Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 16, 2019

A Turkish 'Security Zone' In Northeast Syria Is A Bad Idea

U.S. President Trump wants U.S. troops to leave northeast Syria. His National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried to sabotage that move. Trump came up with idea to hand northeast Syria to Turkey, but soon was told that Turkey would fight the Kurdish YPK/PKK who the U.S. armed and used as proxy force against the Islamic State.

Turkey has no interest in fighting the Islamic State or in occupying Raqqa and other Arabic ethnic cities along the Euphrates. Its only interest is to prevent the formation of an armed Kurdish entity that could threaten its soft southern underbelly. It thus came up with the idea of a "security zone" in Syria that it would occupy to keep the Kurds away from its borders.


But that border strip is exactly where the major Kurdish settlements are. Ayn al-Arab, in Kurdish 'Kobane', and many other cities along the border all have largely Kurdish populations. These would certainly fight against a Turkish occupation. Turkey also wants to control the Manbij area west of the Euphrates.

Russia will not allow Turkish control of more Syrian land:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday the Syrian regime must take control of the country's north, after calls from the United States to set up a Turkish-controlled "security zone" in the area.

"We are convinced that the best and only solution is the transfer of these territories under the control of the Syrian government, and of Syrian security forces and administrative structures," Lavrov told reporters.

The Kurdish organizations and the Syrian government also also reject the Turkish plan:

“Syria affirms that any attempt to target its unity will be considered as a clear aggression and an occupation of its territories as well as a support and protection for the international terrorism by Turkey,” [an official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry] said.

Turkey moved enough troops to its border to launch an invasion but the risk for its economy is high. There are local elections in March and the Turkish President Erdogan does not want to upset them by jumping into a quagmire. Erdogan will soon visit Russia again and discuss the issue with President Putin. Most likely Erdogan will be convinced that Syrian government control over the Kurdish areas, and Russian guarantees for a mostly quiet border, are a better solution than a costly Turkish occupation of a hostile population.

Earlier today a suicide bomber killed 4 U.S. soldiers and wounded at least three in an attack in Manbij city (video). A number of YPK/PKK fighters and bystanders were also killed or wounded. The incident happened in front of a restaurant where the U.S. troops presumably were meeting someone. In March 2018 an IED attack in Manbij killed two U.S. soldiers.

Kurdish sources accused sleeper cells of Turkish supported terrorist groups of the incident. Ahmad Rahhal, a Turkish sponsored leader of the 'Free Syrian Army', accused 'Syrian government agents' within the Islamic State. A Turkish news service accused the YPG of responsibility. Others suspect the CIA initiated this to keep Trump in Syria. Neither is likely right. The Islamic State took credit through its regular outlets and even named the suicide bomber.

The killed and wounded U.S. troops were evacuated in a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter.

The S-92 is not flown by U.S., French or British forces in Syria. The armed helicopter is likely owned and operated by a private military company hired by the U.S. military for MedEvac services. This again proves that official U.S. numbers of 2,000 soldiers in northeast Syria do not paint the full picture. There are surely several thousands more, including more than 1,000 French troops, 200 British SAS and several hundreds if not thousands of U.S. contractors who are also involved in combat missions.

The suicide attack in Manbij also confirms that the Islamic State, even as it lost nearly all its territory, will continue to exist as an underground terrorist organization. One reason is that many of its fighters escape by bribing the U.S. proxy forces who evacuate civilians from the last Islamic State held territory:

[T]he Syrian Observatory learned that some of those who fled the enclave of the organization, and while being transported to Al-Omar Oilfield and before being sorted out into camps, pay large sums of money in order to get out to areas such as Al-Busayrah, Theban and Gharanij, where sums of money exceed $ 10,000 are paid for fear of being arrested when they reach the camps into which they are sorted out, and the sources suggested that in most cases, ISIS members and families of ISIS members are the ones who pay such sums of money, where they pay them to the parties that are responsible for the transport to the camps from Al-Omar Oilfield, ..

The Observatory also reports that the escaping ISIS elements often carry six digit dollar amounts that can be used for future attacks. It will take years, and a lot of cooperation from the local people, to completely root these elements out.

Those U.S. politicians who want to continue the U.S. occupation in Syria will use the Manbij incident to argue for an unlimited U.S. stay. ISIS would have won. Those who, like Trump, want the U.S. out will use the incident to argue for an urgent retreat from the area.

Trump is likely to win that argument.

Posted by b on January 16, 2019 at 16:51 UTC | Permalink

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The hypocrisy of many of the countries involved in the attack on Syria has been world class.

Back on September 29, 2014 WashingtonsBlog reported that Turkey and Israel were "Directly Supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda Terrorists In Syria".

Also noted was that a Turkish newspaper wrote that Turkish nurses were sick of giving free medical treatment to ISIS terrorists.

Israel was giving free medical treatment and weapons to ISIS or facsimiles thereof.

Of course Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Britain and France are among the long list of countries that have also variously supported their proxies attacking Syria.

Then we have the further very widespread media and diplomatic passive or active endorsement of the attack on Syria, with an apparently inexhaustible supply of lies and hypocrisy.

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians dead and wounded.

Particular responsibility for the latest murderous 'incident', in Manbij, was claimed by a subset of those hired and inspired to attack Syria, but identifying real responsibility would cast a much larger net. Real justice confers heavy responsibility not just on the murderer, but on those who hired the murderer, or did not act to prevent the murder, etc.

When it comes to wars of aggression, from the military Tribunal at Nuremberg: "to initiate a war of not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 16 2019 17:46 utc | 1

It certainly makes it a lot easier for Daesh to kill US soldiers if said soldiers are in Syria. It's much harder if those soldiers are back in the US (not that they'd return to the US if they left Syria; they'd probably just move to a base in Iraq, but just saying).

Posted by: worldblee | Jan 16 2019 17:58 utc | 2

@2 I doubt if Trump will use the word 'retreat'. That wouldn't look good in the headlines. He will most likely change the timetable for withdrawal again.

Posted by: dh | Jan 16 2019 18:01 utc | 3

thanks b for an overview on the latest.. as @1 robert s. notes - a few of the players have been consistent with the bad intentions.. usa, ksa, france, uk, israel and in large part turkey.. now turkey is coming around, but it is not a done deal.. i think you are right and trumps position will be held.. i wonder how much of the unwritten part of trumps idea involves mercenary groups and etc. like the usa of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter which you note above? to me that is the 64,000 question... and, i am curious about the isis folks paying large sums of money... are they using us$, or? that would be interesting to know...

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2019 18:07 utc | 4

BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 A.M.) – On Tuesday morning, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that a 32-kilometer deep safe zone was going to be established in northern Syria. al masdar breaking news..

and interesting comments from erdogan on this attack and isis, usa position..

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2019 18:27 utc | 5

re @5 tuesday morning was yesterday.. not sure why al masdar is calling it breaking news, lol..

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2019 18:42 utc | 6

Southfront is reporting a likely false flag chemical attack planned for Idlib in coming days or weeks.

This combined with the crazy Turkey Zone idea described above and the related "agreement" that the US will maintain a military air presence in northern Syria make me think that Pompeo's trip around the Middle East last week was not just about getting US allies on board with Trump's stated withdrawal of US troops from Syria. Rather, I think Pompeo, Bolton, and the rest have not given up trying to concoct some further situation that will effectively tie Trump's hands and delay inevitably US withdrawal from the theater of action. I.e. if that evil bastard Assad
does chemically bomb Idlib, the righteous US Air Force will be there to give him a serving of 'Murican Justice and will prove to all that the US must stay in Syria in order to protect the Syrian people etc etc etc.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 16 2019 19:02 utc | 7

Neither Russia nor even Syria can deliver the kind of repression of the Kurds in Syria Erdogan needs to pursue his war against Kurds in Turkey. Neither the PKK nor YPG are simply terrorists. They are not even the prime aggressors. It was Erdogan who resumed war, suppressing political opposition by electoral means. The US on the other hand, can, just as it favored massive corruption in the KRG in Iraq. It is the left (well, much more left than PUK/KDP) politics in the Rojava enclave which is such a problem.

Yet Trump cannot rely on the YPG to keep the war on the national government going. The Kurds need US forces' active support. Thus the YPG will end up negotiating a peace with Damascus. But no matter what Trump and his flacks say, this is not about getting out of imperialist war. It's about handing off the costs to inferiors. In the end, Trump will support some deal with Turkey that keeps the war going.

Trump was not, is not and never will be for peace. Any claim to the contrary is BS. Trump is only restrained from mad adventures from his discovery that when told to put up, the generals suddenly discover they have to say, we can't do that.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 16 2019 20:07 utc | 8

This is the signal event that the Syrian War 2.0 is in operation.

It is an insurgency, led by suicide bombers of ISIS and AQ/al Nusra.

Bankrolled by the nations which are determined to kill Assad and destroy the Syrian nation, the insurgency will torment Syria for years to come.

This is the model of US victorious military ventures. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are tormented for years, in some cases decades, by the same CIA and/or Israeli proxies, usually, Muslim Brotherhood adjuncts.

Five dead Americans, probably the survivors seriously injured, is a nice start. Manbij the perfect place. We saw the photos of US flags and Russian flags in near proximity on the outskirts of this city. The US was just invited to leave. Perfectly targeted, by a cell of ISIS who took their money and then blew up their soldiers.

The American public is numb to such low numbers of casualties. ISIS will have to kill scores of Americans to get an outrage and revulsion effect.

And if they take Erik Prince's advice and go totally PMC boots on the ground, their fresh proxies will be cannon fodder for Syrian and Russian munitions.

The West has lost Syria. However, the Syrian nation is still going to suffer version 2.0 until the Turks and US are driven out.

Already, the US plan is to fly into Syria from Iraq to "fight ISIS". CENTCOM is fully addicted to endless carnage at everyone's expense.

Expect this through the 2020 election, at minimum.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jan 16 2019 20:33 utc | 9

In 2011, the French army arrested their former ally Laurent Gbagbo in the Ivory Coast to help put in power the pro-US Muslim opponent, Alasan Watara. Yesterday, the ICC has innocented Gbagbo in a genuine slap in the face of France. He and one acolyte have spent 7 years in prison.
Demos in Sudan for the first time since 2011. Are we back to square one?

Posted by: Mina | Jan 16 2019 20:35 utc | 10

Red Ryder @9,

That is a damn fine and horribly dispiriting analysis of the situation. The one difference between Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan is that the former's government and military remains intact and is arguably only growing stronger. This makes any lengthy insurgency of the truly destabilizing sort you describe much less likely. ISIS and other patsy agents will largely be contained within a few not-yet stabilized areas, and the Syrian gov and military (w Russian help) will have much greater coordinated intel on movement of suspicious persons into and within gov controlled areas like Damascus. I therefore don't see the insurgence plot working out very well absent a large and actually symbolically devastating attack on the regime. I don't think Russia will allow such an attack to happen.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 16 2019 20:51 utc | 11

Turkey came up with the idea of the safety zone?

" Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US counterpart Donald Trump mooted Monday the creation of a "security zone" in northern Syria as tensions rose over the fate of Kurdish fighters in the war-torn country.

In a telephone conversation, the leaders "discussed the idea of creating a security zone cleared of terrorism in the north of the country," the Turkish presidency said in a statement."

No clue on who offered what first?
Quite a stretch to suggest it was Turkey.

In a carrot and stick type of play the US likely offered the idea up of the 'security zone' knowing full well the false flag in Manbij would guarantee the withdrawal that was never going to happen, wouldn't happen-- games people play and lies media tell.

"The suicide attack in Manbij also confirms that the Islamic State, even as it lost nearly all its territory, will continue to exist as an underground terrorist...."

So the concept of ISIS as a terror act vs proxy of the US is still being promoted here?

"Trump is likely to win that argument."

There is no arguement to win- Trump is deep state man- He's promoted the deep state agenda every step of the way.

Posted by: anonymous | Jan 16 2019 20:53 utc | 12

Red Ryder, anonymous, james and others

Really heartened to see the skepticism about Trump in comments.

Anyone paying attention understands what's really going on.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 16 2019 21:08 utc | 13

In Turkey the Manbij attack is seen as the Pentagon's answer to the White House (decision on leaving SR).

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 16 2019 21:19 utc | 14

@ Red Ryder | Jan 16, 2019 3:33:40 PM | 9
This is the signal event that the Syrian War 2.0 is in operation.
One guy in a suicide vest from god knows where is a new war? Come on.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 16 2019 21:53 utc | 15

Here's a tweet from Manbij, scroll down to see a video of the explosion.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 16 2019 21:58 utc | 16

This whole U.S. exit from Syria lip service was a Trump p.r. stunt. Jackrabbit was right all along. Trump is deep state.

The media mentioned there's a U.S. base just on the outskirts of Manbij. How many bases are there? There are more than 2000 troops in Syria, of course. Whoever did this wanted to give the U.S. military an excuse to stay. We've been punked by Trump. What else is new? Nothing more to see.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 16 2019 22:06 utc | 17

Here's a photo of the so-called "U.S. base just on the outskirts of Manbij."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 16 2019 22:13 utc | 18

@ 12
Trump would've promoted a wall, not a security zone. Must have been Erdogan.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 16 2019 22:22 utc | 19

The condition were different, and also the scale of the attack, but memories of the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing which resulted in President Reagan pulling out all troops, about 35 years ago.

from FP
Three-and-a-half months after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. military personnel — and after repeatedly pledging not to do so — Reagan ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Lebanon. As Gen. Colin Powell later aptly summarized this military misadventure: "Beirut wasn’t sensible and it never did serve a purpose. It was goofy from the beginning."

Speaking of goofy, now we (supposedly) have US-supported radicals, Obama's JV team, the Sunnis who were supposed to correct the unforeseen Shia-supporting results of Operation Iraqi Freedom, going rogue. Sure.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 16 2019 22:37 utc | 20

@9 red ryder.. thanks, as disheartening as your post is, it is much how i see it.. maybe @11 wj fine tunes it, but that is my view... i hate to say it, but i still think we are headed to ww3 in all this.. we just haven't gotten their yet... with the usa-israel intent on destroying syria (and having friends like ksa-uae and etc feeling threatened by turkey and happy to funnel endless money/isis types into this), i can't see how it is going to play out any differently..

@14 confused pundit.. thanks for providing your perspective here.. cp lives in turkey..

Posted by: james | Jan 16 2019 22:57 utc | 21

Neither Russia nor even Syria can deliver the kind of repression of the Kurds in Syria Erdogan needs to pursue his war against Kurds in Turkey. Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 16, 2019 3:07:46 PM | 8

For that matter, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not deliver it in Turkey, did he? For that matter, Israel still does not repress to its full satisfaction (but they have a very lofty standard. If a wall on Turkish border fall short of what is needed, why the second war 32 km further south would do the trick?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 16 2019 23:12 utc | 22

@18 DB

FYI there are 3 U.S. bases near and around Manbij:

The well-equipped base located next to Al-Etihad University is called “al-Sa’eidah” named after a village which lies less than two kilometres northwest of the base.

It is hard to estimate the number of the American forces stationed there. However, some reports suggest around 500 to 1,000 US troops are present there, which shows the importance of this base in top Pentagon commanders’ equations with regards to Syria.

The United States’ second largest military base in this region is called “Al-Assaliyeh” located north of a village with the same name.

Only a few images of the Al-Assaliyeh base have been published, which show it is very important for the SDF and the United States security-wise. Al-Assaliyeh lies less than 5 kilometres from the Euphrates region. Some experts believe the United States’ maintains modern espionage and monitoring equipment at this base.

The United States’ third largest military base in Manbij is “Awn al-Dadat.” It borders the Euphrates region and lies on the southern bank of the Sajur river.

On the whole, more than one thousand American forces with state-of-the-art equipment and armoured units are stationed at the three bases in the suburbs of Manbij. This has urged the military commanders in Syria to play a role in determining the fate of Manbij region, which has further complicated the situation of the city.

3 U.S. bases in Manjib

Posted by: Circe | Jan 16 2019 23:56 utc | 23

pl calling this security zone idea worse then a crime, it's a blunder..

Posted by: james | Jan 17 2019 0:05 utc | 24

As might be expected, Trump Administration is getting pummeled on social media for their "ISIS is defeated" standpoint and evening news showed Lindsey Graham's remarks.

No word from Trump - not even expressing condolences to the families of fallen soldiers. He must pretend to be butt-hurt as his setup-to-fail withdrawal crumbles?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17 2019 0:20 utc | 25

time to get out. Trump hit spot when he said he doesn't want to write letters to the family about a fallen soldier.

Posted by: Toxik | Jan 17 2019 0:22 utc | 26

The US MSM playing on the "Trump lies" theme, made sure to point out that Trump said ISIS had been defeated. They know what he meant. But it's politics for the people.

Posted by: Curtis | Jan 17 2019 0:23 utc | 27

Trumps President. He needs argue with nobody. He wants them out, he orders them out, and anyone who does not follow orders gets fired or courtmartialed. Simple

I and others have been skeptical about his real intentions. The 2000 troops ate really a very small part of US overall involvement in Syria. Between special forces staying as observers or involved in covert operatioms, private contractors, arab/kurd militants that they arm and train, a large base on the Iraq side of the border, etc one can expect the US to stay fully engaged in Syria regardless of these 2000 troops.

As for the suicide bomber, I am always a bit suspicious of acts which seem to be counter to the perpetrators interest. If the US were really fighting ISIS then ISIS would be happy to see them go, why do anything to change their mind. If ISIS is part of the US/Saudi/Israeli coalition then it has all the signs of a FF attack to allow Trump to justify a reversal he likely intended from the start. You may choose which seems to make more sense.

Posted by: Pft | Jan 17 2019 0:29 utc | 28

The timing of this attack, and is it not the first US soldiers killed in Syria? Just a coincidence?

Posted by: steve | Jan 17 2019 0:46 utc | 29

Reading the pull out will require an entire F-35B squadron of fighters on board the USS Essex, as well as around 4,500 Marines who will be on standby. Thinking the pull out may be a Trojan Horse for a future escalation. Time will tell.

Posted by: Pft | Jan 17 2019 1:18 utc | 30

@28 & 29 The timing sure is strange....ISIS have had plenty of opportunities to do this before. Maybe they want the US to stay....or maybe they feel abandoned.

Posted by: dh | Jan 17 2019 1:20 utc | 31 headline
Lindsey Graham says Trump's Syria statements emboldened ISIS

What motivates suicide bombers? Revenge, mostly.

...from Yale

The evidence from the database largely discredits the common wisdom that the personality of suicide bombers and their religion are the principal cause. It shows that though religion can play a vital role in recruiting and motivating potential future suicide bombers, the driving force is not religion but a cocktail of motivations including politics, humiliation, revenge, retaliation and altruism. The configuration of these motivations is related to the specific circumstances of the political conflict behind the rise of suicide attacks in different countries.
On October 4, 2003, 29 year old Palestinian lawyer Hanadi Jaradat exploded her suicide belt in the Maxim restaurant in Haifa killing 20 people and wounding many more. According to her family, her suicide mission was in revenge for the killing of her brother and her fiancé by the Israeli security forces and in revenge for all the crimes Israel had perpetrated in the West Bank by killing Palestinians and expropriating their lands. The main motive for many suicide bombings in Israel is revenge for acts committed by Israelis. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 17 2019 1:21 utc | 32

"The Islamic State terror group quickly claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack"
Well gosh, we have to believe them if they're a certified terror group, like we have to believe Israel on air raids, another certified terror group.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 17 2019 1:31 utc | 33

Set up to fail?

It's useful to consider about what Trump could've done if he really wanted to exit Syria.

He could have simply handed northeastern Syria back to Syria.

Planning and coordination for this (involving Syria, Kurds, Russia, and Turkey) would be best done quietly before an announcement. But that wouldn't require much time. With such a handover to the recognized government of Syria, there would be no handwringing about the Kurds or ISIS. The Kurds are Syrian and are likely to get some degree of autonomy but Syrian troops would patrol the border. And Syria and Russia have proven that they hate ISIS as much as anyone.

US troops and contractors could've left Syria in 10 days instead of 10 weeks. They could've been out before New Years Day.

Trump: Let Russia fight ISIS!

Neocons and Israel would bitch, but if done quickly, there would have been little opportunity for ISIS, Israel, or neocons to "veto" a US withdrawal via actions like this attack in Manbij.

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

I still believe that Trump's pre-Christmas 'pull out' announcement was rushed to appropriately position Trump prior to the Israeli Christmas false flag attempt. The hand-wringing about Kurds and ISIS delayed the 'pull out' to give time for shenanigans that would 'cause Trump to reconsider his 'pull out'.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17 2019 1:31 utc | 34

@ steve | Jan 16, 2019 7:46:51 PM | 29
The timing of this attack, and is it not the first US soldiers killed in Syria?

The Pentagon doesn't report such things. It reports kills as "casualties" here under various "operations" -- Syria is part of Operation Inherent Resolve. One can also pore over Pentagon news releases here for more specific info on "casualties" i.e. deaths.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 17 2019 1:46 utc | 35

pft @ 30

You may have already seen this; it's a good read.

Posted by: robjira | Jan 17 2019 1:57 utc | 36

If saa & russian forces immediately/very soon launched a campaign with massive bombing of everything in the area with the exception of the us/isis training basis wouldn't the problem countires & mainstream media be at a loss when it comes to condemning such action? If a campaign is not launched within 24 houra I see a missed opportunity on the side of good.

Posted by: Hydration not John Helmer | Jan 17 2019 2:04 utc | 37

With due respect to all those arguing that a Syrian escalation was what Trump was gaming for all along (which may or may not be right), please drop the naïveté about the President being able to do whatever he wants when it comes to foreign policy and especially the Middle East. I would think that the commentariat here would have a more realistic sense of the very circumscribed role of Presidential power in relation to the combined forces of the MIC and deep state on such issues. Trump may or may not have "wanted" the US to exit Syria, but let's not pretend that IF he wanted it it would just happen like snap because he's Commander in Chief yadda yadda. We all know things don't work like that in the real world and haven't for a long time.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 17 2019 2:21 utc | 38

And now we know where some of the "lost" billions of dollars of US paper currency the USA shipped into Iraq in 2003/4, literally on pallets, for "rebuilding" went. To what would become ISIS in 12 years.

Posted by: Jay | Jan 17 2019 2:31 utc | 39

And now we know where some of the "lost" billions of dollars of US paper currency the USA shipped into Iraq in 2003/4, literally on pallets, for "rebuilding" went. To what would become ISIS in 12 years.

Posted by: Jay | Jan 17 2019 2:31 utc | 40

@ robjira | Jan 16, 2019 8:57:10 PM | 36
Yes, but it's worse than that, why the F-35 is truthfully known as the mistake-jet. The F-35 system, in three variants, is not approved for production yet mainly because it lacks operational testing. So the Air Force, the biggest buyer of the faulty pre-production prototypes being manufactured solely to provide profits to Lockheed Martin now has a couple hundred of these worthless planes parked in 24-plane "training squadrons" in Arizona. The Marines aren't far behind, and Navy (to its credit) has been delaying worthless F-35 buys at well over $100 million each.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 17 2019 2:32 utc | 41

@ Jay | Jan 16, 2019 9:31:44 PM | 40
Speaking of shipping in to Baghdad, what are they shipping out? The world's largest embassy is a large exporter.

More than a million kilograms of cargo were shipped from Baghdad to different parts of the world, reveals US embassies procurement documents.
Mysterious cargo shipments from the US Embassy in Baghdad to other American embassies and consulates around the world have been revealed on a Wikileaks' database. Procurement orders of US embassies are public documents, but Wikileaks put them in a searchable database making it easier to analyse. . .here and here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 17 2019 2:38 utc | 42

@ WJ | Jan 16, 2019 9:21:07 PM | 38

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 17 2019 2:40 utc | 43


So based on your premise of the very circumscribed power of a President, to be fair, we can also excuse Bush and Obama for the shet they pulled, because the neocons and the deep state forced their hand. Please. Trump and his predecessors, an important part of the AZ Empire's continuum; are all well-financed, willing collaborators.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 17 2019 3:20 utc | 44

Don @ 41

Israel has "taken one for the team" and received delivery on a few F-35s. I understand they sent one along on one of their ~200 illegal forays into Syria; it returned to base damaged, apparently by a "collision with a bird." Ouch.

Posted by: robjira | Jan 17 2019 3:20 utc | 45

Circe @44,

Trump is distinct from Bush and Obama in several ways. Having the FBI begin a covert op against him without DOJ approval just after the election is a case in point. Don't think anything like that ever happened to W or the Obombonator. I am not defending Trump, just asking for a dash of realism. If it makes you feel better to treat him as a moral scapegoat go ahead. I don't really care except for the fact that I think in his case in particular it is a more complex situation than many here are willing to admit. I can say this without being a defender of Trump.

Posted by: WJ | Jan 17 2019 3:33 utc | 46

Hopefully Erdgoan overplays his hand - he's reaching that point already and if there is massive financial punishment as a result of a criminal attack on the Kurds he could lose power in the vein of Salazar, the Colonels, etc. Europe and the world has had enough of his acting as jail keeper of the Mediterranean.

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Jan 17 2019 3:52 utc | 47

I remember in that text, there is a special mention of journalists who promote invasion, agression, and their legal responsability in this "root of all evils". As they pave the way for war crimes, they are more responsible, more guilty than the ones that follow.

Posted by: alain | Jan 17 2019 3:56 utc | 48

Trump may or may not have "wanted" the US to exit Syria, but let's not pretend that IF he wanted it it would just happen like snap because he's Commander in Chief yadda yadda. We all know things don't work like that in the real world and haven't for a long time.
Posted by: WJ | Jan 16, 2019 9:21:07 PM | 38

Continuing the 'may or may not' theme, Colonel Pat Lang over at Sic Semper Tyrannis claims to have studied and mastered the clauses of the US Constitution which relate to the powers of POTUS as CIC of the Armed Forces. PL (and the US Army's) interpretation is that the Armed Forces are obliged to follow the CIC's orders (unless those orders are illegal?).

If that is true, and Trump decides that the Armed Forces are needlessly dragging their feet on the Syria withdrawal, he can call in the Joint Chiefs, or whomever, turn on his BS detector and ask them "What's the problem guys?" and fix it for them. Then negotiate a deadline and warn them of the consequence of missing it.

Why he hasn't done this already is anybody's guess. But as the bloke who promised to drain the Swamp it's up to Trump to decide how best to accomplish that aim, given that his drain the Swamp plan is the only one in existence...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 17 2019 3:56 utc | 49

let Turkey put its own damn "security zone" on its side of its own damn border with Syria

Erdogan's security zone will turn into his insecurity zone sooner than he could ever suspect

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jan 17 2019 3:58 utc | 50

michaelj72 | Jan 16, 2019 10:58:21 PM | 50
Precisely michaelj72!! Erdogan is just doing a self important posturing much like the Donald does. Turkey created their buffer zone in 1915 by slaughtering the Armenians with the able assistance of the Kurds. Another genocide we recall with horror.

Trump is desperate to launch an attack on Iran who he hates since they snotted USA decades ago and could not be crippled via economic sanctions. Trump and his gang of pirates is desperate to make an excuse to snot Iran. Meanwhile the USAians fail to mobilise around wage and benefit and tax demands at home.

The great distraction strikes again. War feeds the beast: Peace feeds the people.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 17 2019 4:40 utc | 51

@b - "Most likely Erdogan will be convinced that Syrian government control over the Kurdish areas, and Russian guarantees for a mostly quiet border, are a better solution than a costly Turkish occupation of a hostile population."

This is certainly the smart move. And serious strategic thinking should make it clear that the Kurds constrained as members of Syrian political and military society will be a far safer neighbor for Turkey than essentially moving Turkey's border - i.e. its most vulnerable line - deep into an insurgency perpetually fueled by its very presence.

I'm also not sure how well the Turks would do against the Kurds AND the Syrian army combined. Or rather, I am sure, and I'm sure that Erdogan has heard Dr. Assad state his intention to control all of Syria enough times to hear the unshakeable truth of it. Syria will not allow such a scenario, and only the idiot US and crazed Israel could have dreamed it up. Turkey floated the idea, and takes the reprimand, but it seems to have come from Trump, which presumably means his advisors.

Erdogan seems to have to flip and flop around in words at times - and the elections you mention surely give rise to some grandstanding - but his actions never waver one bit, not in terms of his pursuit of geopolitical safety for Turkey, and in the trend line of Turkey's growing accommodation of the Eurasian view.

I've said before that I admire Erdogan's finesse in treating with both west and east in ways that keep Turkey's stock high with both sides, even though that stock is actually lower with each side separately. In many ways, facing both ways is what keeps Turkey afloat right now. But it's also Turkey's natural role in the world, in my view. Turkey will continue to grow stronger and ride the currents of the forces all around it, remaining firmly in place as the immovable rock astride both the east and the west, the role it does best.

That's my aspiration.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 17 2019 4:56 utc | 52

@4 james & 40 Jay

I gather that there are literally several tens of trillions of dollars worth of black money in the world, constituting an entire global economy. Unrecorded money apparently is owned and used by forces ranging from the smallest drug or arms dealer to the richest speculators, including the US government with its Exchange Stabilization Fund and its many agencies with their lavish covert expenditures. We know that from the Pentagon alone, $21 Trillion has circulated without an accounting.

I also read the suggestion from William Gibson once that the One Hundred Dollar Bill (USD) is the supreme currency of crime worldwide. It doesn't surprise me that there seems to be pallets of the stuff involved in mercenary and shady military operations. Money is always the lightest luggage to carry while traveling.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 17 2019 5:18 utc | 53

There is no organization going by the acronym ISIS. Keeping the bogeyman alive at this point is being disingenuous.

Posted by: never mind | Jan 17 2019 7:06 utc | 54


Their are only 1.7 trillion US dollars in circulation.

Travelling with large amounts of cash in excess of 10K risks confiscation should you not declare it, and even if you do. In fact should you be stopped in the US for a traffic violation police can legally confiscate any sum if cash ( even 1000) based only on them suspecting you may be up to no good. That cash is then used to supplement their budgets (or salary).

Most of the dark money is in Eurodollar accounts in tax havens although many of the tax havens have been pressured into signing on to the CRS. Which means only sanctioned Dark Money is permitted. This money is actually digital money like over 97% of the worlds money existing as digital entries on a spread sheet . Crypto currencies are probably being utilized as Dark Money as well. We will soon be entering a cashless world where all transactions will be digital.

The Pentagons missing trillions was not Dark Money. It was legitimate and budgeted money. They just did not show what it was used for in a way to satisfy the accountants. Kind of like not having a receipt for one of your personal defuctions or business expenses.

Posted by: Pft | Jan 17 2019 7:09 utc | 55

@52 grieved.. turkey is on a whole new path with erdogan.. i am not sure it is a new path, or some recreation of an ottoman empire past, but regardless it is an experiment and he has had to throw in jail many in the media and a number in his armed forces to get where he is today.. we'll see where it goes with erdo..isis could just as easily knock him off as they did the 4 or 5 usa troops.. i still don't trust erdogan for much, and am sorry to say i don't think it is going to end well for him here either..

as to the money @53 post.. it got me thinking how a complete devaluation of us$ as a convertible currency would solve a lot of problems!!! if the money could only be spent in the usa, or better yet - they replaced it with a new currency whereby all the old currency, 2018 and prior was dead - wouldn't that save all the black market shenanigans? at this point it seems like all money is some type of ponzi scheme, and currency exchange places are just a small part of it all..

Posted by: james | Jan 17 2019 7:14 utc | 56

"There is no organization going by the acronym ISIS. Keeping the bogeyman alive at this point is being disingenuous."

Posted by: never mind | Jan 17, 2019 2:06:47 AM | 54

That's silly. It's the acronym of the translation of the Arabic former name of Da'ish, but not the current one. Does it matter?

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 17 2019 9:34 utc | 57

There are powerful forces at work to stop Turkey from a possible military intervention in the Persian Gulf, in case of a greater conflict.

The decision to withdraw US troops was taken long ago (not necessarily by Trump; such decisions are not left to the whim of a real estate mogul). In its place, there would be an Arab coalition force to stop Turkey from advancing further south.

Posted by: sandokhan | Jan 17 2019 10:48 utc | 58

Posted by: alain | Jan 16, 2019 10:56:01 PM | 48

"I remember in that text, there is a special mention of journalists who promote invasion, aggression, and their legal responsibility in this "root of all evils". As they pave the way for war crimes, they are more responsible, more guilty than the ones that follow."

That's what the judgement found at Nuremburg.

So if there ever were a tribunal which put the neocons on trial by Nuremburg standards, it wouldn't only be the likes of The Clintons, Bush, Obama, Trump, and various generals who would be found guilty and hanged. That would also go for the leading war-monger propagandists in the media.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 17 2019 12:29 utc | 59

nobel peace candidate trump's govt just arrested an iranian news anchor on undisclosed charges. in other news, erdogan is seeking to get enes kanter, an nba player from turkey, arrested as a terrorist. the warmongers just keep ramping up the tension, one way or another, they are determined to get another war.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 17 2019 12:40 utc | 60

re Delta 61. EU initiatives with regard to refugees were inevitable after 2015. It wasn't the EU which pushed the war in Syria (apart from members, Britain, and a lesser extent, France), we all know who did, but it was the EU which suffered. Merkel had to do something to halt the flood. It wasn't nice, but there was no alternative (TINA, as Thatcher used to say).

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 17 2019 13:05 utc | 62

"... there would be an Arab coalition force to stop Turkey from advancing further south..." @58
It would have to include Syrian, Iraqi and Hezbollah forces. The US aligned states have only proxy militias, of very limited military effectiveness, to offer. Their military is entirely occupied maintaining the various allies of Israel and Washington in power. They would be impotent against Turkey.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 17 2019 13:52 utc | 63

When it comes to wars of aggression, from the military Tribunal at Nuremberg: "to initiate a war of not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 16, 2019 12:46:48 PM | 1

I submit that in a just world, there would be one crime even more supreme than the crime of war of aggression, and that is the crime of financially profiting from a war* or aggressive threat of war, financially induced propaganda for war, fake news leading to war or threatening war or inciting war** or likely to cause war, giving or receiving funds such as political donations intended to increase the profits of war, financing or offering to finance or back a war of aggression, any kind of financial speculation related to war, financially related corruption of any kind linked in any way to war, and probably numerous similar financially related activities.

* (except for profit from genuine defence from a a war not provoked or incited by the profiteer)
** (including for example fake news aimed at Russia that increases the risk of Russia being forced into war by virtue of perceived threats)

Why would the above constitute a more supreme crime than the crime of war of aggression itself? Because it provides the foundation for the primary motivation for war, for enthusiasm for war, and the sustenance for war. Without such financial incentives war would hardly ever exist.

For example, if the USA - standing to financially profit from the war - induced Ukraine to initiate a war of aggression against Russia, or to incite Russia to attack Ukraine, then the crime thereby committed by USA would be immeasurably greater than that committed by Ukraine in initiating such a war of aggression.

Posted by: BM | Jan 17 2019 13:57 utc | 64

re media's indispensable role in wars of aggression: When NATO bombed Serbian broadcasting facility on April 23rd, 1999, killing at least 16 people, in NATO's 1999 war of aggression based on lies upon what was left of Yugoslavia, the attack was 'justified' as an attack on an integral part of 'the Serbian war machine' etc.

So logically it follows that CNN, BBC, CBC, etc etc etc, as criminally-weaponized media when it comes to creating support for and lies and cover for wars of aggression, are integral parts of the PTB war machine, and those in command of those war promoting and enabling policies can sleep soundly and preen their feathers glibly in their status as un-indicted war criminals, as long as their pernicious role is not publicly called out, or real justice sought.

On the other hand, good reporting in many places is censored or murdered: Peter Brock wrote a book 'Media Cleansing, Dirty Reporting' on the media's role in destroying Yugoslavia, and his book launch was ignored/censored by media. Michael Hastings had a big story to tell and was assassinated. and so on.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 17 2019 14:54 utc | 65

@BM | Jan 17, 2019 8:57:17 AM | 64
. . .one crime even more supreme than the crime of war of aggression, and that is the crime of financially profiting from a war. . .

. . .from Chapter Four of Smedley Butler's "War is a Racket," eighty years ago:

. . .WELL, it's a racket, all right.

A few profit -- and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can't end it by disarmament conferences. You can't eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can't wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.

The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation -- it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted -- to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 17 2019 14:58 utc | 66

@ Robert Snefjella | Jan 17, 2019 9:54:48 AM | 65
re media's indispensable role in wars of aggression

An excellent guide to this is Norman Solomon's "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death"
...from Amazon

War Made Easy cuts through the dense web of spin to probe and scrutinize the key ""perception management"" techniques that have played huge roles in the promotion of American wars in recent decades. This guide to disinformation analyzes American military adventures past and present to reveal striking similarities in the efforts of various administrations to justify, and retain, public support for war. War Made Easy is essential reading. . .here

Regarding attitudes:
Dan Rather, an iconic US journalist: "Look I'm an American. I never tried to kid anybody that I'm some internationalist or something. And when my country is at war, I want my country to win, whatever the definition of 'win' might be. Now, I can't and don't argue that that is coverage without prejudice. About that I am prejudiced." So Dan brought us through the criminal war against Vietnam and the Nixon presidency.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 17 2019 15:05 utc | 67

Will Trump order a third attack on Syria?

According to USA, Assad created ISIS.

According to USA, US+SDF destroyed ISIS (not R+6).

ISIS bombs restaurant, killing and wounding America soldiers after Trump announced 'pull out'.

Still no word from Trump on the death of Americans in Syria. Does he not want to say anything until he has 'punished' Assad?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17 2019 15:22 utc | 68

Stupid US military behavior, in the news about Manbij:
“The U.S. troops are always in that cafe,” said Ahmed Mohammed, a media and human-rights activist from Manbij. “People in the city are used to seeing them around and know that they go there a lot.” Mohammed said that several bombs have detonated in Manbij in the last week.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 17 2019 15:26 utc | 69

Here in the USA we have a national public radio system (NPR)that more or less represents the left hand side of social-politics. I grew up listening to such stuff and lacking a television it was my primary source of news-culture. After 2001 like many people i began to do some homework and my perspective changed. That said I tune in on occasion just to hear how things are being represented. I continue to be impressed at how thing are spun and sold to to the audience. Today for instance the woman being interviewed was former defense bureaucrat in the Obama admin. turned think-tanker. The angle was that the poor US soldiers in Syria are being betrayed by the current admin because there is no coherent plan and that the US absence will create a dangerous vaccume. Also being sold was the notion that ISIS is still alive and well and that the USA is obligated to keep fighting them one way or another.
Given that ISIS is a trademarked proxy force being trained, paid, guided and armed by US interests, it seems odd to me that a casualty event (who knows what actually occurred) happens right now. As mentioned above: if ISIS was actually what it is purported to be would it not be pleased at the notion of withdrawal? Rhetorical i know, but you see my point. "Just when I think I'm out they draw me back in"....and so it goes.
It would be easy to assume that the Christmas attack by isreal was yet another attempt to keep the war against Syria alive especially when you consider the possible airliner casualties. Overall the waffling and contradiction simply seems to be a cover for whatever moves are being made: sew confusion and increase the cognitive dissonance. When the formations are fluid and the trojan horses are in place, some manufactured event, false-flag or whathaveyou can be sprung.
Syria and her allies are surely aware of this and preparations are being made.

Posted by: Chevrus | Jan 17 2019 15:48 utc | 70


Great observations, including the last sentence. The only ones that are really fooled at this point are the dumbass Western publics. Leading to another movie reference (with apologies): Manufactured consent means never having to say you're sorry.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 17 2019 15:56 utc | 71

@ Robert Snefjella | Jan 17, 2019 9:54:48 AM

on April 23rd, 1999, killing at least 16 people, in NATO's 1999 war of aggression based on lies upon what was left of Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia had been dissolved / destroyed in 1991, and what was bombed in 1999 was Greater Serbia.

Posted by: ex-SA | Jan 17 2019 16:06 utc | 72

>> In 2011, the French army arrested their
>> former ally Laurent Gbagbo in the Ivory Coast
>> to help put in power the pro-US Muslim opponent,
>> Alasan Watara. Yesterday, the ICC has innocented
>> Gbagbo in a genuine slap in the face of France.

Was it? Or was he playing a lead role in a Karl Rovian succession plan of constantly changing the "realities" that keeps the natives -- even the ones "judiciously" studying current events -- constantly off-balance?

>> He and one acolyte have spent 7 years in prison.

Possibly undercuts my speculation. But, maybe not. Is there not a precedent of mob henchmen serving long prison sentences "for the greater good" of the organization they serve?

Does Gbagbo get to keep any significant portion of his ill-gotten gains?

Arresting him, bringing him "home", and exonerating him might just be a retirement plan for high-level henchmen.


I don't know the answers to my foregoing questions.

Posted by: dumbass | Jan 17 2019 16:08 utc | 73

@ uncle tungsten | Jan 16, 2019 11:40:51 PM

The great distraction strikes again. War feeds the beast: Peace feeds the people.

How accurate, I have experienced that personally in ex-Yugoslavia!

Posted by: ex-SA | Jan 17 2019 16:09 utc | 74

piotr berman@22 "For that matter, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not deliver it in Turkey, did he? For that matter, Israel still does not repress to its full satisfaction (but they have a very lofty standard. If a wall on Turkish border fall short of what is needed, why the second war 32 km further south would do the trick?"

What you're saying is that it would be smart for Erdogan to admit defeat in Turkey and make the best deal, while ignoring that if he's defeated he ultimately loses power. An endless low level war in Syria supported by the US fits their plan B. Erdogan imagines this will solve the YPG terrorist support and sanctuary for the PKK. This is BS, but it's BS essential to his power, so it will be policy, no matter what. I still say the national government in Damascus will not be able to negotiate a deal with the Kurds that will satisfy Erdogan's delusions about how he triumphs, that salvages his war in Turkey by breaking the Kurdish support hiding in Syria. Erdogan is a war president, that's why he restarted the Kurdish war. He cannot quit. The Turkish people would benefit from peace (Turkish and Kurdish speakers alike,) but Erdogan wouldn't, so that's irrelevant.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jan 17 2019 16:26 utc | 75

Anyone see legitimate reports that our Kurd “friends” decided to release over 30k ISIS, et al jihadis from their prison(s) in the Manbij area the day after POTUS declared US withdrawal?
I’ve heard this but haven’t found the source.

Posted by: Tim | Jan 17 2019 16:30 utc | 76

ex-SA | Jan 17, 2019 11:06:05 AM | 71

Re "Greater Serbia":

As far as I understood it, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) after the destruction of the larger Yugoslavia. Then in 2003 the FRY was renamed the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 17 2019 16:52 utc | 77

We are watching the US-Turkish-Israeli invasion and intended land-grab of Syria packaged as "regime change," "the war against terror," and "a defense of the Kurds." All but independent media seem blind to this unlawful and unwanted intervention; the destruction of an entire civilization; the genocide of indigenous Christians; and the enabling of ISIS militants -- posing as refugee migrants -- to freely enter Europe.

Posted by: Patlamish | Jan 17 2019 16:55 utc | 78

It doesn't seem the gov there wants him back. He is just among many (Ali Bongo etc) of the Francafrique maffioso-s, but what was new in 2011 was that the French would enable the US in their own playground. I thought at the time that Libya might have been a payback. The judges in The Hagues are weighing wether they will appeal, and the two guys are still in jail. It is possible that if brought back home a renewed civil war will start again. But Ouattara is not a saint and the evens in 2011 were clearly organized from far above. No need to say that the Ivory Coast has lots of resources.

Posted by: Mina | Jan 17 2019 17:41 utc | 80

Thread related to Illegal Outlaw US Empire sanctions on Syria, what they're doing to economy and related bureaucratic ineptitude. The troops may leave but the sanctions were escalated. I cannot articulate my contempt with words strong enough to match my emotions. The Evil of the Outlaw US Empire knows no bounds; and like Nazi Germany, it must be destroyed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2019 17:58 utc | 81

Are people aware of UN Resolution 1680?

It is a "tripwire" or "land mine" waiting to be set off for the sake of the next Neocon war.

Borrowed from a posted comment found at The Intercept:

John Bolton is an Israeli.

Did you know that he almost succeeded in starting a war with Iran in 2006?

John Bolton brought Resolution 1680 to the UN in May of 2006.
It was a crafty piece of sleaze. A whole book could be written about Resolution 1680
but the bottom line was that through trickery it tied Iran and Syria to the actions of Hezbollah.
If Hezbollah did something at the Israeli border then we (the US, Israel, etc) had "the right"
to attack Iran because of Israeli John Bolton's Resolution 1680.

What should have surprised no one was that a mere few weeks after the passage of 1680,
Israel had a highly suspicious failing in it's security (suspicious like putting Dick Cheney in charge of our air space on 9/11) at the border with Lebanon.

Border guards were killed and captured and the summer 2006 war against Lebanon was on.
Very convenient lapse, "convenient" for the warmongers but not for the families of
the "weekend warriors" doing their parttime stints at guarding the border.

The Israelis (and Bolton) thought the Israeli airforce could just sweep Hezbollah aside
and then they could pivot into Syria and then move against Iran. They were bloody arrogant
in their over confidence.

The Israelis and everybody else got lucky. It could have been like Napolean in Moscow,
if they had gone against Iran first. But Hezbollah withstood the onslaught from the
Israeli airforce and Israel then sent in troops.

It was good that Israel learned their lesson at the border rather than within Iran.
The Israelis had gone soft from years of duty harrassing Palestinian women and children
at check points. The bullies were proven to be not just soft but cowards and Israeli troops
failed against Hezbollah.

John Bolton is an Israeli and he has no qualms against sacrificing American troops in a Zionist war with Iran.

Posted by: librul | Jan 17 2019 18:17 utc | 82

Assault on Orthodoxy continues providing more proof of the Hybrid War's escalation against Syria. Clearly, Imperial pukes will attack anything of value.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2019 18:21 utc | 83

"In one Tweet"
"Demonstrate the intellectual bankruptcy of U.S. foreign policy thinking."

Quite the witty tweet by b!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2019 19:20 utc | 84

81 - K, I agree. There are no words sufficient to condemn these sanctions. War and suffering without firing a shot.

Does the word have the same root as, say, sanctify?

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jan 17 2019 20:28 utc | 85

Bart Hansen @85--

No. Sanctify is a religious term; sanction being a legal term, with its closest relation being:

"3.(Ecclesiastical Terms) to sanction (an action or practice) as religiously binding: to sanctify a marriage."

Please see link for several other definitions and usages.

Here's the same source's page for sanction.

You were correct to suspect closeness at their root. It would be interesting to see how they evolved in Mandarin or Arabic for comparison to the Latin and English.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2019 20:57 utc | 86

karlof1 says:

I cannot articulate my contempt with words strong enough to match my emotions

yes, karlof1, i have the same problem. we are living in depraved times...with a scarcity of miracles.

only The Force of Civilization will save Syria...and i suppose the rest of us as well.

Posted by: john | Jan 17 2019 21:11 utc | 87

Tim | Jan 17, 2019 11:30:20 AM | 76

Yes, Here:

Immediately after Donald Trump’s announcement of withdrawal of American troops from Syria on December 19, the Kurdish leadership reportedly threatened [1] to set free hundreds of Islamic State’s prisoners and their family members being held in makeshift prisons in the Kurdish-held areas of Syria.

Some of those prisoners are foreign fighters and their countries of origin, Western countries in particular, are unwilling to accept them since they lack evidence to prosecute them. Though the Kurds have since backtracked on their statement, it shows the level of frustration shown by the Kurdish leadership regarding President Trump’s abrupt and apparently whimsical decision to pull American forces out of Syria after a telephonic conversation with Turkish President Erdogan on December 14.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 17 2019 21:20 utc | 88

john @87--

Thanks for that link! I read several Syrians on Twitter who've noted that project and others. Trying to provide normalcy during war can prove difficult to impossible. Students I taught from Iran wrote essays about how their elders tried to keep children normalized during the US war on them waged by Proxy Iraq. I urged them to paint with their words both the horror and beauty they experienced, which resulted in some outstanding stories. I had one student who was held as a child in one of the USA's Concentration Camps during WW2 who was determined to tell her story for her Thesis Paper. Later in their lives, my elders talked about the childhood friends they had who were taken away and locked up and the visits they made to try and ameliorate their situation. The Human Spirit is remarkably resilient, and Syrian civilization very old and proud. They will rise again!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 17 2019 22:09 utc | 89

More on interventions, this Israel:

Israel’s Top Commander Finally Spills Secrets of “Invisible War” in Syria (ZeroHedge)

For years Israel denied allegations that it had a role in funding and weaponizing the anti-Assad insurgency in Syria, and more often military officials responded “no comment” even when confronted with overwhelming evidence of Israeli weapons documented in al-Qaeda linked insurgents’ hands, but this all changed in a new British Sunday Times interview with outgoing Israeli army commander Gadi Eisenkot, who has finally confirmed the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) supplied weapons to rebels across the border “for self-defense,” and further perhaps more stunningly, has admitted to long waging an “invisible war in Syria” that involved “thousands of attacks”.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 17 2019 22:32 utc | 90

#58 Trump cares nothing about Foreign policy except in 1)keeping his base happy by fulfilling campaign promises 2)reversing everything That Black Guy did. Trump is determined to keep the minimum of his promise (US troops out of Syria) to his base. He doesn't care whether mercs or proxies remain and he doesn't give a damn about Syria; but the MIC is resisting even that limited change.

#82 The quote about Bolton got a lot of things right about him. I know of no evidence that Bolton is an Israeli (nor that he is Jewishly eligible). He has a long record of being an attack dog: in the era of GHW Bush, he was tasked with bullying or bribing various UN members into rescinding their votes on "Zionism is Racism," because that was the only way that Bush could get Israel to attend the Madrid conference. Since then, he's been a reliable bulldog for the neocon wing of the Republican Party. Trump only took him into the administration to make major donor, Sheldon Adelson happy.

The timeline on Bolton neglects to mention his role immediately after the Hariri assassination in pinning the crime on Syria and attempting to get Assad tried for war crimes. After Assad quickly decided to withdraw Syrian troops from Lebanon, the neocons were at a temporary loss for a reason to declare war on Syria. But Israel assumed that the way was clear for them to destroy Lebanon in 2006. (Unsurprisingly, after Israel's humiliation, the blame for Hariri's assassination was shifted from Syria to Hezb).

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Jan 18 2019 2:36 utc | 91

Grieved says:

...but his[Erdogan's] actions never waver one bit, not in terms of his pursuit of geopolitical safety for Turkey...

it's sad that you have to infer such admirable qualities to a coniving, shit-stained motherfucker like Recep Erdogan. a man who has facilitated and accommodated this massive crime against humanity from the beginning, indeed, a man who has the blood of hundreds of thousands of Syrians on his hands, a man who has reaped millions of dollars from stolen Syrian land, Syrian water, Syrian oil, Syrian infrastructure, and Syrian archeological heritage.

is this the price for geopolitical safety?

'cause i was thinking more along the lines of a firing squad.

Posted by: john | Jan 18 2019 11:10 utc | 92

Robert Snefjella | Jan 17, 2019 11:52:40 AM

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY)

I apologize for another off-topic reply.
The new country was Greater Serbia in everything except in the name which was used as a big fig leaf, and also for the convenience of attempted take over of everything ex-YU owned and represented until 1991...

Posted by: ex-SA | Jan 18 2019 14:57 utc | 93

@ john

Interesting views. Please tell me what Syrian water, oil, archeological heritage are you talking about? Water comes from Turkey and presently the PKK controls the Syrian part of the river beds. How did Erdogan steal it from Syrians? Oil fields are at hands of the PKK too. At the moment 5% of Syrian population (kurds) occupy and control 35% of the Syrian land. What did Erdogan steal from the Syrians? How come he has the Syrian blood in his hands? 4 million (300.000 refugees of Kurdish origin) took shelter in Turkey and are catered for by Erdogan led country. Turks killed 3000 IS fighters in Al Bab and a few thousand PKK members in Afrin. What hundreds of thousands of Syrians are you talking about? Please present factual evidence, not the kind of giberrish you wrote above @92

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 18 2019 18:49 utc | 94

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 18, 2019 1:49:14 PM | 94

"Water comes from Turkey and presently the PKK controls the Syrian part of the river beds. How did Erdogan steal it from Syrians?"

And with that you demonstrate perfectly the insanity of existing political boundaries. Just this morning I was talking to someone about how sane boundaries would follow the contours of watersheds.

But such sanity can never exist within a clinically insane civilizational framework. And therefore Turkey can build dams to enslave rivers, to monopolize "their" water and deny it to Syria. Even given your framework that sounds like stealing to me. In some way's the Syrian war has been the first of the water wars. There will be many more, and far worse.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 18 2019 19:13 utc | 95

Russ @95--

Here in Oregon we adopted separate watershed districts to manage preservation and rehabilitation of salmon habitat since the political divisions were dysfunctional. The change has brought improvement but must be adopted by the other states transited by salmon.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 18 2019 19:30 utc | 96



Turkey has cut water supplies to Syria a number of times, violating international conventions.

Turkey faciltating ISIS oil theft and conveying it to international markets is well documented.

the theft and destruction of Syrian archeological treasures is also well documented, much of which was transported through Turkey to Europe.

also, the infiltration of tens of thousands of fighters and god knows how many thousands of tons of hardware into Syria from Turkey is well known. even b has written about these things for years.

at least 400,000 people have been slaughtered in the Syrian war.

yes, you fucking twit, Erdogan's hands are soaked with blood.

Posted by: john | Jan 18 2019 21:47 utc | 97

@ Russ 95

My only purpose was to point out to John that he was talking sheer rubbish.

If you want to discuss about something else, we can.
We all live within political boundries and all resources have owners. I hate damn dams but humans should be allowed to build them if otters can too.
The Syrians are not some guests in my wedding who'd be more than welcome to gobble up most of the 12 tier cake I paid for. They want free access to a resource within my territory? Well, the PKK terrorists denied water to the people in Jarablus for ages (did you hear regime or international coalition of hypocrites complaining about it?) until the Turks took over Afrin and gave water to the real Syrians.

And anyway, it's up to the Turks and Syrians as to how they share the regional resources, not the Americans who stick their Pinocchio nose into the matter all the way from 10.000km away nor is it up to the IS aka ISIL/ISIS/DAESH militants who temporarily occupied Syrian territories to handover them without a fight to the PKK aka YPG/SDF who in turn temporarily occupied the same territories to handover to we and you know whom had the Turks not stepped in and showed the coalition the red card.

In 2017 alone 70.000 United Slaves of Americans died due to opioid overdose yet His excellency Prince Eric fancies money rather spent on his blackwater security zone in Syria so that he can ensure the tip of the Pinocchio's nose can keep tickling John's brain lest he starts thinking freely and seeing clearly and talking logically.

Posted by: ConfusedPundit | Jan 18 2019 22:30 utc | 98

@ confusedpundit 98

"We all live within political boundries"

And when those are destructive the point is to change them. But then the concept of political boundaries as we know them is a new-fangled artefact of recent and modern civilization. The great majority of human societies had no such strict legalistic notions, especially the technocratic modern version.

"and all resources have owners.

Only within a framework of the Mammon religion. But if you want to say "own" in a truly expansive sense, then the Earth itself owns everything including us. At any rate, even given modern premises no one legitimately can own a natural resource. At best civilization would have stewardship responsibilities, which of course it always flouts.

"I hate damn dams but humans should be allowed to build them if otters can too."

Do you mean that since otters don't build dams, therefore humans shouldn't either?

Well,I assume you meant beavers. Beavers build dams for their own use and have evolved to do so within the ecological framework. Humans build industrial dams for mass commodity production, outside of and against any evolutionary and ecological web. Beavers are constructive and enhance the Earth, civilized humans are destructive and impoverish it. So there's no comparison.

(Only where humans have already domesticated waterways do beavers sometimes become "nuisances". But like almost all non-human animal nuisances, it's the anti-ecological actions of humans which generate such niches for a few other species.)

"I hate damn dams..."

It sounds like you would like dams, given your destructive ideas.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 19 2019 8:09 utc | 99

@ Karlof1 96

Thanks for that information. I'll have to read more about that. Have they actually dismantled any big dams yet, the way they keep promising?

Posted by: Russ | Jan 19 2019 8:12 utc | 100

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