Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 06, 2019

U.S. Asks More Countries To Occupy Northeast Syria

Monday's piece about the situation in Syria included a judgment that now seems to be wrong.

The Trump administration planned to replace U.S. troops in northeast Syria with those of various allies.

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 later 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.

The assertions that the scheme failed may have been premature. There are signs that it is still been worked on.

Today Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked to foreign ministers and officials of the U.S. coalition against ISIS. He made a remark that seems to announce a request to these allies to send their troops to replace the U.S. forces in northeast Syria:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday reassured allies that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was not “the end of America’s fight” and called on them to recommit to permanently defeating Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
“Our mission is unwavering, but we need your help to accomplish it, just as we’ve had over the past months and years,” Pompeo said, “To that end, we ask that our coalition partners seriously and rapidly consider requests that will enable our efforts to continue.

“Those requests are likely to come very soon,” he added, without elaborating.

Pompeo also wants (vid) the coalition to "removal of all Iranian led forces from Syria." He also asked for hundreds of millions fro Iraq.

One of the participants of the meeting was the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, a rather daft member of the formerly social democratic party. As he traveled to Washington DC he lamented (in German) about a "vacuum" that would be created when the U.S. troops withdraw (my translation):

Before his flight to Washington Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) said: "In Syria we still have no clarity how a vacuum can be avoided after the announced U.S. troop draw-down, so that no new escalation of old conflicts and a resurgence of the Islamic State can happen." He hoped to receive more information on the issue during the talks in Washington. The danger from the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq "is by far not over."

How come these politicians never learned physics? Northeast Syria is not closed off from the atmosphere or the surrounding lands. That makes a vacuum there impossible.

Former British ambassador to Syria Peter Ford offers a helpful Guide to Decoding the Doublespeak on Syria. It includes this entry:

Term: Vacuum. ‘The US will be leaving a vacuum when it pulls troops out’.
Meaning: Restoration of law and order. Once the US stops blocking the way the Syrian government will return to the currently US-controlled territory and will keep ISIS down, as it is doing in the rest of Syria, and Turkey out.

The tone of Maas' remarks seems intended to prepare the German public for a military mission in northeast Syria.

Turkey had already rejected the idea of foreign troops on its southern border. Yesterday Erdogan felt the need to again emphasize it:

As Turkey prepared for a summit on Syria with Russia and Iran, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country wanted sole control over a proposed buffer zone in northern Syria, rejecting a plan by the United States for a multinational force to police the area.
The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Washington was trying to get Western partners, such as Australia, France and the United Kingdom, to patrol the stretch of Syrian territory along the Turkish border after US troops leave the area. Washington is concerned that Turkey will attack the YPG once US soldiers are withdrawn.

In his speech, Erdogan said the US plan was not an option. “I repeat: Any proposal except a model for a safe zone under Turkish control, with other countries just providing logistical help, is unacceptable.”

He said there was no example for a safe zone successfully administered by “international powers.” The Turkish president said Turkish troops would be welcomed by locals in Syria: “They trust us.”

Nearly all population centers near the Turkish borders in northeast Syria have a Kurdish majority. The Kurds certainly do not trust Turkey. Erdogan wants to push the Kurds away from the Turkish border. He would then 'resettle' the Syrian refugees in Turkey in those areas. Most of the refugees are relatives of Turkish supported 'rebels' and aligned with Erdogan's Islamist ideology.

Prewar map of ethnic majorities by town

Green=Kurd, Purple=Arab, Red=Turkmen, etc -
Map by Ariyan Newzad - source - bigger

The U.S. idea of bringing in some other foreign troops to replace the U.S. contingent is unfortunately not dead. Pompeo announces new "requests", Maas is playing up a "vacuum" and Erdogan feels the need to emphasize Turkish opposition to it.

Any foreign state would be crazy to commit to such a scheme. A deployment of troops there would be:

  • Illegal under international law,
  • against the will of the host country Syria,
  • against the will of the NATO member and neighbor Turkey,
  • in the midst of ethnic-religious conflicts,
  • without secure communication routes and
  • without a defined end.

The people benefiting from such a deployment would by the PKK/YPK Kurds that helped to defeat ISIS. But they are themselves an internationally recognized terrorist organization that should not be supported. The other party to benefit is Israel which historically uses the Kurds to undermine the sovereignty of Arab countries. A foreign troop deployment in northeast Syria would help Israel's aim to keep Damascus weak.

The J. Jeffrey plan is a mess and should not have been given any thought at all. It is worrying that discussions about it still continue.

Posted by b on February 6, 2019 at 18:24 UTC | Permalink

next page »

It isn't clear that what a German Defense Minister wants can become actual German policy - particularly if the cost and effort is going to be much greater than when German troops were present but largely supported and significantly paid for by the US.

Posted by: c1ue | Feb 6 2019 18:33 utc | 1

Syria would not dare attack US troops stationed in their country, even to defend themselves. But they might attack UK, French, or German troops.

Posted by: wootendw | Feb 6 2019 18:48 utc | 2

"Any foreign state would be crazy to commit to such a scheme."

Truer words were never spoken. And yet, the six supporting bullet points that follow this assertion can be accurately condensed into the lapidary phrase "business as usual".

Readers may draw their own conclusions. ;)

Posted by: Ort | Feb 6 2019 18:53 utc | 3

PM @1
Unfortunately "defense ministers" are the direct representatives of their country to NATO. but they do not necessarily follow their individual Government's official foreign policies. (If they follow the "consensus") So I take this as meaning that NATO will be "called on" to occupy Syria - with the Europeans paying for it.
There might even be a similar scheme being thought of for Venezuela (ie. an EU "army* sent by NATO but without their name included - we shall have to wait and see)

Posted by: stonebird | Feb 6 2019 18:54 utc | 4

Eddie Grant's War Party:

You invite me to a war party
Me no want to go
Everybody seem to be inviting me to - a war party
Me no want to go
Heard about the last one
So thanks but-no
Thank you

Germany would do well be exiting NATO and getting rid of foreign bases on its soil, thus joining Austria that does quite well. No more nagging that they spend to little for defense, that they are getting free ride etc. And if there are any sites in the country that are sadly contaminated with industrial waste, they should be used to relocate Atlanticists like Minister Mass and some Berlin think tankers.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 6 2019 19:54 utc | 5

This is how these actions redefine the new multi-polar world

On one hand you have the empire aggressors that are bullying their cohort nations to rally around the ME spinning plate that continues to threaten to fall. Because this spinning plate of empire is complicated by ongoing energy/finance dominance, Israel et al, the DazzleSpeak has increased around getting active engagement of nations, other than the US, in propping up the Western status quo.

On the other hand you have nations watching and hedging against the death throes of Western empire that is at the end of its ability to project its Might-Makes-Right supported form of economic slavery through global private finance. China is the only potential host for empire to inhabit but its history of socialistic successes make the successful invasion of the private finance model not very likely.

I see the empire of the West prevailing over a decreasing number of nations from here forward. How long ultimate collapse will take is anyones guess but I would posit less than 10 years.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 6 2019 19:56 utc | 6

Don't worry, if Britain, France, Germany or any other EU nation refuse or cannot supply requisite cannon fodder, the usual poodle nations Australia and Canada will happily make up the numbers, no matter how much such support will end up bankrupting them.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 6 2019 19:59 utc | 7

thanks b.. i think it is as ort says - business as usual... in fact, if pompeo, or mass or any of these handlers for usa-israel were to mention the 6 points you raise, it would be game over.. this is why these 6 bullet points you mention need to be at the top of the conversation, instead of removed from the conversation... why is that??

Illegal under international law,
against the will of the host country Syria,
against the will of the NATO member and neighbor Turkey,
in the midst of ethnic-religious conflicts,
without secure communication routes and
without a defined end.

Posted by: james | Feb 6 2019 19:59 utc | 8

b: "Any foreign state would be crazy to commit to such a scheme."

Canadian Prime Minister Trudope: "Where do I sign?"

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Feb 6 2019 20:06 utc | 9

Jen 7

Not much to pin any hopes on, but I did run onto this short section in an ABC article.
"Publicly, government ministers in both nations continue to speak cautiously about the deepening diplomatic tensions.
This week delivered one clear example.
Only hours after intelligence chiefs gave their blunt assessments, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne held a press conference in a neighbouring Senate office building in Washington.
Asked specifically about China and the threat posed by Huawei, she talked in broad, guarded terms about the importance of "protecting Australia's national interests and security"."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 6 2019 20:21 utc | 10

The bottom line is this: there is no desire to return the territory to Syrian control. And, in fact, a determination not to.

If USA can't convince acceptable allies to occupy the territory, then Trump will simply "delay" (indefinitely) his "pull-out".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 6 2019 20:23 utc | 11

US empire needs its rentboys to occupy syria alongside it top make its occupation looks less like an occupation and invasio

Posted by: brian | Feb 6 2019 20:42 utc | 12

@2 wootendw

I agree. The key here is for the tripwire of US troops to go away. With the tripwire gone, saving face is no longer an issue, and humiliated pride leading to nuclear mistakes is off the table. Any number of covert and other forces can stay and be killed. They don't comprise a tripwire. As many people felt when Trump first announced withdrawal, all we need here is the formal lack of presence.

@6 psychohistorian

Indeed, the gang that the US can assemble for its alley fights is dwindling. All that's left are the several national politicians who are committed to hang together, because otherwise they will surely hang separately. The US showed us with Venezuela that it only has two remaining weapons: (1) financial controls and (2) "coalition of the willing" rallies. With Syria, the US doesn't even have weapon #1.

And I discount the propaganda capability as a strength because by definition the only people it works on are those who are denied any power to influence outcomes. It doesn't change realities on the ground - and Syria is very much a place where the ground counts.

Let the US exhaust those few allegiances still left to it. Every dumb move it makes uses up a bit more of its substance - or rather, its appearance of substance. As we see every time the US meets with a real situation on the ground, the real substance is already gone, and the appearance is going.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 6 2019 20:42 utc | 13

Peter AU 10
One has to work hard to find any reference here in Australia to Papua New Guinea - Australia's nearest neighbor - continuing, despite coming under under Japanese , US and Australian pressure to ban Huawei as their 4G / 5G provider . PNG had the common sense not to bow to this ' trade war ' pressure'. Conversely , Mexico is choosing Huawei in the Trump years .

The cost of not using cheaper efficient Chinese tech . has already cost Australia many billions : a future Australia deliberately cut off from Asian / Chinese systems in trade and communication terms will be hobbled incalcuably .

Posted by: ashley albanese | Feb 6 2019 20:50 utc | 14

The five anus countries will attend to the master's request. Australia being the first, most craven supporter.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 6 2019 21:07 utc | 15

There's a 'vacuum' and it is not in Syria. It is in the heads of the toe sucking US 'allies'. Warmongering has lead Europe to the brink of destruction and they think more warmongering is the answer words need to be added to a dictionary as moron and stupid are no longer adequate.

Posted by: Ger | Feb 6 2019 21:08 utc | 16

IMO, Outlaw US Empire policy is a muddle of multiple idiocies globally. If the goal's to accomplish nothing while wasting billions of dollars, then that goal's bearing fruit.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 6 2019 21:22 utc | 17

There is nothing to stand in the way of continued mayhem.
Trump wants to be able to claim that he followed through on withdrawal but the evil minions do not want the relinquish their "gains" and Israel will not accept it.
This sole superpower stuff comes at a price.
Blood is draining from the stone - we become bankrupt'er by the day.
Will only stop when the oligarchs have fully drained the host.
It is taking more effort to keep the plates spinning.
Please don't discuss morality or even national interest - got nothing to do with it.
It's pure (if incompetent) strategy. Some people and their friends are getting pretty wealthy.
Ends only one of two ways - bankrupcy or war.
I suspect Putin and Xi hope to stay out of the way why USSA destroys itself - and that really pisses them off.
Stop trying to portray them as human.

Posted by: jared | Feb 6 2019 21:37 utc | 18

ashley albanese
I have read that China is currently the only country with the full knowhow to build a 5g system. Other countries have segments of the tech, but in several areas required for a complete system, only China has the tech. I am not sure how accurate that is, but Chinese 5g appears to be the only 5g currently on the market so I take it US is not yet capable of building a full 5g system.
It looks as those countries that bow to the US and don't use Chinese 5g will be lagging by some years in the communications area.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 6 2019 21:46 utc | 19

...America MUST GET Away from These Zionist lobby Crooks in America.!..AND PULL OUT of these SICK WARS.!!

Posted by: Carlos Krueger | Feb 6 2019 22:04 utc | 20

Sounds like a job for the Poles or the Greeks or the Colombians. Would Guiado be interested? Or the Brazilians?

Posted by: bevin | Feb 6 2019 22:07 utc | 21

Ashley Albanese @ 14, Peter AU 1 @ 19:

Indonesia is considering an offer from China to upgrade its current 4G network and develop and roll out 5G technology across the archipelago and (I presume) West Papua.

I wonder how this will affect PNG when people there come to realise that their neighbours over the border will be using faster, cheaper and more secure 5G technology than they will be, if they were to use American-supplied 5G technology. Could the difference in technologies accentuate and accelerate the cultural and social separation between West Papuans and people in PNG? Or will it not make much difference until most people in both areas have access to cyber-technologies?

Posted by: Jen | Feb 6 2019 22:24 utc | 22

b: superficial, surface scratching analysis

You're alluding to Turkey wanting to 'chase kurds away' is ridiculous (the race baiting card)

"Nearly all population centers near the Turkish borders in northeast Syria have a Kurdish majority"

That's not exactly true.... If an area is 30 percent Kurdish and 70 percent mixed others is it really a Kurdish majority? That's weasel wording

The people benefiting from such a deployment would by the PKK/YPK Kurds that helped to defeat ISIS.

You're still going with this perception management? Despite it being blatantly obvious the US pulls the strings of both the ISIS puppet and the PKK puppet?

Of course Turkey rejects the foreign troops as well as the PKK/YPG because their purpose, for one, is to destabilize Turkey.

The US also intends to occupy and will use the stolen Syrian territory and resources to create a forward base to attack Iran with the help of Iraq and the Kurdish proxies. Israel is giddy with delight

"Most of the refugees are relatives of Turkish supported 'rebels' and aligned with Erdogan's Islamist ideology."

Most of them? How do you know this?
Let's do some math?
So if 50 percent are relatives as you claim, and I haven't a clue how you draw that conclusion and 50 percent of the refugees are not- are you implying they shouldn't be allowed to go back to their homes etc.,?

Because you believe they have an 'islamist ideology' which most probably existed in Syria prior to all this anyway.. as Syrians and Turks particularly from Aleppo went back and forth visiting relatives, shopping, trading etc., (About an hour drive?)

Posted by: no name | Feb 6 2019 22:33 utc | 23

I have no thoughts on how different technologies would affect the two regions of New Guinea, but your question did give rise to another thought. Was New Guinea ever a unified nation or has it comprised of a number of smaller nations within that landmass similar to the indigenous people of Australia.
This would most likely have a lot of bearing on your question.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 6 2019 22:37 utc | 24

@Jen | Feb 6, 2019 5:24:15 PM | 22

"Martin Pall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University, has notified California state legislators of the risks involved in the 4G/5G Cellular Base Stations and antennas envisioned in SB.649"

Dr. Pall says, “higher frequency electromagnetic fields from 5G technologies on the horizon pose even greater biological concern than those to which we are exposed today.” He says the human species faces extinction risk due to the DNA mutations known to be already occurring, and that “further increases in exposures will be more rapidly self-destructive.”

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 6 2019 22:39 utc | 25

US just have to ask Canada. Our very own version of Hillary Clinton who's acting as Canada's Foreign Minister will more than gladly accept the challenge.

Posted by: Jean | Feb 6 2019 22:44 utc | 26

Trump neoconservatives pursuing permanent revolution and manifest destiny in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and South China sea won't realize what hit them, when reality assert itself. Chump's hedge fund hyena friends and wall street parasites have created an intractable debt trap, from which there's no way back within current free market economics framework. With a crumbling infrastructure coupled with decaying commons, only New deal type socialism can save the United States of America. Paralleling infrastructure collapse airlift capacity is already overstretched with no airframe replacements in the pipeline. Amateurs discuss strategy, professionals talk logistics... In coming years, diminishing capacity to decisively influence outcomes abroad will become more acute and apparent to all players involved in Great game 2.0.

Posted by: Augustin L | Feb 6 2019 22:50 utc | 27

@21 bevin - "Sounds like a job for..."

It could be a great way to take care of those troublesome neo-nazis in Ukraine. Now THAT would be a vote-winner for Poroshenko.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 6 2019 22:50 utc | 28

It is troubling but most of us of the conspiratorium r so used to NATO/pax-americana.(Perception management. IE: the whole west Nato aligned countries minus Italia and their legacy media show us the few thousand paid supporters of Guaido and the 100 thousands supporters of the PSUV government gets no mention . Remember Iran last year in Jan same play book just another country. l'anti diplomatico .It will give u the latest.
Thats all it is perception management in our dystopian Orwellian world.
Get ready for more Nicaragua ur next and Italy is far from safe. Draghi is already hinting at dropping Italian T -bonds down the toilet.

Posted by: falcemartello | Feb 6 2019 22:52 utc | 29

Jackrabbit | Feb 6, 2019 3:23:06 PM | 11

gotta stick with the plan Stan...

Posted by: Desolation Row | Feb 6 2019 22:59 utc | 30

Peter AU@19

“If you count the launch of commercial service in any form, the US is in front of China. Verizon started selling its own 5G service, which is essentially a wireless version of wired broadband for homes and offices, in four US cities in October. AT&T plans to introduce mobile 5G service in 12 US cities before the end of the year. T-Mobile and Sprint say they will turn on their 5G networks by mid-2019. Chinese operators don’t plan to start selling 5G service until 2020.”

Of course, given the health and environmental concerns , not to mention technocratic abuse potential, the race for 5G might be one thats best to lose

Posted by: Pft | Feb 6 2019 23:15 utc | 31

Augustin L

A good strategist allows for all factors including logistics. Manufacturing power plays into both logistics and strategy, perhaps more aptly it is the foundation of both. Trump is trying to rebuild that manufacturing foundation that underpins all else (in regards military power). I am hoping the US is to far gone to be able to achieve that.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 6 2019 23:47 utc | 32

protecting Australia's national interests and security
Translated that means protecting the ability of the Australian Signals Directorate to intercept Australians' communications.
BTW, next stage of the putsch in Venezuela is underway. The opposition is using a USAID humanitarian shipment to test the army’s loyalty but the government sees it as prelude to military intervention if it is halted.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 7 2019 0:16 utc | 33

bevin @21

How could you forget the Ukrainians?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 7 2019 0:31 utc | 34

OT--Moscow Declaration on Afghanistan released:

English text can be read after zooming 200% Most important points are in middle of statement. Talks to continue ASAP in Doha, Qatar. But will asinine US Senate attempt to postpone troop withdrawal as it's done with Syria?

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 7 2019 0:33 utc | 35

"Iraq’s most senior Shiite cleric on Wednesday joined a chorus of politicians and religious leaders in criticizing recent statements by President Donald Trump, in which he said US troops should stay in Iraq to keep an eye on neighboring Iran. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said Iraq aspires to have “good and balanced relations” with all of its neighbors “based on mutual interests and without intervention in internal affairs.” Iraq “rejects being a launching pad for harming any other country,” he said during a meeting with UN Iraq envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert at the cleric’s base in Najaf. Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi reminded Trump late on Tuesday that there are no US bases in his country, and said he doesn’t accept the idea of Iraq becoming an arena for fighting a neighboring state, AP said."

Top Shiite cleric al-Sistani rejects Trump’s plan for US troops in Iraq

I was also surprised that there are no US bases in Iraq, not counting the Green Zone.

Posted by: Krollchem | Feb 7 2019 0:35 utc | 36

Did INF dissolution mark the beginning of a new Cold War, or was the Hybrid Third World War already well underway? Or as the author posits, is a supposed arms race enough to restart the Cold War? IMO, Russia is not embarking on an arms race as it already has the tech and facilities to produce the arms in question while the Outlaw US Empire doesn't.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 7 2019 0:42 utc | 37

Krollchem @36--

There are no exclusively US bases. Outlaw US Empire forces occupy joint base facilities with Iraqi forces, although there're strict demarcations between the two forces. This situation was pointed out when Trump made his unannounced visit to Iraq recently that pushed all the wrong buttons for Iraqis.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 7 2019 0:47 utc | 38

@32 Peter AU 1,
Considering visible deliquescence and erosion of american manufacturing capabilities, one faction surrounding Chump might have inclinations to rebuild such a fundamental pillar of state power. In the pentagon report entitled Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States, one can read: ''The U.S. machine tools sector lacks assured access to a sufficiently large pool of skilled labor. Many skilled workers are exiting the workforce due to age, and there are too few technical educational programs to train those who could take their place. Without concerted action that provides both a ready workforce and a continuously-charged pipeline of new employees, the U.S. will not be able to maintain the large, vibrant, and diverse machine tools sector needed to produce the required number and types of products when needed. Market Forces Decreasing Domestic Capabilities The U.S. machine tools sector has been shrinking since at least the 1980s due to a number of primary and contributing factors with the U.S. standing dropping significantly since 2000. In 2015, China's global machine tool production skyrocketed to $24.7B accounting for 28% of global production, while the U.S. accounted for only $4.6B, after China, Japan, Germany, Italy, and South Korea. According to the U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2015 there were 1,028 machine tool firms employing 27,919 people.''

Here's the rub, a cadre of grifters, wall street looters and asset strippers lead by a bankrupt conmen don't have the necessary skills and staying power to implement such a colossal endeavour. Furthermore, nurturing human capital to rebuild american manufacturing base doesn't figure highly on list of priorities for Trump's real base of hedge fund hyenas. It's just not efficient for ''free market'' profiteers like Koch, Icahn, Barrack, Mnuchin and co. They will simply move capital where it's more efficient, deplorables be damned. Only new deal socialism 2.0. can save deplorables at this point but can stupid be fixed ? Just prevent abortions and build the wall, #maga. Derp.

Posted by: Augustin L | Feb 7 2019 1:24 utc | 39

Peter AU 1 @ 24: I suspect that if Indonesia uses 5G technology from China and PNG uses 5G technology from the US, the differences will be in speed, reliability, security and cost so there may not be that much impact at a personal or even community level.

The issue might affect any political movements aimed at uniting PNG and West Papua which would mean West Papua leaving Indonesia.

Most people in PNG and West Papua live in rural areas and follow a self-sufficient lifestyle (subsistence farming, hunting, foraging) for which they probably don't have much need for cyber-technology for the most part.

To answer your query, online sources I looked up say people in PNG speak over 700 languages and people in West Papua speak 250 languages, grouped into something like 60+ language families (according to Wikipedia). There are highland communities that existed in isolation for hundreds of years until the 20th century; not even their closest neighbours, living perhaps a few kilometres, knew of their existence (due to the mountainous nature of the entire island). Mountainous areas are notorious for hosting lots of small communities with their own cultures and languages and the island of New Guinea is a classic example of this.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 7 2019 1:33 utc | 40

Whether it's U$A or proxies, the U$A is NEVER leaving Syria.

Assuming "permanent" means permanent.

The historical record is clear..

Posted by: ben | Feb 7 2019 1:34 utc | 41

"Did INF dissolution mark the beginning of a new Cold War, or was the Hybrid Third World War already well underway?"

Ny thought for whatever it is worth, is that the question should be "are the customs and norms that have developed and evolved through the cold war and the petro-dollar uni-polar era now gone".

Bhadrakumar mentions the possibility, which Trump has spoken of, of a new deal that involves China. This may need to be looked at in the same light as Trump's "better deal" with Iran.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7 2019 1:38 utc | 42

Grieved @ 28, Jackrabbit @ 34:

The only problem with what would otherwise be a classy answer from you both is that Chechen fighters are fighting alongside neo-Nazi Ukrainian battalions.

On second thoughts, maybe that would be a good idea ... they could all fight each other to the death once in northeast Syria and the Chechens decide to change their allegiances again.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 7 2019 1:42 utc | 43

Augustin L 39

Thanks for that information on the Pentagon report and machine tooling problems.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7 2019 1:57 utc | 44

@27 Augustin L.. thanks for the link discussing infrastructure in the usa...

Posted by: james | Feb 7 2019 2:06 utc | 45

The other party to benefit is Israel which historically uses the Kurds to undermine the sovereignty of Arab countries. A foreign troop deployment in northeast Syria would help Israel's aim to keep Damascus weak.

The "Trump Administration" is making the US look like a pack of fools because as the Orange One said: "We Have To Protect Israel." They've own the US House and Senate, and from all the evidence the apartheid Jewish state also has the POTUS by the plums.

As an aside, I see chatter here about 5G. A quick trip to Amazon found no consumer hardware is for sale just yet, but there is a lot of talk. So it would appear the new cell phone which showed up in my mail box last month is a 4G model. Tucked in the bottom of the box was a 2.25 x 4.5 inch booklet titled Important Information. Just the sort of thing which I typically toss out with the packaging. It's my opinion the company lawyers were behind the existence of this rather scary little booklet. After another search:

The radio spectrum is broken up into bands, each with unique features as you move up into higher frequencies. 4G networks use frequencies below 6 GHz, but 5G uses extremely high frequencies in the 30 GHz to 300 GHz range.

I'm going to be quite interested in reading animal studies about their exposures to those "extremely high frequencies". This is because in the early days of a technology it tends to get misused. I've read of many consumer products which actually included radium. One was toothpaste, if my memory isn't wrong. X-ray machines were installed in the shoe department of large stores to allow both consumers and store salesmen to see a fluoroscope image of how well that model of new shoe fits. The customers may or may not have suffered from this, but I'd wager almost every salesperson died prematurely.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Feb 7 2019 2:18 utc | 46

The possibility of Australia to again go to war to suppress those evil Ottomans, Arabs or whatever must be so attractive to the Australians. I am sure they will be willing to go into another battle with Dancing with Mitilda ringing in their heads. Remember Gallopoli! Oh good Australian soldiers your time has come yet again.

Somehow I cannot believe the stupidity of the former British subjects. Is it even possible that there are still Australians who are willing to die in their thousands defending British (er, sorry, I mean US) imperialism. There is really something downright pathological with the Australians. It was not just Gallappoli when they willingly threw their lives away attacking a cliff where the defenders had such superior positions but those Ausi fools volunteered to fight US wars in Korea and Vietnam. When will these jerks realize that they live in Asia, not Manhattan or Hollywood?

Posted by: ToivoS | Feb 7 2019 3:05 utc | 47

Vietnam was was mostly conscription. Some career military.
My father never went away to WWII. I never understood why until I researched what my grandfather survived in France. As in any country there are a small number of mercenary types who fight for pay without giving a thought to rights and wrongs.
WWII in the pacific was not just a fight for empire. Japanese were fighting to create their own empire.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7 2019 3:35 utc | 48

@ ToivoS #47

...but those Ausi fools volunteered to fight US wars in Korea and Vietnam.

You overlook a very practical issue here - Australia is a nation with a small population. In their part of the world are some countries with huge numbers of people. Some of those have Imperial ambitions themselves. Right on Australia's doorstep is Indonesia with 261 million people, roughly ten times the popolation of Australia. Even Japan has been showing signs of wanting to revive their old Empire.

So Australia needs powerful friends, and Britain is no longer in the running for that. In fact, the US is pretty much all they have, and if some painful sucking up is necessary, they have to bite the bullet and do it. I have a lot of sympathy for Australia's troubles during WW2 - their troops did a great deal of MacArthur's dirty work and all they got for it was the back of his Royal hand.

Australia had to show up in Korea and Vietnam, same as it has publically waved the flag around in Afghanistan and even Syria.

By way of contrast, I get the impression New Zealand sees no point in pretending. That nation has only about 10,000 in the military. The navy is miniscule - two frigates and less than a dozen patrol boats. Ditto for the air force - zero fighters, bombers, or attack aircraft.

I'm no strategy person, but I'd predict Australia will either acquire a small nuclear deterrent or go the way of New Zealand.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Feb 7 2019 3:53 utc | 49


Chinese have got the empire groveling on its knees just to build Gulag facilities; its the (mk) ultimate kowtow!

Posted by: slit | Feb 7 2019 3:59 utc | 50

@ ToivoS | Feb 6, 2019 10:05:09 PM | 47
Somehow I cannot believe the stupidity of the former British subjects.

Former subjects? The reports of the Empire's death are greatly exaggerated.

On 11 November 1975 Prime Minister Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party was dismissed by the Queen's agent Governor-General Sir John Kerr, who then commissioned the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser of the Liberal Party, as caretaker Prime Minister. Whitlam had made the mistake of trying to slip the US traces, showing some (gasp) independence.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 4:17 utc | 51

@ Zachary Smith | Feb 6, 2019 9:18:48 PM | 46
The "Trump Administration" is making the US look like a pack of fools . .

The problem is. . .?
IOW better that then "leader of the free world' enlisting another "coalition of the willing," yes?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 4:22 utc | 52

Don Bacon 51

As with Canada and New Zealand our prime minister (In oz, a position by custom, not constitution or law) must swear allegiance to the monarch of england. We have never been a sovereign state. I was brought up to believe that we were.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7 2019 4:26 utc | 53

@ karlof1 | Feb 6, 2019 7:33:46 PM | 35
But will asinine US Senate attempt to postpone troop withdrawal as it's done with Syria?
That was an opinion, a view (on both countries), not a law with any effect. It was just a CYA to cover the pols as the Afghan and Syria situations continue to go south.
"... it warns that "a precipitous withdrawal" of U.S. forces from those countries could "allow terrorists to regroup, destabilize critical regions and create vacuums that could be filled by Iran or Russia." Well, yeah. Welcome to defeat.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 4:35 utc | 54

@ Peter AU 1 | Feb 6, 2019 11:26:58 PM | 53
We have never been a sovereign state. I was brought up to believe that we were.
I guess that poor Gough Whitlam was brought up the same way in Australia.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 4:38 utc | 55

b: in that graph, are Assyrians, Armenians and Yazidis lumped in with Arabs as purple dots or are they represented by the pink, yellow, blue or black dots?

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Feb 7 2019 4:41 utc | 56

The US Army has problems not only with the manufacturing base but also with the in-service human base. Obesity and mental health (including increasing suicides) are continuing problems, along with enlistment shortfalls looking for non-obese, non-drug, educated enlistment candidates in a full-employment society.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 4:55 utc | 57

Don Bacon 55
Yep. Queeny and the ruling emporer of the US nailed him pretty quick. Letting it out he was going to name in parliament some of the CIA operatives active in Australia was a bit of a mistake. They nailed him before he could do so.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7 2019 4:57 utc | 58

The Pentagon also has a problem enlisting Silicon Valley into the continuing war effort. They'd rather work with China! Where's the allegiance?
And inside the Pentagon....a recent news report:

The Department of Defense has a talent management problem. The Pentagon is struggling to attract and retain talent for technology-centric jobs related to artificial intelligence, coding and software development.
To exemplify this talent management issue, Josh Marcuse, executive director of the department’s Defense Innovation Board, asked attendees at a November roundtable hosted by Defense News in California to raise their hand if they knew how to write a line of code.
About half the hands went up. Then he asked how many with their hands up have been paid by the DoD to write a line of code. No hands went up.

And China outnumbers USA STEM grads 8 to 1.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 5:03 utc | 59

@ Peter AU 1 | Feb 6, 2019 11:57:37 PM | 58
Were the CIA ops up in Alice Springs at "Pine Gap?"
I've been to A.S. -- a little scary walking around.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 5:08 utc | 60

Thinking about conventional wars and logistics, we are far past the era when huge logistics are required.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7 2019 5:08 utc | 61

@ Peter AU 1 | Feb 7, 2019 12:08:48 AM | 61
we are far past the era when huge logistics are required
Maybe not -- the more complex systems require a lot more maintenance. Of ten aircraft carriers, the Navy only has two or three asea at any time. The new F-35 is extremely complex, and needs special hangars and a lot of maintenance. Availability is only about forty percent. Lockheed has had to build new plants to manufacture bombs, so many are being delivered. etc.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 5:19 utc | 62

Don Bacon 60

Yes. Pine gap is basically a US installation, discreetly tucked away in the hills out of Alice. From what I can make out, as well as signit, its primary purpose is to guide US ICBM's in this hemisphere. The propaganda of today has it as an oz installation and I think that was also the propaganda of the day when Whitlam was outed.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7 2019 5:33 utc | 63

Seems like a perfect setup for Israel to move in, in their usual messy deceitful way.

Posted by: Dingo Dave | Feb 7 2019 5:56 utc | 64

@ Peter AU 1 | Feb 7, 2019 12:33:08 AM | 63
I think that was also the propaganda of the day when Whitlam was outed.
Outed with comm intel obtained at Pine Gap, probably.

So the basic problem of Australian obeisance to the US is that the entire Oz military budget is oriented toward supporting US "Indo-Pacific" strategy, and not toward Australian national security. Because Oz is so far from Asia this means that Canberra needs to focus on a long-distance fight rather than on a local one.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 5:58 utc | 65

Getting allies to replace US in Syria may be tricky.

UK has some troops there already, but the Minister of Defense said that thousands of troops are in readiness for the eventuality of mass riots following Brexit decision -- whatever will be decided, a huge number of Britons shall be displeased.

France also has some troops in Syria, but it is one step in the game ahead of UK: they have mass riots already.

Germany ... they may send some medical personnel, whatever their Minister of Defense may think.

Canada is preoccupied with the fate of Ukraine, so the mobile parts of Canadian forces must be ready to be dispatched there. In a bout of nostalgia, they may be joined by New Zealanders and Australians in an attempt to force Kerch strait for unrestricted traffic by naval forces of all nations (a replay of Gallipoli operation during WWI).

New NATO members, Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro may lack any excuses not to extend the helping hand.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 7 2019 6:08 utc | 66

. . .and Colombia?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 6:14 utc | 67

Syria would not dare attack US troops stationed in their country, even to defend themselves. But they might attack UK, French, or German troops.
Posted by: wootendw | Feb 6, 2019 1:48:00 PM | 2

Maybe that's the idea ... replace the US troops with UK, French and German troops; UK, French and German troops get attacked, lives lost; UK, French and German troops quickly pull out; occupation ended. In other words a device to withdraw the US troops while passing the blame for the Israeli-unwished-for consequences to the UK, French and Germans. Everybody else celebrates.

Not that I necessarily believe in it, it is just a hypothesis.

Posted by: BM | Feb 7 2019 6:22 utc | 68

On the topic of killing US troops in Syria i have found this Russian video very interesting i have no idea of accuracy especially as its subtitled which came out not long after the Skripal story broke in the UK aired on April 3 2018

Posted by: lets lynch the landlord | Feb 7 2019 6:58 utc | 69

Don Bacon 60 Pine gap is basically a US installation, discreetly tucked away in the hills out of Alice. From what I can make out, as well as signit, its primary purpose is to guide US ICBM's in this hemisphere.

ICBMs are Ballistic by nature. After launch & when above the earths atmosphere & prior to warhead separation the Inertial Guidance Unit takes a positional fix on star positions to give a final update to the Inertial Guidance Unit.

The warheads themselves do not require terminal guidance from an external source; whether that be ground or air or even space based. Final trajectory is via on-board guidance which is almost impossible to counter due to their very high speed & high accuracy & low critical error probability.

Pine Gap is a SIGINT base. What that actually means is a huge question. It definitely does not though provide 'guidance to US ICBMs' since this 'guidance' could be subjected to ECM or jamming - this issue was long ago removed from the Nuclear Deterrent with the introduction of the SSBN.

Posted by: Per Terram | Feb 7 2019 7:18 utc | 70

In WW2 Australia sent its troops off to fight with the UK, mainly N Africa. We also had a large contingent on Singapore, under UK command of course. After the command mismanagement and fall of Singapore we lost a lot of troops, plus the rest were in Africa and the UK wouldn't send them back. You would think we would have learned from this unmitigated disaster, but no.
The US then took over as new big brother in WW2, their decision was strategic rather than helping Oz, apparently Roosevelt was against it but MacArthur won out. Since then we have been vassals. However most of the population these days, unlike anti-US protests of the 70s, are oblivious. We should build our own defensive structure including nukes, but we don't, we are just an extra battalion for the US invasions. We are a nation of ignorant morons staring at iPhones.

Posted by: Rancid | Feb 7 2019 11:15 utc | 71

Lets lynch the landlord 69

Fascinating. It is what I was told by Russian friends at the time - that one of the main purposes of the Skripal nonsense was to deflect attention (if the Russians had chosen to publicize it - which in the event they didn't) - from the fact that a number of SAS operatives had been captured by the SAA in E.Gouta. I was told 10 or 12. But 200 US special forces killed..... that is news.
If it is true, the US must have been very p*ssed off indeed.

Posted by: Montreal | Feb 7 2019 11:31 utc | 72

In Regards of Pine Gap
Maybe it is part of the 'super fuze' network.

Rancid | Feb 7, 2019 6:15:47 AM | 71
Forget about nukes. You'd only risk massive destruction and contamination of the beautiful speck of land you guys inhabit.
Have a population willing to resist - teach them how to create high performance can openers and such from scratch, or if you so will from pee (literally) - and you'll be having the best deterrent you could ever wish for against any potential invading force.

Posted by: Hmpf | Feb 7 2019 11:57 utc | 73

Augustin L | Feb 6, 2019 8:24:29 PM | 39

Right. Also consider the enduring lack of trust held by the American manufacturing worker towards any company. People simply cannot afford the risk losing long term employment with these clowns because mortgage and family obligations are impossible to eject in the same manner American business constantly ejects its workforce. People have learned not to trust. We see this in the example of Wisconsin where manufacturers continue whining they cannot obtain workers at any price.

Posted by: UnionHorse | Feb 7 2019 12:15 utc | 74 or unreachable from USA via many different browsers from my client.
been two days now, but can reach it from some secret stuff.. at another location. so I know it is functioning and live.
Also, three days ago, on MOA someone posted a link to a url on the Presstv site that i looked for and the URL was not to be found in either my cache.. or on the Presstv. IR web site. Something is up.. anyone with any idea?

Posted by: snake | Feb 7 2019 12:44 utc | 75

The way Pompeo talks to 'allies', similar to the way Bolton talks, is almost undisguised lord to vassal talk. And the response from the vassals is ever more obsequious.

Posted by: paul | Feb 7 2019 12:55 utc | 76

France has turned against Nord Sream, the SPV for trade with Iran has turned into a total joke, the German Union of Journalists demands the banning of russian media, France is disrupting russian media, most EU countries support the US coup in Venezuela.

France seeks to torpedo Nord Stream

German union of journalists demands the ban of russian media

Iran says it will never accept ‘humiliating conditions’ of EU’s new trade mechanism

MADURO: 'EU Leaders Are Bootlickers to the US', Vows to Fight

Germany blames Russia for US exit from the INF

France against US withdrawal from Syria

In other words the europeans are turning into bigger and bigger puppets of the US, and express lots of hatred for Russia. Interestingly enough it is western european russophobia, not simply eastern european russophobia. It appears that they are so attached to the US Empire that they are ready to fight for it, to preserve it. They can not live without it.

Any comments from the those who hope that the EU will rebel against the US?

Posted by: Passer by | Feb 7 2019 14:20 utc | 77

The US is waving the sanctions club at its EU "allies" and demanding obeisance or else. Controlling banking, Washington can get away with it. Sanctions on Iran and Russia have already crippled EU economic growth, so Washington is now threatening more economic pressure and negative growth. "Do what we tell you or else..."
news report:

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European Union officials have slashed their growth forecast for the 19 countries that use the euro, saying even the lower estimate was vulnerable to “large uncertainty” from slowing growth in China and weakening global trade.
The EU’s executive Commission cut the forecast for this year to 1.3 percent from 1.9 percent in their earlier forecast issued in the autumn. The eurozone probably grew 1.9 percent last year, slowing from a 10-year high of 2.4 percent in 2017.
Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all saw sizeable downgrades for their growth outlook. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 14:48 utc | 78

@ snake | Feb 7, 2019 7:44:25 AM | 75


@Passer by | Feb 7, 2019 9:20:29 AM | 77

You write "the europeans are turning into bigger and bigger puppets of the US, and express lots of hatred for Russia."

Methinks this puppetry is not so much being performed by the people of Europe as is it puppetry by a subset of the elite.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 7 2019 15:15 utc | 79

It is some years since I researched Pine Gap and its purpose and relationship to US ICBM's and nuclear war. Much has disappeared off the internet over the last few years. From what I can find now, it seems its primary purpose was missile tracking, early warning, detecting or locating soviet air defences though radar emissions, with eavesdropping on general Soviet military comms its secendary purpose. (pdf download)

From the linked pdf...
The Pine Gap facility, which became operational in 1969, is located
19km (12 miles) south-west of Alice Springs. The 'business end' of
the facility consists of seven large radomes and an enormous computer
complex, currently being even further expanded.
Although Pine Gap is formally administered by the US National
Reconnaissance Office (NRO), it is operationally controlled by the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Pine Gap was originally established
as part of Project Rhyolite, which involves a small number of very large
antenna-carrying signals intelligence (SIGINT) satellites in
geostationary orbit capable of sucking up 'like a vacuum cleaner' a
wide spectrum of Soviet and Chinese military communications and radar
transmissions and beaming them back down to Pine Gap. The frequencies
covered by these satellites embrace a number of very significant radio
emanations. First, it includes most radar transmissions, allowing the
mapping of the extensive Soviet early-warning and air defence networks
Second, it includes telemetry data transmitted during Soviet ballistic
missile tests. Analysis of these signals has become one of the
principal means by which the US has been able to monitor Soviet missile
developments - and hence Soviet compliance with the Strategic Arms
Limitation (SAL) agreements. And, third, these satellites have the
capability for intercepting Soviet and Chinese telephonic and radio
microwave communications.

There was also this disclaimer of sorts near the start of the paper..
"The Australian public has never been given a full list of all the
defence, scientific and intelligence installations in Australia. And
even where the existence of a particular operation has been acknowledged,
its function is usually described euphemistically only as
'space research', 'upper atmospheric studies', 'geological and geophysical
research', etc."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 7 2019 16:00 utc | 80

Passer by @77

b should make your comment into a guest post.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 7 2019 16:05 utc | 81

The Saker interviews Michael Hudson on Venezuela here, and Hudson starts one thought with....
"Given the fact that the EU is acting as a branch of NATO and the U.S. banking system . . ."
. . .which helps explain all the EU - Guaido recognition BS, and also other recent EU actions listed up in #77.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 16:19 utc | 82

Macron is unhappy to be treated like Asad...

Posted by: Mina | Feb 7 2019 16:37 utc | 83

Macron: Violent anti-government demonstrations are inherently wrong and should not be used by foreign countries for political purposes. /s

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 7 2019 16:54 utc | 84

Don Bacon @82--

Thanks for posting that link! I found Hudson's remarks exceptional and also helped to further explain his previous essay regarding the unwitting Trump. IMO, the entire Atlantic Charter ideal spawned by Churchill and FDR in 1940 is hanging by a thread that's about ready to break. Which EU nation will be first to emulate Italy and elect a government that will flip the bird to Washington? France would now if elections were held.

As for the next step to take in the process of dedollarization, Hudson suggests the following in the interview:

"Looking ahead, therefore, China, Russia, Iran and other countries need to set up a new international court to adjudicate the coming diplomatic crisis and its financial and military consequences. Such a court – and its associated international bank as an alternative to the U.S.-controlled IMF and World Bank – needs a clear ideology to frame a set of principles of nationhood and international rights with power to implement and enforce its judgments.

"This would confront U.S. financial strategists with a choice: if they continue to treat the IMF, World Bank, ITO and NATO as extensions of increasingly aggressive U.S. foreign policy, they will risk isolating the United States. Europe will have to choose whether to remain a U.S. economic and military satellite, or to throw in its lot with Eurasia." [My Emphasis]

That almost sounds like a parallel UN-like institution but with its own coercive element enabling it "to implement and enforce." World War Two effectively destroyed the League of Nations apparatus. Our ongoing Hybrid Third World War looks to undo the United Nations apparatus. With the rise of the East, it seems logical that the new institution will be centered in that part of the world. But how to deal with the discredited Outlaw US Empire whose century-long Outlaw nature can only be undone by its own populous? Should it be ostracized and contained until it solves its internal political problems by arresting the treasonous, disbanding government enabled criminal organizations such as the CIA and NSA, and ensuring Common People can keep control of the federal government such that the forces of reaction are neutered once and for all? And what about reparations to the many nations the Outlaw US Empire's raped and pillaged? They'd amount to quadrillions? How will the Outlaw US Empire ever be able to atone for its deeds?

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 7 2019 17:36 utc | 85

One of the architects of the French war on Syria started his job in 2009

close to Hollande and to.. Benalla... the guy who knows too much

Posted by: Mina | Feb 7 2019 17:44 utc | 86

@psychohistorian (6) "China is the only potential host for empire to inhabit but its history of socialistic successes make the successful invasion of the private finance model not very likely."

Where have you been these past twenty years? China is socialist in name only. In reality, it is aggressively capitalistic. The only difference between China's economy and the U.S.'s is that China's government plays a greater role in economic planning (e.g. the new silk road project). It does not allow the "free market" to make all the decisions. The U.S used to be that way also (e.g. the interstate highway system) but now increasingly defers to the private sector.

Posted by: Rob | Feb 7 2019 17:58 utc | 87

It's overdue time that France got a good thumping. Maybe arm the Yellow Vests.

Posted by: Robert McMaster | Feb 7 2019 18:10 utc | 88

CGTN is reporting that Italy's Ambassador to France has offered words of encouragement and sympathy to Yellow Vest protestors in Paris.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 7 2019 18:15 utc | 89

A nice smokescreen is what you're not seeing.
The SPV actually started operating on 1/1 not the advertised date with Russia using its
service.How much Russian energy being paid for in non petrodollars is now something we cannot
see.Both the KSA and Venezuela are already both selling 150,000bpd outside the dollar in
yuan.Along with yuan oil futures,100 bilateral trade deals, we seem to have reached a tipping point for the USD as GRC.The increasing panicked moves by DC are the result,not the cause.

Posted by: Winston | Feb 7 2019 18:25 utc | 90

Japan's NHK News is reporting that Abe is seriously contemplating signing a Peace Treaty with Russia to pave the way for negotiations over 'disputed territories'.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 7 2019 18:28 utc | 91

Regarding France turning against Russian interests:

France is being pushed out of the Levant-Syria permanently by Russia.

France's warship in the East Med was treated unkindly by Russia EW. Recall that the French Auvergne frigate was very close to the shootdown of IL-20 (caused by Israel hiding in the flight path of the recon plane.)

Russia is in former French colonies in Africa (military aid to Central Africa Republic, energy deal in Chad, next door to Djibouti in Eritrea a base, and good relations with Algeria.) . Russia also has weapons deals pending with several other sub-Sahara nations (pushing out French weapons sales).

Macron is a failure domestically and within his relationship with Trump, so he needs to do something--thus, he tests nuclear strikes against Russia in silly demonstration of France's 'power'.

Small man syndrome of boytoy Macron is in full meltdown.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Feb 7 2019 18:53 utc | 92

@ Winston 90

"A nice smokescreen is what you're not seeing. The SPV actually started operating on 1/1 not the advertised date with Russia using its service. How much Russian energy being paid for in non petrodollars is now something we cannot see."

You need to show proof that this is true and not simply forum talkings as opposed to Iran's reaction to the SPV.

Iran says it will never accept ‘humiliating conditions’ of EU’s new trade mechanism

The new payment system set up by France, Germany, and the UK last week to allow “legitimate trade” with Iran, has limited capacity and humiliating conditions, according to Iran’s judiciary chief, Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani.

The country will never accept that, he said while addressing a meeting with high-ranking judicial officials in Tehran.

“After nine months of procrastination and negotiation, Europeans have created a mechanism with limited capacity, not for exchanging money but for food and medicine,” Larijani was quoted as saying by Tasnim News Agency.

According to him, European countries have set two “strange conditions” for the mechanism named the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).

The first condition is that Iran should join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the other is that the country should enter negotiations on its missile program.

“The countries should be aware that Iran will by no means accept these humiliating conditions and will not accede to any demand at the expense of opening a small waterway such as INSTEX,” the judiciary chief said.

Do you claim that this is all fake and where is the proof for that?

Posted by: Passer by | Feb 7 2019 19:05 utc | 93

Passer by@ 77
What you say is unexceptionable- the haste with which the EU and its constituent parts have leaped on the Venezuela bandwagon is, at first sight, astonishing. And a real contrast to the attitudes of Germany and France in 2003.
But to put it all in context, these are european governments which are crumbling- the German government doesn't know where it is going, the clear common sense of repairing relations with Russia and China is as apparent as Trump's idiocy.
As to the British and French governments who would take out insurance on either making it to the summer? Spain is in no better condition, the faux socialists and their faux 'real' socialist allies Podemos are begging to follow the fate of PASOK.
The entire political system is in crisis- if the EU were democratic it would be on the eve of a massive defeat in the coming EU elections.
What the haste to back not just the US but the most extreme elements- Bolton, Abrams, Pompeo and Trump- indicates is that they don't much care, they have other things to think about. They see economic disaster approaching. And, with the people too revolting they fear a conjunction of a pre-revolutionary nature.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 7 2019 19:31 utc | 94

@82 don bacon.. thanks for the link from unz on michael hudsons thoughts regarding venezuala here...

essentially - the sanctions will mean that venezuala is in default on their us dollar loans and the usa loan sharks will be legally entitled to the venezuala oil... nice ponzi scheme - corrupt game they have going their..

frankly, i don't see a simple way out of this mess.. people of the world must see how the system they think is clean, is in fact a system run by gangsters of a different type - banking system gangsters..

frankly, it just seems like another step and set up for war... perhaps as many have mentioned here many times - the usa and poodles intention seems to be to spread chaos and reap the profits from this approach..

setting up an alternative international court has michael suggests and which @85 karlof1 highlights - sounds good on paper, but i think we are quite a ways away from that happening here... all hell will have to break out first..

Posted by: james | Feb 7 2019 19:41 utc | 95

@Robert Snefjella | Feb 7, 2019 10:15:19 AM | 79

Thanks for the working link to Press TV. The following article is right on the front page:

Days of foreign intervention in Latin America long gone: UN

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the days of foreign intervention in Latin America are “long ago gone,” expressing hope that no foreign forces would enter Venezuela, after US President Donald Trump repeated his threats of taking military action against the South American country.

By the way, Antonio Guterres is Portuguese.

Posted by: Cyril | Feb 7 2019 20:17 utc | 96

james @95--

"all hell will have to break out first.."

That's why I've likened the situation to that in 1938--No one wants war, but war is already raging and will inevitably spread since there's no peaceful mechanism to solve the crisis--the out of control Outlaw US Empire that refuses to conform to international norms of moral behavior. There's no way to appease a rabid dog; the only solution is it must be put down. Unfortunately, the same is true of our crisis--the only way it will be solved is for the rabid dog to be put down so as to never rise again. The only way I see to avoid more war is for the US citizenry to revolt and physically eliminate those leading the forces of reaction keeping them from peace and prosperity. And the forces of reaction have proven they will not go peacefully.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 7 2019 20:28 utc | 97

@97 karlof1... we see it in a similar way then... i do find the yellow jackets phenom in france encouraging... now, if it would spread to other places, like canada and the usa and etc - it would be a very good thing... wasn't the french revolution the beginning of a lot of world changes back in the 1700's? i don't believe this is the same, but it requires a similar energy that seems missing in the general populace today... perhaps things will have to get like venezuala for us here in the west, before we will see what is going on.. many people remain ignorant of what is taking place today... i am mildly informed, but there is no group where i live interested in doing a demonstration for overthrowing the neo-liberal world order just yet.. this is partly why i believe we are headed for another major war.. it will take something very significant to wake the vast majority up..

Posted by: james | Feb 7 2019 20:45 utc | 98

All this is further proof that Trump's bogus claim to move troops out of Syria is but veiled political doublespeak (doublecross for all who see) to gin up support for 2020. Meanwhile, behind the scenes; nothing changes, we have occupation and no fly machinations transpiring, making Trump no better than Bush and Obama and even worse by advancing Empire domination against Iran and Venezuela and giving Israel more funds, more control and just about everything Israel desires while cutting Palestinians off at every turn. Trump is a Zionist, a Neocon and a pathological LIAR who's still fooling some people here. This comes as no surprise to those who are no longer swayed and myself who never trusted him.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 8 2019 0:07 utc | 99

@Passer by | Feb 7, 2019 9:20:29 AM | 77

France has turned against Nord Sream, the SPV for trade with Iran has turned into a total joke, the German Union of Journalists demands the banning of russian media, France is disrupting russian media, most EU countries support the US coup in Venezuela.

France seeks to torpedo Nord Stream

For me, the most significant part of this news is not that the US has apparently succeeded in making France obey, but how long it took the Yanks to do it. The US is clearly running out of tools, and the ones they still have are fairly weak. If Americans had stronger leverage, they would have used it -- and they would have used it much sooner, before the construction of Nord Stream 2 started, not now, when the pipeline is nearly done. So my conclusion is that the US still has influence over Europe, but not much any more.

It will be interesting to see how long a country like Spain continues to follow the US line on Venezuela. As I noted previously, Spain in particular is playing with fire. If it can interfere in some other country's internal affairs, then other countries could equally interfere in Spain's internal affairs: e.g. Catalunya. Will Spain continue obeying the US when internal pain becomes unbearable? (I notice that Italy did not join the gang rape of Venezuela; perhaps it could foresee the consequences.)

Posted by: Cyril | Feb 8 2019 1:23 utc | 100

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