Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 05, 2019

Syria - Turkey Fails In Idleb, Is Unwilling To Take The Northeast

The neoconservatives in the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton and the Syria envoy James Jeffery, are scrambling to save their plans for Syria that President Trump disposed of when he ordered a complete retreat.

Those plans were for a permanent U.S. occupation of northeast Syria, the reduction of Iranian influence within the government held parts of Syria and an eventual disposal of the Syrian government under President Assad through negotiations. These were unicorn aims that had no chance to ever be achieved.

Moreover Trump had never signed off on these ideas. Back in April he had announced that he wanted U.S. troops out of Syria. He gave his staff six month to achieve that. But instead of following those orders Pompeo and Bolton tried to implement their own plans:

Late last year, some of the president’s hawkish advisers drafted a memo committing the United States to a longer-term presence in Syria that included goals of an enduring defeat of the Islamic State, a political transition and the expulsion of Iran, officials said. The president has not signed the memo, which was presented to him weeks ago.

In fact, Trump had warned his aides for months that he wanted out of Syria in short order.
...
Bolton’s Iran plan never really took effect at the Pentagon, where officials were not officially tasked with any new mission in addition to the operation against the Islamic State. Military officials likewise viewed Iran’s expansion into Syria as problematic, but they were skeptical about the lack of a clear legal justification that would be required for offensive military action against Iranian-backed forces.

Trump recognized that those plans were nonsense and ordered to end them. In that process he came up with a likewise unicorn idea - to hand northeast Syria to Turkey to fight the already defeated Islamic State. Turkey does not want northeast Syria. It does not want to risk a bloody war against the Kurds that would be required to sustain such an occupation.


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The only appropriate solution is to hand control of northeast Syria (yellow) back to the Syrian government (red). Damascus would disarm the Kurds or integrate them within its national army. They would be under control and no longer a threat to Turkey. Everyone could live with such an easy solution.

Everyone but the neocons.

Today National Security Advisor Bolton is on his way to Israel to cook up new plans:

A Trump administration official told reporters traveling with Bolton that Bolton intended to discuss the pace of the drawdown, as well as American troop levels in the region. Bolton was expected to explain that some U.S. troops based in Syria to fight IS will shift to Iraq with the same mission and that some American forces may remain at a key military outpost in al-Tanf, in southern Syria, to counter growing Iranian activity in the region.

Bolton’s also was to convey the message that the United States will be “very supportive” of Israeli strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, ...

I bet that neither of those points was signed off by Trump. The publication of these ideas is another attempt by Bolton to push his personal policies to the front.

Erdogan, asked by Trump to take northeast Syria but unwilling to do so, raised demands that the U.S. is unlikely to fulfill:

Turkey is asking the U.S. to provide substantial military support, including airstrikes, transport and logistics, to allow Turkish forces to assume the main responsibility for fighting Islamic State militants in Syria, senior U.S. officials say.

The Turkish requests are so extensive that, if fully met, the American military might be deepening its involvement in Syria instead of reducing it, the officials added.

Bolton will later fly to Ankara and discuss the Turkish plans:

Participants will include White House national security adviser John Bolton; Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs; and James Jeffrey, the State Department envoy for Syria.

One U.S. official said the administration is unlikely to provide all of the military support the Turks are seeking, especially on air support.

Without U.S. air support Erdogan can not attack northeast Syria. The Turkish air force is weak. Many of its experienced pilots were fired for alleged support and involvement in the coup against Erdogan. The airforce is unable to provide the necessary 24/7 support its soldiers would need. There is also strife within the Turkish army command. If he would order an attack, Erdogan would only go for the Kurdish areas along the northern border, not for the Islamic State. That again is something the U.S. does not want at all:

Many experts and officials also fear the Turks may target Kurdish fighters who have long provided the U.S. with solid support in the campaign against Islamic State militants and endured considerable loss of life.

To try to mitigate these risks, Mr. Jeffrey, the State Department envoy, is seeking to forge an arrangement with the Turks that would allow them to enter northern Syria while avoiding largely Kurdish areas, say U.S. officials familiar with the plans.

Mr. Jeffrey and his State Department team have created a color-coded map of northeastern Syria in an attempt to negotiate a power-sharing plan that could avert a costly Turkish-Kurdish fight in the area.  ... One former U.S. official described the map as “Sykes-Picot on acid,” ...

The idea is delusional. There are no borders between Kurds, Arabs and other ethnicities in northwest Syria. The populations is mixed. Only the ethnic percentages vary from town to town. Implementing the idea would lead to ethic cleansing and an everlasting war.

The Kurds are no longer willing to follow the U.S. lead.

Mr. Jeffrey has asked Gen. Mazloum Abdi, the Kurdish commander of Syrian fighters, to hold off on making any deals with President Bashar al-Assad’s government while the Trump administration tries to develop its strategy.

"F*ck you," said General Abdi, as the Kurds continue to negotiate:

Syrian Kurdish leaders aim to secure a Russian-mediated political deal with President Bashar Assad's government regardless of U.S. plans to withdraw from their region, a senior Kurdish official told Reuters.

The Kurdish-led administration that runs much of northern Syria presented a road map for an agreement with Assad during recent meetings in Russia and is awaiting Moscow's response, Badran Jia Kurd, who attended, said.

A deal between the Kurds and the Syrian government "is inevitable" says a senior Kurdish military official. The U.S. proved again to be unreliable and the Kurds have nowhere else to go.

None of the new plans and ideas Bolton presents make any sense. They are unlikely to have Trump's blessing. While the U.S. retreat from northeast Syria may be delayed another month or two, it will likely proceed.


The last week saw new developments in Idleb governorate. Idelb is largely ruled by the al-Qaeda organization Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS),  the former Jabhat al-Nusra. There are also many other groups under Turkish control. But Turkey had recently transferred many of those fighters to attack the U.S.-Kurdish held Manbij at the Euphrates. That attack was stopped when the Syrian army took control of the area.

While the Turkish supported groups in Idleb were weakened, HTS used the occasion to reinforce its control. On Monday HTS (grey) attack the areas west of Aleppo which were held by Nour al-Din al-Zenki. The once CIA supported Zenki became 'famous' when in 2016 some of its fighters published a video in which they beheaded a sick ten year old boy for no discernible reason.


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During the last five days at least 130 people were killed in the Idleb fighting. Zenki was eliminated from the area it held (stripped grey) and its remaining fighters fled to the northern Afrin canton which is under Turkish army control. HTS took control of Zenki's heavy weapons including four tanks.

HTS now controls all areas next to Turkey and the Turkish controlled Afrin. It sent ultimatums to other groups in Idleb and demanded additional control over the towns Maarat al-Nu’man and Ariha in the south of the governorate. As none of the other groups can withstand HTS it will likely soon control these towns. Taking them gives HTS full control over the M4 and M5 highways. Control of the highways can be used to generate money and as an asset in future negotiations.

The Astana agreement between Russia and Turkey over Idleb stipulated that HTS would be pushed back 15 miles from the government held areas. The M4 and M5 highways would be reopened to traffic for government traffic. Turkey was supposed to implement and guarantee those points. Not one of these points has been achieved. The Turkish soldiers stationed in six observation posts around Idleb governorate are hostages to HTS. As Turkey failed to deliver on its promises Syria and Russia have all rights to ignore the agreement, attack HTS and to liberate Idleb.

That Turkey failed in Idleb makes it more likely that it will refrain from invading northeast Syria. Its army positions in Syria are already in trouble. Why add new ones to the mess?

Posted by b on January 5, 2019 at 02:20 PM | Permalink

Comments
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@94 fast freddy... good quote! here it is repeated :
"Nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state."
- Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages: The Technetronic Era, 1971.

it kinda flies in the face of some of the commentary here...

Posted by: james | Jan 6, 2019 2:06:10 PM | 101

@donkeytale #87

It does not follow that a person would have to be 100% rational in order for them to feel like they'd be in grave danger if they exposed a conspiracy they were involved in, and thus refrain from exposing said conspiracy.

People certainly change their minds and politics sometimes, but not as often as might be thought. Quite frequently, a person will fight tooth and nail to keep their mind and politics unchanged, particularly if they feel that their core identity is being threatened.

Most people seem to have a very strong fear of death, regardless of any statements to the contrary. And if they themselves don't fear dying, they most likely have a very strong fear of innocent people close to them being killed. These threats seem to be most effective if they're made well before the conspirators consider exposing anything.

Even if the threats aren't made well before (potential) exposure, even if they aren't made at all, outright killing a person who exposed a conspiracy can create a very strong chilling effect for the remainder of those "in the know". There's also damage control in the form of smearing the exposer, plausible deniability, etc.

Look at what happened to Edward Snowden, for example. In material terms, he definitely incurred a net loss in exposing the "conspiracy" of NSA surveillance. He may never be able to return to the US without immediately being imprisoned for life, or worse. He may already be under constant threat of assassination. And he was a bit player in what he exposed. How many others have followed in his footsteps? Not a single one so far.

Institutions are necessarily operated by individuals. So there's no way that a conspiracy cannot be among individuals. It's a question of how much power those individuals collectively have. The most successful conspiracies are those that have the most power behind them.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 6, 2019 2:12:51 PM | 102

"it kinda flies in the face of some of the commentary here...
james@101
and in the face of reality too. what Brzezinki really means is that "we are an empire now" and what used to call themselves nation states will just have to do as we tell them.
Not that different from Charlemagne's view of the world.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 6, 2019 2:20:01 PM | 103

@ 103 bevin.. i guess karl rove, or whoever it was, were just echoing what brzezinki was saying much earlier..

Syrian Democratic Forces Capture Five Foreign Terrorists, Including Two Americans, In Euphrates Valley

what i would like to know is how these americans get to the area in syria they do... is that what those usa flights are about? dropping off recruits for isis?? where do they get these types??

Posted by: james | Jan 6, 2019 2:33:46 PM | 104

@dh-mtl #91

The beginning of the 1990s coincided with the apparent end of the Cold War. The former Soviet Union was going to be brought into the fold of the Western "global" economic institutions. The "new world order" would then become truly global, as George H. W. Bush indicated at the time. It was to mean US hegemony for the rest of time - "the end of history".

Global communications, transportation, and supply chains are absolutely nothing new. They've been a reality for much longer than anyone alive today. Global governance, although more recent, is also nothing new. Conservatively, the first attempt at it began with the establishment of the League of Nations 99 years ago.

In no way are the American, British, and European economies being destroyed by the "elite" - at least not intentionally. The reason for that is because the "elite" need the rest of us to keep producing and consuming for them. So the last thing they'd want is for the rest of us to stop producing and consuming, which is what the destruction of an economy would actually entail. They need us a lot more than we need them. Their most successful con-game is getting us to believe the exact opposite.

A truly international order - again, an order based upon equality and mutual respect among all nations - would in no way be global fascism, nor would it constitute destruction of national sovereignty. It would mean a system of international cooperation that is not dominated by any one country (contrary to the situation today, with the US still clearly dominating).

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 6, 2019 2:40:52 PM | 105

Interesting indoctrination video:
re. Robert Ford, former ambassador to Syria
https://youtu.be/KUPf0QFzWJQ

Posted by: Jared | Jan 6, 2019 2:41:24 PM | 106

@William Bowles #93

Certainly the actual purpose of NATO is to help maintain the US empire. Solely per the terms of the alliance, however, there are many member countries that are not, and have not been, contributing what they're officially obligated to contribute. That's a fact regardless of one's opinion of NATO. Ethical/moral/ideological considerations are entirely irrelevant to the point.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 6, 2019 2:47:29 PM | 107

I don't know what Snowden exposed. He confirmed that which had already been exposed. In effect, Snowden aided in normalizing that which we already knew - that all our data - our effects are being stolen - in violation of the 4th amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things ...

We were violated and we continue to be violated and nothing has been done to stop it. It is the new normal. Our 4th amendment right to our effects have been abrogated because our effects are being seized by the government.

Any effort to stop the seizure of our emails, phone calls, text messages, has had no effect.

Obama promised not to provide retroactive immunity from prosecution to the big telecommunications companies when obvious breeches - data collection - became known, but as soon as he was elected, he did the opposite and a bill was passed that provided retroactive immunity to all telecommunications companies.

Later, there were Clapper and others who lied to Congress (this would land you or I in prison) about government data mining.

Any case, Snowden did more to make it acceptable than to encourage any effort at stopping it.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jan 6, 2019 2:48:14 PM | 108

The International Order is not being arranged so that people-powered, representative democracies can make the world a better place for you and me.

It is being ordered in such a manner as to facilitate the takers - multinational corporations - a quicker and easier way to loot and pillage resources without restrictions imposed upon them from various governmental bodies which are in charge of the sundry nations wherein particular booty is to be looted.

They'll still have customers. The highest bidder.

Posted by: fast freddy | Jan 6, 2019 2:57:22 PM | 109

NemesisCalling @96: ... nonsense that she ignored blacks... touting her hot sauce ... She pandered without shame.

By "ignored" I meant that she gave them no reason to vote for her. Her hot sauce was actually viewed as pandering by the black community.

Even Obama's political support, couldn't overcome the anger felt by Hillary's ardent support of Clinton-era policies that were adverse to blacks PLUS her condescension toward the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Black voter turnout fell in 2016, even as a record number of Americans cast ballots

The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012. The 7-percentage-point decline from the previous presidential election is the largest on record for blacks... The number of black voters also declined [Many black voters didn't even bother to register to vote], falling by about 765,000 to 16.4 million in 2016, representing a sharp reversal from 2012.

That's a total shortfall of 1.65 million votes vs 2012 voting stats. (Note: in crucial 3 mid-western states, Hillary lost by only thousands of voters).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 6, 2019 3:06:39 PM | 110

@fast freddy #109

The international order has actually been arranged something like that for a long time - since at least the end of World War II. And thus it certainly isn't an order based on equality and mutual respect for all nations. But that doesn't mean that such an international order could never exist, or that it would be a bad thing.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 6, 2019 3:09:28 PM | 111

Adding @110

And Hillary's cool reception to a $15 "living wage" while giving $750,000 speeches to Goldman Sachs was also a turn-off to many in the black community.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 6, 2019 3:11:10 PM | 112

The Truth About Trump

I hope that I do not begin a flame war here, and I do not mean to insult anyone, but I must proclaim my wholehearted disagreement with any of those who claim that Trump is in any way competent, about anything.

Trump's real estate scams were cooked up for him by his legal team, which was headed by the New York mafia's attorney, Roy Cohn. His “The Art of the Deal” ghost-writer has published detailed accounts of Trump's belief that he knows everything, while in fact he knows nothing, and of Trump's inability to construct a complete sentence without help, or to follow a train of thought longer than a half-dozen words, for longer than a half-dozen seconds.

His hundreds of wildly inaccurate and self-contradictory pronouncements offer testimony to the seriously unhinged state of his mind.

The one and only online comment that I made about Trump, prior to the 2016 election, was that he is a scatterbrained ignoramus.

I stand by that statement, and I believe that all existing evidence supports it.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jan 6, 2019 3:40:30 PM | 113

cynica@111, @105

You say 'A truly international order - again, an order based upon equality and mutual respect among all nations'.

In this you are right. And this is exactly what the nations backing a 'Multi=Polar World Order', led by China and Russia are proposing.

It is certainly not what the 'Globalist' international elite and their Western 'Rules Based Global System' is all about. What the 'Globalists' are about is destroying nation-states. Just last week Merkel and Macron, true 'Globalist' puppets, called on countries to surrender their sovereignty, and Soros, a 'Globalist' operative, and his NGOs endless promotion of a borderless world are proof of this.

There is no 'mutual respect among all nations' displayed in the Western trashing of the Middle-East, in the economic wars against Russia, Turkey or whoever else gets in their way, in the 'color' revolutions to depose any government that doesn't toe the line.

I suggest that you stop confusing the issues, pretending that the 'Globalist' project of 'Global Governance' has anything at all to do with am international order based on 'mutual respect of all nations'. The 'Globalist' project is fascist to the core. And because of this it is being opposed not only by independent countries, but increasingly by the citizenry of the 'Western" countries that the 'Globalists' rule.

The failure of the 'Globalist' project is certain. The only question is how much suffering will take place before it finished off for good.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Jan 6, 2019 3:43:15 PM | 114

Glenn Brown @71:

She didn't think she needed to make any promises to traditional Democratic voters, because she was sure she could beat Donald Trump, of all people. And she didn't want to make such promises, because she fully intended to be a very neoliberal and neoconservative President, and didn't want people complaining about how she broke her promises to everyone but the 1%, the MIC,and the Israeli lobby.

If she was sure she was going to win then why did she need an insurance policy?

The Steele dossier was planned as Hillary's insurance policy:

“Fusion’s immediate client was law firm Perkins Coie. It engaged Fusion to obtain information necessary for Perkins Coie LLP to provide legal advice on the potential impact of Russian involvement on the legal validity of the outcome of the 2016 US Presidential election,” Mr. Steele wrote in an answer to legal interrogatories.

“Based on that advice, parties such as the Democratic National Committee and HFACC Inc. (also known as ‘Hillary for America’) could consider steps they would be legally entitled to take to challenge the validity of the outcome of that election.”

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 6, 2019 3:45:40 PM | 115

@Posted by: james | Jan 6, 2019 2:33:46 PM | 104

Related to that news,, Pat Lang is already throwing balloons out fo the US Army by saying they are "traitors", but unadvertedly, or not, he is also stating that, according to US Constitution on Treason:

"Definition: In Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, treason is specifically limited to levying war against the US, or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort...

Thus, according ot the US Constitution, US ally, Israel, is comitting treason against the US, and thus, every person collaborating with Israel, would be a traitor itself, thus, Trump, Bolton and Pompeo are....No less than those in Congress or Senate approving funds to the beneffit of Israel....

I can not post there, at SST, since he banned me with no apparent reason, except me challenging his points subtly ( well, there is no other way you can survive there further than one comment...), but it would be great ( and funny...) if anyone here with still a pass there could pose him this question...

Posted by: Sasha | Jan 6, 2019 3:47:08 PM | 116

@116 sasha.. pl is a petty tyrant.. many have been banned, including a number here at moa, myself include.. i thought it was interesting to see some american isis faces though and wonder how that all came about... i get a kick out of constitutional readers with their selective parsing of info... if treason was an actual crime, most of us congress would have to be tried..

Posted by: james | Jan 6, 2019 4:03:40 PM | 117

Agreed, the Neocon/Zionist plan to create Grater Israel--the Yinon Plan--is DEAD; eventually its current Zombie existence will end when its brain finally gets killed. Meanwhile, Cannibalistic Capitalism continues to devour its own. The thinking of Syrians is whatever group prevails in Idlib makes itself easier for the SAA to attack and destroy it, while there's not so much concern over the Turks since they didn't make any move into Syria's Northeast. RuAF strikes have resumed against HTS as has SAA activity in Western Aleppo. Deash within Syria is close to being 100% eradicated. What remains is the current nom de guerre of al-Ciada--HTS--soon to join Daesh. The big issue was always getting the Outlaw US Empire to remove its troops versus wiping them out. IMO, the race is between the troops being 100% removed and Bolton/Pompeo remaining in government.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 6, 2019 4:08:05 PM | 118

... and really inconvenience the American people because he can never be seen to back up an inch.

Posted by: peter | Jan 6, 2019 1:41:16 PM | 98

Trump has been backpedaling his entire term to date. His original team has been charged with phony crimes and politically eliminated, he has backed down on his big promise to normalize relations with Russia,slashing defense spending or increasing infrastructure spending, etc.


Given the penchant for the deep state to murder, I suppose that possibility has crossed Trump's mind (if not him, his family).

I am developing a distinct impression that many of those who comment here advocating radical/reckless actions have never had real responsibility in an organization or are trolls seeking to derail constructive discussions for undisclosed reasons.

Posted by: Patient Observer | Jan 6, 2019 5:04:20 PM | 119

@dh-mtl #114

There's no confusion of the issues here. What you and many others call "the 'Globalist' project of 'Global Governance'" is just the maintenance (if not strengthening) of the US empire. In other words, the US empire hides behind a facade called "global governance" and the like.

But it's nevertheless quite useful for the "elite" to pretend like "global governance" is something other than the US empire. This effort is aimed primarily at Americans, many of whom are very afraid of foreign domination, conquest, and enslavement. To the extent that it's successful, it keeps Americans looking away from where the real culprit lies - their own government.

It's important to recognize the propaganda asymmetry. On the one hand, the propaganda keeps Americans thinking that the cause of their problems is the evil foreign "globalists". On the other, the propaganda keeps the rest of the world thinking that a truly internationalist order is in effect. Who could benefit from both propaganda efforts? The "elite" that run the US empire.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 7, 2019 6:05:00 AM | 120

Insightful as ever.

Posted by: Bill48 | Jan 7, 2019 8:13:19 AM | 121

Cynica @ 102

Lol. It is quite clear you enjoy debating. Nothing wrong with that. I resemble that remark myself.

However, it appears you aren't very well-equipped to understand Mills meaning much less debate against it.

The Snowden NSA "revelations" which, as someone else here notes, were simply an admission of what anyone who uses the internet had long since known (the truth of NSA spying with internet data and metadata actually was previously reported by the dastardly MSM in like 2005 but didn't create an uproar at the time, as neither did Snowden's revelations in fact-most Amerikkkans take the fact they are not "hidden" online in stride with a yawn) is a most excellent illustration that you unwittingly provided of "the conspiracy is in the institutions" while implying it isn't. Or something like that. Non-sequitor based on limited comprehension, apparently.

Of course conspiracies require individuals. That is beside the point Mills made way back in 1956. Insitutions also require individuals. Of course, that is not even debatable.

Snowden was an employee of an NSA contractor not truly a "conspirator". He was closer to being a useful idiot who awoke into a whistle blower. He wasn't threatened with death for revealing the details of the "conspiracy" to use the internet to spy on Amerikkkans (this was your original point way upthread, that people hide conspiracies in which they participate under the threat of death for revealing). He could be considered a "conspirator" only because he accepted a gig with the institution promulgating the conspiracy.

He was threatened with prosecution for revealing secrets as part of his basic employment contract which is why he hightailed it to Russia. One can't blame him for not wishing to be a martyr and acting on behalf of his own self preservation but clearly he has marginalised himself in the process, his funny little robot-like means of participating in video conferences from afar notwithstanding.

Greenwald of course was the main beneficiary, made himself relatively rich (by selling out) and famous in the process but he has also been largely self-marginalised by giving up his large MSM platform for a smaller corner of the internet.

Frankly, I've always seen Greenwald as a phony rightwing opportunist who saw a market for his ideas on the left. He's done some good but far outweighed by his bad, imho, especially his unconscionable support for Citizens United, the decision which hammered into place the final nail in the coffin of US representative democracy.

Perusing the rest of your comments here I'm not so much in disagreement with you but I tend to find your arguments banal and non-sequitorous.

Arguing for the sake of arguing.


Posted by: donkeytale | Jan 7, 2019 8:25:59 AM | 122

...
He was threatened with prosecution for revealing secrets as part of his basic employment contract which is why he hightailed it to Russia.
...
Posted by: donkeytale | Jan 7, 2019 8:25:59 AM | 122

Snowden didn't "hightail it to Russia." He hightailed it out of the USA. He was stranded in Moscow when The Swamp cancelled his passport before he could transit to an undisclosed(?) final destination via Moscow International Airport.

If the Yanks hadn't outsmarted themselves by refusing to sign or honour a mutual extradition MOU with Russia, Putin probably would have told them to come and get him. Putin says Snowden should have resigned from the NSA if he didn't like what they were doing - which is what Vlad did when he disagreed with what the KGB was doing.
Source: Oliver Stone's Putin Interviews Parts I to IV.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7, 2019 9:27:25 AM | 123

Hoarsewhisperer @ 123

Yes, I typed too fast and skipped over an accurate protrayal of Snowden's departure from the US. I stand corrected. I even recall at one point there was a rumour that Peru's (?) presidential plane had whisked Snowden out of Moscow to South America?

My recollection is Snowden went to Hong Kong first from Hawaii and then boarded a flight to Moscow with ticket and escort provided by Wikileaks, of whom he since been somewhat critical for they way they tend to dump unredacted documents?

Posted by: donkeytale | Jan 7, 2019 9:47:10 AM | 124

One of the most interesting aspects of this decision of Trump's, is that he bucked Nuttyyahoo. Yahoo wanted both the Iran sanctions to remain in place and for the US to continue to fight against the "Shiite Crescent" on the ground in Syria. In the offer made by Trump the US would pull out of Syria at the same time as Iran and Trump would lift the sanctions on Iran in return. Nutty refused to budge on the sanctions, so Trump said fine, I'm done. You don't want a deal too bad. Now the Walrus is there trying to patch things up and no doubt Trump sent him to lay a load of platitudes on them but it still amounts to the same thing. Israel's support for the Kurds is no longer a sufficient reason for the US to support them given Trump's position of disengagement in the endless wars.

This was the second defeat of Israeli policies regarding the Kurds in a short period of time. Remember that Israel was also backing and buying oil from the Kurds in Iraq. They had voted for self rule, they even ruled the territory and still the US allowed them to be pushed out of power despite what Israel wanted.

One more thing. In light of how Trump was negotiating it seems obvious to me that he got out of Obama's deal so that he had leverage against Iran's presence in Syria and elsewhere. Trump thinks leverage is everything and he isn't wrong. But he is finding out quickly where he has leverage and where he doesn't. For instance it's tough to find leverage against a "deep state" that in reality acts more like independent actors or possibly sleeper cells than anything else. Getting dirt on one of them doesn't change a thing, is my point. Also when it comes to Iran it's not so easy to get leverage because the real power is based on religion and he is not elected and he can literally put out religious fatwas.

Do I think Trump is the real deal or that he's a deep state actor himself? He's real, for what it's worth and it's not worth as much as people think. Unless a president has the backing of the "deep state/power that be, he can't get all that much done, as we clearly see. I used to believe that there was this big secret cabal that controlled everything until I got older and got access to people further up the chain of command, so to speak. It's too big of a mish mash of competing interests for there to be this huge conspiracy to both put Trump in power and then also pretend to be against him. Now they might very well have pushed him forward as the guy who Hillary would stomp on, I don't doubt that some of them did that for whatever reasons they had. But they did not expect him to win. These are not infallible creatures that control every aspect of our waking lives. Most of them are corrupt, self interested, ignorant, etc. etc. etc. They have so many competing interests that it's amazing that they can get together on anything but they do once in a while but it takes a lot. They might get together to oust Trump, they might get together to push a war, they might have even pushed Trump forward, etc. But they are not all powerful and most of them are even in a position where they must abide by the laws themselves as hard as that is to believe. If I believed these people were all seeing, all powerful, etc. I wouldn't also be worried about WWIII or the eventual collapse of our nation because it would mean there is not crisis and it's all just a show. But I do believe things are getting out of control and that it can go any number of directions in the decades to come.

Think of Trump's win like the football game Yesterday. The Refs probably did want to keep it close, it makes for a more exciting game, So some calls can seem really hokey right? But when the game comes down to a field goal and the ball bounces off the upright and the crossbar you can't really make a legitimate claim that the refs actually decided who was going to win can you? Yet I hear the same type of conspiracies put forward to explain everything the NFL does as well, as if it's all just scripted. If only life were that simple to understand, but it's not. Life is really this complex, people are not infallible especially not those at the top and we truly could collapse as a nation just like others have before us. "They" do not have absolute control over anything and that is both scary and shows that it's possible to fix this mess.

Posted by: Brad Smith | Jan 7, 2019 11:53:02 AM | 125

@donkeytale #122

Trying to insult a person's intelligence and otherwise making ad hominem attacks against them is very unlikely to convince them of the validity of one's own position. If one truly believes that his interlocutor is uninformed about something, a better approach is to provide that information straightforwardly.

Now then, Snowden provided confirmation of what some people already believed was going on. There had been others before Snowden, such as William Binney, but they provided little hard evidence, if any. The fact that Snowden's revelations didn't lead to any significant policy changes should come as no surprise at all, really. It's not due to the American people not caring about privacy. They certainly do, as evidenced by them being even more careful online afterwards. What may have appeared as the American people just yawning about systemic internet surveillance was actually the American people feeling collectively powerless in the face of the "elite". There are probably multiple reasons for this feeling of powerlessness.

It's good that there's agreement that institutions require individuals, thus disproving the notion that conspiracies exist in institutions and therefore not among individuals. It's then agreed that conspiracies have no existence apart from individuals. Now a key element of conspiracy is secrecy. So if an institution has a secret goal, then it can be said to embody a conspiracy. Of course, that requires multiple individuals who work within the institution to be aware of the secret goal and to support it and work toward it. Not only that, it requires that of the top leadership of the institution. Otherwise, one can only say that there's a conspiracy within the institution.

Posted by: Cynica | Jan 7, 2019 1:44:39 PM | 126

Brad Smith, thank you for one of the best written and most lucid posts I've ever read on this site. 'Twould be nice to be able to share a glass (bottle?) of wine or a good cup of coffee with you the pursue the subject.

My question regarding the killing of Obama's deal with Iran is: how much was it simple rancor toward everything Obama did and represents for Trump, and how much was it the stratgem that you posit? I tend to think that Trump is too obtuse and self-centered to be a strategist, so, I'd attribute the move to one of his handlers -- which one, I have no idea. An underlying theme to his election campaign rants was his hatred for everything Obama and a concomitant sense of rivalry. Hence, I believe that he is angling for a Nobel Peace Prize (an excellent example of what T.S. Eliot called doing the right thing for the wrong reason). If he has to fall out with Nutty Yahoo to bring that about, he will. In any event, he has Jared Boy to patch all that up for him.

As for withdrawing support from the Kurds, there is more there than meets the eye. The Kurdish entity that was planned across northen Syria had multiple raisons d'être. The French were backing it as a way to create a new base for themselves from which to reassert their presence and power in the region. Israel was backing it because, according to Thierry Meyssan, the administration was to be set up by Israeli-Jewish Kurds as way to extend Iraeli influence and power further in the region that, in the long run, is supposed to be part of Eretz Israel. Turkey backed it as a place to which little by little displace the troublesome Kurds from southeast Turkey, a place that would be thus under Turkish Erdo-Ottoman influence. For the Hew Hess Hay, it was a way to whittle down Syria. Trump's thwarting of all their (competing) ambitions is the price he is willing to pay to get his Nobel Prize.

No, Trump is not Deep State. He entered the presidential race, we know from his initial campaign manager, to publicize his name (and to give the big finger to NBC, according to Michael Moore) and even once he had the nomination, he was not expected to win at all. However, with Bannon taken on to run the campaign (mostly from behind the scenes) and Adelson's and the Mercers' money behind him, he had ended up with a plausible chance. Harridan Hillery's unshakable belief that it was "her turn" led her to run a sloppy campaign. The release to the public of the speeches given to the bankers and the colossal funds thus pocketed hurt her, not the mention that her sabotage of Bernie's campaign then her unmistakable snub of him (not even the suggestion of a vice-presidential candidacy) estranged many.

That there is schism in the Deep State has been obvious since at least the 1992 election campaign: Bush, a CIA man, lost to Clinton, a backwater nobody who had become a CIA asset, thoroughly compromized and controlled by the CIA since his terms as attorney general then governor of Arkansas. I agree that this "mish mash of competing interests" has the potential to undo everything.

Whatever the dismay of whatever elements of the Deep State, Trump has delivered on a matters of utmost importance its members, to wit an increased military budget and the tax cut.

At this point in the discussion, most people will have signed off and moved on to the next thread. Maybe you'll read this. How to communicate with you otherwise?

Thanks again for the lucidity and articulateness.

Posted by: RJPJR | Jan 7, 2019 3:23:58 PM | 127

Another typo: "If he would order an attack, Erdogan would only go for ..." should be " If he ordered an attack, Erdogan would only go for ..."

Posted by: RoHaq | Jan 7, 2019 11:22:00 PM | 128

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