Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 18, 2019

Media And Pundits Misread The 'Everyone Wins' Plan For Syria

The U.S. media get yesterday's talks between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan all wrong. Those talks were just a show to soothe the criticism against President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeast Syria.

The fake negotiations did not change the larger win-win-win-win plan or the facts on the ground. The Syrian Arab Army is replacing the Kurdish PKK/YPG troops at the border with Turkey. The armed PKK/YPG forces, which had deceivingly renamed themselves (vid) "Syrian Democratic Forces" to win U.S. support, will be disbanded and integrated into the Syrian army. Those moves are sufficient to give Turkey the security guarantees it needs. They will prevent any further Turkish invasion.


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The Washington Post reports:

Turkey agreed Thursday to a cease-fire that would suspend its march into Syria and temporarily halt a week of vicious fighting with Kurdish forces, while allowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to carve out a long-coveted buffer zone far beyond its borders.

The agreement, announced by Vice President Pence after hours of negotiations, appeared to hand Turkey’s leader most of what he sought when his military launched an assault on northeastern Syria just over a week ago: the expulsion of Syrian Kurdish militias from the border and the removal of a U.S. threat to impose sanctions on Turkey’s vulnerable economy.

Pence said Turkey had agreed to pause its offensive for five days while the United States helped facilitate the withdrawal of ­Kurdish-led forces, called the ­Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), from a large swath of territory stretching from Turkey’s border nearly 20 miles south into Syria. After the completion of the Kurdish withdrawal, Turkey’s military operation, which began Oct. 9, would be “halted entirely,” Pence said.

The New York Times falsely headlines: In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria

The cease-fire agreement reached with Turkey by Vice President Mike Pence amounts to a near-total victory for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who gains territory, pays little in penalties and appears to have outmaneuvered President Trump.

The best that can be said for the agreement is that it may stop the killing in the Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. But the cost for Kurds, longtime American allies in the fight against the Islamic State, is severe: Even Pentagon officials were mystified about where tens of thousands of displaced Kurds would go, as they moved south from the Turkey-Syria border as required by the deal — if they agree to go at all.
...
Military officials said they were stunned that the agreement essentially allowed Turkey to annex a portion of Syria, displace tens of thousands of Kurdish residents and wipe away years of counterterrorism gains against the Islamic State.

The U.S. can not "allow Turkey to annex a portion of Syria". The U.S. does not own Syria. It is completely bollocks to think that it has the power to allow Turkey to annex parts of it.

Turkey will not "gain territory". There will be no Turkish "security corridor". The Kurdish civilians in Kobani, Ras al Ain and Qamishli areas will not go anywhere. The Turks will not touch those Kurdish majority areas because they are, or soon will be, under control of the Syrian government and its army.


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The picture, taken yesterday, shows the Syrian-Turkish border crossing north of Kobani. The Syrian army took control of it and raised the Syrian flag. There are no longer any Kurdish forces there that could threaten Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu confirmed that Turkey agrees with the Syrian government moves:

Russia "promised that the PKK or YPG will not be on the other side of the border," Cavusoglu said in an interview with the BBC. "If Russia, accompanied by the Syrian army, removes YPG elements from the region, we will not oppose this."

Even partisan Syrians opposed to its government recognize the ploy:

Rami Jarrah @RamiJarrah - 12:53 UTC · Oct 17, 2019
Turkey’s foreign minister once again reiterates that if Russia and the Syrian regime take over border areas they will not object, as long as the PYD are expelled.
This has to be the easiest land grab opportunity Assad has had since the war started.

These moves have been planned all along. The Turkish invasion in northeast Syria was designed to give Trump a reason to withdraw U.S. troops. It was designed to push the Kurdish forces to finally submit to the Syrian government. Behind the scene Russia had already organized the replacement of the Kurdish forces with Syrian government troops. It has coordinated the Syrian army moves with the U.S. military. Turkey had agreed that Syrian government control would be sufficient to alleviate its concern about a Kurdish guerilla and a Kurdish proto-state at its border. Any further Turkish invasion of Syria is thereby unnecessary.

The plan has everyone winning. Turkey will be free of a Kurdish threat. Syria regains its territory. The U.S. can leave without further trouble. Russia and Iran gain standing. The Kurds get taken care of.

The 'ceasefire' and the retreat of the armed Kurdish groups from the border, which is claimed to have been negotiated yesterday between Pence and Erdogan, had already been decided on before the U.S. announced its withdrawal from Syria.

As veteran reporter Elijah Magnier wrote yesterday, before the Turkish-U.S. negotiations happened:

Assad trusts that Russia will succeed in halting the Turkish advance and reduce its consequences, perhaps by asking the Kurds to pull back to a 30 km distance from the Turkish borders to satisfy President Erdogan’s anxiety. That could also fit the Turkish-Syrian 1998 Adana agreement (5 km buffer zone rather than 30 km) and offer tranquillity to all parties involved. Turkey wants to make sure the Kurdish YPG, the PKK Syrian branch, is disarmed and contained. Nothing seems difficult for Russia to manage, particularly when the most difficult objective has already been graciously offered: the US forces’ withdrawal.

What Magnier describes is exactly what Pence and Erdogan agreed upon after he wrote it because it was - all along - part of the larger common plan.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 20:13 UTC · Oct 17, 2019
This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!

The question is now if the U.S. will stick to the deal or if the pressure on President Trump will get so heavy that he needs to retreat from the common deal. The U.S. must move ALL its troops out of northeast Syria for the plot to succeed. Any residual U.S. force, even an unsustainable small one, will make the situation much more complicate.

That the U.S. media and pundits completely misread the situation is a symptom of a wider failure. As Anatol Lieven describes the mess of U.S. Middle Eastern strategy:

This pattern has its roots in the decay of the US political system and political establishment at home, including the power of lobbies and their money over US policy in key areas; the retreat of area studies in academia and think tanks, leading to sheer ignorance of some of the key countries with which the USA has to deal; the self-obsession, self-satisfaction and ideological megalomania that in every dispute leads so much of the US establishment and media to cast the USA as a force of absolute good, and its opponents as absolutely evil; and the failure – linked to these three syndromes – to identify vital and secondary interests and choose between them ..

Only a few pundits in the U.S. recognize reality. Stephen Walt:

The bottom line: The solution to the situation in Syria is to acknowledge Assad’s victory and work with the other interested parties to stabilize the situation there. Unfortunately, that sensible if unsavory approach is anathema to the foreign-policy “Blob”—Democrats and Republicans alike—and its members are marshaling the usual tired arguments to explain why it’s all Trump’s fault and the United States should never have withdrawn a single soldier.

I am confident for now that the blob will be held off by Trump and that the Win4 plan will succeed. Erdogan will soon travel to Russia to discuss the next steps towards peace in Syria. The talks will be about a common plan to liberate the Jihadi controlled governorate of Idleb. That step may require a summit between the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Erdogan which Russia and Iran will help to facilitate.

With the U.S. removed from the Syria scenario such steps towards peace will now be much easier.

Posted by b on October 18, 2019 at 6:43 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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@182 Jackrabbit

Biden - Tulsi? What? Where did you get that notion? They would never run together on the same ticket! Their fp is polar opposite.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 19 2019 2:33 utc | 201

@199 "The only offset against that is the capability of the Russian air forces to challenge and stare that down."

Dont forget 24 TELARS (96 SAM missiles), support vehicules and point defence systems deployed all over Syria. A major deterrent..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 19 2019 2:36 utc | 202

uncle tungsten "This could be a ruthless piece of treachery by NATO and the Erdo puppet."

Something Putin understands and deals with on a daily basis, especially in dealing with US, Erdogan Saudi Arabia ect.
I suspect with the military to military line of communication, Russia and US will delineate airspace. From what I read, Russian and Syrian aircraft have been operating around Kobane Manbij ect but no reports of them operating at the eastern end of the Turk offensive. I'm guessing US have already marked their new line on a map and will operate in the airspace of that are. Areas that have been handed back to Syria will be Syrian airspace were Syrian and Russian airforce will operate freely. My guess is where Kurds refuse to become part of Syria, apart from speeches of indignation, Syria Russia will do nothing. It also could be that Erdo will doublecross any deal he has made with the US and will push in towards the oilfields.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 2:37 utc | 203

@198 Yotel

The U.S. military were securing the oil fields for quite some time and in early October even jointly patrolled that area with Turkey.

us joint patrol with Turkey in northeast syria

Posted by: Circe | Oct 19 2019 2:44 utc | 204

@Peter AU 1
The AANES is not simply "the Kurds". Other ethnic minorities and people with political interests beyond ethnic nationalism have joined YPGs. Why? Because they don't want incorporation into an Islamic State, and they don't want incorporation into the established Syrian state either. The AANES is not simply a Kurdish region autonomous from the Syrian state. "Autonomous Administration" describes more than autonomy from Damascus. It also describes autonomy of communities within the AANES from a central authority in Qamishli. It also describes Assyrian autonomy from Kurdish domination and domination of women by a patriarchal state and domination of labor by a capitalist state.

Regardless of Kurdish migration since 1930, Rojava is not all about Kurdish domination of other ethnic minorities. The PYD is a modern political movement not focused primarily on Kurdish nationalism. If the YPGs were only Kurdish nationalists, like the Iraqi Peshmerga, Erdogan would not be invading Syria now. He hasn't invaded Iraq similarly. He opposes the YPGs for political reasons having little to do with Kurdish nationalism.

Posted by: Martin Brock | Oct 19 2019 2:45 utc | 205

It's 'chemical attack' time again in Syria

Turkey may have used chemical weapons on the Kurdish civilians Trump left vulnerable
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is investigating the possible use by Turkey of chemical weapons in northeastern Syria.
The OPCW said that it was "aware of the situation and is collecting information with regard to possible use of chemical weapons," but cautioned that it has "not yet determined the credibility of these allegations."
Images from a hospital in a Syrian border town showed children with horrific burns that may be consistent with white phosphorus, a chemical that can cause excruciating burns if it touches human skin.

White phosphorous shells have been widely used by the US military in Iraq and Syria, w/o any interest from OPCW.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 19 2019 2:47 utc | 206

here is a more up to date map of what's going on in northeast Syria.
https://twitter.com/leithfadel/status/1185213939669450760


From what I see and read, the syrian army strategy at the present moment appears to have been for the SAA to take Manbij and the surrounding areas, have a presence in Kobane (but not the surrounding countryside), and then basically occupy as much of the M4 highway as possible to prevent the turkish jihadists and allies from taking any more of that important road -

So the SAA/SDF has the M4 highway from Manbij area to Ayn Issa (and down south to Raqqah as well)and then there's the turk presence along that road at a certain point, then the SAA again from Tel Tamer all the way to the Iraqi border.

It's been a pretty impressive run so far in just a few days. I've seen a good number of videos of hundreds of SAA vehicles moving troops and heavy equipment to the north. The oil fields still remain for now in the hands of the Yanks.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 19 2019 2:51 utc | 207

Martin Brock 205

There may be the odd token Arab that joined of their own accord, but the Majority of Arabs that began wearing SDF hats occured when Mcgurk pulled in the Saudi's to talk ISIS and ISIS types from the oilfields into changing hats. The local Syrian groups that had joined ISIS that is. The international terrorists either weren't offered or did not want SDF hats.
There was a meeting in Raqqa where a number of Tribal leaders from Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, some of whom had sworn allegiance to ISIS joined SDF. Suddenly, with no fighting taking place, SDF US controlled the gas and oilfields of Deir Ezzor. That was back when there was a race between US and Syria to take control of Deir Ezzor city.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 2:57 utc | 208

@ Martin Brock 205
The PYD is a modern political movement not focused primarily on Kurdish nationalism.
Really?
In 2016 the PYD, the leftist party which is now the dominant power in north-east Syria and is allied to the Turkey-based guerrilla group the PKK, announced they would plan to declare a Western Kurdistan [Rojava].

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 19 2019 2:57 utc | 209

Peter AU 1 #175

I believe Trump strategy is to gain control of oil supplies which I think will come to the fore in his second term.

Control of supplies may be Trumps ultimate goal but I suspect his immediate and near term necessity is control of USA pump price. That is vital to keep his electorate happy for next twelve months and oiligarchs just secure for the same time. From what I read the oiligarchs are just scraping by with shale oil at this price and being kept afloat by the banks. That is why I see the current money supply binge being conducted and likely to continue to after election day 2020.

A month after the close of the 2020 polls the price will likely jump sufficient for the oiligarchs to pocket the increase and continue on to their bankruptcy as the USA and Canada supply diminishes. THIS is corporate communism only everyone bar the oiligarchs is excluded. The people will have to pay the bank.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 19 2019 3:16 utc | 210

@Don Bacon
Really. The Constitution of the AANES (commonly "Rojava") says nothing about a Kurdish nation-state except insofar as Kurds are one nation among many within the confederation. "Rojava" indicates the Autonomous Administration's historical roots, but Kurds aren't even a majority of its constituents at this point.

"Leftist" isn't a scare word for me.

Posted by: Martin Brock | Oct 19 2019 3:21 utc | 211

Jackrabbit #182

A Biden - Tulsi ticket is a loser.

<> <> <> <> <>

NOW that is f#cking funny Jack.

and must have whiskey
Oh, you know why

Its a logo man and you are not invited to drink a whole keg of it and then try and converse at this table.

You get the whiskey award for this entire thread. Now please stop your drinking games the hilarity has me drinking New Zealand Pinot Noir by the glass again.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 19 2019 3:26 utc | 212

@Martin Brock: Almost every sentence in your posts here is a lie. You are either a bullshit peddler, or another pseudo-left Dunning–Kruger specimen brainwashed by CIA propaganda. In either case, there's no point in debating anything with you, and I kindly suggest other MoA commenters abstain as well.

Posted by: S | Oct 19 2019 3:30 utc | 213

@Circe @97: you make a number of assumptions or statements without any explanation:

.... Zionists now have Assad cornered.
In what way?


Zionists are extremely conniving. Trump accomplished another of their significant goals.
What significant goals?


When Turkey brings in the millions of refugees ....
To do that they have to have that 30 km stretch along the border under control. They don't and they won't because Russia and the SAA are keeping the Turks at bay.


... Assad's leadership will be challenged and this time Putin will not rescue him.
That does not make sense. Putin is not going to flush 4 years of hard work down the toilet. Besides, who would take over from assad, and would those 2 Russian bases be safe? Nah, this does not make sense.

Posted by: Ernesto Che | Oct 19 2019 3:44 utc | 214

Martin Brock 205

b's posts from the time Deir Ezzor ISIS types swapped hats. It involves Syrian militia groups who had sworn elegance to ISIS and were holding the oilfields. One day SAA was attacking ISIS positions as they pushed towards the oil and gas fields, next day US was hitting them with airstrikes because they were attacking 'SDF' positions. You can see by the maps in the links how quickly US took the oil fields anb all without fighting. That is your Arab component of your utopian SDF and their garbage constitution.

Oct 5 2017
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/syria-russia-issues-third-warning-against-us-cooperation-with-terrorists.html
"The Syrian Army was on its way across the Euphrates river to liberate the oil- and gas-fields east of Deir Ezzor city. The U.S. countered the move. It sent a small forces of Arab tribal mercenaries who were earlier allied with the Islamic State (ISIS). These proxy forces came from a northern direction and moved through Islamic State held areas without fighting and casualties up to the walls of Deir Ezzor city."

Oct 18 2017 Mcgurk and Saudi minister Thamer al-Sabhan
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/05/us-wants-control-of-anbar-and-beyond-iraq-and-syria-will-prevent-it.html
"The U.S. is casting its net over the desert between Iraq and Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to install military bases and power-structures that will guarantee major influence in the area for the foreseeable future. A part of that plan is to develop Sunni proxy forces that will keep the government forces of Damascus and Baghdad out of the area. Another part is to privatize important infrastructure to keep it under direct U.S. control."

Nov 3 2017
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/11/syria-summary-isis-loses-control-of-its-last-urban-refuge.html
"Today the Syrian Arab Army liberated the city of Deir Ezzor from ISIS. The last resistance ended over night. The remaining ISIS fighters tried to flee north across the Euphrates towards the area held by U.S. proxy forces. Most of them were not successful in their attempts. It will take another few days to remove the remaining improvised mines in the city and to secure the ammunition and weapons ISIS abandoned."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 3:47 utc | 215

@S
You have an odd way of demonstrating your unwillingness to debate.

Posted by: Martin Brock | Oct 19 2019 3:53 utc | 216

Lozion #202

Thanks and I do understand the forces assembled are formidable. But I see two games potentially at play here by Trump.

One is to 'bring the troops home' by withdrawing a wee twenty kilometers then stop and accuse the Assad regime and their Russian mates of sneaking into the void to frustrate peace. He then goes on to say how he tried but neither Turkey was up to and they allowed the evil Assad to rush in. He looks good and perhaps his voters will stick with the ruse.

Two is to lure them all to rush in and then summons the NATO forces to assist their Turkish member state in this dreadful hour of risk as the devious Syrians and Russians are attempting to release all those jihadis to attack Kurds AND Turkey. Total BS yes but he could well imagine himself as the modern Napoleon. It worked in Libya.

These are mighty fraught days and if Trump cannot stick to whatever deal for peace he has signaled to the Syrians and Russians then the dogs of war might be upon us. I do not trust Trump, his deep state or his Erdoghan ally.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 19 2019 3:55 utc | 217

re #Posted by: Mark Thomason | Oct 18 2019 17:54 utc | 91

" Kurdish force was local defense militias, which were numerous and fought hard, but were not set up to deploy outside local defense. Those won't join the Syrian Army. They'll just go home and wait.
See this is what really pisses me off about so many who want to have their 2 cents worth - they know nothing of which they talk. All members of the former SDF who haven't completed national service will be required to do so as their areas are integrated into Syria. This exactly what happened to the men in all the former takfiri regions once it had been surrendered to the Syrian Arab Army.
Ignoramuses complain about the allawite or shia composition of the SAA, when in fact it is majority Sunni. The integrations of blokes from areas previously held by daesh or Jaish al-Fath/Jabhat al-Nusra has worked. The groups are broken up boot camp followed by more training has had sunni members of the SAA liberating villages once held by the same terrorist groups who once ran the villages the soldiers were conscripted from.
The only types 'let off' are those who actually belonged to and fought for the terrorists, but that is hardly a get outta jail free card since belonging to one of those groups is an admission you took up arms against your own country i.e. treason. Admissions of which rarely lead to long and happy lives anywhere on this planet.

Posted by: A User | Oct 19 2019 4:01 utc | 218

@213 S... i am inclined to agree! one thing for sure is putins comments on syrian sovereignty have been very consistent.. usa has been in divide and conquer mode since day one.. they think up all sorts of genius plans to tear apart syria, with the aanes hi keeps on ranting on about, another fine example of some creation straight from a washington dc stink tank.. "Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), a Kurdish-led form of radical and localized democracy." read about this paid for stupidity out of washington here.. money, err might, might make right, lol...

i dumb learned everything i know from the nyt, wapo and the world leaders in savagery that belong to the south of me!!

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2019 4:04 utc | 219

A User 218

I believe part of the reconciliation agreements was no amnesty for those who deliberately killed prisoners and or civilians. Total amnesty though for those that had fought with the militia units but kept away from the killing of prisoners and deliberate killing of civilians.
From what I could make of it, part of the reconciliation process was full background checks of fighting age males.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 4:07 utc | 220

@Peter AU 1
Nothing you say about U.S. motivation for its intervention is relevant to anything I say about the YPGs. I'm not defending the U.S. intervention or opposing the withdrawal. The YPGs took advantage of U.S. support while it lasted, but they aren't products of the intervention. They existed long before. They didn't join the SAA before the civil war, and I doubt that they'll be "disbanded and integrated into the Syrian army" now. This integration would not be status quo ante.

Posted by: Martin Brock | Oct 19 2019 4:19 utc | 221

ypg started at the same time as the war of the west to break apart syria, but apparently they aren't a product of intervention.. interesting timing, lol... and who was their sugar daddy from inception? usa-israel?? who has been pushing to divide syria? same answer.. nothing a little wikipedia writing couldn't do to throw all this into a positive usa-israel light..

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2019 4:27 utc | 222

I see I put up the wrong link for Oct 18 in my post @215.

This is the one I intended
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/10/saudi-money-in-syria-sowing-the-seeds-of-isis-20.html
"On Monday the U.S. coordinator for the fight against ISIS, Brett McGurk, brought an unwelcome visitor to Syria."
"Thamer al-Sabhan is the Saudi Minister for Gulf Affairs. He is known to be extremely sectarian and anti-Shia."
"Now Thamer al-Sabhan is asked to cough up money for "reconstruction" and "governance". But Saudi Arabia does not have humanitarian interests. Just witness the slow genocidal war it is waging on Yemen. Saudi Arabia will only support groups and populations that are willing to follow its extreme Wahhabi version of Islam.

ISIS follows largely the same creed as the Saudis do. ISIS used Saudi schoolbooks in its schools. Many of its leading members come from Saudi Arabia. It is generally assumed, with some evidence, that Saudi donors financed ISIS - at least in its early days.

The ISIS members leaving Raqqa under free passage went where? The Syrian forces fighting ISIS along the Euphrates further east report that ISIS fighters have largely vanished from the area. They either melted into the general population or moved north of the Euphrates to hand themselves over to the U.S. proxy forces. What will happen to them? Who pays to feed their families?"
..........

The wrong link I had put up https://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/05/us-wants-control-of-anbar-and-beyond-iraq-and-syria-will-prevent-it.html was of interest to me as I believe Trump is still working towards grabbing oil.
Take a look at the country Trump secured in 2017. Anbar province home of Sunni ISIS types bordering onto the Deir Ezzor oilfields. Iraq kurdistan over on the Iranian border but running right up to the north east corner of Syria.
I think a lot of what we are seeing with the US in the region is Trump moving or trying to move the US from its Obama neo-con regime change operations to strategic positions around and through the oilfields.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 4:37 utc | 223

On the one hand, I'm supposed to believe that the PYD and associated militias are simply extensions of the PKK in Turkey. On the other hand, I'm supposed to believe that they're creations of CIA during the U.S. intervention in the Syrian civil war. I suppose the people constituting these militias don't read Wikipedia.

Posted by: Martin Brock | Oct 19 2019 4:38 utc | 224

221
S has the right take on you. New name pops up and defends the 'utopian' kurds...with bullshit.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 4:41 utc | 225

I wonder how many may have noticed the budgetary water-shed when the US Budget deficit (near $1T) is just about equal to the total Defense budget (ie, that $750B + ~ $250 B sprinkled through other departments that are not counted in the official military budget). The magic $1T is also the total Healthcare spending in the budget - both mandatory and discretionary (actually it's quite a bit more, but never mind).


To me this looks like several pressure waves all coalescing on the same finite pot of money. leaving very little for anything else.

Yes, I know they can go on another QA spree to finance "stuff" and prevent economic forces from causing another "little" implosions. But the best band-aids can only help so much, when the pressure build-up gets to a critical point.

It seems to me, from all I've been reading lately that most economic prognosticators agree that the global economic system is living on borrowed time. China is surely in a race to up its game on BRI to bring in a little more economic growth before the great deflation gains steam.

And the US? meandering mostly I'd say. Party like they never partied before. Though my little theory is that Trump was listening to a few voices behind the scenes that were telling him "secrets" we rarely hear in the news. What's happening in Syria, or rather the suddeness of the move by Trump may be a correlary of said "secrets". As is the lavish reception accorded to Putin by KSA and UAE.

Posted by: Merlin2 | Oct 19 2019 4:45 utc | 226

@james:

nothing a little wikipedia writing couldn't do to throw all this into a positive usa-israel light..

Exactly. It's a giant geopolitical fanfic. There are feminists, anarcho-Marxists, LGBT activists—oh my, "Rojava"/"AANES" is a progressive wonderland! I'm sure SDF is also fighting climate change and running nurseries for baby seals. They are an example to us all! We must immediately recognize them as a sovereign state and put a U.S. base there!

Posted by: S | Oct 19 2019 4:50 utc | 227

Merlin2
US deficit since 1990 has been roughly equivalent to military spending. No trillions spent on wars, a small defence force rather than its outsized force for projecting power and US would have no debt.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 5:02 utc | 228

Difference between Russian language version and English language version in wiki on PYD is interesting. English language version much longer a good section quotes from MSM rueters and so forth.

Russian language version ends with this "In January 2018, the party "Democratic Union" refused to participate in the Sochi Congress of the Syrian national dialogue. Against the participation of its representatives was made by Turkey, whose leadership believes it is related to the Kurdistan workers ' party. Both political parties, by definition, the Turkish authorities are terrorist. Representatives of the PYD was not invited to Sochi, but before the beginning of the Turkish operation "Olive branch" against the Syrian Kurds were willing to deal with Russia as mediator in the Syrian settlement and up to January 22 were willing to come to Sochi and led the negotiations on this issue. The beginning of military operations and Moscow's position in this regard has influenced the attitude of Kurds to Russia as the mediator. The Kurds have accused Moscow of conspiring with Ankara stopped the talks in Sochi and said that the PYD does not intend to perform any agreement to be reached in Sochi[13]. Has not received an invitation to Sochi and representatives of other leading Kurdish forces in Northern Syria — "The Kurdish national Council, "although Turkey was not opposed to their participation[13]."

I cannot find mention of this in the english version.
English https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Union_Party_(Syria)
Russian https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 5:08 utc | 229

The Syrian Conflict and Israel’s Hidden Motives


October 18, 2019 Stalker Zone

For Russia, in the process of unraveling the Syrian tangle of contradictions, it was some unpleasant surprise that the Syrian crisis and ISIS were caused not only by the interests of the United States and Turkey (as it seemed at the beginning), but also by Israel’s hidden attempt to eliminate the Arab-Persian threat by “counter-arson.”

As soon as ISIS started to suffer defeat, so, to the surprise of many, it became obvious that Israel and its politicians were behaving like an emphasised injured party that was trying to charge Russia with the bill and carry out plans for retaliation. Further, retaliation plans started to be implemented in part in the form of a setup with an Il-20 aircraft, attacks on Syria’s air defence systems, and even direct strikes on Syrian airfields where Russian military personnel were based next to IRGC troops.

At present – especially after the American retreat and significant shifts in solving the Kurdish problem – Israel will remain the only force in Syria capable of (and passionately willing to) inflict damage on Russia.

At the same time, Israel is not our enemy purely politically. Its own propensity for weaving international intrigues, acting under a false flag and hiding its real interests in the region, made it so. I.e., in simple language, Israel showed itself as a neutral side that does not need anything, but in fact had a very great interest in the conflict and most of all wanted a fight (and, as a result, was offended more than anyone else).

In general, here it is – one of the most difficult moderation problems that Russia will have to solve if it is to consolidate its influence in the Middle East. Without solving this, a “fire” will be constantly maintained in the region, and strange anonymous terrorist attacks and sharp inexplicable violent attacks with victims will be carried out.

One of the most difficult things here is to force Israel to confess its real interests out loud and in direct text, because instead of answering this question, this country traditionally becomes evasive (“We don’t need anything”, “we won’t cede anything to anyone”, “we’ll cope ourselves”), because of the small number of its own forces it has gotten used to relying on intrigues, conspiracies, special operations, Mossad, Nativ, and targeted missile attacks, instead of expressing its position directly.

Without success in reconciling Israel with its internal passions, there will be no peace in the Middle East…

Posted by: pogohere | Oct 19 2019 5:28 utc | 230

@97 Circe. Unnecessarily pessimistic Circe. I think the USA and Trump will flail around for a while and then go away completely overwhelmed by their own domestic problems

Posted by: Ike | Oct 19 2019 6:52 utc | 231

The Genealogy Of The Kurdish Question


by Thierry MEYSSAN on 10/19/2019

To understand what is happening, it is not enough to know that everyone is lying. We must also discover what everyone is hiding and accept it, even when we see that those we admired until then are really despicable.

Genealogy of the Problem

If we believe European communications, we might think that the evil Turks will exterminate the kind Kurds that the wise Europeans are trying to save despite the cowardly United States. However, none of these four powers plays the role assigned to it.

First, the current event must be seen in the context of the “War against Syria”, of which it is only a battle, and in the context of the “Remodelling of the Broader Middle East”, of which the Syrian conflict is only one stage. On the occasion of the attacks of 11 September 2001, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his new Director of “Force Transformation”, Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, adapted the Pentagon’s strategy to financial capitalism. They decided to divide the world into two zones: one that would be the one of economic globalization and the other that would be seen as a simple reserve of raw materials. The US armies would be responsible for removing state structures in this second region of the world so that no one could resist this new division of labour [1]. They began with the “Broader Middle East”.

Posted by: pogohere | Oct 19 2019 7:40 utc | 232

Circe @ 69

And Israel could replace U.S. troops in Eastern Syria???

And pigs might fly - Hezbollah showed the world how to deal with the Israelis as an occupation force, and if Israel did occupy eastern Syria, they wouldn't stay long, the body bags returning to Israel would see to that.

Trump gave the Golan to Israel,...

It's not his to give to any one. The United States and any country that supports him is in breach of established international law which I now doesn't count for much when the United States is free to make up the rules as it goes along.

And the U.S. is occupying Eastern Syria for Zionism.

It may be one of the reasons, but there others which are more important.

I know Trump wants to give Zionists the West Bank..

Effectively the Zionists already control it, so Trump is doing nothing that hasn't already been done. Trump is just making it public, which might force certain people to confront their position on it. But then again it might not.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 19 2019 8:14 utc | 233

I've had to take my eyeballs off the rugby - can't help but notice the englanders are putting pressure on the Oz team, which pisses me even tho I dropped $100 on the poms, the idea being if Oz lost the pain could be slightly assuaged by an earn from the punt. Then when I checked the ticket I saw it was only payin $1.29 - less than $30 won't kill any pain.
I took a look at the graun to distract me from that reality.
Cannot help but notice the Graun is making a big deal about Gabbard being a tool of the Russkies - Or so says that bastion of truth and peace H R. Clinton.

If I was as paranoiac & irrational as some I'd claim this was a false flag attack from Clinton who is trying to give Gabbard credibility by playing the russia nonsense card.

I cannot do that cos those sort of convulutions only exist in the minds of particularly troubled contrarians.
Yet I know two irrefutable facts. HR Clinton is an as low as a rock spider's arsehole deceiving tool of the Wall st banker gun merchants and Gabbard is little better if considerably more jejune.
How does that work then? Rodham the cukcold has lived in the rarefied heights of the Dem patricians for too long and is consequently pretty much outta the loop on whose up what lowly congressperson and which corporation is paying the rent - reality that bodes very badly for her dream and the world's nightmare of her attempt at a comeback.

Clinton is so isolated that she imagines the russiagate tosh played well to the stalls when it did no such thing. Even those who hung on to the death in the hope of some grand denouement lost interest early in the summer, so spraying the Gabbard creature will only succeed in undermining the already low 'clinton credibility'.

It is such an odd stunt to try since the worst it can do is improve Gabbard's chances, just a bit among those who have neglected to stay informed of Gabbard's mawkish support for Pelosi, yet since there is no way in hell T Perez is gonna allow Gabbard anywhere near the dem ticket as he believes that educating the 'sponsors' of Gabbard's true nature to be risky and likely unsuccessful, all we are seeing is a classic H Clinton, foot shoot.

Classic in the sense that even if she succeeded in getting her point across it would still ultimately disadvantage Clinton with Jo/Joe Voters who "respect" Gabbard even tho they would never vote for what they imagine to be an heroic, if ptsd riddled loon.

Time to check the score.

Posted by: A User | Oct 19 2019 8:31 utc | 234

karlof1 @ 96

On Lebanon.

I'm taking it back, although I won't be surprised if it does turn out to be a "color revolution".

Two reasons.

1. I thought that a charge on Voip calls was too trivial to take to the streets for, but after reconsideration, it's that type of thing that would push people over the edge if they are very close to edge already unlike the ostensible cause of the Hong Kong protests. How many of the Hong Kong protesters are ever likely to be subject to extradition proceeding and, as Assange shows, the West is perfectly happy to extradite people for purely political reasons if they dare question Western norms?

2. Santiago - the Chileans (mostly children and young people) are protesting an increase in Metro fares with black hoods and all. I suspect that many of them are close to the edge in terms of their futures. Since I can see no reason for Washington to overthrow the government in Santiago and the rioting got serious very fast, then I doubt it's connected in anyway with a "color revolution".

History - after the Second World War the British Labour government introduced the Welfare State. This wasn't to spread socialism but to preserve capitalism. The Labour party had been educated about 1848 - the Year of Revolutions - and knew what had happened with "the land fit for heroes" after WW1 and weren't prepared to allow it to happen again otherwise the UK might have ended up a Soviet style state with all those disillusioned trained soldiers lose, so they gave the World the first real Welfare State to ameliorate the worst effects of capitalism. Today, if you asked most capitalist politicians about the Year Of Revolutions, I suspect they'd give you a blank stare, and go back to their corrupt ways.

So, has the world reached an inflection point with rioting in Chile, Ecuador, Spain, France, and Lebanon? Will Trump do anything to prevent it? Nah, he's of an age to have been taught about the Year of Revolutions but I doubt it's an important subject in the curriculum of American schools as it's anti-capitalist.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 19 2019 8:44 utc | 235

Shouldn't the header read "Media and Pundits misuse (...)" as they obviously attempt to blame Trump for whatever they can come up with.

Posted by: Kirsten | Oct 19 2019 9:15 utc | 236

A small map that shows the geographic distribution of Kurdish population (yellow – Iraqi Kurdistan, beige – historically Kurdish areas, red line – Kurdistan border proposed in 1919). As you can see, Syria has nothing to do with the Kurds when compared to its neighbors. The Kurds should focus on Turkey, Iraq, and Iran and leave Syria alone.

Posted by: S | Oct 19 2019 9:19 utc | 237

S | Oct 19 2019 9:19 utc | 237

That map is a bad joke that describes the level of your argumentation in a correct way. I advise to get rid of your ethnictiy-based thnking quick. The YPG and the HDP in Turkey are not about ethnicity.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 19 2019 10:34 utc | 238

A french map of the demographics of Syria. This used to be in wikipedia, I thought under Syria or Syria demographics but could find not trace of it in the histories of those pages. Found it doing an image search for Syria demographics.
Drawn I think in the 1930's, perhaps earlier.
https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mappi

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 11:03 utc | 239

Hausmeister #238

Well said but could you please expand on that last sentence and specifically tell us all about Kurds in Syria and what the YPG and HDP are on about in Turkey.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 19 2019 11:06 utc | 240

Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 11:03 utc | 239
Much better map. It clearly shows that why any trial to develop a political entity based on religion or ethnicity is hopeless there. As well as the effort to invent a "nation" and then enforce this artificial thing by ideological brainwashing, supported by violence. Does not work in most areas on this planet. But in the Near East it is a deadly medicine as history shows.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 19 2019 11:11 utc | 241

uncle tungsten | Oct 19 2019 11:06 utc | 240
"All about Kurds in Syria“ I cannot tell you. It is true that after 1922 quite a number of them came from Turkey. And it is clear that they cannot demand to shape the whole country of Syria. But this is not what they want. As Martin Brock correctly stated. Your cultural identity is your personal choice, your ethnical background you got by birth. If you accept it as part of your later adult identity is up to you. But you reject the command of other people that you do not exist. What all kind of Turkish, Syrian etc. nationalist claim: there is nothing like „Kurdish“ on earth. It was forbidden in Turkey to use Kurdish language in the public. That is, among others, one of the reasons why the HDP in Turkey votes for all minorities, including gypsies, lesbians and homosexual people. A part of the society is fed up with politics that tell you what your identiy should be. And that is the extreme political danger for Erdogan. It zeroes his political basements.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 19 2019 11:24 utc | 242

Hausmeister if it had not been the middle east, Even with the sanitary borders some of those countries may have had a decent chance. Since the area was carved up and separate countries with the arbitrary borders gained independence, there has been constant undermining, regime change, divide and conquer ect to do with oil and Israel.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 11:25 utc | 243

This yandex spell checker is driving me nuts.

Post @243 should have read .. even with the arbitrary carve up...

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 11:36 utc | 244

@Hausmeister:

That map is a bad joke…

Surely you can explain why?

Much better map.

Peter AU 1's map shows the same distribution for Kurds in Syria. What are you blabbering about?

I advise to get rid of your ethnictiy-based thnking quick.

My ethnicity-based thinking? My thinking is not ethnicity-based at all. I support secular multi-ethnic Syria where people of all ethnicities are equal and are free to practice their religions and traditions and to speak their native languages. It's the Syrian Kurds (not all of them, of course⁠—I'm talking about the separatists) who have ethnicity-based thinking and wanted to create Western Kurdistan on territories they had nothing to do with.

You really should not be giving advice to anyone, as you have very poor reading comprehension skills.

Posted by: S | Oct 19 2019 12:03 utc | 245

"The U.S. has secured the Oil..." --Some guy who may have turned out to be smarter than most people expected.

flankerbandit @161 very clearly described the difference between a strategic position and a tactical one and why the US's position is the latter. No matter what Trump tweets or says to the camera for theatrical effect to entertain the masses and agitate the chicken minds in DC, it is unlikely that this difference is lost to him. Trump is surrounded by professional liars who try to keep him disinformed, but he obviously has some other way to connect to reality (perhaps he reads MoA!). If not then Trump's entire role in this impressive and complex geo-diplomatic move in northeastern Syria is entirely reactive, which given that Trump fired the starter's gun to set it all in motion ("green-lighting" Turkey's invasion) that doesn't seem likely.

No, what's more likely is that Trump fully realizes that the US cannot have its military camped out around the oil wells while maintaining the fiction of RtoP and a noble fight for "Democracy© and Freedom™". This fiction is crucial to the empire's military adventures, but in the haste of the "pull-back" to the oil fields, maintaining it might not have been fully thought out by the establishment. Trump doubtless understood that the military, and particularly the CIA, would drag their feet on getting out of Syria altogether, but a "tactical regrouping" out of the Northeast and back to the oil fields doesn't seem at first glance like an evacuation from the war zone. It is only after the dust settles and the optics of that position become better understood that the Deep State/CIA/military/establishment media will realize remaining there will strip the empire naked of its humanitarian narratives.

It is absolutely essential that the empire maintain the fiction that its military aggression is for "humanitarian" purposes and that in no way would America ever attack another country for its resources or for geopolitical advantage. Few of the readers here buy that fiction, with jackbunny who thinks the US is the "protagonist" in the conflict and his alter ego jackasstale being examples of those who do buy it. If that understanding of the empire's behavior leaks out of these forums and into the consciousness of the general public then the empire is done for.

There are a couple possible consequences of what has happened. First is that the establishment realizes the horrible optics of "protecting" oil fields and completes the military withdrawal from Syria posthaste. Trump can give them some cover on this by making a big deal out of handing the oil fields back to the Syrian government: "We secured the oil fields from ISIS for you! Aren't we awesome?"

Second is that the empire continues to drag its feet evacuating from around the oil fields. The longer this goes on, though, the greater the damage to the empire's cover narrative for ALL of its military actions in the world. Without the "We're here to help!" bullshit cover story America's wars are just naked imperial aggression. Removal of the cover story will increase pressure on the US to cease all military aggression, and might even be part of Trump's plan. If so, then he really is playing some masterful 4-D chess.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 19 2019 12:10 utc | 246

any: RE Rojava: It has always been obvious to me that the model for Rojava was 1960s Israel as represented in Exodus for example, before 1967. After that is was a harder sell as it would be no doubt be for the Kurds. One thing about Western propagandists these days, they think in cliches, often very old ones, you would think they would get better ones. The 50s and 60s nostalgia is one of the ways I recognize them. That has always been one of the Israelis goto representations for themselves and they just transferred it to Rojava.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 19 2019 12:15 utc | 247

The Kurds threw in their lot with the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Obama Neo-con project for a greater 'Rojava' that stretched from the Iraq border to Afrin then possibly to the coast, then Syria's breadbasket farmlands and oilfields were added to that. Turkey initially objected to the Kurds taking part in the Sochi talks, but when Russia got around Erdogan's objections the Kurds refused to take part. They preferred to lose Afrin to Erdogan and be kicked out of the place rather than rejoin Syria. As I wrote in an earlier post "the Kurds made their bed and now they have to lay in it".

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 12:27 utc | 248

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 19 2019 11:24 utc | 242

Problem is that Turkish Kurdish nationalism fuels Turkish state nationalism and vice versa. PKK are not a nice, cuddly organization, nor are the gray wolves, nor was Turkish military dictatorship fun to live in, nor is the European/US habit of fighting via proxy in accordance with international law.

Erdogan - unsuccessfully - tried a solution falling back on Ottoman religious Muslim identity.

The modern Turkish state was founded on resistance against the Treaty of Sevres after WWI

The treaty abolished the Ottoman Empire and obliged Turkey to renounce all rights over Arab Asia and North Africa. The pact also provided for an independent Armenia, for an autonomous Kurdistan, and for a Greek presence in eastern Thrace and on the Anatolian west coast, as well as Greek control over the Aegean islands commanding the Dardanelles.

replaced by the treaty of Lausanne in 1923

The treaty recognized the boundaries of the modern state of Turkey. Turkey made no claim to its former Arab provinces and recognized British possession of Cyprus and Italian possession of the Dodecanese. The Allies dropped their demands of autonomy for Turkish Kurdistan and Turkish cession of territory to Armenia, abandoned claims to spheres of influence in Turkey, and imposed no controls over Turkey’s finances or armed forces. The Turkish straits between the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea were declared open to all shipping.

European/US blackmail of Turkey threatening an independent Kurdish is historic fact, Turkish paranoia is well founded.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 19 2019 12:50 utc | 249

Jonathan Cook on the Democrats and Syria:
"..Nancy Pelosi’s purported worries about Isis reviving because of Trump’s Syria withdrawal are simply crocodile fears. If she is really so worried about Islamic State, then why did she and other senior Democrats stand silently by as the US under Barack Obama spent years spawning, cultivating and financing Isis to destroy Syria, a state that was best placed to serve as a bulwark against the head-chopping extremists?

"Pelosi and the Democratic leadership’s bad faith – and that of the corporate media – are revealed in their ongoing efforts to silence and smear Tulsi Gabbard, the party’s only candidate for the presidential nomination who has pointed out the harsh political realities in Syria, and tried to expose their years of lies.

"Pelosi and most of the Democratic leadership don’t care about Syria, or its population’s welfare. They don’t care about Assad, or Isis. They care only about the maintenance and expansion of American power – and the personal wealth and influence it continues to bestow on them."
https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/10/us-democrats-cultivated-the-barbarism-of-isis/#more-97769

Posted by: bevin | Oct 19 2019 13:15 utc | 250

@ William Gruff 246

"It is absolutely essential that the empire maintain the fiction that its military aggression is for "humanitarian" purposes and that in no way would America ever attack another country for its resources or for geopolitical advantage."
- You of course note that is is a fiction and no one would disagree with that, but the media has been spinning absurd motivations about Syria (and the Iraq war, Israel / Palestinians, Gulf War II,etc.) and the public largely buys into it. Trump's gaffes sometimes reveal the truth. The neocons will of course say that we don't want the brutal dictator who gases his people the second Tuesday of every month to get access to oil, and to the extent that there is any reporting at all of US troops presence, they will always put that spin it that way. And we are not attacking Syria, merely "safeguarding" its oil, and if Assad tries to directly confront the US, then those poor US soldiers doing their duty are being attacked.

That said, I am not sure if that one base is tenable; could it be surrounded by Russian forces so that it as to be resupplied by air? More importantly, do these oil fields even matter if the AlboKamal border stays open and Iran can drive oil trucks in? Not very efficient, but I think Iran has some surplus oil these days.

Posted by: Schmoe | Oct 19 2019 13:19 utc | 251

In comment 65 I found it unlikely that the U.S. will holdonto the oil. It seems I was wrong:
Posted by: b | Oct 18 2019 16:42 utc | 79

I HOPE Putin and Assad can cook up a similar twelve dimensional plan to regain Syrian control of the Oil Fields, Trump being unwilling to do so.
...
I HOPE we meanwhile can avoid war with Iran, possibly relevant to the 60,000 US military buildup since May, and possibly related to the relocation of Syrian troops to Saudi Arabia--which would be a key choke point in such a conflict.
Posted by: Charles Peterson | Oct 18 2019 18:34 utc | 100

I think the master strategist President Putin will find ways to cast an ever tightening noose around the oil area, making it ever more and more uncomfortable and risky to remain in that area. The loss of control of the rest of the former SDF territory will make a difference. The biggest difficulty in closing the noose will be the Iraqi border side, but Putin will be patient and bide his time. Iran/Hezbollah will also contribute, making sure that local support for the US is problems. A steady trickle of body bags might be a problem for the US.

As regards the US troops sent to Saudi - I think that is most probably aimed at MBS not at Iran (well, from Trump's point of view it aimed at Iran, but that is not how his military advisors want to use those troops). A section of Saudi princes in London want to do a regime change in Riyadh in favour of a "constitutional monarchy", and the CIA//UK appear to be behind it.

For those hoping for a Houthi-triggered collapse of the House of Saud, the London regime-change plans will be a problem - if the MbS regime suddenly collapses in chaos due to Shia uprisings supported by the Houthis, the danger will be that the Saudi princes in London will "come to the rescue of the nation" with a sham "constitutional monarchy (i.e. just another House of Saud despot dictatorship under a more attractive name, with the UK/US pulling the strings). The MbS regime might seem marginally more brutal than the rest of the House of Saudi, but arguably it does have two advantages over the latter - (a) it's instability, and the glimmer of hope that the despotic House of Saud as a whole might give rise to something a bit better for those not part of the ruling elite - if it does collapse at all it will be under MbS not under the fake "constitutional monarchy" waiting in the wings with the UK/US behind it; and (b) with President Putin supporting the MbS regime (in the support all sides way that is his signature), at least there is some hope that Saudis might be persuaded to join the Iranian/Russian regional peace proposals - with the "constitutional monarchy" and UK/US pulling the strings that will be impossible.

Posted by: BM | Oct 19 2019 13:28 utc | 252

The US is making demands on Turkey w/o any means for enforcing them. That is by the SecDef Esper, who is on his way today to make demands on NATO members.
news report:

Defense Secretary Mark Esper held an impromptu briefing with reporters at the Pentagon today before departing for meetings with allies in the Middle East and Europe, saying he “just got off the phone” with Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar, demanding Turkey “must adhere to the full terms” of the ceasefire Turkey pledged this week with Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces fighters. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 19 2019 13:40 utc | 253

Regarding the Syria oilfields, apparently (unless I missed it) we have no current information on ownership. I go to the dated wikipedia page and I see dated information on the consortiums that did have an ownership interest in those oilfields. Do they still have those interests? I guess we don't know. Probably occupation is 99% of ownership.

Syria’s two biggest oil companies are the Syrian Petroleum Company (SPC), which is owned by the Syrian Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and Al-Furat Petroleum Company, which is 50% owned by SPC and the other 50% foreign owned. The joint venture currently includes SPC with 50%, Anglo-Dutch Shell with 32%, and the remainder held by Himalaya Energy Syria, a consortium of China National Petroleum Company and India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.[5] As of December 2011 Shell has suspended operations in Syria due to EU sanctions.[6] Another important consortium is Deir Ez Zor Petroleum Company, owned by SPC and France's Total. Total suspended operations in the country from December 2011.[7] A more recent entrant is the United Kingdom's Gulfsands Petroleum. As of February 2012, Gulfsands has suspended its Syrian operations due to EU sanctions.[8] . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 19 2019 13:47 utc | 254

Schmoe @251

Trump wants the US out of Syria. Doing that all at once is obviously not something that the establishment will agree to. They will want to leave their foot in the door to resume the war when another opportunity presents itself.

On the other hand, if they are maneuvered into a position that directly contradicts the narrative justifying America's continued involvement in the conflict then they have no choice but to leave. Being left with only "protecting" oil fields is that contradiction.

Yes, WE here at MoA know that the US is in Syria to destroy the state. As a result we tend to look at events from the perspective of how they advance or obstruct America's imperialist efforts at a tactical level. In the larger imperialist war to control the Middle East, destroy Iran, and ultimately fragment Russia and China, the question of "How can America continue to block Syrians' access to their oil?" is a tactical one while the question of "How will the empire continue to justify its interventions around the world?" is a very important strategic one. The US will have to retreat from its tactical position to maintain its strategic one.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 19 2019 13:50 utc | 255

William Gruff

Trump has been trampling on all post WWII US dollar hegemony norms. Treating the Euro twits and NATO with public contempt, publicly telling the Saudi's they wouldn't last two weeks without the US ect.
He also said it straight and open early on that was not interested in the humanitarian nation building garbage.
Team Trump will spout humanitarian and democracy when it coes to Venezuela, Iran and China, but it is as though they use it as a fig leaf they could hardly be bothered to hold in front of their groin.
Venezuela was a perfect example with Bolten saying having Venezuelan oil controlled by US companies would be great for US economy.
Trump seems to be very much about positioning as in chess and raw military power. Bolton's attempt at colour revolution style regime changes in Venezuela and Iran were pitiful to say the least and I suspect Trump didn't expect much of them but perhaps setting the scene for a very loosely held R2P figleaf.
Russia's warnings may have put the dampener on the raw power aspect, but Trump seems to be still positioning to use it.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 14:09 utc | 256

Turkstream gas pipeline is nearing completion with first line being charged and the land links being completed. Russia is a neighbor and does ~$25b in bilateral trade with a target of $100b (US is about ~$20b and EU ~$160b) and Russian tourists are a big deal for the Turkish economy. Within the EU Germany is the main player, and trade with China is increasingly important. Russia will still be a neighbor in 100 years. Russia will not abandon Syria - look what it has endured already in this fight. A path has been laid out for a long term solution for the conflict and Turkey needs economic partners to help stabilize its economy. The US would seem to have relatively little leverage in this regard, other than its continuing role in controlling transactions based on the dollar, while Russia's influence has been increasing. The overall situation should be conducive for a practical settlement, particularly if direct talks between Ankara and Damascus get going.

Set against this are the continuing efforts by Washington to play the spoiler. The US still controls the airspace in NE Syria and has not withdrawn from the oilfields and still controls them with its Kurdish proxies as far as anyone can tell. The current unrest in Lebanon where the US has been applying pressure through sanctions is also worrying. The fate of large numbers of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan is another issue that needs to be resolved. While in theory they could return to Syria following a comprehensive settlement, Erdogan is using this issue as a threat against the EU. The economic burden of those in Lebanon has likely contributed to the unrest there. A sensible and complete resolution of these issues seems still rather elusive, especially given Trump's weakness and inability to control policy (or his twitter habit). Remember John Kerry's experience in negotiating a deal that the armchair warriors disliked.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 19 2019 15:12 utc | 257

Prognosis continued instability

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 19 2019 15:26 utc | 258

@254 Pretty clear SPC and the others mentioned own the oilfields. ISIS grabbed them for a while now I assume the SDF are operating them with US help. Trump doesn't seem much concerned about returning them to the legitimate owners. He would probably say he is 'looking after' them until the situation is sorted out.
Of course what he is really doing is depriving Syrians of their resources.

Posted by: dh | Oct 19 2019 15:36 utc | 259

NPR has a correspondent in Syria, probably unusual. Daniel Estrin (reportedly) interviewed the SDF commander, recorded on his twitter.

The top commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria tells NPR the US-Turkey ceasefire agreement is a “really terrible deal” and calls on Trump to reverse the deal & also stop the US troop pullout, which he said would make it hard for the US to assist them in the anti-ISIS fight.
“If we stay on this path, it will have catastrophic consequences that will affect the people of the area and create ethnic cleansing,” Gen. Mazloum Kobani Abdi told NPR. “We are asking Trump and the US administration to keep its promises.”
Trump said the Kurds are happy with the ceasefire deal. But Abdi said the deal would mean "removing Kurds from their areas & replacing them w/ others.” Turkey plans to resettle millions of Syrian refugees in areas where Kurds fear the refugees will be hostile & drive them out.
Gen. Abdi said he agreed to a pause in fighting and is withdrawing his forces from the area facing the heaviest fighting, not from the entire Turkish border as Turkey has demanded. He said Turkey isn't honoring his request for a corridor to withdraw his forces and wounded.
The Kurdish general said he had not yet made a deal with the Syrian regime about which areas it would control in the future, only that the regime’s troops would fight off Turkish-backed forces in specific areas. . .here

In other news, from a web source, the Wall Street Journal has reported that Sinam Mohamad, the foreign representative for the SDF said that the SDF force, which Washington has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to train, arm, and support, could now “become part of the Syrian army.”
Funny that General Abdi didn't indicate that at all.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 19 2019 15:54 utc | 260

Gruff: No, what's more likely is that Trump fully realizes that the US cannot have its military camped out around the oil wells while maintaining the fiction of RtoP and a noble fight for "Democracy© and Freedom™".

Since this is a speculation about the inner recesses of Trump's mind, reasonable people may disagree. IMHO, "US" or more precisely, Atlanticists on both sides of the pond, have a decent media machinery that pretends whatever is needed. I would even venture that Trump knows/believes that too, although he has his own "noise machine". Moreover, Trump was all for "taking their oil".

However, Trump dislikes subsidizing foreigners in the name of "rule based world order" ™. For starters, he never was particularly charitable person. Cutting off subsidies to foreign leeches in El Salvador or Ukraine is his favorite breakfast dish. SDF area was profoundly devastated, and somehow KSA did not provide much for reconstruction. Oil well's were little consolation because they were connected by pipelines to Damascus area, trucking through Turkey ceased to be an option, the only advantage was denying the oil to the rest of Syrian. That is something that gladdens Atlanticists, their main shtick (when they do not drop bombs). But Trump does not have such broad perspectives, he knows that USA does not benefit from that oil, so defending status quo is a pure waste.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 19 2019 15:59 utc | 261

@246 william gruff... so were are we at with this interesting trump verses cia dance that is being regularly promoted? thanks..

@259 dh... it is what bullshite imperialist countries do and trump seems to be mostly true to form here.. when confronted with the question over the oil fields in syria - he does what any imperialist mindset would do and acts like an ongoing kleptomaniac.. you are right - economic sanctions, or direct illegal control over others resources is what they do! stay tuned for part 2 of this ongoing bullshite, to be had later..

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2019 16:05 utc | 262

S | Oct 19 2019 12:03 utc | 245

"A small map that shows the geographic distribution of Kurdish population (yellow – Iraqi Kurdistan, beige – historically Kurdish areas, red line – Kurdistan border proposed in 1919). As you can see, Syria has nothing to do with the Kurds when compared to its neighbors."

Apropos reading comprehension skills: there is no limitation mentioned that the map shows Kurdish areas only in Syria. Put the map to the waste bin. It is really a bad joke.

"I support secular multi-ethnic Syria where people of all ethnicities are equal and are free to practice their religions and traditions and to speak their native languages. It's the Syrian Kurds (not all of them, of course⁠—I'm talking about the separatists) who have ethnicity-based thinking and wanted to create Western Kurdistan on territories they had nothing to do with.“

Nice to learn that the Baath-ideology has stopped to exist. And of course you are able to show us statements of the YPG that they intend to create "Western Kurdistan"?

somebody | Oct 19 2019 12:50 utc | 249

All true. But it shows only how detrimental the concept of a homogenous national state in this area has been and still is. Yes, "Turkish paranoia is well founded.", but it does not legitimize all actions of the state since long. The paranoia of Kurds, Yazidis, Azeri Turks in NW-Iran, Gashgai Turks in South Iran, of Greek cypriots, to name just some groups, is not less good founded. For a solution one has to get rid of this "nation" shit and use the brain to find better foundations of modern states. Well balanced autonomy rights seem to be steps into the right direction.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 19 2019 16:21 utc | 263

William Gruff says:

Yes, WE here at MoA know that the US is in Syria to destroy the state

yes William, we also know that the US has been largely successful in this endeavor, and as such, the fun and games phase of tactical disposition(withdrawal) seems almost normal.

the reconciliation and reparation phases still seem a distant dream, however.

Posted by: john | Oct 19 2019 16:26 utc | 264

Keep up the good work, John /s

Syria/Russia, et al, have kept the profit mongers of the west at a distance: they are not winning. They have destroyed buildings, but that is not what polities consist in.

Posted by: ken woo | Oct 19 2019 17:11 utc | 265

250 bevin

That is a superb perspective on Syria from Jonathan Cook, thank you.

Cook illustrates very well how the lesson demonstrated by Israel in Palestine of dividing by destroying in order to rule merged symbiotically with the Chicago school Shock Doctrine to smash states into pieces to be asset-stripped - and thus was the US policy in the Middle East forged for this century:

The first was Israel’s long-standing approach to the Palestinians. By constantly devastating any emerging Palestinian institution or social structures, Israel produced a divide-and-rule model on steriods, creating a leaderless, ravaged, enfeebled society that sucked out all the local population’s energy. That strategy proved very appealing to the neoconservatives, who saw it as one they could export to non-compliant states in the region.

The second was the Chicago school’s Shock Doctrine, as explained in Naomi Klein’s book of that name. The chaotic campaign of destruction, the psychological trauma and the sense of dislocation created by these overthrow wars were supposed to engender a far more malleable population that would be ripe for a US-controlled “colour revolution”.

The recalcitrant states would be made an example of, broken apart, asset-stripped of their resources and eventually remade as new dependent markets for US goods. That was what George W Bush, Dick Cheney and Halliburton really meant when they talked about building a New Middle East and exporting democracy.

Cook points to the dynamic of the vacuum, and how the US would create vacuums through its"overthrow wars" as Cook terms their actions. Into those vacuums something must come, and once it was ISIS.

The US doesn't care what fills the vacuum as long as it's not the state, as long as it fragments that state rather than supports it. Whatever makes it easier for the asset-strippers first to ravage and thereafter to harvest what remains.

I admire Cook anyway, but I found the article quite brilliant, actually - and I recommend it. It shows in sharp relief exactly how the US corporate-imperial mindset gains from destruction alone. No conquering is required. No plan for after the bombing is necessary. Simply destroy:

The fact is that at the moment Assad called in Russia to help him survive, the battle the US and the Gulf states were waging through Islamic State and other proxies was lost. It was only a matter of time before Assad would reassert his rule.

From that point onwards, every single person who was killed and every single Syrian made homeless – and there were hundreds of thousands of them – suffered their terrible fate for no possible gain in US policy goals. A vastly destructive overthrow war became instead something darker still: a neoconservative vanity project that ravaged countless Syrian lives.
US Democrats Cultivated the Barbarism of Isis

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 19 2019 17:20 utc | 266

GRUFF, You are, IMO, correct, the US cannot maintain troops in Syr without some kind of humanitarian figleaf. Your mistake is to assume there is not any possible figleaf to make this a strategic move

As I mentioned earlier, US control of Syrian oilfields and sale of Syrian oil to fund the turkish run safe zone ( which will hold a million human shields/jihadists in training) will be the perfect western media PrR promoted R2P figleaf.

Its sick plot but the only one that adequately explains turkish and US actions

Posted by: les7 | Oct 19 2019 18:02 utc | 267

Following the model of the UN oil for food program the US ran in Iraq, it's also a great slush fund for buying UN and EU officials

Posted by: les7 | Oct 19 2019 18:05 utc | 268

This also fits the timing of the EU cutting off support payments to Turkey for hosting the refugees, Turkey will demand the money or release another flood on Europe.

Europeans seem to have a history of exporting unwanted people to empty lands/Safe zones in the middle east under UN supervision

After all, it worked so well last time, what could go wrong

Posted by: les7 | Oct 19 2019 18:13 utc | 269

Pompeo and Netanyahu in talks about how best to preserve 'stability in the ME'.

Trying to mitigate the damage Trump's Syria tweets did.

The overall situation may have become more dangerous with the (temporary) upending of the status quo.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 19 2019 18:14 utc | 270

While this doesn't particularly refer to Syria, it does pertain to the 'everyone wins' scenario, so I'm posting this here. There is an interesting interview with Michael Hudson over on the Saker site, beginning with a discussion by those two concerning the Baltic states, which seem in the same condition Russia was in before Putin took the reins. That in itself is interesting, but into the comments is one by 'the Analyst' which deals comprehensively with military matters vis-a-vis Russian and Chinese technology. It's a dated piece but gave much information that I wasn't aware of concerning confrontations between those forces and the US or Nato forces. Worth a looksee I think.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 19 2019 18:37 utc | 271

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/erdogan-says-syrian-army-is-active-in-turkeys-operation-area/

Anybody here who knows what exactly was bargained and accepted for this ceasefire, which apparently does not work in quite some areas?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 19 2019 20:16 utc | 272

juliania @271

A. Martyanov documents the assertions by "Analyst" in his two books available on his site:

Losing Military Supremacy and The (Real) Revolution In Military Affairs.

Posted by: pogohere | Oct 19 2019 20:24 utc | 273

@269 'what could go wrong?'

Quite a few things I think les. For a start the 'safe zone' doesn't sound very safe. Who apart from hardened jihadis is going to want to live there?
Right now Erdogan's plan seems to be to use the FSA as cannon fodder without too many dead Turks to worry about. To make the 'safe zone' truly safe a lot of Turkish troops are going to have to be there 24/7 indefinitely.

Whoever moves in is going to be replacing somebody who won't be happy. Will the YPG move out or stay home and make IEDs? And what will the SAA do about all the new arrivals?

Posted by: dh | Oct 19 2019 20:34 utc | 274

this doesn't sound so positive and as some of us have been wondering about...
"“Yesterday, I held talks with US President Donald Trump. On Tuesday we will be continuing talks with Mr. Putin. In the area of the operation are forces of the regime [of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] under Russia’s protection. We will be tackling the issue with Mr. Putin,” he stressed.

Moreover, Erdogan vowed that in case he fails to “reach agreements on that issue [with Russia], Turkey will be implementing its own plans”."

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/erdogan-says-syrian-army-is-active-in-turkeys-operation-area/

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2019 20:58 utc | 275

So Erdogan says he will meet Putin in Sochi on Tuesday, the day the ceasefire expires, and if they can't reach agreement he will pursue his own path. The Turks want to set up 12 'observation posts' in the 'safe zone', and say if they aren't satisfied with the Kurdish withdrawal they will resume their military operation. No mention of direct talks with Damascus. Seems if the Kurds don't quickly settle with Syria on terms acceptable to Ankara (in the next two days) then Turkey will continue with military pressure.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 19 2019 21:02 utc | 276

i don't remember israel crying crocodile tears over the syrians who have been struggling with isis-sunni-headchoppers for the past 7 years.... funny how they can muster all this concern for the kurds... i guess this is another funny little coincidence like israel allowing the headchoppers in for treatment in israel hospitals the past same amount of years...

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/kurdish-politician-appeals-to-israel-for-help-in-northern-syria/

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2019 21:05 utc | 277

@274 dh

Sorry... I thought the sarcasm was obvious. I actually was alluding to the other European settlement program back in the 1940's, having to do with their Jewish question.

Look how well that turned out.

On a more serious note, it is precisely that instability that makes such a captive group a great PR cause for a US led drive to make Assad accountable for it, and to hold onto and sell Syrian oil to pay for it

Posted by: les7 | Oct 20 2019 1:00 utc | 278

Some updates from Southfront...

First a good map of the situation as of latest.

Next...the SAA entered a hurriedly abandoned US base just northeast of Tel Tamr.

Now if you look at the map you see this is very close to where the Turks have pushed down into the border town of Resulayn [Ras al Ayn]...

We see here pictures from SANA [Syrian Arab News Agency] I think much more reliable than sources like Al Masdar which was founded by a US citizen...note the gym equipment left behind...you can almost smell the sweat of those poor grunts.

And the biggest clue of all right here...the US bombed to rubble its own radar station at a now departed base at Mount Abdulaziz, which is not on the map but can be found easily on google maps...which shows it about equidistant from Hasaka town and Tell Tamr...south of Tel Tamr and west of Hasaka...which has remained in SAA hands throughout the war...

Report and pictures here.

Now some here were speculating [wishcasting] that this whole thing is the US 'handing' the ball off to Nato member Turkey in order to continue the 'mission'...

Clearly these developments put that nonsense to rest...If the US was going to hand over to Turkey they would have stayed in place until the Turks got there.

But obviously there was never any such deal. So much for the wishcasting about 'Article 5'...

Now here is the important thing...that last base with the radar was a key node to the entire US presence...which relies heavily on air power patrolling that section of Syria.

Now that is toast...there will be no more US air patrols in the area, these are the facts that prove the US military is indeed getting out...Trump is the Commander in Chief when all is said and done.

As for the oil fields...that too will soon revert to Syria...it is Arab tribes in that area that switched their ISIS coats for SDF...which is how the US waltzed in there without firing a shot while the SAA was bleeding bullets taking Deir Ezzor just across the river.

Those tribes have no choice...Trump's tweets are window dressing that mean nothing...how are the US supposed to hold anything there once they've bugged out...?

Those Arab tribes will be between the Kurds, who remember them from their ISIS days...and the SAA who likewise have the same memories...once the US has moved out, they will turn coat once again and welcome the SAA with flowers.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 20 2019 1:42 utc | 279

Sputniknews.com reports "Turkey to View Protection of Kurdish Units by Damascus as Declaration of War – Erdogan Aide" (01:57 20.10.2019, updated 03:38):

The possible protection of the Kurdish units, operating in northern Syria, by Damascus will be regarded by Ankara as a declaration of war on Turkey, Yasin Aktay, an adviser of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, said on Saturday

“If the Syrian regime [government troops] wants to enter Manbij, Ayn al-Arab [Kobani] and Qamishli to provide protection for the Kurdish People's Protection Units [YPG], that will be viewed by Turkey as the declaration of war and it [Damascus] will face a relevant response,” Aktay said.

Much more at link including Turkish/"Erdoganian" confabulations about a 444 kilometer long (275 miles) 32 kilometer (19 miles) deep safe zone which could end up being christened "the grave of Turkey".

Have Turkey/Erdogan Saddamed themselves?

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Oct 20 2019 1:54 utc | 280

Ghost Ship @235--

Thanks for your reply!

I think you and all barflies ought to read the following summary of Nasrallah's speech earlier today provided by Canthama at SyrPers:

"Hassan Nasrallah just gave a speech to the people of Lebanon regarding the outbreak of mega protests across the Leb these past three days. Here’s a distillation of his main points:

"1- The gov’s suggestion that they increase taxes never went thru parliament for approval, in fact it was cancelled some two hours after the suggestion was announced. (I guess Nasrallah had to make this clear to the protestors who are mostly under the impression that new taxes have been approved).

"2- He said that contrary to what people believe, the Lebanon is NOT broke or bankrupt – that there is plenty of money in the country, but that the Ministry of Finance and its allies in other governmental offices are abusing their position and lining their own pockets, while simultaneously blocking access to the nation’s money. Therefore the solution to the crisis lies in halting the corrupt cabal’s activities.

"3- He urged protestors NOT to demand for the government of Hariri to step down as this does not solve anything, but instead, indeed it only creates an added political crisis. He said that it would take months to form a new government, and that, more or less, the very same people will get re-elected, with perhaps some parties losing a seat or two here or there, while the financial problem remains the same. He urged protestors to instead insist that their government provide a solution, which it is capable of, especially that now it is clear that increasing taxes is not an option for the government anymore. He added that there are other alternatives being studied today by the gov, whereas last week the gov had discarded these alternatives in favor of the (lazier) tax increase option. He warned the protestors against bringing the government down, and said that whoever continues to demand this is unwittingly aligning themselves with Lebanon’s ‘fifth column’ whose agenda is the break up of Lebanon from within.

"4- He encouraged the protestors to remain on the streets and to express their anger and lack of trust in the government, but asked them to be protesting in peace and as patriots who love their country, not as anarchists and supporters of chaos and destruction.

"5- He encouraged them further by saying that because they had spontaneously took to the streets without waving ‘party banners and flags’, their message was authentic, untainted by outside influence and supremely powerful – and clearly this people’s unified message was heard loud and clear (without political filters) by the government. That the Hezbollah does not need to take to the streets in protest with them as this will only be exploited by the fifth column who will drown out the people’s legitimate concerns and message and turn the whole event into a political and divisive issue, instead of what the protests are really about: economic hardship due to corruption.

"6- He assured the people of the Lebanon that the Hezbollah is 100% against increased taxes on the poor and that should the government attempt to impose such taxation on the poor at any time in the future, then they will be the first to take to the street in protest.

"7- Nasrallah asked the protestors to respect the police and the army – not to insult them with words or physically confront them as they are: 'one of us – they are from villages just like yours; they are the brother of your neighbor, and perhaps your father’s friend’s son, and even your cousin’s nephew – they are one of us – they are the backbone of your personal security when you’re at home and when you’re on the streets'.

"Well, I think what Nasrallah said this morning will have somewhat of a calming effect on the nation, and will get at least a sizeable chunk of the protestors to rethink their approach and demands from the government. They will now demand ‘results and positive solutions’ instead of the downfall of the existing government, as this will not relieve the people from the financial crisis they’re in."

Sunday's dawning on Southwest Asia, and there's plenty going on for us to watch and discuss.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 20 2019 2:00 utc | 281

By the way the sputniknews times are most likely Moscow times which are GMT+3 since that is what they use further up for their site.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Oct 20 2019 2:03 utc | 282

karlof1

Sunday's dawning sounds far better than arab spring. And with people like Nasrallah around, it is a new day.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 20 2019 3:05 utc | 283

This seems to be the view from Israeli. Erdogan is using the Syrian 'rebels' as cannon fodder. They seem to hate just about everybody and enjoy looting. If I understand the last sentence correctly they will be very angry when they find out and switch back to Assad.

"The Syrian rebel units benefit Turkey because their abuses have plausible deniability. Turkey, a NATO power, can claim its army is not responsible, it is always some other “group” that did the abuses. The final goal is that the Syrian rebellion will be redirected to take over parts of eastern Syria where Russia and Turkey will eventually agree to a partition plan. Then the Syrian rebels will work with the Assad regime that controls parts of eastern Syria the regime took from the SDF and the Syrian rebellion will end occupying Kurdish areas working with Assad."


http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Why-Turkey-got-anti-Assad-rebels-to-fight-Kurds-605166

Posted by: dh | Oct 20 2019 3:14 utc | 284

Could not post for 2 days, now it's working. Strange. Anyone else have that problem?

Posted by: ben | Oct 20 2019 3:19 utc | 285

Ben
Try using a few different browsers. I use Opera, Vivaldi and Yandex. At times I have not been able to post on different browsers. Started using a few because at one time I could not post on Yandex so downloaded opera. After a time I could no longer post on that so tried Vivaldi. After a time that stopped working but found I could post again on yandex. From time to time I still find I cannot post on one or another of the browsers.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 20 2019 3:27 utc | 286

from Stripes, Oct 19
Defense chief: US troops leaving Syria to go to western Iraq

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT — Defense Secretary Mark Esper says that under the current plan all U.S. troops leaving Syria will go to western Iraq, and that the military will continue to conduct operations against the Islamic State group to prevent a resurgence in that country.

His comments were the first to specifically lay out where American troops will go as they leave Syria and what the counter-IS fight could look like. Esper said he has spoken to his Iraqi counterpart about the plan to shift the more than 700 troops leaving Syria into western Iraq.

Trump ordered the bulk of the approximately 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria to withdraw after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear in a phone call that his forces were about to invade Syria to push back Kurdish forces that Turkey considers terrorists.

The pullout largely abandons the Kurdish allies who have fought the Islamic State group alongside U.S. troops for several years. Between 200 and 300 U.S. troops will remain at the southern Syrian outpost of Al-Tanf. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 20 2019 3:42 utc | 287

Don Bacon

Sounds like Trump is having a bit of a build up in Anbar and desert areas where US troops will be protected by the bedouin that gravitate towards AQ and ISIS.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 20 2019 3:49 utc | 288

@ Don Bacon at # 286 with the report on US troops leaving Syria and going to Iraq

I wonder how Iraq feels about that?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 20 2019 3:56 utc | 289

@ Peter A U 1 286; Thanks for the tip..

Posted by: ben | Oct 20 2019 4:03 utc | 290

@ ph 288
I wonder how Iraq feels about that?
Good question. We heard months ago that the US troops would be ordered out, but weren't for some reason. It's never been explained, that I've seen. There is some kind of leverage being applied by the US in Iraq, to Iraq, apparently.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 20 2019 4:16 utc | 291

but weren't for some reason......... money has a funny effect on people... when you can print the shit up at no cost, it is an easy tool for exploiting politicians no matter they be iraqi, or whoever...

Posted by: james | Oct 20 2019 5:29 utc | 292

@ Don Bacon and james about US troops moving to Iraq

I would posit that it could be a combination of factors....didn't they just have a partial "color revolution"?....where did that come from?.....keep divided and conquered.

Just another front in the Civilization war humanity is in.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 20 2019 5:38 utc | 293

ben #284

I have been using firefox for 20 years and same internet provider for longer. Whenever I get a problem (very rare) it is ALWAYS the streetside cable provider. Copper wire degrades with time as the copper is depleted from ionic degradation and finally a working cable has to be connected.

Whenever I strike a problem the first step is to check the internet speed via speedtest dot net.

For good anonymity try startpage dot com as the search engine. Very basic very private.

karlof 1 #280

Thanks for that speech by Nasrallah. That is they best way to put down colour revolutions and all the other Lebanese political reps need to do the same. It may bring a semblance of unity at the top.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 20 2019 6:04 utc | 294

karlof1@141

Thanks for posting the Max Blumenthal article detailing how the US trained and equipped the Turkish "Arab militias" now being condemned by a US official. Interesting how the US spent 500 million US$ training the Turkish Army Division that supports the "arab militias" as well as similar sums training the Kurdish forces. Throw in the US and NATO support for all the ISIS, HTS and other terrorists that the Kurds have been fighting it doesn't seem like the US is getting a lot for its money.

Here is a long article on the US backing on the Arab militias that further details how each was funded and supported (very long):
https://setav.org/en/assets/uploads/2019/10/A54En.pdf

Thank you for all of your other great comments on this thread...
https://setav.org/en/assets/uploads/2019/10/A54En.pdf

Posted by: krollchem | Oct 20 2019 6:36 utc | 295

We heard months ago that the US troops would be ordered out, but weren't for some reason. It's never been explained, that I've seen. There is some kind of leverage being applied by the US in Iraq, to Iraq, apparently.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 20 2019 4:16 utc | 290

Of course pressure is being applied to Iraq, and particularly the Iraqi parliament, not to vote for the US to leave. Which the parliament would like to do. But they're in a weak position, largely from the corruption and their inability to put the country right. When up to 95% of a project budget disappears in corruption, you can't get a lot done.

re Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 20 2019 5:38 utc | 292

I'm unconvinced that it was a "color revolution". The riots stopped pretty quickly, once the government made concessions. Quite different from Hong Kong, where the riots continue, although there's no realistic complaint. There was no real US aim either. An alternative government would not have been better for the US.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 20 2019 9:19 utc | 296

A few comments about browsers and posting (YMMV):

I used Firefox from when it came out until a few years ago because they started to crapify it, in particular certain things that worked stopped working. And I'm very good at figuring out things that are not working.

Before that I used various other browsers, of which there are many. Many many.

Up until 2002 I was working in IT/mostly defense, and one "Equities Trading Firm" the last few years whose Y2K remediation I did for them among other things, so that was all Firefox, a little IE when forced by the situation.

Since then I use Chromium, but they have started crapping it up too, so I'm thinking about going back to Firefox (I keep both around).

===

I run most of the time with Javascript OFF, I only turn it on when I want to post or interact. This is to de-crapify the pages, so I can read, works very well too. I keep the setting all by itself in a separate little window, so I can turn it on and off easily. And you must re-load the page if you switch the setting. This also keeps me from getting into flame wars, it's just too much trouble.

You have to have Javascript on, among other things, to post here (and most places, that's what it's for), and you have to watch the "Hot Keys" which can make a typo a bit more than you bargained for. This has happened to me quite a few times here. So if you are a fast typer, you have to slow down, there are no training wheels to recover your mistakes like in a real editor.

Notice, I'm not saying the editor here is not broken, just saying it works but you have to watch it, and that is more or less the norm on the web, bugs out the wazoo.

If it's really driving you nuts or you have a long piece to work on, it is better to write it up in Notepad, Write, or some simple real editor and then copy it to the web when you have it the way you like.

* - "Your Mileage May Vary"

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 20 2019 10:06 utc | 297

Time for another chemical attack.

Posted by: Maxim Gorki | Oct 20 2019 11:36 utc | 298

@William Gruff claiming the US needs a fig leaf of "humanitarian" cover:
Under the longstanding system from the Cold War up until 911 that fig leaf was considered essential. However it is apparent that as the US becomes more and more desperate, it has been increasingly willing (often even keen) to drop that fig leaf and let it's brutal criminality be exposed to full view. These days only a few strands of the fig leaf remain at most. Meanwhile the MSM has over exaggerated it's lies so much that it loses it's propaganda effect, so that the fig leaf has become completely transparent anyway. The fig leaf still serves some meaningful purpose even today, but if William thinks the US (and especially Trump) will worry about occupying the oil fields without a humanitarian excuse he is seriously deluding himself. The US is a criminal mafia - and always was - but nowadays they don't worry too much about being seen to be that openly.

Posted by: BM | Oct 20 2019 12:56 utc | 299

Time for another chemical attack.
Posted by: Maxim Gorki | Oct 20 2019 11:36 utc | 298

I do hope not! I don't think they would be able to pull it off this time.

Posted by: BM | Oct 20 2019 12:58 utc | 300

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