Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 31, 2018

Syria - 'Country Of The Year' 2018

George Galloway is right:

George Galloway @georgegalloway - 11:46 utc - 31 Dec 2018

The defeat of the imperialist armies and their head-chopping auxiliaries in the alphabet soup of Islamist extremism by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies was the most significant event of the year or any year since the US defeat in Vietnam. It will change the world.

January 2018 - bigger

December 2018 - bigger

The consolidation of the Syrian government control came at a relatively low price.

Syria's nearly eight-year-old conflict saw its lowest annual death toll in 2018 as the regime reasserted its authority over swathes of territory, a war monitor said Monday.

A total of 19,666 people were killed this year as a result of the conflict, which erupted in 2011, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported.
"Most of those killed during the first part of the year were killed in regime and Russian bombardment of opposition areas, including Eastern Ghouta," Abdel Rahman said.

"The majority of those killed in the second half of the year were killed in coalition air strikes," he added.

The attack against the last Islamic State held territory north of the Euphrates and near the Iraqi border was intentionally delayed for nearly a full year. Since Trump announced his intention to have U.S. troops leave Syria as soon as possible, the U.S. military and its Kurdish proxy force suddenly make significant progress against the remnants of ISIS.


Yesterday the Syrian government authorized the Iraqi airforce to attack ISIS within Syria. Such action is planned in the Baghdad war room where Syria, Iraq, Iran and Russia exchange intelligence and coordinate their fight. Today Iraqi jets hit an alleged ISIS command meeting in al-Susah, Syria. This reinforces the assertion that the U.S. is no longer needed to defeat the Islamic State.

With the U.S. on its way out, the northeast is likely to soon come back under government control. By the end of next year Idleb will also be cleaned of al-Qaeda and similar Islamist gangs.

For seven years the empire and its proxies threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Syria. The country and its people defeated all attacks and survived. They are damaged but very alive. If there were some "country of the year 2018" contest Syria surely would have won it.

Posted by b on December 31, 2018 at 16:56 UTC | Permalink


Happy New Years to's wishing you the best...

Posted by: notlurking | Dec 31 2018 17:09 utc | 1

Amen to that! They still got a way to go. Hopefully Pres. Hump will still stick to his withdrawal, unless someone catches his ear and he flips again. That’s still a possibility. A good example is Lindsey Graham talking to him just recently and planting a seed of doubt on his decision. Hopefully it doesn’t bear fruit.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Dec 31 2018 17:20 utc | 2

Yesterday the Syrian government authorized the Iraqi airforce to attack ISIS within Syria.
That would mainly be done using the Su-25 “Frogfoot” attack aircraft from Russia and Iran. The US 'thoughtfully' left Iraq w/o an air arm, then grudgingly, slowly is giving Iraq some F-16s.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 17:26 utc | 3

Two small but steadfast US enemies, Iran and Syria, have shown that it's possible to stand up to the US and survive, a lesson not lost on the big guys, China and Russia. Those two countries are now the designated "peer adversaries" that Washington is currently arming up to fight, but haven't US losses in small countries made itself a non-peer? Then throw in some major military acquisition mistakes, like F-35 LCS DD-1000 & CVN, and the US is not a contender.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 17:37 utc | 4

Hopefully Syria will be left alone but dont bet on it with Bolton and Trump in charge. Both HATE Iran.
Chemical attacks will "happen" and US, France, UK will bomb Syria again.

Not to mention the bad situation Iran is is now.
Trump leaving Iran deal and EU dont seems to mind but follow Trump,
US could very well commit to the same type of bombings inside Iran as they have done in Syria.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 31 2018 17:54 utc | 5

As if attempting to escalate a war in Syria weren't enough, as shown in this article, recent moves by the United States Senate have the potential to create a hot war with Russia:

While Donald Trump entered office thinking that he could end American military operations around the globe, Congress has made that goal impossible to attain.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Dec 31 2018 18:00 utc | 6

The Iraqis have done this before. In June this year,
and in April this year.

And more recently, on Dec. 11th.

Some of the most recent strikes seems to be coordinated with US attacks on ISIS in Hajin area of Deir ez Zor.

Shoigu had warned that the US effort was weak. But the US won't work with Russian Aerospace, so they brought in Iraqi planes.

America's Exceptionalism is the sad joke of the war. They can kill civilians and bomb two huge cities into total rubble (Mosul and Raqqa) but don't know how to win a war.

Even Trump has just Tweeted his two four-star Generals couldn't defeat ISIS. They haven't won any war ever in their long careers. Trump knows. Most of all the, the enemy knows.

Get ready for a long insurgency war in Syria as US actually stays (right across the border) and UK and France help created chaos inside Syria.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Dec 31 2018 18:01 utc | 7

Happy new year b, 2019 seems to be starting as very positive year for Syria, coming from an outstanding 2018. The war of aggression against the Syrians is ending, and will let many stink tanks without their funds to spread lies and fake news against the Syrians. Stay safe b.

Posted by: Canthama | Dec 31 2018 18:07 utc | 8

@ Zanon | Dec 31, 2018 12:54:42 PM | 5
US, France, UK will bomb Syria again.
No. Syria now has a fine air defense system.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 18:14 utc | 9

@ Red Ryder | Dec 31, 2018 1:01:06 PM | 7
They can kill civilians and bomb two huge cities into total rubble (Mosul and Raqqa) but don't know how to win a war.
Yes, and they also used indirect fire including 155mm howitzers on Raqqa.

A small Marine artillery battalion fired more rounds than any artillery battalion since Vietnam.
“They fired more rounds in five months in Raqqa, Syria, than any other Marine artillery battalion, or any Marine or Army battalion, since the Vietnam war,” said Army Sgt. Major. John Wayne Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“In five months they fired 35,000 artillery rounds on ISIS targets, killing ISIS fighters by the dozens,” Troxell told Marine Corps Times during a roundtable discussion Jan. 23. “We needed them to put pressure on ISIS and we needed them to kill ISIS.” . .here

That's a world-class war crime.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 18:19 utc | 10

There have been periods, during the past six years, in which it sometimes seemed that there were very few places, apart from this blog, in which accurate information and honest analysis of the war in Syria, which is the most active front in the Empire's war to achieve global hegemony.
No doubt there are many in Syria today who offer particularly sincere good wishes to Bernhard, and the stalwarts who support his efforts and refine his analyses, for the New Year.
Here is a toast, fill your own glasses, to free speech and independent minds!

Posted by: bevin | Dec 31 2018 18:30 utc | 11

I don't know, but nearly 20,000 people killed and many more injured or turned into refugees does not sound like a very good year to me. Nevertheless, I do appreciate the facts that the Syrian civil war is drawing to a conclusion and the jihadists are nearly destroyed. In that sense, the trend is good. Let us hope that Trump, whom in every other way I detest, will follow through on his plan to disengage from the destructive and immoral wars that the U.S. is fighting and sponsoring.

Posted by: Rob | Dec 31 2018 18:35 utc | 12

Don Bacon

"No. Syria now has a fine air defense system."

I dont think you would stand by that argument for very long into 2019. We can check eventually.
The fact is of course that US, France, UK, Israel have bombed Syria 100s of times and they will continue to do this with any bogus claim.
Same goes for Iran and also Hezbollah.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 31 2018 18:43 utc | 13

After 39 years, which has seen the US become completely self-sufficient with oil, isn't it time to revisit the Carter Doctrine?

wiki -- The Carter Doctrine was a policy proclaimed by President of the United States Jimmy Carter in his State of the Union Address on January 23, 1980, which stated that the United States would use military force, if necessary, to defend its national interests in the Persian Gulf.

But the problem is that the US is forward-deployed into the Gulf area, with huge expensive assets to support continued wars against mostly defenseless countries, and now there are no such enemies left. And there's Russia's presence in Syria, which the Carter Doctrine was designed to counter. What to do?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 18:51 utc | 14

Both the UK and France are well aware of what Iran bought on the black market
during the collapse of the USSR.
I know MI6 is because I was asked on the old school tie network to give an 'outside'
opinion on their ability to maintain those nukes, and where they would store them,because
of the time I had spent in country.
If MI6 knew so did every other western agencies.They were mirved warhead still on their busses.
Which raises the question of whether anyone has told Trump ?

Posted by: Winston2 | Dec 31 2018 18:53 utc | 15

Actually it is naive to think that the ashkanazi owned Americans are ever going to leave Syria or the region unless forced to. The British planted Zionist cancer in the region as soon as OIL was discovered in Iran at Masjid e Soleiman in 1901 followed by the Balfour declaration a couple decades later and then the Americunts discovered oil in Saudi pimpdom followed by revolt against the Ottomans. The Americunts and their NATO stooges have two goals in the region:

1. Plunder and control of Arab oil as long as the west is dependent upon fossil fuels.
2. The preservation of the Zionist cancer in Palestine and its expansion by dividing the Arabs and fanning sectarianism. The support for corrupt puppet regimes is key pillar of the plan.

Anyone who thinks that without the destruction of the Zionist cancer there will be peace in the region or the world is smoking some really strong CIA grown Afghan red stuff.

Posted by: charles | Dec 31 2018 19:01 utc | 16

Don Bacon @ 9:

I'm afraid you will be better off convincing a brick wall that Russia has delivered the S300 missile defence system to Syria and is currently training the Syrians to use it.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 31 2018 19:30 utc | 17

Jen @ 17
I don't know. Seems to me that once Russia in theory gave the S 300's to Syria then that was about when everything sort of went quiet and still is.

Posted by: arby | Dec 31 2018 19:33 utc | 18

@ Jen | Dec 31, 2018 2:30:08 PM | 17
Yes, and it's more than the S300 missile defence system.
The Syrian Air Defense Force (SyADF), officially the Syrian Arab Air Defense Force, is an independent command within the Syrian Armed Forces.

The Syrian Air Defense Force controls four air defense corps, eleven air defense divisions and thirty-six air defense brigades, each with six SAM battalions. It is equipped with 650 static S-75 Dvina, S-125 Neva/Pechora and S-200 launchers, 300 mobile 2K12 Kub, Pantsir S-1 and Buk launchers and over 4,000 anti-aircraft guns ranging from 23mm to 100mm in caliber. There are also two independent 9K33 Osa SAM regiments, each with four batteries of 48 mobile SAMs. An unknown number of S-300 system were delivered to Syria in 2018.[1]
The Syrian early warning system comprises Long Track; P-12 Spoon Rest; P-14 Tall King; H-15 Flat Face; P-30 Big Mesh; P-35 Bar Lock; P-80; PRV-13; PRV-16 Thin Skin mobile and static radar sites throughout Syria.

CNN, Dec 25:
(CNN)Syrian Air Defenses intercepted and downed "a number of hostile targets" over the western countryside of Damascus on Tuesday, according to the Syrian state-run news agency SANA.
SANA reported "the aggression" was carried out from Lebanese airspace.
Three Syrian soldiers were injured during an Israeli missile assault on an ammunition depot, SANA reported, citing a military source. Syrian Air Defenses intercepted and downed most of the missiles, with damage limited to the depot, the agency reported.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 31 2018 19:39 utc | 19

Rob @ 12:

Most of the nearly 20,000 people killed in Syria in 2018 will have been jihadists allied with ISIS or Tahrir al Sham (the rebranded Jabhat al Nusra and friends aka al Qaeda in Syria) and most of the people made refugees will also be jihadists and their families.

So I don't think there will be very much mourning here at MoA for those dead, save for their wives and girlfriends (who, on second thoughts, are probably as fanatical as the men if not more so and therefore just as undeserving of sympathy) and their children.

There was news recently that Canada resettled a group of former White Helmets members in Nova Scotia. The source of the news was Guardian writer Kareem Shaheen, who is based in Istanbul. Shaheen holds the dubious distinction of being the first reporter on the scene (within half an hour, apparently, though I could be wrong) of the supposed CW attack in Khan Sheykhoun in April 2017.

I'd have preferred to see these terrorists settled in Canadian FM Chrystia Freeland's Toronto electorate or in the prairie provinces among Ukrainian-Canadian supporters of the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 31 2018 19:42 utc | 20

thanks b.. yes, if there was a country of the year award syria would be the winner...says something about all the hostility directed at syria, doesn't it... i want to lean towards a positive outlook, but i find it very difficult knowing what i do on the nature of the usa and west generally and their quick ability to act on false flags without due diligence... so, i am inclined to agree with @7 red ryder... i would also like to 2nd @11 bevins comments.. thanks bevin...

on the other syrian thread one of the house trolls linked to an al jazeera report to suggest syria was working with isis... russia has done an amazing job of resolving so much of this conflict peacefully by relocating the moderate headchoppers to idlib for the most part... reading between the lines, i suppose this is where russia and syria are '''working with isis''.... these false equivalency examples are so much bs, it seems pointless to comment on them.. however, i thought it worth mentioning if any country deserves a kudos for their ability to rise to the challenge of war, russia does.. they look for ways to avoid war!! this baffles those with no understanding of what a more measured truly sophisticated response would look like.. the way the usa responde in mosul and raqqa highlight the same ignorance... lets hope we don't see it repeated as we so often have over the past number of years... wishing syria a happy new year and one that has none of what they have been put thru the past 7 or more years..

Posted by: james | Dec 31 2018 19:51 utc | 21

If Syria wins the award for Country of the Year 2018, I'd hate to see who gets the Wooden Spoon for 2018. There must be quite a few serious contenders for that prize!

Britain must surely be in the running for many reasons: among others, the sheer disaster that is Theresa May's government (and the various clowns and thuggish goons that constitute her Cabinet), the Brexit mess, the Skripal poisoning circus, Britain's own collapse in controlling the propaganda narrative on Syria and the revelations about Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, and their ties to the British military establishment.

Posted by: Jen | Dec 31 2018 20:36 utc | 22

USA pulling out of Syria is the best Christmans-present I could ask for! Thank You Trump! Now Kurds are getting back on board with Syria, and western forces, with their terrorist mercenaries are going to flee, as to not get trapped behind enemy lines! Yeay!

Posted by: Alexander Grimsmo | Dec 31 2018 21:04 utc | 23

Happy New Year to all.

Posted by: ritzl | Dec 31 2018 21:30 utc | 24

Another horrible story from Zion.
"Doctors in Gaza and the West Bank have said they are battling an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, a growing problem in the world’s conflict zones, which could also spill over the Palestinian borders.

"The rise and spread of such virulent infections adds to the devastation of war, increasing medical costs, blocking hospital beds because patients need care for longer, and often leaving people whose injuries might once have been healed with life-changing disabilities.

"Gaza is a particularly fertile breeding ground for superbugs because its health system has been worn down by years of blockade, and antibiotics are in short supply, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found.

“This is a global health security issue because multi-drug-resistant organisms don’t know any boundaries,” said Dina Nasser, lead infection control nurse at Augusta Victoria hospital in East Jerusalem, who has also worked in Gaza. “That’s why the global community, even if it’s not interested in the politics of Gaza, should be interested in this.”

"Even though doctors in Gaza knew protocols to prevent the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, persistent shortages of antibiotics meant they could not always follow them, they told reporters. Patients take incomplete courses of antibiotics or are prescribed a mix because the right medicine is not available."
The 'full' story in at The Guardian.

Israel and the rest of the world could be about to learn what rich people in the UK discovered after cholera, originating in bad living conditions for the working people, had killed tens of thousands in the 1830s.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 31 2018 21:40 utc | 25


"S-300 delivery to Syria ‘adequate’ response to protect Russian servicemen – Putin to Netanyahu "

A S300 will not ever be used by syrians to shoot down israeli, american missiles/jets.
But sure, I will save your comment too and see if you were right when US/Israel attack Syria throughout 2019 and if a S300 will be used.

Posted by: Zanon | Dec 31 2018 21:51 utc | 26

Jen @22
Agreed the wooden spoon goes to UK. It would look good adorned with a Novifraud logo something like a snake eating its tail.

On the Syria front I think there is so much to be learned from the joint approach by Syrian and Russian forces in their negotiated deconflict strategies. It sure is better than clubbing each other to death! I see that Raqqua and Mosul exemplified the latter. It does help when you have a place to relocate the recalcitrants though.

I guess the Idlib situation could be managed / tolerated for years as the fighters murder each other and the public health situation degrades rapidly. The chance of infants attaining the age of five or at best ten years is very poor in those circumstances as the primary social determinants of health are flawed or absent. Replacement fighters will be harder to find and (big maybe) Turkey blocks passage of replenishment killers.

Time will tell in Idlib but I expect the many Arab Syrian villages in Kurdish occupied lands will continue to make nice with Assad's team and that will leave the Kurds in an unpleasant occupying/negotiating position. Perhaps the Kurds will make the future they need regardless now of what the yankees demand. For countries like Syria with its multiple religious and ethnic streams, the philosophy of clan syndicalism may well be worth returning to.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 31 2018 21:59 utc | 27

Yesterday's 21st Century Wire interview (courtesy of an ICIT Digital Library YouTube video) is worth a listen:

Vanessa Beeley: Syria, Looking Back and Ahead.

If I were the child of Vanessa Beeley and John Pilger, what a journalist I might have been! ;)

Posted by: Ort | Dec 31 2018 22:17 utc | 28

It is great that the Iraqis are charting an independent course from the US. What would be the propaganda line on that? Iraq, who we LEIBERATED, from tyranny at the cost of so many US lives, is now exercising free [political] will? Bomb them?

I do not believe there is a countering propaganda line to Iraqi free/political will. That line was expended going in. Not one that makes sense anyway.And by "makes sense" I mean to the US voting public. IOW, this duplicity is close to an end. If Iraq acts (in any direction) based upon the "freedom" the US ostensibly installed through its invasion in 2003, what is the propaganda counterargument? Invade them again?????

Everybody in the US gets it now.

Posted by: ritzl | Jan 1 2019 1:04 utc | 29

Ort @ 28

Thanks. A valuable, informative interview.

Posted by: pogohere | Jan 1 2019 2:12 utc | 30

SS @ 6 said:"While Donald Trump entered office thinking that he could end American military operations around the globe, Congress has made that goal impossible to attain."

More campaign rhetoric that will never happen. Just as the full withdrawal from Syria will never take place. The forces behind DJT will not permit it.

Posted by: ben | Jan 1 2019 3:42 utc | 31

"Trump 'orders US troops to slow down Syria withdrawal"

Full withdrawal huh? We'll see..

Posted by: ben | Jan 1 2019 3:49 utc | 32

SS @ 6 said:"While Donald Trump entered office thinking that he could end American military operations around the globe, Congress has made that goal impossible to attain."

Similarly, Congress prevented Trump from replacing ACA (a.k.a Obamacare) with "something marvelous". Figuring what Trump is thinking, or is he thinking (when he says or twits something) is beyond the capability of psychological sciences of early 21st century.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 1 2019 5:22 utc | 33

Full withdrawal huh? We'll see..
Posted by: ben | Dec 31, 2018 10:49:48 PM | 32

It's (apparently) easy to forget AmeriKKKa's cowardly, mendacious and half-arsed approach to warmongering. I just googled US casualties in Korean War which turned up this example of Wisdom In Hindsight:

"The casualty toll had been reported as 54,246 until June 2000, when the Pentagon acknowledged that a clerical error had included deaths outside the Korean War theater in the total. There are 7,704 American soldiers still unaccounted for from the Korean War as of April 2018."

Then I looked for Start of US involvement in Vietnam which revealed that the meddling began before the end of the Korean War and before the French eviction. However, official, direct US involvement didn't begin until the Gulf of Tonkin FF in 1964.

So, having observed and meddled in Vietnam for nearly a decade before 1964, the Yankees nevertheless persuaded themselves that the Viets should be a pushover, and decided to show the French just how easy teaching gooks, with the wrong-coloured skin, 'a lesson they'll never forget' can be. And whilst the Vietnamese never forgot, the Yankees seized the opportunity to fine-tune their Creative Amnesia skills.
And Gore Vidal seized the opportunity to Christen AmeriKKKa The United States of Amnesia.
John Pilger's soap opera The Coming War With China was rebroadcast on Oz TV last week. It opens with a chapter & verse redux of AmeriKKKa's Nuke tests in the Pacific and insinuates that they used the hapless Pacific Islanders as guinea pigs to cook up a Surviveability Index for a Post Nuclear Armageddon world. If the viewer buys into the premise then it's at least mildly alarming because whilst there's no doubt that AmeriKKKa's warmongers are totally insane, their creative forgetfulness compounds the hazard.
Happy New Year!

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 1 2019 6:03 utc | 34


Thanks for that link, well we cant be surprised, Trump cannot be trusted on anything - with bolton in charge he will do whatever he and deep state tells him.
I guess that we will be hearing that troops will go back home first at, i.e 2025.
This results in more fighting in Syria and more strikes by the US, as expected.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 1 2019 11:59 utc | 35

If there were some "country of the year 2018" contest Syria surely would have won it.

A hundred cheers for Syria and her friends!

Posted by: BM | Jan 1 2019 12:56 utc | 36

It's Graham saying that "Trump 'orders US troops to slow down Syria withdrawal", not Trump himself. I think it's quite hard to row back on the decision - the occupied nations (e.g. Rojavan Kurds), have lost confidence in the US. Things can't be the same again.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 1 2019 12:58 utc | 37

@ Laguerre | Jan 1, 2019 7:58:09 AM | 37
Things can't be the same again.
The situation was already in the toilet for the US, with no viable options.
But it's hard to say "goodbye" so they draw it out like it's a difficult decision, when actually it's an unavoidable decision.
Kenny Rogers--
You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 1 2019 14:56 utc | 38

Iraq is taking over the air fight against US-supported ISIS.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi warplanes hit a meeting of Islamic State leaders near Deir al-Zor in Syria on Monday, destroying the building they were gathered in, the military said in a statement, without giving further details about the militants targeted.
The statement said F-16 fighter jets carried out the raid around al-Sousa village in eastern Syria, as “30 leaders from Daesh (Islamic State) gangs” met in the building. . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 1 2019 15:11 utc | 39

Here's to a New Year free of arguments consisting solely of one another calling each other trolls or other such names.

Posted by: morongobill | Jan 1 2019 15:21 utc | 40

Ort @28

Thank you for best gift of the New Year--Interview with Vanessa Beeley from Aleppo.

Posted by: Glorious Bach | Jan 1 2019 17:13 utc | 41

@29 ritzl

Good point! And same goes with the slow-down (reversal?) of US troop withdrawal from Syria. Kinda hard to go back after you've trumpeted "mission accomplished" in both countries

Which brings to mind that famous quote by that philosopher and paragon of intellect and past president of the Outlaw US Empire (tm)(karlof1), GW:

"There's an old saying in Tennessee I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."

Let's hope & pray the US public hold their feet to the fire in 2019

Posted by: xLemming | Jan 1 2019 17:24 utc | 42

Smells like denial


It's Graham saying that "Trump 'orders US troops to slow down Syria withdrawal", not Trump himself.

Don Bacon:

it's hard to say "goodbye" so they draw it out like it's a difficult decision ...

Trump already back-tracked in his speech to the troops in Syria, saying:

There will be a strong, deliberate, and orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria — very deliberate, very orderly — while maintaining the U.S. presence in Iraq to prevent an ISIS resurgence and to protect U.S. interests, and also to always watch very closely over any potential reformation of ISIS and also to watch over Iran. We’ll be watching.
The change to "very deliberate, very orderly" withdrawal came after reports that the withdrawal would be completed in 60-90 days (and before that, it had been reported to be within 30 days).

In this speech, Trump also contradicted his own determination that ISIS was defeated as stated in a Dec. 19th tweet:

We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.

Graham says that Trump "told me some things I didn't know" but he hasn't said what those things are. In a Dec. 30th tweet, he described the reasons for Trump's "pause" as:

The President will make sure any withdrawal from Syria will be done in a fashion to ensure:

1) ISIS is permanently destroyed.

2) Iran doesn’t fill in the back end, and

3) our Kurdish allies are protected.

This deserves some unpacking:
- "permanently" essentially makes US occupation indefinite;

- "fill in the back end" is anti-Iran BS but hints at the real purpose of remaining: to continue to split the "Shia Crescent";

- Kurds are pawns as was underscored by Trump's willingness to sell them out to Erdogan; Israeli, Saudi, and Turkish NATO allies are much more important to USA.

Saudis and Israelis want USA to continue to split the "Shia Crescent", and Turks want to smash Kurds and keep parts of Northern Syria.

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

Graham spoke for Trump simply because it was politically inconvenient for Trump to backtrack any further than "very deliberate, very orderly".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 1 2019 18:13 utc | 43

what people want isn't necessarily the same as what they are going to get... i don't think trump is worried about what is politically inconvenient, or that he needs graham to speak for him... this is just more layering on the confusion cake that is a usa specialty as well... time is going to tell, and actions speak louder the words, or tweets as the case may be..

Posted by: james | Jan 1 2019 18:57 utc | 44

You are top of the righthand list this noon, James, so a happy New Year to you! Yes, actions speak louder than words, and as b is documenting up top, the next focus of attention here ought to be poor Yemen. I feel deeply for that country, but feelings don't count in the real world, so my prayers will be for Yemen today. And prayers do count!

We are experiencing a mammoth snow dump here in my region - the biggest since I've been here, and that is now approaching 30 years. It's not really a blizzard as so far no awful wind, so things could be worse. But it is the highest pile I've ever seen on my wall outside, so that is something.

Be safe, all, and a happy, (if frigid) New Year!

Posted by: juliania | Jan 1 2019 19:12 utc | 45

Well, I noticed that my posted comment on New Year´s Eve which got lost into the ether for around a whole day or so appeared, in the end, but not before it were sepulted by about a dozen plus comments which continue coming in, with which, I fear, almost everybody, except those who are delayed in the reading of that Syrian Sit-Rep and so had not yet reached that point on the comments would had not been aware of it, especialy the commenter which was directed at...

Then, I find it also fitting well in this thread on celebrations of Syrian achievements and success...Thus, I am going to venture reposting it here.....

Posted by: Sasha | Dec 30, 2018 4:45:56 PM | 194

Related to what I was discussing at that thread as what seemed to me a strange and renewed "coordinated effort" on slandering Assad, just the site Strategic Culture is featuring today an article which, taking advantage of the "fake news" topic does not lose the opportunity to slander Assad at the best Sorosian style we had witnessed in the first years of the Syrian war in the MSM...

Thus, I think we must conclude indeed that this is really a coordinated I noticed...Another site which lose its least for me...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 1 2019 19:32 utc | 46

SANA reported no such thing regarding authorizing Iraq to strike into Syria. You, b, should have checked the source but didn't.
Because Fox news implied this was true doesn't mean it is.
that's the article covering Iraq/Syria's cooperative talk and it say's nothing about allowing free reign airstrikes

b "With the U.S. on its way out"
They aren't going anywhere. And why this is being claimed as a fact is very questionable

Posted by: anonymous | Jan 1 2019 19:50 utc | 47


They aren't going anywhere. And why this is being claimed as a fact is very questionable

Indeed, people are too quick - again, also another regime wont move out of Syria...,

Turkish media reveals half of France’s military bases in Syria

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 1 2019 21:09 utc | 48

I noticed the same news here--no idea about the source though--

Posted by: arby | Jan 1 2019 21:15 utc | 49

@45 juliania... thanks! to you as well - happy new year... i always enjoy your commentary and presence here, even if i don't say it directly to you... i love the area of the world you live in and would enjoy visiting it again.. that is interesting the major snow dump.. i suppose that is unusual, but it seems the weather is becoming more unusual all over the world more regularly.. happy trails and enjoy the snow while it lasts! hopefully something positive will come out of yemen to offset all the hardship the country has been subjected to...i am with you in that as well..

Posted by: james | Jan 1 2019 21:59 utc | 50

In spite of "coordinated efforts", Syria will be the country with the highest economic growth rate in 2019, according to The Economist, which, along with the exemplar leadership president Assad has demonstrated through this war, will push the support of the Syrians for him, already high, to stratospheric percentage...No wonder some have started a new campaign on discrediting him...

The Economist magazine confirmed that 2019 will be a year of notable growth for some leading nations among which will be Syria, which will become the country with the highest rate of economic growth in 2019, according to predictions.

"The fastest growing country in 2019 is probably Syria, which is trying to recover from the war years," the publication said in a report. "The Syrian economy is expected to grow by 10 percent, which will be the highest growth rate in the world."

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 1 2019 23:02 utc | 51

This deserves some unpacking:
- "permanently" essentially makes US occupation indefinite;
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 1, 2019 1:13:14 PM | 43

What inspired you to imagine that the word "permanently" requires clarification at MoA, or anywhere else?

If you were looking for something genuinely ambiguous to clarify you probably would have noticed this cite from Trump a few paragraphs up..

" very closely over any potential reformation of ISIS and also to watch over Iran. We’ll be watching."

Get it?
"Watch over" = 'guard' or 'protect' and Trump undertook to watch over both ISIS and Iran. Which is pretty amusing, imo. But the audience, of course, heard what it wanted to hear.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 2 2019 4:37 utc | 52

US Army Continues Sending Military Hardware to Eastern Syria After Pullout Call

Posted by: arby | Jan 2 2019 13:29 utc | 53

It seems that everybody who visits Syria with honest aim and eyes, gets with the same impression about this great people, independently of whether it happens in peace or war times...

Here the vision by André Vltchek, just after visiting Syria a month ago, quite hopefull indeed....

I found a beautiful, confident and proud country. I am also writing a long report about my visit there.

I met many victims, common people, but also a General, and a Minister of Education, who is also an accomplished novelist. His motto is: "Ministry of Education is like Ministry of Defense". Correct: education without ideology and passion is just a waste of time.

Syria won. And there, the entire Arab world won together with it. Arabs were, for decades, thoroughly humiliated - by the West, by Israel, by their own leaders who were put on the throne by London, Paris and Washington.

As I have written many times, Aleppo is the Stalingrad of the Middle East. The losses were terrible, all over Syria. But the victory is tremendous, too. Pan-Arabism will blossom again. People in all countries of the region are watching and now they know: it is possible to defeat Western imperialism and its spooks, its terrorist implants.

Russia stood by its Arab sister with determination, but also very wisely. It used diplomacy whenever it could, and it used force only when there was no other way. In Syria, the Russians won people's hearts. 'Thank you, Russia!', is everywhere, even engraved on traditional wooden boxes. The Russian language being my native tongue, opened so many doors, as it opened thousands of doors to me in Afghanistan (I never expected it there).

Syria has to finalize its victory, soon. And I will be back, to cover events there. At the front if needed.

It is tremendously optimistic and beautiful to be in a country which did not prostitute itself; a country that stood tall, fought hard, for its own people and for the entire region. There is great confidence and kindness on the faces of people. Celebration is not loud, because, after all, so many people died. But people are out, till the morning, men and women, boys and girls. Cafes are packed; the streets of Damascus are bustling. But even in Homs and the destroyed suburbs of Damascus, life is defiantly returning to normal.

What a nation! Yes, they say 'Thank you Russia!". As an internationalist, I say: "Thank you Syria!"

I also say, Thank you, Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah!

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 2 2019 14:20 utc | 54

Trump bows to domestic pressure by delaying his withdrawal from Syria; a storm is gathering in the Levant

Posted by: arby | Jan 2 2019 20:39 utc | 55

Time is going to tell, and actions speak louder the words, or tweets as the case may be..
soundcloud downloader

Posted by: Roger Williams | Jan 18 2019 3:37 utc | 56

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