Ian.

Posted by: stonebird | Sep 13 2018 13:03 utc | 8

FUKUS needs Idlib for a corridor that it can sneak it's stolen oil to Turkey through. That will also achieve their goal of keeping Syria poor. This ain't rocket science. More like a street deal between 2 bit thugs.

Posted by: Ralph Conner | Sep 13 2018 13:11 utc | 9

The battle of Idlib is very complicated as per the worthy and erudite posts of previous
commentators. How will the foreign jihadists be dealt with? WHAT of the embedded special
forces of NATO? What will come of the Ottoman claims, and what of Kurdish dreams?
WHAT of the Settler State's immoral strategems? What of the bufoonery of the French,
of the persistent deviousness of Albion? yet still: there's the cosmic foolishness of the
United States establishment! What battle in history compares to this Battle of Idlib?

Posted by: Guerrero | Sep 13 2018 13:22 utc | 10

Hypocrisy on full display:

"Turkey has done everything in its power to stop the bloodshed next door. To ensure that we succeed, the rest of the world must set aside narrow self-interest and throw its weight behind a political solution."

Enough b.s. get it on. Call the bluff.

Posted by: morongobill | Sep 13 2018 13:35 utc | 11

I am mystified as to why Putin would put Russia in a position that depended upon Turkey to carry out the liberation of Idleb. The delay only facilitates the escape of the terrorist mercenaries and makes Russia look weak, providing encouragement to the neocons.

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 13 2018 13:44 utc | 12

Perhaps one day common citizens may come to understand the truth that "humanitarian reasons" are an artifice used to mask resource theft, territorial expansion or brinkmanship.

There is nothing quite as nauseating as any politician feigning devotion to the welfare of others.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Sep 13 2018 14:13 utc | 13

12, Perimetr

Well, Turkey must be taken into account, and seriously, because of its geographical
position and its command of the Bosphorus through which all black Sea Vessels
must transit. In the event of declared war Turkey no longer has to abide by the treaty
that govern the use of the Bosphorus strait.

A ship in that narrow waterway is a sitting duck for shore batteries. So Russia would
have to circumvent a naval blockade of the straits with air transportation. An expensive
proposition at best.

Add to this that Turkey is a powerful country militarily. It is ranked as the ninth power
which is not a negligible factor. Compared to the SAA which is number 49 there is an
abysmal comparison.

Additionally, Turkey is a NATO country and could elicit some help from the treaty
members, all too willing to shred Syria.

Definitely, Erdogan's Turkey must be handled with utmost care.

Posted by: CarlD | Sep 13 2018 14:19 utc | 14

Russia what the hell are you doing ? Wake up and bomb Turkey out of Syria.

Should have happened weeks ago.

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 13 2018 14:34 utc | 15

Yes, this is how Russia deals with situations. So far, this Russian approach has worked quite well - the goals have been close to achieved. Unfortunately for Russia, it’s enemies are learning as well and the same strategy is unlikely to continue to work. Things are on the knive’s edge now. Perhaps Putin still has the best set of nerves of all individuals involved and this may turn out to be the deciding factor.

This is truly the end-game for Syria and this is why all the players are raising stakes and the losing players are making the end-of-humanity threats. It is clear that US is the dumbest parasite host on the planet, but even for this dummy to end humanity for the sake of Israel’s and Turkish expansion into Syria would be the new depth. Therefore, I do not believe that US will attack Russia, except possibly by mistake. CIA will keep hitting the Russians as until now, but Pentagon is unlikely to do so.

Posted by: Kiza | Sep 13 2018 14:49 utc | 16

"......The claims are of course ludicrous. The Ottoman empire is gone and the territory is internationally recognized as part of Syria......."

I am sure you made the same argument for Crimea, right? In that case, Russia violated the Budapest Memorandum which recognized Crimea as a part of Ukraine. Russia signed the Budapest Memorandum. Indeed, the Russians invaded, held the Crimea Parliament at gunpoint and forced the resolution on Crimeans. Suddenly international law means something to you when it supports your political agenda.

Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 13 2018 14:53 utc | 17

The USA is upping the tone:

‘Don’t test us’: Haley threatens US strikes over any attack on Syria’s Idlib


This morning Erdogan called on the Turkish central bank to lower its interest rates. He believes that high interests rates drive high inflation. The Turkish Lira fell 3%. Two hours after Erdogan's call the Central Bank raised the interest rate by 625 basis points to 24% and the Lira rallied. This will over time bring down the inflation rate but Turkey's economy will stall.

Such economic turmoil increases Turkey's dependence on Russia and Iran which are the main energy suppliers to Turkey. The Central Bank move is also a threat to Erdogan's personal authority which he can not to let unanswered. But attacks on the independence of the Central Bank will bring 'western' punishment. Who will then back him if not Russia and Iran?

Turkey has a huge problem now. Unless Idlib is literally sitting on an endless source of the most fine oil in the world and is filled with ready refineries and its roads are intact and paved, there's no way it can reconstruct and consolidate the territory.

Sure, Turkey has something the Roman Empire didn't during the Marcommanic Wars: excess poor popululation -- he could quickly populate Idlib with Turkey's excess, brutish and extremely poor Islamic population from Anatolia.

But then, in a modern economy, what good would that do? In the Ancient world, it would be enough, because wealth at the time depended mainly on agriculture. But that's not the case in a modern capitalist economy, where it is the machines, not humans in sheer number, which counts.

Posted by: vk | Sep 13 2018 14:54 utc | 18

Erdogan is allied to the deep state, and not with Trump, and these two entities are pursuing different agendas in Syria. Erdogan has been supported by the deep state since the very beginning via the Muslim Brotherhood. But he is forced to deal with the Russians and Syrians on the ground, he has to negotiate with them on a daily basis. A large scale Pentagon intervention could save his terror groups, but it is highly unlikely that the deep state can achieve this now without an overt coup in the white house and the Pentagon. So we are back to the only tactic the Turkey sponsored terror groups have, terrorize the people into supporting pro Muslim bro/Turkey statelets - like that has worked in the last 7 + years. The more the gray zone of legitimate states and terrorist is blurred the less clout they will have at the negotiating table, and in the long run, after the peace is won. The "12 terror groups" thingy is interesting, the Israelis gave the same number when they 'confessed' to supporting terror groups through their 'operation good neighbor'.. coincidence?

Posted by: bm | Sep 13 2018 15:11 utc | 19

Sounds like Erdogan has caught a case of Saakasvili flu...

Posted by: robjira | Sep 13 2018 15:43 utc | 20

@17 cs

hmmm... where to begin?

1. opinion is not fact, and especially not here. please provide sources for your assertions
2. surely you are aware of US/NATO's hand in the "coup"?
3. what of Yugoslavia & Kosovo? What's good for the goose, n'est-ce pas?
4. you might want to look into the US's regime change agenda for the last several decades. William Blum can help in that regard, i.e. "Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower" (along with "back issues" of b's informative & thorough work here)

Posted by: xLemming | Sep 13 2018 15:46 utc | 21

Re: Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 13, 2018 9:44:02 AM | 12

Russia is building a very important gas pipeline to Turkey remember?


Set to be up and running in about a year's time - late 2019.

Russia isn't going to shoot their gas pipeline in the head and push Turkey back into the US orbit - at least not for the next year or so!

Posted by: Julian | Sep 13 2018 16:00 utc | 22

The insane things that are happening these days are a manifestation of the dire status of Empire.

The Skripal farce is the perfect microcosm of everything that is happening in the world geopolitically. The UK have now accused two innocent and naive tourists, and probably soon it will be proved beyond doubt that they were innocent tourists.

Erdogan is being blackmailed by the US into falling on his own sword, and will continue to flip-flop between the US and Russia. He obviously knows that siding with the US is suicide, but the US are trying to ensure that siding with Russia will also be suicide.

In their insane panic, the US, UK and Israel are all committing suicide. Everything they do is massively and comprehensively non-viable. Probably the top elite refuse the advice of their top advisors; it's evenb possible some of the top advisors themselves have decided to hasten the fall because they are so fed up with the scale of the degeneration.

The primordial goal of Russia and China is to dampen the bang as the West implodes and try to prevent global nuclear war.

The entire western system is disintegrating fast. The world is already a completely different place from 3 months ago. The elite are in such a panic everything they do makes things worse and increases the speed of the collapse. They are virtually in freefall (and perhaps soon will be).

Posted by: BM | Sep 13 2018 16:04 utc | 23

Julian @ 22

Maybe they should just shoot Erdogan in the head. He is in his own crooked orbit that wobbles East and then West and then East and then West and then . . . .

Posted by: Perimetr | Sep 13 2018 16:05 utc | 24

This is an old point of information abuse by the Western government trolls. I cannot count how many times I have disputed one-sided claims such as yours.

The truth is relatively simple - yes, the Budapest Memorandum specifies the inviolability of the Ukrainian border including Crimea, but it also specifically addresses the non-interference into Ukrainian affairs (I used to quote the sections of the Memorandum, but I will skip here). Then the small matter of a coup against a dully elected and recognised government using the $5B by the usual US regime changers represents the original breach of the signed Budapest Memorandum. Unless, of course, the signatory is an exceptional nation for who the international laws and signed agreements do not apply. In the normal legal world, if one party breaches an agreement, the other party is not bound by this agreement any more.

No wonder the Russians came finally to understand that US is non-agreement capable: sign an agreement, immediately start breaching the agreement, unleash an army of presstitutes and trolls who will keep accusing the other party of the breach of agreement.

Posted by: Kiza | Sep 13 2018 16:17 utc | 25

no Syrian army attacks on Turkish supported groups
no Syrian army entry in areas controlled by Turkish supported groups
Turkey and Russian troops are to enter to eliminate HTS
Turkey and Russia will police the areas after HTS is cleared out
Turkey will only leave when the Kurdish YPG, the U.S. proxy force in northeast Syria, is dismantled

Russia's interest is to maintain a good working relationship with Turkey, assuming the plan to eliminate the extremist forces is credible and given she also keeps their naval/air bases in Syria. Same with Iran.

Posted by: S | Sep 13 2018 16:19 utc | 26

@ 17

You are missing a big point. Once an illegal coup has been perpetrated and an illegal regime placed in charge, i.e. Ukrainian coup, then that automatically renders all previous agreements and “memoranda” worthless. Plus, a memorandum of understanding is not a binding and legal document. More of a gentlemen’s agreement.

A legal document and agreement is one like JCPOA. If that can be broken with such ease, no one should cry fowl over Crimea, etc.

Posted by: Alpi | Sep 13 2018 16:26 utc | 27

@ 27

Same justification as the one used by Turkey over their invasion of N. Cyprus (and note that they haven't annexed it). It's controversial, to say the least.

Posted by: S | Sep 13 2018 16:39 utc | 28

For the last 48 hours, all Syrian and Russian air attacks on the terrorists in Idleb have stopped. This is probably to prevent that such strikes are used to claim a 'chemical bombing'

Challenging US hegemony is inherently risky, so anyone who really wants to do it has to be willing to run risks. If such challengers are going to cave in every time the US makes an especially menacing noise, they're going to keep losing.

Sure, the US empire slowly but surely is destroying itself. But that process may be very slow indeed if no one participates in helping it along because they're always afraid to run risks. Certainly, refraining from agreed-upon action already underway in Idleb because one lives in fear of a false flag chemical attack is an example of timidity.

Posted by: Russ | Sep 13 2018 16:39 utc | 29

Turkey would like to keep the area under their control. That will not happen. The DEZ was put under their control just as the SW-Daraa DEZ was put under US control. What happened when Russia was ready to clean out the US-controlled zone? It got cleaned out. And not just the DEZ. The border on both sides into Jordan. Putin will do what Putin wants done.

Meanwhile, Erdogan and his people were told a month or so ago in Moscow when the generals and their Intel chief met with Putin and his generals and Intel people.

All this posturing now, even the supply to al Nusra is Erdogan being unreliable and weak in public.
If he and his military really thought they could take on Syria and Russia, they would be in there in force.
All Russia has to do is phone the Kurds and give them some air support and the Turks will be shredded.

This may get delayed to after mid-terms. But more likely, in October, after Trump has his theatrics in the UNSC, the Operation will be launched. There were delays in the Southwest campaign. And then it went very quickly.

Delay is used by the Russians and Assad to negotiate reconciliation deals. That leaves the minimal number of crazies to fight and kill. So delay is not bad at all. Secure passage routes for civilians can be arranged and the shaping of the boilers will be more precise and will occur much quicker.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Sep 13 2018 16:47 utc | 30

Adam Garrie's view is quite different:

"[At the Tehran Conference] the Presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran gave their domestic audiences and well-wishers abroad exactly want they wanted – a robust defence of what is perceived to be the stalwart stance of each respective nation. But while all three leaders hammed it up in front of the cameras in respect of exaggerating areas of disagreement with one another, it was when the cameras were off that issues over which Russia, Iran and Turkey are in full agreement were discussed."

The main agreement/coup was made prior to the Conference--Turkey designating HTS as a terrorist organization. The main topic discussed behind closed doors was dedollarization:

"Against this background it is unsurprising to learn that according to Iranian Labour News Agency de-Dollarisation was a major issue that was discussed behind closed doors. In this sense, while the need to resolve short term discrepancies in respect of a strategy for ending the conflict in Syria was the proximate cause of the formation of the Astana partnership between Russia, Turkey and Iran, in reality Syria ought to be thought of as the very obvious symbol which has helped to unify three major powers who prior to the 20th century had a history of making war on one another, often due to western imperial provocations."

All of the recent events led me to ask this question yesterday on the previous Syria thread: Or is it a Bear Trap? That the Liberation Offensive began late last night local time in Hama, which I reported, shows there's a degree of deception involved that's fooling more than just the terrorists.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 13 2018 16:54 utc | 31

21;cs is a zionist.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 13 2018 17:12 utc | 33

Okay, I'm just letting everybody know that the "S" posting @26 and @28 is not the same "S" that has been occasionally posting here since March (i.e., me).

Dear "S" @26/@28, may I ask you to choose a different username, please?

Posted by: S | Sep 13 2018 17:13 utc | 34

There's still this idea that Trump wants to do one thing and that the "deep state" wants something else and will stymie him at every turn.

You just don't get it,huh? Trump has no grasp of the situation but is inherently very dangerous because of his position. His staff is the "deep state" and the fact that he picked them only backs up my assertion that he's not capable of doing the job.

You all go on about the fake news coming from all these "failing" news organizations but frequently quote RT like it's some kind of paragon of integrity.

Besides all that Trump is compromised. You say that all these back-channel meetings that took place all over the world including the Seychelles is just normal behavior and that every incoming administration does it. Bullshit, and you know it

Y'all say that there's not a shred of evidence that Trump colluded with Russians because Mueller hasn't provided any. Like he would hold a daily briefing to disseminate information if he had any. Pray tell, why would he do that?

So even if the SAA, Russians, Iran and Hezbollah manage to cleanse Idlib of all the scum that still leaves the US sitting on about a third of Assad's real estate. The part with the oil. What then? They still haven't scared them out of al Tanf so I don't think threats will be very effective. I'm afeard the Yanks could bring a lot more resources to bear if push comes to shove.

Posted by: peter | Sep 13 2018 17:22 utc | 35

OT -- snatching defeat from the jaws of victory ... A winning narrative -- the British investigation is defective; nothing but speculation and devoid of facts - there is no evidence that the taped men are GRU or even Russians.
Instead they shoot themselves in the foot by acknowledging they are Russians, and worse, allow the ridiculous interview to be aired without proper vetting and thereby strengthen the Brit case.

Posted by: chet | Sep 13 2018 17:26 utc | 36

Just one point; If Erdogan doesn't get gets what he wants, then he will get what he really doesn't need. ie 80'000 terrorists under his "jurisdiction" plus that percentage of the population that does NOT want to be used as cannon fodder, and the infighting between various factions. The idea of a new "Ottoman Empire, harems and oil sheikdoms" all rolled into one ideal package would rapidly be forgotten. Somehow I don't think the 80'000 will settle down quietly under Erdogan's rule.
The Russians and Syrians will attack anyway -if only to stop terrorist attacks that might threaten their bases. They might not go all the way to Idlib - which was a Pro-Government town in 2014-5. Those inhabitants are certainly going to want to be out from under the bloodthirsty murderers who now occupy the town. It is not sure they would appreciate a Turkish Empire either.

Posted by: stonebird | Sep 13 2018 17:35 utc | 37

Times Diplomatic Editor: "Russia has exploited our weakness in Syria" was seen fir by Russia's UK Embassy to tweet and generate an interesting response thread. I tried to find a link to it but failed, although it can be read by magnifying the text. Aside from the writer respouting robustly debunked propaganda--which seems to be the writer's purpose--the Embassy underlined "Britain is feeble with no influence over Assad or Iran's regime." Ah, but if the Turks want to remain in NATO, they "should listen to what we say." The final two sentences are funny in the British manner. Having written them, the author ought to reread the lies he wrote then ponder why a diet of toads is in his future. Kudos to Partisan Girl for the graphic she posted to the comment thread!

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 13 2018 17:36 utc | 38


What is there to be seen?

Two apparently "normal" men, Russian men, men of a country where homosexuality
is not welcomed and that can be as delicately interested in art as to travel to see
a very ancient spire in a country where almost two out of every three men is gay
go where they can frolick ad libitum.

What is there to see?

Two gays caught in a maelstrom.

That is all there is to it.

Posted by: CarlD | Sep 13 2018 17:45 utc | 39


Russia invaded the Crimean Peninsula. The Russian military held the Crimean parliament at gunpoint forcing a referendum - illegally. Russia forced the deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to adopt a resolution (Nemtsov, "Putin War"):

"........As for how “voluntary” the return [of Crimea] was, Igor Girkin, the former Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, recounted on January 22, 2015, on the program “Polit-Ring,” broadcast by the online channel Neyromir-TV.

By his own account, Girkin arrived in Crimea on February 21, 2014. "I did not see any support from organizers of state power in Simferopol, where I was located. The militia gathered the deputies [of the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea], I don’t know how else to say it. It was to force them into the building, so they would adopt it (a decision on conducting the referendum on the entrance of Crimea to the Russian Federation)." We 23 note that the events described by Girkin (Strelkov) took place on February 27, 2014, immediately after a number of strategic objectives had been taken over by Russian Special Forces on the night of February 26- 27, including the parliament building, where, at gunpoint, with no media present and without the video broadcast of sessions as specified by law, the deputies supposedly voted to hold a referendum........"

The so called NATO/US hand in the coup is blown way out of proportion. The protests began when Yanukovych under pressure from Putin accepted the Russian economic package over the offer from the EU. The EU and Yanukovych negotiated for over a year prior to the rejection by Yanukovych. The Ukraine economy was contracting and Poland's move to the EU had benefited their economy considerably. Ukrainians had hope. Violence was initiated against the protesters on November 30 by the Berkut police. The protests swelled to hundreds of thousands - a very small percentage were neo-Nazis. So the EU made the economic offer and protests were intiated because of the rejection of the EU offer. None of that has a thing to do with the US (outside of clearly supporting the EU.

Nuland definitely meddled in the affairs of Ukraine - as did the Russians. She approved the leader of a new government. The so called Neo-Nazis provided protection from the fascist Berkut police. No one has identified the shooters that led to the ousting of Yanukovych, but even if they were pro Maidan, no one has connected them to the US (CIA) or the Maidan leadership.

Kosovo is irrelevant.

No one can deny that the US has been involved with regime change especially since 911. The US certainly supported the ousting of Yanukovych. However, you are ignoring 100 years of domination of Ukraine by Russia - and the pent-up Ukraine resentment. This is best seen by comparing Central and South American resentment at being in the US sphere of influence during the cold war leading to the rise of left wing anti-American governments. The same principle applies to former USSR states - like Ukraine. The coup was just a reminder of the anti-Russian sentiment exxacerbated by severe economic hardship in Ukraine. The US had nothing to do with that. Overall, the US was a bit player in the coup.


Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 13 2018 18:03 utc | 40

@craigsummers LOL!!! You should let this jooshit for someone with IQ 80.

Posted by: hestroy | Sep 13 2018 18:05 utc | 41

Erdogan is a fool.

Google KURDISTAN. Select Images. The maps show the USA bet.

Kurdistan to being need Idlib.

Idlib is the prologue to take Latakia.

Without a exit to Mediterranean Sea Kurdistan is no possible.

Watch its position. North the Caspian Sea oil reserves. South the Persian Gulf reserves.

Idlib is vital for the Imperialist Block.

Posted by: Ramiro Ramirez | Sep 13 2018 18:23 utc | 42

For me it’s simple:

>> USA has declared that Russia and China are enemies because they are “recidivist”, meaning that they seek to challenge the hegemonic world order.

>> AZW Empire is now forcing every country to choose sides via trade war.

>> Turkey has just done so.*

* IMO it's possible to make a reasonable case that Erdogan’s sympathies have always been with the Assad must go! Coalition.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 13 2018 18:42 utc | 43

@40 cs

Again, where to begin?

I readily admit that I am the poorer cousin to the titans on this site, but even I can see the holes in your post...

For now, or until others chime in, I will deal only with this chestnut:

"No one has identified the shooters that led to the ousting of Yanukovych, but even if they were pro Maidan, no one has connected them to the US (CIA) or the Maidan leadership."

Really? Here you go, for your dining & dancing pleasure...

Maidan Icon Faces Arrest For Admitting Current Ukraine Officials "Led Snipers To Central Kiev"

Another False Flag Terror ADMISSION: Snipers In the Ukraine “Protests”

The Untold Story Of A Ukrainian Sniper Who Took Part In The Maidan Massacre

"Behind The Kiev Snipers It Was Somebody From The New Coalition" - A Stunning New Leak Released

Ukraine Furious After Italy's Salvini Calls 2014 Revolution "Fake" And "Foreign-Funded"

The only people who don't know the truth about the Ukraine "coup" are brain-dead, drug-addled Westerners

In your case, you're probably a Zionist troll & I will most likely get my wrists slapped for feeding you...

Posted by: xLemming | Sep 13 2018 19:02 utc | 44

@41: CS's stuff certainly reads like hasbarollocks. Full of the usual impudent flat denial of evident *and established* realities that we all know to expect from the liars and loonies who push the toxic poison of zionism. Krim forced to vote at Russian gunpoint indeed! What a hoot!

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | Sep 13 2018 19:12 utc | 45

@39 My thoughts too. Without wishing to add to their problems it seemed to me like a gay couple enjoying an overseas jaunt which became somewhat disorganized due to the weather. Oh well maybe it will help the Russians lose their prediudices

Posted by: Ike | Sep 13 2018 19:23 utc | 46

thanks b... and thanks for the posts from almost everyone else too... please ignore the cs dude.. it is bs from the get go and not worth the effort..

the erdogan question has been answered a few ways by posters here over the past months/years.. i know jackrabbit and myself see him as the slipperiest dude in the zone and have left an open question on his intentions.. it's especially tricky to try to play 2 of the worlds major powers here! i tend to see it like b here - quote from b - "The typical Russian reaction in such a situation is to hedge, to play for time and to hope that some other incident happens which then helps to turn the situation. Such an event may come sooner than expected." either way erdogan is in trouble as it can't resolve favourably for him or turkey..

looks like the false flag thing is on hold for another time..

Posted by: james | Sep 13 2018 19:35 utc | 47

ditto @39 carld's viewpoint as well..

Posted by: james | Sep 13 2018 19:35 utc | 48

IMO Russia has stopped operations because the betrayal by Erdogan was both unexpected and unanticipated.

The next battle is for India. IMO a bigger deal than NATO Turkey.

Will India abide by US sanctions on Iran? I've seen indications both ways.

What lessons will India draw from the stalemate in Syria?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 13 2018 19:58 utc | 49

what if the IRGC rains a few missiles on the Idlib Governorate? After all, the Iranians have
targeted some targets in Iraq recently.

They claim it shows the enemy that Iran means Bizness.

Posted by: CarlD | Sep 13 2018 20:06 utc | 50

Guerrero @1 "What battle in history compares to this Battle of Idlib?"

Stalingrad comes to mind in that the German Sixth Army with 250,000 men was surrounded by the Soviet Red Army and trapped in a pocket. However, there were no civilians in the pocket and the surrounding was done by one unified army where as in Idlib there are the Syrians, Russians, Turks and Kurds. The Red Army waited patiently as bitter cold and hunger wore down the Germans; then they attacked.

Posted by: Chas | Sep 13 2018 20:13 utc | 51


All of that is old news, but nice try. There is NOTHING that ties the shooters to Maidan or the uS. But I thought this quote from zeroHedge was interesting:

"......The last time a leaked phone call out of Ukraine was released about a month ago ostensibly by the Russian NSA equivalent, one between US assistant sec state Victoria Nuland and the US envoy to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, it was revealed that the real puppet masters behind the Maidan movement, and the true instigators of the Ukraine "revolution" were none other than the "developed" world superpowers, lead by the US......."

As I explained in my first post, the protest began because the EU made an offer of economic assistance which was rejected by Yanukovych in favor of the Russian offer (under pressure). This is what brought the protesters into the street. Just as important, it was the Yanukovych government which initiated the violence on November 30, 2013. This swelled the protests to hundreds of thousands. It's obviously pure BS to say the US was the "puppet masters" when the US had little to do with the initiation of the protests - or the violence committed by the Russian puppet, Yanukovych.

Typical RT propaganda always starts in mid February when the US and neo-Nazis staged a coup. This is pure BS. The protests began in 2013 because Ukrainians were under severe economic hardship and looked forward to working with the EU. By the way, it was the EU that attempted to pull Ukraine out of the Russian economic orbit, not the US. Finally, the real problem is Russia seems to believe that they are entitled to a "sphere of influence". Ukraine is a sovereign nation - and resents Russian domination over Ukraine affairs. Russia is owed no such entitlement under international law.

Thanks for the discussion. I enjoyed it.

Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 13 2018 20:23 utc | 52

CS 52

Sorry, but you are incorrect. Yanukovych turned away from the EU deal because of fine print stipulations which had not appeared during the negotiations. This included clauses demanding exclusive economic relations, at the expense of longstanding ties with Russia, and the imposition of a very tight austerity program which Yanukovych feared would have to be imposed by force and destabilize the government. Putin's alleged "pressure" was simply the presentation of a better deal, and one that did not require austerity or exclusivity. This was all discussed publicly in the autumn of 2013.

Posted by: jayc | Sep 13 2018 21:18 utc | 53

@49 jackrabbit.. where i differ with you is in thinking russia missed something and had to adapt to a new position thanks erdogan here.. they are way further ahead of the curve then that, as i see truly is like playing a game of chess... if you can only think one move at a time, you are screwed!

Posted by: james | Sep 13 2018 21:30 utc | 54

@52 craigsummers | Sep 13, 2018 4:23:19 PM | 52


Thanks for playing...

If you want to educate yourself about the coup in Ukraine, simply search MOA for any one of the numerous times the coup has been debated by some of the most informed commenters on the internet. If you find an inaccuracy in any of the previous threads, please, correct it there. It will be responded to.

This thread is reserved to the topic of "Why the Idlib campaign has not begun as anticipated".

Thank you and have a very nice day.


Posted by: b4real | Sep 13 2018 21:37 utc | 55

I like Alastair Crooke’s pieces. This one gives a plausible explanation to what Erdigan is up to.

Posted by: Alpi | Sep 13 2018 21:54 utc | 56


Guess what? I am already educated. I recognize propaganda as well as any informed person. In my post @17, I was just pointing out that if Idlib is recognized under international law as a part of Syria - so is Crimea recognized under international law as a part of Ukraine. And I couldn't agree more!


Posted by: craigsummers | Sep 13 2018 22:29 utc | 57

james @54

I surmise that Russia was caught flat-footed partly because they were fooled on Tuesday when they announced that CW ff videos would be delivered by West on Tuesday (as we discussed in a prior thread).

Let's be real. Each side will make mistakes. And some players are not gonna be honest.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 13 2018 22:29 utc | 58

Turkey, the eternal flip-flopper..
Islamic Eschatology speaks of a great battle, Al Malhama Al Kubra, between Rome (Russia is considered the 3rd Rome) and an alliance of muslims (Syria/Hezb/Iran) against a non-muslim army (SDF/US/Takfiri). After there is mention of the "Conquest of Constantinople" but by "peaceful means". Is this to say that at the end of the great battle (Idlib?), Turkey finally comes to its senses and rallies to the RU/SY camp? Any fellow muslim MoAites care to share their thoughts on this?

Posted by: Lozion | Sep 13 2018 23:36 utc | 59

Quote @ 4: If you look at a map of Syria with all its administrative regions and major cities highlighted, you'll see the city of Aleppo is close to Idlib province's eastern border. The Syrians cannot afford to keep Idlib province as it is for too long. Terrorists there could (if they could get their act together) launch new attacks on Aleppo.

If Aleppo is to revive its economy, among other things it needs transport links to Latakia (the nearest port city) and those links have to go through Idlib province.

At the same time, if the various jihadi gangs in Idlib province are busy killing one another, they could save the SAA the trouble of wasting their bullets on them. So in a sense the Syrians could try to wait out the situation until the terrorists have reduced themselves to a few thousand and then drive them out.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 13 2018 23:36 utc | 60

Alpi @56

Alister Crooke's analysis fails for many reasons:

1) Much of Crooke's analysis is based on a belief in the Trump vs. Deep State reality show. But USA is not a democracy and Trump is as much a "populist" as the deceitful Obama was.

The funeral ‘apotheosis’ of McCain as the essence of ‘American virtues’
This sounds ominous until you realize the Trump Administration was well represented at the funeral: Gen. Kelly, VP Pense, Jared and Ivanka all paid tribute to McCain

the seditionist New York Times op-ed
Was it seditionist? Or was it political cover as I've argued here.

By painting Trump as ignorant and erratic, the Administration gives him cover . . . Trump is part of the team. That's why the team has absolved him. That's why he does nothing when kittens are strangled.
2) The US, it seems, switched policy in mid-August, (away from the Helsinki understandings of July
Helsinki understandings? There were none. Trump got nothing. There was a reiteration of some "understandings" that were already known.

3) We are, indeed, seeing a 180° degree turn ... James Jeffry, has made that crystal clear: “Now”, he said, “the United States will not tolerate ‘an attack - Period”.
Jeffrey's stipulation came only after Erdogan (finally) revealed his preference for Assad must go! over R+6. Now USA can openly and fully support Erdogan's grab for Idlib - no need to pretend that it is conditioned on a CW attack.

Because I was one of the few that was skeptical of Erdogan's "turn to the east" I had actually anticipated such a move in this comment from Sept 9th, writing:

4) The price for Erdogan to enter Idlib is high and INCLUDES demonstrable military support from FUKUS - that means a willingness by FUKUS to take military action.

4) ... the key agreement already was struck before the summit, rather than at it – Turkey put HTS (also known as an-Nusra, or al Qa’eda) on its list of terrorists ... [Erdogan] grandstanded
This narrative fails in light of what has happened since the Summit. Erdogan could have put HTS on its terrorists list months before. Easy peasy. But he dragged his feet until he was finally FORCED to do something. Only days later, Erdogan penned a WSJ Op-Ed calling upon the West to "save Idlib". There are also reports of Turkey supplying their allies in Idlib with weapons and supplies to resist an SAA advance.

5) Crooke ignores the fact that Trump started the 'soft conflict' with Iran months before. He wasn't pressured to do that. And that has widespread ramifications - for Syria, for relations with China, etc. And Trump choose to expand his Iranian embargo when he said that "anyone that trades with Iran will not trade with the United States".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 13 2018 23:42 utc | 61

@56 alpi..

thanks for the link to alastair crookes article.. i like how he explains erdogan was grandstanding for his crowd back home and the moderate headchoppers he has supported all along.. that is how i see it too.. how much of it he maintains or runs contrary to here forward remains to be seen..

this james jeffrey guy is a real joker.. i think of what the usa did to raqqa, or more recently using white phosporous in deiz ezzor when i read this... "“Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation” he said. “You add to that, if you use chemical weapons, or create refu­gee flows or attack innocent civilians … the consequences … are that we will shift our positions”…" good to know the usa and poodles are now fully on the same side as isis-al nusra-al qaeda and etc.. we knew that before, but now they openly profess it..

@58 jr... sure all sides will make mistakes.. i don't think russia is flawless, although to my mind, they would have figured out erdogans talking out of both sides of his mouth prior to this.. that was obvious to you and i!

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2018 0:07 utc | 62

@61 jr.. i agree with you about trumps subservience to israel in how he approaches iran has been on display for a good long time.. james jeffery is saying much the same.. something to the effect 'we will protect israel and make sure iran is not allowed in syria'.. well, he didn't actually say that, but that is what i read from it... israel will have it's needs met at all costs..that is the usa approach under trump and every other bozo who leads the usa at this point.. politicians and all that money can buy, lol...

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2018 0:10 utc | 63

Spotlight: Rebels in Syria's Idlib may have one more chance to surrender ahead of military operation

On Thursday, the Observatory said that 185 truckloads of weapons and military gears entered areas in Idlib from Turkey under the supervision of the Turkish forces, which maintain 12 observation points in Idlib and nearby Hama countryside.
Pro-government al-Watan newspaper on Thursday cited Russian media report by Sputnik as saying that the Turkish side has offered clarification about the military reinforcement that entered Idlib over the past couple of days.
It said that this support aims to "use military force against the Nusra Front if it rejected to dissolve itself and leave the areas of moderate rebels," without specifying the new destination for those militants.

So in light of the recent development, the anticipated operation is believed to have been pushed back to a later time this month to give a chance for the efforts to separate the terror groups from other rebel factions, according to Maher Ihsan, a Syrian analyst.

Posted by: Virgile | Sep 14 2018 0:12 utc | 64

@55 b4

My apologies for the needless tangent - won't happen again...

Posted by: xLemming | Sep 14 2018 0:23 utc | 65

More about Alister Crooke

Just for contrast, here's Caitlin Johnston's, much more savvy take: We are being played:

Did you know that Donald Trump is in the WWE Hall of Fame? He was inducted in 2013, and he’s been enthusiastically involved in pro wrestling for many years, both as a fan and as a performer. He’s made more of a study on how to draw a crowd in to the theatrics of a choreographed fight scene than anyone this side of the McMahon family (a member of whom happens to be part of the Trump administration currently).

You don’t have to get into any deep conspiratorial rabbit hole to consider the possibility that all this drama and conflict is staged from top to bottom. Commentators on all sides routinely crack jokes about how the mainstream media pretends to attack Trump but secretly loves him because he brings them amazing ratings. Anyone with their eyes even part way open already knows that America’s two mainstream parties feign intense hatred for one another while working together to pace their respective bases into accepting more and more neoliberal exploitation at home and more and more neoconservative bloodshed abroad. They spit and snarl and shake their fists at each other, then cuddle up and share candy when it’s time for a public gathering. Why should this administration be any different?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2018 0:28 utc | 66

Nikki Haley is channeling the arguments of her predecessor with the latest threats. Most of her recent accusations directed at Syria and Russia - bombing schools, clinics, hospitals, et al - source to the latest report of the UN Human Rights Council’s Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic.

This Commission claims “a mandate to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law since March 2011 in the Syrian Arab Republic. The Commission was also tasked to establish the facts and circumstances that may amount to such violations and of the crimes perpetrated and, where possible, to identify those responsible with a view of ensuring that perpetrators of violations, including those that may constitute crimes against humanity, are held accountable.”

There is an obvious flaw with this Commission, as expressed rather forthrightly in the Mandate and Methodology section of their report (p3). The Commission has no access to Syria itself, and so relies largely on interviews conducted in “the region” and in Geneva. Worse, “(t)he standard of proof was considered met when the Commission had reasonable grounds to believe that incidents occurred as described.” Reasonable grounds to believe is not a standard of proof.

Saying interviews were conducted in “the region” is less informative than specifying if the interviews were conducted in, say, Turkey and Jordan or Iraq and Lebanon. If the former then it might be expected the interview subjects lean heavily towards those associated with the opposition, as might also be expected in Geneva. This would explain the readily apparent skew to alleged violations conducted by the SAA.

But the oddest thing, reading through their reports, is the apparent legal position that military conflict can be engaged in full compliance with international human rights law. That is, the reports admonish the conflicting parties over “internal displacement” (I.e. civilians fleeing areas in active combat) and “issues relating to housing, land, and property rights” without the common sense reflection that the armed conflict itself represents the violation of the human rights of everyone affected. The Commission lists a grim account of alleged war crimes as being aberrations from some imagined “normal conflict” where everyone’s rights are respected. This seems contrary to the founding understandings of the UN which reject armed conflict except under exceptional circumstance, and it also does not distinguish the nuance of the Nuremberg judges who identified the initiators of armed conflict as most responsible for the war crimes in total.

The position of this Commission is interesting in context of the latest US threats, and of the recently unearthed UN document which claims the priority of “humanitarian principles” over all other factors, and proposes the concept of humanitarian intervention be incorporated into the functioning UN system.

Posted by: jayc | Sep 14 2018 1:12 utc | 67

The US is so intent on military action in Syria that . . . it's keeping its aircraft carriers home in the US.

Silver Blaze

Arthur Conan Doyle

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
Holmes: "That was the curious incident."

Posted by: pogohere | Sep 14 2018 1:16 utc | 68

xLemming @ 44:

You did an excellent job countering Craig Summers' feeble arguments - you are no poor cousin to the regular MoA titans as you call them.

All I can add to your argument (which even included the reference to the Italian source and the admission of the Georgian snipers that they had been brought to Kiev) are the following:

a) the Russians already had armed personnel in Crimea: they were there as part of the conditions of the lease that Russia had, in leasing the naval base at Sevastopol - there were about 21,000 soldiers already there (the maximum number allowed was 23,000) - and they were dispersed around the peninsula to help protect polling stations during the referendum from Ukrainian interference;

b) the independence referendum was held when it was due to an incident in which several busloads of Crimeans leaving Kiev (after they had protested FOR Yanukovych at the Maidan) were ambushed by neo-Nazis (who'd been tipped off about the convoy's travel route) who then beat them up and killed a number of them.

I'm sure I've seen Craig Summers elsewhere (The Guardian's CIF forums in the past) and he is not a pleasant person to debate with.

Posted by: Jen | Sep 14 2018 1:47 utc | 69


Caitlin nails it. Trump is an actor following a script, as is MSM and both parties. No wonder Hollywood writers have no time for good movies and TV series. They have been drafted. Working on the 2019 script as we speak no doubt

Posted by: Pft | Sep 14 2018 2:13 utc | 70

@69 jen
Thank you... appreciated

As for cs, I see your point

I have all the patience in the world for honest ignorance (as I am among them) but for arrogant ignorance I have none. Lesson learned...

Again, thank you, and thanks to others here as well - I am edified by every visit. Vielen Dank b!

Posted by: xLemming | Sep 14 2018 2:32 utc | 71


"I surmise that Russia was caught flat-footed partly because they were fooled on Tuesday when they announced that CW ff videos would be delivered by West on Tuesday (as we discussed in a prior thread)."

I don't remember how this claim was treated on the previous thread, but I thought then as now again that the flat-footed folk were those preparing the videos. Their charade was pointedly addressed, both by the observations made within the camp, and by the 'all quiet on the northeastern front' that made such a delivery such a hot potato that it could not be credibly used. Sunlight is the best disenfectant, and if indeed a false flag was aborted by those moves it hardly means that the Russians were fooled.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 14 2018 2:42 utc | 72

juliana @72

The ff was averted because the attack on Idlib was cancelled. There may still be a ff if SAA+Ru decide to attack Idlib at a later date.

On Tuesday Russian MOD announced that ff was in progress and ff videos would be delivered to newsrooms by the end of the day. That didn't happen.

On the "A Few Items Related To Syria" thread, see comments @50 and further explanation @55

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 14 2018 3:18 utc | 73


Dear S: I have been a MOA reader and occasional poster for a decade. But if it makes your life easier, I could use a small letter-s.


Posted by: s | Sep 14 2018 4:01 utc | 74

For the edification of anyone interested there's this bit of history:

Any wonder why folks are suspicious of the U$A's intentions with regards to our foreign policy priorities??

Posted by: ben | Sep 14 2018 4:33 utc | 75

The Idlib campaign found itself with time in hand, for good tactical reasons. So, receiving permission from his allies, Erdogan used this time to make yet another feint of amour to the west.

It gains Erdogan everything, and costs the Syrian alliance nothing.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 14 2018 4:50 utc | 76

@74 s - "...if it makes your life easier, I could use a small letter-s."

Yes! It makes life easier, and better for everyone. Discussion becomes exponentially enriched when we can identify who we're talking to. Thank you for understanding.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 14 2018 4:54 utc | 77

@ ben with the Bill Blum link about nations that empire has R2Pd on

Yep. The point I want to ad is that the reason there is no real progressive leadership in the world is, because of the R2P policy of empire, they have all been killed.....and continue to be killed. When combined with the ongoing brainwashing and control of narrative by Wester media we see the tools used by the species cancer we face to keep humanity locked into our existing social structure.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 14 2018 4:54 utc | 78

Syria is where the neocons came to die.

Now that I've read the Alstair Crooke article, much-discussed in this thread, it seems clear that we don't have a lot of analysis of the internal wars raging inside the US. And perhaps the question arises: when does the existential crisis of the US become so heavy that it overtakes in priority the campaign for Idlib?

We don't know.

But fortunately, it doesn't matter. The US has no power on the ground. The neocons don't know this. They still think in terms of, "what's the use of a great military if we don't use it?" This is their delusion. But fortunately again, the Pentagon stands between their delusions and action on the ground.

So it's a nothing-burger. The United States is embroiled in agonizing self-renewal of its delusory purpose. And nobody notices. Because it doesn't change a thing.

Posted by: Grieved | Sep 14 2018 5:14 utc | 79


I must admit that that was my assessment as well. These two were rather coy as to what they do - a lot of personal fitness involved- and where they do it. How they got involved in all this is rather interesting....blackmail?

Your assertion that two out of every three men in UK is gay would lead to extinction in short order...the real ratio is probably closer to one in three....


Posted by: Emmanuel Goldstein | Sep 14 2018 7:38 utc | 80

Forget Kosovo and Crimea. Why was the County of Monmouthshire transferred to Wales in 1972 without any kind of a plebiscite?

Posted by: Shakesvshav | Sep 14 2018 8:38 utc | 81


"But fortunately, it doesn't matter. The US has no power on the ground." Turkey? Can the US offer Erdogan enough that he will be our ground force?

Great analysis of that piece. A lot of liberals see every news story as confirmation that Trump is Puti's lackey, and Crooke has the same problem with "I can fit this into my Trump v. Deep State narrative".

Posted by: Schmoe | Sep 14 2018 10:42 utc | 82


You can have it back if you promise to take Wrexham as well. Or just carpet bomb Wrexham. Whatever works.

Posted by: Href | Sep 14 2018 11:40 utc | 83

Day 2 of the ridiculous cease-fire in Idlib that Turkey forced upon Russia :

1. Mass demonstrations all over Idlib demanding "Assad must go"
2. Resumed campaign of the headchoppers against people in Idlib who wish reconciliation with the government of Syria
3. Massive supply of headchoppers by Turkey

4. More waste of time : Erdogan will discuss the Syrian file with Putin on Monday

If Russia thinks that a Turkish controlled Idlib somehow guarantees the safety of Latakia and Aleppo city they are beyond stupid.

Posted by: redrooster | Sep 14 2018 12:23 utc | 84

Will the oil-fields of Deir ez-Zor be liberated of the zionist scum and returned to the people of Syria?

Posted by: horseguards | Sep 14 2018 13:00 utc | 85

Based on the content, craigsummers is most likely the same nincompoop that posts at The Intercept.

Indeed, the Russians invaded, held the Crimea Parliament at gunpoint and forced the resolution on Crimeans.

Are you referring to the same "evil" Russians that forced the 1991 Crimean sovereignty referendum,
"installed" a pro-Separatist President...

Separatist Winning Crimea Presidency

Since Crimea's short-lived declaration of independence in May 1992, Ukrainian leaders have been struggling to keep Crimea content by expanding the region's political and economic self-rule. But Crimea, where 70 per cent of the residents are ethnic Russians and which was part of Russia before 1954, has become increasingly dissatisfied with the catastrophic Ukrainian economy, which has been racked by hyperinflation since last summer.

... that later "tricked" the Crimeans into vote for greater autonomy in 1994?

Posted by: Tobin Paz | Sep 14 2018 15:14 utc | 87

@80 Very clever move on the Russian's part....turning the Salisbury incident into a gender issue. It will keep the BBC busy for months.

Posted by: dh | Sep 14 2018 15:51 utc | 88

@88 Ooops.....should be in open thread.....sorry.

Posted by: dh | Sep 14 2018 15:56 utc | 89


Thank you for referring me back to the earlier thread. I still don't see your point. If Russia hadn't been so specific, hadn't taken immediate action off the table, the false flag would have occurred and a stupid bellicose move by US forces would have taken place. However, I don't agree that now the false flag may yet be an operative move. That's been publicly negated in my view. And I would suppose that was the purpose of making those activities known, along with the possible outcome, to prevent it actually taking place, now or in future. To me, that's the greater achievement. Russia doesn't care about saving face; it cares about saving lives. And it has the advantage; it can be patient and do what the situation demands.

But everyone has moved on to the immediate problem of Turkey's involvement, so I'm happy to agree to disagree.

Posted by: juliania | Sep 14 2018 17:26 utc | 90

@76/77/79 grieved... thanks for your comments on this thread! i share your view...

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2018 17:28 utc | 91

@90 juliania... i share your view as well and like how you ended your post there too!

Posted by: james | Sep 14 2018 17:29 utc | 92

On a somewhat related topic - why can't supplies to the U.$. garrison at Al Tanf simply be cut off, i.e. put them under siege? Are supplies getting to Al Tanf via Iraq? Plant a couple tanks across that road, or better yet talk to the Iraqis to close the road at the border with Syria. If supplies are inbound from Jordan, then cordon that area off as well.

Posted by: Trisha Driscoll | Sep 15 2018 3:40 utc | 93

Turkey, the eternal flip-flopper..
Islamic Eschatology speaks of a great battle, Al Malhama Al Kubra, between Rome (Russia is considered the 3rd Rome) and an alliance of muslims (Syria/Hezb/Iran) against a non-muslim army (SDF/US/Takfiri). After there is mention of the "Conquest of Constantinople" but by "peaceful means". Is this to say that at the end of the great battle (Idlib?), Turkey finally comes to its senses and rallies to the RU/SY camp? Any fellow muslim MoAites care to share their thoughts on this?
Posted by: Lozion | Sep 13, 2018 7:36:08 PM | 59

Erdogan's fundamental problem is that he's trapped between a rock and a hard place. He knows he'll be destroyed (by the US) if he plonks for the US camp, and he knows he'll be destroyed (by the US) if he plonks for the Russia camp. He will be forced to hedge his bets and flip-flop between the two for the foreseable future. I doubt if there is any escape until the fall of empire.

I doubt if Russia was fully surprised. They know Erdogan is unreliable. Erdogan flip-flopping is strategically better for Russia than Erdogan fully in the NATO camp, and Russia is in for the long haul. If Russia reacted impetuously by eliminating the reinforcements Turkey is sending to the jihadists, it will permanently destroy his chances of turning Turkey in his favour, improve US access to the Black Sea, and degrade his own access from the Black Sea to trhe Mediterranean. Much better to continue to stalk his prey with patience, and eventually he will win his prize.

Posted by: BM | Sep 15 2018 11:58 utc | 94

@74 s - "...if it makes your life easier, I could use a small letter-s."
Yes! It makes life easier, and better for everyone. Discussion becomes exponentially enriched when we can identify who we're talking to. Thank you for understanding.
Posted by: Grieved | Sep 14, 2018 12:54:35 AM | 77

And while we are on the topic, the poster "bm" (lower case as at 19 above) is not me! Perhaps he is also an occasional reader who has posted occasionally for the last decade - in any event it will aid clarity if he continues to use lower case!

Posted by: BM | Sep 15 2018 12:18 utc | 95

@ 95 BM.. i kinda figured that, so have given to trying to capitalize, or not, who i am responding to..

Posted by: james | Sep 15 2018 18:00 utc | 96

"The typical Russian reaction in such a situation is to hedge, to play for time and to hope that some other incident happens which then helps to turn the situation." A very apt, succinct and accurate estimation in my opinion. I have been complaining about this characteristic of the Russian leadership for many months now on my facebook page, [Cf. Wiliam David Fusfield] not only as it manifests itself in Syria, as once again now, but a fortiori, as it has characterized the gratuitously weak and slow -- the Kremlin temporized for 19 days while the UAF made its way all the way to Mariupol, and even then Putin and Co. did not send in sufficient special forces to preserve lives and social infrastructure -- response to the crisis in Novorossiya both in 2014, when failure to defend the region led to war and cost thousands of Novorossiyan, i.e. fully Russian, lives, and again now as the UAF is once again already murdering civilians by shelling and sniping in the western Donboss. With respect to the current situation in Idlib specifically, my fear is that this peculiar, and seemingly unending, proclivity of the Russian leadership to attempt to "negotiate" with enemies who simply cannot be trusted to hold to any agreements they sign, i.e with the U.S. government, will also lead to deliterious consequences for Syria, Russia, and all of their allies involved in Idlib and elsewhere in the country.

Others may well interpret the situation differently, of course, but to me it seems like an hauntingly similar reprise of the situtation in Novorossiya in 2014 when the NAF, after finally managing -- by some small miracle -- to transform itself from a rag-tag militia of patriotic volunteers into an effective and powerful military force [and for that transformation the Russian leadership does deserve much credit] had the surviving "rump" of the UAF's pathetic "conscript army" of primarily 18-year olds, -- most of whom were quite sensibly forever attempting to desert the UAF and its pathetic cause and return home, -- surrounded and about to be finished off completely once and for all, was prevented from doing so because their Russian "allies" in Moscow decided to begin, or, more accurately, were suckered into, beginning "ceasefire negotiations" in Minsk with a thoroughly disingenuous Ukrainian delegation that was, one would think quite transparently, merely stalling for time in order to excize their beleagured troops from virtually certain defeat and allow them to return alive to western Ukraine where they could be rearmed and reinforced, as indeed they have been ever since. As many of us predicted at the time, the Minsk agreement, even if it could be hammered out at all, would never hold since the Ukrainian side had from the very beginning no intention whatsoever of honoring it. Thus the "typical [weak and belated] reaction" of the Russian leadership ended up costing the Novorossiyan cause dearly, and is, indeed, a good part of the reason that they are now facing a second mass-murderous UAF ethnic-cleansing invasion into their territory once again today.

One might have hoped that Putin and the Kremlin would have learned the lessons of this previous debacle and hence acted with great resolution and alacrity in the current very similar situation in Idlib. Unfortunately that is not the case. They have, of course, been sensible enough not to be completely taken in by the ridiculous claims of their enemies. They have, that is, not accepted, even explicitly rejected, the preposterous Turkish proposals. And yet they have also played right into the hands of the other side by delaying their ongoing anti-terrorist operations in Syria, that is by doing precisely what was the primary intention of the proposals to get them to do in the first place! The consequences can only be harmful to the Syrian, and indeed their own, causes, for, unless their claim to be ceasing their very effective ongoing attacks on the terrorist positions is itself but a kind of rhetorical bluff, the pause in their attack can once again, as in Ukraine in 2014, only allow the Turks and Americans to extricate their terrorist proxy forces, while, in this case also giving them the opportunity to reiforce their own military positions just as the entire world has seen them doing in the last three days.

It is true, of course, that such a delay also provides the Russians time to reinforce and reposition their own, vastly more powerful forces in the area, which, as Andrei Martyanov has recently argued, they seem to be doing at an astonishingly rapid pace. In such a case the delay could yet prove benign or even beneficial to their cause of exterminating the Idlib terrorists and preserving the Syrian government and state. On the other hand, it is also likely that such reinforcement of both sides will lead to a still more intense conflict when it soon comes than would have occurred had no such delay been conceeded to the Turks and Americans -- which latter are also frantically digging in and attempting to reinforces their otherwise quite precarious positions.

So then, as so often when it comes to the actions of the Russian leadership, we shall all simply have to wait and see whether their "delay the offensive" gambit works or not. I for one am hardly sanguine about its prospects. In any case, however, it does represent yet another, indeed nearly "textbook case," of exactly that "typical Russian reaction in such situation[s], namely "to hedge, to play for time and to hope that some other incident happens which then helps to turn the situation." But what, pray tell, might such a salubrious "incident" possibly be in the case at hand??

Posted by: Dr. William Fusfield | Sep 16 2018 11:52 utc | 97

juliania @90:

That's been publicly negated in my view.
One might think that USA's change in what will trigger a response from 'CW use' to 'any attack on Idlib' has negated the need for a CW ff. But IMO they will still want a gruesome ff to stir Western publics to accept war.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 16 2018 13:45 utc | 98

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