Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 24, 2019

Syria - The Kurds Want To Play On Both Sides

When President Trump ignored bad advice he enabled progress in Syria. Unfortunately Trump is back at listening to the bad advice some State Department people are giving him:

President Donald Trump says he wants to “end endless wars.” But the counter-Iran, counter-Russia hawks on his national security team are planning to sneak in a long-term U.S. military presence in southeast Syria. And their plans may have been in the works for a while.

With U.S. forces opening the gates for Turkey to take over northeast Syria, Trump administration officials are now drawing up plans to keep several hundred U.S. troops alongside Arab rebel groups in the country’s oil-rich southeast. Trump has said, “we have secured the oil.” And Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) diplomats have said they’re willing to work with such a plan.

The National Interest has learned that the Trump administration’s anti-ISIS team, led by Ambassador James Jeffrey, has floated the idea of a counter-Iran presence in Deir ez-Zor for some time now.

“Every day, the [U.S.-led] coalition has been very strong against [Syrian ruler] Assad,” said Omar Abu Layla, CEO of Deirezzor24, who said that he has seen U.S. helicopters and F-35 fighter jets increase their presence against Iranian-backed forces in the region.

Abu Layla told the National Interest that he spoke to Jeffrey’s team three or four months ago. “They promised, ‘we will not leave Syria before we kick Iran out of Syria,’” he claimed. “They will not leave our province easily.”

While James Jeffrey pushes the anti-Iran nonsense Trump dreams of winning a Nobel Peace Prize by facilitating a deal between Turkey and the Kurds:

In the infamous “undiplomatic” letter to Erdogan a few days ago, Trump had voiced an audacious idea that Gen. Mazloum could be a potential negotiator with Erdogan. To quote Trump, “General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you (Erdogan), and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past. I am confidentially enclosing a copy of his letter to me, just received.”

Yet, General Mazloum is Turkey’s most wanted terrorist who worked in the ranks of the separatist PKK for nearly 3 decades and it is necessary to connect some dots at this point.
Gen. Mazloum is likely to visit Washington in a near future; so is Erdogan. Trump is promoting Kurdish reconciliation with Turkey. The last fortnight’s developments on the diplomatic front have removed the single biggest source of tension in the US-Turkey relations — US’ alliance with YPG and the presence of Kurdish fighters along Syria’s border with Turkey.

When one combines the two items one can understand the thinking behind this otherwise idiotic tweet:

Donald J. Trump - @realDonaldTrump - 17:48 UTC · Oct 24, 2019

I really enjoyed my conversation with General @MazloumAbdi. He appreciates what we have done, and I appreciate what the Kurds have done. Perhaps it is time for the Kurds to start heading to the Oil Region!

The Kurds live in the northern part of east Syria. The oilfields are in the eastern part of Deir Ezzor governorate, 300 kilometers south of the Kurdish areas. The oil fields lie in an area that has a 100% Arabic population and Kurds are generally not welcome there. But the U.S. does not want to send enough troops to occupy the oil fields. It needs a proxy force it can trust.


Should the U.S. try occupy the oil fields area with the help of a Kurdish militia the local Arabs will immediately (re-)convert to ISIS and fight the occupiers of their land.

Joshua Landis @joshua_landis - 18:20 UTC · Oct 24, 2019

9. Iran and Russia are rivals of the US, but any effort by Washington to undermine their efforts to bring stability to NE Syria will only help ISIS & extremist groups. If the US keeps troops in the area, takes oil wells, or resists the transition of authority, it will serve ISIS.

I had some hope that Trump had recognized that James Jeffrey was working against his effort the pull U.S. troops out of Syria. Jeffrey should have been fired long ago. Instead it seems that Trump is still listening to him.

Meanwhile the Kurds again prove their utter lack of political sensibility. The State Department insulted them:

A State Department official broke a pencil and screamed at the Syrian Kurdish delegation during a dramatic breakdown of relations between the United States and the Syrian Kurds. The high-tension moment in September highlights the diplomatic problems plaguing the Trump administration ..

The U.S. envoys lied to them and Trump betrayed them. But they still believe that they can make deals on both sides of the Syria conflict.

Ali @CoolHuh_ - 19:39 UTC · Oct 24, 2019

SDF in last 24 hour:
Want SAA to defend border
No withdrawing of their mercenaries
Refuse Russian offer
Ask Russia to pressure Syrian gov
Want "special section" in SAA
Want US illegal presence in Syria
Want international forces

SDF, Are you high?

The Syrian government and the Russian military must tell the PKK-Kurds that they can not play on both sides of the game. No Syrian or Russian soldier shall risk their life to secure and defend the Kurdish majority areas against a Turkish invasion while the Kurds help the U.S. to occupy and steal Syrian oil fields. Either they submit to the Syrian government and end their relations with the U.S. or they shall have to confront a Turkish invasion of their northern areas.

"General" Mazloum Abdi must be told in very clear words that there is no other chance for the Kurds and for himself to survive.

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

« previous page

Erdogan announced today that Turkey will begin a new operation in Northern Syria if Kurdish forces don't withdraw as per the agreement between Turkey and Russia.

The Kurds are slow learners for sure...


Posted by: BG | Oct 26 2019 19:49 utc | 201

Iraq will have a change of government soon or anarchy. Even a mildly anti US government needs to be taken down.
A bit of violence and confusion in Iraq and US may well emerge with more oilfields.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 26 2019 20:21 utc | 202 let's turn to the maps to see what's going on...

Initially it was reported that that US convoy enterd at Al Walid border crossing which is at Al Tanf...this has proved not be accurate...

We now have reports of that convoy having entered at the northeast border crossing with Iraq at the M4 highway...this is in Hasakah province...

Let's look at the map...

I have marked up here the Qasrak US base where that convoy has gone to, according to reports...

The Al Shaddadi US base which is farther south and much closer to the oil fields was the scene of a convoy withdrawing yesterday...

The Rmeilan US base hosts a former SAA air base, which has been used by the US, but it's not clear if the US has withdrawn that base or if the SAA has taken over...

We know where the US bases are in the Northeast because Turkey media published that info, along with a map...

The accompanying story here from 2017...

Let's go back to the map of a few days ago when the bulk of US forces had pulled

So we see that the SAA is already in control of the northeast...US has had no choice but to pull out of Al Shaddadi, which is close to the oil patch because they would be completely cut off logistically like I pointed out...

Now the Qasrak base near Tell Baydar town is cheek by jowl with Tell Tamr which is in SAA hands...

According to Southfront [who have had very reliable reporting from the area for years] the US has already booby trapped that Qasrak base in order to demolish it prior to withdrawal...

The report here...

Also considering that this convoy of 13 vehicles is really pretty insignificant and contains no armor nor even any heavy weaponry...what can we deduce from the US intention here...?

They did not go south to the oil fields [but in fact pulled out of the Al Shaddadi base there] here...

So this convoy certainly does not signal anything to do with the oil patch...

What we do notice is that that Qasrak base is right next to where skirmishes between the Turkish led militias and the SDF have been flaring...

The only way this makes sense is to play a spoiler in terms of a reconciliation between the SAG and the Kurds...which is in fact much more important than the oil patch...[if they can pull that off...which seems pretty far-fetched]...

But the Kurds are still apparently trying to ride two horses...this will not be appreciated by the Syrians, nor their allies...

The 'bolstered' US presence in the vicinity of the Turkish-Kurd fighting will also enrage the Turks...because they see it as emboldening the Kurdish factions that are being slow to move back to the defined line agreed in Sochi...

So I think the oil patch idea is of course dead...this latest little sop with that scraggly convoy is just kabuki from the US...designed to stir trouble by encouraging some very unbelievably stupid Kurds...

Let's see how things develop...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 26 2019 20:44 utc | 203


A few years back US sent an artillery unit into east Syria. I think they were used against Raqqa. Any idea what happened to them. Perhaps they were moved out some time ago, no reports of the artillery leaving now.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 26 2019 21:07 utc | 204

No info on the artillery, Peter...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 26 2019 21:13 utc | 205

Re Trump's "we have secured the oil". According to Russian military, transporting and selling stolen Syrian oil was already a US military operation. Run by contractors and protected by US military.
Seems like not only CIA but Pentagon now seems to be running schemes for off the record finance.
Apparently this operation brought in 30 million per month. Pentagon looks to have taken over the ISIS operation.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 26 2019 21:28 utc | 206

More developments reported in the northeast...

Map here [my markup of google maps] showing what is being reported by Southfront...

We see that SAA is operating against Turkish militias right next door to the Qasrak base where the US has just sent that small here...

The SAA has reached the important border town of Ras al Ayn where it is to establish a border of 15 SAA border posts along the border as per Sochi...

Ras al Ayn is right on the eastern edge of that Turkish incursion zone...the SAA entering here is part of the agreement with the SDF...

We see the Turkish zone from the border down to the M4...stretching between Tell Tamr in the east and Ain Issa in the West...both of those towns are in SAA hands...

Now also reports that joint SAA-Russian patrols along that stretch of M4...

So how long is this charade with the Qasrak base supposed to last...?

Clearly the US force there are spectators and nothing more...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 26 2019 21:55 utc | 207

If you are talking about the artillery used to kill the residents of Raqqa, I believe that was worn out. Why bother hauling them home?

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 26 2019 22:24 utc | 208

"I have marked up here the Qasrak US base where that convoy has gone to, according to reports..."

Any links to that. Only reason I can think of US holding that base now is they have gear they want move out rather than destroy. SAA, Russia Turkey US all together in the one spot doesn't add up.
I believe Russia and SAA has an agreement on safe move out of US forces.

Had a look on google maps for the base and only thing I can find that may be a US base is this,40.5770848,1168m/data=!3m1!1e3

Permanent looking setup if that is it though I thought there should have been some of those half round tents or temporary barracks. Also looks to be grain silos or oil tanks surrounded by trucks in one of the positions.
If that is the base, it may take a bit of time to pack up.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 26 2019 22:41 utc | 209

William Gruff
Barrels are a standard replacement part for artillery.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 26 2019 22:53 utc | 210

Peter the Southfront report about that convoy setting down in Qasrak is here...

Thanks for that google sat imagery...I assume you zoomed on the Tell Beydar area to see what you could locate...?

If that is indeed the Qasrak base, we see how close it is to the M4...

You may be figuring correctly about moving stuff out of there...if you look at video of that convoy that went in there you will see at least one flatbed trailer that is EMPTY...

Why would they be hauling an empty trailer in as part of a 'convoy' that's supposedly meant to take the oil fields...[and then ends up nowhere near those fields...]

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 26 2019 22:58 utc | 211

I should have expanded on that a little more. Gun barrels are like tyres on a car. Ditching a gun because the barrel is worn is like ditching a car because the tyres are worn.
As the article stated, each gun went through two barrels while in use in east Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 26 2019 23:00 utc | 212
In March 2017, the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit was deployed to Syria to provide artillery support with their M777s for forces seeking to eject ISIL forces from Raqqa.[34]
"In all, roughly 400 members of 11th MEU deployed to Syria. These Marines have since been replaced by a different Marine artillery unit, but the unit has not yet been named publicly. Marine Corps Times speculated that the replacement unit likely belongs to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is currently deployed with the USS Bataan’s amphibious ready group. On April 23, the 24th MEU uploaded and image to its Facebook page, which showed artillery Marines at Camp Buehring in Kuwait, firing M777 A2 howitzers at an artillery range.

“Some stuff we just simply cannot talk about,” Col. Clay Tipton, 11th MEU commander, added during the roundtable."

A few google searches has not brought up anything on the artillery leaving Syria. These are hightech guns, lot of titanium for light weight and hightech targeting gear so I can't see US leaving these behind.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 26 2019 23:15 utc | 213

Peter AU 1 @215

Wouldn't making new ones be good for the economy, from a neocon perspective of how economies work?

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 26 2019 23:27 utc | 214

On those half round tents from my post @211

There is a couple of them at that site, so it does look to be the US base.
Google maps at this link is zoomed in on the half rounds.,40.5756783,208m/data=!3m1!1e3

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 26 2019 23:32 utc | 215

Peter, thanks again...

Yeah, that's what we call a Quonset hut...was wondering what you meant by 'half-tents'...LOL

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 26 2019 23:43 utc | 216

Peter said...

I believe Russia and SAA has an agreement on safe move out of US forces.

Agree...not much known publicly, but this would be part of the military to military back channels I mentioned...

Another important question here...since that border crossing has been in SAA hands for several days now...the SAA actually escorted the US convoys out via the M4 to the Iraq border [with video]

How would that US convoy then just enter there...?

Doesn't make sense if they were not permitted to come in...

Here's the map from Oct 22'nd showing SAA control of M4 right to Iraq border...

And here's the video from RT Arabic showing that US convoy on the M4 en route to Qasrak...the empty flatbed truck is the second vehicle in the convoy...

Another one farther back is carrying a shipping the container empty...?

Certainly this would explain why the convoy was let in at the border and allowed to proceed.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 1:07 utc | 217

And here's yet another curious development...

UNIDENTIFIED helos coming from Turkey are bombing the Idlib terrorists along the Turkish border...rebel sources say it was US helos, but no confirmation on that.

The US previously bombed the area earlier this year [confirmed] as noted in the report

Why would the US help Syria which is fighting those same 'rebels' right now and reportedly gearing up for a major offensive in Idlib...?

A lot of things don't add up with the kabuki that we are presented with as 'news'...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 1:17 utc | 218

@ peter and flanker b... thanks for the updates.. i don't know if you saw @202 sashas post, but that confirms the usa moving back into syria on some level as well... it is all a bit confusing..

Posted by: james | Oct 27 2019 1:30 utc | 219

The Deep State at work:

- Support for 'moderate rebel' headchoppers and the rise of ISIS;

- Support for White Helmet propaganda;

- Kidnapping the Skripals;

- Integrity Initiative;

- Epstein "suicide" (murder/escape);

- Govt to MIC/Finance revolving door (looting);

But they would NEVER interfere in a Presidential election.


Jackrabbit !!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 27 2019 1:46 utc | 220

Via, via ZH

276 more Russian Military Police officers and 33 additional equipment pieces will be deployed in Syria, Russia’s state media reported. These forces will likely participate in security operations along the Syrian-Turkish border to the east of the Euphrates River.

Additionally to the deployment in Kobane, the Russian Military Police already started carrying out patrols near the city of Qamishly.

On October 24, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin announced that Kurdish forces had started withdrawal from the border area.

Nonetheless, the implementation of the ceasefire is not going without difficulties. On October 24 afternoon, the Syrian Army repelled an attack by Turkish-backed militants near the villages of al-Kozleya and Tell al-Laban in northern al-Hasakah. Clashes between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkish-backed groups also took place near the villages of Assadiya, Mishrafa and Manajer.

Pro-Turkish sources say that these attacks were conducted in response to ceasefire violations by Kurdish militias. The Turkish Defense Ministry revealed that 5 soldiers were injured in the Syrian province of al-Hasakah on October 24 in a series of attacks by Kurdish forces. However, the official Turkish version claims that its forces do not violate the ceasefire regime.

The SDF are ready to discuss the idea of joining the Syrian military once a political solution is reached in the war-torn country, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led group, Mustafa Bali, told Russian media. Bali claimed that “all parties must recognize that there is a political crisis that needs to be resolved by political means”. This kind of statements is quite different from the language of ultimatums, which the SDF used when US troops were present in northern Syria. This change indicates that a political solution is in fact can be reached.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 27 2019 2:07 utc | 221

The following is a short posting from Xinhuanet about the illegal stealing of Syrian oil

MOSCOW, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Russia's Defense Ministry on Saturday accused the United States of smuggling oil from eastern Syria to other countries with convoys guarded by private military companies and special operations forces.

"In the event of any attack on such a convoy, U.S. special operations forces and combat aviation will be immediately used to protect it," said Igor Konashenkov, the ministry's spokesman.

The United States extracts oil in Syria using equipment delivered bypassing its own sanctions, he said.

Given that the cost of one barrel of oil smuggled from Syria is 38 U.S. dollars, the monthly revenue of the "private business" of U.S. public services exceeds 30 million dollars, he said.

"To secure such a continuous financial flow free from control and taxes, the top officials at the Pentagon and Langley (i.e. the Central Intelligence Agency) will be willing to guard and protect oil wells in Syria from the imaginary 'hidden cells of the Islamic State' indefinitely," he said.

Is this like the opium "trade" in Afghanistan that none talk about how it is facilitated?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 27 2019 3:58 utc | 222

Peter Au 1 @167 and @204 and Gruff @145 et al.

I’m beginning to agree that the neocons (particularly film-flam-man Graham and DoD butt-boy Gen Jack Keane) got out over their skis in convincing to Trump to reverse his initial "we're getting all troops out of Syria" decision and then selling him on their ludicrous “steal the oil" mission in Deir al-Zour.

Given the Turkey/Russia truce deal, it’s reasonable that -- going forward -- Erdogan will disallows Incirlik and the Iraqis’ (at Iran’s behest) will disallow Al Asad and Erbil to be used in any way to support US military ops anywhere Syria. Thus, the American imperialists are screwed in trying to keep a footprint in NE Syria. The only possibility is a small contingent at al-Tanf. This location can be supported via Jordan. The border crossing “observation” personnel sent here could be contractors – who require a lot less support than US mil personnel.

My guess is that after the neocons’ half-baked “leave behind” plans for Syria were hastily conceived and prematurely announced to undercut Trump, someone at the State Dept asked the Iraqis about DoD using al-Asada and Erbil as support bases since the DoD had lost its bases in Syria. The Iraqis (following orders from Tehran) said, No Way! The Mahdi government is already on thin ice. As Perter Au1 @167 notes, a major player (the powerful Hashed al-Shaabiin faction) in Madhi's governing coalition is anti-US. Thus, to stay in power, Mahdi has to stand up to the US to keep this faction onboard.

With the violent demonstrations on Friday and the Grand Ayatollah not liking US troops in his part of Dar al-Islam (especially after Trump said he wanted to keep the US base at al-Asad to “spy on Iran” after his visit there on Christmas Day 2018), PM Madhi could pull another PM Maliki circa 2009-10. That is, double-cross Graham, et al. a second time (although his co-conspirator McCain is gone) -- and tell the US (once again) to pack up and leave. The Iraqis have some leverage here because they could void the SOFA and then arrest and try US military personnel in their country for war crimes – which US soldiers would be committing under international law by supporting illegal military operations in Syria.

If the war hawks in the Congress asylum aren’t careful, Trump’s Oct 6 call to Erdogan could end up being lose/lose for their withering Empire -- with the US military being evicted from both Syria and Iraq.

Posted by: ronenz49 | Oct 27 2019 4:01 utc | 223


Trump believes if the US is going to attack or fight in some place that has oil, then the US should take the oil. On separate occasions in early 2016, he said that about Libya, Iraq and Syria. He has also said about Iraq, who know we may still get the chance. This has all been said publicly at campaign rallies and is on video.

Trump was first to say "we have secured the oil" there were no 'leaks' or any other indication pentagon or neo-cons or anyone else was pushing Trump to do this. Rather it seems pentagon was taken by surprise.

The fact that the current Iraq government want US out, even though they are somewhat toothless and the timing of the riots demanding the complete fall of the government suggest the US are behind it. The riots kicked off again very shortly after Iraq PM's meeting with Esper and telling him US forces from Syria could not remain in Iraq..
I put a link to an article further back in this thread on the US unit at the base in Qatar that specialises in this sort of thing. 'Leaderless' protests and that type of thing kicked via messaging apps and other media. Iraq has genuine problems and is ripe for manipulation. A few snipers shooting security forces and protestors easily kick the violence into high gear.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 27 2019 4:22 utc | 224


Just a thought on posting links if HTML wont work for you. Copy and paste link to notepad to from the past the URL in the comment so it comes through as plain text rather than link.
Will come through something like this and can be copy pasted to the browser to find the relevant article.
(Came through as plain text in preview so will post and see how it goes)

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 27 2019 4:52 utc | 225

Thanks Peter AU 1 with the suggestion about how to get around whatever is causing my HTML link posting problem

I am experienced enough of a techie to know what will possibly break the formatting and will use your suggestion or find another way to direct readers to the link if the link looks sketchy. I am tired of beating on the problem from my end and will test links occasionally here to see if something outside my end changes to resolve the problem for me.

And to uncle tungsten who suggested creating tinyurls I will reply as I have before that use of such is disrespectful of barfly's because a reader has no way to know what is contained in the tinyurl and I will never use such.

No biggie as long as I can still comment one way or other....part of me wants to believe I am enough of a PITA that "they"are messing with Typepad or Cloudflare to frustrate me.....not going to happen.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 27 2019 5:10 utc | 226

Looks like I messed up. Missed part of the url and when tried it with full url it still came up as link. Other way to do it is simply put a space in the link. Only the first line comes up as link but the full URL can be copy pasted to browser and the space removed.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 27 2019 5:10 utc | 227

That base comes up as Tall bayder military base in wikimapia.
Airstrip 380 meters or so.
Using that as a search term I found this list of bases. Amongst them, one in Deir Ezzor province

Green village
Located in the province of Deir Ezzor.
Looks to be a large base.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 27 2019 5:33 utc | 228

Link to Green Village base on wikimapia. Zoom out and the oilfields can be seen.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 27 2019 5:48 utc | 229

flankerbandit @ 220

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State is dead:

Posted by: arbetet | Oct 27 2019 5:52 utc | 230

From the newsweek link posted by arbetet...
"The senior Pentagon official said there was a brief firefight when U.S. forces entered the compound and that Baghdadi then killed himself by detonating a suicide vest. Family members were present. According to Pentagon sources, no children were harmed in the raid but two Baghdadi wives were killed after detonating their own explosive vests.

Members of the Joint Special Operations Command's Delta Team carried out Saturday's high-level operation after receiving actionable intelligence, according to sources familiar with the operation. The location raided by special operations troops had been under surveillance for some time."

I wonder if this was the result of a Trump Erdogan trade on north east Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 27 2019 6:05 utc | 231

@ Peter AU 1 at comment # 235 about the death of Baghdadi

ZeroHedge has a posting up about Trump having a special announcement at 9 AM EST tomorrow and I suspect this is the subject matter.....dead leaders can't out the perfidy of his supporters......sick, sick, sick

I suspect this will speed up the resolution of efforts in NE Syria. One could only hope that some of these leaders have a dead-man data release that details the perfidy of empire.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 27 2019 6:33 utc | 232

I checked the ZeroHedge piece, and it does look as though it will be about Baghdadi.
Baghdaddi was Obama's boy so I guess Trump has no problems taking him out.
Due to the timing and "after receiving actionable intelligence" I suspect either Erdo offered him up to Trump for a US pull back, or Trump asked for him in return for a pullback of US.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 27 2019 6:45 utc | 233

Ref. Baghdaddi’s death.

How many times has that guy actually died, or it has been reported that he was dead?
Skepticism is warranted.

Posted by: phiw13 | Oct 27 2019 7:53 utc | 234

Frankly, who cares if Baghdadi is dead? He was only a symbolic leader. Not like Bin Ladin, who actually led. This is going to be the problem for Trump and the US military. Overblowing an event, which people, including the media, will realise was no great achievement, when they've thought about it. Nobody actually running Da'ish has been touched.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 27 2019 8:08 utc | 235

Using Baghdaddi in trade may well be why much is up in the air on East Syria. Trump and Erdo doing a deal and everyone else playing catchup. US forces moving out of and then back into Syria. US base left hurriedly. Pentagon having to quickly come up with a plan to "secure the oil"

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 27 2019 8:27 utc | 236

I find it rather surprising that Baghdadi would be in Idlib. They're not very favourable to Da'ish there. He'd have done better in a Sunni village of Northern Iraq (I can think of a few areas that would suit him). So, I withhold judgement on what's happened until it's confirmed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 27 2019 9:14 utc | 237

I am seeing people here going to great efforts to convince us that what it looks like, is not what it looks like.

IMO, there is evidence that US troops are coming back into Syria to reinforce "keeping the oil" goal. The fact that they could pass through a highway now ( in theory, there are many miles in a highway and the SAA has too many fronts so as to be able control the whole longitude of main highway in the country 24/7...) in hands of the SAA means nothing, since the SAA almost never has engaged US troops directly druing this war...

Of course, after the release yesterday by the Russian MOD on the smuggling of Syrian oil by the US Army and contractors, as a demonstrable fact, reinforced by satellite imagery and all that, as the Russian use to do, the US needed some "breaking news" to reinforce the fake point that they remain in Syria to "protect the oild from ISIS", and thus have recurred to the "killing of Al-Baghdadi", an alibi so many times used so far that everybody and their dogs are wondering at this point whether this Al-Baghdadi is really a man...or a explain the astonishing fact that he can be killed so many so different then rebirth again elsewhere...

On the report of the "killing of Al-Baghdadi OP" posted by PeterAU1, so similar to that of the "killing of Bin Laden OP" ( another man whith more lives than a cat...btw..), by that SOF Delta, sounds unbelievable that both, Al-Baghdadi and his wives, live with their suicide belts put on 24/7, even when dinning and sleeping and surrounded by their children, so as to be able to detonate them at any time a team of US SOF shows its nose at the door of their home...

You, guys, really consider these obvious fantastic fake news ( which I would find astinishing since you look like intelligent people...) or are here to spread disinfo for gullible folk?

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 11:29 utc | 238

So the Baghdadi persona has been retired by the CIA? Doubtless the operator playing him is now sipping a margarita by the pool behind his new McMansion in the suburbs just north of Miami. He'll likely be back, though, as nobody is ever allowed to fully retire from the CIA. Same guy, new name.

What's interesting is the decision to retire him. This suggests that the CIA operation in the region is being ended, or at least suspended or curtailed for a significant period. It becomes increasingly difficult for the CIA to operate at the scale they have been in Syria when civic order is restored. They need extensive lawless areas to actively operate whole armies.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 27 2019 11:33 utc | 239

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 27 2019 11:33 utc | 241

You mean Baghdadi wasn't a devilishly super-clever MOSSAD operative? I thought he was supposed to be Simon Elliot, Jewish Israeli, top Mossad operative. After all, Israel is supposed to run the whole of the Near East in addition to the whole of the US.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 27 2019 12:11 utc | 240

it seems that the Special OP of "assasination of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is being sold as a joint operation by US and SDF intelligence...they say that Al-Bghdadi had arrives in Barish 48 hours before the attack...also it is siad intelligence was shared by Iraq...

Meanwhile, in Barisha ( Iraq )...

A resident of Barisha, however, explains that the bombed house has been that of Abu Mohammed al-Halabi, aka (Abu al-Baraa), one of the main leaders of the jihadist group Hurras al-Din loyal to al Qaeda....

Videos of the bombed area...

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 12:33 utc | 241

That Baghdadi decided to hid in a HTS fief in Idlib in not the most incredible thing in this story...

It may seem unlikely that Baghdadi hid in the HTS fief (loyal to al Qaeda), but there were reports from the Syrian government that since 2017 both organizations cooperated through mediation of the Chinese Uygures of the Islamic Party of Turkestan.

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 12:38 utc | 242

@Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 12:33 utc | 243

But...if the alleged home of Al-Baghdadi was bombed into smithereens, as the videos show,...what a SOF Delta team was needed for in that case,...and where does it fit here that other story of the sucide belts made burst by Al-Baghdadi and wives...?

As always happens with the US, way too many loose ends in a story made obviously in a hurry to counter Russian undeniable testimony of US thievery as unique goal for the US stay in Syrian oil fields region...

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 12:46 utc | 243

@ 'Sasha'...

If a helicopter decided to land in front of your house you would have heard it for 10 minutes before the people inside that helo 'come knocking on your door'...

That's more than enough time to strap on a suicide belt which takes two minutes...

Thanks for your input...sorry to hear that our efforts to try to find relevant details of what is going on in Syria are irritating you...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 12:46 utc | 244

Peter, thanks for finding that Green Village base, which is in fact smack dab in the oil patch...

As for the airstrip at Tell Baydar, we both know that 380 m is not enough for any kind of fixed wing craft, so rotorcraft only...even a King Air which USAF uses for light transport needs at least 3,000 ft...

Let's how things play further news on that convoy that went into the Tell Baydar base...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 12:53 utc | 245

@Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 12:46 utc | 246

Irritanting would not describe exactly the feeling in my case, but a better one would be perplexed, to see people intelligent enough to make a super-techinical report on aerospace engineering, trying hard to "find relevant details" which only aim at supporting Mark Esper alibi to stay in Syria...

Are you from USAF, as so many here?

Can you, in your sharp thinking procces, explain what it would be needed for that a Delta SOF team would jump from an USAF helicopter to land in a home which previously was bombed into smithereens, along which, obviously its occupants? Unless that was not the house usual when the US trust local happened in Mogadishu....

To take over, made the video promoting, and declare "mission accomplished" will not a response

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 13:00 utc | 246

Elijah Magnier wonders...

An innocent question to the #US forces:

If you are able to localise and kill #ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is it so difficult and more complicated to localise and neutralise Abu Mohammad al-Joulani? Or his presence is still useful in the forthcoming battle of #Idlib?

As any folk with two finger of forehead and a bit of interest in keep informed, nobody swallows that any Western power is all day behind the trails of these international terrorist leaders...As the unending and unadverted travels of leaders of ETA between the Spanish and French borders during decades plainly demonstrated, simply, it is not possible for the governments allegedly fighting this lacra not being able to catch these individuals with the means available....

The obvious explanation is that there is an interest at certain governments levels to keep the zones where these "international terrorist groups" act submerged into chaos to avoid peaceful development so as to keep alive a ghost enemy to fight and this way justify other measures, like presenting a neoliberal right wing government as the only solution to chaos and return to order....

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 13:27 utc | 247

Sasha there are good reports including video shot by local opposition 'activists' of that night attack in Idlib...

AFAIK no one 'jumped' out of a helo, but a landing was would be illogical to try to parachute into a densely terrorist area with lots of small arms fire shooting at your helos...anyone trying to parachute would be dead before hitting the ground...

As for Esper, I have to wonder where you get the idea that I in any way support this pinhead...I have made my feelings clear about this guy...

My position is that the US has no chance to hold onto those oil fields, due to simple reasons of logistics...

That convoy that went in DID NOT go to the oil patch but went to a base very far away...the video link I provided clearly shows at least one empty flatbed truck...another flatbed is carrying a smaller military transport truck...

Why would you carry an army truck on a trailer instead of driving it...?

All of these facts point to this convoy being part of a logistics move to EVACUATE equipment from that base where it ended up...which I emphasize again, is right next to SAA held territory and in fact right beside the sporadic fighting going on with Turkish terrorist proxies, supported by the Turkish army...

So obviously that convoy has nothing to do with the oil, since it didn't go down there...

I think it's a good thing we have pretty much established these facts with decent confidence...

As I said, once the situation in the northeast settles down, the SAA and Russians will have control over that entire M4 highway...that is in the Sochi deal...there is no way to supply the oil area south of that once that transport route is fully secured...

So I continue to say this oil thing is a fairy tale, for domestic US consumption...

Peter has brought to light some facts which may not support my conclusion, but at least we are filling in a lot of blanks as to what exactly is located and where...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 13:42 utc | 248



Posted by: Circe | Oct 27 2019 13:48 utc | 249

It's only the 9th time he's been killed. But OK, it would not have looked nice if a new tape had been released once the US had achieved its pull out.
Some Lebanese humour

Posted by: Mina | Oct 27 2019 13:50 utc | 250

Trump just stated on-site DNA test was done. Women didn't detonate vests but were killed in the operation.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 27 2019 13:54 utc | 251

Let me guess, instead of accaparate KSA's oil (an idea that have been floating for years in the US, especially among the type of people who voted for Trump), they decided to offer doing it with Syrian oil instead? Fear of the Houthis? Now it's time for the guys in skirts and flip flops to come and teach their northern friends how they did it!

Posted by: Mina | Oct 27 2019 13:54 utc | 252

@Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 13:27 utc | 249

Since "international terrorist groups" have been widely debunked by internet activism, and everybody and their dogs know they are tools of Western powers, like the White Helmets Hoax, the new menace are the "black block" destroyers who try to take over what could appear as legitimate, or not so, protests it is happening in Iraq and Lebanon....Bolivia...and Barcelona..btw...

These "Black Block" is integrated, as has been proved in Hong Kong, Barcelona and also lately in Lebanon, by right wing upper class activists...similar to the case of Venezuelan guarimbas, as happens in current protests against legitimate winner of elections in Bolivia...The former "Death Squads" of old "School of the Americas" have been "evolutioned" into this "modern squads" called into action by social media and just managed by one or two people in terrain...dressed the same way as activists....

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 14:23 utc | 253

Laguerre @242

Mossad is a tiny outfit compared to the CIA. The individual playing al-Baghdadi may originally be Mossad but the operations he was involved in were far to big (read: expensive) to be Mossad operations. In fact, there may well have been several different individuals playing al-Baghdadi, with substitutes being swapped in when one is injured or killed or otherwise needing replacement.

In any case, the CIA has been running a shortage of personnel who are not soft and delusional suburban frat boy types, so outsourcing to Mossad to get operators who can successfully pretend to be jihadis to other jihadis (or at least speak Arabic) is not surprising.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 27 2019 14:51 utc | 254

Trump really is puerile.

“He died like a dog, he died like a coward. "whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,”
That's what bone spurs do for you. No one who's really been involved in war would talk like that. Perhaps one of our military-skilled commenters could tell us. The victim wouldn't react like that. More likely he reacted like Saddam when faced with the trap-door. He knew what he'd done, and he died with dignity. Baghdadi also must have known what he's done, and this was a likely end. Trump just makes himself sound ridiculous, shameful for the US military.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 27 2019 15:10 utc | 255

New OFFICIAL statement by the SDF that they are now withdrawing from the Turkish border area, as per the Sochi agreement...

The SDF is redeploying to new positions away from the Turkish-Syrian border across northeast Syria in accordance with the terms of the agreement in order to stop the bloodshed and to protect the inhabitants of the region from Turkish attacks.

Coverage here from Southfront...

The Syrian government welcomed the statement and the video shows the Kurds are indeed pulling back...

Pretty clear that the Kurds are now looking to Russia and Damascus to protect their interests and their geographical areas...what remains of them anyway...

This movement toward Kurd-Damascus reconciliation is clearly gathering the idea that the US will somehow play spoiler is fading...

It remains to be seen how the US will retain its geographically isolated and in fact completely cut off presence in the oil area [if in fact there is a real intention of the US military to do that, which I actually doubt]...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 15:17 utc | 256

Peter AU 1 @ 225

Here are links showing how it was Graham and Keane (who has direct link to Pentagon) got Trump to reserve original plan to get all US troops out of Syria:

That said, the US staying in Syria has nothing to do with oil (or protecting Americans against ISIS). Syria has only 0.2% of world oil reserves. Current production in only 24,000 bbl/day (world production is 90 million bbl/day) = only about $1.2 US million/day (less net of costs)

The neocons, US Congress, and War State want US troops to stay in Syria and advance separate Kurdish homeland as part of larger necon plan (going back to 2003) to make Middle East safer place for Israel. Their real unspoken objective is to “contain” Iran by denying Iran access to its co-religionists Syria and Lebanon.

I still think the neocons/Pentagon are overreaching. With Baghdadi’s death, it’s going to be harder to sell US public on the ISIS-threat claim. This special ops mission was launched from Iraq (Kurdistan) which is consistent with fact US forces are allowed in Iraq to fight ISIS – not to guard and steal Syria’s oil. These guys could get tripped up on their own lie.

Posted by: ronenz49 | Oct 27 2019 16:23 utc | 257

Ronen...the helos in the Idlib raid took off from Turkish territory, not Iraq...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 16:56 utc | 258

@Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 16:56 utc | 259

And you know that from...which source?

Or are yo going to ask for an act of faith from us almost equivalent to thatasked y "Harper" at SST on the ground of secrecy?

Posted by: Sasha | Oct 27 2019 17:24 utc | 259

flankerbandit @259

Thanks for correction. I was going by what NBC correspondent Richard Engel (who's in the area) said on MSNBC this morning and fact that Trump thanked the Iraqis for their cooperation. He also thanked Russia,Turkey and SAG -- which all makes sense. Interestingly, Trump only indirectly mentioned the Syrian Kurds (SDF) -- who themselves are claiming to have played a major role in planning this raid --in Idlib?

Posted by: ronenz49 | Oct 27 2019 19:18 utc | 260


ASSUMING the raid actually happened [which I now have reason to doubt, considering the Russian MoD's statement] if would have had to have been from Turkey...

A helicopter's flight range is not sufficient to fly from Iraq, across the entire Syrian territory to the border with Turkey...and then fly back...

I see no reason why the Russians would lie about this...they are right there and their radar and signals intelligence would have picked up any kind of flight in what is effectively heavily guarded Russian airspace...

The US said it asked permission to enter the airspace, but the Russians deny this...

Considering the US lies a hell of a lot I have no problem believing the Russian MoD...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 27 2019 20:28 utc | 261


The site was approx 5k in from the Turkish border in hills. Russian MoD was very ambiguous in its statement. They simply say there was no airstrike and they have no reliable intel.
I take it the raid (not an airstrike) was flying nap of the earth in the hills which probably would not have been picked up from ground based radar. Aircraft giving cover (if any) may well have stayed within Turk border.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 27 2019 20:37 utc | 262

@ flankerbandit who wrote
Considering the US lies a hell of a lot I have no problem believing the Russian MoD...

I believe this as well but wonder what it is/was cover for? The smoke and mirror stuff is getting thicker and thicker

Playing for time seems more foolish because it just pisses off the opposition, IMO

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 27 2019 20:39 utc | 263

@ laguerre quote - "Trump really is puerile." - you just discovering this now? lol...

regarding the baghdadi recycled story comes up once a year with the americans.. it is really predictable and tired.. i would not believe anything the americans say about shit like this...

Posted by: james | Oct 27 2019 21:01 utc | 264

"...what it is/was cover for?" --psychohistorian @264

Possible scenario: Videos of the destroyed building look like a major airstrike, and certainly nothing like what could be done with helicopters.

That said, if the operator playing Baghdadi was being extracted by helicopter then the building he was supposedly in at the time would need to be destroyed in an overkill manner to hide the fact that said operator wasn't there. The lack of a body needs to be made believable. You'd need to simulate a heavy airstrike. This could mostly be done with demolition charges.

If the Russians say there was no airstrike then there most likely was no airstrike. Since helicopters couldn't do the kind of damage seen that leaves demolition charges to destroy the building and any evidence that it contained.

Scenario: US or Turkish helicopters fly in low and extract the Baghdadi character, set demolition charges, then flatten the building after leaving. Or perhaps the Baghdadi character had the demolition charges already set up in preparation for his extraction. Doesn't matter. What matters is that the building wasn't destroyed by helicopters and the Russians say there was no airstrike. This means that the guy playing Baghdadi is alive and well and his murder was just theatrics.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 27 2019 21:10 utc | 265

@262 flankerbandit

You are being very patient. I appreciate it.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 27 2019 21:59 utc | 266

Trump may have found a sneaky way round his oil grab problem. If no US company is willing to pump or sell the oil then Trump can pass the buck to them.

"Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp, the two largest U.S. oil companies operating in the Middle East, declined to comment on the President’s remarks.

“International law seeks to protect against exactly this sort of exploitation,” said Laurie Blank, an Emory Law School professor and director of its Center for International and Comparative Law.

“It is not only a dubious legal move, it sends a message to the whole region and the world that America wants to steal the oil,” said Bruce Riedel, a former national security advisor and now senior fellow at think-tank Brookings Institution."

Posted by: dh | Oct 27 2019 23:21 utc | 267

Peter...the Russians have no reliable intel on Idlib...?

Well...TTG over at Pat Lang's blog seems to think quite differently...he even speculates that it was Russian intel that led to Baghdadi...

Whatever the case may be on this Baghdadi story, it is almost certain that the Russians would have picked up any helos coming from I said on the other thread the topography on the ingress routes from Turkey has no place for nap of the earth's all pretty flat...

What the Russian PR general chooses to say publicly now is another matter, again as I noted on the other thread...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 28 2019 1:36 utc | 268

Peter again from TTG...

Did Turkey provide this information? I doubt it. Russia and the SAA have been running reconnaissance and spying missions throughout Idlib for quite a while. Between those missions and R+6 SIGINT, I think Russia provided critical information to USI in the lead up to this raid.

The coordination between the US and Russia was probably a lot more that just informing them that we were coming in as Trump said in his address this morning.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 28 2019 1:41 utc | 269

Laguerre @256: ... Trump just makes himself sound ridiculous.

No, his language is designed to incite the "ISIS resurgence" that USA needs to justify holding the oil fields.

Jackrabbit !!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 28 2019 1:59 utc | 270

ronenz49 @258, flankerbandit @259, Gruff @ 266

This report says we all got it wrong!

The Baghdadi raid was launched from western Iraq. I take this to be the big US airbase at al-Asad.

The distance from al-Asad to Idlib (about 800 km) is not a problem for the special stealth Blackhawks that US special forces use. These helos have a forward refueling prob that allows the big heavy-lift Chinook helos to refuel them in flight.

As I said before, Mahdi government has no problems with US military using al-Asad to conduct operations against ISIS. But supporting deployment of US troops in Deir ez-Zor region to guard and steal Syria’s oil will cause problems for the Madhi government.

More interesting links on what country/group provided the critical intel:

Pro-war US media is playing up dubious role of the SDF to garner public support for keeping US troops in Syria and for SDF/the Kurds to get separate homeland in eastern Syria to keep Iran out.

Posted by: ronenz49 | Oct 28 2019 15:43 utc | 271

This report says we all got it wrong!
Posted by: ronenz49 | Oct 28 2019 15:43 utc | 272

Fortunately I wasn't drinking coffee when I read that, so my computer is safe. I've got a really nice 16-lane suspension bridge across the Euphrates for sale, Ronen, special offer just for you!

The Baghdadi fairytale is just Trump smoke and mirrors for domestic political purposes, to reduce the blowback from Dumbocrats and GOP chickenhawks for the Syria pullout tragedy they are so upset about. Same goes for the "protecting the oil" fairytale. As regards the vulnerability of the US army in the oil fields, they have most likely agreed a limited package of joint US/Russia protection for a limited period as a part of a negotiated orderly pullout.

Usual proviso for Reuters propaganda chickenfeed applies: "Buyer beware. BS meters not included"!

Posted by: BM | Oct 28 2019 16:37 utc | 272

Regarding the aerial/satellite pics of the alleged Baghdadi site (in the OT I think)

The way the stones are laid out - and especially the way the perimeter wall has been neatly dismantled and the stones spread evenly nearby proves conclusively, to my mind, that the entire perimeter wall (at least) was dismantled manually by human bare hands, not by explosives. The rest of the site also appears generally consistent with a long-since destroyed building and extensive post-destruction intervention. Obviously years-old.

Posted by: BM | Oct 28 2019 16:51 utc | 273

Obviously years-old.

Posted by: BM | Oct 28 2019 16:51 utc | 274

The house was built between April and September 2018 (Google Earth)

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 28 2019 16:58 utc | 274

« previous page

The comments to this entry are closed.