Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 04, 2019

Syria Sitrep - Trump Says U.S. Will Leave But Pentagon Keeps Adding Forces

The U.S. retreat from northeast Syria is still not happening. In yesterdays interview with CBS President Trump again said the troops would leave, but the the Pentagon is doing the opposite of retreating.


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The Islamic State forces north of the Euphrates are left to holding some 4 square kilometer of ground near the border to Iraq. The few hundred ISIS fighters still alive could be killed in a day or two which would then be the right time for the U.S. to leave as President Trump announced two month ago.

But the U.S. military keeps increasing its troop numbers and supplies in the area. During the last two month the number of U.S. soldiers in northeast Syria rose by nearly 50%. Instead of the officially acknowledged 2,000 there are now at least 3,000 U.S. soldiers in northeast Syria. New weapons and equipment arrive every day. Additionally, the Syrian Observatory reports, the U.S. is bringing in a significant number of TOW anti-tank missiles and heavy machine guns even though there is no longer an apparent use for these:

[T]he International Coalition Forces brought quantities of anti-armor thermal missiles during the recent period, to their bases east of Euphrates area, in conjunction with bringing quantities of machineguns known as “DShK”, and the reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory that the range of the missiles reaches about 6 km, but the reasons for bringing these weapons was not known, especially as the “Islamic State” Organization in its last pocket at the east bank of Euphrates River is almost ended, ..
...
[T]he Syrian Observatory has documented since the US president’s decision to withdraw until the 3rd of February 2018, the entry of 1130 trucks at least, carrying equipment, ammunition, weapons, military, and logistic equipment to bases of the International Coalition east of Euphrates, ..
...
The process of entering the trucks also comes in conjunction with the arrival of hundreds of soldiers of the US Special Forces to the Syrian territory in a specific and special operation, the goal of which is to arrest the remaining leaders and members of the “Islamic State” Organization who are trapped in the remaining 4 kilometers for it east of Euphrates, ..

Today the New York Times finally confirms the increased troop numbers the Observatory reported weeks ago:

The American military has started withdrawing some equipment, but not yet troops, officials said on Sunday. The number of American troops in Syria has actually increased in recent weeks to more than 3,000 — a standard practice to bring in additional security and logistics troops temporarily to help protect and carry out the process of pulling out — three Defense Department officials said.

The explanation makes little sense. One does not need 1,000 additional troops to secure and remove the stocks of a 2,000 strong force deployment in mostly friendly territory.

The NYT also reveals that the U.S. wants to led the Kurdish PKK keep the arms it received:

A meeting in late January of the National Security Council’s “deputies committee” — the No. 2 leaders of national security departments and agencies — recommended allowing the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters, to keep the equipment the Pentagon has provided them and for an American-led air campaign to continue airstrikes to defend them against the Islamic State, according to two senior American officials.

This breaks a promise the U.S. repeatedly made to Turkey and gives Ankara more reasons to threaten the Kurds.

On Saturday a U.S. air attack targeted a Syrian army position south of the Euphrates near the border town al-Bukamal:

A military source told SANA that the U.S.-led coalition warplanes carried out an air strike overnight Saturday on Syrian artillery position in Sokkariyeh village, west of al-Bukamal city.

The source added that the attack resulted in destroying the artillery and injuring two soldiers.

SANA reporter said that, in parallel with the coalition’s aggression, Daesh terrorists attacked military points in the area, but the army units repelled the attack and killed and wounded most of the attacking terrorists.

This is one of several incidents that lets one assume that the U.S. intentionally lets some ISIS fighters escape to bother the Syrian government.

The U.S. military says it fears the ISIS would regrow should U.S. troops retreat. But that argument only holds when no other troops would replace them. The only viable solution to handle northeast Syria after the territorial defeat of the Islamic State is obviously to ask the Syrian government to retake control of its land. It could defeat remaining Islamic State sleeper cells, handle the prisoners the Kurds have taken,  and keep the YPK/PKK and Turkey apart. But the U.S. foreign policy borg is still unwilling to concede that.

James Jeffrey, the neoconservative U.S. special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, thought up an elaborate scheme to 'protect the Kurds' and to secure the borders to Turkey with the help of allied troops.

Aaron Stein @aaronstein1 - 17:33 utc - 24 Jan 2019

The Jeffrey plan being carried to Ankara/Rojava is very complex, requires open-ended commitments from UK-France, Turkish patrols in rural areas, SDF acquiescence, 3rd party forces, and US top cover, perhaps including a US enforced NFZ (unclear if POTUS is on board with this bit)

A week after that tweet the Wall Street Journal reported that the crazy scheme failed to win support from any of the relevant parties. The Kurds rejected it and Britain and France declined to send troops on a never ending mission between the waring Turkish and Kurdish sides.

No news has been released of any different scheme. The YPK/PKK Kurds the U.S. used as proxy force against the Islamic State recently lobbied in Washington to keep some U.S. troops in the area:

The group’s message to Washington policymakers has centered around slowing the US withdrawal, and stopping Turkish plans to police a safe zone on the border of northern Syria, which the SDC sees as a potentially deadly repeat of the 2018 incursion into the Kurdish-held city of Afrin.

The lobbying effort is likely to fail.

The Kurds still demand a substantial autonomy in exchange for letting the Syrian army retake the control of the northeast. Damascus rejects any local autonomy that goes beyond cultural rights. The teaching of a Kurdish language in local schools will be allowed, but there will be no separate Kurdish administration. As the alternatives fail to evolve the Kurds will soon have to choose between agreeing to Damascus' conditions or getting slaughtered by a Turkish invasion force.

Meanwhile Russia is working to reestablish the Adana Memorandum of 1998 between Turkey and Syria. In it Syria promised to hinder all Kurdish attacks from Syria on Turkey, while Turkey promised to refrained from anti-Kurdish engagements on Syrian grounds. The reviving of the agreement would require that Turkey gives up on the parts of Syria its forces and currently occupy and continue to turkify. There are already low level contacts between Turkey and Syria on the ground, but the Turkish President Erdogan is not yet willing to go further. A new meeting in the Astana format between Turkey, Russia and Iran is supposed to take place on February 14. It might come up with a new solution.


In his Sunday interview with CBS President Trump again explained his position on the retreat. Asked about concern that the defeated ISIS might rise again should the U.S. move out he responded:

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And you know what we'll do? We'll come back if we have to. We have very fast airplanes. We have very good cargo planes. We can come back very quickly, and I'm not leaving. We have a base in Iraq and the base is a fantastic edifice. I mean, I was there recently. And I couldn't believe the money that was spent on these massive runways. And these-- I've-- I've rarely seen anything like it. And it's there. And we'll be there. And, frankly, we're hitting the caliphate from Iraq and as we slowly withdraw from Syria. Now the other thing after this--

MARGARET BRENNAN: How many troops are still in Syria? When are they coming home?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Two thousand troops.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When are they coming home?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They are starting to, as we gain the remainder, the final remainder of the caliphate of the area, they'll be going to our base in Iraq. And, ultimately, some will be coming home. But we're going to be there and we're going to be staying--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that's a matter of months?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have to protect Israel. We have to protect other things that we have. But we're-- yeah, they will be coming back in a matter of time. ...

Trump's claim that there are only 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria shows that he apparently does not know what Pentagon is doing behind his back. He also has no idea of any real timeline for the retreat even as he continues to promote it.

Trump believes that he can keep troops in Iraq and use that country as a base against Iran:

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you want to keep troops [in Iraq] now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: --but when it was chosen-- well, we-- we spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it. And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Whoa, that's news. You're keeping troops in Iraq because you want to be able to strike in Iran?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, because I want to be able to watch Iran. All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East--
...
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: --rather than pulling up. And this is what a lot of people don't understand. We're going to keep watching and we're going to keep seeing and if there's trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we're going to know it before they do.

That the U.S. plans to stay in Iraq to "watch Iran" was news to the president of that country:

Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Monday that President Donald Trump did not ask Iraq’s permission for U.S. troops stationed there to “watch Iran.”
...
“Don’t overburden Iraq with your own issues,” Salih said. “The U.S. is a major power ... but do not pursue your own policy priorities, we live here.”
...
“It is of fundamental interest for Iraq to have good relations with Iran” and other neighboring countries, Salih said.

There are already moves underway in the Iraqi parliament to (again) kick the U.S. out of the country. The Sadr faction, the biggest one in parliament, is preparing legislation to achieve that. Other groups have threatened to use force to push the U.S. out. Back in December Elijah Magnier predicted that the U.S. would have either leave voluntarily or will be pushed out by force:

The Iraqi parliament can exert pressure over the government of Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi to ask President Trump to pull out US troops before the end of his mandate in 2020. The US establishment and the “Axis of the Resistance” can both connive and plan, but the last word will belong to the people of Iraq and to those who reject US hegemony in the Middle East, ..


Back to Syria. Idelb governorate continues to be the largest problem left in the receding war on Syria. It is ruled by the al-Qaeda aligned Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).


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The Syrian military is waiting for orders to attack the enclave and is using artillery to 'soften up' the al-Qaeda positions near its lines. A new Bloomberg piece notes the contradiction in the argument of those who want the U.S. to stay in Syria because of ISIS. They never say a word about the much larger al-Qaeda force:

Islamic extremism in that war-torn country, runs their argument, is nowhere near as extinct as the President claims.

There’s plenty of evidence that the critics are right about that. But it doesn’t necessarily translate into a case for staying in Syria. Because US troops aren’t even marginally involved in the fight against the biggest remaining jihadi force there — which is al-Qaeda, not ISIS.
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After eight years of civil war, the biggest chunk of jihadi-held territory in Syria now belongs to al-Qaeda, America’s original enemy in the global war on terror. Almost two decades after the September 11 attacks, the group’s Syrian affiliate has been on the march, seizing Idlib province in a dramatic advance last month. Its military strength is estimated to be in the tens of thousands, perhaps the largest concentration of armed jihadists ever assembled in one place.

But the US military isn’t fighting it — and isn't likely to, even if Trump were to abandon his plan to withdraw.

It will be Syrian, Russian and maybe some Iran supported forces that will have to clean up the mess the U.S. created by arming al-Qaeda. But they can only do so when their backs are not threatened by some new nefarious U.S. scheme. That the U.S. continues to supply dubious forces in the northeast, including with anti-tank weapons, increases the concern that Trump's repeated announcements of a retreat are not the last words spoken on that issue.

Posted by b on February 4, 2019 at 01:09 PM | Permalink

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As shown in this article, Washington is doing its very best to ensure that Israel maintains its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/01/how-washington-is-helping-israel.html

The fact that the U.S. Department of State was fully prepared to fight a war in Syria to end the Assad regime simply to protect America's best friend Israel and its illegitimately acquired nuclear weapons stockpile is nothing short of ironic.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Feb 4, 2019 1:22:07 PM | 1

The US plan to have conflict with every non-aligned country in the world is ever closer to fruition.

Posted by: worldblee | Feb 4, 2019 1:29:20 PM | 2

It seems you believe every word Tronald says. The fact is, he says troops are being withdrawn, but the opposite is happening on the ground. How about some surprising military action in Syria at the same time as an attack on Venezuela in order to occupy Russia in the Middle East?

Posted by: Pnyx | Feb 4, 2019 1:29:31 PM | 3

Trump clearly is either lying (and bad at it) or is very confused. He can't even answer such easy questions (whether truthfully or not) without hemming and hawing all over the place.

Meanwhile the military is simply doing whatever it chooses without reference to anything the "commander in chief" says. The US gets more like one of its own self-created banana republics all the time.

I wonder if Trump even recalls that he was elected, and that his only hope for being anything but a figurehead geek little better than Guano himself is to sustain and activate the loyalty of that electoral base. After saying he was going to withdraw the troops, he has to do it. Otherwise every adversary, from the pentagon to the deep state to the media to the "resistance" to the Democrats will view him as a complete doormat who can simply be defied to his face or else "managed" and then ignored, but at any rate whose wishes can be discounted completely.

Not that I care about the imperialist Trump, but to whatever extent he really is at odds with some factions of the empire, I want that conflict to really exist. But most likely he's lying all the way and is just especially clumsy about it.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 4, 2019 1:44:18 PM | 4

The neo-cons still want their endless mindless wars, Trump being more modest, just wants the oilfields. 'Protecting' Israel and grabbing the oilfields, is for Trump, killing two birds with one stone.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 1:46:58 PM | 5

b: Idelb governorate continues to be the largest problem left in the receding war on Syria.

Not so sure about that. IMO the largest problem seems to be the continuing hostility of the 'Assad must go!' Coalition. Butt hurt Zionists, Cold Warriors, neocons, and Takfiris will never accept a Russian-Iranian win. The Jihadis in Idlib and USA refusal to return territory they occupy to Syria are manifestations of this truth.

What has been ignored is this: Trump's 'pull out' is not a 'hand over' to Syria.>/i> I have seen no contemplation of USA returning ANY territory back to Syria. Anti-Empire hopium causes some to make the unfounded assumption that: 1) USA will actually leave; 2) SAA will reclaim the territory once USA leaves.

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

The notion that Trump is getting steam-rolled by his advisors is laughable. He appointed them. And he KNOWS that he has "paused"/delayed his "immediate withdrawal" and now he talks about staying in Syria to protect Israel. He also know this is a betrayal of his 'America First' campaign promises.

The war isn't over. If you're optimistic, it's a "frozen conflict"; if you're not, it's war of attrition and terror with potential to flare up anytime.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 2:10:16 PM | 6

Qatar just donated $2 million to the white helmets. I guess the US and Israel are cooking up another scheme to attack Syria.
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201902041072119075-qatar-fund-syria-grant/

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 2:10:52 PM | 7

thanks b.. this says it all..

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have to protect Israel.

Posted by: james | Feb 4, 2019 2:18:49 PM | 8

You contradict yourself within the same post..

The US hasn't left.

"The U.S. retreat from northeast Syria is still not happening"

It's not going to happen and it never was going to happen.

Then you claim the YPG/PKK failed in their efforts to get US troops to remain.

"The YPK/PKK Kurds the U.S. used as proxy force against the Islamic State recently lobbied in Washington to keep some U.S. troops in the area:
The lobbying effort is likely to fail."

Looks more like the lobbying, so called, has succeeded since the US hasn't left- and they aren't going to as large arms shipments are continuing. Which you mention as well and is also suggestive of successful lobbying. Which begs the question of how you could conclude the so called lobbying failed.

Also notice you fail to mention the "Kurdification" of 1/3 of Syria... Or de-Arabization more accurately, what with all that ethnic cleansing?

Or the NATO'ization of all that annexed/ occupied territory with at least 20 combined coalition bases- french and american both.

Opting instead to talk "Turkification" It's misleading, don't you think?

There's a bit more to Adana then your alluding to.


Posted by: no name | Feb 4, 2019 2:19:24 PM | 9

The Donald is truly an awesome figure in so many ways. For those of you viewing the USAn experiment from afar: it jumped the shark some time ago. The duopoly system that is in place is designed to distract the public with ridiculous drama, and the rest is a stalemate to keep up appearances. Note that the aspect of cultural warfare has increased in amplitude and sheer outrageousness in the past few decades. Bush & Co. allowed for the wholesale looting and conditioning, Obama gave the lefties hopium and alienated the other side. Then the pendulum gets swung back and the lefties are taught to hate. Getting them to direct that hate toward Russia is an added bonus. Bloody clever if you ask me.
So effective has the been the conditioning that the citizens dont even question outright invasion and destruction no matter what the excuse. The public is so complacent that they dont even question the reasoning. The PTB dont bother changing the script: Terrible dictator, killing his own people, terrorists, bad bad man, etc....
We have known for a while what is very likely going on in Syria so i wont bother flogging the pony. It's fine for comedy(very dark) and public consumption to say 'we are fighting ISIS' but its clearly the opposite. The US will have to be pried out of the region, and thats that. There is just no way they will go willingly, there is too much isreal to "protect", monkey wrenching to be done, and treasure to steal. It's fascinating to watch the various parties that oppose the US&Co apply pressure and make moves that are subtle. With yet another polarizing issue (Venezuela) the picture becomes more clear which government is on what side....

Posted by: Chevrus | Feb 4, 2019 2:56:05 PM | 10

I agree with James in that the only part of what Trump said that wasn't DazzleSpeak was the bit about the US being there to protect Israel

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 4, 2019 3:05:01 PM | 11

Looks like the US is cooking up another plan. Pompeo hosting a meeting of the coalition to assist isis on the 6th.
https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2019/01/288663.htm
"U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will host a day of meetings with the foreign ministers of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS on February 6 in Washington, D.C. The full 79-member Coalition will meet for in-depth discussions on the impending territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, which is the result of four years of Coalition and our partners’ efforts, and a significant milestone towards delivering ISIS an enduring defeat. Ministers will discuss the next phase of the campaign in Iraq and Syria, which will focus on protecting against a resurgence of ISIS through stabilization and security assistance. Ministers will also discuss important next steps in degrading ISIS’s global networks and affiliates outside Iraq and Syria."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 3:10:30 PM | 12

Donald says . . .

Meaningless words.

Powerless President.

The Deep State and MIC and Bibi own him.

He will be "removed" if he disobeys. Object lesson: JFK. Dallas. 1963.

When you are sent the message, you obey. That's what is going on. Donald got the message.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 4, 2019 3:17:20 PM | 13

At some point, you'd think folks would understand, that the POTUS is just a figure head, spouting rhetoric designed to mislead and confuse, while the true powers behind the throne(the uber rich and their business cronies) dictate foreign and domestic policies for the empire.

It's just business, get over it.

It's not rocket science.

Posted by: ben | Feb 4, 2019 3:17:28 PM | 14

PS--Thanks for the therapy b..

This is, and has been for years, a truly great site...

Posted by: ben | Feb 4, 2019 3:19:03 PM | 15

Great attempt at trying to figure out 'what's up' B. I'm not so sure Trump is ignorant of what's going on. It seems his style to promise one thing while doing another. He's flipped so many times, I've lost count.

Why Americans continue to allow these destructive war is a mystery. They complain about the debt but say little about the military spending and are not bothered in the least over the missing 21 trillion.

Truly mind boggling...

Posted by: ken | Feb 4, 2019 3:32:21 PM | 16

Rueters current article "Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the UK-based war monitoring group, said in December that Islamic State militants had executed nearly 700 prisoners in nearly two months. The prisoners were among 1,350 civilians and fighters that Islamic State has been holding near the Iraqi border."
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-syria-prisoners/u-s-calls-on-allies-to-repatriate-islamic-state-prisoners-from-syria-idUSKCN1PT21I

Rueters article from October 19 2018
"In Washington, the U.S. military cast doubt on Putin’s claims.

“While we have confirmed that there was an attack on an IDP (internally displaced persons) camp near (Deir-al Zor) last week, we have no information supporting the large number of hostages alleged by President Putin and we are skeptical of its accuracy,” Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

“We are also unaware of any U.S. nationals located in that camp,” Robertson added."
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-syria-prisoners/u-s-calls-on-allies-to-repatriate-islamic-state-prisoners-from-syria-idUSKCN1PT21I

I remember Putin asking what was happening to the 700 or so hostages that were being killed each day in the US protected zone. Looks like the US just sat back and let them die.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 3:32:31 PM | 17

Red Ryder @13: Object lesson: JFK. Dallas. 1963.

That's just an excuse. They select front men who are already vetted so that forced removal is very very unlikely.

Clinton, Bushes, Obama, and Trump have/had no desire or inclination to oppose the Deep State.

Faux populist Presidents (Obama, Trump) backed up by controlled media have taken the duopoly show to new heights. If you listen closely you can almost hear the establishment laughing as the Kool-Aid drinkers fight with each other. LULZ galore.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 3:35:07 PM | 18

Trump: "We have to protect Israel. We have to protect other things that we have."
Trump: "And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem."

Not at all sure how Trump can square *those* aims with the 2001 AUMF that Congress voted to the President.

Because, after all, it is *that* AUMF that is the legal basis under US law for Trump to be able to deploy combat troops into the middle east.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Feb 4, 2019 3:50:02 PM | 19

The empire is going down fast. US exports to China consist of soybeans and pig’s trotters and snouts and Boeing aircraft, the latter the last big US company to come under Wall Street (Zionist Jews) rules in 1997. Previously, Boeing had been an engineer-led company and produced the brilliant 747 in under a year.

Posted by: Lochearn | Feb 4, 2019 3:53:12 PM | 20

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have to protect Israel.
There's a Nobel Peace Prize waiting for an Israeli statesman who will move his unhappy county to a safer location.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq.
Can we have our money back from the grifters who authorized and built that monstrosity?

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Feb 4, 2019 4:05:15 PM | 21

Sounds like President Bolton has been busy at the Pentagon.
How very like Bloomberg to call the invasion of Syria by foreign fighters 'a civil war'. Regime change jargon.

Posted by: CD Waller | Feb 4, 2019 4:08:53 PM | 22

Notice how Trump in this short interview mentions the extraordinary cost of the Iraqi base several times, reiterating it with the image of the incredibly expensive landing strip. Intent to alert a thoughtful listener to the crippling cost of this MIC adventure, or confused babbling of The Donald, to anyone paying attention this is should give pause to think.

Posted by: Leser | Feb 4, 2019 4:11:07 PM | 23

@18, Jackrabbit,

If Trump was "selected", they would not be trying so hard to get rid of him. Since his announced candidacy, through the campaign and every second of his days in office, they have blistered him with attacks and threats and backstabbing.

So your premise is, on the face of it, false.

They peeled away his protection, stripped away his friends, limited him to contacts they controlled, and threatened him, his wife, his, sons and his family fortune.

That's some safe front man.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 4, 2019 4:16:27 PM | 24

Leser 23

Trump wants Iraq to pay these incredibly expensive costs. He said during the election campaign that US should have taken the oil. He has said several times since "who knows, we may still get the chance". He was against the war in iraq only because the US did not take the oil.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 4:16:51 PM | 25

Wouldn't you agree, Peter AU 1, that the US didn't 'take the oil' because the Iraqi people would not allow them to do so?
I find it hard to believe that the US will be allowed to stay in Iraq, and, if it does find someone who will tolerate it doing so,, staying there will take up all their military's energies.
I don't understand what Trump is doing, I'm pretty certain that he doesn't have much of an idea either, but the key to the situation is Turkey. If Turkey will allow the US to stay in Syria it will be able to do so. So the question is what can the US offer Turkey to break with Russia and Iran?
I suspect that, apart from bribing corrupt officials, the answer is nothing. After all, though it doesn't always seem like it, Turkey is opposed to Israel and will not allow it to become the dominant regional power.
Perhaps the answer is that Trump is playing for time because he has put all his hopes in the Kushner 'Deal of the Century', peace that he believes can be foisted on Palestine.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 4, 2019 4:40:51 PM | 26

This is merely the play acting while the great game continues: disrupt economic stability so the yankees and their friends can continue colonising and stealing. Its what they do. Ask the UK.

In the Syrian case the kleptocrats have established a trade and economic blockade to the north and east of Syria disrupting trade links from Turkey, through Syria to Jordan likewise in the east from Lebanon (especially), Syria, Iraq to Iran. Further east the Afghan 'war' disables trade from Iran through to Pakistan India. Throw in some Baluchistan 'terrorists' and Iran cannot easily move its goods east. All those nations are weakened while Lebanon is just a larger form of the west bank Palestinian slave camp.

They all need sea routes which are less efficient and more vulnerable than rail. Speaking of which how is China going with the OBOR game. It has been confined to the northern stan countries.

Trump is a pathetic and barely entertaining front man for the permanent states of USA, Israel, UK and their lapdogs.

Will there be a counter move or revolt in Iraq?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 4, 2019 4:53:04 PM | 27

@Pnyx

in order to occupy Russia in the Middle East?

I am fascinated with how is it possible to occupy Russia in the Middle East.

Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Feb 4, 2019 4:55:11 PM | 28

Lochhearn 20
Does Lenin's encapsulation still hold - in spite of Atomic weaponary - ' financialisation leeds to political and strategic ' opportunism' , war ?

Posted by: ashley albanese | Feb 4, 2019 5:02:45 PM | 29

Cockroaches are a pest that're difficult to completely eradicate; such is also the case with the Outlaw US Empire's Southwest Asian presence. Eventually, they will only be found in the places they initially festered at--Kuwait, Qatar, Zionistan, Saudi, and Turkey--as the fumigation continues and the bloc consisting of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon finally free themselves from the vermin. IMO, other events have moved Syraq to the back-burner as reflected by these two items.

Unprecedented publication, as far as I'm aware, of part of Russia's Security Council discussion between Putin, Lavrov and Shoigu on the INF Treaty withdrawal and possible responses:

"Vladimir Putin: And this is an outright violation of the Treaty.

"Sergey Lavrov: This is an outright violation of the Treaty. Launchers of this kind have already been deployed in Romania, and preparations are underway to deploy them in Poland, as well as Japan....

"[Lavrov]: All in all, the situation is quite alarming. Let me reiterate that the decision taken by the United States on the INF Treaty is of course a matter of serious concern for the entire world, especially for Europe. Nevertheless, the Europeans followed in the footsteps of the United States with all NATO members speaking out in explicit support of the position adopted by the United States to refrain from any discussions on mutual concerns. All we hear are groundless ultimatums requiring us to take unilateral measures without any evidence to support unfounded accusations.

"Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

"Mr Shoigu, what is the Defence Ministry’s view on the current situation? And what do you propose in this regard?...

"[Shoigu]: In this connection, we have the following proposals regarding retaliatory measures.

"First, we propose launching in the coming months research and development, as well as development and engineering with a view to creating land-based modifications of the sea-based Kalibr launching systems.

"Second, we propose launching research and development, followed by development and engineering to create land-based launchers for hypersonic intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.

"We ask you to support these proposals.

"Vladimir Putin: I agree. This is what we will do. Our response will be symmetrical. Our US partners announced that they are suspending their participation in the INF Treaty, and we are suspending it too. They said that they are engaged in research, development and design work, and we will do the same.

"I agree with the Defence Ministry’s proposals to create a land-based version of the Kalibr launchers and work on a new project to develop a land-based hypersonic intermediate-range missile.

"At the same time, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we must not and will not let ourselves be drawn into an expensive arms race. I wanted to ask you, would it be possible to finance these initiatives using the existing budget allocations to the Defence Ministry for 2019 and the following years?

"Sergey Shoigu: Mr President, we closely studied this matter, and will propose adjustments to the 2019 budget in order to be able to carry out these initiatives within the limits set by the state armaments programme and the defence procurement orders for 2019 without going over budget.

"Vladimir Putin: This should not entail any increases in the Defence Ministry’s budget.

"Sergey Shoigu: Yes.

"Vladimir Putin: Good."

IMO, one main reason this was published is to show the Outlaw US Empire that Russia will not be goaded into an arms race that it actually already leads. It also sends a message to EU about its folly in blindly following its master.

TASS published this explanation why no Treaty was consummated with Japan formally ending WW2. The next to last paragraph provides the real reason why this treaty won't be finalized anytime soon:

"However, after Japan and the United States had signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security in 1960, the Soviet Union withdrew its obligation to hand over the islands. A Soviet government’s memorandum dated January 27, 1960, said that those islands would only be handed over to Japan if all foreign troops were pulled out of the country."

Note in the previous citation that Japan was one location for the emplacement of INF violating missiles. So if Japan really, truly desires such a treaty, it will need to disallow placement of those missiles and deal with all the Outlaw US Empire forces deployed on its territory. IMO, Japan will not become an SCO full member or major BRI participant until it signs this treaty with Russia.

While important, Syraq and Venezuela aren't as strategically important as INF and NPT violations by the Outlaw US Empire. (NPT violations are discussed in uncited section at fist link.) The situation is quickly evolving to one where most of the world agrees upon and respects the established Law-Based Order and finds itself facing a longstanding Outlaw nation and its band of outlaw vassals. Hopefully, this grave situation will be solved without any nuclear exchange.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 4, 2019 5:07:34 PM | 30

I agree with "no name" at #9 that Kurdification is a big issue and nobody's talking about it. The claim that SDF is "an alliance of Kurds and Arabs" is a lie. There are a few token Arabs there and that's it (I'm using the term "Arabs" loosely here). All the power rests with the Kurds. It reminds me of the propaganda about "brave Kurdish women dying for freedom and justice", when a cursory examination of the lists of the deceased clearly showed that 95% of the dead were males. The Kurdish security service Assayish rules the North-Eastern Syria with an iron fist. The leadership of Assayish is all from Qandil mountains, they are not even Syrian Kurds. The stories about a supposedly progressive society being built in "Rojava" are propaganda to distract the gullible Western lefties. This is a Kurdish ethnocracy, and these are Kurdish invaders who are now occupying land where they have never lived before (everything to the south of a strip along the Turkish border). (By the way, the term "Rojava" is another propaganda construct, please stop using it.) How many Kurds were living in Raqqa before the war? Why are Kurds suddenly in control of the Syrian dam? Its construction was financed by all Syrians, how come it is now Kurdish? Et cetera, et cetera. None of these questions are being asked by anybody. Kurds started settling in Syria en masse only a century ago, fleeing from Turks. Kurds are only about 4–7% of the population (the higher figures listed by Western MSM is propaganda, when even CIA says "Kurds, Armenians, and other groups total 9.7%"). Please look at the ethno-religious maps of Syria (1935 , 1976) and tell me: what the hell are the Kurds doing occupying the whole of North-Eastern Syria?

Posted by: S | Feb 4, 2019 5:07:56 PM | 31

karlof1
I think I linked to the en version of that meeting a day or so back.
The NPR, the US pulling out of nuclear treaties or agreements the building of the missile production facility by Raytheon, and small nuclear warheads now commencing a production to give sufficient numbers for operational capacity by September all need to be looked at together.
That this has come about purely on Trump's personal initiative makes for dangerous times. That the NPR specifically mentions using nuclear weapons against non nuclear states like Iran (the NPR singled out Iran by name) and Trumps antagonism towards Iran and Venezuela, Putin at the time the NPR came out stated in a speech that any nuclear attack on Russia's allies no matter how small would be treated as a nuclear attack on Russia, with all the consequences a nuclear attack on Russia would bring.

I often wonder how far Trump will go, how many risks he is prepared to take, for Israel, for energy dominance and MAGA.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 5:29:16 PM | 32

Red Ryder @24

No. On the face of it, Trump looks very much like he was "selected".

1) The USA-Russia conflict began in earnest in August 2013 when Russia oppposed USA bombing of Syria. It culminated in Kissinger's called for MAGA in August 2014 after Russia took Crimea and Ukraine failed to dislodge the Donbas rebels. The Deep State wanted a nationalist President to meet the challenge from the Russia-China alliance.

2) Trump was the only populist candidate in the Republican primary. 10 contenders, only one populist. Despite the electoral strength of the Tea Party. Despite McCain's having run as a "maverick" in 2008 and, recognizing the importance of the Tea Party, having selected Sara Palin as running mate.

3) Why would a billionaire run for President? Trump could have continued with his Apprentice Reality Show and retired. And why as a populist?!? Billionaire's don't buck the establishment - unless there's a sure win involved.

4) Hillary ran a terrible campaign. No seasoned campaigner that is desperate to make history as the first women President would make the mistakes she made.

5) The "Russia meddled" hokum is a feature, not a bug. It has provided an excuse for MSM push hate for Russia ad nauseum. It also helped to bring down Wikileaks as they could be smeared as Russia's agent.

6) Trump's faux populism is very similar to Obama's. They follow the same model:

Call to action slogan:
Change You Can Believe In" - "Make America Great Again"

Popular positioning (anti-corruption, world peace, fairness)

"Transparency" ==>> "Drain the swamp"

End the Wars/Close Guantanamo ==>> Anti-Interventionalist!!

Obamacare ==>> Trade (bring back jobs)

Leash the dog ("populists" can't be allowed to be too popular):

Birther Movement ==>> Russian influence investigation

Apologists (maintain support after betrayals):

Obamabots - Trumptards

7) Trump personnel picks show that he's not fighting the Deep State, he's enabling it:

VP Pence: John MCain's buddy;

John Bolton: long-time neocon, now joined by Elliot Abrams;

Gina Haspel: Brennan's gal at CIA;

William Barr: Mueller's pal;

Jared Kushner: tight with Netanyahu and MbS.

8) We've seen examples of other "unbelievable" psyops that are made possible by controlled media like the White Helmets, MH-17, the Skripal saga, and now Venezuela.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 5:55:43 PM | 33

Jackrabbit
I mostly agree with your assessment, but I think Trump was controlled opposition for HRC. Remember the Wikileaks released email about "elevating" Trump, Rubio and a couple others? Also, HRC might be a seasoned campaigner, but not a particularly successful one. She was elected to the NY senate but even that took some strong-arming, Zionist support and friendly media. She's always been a divisive figure and has drawn criticism from the left and the right. She's also a terrible strategist and has never been able to connect with voters.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 4, 2019 6:30:14 PM | 34

@21 bart hansen... that part about all the money we spent on the base in iraq struck me as well... as if that is a reason to stay! jesus..

@ 26 bevin.. i agree.. the usa is running out of cards to play with regard to turkey...

turkey doesn't have nukes yet, right? i suppose if they were to try, israel would be bellyaching to the usa about that too..

@28 smoothie... i think pnyx means - russia getting bogged down in syria, if the usa decides to make another mess in syria...russia has been the clean up crew, and the usa has been the make chaos crew..

Posted by: james | Feb 4, 2019 6:33:56 PM | 35

Peter @32--

Trump would never take any personal risks; he loves himself too much. For me, the NPT violations destroy any argument the Outlaw US Empire has against all other nations it accuses of such violations.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 4, 2019 6:43:30 PM | 36

bevin 26
in some ways Trump has an oversized believe in US military might. At the same time he is taking out insurance (in his mind) by bringing nukes into the picture. Raytheon has built the missile factory and warhead production is under way.
No man, no problem. Bigger bombs will help achieve that. Back to the good old days when empires just massacred the natives to put down unrest.
Trump considers himself an American judeo-christian, and as such has utter contempt for muslims. It is this utter contempt, from the way he treats the Iraq leadership, to the way he treats MBS (MBS is Trumps dog and Trump lets everyone know) that will bring Trump's plans undone.
At the same time he may well be biding his time until the US military is loaded up with tactical nukes and then might makes right.

Whatever his plan is, I think with the middle east, Trump needs to be looked at as a judeo-christian with utter contempt for all muslims.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 6:46:43 PM | 37

I wonder if part of this is to push back at Turkey for not falling in line regarding Venezuela.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 4, 2019 6:50:03 PM | 38

@ Posted by: SmoothieX12 | Feb 4, 2019 4:55:11 PM | 28

"Occupy" as in "keep busy", rather than military occupation, presumably.

Posted by: Ash | Feb 4, 2019 6:51:39 PM | 39

Erdogan may be finally realizing that his best ally in the region is... Bashar al Assad.
Turkey is timidly sending messages to Syria of a possible rapprochement. Yet after accusing Bashar al Assad of been a butcher and the new Hitler, it is hard to imagine Erdogan reconciling with him. Yet Erdogan may have no choice as war is looming and the Turkish army is not at ist best to fight the Kurds, ISIS and the Syrian army...
Erdogan is waiting for Putin to arrange the reconciliation but he is already preparing the ground..probably discreetly offerring financial compensattion to Syria and proposing free reconstruction... Time is pressing.

Posted by: Virgile | Feb 4, 2019 7:05:24 PM | 40

The U.S. military says it fears the ISIS would regrow should U.S. troops retreat
Sure, count on it. ISIS was spawned by the US as a Sunni force required to counter the preponderant Shia influence created in the area by Operation Iraqi Freedom accomplished by the Coalition of the Willing. That requirement hasn't gone away and so of course it will be "regrown" to meet the need.
Just as al-Qaeda has been needed to promote US influence, and therefore supported, so too ISIS is needed and will be supported.
Divide and conquer is the persistent US strategy wherever the US has interests, which is everywhere.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 4, 2019 7:06:52 PM | 41

Every question about Trump can be answered very simply. He is quite ignorant, and also stupid. His instincts are basically correct (except for Iran), but of course he is opposed all of the foreign policy power centers in the country, which also control the media. This is the 'deep state' or 'war party', however you want to call it. Given that he is ignorant and stupid, it is difficult to resist. He is arrogant and egotistical, but that is in some ways a good thing. Otherwise he would never have ordered a withdrawal at all.

More people will have to die, which is a tragedy, but in the end Syria will control all of its territory, and the Kurds will have to settle for 'cultural' independence. Short of bombing the whole country and starting WWIII the US cannot do anything about that.

Posted by: SteveK9 | Feb 4, 2019 7:16:09 PM | 42

mourning dove

Only "selection" explains the odd combination of:

1) The Deep States preference for a nationalist to meet the challenge from Russia and China - which crystallized in 2014;

2) Hillary's snubbing of Sanders supporters (Sanders himself was a sheep-dog) by bringing Debbie Wasserman-Shultz into her campaign and naming a nobody as VP;

Hillary's insulting white voters with the "deplorables" comment (energizing her competition);

Hillary's determined tone-deafness toward the black community (result: yuuge numbers didn't vote);

Hillary's failure to campaign in 3 crucial states;

3) Bill Clinton getting caught meeting with Attorney General Lynch on an "airport tarmac" - Bill Clinton, one of the most recognizable people in America, was seen from the terminal building as he walked over (just dumb luck? LOL)

4) Trump's close relationship with the Clinton's (even their daughters are close); and Trump decision - soon after winning office - to not prosecute Hillary;

5) The British involvement (CIA-MI6): why Cambridge Analytica and Fusion GPS? We now know that Facebook gave many companies similar access to data. And the Brits had a mole in the Sanders campaign.

6) The bogus nature of the "Russia influence" investigation: Mueller had an informer in the Trump Organization for over 10 years (Felix Sater). That informer is childhood friends with Cohen. And most (all?) of the oligarchs that have been fingered as part of the investigation are Jewish with connections to Israel. There is no 'there' there.

7) How convenient that the Deep State could settle scores with Mike Flynn and Wikileaks?

8) Trump's constant caving to Deep State forces that (supposedly) oppose him.

9) The structural similarities between Trump, Obama, Macron, and Guaidó: is there a faux populist template? (seems like there is, brain child of the Clintons?)


Anyone that thinks there's an innocent explanation might also tell us how Hillary won 6 of 6 coin tosses in Iowa and why the DNC refused FBI help with the (supposed) "hack" of their servers.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 7:17:24 PM | 43

mourning dove

Think it through. It just doesn't work with Hillary as the one "selected".

She's not a populist at all. She can't inspire troops. And, frankly, I think she prefers to be behind the scenes where the real power is.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 7:21:05 PM | 44

Don Bacon @41--

Recall that Daesh was introduced into Philippines to forestall Duterte, but that effort failed and blowback of closer relations with Russia and China ensued. The lesson wasn't lost on Indonesia or Malaysia whose relations with Outlaw US Empire have cooled as much as they've warmed with China/Russia. Look at focus of ASEAN now versus the last few Obama years. But Daesh cannot survive too far removed from its mother's teats. And the Pre-Daesh efforts used Far Right Extremism rather than Islamic Extremism, and the former is what will reemerge South of the Border.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 4, 2019 7:24:51 PM | 45

SteveK9 @42

Otherwise he would never have ordered a withdrawal at all.

Unless your wrong about his being "ignorant, and also stupid". Ordering the withdrawal is a smart move because it shows that he WANTS to fulfill his campaign promises, even if he has no intention of doing so.

Short of bombing the whole country ...

Nice straw man. Syria can't dislodge US forces witout Russian support and Russia will not support an attack against US forces because that could start WWIII.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 7:28:43 PM | 46

ttg at pl's has a story up Is this the Trump Doctrine? - TTG which partly supports @42 stevek9 and jackrabbit.. it is like some of these trump fans are finally waking up to the fact that trump isn't all he pitched himself to me..

Posted by: james | Feb 4, 2019 7:30:05 PM | 47

@james
this piece is the nuts and bolts of it. "So, We are staying in Iraq to keep an eye on Iran and we are doing this to protect Israel. It was not any of the neocons who said this. It was Trump himself. So much for America first."

I had been tossing up which was first for Trump, though lately I had moved to MIGA rather than MAGA.
Though both most likely go together. The likes of Kissinger and it seems Trump, need a powerful US for the purpose of 'protecting' Israel

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 7:53:18 PM | 48

Lochearn@20 - You might find this hilarious by I've never heard of a pig's trotter in all my time as a crust-riding shaved ape living on your planet. I'm sure they make some kind of contribution (along with snouts) to the meat-like products ground up into American hot dogs. I've just never heard them referred to as 'trotters'.

The trotters (I think) are simply called pig's feet in the U.S., and I only recall seeing them in the movies - usually pickled, swirling around in a huge, filthy glass jar on the counter of a gas station somewhere in the South. A character - usually with three yellow teeth - and a name like Jeb will be stooped over, scratching his chin and contemplating which delectable floating good to choose. He's always a background character. We never get to see his choice or hear the hillbilly logic used to pick his chosen trotter.

A pig's trotter, also known as a pettitoe, is the culinary term used to refer to the foot of a pig.

Thank you - I will now squirrel away this bit of sacred knowledge for future use. Maybe to pick up hillbilly chicks in southern gas stations... or... maybe not.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 4, 2019 8:00:53 PM | 49

@peter... it is so insane, but i suspect the insanity will increase here forward..
"The Republican-controlled U.S. Senate voted Monday to oppose the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, breaking with President Donald Trump as he calls for a military drawdown in both countries." trump fans saved by the senate, lol.. cbc article..

Posted by: james | Feb 4, 2019 8:02:23 PM | 50

Trump is an imbecile, barely can read complex dossiers... A god sent gift to neo-conservatives who were completely out of the loop just a couple of months ago. Linear cretinism and easy mark for zionists, reactionaries and liberal interventionists. Austerity, plundering the middle class under faux populism, what more could the plutocracy ask for ? Deplorables are doing so much winning it's ridiculous, Lol.

Posted by: Augustin L | Feb 4, 2019 8:23:26 PM | 51

james @47: trump fans are finally waking up

The same damn "wake up" was experienced by progressive fans of Obama when it became clear that he was just blowing hot air and the Obamabot's claims of 11-dimensional chess were bullsh*t to cover for him.

Same damn thing - which I (and a few others) have been warning about for over a year.

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

Welcome to the rabbit hole, suckers.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 8:34:26 PM | 52

@51 Yes but don't forget what the deplorables were voting against. Clinton and the media. Donald spoke their language. Not sure if he still does but who else do they have to vote for?

Posted by: dh | Feb 4, 2019 8:48:14 PM | 53

dh @53

Illusion of choice.

Best not to play along.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 8:54:59 PM | 54

Jackrabbit,
Again, I mostly agree with you, I just think that the selection process happens before the election. That's kind of the point of a Deep State, it's power and ability to pursue it's goals exists independent of who is sitting in the Oval Office. I also think that what the Deep State wanted was a war hawk, not a populist, otherwise Bernie would have been approved and they could play the same obstructionist game as with Obama that served as a cover for his warmongering. Trump might not be playing the role of an overt warmonger, but his appointments are. And really, how different is his current "job" from his previous experience in "professional" wrestling and reality TV? Not much if you ask me.

As to HRC's mistakes in the campaign, a lot of that is explained by reasons I already stated, but I would add that she is hopelessly out of touch, amazingly arrogant, and bat-shit crazy. I think she took the black vote for granted relying on her husband's popularity from decades ago, same with white voters in the Midwest. I think she expected a cake walk, and she's too connected for me to suppose that she was set up, but it's all speculation.

I think the Deep State has contingencies and could have pursued it's aims with either Trump or Clinton -demonizing Russia, getting the faux left to bang the war drums, censorship, and always more and more war. Both are incredibly divisive figures and the resulting chaos would have been only slightly different if Clinton had won.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 4, 2019 9:00:54 PM | 55

PSA from Trump and the Deep State:

War is peace

Slavery is freedom

Israel First is America First


Have a nice day.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 9:05:17 PM | 56

@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 8:34:26 PM | 52

When was that? I'm surrounded by people who STILL think Obama was the bee's knees and would be overjoyed to put someone like him back in the catbird seat and go back to sleep.

Posted by: Ash | Feb 4, 2019 9:11:03 PM | 57

I have to agree that Trump was the chosen of the Zionist 1% masters. Trump got funding and all kinds of support from billionaires Mercer and Adelson, Blavatnik, just 3 examples, and Zionist oligarchs with dual Israeli-Russian citizenship. His inaugural alone got 100 million, twice as much or more than any other President. The Russia thing is to get Russia not Trump. Trump is protected by the Zionist 1% masters.

Trump was chosen precisely because he's good at the con: pretending populism, when He's really a billionaire Neo-CON.

Trump intentionally put Neocons in his Administration: Pompeo, Bolton and now Abrams. Trump was hostile to Iran and Venezuela straight from the campaign until now. He's done nothing for Russia, except fake lip service from the bully pulpit.

I'm sick and tired of people writing that he's been threatened to act a certain way. Nothing could be further from the truth! Before you were writing that Mattis was keeping the Syria mission going and resigned because they disagreed on Syria and that he would get along with Shanahan much better cause he's an ex Boeing guy, their businessmen and understand each other, bla-blah. For crisessakes! Mattis stopped Trump from assassinating Assad!! He stopped him from blowing up Iranian fast boats. Trump called his intelligence chiefs passive and naive on Iran! He's even more Neocon than they are! Mattis stopped him from sending the military into Venezuela over a year ago! So now this Shanahan guy you were all cool with when Mattis resigned sends more troops into Syria and you think Trump's not aware??? Please already! There is a running list on the number of lies Trump has told since the campaign and IT'S OFF THE CHARTS!!! It's what he does; he's a PATHOLOGICAL LIAR. You think he was being honest about Syria??? How naive can you be??? Remember when he said he'd never telegraph a withdrawal? He didn't, 'cause they were never leaving! Bullshet is his M.O.! Trump is a Neocon and he was Chosen. Get over it already and stop making excuses for him!

Posted by: Circe | Feb 4, 2019 9:13:18 PM | 58

mourning dove

Sorry, but your theory fails when you consider that the game changed when it became clear that the Deep State had misjudged Russia. They needed a nationalist. The challenge from Russia and China demanded an overt response with massive state resources not Obama's sly sweet talking and covert action. How many people are going to sign-up to fight a Clinton war (recall her bloodthirsty: "We came, we saw, we kicked his ass" and her cold smugness: "At this point, what difference does it make")? If a country is as strong as its will to fight, Clinton is kryptonite.

An "embattled nationalist" could also pose as 'good cop' to the Deep States 'bad cop' in an attempt to bring Russia on side. And this is exactly what happened, culminating in Trump's meeting with Putin in May 2018.

And then there's Clinton's bloodthirsty: "We came, we saw, we kicked his ass".

That everyone expected Hillary to win ("The most qualified Presidential candidate in history", LOL) only adds to Trump's appeal as populist hero. And, Hillary had already racked up yuuge negatives (self goals!) even before the general election with: winning 6 of 6 coin tosses in Iowa; colluding with DNC against Sanders (that news broke in March 2016); speaking to Goldman Sachs for $750,000 while refusing to support a living wage; and, of course, her email server fiasco.

Could the Deep State have made it work with Clinton? Sure, if they had to, but the 'con' was best with Trump as the nationalist. Some have even suggested that Trump was likely to have been selected, or a contender for selection, as early as 2011 when he was 'roasted' by Obama at the WH correspondents dinner.

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

You have to sort through the mixed messages, posturing, and lies to decide for yourself. I think you're mostly there. I've been talking about Trump as the Republican Obama for over a year so you might want to look back at the MoA archives.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 9:42:39 PM | 59

I think the comments above demonstrate extremely low levels of understanding about the nation state system. The people with the power have divided the earth into a system of armed structures (nation states) with geographical boundaries that hold and contain the masses of the earth in cells. Each such territorial cell is controlled by one or a few of the 26 that own wealth <=equivalent to=> the rest of the people of the entire world (see http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ ). It does not matter the political system that is in place within each cell.

Sick HRC was a [[Sara Palin redirect from] redirect to Trump plant.. Wars will never stop, human rights will never be recognized, corruption will never end unless and until the structures are disarmed and removed, and the cells are merged and the wealth at the top distributed to the bottom.. Those at the top are phagocytes, at the first sign of weakness they devour the competition.

Posted by: snake | Feb 4, 2019 9:43:52 PM | 60

@ Circe #58

Trump was chosen precisely because he's good at the con: pretending populism, when He's really a billionaire Neo-CON.

Circe, this site is one where we can politely disagree on some issues. It's my opinion Trump was "chosen" because Hillary and her gang were convinced he was the easiest possible opponent. Yes, the man is "good at the con". IMO his 'pretend populism' is something he believes whenever he is saying it - but you have to keep in mind the man has the attention span of a gnat. An hour later he may be saying the exact opposite, and he'll believe THAT too.

I'm sick and tired of people writing that he's been threatened to act a certain way. Nothing could be further from the truth!
I'm increasingly convinced that's exactly the truth. Like most old rightwingnuts, I think Trump is at heart an isolationist. His thoughts on Iran are surely an exception to that, but who knows what Son-In-Law Kushner has been whispering into his ear. At #24 Red Ryder posted this:
They peeled away his protection, stripped away his friends, limited him to contacts they controlled, and threatened him, his wife, his() sons and his family fortune.

In my opinion that's some brilliant insight, and I wish I could claim it. "THEY" can truthfully tell the man that they have the goods on his oldest children, and also show that a full exposure of his finances could shame him to the core and possibly cause him to become a relatively poor man for the remainder of his life. He would do anything to avoid all this, and these days Trump seems to be doing precisely what he is told to do - no matter how stupid that instruction is.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Feb 4, 2019 10:06:42 PM | 61

Snake
Without there being some sort of god that will take away the phagocytes, the rest is pure fantasy.
in this world, the meek are always destroyed. even if a country is non aggressive, it must have strong defence. Post WWII era - Soviet Union did try to export their ideology to the world, but at the same time, their military tech was primarily defensive in nature whereas US military tech since that time have always been offensive.
If the soviet Union had not developed nuclear weapons very soon after US nuked Japan, I very much doubt Russia and other Soviet Union countries would exist today.
Nowadays, nukes are the only thing that stops the US from attacking a number of countries.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 10:09:22 PM | 62

Zachary Smith 61 and others
It is far more likely he thinks along the same lines as his backers rather than being threatened with this and that into doing things. There may well be some threats from some directions but what he signs off on are close enough to what he and his backers want to do.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 10:16:37 PM | 63

Jrabbit and Circe, IMO have it pegged. They both lay out exactly how the game is played.

No one ever lost money betting on how easily people are fooled.

The facts laid out by both, are unassailable.

Posted by: ben | Feb 4, 2019 10:18:27 PM | 64

Jackrabbit,
I don't disagree with your analysis, I would only add that supporters of Clinton are stubbornly fact resistant. The same can be said of Trump and Obama supporters as well, but with HRC, this goes back to Bill's presidency. Criticisms of her have always been portrayed as a right wing conspiracy. Her fact resistant supporters are the targets of the Russiagate psyop and it is quite effective.

I don't need to peruse the archives here to recognize the similarities between apologists for Trump and Obama, or Clinton either for that matter. I didn't just crawl out from under a rock to MoA, I've been paying attention for a long time.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 4, 2019 10:18:32 PM | 65

This may not be "news" to anyone else, but it is to me.

Prosecutors subpoena Trump inaugural committee

More piling on with the pressure. At a minimum, daughter Ivanka is at great risk on this one.

It's my personal belief Trump's enemies (both parties!) are angling for a negotiated resignation. Still an opinion, but I don't believe even the Democrats will be all that unhappy with President Pence.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Feb 4, 2019 10:20:14 PM | 66

Ash @57

Those who still adore Obama are not real progressives. They are fake like Hillary's "I'm a progressive that gets things done!"

Here is Matt Stoller in June 2012 (many progressives had "woken up" by 2011) with one of many good descriptions of Obama that can be found on the net (if you dig a little): The Source of Barack Obama’s Power to Trick Us Comes from Our Willingness to Be Tricked

Obama is the ultimate cynic, a dishonest, highly reactionary social and corporate ladder climbing con artist. Obama is the guy who calls a female reporter “sweety”, who plays poker with the guys, and who thinks that his senior advisor’s decision to cash out after making a “modest” salary of $172,000 at the White House is just natural. He’s the guy who used the rationale that he’s a father of two girls as to why he doesn’t want young women to have access to Plan B. He was in favor of gay marriage in 1996, flip flopped for political reasons, and then pretended to change his mind as a matter of conscience. He runs on populism with a worse record than George W. Bush on income inequality. His narcissism, and the post-modern ironic sense of self-awareness of how his narrative is put together and tended, is his defining character trait. It’s not just that he’s a liar. Lyndon Johnson was a liar, but LBJ lied us into a war in Vietnam as well as a war on poverty. FDR lied all the time, for good and ill. Obama’s entire edifice is based on lying almost entirely to help sustain his image, with almost no interest in sound policy-making. Obama understands the threat of climate change, but like the exceptional con artist he is, what happens to others he does not know, or what happens in the future, is irrelevant to him. He understands banking, and war, and women’s issues, and corruption and Citizens United. Like a great con artist, he has studied his mark, the American voter, and specifically the Democratic voter, and he undersands which buttons to push.

Many criticize Obama, with the idea that he doesn’t understand, and if only he understood, he would change his mind. This is part of his false narrative of hope and change. But Obama reads Paul Krugman – he studied the left intensely and spent years as a community organizer. He understands his opposition, those crying out for justice against the powerful, and finds them laughable, finds in them weakness at best, a punchline at worst. He reads his left-wing opponents so he can absorb the talking points, and rebut them. Some think that Obama can be appealed to around the better angels of nature, that he’s naturally with “the left” but must be gently praised. But again, this is more of the false hope and change narrative. Obama understands Saul Alinsky. He gets left-wing ideas. But he hates the left, with the passion of any bully towards his victims. To him, they are chumps, weak, pathetic, losers. They are such pathetic losers, in fact, that they will believe anything he tells them. And Obama has no better nature, he is what he’s done in office, someone who murders children with drone strikes and then jokes about it to his rich friends.

Yves wrote about this narrative a few weeks ago, when she pointed out his career in the Illinois state Senate was based on working for billionaire developers to destroy poor neighborhoods. Few really gets who he is, at his core, and almost no one is willing to publicly point it out. There are some who went to law school with him, who saw his enormous grasping social climbing tendencies, his eager corporate good old boy persona, his narcissistic calculations. But they are drowned out by the institutional left-wing voices, the fanboy reporters, the sycophantic labor leaders, the slavishly worshipful foundations, and the voters who cannot hear any alternative to the hope and change they know and love. The only mainstream narrative challenging hope and change is the stupid right-wing storyline that he’s a Kenyan Muslim socialist. That’s just racist idiocy. But there are those on the right who understand Obama’s narcissism, and they may just make that their electoral narrative.

Think about this problem in a slightly different way. It’s been three years. Why hasn’t been there a great iconic impersonator of Barack Obama, like Tina Fey and Sarah Palin or Will Ferrell (or James Adomian) and George W. Bush? A comic impersonator reveals something about the core of an individual. The people imitating Obama seem to think that he’s far more left-wing and principled beneath the surface, that if he let out who he really was, how really angry he is at the Republicans, that’s the parody they hit. It falls flat, because it’s not true to who he is. The truth is that he’s a narcissistic sociopath dressed up as a cool corporate brand. The real Obama parody is an Obama who wears an Air Force One fleece over an Obama t-shirt, who says to a reporter “Now hang on, let me finish, speaking slowly and avoiding your question, which is, by the way excellent.” He’s President, and if you’re upset with him, don’t worry, look at that beautiful photo of Obama smiling and pointing.

This alternative narrative is a hard truth to hear, because it carries with it an implicit rejection of American exceptionalism. Yes, American institutions are no better, and in many ways are more malignant, than those of many other countries. Yes, our political leaders, our press, our military leadership, operate in service to sociopathic aims. Yes, our freedoms are often an illusion, unless you fit a very narrow criteria. Yes, our banks are run to rob us, yes, our CIA spies on us, and yes, our government is fundamentally anti-democratic. Yes, our President is a con artist, and yes, nearly every reporter who writes about him participates in this set of lies, because of careerism, social financial reasons, or a simple lack of competence or imagination.


There more at the link - don't miss the first few paragraphs discussing Obama's sense of humor.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 4, 2019 10:20:32 PM | 67

If we are in Syria to protect Israel, then i am afraid we may really be on the
cusp of WWIII. A few days ago saker had an article in which Nasrallah warned Israel
that it could not continue to act with impunity in regards to Syria. Syria is losing
patience with Israel's constant insults, humiliations, provocations and aggressions. After
their S-300 crews are fully trained, they will at some point retaliate by targeting tel-aviv
airport. Israel, being criminally insane and led by criminally insane pyschopaths, will respond
massively. They have been testing and probing the Russian/Syrian iads and by now know that only an all
out attack could defeat the air defences. In my opinion Russia should make it clear to israel, it
will not tolerate any massive attack that would threaten to destabilize the very delicate equilibrium in syria.
To this end maybe a warning that should any concerted attack be detected, Russia will render any
Israeli warplane deaf, dumb and blind before it can get into range to use it EW capabilities to blind
the russian/syrian radar complexes.

Posted by: evilempire | Feb 4, 2019 10:26:09 PM | 68

james 50

Read a similar article at Rueters. More games there. The senate has put up a non binding resolution, whereas congress apparently wants a binding resolution so most likely nothing will come of that. As far as insanity goes, I have watched some of the senate hearings and so forth and the whole frigging lot should be locked away under medical supervision.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 4, 2019 10:27:55 PM | 69

donald trump will say what ever he has to say to keep the grift going.

donald trump will do what ever he has to do to keep the grift going.

donald trump is no more interested in making america great then he is interested in ending any wars. the fact that america ain't great is what got him to where he is, and war is a racket and he is wanting his cuts.

this is the guy who once publicly said: I love the poorly educated.

i bet he does, cause the grifters death is when his victims wake up and realise that they have been conned.

Posted by: Sabine | Feb 5, 2019 12:14:00 AM | 70

Clearly, presidents come and go, and that fact means they can be safely ignored.

Posted by: jason kennedy | Feb 5, 2019 2:49:06 AM | 71

In the meantime... our allies in the 'free world'
https://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/big-brother-saudi-arabia-develops-app-men-track-detain-wives-sisters-1248232

Posted by: Mina | Feb 5, 2019 4:57:01 AM | 72

Never trust or believe the assholes in the pentagon or in the white house, they are the shit and scum of humanity. The Syrians should start attacking the american troops in their country: what the fuck are they doing in Syria? They have absolutely no right to be there, and should be aggressively attacked and driven out. Russia should bomb all the American positions from the air, and make liberal use of their surface to air guided missiles and bring down numerous F-15s. Kick some American ass! It is long overdue.

Posted by: Deschutes | Feb 5, 2019 5:00:09 AM | 73

Great article, but this quote at the end about Al Qaeda in Idlib rings false: '..Its military strength is estimated to be in the tens of thousands, perhaps the largest concentration of armed jihadists ever assembled in one place.'

The Mahdist forces assembled 52,000 warriors at the battle of Omdurman in 1898.

Posted by: Sigil | Feb 5, 2019 5:23:02 AM | 74

Also examined by TTG on Colonel Lang's site -

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/02/is-this-the-trump-doctrine-ttg.html

As for this -

"PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: --but when it was chosen-- well, we-- we spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it."

- proof if needed that mission creep works.

Posted by: English Outsider | Feb 5, 2019 6:00:05 AM | 75

Its a bit like containing a massive multi-limbed creature with immense strength, no coordination, and in dangerous proximity to a collection of fragile valuables. The tools at the disposal of Syria and Friends must be used with care and precision. It's the difference between leveling Raqqa (USMC fired 35K artillery shells!) and bussing jihadis WITH their rifles to the "greener pastures" of Idlib province. Frankly I am astounded by the patience and reserve, but also a bit frustrated when the IDAF is allowed to strike Syrian targets without consequence. Whatever happened to the retaliatory strikes on isreali targets on the Golan heights?

Posted by: Chevrus | Feb 5, 2019 8:45:10 AM | 76

@76 Chevrus

It is the patience and reserve that are winning these wars. Every call for kinetic energy is a call away from patience.

It's a common error for all of us to think that patience is a passive activity, one that simply means waiting and doing nothing. In fact patience is the most energetic of all the activities, because it involves remembering again and again each moment what you're doing. In the end it's the undiluted focus that wins, a focus on goals that those less patient can't even contemplate, because they lose focus along the way.

~~

It's the time of Asia again. The short and cataclysmic life of the western barbarians is coming to an end. If anything of the planet remains after that end, the older wisdom of the east will have to repair the damage. This will take patience.

~~

It's the Chinese New Year today. An event that I celebrate. Happy New Year, everyone !!

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 5, 2019 10:20:56 AM | 77

@ Grieved with the well written response to Chevrus and Chinese Happy New Year

Thanks for that and return wishes for you and all of us for the new year

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 5, 2019 10:37:30 AM | 78

@ Grieved | Feb 5, 2019 10:20:56 AM | 77
It is the patience and reserve that are winning these wars. Every call for kinetic energy is a call away from patience.
Yes, it is why China is patient on its province Taiwan.
"Those who act will fail. Those who seize will lose." -- Tao Te Ching chapter 64

And happy new year back to ya: “Gong Xi Fa Cai” (pronounced Gong She Fa Tsai) literally translates to 'wishing you to be prosperous in the coming year' in Mandarin.
The year of the rat!


Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 5, 2019 10:42:40 AM | 79

Sorry, pig not rat.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 5, 2019 10:48:26 AM | 80

Eleven dimensional chess requires lots of thinking time--

https://www.axios.com/read-trumps-private-leaked-executive-time-schedules-00e9313a-3066-4988-a6dc-711a47de661e.html

Posted by: arby | Feb 5, 2019 11:48:18 AM | 81

Apparently (Al-Masdar news), what made recent Israeli attacks on Syria so relatively successful, or what was perhaps even the crucial factor for the IDF in going for these strikes in the first place, you know, in light of the capability boost the Syrian air defenses had acquired from Russia, was some equipment that Ukraine delivered to Israel very recently. It’s the Kolchuga passive sensor system.

The Ukrainian Kolchuga reportedly helped the Israeli Air Force identify several Syrian air defense systems, including the Tor system and the ZRPK. “Pantsir-S”, C-75 and radar JY-28.
“Given the greater precision of the Israeli military strikes, it is logical to assume that this was achieved only through modern means of electronic recognition, in particular, it could also apply to the Kolchuga complex, which was recently transferred to the Israeli armaments “, an analyst noted.

Must be some fine piece of equipment. And coming from that otherwise failed state, imagine that. Crafty Israelis. Consider any Russian hopes of having successfully neutralized that subplot of the Syrian catastrophe as crushed.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Feb 5, 2019 12:27:39 PM | 82

"this is the guy who once publicly said: I love the poorly educated.
i bet he does, cause the grifters death is when his victims wake up and realise that they have been conned.
Sabine@70
It is not the uneducated that you need worry about, but the 'educated'. Most of what is called education is indoctrination in the importance of doing as you are told and following the leader.
Check out Venezuela where the ill-educated are much better informed than the highly educated elites like 'random dude' himself, who has education pouring out of his every orifice.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 5, 2019 12:36:48 PM | 83

psychohistorian @78--

Yes, and a Happy Chinese New Year to you and to all! And to elevate feelings, here's a passage from an interview Hudson conducted with Church Times:

"'Jesus wanted to restore the original law, and Luke says that, after he gave his sermon and announced that he had come to promote this debt cancellation, people got very angry at him, and the Pharisees decided they had to kill him, just as creditors were killing debtor advocates all over the ancient world at his time.'

"Many people today 'don’t understand the linguistics of debt and sin', he says. 'Again and again, Jesus denounces the creditors: they were the sinners, not the debtors. That’s the most important message that he had.'" [My Emphasis]

Interesting that the Church of England would become an ally in our War on the God of Mammon. Indeed, here's the publication citing Keynes in its intro to this interview:

"IN HIS essay 'Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren', published in 1930, John Maynard Keynes wrote of his hope that, in the future, people would need pay no attention to the 'dismal science' of his field. The study of economics would reach such maturity that ordinary people would live in luxury, able to contemplate the more important things in life, 'free . . . to return to some of the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue — that avarice is a vice, that the exaction of usury is a misdemeanour, and the love of money is detestable'." [My Emphasis]

Will the Church of England take to task the City of London for its fantastical level of vice?

Patience is winning. The Kneejerkers succeed in doing no more than digging the hole they're in deeper. They may pronounce and pontificate, but fewer and fewer lend an ear to listen. The massive blow-up to NBC's hit piece on Tulsi Gabbard is but one example, as Zerohedge reports--the BigLie Media veil is rapidly unraveling making the Kneejerkers jerk faster and harder than before.

Yes, there are things to smile about this morning amidst the chaos, but no grounds for smugness.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 5, 2019 12:47:35 PM | 84

And for psychohistorian specifically who isn't sure of Hudson's stand on private or public finance:

"His personal prescription is nationalisation: debt and credit as a public utility.'If you leave it in private hands, you will end up in the same way that Rome ended up,' he argues. 'You will end up with a concentrated property ownership and the kind of society that is utterly transformed from what people consider to be a free market.'"

And other aspects of what people think a civil, moral society ought to be and pursue. What exists today in the so-called West is uncivil and immoral, and its roots go back 3-4,000 years at minimum. Funny how the Framers knew a public government financed by the public must be openly audited by the public on a regular basis, but their method for achieving that was illegally circumvented and has yet to be corrected. It's well beyond the time when the forces of reaction must be called to account for their gross unconstitutionality, and essentially unlimited breaking of the USA's fundamental law since 1945.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 5, 2019 1:46:19 PM | 85

My guess is as good as anyone’s. The ruler of America, Mr. Deep State, is not a bald cove with a Persian cat on his lap. The ruler of America is a number of rats fighting in a sack, and US foreign policy, as it always been in my life-time, is no more than a reflection of which rat is temporarily winning. The president has always had very limited power. He wins because he promises the other rats their hearts’ desire in terms of money and power, and having become president, lets them get on with it. Just like in late Empire Rome. Frankly, the situation in NE Syria (or V’zuela) is a detail, and that is what we are seeing.

Posted by: Montreal | Feb 5, 2019 1:51:49 PM | 86

Thanks to b, of course, and to karlof1 @ 30 for supplying additional information. The published comments on the treaty from Russian leadership, plus the issue of the disputed islands with Japan - both extremely helpful pieces of information.

I would join others in saying this is and has been the most important site available for in depth discussion of world affairs. Thanks most directly to b for his ongoing labors that I would compare to Hercules cleaning the Aegean stables. It must be very dispiriting to have to report again and again that the Syrian corner continues to have muck piled into it. Our comments strive mightily to support the effort, and we only wish we could do more to help.

I wonder if the final answer may not lie with Turkey. I cannot see how Erdogan would ever be really happy to have a formidable US presence in his neighborhood - not after he came so close to even losing his own life. There has to be a chess game going on behind the scenes that will be of assistance to Syria if they can strike a bargain with respect to Kurdish aims. I was under the impression that the Kurds in different nations while having the dream of unity must pragmatically want each enclave to be able to thrive within the separate nations in a peaceful way. This would involve the elders of the communities having support from their separate national governments. Gosh, am I talking about peace?

Posted by: juliania | Feb 5, 2019 2:16:45 PM | 87

Trump was absolutely "selected"... as the GOP puppet which the Deep State thought was most easy for Clinton to beat. The Clinton/MSM cabal ensured all media GOP-focus was on Trump, not Bush, as Jeb would have been the 3rd Bush to be handed the White House, as name recognition alone got in GW Shrub, but only by a few hanging chads. The Kennedys have enough dead to have the sense to not seek the Oval Office.

Clinton eliminated/co-opted Sanders' "socialist" agenda via vote fraud in the primaries.

That left Trump, a self-admitted, repeated philandering misogynist and brazenly corrupt corporatist serial bankrupt, running against a former "1st Lady" (Clinton is no lady..., "we came we saw, he died", she cackled). The Deep State strategists though nothing could stop the Clintons ascending to the generational elite of the US/NATO/Zionist Empire?

Then Wikileaks happened... his name was Seth Rich.

So Trump was the lesser of 2 evils for enough USicans, but not by much. Clinton would already have the world in WW3, as she knew any delay would give Russia and China the time required to develop weapons that the US mainland cannot be defended against. QED. Hence the US leaving the NPT and INF to put the EU back in the nuclear crosshairs. Russia and China would have left the EU and rest of the world completely unscathed as long as they stayed out of the nuclear arms chessboard.

The US is basically holding the rest of the Western world and Japan/South Korea hostage in trying to keep alive the US/NATO/Zionist Deep State failing dream of world domination. The dumb-ass Zionist Christian fundamentalist/Dominionists really think they will experience the Rapture if WW3 wipes humankind from the planet. So Pence is even more dangerous than Trump or Clinton in that regard.

This sort of kabuki will persist until some independent wins the White House and ends the Rep/Dem mono-party rule. THEN the fun begins as the US gov't/electoral system can only function on any level as a two-party system. Imagine if multiple parties had significant numbers of Reps/Senators in Congress... herding cats would be easier.

Posted by: A P | Feb 5, 2019 2:55:50 PM | 88

Posted by: Montreal | Feb 5, 2019 1:51:49 PM | 86

The ruler of America, Mr. Deep State, is not a bald cove with a Persian cat on his lap.

That's funny because it's pretty close to the US Deep State's depiction of any leader that they dislike: Putin, Assad, Maduro, Kim, Kadaffi, Saddam, etc.

But we shouldn't think of our own leaders that way, huh? They would never conspire to do harm to us or others./sarc

US foreign policy, as it always been in my life-time, is no more than a reflection of which rat is temporarily winning.

There are few patterns that have been constant for 30 years or more: Expanding NATO to Russian borders; absolute support for Israel/Zionism; an unwillingness to make any lasting peace with North Korea; etc.

Adn you don't seem to have noticed that 'realists' are no longer welcome in US FP. The 'rats' purged anyone that disagreed with them.

The president has always had very limited power.

Well, Kennedy had enough power that he could stand up to the Deep State. Now there are two schools of thought:

1) A new President is forced to do the bidding of the Deep State via political pressure or being 'reminded' of what happened to Kennedy;

2) New Presidents are vetted beforehand to ensure that they will not cause trouble to the Deep State - they may even already be members of the Deep State (CIA).


The backgrounds of recent Presidents suggest that #2 is more accurate than #1.

Frankly, the situation in NE Syria (or V’zuela) is a detail ...

Your callousness is sickening. These "details" cost hundreds of billions of dollars and disrupt the lives of millions of people. They say where you stand is where you sit. "Montreal" - are you sitting in Washington, London, or Tel Aviv?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 5, 2019 2:57:23 PM | 89

I do think, on this thread, that insufficient attention is being paid to consequences of the fact that there are two (at least two) different policy centres operating in the US, which only occasionally coincide. Trump and the Neocons. It's all pretty well known. Trump does his thing, and the Neocons pursue their war policy. Trump isn't going to change, and the warmongers have to get round him, cos he's POTUS. He's easy to fire up for a big bang, but having the attention span of a butterfly, difficult to get to pursue a policy. As some have reminded us, he's naturally isolationist, but like an Oriental Potentate, he listens to Jared's whispers in his ear. I'd have thought that all that is enough to explain US policy in Syria, and indeed Venezuela.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 5, 2019 3:00:05 PM | 90

"the U.S. is bringing in a significant number of TOW anti-tank missiles and heavy machine guns"

of course, they need to leave some goodies behind for their Isis buddies just like they did in Iraq

Posted by: EtTuBrute | Feb 5, 2019 3:02:09 PM | 91

A P @88

You're right to be suspicious but I think you haven't thought it through. In 2008 it was clear who we should hate: Obama was the golden boy that would make things right after Bush-era excesses, while "Maverick" McCain was warmonger that would do more of the same. In 2016, establishment hag Hillary was - who vowed to uphold Obama's (failed) legacy was the one to hate, while "outsider" Trump was going to put "America First".

Then Wikileaks happened... his name was Seth Rich.

I guess you haven't looked into Seth Rich much.

... until some independent wins the White House and ends the Rep/Dem mono-party rule.

Naive at best.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 5, 2019 3:16:26 PM | 92

@Laguerre | Feb 5, 2019 3:00:05 PM | 90 and others...

It is clearly a mistake, in my view, to think in terms of 'The US' when trying to analyse these events. There are four centres of power germane to foreign policy:

1) The White House - less important under Obama, more so under Trump
2) The State Department - more important under Obama less so under Trump
3) The Pentagon - never been a war they didn't like
4) CIA plus - Langley plus all the other assorted satanic entities and proxies.

These four groups have interests that overlap, but they all have their own agenda, there's no 'American' interest as such, merely these four competing interests.

This was graphically illustrated with the attack on Deir Azzour a few years back. John Kerry had put together a cease fire deal, investing a great deal of work and political capital to do so (what in the old days was called 'diplomacy'). Within hours the USAF attacked a key defensive position of the SAA for almost an hour (by 'mistake', naturally). As soon as they stopped a large force of waiting Daesh fighters stormed through the breach resulting in a major military defeat for the SAA.
So you had the Pentagon, allied with CIA+ pointedly destroying the work of the State Department (I think the White House was off playing golf at the time).
In my view Trump probably does want to get out of Syria, he sees it purely in cost/benefit terms, but he does not call the shots. Other powerful interests have no intention of leaving, chaos being an end unto itself.

Posted by: Ross | Feb 5, 2019 3:25:28 PM | 93

Jackrabbit @89

Oops. I meant that NE Syria and V’zuela are just pawns on the Washington chessboard. My own views couldn’t be more different.

Posted by: Montreal | Feb 5, 2019 3:27:03 PM | 94

Happy New Year Grieved! And to my Chinese son-in-law whom I deeply love, and to my part Chinese grandchildren who are without doubt the handsomest on the planet, and the brightest! May you all, and your Chinese relatives have long and happy lives!

Posted by: juliania | Feb 5, 2019 3:38:21 PM | 95

We know that the Clinton campaign wanted Trump to be their opponent, from the DNC emails. We know that the entire Establishment wanted Clinton to win. We know that the polls show that Clinton actually did win. (Polls only became "unreliable" when the unaccountable electronic voting machines were put in.)
So why did they tell us that Trump won? My personal opinion is that they wanted a scapegoat for the American people to blame when they pull the plug on the US economy. And I agree that Russiagate fills many ruling class needs....to ramp up the war machine, to push for censorship of social media (which too many people have been using for horizontal communication, news-sharing, idea-spreading and propaganda-debunking), and to distract and divide people from their increasingly desperate living conditions.
That is my opinion. My friend, whose husband works in NYC, says that it was the contents of Huma's computer which caused a rebellion among the New York police who saw them, and who threatened to go public with the atrocities if HRC was elected. At the last minute, they flipped the plan and announced that Trump won, much to his surprise and Clinton's outrage.
Could be.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Feb 5, 2019 3:41:54 PM | 96

re bevin 26

I find it hard to believe that the US will be allowed to stay in Iraq, and, if it does find someone who will tolerate it doing so,, staying there will take up all their military's energies.
That is true. Iraqi opinion is very opposed to the US staying. However the regime is weak, because divided. The parties can't agree with one another, and the Shi'a are not willing to pardon the Sunnis who supported Saddam. Syria is better on that. There's also a massive problem of corruption, which led to riots in Basra last summer, and the burning of the Iranian consulate. That it was the Iranian consulate that was burnt, I take it that Saudi played a role. I had a peripheral relationship with one such scam in 2015, where I was invited to give a speech at the announcement of a project. It turned out that 95% of the Iraqi-funded budget went into the pocket of the minister, and only 5% was left to execute the work. Not surprisingly the project collapsed shortly afterwards.

All this means that Iraq is probably too weak to eject the US, especially as the US has learnt from 2008, and no longer insists on a formal role. What's going to happen though, if US soldiers are arrested, is not clear. Don't forget that the US has been able to exercise a veto over who's appointed Prime Minister. Abd al-Mahdi is there because the US agreed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 5, 2019 3:43:50 PM | 97

Laguerre 90

Blaming advisors is just making excuses for Trump. There's already plenty of evidence that Trump is a neoliberal, neocon at heart - including the fact that he brought neocon advisors into his Administration.

There's no escaping the fact that our two faux populist Presidents, Obama and Trump, have been front men for the Deep State. Trump didn't go from "America First" to neocon in two years.

The genius of these Presidential psyops is that people are so easily conned when presented with a scenario that they WANT TO BELIEVE. It doesn't matter if one believes that Obama/Trump is a hero or a villain as long as there is emotional investment.

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

It's not just Trump and Obama. Trudeau, Macron, and other world leaders have shown themselves to be establishment bullsh*tters.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 5, 2019 3:51:44 PM | 98

wagelaborer 96

We know ...

We know that Hillary colluded with the DNC despite the fact that she had an enormous advantage over Sanders. We know that Hillary snubbed and Sanders and his supporters when she brought Debra Wasserman-Schultz into her campaign and names a no-name as her VP. We know that Hillary got $750,000 from Goldman Sachs for a speech but was opposed to a living wage for ordinary people. We know that Hillary angered whites with her "deplorables" comment which energized Trump supporters. We know that Hillary took the black vote for granted - so much so that millions of black voters stayed home on election day. We know that Hillary didn't campaign in the three crucial states that decided the election.

We know that Hillary didn't do the things she would've done if she wanted to win.

=
My friend, whose husband works in NYC ...

My friend tells me there's a bridge for sale in NYC.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 5, 2019 4:08:41 PM | 99

Since discussion diverted from the B's topic, this article might be interesting for participants:
Is Politics Getting Worse, Or Are We Getting a Better Handle on How Bad It Has Always Been? by Ben Debney

Posted by: ex-SA | Feb 5, 2019 4:20:04 PM | 100

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