Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 09, 2019

Syria - Turkey Again Invades

So it begins:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that a Turkish military operation into Syria has started.

Erdogan said on his official Twitter account Wednesday that the operation, named “Peace Spring,” has begun. He said the operation aims to eradicate “the threat of terror” against Turkey.

Earlier, Turkish television reports said Turkish jets had bombed Syrian Kurdish positions across the border from Turkey.

The plan is as we anticipated. 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 sector Turkey is attacking right now has only a minority of Kurdish people amongst a majority of Arabs.

Ragıp Soylu @ragipsoylu - 11:34 UTC · Oct 8, 2019
How will Turkey conduct the operation in Syria?
• First phase: 120km area between Tal Abyad/Rasulayn, where US troops withdrew
• Airforce, drones/jets and howitzers will pound YPG targets
• Then Turkish Special Forces and Syrian National Army will enter
— Turkish reports

bigger
Ragıp Soylu @ragipsoylu - 10:29 UTC · Oct 9, 2019
More Turkish operational plans in Syria
• First point of contact would be the Turkish/US security zone in Tal Abyad, Rasulayn
• Security pockets prioritised
• MAIN AIM is to cut Kobane - Hasakah road
• Combined Joint Op Center, (CJOC) to be used for de-confliction with US

There are two scenarios:
• If YPG withdraws from the immediate area between Tal Abyad, Rasulayn, Turkish military will just move in with Syrian National Army
• But If YPG has heavy presence, then howitzers and airforce first be used to destroy YPG posts, fortifications

The "Syrian National Army" is a 14,000 men strong ragtag gang of "Syrian rebels" and ISIS leftovers under Turkish command. The same people that are looting and killing Kurds in Afrin.

The stupidity of the Kurds to (again) allow a Turkish invasion in their areas when there is the clear alternative of submitting the rightful Syrian government is amazing. One of the YPG leaders said yesterday they were "considering" that move. Isn't it a bit late for that?

The YPG Kurds still have not recognized that they were simply used as mercenaries by the U.S. and that their usefulness expired. They still beg those who betrayed them for help:

Coordination & Military Ops Center - SDF @cmoc_sdf - 15:27 UTC · Oct 9, 2019
The #SDF showed good faith to the security mechanism agreement between the #US & #Turkey. This left our people defenseless. We ask the US & the @Coalition for a NO FLY ZONE to stop the attacks on innocent people.
@DeptofDefense @NATO @UN @EU_Commission @StateDept

The U.S. will surely consider that no fly zone. That will take considerable time. Meanwhile Turkish bombers will destroy more Syrian villages and cities.

Posted by b on October 9, 2019 at 14:43 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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Erlindur @98

Congress's "right" to declare war stems simply from the fact that Congress decides what gets funded.

While Congress can declare a war, they can't make a President fight it. So it happens the other way around: After a war starts, Congress is asked to approve it. A President can commit US troops for up to 60 days before going to Congress for a declaration of war.

FYI The occupation of Syria was done under the 2001 AUMF ("Authorization for Use of Military Force") aka "War on Terror"

Posted by: ja | Oct 9 2019 22:58 utc | 101

He who lays down with snakes gets bit. See ya Kurds. Learn your lesson.

Posted by: Jezabeel | Oct 9 2019 23:12 utc | 102

@ Erlindur 101
First, you correctly quote Article I not Article II as I said.
The Congress shall have Power To ... To declare War...Is that all?
No, as I said the War Powers Act enables the president to attack another country but he must report it later.

the president is the Commander in Chief
Article II says the president commands the forces called into service. Some US civilian people claim that he's "our commander in chief" but that's baloney. As comander, Trump has the right to change troop deployments in Syria. That's not a function of the Congress according to the Constitution.

All US government members, top to bottom, take an oath to defend the Consttution when beginning employment. As you indicate, that doesn't happen, and that's because the system has been totally corrupted. Starting wars is noncompliant with the UN Charter, for example, which the US government ought to be compliant with, but isn't.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 9 2019 23:16 utc | 103

Posted by: ja | Oct 9 2019 22:58 utc | 102

I more or less get how it is done till now. As I said before, it is late here (and I should be in bed like 30 mins ago) and I have some weird scenarios in mind. What I'm thinking is how it could be done in reverse.

Imagine Congress declaring war to Turkey over NE Syria. Trump can take no action about it. But you have NATO with two members in war with each other on paper. US can ask all other members to chose sides. US can demand changing the treaty and suspend (or even expel) Turkey. US can even demand stricter rules about member defense expenses (on the side, since we are doing changes), just to make Trump happy.

Posted by: Erlindur | Oct 9 2019 23:20 utc | 104

Erlindur @105

I don't know what scenarios you're thinking of, but I highly doubt US Congress declaring war unless asked to.

FYI See my next comment for my guess as to what's up.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 9 2019 23:37 utc | 105

Russia has 3 messages for Turkey over operation in Syria

10-8-19


Given the current circumstances, a discussion of a return to the Adana agreement, which Putin reinitiated at the latest Astana trio talks in Ankara, looks even more logical now. Putin brought up the idea publicly earlier this year at a meeting with Erdogan in Moscow and has meticulously promoted it ever since. Turkey's operation will end one way or another, but a subsequent political solution should frame the situation on the ground. Moscow expects Ankara to embrace the Adana agreement as the basis for such a solution, which is Russia's third message to Turkey.

Al-Monitor reported in September that during the Ankara summit, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani supported the Adana agreement. Rouhani said it was potentially “a good template to use to lift mutual [security] concerns and [bring about the] beginning of the end of a bitter era [between Syria and Turkey].”

Minutes of the Agreement Signed by Turkey and Syria in Adana (Unofficial Translation) - 20 October 1999

Adana, October 20,1998

In light of the messages conveyed on behalf of Syria by the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, H.E.Mr. Hosni Mubarak and by the Iranian Foreign Minister H.E.Mr. Kamal Kharrazi on behalf of the Iranian President H.E.Mr. Seyid Mohammed Khatemi and by the Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt H.E. Mr. Amr Moussa, the Turkish and Syrian delegations whose names are in the attached list (annex 1) have met in Adana on 19 and 20 October 1998 to discuss the issue of cooperation in combating terrorism.

In the meeting the Turkish side repeated the Turkish demands presented to the Egyptian President (annex 2) to eliminate the current tension in their relations.Furthermore, the Turkish side brought to the attention of the Syrian side the reply that was received from Syria through the Arab Republic of Egypt, which entails the following commitments :

1. As of now, Öcalan is not in Syria and he definitely will not be allowed to enter Syria.

2. PKK elements abroad will not be permitted to enter Syria.

3. As of now PKK camps are not operational and definitely will not be allowed to become active.

4. Many PKK members have been arrested and have been taken to court. Their lists have been prepared Syria presented these lists to the Turkish side.

The Syrian side has confirmed the above mentioned points. Furthermore, the sides also have agreed on the following points:

1. Syria, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, will not permit any activity which emanates from its territory aimed at jeopardizing the security and stability of Turkey. Syria will not allow the supply of weapons, logistic material, financial support to and propaganda activities of the PKK on its territory.

2. Syria has recognized that the PKK is a terrorist organization. Syria has, alongside other terrorist organizations, prohibited all activities of the PKK and its affiliated organizations on its territory.

3. Syria will not allow the PKK to establish camps and other facilities for training and shelter or to have commercial activities on its territory.

4. Syria will not allow PKK members to use its country for transit to third countries.

5. Syria will take all necessary measures to prevent the chieftain of the PKK terrorist organization from entering into Syrian territory and will instruct its authorities at border points to that effect.

Both sides have agreed to establish certain mechanisms for the effective and transparent implementation of the measures mentioned above.

In this context;

a) A direct phone link will immediately be established and operated between the high level security authorities of the two countries.

b) The Sides will appoint two special representatives each to their diplomatic missions and these officials will be presented to the authorities of the host-country by the heads of mission.

c) The Turkish side, within the context of combating terrorism, has proposed to the Syrian side to establish a system that will enable the monitoring of security enhancing measures and their effectiveness. The Syrian side has stated that it will present this proposal to its authorities for approval and will reply as soon as possible.

d) The Turkish and Syrian sides, contingent upon obtaining Lebanon's consent, have agreed to take up the issue of the combat against PKK terrorism in a tripartite framework.

e) The Syrian side commits itself to take the necessary measures for the implementation of the points mentioned in this "Minutes" and for the achievement of concrete results.

Posted by: pogohere | Oct 9 2019 23:47 utc | 106

it is possible to ask OT questions on the MOA open thread... wonder why some don't do that, or why many regulars respond to OT questions? please don't respond to this.. get people to use the open thread instead...

Posted by: james | Oct 9 2019 23:49 utc | 107

I'm now convinced that the Turkish action is meant to free the ISIS prisoners so that they can fight against SAA's move across the Euphrates to take the oil fields.

It appears that SAA's attack on Idlib was blocked/blunted and SAA has now moved toward re-taking Syria's eastern oil fields.

This move was well-planned/wargamed. Turkey has threatened an action against the Kurds for over a year. Will Russia see Erdogan's anti-Kurd action for what it is (a betrayal)? Probably, but probably won't say so publicly.

Will the turmoil in Iraq also lead to a sudden "ISIS revival?"

CNN (CIA News Network) reports:

Turkey's assault has already had a "detrimental effect" on American counter-ISIS operations, which have "effectively stopped," a senior US defense official told CNN on Wednesday.
The Turkish offensive, the official said, "has challenged our ability to build local security forces, conduct stabilization operations and the Syrian Democratic Forces' [ability] to guard over 11,000 dangerous ISIS fighters."

. . .

US officials have long warned of the vulnerability of the "pop-up prisons" housing some 11,000 to 12,000 ISIS fighters captured on the battlefield, 2,000 of whom are foreigners not from Iraq or Syria. Despite Trump's assertion, only several hundred of the prisoners are believed to be from Europe.
Those same officials emphasize that the security of the facilities is very much in question and a "huge concern" as Syrian Democratic Forces personnel head to the front lines.

. . .

Two weeks ago, the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, Ambassador Nathan Sales, warned that "destabilizing events" could "trigger the release of these folks."

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 9 2019 23:52 utc | 108

Erlindur @105--

And to further confuse you, according to the UN Charter which the USA is legally obliged to obey thanks to the Supremacy Clause within its Constitution, the only time the USA can legally enter into war with another nation is in immediate self-defense; otherwise, the USA must be allowed by the UNSC to wage war--anything other than within those narrow rationales constitutes the waging of Aggressive War--the War Hitler and Tojo waged in WW2. Indeed, the War Powers Act cited by Don Bacon likely violates the UN Charter, although that question has yet to be adjudicated. If you recall, the missile strikes engaged in by the Outlaw US Empire and its vassals in wake of the false flag gas attacks in 2017 & 2018 were both declared to be War Crimes because they represented the waging of Aggressive War (both these strikes would provide excellent grounds to impeach Trump but will never be used because of the president set).

Indeed, do read the UN Charter and you'll discover that the entire unilateral sanctions regime imposed by the Outlaw US Empire is illegal under international law and is unconstitutional under US law because of the Supremacy Clause, which has yet to be invoked in an attempt to calla halt to the many illegal and unconstitutional activities of the US federal government.

To provide you with further context into what stands as the grounds for the Outlaw US Empire's reasoning for it illegalities, I offer this essay detailing the Empire's historical approach to the question of national sovereignty (which is THE primary facet within the UN Charter) and how it's evolved. A few more bits: George Washington in his Farewell Address admonished those who would follow him to avoid "entangling alliances" and thus preserve the ability to act unilaterally, which was one of the main arguments used against Woodrow Wilson's Internationalism, 14 Points, ratification of the Versailles Treaty and subsequently entering the League of Nations. Furthermore, during the 1932 presidential campaign, FDR refrained in a strongly stoic manner to the question of his being an Internationalist or an Isolationist because his past as Assistant Secretary of the Navy showed quite well that he adhered to the Imperialist/Internationalist ideology of the Mahan/Mackinder school of geopolitics.

And there's no such thing as a stupid or silly question--if you don't know, the only alternatives are to ask, try to discover the answer for yourself, or remain ignorant. By asking, you prove you don't want to remain the latter!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 10 2019 0:01 utc | 109

Turkey is employing the "Syrian National Army" which is a creature of the "Free Syrian Army" raised back in the 2012 Hillary days. At the time General Salim Idris was the FSA chief of staff, and now he's the commander of the SNA. Idris (born c. 1957) was a German-trained electronics professor, and then served as a general in the Syrian Army when he defected in July 2012.
tweet:
Images showing Salim Idris, commander of Syrian National Army in presence of other forces of this group before start of Turkish operation in east of Euphrates.
https://twitter.com/A7_Mirza/status/1182062180000309249

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 0:22 utc | 110

This reminds me of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait... Sadam thought the US was on board and anyway they were allies against Iran, but the US took it the wrong way.

Posted by: s | Oct 10 2019 0:42 utc | 111

ISIS fighters, or any fighters, "over 11,000 dangerous ISIS fighters," have to be financially and logistically supported by some entity to be effective. So I don't accept all these US crocodile tears about the resurgence of a US/Saudi-supported ISIS. These guys are not going to pop out of prison with ready-made combat effectiveness unless the US is in on it with Saudi money, as they have long done in favor of any group that served their means (as with the Kurds).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 0:42 utc | 112

My comment to Willy B.'s post at SST:

IMO the Turkish operation is just cover for freeing the ISIS prisoners so they can fight SAA's coming attempt to re-take the oil fields.

USA probably has some agreement with Turkey to safeguard the Kurds. But the hair-on-fire talk of the "betrayal" of the Kurds, along with the revival of ISIS sets up Trump's eventual cave-in to future neocon demands.

Naturally, the above analysis is INCONCEIVABLE to those who are invested in the fake media narratives surrounding the 'Trump Show'. We are encouraged to love or hate Trump and thus invest ourselves in the 'Show'. Hehe, the kayfabe is certainly entertaining at times.

PS great analysis Willy!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 10 2019 0:58 utc | 113

Don Bacon #113, those thousands of prisoners/fighters are likely to be redeployed to eastern Yemen I would assume. Perhaps there are a few Iraq brigades that woul enjoy a trip across the border to re-enact the chatilla-sabra 'protection strategy' designed and implemented by the Occupier of Palestinian and Syrian lands.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 10 2019 1:38 utc | 114

I remember like it was yesterday when Syrian government offered Kurds some autonomy and peace if they rejoined the Syrian Republic. The Kurds (or more likely their US puppet leaders) rejected the sensible offer. The Kurds will possibly be soon remembered in history as an extinct ethnic group that took some of the stupidest decisions in history. At this point regardless what happens, the Kurds will end up the losers.

Posted by: Comandante | Oct 10 2019 1:48 utc | 115

Perhaps USA will accede to Kurdish request for a no-fly zone?

Trump may be "motivated" (LOL) to do so because he's under political pressure due to his "abandonment" of the Kurds.

That would mean SAA has to fight ISIS for the oil fields without the benefit of Russian air support.

Likely outcome: Stalemate as SAA refrains from trying to take the oil fields given the prospect of heavy casualties.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 10 2019 2:04 utc | 116

The kurds are morons but lets be fair. The Kurds would have been bombed by the US if they allied themselves with the SAA and there were times in this conflict during which the SAA was unable to assist the kurds against ISIS/AlQaida.

The Kurds should kiss and make up with Assad but the reality is that really only Russia can save them. Russia can reign in Erdogan and Russia can protect the Kurds from US air strikes should the kurds get too friendly with the SAA for US tastes.

The kurds are being taught a lesson. The net is this: rejoin syria, perish or live under jihadists. Sadly they didnt get it the first time around in afrin. Im not sure they they’ll accept it this time either.

Posted by: Alaric | Oct 10 2019 2:22 utc | 117

If the Kurds hadn't heard of the Darwin Award they're about to.

WRONG PLACE.
WRONG TIME.
WRONG ABILITIES.

Posted by: Seer | Oct 10 2019 2:43 utc | 118

@ Jackrabbit # 117 about no fly zones

I posit that Russia/Syria would be more able to enforce a no fly zone than the US/empire but that supposition is based on what I have read here and elsewhere of the current capabilities of both sides.

I am more inclined to think after following this thread and the world recently that this current push is about the Syrian oil fields with less regard for the Kurds who are/will be considered collateral damage by both sides.

The Civilization war we are in continues to be all about public/private finance and the ongoing control of resources and hence nation states

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 10 2019 3:04 utc | 119

There already is a de facto no-fly zone in Eastern Syria. Neither Russian nor Syrian Airforce operate there except when coordinated with USA. If Russian or Syrian Airforces flew combat missions over Eastern Syria they would be warned off, and if the attacks continued, would be attacked themselves.

Those oilfields have a couple hundred American Special Forces soldiers stationed there, along with at least some artillery, helicopter support, and who knows what else? The decimation inflicted about Russia's Wagner Mercenary group and local tribal militias by an over-the-top USA artillery/airstrike was meant to serve as a warning.

Eastern Syria and the oil fields are partitioned off. As long as American Troops remain there, it will continue to be partitioned off. A prerequisite for future Syrian territorial integrity is the removal of American Troops. Anybody else, Turks, ISIS what-have-you can be dealt with by Syria/Russia either diplomatically or militarily.

We can only guess as to Erdogan's intent, and the variables leading to Syrian Reunification are many and complex. As long as the Kurds are backed with American Power, there is no way the SAA can reclaim their land. Regardless of the overall plan, Erdogan pushing out American Forces is a good thing for Syria/Russia.

Posted by: Haassaan | Oct 10 2019 3:30 utc | 120

psychohistorian @120:

I posit that Russia/Syria would be more able to enforce a no fly zone than the US/empire but that supposition is based on what I have read here and elsewhere ...

My speculation is that USA wants to deny Syria's capture and use of the oil fields. "Protecting the Kurds" is merely a pretense.

Note also that Kurds have specifically asked USA for protection while they are merely contemplating talks with SAA/Russia.

Also, comments that you've previously read about a NFZ probably pertain to a NFZ over all of Syria. This was proposed by Hillary and others before and just after Russia entered the Syrian conflict with the pretense that USA should protect the Syrian people from Assad. Russia made it clear that such a NFZ would be unacceptable.

USA/SDF has controlled northeast Syria for quite a while and could quickly implement a NFZ to "protect the Kurds" which Syria and Russia would find difficult, if not impossible, to block without starting WWIII.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 10 2019 3:40 utc | 121

Haassaan @121: There already is a de facto no-fly zone in Eastern Syria.

Yes, but the rationale for having that in place is wearing thin.

SAA bridging the Eurphates likely means that SAA+Russia will soon challenge USA's presence and NFZ in the northeast. USA needs political cover to maintain the NFZ. Protecting the Kurds, and an ISIS resurgence provides that cover.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 10 2019 3:47 utc | 122

Haassaan @121--

There already is a de facto no-fly zone in Eastern Syria. Neither Russian nor Syrian Airforce operate there except when coordinated with USA. If Russian or Syrian Airforces flew combat missions over Eastern Syria they would be warned off, and if the attacks continued, would be attacked themselves.

Your assertion is just that as are the rest. Facts would be helpful. East of the Euphrates as part of the overall management of the war had a lower priority once Deir Ezzor was freed as was admitted by SAA, Syrian politicians and the Russian military. Its time has now come.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 10 2019 4:06 utc | 123

I don't think Moscow regards the Kurds as anything except tainted mercenaries of the U.S. more akin to ISIS than sacred freedom fighters for their father land. And, if that analysis is true, Russia would be more than happy to have NATO troops annihilating them. Ultimately Russia's alliance with Turkey is worth infinitely more than the sainted Kurds.

To those who say that Trump is not owned lock, stock, and barrel by Putin, I say look at the data. There can be no other interpretation. And what is particularly sweet, if you're VVP, is that two birds have been killed with one stone: the Kurds and a piece of the NATO alliance. Old Lindsey and Lynn have been done blue. I wonder if the apartment next to Snowden's is available when Trump leaves office.

Posted by: Bill Herschel | Oct 10 2019 4:06 utc | 124

Haassaan @121

Re: "The decimation inflicted about Russia's Wagner Mercenary group and local tribal militias by an over-the-top USA artillery/airstrike was meant to serve as a warning."

Some Russians died, but the story is likely way different as originally proposed and promulgated.

See: The Truth About the Russian Deaths in Syria


Hundreds of Russian soldiers are alleged to have died in U.S. airstrikes at the beginning of February. Reporting by DER SPIEGEL shows that events were likely very different.

3-2-18

Initially, the United States military announced on Feb. 8 it had attacked "pro-regime forces" of Bashar Assad's southeast of the city Deir ez-Zor to ward off an attack on a base belonging to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are allies of the Americans. The U.S. said the pro-Assad forces had attacked the SDF base with tanks and mortars. The U.S. fired back in response, claiming to have killed "more than 100" of the fighters in what was described as an act of self-defense.
. . .
A team of DER SPIEGEL journalists spent two weeks interviewing both witnesses to, and participants in, the battle. The team also spoke to a staff member at the only hospital in Deir ez-Zor as well as an employee of the local military airport in an attempt to get a clear picture of exactly what took place during the three-day battle.

The accounts largely corroborate each other and the image of events that emerges is one that contradicts what has been reported in the Russian and international media.
. . .
It was primarily the second night-time attack from the village of Tabiya that triggered the American paroxysm, said two men belonging to the al-Baqir militia of the Bekara tribe.
. . .
Among those stationed in Tabiya was a small contingent of Russian mercenaries. But the two militia sources said they did not participate in the fighting. Still, they said, 10 to 20 of them did in fact lose their lives. They said a total of more than 200 of the attackers died, including around 80 Syrian soldiers with the 4th Division, around 100 Iraqis and Afghans and around 70 tribal fighters, mostly with the al-Baqir militia.

It all happened at night, and the situation became extremely complicated when the fighters from Tabiya entered the fray. A staffer at the only major hospital in Deir ez-Zor would later say that around a dozen Russian bodies were delivered. An employee at the airport, meanwhile, later witnessed the delivery of the bodies in two Toyota pickup trucks to a waiting Russian transport aircraft that then flew to Qamishli, an airport near the Syrian border in the north.

In the days that followed, the identities of the Russians killed would be revealed -- first of six and ultimately nine. Eight had been verified by the Conflict Intelligence Team, a Russian investigative platform, and another was released by the radio station Echo Moscow. All were employees of the private mercenary company Evro Polis, which is often referred to by the nom du guerre of its head: "Wagner."
. . .
The situation on the ground between Khusham and Tabiya on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, described by a half dozen witnesses and people who were party to the events, does not confirm Russian mercenary participation in the attack or even that they joined the fighting at all. Ahmad Ramadan, the journalist who founded the Euphrates Post and has since emigrated to Turkey, comes from Tabiya. One of his contacts fights for the al-Baqir militia and took the video at the site of the bombings. "If it had been a Russian attack, with many Russian dead, we would have reported about it," he said. "But it wasn't. The Russians in Tabiya just had the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Posted by: pogohere | Oct 10 2019 4:09 utc | 125

those folks who always associate trump as serving putin are really boring.. it's like this crazy plague has invaded the brains of most americans thanks the western msm... i was reading a cbc article on this change and over 80 per cent had trump-putin on the brain... apparently people lose the ability to think clearly and it's a popular herd mentality thing..

Posted by: james | Oct 10 2019 4:12 utc | 126

oh wait! i must have it too, because i agree with trumps idea to leave syria, even if it is a switch and bait! i am a putin bot!!

Posted by: james | Oct 10 2019 4:14 utc | 127

A no-fly zone. Let me think about that. That would be NATO jets fighting NATO jets wouldn't it? Maybe I'm wrong. Let me ask Hillary. She knows all about no-fly zones.

In the meantime, is that hysterical laughter I hear coming from the Kremlin?

Posted by: Bill Herschel | Oct 10 2019 4:15 utc | 128

hey! hilary clinton said it so it must be true! she is even more reliable then pompeo!

"“Let us be clear: The president has sided with authoritarian leaders of Turkey and Russia over our loyal allies and America’s own interests. His decision is a sickening betrayal both of the Kurds and his oath of office,” Clinton tweeted."

Posted by: james | Oct 10 2019 4:16 utc | 129

speaking of siding with authoritarian leaders, how's her ksa fund doing anyway?

Posted by: james | Oct 10 2019 4:17 utc | 130

karlof1 @124

Yes, just speculating like everybody else, acquiring facts to support the speculation is way above my pay grade.

I believe both the Eastern Syrian oilfields and the Raqqa Dam were and are very high priority, in the long-term the Syrian State cannot function without both. The Americans got to both first.

Higher priority was preventing the complete collapse of the Syrian State, and that required limited resources be spend removing threats closer to Damascus and core urban areas.

ISIS or SDF controlled areas would be a piece of cake for the SAA and Russian airforce if it weren't for the USA preventing access to those areas.

I am not sure how they intend to remove those forces, but trying to do so by force would currently be a big mistake.

Posted by: Haassaan | Oct 10 2019 4:21 utc | 131

karlof1 @124

Yes, just speculating like everybody else, acquiring facts to support the speculation is way above my pay grade.

I believe both the Eastern Syrian oilfields and the Raqqa Dam were and are very high priority, in the long-term the Syrian State cannot function without both. The Americans got to both first.

Higher priority was preventing the complete collapse of the Syrian State, and that required limited resources be spend removing threats closer to Damascus and core urban areas.

ISIS or SDF controlled areas would be a piece of cake for the SAA and Russian airforce if it weren't for the USA preventing access to those areas.

I am not sure how they intend to remove those forces, but trying to do so by force would currently be a big mistake.

Posted by: Haassaan | Oct 10 2019 4:21 utc | 132

Ah, shoot, sorry for the double-post.

Posted by: Haassaan | Oct 10 2019 4:23 utc | 133

pogohere @126
I agree with that account, and believe at most two-dozen Russian Mercenaries (not soldiers) died along with a couple hundred local tribal militia men. I do believe the attack was intentional on the part of USA and was meant to serve warning that SAA or Russian military action on the east side of the Euphrates would be met with force.

Posted by: Haassaan | Oct 10 2019 4:28 utc | 134

pogohere @126
I agree with that account, and believe at most two-dozen Russian Mercenaries (not soldiers) died along with a couple hundred local tribal militia men. I do believe the attack was intentional on the part of USA and was meant to serve warning that SAA or Russian military action on the east side of the Euphrates would be met with force.

Posted by: Haassaan | Oct 10 2019 4:28 utc | 135

Another day has dawned and the morning news in Kuwait contains a story cited by Sputnik:

"Tehran hopes its neighbors will support the so-called Hormuz peace initiative on dialogue between regional countries, advocated by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an article for the Kuwaiti Ar-Ray newspaper, released on Thursday.

"'The Hormuz peace initiative involving regional countries--Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Iran--gives the needed and sufficient possibilities for achieving security for everyone in the region though internal regional dialogue without foreign meddling … We hope to receive a positive reaction on this initiative from regional countries,' Zarif said."

I mechanically translated the Arabic, but it's too jumbled when put into English, although the article's conclusion is intelligible:

"His Excellency President Rouhani has mandated me to begin my consultations to seek the views of states and elites in the region and to complete and strengthen the Hormuz peace initiative.

"The elite think tanks and the private sector they can present their views and review constructive proposals to help strengthen and direct Hormuz peace.

"We all hope and trust to achieve this initiative and expect a positive feedback in the states of the region towards it, and we express our readiness to fight a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue in the framework of the principles and objectives mentioned above." [My Emphasis]

As I wrote during the UNGA, Iran's very serious about this initiative and at that time seemed to already enjoy majority support. The two hardline states--Saudi Arabia and UAE--ought to have learned an excellent lesson from recent Outlaw US Empire behavior, particularly from the Kurds's experience. Trump has essentially said he's willing to abandon the region as its already cost $8 Trillion and gained nothing except negatives. A great shift is about to occur that hopefully will bring about better days for everyone.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 10 2019 4:40 utc | 136

I only have a limited interest in all this being as 99% of the assertions in this thread are more speculative than factual and none of us have the slightest idea of any of the myriad players' actual priorities, altho it does appear to me that all the Turkish/kurd huffing and puffing provides an ideal time for someone to 'do a Ansar Allah' on the Deir Ezzor oilfields.
Yep it could cause major ructions (depending on whether any seppos got wasted) and get Orange Idjit hooting about the sanctity of amerikan lives, but it would also highlight that amerika is 'protecting' oilfields which are actually the property of the Syrian state; Orangy, just like Oblamblam, shrub and cigar bill who went before, is perfectly happy to spend amerikan lives stealing hydrocarbons for corporations.

Something which could: A/reduce the risk of retaliation, and B/ Make Syria's aim of getting 'em back a helluva a lot easier.

Posted by: A User | Oct 10 2019 4:45 utc | 137

Bill Herschel @129: That would be NATO jets fighting NATO jets wouldn't it?

It's highly doubtful there would be any such fighting. It would just be a pretense for a NFZ, after all.

Kinda like what WE'VE ALREADY SEEN: have you forgotten about the threatened "Ottoman slap"?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 10 2019 4:47 utc | 138

Latest news apparently is that a KFC outlet has opened in Idlib.

See the video here.

That little girl with the blank expression being fed chips must be the same little girl who has appeared in numerous White Helmets videos being pulled out of rubble she constantly kept disappearing into - that must explain the dead stare in her eyes and the fact that she is the only token female in the film clip.

It seems that this outlet is not exactly halal over at KFC headquarters.

KFC Idlib have a Facebook page as well - please Unlike!

Posted by: Jen | Oct 10 2019 4:52 utc | 139

Pogohere @ 126, Haassaan @ 136:

Do we really know who those Russian mercenaries employed by Wagner were? Unless a list of the mercenaries' names and their home cities and towns is released, how do we know they really were Russian and not just Russian-speaking citizens of countries like, say, Latvia and Lithuania?

Posted by: Jen | Oct 10 2019 4:56 utc | 140

The people in the Kremlin are serious professionals, not at all like the amateurs in DC, so there's no laughter, just a nod as many potential future moves are contemplated. The thought that pleasure is somehow derived by people like Putin, Lavrov and Shoigu as they perform geopolitical gymnastics can only arise in the mind of a venal person, like that of Pompeo or Albright, who do take pleasure from the number they kill via their policy decisions. There're fundamental reasons including their moral bases why the USA is an Outlaw Empire while Russia is a normal law abiding nation, and those distinctions are known by the majority of the world's nations.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 10 2019 4:58 utc | 141

I posit that if the Houthi in Yemen can execute a successful strike on the Saudi oilfields then Syria et al can do the same to the Americans around the Syrian oilfields.

And I think that the conflict we are seeing is pushing in that direction.....The US is there illegally and that point will be made clearly when dead Americans start being sent home.

To the point of Trump being a Putin whore I would repeat that all this cannon fodder killing kabuki and proxy battles are being brought to you by the cult of global private finance that has both Trump and war criminal Hillary in their service.

We are in a civilization war and it is not about freedom and democracy BS. It is about empire trying to continue its hold on private financial control of the world that it has had for centuries.


Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 10 2019 5:02 utc | 142

Elijah has a new piece up and some interesting info and perspectives that I didn't know or haven't thought about, of course...

the arrogance of the Kurds to expect the syrian gov't to just hand over the oil fields to them is rather, uh, breath taking (remember what happened to the Iraqi, eh... One day they had the oil fields near Kirkuk, and the next day they didn't)


https://ejmagnier.com/2019/10/09/us-forces-will-not-likely-withdraw-from-syria-this-year/

"...What is surprising is the fact that, in the circumstances, the Kurdish leadership has not lowered their expectations realistically in negotiations with the government of Damascus concerning their request to form a federation in the country. The Kurds have asked Damascus, in the presence of Russian and Iranian negotiators, to allow them to retain control over the very rich oil and gas fields they occupy in a bit less than a quarter of Syrian territory. Furthermore, the Kurds have asked that they be given full control of the enclave on the borders with Turkey without any Syrian Army presence or activity!..."


Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 10 2019 5:32 utc | 143

as an aside I gotta say right now that I was completely astonished to read a president of the US say/write:

"it is time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.”

an article about Afghanistan notes that there are now 18 year old soldiers being sent to Afghanistan; and that damned endless war started 18 years ago - those kids weren't even born when that war was started.


"What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations.... Where the army is, prices are high; when prices rise the wealth of the people is exhausted.... There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare." - Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Chapter II

will the US still be in Syria's northeast and at al-Tanf 12 or 18 years from now?

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 10 2019 5:43 utc | 144

Trump has set a trap to Erdogan.

Who benefits from a weakened Turkey?
- Israel that sees Turkey as a powerful and potential enemy because of his strong position on palestinians
- Saudi Arabia who sees Turkey as a competitor for the sunnis leadership
- Syria that wants Turkey out of Syria
- The USA that wants Turkey to stop cozing up with Iran and Russia
- Russia and Iran that want reluctant Turkey to mend its relation with Bashar Al Assad
- Europe that has always supported the non-sectarian Kurds in the region

If the Turkish army does not swiftly 'liberate' the 30km inside Syria, it may signify the end of the AKP and Erdogan as a long war will weaken Turkey's economy and provoke internal bscklash

Posted by: Virgile | Oct 10 2019 7:01 utc | 145

This from today's Guardian newspaper:

Syria / Turkish troops advance as Trump washes his hands of the Kurds
Civilians flee as airstrikes and artillery hit border region as Trump says about Kurds: ‘They didn’t help us in Normandy’

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/09/turkey-syria-attack-latest-news-kurds-trump

Brain-damaged capitalism

Posted by: Barovsky | Oct 10 2019 7:22 utc | 146

Please watch this short video published by Vanessa Beely, via "the Syrian Girl":

Kurds did not protect Christians
Here Assyrian Christians and report how their weapons were confiscated by Kurdish authorities on the promise the Kurdish Peshmerga army would protect them and a very short time later they were abandoned by them and their towns were left to ISIS without the Kurds even firing a single shot in defense of those towns.

Posted by: Eve Human | Oct 10 2019 7:54 utc | 147

Eve Human | Oct 10 2019 7:54 utc | 148

A wishful misunderstanding? These are the "Western" Kurds with their leader Barzani. They got support from the West, including Germany. The Barzani family owns huge fortunes in Turkey. Erdogan knows it as he has given permission for it.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 10 2019 8:39 utc | 148

I just read the Guardian article linked to by Baovsky @ 147. Anyone who thinks Trump has any idea what the fuck he is doing needs to read it. Trump is all over the map. The main intent seems to be to teach the EU a lesson by letting the captured ISIS head-choppers escape into Europe. (Yeah, the same ISIS that Trump claimed was "completely obliterated and defeated" a short time ago.) As to what else he is thinking - and I use the term "thinking" very loosely here - is anyone's guess. He isn't taking US troops out of Syria; he moved a couple hundred from one place to another, that's all.

"They [the Kurds] didn’t help us in the second world war, they didn’t help us with Normandy," - Donald J. Trump, the J stands for genius. What the actual fuck does that even mean now, 75 years later? And by the way, if the US is getting out of Syria, does that mean we aren't going to fund and arm those "rebel" groups and mercenaries we've been backing for the past 4 years any more? Yeah, didn't think so.

Trump is just letting ISIS move on to new territory, like Obama did when they somehow managed to move freely into Syria in the first place. The War of Terror is simply changing locales, but it will not end.

Posted by: teri | Oct 10 2019 8:57 utc | 149

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 10 2019 5:32 utc | 144

the arrogance of the Kurds to expect the syrian gov't to just hand over the oil fields to them is rather, uh, breath taking (remember what happened to the Iraqi, eh... One day they had the oil fields near Kirkuk, and the next day they didn't)


https://ejmagnier.com/2019/10/09/us-forces-will-not-likely-withdraw-from-syria-this-year/

"The Kurds have asked Damascus, in the presence of Russian and Iranian negotiators, to allow them to retain control over the very rich oil and gas fields they occupy in a bit less than a quarter of Syrian territory. Furthermore, the Kurds have asked that they be given full control of the enclave on the borders with Turkey without any Syrian Army presence or activity!..."


I'm pretty sure the Kurds must have done that under instructions from the US, who would have wanted to frustrate any Syro-Kurdish negotiations. The Kurds haven't been like that on their own. Even if the US wasn't present at the talks.

The Kurds have absolutely no right to keep the oil-fields, only one well of which is located on Kurdish-inhabited territory.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 10 2019 10:11 utc | 150

It strikes me that Trump has be reading Sun Tzu:
When you find yourself digging yourself into a hole, stop.
When your opponent is digging himself into a hole, loan him a shovel.

Are those storm clouds I see over KSA?

Posted by: jared | Oct 10 2019 10:37 utc | 151

I don't know what kind of game Lindsey Graham is playing. On the one hand he's earnestly defending Trump on impeachment and on the other he's condemning Trump for abandoning the Kurds. Here's what I suspect: the croc tears and pearl-clutching posturing for the Kurds are fake kabuki theater.

The U.S. is all in with Erdo resettling 3 million Syrian opposition Sunni refugees on territory inhabited by the Kurds. It represents a loss for Assad, and that's all that matters to the likes of Trump, Lindsey & co. Throwing the Kurds under the bus is a necessary evil and there is no way Lindsey and Trump are not on the same page on this! Turkey is doing EXACTLY what Israel did when it ethnically cleansed a million Palestinians with everyone's tacit blessing! Real piece of work your Zionist Trump.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2019 10:51 utc | 152

Here's another analogy: the Sabra and Shatila massacre. In that case too everyone was shocked and horrified that Sharon THE WAR CRIMINAL would conspire with the Maronites to commit such a war crime, but then everyone went back to the crooked business of pretending the U.N. is independent of Zionist influence. Neither Israel nor the co-conspirator Maronite Phalange ever paid a price.

Of course Erdo will go over easy on Kurdish civilians but as agreed between all parties there will be plently of shock and awe to scare them out of the territory to make way for the 3 million rabid Assad-hating refugees.

Sure there will be collateral damage, but after lots of wailing and posturing, all will be forgiven and forgotten when everyone is resettled. Years of proxy war in Syria for an outcome where the ZioEmpire's interests with next to no skin in the game are furthered and this time WITH PUTIN'S HELP!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2019 11:18 utc | 153

@172 jared

Dontcha know? Trump doesn't read! He would't know Sun Tzu if he bit him in the ass, however, Zionists read and share their connivance for a common goal.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2019 11:28 utc | 154

Circe @ 153 The U.S. is all in with Erdo resettling 3 million Syrian opposition Sunni refugees on territory inhabited by the Kurds. It represents a loss for Assad, and that's all that matters to the likes of Trump, Lindsey & co.

Not to toot my own horn but I said early on Turkey held all the cards at the Astana Poker Table.

The long predicted by alt social media Syrian/Russian advance into Idleb....whatever became of that? Stalled out? Dead and done? Still making progress, albeit slower than a broke-legged tortoise?

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 10 2019 11:44 utc | 155

Barovsky @ 147

Why the imprecision?

"Brain damaged President" is more exact in this case.

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 10 2019 11:48 utc | 156

Trump is owned by Zionists and I'm suspecting that may be the case with Putin as well.

Zionists have spent U.S. treasure for their geo-political machinations. They read the Art of War cover to cover. What greater strategy can there be than to use someone else to fight your battles and spend their treasure while you collect billions a year from them? It's pure genius!

Trump is always bitching that the U.S. pays more than anyone in Nato but puts more skin in the game, but notice how he's given Israel more funding than any other Prez and never bitches to them about how many Americans died for Zionist-fabricated wars. Not such a stable genius after all!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2019 11:52 utc | 157

Trump is a moron. He would be funny in a cirkus, not so much in the White House...
But that is what we have got, so we still need to brace for strong winds.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Oct 10 2019 12:12 utc | 158

Everyone is tacitly on board with the Turkish Peace in the Spring Operation. I'll assume that means Erdo plans to relocate the Assad-hating refugees by the Spring.

ON BOARD: the U.N. and Russia:

From the Guardian article posted @147:


The UN security council is due to convene on Thursday to discuss the offensive at the request of its five current European members, but it is not expected to deliver a strong rebuke to Turkey, given tacit Russian support and US ambivalence.

[Nato definitely not urgently demanding Turkey pull back.]

The Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, called on Turkey to act with restraint and “ensure that the gains we have made in the fight against Isis are not jeopardised. I will discuss this issue with President Erdoğan Friday.”

[Trump and pearl-clutching Republicans also all in!]

In remarks later, Trump presented the invasion as a historical inevitability, saying Turks and Kurds “have been fighting each other for centuries”. And he downplayed the US debt to Kurdish fighters, saying: “They didn’t help us in the second world war, they didn’t help us with Normandy …

Even Barzani isn't making too much noise about it.

KUMBAYA ALL AROUND to Erdo's Spring Peace! Hey! Maybe Erdo might even get a wink and a nod from Nobel! And won't Trump be pea-green jea...louuus?!

Even former war is peace Nobel winner Obama would agree!

Everyone's happy, happy, happy with this Turkish Spring Peace operation!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2019 12:49 utc | 159

Here is a really great compilation by Vanessa Beeley of articles, videos an analyses about the conflict and what role Turkey, the Kurds and NATO play in the despicable game:

https://thewallwillfall.org/2019/10/10/syria-turkey-the-kurds-and-nato-explained/

Posted by: Cemi | Oct 10 2019 13:09 utc | 160

The gift that keeps on giving:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/10/us/politics/turkey-kurds.html

In your face, Trump, what a disgrace! You're actually going to cause a war in the ME:

"“In the course of American history, when we have stuck with our allies in troubling circumstances, from the U.K. and Australia under attack in WWII to South Korea in the Korean War, things tend to work out to our benefit,” said James G. Stavridis, a retired admiral and former supreme allied commander for Europe. “When we walk away from loyal allies, as we did in Vietnam and are now threatening to do in Afghanistan and Syria, the wheels come off.”"

I wonder if he's so sick and insane he actually believes that. The Korean War? Vietnam?

They don't like Trump. The military cf. the Atlantic article https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/military-officers-trump/598360/, have thrown him under the bus. But how to get rid of him? And what about the base?

If Trump doesn't end up in an apartment several floors below Snowden's, I'll eat my hat.

Posted by: Bill Herschel | Oct 10 2019 14:10 utc | 161

to s #112. Iraq was set up by the US - regarding the invasion of Kuwait, which was a fight over slanted drilling by which Kuwait accessed Iraqi oil. The remark, he who lies down with snakes will get bit - in the Turkey invasion thread, seems to apply to all dealings with murka.

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Oct 10 2019 14:55 utc | 162

@ Bill Herschel 162
Stavridis: “When we walk away from loyal allies, as we did in Vietnam and are now threatening to do in Afghanistan and Syria, the wheels come off.”"
That's one of the highlights of the recent Trump presidency, is that he's dumped the loser flag officers, of the type that he embraced after his inauguration. (Another highlight is the lessening of US participation in the stupid wars, of course.) Stavridis, given his comments on Vietnam especially, is especially stupid even for a flag officer. Supremely stupid, one might say.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 14:56 utc | 163

to James # 130. Yes, I noticed that Killery comment. Did you remark the opening? "Let us be clear..." that is exactly how O'Bomber began all his remarks. Do you suppose she hired his speech writer? cheers

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Oct 10 2019 14:58 utc | 164

@ Bill Herschel | Oct 10 2019 14:10 utc | 162

What kind of hat are we talking about hear?

I agree has comments are odd - OK, ridiculous maybe.
You would think he has a writer or two.

Yet the results are a bit of an improvement.

And to say that the military do not hold him in high regard, well...
I think that works both ways.

Posted by: jared | Oct 10 2019 15:01 utc | 165

Miss Lacy @165: She likely was his speechwriter. But it's perceptive of you to notice the similarity of their turgid, pompous prose. In their simple minds "leaders" are supposed to talk like that.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 10 2019 15:04 utc | 166

@ Bill Herschel | Oct 10 2019 14:10 utc | 162

I'd say that Trump is living proof that an unqualified layman is a vast improvement over our military school grad bureaucrats.
Not to mention the likes of McCain, Cheney, Graham, Rubio et al.

Posted by: jared | Oct 10 2019 15:04 utc | 167

Don Bacon: The military "elites" have been as thoroughly corrupted as the political, they are cheaper to buy too.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 10 2019 15:08 utc | 168

@ jared 168
Trump... a vast improvement over our military school grad
It's not the grads specifically, it's the grads who suck up to get ahead and become flag officers (general and admirals). That's not all of them, but many of them, like ignorant Stavridis.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 15:10 utc | 169

The U.S. is always non-compliant with the Constitution regarding war and the U.N. charter. But in order to string the masses along into war again and again, it now uses proxies, like Israel used the U.S.

The latest willing proxy is Turkey with its Peace Spring offensive despite loud noises pretence in Congress from both sides of the aisle.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2019 15:18 utc | 170

@ Bemildred 169
they are cheaper to buy too.
Yes, they're usually satisfied with a do-nothing connect-with-the-Pentagon job in some corporation or as a shill for the MSM on the tube (I'm told; I don't have one, myself).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 15:27 utc | 171

Uh... I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there IS a war in the Middle East. More than one, in fact. Has been for many years now. There are Americans fighting in those wars who were not even born yet when America launched those wars of aggression.

As for claims by psychotic freaks like Stavridis (very representative of the American public at large, I might point out), when America walks away from their wars an amazing thing happens: The war ends and the killing stops.

Where Korea is concerned, "things tend[ed] to work out to our benefit" because America maintained a military occupation of their victim country and strictly censored that country's history books and popular media to redact any mention of America's evils in destroying that country. South Korea was brainwashed and Stockholm Syndromed into embracing their imperial occupation.

Americans love it when they can do that to their victims. It isn't enough for Americans to just murder a kid's parents, they need to twist that kid's mind into believing that America did it out of compassion and love. They need to mutilate that kid's mind and leave her clinging desperately to her parents' killers.

Which, of course, is why they feel they need to stay in other countries that they have destroyed. America needs to stay in Syria long enough to disguise and erase from memory the horrifying crimes they committed in Raqqa and elsewhere.

Psycho killer freak Americans murdered millions in North and South Korea, mostly civilians. Americans cannot claim "But I'm better now! I'm not like that anymore!" because they have done it again and again since.

If Trump actually ends the empire's wars that would be enough to earn him the title of "Best President Ever!", but he clearly has to fight the sick and twisted psychotic bloodlust of much of the rest of the country to get there.


Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 10 2019 15:27 utc | 172

@168 jared

I'd say that Trump is living proof that an unqualified layman is a vast improvement over our military school grad bureaucrats.

Don't forget too that he's a stable genius akin to Napolean Bonaparte! 😆

Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2019 15:28 utc | 173

If Trump doesn't end up in an apartment several floors below Snowden's, I'll eat my hat.

Posted by: Bill Herschel | Oct 10 2019 14:10 utc | 162

Not to worry, it won't be that bad. Putin can spare rooms in one of his palaces.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2019 15:35 utc | 174

The people who are claiming that this is a huge departure for the US, and they got blind-sided by the Syria pullout, have been asleep at the switch.

from BBC
Trump has long called for the US to leave the Middle East. On the campaign trail, he said the region was a "total and complete mess" and wished the government had spent the trillions of dollars in the US instead.

His talk of an end to US military deployments overseas predates his presidential run. In 2013, he tweeted: "Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA." That same year, he said the US should "stay the hell out" of the Syrian war. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 16:02 utc | 175

William Gruff @173--

Standing Ovation from my corner! Your judgment appends well to my 142. My mom understood exactly what you're saying as there're the millions of US citizens who've been killed, maimed and experimented on via acts of Congress and for supposed reasons of National Security. Today's Keiser Report will do a segment on that exact topic: "America is a ‘predatory hospital’ monetizing on the sick & dying, disguised as a country." For the curious, in 1982, Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America's Experience with Atomic Radiation was published and can be read at the link; and as with the legalization of lead poisoning by Congress and so many other toxins over the years, it's only a small part of a massive horror story that few know as the US citizenry is treated very similarly to those of occupied nations. And another example is an excerpt posted by psychohistorian from a paper I linked to last night that's as damning as cops shooting down unarmed innocents:

"The second function the Fed was supposed to perform was to promote full employment. Mr. Greenspan made it clear that he believes that this is incompatible with the ideal of price stability. He pointed out before Congress that the virtue of loading down homeowners, college students and others with debt was that they were afraid to go on strike or even complain about working conditions or seek higher wages, for fear of being fired and missing a mortgage payment or credit-card payment. Going on strike or losing as job would threaten them with loss of a home, and an immediate increase in the credit-card interest rates and penalties that they had to pay. So the Fed became the leading administrator in Wall Street’s war against labor."

Clearly, neither Congress nor the President or BigLie Media had any problem with such a demonic policy as it went unopposed and unreported as does so much else. So yes, the USA is an Outlaw Empire in almost countless ways, and the evil darkness of its immorality has no historical precedent. And in Truth, it's always done for A Few Dollars More.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 10 2019 16:06 utc | 176

. . . as for the Kurds, from RD:

As to abandoning the Syrian Kurds, the U.S. intention for the region’s Kurds was plain in 2017 when Washington advised the Iraqi Kurds to cancel an independence referendum but stay in Iraq's federal system. Likewise, the Syrian Kurds were encouraged to open negotiations with the Assad regime to secure limited local autonomy, and it sure must be working as the SDF sells the Assad regime oil and natural gas, violating the sanctions on Syria in the process, but getting $378 million a year in oil revenue alone. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 16:07 utc | 177

@178 The writer/editor couldn't resist a little dig at Russia...

"...the Russians will wait for an opportunity to grab the oil fields to pay for their mercenaries;"

The Russians are more likely to hand the oil-fields back to the Syrian government.

Posted by: dh | Oct 10 2019 16:21 utc | 178

@ 74 cemi... i wanted to say i agree with your take @74... thanks for your posts...

@ 165 miss lacy... i agree with @167 bemildred.. that was perceptive of you to pick up on that.. i have no idea who the speechwriter is/was, but might indeed me as bemildred notes... cheers...

@173 william gruff.. here and on the new thread.. great commentary.. thanks.

Posted by: james | Oct 10 2019 16:43 utc | 179

What Russian mercenaries?

Posted by: Sid Finster | Oct 10 2019 17:16 utc | 180

Upthread @136 I announced Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's op/ed publication was picked up and partially translated as his first move to get regional discussion and eventual agreement of Rouhani's HOPE and Russia's Collective Security proposals happening. Zarif was able to find one accommodating Western publication, The Financial Times, which published an English equivalent of his earlier Arabic op/ed. IMO, Zarif's writing is a work of diplomatic art:

"For too long now there has been mistrust, acrimony and conflict in the community around the Strait of Hormuz. For too long, states have armed themselves and invaded, bombed or embargoed each other. For too long, foreign forces have come to our region to project their power, not to protect our people. And for too long our peoples have suffered.

"We can, collectively, choose to remain on this path of instability and tension, and await the unknown. Or, we can instead choose peace, security, stability and prosperity for all. In late September, Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani proposed the latter at the UN General Assembly, unveiling what he called the Hormuz Peace Endeavor (Hope). The UN was given a mandate in 1987 to furnish the necessary umbrella for such a regional arrangement.

"Iran is trying to provide a solution to what appears — but in fact is not — an intractable problem. There are competing interests and ideologies, disparities in size, resources and capabilities, and distrust among the states most affected by developments in the area: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain."

Much more follows, and his conclusion's masterful. We can continue being fools or we can choose to be wise. There IS a solution. And with a masterful stroke, Zarif concludes:

"We all have grievances about the past. Iran, after eight years of regionally financed aggression and 40 years of foreign-sponsored attacks and separatism, has much to complain about.

"But as the great poet and sage Rumi wrote 800 years ago: 'Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.'"

Soon we shall see who is bold enough to be wise and who is cowardly and remains a fool. The effects and potential benefits go well beyond Zarif's neighborhood. Only the occupiers of Palestine could see this initiative as a threat. IMO, Trump welcomes it too. This is the first serious attempt at attaining genuine peace and security in this region in my lifetime. May all the actors prove to be wise!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 10 2019 17:42 utc | 181

The worst of the arrogance and short-sightedness of the Kurds was that they didn't even bother to engage in negotiations with official Damascus at least to show good will (even if dragging their feet and not achieving anything by this). That is why they were not even invited to the recently agreed upon Constitutional Committee, which gives them no say in future demands for autonomy etc. They counted on one option only and this option abandoned them 4 days ago.

And what is worse - Turkish plans show taking of Semalka border crossing between "Rojava" and Iraqi Kurdistan, their only land lifeline... To the South, the border on the Iraqi side is controlled by the paramilitaries and the regular Iraqi army. And, furthermore, Barzani already refused to accept refugees from Rojava.

And if the Tutkish plans for a 32-km or mile (not sure but it doesn't really matter) succeed, this will be the ultimate disaster for the Kurds as most of their population (and places where they are the majority) lie within that zone.

It seems Afrin was not a lesson good enough for them.

I can't imagine why any sane Kurd inhabiting this territory won't go directly to the official state and rejoin without any preconditions and unrealistic fantasies.


---

Posted by: BG | Oct 10 2019 17:43 utc | 182

@151: Laguerre: "The Kurds have absolutely no right to keep the oil-fields, only one well of which is located on Kurdish-inhabited territory."

You've just answered your own question in reply to my comment @48: "there is no way Damascus can accept a KRG type close-to-failed-state autonomous region with current SDF/YPG occupied territory."

@52:"Why not?"


Posted by: Lozion | Oct 10 2019 17:56 utc | 183

Turkey has made incusrions into Syria with pincer movements on the two major objectives Tal Abiad and Raas Al Ayn shown here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 18:28 utc | 184

regarding my misspelling in #185:
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 18:33 utc | 185

@ BG | Oct 10 2019 17:43 utc | 183

Your point is very logical.
I am disappointed with and for Kurds for not having played this better.
There behavior doesn't make sense.
And when things dont make sense, I suspect the influence of the US intelligence community / neocons.

I would bet Bill Herschel's hat that someone convinced them not to negotiate, hold-out for US to grant them a state (and a pony).
You see how the neocon/zionists are playing the "poor Kurds" angle.
I am pretty sure those freaks dont give a rats ass for anyone's well being, least of all poor folk in Syria.

Posted by: jared | Oct 10 2019 18:42 utc | 186

Sunni MB Turks attacking Sunni Kurds. Sunni MB Qatar applauds while Sunni KSA pretends it is against it...

Posted by: Mina | Oct 10 2019 19:34 utc | 187

So the Turkey operation seems to have the following characteristics:

a) A NATO country enlist, as schock troops (cannon fodder), thousands of wahabi jihadist, so really it is the integration of jihadi terrorists in a NATO army.

b) A NATO country start a kind ethnic cleansing inside another sovereign state probably to populate this hinterland with extremist sunni arabs depriving the kurd population of their thousands years land

c) A NATO country invade a sovereing state using the money, weapons and systems provide by its NATO membership, and may be the NATO alliance must support Trukey if is attacked, in self defense, by Syria?

d) A NATO country threatens the UE (with which has a custom teatry that even Norway or Switzerland do not have, and is the main trade partner and receive billions of $ in aid) with sending millions of refugees if any country in the UE dares to criticize the brutal turkish invasion of the new Sudetenland

e) We will see what make this NATO country with the many thousands ISIS terrorists in camps in the kurd area: if they integrate them in the militias to fight kurds (and take revenge on them), or if they liberate them to fight the syrians, russians, iranians and hezbollah troops, or may be they send them back to Europe to press the europeans with more aid and support.


Posted by: DFC | Oct 10 2019 19:54 utc | 188

The Shi-Sunni divide which has been promoted and advanced by the US in its divide-and-conquer strategy, is exaggerated. . . Southern Baptists and Methodists, now there's a difference.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 10 2019 20:00 utc | 189

@DFC: Well summarized!
Now, let's hear what one of EU's heavy weights, the German chancellor, responds to the recent threads from Sultan Erdogan: "Err ... " (nothing)

Please allow me to correct, however, your point b. The Kurds are by no means inhabitants for thousand years in that strip in northern Syria, as clarified by the piece #6 in Vanessa Beeley's compilation I linked to in post 161. In fact, they are fairish newcomers in that area and played a not so heroic role there in the recent past.

Quote:

Syria was almost invaded by Turkey at the beginning of 2000; Turkey even cut off all water from the Euphrates river to force Syria to give up the Kurdish liberation movement. In 2013, when the Syrian Army had to retreat from the margins and the country sides to defend the cities and major population centres; Syria naturalized all Kurdish inhabitants, opened all weapon storages in the north, and armed them to the teeth to fight against the Wahhabi Contra invasion. Unfortunately the Kurdish Contras repaid all the Syrian people hospitality with treason, by joining the Empire and attempting to steal our land for a fabricated state with a freshly minted name; Rojava.

In any case, if you are still a supporter of Kurdish separatism in Syria, one based on conquest by genocide, I offer one last point: Kurdish transferees and refugees in Syria represent less than 10% of the population of the country. And when looking at North Syria alone, Kurdish people represent only 30% of the population! So are Arabs and Assyrians to live as a majority ruled by a minority! Wouldn’t that be Apartheid? Are Kurds to be given the same uber-rights that Zionists have?

Posted by: Cemi | Oct 10 2019 20:39 utc | 190

For the moment the Turks and proxies have taken about 15-20 villages, clearly intending to envelop the larger towns and force the defenders (and civilians) to flee.

Translation from the Russian Glav.su (Global Adventure) forums, Syrian thread, Old Cap(tain) I:

Recap of current situation:

So, what we have for the first two days of the Turkish operation "Fountain/Spring/Source of peace", East of the Euphrates:

1. The Turkish Armed Forces:
- performing strikes practically along the entire border East of the Euphrates. Objects - warehouses, barracks, training camps, administrative buildings, within a depth of 10-15 kms. inside Syrian territory, mainly by long-range artillery. Up to 50 kms. inside Syria operate Turkish UCAVs. Targets - warehouses, training grounds, transport infrastructure objects.

No strikes further inside Syria.

The air and artillery strikes are meticulously corrected and prepared by the mass use of UAVs.

MRLS used very sparsely, mainly for psychological effect, than on real targets (and they are very effective in this type of use).

By the end of the first day (Wednesday) and after more than 180 targets hit, the invasion by ground forces began. It must be noted - it began very carefully.

First, reccoinesance in force in the direction of Tel-Abyad (TA) and Ras-al-Ayn (RAA). The attacking formations encountered resistance, organized at the outskirts of the populated places, reconnoitered the defense system and points and retreated during the night (favourite Tiger tactic, the Turks finally learned something).
- in the morning of October 10th, after analysing the actual disposition of the Kurdish defenses, the Turks took the decision to perform two main strikes - in the direction of TA and Ayn-Issa - by doing this, they cut off the Kurdish formations operating in the Manbidj area from the other parts of the enclave.
The Kurds have two options - either retreat to the East or reconcile and appeal to the SAA for help and protection. Judging from recent history (Afrin), they will choose the third option, i.e. do nothing, typical SDF leadership modus operandi style.

RAA, Tel Farah (or to the East of it). This direction already threatens Hassaka, after the projected fall of Kamishli (which seems inevitable if the Turks persist).

The main strike directions are around 150 kms. apart from each other, which with the full air domination of TAAF excludes any possibilities of force maneuver for the Kurds.

The Turks do not enter the main towns, they take only the surrounding villages (THE SPEED OF TAKING VILLAGES DEPENDS ON HOW FAST THEY ARE VACATED BY THE LOCALS - THE TURKS NEED TERRITORY, NOT PEOPLE) and they also move to the main roads connecting TA and RAA with the south part of SDF territory. And the Turks may be expected not to sever those roads for now - it is to their benefit if as many Kurds as possible rush South to the Euphrates - the less problems with locals and future control of the area.

Taking of Kamishli vey possible in the near future after it is vacated by as many Kurds as possible.


2. The Kurds
The biggest loses in the Middle East (they must be relatives of the Ukrainians, no possible other explanation, no learning abilities).

They had control over that territory for 3 years, population about 3 million people, oil, weapons, sweet deals... No comparison to the "rebels" in Hama, Idlib or Aleppo.
Massive US support, Erdo mentioned 30 000 trucks with goodies...
NOTHING DONE FOR THOSE 3 YEARS (even Afrin looks like the Maginot line).

- mass deserions, the Assyrian units declared neutrality, the Arab units are running for the hills as fast as they can, after brutally cracking down on any dissent for 3 years, the Kurds have no local allies left.

- no mass inflow of volunteers to fight, the units are ready to fight for their village only or that nice oil rig making big bucks.

- the Kurds could not equip a first line of defence along the whole border (okay, it is 450 kms., but this is not an excuse), there is no second line at all. No minefields, no engineering obstacles, no reserve positions to fall back on. Basically, they counted on the US only. When you compare that to the anthills of Hama the Tigers recently liberated, there is nothing to stop the Turks.


3. I don't know what the end goal of the Turks is. If it is to take the 30 kms. zone, they can play cat and mouse with the Kurds, save the infrastructure, chase away the locals, save soldiers and equipment - beyond that I don't know.

4. Damascus/RF have a couple of weeks to raise the locals beyond the Euphrates and with the help of the local Arab tribes take the oilfields. It will be much harder after that".

---


I personally don't share the last point. Erdo is the battering ram and Putin is patient enough...


---

Posted by: BG | Oct 10 2019 20:41 utc | 191

First off -

My apologies for coming so late to this thread, I'm that humble class of folk that has to work for a living.

Lets look at what's at stake with Erdogon's action into Syria:

Turkey:
Produces 900 component parts for the F35 - this manufacture has been put on stop by US for Erdo's purchase of Russian defensive missiles/launchers. Erdo's interest in buying F35's is zero. Turkey has 245 F16's which will need replacement. The cost to the Pentagon of relocating the Turkish built F35 parts is estimated to be $500-$600 million and will cause further delays to the project (even if it's a PoS), there's nothing else in the pipe. Turkey was originally expected (by Lockheed Martin) to buy up to 116 F35's x $6.5 Bn. Turkey's order is considered so high value that their withdrawal from purchase has caused some to question the viability of the project.

https://www.defensenews.com/smr/a-modern-nato/2019/07/22/will-us-f-35s-ever-operate-from-turkey-the-us-air-forces-top-general-wont-rule-it-out/

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/nato-and-f-35-program-put-at-risk-by-us-f-35-suspension-to-turkey-19930


Erdogan faced a co-ordinated attempt to overthrow his Govt. in 2016 with CIA paw prints over the event,

https://www.politico.eu/article/graham-fuller-turke-issues-arrest-warrant-for-former-cia-official-over-coup-attempt/

So.... Is it not simpler for the deep state to allow Donald enough rope to let Erdogan loose in Syria for a time cause some twitter noise "he's the bad guy" and once that narrative has traction then have White Helmets of some other quazi-spooks to pull the "it was Assad who did it" stunt, but this time pin blame on Erdogan? Drag his ass of to the Hague for war crimes and voila all bets are back on with US military hardware and Russia's lap dog grooming is over and Kurdish homeland aka Iran beachhead project is back on?

Yeah - totally opinion,speculation brain dump ...except we've seen this movie before ...when onside Dictators go rogue. (Probably why Putin has tried to talk him out of it).

Erdo's also indicating towards a possible exit from SWIFT which while Turkey's near bankruptcy should not make too much concern in financial circles - Think Europe Cyprus/Russia it's a laundering/backdoor opportunity.

Then there's his playing difficult on Cyprus oil exploration with Greece and (wait for it) Israel....I'm struggling now to work out how he's still alive. If (((they))) can pin any of the planning/foreknowledge of the Jamal Khashoggi murder on Turkey or they had the live feed and did nothing....in the Hague he's finished. So I'll give him a maximum of three weeks of running around with tanks and blowing sh*t up, before some horrendous White Helmet just happens to be in the right place to film an atrocity that becomes Erdgon's undoing. He'd be well advised not to inspect any military establishments. esp. with NATO forces stationed there.

Posted by: dennis | Oct 10 2019 21:09 utc | 192

Reuters:

The deputy foreign minister of Syria Faisal Makdad declared today that the Kurds have betrayed their country and accused them of separatism, which at the end gave the pretext for Turkey to invade sovereign Syrian territory.

Asked if Damascus is ready for dialog with the SDF, he replied:
"Those (Kurdish) armed groups betrayed their country and committed a high crime against it".

There will be no dialogue, the official declared. "Washington's agents will have nobody to count on."

---

The niceties have ended. The Kurds missed too many chances to repair the bridges back and now the Kraken has been released.

---

Posted by: BG | Oct 10 2019 21:15 utc | 193

BG @194--

Seems Kurds shot themselves in head with gun taken from USA and Syrians are willing to let the corpse rot on the northern part of their property--not a pretty sight and an unanticipated result. A rather complex set of emotions and relations being displayed very much shaped by events over the past 8+ years. Wow!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 10 2019 22:37 utc | 194

@195 karlof1, @192 BG

It does increasingly appear that Turkey is conducting a very precise operation orchestrated by the entire axis, with Russia as top-tier guarantor and very likely allied command.

In other words, Erdogan has come so far over to the very side that realpolitik has said he must choose, that he can be trusted with an operation that only he could get away with. He's doing what the Russians and Syrians could far less easily accomplish, which is to sanitize the northern border without tripping the US tripwire - now departed.

I always surmised that his mission in Idleb was genuine, and that he failed to evacuate more of the jihadists only because of his domestic constraints and entanglements. These seem to be much loosened now, at least as it concerns the Kurds.

One could see the "duplicitous" Erdogan being used to constrain and entangle the western power, while performing a clear mission for the east - to put it in such terms. I'm inclined to think this operation will show just how firmly Erdogan has chosen his path to the east. He has played his cards perfectly with the west, and gotten his way without being stopped. And he still has major cards left to play, with NATO and Incirlik.

Erdogan was a priceless weapon that the axis really wanted to use, and his apparent options have never been as large as the realpolitik that hems him in. Did Moscow see all this when Putin acted in such a remarkable hurry to forgive Erdogan and bring him back into the fold? One suspects that all of this, and more, was clear to the Kremlin and its supercomputers.

~~

I appreciate those few who have offered real information and decent surmise during this elegantly opaque military operation. As has been pointed out, almost all of the Syria talk here has been speculation, and crude chaff. It was a field day for idle words.

Meanwhile the boots on the ground reveal the pattern.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 11 2019 0:06 utc | 195

re. Trumps trouble with words:
https://www.rt.com/news/470533-trump-middle-east-wars/

“We went to war under a false & now disproven premise, weapons of mass destruction. There were none!”

True and more healing words I have never heard.

Yeah Trump!

Posted by: jared | Oct 11 2019 0:41 utc | 196

Will the real Lindsey Graham please stand?

three days ago
Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of President Donald Trump's strongest Republican defenders in Congress, blasted Trump Monday over his decision to remove US troops from northern Syria as Turkey plans a military offensive in the region, saying it was "shortsighted and irresponsible." .here

today
“I told President Trump that Obama made a huge mistake in relying on the YPG Kurds,” Graham continued. “Everything I worried about has come true, and now we have to make sure Turkey is protected from this threat in Syria. I’m sympathetic to the YPG problem, and so is the president, quite frankly.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 11 2019 1:02 utc | 197

Bill Herschel #162, "I'll eat my hat".

Be careful of those words. I have threatened to "eat my chabbad fedora" once AND on another ocasion "burn it and spread the ashes". At least try the second version first or make a lot of sourkraut or pork sauce to accompany the first.

The second threat had the benefit of returning one our barflies to the trough (assuming he ever really departed). Plus my sweet potatoes thrived on the ashes:)

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 11 2019 1:40 utc | 198

BG #192, Erdoghan has a challenger from within his political corner.

Davutuglu

Erdoghan needs a win in Syria against Kurds not Syrians roght now.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 11 2019 2:03 utc | 199

Another must-read thread from Olie Richardson with an astute and funny conclusion..

https://twitter.com/o_rich_/status/1182420328963817473?s=21

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 11 2019 2:28 utc | 200

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