Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 19, 2018

Syria - U.S. (Again) Only Pretends To Fight ISIS

The U.S. occupation force and its Kurdish proxy SDF in northeastern Syria are supposed to fight the Islamic State in its last hold out northeast of Euphrates. But the operations against the handful of towns ISIS (grey) still holds - launched only after long and unexplained delays - shows little progress. Last week it received a serious setback. 

Red = Syrian Arab Army; Yellow = U.S./SDF; Grey = ISIS

bigger

After several days of sandstorms (vid) hindered U.S. air support, ISIS counterattacked on October 11 against the U.S. led SDF. Suicide bombers blew up SDF checkpoints as ISIS broke through the lines. It retook several villages and on October 12 raided a refugee camp for local civilians that the U.S. coalition had set up near Al Bahrah (on the upper left of the map). Some 130 refugee families with about 700 persons were taken prisoners and brought to Hajin, a small city at the northern end of the ISIS held area.

Through local tribal elders ISIS requested to negotiate with the U.S. coalition about an exchange of prisoners. It also demanded medical and food supplies in exchange for 90 captured women it had isolated from their families. The request was rejected. ISIS now threatens to kill ten of the abductees per day unless its demands are fulfilled.

In his talk at the Valdai event yesterday, the Russian president Putin mentioned the situation east of the Euphrates:

Now we see what is happening on the left bank of the Euphrates. Probably, our colleagues know: this territory is under the patronage of our American partners. They rely on the Kurdish armed forces.

But they have obviously left a loose end: ISIS remains in several locations and has begun to expand its area of influence recently. They took 130 families hostage – almost 700 people.

I think few of those present here know that they have made ultimatums, extended demands and warned that if these ultimatums are not met, they would shoot 10 people every day. The day before yesterday, 10 people were shot. Executed. They have begun to fulfill their threats.

This is just horrifying. It is a tragedy I think. We need to do something about it. Why do our colleagues keep silent? According to our information, several US and European citizens are among the hostages.

Everyone is quiet, there is silence as if nothing is happening.

Three days ago there was also a blue on green incident followed by defections from the ranks of the local proxy forces:

Two US-led coalition’s F-15 fighter jets have mistakenly targeted Kurdish units amid their offensive on the remaining forces of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists in Syria, RIA reported, citing a “military and diplomatic source.” It said six people were killed and 15 injured on the Kurdish side.

The incident, which took place near the town of Hajin in the Syrian eastern Deir ez-Zor province, did not just disrupt the operation but also reportedly led to numerous defections in the ranks of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Even worse, the terrorists managed to seize some territories in the area, the source added.

Today ISIS published photos of an execution of five local men accused of being spies for the SDF.

U.S. and French troops provide artillery support to the SDF and the U.S. and British air forces fly bombing attacks against ISIS positions. But SDF ground troops seem to be unable or unwilling to proceed against ISIS lines. The borders of the ISIS held area as provided by liveuamap have hardly moved.


May 1 bigger - October 19 - bigger

During five and half month ISIS only lost some five miles of territory at the northern and southern ends of the small area it holds. How come that the well supplied Kurdish forces under the direction of U.S. Special Forces and with strong artillery and air support are not able to achieve more against some 1-2,000 jihadis who lack heavy weapons and have no way to resupply?

Russian sources accuse the U.S. of not seriously fighting its opponent:

"The imitation of the fight against terrorists in this region of Syria has been going on for more than six months and has been used by Washington to justify its illegal presence in this country," the source stressed.

The Syrian Observatory also reports of a constant stream of targeted assassinations and small attacks against SDF forces including by ISIS sleeper cells within the SDF held area. Many IED's are buried in the wider area and hinder troop movements as well as reconstruction.

ISIS seems in general not confined to the neat frontlines shown on the map but has small units and sleeper cells moving far beyond that area. This points to a lack of willing troops to hold the line and to confine the ISIS forces.

The U.S. Weekly Strike Summary note lots of aerial attacks but the results are thin:

Between Oct. 7 and Oct. 13, CJTF-OIR coalition military forces conducted 137 strikes consisting of 225 engagements in Iraq and Syria.

After a drop on October 7, 8 and 9 due to the sandstorms U.S. flight numbers in the area are again up to some two dozen per day.

Nearly all these attacks are on the small ISIS held area northeast of the Euphrates. The report mentions hits on "staging areas" and "assembly area sites". But what does that actually mean? Isn't any empty space a potential staging or assembly area site? And what is the engagement of a "tactical unit" supposed to mean? A bomb drop near some lone dude on a motorcycle? 

The last four weekly summaries list a total of 349 strikes and 546 "engagements" but none of these seem to have had any effect on ISIS numbers or capabilities. Despite the high strike number there is no progress on the ground.

The current bombing campaign reminds one of the fake U.S. air campaign against ISIS in 2014 and 2015 (see table at bottom). Back then "ISIS excavators" were the most serious targets the U.S. reports mentioned. Back then it was also Russia that exposed the fake fighting and demonstrated how to really clobber ISIS.

That the SDF now claims that eliminating ISIS from the area will take even longer increases the suspicion that there is no real intent to fight it:

"The military operations in Hajin will take much longer than expected," said Redur Khalil, a top SDF commander.

"Daesh is benefiting a lot from weather factors, including sandstorms. They've helped it take cover from reconnaissance aircraft and other monitoring mechanisms," he told AFP, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

For the record - the recent series of sandstorms in the area ended several days ago.

Like in 2014/2015 the U.S. seems again most interested in keeping ISIS alive as long as possible and to use its presence as a pretext for other purposes.

Posted by b on October 19, 2018 at 01:04 PM | Permalink

Comments

As shown in this article, at least two American politicians believe that Washington's version of the war in Syria is wrong:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/american-politicians-and-syria-what-if.html

Unfortunately, the mainstream Western media has swallowed Washington's narrative hook, line and sinker.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Oct 19, 2018 1:28:38 PM | 1

Thanks for the excellent journalism b.

The screws are tightening on empire options all over the globe. I think that the speed at which things are falling apart is increasing. It seems obvious that the US will be pushed out of Syria before the end of the year and just what will be the next war of empire?

Iran...no
Ukraine....no
Venezuela....no
North Korea.....no

Maybe the next "war" that is "fought" is Israel/Palestine because that is where humanity's focus would be if it were not for all these other wars of empire.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 19, 2018 1:31:09 PM | 2

Three days ago there was also a blue on green incident followed by defections from the ranks of the local proxy forces:

Two US-led coalition’s F-15 fighter jets have mistakenly targeted Kurdish units ...

Blue on green surely means the proxy forces shooting US forces doesn't it? Yet the quote indicates the opposite, or was that revenge for the blue on green?

Also unclear is the nature of the defections - from SDF to ISIS or from SDF to SAA? The link does not appear to illuminate, but gives similar info to the Valdai Club link - did you perhaps give the wrong link, B?

Posted by: BM | Oct 19, 2018 1:36:20 PM | 3

These the same ISIS terrorists that US forces evacuated from Raqqa?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/raqqas_dirty_secret

It would appear that ISIS is being used as a buffer force between the SAA and the US backed Eastern Syria oil wells.

Posted by: Krollchem | Oct 19, 2018 1:37:58 PM | 4

10 people a day is still less than the ones murdered in gaza right now.

Posted by: Occidentosis | Oct 19, 2018 1:38:45 PM | 5

B, I am having great difficulty posting at the moment, is it just me, or is the site experiencing some problems? I made many attempts at posting a long post on the Saudi Stonewall thread without success - every time it says it is posted, but it is not. My post above (@3) required 3 attempts, but eventually posted.

Posted by: BM | Oct 19, 2018 1:56:24 PM | 6

b wrote in part;"Like in 2014/2015 the U.S. seems again most interested in keeping ISIS alive as long as possible and to use its presence as a pretext for other purposes."


exactly right b.

And as stated many times here on MoA, not a peep from major media outlets. Disgusting!!

Posted by: ben | Oct 19, 2018 1:59:48 PM | 7

So if the US is not moving on this area, why aren't the loyalists? It's not held by the US, nor by official allies of the US; it's right across the river from their own territory. The whole posture of Russia c.s. is one of legitimizing the partition of Syria; "partners" indeed.

Let's not pretend that Russia has a sterling terror-busting record throughout this conflict. Yes they did some good, but they've also green-bused hardcore jihadis here and there, chanting the mantra "time is on Russia's side"--until finally they were saved by Nikki Haley and the US Navy. And Moscow isn't even calling them jihadis any more but "opposition", provided that they're in the pay not of the Saudis but of the beloved Turks.

I can only say I see increasing amounts of kabuki on all sides. If SDF footsoldiers are not willing to die for that, there may be some sense left in them after all.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Oct 19, 2018 2:04:15 PM | 8

is anyone else getting a warning message on the linked article to syriahr.com? my browser is denying me access even on a vpn, wondering if it's censored or am i just paranoid?

Posted by: EtTuBrute | Oct 19, 2018 2:23:21 PM | 9

Agreed.
Killing off ISIS would leave the US without justification, however thin, for their military occupation of Syrian land.
I would suggest that the US has been trying to eliminate ISIS for 5 Years and has been equally unsuccessful.
They have, however, been successful at hindering other more motivated groups from accomplishing the task.

Posted by: CD Waller | Oct 19, 2018 2:25:20 PM | 10

Ma Laoshi @8, the last time loyalists crossed the Euphrates the U.S. bombed and shelled them killing hundreds. We bragged about it for months. The Euphrates is the U.S. imposed demarcation line.

Regarding the Assad / Russian efforts, they annihilated ISIS in the Golan Heights recently.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Oct 19, 2018 2:40:58 PM | 11

I would say that the world’s outrage over Khashoggi’s death betrays Western society moral relativism, and most importantly the irrationality of its self-righteous anger. Outrage today is a trend underpinned mostly by status than principles.

While the murder of children warrants but a few whispers of opposition, one missing prominent journalist will force governments to face off even the most powerful of lobbies – even if it means endangering the war industry.

https://journal-neo.org/2018/10/18/saudi-arabia-s-great-tumbling-down-the-boy-who-wanted-to-be-king-is-no-more/

Add the 10 hostages per day (above in b's report) being executed to the above comment.

The sentimentalized treatment of Khashoggi by Graham et al is a way of hiding their craven lack of principles in the well-worn list: the war in Yemen, Israeli brutality with the Palestinians, cheerleading the UK over the Skripal affair, MbS's other sterling activities as with hanging up his relatives from the ceiling at the Ritz-Carlton etc. etc.

Here indeed with Khashoggi promoted as Thomas Jefferson for the middle east (which he was not) is good fodder for the bluster of "democracy" and "human rights" and "lookin' good" pouring out of sundry mouths in Washington and elsewhere.

Let them squirm, indeed, let them squirm and turn on each other. As Twain said, "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."


Posted by: Sid2 | Oct 19, 2018 2:43:59 PM | 12

@11 Chris Chuba

Thanks for the reply. Yes I know about that one of course, and the commander who sent good people to their death just like that should be punished. The loyalists know from previous episodes near al-Tanf that the Americans aren't screwing around. So I meant to do it properly: with air defenses, and air cover of your own; stare the orcs down. I guess I'm just observing that Russia has internalized it needs American permission for most of what it's doing on the territory of its own ally.

Yes the southwest went quite well. It's not that I am braying for slaughter: a lot of fighters surrendered without slaughter when they saw that the loyalists were the strongest. One wonders in retrospect how much Russia had to promise US-IL for them to stand down. Or maybe it's that since those days, the harder Bolton line has prevailed in D.C. Moscow seems to be betting that it's just the mid-terms i.e. temporary; I wouldn't be so sure now that the other side has seen threatening Russia works so well.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Oct 19, 2018 3:15:37 PM | 13

SDF was always useless. US would bomb the hell out of a target - as in Raqqa - then the SDF would sprint over, plant a flag, and hide until the next target was bombed. Always plenty of photos of sexy women infantry....to get Western imagination working overtime. All phony bullshit.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Oct 19, 2018 3:26:54 PM | 14

In Iraq, the PMU's were the most effective fighters against ISIS and they have been bombed by the US a number of times.
In much of the southern oilfields area east of the Euphrates in Syria, ISIS was simply re-badged and marketed as SDF and came under US protection.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19, 2018 3:49:40 PM | 15

So the US bombs Kurds sometimes, SDF sometimes and ISIS sometimes, or not. But why the apparent chaos?
Perhaps because Deir Az Zor is a province rich in oil and gas including the al-Omar oil field - Syria's largest and the site of the Conoco gas fields.
I think the US is intentionally playing Wack-a-Mole to keep all their players weak thereby securing complete control of oil removal and ownership.
As for the death of hostages; they could care less. Follow the money.

Posted by: frances | Oct 19, 2018 3:51:57 PM | 16

@14 Guy T

That's so lewd as to be ... completely plausible! I remember reports of the "Gay SDF Brigade" liberating Raqqa, mostly on the evidence of a single photo made--somewhere in the Middle East. The Western media went completely bananas over it. Yes we Westerners have become a predictable bunch since we stopped thinking; someone retaining that capacity can play our base emotions like a fiddle.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Oct 19, 2018 3:54:50 PM | 17

"It seems obvious that the US will be pushed out of Syria before the end of the year and just what will be the next war of empire?
Iran...no
Ukraine....no
Venezuela....no
North Korea.....no
Maybe the next "war" that is "fought" is Israel/Palestine because that is where humanity's focus would be if it were not for all these other wars of empire."
Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 19, 2018 1:31:09 PM |
Respectfully, my money is on low level but extremely nasty fighting in Ukraine,it will serve to make life miserable for the EU, Russia and obviously eastern Ukraine.
They might get this going around Christmas just to make make everyone's lives a living hell.
IMO, nothing will happen in Israel/Palestine they are being lined up for a take it or else "Peace" orchestrated by Trump's son-in-law. Probably will be forced on them sometime in late Spring.
Venezuela is proving a tough nut to crack with China helping them out. Trump may push a deal on China saying he will ease up if the abandon Venezuela, doubt if China will go for it though. At which point late in 2020 maybe the US will go for a color revolution to bring Maderos down.
I see continuing all war, all the time, but I agree Iran and Korea will get a pass as you suggest.

Posted by: frances | Oct 19, 2018 4:04:39 PM | 18

>>> BM | Oct 19, 2018 1:36:20 PM | 3

Green on blue is usually used for an attack by official local forces on their American trainers/advisers. So blue on green is the Americans attacking the local allies. Apparently it's a reference to the colours used on military maps for various forces Blue - friendly forces, Green - neutral forces, Red - enemy forces, yellow - unknown forces.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 19, 2018 4:09:28 PM | 19

Unlike Aleppo, Raqqa resembles the US carpet bombed cities of France and Germany during WWII. This is no surprise as the US follows General Powell’s war approach borrowed from the French from WWI.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/the_city_fit_for_no_one_raqqa_syria_islamic_state_group
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/07/11/world/middleeast/raqqa-isis-home.html

“U.S. aircraft and artillery bombarded Raqqa with an estimated 20,000 munitions during the five-month operation — more than in Afghanistan during all of last year and more on average per month than in Mosul, a much larger city whose capture took nearly twice as long.” “Raqqa’s civil defense unit, a team of 37 firefighters and other first responders, has recovered more than 300 bodies since the end of the campaign, the vast majority of which they believe to be noncombatants. There are currently 6,000 open reports of human remains in rubble.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/syria/raqqa-residents-abandoned-and-forgotten/?utm_term=.7e8bc833a312


“The final four-month push to oust Isis from Raqqa killed between 1,400-2,000 civilians, according to Airwars, and destroyed 90% of the city.” “While Raqqans have filed hundreds of reports of civilian casualties, US Central Command has rejected nearly every claim. “
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/22/the-us-demolished-raqqa-when-they-liberated-it-who-will-rebuild-it

“No one knows how many corpses lie beneath the rubble.” “When TIME visited the city at the end of October (2017), they had a team of only 10 people to cover the entire city, a vast landscape of shattered buildings.”
http://time.com/rebuilding-raqqa/

"Civil workers say they have pulled nearly 500 bodies from under the rubble in the past three months January-March, 2017), working with just one bulldozer."
https://apnews.com/fc9da57f2c15465abab7a40f868e7bdf
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/syria/raqqa-residents-abandoned-and-forgotten/?utm_term=.7e8bc833a312


As for rebuilding aid for Raqqa:
(1) “In March, the Trump administration froze the $200m pledged for stabilization in areas formerly held by Isis. There is no power or water except what is provided by local entrepreneurs, and the most popular job is rubble clearance, dangerous work in which even children engage.”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/22/the-us-demolished-raqqa-when-they-liberated-it-who-will-rebuild-it
(2) “UAE last week pledged to contribute $50 million to support stabilization efforts in Raqqa.”
(3) Putin has called on European countries to help rebuild Syria, but so far, they have resisted his calls.
http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/feature/8be12489-371d-4d83-9e7a-af78c98c3b7d

(4) Saudi Arabia has transferred $100 million to the US for rebuilding Eastern Syria on the day the US Secretary of State to discuss how to help in defusing botched assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. I wonder how much of this “donation” will go toward rebuilding Saudi supported Mosques staffed by Wabbhist Imams?
http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_81621.shtml

(5) U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington has delivered an estimated $60 million across northeastern Syria for stabilization efforts, defined as mine clearance, rubble removal, repair of essential services such as water and electricity systems, and the reopening of schools. The work is going slowly due to the project management approach where locals must “submit proposals to USAID for each project and wait for approval.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/syria/raqqa-residents-abandoned-and-forgotten/?utm_term=.7e8bc833a312

I end with a song by the late Roy Orbison from 1967 on the evils of war:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=UiGiVd63auY

Posted by: Krollchem | Oct 19, 2018 4:25:09 PM | 20

arab spring redux getting traction,back to spying softwares
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45918610

Posted by: mina | Oct 19, 2018 4:47:13 PM | 21

Putin "We need to do something about it."

When Putin says something needs to be done, he doesn't just sit around hoping somebody else will do it. Will be interesting to see what comes of this. Trump will be somewhat distracted for awhile, now that his pet dog has just attacked and cut up the wrong person.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19, 2018 5:13:35 PM | 22

MoA is about the only peep hole through the cone of silence around Eastern Syria. The New York Times did report that the Saudis paid 100 million dollars for the American occupation during Mike Pompeo’s visit. I am under the impression that the mainline YPG units returned to defend their homes against Turkey’s incursion into Syria. That leaves the local tribes, mercenaries and US Marines to take the Euphrates valley. Rather than that, I assume ISIS is being used as a buffer zone between the occupiers and the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian advisors. A firefight between the SAA and the US Marines could trigger WW3.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Oct 19, 2018 6:13:36 PM | 23

What I want to know is why is China do disengaged in all of this ? Why doesn't China start to get itself engaged and prove itself ? Is it a cultural thing ? What is the point of a Chinese military build up if there is no engagement ?

Posted by: imoverit | Oct 19, 2018 6:30:00 PM | 24

Sid 2 12
Speaking of hypocrisy if killing, Ron Paul pointed out the hypocrisy of the big deal made of the Khashoggi killing (murder) versus the US mercenaries working for the emirates in Yemen (along with the other death and destruction in Yemen).

Posted by: Curtis | Oct 19, 2018 7:25:55 PM | 25

latest—from the saudis; his death admitted-- “a fight broke out”

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201810201069047125-Preliminary-Results-Khashoggi-Dead-Saudi-Media/


Posted by: Sid2 | Oct 19, 2018 7:37:30 PM | 26

why the particular fascination with this Khashoggi topic is a good question:

beyond the specific whodunit nature, as with the Skripal fiasco, we have here I think the emperor wore no clothes syndrome. All this pontificating and outrage as with Lindsay Graham blares out-- where's your outrage over 17 more kids killed in Yemen yesterday? And should we start a list of where your outrage isn't?

Posted by: Sid2 | Oct 19, 2018 7:42:50 PM | 27

There's some serious Russian presence at al-Bukamal and a number of assets have moved to the Safa volcanic area that could easily go further East. Putin's correct about the entire affair being a tragedy and that something must be done. I predict that the Outlaw US Empire will be told in no uncertain terms to get the fuck out of the way so the terrorists can be defeated and if not then they'll get rolled up too. If you read the interviews I linked to, it's more than clear that Russia's top leaders are fed up and are ready for the status quo to be altered one way or another--Lavrov's comments about the PACE situation are an example. Putin also brought up Beslan and the attempt to destabilize Russia using terrorist proxies at Valdai, which I thought was a signal of sorts--what's happening in Syria and globally is becoming personal. His words relative to the quality of the Russian populace and their spirit of togetherness despite being 160 different ethnic groups was another signal, as was his description of a defensive nuclear exchange.

Here is a part of Putin's Valdai Club interview that was just added to the transcript that backs up what I'm referring to above:

"Lukyanov:... As a leader who carries this burden, do you ever feel scared? Or do you not think of it at all?

"Vladimir Putin: What do you mean by ‘scared’?

"Fyodor Lukyanov: It is a great responsibility. You are one of the three people responsible for the entire world.

"Vladimir Putin: And so?

"Fyodor Lukyanov: You have no fear?

"Vladimir Putin: No."

There is a confidence that comes from being morally and ethically correct, and that your chosen path is right and proper. That's what was displayed with no hemming or hawing, no ers or ums as with every Western "leader," particularly Trump. Putin then explains himself in a manner similar to what I wrote above. Here's the link again so you can read what he said further. The remarks immediately following Putin's are from one of the Chinese guests, Sheng Shiliang, and I highly suggest they be read (particularly by imoverit @24), although I'm very tempted to post them here.

Last, the S-300 deliveries were bigger and the quality sine qua non than anyone expected--4 Divisions, not 4 Battalions. What I see the message as is this: The time for playing games is over; the end-game is about to commence.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19, 2018 8:00:13 PM | 28

@24 What I want to know is why is China do disengaged in all of this ?

They probably see it as gweilo business except where it affects China directly as in the South China Sea.

Posted by: dh | Oct 19, 2018 8:33:05 PM | 29

"The time for playing games is over; the end-game is about to commence."

Inch Allah..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 19, 2018 8:34:39 PM | 30

DAMN I like Putin. He’s definitely my favourite world leader.

Posted by: Featherless | Oct 19, 2018 8:53:53 PM | 31

Yeah, there’s a time for each thing. And if it’s “time to finish up” then good, as long as it’s not because the Russians are losing patience.

Posted by: Featherless | Oct 19, 2018 8:56:59 PM | 32

Featherless @32--

I don't think it's a matter of "losing patience"; rather, as Putin said, it's a tragedy, too many have died for no reason whatsoever, and it's time.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19, 2018 9:11:21 PM | 33

UPDATE

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-adviser-john-bolton-headed-220748617.html

We are not sending our Sec of State, Pompeo, to talk to his Russian homologue, Lavrov, but the Israel Supervisor of the US Foreign Policy, Bolton.
And we are not sending him to talk to Lavrov but to threaten him: either you cede Syria to USrael or we tear up the nuclear treaty.
That the US is willing to threaten a nuclear conflagration to accomplish this goal is a dramatic demonstration of just how completely the US has become Israel's tool.

Posted by: ariadna | Oct 19, 2018 9:34:33 PM | 34

Considering the dumbfounding abundance of food and medical supplies the country of the United States is capable of swamping any enemy anywhere with, I propose a change into this tactic if the goal remains to win hearts and minds. Switch to effective weapons of massive health and food invasion. Cram that stuff so deep any foe could never move though it. The shock and awe of so much food and medical supplies would be paralyzing to any enemy and ensure lasting victory. You really can't send enough of this stuff but we could strangle any place deeply with our surplus humanitarian help if we go ahead and act like it.

Posted by: Union Horse | Oct 19, 2018 9:58:18 PM | 35

34 "That the US is willing to threaten a nuclear conflagration to accomplish this goal is a dramatic demonstration of just how completely the US has become Israel's tool."

Israel is part of it but there is far more at stake for the Trump faction. Trump has ditched the petro dollar gambling on being able to pull of energy dominance.
Nixon in exactly the same way ditched the gold standard gambling on being able to bring his and Kissinger's plans for the petro-dollar to fruition.
Energy dominance to a degree that gives the US significant leverage over the world as the petrodollar has done for the last forty years requires the physical control of Persian gulf oil. Kissinger, as with Nixon and the petro-dollar, has spent a lot of time with Trump cooking up the plans for global energy dominance.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19, 2018 9:58:54 PM | 36

@ ariadna who wrote: "That the US is willing to threaten a nuclear conflagration to accomplish this goal is a dramatic demonstration of just how completely the US has become Israel's tool."

Israel is the proxy front for private finance, in my view. The US is the tool of those that own private finance and they may not be from Israel or ascribe to the jewish religion.

The disease of the West is private finance. Private finance is behind the proxy wars we see in the ME.

You can tilt at Israel all you want but my belief is that taking the tool of finance away from the war makers is what needs to be done.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 19, 2018 9:59:18 PM | 37

UH @ 35: Great post, an IF the U$A really lived up to their rhetoric( good guy propaganda ), that tactic would be more helpful in creating peace in the world.. Alas, there's no profits in peace, so it's an impossible dream.

The empire and their sycophants are terminally infected with greed and avarice.

Posted by: ben | Oct 19, 2018 10:13:34 PM | 38

Peter Au 1 @36
"Trump has ditched the petro dollar gambling on being able to pull of[f] energy dominance."

Interesting. But what does that mean, to "ditch the petro dollar"? What's the alternative for Trump?

Posted by: once and future | Oct 19, 2018 10:15:32 PM | 39

38. Thanks Ben. The idea is to change from old weapons to new. A new strategy and tactics altogether. With improved outcomes.

Posted by: Union Horse | Oct 19, 2018 10:22:23 PM | 40

39 What's the alternative for Trump?

Not sure what you mean here. In my comment I said Trump has ditched the petro-dollar gambling on gaining energy dominance. Perhaps rather than saying ditched, he has gambled the remaining petro-dollar in the hope of gaining energy dominance. With the Iran sanctions and all the other sanctions now being put in place, the petro-dollar will be worthless or powerless in a few years as more and more countries start using currencies other than the US dollar. Obama and Kerry spent their time running around trying to patch up the crumbling petro-dollar. Trump rather than trying to patch up something that has run its course, is using the remaining power of the petro-dollar to try and set up global energy dominance.
The three counties Trump has been personally attacking - China an economic threat to the US, Iran oil and enemy of Israel, Venezuela oil and an enemy of Israel. By taking out Iran and Venezuela, Trumps US is killing two birds with one stone. Destroying enemies of Israel and gaining huge reserves of oil.
By gaining control of Venezuelan oil, Iran's oil, plus solid control of all Persian gulf oil and gas, Trump's US would have a huge amount of control over China, India, Europe ect - all the countries that must import oil and gas.

The petro-dollar was an accountants fraud whereas energy dominance will be an in your face mafia style takeover of a near monopoly. That is if Trump pulls it off. He has brought tactical nukes into play for use against countries such as Iran and greatly increased US military spending.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19, 2018 11:28:56 PM | 41

@28 karlof1 - " The remarks immediately following Putin's are from one of the Chinese guests, Sheng Shiliang, and I highly suggest they be read (particularly by imoverit @24), although I'm very tempted to post them here."

We're in luck because Vesti News chose that very clip to highlight in its news selections tonight.

It's a little more than 2 minutes of strategic geopolitics wrapped, not in riddles or enigmas, but poetic allusion. But listen to the words. This is the dialog and the understanding between Russia and China. China says, we want to live in peace, but the irritations come, what should we do? Russia says, this will pass. And both nations know the meaning of time and endurance.

Russia in the 21st Century: Putin Outlines Plan to Weather Storm; Forge New Alliances


Q. "The forest wants peace. But the wind won't give it peace."
A. "The weather will change."

The stripling empire will vanish in its own confusions. The caravan moves on.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 19, 2018 11:32:23 PM | 42

RE: psychohistorian
Venezuela is still a live option. Things aren't getting any better there, and the election of Bolsonaro will give the USA new options to pursue regime change.

Posted by: Sigil | Oct 19, 2018 11:48:29 PM | 43

@37
The big guns and big money have become so enmeshed here in the US. Private finance is simply looting at this point. Stupidly, I think for them in the mid to long run. Endless weapons (ka-ching), endless war (ka-ching), not seeing the hammer drop on their heads (ka-boom)...

Posted by: Tom in AZ | Oct 20, 2018 12:05:04 AM | 44

@42 more...

And of course, Sheng Shiliang was not asking a question that he needed an answer to. He was offering his side of a shared understanding in a gesture of admiration, respect and love. And Putin responded not only graciously but wisely, and with an answer intended to reassure all of China. The wind will eventually calm.

And I believe the unspoken message was also that Russia alone is sufficient to stand at the front line against the west. There is no need for China to come to its aid, especially since China is engaged in the work of re-shaping the entire world, in soft ways that the world itself barely understands and yet will come to cherish - here in the age of the Chinese Century.

The sanity and wisdom displayed in this brief exchange at Valdai between eminent thinkers of the two major nations prompts me to remember and share my thought that the world will survive this moment in time. The febrile mind of Eurasia - in its excitement for a future that the west has lost - will solve the problems of climate change, environmental degradation, population and food and water security, and establish the rule of law as the modus operandi of the world community.

There will be a future. I live in the west, and for me the future is lost. But for several billion other humans, there is now a discernible future. And its shape looms ever closer and grows in definition daily. So bless them and their future. It is a future that the west tries to stand in the way of, and cannot.

The US will crumble, and return to the ground, and with luck will reinvent itself as a clean nation, and will seek to become worthy of the new world - say, 30 years from now?

All of this is possible, and could be brought about from the aspirations of those who believe they have a future. We are so gloomy in the west, and we should be, because we have frittered away our inheritance and thrown away our future prospects. But the future is not in our hands. It is in the hands of people who are more intelligent, more confident, more determined and more optimistic. They will create the outcome, not us.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 20, 2018 12:07:06 AM | 45

... the S-300 deliveries were bigger and the quality sine qua non than anyone expected--4 Divisions, not 4 Battalions. What I see the message as is this: The time for playing games is over; the end-game is about to commence.
Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19, 2018 8:00:13 PM | 28

I guess that this is one reason why Russia did not deliver them earlier. A single radar system can be destroyed by a stealth bomber that flies straight in its direction, but if there are flanking systems, some will see the attacker because of a better angle. So the northern-most or southern-most system can be attacked. Thus installing an insufficient number of radars and missile sites can be defeated by Israelis. In the same time large injection of hardware would be an "escalation" inviting attempts to destroy it before it is ready. But the latter does not work if Russia has "we are mad posture" because of an "intolerable incident". BTW, it is awfully convenient that temporarily the fleet of stealth bombers is grounded.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 20, 2018 12:21:28 AM | 46

Talking about the Western MSM's complicity in running disinfo campaigns to paint lipstick on the pig of underlying truth.

This little 1968 Top 40 ditty from Four Jacks & A Jill neatly sums up the frustration of people drowning in a deluge of super-imposed fantasy.
It's easy to imagine that the subject is an MSM Editor-in-Chief...

Master Jack

It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.
You taught me all I know-w and I'll never look back.
It's a very strange world and I thank you, Master Jack.

You took a colored ribbon from out of the sky,
And taught me how to use it as the years went by,
To tie up all your problems and make them look neat.
And then to sell them to the people in the street

It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.
You taught me all I know and I'll never look back.
It's a very strange world and I thank you, Master Jack.

I saw right through the way you started teachin' me now,
So some day soon you could get to use me somehow.
I thank you very much and though you've been very kind,
But I'd better move along before you change my mind.

It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.
You know how I feel if I'll never come back.
It's a very strange world and I thank you, Master Jack.

You taught me all the things the way you'd like them to be.
But I'd like to see if other people agree.
It's all very int'resting the way you disguise;
But I'd like to see the world through my own eyes.

It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack.
There's no hard feelin's if I never come back.
You're a very strange man and I thank you, Master Jack.

You're a very strange man and I thank you, Master Jack.
You're a very strange man aren't you, Master Jack?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjUWfgCqw8g

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 20, 2018 1:18:31 AM | 47

The S-300's sent to Syria are being converted to the export version PMU2 Favorit with Russian codes being removed. http://tass.com/defense/1026862
Rather than friend or foe identification being the problem (Identification took place at the Russian control center) in the IL20 shootdown, it was the older S-200 missiles that would simply target the largest target illuminated.

I see the commander of Tiger forces has been moved back to the Idlib frontline. It is looking like Erdogan will be given plenty of time to to take as much of the 20k zone under control as he can and then Syria and Russia will move in to clean up the AQ and ISIS hotspots.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 20, 2018 2:09:56 AM | 48

@24 imoverit

I share in your frustration. A serious Chinese involvement, together with India (I know I'm dreaming) which also has BIG problems with muslim terror, would have been a powerful signal to the forces destabilizing Syria "The world has had enough". But given China's distance from the Syrian battlefields, and their lack of modern military experience (which they need to fix pronto), in practice they'd do so under Russian leadership--and they don't have confidence in that leadership. So often, the Kremlin's message is "as long as no Russians get hurt it's somebody else's problem"--all backed up by an online chorus, you know the drill about "maturity" and "restraint". But if you don't stand by your allies, you'll have difficulty finding new and retaining old ones--funny how that works.

Moscow likes to see itself as an equal-opportunity terror fighter, but very visibly now their priorities have shifted from fighting terror to appeasing Turkey. While for China, Turkey is the main culprit to be confronted given how they are weaponizing the Uyghurs. Putin himself isn't easy to pin down in any corner (as with any skilled politician), but he's surrounded by whiny oligarchs who'd do almost anything for relief from US sanctions--confirming Washington's belief that bullying Russia works.

Yes the Chinese are cold-blooded, self-centered bastards. But at least in the trade realm, they're the only ones actually fighting back, hard, even if it costs them money in the short term. And most recently, they seem to have started telling the US "you get nothing from us in the Korea dossier until you learn to behave elsewhere". While Moscow still seems to follow some gullible notion "can't go too hard on Trump or the Deep State and Dems will take over", China rightly doesn't waste time on Beltway palace intrigue and deals with the Govt that actually sits across the table.

Anyway, probably finger-pointing is neither here nor there. Russia, China, and Iran know that all of them are on the menu in Washington. There is a saying about hanging together vs hanging separately, but they just don't rise to the occasion. To bring up either India or Brazil would be just a joke at this point I'm afraid.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Oct 20, 2018 4:25:09 AM | 49

@34 ariadna

It's an old feudal notion that "The King is the fount of all honor." Likewise, top US officials abroad are not just there to talk business; they dispense prestige, or withhold it. For Obama this came naturally given his vanity; look how "Yats is the guy" went from a coup-plotter to the legitimate ruler of Ukraine in 24h, just with a photo op at the White House. The Trump admin also made sure that Putin would only shake the Donald's hand after everyone else'd had his turn, down to chocolate king Poroshenko.

So when just now the Chinese followed proper protocol by letting Pompeo speak to their own minister but not Pres. Xi, all Washington took it as a grave insult. Conversely, Putin is practically begging Bolton for a tete-a-tete, which as you say will mostly be a forum for threats going from B to P. The talk about "equal partnership" was always a bit precious when your economy is the size of Spain's, but by now the Kremlin is visibly disoriented from all the blows they've absorbed.

We're all responsible for our own doings. Responsibility for hair-raising brinkmanship is Washington's, but the blame for squandering Russian deterrence lies solely with Putin.

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Oct 20, 2018 4:49:55 AM | 50

Peter AU 1 @48

The Idlib agreement not only included demilitarisation of a 10-20 km buffer zone by the end of October, it included opening up of the M4 and M5 motorways south and west from Aleppo to safe transit of civilian traffic by end of December.

Look at the map to see the implications of that. The M4/M5 junction is just north of Saraqab. The outcome of that looks exactly like to cauldron creation used in east Damascus and elsewhere, all done under a different guise.

https://www.aljazeera.com/mritems/Images/2018/9/5/dd396bf2b30b470d8dfbbd1e6e401483_6.jpg

Posted by: Yonatan | Oct 20, 2018 6:42:29 AM | 51

Yonatan thanks.
Saraqab - Suheil al-Hassan, leader of Tiger forces is now positioned in that area. S-300's will soon be operational.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 20, 2018 6:56:21 AM | 52

The US see the Islamic state and Alqaeda, at this stage, as useful pawns, as in 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' Putin and Lavrov can obviously see this and are planning accordingly, but when dealing with a foolish and arrogant "partner" like the US, they have to be careful. I think time is on the Russia and Syrian side and that with Iranian and Hezbollah help the axis of US/Israel and Saudi Arabia can be beaten, after all the attack on Syria was just the opening gambit on the war against Iran and Lebanon. International law is dead, Chairman Mao was correct [unfortunately] power does grow out the barrel of a gun.

Posted by: Harry Law | Oct 20, 2018 7:02:14 AM | 53

Two U.S. air attacks on Thursday and Friday killed 58 people in an ISIS held town east of the Euphrates. 41 of those are said to be civilians.

Don't expect any 'western' media to write about that massacre ...

Posted by: b | Oct 20, 2018 2:11:55 PM | 54

Do you remember that, at the outset of the Americans allegedly fighting ISIS, 7500 sorties were reported to have flown against ISIS ... no discernible result ... until Russia published the photos of the miles-long oil convoys waiting to enter Turkey.

Posted by: chet380 | Oct 20, 2018 2:54:15 PM | 55

thanks b and for the additional comment @54.. your title says it all... someone must think people are stupid...

Posted by: james | Oct 20, 2018 3:11:47 PM | 56

Harry Law 53
The US has had somewhat Islamist "jihadi proxies" since before the time of the Soviets in Afghanistan. They are useful pawns but they do have a cost.

Posted by: Curtis | Oct 20, 2018 4:58:30 PM | 57

Hey b!

Here in Corvallis Oregon USA, Cloudfare tells me going to the site you linked to in #54 is FORBIDDEN

So not only will it not be reported in the West but there is unpublished control of information going on now that is a reminder of the Dark Ages when the Crab Nebulae went supernovae in 1054 for 23 days and nights and it was reported all over the world except in Europe because the doctrine of the church said the night sky did not change.

I don't think this strategy will be successful this time but it shows how little some of humanity has evolved since then.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 20, 2018 5:20:06 PM | 58

Hey b!

Here in Corvallis Oregon USA, Cloudfare tells me going to the site you linked to in #54 is FORBIDDEN

So not only will it not be reported in the West but there is unpublished control of information going on now that is a reminder of the Dark Ages when the Crab Nebulae went supernovae in 1054 for 23 days and nights and it was reported all over the world except in Europe because the doctrine of the church said the night sky did not change.

I don't think this strategy will be successful this time but it shows how little some of humanity has evolved since then.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 20, 2018 5:20:06 PM | 59

psychohistorian

I tried the link and same here. The site b links to is the SOHR website which I used to check on now and then. Odd that SOHR website is now blocked although the twitter account is still available.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 20, 2018 5:45:23 PM | 60

Thank you for mentioning the FORBIDDEN message.

I've been getting Server Not Found notifications on my outside-the-US reading sites numerously the past two months, and I must say I wondered if TPTB here in the US finally figured out how to unobtrusively censor particular outside information sites.

Posted by: Summer Diaz | Oct 21, 2018 1:36:57 AM | 61

@61 summer... i think that is correct! usually you can over ride those messages and add an exception.. not sure if it works her....

Posted by: james | Oct 21, 2018 2:54:53 AM | 62

nope... but the story is being covered in rt as well which you can read............. stilll....... for not sure how much longer.......

Posted by: james | Oct 21, 2018 2:56:43 AM | 63

Check if this link corrects the cause of the FORBIDDEN message (or similar messages that claim that linked page is a security risk). After getting the message, I deleted "htpps:" and the page number and navigated to "More casualties in al-Susah massacres raise the death toll to 58 including 41 civilians, killed by International Coalition warplanes east of Euphrates River"

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 21, 2018 2:16:19 PM | 64

@ Piotr Berman with the optional link

Sorry, it didn't work for me

Here is the link that I got from DuckDuckGo that gave me most of the story I believe.
http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=72525

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 21, 2018 3:49:07 PM | 65

@50

Russia or Iran engaging American forces directly in the Syrian theatre would be an extremely stupid and reckless move. I get that in the western imagination passivity in response to deliberate provocation is interpreted as wussy, wimpy and weak...and in the case of, say, a kid being taunted by the school bully, I agree that a swift punch to the face can be an effective way to shut the aggressor down. But the stakes here are slightly higher. Believe it or not, a competent military commander’s first concern when making strategic decisions is not how the optics will play out in the minds of foreign observers. The world should be glad that Putin isn’t a narcissistic egomaniac who prioritizes compulsive macho posturing over self-discipline and long term thinking.

Posted by: Novice Novichok | Oct 22, 2018 6:43:06 AM | 66

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