Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 14, 2019

Syrian Government Regains Control Over Country's Northeastern Parts

Eight days ago U.S. President Donald Trump gave a green light for another Turkish invasion of Syria. We explained why that move made it inevitable for the Kurds to submit to Damascus and to let the Syrian Arab Army back into northeast Syria:

While the YPG might want to fight off a Turkish invasion they have little chance to succeed. The land is flat and the YPG forces only have light arms.

There is only one solution for them. They will have to call up the Syrian government and ask it to come back into the north east. That would remove the Turkish concerns and would likely prevent further Turkish moves.

After Trump had spoken with the Turkish president Erdogan, the U.S. military removed a few of its forces from some areas near the Turkish border. The Pentagon was still under the false impression that Turkey would limit its invasion to some 5 kilometer in depth. It was obvious, as we wrote, that Turkey wanted far more:

A major goal is to interrupt the M4 highway that runs parallel to the border and allows for troop movements between the east and the west of the Kurdish majority areas. The highway is about 20-30 kilometers from the border.

The M4 road is also one of the major logistical routes for the U.S. troops stationed in the western part.

The Kurds could do little to resist the Turkish onslaught. On Saturday Turkish supported "Syrian rebels" reached the M4 highway and captured and killed several Kurdish troops and civilians who were passing by. The Pentagon finally took notice of the imminent danger:

“This is total chaos,” a senior administration official said at midday, speaking on the condition of anonymity about the confusing situation in Syria.

Although “the Turks gave guarantees to us” that U.S. forces would not be harmed, the official said, Syrian militias allied with them “are running up and down roads, ambushing and attacking vehicles,” putting American ­forces — as well as civilians — in danger even as they withdraw. The militias, known as the Free Syrian Army, “are crazy and not reliable.”

Ahhhh. The "Free Syrian Army", which the U.S. built and supplied with an immense amount of weapons to fight the Syrian government, is "crazy and not reliable". How come that all the think tankers and 'journalists' who for years lauded that 'army' never noticed that?

The Pentagon finally recognized that it was not possible to hold onto the area without starting a war with its NATO partner Turkey. On Saturday evening Trump gave the order that all U.S. troops shall leave northeast Syria within 30 days. The Secretary of Defense did not resign as his predecessor did over a similar decision but defended the move.

The decision was the kick in the ass the Kurds needed to agree to the return of Syrian government troops to the area they had held on to while under U.S. command. Currently Syrian troops and their heavy weapons are streaming in. Their primary task is to prevent any further encroachment by Turkish forces. They will also move to retake the oil fields east of Deir Ezzor and they will take control of the prison camps where ISIS fighters are held.


As of this writing Syrian troops (red) have entered Manbij, Ain al Issa, Tabqa airbase near Raqqa and Tel Tamr. Turkish supported groups (green) hold Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn and the villages between those two cities. That area has an Arab majority population.

The Kurds wish to keep their 'autonomous administration' of northeast Syria. While talks are still ongoing I do not expect that the mostly Arab inhabitants of the whole area, nor the Syrian government will agree to that. There can not be a special status for any of Syria's many ethnic or religious groups.

The Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces will be disbanded. Its soldiers will be integrated into the Syrian army. The Syrian government will also disband the 'autonomous' Kurdish administration. It will confiscate the weapons the U.S. has given to the Kurds. All this will take some time but it will, in the end, remove the Turkish concerns that the organized Syrian Kurdish groups could enter Turkey to fight on the side of  their PKK separatist brethren.

The U.S. had more than 1,000 troops in northeast Syria. There were also several hundred French and British special forces and some 2,000 U.S. contractors. They, and a huge amount of equipment, are now moving out. They have nothing to fear from the Syrian forces. Syria is happy to see them leave. (Reports that the U.S.yesterday bombed Syrian troops are false.)

The strategic plan behind last week's development must have come from Moscow. Russia has tried for some time to get Turkey into its camp. Russia, Iran and Syria allowed Turkey a limited invasion of Syria to scare the U.S. out. Russia largely supported the Turkish move but it will also set its limits.

Trump has been looking for a chance to move the U.S. troops out of Syria since December 2018. The borg made that politically unfeasible. The Turkish (Russian) move gave him the excuse he needed.

It is possible that the whole arrangement was made for exactly that purpose.

Posted by b on October 14, 2019 at 12:28 UTC | Permalink

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Being the big picture sort I wonder about what this means for the future of the global finance led empire.

It certainly seems to be a setback but the US is still in/controlling many countries around the world and I am not sure if they are expecting to retain some presence in Syria given some of the weasel words I have seen in print like "we are leaving Northern Syria"

I will believe the world is changing for the better when I see global private finance take a direct hit to their jackboot control of the lifeblood of all international commerce.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 14 2019 20:46 utc | 101

William Gruff @88--

Thanks for your reply! Yes, I share deconfliction as being Assad's recipe that was perhaps suggested by Russia given the nature of Color Revolution tactics to get everyone to fight everyone else, the resulting chaos then used as pretext to replace the sitting government for one that can "make everyone get along." I do hope I live to see Syria's condition in 2030 as that result will reflect the wisdom or lack thereof now being implemented.

Mina @89--

Thanks for noting the EU following the dysfunctional US Congress's lead. But then even Trump was advocating sanctions for Turkey.

bevin @90--

You may recall that several years ago I wrote here that I saw Turkey gravitating to the bloc being formed by Russia and China; that at some point the longstanding anti-Turkey/anti-Muslim bias of the EU would finally cause the Turks to finally say Enough with your crap! That even though they'd been enemies for centuries fighting each other that the Turk and the Russian would become allies (I got lots of hoots for that prediction). I thought it significant that the new Resistance Ds like AOC and Omar recited the Deep State back stabbing and need for sanctions Narrative when the illegal presence of Outlaw US Empire troops had previously been called out by them and their withdrawal demanded.

h @92--

Nice to see you back in the discussion again. I'd like to know what you think of these essays, "Nationalism Doesn’t Mean Isolationism: Why Bertrand Russell Is Wrong" and "Are You with the Globalists or With the Patriots?" the latter being based upon this much longer essay. I'll appreciate whatever feedback you supply!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 20:56 utc | 102

Here are the powerful sanctions

‘Fully prepared to destroy economy’ Trump to sanction Turkish officials, raise steel tariffs & stop $100bn trade deal

[.]Turkey’s action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes,” Trump said on Monday, announcing the upcoming measures against Ankara.

In addition to an executive order sanctioning current and former officials involved in “destabilizing actions in northeast Syria,” Trump said he would raise tariffs on Turkish steel to 50 percent, and immediately stop the negotiations over a trade deal valued at $100 billion.[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Oct 14 2019 21:06 utc | 103

Remarkable how the present situation looks like a win-win strategy for most parties involved.

Even the Turkish offensive against the Kurds looks like a win in the long run for the Erdogan government, in that Ankara finally finds a way to get rid of all the terrorists Turkey has been harbouring all these years: send them into northern Syria along the Turkish border to fight the Kurds.

The Kurds then go screaming into the embrace of the Syrian Arab Army, they agree to join and become a part of the SAA and together they mop up the jihadists and takfiris masquerading as the Free Syrian Army.

With that done and the borders of NE Syria secured for Damascus, the combined forces can then retake Idlib province and remove the terrorists there. Some of those terrorists can either choose to languish in camps in Turkey, move on to Europe as "refugees" or agree to return to their countries of origin (principally in Central Asia and China).

The one remaining issue now is how Britain, on the brink of Brexit, France and other EU countries can explain their part in the Syrian War when the SAA and Kurds capture huge numbers of British and French "advisors" among the "Free Syrian Army" and show off captured arms and ammunition showing evidence of EU manufacture.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 14 2019 21:19 utc | 104

The one remaining issue now is how Britain, on the brink of Brexit, France and other EU countries can explain their part in the Syrian War when the SAA and Kurds capture huge numbers of British and French "advisors" among the "Free Syrian Army" and show off captured arms and ammunition showing evidence of EU manufacture.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 14 2019 21:19 utc | 105

I can't quite see why they're worse off than the US advisors. They are less numerous, and managed to get out of East Aleppo, so I presume they'll do the same again. Asad won't be putting them on show, more likely ship them off quietly, if captured, but they won't be. Captured US weapons have already been shown off, considerably more plentiful. I'm puzzled why this point.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 14 2019 21:33 utc | 105

William Gruff--I wrote a long reply to you on the weekly review thread you may not have seen.

psychohistorian @102--

In the aftermath of WW2 and the decolonization that then occurred, there was a trend away from multi-party politics to single party nationalism that was deemed a threat by the Outlaw US Empire since the trend was the adoption of Marxist economics aimed at the following:

"Marxists accordingly criticized “utopian” socialists and anti-socialist individualists such as Henry George for dealing only with the land issue or naïve monetary reforms without addressing labor’s fight to improve its working conditions and ultimately to free itself from private property in the means of production. Arguing against followers of George, Louis Untermann noted that in Germany, Ferdinand Lassalle found in Ricardian economics an implicitly socialist program, but 'never indulged in any illusions as to the efficacy of that Single Tax idea for the emancipation of the working class.' [24] This required a government that would play an active role promoting labor’s interests vis-à-vis industrial capital, not only through regulatory reforms but by outright state ownership of the means of production under working-class control." Here.

Bolded were aims of self-described communist nations, but also of those newly formed nations wanting to free themselves from the remaining tentacles of colonialism. These new nations rightly perceived multi-party politics as a means by which control could still be exerted by the former colonial nation and saw a single, nationalist party aimed at uplifting all aspects of what were usually impoverished nations made that way via the policies of their former masters. IMO, Syria tried to establish such a system but was attacked for its efforts soon after WW2 ended. (Remember, the #1 post WW2 policy goal of the Outlaw US Empire was to ensure its great disparity of resource use continued unhindered, which is what the Cold War was contrived to conceal.)

IMO, any government that's founded on doing the utmost for its people must have a public/national banking/finance system. Taking such out of private hands merely means no small class/faction can artificially become rich at the expense of the remaining polity and at the overall health of the nation. Banking and Finance must be national first and foremost--100% sovereign. But as we've seen, such organization is deemed a threat to the Outlaw US Empire's national security and is thus attacked on that false/illegal pretext.

They're just in their formative stages, but I'm more than curious as to the sort of national and international banking and financial network the BRI/EAEU will construct to further their ends as I'm convinced it won't follow the EUCB scheme or create a single currency bloc.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 21:40 utc | 106

Hala Jaber
The recent agreement between the #Syrian government & the #SDF (Syrian democratic Force,) pertain to the following points.
Nothing more, or less has been discussed or currently agreed upon beyond these points. 1/ +
Hala Jaber
Replying to
.2/ The agreement is only of four clauses in which the SAA will deploy from three axes:

1- Tabqa axis in the north along Ain Issa & it’s’ surroundings, to Tal Abyad along the Syrian Turkish borders & towards the west.

Hala Jaber
.3/ -
2- Manbij Axis: towards Ain Arab along the Syrian Turkish border to Tal Abyad north & towards west.

4- Hassaka Axis: Tal-Tamer to Ras el-Ain and East from there to Qamishly, Malikiya & towards the south.

Hala Jaber
.4/ The SAA will deploy in Manbij starting from Areema, all along the Sajour.

The agreement between both sides guarantees the right of the the SAA’s deployment along the entirety of the area east & north of the Euphrates river & in coordination with local councils. 4/+

Hala Jaber
.5/ The beseiged areas between Ras el Ain and Tal Abyad will remain a military zone until liberation.5/+

Hala Jaber
.6/ Last, but not least:
The #SDF, also pledged its willingness, to protect & safeguard both #Syria’s unity & territory under both Syria’s national flag & it’s President, & to stand by & support the #SAA in confronting all #Turkish threats against Syria’s territory.

Hala Jaber
.7/ The agreement was reached during meetings on Sunday, between both SDF & Syrian government representatives.

Posted by: brian | Oct 14 2019 21:47 utc | 107

@69 William Gruff That is a great point. US pays well and supplies a lot of arms.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 14 2019 21:53 utc | 108

Canthama on Syrper:

"As the day went through, here are the areas confirmed that the SAA and the Syrian Government have taken full control :

1) I won’t name hundreds of villages that the SAA forces have passed by and now those have free access to all liberated Syria already.
Repeat again, all Manbij pocket is now in total control of the SAA, all of it.

2) Key cities under total control by the Syrian Gov.
al Hasaka
Al Qamishli
Ayn Issa
Tell Tamr
Ayn al Arab
Ras al Ayn – fighting is on here but the SAA came to calm down the situation.

3) Key sites
Qarah Qawzaq bridge – the only bridge left over the Euphrates.
Tishrim Dam
Tabqa Dam
Tabqa Airbase – to be operation in 2 weeks max, work is on it already today.
Brigade 93
Division 17

There are over 40,000 SAA soldiers being sent to all corners of North, NE and Easter Syria, have seen videos of SAA forces going one direction and the US forces going the other direction, hilarious indeed to see it happening.

The oil and gas fields will have a group of SAA to defend each one of them, and SAA soldiers are already on the way, these are top priority for the Syrian Gov.

There is already effort within the Syrian Gov to evaluate all oil and gas pipelines to see how quickly they can be used to pump oil and gas to the coast, this is urgent and critical due to the up coming winter approaching, last winter Syrians suffered terribly due to the criminal sanctions on the ordinary people.

There is a NFZ in northern Syria, mostly Manbij pocket, and all northern Raqqa all the way to Qamishili. RuAF and SAAF have put over 30 jets to stay 24×7 on the skies there.

Last but not least, in every place the SAA arrived in northern and NE Syria so far, the ordinary people flocked to embrace the SAA, they know who they can trust, it shows how strong was the support to the Syrian Gov and the only army that can protect all Syrians, the mighty SAA."

Posted by: k | Oct 14 2019 21:55 utc | 109

@ uncle 98 Maybe just use one of the old ones. LOL.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 14 2019 22:05 utc | 110

"Trump Says Syria’s Assad Should Protect Kurds After US Troops Pullout". The sentiment admitted by Trump is in line with the "doctrine" he ordained during his UNGA speech:

"If you want democracy, hold on to your sovereignty. And if you want peace, love your nation. Wise leaders always put the good of their own people and their own country first. The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots."

However, Trump contradicts himself by sanctioning a clear patriot, Erdogan.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 22:09 utc | 111

In less than one week Trump both agreed to Turkey's invasion of Syria and called for sanctions on Turkey for invading Syria.

Three dimensional chess at its finest.

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 14 2019 22:23 utc | 112

Canthama offers an update of a different sort unrelated to Syria but tied to an increase in the Arc of Resistance:

"It must be awful to be in the Apartheid Regime this week, all the positive news from Syria, Iraq managing to calm down the public revolts hijacked by CIA/MOSSAD/MI6 toward regime change and anti Iran…and now come a landslide victory of a anti establishment candidate in Tunisia, the election results are in, and Mr. Saied won by 72.9%! Massive celebrations in Tunisia tonight – streets and squares packed shoulder to shoulder with supporters of Mr. Saied waving Tunisian and Palestinian flags above the crowds and chanters chanting: 'The people want Palestine to be free, the people want Palestine to be free.' TV is interviewing happy Tunisians saying stuff like: 'we voted for one of us,' 'we voted for the man who speaks like us,' 'we voted for the man who feels what we feel.'

"Mr Saied said in a TV debate:

"The flag of Palestine has always stood beside the Tunisian one in my office. Side by side I’ve been looking at them with loving eyes for many decades. For me each flag cannot exist without the other. Tunisia is not complete or free with Palestine still under occupation. My intention as president is to support Palestine and reject the israeli ruse of normalization. Normalization with israel is high treason. My soul, my conscience is not for sale."

Will this election effect events in Algeria or Libya?

What to do with folks having 100% addled minds like this one saying he's an MD:

"Vladimir Putin is President of the United States and Donald Trump is his puppet. There is no other explanation for Trump cheerfully working with Bashar Al-Assad like this. What a disgrace to our nation."

"The Kurds really got a raw deal. Either accept help from a brutal dictator who uses chemical weapons on his own people or get annihilated by Turkey because the United States ran away at the orders of Russia. Meanwhile, a bunch of ISIS prisoners have escaped."

Just how many BigLie Media narrative lies can get squeezed into one tweet? I don't know about other barflies, but I don't want this supposed MD coming anywhere near me or my kin.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 22:43 utc | 113

donkeytale #79, Trump asked Zelensky to investigate apparent criminal activity by American citizens in Ukraine that resulted in plunder of considerable sums from Ukranian corporations. The criminals participating in that activity were high level politicians and administration officers extorting their position for personal financial enrichment.

Not seeking Ukraine cooperation in that matter would render Trump complicit in Biden and others crimes. For which Trump could be impeached! Misprision of a felony is the old version of this type of 'inaction offense'.

If you think the ruling class witch hunt against Trump would not use this old offense AND sacrifice one of its own to get at Trump you are sadly mistaken.

Trump theoretically represents the rule of law in his role as president and MUST go after sedition, criminal coercion, abuse of power and corruption committed by his predecessors. That way and that way only will the Democrats be destroyed. Republicans like to see Democrats destroyed.

Trump is going after the seditious criminals that manufactured the Steele dossier and the 'hate Russia' fantasy as they really are seditious criminals and that includes all the non USA citizens that participated.

See Australia, UK, Malta and Ukraine.

If they are going to extradite Assange then they must extradite Steele, Downer, Mifsud, the Crowdstrike directors. I doubt they will but that is the logical extension of the case against each of these seditious criminals (Assange excluded) and their assault on the USA election and foreign policy prerogatives.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 14 2019 22:50 utc | 114

Why do I have the feeling that the investigation behind the Turkey coup back in 2015, I think that's when it happened...happy to be wrong though, is done and readying to go public. The FBI has been investigating this coup since it occurred. Just a thought.

President Trump Announces Initial Economic Action Against Turkey--Erdogan Left Naked to His Enemies...

karlof1 - I will happily read the links you provided. I'll prepare a response when done. Thank you for offering them to me to read...

Posted by: h | Oct 14 2019 23:11 utc | 115

I do not agree at all that the idea of a Turkish invasion came from Moscow. It is a NATO scheme and nothing else!

If it's a NATO scheme why does NATO seem so upset about it?

Posted by: rcentros | Oct 14 2019 23:38 utc | 116

Apropos of nothing, really...

I know, it’s just a typo, but BM@31’s characterization of Trump (which I don’t dispute) has kept me chuckling with the image of him as “a disgusting crepe”. I’ve had some not so good crepes, the occasional ‘meh’ crepes, but I think one would have to be strangely diligent to produce a truly disgusting crepe.

Posted by: Not Bob | Oct 14 2019 23:43 utc | 117

h @116--

Thanks for your reply! The attempted coup was in July 2016, with Russia being credited with saving Erdogan from an assassination attempt. That was the turning point in Turk/US relations that have soured further. How the new sanctions will impact NATO relations is as yet unknown, but they certainly can't be a positive.

uncle tungsten @115--

Heartily agree with your comment. The number of elite heads that need lopping continues to grow daily as this article about NY Times attempt to protect Comey from the multiple felonies he's committed. Lit fuse excerpt:

"Over the last year and a half, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been investigating how Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, and three Deputy Attorneys General (Rod Rosenstein, Sally Yates, and Dana Boente) thought they could getaway with signing applications for surveillance offormer Trump associate Carter Page without disclosing that, as McCabe later testified, the application was based largely on a the shabby, unverified “Steele dossier” paid for by the Democrats. Providing incomplete, misleading information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is a felony.

"No problem, these top law enforcement officials thought at the time. Who would find out about their misconduct after Mrs. Clinton — the odds-on favorite — became president? There would be encomia and promotions for help rendered, not indictments.

"Oops. Now all of the above are squirming, and there is a paper trail. Only one of the FISA application signers is still in a key position to help from the inside — Dana Boente. No, he was not demoted to working in the file room. He is the FBI General Counsel."

I only wish Obama could be nailed for his obstruction of justice by protecting the banksters from prison in 2008 onward. If he could be indicted for the many murders he sanctioned--capital crimes have no statute of limitations--that would also work. The zombified swamp needs to be exhumed, and it needs to start somewhere.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 23:54 utc | 118

This is such wonderful news.
I had no idea that Syria would be regaining the northeast region. Whatever the details, a big plus for Trump in my thinking.
Plus it has the added benefit of annoying both Bolton and Nutinyahoo and Hillary and McCain.

Next on agenda is deal of century with Iran. They agree to stricter controls and we release sanctions.

It will be a declaration of world peace.

Then Venezuela then North Korea.

Posted by: jared | Oct 15 2019 0:11 utc | 119

Hey donkeytale this link is dedicated to you -

President Trump has played this out perfectly. By isolating Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and effectively leaving him naked to an alliance of his enemies, Erdogan is now urgently asking for the U.S. to mediate peace negotiations with Kurdish forces.

This request happens immediately after President Trump signed an executive order [See Here] triggering the sanction authority of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Erdogan called the White House requesting an urgent phone call with President Trump.

After President Trump talked to Kurdish General Mazloum Kobani Abdi, the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, President Trump then discussed the options available to President Erdogan. As a result of that conversation, Erdogan requested the U.S. mediate negotiations. Vice-President Mike Pence announces he will be traveling to the region with National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien to lead that effort. WATCH:

This my dear friends is called, for once, let's put our resources into making sure this insanity ends and hold these leaders feet to the fire. The good people of Syria deserve nothing less. Let's show the world what we barfly's are made of!

Posted by: h | Oct 15 2019 0:12 utc | 120

And for bedtime reading, Anatol Lieven "The Unholy Mess of US Middle Eastern Strategy". Key excerpt:

"However, the concentration on blaming Trump is also a way for the US and Transatlantic establishments to excuse themselves for the series of disastrous and sometimes criminal decisions (and lack of decisions) by the previous three Democratic and Republican administrations. 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 – a failure that has led the USA to the crazy position of confronting China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Turkey and ISIS all at the same time while alienating the countries of the European Union."

I'm sure we'll witness vestiges of the above during the next D-Party debate tomorrow. Gabbard says she'll participate, which ought to spark some fireworks.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 0:18 utc | 121

Europe are clearly in a mess about Turkey cos while the EU 'told off' Erdy yesterday Nato boss Jens Stoltenburg has been supporting Turkey's incursion, saying that Turkey was entitled to do as it saw fit since their had been too many terrorist attacks in Turkey.

Pretty funny stuff since he has no choice unless he wants to drive Turkey out of Nato -lol etc.

I hafta say I don't trust erdy as far as I could spit the slimy little despot and while I'm exceptionally happy to see Syria getting the band back together with minimum blood-letting, I am concerned that erdy could do something destructive, for no reason other than it suits his control of Turkey's domestic politics.
There is no doubt the failed coup aided him politically but any deadset maneuvering pol becomes too much to cope with for the average human after about 10 years. Erdy is well past that and has been taking big hits in his traditional markets.

Yeah yeah the neolibs don't like him either, but for different reasons than why I dislike the man. He is a born deceiver which of course is usually a necessary trait for neolibs and their cobbers, so that isn't why they dislike him per se.

Whatever has been agreed in the latest syria/russia/turkey deal will be complex and delicate - something that isn't natural erdy. He could screw it up accidentally altho he is more likely to do it deliberately. Unlike many here I also don't see Russia foreign policy as being any thing other than self serving and now that they have Syria, Iran, Saudi and Israel on side, they are also capable of sacrificing a decent player for an indecent outcome.

It will be great if Syria squeaky bums outta the mess fUSukI made, but as there is many a slip twixt cup and lip, let's hope the Syrians aren't sacrificed for some arsehole's wet dream of empire.

Posted by: A User | Oct 15 2019 0:44 utc | 122

Europe are clearly in a mess about Turkey cos while the EU 'told off' Erdy yesterday Nato boss Jens Stoltenburg has been supporting Turkey's incursion, saying that Turkey was entitled to do as it saw fit since their had been too many terrorist attacks in Turkey.

Pretty funny stuff since he has no choice unless he wants to drive Turkey out of Nato -lol etc.

I hafta say I don't trust erdy as far as I could spit the slimy little despot and while I'm exceptionally happy to see Syria getting the band back together with minimum blood-letting, I am concerned that erdy could do something destructive, for no reason other than it suits his control of Turkey's domestic politics.
There is no doubt the failed coup aided him politically but any deadset maneuvering pol becomes too much to cope with for the average human after about 10 years. Erdy is well past that and has been taking big hits in his traditional markets.

Yeah yeah the neolibs don't like him either, but for different reasons than why I dislike the man. He is a born deceiver which of course is usually a necessary trait for neolibs and their cobbers, so that isn't why they dislike him per se.

Whatever has been agreed in the latest syria/russia/turkey deal will be complex and delicate - something that isn't natural erdy. He could screw it up accidentally altho he is more likely to do it deliberately. Unlike many here I also don't see Russia foreign policy as being any thing other than self serving and now that they have Syria, Iran, Saudi and Israel on side, they are also capable of sacrificing a decent player for an indecent outcome.

It will be great if Syria squeaky bums outta the mess fUSukI made, but as there is many a slip twixt cup and lip, let's hope the Syrians aren't sacrificed for some arsehole's wet dream of empire.

Posted by: A User | Oct 15 2019 0:44 utc | 123

The Kurds had no choice without an Air Force. The USA stops being ISIS’s jailer. Turkey seizes more territory than discussed behind closed doors. Further incursions will be stopped by the Syrian Air Force with Russian help if needed. It is in Russia’s and China’s interest that national borders be stabilized. Since Iran and Iraq are also involved, this requires a peace settlement with everyone most likely withdrawing back to their old borders. Everybody gets something except the real losers (the Empire and its enablers; Barrack Obama, Joe Biden, Lindsay Graham and cabal of neo-cons who started the Regime Change campaign in the first place). The Damascus government has the hardest task ahead, reintegrating Sunnis and Kurds into Syrian society. In the USA, the media and democrats will be in a frenzy about how America was stabbed in the back. Donald Trump’s secret Impeachment hearing will be an endless circus of innuendoes. But not one mention of America’s loss of sovereignty to multinational corporations and its overwhelming corruption and incompetence.

According, the Zero Hedge, 50 US Tactical nukes are Erdogan’s hostages. It is unbelievable that the weapons were not removed but are still at Incirlik Air Base after the USA was accused by Turkey of being a participant in the 2016 coup d’état attempt against Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Barrack Obama’s last year as President.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Oct 15 2019 0:48 utc | 124

Things are heating up in NATO. From the NYT. State and Energy Department officials were quietly reviewing plans over the weekend for evacuating roughly 50 tactical nuclear weapons that the United States had long stored, under American control, at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey

In a statement, Defense Secretary Esper blames Turkey for "release of many dangerous ISIS detainees" in Syria following invasion, adding that President Erdogan is responsible for "possible war crimes" and calls the relationship with NATO ally "damaged" - Fox News
Talk about the kettle calling the pot black. Where shall I start with war crimes and NATO?

Posted by: Tom | Oct 15 2019 0:54 utc | 125

Looks like another "constitutional crisis" (another name for dirty politics) coming in Washington, now from Leader Pelosi: “Our first order of business was to agree that we must have a bipartisan, bicameral joint resolution to overturn the president’s dangerous decision in Syria immediately,” Pelosi said Monday.

Actually the US Constitution, Article II Section 2, allows President Trump to command troops not Leader Pelosi nor her joint resolutions. That includes the movement of troops, of course.
"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; . ."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 1:17 utc | 126

@ k #110

Wow...things are moving very quickly.

No Fly Zone..?

Whoa Nellie...I wonder if the Russian AWACS aircraft are up there too..?

Looks like it's game over...but don't want to celebrate too soon.

The irrepressible William Gruff said, in response to this...'what will those so called rebels do...'

"Do"? They will do the only thing that was ever in the cards for them to do. They will die.


Leave it to WG to set the tone...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2019 1:18 utc | 127

I am curious what readers' estimates are of the severity of Trump's sanctions against Turkey. If those sanctions are more annoyance than damaging then they could be a gift to Erdogan. Turkey's economy wasn't in great shape to begin with, but now US sanctions can be used as a scapegoat. So long as those sanctions are not doing any for real damage they would be a political bonanza for Erdogan.

Naturally, if America's sanctions are serious and damaging then that disproves this theory.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2019 1:20 utc | 128

William Gruff

The last I read is that US has added tarrifs to imports from Turkey but is only looking at sanctioning individual officials. Also something about calling off talks on a proposed trade deal with Turkey. Seems more like Trump playing to his domestic audience rather than seriously try to damage Turkey at the moment.
A major game changer in what has happened, but I am waiting for the dust to settle and the smoke to clear when we will be able to see where all players are positioned.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2019 1:28 utc | 129

Good map of SAA deployments in Northeast

Seems to confirm those reports via Canthama...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2019 1:35 utc | 130

One thought I have is were are the US troops heading to. In the previous limited pullout, the US troops were repositioned in Iraq to act against Iran.
I think we are seeing a creeping build up of forces in the region, a little here and a little there, to be used against Iran. If not Iran, then perhaps to be used against the states in which they are based.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2019 1:36 utc | 131

U.S. forces on the Qaraqozak bridge in #Kobane are preventing Syrian troops from entering the city after an agreement between the Autonomous Administration & the Syrian regime was reached yesterday.

Posted by: Deb | Oct 15 2019 1:44 utc | 132

Over on Col Lang's blog...

Stephanie said...

Russia plays a very long game. But when it happens, it happens fast. Ask the Japanese about the Manchurian campaign at the end of WWII. Or think Crimea.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2019 1:49 utc | 133

"Trump signed the Executve Order"
Oct 14 - State Dept
SecState Pompeo:
Sanctioning the Government of Turkey in Response to the Ongoing Military Offensive in Northeast Syria

On Friday, the United States signaled its intent to take action in response to Turkey’s ongoing unilateral military offensive in northeast Syria. President Donald J. Trump has now signed an Executive Order to press Turkey to halt its military offensive against northeast Syria and adopt an immediate ceasefire. The Executive Order gives the Department of Treasury and the Department of State, the authority to consider and impose sanctions on individuals, entities, or associates of the Government of Turkey involved in actions that endanger civilians or lead to the further deterioration of peace, security, and stability in northeast Syria. Three senior Turkish officials, the Ministry of Energy, and the Ministry of Defense have been designated for sanctions under these authorities, concurrent with the signing of the Executive Order.

As the President has made clear, Turkey’s actions in northeast Syria severely undermine the D-ISIS campaign, endanger civilians, and threaten the security of the entire region. If Turkey’s operation continues, it will exacerbate a growing and daunting humanitarian crisis, with potentially disastrous consequences. To avoid suffering further sanctions imposed under this new Executive Order Turkey must immediately cease its unilateral offensive in northeast Syria and return to a dialogue with the United States on security in northeast Syria. . .here

The EO will be official when it's published on the Federal Register, which hasn't happened yet. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 2:12 utc | 134

@95 tom... good post and i agree with your reasoning...

@ 123 a user... that has been jackrabbit and my concern all along with regard to erdogan being a first class liar and con.. the question is, how does turkey play it's hand at this moment in time? of course usa calling the kettle black - war crimes of erdogan - is pretty rich too, but it is a fact erdogan was very supportive of isis at the beginning of all this and has the difficultly of knowing how to get rid of them before they get back to turkey where a good chunk of them came from.. turkey was the main entry gate for these freaks.. all of a sudden the usa is concerned about turkeys role, lol... obama turned a blind eye to it all.. trump for all his faults - and they are huge - has done a good thing here.. of course the msm will refer to him as putins tool.. but erdogan, as you note is a real ongoing x factor here..

@ 133 flankerbandit.. i agree with stephanie... russia are the brains behind this latest development as i see it..

Posted by: james | Oct 15 2019 2:16 utc | 135

James, I'm starting to get a feeling that 4D Trump and VVP might have pulled a fast one on old Erdog...

Seems maybe they both figured he was getting a bit big for his britches...LOL

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2019 2:21 utc | 136

fb - we'll see how it goes here... i don't know that any sanctions will bite at this time... wall st. has already played havoc on the turkish lira... erdogan is a challenging dude!

Posted by: james | Oct 15 2019 2:24 utc | 137

My take on Erdo - he is the type that if you give an inch, he will take a mile if he can, but at the same time, I don't think he will risk losing his spot in the multi-polar world. He will be negotiable and I suspect Russia has the incentives to negotiate him out of Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2019 2:34 utc | 138

donkeytail @84.. court says president not immune to court order of civil actions even while in office
you have hit on a major problem with the USA system of justice .. unless the justice department files a complaint it does not matter what the justice says.. or what the law says.. the lawbreaker gets away with his or her crime.. That's why Hilllary is not ..

Posted by: snake | Oct 15 2019 3:01 utc | 139

Lots of conflicting stories about not only what is happening on the ground in Syria but what is happening with regards to the geo-political posturing and threats.

I see Trumps sanctions against Turkey as being kabuki after Trump having given the OK to the effort just days before. And there are reportedly 50 nukes in Turkey that need to be negotiated into "safety".

As for where the troops in Syria are being relocated to....didn't Trump just announce last week an increase in troops in Saudi Clown Prince land?.....I know, different mix of folks but some overlap I suspect

Given that the tide turned agains the US in Syria during the Obama administration, it has taken quite a lot of time and effort to get to this point. It may take a week or two for the results to become clear and the path forward more understood.

All that said, it is good to see movement in a positive direction and I hope it continues.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 15 2019 3:07 utc | 140

fb - "Russia plays a very long game. But when it happens, it happens fast. Ask the Japanese about the Manchurian campaign at the end of WWII. Or think Crimea."

Hardly a new observation. They've said for hundreds of years - "Русские долго запрыгают, да быстро едут".

And here we see it in action.

Posted by: ДжММ | Oct 15 2019 3:16 utc | 141

Here's a tweeted statement from Trump. The promised Executive Order is yet to appear.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 3:24 utc | 142

Oop, spelling. That should be запрЯгают...

Posted by: ДжММ | Oct 15 2019 3:42 utc | 143

@ Marti RE NYT and Russians bombing hospitals...

But check out the story just beside that...

The Gang's All Here

HK's 'favorite son' Joshua Wong poses with friends...Shite Helmets head Raed Al Saleh...Kiev mayor [and former heavyweight champ] Vitali the charming gal Iranian-Austrian political activist Mina Ahadi...LOLOLOL

Klitchko looks like he's maybe mistaken little Joshua for a dim sum dumpling and thinking of popping the poor little guy in his massive maw as an appetizer...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2019 3:51 utc | 144

@ ДжММ

'Oop, spelling. That should be запрЯгают...

Yup...caught that one myself...I think the rule is 'backwards R before P, except after e...'

[Seriously though, I think that's the saying that goes...

'Russians are slow to saddle up, but they ride exceedingly fast'...]

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 15 2019 3:59 utc | 145

Don Bacon
I see in the linked tweet US troops will redeploy and stay in the region. The two stages of the Syria pullout have not been to bring troops home, but to reposition them for actions against Iran.
These I take it are all special forces units.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2019 4:20 utc | 146

Posted by: h | Oct 15 2019 0:12 utc | 121

This my dear friends is called winning...

This is indeed how the US 'wins' wars.... declare victory and leave :-)

Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 15 2019 4:40 utc | 147


Dont forget, Just as Erdogan has tapes of everything that went down in the Saudi embassy, so too he has 30 years of tapes and documents on all CIA, black ops stuff, assassinations, nerve gas deliveries, nuclear weapons tech sales, who trained ISIS stuff, - motives and actions- in short, all US dirty dealing in the central ME.

There is no way they can slow squeeze him. That is why the attempted takeout in 2016.

Posted by: les7 | Oct 15 2019 4:41 utc | 148


All Europe, US Democrats, Gulf, and Israel would fall silent if he uncorked just the one threat to publicize who profited from ISIS oil sales.

Posted by: les7 | Oct 15 2019 4:46 utc | 149

Turks have been taking care of business and burying bodies for all players in the region for years. Why else does everyone tiptoe around them- including Putin

Posted by: les7 | Oct 15 2019 4:50 utc | 150

The EU heavies, and France in particular, seem terrified that Turkey will send refugees (jihadists) to Europe. Reportedly there are many French nationals among those (formerly) detained in Syria.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 15 2019 5:14 utc | 151

@ the pessimist who wrote about the EU heavies being terrified about refugees

They deserve to be terrified for their perfidy in helping fuck up the home countries of all those refugees.....For a Fist Full of Dollars and A Few Dollars More.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 15 2019 5:41 utc | 152

The 50 nukes thing is a furphy. Even if the amerikans wanted to move them, which they don't since doing so would prolly cause Turkey to leave Nato and definitely get em to build their own, there is really no way of getting these nukes out.

To do so the seppos would have to land a special 'licensed & permitted to carry nukes' transport plane and explain to Turkey what was going down to get permission for it to land at Incirlik which may not happen.'
This comes up every time the seppos are pissed or pretending to be pissed at Turkey, which of course is exactly the wrong time to try and do it.
Waiting until things between Turkey and amerika are copacetic would cause things not to be friendly.

Add to that the fact that any pol, dem or rethug who talks publicly about the location of any US nukes is breaking the law and using it as a wind up for the orange slug becomes impossible.

The seppos hold the keys for all their nukes, meaning the Turks cannot use em without amerikan permission, which makes leaving the things right where they are the only move.

The NYT will rabbit on about these things for 2 or 3 days to try and get trumpet's goat and then they will STFU. Just more inside the beltway tosh designed to worry the less capable of thinking for themselves.

Posted by: A User | Oct 15 2019 6:18 utc | 153

News: Secretary of Defense Mark Esper issues statement on Turkey and Syria. Says at NATO next week he will "plan to press our other NATO allies to take collective and individual diplomatic and economic measures in response to these egregious Turkish actions."

Alternative reality (or just the future?): n the following week, "the harshest sanctions ever" were slapped on Israel, following violations committed in Syria, Lebanon and not-occupied Gaza.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 15 2019 6:33 utc | 154

On the situation with the Kurds, here is a good indication of how Russia may have advised Syria - with the caveat that of course it is Syria's court, raquet, and ball, so they will do as they see fit. I was thinking about how in Crimea the Tatars had fomented somewhat of a rebellion, not anywhere near what has been happening in Syria of course, and the following essay posted recently has a good description of what was taking place in Crimea and how it appears at present:


[Again I have separated the fused link just to be careful]

I found this an enjoyable and hopeful read. Sorry to be clumsy in how I do links.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 15 2019 6:54 utc | 155

See ya round like a rissole loser!

Here is a great little vid of the amerikan special forces retreating from Kobani past a SAA convoy while the Syrian Arab Army is driving into that town.

Posted by: A User | Oct 15 2019 7:04 utc | 156

Given Trump's and US Congressional behavior toward Turkey, how far will relations now sink?
Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 18:49 utc | 78

I am curious what readers' estimates are of the severity of Trump's sanctions against Turkey. If those sanctions are more annoyance than damaging then they could be a gift to Erdogan. Turkey's economy wasn't in great shape to begin with, but now US sanctions can be used as a scapegoat.
Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 15 2019 1:20 utc | 128

My first inclination would be to assume that it is just hot air to cover Trump's domestic back. It helps deflect (and delay until they become less effective) some of the blows. He has up-ended years of US policies, and the establishment is bound to try to go for his throat in response. Just because Trump says something in public doesn't necessarily mean it has even one iota of truth in it. The alleged executive order hasn't been issued yet.

Posted by: BM | Oct 15 2019 7:35 utc | 157

William Gruff #128

The wicked witch of sanctions Sigal Mendelker has resigned. She is hawking it somewhere in the private sector. Perhaps AIPAC, Boeing, Raytheon owe her one.

Reuters advises:-

As undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence since June 2017, Mandelker supervised the ramping up of sanctions against Iran, mainly aimed at strangling oil exports after the United States left the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

During her time in office, the United States also imposed heavy sanctions on Venezuela and its ally Cuba and on several Russian entities and oligarchs for meddling in U.S. elections in 2016.

A swamp turd has been dumped on the streets.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 8:57 utc | 158

Looks like the cockroaches are all running for safety.
"SEMELKA, Syria (AP) — It was a sign of the sudden transformation sweeping Kurdish-run northeast Syria: foreign aid workers and journalists packed this border crossing on Monday, rushing to get out to Iraq.

The exodus was not propelled by the Turkish offensive launched last week. Instead, it was the return of Syria's central government to the region, where Kurdish administrators have had virtual self-rule for years."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2019 8:57 utc | 159

I was wondering why the French MSM had been pushing for an anti-Syrian Kurds narrative in the first days of the Turkish attacks, explaining that their brothers on the Turkish side were applauding at Erdo's actions and interviewing people on the border.
But now I understand why, quoting a poster at SST "Now that the Kurds have allied with Damascus, watch the neocons drop their support for The Poor Little Kurds(tm) like it was a hot turd."

Posted by: Mina | Oct 15 2019 9:15 utc | 160

Peter AU 1 @ 161:

Oh dear, I had said @ 105 that the SAA and the Kurds were going to capture huge numbers of British and French "military advisors" in northern and NE Syria but it looks as if they're all running away in disguise.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 15 2019 10:15 utc | 161

But what about all those KFC's in Syrian Kurdish land?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 15 2019 10:17 utc | 162

By removing the US troops, Trump is also giving the green light to Iran to have more influence in Syria. It is a stab in the back of Israel that few MSM reports as they are prefer to cry over with the Kurds "victims" of Trump lack of heart, thus avoiding to state what they really worry about, the endangered safety of Isreal.
Therefore the only entities that are losing hard in these recent events is Israel and is neocons and zionists allies. Panic is obvious in the Jewish media compounded with the internal political crisis.
Israel and its allies are now trying to create chaos in Iraq to try to prevent further 'Iranization' of the region. These efforts are hopeless, Iran is continuing the encircle Israel to force it into heavy concessions. One wonders if this has not been Trump's intention from the beginning, cajoling Israel while throwing it into a trap.
Saudi Arabia is also under shock. It is revising its aggressive and ill fated policy in the region that the USA has encouraged to keep the US weapon flowing to the kingdom, weapons that have recently proven to be technologically obsolete. Saudi Arabia is now considering talking to Iran, its arch enemy.
So, despite the heavy sanctions Iran seem to stand strong and its alliance its Turkey and Russia seems to have a domino effect on other Arab countries, thus creating more anxiety fear in Israel.
The West played dirty and destructive games in Libya, Syria and Yemen and is now reaping its consequences: they are been kicked out of the region.
It is Russia that is now mending the torn region, will it succeed?

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 15 2019 10:40 utc | 163

Reparations are due to Syria and the main perpetrator should cough up.
see Jeffrey Sachs for Background:

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 11:15 utc | 164

Reparations are due to Syria and the main perpetrator should cough up.
see Jeffrey Sachs for Background:

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 11:15 utc | 165

Here's a typed version of Trump's executive order, from Treasury, which finds that Turkey's miitary offensive "constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States" and so Trump has declared it a national emergency and orders that persons and institutions to be determined by the Secretaries of the Treasury and State in various categories should be sanctioned. The EO has not yet been published in the Federal Register and won't be valid until it is. . . .Erdogan won't be permitted to immigrate to the U.S., which should really piss him off.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 11:17 utc | 166

Pence is going to Turkey to persuade Erdogan to stop the offensive. His Oct 14 statement here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 11:50 utc | 167

A very disappointing post on Consortium News:

NY Times grade statist, zionist keep the military involved and keep pursuing the failing policies until they work (because it makes some people rich and only harms poor people) perspective.

Well, now I know.

Posted by: jared | Oct 15 2019 12:30 utc | 168

Mandelker was also one of the Justice Department officials who signed off on the sweetheart nonprosecution agreement with Jeffrey Epstein back in 2008. One suspects she is the one who told Alexander Acosta that Epstein belonged to intelligence and was above Acosta's pay grade.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 15 2019 12:37 utc | 169

Treasury comes out with some chatter.
Oct 14
Treasury Designates Turkish Ministries and Senior Officials in Response to Military Action in Syria

Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against two ministries and three senior Turkish Government officials in response to Turkey’s military operations in Syria. The Turkish Government’s actions are endangering innocent civilians, and destabilizing the region, including undermining the campaign to defeat ISIS. The Government of Turkey’s Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, as well as the Minister of National Defence, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Minister of the Interior are blocked as a result of today’s action. The designation of these ministries and officials is a result of the Turkish Government’s actions that further deteriorate peace, security, and stability of the region.

. . .As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these persons, and of any other persons blocked by operation of law, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 13:14 utc | 170

breaking news.excuse the interruption..> President Hassan Rouhani said the two missile Attack Friday (resulted in two holes) in its tanker Sabiti owned by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) hit in Red Sea waters off Saudi Arabi, was captured on video undoubtedly carried out by a government and promised there will be consequences. New pictures show two gaping holes in the hull of the damaged tanker.

Consequences to follow wwiii about to start

Posted by: snake | Oct 15 2019 13:31 utc | 171

Mirrors of the past without the Helicopters: A Hasty Exit.

Pentagon Confirms Manbij Handed Over To Russia As US Forces Filmed Departing

A stunning development in the key northern Syrian city of Manbij — the Pentagon has confirmed a planned handover to Russian military forces is underway amid a Turkish military assault on the region. This also hours after President Trump tweeted that Assad "wants naturally to protect the Kurds" and that the problem should be left to local powers.

Late Monday the main US base in Manbij was filmed empty of US forces, and American convoys were also spotted hastily pulling out of the city as Syrian national forces entered, following Sunday's historic deal between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Assad government. Newsweek reports

The U.S. military has begun a hasty exit from Syria's northern city of Manbij, and is set to help Russia establish itself there amid a Turkish attempt to defeat Kurdish-led, Pentagon-backed fighters at the strategic location, Newsweek has learned.

In a month of Sundays, you can't make this up. Really, Is this the same Mr. Putin's Russia as in Russiagate and RussiaSkripal?

Posted by: Likklemore | Oct 15 2019 13:39 utc | 172

One more query if I may.

Where is John Bolton?
Two minutes ago I saw him in the neighbourhood garden shed birthing an elephant.

Posted by: Likklemore | Oct 15 2019 13:43 utc | 173

Despite threat of US sanctions and the prospect of fighting SAA:

Turkey to continue Syria op until goals achieved, Erdoğan says

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 15 2019 13:43 utc | 174

What's sure is that Yemen and Libya have completely disappeared from radars. Maybe Trump wanted to do Erdo a "Saddam Hussein", as when the US told Iraq they would not move? Seems that the MBs need to be reined in, one way or the other, if a solution needs to be find in Libya as well.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 15 2019 13:52 utc | 175

Trump DID greenlight this Turkish offensive and the sanctions Trump now imposed are a wrist slap just for show.

Nato did not forcefully condemn Turkey either. Everyone tacitly allowed this for one sole purpose: to make room to resettle the 3+ million Syrian Opposition refugees. Trump always goes the Zionist way, except he's figured out that a proxy operation is much less riskier politically. Zionists want chaos in Syria forever by whichever means if they can't have control. They could care less about the Kurds who have been but useful pawns. The Turks are also pawns, I mean useful idiots to them, just like the Saudis are pawns in the Zionist Iran strategy. Just keep killing each other off and forget about the Palestinians; that's Zionism for ya!

Who's going to deny any of this with a straight face?

They tried to pull a fast one on the Kurds and Assad. Let's hope these two succeed in pushing Turkey back. Erdo needs to pay a price for supporting the proxy war on Syria and ISIS. Hey, Erdo, just flood Saudi Arabia with 3 million Syrian Opposition refugees! They got the big bucks, jobs and space to take them in! What are the Saudis gonna do, shoot their ilk for breaching the SA border?? It's time for Saudi Arabia to pay the piper. Erdo's stupid if he doesn't unload them on KSA and, why not on UAE too! Erdo's acting like a fool playing into all these hands and paying the price. Make a deal with Assad regarding border security, and dump the refugees on the wahhabi's a win-win!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 15 2019 13:58 utc | 176

ANNA NEWS showed footage from the abandoned US troops base in Manbidj.

At the end of the video there is a "message" that the Americans (according to their level of intelligence and upbringing) left to the Russian troops.

Posted by: alaff | Oct 15 2019 14:01 utc | 177

@170 Don Bacon

Tell us something we don't know...but your point regarding Trump's Vice-asslicker is what, exactly?

Posted by: Circe | Oct 15 2019 14:03 utc | 178

@177 Jackrabbit

Erdo needs to figure out once and for all that the real enemy is the three-headed, correction, leg ged beast: Amerikka, Israhell and Nat💣. The Wahhabis are its slavish proxy mercenaries and Erdo is driving Turkey to assume this same fate.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 15 2019 14:24 utc | 179

I can foresee that at some point the Europeans will have to organize air bridges to bring back in the Syrian refugees who want to return, and for taking back their home-bred terrorists and their progeny.
Instead of finding out how to do that, the French are now again bursting with debates on whether the Muslim veil should be totally forbidden! As if any international law allowed that and that fundamentalists did not exist in other religions as well...And no soul-searching on the facilities they offer to the same ppl who have spread Muslim fundamentalism in France, namely KSA and Qatar...

Posted by: Mina | Oct 15 2019 14:29 utc | 180

The Kurds say that Erdogan intends to conduct a genocide. Erdogan says that he's conducting an 'anti-terror' operation. Each of these would suggest a quick operation, measured in weeks not months. But each of these is just an excuse. What Erdogan and others have described as Turkey's goals is something between these: ethnic cleansing.

Turkey essentially wants to do the same to northeast Syria as it has done in Afrin. Erdogan's claim is that he's reversing the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds who drove out the Arabs that lived in these places. Erdogan claims to be righting a wrong and in doing so he also hopes to destroy a Kurdish enclave that could be/is a 'safe haven' for Kurdish resistance to Turkey.

This would be a long-term operation. It would take many months (I think at least 2 years) to return and resettle refugees, re-work governance structures, and remain until the ethnic-cleansing was complete and irreversible.

For Erdogan, USA restricting weapons to Kurds wasn't sufficient. And SAA saying that they will police the Kurds isn't sufficient either. But will he risk Turkish soldiers in this operation? He'll probably leave most (all?) of the fighting with SAA to his newly formed proxy army, the SNA (Syrian National Army).

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

Many questions are still unanswered, such as:

Are Erdogan's goals realistic or just an excuse to drive USA out of Syria?

USA says they warned Erdogan that events would unfold in a way that is detrimental to Turkey's goals and interests (Kurds joining with SAA; possible release of ISIS; economic sanctions and international condemnation; etc.)

Did Erdogan take this action because he's confident of Russian support?

In other words, is this really a result of Putin's patient diplomacy or just reflective of Erdogan's Islamist orientation?

Does Erdogan's intended long-term occupation in northeast Syria some secret ploy by USA and Turkey?

Specifically, the release of ISIS prisoners could supplement anti-Assad forces and cause USA to remain in the area.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 15 2019 14:29 utc | 181

And what of Idlib? Is the pressure off now that SAA is engaged in the northeast?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 15 2019 14:35 utc | 182

Erdogan's main fear was of a Syrian Kurdistan in Rojava, similar to the one the US engineered in Iraq. So Turkey had to act to forestall any such move. That small Kurdish minority had no right to such a district on Turkey's border.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 14:44 utc | 183

Very short video of Trump talking about the Saudi's.

I'm most interested in where Trump is repositioning the special forces units that are moving out of Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2019 14:48 utc | 184

First, the acronym ZUSA is representative of the marriage in hell between USA and Israel.

The Kurds need an aha moment. Who created the ISIS Frankenstein (my apologies to Frankenstein)?

ZUSA and KSA. Who enabled and abetted ISIS -- the latter two and Turkey.

Turkey must see the light and turn on its co-conspirators as they have no problem turning on Turkey and their treachery will only worsen with time.

In fact, the Kurds and the Turks are really in the same position vis a vis treachery against them.

Quit being the pawns in ZEmpire's killing fields, make a deal with Assad, and give the Empire the 🖕.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 15 2019 14:54 utc | 185

Wish to point out something that many here would know on automatic, but do not see any mention of anywhere.

The SDF and YPG have kept their guns. Guns with live ammunition. And now take orders from SAA. There has been no need to test these soldiers for political reliability or loyalty. No need for political re-education. No question which side they are on. These troops have all been ready for this for a long time. My analysis would be they have been hostage to their leadership for a long time, that leadership would have been local gangsters backed by CIA.

Posted by: oldhippie | Oct 15 2019 14:54 utc | 186


Canthama's take is that Syria will start on it this week while Turkey is still looking bad

Posted by: les7 | Oct 15 2019 15:03 utc | 187

My read of Manbij events is that the soldiers on the ground there refused to abandon their friends as ordered and waited for the Russian forces to arrive

Posted by: les7 | Oct 15 2019 15:05 utc | 188

oldhippie @189: That's a good point. I don't know the answer, but I thought about it, and it seemed to me that back when Kobani happened is when USA and the Rojava Kurds became allies, the situation for them then was much as it was a few days ago WRT the Turks, no other options, so of course they would make nice with the Americans, and nobody much asked where their loyalties lay, and in any case they are not going to say "We love Assad." Plus USA supplies arms and money which gain obedience. And air cover. So I don't think to discover now that many still are loyal to Syria is not that big a surprise. I have always thought the antagonism between the Kurds and Assad was exaggerated. But it's a good point, a good question.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 15 2019 15:09 utc | 189

The Kurds have been used by greedy traitors within, and by nefarious outsiders. In every nation, with a Kudish population, nothing stops them from working within the system. Erdogan married a Kurdish woman, and my son-in-law is also a Kurd. He recognizes the problem is outside agitators, specifically Israel.

Posted by: Joetv | Oct 15 2019 15:13 utc | 190

@187 Peter AU 1

Is that why Trump sent 3000 troops there to protect their ass from Iran???

Trump is just reminding the King and his uppity son that they are mere slavish, dependent VASSALS (albeit useful mercenaries) in the ZEmpire. That's all.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 15 2019 15:21 utc | 191

@186 Don Bacon

That comment is rather shet disturbing. Would you rather Erdo flood that region with millions of Syrian Opposition rebel rabble rousers? Whose Zionist side are you on, anyway?

Posted by: Circe | Oct 15 2019 15:27 utc | 192

@192 As long as the SDF controlled the oilfields they had a shot at an economically viable Rojava. That's gone along with US support. Most of them probably never had a problem being Syrian citizens in the first place.

Posted by: dh | Oct 15 2019 15:34 utc | 193

dh @196: Thanks, yeah, I think that's about right. I'm not convinced Assad had a big problem with them working with us either, as long as we got out eventually. You could argue we inadvertently did some good.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 15 2019 15:46 utc | 194

The Wahhabi monarchs exist at the pleasure of ZUSA. Without it, they would suffer the fate of Gaddafi and Saddam. Their whole line would be strung up by a long-suffering, seething mass. ZUSA stands between them and extinction. They are no better than useful idiots and Trump whose ego is without parallel will remind them who's boss and just how dependent they are while he covers their ass with 3000 troops for the good of ZEmpire. They'll grind their teeth, bend over and suffer the indignity of their needyness. Nothing more to see.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 15 2019 15:47 utc | 195

@ oldhippie 189
My analysis would be they have been hostage to their leadership for a long time
Or, more likely IMO, they want to go with a perceived winner, just as they went with al-Qaeda previously.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 15:47 utc | 196

The Latest: US troops leaving Syria to move to Iraq, Kuwait

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 15 2019 15:49 utc | 197

Russia's special emissary for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, told reporters:

"'We all hope that US troops will leave Syria sooner or later,... However, it is hard to say now what the end result will be despite [US President Donald] Trump’s statement that troops should be withdrawn within two weeks.' Lavrentyev recalled that Washington made similar statements about troop pullout earlier, but that did not happen.

"'Nevertheless, there is a glimmer of hope that US troops will eventually leave Syria,' Lavrentyev said, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin likewise highlighted the need for withdrawing US troops from Syria. 'That, of course, makes the situation in northeastern Syria somewhat different,' he added."

The most interesting part of this item is at its end. Apparently there's more communication ongoing between Syria and Turkey than previously presumed:

"'I think that it’s not just that no one is interested in confrontation [between Turkey and Syria], it’s that it is simply unacceptable,' he noted. 'This is why we will not let this happen, of course.'

"Lavrentyev added that Ankara and Damascus maintain constant dialogue 'between defense ministries, foreign ministries, special services — the talks are ongoing as we speak.'" [My Emphasis]

The immediate visual impression was of the ref standing between two UFC boxers in the cage insisting they go to their corners. IMO, Laventyev's referring to the al-Tanf area. As all this unfolds, Putin is now in UAE after spending yesterday with the Saudis. The official cover story is business and economic ties and agreements to bolster both. But away from the cameras and reporters both Putin and Lavrov are conducting a peace offensive for them to consider Iran's HOPE initiative. (It's very rare for Lavrov to accompany Putin on state visits that are purely business oriented.)

Mentioned yesterday that Imran Khan was visiting Iran and has apparently agreed to help forward the HOPE proposal as tweeted by Zarif:

"Grateful to PM @ImranKhanPTI for his efforts toward peace in the #PersianGulf

"Reiterating #HOPE (Hormuz Peace Endeavour) I again invite colleagues in the leaderships of other regional states to join Iran in forging a blueprint for peace, security, stability & prosperity."

All that's needed now is for China to weigh in and make the effort a full court press for peace and ultimate upending of the Outlaw US Empire's policy goals for the region.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 16:27 utc | 198

Thanks to all posters! In particular, thank you, k, for this:

"Last but not least, in every place the SAA arrived in northern and NE Syria so far, the ordinary people flocked to embrace the SAA, they know who they can trust, it shows how strong was the support to the Syrian Gov and the only army that can protect all Syrians, the mighty SAA."

Posted by: k | Oct 14 2019 21:55 utc | 110

The key word there is "trust". Worth its weight in gold.

Mina @ 183, your comment about French media getting very interested once again in the Muslim veil - accords with my silent observation (don't have a clue what was being said) of the PBS Newshour last night being totally absorbed in something which a heading finally gave out to be violence perpetrated on womenfolk. Yes, extremely important stuff. Stop looking at that man behind the curtain!

Finally, I am extremely interested in the phone call Erdogan made to Trump advocating a diplomatic role for the US administration in the co-ordinating of Kurd/Syrian relationship. That to me is an invitation into the fold of the overarching talks that is a highly positive development - and surely Erdogan hasn't made this move without agreement from other key players. It simply speaks to a plan orchestrated down to the final details to be inclusive to the nth degree.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 15 2019 16:37 utc | 199

@Don Bacon 197

If that were the case I would not trust them with a gun in their hand. No one would trust the person you describe.

Posted by: `oldhippie | Oct 15 2019 16:42 utc | 200

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