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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"1,000 troops in northeast Syria. There were also several hundred French and British special forces and some 2,000 U.S. contractors."

This is nuts. 1,000 troops and *2,000* contractors?
Who probably get twice or three times what the "troops" get paid.
I am a tyro, but to me this looks like a microcosmic view of what is so wrong with the US "military" and the premises that now underlie its deployment.

Posted by: Really?? | Oct 15 2019 16:42 utc | 201

"Putin has said Russia would not take action against the Turks."

I just heard on the news that Russia is admonishing Turkey to cool it.

Posted by: REally?? | Oct 15 2019 16:44 utc | 202

Regarding the attack on the Iranian tanker, Sputnik had an article posted that mentioned the attack was caught on video taken from the tanker; but when I went back to add that to my comment @199, that part was chopped and the lead was changed to some trash about the Biden's that had zip to do with the actual article. Was I seeing things, or was something very crudely removed? In checking my Twitter contacts, I found confirmation:

"Rouhani: Several rockets were fired at the Iranian oil tanker #Sabiti from a side that is clear in the video recorded by the tanker, but only two of them hit the hull." [My Emphasis]

Or is something being added/lost in translation?

Then there's this tweet by Vanessa Beeley:

"1/2 'There is a back channel deal between Russia, Turkey and Syria ... Turkey wanted a divorce from NATO and Europe but didn't want to be the one saying its over... left it to the EU and NATO to say so. So its new girlfriend Russia, wouldn't look as if the affair was already on...

"2/2 'They will start dating publicly soon after divorce is settled.

"'Russia Iran Syria threesome will block USA vs Iran war.'

"Deniz Celik"

Tried to find Deniz Celik but came up empty.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 17:01 utc | 203

#30 "Great news from this too in that Trump will be severely damaged by this move among his dwindling constituency, who are not isolationist so much as Amerikkka Firsters. "

I should think his base would welcome this sign of pulling back on overseas military adventures.

Posted by: Really?? | Oct 15 2019 17:02 utc | 204

Some interesting points made here by experts of Turkey and the Kurds (not representing mainstream media, except for the former Fr ambass who claims that Putin is now "aggressing NATO" ! I guess he considers that the Turks are... weaponized? Poor idiot).

Posted by: Mina | Oct 15 2019 17:07 utc | 205

- Now I see why the US establishment is so "he** bent" on impeaching Trump. First making peace with North Korea and now withdrawing from Syria. What will be next ? A withdrawal from Iraq & Afghanistan ? so outrageous !!!! And what will hapen with our military budgets ?

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 15 2019 17:30 utc | 206

@ 166 uncle tungsten

Why are you linking to the odious Jeffrey Sachs, who advised the fascist military dictator of Bolivia, Hugo Banzer, and was responsible for the sell-off of all state-owned assets in Poland and Russia at fire-sale prices. After making a ton of money for his efforts Jeffrey suddenly decided he had a conscience. To be honest, I’d prefer John Bolton to this disgusting creature.

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 15 2019 17:39 utc | 207

"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.
karlof1 | Oct 14 2019 22:09 utc | 112

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.

Talk is cheap and the US empire does a lot of talking. Especially when they are not in a position to do much about it. Turkey has nearly all the cards and Erdogan is very savvy. He has made some horrible decisions in the past but ever since the coup attempt he has been on point. He has been playing the US like a fiddle. Almost as well as India plays the US... Probably better since India is just in a more favorable place to do that.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 15 2019 17:51 utc | 208

More interesting Twitter bites. Blumenthal on two-faced Hillary responding to her tweeting, "This sickening horror is one man’s fault":

"'The hard men with the guns are going to be the more likely actors in any political transition than those on the outside just talking. And therefore we needed to figure out how we could support them on the ground, better equip them..'

"-Hillary on arming 'Arab militias' in Syria"

Geroman calls out the newest PSYOP in support of Daesh being pushed by NBCNews:

"nothing will happen - keep your stupid #PSYOP 'keep the ISIS fear alive' and get lost!
"ISIS has no international backing anymore...
"And the Syrian Army together with their NEW ALLIES - SDF will take care of it.
"Your whole ISIS supported regime change failed."

Rebutting AFP, "BREAKING Pentagon blames Turkey for release of 'many dangerous ISIS detainees,'" Sharmine Narwani provides perspective:

"Breaking: US military and SDF Kurds already released thousands of ISIS fighters in their haste to finish the Raqqa job and head south to block the Syrian Army from crossing the Euphrates."

The amount of utter bullshit released by BigLie Media and allies over the past 48 hours is rather telling.

And to tell the addled American public, Syrian Girl has published a 3-part video "A Syrian Girl Exposes The Media's Lies About The Syria Withdrawal":

"The truth about the released ISIS prisoners and why Israel wants the neocons to stay in #Syria."

Maximum fury will now descend onto Idlib.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 17:52 utc | 209

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 | 184

You are right that Erdogan wants Rojava put back in its box. But I thought this last sentence was not right. There are quite a lot of Rojavan Kurds, though I don't have the figures. They couldn't have carried out the SDF offensive against Raqqa, if they were really few. Or rescued the Yazidis on Jebel Sinjar in 2014. But they are all, with few exceptions, squeezed up against the Turkish border within the 30 km zone.

In my view, an autonomy agreement with Asad is the right solution, like with the Druze in the south. They won't be as autonomous as KRG, but it's a solution that can satisfy everybody.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 15 2019 17:55 utc | 210

@ Juliana 200,

The Key Word "Trust"

another of the consequences of U.S. pull-out and compounded by Trump's treaty abrogations, can the U.S. be trusted on its promises or treaty guarantees?

Buchanan via Zerohedge

[.]Where the Americans spent much of the Cold War ruminating about an “agonizing reappraisal” of commitments to malingering allies, this time the Yanks may be deadly serious.

This time, the Americans may really be going home.

Every nation that today believes it has an implied or a treaty guarantee that the U.S. will fight on its behalf should probably recheck its hole card.

Posted by: Likklemore | Oct 15 2019 17:58 utc | 211

goldhoarder @209--

Hmm... Turks would use a Bağlama while Indians would use a Sitar instead of a fiddle. But I do agree with your main point that actions are what need to be watched while the words of the Tap Dance are whistled.

Willie2 @207--

Trump requested the Defense budget be raised to $750 million, not lowered as might be anticipated.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 18:04 utc | 212

@ Laguerre 211
I didn't know, or forgot it, until I just got into it, that the PYD/YPG Kurds declared autonomy when the SAA withdrew in 2016.
...On 17 March 2016, its de facto administration self-declared the establishment of a federal system of government as the Democratic Federation of Rojava – Northern Syria. On 28 December 2016, after a meeting of the 151-member Syrian Democratic Council in Rmelan, a new constitution was resolved; despite objections by 12 Kurdish parties, the region was renamed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, removing the name "Rojava."//
So Erdogan isn't trying to prevent a Kurdish state on the border, as I was thinking, his current goal is to eliminate same.
Regarding an agreement with Damascus, apparently they have it.
NBC News, Oct 14
Kurdish forces strike deal with Damascus, Moscow to repel Turkey
Kurdish troops turned to the Syrian government and Russia for help Sunday, according to a Kurdish military official, in a move that could increase Russian President Vladimir Putin's influence in Syria, deal a substantial blow to the Kurds’ ambitions of independence in the region, and be seen as a win for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 18:09 utc | 213

Trump has his hands full regarding the treatment of Turkey. Besides his weak sanctions order, the Pentagon and the Congress are in a Turkey feeding frenzy.
> Esper To Lobby NATO For Tough Turkey Punishment . . .The SecDef will tell allies in Brussels next week they must take a hard line on Turkey . .here
>Sen. Lindsey Graham is promoting the Graham-Van Hollen Turkey Sanctions Bill:
List of Sanctions Section
1: Sanctions on the U.S. assets of the following Turkish Political Leadership
Section 2: Sanctions against military transactions with Turkey
Section 3: Sanctions against the Turkish Energy Sector
Section 4: Prohibition on U.S. Military Assistance
Section 5: CAATSA (S-400)Define Tukey’s S-400 purchase as a significant transaction under section 231 of CAATSA (The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 18:21 utc | 214

Likklemore @212--

The proof will be in the details of the new defense budget proposal where funds will need to be specified for the dismantling of infrastructure and related equipment if bases and their troops are to be closed and permanently evacuated as in Korea for example.

Meanwhile, Global Times calls out US Mideast policy for what it is: Chaotic:

"The latest US sanctions on Turkey are also widely regarded as a manifestation of an unstable US policy. The sanctions were more like a move to deal with international public opinion rather than a declaration to defend justice and sovereignty. The White House could change its policy again someday. Many people don't believe the sanctions on Turkey will last long....

"No one believes that the US will completely leave the Middle East. Washington wants to keep its presence only where it can profit. As for northern Syria from where the US cannot substantially benefit from, it will fly the coop regardless of possible serious consequences."

Lots of other interesting points raised in this editorial. But there's one thing from its conclusion I'll guarantee won't occur:

"Instead of solving the problem, the US is increasingly creating a problem for the world. It is hoped the US can reflect upon itself. As a superpower with far-reaching interests, the US will benefit the most from a benign world order."

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 18:24 utc | 215

I find the French attitude towards the people of their former colonies somehow similar to that of the Americans who look at Africans migrating illegally to the US with horror and dismay, as exemplified in the two articles on Portland linked here
It seems only White Men should be allow to colonize the whole earth and any planet they decide!!

Posted by: Mina | Oct 15 2019 18:30 utc | 216

One problem with leaving bases overseas is that they are often financially supported by the host country, so it costs more to operate bases in the US, even if they had the facilities for large numbers of returning troops. Especially in Korea, the 30,000 troops (and their families) are close to fully funded by the Republic of Korea. Plus as I've commented before, forward basing decreases the chance of war.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 18:38 utc | 217

@ karlof1 who wrote
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.
I hoped for the same in the past but now believe that China's foreign policy does not operate that way. The pressure, if any, that they apply will be couched is some sort of win-win context around economic agreements between parties. They seem to be very specific about how they don't want to be seen as the next global empire but as part of a multi-lateral world.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 15 2019 18:41 utc | 218

there is no justification for usa bases all over the globe, unless those who justify this continue to think of the usa as an exceptional empire and that the military industrial complex generates so much money for wall st, that it has to continue...

peter - i agree with your characterization of erdogan...

there has been a very long conflict with the kurds in turkey that erdogan has worked hard to cultivate, or that the kurd extremists have worked hard to maintain... that the kurds in syria took the bait offered them by the usa, is unfortunate, but understandable... now they are back to square one, or worse with turkey breathing down their neck, so they realize the importance of aligning with syria... too bad they couldn't see this beforehand... maybe it is as some say - the kurdish leadership is out of sync with the ordinary kurd in syria...leadership matters.. it reminds me of barzani in iraq, trying to grab everything and iraq stepping in and saying no... syria now is in the same position and the kurds are back to square 1, or less..

as for turkey and erdogan, i suspect this stance of his plays well to the turkish majority so he will continue to play it for all it is worth, so long as no serious losses happen here.. he wins by going against uncle scam too, so there are a couple of wins for him in all this politically as i understand it.. then there is the issue of the syrian refugees returning to syria, while the usa is unwilling and the international community seem unwilling to help support any of that financially... erdogan can rightly threaten europe with more refugees too.. and finally there are the headchoppers that turkey was fine with so long as they were trying to bust assad and the syrian country... now, he can use them to go against the kurds.. i am not sure what it means for idlib at the moment... it seems like a win-win for erdogan even if supposed sanctions kick in as i read it.. the next few weeks will be interesting..

Posted by: james | Oct 15 2019 18:50 utc | 219

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 18:09 utc | 214

I don't think one should take past statements too literally. The US wanted independence for Rojava (under US guidance, or course). The last relic of the ancient idea the French had of breaking up Syria into ethnic parcels, repeated by the US. It didn't work for the French in 1925, and was unlikely to work again. Many, or perhaps most, Rojavan Kurds understood that this was unrealistic. But when you have US troops implanted on your territory, it's difficult to say no to them.

Everything that's happened corresponds to this model. The Kurds don't particularly like Asad, cold is the way to describe the relationship. But they left the Syrian base in Qamishli to live, and when the US demanded they destroy it, the attack lasted one day, and then stopped. That says everything.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 15 2019 18:55 utc | 220

When will the reference to religion forbidden in international politics?

Posted by: Mina | Oct 15 2019 19:35 utc | 221

@ 222 joe... my friend in turkey says they are usa-israel soldiers.. kid you not..

Posted by: james | Oct 15 2019 20:07 utc | 222

The latest news - Erdogan called Putin, the situation in Syria was discussed.

Vladimir Putin invited Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay a working visit to Russia in the coming days. The President of Turkey accepted the invitation.

Posted by: alaff | Oct 15 2019 20:14 utc | 223

Lachearn #208

I linked Jeffrey Sachs because what he wrote and spoke is truth.

He has consistently called for withdrawal of military invasion by US forces. Amusingly he was guest on an MSNBC program and delivered a solid put-down of USA presence in the entire middle east.

Jimmy Dore ran a great segment pointing out how totally dumbstruck the MSNBC morons were when Sachs delivered an unrelenting logical destruction of USA being in the middle east.

I make no apology for his other works as I am unaware of them. But here he speaks truth. Thank you for illuminating his crimes against humanity in Bolivia.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 20:28 utc | 224

Joe #222, twitter took it down. I guess they have a monitor on moonofalabama.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 20:35 utc | 225

210 Karlof1

Good job, Syrian Girl!

Thanks for the link.

Posted by: Really?? | Oct 15 2019 20:39 utc | 226

Sachs seems to me like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I saw the takedown Sachs delivered, via the Jimmy Dore Show---I can't parse how Sachs thinks.
Did he have some kind of a conversion experience?
What was it?

Posted by: Really?? | Oct 15 2019 20:41 utc | 227

Here we have an interesting perspective on Ukrainegate's potential affect on international relations. The author's conclusion:

"For the outside world in general, and Russia in particular, the development of Ukrainegate means a period of relative passivity in American foreign policy. It is possible that, as Andrew Bacevich said, 'except as a source of sadomasochistic diversion, the entire agonizing experience will, therefore, prove to be a colossal waste of time and blather.' It is also possible that the political crisis, expressed in the conflict between the legislative and executive bodies, will continue to increase until the elections and even after them. In both cases, the country will be swallowed up by internal problems, weakening its influence on international arena."

I'm not convinced since Trump waged his economic war against all while being domestically assaulted by Russiagate. I do agree with the author that this newest scandal presents the possibility to involve far more than those already targeted.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 20:44 utc | 228

After a week of bipartisan hysteria about Trump's surprise withdrawal of US troops from part of NE Syria, complete with tears for "we're abandoning our allies, the Kurds'' (the US is in Syria illegally, and has no right to make "allies" with any ethnic group in any country trying to overthrow any government), the Russians brokered a deal between the Kurds and the Syrian Arab Army to work together to fight ISIS and push back the Turks.

Now what, imperial media, who were united as one in their anti-peace propaganda? What a major disappointment to the talking heads, who were eagerly awaiting footage of dead Kurds and instead got the Kurds joining the SAA. Quite a blow. Ordinary people who hate war celebrated the hopeful stride forward, but the psychopaths who run our country were very, very mad and sad.

An ABC "news" channel ran footage they claimed was of Turkey blowing up Kurds, but it turned out to be footage from a gun range in Kentucky.

And the NY Times decided to run an article claiming that Russia bombed four hospitals last May, which DN eagerly "reported", also.

How interesting that the hysterical predictions of genocide were thwarted, but instead of following up on the last week's "reporting", the imperial media decides to ignore the follow-up and publish lurid (and no doubt false) reports from last May. How transparently desperate of them.

Posted by: wagelaborer | Oct 15 2019 20:45 utc | 229

karlof1 @210, and others

Syrian Girl, Sharmine Narwani, and others reporting that ISIS prisoners were RELEASED (not escaped). Western sources reporting that Turkey is releasing prisioners.

Either way, a large-scale freeing of ISIS prisoners has to be considered something that generally benefits neocon schemers.

I've been suspicious about an intended freeing of ISIS prisoners since first hearing of the Turk-USA arrangements.


Ninel @72: why allow the Turks to enter?

To make Erdogan look like a tough leader and to release the ISIS prisoners ISIS.

ISIS resurgence (in Syria)! Is a strange MSM-driven meme given that ISIS has spread to many countries now, from Afghanistan and the Central Asian republics; to Yemen where the Saudis have utterly failed; to Africa.

They're needed in Idlib, to protect the oil fields in northeastern Syria, and to further destabilize Iraq.

Bonus: a "resurgent ISIS" means USA needs to stay in Middle East to fight them.

And I subsequently questioned if Trump had made a "wilful decision" (like Obama) to continue to use ISIS as a proxy.

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

Did Erdogan just effect a grand bargain (where each party gets something that they want) or betrayal?

Where will the freed ISIS end up? Idlib? Iraq? elsewhere?

How long will Turkey continue with it's "Peace Spring" operation? Will the Kurds continue to honor the Syria-SDF Agreement after the threat from Turkey has ended?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 15 2019 21:10 utc | 230

233 Wagelaborer

I just heard part of a segment on NPR news of a US soldier decrying the "betrayal"
His sob story:
When you have made friends with another soldier [i.e., a Kurdish rebel] and then you just have to walk away,... well,it really hurts."
That is a paraphrase of the mawkish propaganda broadcast on public radio paid for by the taxpayers. Truly nauseating.

These guys can continue their friendship after the fighting is over and the Kurds have been pacified and safely reintegrated into the Syrian polity and society and the Americans are back in their bases in the USA, or demobbed.

Posted by: Really?? | Oct 15 2019 21:11 utc | 231

Hopefully, the news in Syria will be positive for the Syrian people, and Assad, no matter what you think of him, can regain
control of his sovereignty. The Syrian people should be the sole deciders of that scenario.

I'll believe DJT has a genuine interest in pulling out U$ troops from overseas entanglements, when he stops support for the Yemen war, and support for the nation who is the greatest purveyor of terrorism around the globe today, the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), and their whabbist freaks.

Up til' now, IMO, it's all theater...

Posted by: ben | Oct 15 2019 21:14 utc | 232

And of course:

Will Syria capture the oil fields? When? Will they encounter resistance in doing so?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 15 2019 21:17 utc | 233

Was a couple of early rumors, but that seems to be about it. No solid reports of SAA taking control of the oilfields and nothing on the various maps showing SAA has crossed the Euphrates or pushed out from the Euphrates at Deir Ezzor.
SAA may be taking control of the eastern border crossing into Iraq, but nothing solid on that as yet.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2019 21:26 utc | 234

Really?? @231--

Yes, IMO Sachs has always been an enigma as his Wikipedia entry shows, most probably due to his being indoctrinated into Neoliberalism via his majoring in economics at Harvard and then his later observations of how the policies promoted by IMF and World Bank didn't function as advertised. He recently co-authored the study showing how deadly sanctions are toward Venezuela. His last two books IMO merit looking into--A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism, 2018; and Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, & Sustainable, 2017. Here's one review of A New Foreign Policy, while here's a critical review of Building the New American Economy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 21:29 utc | 235

The SAA has not moved east of the Euphrates to secure their oil fields today. Some locals were forecasting yesterday they would. Reports are coming in this evening that their massing forces are coming under bombardment from artillery and coalition aircraft, from Deir ez Zur south to the Iraq border. It’s starting to look like the US will not give up its illegal occupation of the oilfields as easily as most commenters here would hope. The US military still seem to have some local cover working with them so perhaps the Kurd factions are not entirely united or other, Arab tribes, are involved?

Posted by: Phil Espin | Oct 15 2019 21:29 utc | 236

Phil Espin
Several tribes from Raqqa and Deir Ezzor that had sworn alliegence to ISIS were given SDF hats to wear when US moved into the oilfields. As far as I know they have been holding the oilfields for the US. Oilfields are a long way out of Kurd territory.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 15 2019 21:34 utc | 237

Canthama recommends reading this thread on Northern Syria, and I concur.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 21:38 utc | 238

Laguerre #211

Autonomy agreement with Assad, you must be delusional. Syria is a multicultural country with interspersed arab and kurd and so many others. Remember it was once part of an enormous Persian empire and before that whatever. There is a swirl of belief systems throughout the country. There is no 'clinical solution' possible if the region is sanitised or aphartied into enclaves. This is the approach in Israel and was the approach in South Africa. This is how the American Indians were destroyed. Slow motion genocide in my view.

Syria is a singular multicultural democracy and solutions to its multiple ethnic and religious peoples that are scattered across its landscape is through a participatory democracy where the rule of peace and law prevails. Reconciliation is the only viable long term strategy for the next generation or two and all under one umbrella of a secular state in whatever form the Syrians choose.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 21:39 utc | 239


Thanks for the link. It makes some good points.

One of those points is that Erdogan needs to do something with the Syrian refugees (but resettling them in northeaster Syria is unrealistic).

Didn't Europe refuse to continue to pay for them? Erdogan choice: resettle them in Syria or send them to Europe?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 15 2019 21:52 utc | 240

“In the late 1960′s, a glossy, large-format book appeared on coffee tables in America and Israel. The book was called Israel: The Reality, and featured on its cover a photograph of a gorgeous Israeli woman soldier in marching position, a bandoleer of bullets across her shapely body, tanned face turned to the camera with a broad smile” (from

Also in the 1960s Israel espoused left-wing policies designed to enlicit the support of progressives worldwide. And at the same time they were hosting young foreigners on kibbutzes built on land stolen from the Palestinians.

Now we see young Kurdish women soldiers. They all seem to have spotless uniforms and the photography is very carefully posed. According to one female soldier and whistleblower they are not allowed anywhere near the front (sorry can’t find link). Add to that the left-wing politics and the ethnic cleansing of non Kurds and we have an almost exact replica of Israel in the 1960s.

Posted by: Lochearn | Oct 15 2019 21:53 utc | 241

Russia says 'unacceptable' Turkish incursion into Syria must be temporary.

“We didn’t agree with the Turks any questions about their presence in Syria and we don’t approve of their actions,” envoy Alexander Lavrentiev told reporters in Abu Dhabi during an official visit there by Putin.

. . .

Lavrentiev earlier on Tuesday told Russian news agencies that Moscow had always considered any kind of Turkish military operation on Syrian territory unacceptable.

. . .

In particular, he said the area was populated by Kurds, Arabs and Sunnis who would not take kindly to their lands being resettled by people who had never lived there, a reference to Turkey’s plan to house refugees from other parts of Syria there.

But Turkey had spoken of its intention many times in the past 2 years. Did Moscow NOT make it clear that any invasion and forced resettlement was unacceptable?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 15 2019 21:58 utc | 242

I guess the Kurds should have consulted with Vietnam and all those elderly ex soldiers who were with ARVN and how they were totally betrayed by their leadership and the USA 'guarantees'.

The Kurds should now politely melt back into their previous villages and reconcile their differences.

Perhaps their leadership can explain where all the booty is deposited. I hope it isn't converted to gold and stored in London. If so they might be advised to converse with Venezuela on how the get it back from those London thieves.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 22:09 utc | 243

IMO, Erdogan used this "offensive" to get rid of as many "Turkish affiliated" terrorists as possible as this tweet alludes:

"A senior US official told reporters the following about the proxy force Turkey is relying on as part of its Syria invasion: 'They could have used Turkish regular troops,...Instead they decided to use these thugs & bandits & pirates that should be wiped off the face of the earth'"

On the subject of the oil fields as I posted yesterday:

"SAA finished its preparations for deployment in Deir Ezzor, all oil facilities will be protected. Deployment will be carried out in -indirect- coordination with US forces are still in the process of withdrawing from the province."

One important event that's now occurring along the Syrian and Lebanese border is a series of wildfires that's heavily impacting Lebanon.

The choice to deal with the humanitarian situation on the border with Turkey shows how Assad's government ranks things in importance--and people clearly come before the Syrian oil patch. Curious to see the barflies that opine the oil's more important.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 22:11 utc | 244

Lochearn #245,

Before that in the 1930's the national socialist government of Germany ran a global bursary program through its various ambassadors and the Lutheran Church to recruit young people to travel to Germany to witness the Nazi economic miracle. Similar images of alluring soldiers etc were used. Many university and technocrats were able to travel and partake of the propaganda immersion game. Australia was a target country due to German interests in the plunder of Papua.

Israel does the same today and no doubt the USA. I am sure there are many others.

It is a mundane and repetitive system and is entirely contemptible and repulsive no matter who or when it is played.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 22:17 utc | 245

@ karlof1 248
'They could have used Turkish regular troops,...Instead they decided to use these thugs & bandits & pirates that should be wiped off the face of the earth'"
That's amusing, referring to former US employees in that manner, starting with their commander Salim Idris who was the former commander of the US-funded Free Syria Army. The late Senator John McCain posed for a picture with Syrian 'rebel' leader Gen. Salim Idris (2nd Right) in 2013. Others photographed alongside McCain were later confirmed to be terrorists which had been involved in kidnapping Shia pilgrims. here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 15 2019 23:00 utc | 246

Plus as I've commented before, forward basing decreases the chance of war.

Don Bacon #218

Beg to disagree with one line Don. That forward basing hoax only applies when the home country is governed by psychotic imperialist thugs. See USA. Not its people but its governments.

Consider the Brittish lunacy of forward basing in Khabul in the mid 1800's.

IMO forward basing is aggressive intimidation of the victim country. Next come the NGO's and their caravan of Human Terrain Mappers and then colour revolutions.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 23:09 utc | 247

@ karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 17:52 utc | 210

That Syrian Girl video is excellent - very moving.
I hope this sticks. Here rumors of some backlash from U.S. on fringes.

It was annoying that very quickly after watching the SG video, then quickly my YouTube starts playing a CBS news broadcast decrying the tragedy of it all - Syria potentially regaining it sovereignty. They control what we see.

Posted by: jared | Oct 15 2019 23:09 utc | 248

"I'll tell you this. No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." Out here, we're stone immaculate. Jim Morrison. "Show us the way to the next whiskey bar." Yeah b, I grew up in CA. Have friends who knew Jim. Love your site and all the comments. Peace.

Posted by: Shadow | Oct 15 2019 23:30 utc | 249

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

I have several other suggestions for renaming USA that I personally like better than ZUSA. This is of course, a personal preference :)

USRael and USI. Other alternatives I have seen are ZOG of USA, ZOR of USA, etc.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Oct 15 2019 23:44 utc | 250

Re. the Syrian oilfields. Delta Force Lt. Col Jim Reese has a plan....

"It involves a U.S.-led effort to develop oil fields in eastern Syria for the benefit of the Kurds and the Sunni-Arab tribes who live in that area, and America. It's about using the economic element of national power in a constructive rather than coercive manner. Reese explained to me that he and two partners; oil executive John Dorrier, and James Cain, a former U.S. Ambassador who lost his son-in-law to ISIS, recently filed an application with the Federal Government to get this done. How would it work?"

Of course the Syrian government may have other plans for Syrian oil. Most likely the oilfields will be a major factor in any deal they make with the SDF.

Posted by: dh | Oct 15 2019 23:59 utc | 251

Aaron Mate and Ben Norton in Syria ....

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Oct 16 2019 0:23 utc | 252

contd. 256

Great reporting from Aaron (and Ben Norton), as usual...

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Oct 16 2019 0:26 utc | 253

Some twitter reports of Al Omar oil field and Koniko gaz plant under SAA control, ie the Euphrates has been crossed ,prolly under RuAF cover..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 16 2019 0:47 utc | 254

Les7 @36 has highlighted the main issue overlooked by most. THE Kurds don't exist just like THE Scots did not exist in the pre 18th century. There is a geographically contiguous set of non-aligned clans or tribes of Kurdish ethnicity but not a politically cohesive Kurdish community that can speak or negotiate for all Kurdish people. Hence, the "freedom for Kurds" or creation of "an autonomous Kurdish' state or enclave is a nonsense and should be taken out of all equations here.

Posted by: Big Al | Oct 16 2019 0:51 utc | 255

adding to @234

ISIS Prisoners
There are reports (Syrian Girl, Sharmine Narwani) of ISIS prisoners being deliberately released by one US-SDF, and USA media is saying that Turks/SNA released ISIS prisoners.

A couple of days ago, Trump tweeted that Kurds might've released ISIS prisoners in the hope that USA would re-think it's troop withdrawal.

In any case, Erdogan's use of SNA head-choppers - ISIS' spiritual comrades - is clearly problematical as they would naturally try to free their fellow Jihadis. But USA's knowledge of Turkey's intention to use SNA may have prompted USA to release ISIS prisoners before leaving so as to 1) blame it on Turkey/SNA; and/or 2) arrange for released ISIS fighters to relocate to areas where their fighting could be useful to USA goals (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.)

Erdogan's Id-libido
What strikes me is that Turkey's long-sought incursion into northeastern Syria came as Idlib was close to falling to SAA forces. Jihadi forces in Idlib were reduced after a number of last stands and counter-attacks. They could use reinforcements.

If Erdogan needed to show his Islamist manhood prior to the fall of Idlib (personally as well as politically), then his allies Syria+Russia have just made him a virtual eunuch by standing against his "Spring Peace" operation. (In contrast, USA had allowed Erdogan's ballsy 'Spring Peace' operation to go forward!)

Erdogan strikes me as very ego-centric so he's probably butt-hurt over the coming loss of Idlib and the (forced) "abandonment" of his allies there. Did that motivate his incursion into northeast Syria in a manner that would virtually guaranty release of ISIS prisoners?

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

Some have suggested that Erdogan (and his Syria+Russian allies?) wants to eliminate a sizable number of SNA head-chopper thugs by pushing them into battle with Kurds/SAA. But now SAA have rushed to join the Kurds and Russian troops are also involved. And everyone is demanding that Erdogan leave Syria.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 16 2019 0:52 utc | 256

"I know you're working for the CIA, they wouldn't have you in the mafia. War, "Why can't we be friends." That's about how it goes, my friends. The Empire is on the run. They'd tell a lie when the truth would serve them better. It's over in Syria. What will happen when Israel is alone? They should pray to Mammon that their "God" will have as much mercy as they've shown others.

Posted by: Shadow | Oct 16 2019 1:01 utc | 257

Great work MoA!

Posted by: Bruce Maclean | Oct 16 2019 1:42 utc | 258

Nathan Mulcahy @ 256: Absolutely a great link, many thanks..

Posted by: ben | Oct 16 2019 1:43 utc | 259

i just noticed most of my post in prior articles have been deleted.. ?
how is that possible and why?

Posted by: snake | Oct 16 2019 1:45 utc | 260

Uncle Sam is being thoroughly humiliated in Syria. They left Manbij in the middle of dinner. RT has stunning videos of half-eaten dinner in the mess hall. Troopers left in such a hurry that they didn't have time to burn the place on their way out. Heavy earth moving equipment is clearly visible. One wonders what weapons were abandoned as well.

RT also has a video of US troops meeting SAA troops on the highway, presumably the M4. They didn't stop to exchange pleasantries, but apparently didn't shoot at each other. Uncle Sam is being driven out of Syria as many predicted some time ago.

There is also a new US indictment against a Turkish state-owned bank that helped Iran evade US blockade. The article mentioned $20 billion was involved. Somehow that gangster Guiliani, Trump, and Erdogan are all part of the story. The impeachers might have something real on Trump now. Well, that is what we are supposed to believe...

The Deep State must be going berserk! They will be pulling out all the stops now to get rid of Trump. Trump, the best bull-in-a-china-shop one could hope for, has so enraged the china shop owners that they will demolish the rest of the china to get Trump.

Only Wednesday, and already it's a bad week for the Empire. Maybe a good week for the rest of the world.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Oct 16 2019 4:06 utc | 261

Here's a link to the story on Halkbank:

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Oct 16 2019 4:11 utc | 262

John Evans, U.S. Consul General in St. Petersburg from 1994 to 1997 (The Key to Understanding Vladimir Putin, September 21, 2019):

Russia inherited a formidable military and diplomatic elite, has a well-developed sense of her history and role in the world, and, aside from the street theater that so captivates Western audiences, has real politics and public opinion that must be taken seriously by any leader. Imagining, as some do, that Putin is “the problem,” and that when he leaves the scene all will be well, is a naïve delusion. As the leading Russia scholar and diplomat Tom Graham once put it, “we don’t have a Putin problem, we have a Russia problem.” And it is a problem in part of our own making -- but blaming Putin is so much easier than reckoning with our own shortcomings.

Posted by: Sergei | Oct 16 2019 5:01 utc | 263

A path to rehabilitating the Nobel Peace Prize could start with a nomination of Putin (and Lavrov).

If Trump can hold up his end he'll finally manage to contribute something meaningful: I realize it is no small task to take on the war machine. Could go a long way toward ensuring his reelection: and perhaps he might even grow a heart (and resemble someone I could actually think of voting for [now that the Dems have made it clear that they will subvert any anti-establishment candidate]- worth a big FU to the neocons and MSM).

Posted by: Seer | Oct 16 2019 5:08 utc | 264

@264 snake... seems like you have quite a few posts still easy to find via the search engine using your name here.. there is no reason for any of them to go missing...

Posted by: james | Oct 16 2019 5:30 utc | 265

Clearly this is the price Trump is paying to get Russias help in the upcoming election. Lol. Only joking, sort of.

Who knows, I still think most of this is fake wrestling. Just a diversion from real issues and to create an sense of insecurity so the funds into the MIIC (military industrial intelligence complex) will continue to flow uninterrupted (for China US Russia EU/UK, etc) and the global corporate elite can continue siphoning the wealth of the lower classes in their own countries and of undeveloped nations.

Posted by: Pft | Oct 16 2019 7:36 utc | 266

Pft @ 270
Agreed on that ! As big as this development in Syria is, we need to remember it’s one battle (front) not the whole war. We know who the bad guys are ! Who the true terrorist is - USA elite U.K. Israel and there lackys.
We know who the victems are the ‘public’ world wide including US UK.

Posted by: mark2 | Oct 16 2019 8:50 utc | 267

@ 268 Seer

I'm sure Russia or Eurasia has some more worthy award than the Nobel.

The Nobel Peace Prize has always been about pure narrative control;

The inventor of dynamite was spurred by reading his own obituary in a premature death notice:
"a scathing obituary that branded him a “merchant of death” who had grown rich by developing new ways to “mutilate and kill.”

Posted by: ziogolem | Oct 16 2019 9:03 utc | 268

I think that, Israel wants do defeat Erdogan. Israel wants an ottoman Empire of Turkey and Europe. Putin wants an ottoman Empire with Asia.

To defeat Erdogan they make a trap for him in northern Syria. The Kurds will be the next muhjedins and equipped with smart weapons to fight Turkey.

Posted by: az | Oct 16 2019 9:18 utc | 269

David G 9

Dangerous Creations ?

Posted by: denk | Oct 16 2019 9:19 utc | 270

Big Al | Oct 16 2019 0:51 utc | 259

"THE Kurds don't exist just like THE Scots did not exist in the pre 18th century. There is a geographically contiguous set of non-aligned clans or tribes of Kurdish ethnicity but not a politically cohesive Kurdish community that can speak or negotiate for all Kurdish people."

Quite nonsensical. This "definition" can be applied to all groups in the Near East as well. The "Turks" in the sense of Erdogan/Turkish deep state are a modern invention just 100 years old. 30 years before the use of Kurdish language was forbidden in Turkey. The leader of the MHP openly stated that "Kurds" do not exist, that there is nothing like a Kurdish language.
Why should anybody go on with such nonsense?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 16 2019 10:08 utc | 271

I did not know that feature to search for one's comments existed.
Thus I searched for mine and discovered there is another commenter posting with my same nickname. Concretely one comment where he declares being a quite nasty individual around June, is not mine.
Although I think that has nothing to do, I wonder whether that added for my banning here

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 16 2019 12:07 utc | 272

SANA, the official Syrian government broadcaster, has what could be thought to be propaganda stories of crowds in northeastern Syrian towns giving rapturous welcomes to the Syrian Army as it arrives to defend them from the Turks and Wahhabi Islamists. But provide the videos as well. These are just same as all the other videos when the Syrian Army liberates towns during the 8 year war. All censored from Western MSM. Apart from the 10% of Syrian Sunnis who are hardened Wahhabi Terrorists supporters and the ambivalence of Syrian Kurds, the Syrian people adore their army for saving them from the Western-Turkish-Saudi-Qatari-Israeli backed head choppers.

Posted by: PJB | Oct 16 2019 12:19 utc | 273

Oops - here’s the SANA news report:

Posted by: PJB | Oct 16 2019 12:20 utc | 274

@277: That link is looking more like a drawn out lecture about extinction agenda...

Posted by: Chevrus | Oct 16 2019 12:28 utc | 275

French journalists are at loss: they can't explain things as 'sectarian' when Sunni Turks are attacking Sunni Kurds.
And you can feel their pain when they say that in the cities where the SAA enters, the soldiers are carrying Syrian flags, after they tried hard to sell for 8 years a narrative where Syrian soldiers were hostages of the regime and were moved at gunpoint...

Posted by: Mina | Oct 16 2019 12:43 utc | 276

To defeat Erdogan they make a trap for him in northern Syria. The Kurds will be the next muhjedins and equipped with smart weapons to fight Turkey. by: az @| 272

I d/n think it was a trap in the way you mean.. what I said in a previous post a few subjects back was
Turkey may have been deployed(by trickery or need) to to advance and threatened with sanctions that would only apply if Erdogan fails to release the ISIS and find a way to arm them against Assad..
I think Mr. Trump had to make a choice whether to remain in Syria or defend Saudi Arabia and defend USA interest in Iraq, 3000 announced troops and 3000 more that various websites report into Saudi along with equipment since leaving Yemen and many things in Afghanistan have been disruptive since. The foreign oil interest in Syria have been supported by the Kurds and other anti Assad groups.. so basically its question of which player gets protection. .Saudi or oil companies in Iraq and Syria troops in Afghanistan . My opinion based on pure speculation by observing things that are actually happening.

As you observe, Erdogan may have been the fall guy to accomplish this outcome, but it d/n seem to be a vendetta trap set against
Erdogan himself.
However Russia's active, overt, direct and effective intervention seems to be trumping that plan.. ?
very interesting you comment.. what area are you from

Thanks from those who helped me looking into the missing posts..

Posted by: snake | Oct 16 2019 12:46 utc | 277

The Russian Masterpiece in Syria: Everyone Wins

Posted by: librul | Oct 16 2019 12:57 utc | 278

So anyway, Erdogan says he will only talk to Trump, dissing Pence,

Erdogan refuses to meet Pence


Kurds fighting Turkey alongside the Assad:

Syria troops fighting Turkish forces alongside Kurds, says monitor

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 16 2019 13:01 utc | 279

karlof1 | Oct 15 2019 16:27 utc | 199:

In addition to psychohistorian @219 comment, China will stay away from the spotlight. It's not their style. I'll also add that Syria isn't considered in their Sphere of Influence so they'll be silent for the most part.

Posted by: Ian2 | Oct 16 2019 13:22 utc | 281

Orthodox Jews in US support Turkish Peace Spring Operation

Posted by: Aziz | Oct 16 2019 13:47 utc | 282

@284 Ian2, @219 psychohistorian, @199 karlof1

I agree but would add that I think Syria is most definitely part of China's future influence as access to the Mediterranean runs through that whole region. China will help rebuild Syria, doing what it does so well, and arguably better than anyone else.

Russia, I have often claimed, flights wars not to conquer enemies but to create peace. This difference puts many an enemy and observer on the back foot. We've seen it dramatically displayed in Syria in numerous actions. And this is not so much Putin, I think, as Russia itself, pursuing its security needs, which I conjecture are for world peace.

I've been reading early Sun Yat-sen works lately. One hundred years ago, China's population was 400 million, still the greatest population in the world. Dr. Sun considered from the very beginning that if China could embrace nationalism, throw off imperialist inroads, and become an equal with other nations in the world, then the efforts of those 400 million could present such a force as to benefit the whole world and lift it into sustainable prosperity.

It's a remarkable idea. China was cognizant of its own greatness but could only dream of it as a force to benefit all. I suspect that this idea has persisted within the mind of Chinese civilization over those hundred years.


Sun Yat-sen's opening paragraph of his 1917 work, The Vital Problem Of China [pdf], reasons from first principles that nation-states form for the purpose of war, whether aggressive or defensive. He concludes in the same first paragraph: "should there be no wars, there would be no States."

There would be, however, as Martin Jacques always reminds us, civilizations.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 16 2019 14:46 utc | 283

Yet another very good example of Westerners using innocent people for their not-so-creative propaganda

Posted by: Mina | Oct 16 2019 15:04 utc | 284

French FM in Iraq today now announcing he is discussing the modalities of creating an international court for the djihadists. This was already on the table and welcomed by north European states, but France was against it, preferring to outsource its responsibilities to the US, the Kurds and the Iraqis, without any consideration for international laws (some grandparents of the innocent kids dragged into that mayhem were asking for them to be returned and tried to sue the state to no avail)...

Posted by: Mina | Oct 16 2019 15:07 utc | 285

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 15 2019 20:35 utc | 228

Joe #222, twitter took it down. I guess they have a monitor on moonofalabama.

Fares Shehabi: "Twitter deleted the video of Turkish soldiers beheading dead Kurds.. Yes, the video was very sensitive but so are the lives of Syrians facing daily Turkish atrocities.."

But nothing is lost on The Internet:

Posted by: joe | Oct 16 2019 15:31 utc | 286

@275 sasha.. very few are banned here at moa and it doesn't look like you are one of them..

Posted by: james | Oct 16 2019 15:54 utc | 287

A no-fly zone:

Russian military aircraft and air defense systems ensured the creation of a no-fly zone in areas occupied by Russian and Syrian military personnel in the north of the Arab Republic.
Подробнее на:

Posted by: Bill Herschel | Oct 16 2019 16:24 utc | 288

The Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties, Major General Alexey Bakin, presented the situation today in pretty intrseting terms:

"The evacuation of the the military units of the United States from the NE areas of SAR ... moving in the direction of the SY/IQ border.

The authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian command have taken all necessary measures for ensuring the safe passage of foreign military units.Text"



Posted by: BG | Oct 16 2019 16:25 utc | 289

Sorry for the errors in my previos post - will check them and edit:

Should read:

The Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties, Major General Alexey Bakin, presented the situation today in pretty intrseting terms:

"The evacuation of the the military units of the United States from the NE areas of SAR continues ... they are moving in the direction of the SY/IQ border.

The authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian command have taken all necessary measures for ensuring the safe passage of foreign military units."



Posted by: BG | Oct 16 2019 16:29 utc | 290

Anybody here who knows whether some of the snipers in Iraq could be identified?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 16 2019 16:38 utc | 291

The unfortunate humiliation of US troops slinking out of Syria is a natural legacy of Hillary's failed efforts for regime change in Syria. She never imagined that Russia would be her undoing, with Iran benefiting, along with Syria obviously, and so these countries must be punished for spoiling US efforts. We will never see this part of the story featuring Hillary published in the MSM, but that doesn't make it less true.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 16 2019 16:46 utc | 292

The snipers in Iraq are said to belong to one of the numerous militias working with the president, but not acting on his orders.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 16 2019 16:53 utc | 293

(sorry i meant the PM)

Posted by: Mina | Oct 16 2019 16:56 utc | 294

Some US troops are blaming their superiors, as they should.

The officer said the United States aided the Turkish offensive by talking the SDF into taking down some of its defenses in the border region under the premise that the United States would stay involved and then allowing the Turkish operation to go forward.

"Folks are heartbroken," the second officer said. "It's very different than if we had said, 'We are getting out of Syria in six months.' Reasonable-man definition says that we facilitated that attack."

The abrupt change followed more than a year of Trump pressing to get U.S. troops out of Syria, with directives for the military to withdraw passed in April and December 2018. The latter one prompted Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to resign in December, but in both cases, senior advisers talked Trump into slowing down.

One Special Forces soldier with several deployments to northern Syria said he blamed senior military leaders for not finding a way out of Syria faster, given Trump's well-known desires.

The Kurdish forces fought hard, but the U.S. partnership with them was always going to be problematic, he said. The Kurdish fighters in Syria have links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in Turkey, which both Ankara and Washington have labeled a terrorist organization.

"If someone had presented Trump with a six-month withdrawal plan and actually stuck to it, we wouldn't be having these conversations," the soldier said. "You can tell me horror stories and show me intel reports, and none of it would matter to me. I fully support withdrawing from Syria." . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 16 2019 16:58 utc | 295

Grieved @286--

The sphere of influence concept is outdated as it was based on the European colonial era. Nowadays, given how sovereignty is defined by the UN Charter, a nation operates in two realms--within its own borders and within the entire world as it interacts with other nations to solve global problems through negotiations and cooperation, not force and cooptation/coercion. It's this model of geopolitics and geoeconomics that China and Russia are promoting, and they are being joined in their efforts by more nations in both formal and informal ways. We are witnessing the outset of a new era--Present At the Creation, to borrow the title of Dean Acheson's memoirs. I can't help but muse on how he, Senator Fulbright and Andrei Gromyko would react as the paradigm changes.

librul @281 linked to an excellent summation of what's happened, the title of which exemplifies the new paradigm: "The Russian Masterpiece in Syria: Everyone Wins":

"The agreement between the Kurds (SDF) and Damascus is the only natural conclusion to events that are heavily orchestrated by Moscow. The deployment of Syrian and Russian troops on the border with Turkey is the prelude to the reconquest of the entirety of Syrian territory — the outcome the Kremlin was wishing for at the beginning of this diplomatic masterpiece.

"Washington and Ankara have never had any opportunities to prevent Damascus from reunifying the country. It was assumed by Moscow that Washington and Ankara would sooner or later seek the correct exit strategy, even as they proclaimed victory to their respective bases in the face of defeat in Syria. This is exactly what Putin and Lavrov came up with over the last few weeks, offering Trump and Erdogan the solution to their Syrian problems."

What has occurred during all the backstage negotiating has resulted in what IMO is a newly found confidence to act as this analytic essay suggests: "Is Russia over its Resentment?" China as its handling of the contrived Hong Kong riots shows is also continuing to follow its own policy as the master of its own destiny. The pushback in Ecuador is significant and combines with the growing turmoil in UK, French and Canadian politics to further humble former colonial nations and the Outlaw US Empire's claim as their master. And within the Empire, Sanders continues his very much needed attack. It's somewhat ironic that I could argue Sanders is more of a nationalist and America Firster than Trump. Nationalism needn't become Exceptionalism, but it most certainly is the enemy of Corporatism and its ally Neoliberalism--dots few seem willing or able to connect.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 16 2019 17:02 utc | 296

@ Don Bacon | Oct 16 2019 16:46 utc | 296

Brings memories of evacuation of vietnam.

But like Vietnam, the evacuation was when they did the right and (in some sense) braver thing.
The humiliation rightly belonged to the war mongers - not in general the soldiers.
Though it is not exactly a noble role to be a mercenary.
I applaud them for doing the right thing at this point and hope they will do it with honor.
I think many of those people will suffer with the memories of what they have seen and done and hope they can commit to finding a way to make it right.

Posted by: jared | Oct 16 2019 17:04 utc | 297

Hey, what happened to B?
I suspect he's celebrating heartily.

Posted by: jared | Oct 16 2019 17:05 utc | 298

Don Bacon @299--

Thanks for posting that! It's very unfortunate such views aren't reported by BigLie Media. If I could ask the soldiers deployed to Syria one question: Why are you obeying an illegal order when invading and occupying a nation that's not asked you is the waging of Aggressive War--the #1 War Crime--or didn't you know that?

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 16 2019 17:13 utc | 299

@299 & 303 Soldiers are not supposed to ask questions. Probably most of the rank and file were told they were in Syria to fight ISIS. And they believed it in spite of the evidence that they were really there to support the opposition against Assad.

Posted by: dh | Oct 16 2019 17:21 utc | 300

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