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.


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.


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

« previous page | next page »

With the recent move of the SAA into NE Syria, any American forces stationed in the oil fields of Deir Ezor will be surrounded on 3 sides in Syria and the Iraqi Shia militia are over the border to the east. It is tactically and strategically untenable. The SAA controlling Taqqba, Raqqah, Deir Ezor, Kabani, Hasekah and big chunks of the M4 also makes the Turkish incursion very vulnerable to being cut-off and the oil fields a potential cauldron. Inviting your opponent to set up shop behind your lines is not a winning move for unwanted guests hoping to set up shop longterm.

Posted by: Sad Canuck | Oct 18 2019 18:39 utc | 101

@ Posted by: Circe | Oct 18 2019 15:33 utc | 62

So why are you here then? Surely you could easily find some partisan claptrap that blames everything on Donald Trump, and clearly you'd be a lot happier with that kind of, er, "analysis."

Posted by: Stygg | Oct 18 2019 18:41 utc | 102

Great analysis. The genocidal repression of the Kurds and the destruction of the secular Kurdish state in formation is no big deal if one can blame the USA foreign policy establishment.

Posted by: citizen k | Oct 18 2019 18:46 utc | 103

Charles Peterson @100: RT offers a different explanation:

Trump’s tweet opens up the possibility that some US troops will be staying behind to prevent this from happening, although that does not fit with the general withdrawal orders confirmed by the Pentagon earlier. Far more likely is that he was referring to oilfields previously used by IS to funds its “caliphate,” that are now safely in the hands of local forces opposed to them. No one but Trump himself actually knows, however.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 18 2019 18:47 utc | 104

B, you are not talking about 2 funny (and important) things in your article...

1- The Trump letter :
Where he says in summary "get the F... out of Syria or I'll crush you"...
Actually he says something VERY close to that...
Don't be a fool, don't be tough, I'll destroy Turkey's economy etc... Must read :)

2- Turkish / Syrian Liberation Front's cars :
Turkey has 81 "regions" (like the 50 US states) and each region's cars bear the number of the region (01 - Adana... 02 - Adiyaman... etc)
So a "82" numbered car is for a new, non existing region (yet!)... Like the new "ex-north_of_syria" or "south-south of Turkey" region...

Too bad for Erdogan it did work as planed :)))

Posted by: SysATI | Oct 18 2019 18:50 utc | 105

One thing's certain, Trump cannot both withdraw the troops and bring them home and secure the oil. If he chooses to do the latter, he will become a loser in this affair along with Occupied Palestine, and more grief will definitely follow.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 18:51 utc | 106

Barbara Ann | Oct 18 2019 15:30 utc | 58

Helmer doesn't differentiate between "US" interests, especially those of the neocon foreign policy establishment and Trump's. The agreement was evidently drafted by the former. The latter will wipe his ass with it - or better still wait until Turkey try and invoke Art. 5 in northern Syria and then conspicuously not come to their aid, thus damaging NATO. Two birds with one stone.

As I understand it the NATO treaty can be invoked by any member country that is attacked. I wonder how the other NATO countries are going to react to being asked to support Turkish aggression.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Oct 18 2019 18:54 utc | 107

Hello B,

I believe your reading of events is incomplete. I think the original plan was to let Turkey really gain some Syrian land and make it a permanent sore point for Syrian government.

Erdogan announced the beginning of the operation with great fanfare, even prayers were done countrywide for the new "fetih" (that is conquest). He genuinely believed that he was allowed to replace US forces in Syria. Perhaps that was Trump's plan all along but certainly not Erdogan's.

Erdogan is the big loser here as well as Kurds. He was openly humiliated by Trump and it become obvious to everyone in Turkey that all that tough talk is there only for domestic audiences. When Trump orders to jump Erdogan says how high and that become obvious to everyone in Turkey who is willing to see.

Erdogan now has ended up with where he started; plus tens of thousands of thugs that he does not know what to do with and almost 4 million refugees where nobody in Turkey wants to deal with; plus billions of wasted money on weapons and ammunition that Turkish military gave away to those mercenaries. The total cost of this Ottoman dream to Turkey will be revealed in the decades to come.

Posted by: kemerd | Oct 18 2019 19:06 utc | 108

Sometimes is best to just take what the opposition gives you and leave the rest for another day.

Posted by: jared | Oct 18 2019 19:08 utc | 109


Yeah and Hong Kong riotors were also asking for one thing only and how's that working out?

China's dropping the ball, especially in the Middle East. It's failing to secure its sources of uncompromised oil & gas. HUGE MISTAKE. Soon, it too will be cornered. China can only get by with compromised sources of energy until the U.S. turns off the spigot. The road to Beijing is really through Tehran.

@122 Stygg

Now, why would I preach to the choir, when I can have so much more fun crashing a Zionist celebration?

Trump, totally annihilated the deception around here that he's not all in with Zionists when he wrote that the U.S. secured the oil in Syria. Too bad you can't spin that one! 😝

Posted by: Circe | Oct 18 2019 19:14 utc | 110

@104 "safely in the hands of local forces"

Which 'local forces' is the question. Local Arab tribes who want to make a buck? Or is the SDF going to control the oilfields....with US support? If they want reconciliation with Damascus they need to turn them over to the SAA.

Posted by: dh | Oct 18 2019 19:15 utc | 111

Bemildred | Oct 18 2019 18:32 utc | 99

"Erdogan the peacemaker,..."

Shouldn't he first teach his people not to liquidate captives?

kemerd | Oct 18 2019 19:06 utc | 108

Bravo, some facts create fresh wind in the middle of too much geopolitical dreaming.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 18 2019 19:16 utc | 112

[Cannot undo the bolding continuing from previous comment.] Events in Lebanon are swiftly overtaking Syria in the spotlight. Magnier's short thread on the topic where he says this:

"#Lebanon is heading towards a real change. #US abused of its power and imposed sanctions to the point the Lebanese system was run from #Washington.

"Banks were sanctioned and forced to sell. #Shia wealthy were sanctioned and in jail. The Trump/Pompeo policy is firing back on them."

If Magnier's correct about the Blowback for the Outlaw US Empire, the situation might further improve for both Lebanon and Syria. But as he cautions, the situation must be closely watched as the legitimate protests could be hijacked by the Outlaw US Empire and its EU vassals as their intent to sow further chaos in Lebanon is well known.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 19:20 utc | 113

Circe @110--

Apparently you and many others failed to read the Global Times editorial I posted yesterday that reported the Hong Kong "method" has infected Europe as the Catalans and Extinction protesters have explicitly adopted their tactics. Oops! For your edification and that of others.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 19:27 utc | 114

Re: @ BM - #67

I consider John Helmer's latest piece quite convincing and well well founded. Care to offer specifics on your contention...?

Posted by: John Gilberts | Oct 18 2019 19:29 utc | 115

B. I have long supported and followed you, and have admire your analysis of the Syrian conflict.

While the winwinwin scenario you outlined may have initially led recent events, (what's the quote about plans not surviving the first battle?), the ziocons seem to have offered the snake Erdogan a better deal outlined by John Helmer

"Thursday’s Pence-Pompeo paper commits the US, and NATO as well, to collective defence of the Turkish “safe zone” in Syria without delimitation of its geographical area and without restriction of time."

For those who say Nato didn't agree, the US is NATO. It's not about laws or agreements, it's about Rules, and the US makes them up as it goes.

Trump probably didn't even understand what it meant to commit Nato to this.

What it does mean is that the refugees will be dumped there, Assad billed/responsible for their support, which will be paid to Turkey out of Syrian Oil the US/UN sells on its behalf... sound familiar? ( Iraq oil for food)

Posted by: les7 | Oct 18 2019 19:31 utc | 116

@ foolisholdman | Oct 18 2019 18:54 utc | 107

Read art 5.

The reality is there's no obligation for members to join in a fight except according to their domestic laws and according to their customs and so's a compromise in words, deliberately ambiguous. Dean Acheson's auto bio is useful in understanding the legal reality, which is that members will do as they decide. A5 was a sticking point...and in reality the fuze on the demolition of OTAN

"automatic" when speaking of A5 is a deception.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 18 2019 19:36 utc | 117

I note the absence of most trolls. Perhaps they're no longer needed now that MoA and its kin can be dismissed as promoting Kremlin Talking Points:

"So the establishment narrative managers now have an official three-word debunk of any criticism of the establishment which employs them, which applies even when that criticism is fully based in facts and reality. Facts are a Kremlin talking point, and anyone who believes them is Russian. Facts are Russian. Truth is Russian. Skepticism is Russian. Asking questions is Russian. Dissent is Russian. Revolution is Russian."

Then the corollary would be everything the establishment says/writes/portrays is false, a lie, a fabrication.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 19:43 utc | 118

When Syr refugees tried to return to Syr from Lebaron the UN did want to allow it until Syr could guarantee their safety, whatever that means.

Once they are in camps on the Turkish border, guarded by the same jihadists that will not allow people out of Idlib, Turkey and the US will have their perfect weapon to use against Assad. The people he fought to protect.

Utter perfidy. Ziocons at their best

Posted by: les7 | Oct 18 2019 19:45 utc | 119

Does anybody know exactly who the Syrian refugees in Turkey and Idlib are? As many as 4 million by some accounts. Can't see them being very welcome in the 'Safe Zone' even under Erdogan's wing. Europe doesn't want them. Maybe they should think about going back where they came from.

Posted by: dh | Oct 18 2019 19:48 utc | 120

Walter | Oct 18 2019 19:36 utc | 117

The reality is there's no obligation for members to join in a fight except according to their domestic laws and according to their customs and so's a compromise in words, deliberately ambiguous. Dean Acheson's auto bio is useful in understanding the legal reality, which is that members will do as they decide. A5 was a sticking point...and in reality the fuze on the demolition of OTAN.

"automatic" when speaking of A5 is a deception.

Yes I agree with what you are saying, but what I wonder is, is this going to put further strain on NATO? I mean, how keen are the other NATO members likely to be on such activities? Trump has already put the Germans' backs up over his demand for more money.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Oct 18 2019 19:53 utc | 121

Better link for 118.

In another development, "Peace Expert George W Bush Says ‘Isolationism’ Is Dangerous To Peace":

"Humanity was treated to an important lecture on peace at a recent event for the NIR School of the Heart by none other than Ellen Degeneres BFF and world-renowned peace expert George W Bush.

"'I don’t think the Iranians believe a peaceful Middle East is in their national interest,' said the former president according to The Washington Post‘s Josh Rogin, whose brief Twitter thread on the subject appears to be the only record of Bush’s speech anywhere online.

"'An isolationist United States is destabilizing around the world,' Bush said during the speech in what according to Rogin was a shot at the sitting president. 'We are becoming isolationist and that’s dangerous for the sake of peace.'"

How come Bush's speech wasn't denounced as a Kremlin Talking Point as he extolled the roll of the Outlaw US Empire's lawlessness and Imperialism as essential to the continuance of an Orwellian War=Peace. Seems a lost opportunity by establishment propagandists.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 19:58 utc | 122

Dontbelieveeitherpr. #47

Thank you. That is sobering and Helmer is a reliable analyst. I trust Shoigu and his allies prevail over this high risk manouver and keep Putin on message.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 18 2019 20:05 utc | 123

Syria has regained a good chunk of territory, but to much premature cheering about US being completely out of eastern Syria.

4h4 hours ago
Just spoke to President @RTErdogan of Turkey. He told me there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated. He very much wants the ceasefire, or pause, to work. Likewise, the Kurds want it, and the ultimate solution, to happen. Too bad there wasn’t.....

.....this thinking years ago. Instead, it was always held together with very weak bandaids, & in an artificial manner. There is good will on both sides & a really good chance for success. The U.S. has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey....

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 20:06 utc | 124

thank you b! and thanks the many fine comments from others too...

ditto @12 BM comments.. nyt and wapo do these lies intentionally.. see @40 bevin for more insight on this..

@24 Erlindur.. thanks.. some of your comment i am also concerned about - erdogan in particular..

@26 D... thanks for sharing the view from the american jewish congress for us..

@77 Per/Norway.. thanks for joining in and stating that!

@79 b... critical update... thanks... again, we are thrown back into what the fuck this guy is saying-thinking.. i can't see that working out long term... it kind of shits on everything the usa says and does in one feel swoop..

@90 tonyopmoc.. ditto your comment.. thanks..

@108 kemerd.. i tend to agree with you on the long term consequences for turkey here..

@116 /119 les7.. thanks for your comments.. i think your concerns are shared by jackrabbit, me and a few others..

@120 dh.. good question.. it would be nice to get some real facts on all of that and i agree about them needing to go back to the part of syria where they came from as opposed to the new ottoman caliphate delusion..

going to read the helmer now.. reading the comments was worth it.. thanks again b for hosting a fantastic site based on all your hard work!

Posted by: james | Oct 18 2019 20:06 utc | 125

I am back from a couple of days off grid and see that the Syrian oil fields are still held by the US so while some parts have evolved, the US is still strategically in Syria....sad

Thanks for the reporting b and your admittance that Trump is saying the US has secured the oil fields....but for whom?

Where will things be in another couple of weeks? Given all that is happening, maybe the oil fields will be given up by the US by then or US troops will be coming under attack and then?????

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 18 2019 20:15 utc | 126

b looks like I doubled upon your update @79.
Now to wait and see where the new front lines are drawn between SAA and US in east Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 20:16 utc | 127

@ dh 120
Maybe they should think about going back where they came from.
Like here for example?.....What a callous statement.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 18 2019 20:16 utc | 128

Peter AU 1 @124--

On securing "ISIS fighters," Trump isn't being forthright; rather, he's aiding them:

"US occupation forces transferred about 1000 women from the wives of members of the terrorist organization 'Daesh' from the Syrian territory to Iraq in six batches since the beginning of the Turkish aggression."

As for the disposition of the oil patch, I've asked my contacts to provide some clarification of the situation as much is being obscured by the Fog of War and the political onslaught besieging Trump from both Congress and EU as noted above.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 20:17 utc | 129

All of a sudden we're believing Trump's every word?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 18 2019 20:18 utc | 130

dh @111: I wondered about that too. I'm not particularly pumping that idea, we have two competing narratives here, or maybe a few more than that, and lots of FUD in the air. I'm trying to keep track of the arguments for the different narratives so I can figure out which works better. Trump, for example, runs his mouth all day long and contradicts himself constantly, so it is no easy task to figure out what he is really up to. Right now, I think he is trying to get out of Syria, not take the oil, he can't do both, and getting out will do him a lot more good politically, but we will see.

To be clear, right now I expect the oil fields will wind up under Syrian Gov't control eventually.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 18 2019 20:23 utc | 131

@ Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 20:06 utc | 124

OK. Is valid point.
But also, you do realise that sometimes Trump just says whatever he needs to.
He's under a lot of pressure.

Look at the trend.

Also, did you not the post at ZH about Russia (Rosneft I think) aquiring Venezuela's oil production rights and infrastructure?

Posted by: jared | Oct 18 2019 20:26 utc | 132

@128 Callous? I see going home as one option.

I do understand that it won't be easy. They will have to explain why they left. They will be discriminated against probably by Assad loyalists and people who stuck it out. Young men especially may have to join the army or do reconstruction work. At the moment they are in limbo. Hard to say whether they will be better off or not.

Posted by: dh | Oct 18 2019 20:27 utc | 133

Don Bacon "All of a sudden we're believing Trump's every word?"

More understanding Trump's longer term world veiw. He sees the constant occupation of what he considers non strategic territory as pointless. Controlling oil though, means the US military only has to control minimal strategic points for the US to exert a great deal of influence or have a great deal of power in the world or towards targets. Trump is not about bring troops home, rather it is repositioning them to control oil. If he pulls troops out of Afghanistan, they will be moved to where he needs them for control of oil.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 20:30 utc | 134

Russia is attempting to win the war(s) without firing a shot (maybe a few).
It's 4D chess in the round.

It will set Bolton's mustache twitching.

Posted by: jared | Oct 18 2019 20:30 utc | 135

Clearly, the most problematic issue:

"The Turkish regime did not abide by its declaration of a suspension of 'military operations' and continues to attack villages and towns in northeastern Syria."

And reports like this:

"Talking to some Arab friends at villages north of Ain Issa, people are talking about horrible atrocities against villagers by TFSA.. They start with asking people to deliver their phones to let nobody film their looting. They are looting everything including windows and doors."

Previous terrorist behavior's being followed as we see utter deafness to the order to ceasefire just as in Idlib and elsewhere before. Like The Walking Dead zombies, there's only one solution.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 20:31 utc | 136

karlof1 129

I have a rough idea now where the new front lines will be drawn going by reports that are coming out of SAA movements. the line will be somewhere south of Raqqa city and north of Deir Ezzor city running somewhat north from the Euphrates. Perhaps along the borders of Dier Ezzor and Hasakah provinces. Qamishly is still a grey area. I had read a SAA forces had been flown in to the the Syrian gov enclave but have heard no reports from there.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 20:38 utc | 137

Latest on whether US will continue to block access to oilfields?
And how is it we haven't heard anything from Israel--this would seem to be an opportune time to bomb some "Iranian" targets in Syria...

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Oct 18 2019 20:44 utc | 138

karlof1 136

Erdo's may be the US as well as Kurds. Depending on what deals he has done with Trump and Russia, Russia may well officially complain but in practice turn a blind eye so long as Erdo is pushing toward US forces.,

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 20:45 utc | 139

jared 132

Yes, I knew about Russian involvement in Venezuela oil.

For some time, I have believed the strategic plan of the Trump faction and its backers is to move from the petro-dollar hegemony to a near monopoly physical control of oil supplies - hence Trumps focus on Venezuela and middle east. Trumps focus on oil is also coupled to Zionism. Venezuela do not recognise Israel as a state and Iran is the biggest threat to Israel. Both these countries have huge proven reserves of oil.

I think maps like this will come into play more in Trumps second term. This first term looks be be positioning both on the ground around the targets and on the domestic front.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 21:16 utc | 140

In yet another Gotcha:

"Incredible scoop by @MaxBlumenthal: 21 of the 28 'rebel' factions in the Turkish mercenary army invading Syria and massacring civilians were supported by the US.

"18 were backed by the CIA, 3 by the Pentagon. 14 got US-supplied TOW anti-tank guided missiles."

From header to Blumenthal's article:

"Former and current US officials have slammed the Turkish mercenary force of 'Arab militias' for executing and beheading Kurds in northern Syria. New data from Turkey reveals that almost all of these militias were armed and trained in the past by the CIA and Pentagon."

Oh Boo Hoo, weeps BigLie Media, stop with the Kremlin Talking Points already!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 21:16 utc | 141

First sentence of 139 should have read "Erdo's targets may be the US as well as Kurds."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 21:18 utc | 142

@79 -- a recent ZH report includes the following:

""We've taken control of the oil in the Middle East," the president said."

Clearly it is implied, by context, to refer to Syria. However, it could equally refer (also?) to Saudi Arabia and the 3,000 'Spartans' recently sent there to ... bring some American 'democracy'?

Posted by: imo | Oct 18 2019 21:37 utc | 143

Tulsi takes off the gloves and calls the warmonger the warmonger
Tulsi Gabbard
‏Verified account @TulsiGabbard

Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a ...

... concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and ...

... powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose.

It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 18 2019 21:40 utc | 144

@DON BACON.. i'll acknowledge callous actions much more quickly then a cheap judgment on words spoken without context... if you think the usa's role in raqqa hasn't been noted by many here, you'd be sorely mistaken... the usa can take it's bullshite and shove it up it's own ass with your stupid comment too..

Posted by: james | Oct 18 2019 21:41 utc | 145

Peter AU 1 @139--

Thanks for your replies! It appears that what Magnier wrote on this thread 12+ hours ago still holds. The initial news about Qameshli has grown silent as you note as most everyone's focusing on the current actions. This just in:

"Fighting has not stopped in Ras al Ayn all day. Tonight it is very violent again."

Looks like the night will be busy everywhere along the line of contact.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 22:04 utc | 146


Fact. Israel is permanently occupying Southeast Syria, a resource-rich corner already being exploited by Zionists.

-Until it is retaken, a stated aim of the Syrian government. Nothing is permament.

Fact. U.S. is occupying geopolitically-strategic Northeast where coincidentally Syria's oil fields are located.

-Southwest is where the oil is. Only a matter of time until the fields are freed. The US position being untenable.

Fact. Turkey is invading northern Syria to resettle millions of anti-Assad refugees.

-Most displaced by the war left combat and insurgency zones and will be happy to move back to their homeland. The others, tough luck..

Do you have any facts to refute this reality? I have yet to read them.

Your assertions are nothing more then opinion much like my replies but at least one of us can recognize that as a fact..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 18 2019 22:07 utc | 147

#128 Don Bacon

Totally disagree with your view of "callous statement"

As a war refugee displaced from your country why wouldn't you want to go back to your original place of residence regardless of its current condition?

The place needs rebuilding = lots of jobs = employment

If the financing is available = China then what's not to like about starting all over again - it's aspirational and also the human condition

Posted by: m | Oct 18 2019 22:11 utc | 148


I had read Ras al Ayn was cut off and SAA forces had moved to Tall Tamr area but nothing on which direction they came from and have heard nothing more about it.
The area here on google map.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 22:15 utc | 149

michaelj72 @144--

Thanks for posting that! I saw some references to that on Twitter just now but hadn't read Tulsi's Twitter yet. Here's a pic of Tulsi with gloves on and who she trains with. Hillary wouldn't even step into the ring to face Tulsi, just as she would lose any debate between them. The utter ignorance and idiocy displayed by commentators on this thread is quite the spectacle. Clearly, the entire DNC Bot Army's been mobilized, but all they do is disgrace themselves and the organization that sponsors them. An example from this ignorant dolt who enlisted as cannon fodder:

"If I get shit for this tweet fuck it. You & I signed up to up to fight for our country. Do we have any right to call anyone a war monger? Do politicians make mistakes yes, but they do not go out just looking for wars."

Every assertion he made was wrong. In fact, he doesn't even understand the oath he gave when he enlisted, thus my calling him the cannon fodder that he is. But he's not the only one by far. And I thought 2016 was looking like 1860 [the year the D-Party split into 4 factions]; well, 2020's looking even more so.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 22:29 utc | 150

@86 " Erdogan still has the upper hand "

Quite untrue in my view.

Russia is slowly making the two big egos involved (Erdogan and Trump) realise the fact that Syria is and will be whole. If Erdogan wants a vicious Vietnam on his hands the Russians can help him there. Anything Erdogan does is within the limitations set by Putin. If he goes too far or stays too long there will be consequences.

Now that a good many people in Syria are on the same team it will be even more difficult for the Empire builders (USA and Erdogan) to maintain a foothold.

A good many in the Syrian army would be itching to have a crack at the Turks. Let's see Russia hand over some really nice weapons to them so they can defend their homeland.

Posted by: imoverit | Oct 18 2019 22:30 utc | 151

A lot of the refugees in Turkey and a simply people, families and so forth who moved away from war.
Along with young men dodging the draft. Idlib on he other hand seems comprise of some civilians who prefer not to leave and accept the rule of whoever hold power, the rest made up of die hard jihadists and their families.
From what I can see, Erdogan is feeding the jihadi's into the grinder to take an area that the refugees can be moved back into, initially under Turkish governance, perhaps as a sort of halfway house for integration back into Syria. I suspect this is also the way Russia is looking at it.
But for the return of refugees into these areas, the jihadis need to be thinned out. A wide front along the Turkish border thins then considerably apart from the attrition of the offensive. I believe Erdo has drawn jihadi's from Idlib, making the clean up there easier also. I think Russia is also looking at cleaning up the idlib zone though remaining under Turk control to facilitate the return of refugees to that area also.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 22:33 utc | 152

Peter AU 1 @149--

Fairly up-to-date battle map here. This will present a test to Russia in its self-assigned separating role between SAA and Turkish forces. Also depends on Assad if he wants to save the Kurds from their series of bad choices.

michaelj72 @144--

Tulsi's tweet was retweeted globally and ought to get to a point where it's trending. It has close to 100K likes. Odd that Jill Stein's at the top of the trending list. Wait; Tulsi just went to the top. Interesting how that page is composed. Apparently, HRC's crimes were in the news today:

"Investigators probing Hillary’s use of a private email server have discovered nearly 600 security violations

"The investigation, conducted by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, found 38 individuals were culpable."

Wonder if the Chief Magistrate will do his job or obstruct justice like his predecessor.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 23:01 utc | 153

Peter AU @149--

Finally, an update on Qameshli:

"complete calm on the Turkish-Syrian border at 'Qamishli' a day after two shells fell on the densely populated city."

I also take that to mean the oil patch in that region's secured by SAA.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 23:16 utc | 154

@148 & 152 Don got offended by me suggesting refugees should think about going home. That's OK. I'll assume he was having a SJW moment.

Of course going home won't be easy. Probably they may not even have a home to go to. But if the choice is living in a tent surrounded by jihadis I think I'd risk it.

Still not sure where most of those refugees came from.... Aleppo? Homs? or how they feel about Syrian politics. Will they feel safe in Erdogan's Safe Zone? We don't hear from them.

Posted by: dh | Oct 18 2019 23:18 utc | 155

yeah, nah, all bullshit.

We have taken the oil.

and that is all that matters. Peace? is for suckers and dead people. There will be no peace. The only thing that is demanded is submission from the people - all the people, all the time. You don't like it, oh ooops would it not be too bad if someone whomever drops some bombs? Sure thing. Sure thing.

listen to the orange colored hostage taker from the shitty house - listen to him and ask yourself if he gives a shit about the day dreams of anyone?

Posted by: Sabine | Oct 18 2019 23:28 utc | 156

Clearly the Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Russian military is still in effect. America is addicted to oil. Its politicians will not cutoff a source unless there is a possibility that an American Corporation can take it over. The military knows that the Syrian oil fields are undefendable in the middle of desert surrounded by enemies with no proxy forces and air resupply at the acquiescence of Russia. The first firefight will destroy the works like the Houthis did to Aramco’s facilities in Saudi Arabia. The only defensible position is at Al-Tanf near Jordon’s border. But this base has absolutely no value if the Baghdad to Damascus highway is opened to the north of it.

Donald Trump’s impeachment is looming, the Likud party has not formed a majority in Parliament, and MbS is a disastrous princeling whose only chance of survival is a Yemen peace settlement. The regime change alliance is in disarray. Will it by reflex try to keep the Shiite Crescent cut or admit defeat and seek peace?

Posted by: VietnamVet | Oct 18 2019 23:38 utc | 157

@153 karlof1.. thanks for your many posts with links - some which i read, some i have already read and some i don't get around to reading... i find it amazing how tulsi gabbards comments get taken in the usa.. the neo cons have been so successful that anyone who voices any opposition to that agenda is branded in such a hostile manner... it looks like the neo cons are getting nervous here with tulsi.. good!

Posted by: james | Oct 18 2019 23:44 utc | 158

@147 lozion.. was that directed at b, or just more generally to anyone who thinks the situation turned more positive in the past few weeks?

Posted by: james | Oct 18 2019 23:45 utc | 159

Whatever the case, here's to the people who walked into the room for Syria and her people when everybody else was walking out ... or doing worse .. hell of a job cleaning up Uncle Sam and friend's mess

Posted by: KLA | Oct 18 2019 23:47 utc | 160

Per/Norway said this...

Your logic and gatekeeping is pure cia bs, your attempts to be a gatekeeping narrative pusher is weak, i have noticed that for quite a while in my lurking.

I agree 100 percent Per...I too have been watching closely and have noticed the same from this same , ehrm, 'source'...

It's called wishcasting...but he overplayed his hand badly [leaving no doubt as to his mission here].

Declaring 'checkmate' as we watch on video how Syrian and Russian troops moving into key cities like Kobane, while US columns moving out the other direction...

Some 'checkmate'...I guess if I shot myself in the foot with a howitzer I could declare that the weapon fired 'flawlessly'...LOL

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 18 2019 23:52 utc | 161

US is likely to hold the oil country for some time, but looks like Syria will be in control of some vital assets. Full control of Tabqa dam for electricity and irrigation, cement factory may require a lot of rebuilding but vital for rebuilding Syria, and a lot of wheat producing farmland - amount depending on wherethe new US frontlines will be set.
In the months since Trump's original pullout announcement that went nowhere, a lot of reports of convoys of US equipment going into Syria from Iraq. It may have been at that stage, a plan for a partial pullout or a drawing back to a new frontline just holding the oil producing region was put in place. The huge amount of equipment that has gone into Syria may well have been for building a very strong frontline around the major oilfields of Deir EZZor and Hasaka provinces.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 18 2019 23:52 utc | 162

dh @155--

Probably refugees from all over the region migrating to Turkey over the years, going back to last century well before the war against Syria. Here's UNHCR data on Syrian Refugees in Turkey, and it's immense. The demographic breakdown suggests that as many as 20% or 720K were born while in Turkey, while many were also too young to know of a home. Of course, there'll be those who don't want to return for numerous reasons; hard to know how many, but I'd guess 10%. And with the border controls Turkey installed, it's not easy returning even if that's what you desire. It's likely easier to go via Cyprus or Iraq, but that takes money. I didn't dig too deep at that site, so there's probably lots more data you'll find useful.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 18 2019 23:59 utc | 163

Hillary's attack on Tulsi is just another episode of the stage-managed dupoly show. But it shows us why the establishment needed a candidate like Tulsi.

As good as Tulsi's response is, the fact is Hillary's not in the race; former VP Biden is.

Why is it that Tulsi never attacks Joe Biden who was at the center of all the "regime-change wars" which is Tulsi's signature issue? She only attacks Biden's opponents.

The fact is, Tulsi would be a great way to balance a ticket with that is headlined by Joe Biden. She appeals to voters in every way that Biden's white male warmongering offends them. This, despite the fact that as an anti-war candidate, Tulsi sucks. She's neither anti-war nor anti-Empire. She's simply against wars that USA fails to win. That's why she's still a member of the military.

Lets be real, no US President or politician is EVER a proponent of war - they always talk of peace. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Trump has declared that he's against stupid wars in the Middle East (yet he's "locked and loaded" for war with Iran). Every democratic candidate would gladly proclaim their love for peace ... and twice on Sunday.

It's surprising how many people on "alternative media" LOVE the duopoly show. Despite sh*t like this:

Ellen's 'forgive and forget' friendship with Bush is the new "enough with the emails". American unity and Party unity is touted when the Deep State wants to protect its untouchable political operatives.

and this:
Biggest surprise of the latest US Democratic debate?

[When asked what unusual friendship they have (like Ellen's with GW Bush)]
3 of the 12 candidates cite John McCain as a friend...

> Amy Klobuchar: recounted a touching personal story to illustrate their close connection;

> Bernie Sanders: fondly recalls working with him on vet legislation;

> Joe Biden: proud of his association with this great American and his 'can do' spirit.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 18 2019 23:59 utc | 164

@126 psychohistorian - "the US is still strategically in Syria"

I think the US is still tactically in Syria but strategically it's kissing that old dream goodbye. But it takes alot to change your view, and the US is nothing if not composed of multiple layers of view. The difference between the White House and the Pentagon and the CIA, etc...

But strategically, the forces that constrain all the players in that theater are what they are, and they've been very clearly enunciated by b and several good commentators and many commenters here.

What's sad, to my mind, is the short view taken by many of the comments here - such that one tweet by the exaggerator-in-chief and one news report from an unknown Pentagon official can cause their entire picture of the theater to collapse.

Yet all the imperatives and tactical-strategic positions that existed a few days ago remain exactly the same today. One tweet can't change any of that, any more than King Canute could command the incoming tide on the shoreline to roll back.


@b 79

It seems unlikely that the US can hold onto the oil fields. These seem like inexact words from Trump, on a par with "saving millions of lives." The US could hold territory as a tripwire, but I suspect that tripwire is now used up.

The forces arrayed against the US are more powerful than any claim of exceptionalism can endure, including internal US forces - Trump still needs to win that election, which he can't do if he loses soldiers to an illegal resource grab. This time I think those oil operations and the soldiers policing them will face local guerrilla activity. They're surrounded, as pointed out up-thread, and increasingly clearly don't belong there - neither morally nor legally but more pointedly, not in harm's way.

The imperatives for all players in this situation still point to US withdrawal from the oil operations, either the easy way or the hard way.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 19 2019 0:02 utc | 165

b's post @79

"In comment 65 I found it unlikely that the U.S. will holdonto the oil.

It seems I was wrong:
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
.....this thinking years ago. Instead, it was always held together with very weak bandaids, & in an artificial manner. There is good will on both sides & a really good chance for success. The U.S. has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey...."
17:42 UTC · Oct 18, 2019

The good thing about b is that if events prove him wrong he says so.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 0:02 utc | 166

@147. Lozion

Until it is retaken, a stated aim of the Syrian government. Nothing is permament.

Good! Until then your's is wishful projection or merely just meant to contradict me, while mine is still fact today. Exactly how pray tell is Syria going to take back the Golan from the Zionist military Goliath?

Southwest is where the oil is. Only a matter of time until the fields are freed. The US position being untenable.

Southwest? Oh you mean Golan. Response same as above. Uh, freed how? Again, your answer is not fact as it hasn't happened.

-Most displaced by the war left combat and insurgency zones and will be happy to move back to their homeland. The others, tough luck.
Do you have any facts to refute this reality? I have yet to read them.

I don't think Erdo will stop to choose which don't harbor resentment for Assad and which do.

Your responses are not based in reality. A future possibilty, maybe, but highly challenging and improbable action that might occur is not reality. Reality is what exists today as in the facts I outlined.

But hey, at least one of us hopes you end up being right. You, I'm not sure...yet. I think you just oppose anything I write.

I expressed what I think Zionist Trump is up to. Now, soon I'm switching to the Open Thread cause Hillary's at it again trying to help your boy Trump and bl ow up the Democratic race! See ya!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 19 2019 0:05 utc | 167

Hey Trump, why not bring ALL the troops home worldwide? Sounds like it would facilitate a bunch of deals, what with the military and the CiA out of the way.

With that peace dividend, imagine the problems you could solve, actually pay for and most importantly, take credit for.

Posted by: Jack'sSon | Oct 19 2019 0:06 utc | 168

Posted by: james | Oct 18 2019 23:45 utc | 159 @147 lozion.. was that directed at b, or just more generally to anyone who thinks the situation turned more positive in the past few weeks?

hi James.

Lozion is refuting, point by point, our partner from their post on the previous page in this thread:

Posted by: Curce | Oct 18 2019 16:09 utc | 69

Posted by: jonku | Oct 19 2019 0:09 utc | 169

karlof1 and dh

Majority of refugees left Syria as the jihadists took over. I know from previous reading a large number moved to Turkey as refugees with the jihadi take over of Aleppo. Number of external refugees has changed little from the first years of the jihadi take over.
Smaller number who have sympathies with the jihadi's and jihadi families moving out since 2016 as Syrian government has been taking back ground with Russia's help. Majority of non jihadis opting for reconciliation in those areas taken back by SAA.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 0:09 utc | 170


US is on the way out but will fight it every step of the way. My only hope is US does not go nuclear to try and prevent its demise. I believe Trump and his backers have plans for using control of oil to prevent the demise of the US as a world power. If this is the case, then the US will fight hard to gain that control.
The trump faction are rational enough players not to start a war with Russia or China, but my thought remains that in desperation to prevent the demise of the US they may take risks in regard to their actions initiating military confrontation with Russia and perhaps less so China.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 0:24 utc | 171

follow up @164

Biden attacked by Trump

Tusli attacked by Hillary

Not surprisingly, each are using the attack to their advantage.

Is there any better political currency that the scorn of a powerful opponent?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 19 2019 0:34 utc | 172

Grieved @165--

True, the strategic situation hasn't changed--the overall position of the Outlaw US Empire within Southwest Asia and its policy for that region is 100% untenable and hangs by the proverbial thread. If it's constructed any sort of fortifications in Eastern Syria it an insane attempt to defend holding the oil patch there, they will already be well known by Russia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran via satellite intel and have no hope of CAS thanks to S-300. The GIs know their situation tactically is untenable, and the smarter ones know it's the same strategically. Their gripes already target the higher chain-of-command, and I seriously doubt they'll stand and fight against SAA forces--what was it Kerry said about being the last to die for a mistake?

And despite all their efforts to cover it up, BigLie Media will now have to get into the question of War and Empire thanks to HRC's egotistical blowup at Gabbard and the totally idiotic Kremlin Talking Point/Kremlin Agent ruse being used by her and the DNC cabal. IMO, this will get her into the next debate and hopefully the remainder as BigLie Media repeats the same mistake it made in 2015-16 with Trump.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2019 0:35 utc | 173

@169 jonku... thanks! say no more! lozion is usually doesn't fall for this crazy circe jerk..

Posted by: james | Oct 19 2019 0:44 utc | 174


Domestically in the US, all forces seem to be converging on the Clinton server. That could certainly punch a hole in the swamp. A bit of swamp draining around the server would put Trump in a stronger position, but Gabbard may then be in a position to give trump some opposition in the next election.
As I have stated in previous posts, I believe Trump strategy is to gain control of oil supplies which I think will come to the fore in his second term. If the server pays out well then Trump will be in a much stronger position to carry out what I think is his strategy, but Gabbard winning would or hopefully would end Trump faction aspirations for US energy dominance.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 0:49 utc | 175

Peter AU 1 @171:

US is on the way out but will fight it every step of the way.

How much fighting will they really do?

SAA is now committed to the border area - seems like they are (for now) overextended. And SAA relies on Russian air support on the battlefield - which will not be available against USA-backed forces.

Plus SAA may have a worsening oil & gas situation. Will the 'Assad must go!' Alliance allow another Iranian oil tanker to get to Syria? If the attack on Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea is any indication then the answer is "no".

Furthermore, the Turks want to return the refugees. This is a real problem of resources and politics that is coming to the fore. Neither Europe nor Turkey wants to pay for their upkeep. USA may provide oil & gas and upkeep IF they Turkey gets to occupy and administer Idlib and virtually the entire northern border.

<> <> <> <> <>

Maybe the war is over and USA is leaving, or maybe that's wishful thinking.

If this is a US-Turk powerplay (as I've suspected), it's really ingenious.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 19 2019 0:51 utc | 176

@172 Jackrabbit

I was going to post about it on the open thread, but don't you think Hillary's doing what she did in 2016? She's trying to get Trump elected again! This will not favor Tulsi. Dems are too dumb to view Tulsi in a sympathetic light. They sabotaged Sanders in 2016 and are doing same to Tulsi now, and what Hillary's doing is going to help Trump, cause she just painted the DNC into her loser, corrupt corner. If this isn't proof that Trump is the chosen, I don't know what else is!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 19 2019 0:51 utc | 177

@ 153 Peter

You seem to think Erdogan or Turkey want to help the refugees...

SYR refugees in Turkey are either, in camps - with UN support that is put in the hands of FSA recruiters (children serve the FSA or the family does not eat)

OR they support themselves and live under various degrees of turkish discrimination (because Syrians take Turksh jobs, lower wages etc) and recrimmination.

Turkey itself provides nothing, instead was milking the EU for 3 billion a year to host them. Now as stated by others, Turkey was not under any threat until Erdogan tore up the peace deal (7 yr old?) he had with Oclan and the Kurds. He did that about 2-3 years ago to take advantage of the instability in Syr and ethnically clean some areas and push kurds into N Syr.

This is not Turkeys first attempt to ethnically cleanse those areas of Kurds. In the mid 90's IIRC, some 1 million + kurds were displaced/disappeared, as documented by reporters one a Canadian, who was also disappeared. The documents were buried in the UN by the US

But what Erdogan got as a simmering insurgency empowered by US arms &training. What Erdogan wants is what the US had, what the CIA built in Turkey under his protection. Erdogan wants a jihadist insurgent army he can host(outside of Turkey, therefore giving him deniability), and direct to do his bidding in Syr, Saudia, Ukraine, the EU, Uigurland, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan etc

Just as Erdogan gave the FUKUS alliance deniability in what they did in Syria, the Syrian safe zone will give Erdogan deniability as he pursues his course

All that to say, Turkey is Not interested Syrian stability, just the opposite. They have zero care or concern for Arabs and hate Kurds. Whatever Turkey does with refugees, it is not for their good or Syria's.

Posted by: les7 | Oct 19 2019 0:54 utc | 178

Jackrabbit "Plus SAA may have a worsening oil & gas situation. Will the 'Assad must go!' Alliance allow another Iranian oil tanker to get to Syria? If the attack on Iranian oil tanker in the Red Sea is any indication then the answer is "no"."

My thought it was in relation to Syrian oil supplies as well as trying to make it look as though Saudi's had fired the missiles.
The Iranian tanker was loaded and heading up the Red Sea towards the Mediterranean when it was hit, so quite likely headed to Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 0:57 utc | 179

@ karlof1 173
strategic situation hasn't changed--the overall position of the Outlaw US Empire within Southwest Asia and its policy for that region is 100% untenable and hangs by the proverbial thread

The tenuous thread has been broken. The US currently in the Middle East -- to use a Bill Monroe phrase -- ain't no part of nuthin'. WaPo's Liz Sly got it right:
>The hasty U.S. pullback from Syria is a searing moment in America’s withdrawal from the Middle East
> The blow to America’s standing in the Middle East was sudden and unexpectedly swift.
>As Russian and Syrian troops roll into vacated towns and U.S. bases, the winners are counting the spoils.
> It sent another signal to Iran that Washington has no appetite for the kind of confrontation that its rhetoric suggests and that Iran’s expanded influence in Syria is now likely to go unchallenged.
>It sent a message to the wider world that the United States is in the process of a disengagement that could resonate beyond the Middle East
>On Arab news channels, coverage switched from footage of jubilant Syrian troops to scenes of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lavish receptions by the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Washington’s most vital Arab allies in the Persian Gulf.
>“Many will now be looking for new friends. The Russians don’t abandon their allies. They fight for them. And so do the Iranians.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 19 2019 0:58 utc | 180

@171 Peter AU 1

My friend, are you not ready yet to begin to moderate your view of the US plan for energy dominance? That ship seems to me to have sailed. How can you dominate when most of the hydrocarbons are beyond your reach? The US doesn't own Russia's oil, and apparently couldn't seize Venezuela's, and can't control the Iran/Qatar gas field. Domestic oil production is a chimera - albeit that US policy rests on numerous such wisps.

And how could Syria's drop of oil make that much difference? Especially as the cost of seizing it is far too high, and going up. If Trump doesn't dare to lose any soldiers in Syria - and the election says that he doesn't - then he damn sure can't go nuclear. And the Russian and US militaries are in continual contact precisely to avoid the mistakes that can escalate situations to larger confrontation. This can't simply be a political decision made, at least not in ordinary times, which I classify these times as. There has to be a series of steps. And we have seen how thinly the Russians can slice escalation into multiple steps.

One doesn't simply walk into nuclear conflagration.

The commanding heights on energy dominance used to be the US dollar, but Trump plays carefree now even with Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the world cautiously prepares to leave the dollar - including KSA, for good strategic reasons that we have also discussed here. If the heft of the US Dollar is lessening daily, and it is, then how can that dollar control global energy? Its still-great but diminishing financial power is the only one left to the US. Its capacity from boots on the ground and planes in the air is dramatically diminished, and the Pentagon seems utterly wary of any scenario that will shatter its old myth of powerfulness.

There's no doubt that the US is already acting in desperation to lessen its own fall, and the most likely method seems to be to mess up every good thing rising that could possibly rise higher than it in its former glory. But it can only spoil; it can't dominate.

That Dylan line:
"Cares not to come up any higher // But rather would get you down in the hole that he's in."

In sum, the reasons keep stacking up higher on the side of the ledger that says the US can't do anything, anywhere, except use sanctions from its diminishing dollar privilege, and engage in the end of the world through a nuclear exchange with Russia. That's it. Nothing else left.

It's time to stop reflexively worrying that the US will "go nuclear". Those triggers are shared with Russia, and those guys are smart. It's time instead to look at the US as if it didn't have nukes, and begin to assess dispassionately what in the actual fuck it really does have capacity to do in any particular situation, including this one with Syria.

That tripwire, as I suggested above, has used up its trip.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 19 2019 0:58 utc | 181

Circe @177:

... don't you think Hillary's doing what she did in 2016? She's trying to get Trump elected again!

Yes she is, as is the Deep State of which she is a part.

A Biden - Tulsi ticket is a loser.

<> <> <> <> <>

Somewhat similar to the McCain - Palin ticket.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 19 2019 0:59 utc | 182

@159/169 I dont quote the Witch by her name..
Correction: I meant Southeast not Southwest. The rest still stands..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 19 2019 1:11 utc | 183

I hope you are right, but every time I think Trump has given up on any plans for middle east oil, he keeps coming back to it.
As I have put in previous posts, Russia and China are putting forward a new philosophy on international relations, on win win deals and the best way to ensure peace is through all countries doing wel materially and financially. Peace and prosperity type thing. US on the other hand still lives in the pre WWII era of great powers and empire, of subjugating states and so forth. Both to ensure their own safety and to bring in wealth.
This I think is where the danger lays. Too many countries and nations throughout history have brought on their own utter destruction by starting wars they could not finish.
US is still a dangerous beast. Best to treat it with caution until it is completely defeated.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 1:17 utc | 184

Grieved @181

USA have caused a severe decline in oil revenue for Iran and Venezuela.

And Russia can't deliver the oil China needs (that's why China imports so much from the Gulf).

So Peter AU 1's "energy dominance" conjecture is mostly right with respect to what is happening in the short term.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 19 2019 1:17 utc | 185

@ Grieved # 181 who ended with
That tripwire, as I suggested above, has used up its trip.
I don't disagree but don't see nations running for the door to abandon empire yet so we are somewhere in the middle of ???

Empire/US is in Syria illegally but it is still there and what is it going to take to remove them? Time or Yemen type of attacks?....or both?

I guess I see this being part of the Civilization war I keep writing about and the cult of global private finance keeps looking for another host or other way to continue its existence. and they will be happy to throw America under the bus if it helps them keep their control of global private finance alive.

I agree with you that nukes are not on the table yet and won't be until and after there is a financial meltdown and the cult comes to the negotiating table and if they are rejected they may resort to nukes because they are poor losers.....what happens when the empire/US tells all countries that their US T-bills are worthless and others are in front of them for the left over pieces of "property/collateral"?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 19 2019 1:18 utc | 186

DH @ 120:

China would be glad to get at least 20,000 of those 4 million "Syrian refugees" in Idlib province back, along with their families. Beijing has been after them for several years.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 19 2019 1:23 utc | 187

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 18 2019 23:52 utc | 161
"I guess if I shot myself in the foot with a howitzer I could declare that the weapon fired 'flawlessly'"

LOL, true.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Oct 19 2019 1:25 utc | 188


Syrians taking jobs is a problem for Erdogan. He needs to keep onside his support base. Most muslim countries, apart from the gulf Arabs have a very open policy on letting in refugees, especially muslim refugees. Erdo is also gathering up cards for Astana and the new Syrian constitution.
The other thing to remember is the Ethnic or language groups of the area.
You have the semite peoples, turkic, Iranian or Persians and then the Kurds, also of the Iranian language group but separate to the Iranians. Syria and Iraq, turkey and Iran have arbitrary borders chopping through these groups apart from the fact that there are no clear cut natural borders, rather a gradual change from one group to another. Erdogan is very much into the Turkic peoples thing and history.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 1:31 utc | 189

karlof1 @150 and @154

thanks for that further info about Tulsi's tweet and all....!!

that up to date battle map of NE syria you linked to
It disconcerts me so much that the turks and their jihadist allies (as Blumenthal so nicely points out - & which you also have the link to @141) have advanced on several fronts so much. The only consolation there is that the Syrian army has cut them off by taking the very important cities of Manbij and Kobane.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 19 2019 1:35 utc | 190

What makes anyone think that the YPGs in this "safe zone" will simply disarm, disband and join the Syrian Arab Army? Even Arabs in the AANES have reasons to prefer their current alliance. The ten thousand militia members (including many Arameans, Syriacs and others) who died fighting the Islamic State, expecting to win a measure of autonomy from the Syrian state, died for nothing? Their families are now "winners" when the SAA marches in, because some American says so? These people are unprincipled, ethno-nationalists with no interest in the autonomy from established states codified in the AANES Constitution? They don't really value their local autonomy and personal liberty? They'll be happier submitting to the Syrian state now than they were a decade ago? They were only under the spell of an Ocalan cult, but now they're snapping out of it, 'cause they've seen through the deception of the SDF and the AANES, 'cause some American has shown them the light?

Color me skeptical.

Posted by: Martin Brock | Oct 19 2019 1:36 utc | 191

In a three-party race, Gabbard could win. She would certainly get a lot more votes for the Green Party.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 19 2019 1:38 utc | 192

Peter AU 1 @175--

Recall who was first charged with investigating HRC's emails and server--James Comey, the D-Party partisan who did his best to compromise Trump via Russiagate.

Don Bacon @180--

All that from Liz Sly, the "journalist" the Angry Arab has ripped so much over the years--wow. I said almost broken since there remains Saudi Arabia and all its hydrocarbons currently occupied by enough Outlaw US Empire troops to capture the government, which is why I haven't gone against Peter's hypothesis too hard. And who would come to the rescue of the al-Sauds if that were to occur? That's correct, nobody. What would the domestic US reaction be? Adulation from many factions, IMO.

Et Al--

The geopolitical/geoeconomic questions posed by grieved are complex and require time to write about. Perhaps Monday will provide the time and the usual weekend open thread the venue for such an essay. Plus, some of the battle smoke will have lifted by then revealing the actual status.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 19 2019 1:41 utc | 193

Down South | Oct 18 2019 7:42 utc | 7:

There's no way TPTB could pull off another JFK. I believe Trump declassed some files from the FBI vaults regarding JFK to take away that option from them. Today, there's far too many people believing they've been lied to regarding the assassination. The lack of support for the official narrative of Epstein's demise further strengthen that belief.

Bemildred | Oct 18 2019 12:44 utc | 35:

changed from Ataturk to Rent-A-Turk

Oh how true.   ROFL

Circe | Oct 18 2019 19:14 utc | 110:

OK. How is China dropping the ball wrt the ME? They get more maneuvering room by allowing someone else to take the spotlight. Do you really believe anyone would turn down the business opportunity to sell oil to China?

michaelj72 | Oct 18 2019 21:40 utc | 144:

"It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly."

I'm expecting Hillary to make her appearance next year. Gabbard has to be careful. The Clintons are known for making their opponents "checkout" sooner than expected.

Posted by: Ian2 | Oct 19 2019 1:45 utc | 194

Martin Brock

The Syrian Kurds weren't just after Autonomy. They sided with the US against Syria and carved out a huge chunk of territory that had never been Kurd territory Apart from that there is on towns inhabited by majority Kurds rather than Regions. Although there were very small numbers in NE syria, 6000 or so, Kurds moved into those areas since the 1930s perhaps from Turkey and elsewhere.
How would you feel if migrants come to your country then try to carve a big chunk off it with foreign help. Kurds lay their own bed and now have to sleep in it. Submit to the Turks and be treated as terrorists, or rejoin Syria are their options.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 19 2019 1:48 utc | 195

@Mark Thompson
Agreed. Even many Arabs who fought for the autonomy of NE Syria may resent now joining the SAA, and most of the Kurds and other ethnic minorities presumably will. Furthermore, these people are not simply mindless members of their respective ethnic tribes. Believe it or not, they have political principles beyond nationalism, just as you and I and Billmon do. The Kurds were always a nation without a state, and other persons in NE Syria have similar reasons to favor the AANES' organizing principles. Maybe the Syrian status quo ante is upon us, but many Rojavans will not recognize their "victory".

Posted by: Martin Brock | Oct 19 2019 1:50 utc | 196

Regarding all these strategy discussions, let's use some business terms, since politics is really a business.
>profit point: The 50,000 US troops in the Gulf, profit the US how?
--likewise the thousand or so left in Syria, how?
--and the 30,000 in Korea . . on and on.
>And trends, is US influence increasing or decreasing in all these places?
CONCLUSION: The US business is in trouble.
And when someone publishes the truth, agreeable to the Angry Arab or not, it remains the truth. (Karlof: Don't pull that messenger shit on me.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 19 2019 2:00 utc | 197

The US retreated to the oil fields because the Turks sensed its weakness.

Posted by: Yotel | Oct 19 2019 2:11 utc | 198

Peter AU 1 #142

Erdo's targets may be the US as well as Kurds"

I seriously put it to you that more likely probability is Erdo has double crossed the Russian and Syrian peace initiative. The SAA is out like a shag on a rock and the USA air power could decimate them. The only offset against that is the capability of the Russian air forces to challenge and stare that down.

The look on Pence and Erdo's faces had the grimace of a double cross. That is why I trust Shoygu can keep a rod in Putin's back here.

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

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 19 2019 2:23 utc | 199

Every country looks out for itself, as it should. Given that, I can't believe that Turkey wants to be without regional allies. There will always be differences of opinions, but a commonality on general end results if there is some sense of community, IOW not like the U.S.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 19 2019 2:31 utc | 200

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