Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 12, 2019

NYT Laments U.S. Disengagement Even As There Is None

On its frontpage the New York Times delivers an utterly deranged 'News Analysis' of the possible end of the illegal occupation of east Syria by the United States military:

As U.S. Exits Syria, Mideast Faces a Post-American Era

When Turkey, Iran and Russia meet to talk about the end of the war in Syria, they do so without the United States.

Peace talks to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been frozen for years, but the long-awaited Trump plan to break the impasse has yet to arrive.

And now, despite conflicting messages about how and when it will happen, the United States is set to withdraw from Syria.

The withdrawal, which the military said began with equipment removal on Friday, is just the latest instance of a broader American disengagement from the Middle East that could have lasting effects on one of the world’s most volatile regions.

The U.S. has not, and likely will not, "disengage" from the Middle East. Its military has some 53,000 soldiers stationed in at last 27 bases in 12 Middle Eastern countries (not counting those in Syria).

Estimated US troop numbers stationed in the Middle East in 2017


Besides the troops there are a large number of civil personal supporting or replacing them:

As of July 2018 – again, excluding Afghanistan – there were 22,323 Pentagon contractors working in the CENTCOM area of operations in the Middle East including 9,762 US citizens, 12,020 third-country nationals and 541 host-country nationals. This represents a 15 per cent year-on-year increase in Pentagon contractors utilized in the region. The deployment of contractors to fulfill missions that 15 to 20 years ago would have been conducted by US troops gives the impression of a smaller American military footprint in the region.

The U.S. has large economic interests in the Middle East. The U.S. weapon sales in the region add up to more than $5 billion per year. Some 17% of U.S. oil imports, 1.75 million barrels per day, come from the Middle East. The control of the hydrocarbon fuels found in the Middle East is the official reason the U.S. imposes itself over the region. That will not change.

U.S. media coverage and foreign policy discussion is more occupied with the Middle East than with any other part of the planet:

The combined population of the 15 Middle East countries covered by this paper (414.3 million) represents slightly more than 5 per cent of the world’s total population (7.6 billion). Yet, in American political and media circles, the region is the subject of vastly more than just 5 per cent of US foreign policy discussions. Indeed, outside of North Korea, China and country-specific trade issues, an American watching the national evening news, or reading a major media outlet, might imagine that the Middle East is the entirety of US foreign policy.

To call the move of some 2 to 5,000 troops and their supporting civilian contractors from Syria and into new bases in Iraq a "disengagement" from the whole Middle East is obviously bollocks.

The Trump administration did not change the 'regime change' policy the hapless Obama administration (recommended) waged against Syria. Nor has it stopped the war on Yemen the Obama administration helped the Saudis to launch. In Syria the Trump administration is only adapting the old policy to evolving geopolitical circumstances. The small military engagement in Syria's east is ineffective for its 'regime change' aim and damages its relations with Turkey.

The NYT calls the Middle East the "the world’s most volatile regions." That may well be right. But a lack of U.S. engagement is certainly not the cause of that volatility. In fact, it is the U.S. presence and meddling on behalf of its Zionist protectorate Israel that causes the never ending wars, pain and sorrow:

I have dealt with the ME in government and business for 45 years and I have to delve deeply in my memories to find instance in which our well-meaning but clumsy efforts have not damaged the ME and the people who live there. USAID comes to mind. I remember the great re-build of the Alexandria, Egypt sewer and water system. That was a very good thing. On the other hand, think of the damage caused endlessly by the US's unquestioning support for Israel's aggressive policies and unwillingness to make any deal that is not completely weighted in their favor. Think of the death and destruction we have wrought in Iraq.

The NYT's 'analysis', and its supporting quotes, demonstrates again that the day-to-day foreign policy discussion in U.S. media has little top do with the actual observable policy, the real presence of U.S. troops and bases, with real economic relations or political commitments.

The people in the Middle East would mostly love the see a 'Post-American Era'. Unfortunately there is no sign of that. The move of some 5% of the U.S. forces in the Middle East from one Middle Eastern country into another does not indicate a new geopolitical trend.

Why is it presented as such?

Posted by b on January 12, 2019 at 17:41 UTC | Permalink

next page »

The so-called 'peace process' is a perfect microcosm of US involvement in the region: a dangling carrot that always remains out of reach, a promise of better days, and decades of profiteering under the status quo.

Posted by: Roy G | Jan 12 2019 17:47 utc | 1

A clumsy effort by "the paper of record" to stir up its pro- Zionist readership with the fear of Evil Donald leaving Israel by itself. Never mind that Trump has been mindlessly more pro- Zionist than any president in recent memory, or that it'll be a cold day in hell when the Middle East faces a "post-US" environment. Each day the NYT prostrates itself lower into the gutter of Resistor effluent.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jan 12 2019 17:58 utc | 2

Humanity and the Earth, including the actual people of America (as opposed to the psychopathic-kleptocratic elites and their fan club), only wish the US would fully disengage from the Middle East. That's why the prospect is so horrible for the NYT, a truly evil propaganda sheet dedicated to destroying humanity.

To this day I've never heard a coherent, honest answer to a question I've asked of quite a few American psychopaths, What are you doing in the Mideast at all?

Posted by: Russ | Jan 12 2019 17:59 utc | 3

Unless Israel moves from the ME, the US won't. They can't. They are tied to Israel and always were. It was never just oil or oil and gas, or Iran or ISIS. It has always been Israel.

The US government is controlled by operatives of dual loyalty (to say it mildly). And Israel's security requires US involvement. All the schemes of the century-long involvement (it predates statehood in 1948) have been to secure a homeland and hegemony for Zionists.

It is crystal clear.

The rest of the history is US mistakes, greed, psychosis and hubris.

The geopolitics has become pathological.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jan 12 2019 18:04 utc | 4

"The combined population of the 15 Middle East countries covered by this paper (414.3 million) represents slightly more than 5 per cent of the world’s total population (7.6 billion)".

And yet it is significantly more than the population of the USA (328 million) which is about 4.3% of the world population.

"We have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction".

- George Kennan (secret US State Department memo, 1948)

Posted by: Tom Welsh | Jan 12 2019 18:17 utc | 5

Are there not some preliminary circumstances that make the pullouts inevitable noted on the previous thread? Also, the state of the economy in the US, the current standoff between Congress and the Executive, the heightened awareness and disparity between rich and poor in the US - all of these elements make the maintenance of empire increasingly impossible. It's like the trickle of water underneath an ancient glacier that undermines it - and the US empire isn't ancient; it is in a very fragile state at the moment.

I notice a sense of that fragility in the populace at large. Everyone is discussing the government shutdown. It's more than just a flash in the pan showmanship standoff. And it's more than just a wall.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 12 2019 18:23 utc | 6

B asks why the narrative of the NYT is presented as such.

The NYT has always ben a blatant propaganda outlet but only with the advent of the intertubes is there the ability to question the propaganda and call it out as such.

What is sad is that in spite of the light being shown on the propaganda of the NYT and other MSM sources the public still has faith in their validity and zero perspective on their motivations.

And outside of individuals like b wailing into a headwind, where is the groundswell of alternative informations sources that haven't been compromised by the existing order? The citizens of the West are going to owe China and Russia for forcing the demise of the global private finance controlled social structure......because it is not going to happen from within.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 12 2019 18:23 utc | 7

@Russ | Jan 12, 2019 12:59:23 PM | 3
What are you doing in the Mideast at all?
It derives from the Carter Doctrine from back in the days of US energy crisis, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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. It was a response to the Soviet Union's intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, and it was intended to deter the Soviet Union, the United States' Cold War adversary, from seeking hegemony in the Persian Gulf region. The following key sentence, which was written by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Adviser, concludes the section: Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force. . .here

The "Persian Gulf region" was then extended northward to the "Shia crescent" Iran-Iraq-Syria due to Operation Iraqi Freedom which brought increased Iran influence in the Middle East, and a perceived greater threat to Israel. That completed the circle as Russia moved in to the Middle East, which the Carter Doctrine was designed to prevent. Isn't life funny?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 12 2019 18:27 utc | 8

The Clinton Memo That Killed Half a Million People in Syria
By Daniel Lazare ( Consortium News ) on Friday, January 11, 2019 - 18:08
Note: The following article, published at Consortium News, was taken down hours after it was published today (1/11/19) -RI.

Posted by: Desolation Row | Jan 12 2019 18:28 utc | 9

re: The people in the Middle East would mostly love the see a 'Post-American Era'. Unfortunately there is no sign of that.
one small sign . . .
MEMO, Nov 10, 2018 -- Iraq parliament calls for US forces to leave

Iraqi MP Ahmad Al-Assadi, senior leader of the Iraqi Construction Alliance, revealed on Friday parliamentarian moves to pressure the Iraqi government to evict US forces from the country.
Al-Assadi said that the previous Iraqi parliament had started the calls, but now the new parliament was calling for a clear timetable for the US withdrawal from Iraq, Arabi21 reported. He added that US forces had entered the country at the request of the Iraqi government for training purposes and assistance in fighting Daesh. . . He also said that the calls for US forces to leave would be doubled during the next parliamentary term, noting that the parliament was likely to accept the existence of advisors and trainers based only on the need specified by the authorities.. . .here

Iraqis have too many memories of events like collateral murder.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 12 2019 18:40 utc | 10

@ Desolation Row | Jan 12, 2019 1:28:39 PM | 9
Thanks for that.
Here's a cleaner copy of the Clinton article

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 12 2019 18:52 utc | 11

thank you b! you hit the nail on the head here " In fact, it is the U.S. presence and meddling on behalf of its Zionist protectorate Israel that causes the never ending wars, pain and sorrow..." and you can add to that, the nyt may as well be owned by israel too.. if not that, everyone who works there has sworn fealty to israel... so, forget about any neutral balanced outlook for the nyt, or the wapo and wsj for that matter... ain't gonna happen...

as i was saying - actions speak louder then words.. and that is especially the case with liars, or sycophants for israel..

i suspect it will be biz as usual for the usa in its servitude to israel... someone mentioned a few months ago - the only way to get rid of the usa in the mideast is to hit it's soft underbelly - israel.. until that happens, i suspect nothing will change.. until israel is confronted directing for all it's bullshit ways internationally, nothing will change... go BDS and anything else that puts a check on the rogue nation israel..

Posted by: james | Jan 12 2019 19:07 utc | 12

Abby Martin on Empire Files deconstructs Trump’s fake anti-imperialism

Pay attention to actions, not just words.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 12 2019 19:10 utc | 13

are people here still believing that the lying shitpile of the US is gonna bring peace?
The man who never ever did anything else but war, against his workers, his contractors, his business partners, who is now warring against his own country and people is gonna wake up and make peace.

What ever you guys are smoking i would like to have some, it seems to be awesomely potent stuff.

the Orange turd and the Russian assassin are gonna bring peace one dead man at a time. Good fucking grief, so much education and no one learned a thing.

Posted by: Sabine | Jan 12 2019 19:12 utc | 14

“Tell Me How This Ends”
America’s muddled involvement with Syria

By Charles Glass

Posted by: mauisurfer | Jan 12 2019 19:17 utc | 15

[email protected] 3 asked;" What are you doing in the Mideast at all?"

Making the globe safe for the corporate empire to capture market share around the world.

It's not rocket science, it's just business..

Competitors = enemies

Posted by: ben | Jan 12 2019 19:18 utc | 16

@9 desolation row... thanks for the link, which brings me to the wikileaks link which i share here -

from the top of it...
"RELEASE IN FULL The best way to help Israel deal with Iran's growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad. "

it is all about israel and helping israel... i hope iran gets a nuclear weapon, as it will level the playing field..

Posted by: james | Jan 12 2019 19:23 utc | 17

regarding b's map - why is it 17000 troops are located in kuwait? i suppose that is for when some emergency comes up..kuyait, another fiefdom from the medieval era that the usa supports..

Posted by: james | Jan 12 2019 19:27 utc | 18

@ Desolation Row #9

Have you noticed a "new" story at Consortium News?

"Thanks to the generosity of our readers Consortium News blew past our $5o,000 Winter Fund Drive target. Our drive ran from Dec. 10 to Jan. 10. In that time we raised $91,867.00.

I'm sure it's all a great coincidence, but a bad story on the Butcher of Libya disappears at the same time the CN Site turns up with a pile of extra money.

Recently I've given some thought about the vulnerability of small web sites which depend on donations. A hundred thousand dollars is chump change to the super-rich, and the temptation would be very difficult to resist for many struggling places. Unfortunately there were probably other factors involved with CN yanking the Clinton piece. Ones which aren't very pretty.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jan 12 2019 19:29 utc | 19

@ 8, 16

Yes, I know those and the other nefarious reasons (to serve the Zionists, corporate welfare for the weapons sector and other military contractors, distraction from domestic crises, destruction for the sake of destruction). But like I said none of the wingnuts or propagandists who support the imperial venture will (or probably even can) give an honest answer.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 12 2019 19:31 utc | 20

Israel has been the world’s biggest disaster ever, especially since the beginning of the 20th century even before Balfour, but when I read that the same few families have been ruling Britain for 800 years it’s understandable that the US would become the mindless gopher bunny. When treasure & power are more important than life itself, we are not living. So sorry, the rest of humanity.

Posted by: Sadness | Jan 12 2019 19:40 utc | 21

There is likely close to double that number of private military contractors in the region.

Posted by: nwwoods | Jan 12 2019 19:46 utc | 22

Note the NYT carefully labelling them as "soldiers". Based on the figure given for Qatar it looks like they may well not be counting USAF certainly and probably USN/USMC as well.

Then, as mentioned above, there are the civil servants, contractors etc.

Posted by: JohninMK | Jan 12 2019 20:28 utc | 23

It has been stated many times before...."It’s the Oil, stupid!".....

Posted by: notlurking | Jan 12 2019 20:39 utc | 24

This picture has become so convoluted and confusing that it is hard to make sense out of any report coming out of WH, State Department or the Pentagon. Maybe that is the agenda.

Ambassador Bhadrakumar’s article published today is interesting but yet another opinion to make things even more confusing. However, if true, finally they will get the war they wanted.

Iran best hurry and join the SCO to get the protection it needs, otherwise, they are screwed.

Posted by: Alpi57 | Jan 12 2019 20:49 utc | 25

Well I guess I am just dirty a headline scanner.
But that one strikes me as regret that 15 years of chaos and lying has produced questionable benefit.
I am sure they will recover and resume the mayhem, possibly in greener pastures.
I dont believe thier regret extends to the reputational damage, trillions of dollars and 500,000+ lives lost in then name of: what exactly? They have no good in them.

Posted by: jared | Jan 12 2019 20:53 utc | 26

"The deployment of contractors..." There's the rub. I remember reading an article years ago that mentioned these contractors would charge almost 20 dollars a plate to feed our soldiers in both Afghanistan and Iraq. And charge another $20 if they go for seconds. it's a nice racket that our government runs. USA Inc.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Jan 12 2019 21:05 utc | 27

Consortium News posts and removes the Hillary Clinton article hours later right after. I've tried to link directly to the WikiLeaks site and my comments are removed each time.
It's interesting that Consortium news received double it's fundraising goal. Hopefully it's just a coincidence.

Posted by: willow | Jan 12 2019 21:09 utc | 28

"U.S. media coverage and foreign policy discussion is more occupied with the Middle East than with any other part of the planet"

Well i'm not sure about all of that. First you talk about Russia obsession dominating US media and Think Tanks and now you say it is the Middle East. Which is it? You can't have both.

Personally for me the heavy Russia angle shows that US media/Think Tanks are not fixated on the Middle East only. As for US military activity, there is plenty of it the Euro area too, actually bigger numbers and more bases are involved than in the Middle East.

Posted by: Passer by | Jan 12 2019 21:11 utc | 29

Thanks to Pat Lang for the last quote "I have dealt with ..."

Posted by: michael mccarthy | Jan 12 2019 21:29 utc | 30

@ willow | Jan 12, 2019 4:09:54 PM | 28
It's interesting that Consortium news received double it's fundraising goal. Hopefully it's just a coincidence.
You beat me to it, but I've ruled out coincidence because it's so obvious.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 12 2019 21:46 utc | 31

@ 31
. . .and Zachary Smith 19

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 12 2019 21:49 utc | 32

@29 passer by.. i might be responding to a troll here, but here goes - 2 for 1 deal.. castigate russia 24/7 while also talking about their support for assad in syria, lol.... 2 birds with one stone.. either way, it's all coming from sworn fealty to israel..

@30 michael mccarthy.. here is a better quote from pl - What is wrong with Trump?
he even made an article about it! pl who is fooled by no one, or so he thinks, seems to be confused or more by trump at this point..

Posted by: james | Jan 12 2019 21:54 utc | 33

responding to [email protected],

here's one of the posts:

@106 Jackrabbit "US troops will almost certainly still be in Syria when Iran conducts it's three (3) space launches (planned for early February)."

No, they will be well on the way to vacating the premises.
The pre-positioning of equipment has already begun, and once that's done the troops will follow:

Apparently what is holding this up isn't any nonsense being spouted by Bolton or Pompeo ("We Don't Take Orders From Bolton") but by the need to position the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge so that it can provide a ready-response during the vulnerable period of troop withdrawal.

It's already happening, Jackrabbit. There is no holdup, it is just that Trump didn't fully understand the logistics.
Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 11, 2019 6:43:42 PM | 114

There were some observations that the ship in question is afar off, but also others concerning backups from Iraq. Perhaps I am misunderstanding a snark? If so, apologies. I'd like to think that some shift is occurring, besides the one we already noted of Kurd disaffection with their exposed position. And I stand by my assessment of US instability at home. That is, I believe, occurring, with many wondering how the standoff will be resolved.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 12 2019 22:11 utc | 34

On the HRC story, a comment on another website that reprinted it said that it is factually wrong because it is purportedly quoting a memo from HRC when it was actually quoting a policy paper written by James Rubin (?) and sent to HRC.

Posted by: Schmoe | Jan 12 2019 22:20 utc | 35

@35 schmoe.. that sounds right.. although it was in her e mail pile, it doesn't say who authored it, so that is open to speculation..without more info, it just like another dispatch from neo con central, which could be written by a wide number of folks working inside or outside of the usa gov't...

Posted by: james | Jan 12 2019 22:27 utc | 36

To answer b's question: " Why is it presented as such?" concerning what the NYT says is US disengagement, I can think of two scenarios. One, the Times being so powerful (it thinks) with the PTB using its upper floor to discuss and decide on policy, this is indeed the policy it wants to have come into effect. That's the kind, the optimistic scenario - which b has effectively debunked as not likely to happen.

So, the second answer would be that the Times is taking a stand against the forces of good (in my estimation) and laying out a reductio ad absurdum that will cause all patriotic Americans to rally around the neoliberal flag, come to the aid of the oligarchical duopoly and stay where it is, till the good ship goes down to the bottom of the ---husbands and wives, little children lose their lives...etc.

Did we hit that iceberg and nobody's telling us?

Posted by: juliania | Jan 12 2019 22:29 utc | 37

From: James P. Rubin
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 11:03 AM
To: H

Subject: Best of luck on China trip

First, I want to wish you and Kurt best of luck getting out of the pickle Mr Chen has you in as you arrive in China. I wanted to pass on something I intend to publish on Syria and Iran, because I think it is worth trying to urge the President and his political advisers to act. As you can see from today’s column by Jackson Diehl, the pundits and many in the media will push the Syria issue very hard for the foreseeable future. It may not be on the front burner every day, but it will be close to or at the top of the media’s attention indefinitely. Interestingly, the Republicans have showed their hand on the foreign policy debate, in which inaction on Syria is pretty much the only serious criticism they can offer that will stick.

As you will see from the attached piece, I believe that action on Syria will forestall the biggest danger on the horizon, that Israel launches a surprise attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
" see link for the full letter from rubin to clinton..

Posted by: james | Jan 12 2019 22:36 utc | 38

I can't say I'm sorry about the Consortium News affair: the memo is all over now- the publicity couldn't be better.
And Consortium News has $50 grand it wasn't counting on. Spend it wisely guys.
But look out: someone could be trying to frame you for blackmail.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 12 2019 22:40 utc | 39

@ Schmoe #35

Here is the header of the "memo" from the link in the original CN essay:

From:....To:....Date: 2001-01-01 03:00....Subject: NEW IRAN AND SYRIA 2.DOC

Possibly author Lazare made a wrong assumption about the author of the memo. So why didn't the CN editor allow him to modify his piece? My guess would be there was a combination of a huge stick and a small carrot: We'll bankrupt you with a lawsuit or pay you a few thousand bucks.

It wasn't you, me, or Daniel Lazare who made Hillary set up a private email account unreachable by the Freedom of Information Act. I suspect Robert Parry would have made a few alterations, then told HRC to shove it.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jan 12 2019 22:45 utc | 40

I have dealt with the ME in government and business for 45 years and I have to delve deeply in my memories to find instance in which our well-meaning but clumsy efforts have not damaged the ME and the people who live there. USAID comes to mind. I remember the great re-build of the Alexandria, Egypt sewer and water system. That was a very good thing. On the other hand, think of the damage caused endlessly by the US's unquestioning support for Israel's aggressive policies and unwillingness to make any deal that is not completely weighted in their favor. Think of the death and destruction we have wrought in Iraq.

The USA will never allow a Marshall Plan for the ME because it needs to keep them as commodity (oil and gas) exporters, so a Third World status is essential to keep American consumerism alive. Marshall Plan and alikes only happened on the frontier countries with the USSR (the European Peninsula, the Korean Peninsula, SE Asia and Japan), where loyalty was more important than (the lack of) economic competition.

Posted by: vk | Jan 12 2019 22:54 utc | 41

Is the unattributed quote near the end that of Pat Lang?

Might be better to attribute... no?

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jan 12 2019 23:01 utc | 42

The link to Snopes had some interesting stuff, to say the least.

Claim In a leaked e-mail, Hillary Clinton said "we must destroy Syria for Israel."


If I wear my tunnel vision goggles, this seems to be accurate. But of course Snopes ignores what else the bit¢h has said about Syria.

October 16, 2016 Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president of the United States.

Don't be distracted by the rubbernecking media, which continues to focus intently on the ways Donald Trump is riling up his base of voters, or the feuds he is having with the leading lawmakers of his own party. This election is all but over. Clinton is going to mop the floor with Trump.

So what will this second Clinton presidency look like? Well, in the weeks leading up to her inevitable coronation, Clinton has been giving us some hints about how she's thinking of foreign policy these days. They are not at all reassuring. Indeed, Clinton's recent statements about Syria and Russia hint at a potentially destabilizing escalation of America's conflict with Vladimir Putin and his cat's paw, Bashar al-Assad.

At the last debate, Clinton articulated a classically Clintonian foreign policy for Syria, disavowing the use of ground troops (except special forces) and praising the use of air power. But the way she defined the terms of the conflict were a little frightening. "There are children suffering in this catastrophic war, largely, I believe, because of Russian aggression," Clinton said, arguing for a no-fly zone.

This is an almost ridiculous idea at this point in the conflict, given that the Assad government and Russia rely on air power to keep the rebels penned in and on the defensive. The idea that America can conduct a no-fly zone over a civil war without taking responsibility for the outcome is an absurdity.

No Fly Zone = Assad loses, and as a bonus she got to start a war with Russia by shooting down their planes.

Hillary Clinton: Removing Assad in Syria Is Top Priority

Comments demonstrate the gulf between Russian and American approaches to Syria.

Reuters The Associated Press Haaretz
06.10.2015 | 15:02

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday said removing President Bashar al-Assad is the top priority in Syria.

My opinion of Snopes went down yet another notch. By sticking to the "strict" truth they can propagate some whoppers.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jan 12 2019 23:13 utc | 43

WW3 cannot be far, if the kazar fake jew synagogue of satan can get away with foisting this fake narrative on the goyim with this kind of brazen impunity, it can start any war narrative with the same impunity aka rachelmadcow syndrome, absolute disdain of goyim cattle intelligence, the french would have burnt the witch alive in a different time !!

Posted by: Anon786 | Jan 12 2019 23:49 utc | 44

The NYT, Snopes, and most other authoritative entities on the left and the right are all part of the same western globalist organization very successfully framing the debate on both sides of the political spectrum. Zero Hedge had an excellent article
As Democratic Elites Reunite With Neocons, The Party's Voters Are Becoming Far More Militaristic And Pro-War Than Republicans.

I have often wondered about this phenomenon. My hardcore left friends cannot answer. They would rather see the world covered in mushroom clouds than Trump as president. Their responses are very Pavlovian. It is as if they have become condition to accepting US global hegemony.
Maybe it is because it is CLAIMED that Trump has challenged the world order according their accepted news outlets.

Things do change over time but if your enemy takes a position that is correct do you oppose him based on hatred of your enemy? Do you just abandon long held cherished believes because your enemy now agrees with them?

Their supposed hatred of the war party was never long held or cherished with the exception of Vietnam. The war makers have used media outlets on both sides, both traditional and non traditional, to frame their policies into both sides. Vietnam was just a short blip of antiwar activism. The Left has held these beliefs before and after.

They could have framed an anti colonial mindset but that was not the goal. The goal was to maintain the colonies thru structured global organizations that leverage tinpot dictators in order to suck out resources and leave massive debt obligations behind. It not that the fake left leadership does not see this, it is plain. They just accommodate it it as they are comfortable with their positions in their Politburo of power.

Posted by: dltravers | Jan 13 2019 0:01 utc | 45

To this day I've never heard a coherent, honest answer to a question I've asked of quite a few American psychopaths, What are you doing in the Mideast at all?

psychopaths tend to have differing, if not downright poor, grasps of reality and historical context, so i'd recommend checking out andré gerolymatos' 2010 book castles made of sand: a century of anglo-american espionage and intervention in the middle east

according to gerolymatos' research and informative documentation, the u.s. went full time into the ME following WWII as they usurped british agency over key assets and influence. access to oil was one primary goal, sure, but there was also the ideal that, in order to stem arab nationalism, control of populations and policy through the selection and loyalty of islamic strongmen would best guarantee the resources steer toward the west while shutting out eurasian contenders. well worth a read to gain a historical context for western powers employing religious extremists as their foot soldiers in that part of the world and, eventually, beyond...

Posted by: b real | Jan 13 2019 0:17 utc | 46

@ dltravers | Jan 12, 2019 7:01:17 PM | 45

Being an old guy, after exposure to uncounted and unaccountable variations of the terms 'left' and 'right' for roughly speaking a gazillion times, these terms have long since been relegated to my meaningless bin.

However, that your "hardcore left friends" would prefer mushroom clouds over Trump reminded me of the several encounters I have had here in Canada over the last couple of years, where Trump derangement syndrome was in full display, in its many manifestations. More rarely I have heard people in support of Trump.

But what has got my attention is the hair trigger animosity that some people here have expressed re Trump. They really don't like the guy.

Here's one example, which involved a very low key animosity: at a public gathering where people were mingling someone initiated with me a conversation which was a complaint about Trump's prodigious dishonesty. I think he had come across someone who had done the arithmetic, and it was an impressive count. I asked a gentle question in response: "I wonder how he would compare in that regard to say Obama or Bill Clinton or Bush the latter?" He was taken aback; looked at me as though he had been confounded. I suspect he may at one time have worshiped Obama.
The conversation went not much further.

But note that in Canada as a complete bolt out of the blue non-sequitur, someone thinks that complaining about Trump's fertile capacity for being disingenuous was a suitable way to initiate a conversation up here in Canada. I mean, we could have talked about the kids, or the GSM, or firewood, or anything.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 13 2019 0:50 utc | 47

[email protected]

Democrats were always the War Party for most of the 20th century - WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam began with Democratic Presidents. Things changed for Republicans starting with the Bush Dynasty (neocon era) when we became committed to serving Israel. The fiscally conservative Republicans then became the party who embraced war, debt and deficits whenever they took power, so long as it helped the military and big business. Democrats talk the talk on social welfare still but act no different than Republicans when in office. Basically one party pretending to be 2 parties fighting each other. Putting on a show.

Its all fake wrestling basically. Going back 200 years the “Wannabe Globalist” Elites have funded both sides of every conflict in targeted nations and in various wars between nations for the purpose of power, money and control to engineer a future NWO

As for national politics, its just a secular religion. The Age of Reason only applies to the cognitive elite. The herd with an average IQ of 100 is incapable of reason and must attach itself to some faith. Politics in America has replaced Christianity which has been discredited by Zionist Christians and the Cultural Marxists in control of education. Remaining church goers maintain the religions for social reasons but morality is out of fashion. As Nietzsche said, take away belief in religion and people will believe in anything.

For the party faithful that means blindly following your party. Probably only 30% of people have open minds and are not loyal to any party , but with the propaganda coming from both the MSM and now the influenced (carrot or stick) alt media, along with their own struggles to survive, most pick and chose according to their own biases and dont have the time to pursue the truth, and the few who do find out how elusive the truth can be outside their own personal reality. The result is a country , indeed a world, where confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance rule the day with a Discordian President pushing them to a collective insanity.

Posted by: Pft | Jan 13 2019 0:55 utc | 48


Yes fine work by ZH to get Glenn Greenwald's piece out be chased down by that NYT "preaching to the choir" slosh.

I should be safe to assume NYT doesnt do such puff pieces without purpose.

Aside for shilling for sycophant coppers, such pieces make good clickbaits for campaign narrative AI bot heuristics. I.e. run statistics on commenters, bot track them etc.

As for Don B @8's response to Russ @3, Carter Doctrine is already 3G (or more) rehash of Dulles handiwork, most eloquently described by RFK Jr a few years ago:

"In part because my father was murdered by an Arab, I've made an effort to understand the impact of U.S. policy in the Mideast and particularly the factors that sometimes motivate bloodthirsty responses from the Islamic world against our country. As we focus on the rise of the Islamic State and search for the source of the savagery that took so many innocent lives in Paris and San Bernardino, we might want to look beyond the convenient explanations of religion and ideology. Instead we should examine the more complex rationales of history and oil — and how they often point the finger of blame back at our own shores."

The piece is a valuable historical specimen in its own right.

Posted by: slit | Jan 13 2019 1:03 utc | 49

Zachary Smith @43: Quoting a source:

"There are children suffering in this catastrophic war, largely, I believe, because of Russian aggression," Clinton said, arguing for a no-fly zone.

And why did Trump fire a barrage of missiles at Syria the first time - over objections that he was responding to a false flag? For the "beautiful babies"!!!

History rhymes. US establishment harmonizes.

Welcome to the rabbbit hole.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 13 2019 1:03 utc | 50

When we speak of US troops in Syria, we must understand that these troops have no offensive capability and no influence on events. They have been mostly involved in train-and-equip support of the Kurds. There are also military members involved in logistics, at the several airbases, base security and special forces ("we do assassinations").

So US "disengagement" from the Middle East mostly involves people who had no military influence on events. Compare those insignificant activities with the significant capabilities of Russian situation control, and Iran militias. The US compared to them is odd man out.

So let's not over-estimate the presence of US troops. They haven't been doing that much, nothing to match the publicity they've received. Bunch of slackers, is it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 13 2019 1:58 utc | 51

It seems clear that the US presence in Syria has been a tripwire for some time, and has thus presented a problem. No one wants to mess with a few soldiers overtly, because of the horrendous escalation potential.

The key word is "overt". Now that the formal policy has been announced as withdrawal, that turns everything on the ground into "covert". The tripwire of escalation is being removed, and plausible deniability is replacing it, for both sides.

This small logistics effort is important only because it represents a huge policy shift, which is essentially the US "permission" for Syria to reclaim all its land. No matter how the logistics effort proceeds, the policy shift from the very first moment acted immediately to change the relationship of forces on the ground. And no force in the theater seems capable of changing the balance back to where, say, the Kurds would depend on the US. So the shift already happened, regardless of logistics.

The US made its bet during the latest round of betting. If it bet wrong and wants to change its betting position, it will find the pot considerably larger now, and its own size correspondingly smaller. Any way you slice it, the US presence in Syria diminished significantly with Trump's announcement. Even if sufficient domestic force in the US were able to reverse this policy shift, the US would now find it very hard to get the toothpaste back in the tube.

The NYT is working its way through the three stages of denial, hissy fit, and acceptance.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 13 2019 2:33 utc | 52

Daniel @ 13: Thanks for the link, I hope some here will look at it.

Especially those that are convinced the U$ is really leaving Syria.

Posted by: ben | Jan 13 2019 3:09 utc | 53

Very important take on this - ABBY MARTIN - TRUMP IS EXPANDING THE US EMPIRE:

"In the first installment of this multi-part series, Trump Expanding the Empire, Abby Martin debunks the notion that Trump is an anti-interventionist president, outlining his first two years of aggressive foreign policy that has expanded US wars and occupations. From the biggest military budget in history, to removing its restrictions to “bomb the hell out of” Iraq and Syria, to ramping-up brutal economic sanctions, to becoming America's 'Arms Salesman-In-Chief.'

As for the New York Times, the recent scoop on Trump proves that the FBI investigation against him is based on undemocratic and Deep State principles. Regardless of his own positions in office (terrible), apparently merely not criticising Russia's President and changing a foreign policy plank were enough to open an investigation into his candidacy, and, might I add, freak out centristdom. The violation of democracy here is unfathomable. As I've pointed out in CN comments the Deep State considers any alternative foreign policy to the current one as "treason," legitimising infiltration and investigations of their campaigns. Integrity Initiative - same principles. The front-pager is an indictment of US democracy more than the billionaire leech who cannot be more discredited than he already is.

Posted by: Anne Jaclard | Jan 13 2019 3:17 utc | 54

Forgot the link to the video:

"Is Trump really an anti-interventionist? From "bombing the hell" out of civilians, to ramping-up brutal sanctions, to becoming Arms Salesman-In-Chief––our The Empire Files series shows how he's been a gift to the war machine"

Posted by: Anne Jaclard | Jan 13 2019 3:19 utc | 55

@52 don bacon... tell that to the families of those 100 saa members that were bombed in deiz ezzor a year and a half ago..
don, you really come across like a shill for the usa empire, and i know that is not your intent..

Posted by: james | Jan 13 2019 3:49 utc | 56

The first real peace candidate in recent history, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard declared she will run for the Democratic nomination last night, the New York Times announced this with a short but thoroughly negative and dismissive article:
"A longtime opponent of the United States’ military involvement in Syria, Ms. Gabbard visited Mr. Assad in Damascus in January 2017 — something other American officials had not done since Mr. Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians became widely known."
For the NYT the unproven claims and videos of Jaysh Al Islam/HTS/White Helmets are now "widely known" facts, no need to even include the word alleged anymore. NYT's recent longer piece of propaganda: "Syria Faces Brittle Future, Dominated by Russia and Iran":
A Syria liberated faces a bleek future which "Russia, which already exerted considerable political influence in Syria, holds sway over its foreign policy, military and security services. " As Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham solidifies their control of Idleb more every day the NYT still mentions Idleb as being home to "The last major redoubt of the rebels opposed to Mr. Assad." Not even mentioning HTS, Noor Al Zinki or FSA, just some democracy loving rebels.
The reality New York Times still clings too isn't just a mirror world, it is criminal lies and propaganda. What a shame this late in the game. Bravo to Harper's Magazine for that article though. It's perhaps the most accurate written in the MSM yet.

Posted by: Jason | Jan 13 2019 3:53 utc | 57

Robert Snefjella @ 47

I see what you are saying. It has been quite a show and there is no end in sight. This Trump thing is truly strange. His campaign shtick was hilarious and disastrous at the same time. I have to admit it is getting tiring. The stable quiet destruction of a Clinton would have been more soothing on the nerves.

If this is the Age of Reason, whatever the hell that is, then I find it very unreasonable by whoever has reasoned the current set of outcomes.

Christianity has become the foundation for much of this madness because it has been co-opted by occultism. Most Protestant pastors belong to the same occult organization and swear oaths and perform rituals clearly forbidden by biblical doctrine. Catholicism is occultism with a Christian outer wrapping. It has been so since its inception.

slit @49
Aside for shilling for sycophant coppers, such pieces make good clickbaits for campaign narrative AI bot heuristics. I.e. run statistics on commenters, bot track them etc.

I do not care who wrote it, is it right or wrong? It is just a set of polls. I have only my personal observations to make it believable in my world. Everyone in my world spouts the same BS narrative. All for war, all the time no matter your mainline political persuasion.

Posted by: dltravers | Jan 13 2019 4:00 utc | 58

@ james | Jan 12, 2019 10:49:53 PM | 56
100 saa members that were bombed in deiz ezzo . . .don, you really come across like a shill for the usa empire
apples & oranges
Get it straight, James.
The discussion is about removing US troops in Syria, and not about removing US air assets from Qatar which you are concerned with. I'm talking about the troops in Syria, James, who are not conducting aerial bombing which comes from the Gulf area.

You see, James, the US has an army and an air force. The army is in country, on the ground. The air force is out of the country, at an air field in Qatar. There are also navy planes flying from an aircraft carrier in the Gulf sometimes. Soldiers and airmen, James. Two different professions. Two different kinds of forces.

So much for your shill talk.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 13 2019 4:17 utc | 59

closing bold comments..

Posted by: Roy G | Jan 13 2019 4:17 utc | 60

@ 59 don bacon.. you can separate them all you want... the results are obvious for anyone to see... they are all connected..

speaking of shilling - usa shills for israel constantly..they can say whatever they want.. until that stops, there will be no stop to the wars in the middle east...

Posted by: james | Jan 13 2019 4:26 utc | 61

Let thanks whatever goddess for small mercy:
some invaders are evacuating and I do hope it is the beginning of US illegal occupation of this part of Syria.

This would certainly be a huge step to Syrian integrity and sovereignty. I am not talking about peace, for sure not yet.

Oil is power
Oil brings war
and victory or defeat in war.

Demography in Latin America now is reaching 1 billion people. Amerika First has been busy reversing the timid shift to more socially, egalitarian gov.
Brazil its done, and Venezuela is under more and more pressures from interventionists.
Both have major Oil ressources.

With Middle East ring of derricks we are at 1.5 billions subjects of the Hegemon. Add Africa basically still not free of colonial interferences.

and don't forget those Russians, kind of "gilets Jaunes" still resisting.

Posted by: Charles Michael | Jan 13 2019 5:17 utc | 62

@53 ben

Glad I could help :-) (Looks like @54/55 posted more details about the same program.)

So many people want to believe Trump is winding down Empire, but all the evidence indicates he’s moving in the opposite direction. Fewer US troops in Syria, while welcome, is not the same as a change in foreign policy. Trump, as we know, is beholden to the hard right Zionists, has prominent neocons in his cabinet, and his policy reflects that. He’s following the Steve Bannon foreign policy playbook more or less to a T.

Posted by: Daniel | Jan 13 2019 6:35 utc | 63

Anne Jaclard @54 and @55

I've been saying something similar for about a year and a half. Except I've actually connected the dots by questioning oddities of the 2016 Presidential election, noting how Trump's populism has many of the same features as Obama's populism, and how establishment policies prevail despite "populist" Presidents AND because of them.

The USA political system does not allow for real populists to be elected. That is a fact that many recognize yet fail to follow to the logical conclusion. Yet almost everyone is fooled by the 'faux populist' psyop. Even Abby Martin - who notes that Trump expands the empire as per establishment wishes but still talks of Trump as though he's an independent political force.

MAGA is a POLICY CHOICE as much as it is a campaign slogan. It is designed to meet the challenge posed by Russia and China and 'turn the page' on the deceit and duplicity of the Obama Administration just as Obama's "Change You Can Believe In" was designed to turn the page on the the militarism of the Bush Administration. These BI-PARTISAN page-turnings ensure that there is no accountability and provides each new Administration with a new sly story line that the public readily swallows. Each new Presidential charade entertains and misdirects as the interests of the Empire are advanced with a refreshed box of tricks and dishonest narratives.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 13 2019 6:50 utc | 64


You are certainly right in saying that Trump's agenda (MAGA) is part of an ongoing neocon trend, they've seen the war on terror as a side show for years and have wanted to go after China. Part of me has always wondered if terrorism was invented as a threat image so the public would be scared by nonsense long enough for the NATO governments to present China and Russia as credible peer powers and threats to American life. It was only 2 years ago that ISIS was presumed as a global threat, now they're never in the news as an enemy, it's always Russia or China. It's part of a transition between war policies - which is incidentally why I do not see Tulsi Gabbard's Syria stance as very important. The Establishment have way, way bigger fish to fry.

Posted by: Anne Jaclard | Jan 13 2019 7:00 utc | 65

Re: Posted by: Jason | Jan 12, 2019 10:53:55 PM | 57

Make no mistake. Tulsi will win the Democrat nomination and defeat President Trump. A split field serves her interest and she will do exactly what Trump did in 2016.

An immensely likeable candidate who has demonstrated time and time again she will stick to her guns and won't bend to the "Mainstream narrative".

Gabbard will get the nomination against the wishes of the establishment.

It will be the Bernie v Trump matchup in 2016 we never got - and really, who do you think the average American will find more likeable?

A 39 year old woman from Hawaii named Tulsi or Mr. Divisive himself?

Posted by: Julian | Jan 13 2019 7:47 utc | 66

The NYT, Israel frist newspaper of record, laments the set back for Great Israel, the zionist pipe dream which includes a chunk of Syrian territory to come to fruition. Now that the head choppers have been defeated and the zionist peep dream of splitting Syria has hit a brick wall the NYT and others of the same ilk are going at it at the wailing wall "perhaps, crying " the USA will destroy Syria for Israel no more". Or perhaps it is a wail with a laugh. When it comes to the NYT and their ilk, one never knows.

Posted by: Hem Lock | Jan 13 2019 8:47 utc | 67

psychohistorian | Jan 12, 2019 1:23:40 PM | 7

The citizens of the West are going to owe China and Russia for forcing the demise of the global private finance controlled social structure......because it is not going to happen from within (my emph.).

So how is it going to happen if not 'from within'? The Chinese and the Russians are going to do it? Pure fantasy!

In all likelihood, the end will be caused by economic/political/environmental, collapse and I venture to say that environmental catastrophe will be the first thing to happen. Already, the air, the water, the soil, under the impact of industrial farming is killing off the population. Then there's fracking, radioactive pollution, poisoned water, uninhabitable cities...

JG Ballard wrote an incredibly prescient novel back in 1981, called 'Hello America' which pretty much predicted the current environmental catastrophe that industrial capitalism has created and it seems that hubris will rule even as the ruling class self-destructs.

The ruling class think their power, wealth and especially access to technology will save them, even as the world burns and drowns. Hubris, nothing but hubris!

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 13 2019 9:25 utc | 68

desolation @ 9, et al.
Many thanks for all the insight re: CN. It's quite distressing that the article was summarily yanked. All that seems to have been needed was, perhaps, correcting the attribution to the Clinton State Department.
An overly reflexive editorial decision on CN's part, IMO.
This is certainly an instance when I sure hope the decision is just coincidental with the fundraising windfall. But with all the establishment pressure being brought to bear on alternative news sources, it's hard not to think the worst.

Posted by: robjira | Jan 13 2019 9:30 utc | 69

robjira | Jan 13, 2019 4:30:48 AM | 69

What are you inferring? That CN has been 'gotten at'? One, simple mistake, as you say, could have been corrected, it wasn't a train smash.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 13 2019 10:24 utc | 70

This bit for the NYT's had me laughing out loud:
"American protection is no longer necessary to ensure the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf, for example,"....

Some examples of when and how the USA ensured that "free flow" might be enlightening.
During the tanker war between Iran and Iraq, maybe. I suppose. Any other examples?

Seems far more common for the US military to be deployed not to "ensure the free flow of oil" so much as it was used to destroy anyone who dared to sell their oil in any currency other than the petrodollar.

(and, never forget, it is always "their oil" to sell)

And I'll be honest: I can't help but read that claim without hearing the ghost of Paul Atreides whispering in my ear: "The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it."

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 13 2019 12:21 utc | 71

us interference in the middle east does not derive from the carter doctrine. it's been policy since at least the 50's, and somebody quoted a memo by george kennan from 1948. interfering with other countries is what the u.s. is all about, and has been at least since the u.s. mexico war.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 13 2019 13:02 utc | 72

re environmental catastrophe--the first and greatest of these threats is global warming, but they aren't doing anything more than lip service because the people that run the government are all in on oil. it still drives our foreign policy in the middle east.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 13 2019 13:05 utc | 73

William [email protected]
And then there's the lugar biolab in Georgia where US scientists experiment with weaponising disease.
See the NEO today for an article

Posted by: bevin | Jan 13 2019 13:55 utc | 74

bevin | Jan 13, 2019 8:55:59 AM | 74

Yes, I published the piece awhile back, though since then, there have been questions concerning its authenticity, but it doesn't surprise me that the US uses one of satrapies to carry out such 'experiments' especially in the light of 'extra-ordinary renditions' carried out in quasi-fascist countries like Poland by the US.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 13 2019 14:52 utc | 75

Abby Martin on Empire Files deconstructs Trump’s fake anti-imperialism <- Posted by: Daniel | Jan 12, 2019 2:10:01 PM

The problem with Trump is that it is not easy to figure out what is he faking. I guess that he has a good orientation in world affairs, but one-sided. Wake him up in small hours of morning and ask what are the prospects for developing a resort plus condos in Oman and he probably will tell you. Concerning military strategy etc. he probably absorbed some banter in country clubs or places like that, musings of his friends in tri-state real estate (NY, NJ, CT) that of course include some mildly megalomaniac Zionists (on Adelson scale, Adelson = full megalomaniac) etc.

The result is the stream of statements that do not follow neo-imperialist logic, but instead you have pieces that are oppose some imperialists projects, that are enthusiastic about other projects (doing something grand about Iran), etc. Worst of all, while he absorbed some banter about "this did/could not work", he never recruited people who could design and implement non-imperialists strategies, I guess that should be some paleo-cons. Instead, he was always impressed with decisive macho types like Mattis and Bolton.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 13 2019 14:55 utc | 76

A 39 year old woman from Hawaii named Tulsi or Mr. Divisive himself?

Posted by: Julian | Jan 13, 2019 2:47:54 AM | 66

Tulsa is the hometown of our incomparable Pompeo, while Tulsi is a line of soothing herbal teas, so personally, I would go for Tulsi. One problem I have with Bernie Sanders is that he is too old. Old people at some point stop learning, in Bernie's case it was OK most of the time because what he has learned in younger years was fine, and it gave him excellent "message consistency", but for an actual Executive in Chief, absorbing new facts is a must.

Second aspect is that for standard American progressives like Sanders or Warren, domestic issues are easy to address with relative safety while foreign policy present assorted traps, landmines etc. that can derail many a campaign and carrier, as a result they just do not like to think about it. Pavlovian principle. Gabbard is not perfect, but she seems the best politician with actual experience in sight. That said, she remains a long shot.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 13 2019 15:09 utc | 77

@james is correct. The US forces in Syria do serve an important role in prolonging the war. They protect the remnants of the empire's terrorist mercenaries by being a sacrificial trigger that the Syrian military is hesitant to pull. The Syrian military could easily overrun any of America's illegal bases in Syria and then get at the psycho head choppers hiding behind Uncle Slaughter's skirts (ex, al Tanf). The deaths of those troops would serve as a trigger for the easily triggered and delusional American population, causing them to squeal for blood and the launching of yet another round of psycho killer "Shock and Awe". The suggestion that these meat puppets are "trainers" is ridiculous. They are nothing more than triggers for the US war machinery.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 13 2019 16:05 utc | 78

A reminder that this weekend marks the hundredth anniversary of one of the defining events of the C20th. And the modern world. The assassination, at the orders of the Social Democrat led government, of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.
This set in motion the Holocaust, which continues to this day, of killings of socialists and popular radicals. It is within the context of this rolling massacre of tens of millions on six continents that the other massacres of the century have to be understood.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 13 2019 16:12 utc | 79

a measure of Bolton's insanity

President Trump’s National Security Council asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department, current and former U.S. officials said.

".....It was mind boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran."

Posted by: michaelj72 | Jan 13 2019 16:27 utc | 80

@ William Gruff | Jan 13, 2019 11:05:04 AM | 79
@james is correct. The US forces in Syria do serve an important role in prolonging the war.
No, James was dead wrong, as I explained. The US troops in Syria are mostly train-and-equip and they have nothing to do with aerial bombing as he said they did, which indicates an abject ignorance of military affairs. As I said the US soldiers have "no military influence on events." They may have a political influence, but not a military one.
Then after calling me a shill James comes out with a cup of weak tea:
@ 59 don bacon.. you can separate them all you want... the results are obvious for anyone to see... they are all connected..
That's a really stupid statement. The results are obvious? all connected?
James was wrong and he can't admit it, is all, and indicates a total ignorance of military affairs. Army trainers have nothing to do with aerial bombing. Nothing. Period.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 13 2019 16:31 utc | 81

Those who believe that Trump was selected by the Deep State to serve the establishment (like Obama before him) face charges of being a "conspiracy theorist!" and are challenged to provide proof.

But pro-establishment pundits in MSM claim that Trump is a Putin "puppet" and are respected and even lauded for their viewpoint. They have no proof for this, and less logic basis than the conjecture that the anti-Russia propaganda - including the supposed Trump-Putin connection - is a Deep State psyop.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 13 2019 16:57 utc | 82

As I said the US soldiers have "no military influence on events." They may have a political influence, but not a military one. Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 13, 2019 11:31:09 AM

Two British soldiers seriously injured in Isil missile attack in Syria › News
Jan 5, 2019 - Two British special forces soldiers have been seriously injured in a missile attack by Isil fighters in Syria.

It looks to my like the case of Russians killed near Palmyra, namely close coordination with air force requires observers on the ground near the battle, if the British were doing it, Americans were doing it too. I suspect that Saudis lack such coordination, thus they prefer attacking static targets that are typically civilian, infrastructure etc. In short, you cannot use air force effectively without your own people being on the ground.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 13 2019 17:22 utc | 83

@68 william bowles... thanks for articulating all that.. that is much how i see it as well..

@79 william gruff.. thanks.. it doesn't really matter if there are 5 american troops of 5000 - the usa will use everything in it's means to destroy any challenge to its supremacy militarily.. they will indeed call in the air force.. it is all connected! take a look at the news feed today - "Qatar and the US have reached an agreement on expanding Al Udeid Airbase, which currently hosts over 13,000 American and coalition troops. “We are grateful for your country’s willingness to make sure that the airbase can meet the needs of the US military for decades to come,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani in Doha. Qatar’s foreign minister said his country’s ties to the US have “enabled us to confront so many regional and international challenges.” "

b's map shows 6671 soldiers in qatar... this news feed doesn't say, but says 13,000 american and coalition troops... the coalition concept is just another skirt for the usa to hide the real numbers and fake that it's ongoing empire is legit.. it isn't..

@82 don bacon.. i prefer to see it that you and i have a different way of viewing all this.. i see the usa as an ongoing jackass trying to run others peoples lives around the world and being a 24/7 servant for israel... you seem to view it differently..

Posted by: james | Jan 13 2019 17:47 utc | 84


US soldiers have "no military influence on events." They may have a political influence, but not a military one.

Do you really think SAA and Russia are deterred from taking eastern Syria by "political influence" alone?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 13 2019 17:55 utc | 85

here's more of that non military influence, lol...

Posted by: james | Jan 13 2019 18:04 utc | 86

@80 an important and tragic day. The Lancet medical journal even had an article on it. Groups including pro-refugee, anti-war and communist at grave site today with red flags. Opponents of the NATO Munich Security Conference are having a speech by an Iraq War whistleblower on major massacres marking today's wars.
If Rosa Luxemburg's advice had been followed by the SPD and the Socialist International, there would have been no First World Ear and thus no carve-up of the Arab world and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Nor would have there been a Hilter if the liberal-left hadn't formed an alliance with fascists and martyred her. This "centrist-far right alliance" (blue-brown) is the criminal force standing in the way of a solidarity society today with Macron and co accepting anti-refugee arguments and pushing for war with the Russian Federation.

Posted by: No WEF 2019 | Jan 13 2019 18:22 utc | 87

Caitlin Johnstone explains the hypocracy I wrote about @83

If America Stopped Destroying The World, The Bad Guys Might Win:

America’s constant military interventionism, election interference and other nastiness are painted as Good Things done by Good Guys to fight the Bad Guys.


The theme of Good Guys fighting Bad Guys resonates with a population that has been raised for generations on Hollywood films ... but it doesn’t accurately reflect the reality we actually live in.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 13 2019 18:26 utc | 88

William @ 70

Quite possibly CN has been "gotten to;" unfortunately, it's not as though this sort of thing hasn't happened before (I'm particularly mindful of what happened to Dennis Kucinich in the wake of his opposition to both the ACA and the destruction of Libya). Personally, I really hope they haven't been "gotten to;" they are a great resource.

Tannen @ 75

I don't think I'd go so far as to say CN is "controlled opposition" at this point, but the recent decision to pull the Lazare article (due to a slight, and entirely correctable attribution error) is worrisome. As for the recent "censoring" of comments at CN, it seems that's due mainly to whatever janky auto-moderation utility they've been using recently; comments will spontaneously appear and disappear depending on the platform and/or ISP used to access the site. Not necessarily censorship, more likely shoddy software.

Posted by: robjira | Jan 13 2019 18:29 utc | 89

BTW: Has anybody read the (long) piece on the Saker?

I'm curious as to what the assembled pundits et al here, make of the author's take on events in Syria, Russia's relationship to Israel and essentially, his view that Putin walks a tightrope between the imperialists in, for example, Syria. A kind of balancing act, whereby Putin utilises his forces extremely prudently, pushing here, giving way there. I'm aware of course that he has some clever people working with him, notably Lavrov, who I think is a master diplomat and tactician. I mean, not even Trump's theatrics has disrupted the Russians one bit. I really think they're taking the long view.

If nothing else, historically, the Russians and I expect it's still the same, are meticulous about adhering to treaties, agreements and contracts. I think it goes back to the days of the Bolsheviks and their dealings with the West.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 13 2019 19:15 utc | 90

robjira | Jan 13, 2019 1:29:19 PM | 89

Well, historically, I've always viewed CN as liberal-leftish but I've no idea why they took it down, the bit about Hillary Clinton doesn't seem to justify it or am I missing something?

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 13 2019 19:19 utc | 91

@90 william bowles... i read the article and i think it is very good and sounds simplistic to say this, but russia is playing the long game.. israel is not, but instead playing from a weakened position... some of it has to do with netanyahu's weak position too.. i thought the article was good and in line with how i understand where things are at with regard russia, israel and syria..

Posted by: james | Jan 13 2019 19:28 utc | 92

@ Jackrabbit | Jan 13, 2019 12:55:40 PM | 86
Do you really think SAA and Russia are deterred from taking eastern Syria by "political influence" alone?

No, SAA and Russia are deterred by the YPG (SDF), with Turkey also major factor, with whom they are currently engaged in talks which I (and others) expect will result in some sort of agreement on reconciliation. Some have even suggested that YPG forces might be taken into the SAA fold somehow. This major change (for the Kurds) isn't about to happen quickly but it will happen. (Nothing in Syria has happened quickly.) SAA and Russia will probably not need to take military action to replace the YPG (SDF) in the deserts of eastern Syria. Turkey is the wild card, of course, but not against the US.

My point is that the small number of US troops that are there are train-and-equip people, advisors, and are not a constituted military force. Not a cavalry brigade, nothing like that. So they are not a military factor, offensively or defensively. Those (like James) who think that they are a military factor able to take on a dedicated military force are wrong, dead wrong, because of their ignorance of military matters. It's okay, there probably is no need for any US military force on the ground because the US has lost its regime change war.

Finally, wrong James went ad hominem on me with that "shill" crap and then it's all hands on deck and man the guns.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 13 2019 19:40 utc | 93

@ William Bowles | Jan 13, 2019 2:19:16 PM | 91
I've always viewed CN as liberal-leftish but I've no idea why they took it down, the bit about Hillary Clinton doesn't seem to justify it or am I missing something?
. . .from Consortium News
Thank you readers. Consortium News far surpassed its Winter Fundraising goal. Thank you also for voting on the top 10 stories of 2018. Here are the results.
Thanks to the generosity of our readers Consortium News blew past our $5o,000 Winter Fund Drive target. Our drive ran from Dec. 10 to Jan. 10. In that time we raised $91,867.00.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 13 2019 19:45 utc | 94

Caitlin Johnstone explains the hypocracy I wrote about @83 ....
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 13, 2019 1:26:10 PM | 88

It is a rare word so it requires some explanation. "Hypo", ὑπό, means "under, "cracy", kratía, means "rule of", and the combination means "the rule of those under" = "the rule of lowlifes", those who are stupid, immoral etc. If their conduct is brazen, hypocrats are not hipocrites, i.e. people pretending to be moral, considerate etc. while being nothing of the sort.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 13 2019 19:59 utc | 95

Re" Don Bacon | Jan 13, 2019 2:40:42 PM | 93

I would just make additional points. SAA killed form a substantial part of the hundreds of thousands of casualties of the Syrian war. SAA withstood this hemorrhage with amazing cohesion, but in the long run, people will fight if they have a stake in the game, and when their lives are valued.

The desperate period of the Syrian Republic is over, the territory it controls is contiguous, the basic logistic lines are free, the reconstruction can proceed even if resources are sparse, and a substantial part of veterans can be released. New conscripts can look forward to a brighter future than the previous cohorts that bled heavily. It is clear that the current strategy prioritizes preservation of forces, gradual improvements in air defenses etc.

In the same time, the pieces of Syria under SDF, semi-direct Turkish control and the anarchy of Idlib are not viable, thus time works in favor of Assad government that is well positioned to reunite the country.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 13 2019 20:15 utc | 96

Don Bacon | Jan 13, 2019 2:45:22 PM | 94

So Don, your saying that their fundraiser is somehow connected to pulling the piece? ¡Non comprende!

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 13 2019 20:20 utc | 97

@90 William Bowles

I read that article also and concur with james that it's excellent. For me a lot of things fell into place to learn that Russia's MoD has a supercomputer, and that its very evident war-gaming is enhanced with as much calculation as possible. The key to the algorithms in use is the factor of RISK, and this is applied over the very long term. As Richardson says, for the MoD a result that is good in 5 years but bad in 10 years is not a desirable result. This is very sane thinking.

To say that Russia's military (and by extension, diplomatic corps) is thinking through multiple steps and branching pathways, and factoring in numerous contingencies, is no more than one would expect of any large country's military. But I wonder how well other countries do it. Russia seems to do it extremely well. Maybe this is because to them it's literally life or death.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 13 2019 20:30 utc | 98

@ William Bowles | Jan 13, 2019 3:20:32 PM | 97
See 9, 11, 19, 28, 31, 39 above

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 13 2019 20:34 utc | 99

@ Piotr Berman | Jan 13, 2019 3:15:29 PM | 96
Agreed. And Syrians are returning from exile.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 13 2019 20:37 utc | 100

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