Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 13, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-59

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

U.S. troops are withdrawing from north Syria. Turkish sponsored "rebel" units now encircle Ain Issa and Kobane. Turkey uses "former" ISIS fighters as auxiliaries. These promptly commit war crimes by killing prisoners and civilians.

Betraying the Kurds - Yasha Levine
The way the Kurds are treated by America is a perfect example of the weaponization of nationalist and sectarian movements: use them when it fits your goals, abandon them when it doesn’t.

12 Hours. 4 Syrian Hospitals Bombed. One Culprit: Russia. - NYT

An analysis of previously unpublished Russian Air Force radio recordings, plane spotter logs and witness accounts allowed The Times to trace bombings of four hospitals in just 12 hours in May and tie Russian pilots to each one.
The staff of Nabad al Hayat had evacuated three days earlier after receiving warnings and anticipating a bombing, ..

The Boeing media folks give a new meaning to the word "hypothetical".
FAA order warns of 787 slat issues during winter- FlightGlobal

The US Federal Aviation Administration is requiring airlines take steps to a prevent a potentially dangerous slat issue that could affect Boeing 787s operating in winter weather.

"Boeing discovered that 787 slat operation could potentially be affected by ice during winter operation," Boeing says in a statement. "The issue is a hypothetical event that has never occurred in service. The probability of this issue occurring is very remote."
The agency issued the order in response to reports that five 787 slat actuators failed when aircraft were taxiing, causing the slats to be in a position different from that commanded by the pilots.

"This condition, if not addressed, could result in insufficient lift, resulting in inability to maintain continued safe flight and landing," the FAA's AD says.

Other issues:

Paramilitary Panda: WWF Land Grabs Rooted in Covert Apartheid History - Michael Molitch-Hou, Reality Institute
The Global Climate Strikes: No, this was not co-optation. This was and is PR. A brief timeline - Cory Morningstar, Wrong Kind of Green

Whitney Webb
Glenn smears me (again) as a liar for suggesting that his boss-- CIA-linked billionaire Pierre Omidyar--influences the Intercept's reporting and influenced the closure of the Snowden archive. Greenwald's OWN words contradict this claim completely, see below ...

Russian and US visitors, targets for the Spanish firm that spied on Julian Assange - El Pais
The CIA had access to the server where the company stored the profiles of hundreds of people who visited the WikiLeaks founder during his stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London

We're in a permanent coup - Matt Taibbi
Adam Schiff has 2 aides who worked with whistleblower at White House - Washington Examiner

Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans collapse: What we know, don't know day after tragedy - Times Picayune
Drone video of the crushed building
The columns of the building look extremely flimsy to me. But the two German built cranes are still standing :-).

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on October 13, 2019 at 14:15 UTC | Permalink

next page »

I do not subscribe to NYT but last month they started sending a daily update email. (I guess to encourage a subscription and push the agenda much like Google News has become an aggregator for the MSM.) The one I received this morning had the Russia vs Syrian Hospital story. It is interesting but its sources are social media, witnesses, and "organizations that support hospitals in opposition-held Syria." Which organizations? The ones that take them over like HTS?

Posted by: Curtis | Oct 13 2019 14:33 utc | 1

@ Curtis

That NYT story is the first thing that popped up when I opened up their app on my phone this morning. Subtle. So subtle.

Posted by: Schmoe | Oct 13 2019 14:42 utc | 2

Richard Engel, of Mockingbird Media NBC, is reporting there are mass killings of Kurdish captives by Turkish backed Arab takfiris.

I don’t believe anything from the Neo-Colonial Western Media, so I thought I would inquire here. To see if such is occurring.

I am skeptical that this is more Liberal r2p mixed with denying Trump the opportunity to fulfill a campaign promise with 2020 coming up

Posted by: Anunnaki | Oct 13 2019 14:59 utc | 3

That they still run this Hospital bombing angle based on their Jihadi "Civil society" and White Helmets types is beyond me. It must be obvious to most people now that this fits the same category as Babys being thrown out of incubators in Kuwait.
@B: Props to linking Yasha Levine! Everyone NEEDS to read his book, the first real investigation on how the internet was build up from the start as disinfo and hybrid warfare tool.
And props to your reporting on Boeing; I see no other journalist with this level of personal expertise to report on it.
Greenwald: So sad to see such a talented journalists getting lost in a quagmire of journalistic prostitution. He is perfect for the deep state; He can perfectly play the anti-establishment journo for the masses, while smearing those who actually fit that part.
To the hard rock cafe: Yeah, it seems made in Germany is still worth something.. ;) Made in Amercia.. Not so much. Guess most here prefer to buy a rice bowl (like we call Japanese cars here) over any US car if their money is not enough for a German one.
That alone tells much about the state of American manufacturing not only in the US itself, but for their export business as well..

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Oct 13 2019 15:03 utc | 4

The Intelligence-humanitarian-terror complex has produced another attack peace on Russia for The New York Times. (archive)

How We Reported This Story

Our reporting began by collecting social media posts, interviewing witnesses and speaking with organizations that support hospitals in opposition-held Syria...

We obtained access to tens of thousands of flight observations kept by spotters who watch the skies and warn civilians of incoming airstrikes...

Most crucially, we also obtained thousands of Russian Air Force radio transmissions never before made public...

Finally, we reviewed the videos of three of the four bombings and consulted with military experts...

Combining all this information revealed that Russian pilots were flying at the time and place each hospital was bombed, that they released their weapons

Naturally this investigative journalism or "reporting" was not done by The New York Times but by Christiaan Triebert and Bellingcat. Bellingcat has stopped being open source long time ago. They have direct contacts with White Helmets other Western-sponsored humanitarian organizations in Syria. Both are fronts for Western intelligence services.

The article itself discusses the destruction of an underground bunker in Nabad al Hayat on May 5, 2019:

12 Hours. 4 Syrian Hospitals Bombed. One Culprit: Russia.

The first was Nabad al Hayat Surgical Hospital, a major underground trauma center in southern Idlib Province serving about 200,000 people...

Nabad al Hayat had been attacked three times since it opened in 2013 and had recently relocated to an underground complex on agricultural land, hoping to be protected from airstrikes.

Seconds later, local journalists filming the hospital in anticipation of an attack record three precision bombs penetrating the roof of the hospital and blowing it out from the inside in geysers of dirt and concrete.

The staff of Nabad al Hayat had evacuated three days earlier after receiving warnings and anticipating a bombing...

The complex was totally destroyed. A video of the event was previously discussed on Moon of Alabama. One bomb penetrates the roof or enters some ventilation shaft. A flash of bright light is seen coming out of the cave entrance before a pyroclastic flow of dust. The munitions used are not smart bombs but dumb iron bombs targeted by GLOSAS guided bombers.

What is missing from the argument is any proof that these rebel and al-Qaeda bunkers are actually hospitals. Every military complex has some kind of clinic or treatment room, but that does not make them hospitals.

The White Helmets claimed that the Khan Sheikhoun cave complex was a "hospital" and it was intentionally bombed by Russia while the chemical weapon victims were treated there. In reality the complex had one 50 m2 room that served as a clinic with four treatment tables. Russian film crews later studied the complex. The total floor space was said to be 10,000 m2.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Oct 13 2019 15:09 utc | 5

The Tabbi article is worth reading, I think. If one accepts his thesis within the frame as described by ejmagnier under the rubric "The Turkish Attack.." (this latter essay ends with "Once the US leaves Syria, its decline will be irreversible." ) - if we accept as a premise both authors' thesis's , then the writing is indeed on the wall describing the retreat and devolution of Imperial USA. On the way, presumably, to banana republic fascist dictatorship one way or another...

Andy Rooney on CBS spoke of that with the fake election of 2000...but it's not to be seen on YT, is it?

They may be right. I hope not.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 13 2019 15:10 utc | 6

The story of Boeing is a good analogy for what has happened to the U.S. as a whole.

Designing, building and certifying a modern passenger airplane is a highly complex task. Such a task requires a highly complex system. Highly complex systems require distributed authority, where decisions are made by those that are closest to the problems and have the information, knowledge and expertise necessary to make the right decisions. The job of the leaders is to oversee the evolution of these complex systems.

Leaders in such an organization must be collaborative in nature. Respect for the roles and authorities of others must be second nature to them. Authoritarian leaders, on the other hand, believe that their position gives them the right, and the knowledge, to make all decisions. People below them in the hierarchy are there only to execute orders. By nature authoritarians hate complex systems, because it limits their authority, and tranfers it to those, that, in their minds, are their inferiors.

When authoritarians take control of complex systems, they very quickly override the whole system of distributed authority, making decisions that belong to the roles and responsibilities of others. This means that major decisions are late and sub-optimal (or outright wrong), and minor decisions are not taken at all. The whole system begins to fail. This is clearly what happened at Boeing. The pages of MOA addressing Boeing are full of stories of senior management overriding the role and authority of not only Boeing employees, but of the FAA as well, and of a system unable to take the right decisions. It took approximately 20 years for the authoritarians who took over Boeing in the 1990s to destroy the company, as BM(39) rightly concludes.

The systems governing modern societies are equally as complex as the systems of Boeing. And likewise they require distributed authority to function properly. Democracy is a method of distributed authority for choosing leaders. In the U.S., authoritarians (in this case an oligarchy of wealthy elites) grabbed power in 1980, with installation of Ronald Reagan as their first puppet president. (The data on income disparity clearly point to 1980 as the starting point for the enormous transfer of wealth from the rest of society to the 0.1%, a clear sign of the transfer of power to this oligarchy). And as with Boeing, these authoritarians went quickly to work to destroy the complex systems of governance, from the systems governing financial and economic activities (it was called de-regulation) to education, health-care, and the system of democracy itself. The complex systems of governance have been replaced by a primitive system of authority based on money and brutality (fear and greed).

While it takes longer to destroy a society than a company (almost 50 years since Reagan was elected), the fate of the U.S. is no less certain than the fate of Boeing. Primitive systems yield primitive results, and the U.S. is well on its way to being a primitive society.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Oct 13 2019 15:10 utc | 7

To All: The article on the WWF is EXTREMLY important for anyone intrested in the cabal of CIA, Allen Dulles, Bilderberger, Kashoggi, Bin Laden, and many others! Amazing reporting backup up with evidence that is helpful well beyond the scope of investigating the WWF!

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Oct 13 2019 15:13 utc | 8

@7 dh-mtl Leaders in such an organization must be collaborative in nature. Respect for the roles and authorities of others must be second nature to them. Authoritarian leaders, on the other hand, believe that their position gives them the right, and the knowledge, to make all decisions. People below them in the hierarchy are there only to execute orders. By nature authoritarians hate complex systems, because it limits their authority, and tranfers it to those, that, in their minds, are their inferiors.

The belief that our leaders can "make their own reality" is somewhat true. After years of successfully building up a civilization based on mostly the rule of law with many benefiting from the creation of society it takes on a certain momentum of its own. At that point bad decisions don't effect the society in any obvious way. What it does is slow down the momentum as more and more people get screwed over there is no reason to help keep things moving along. Once people lose faith and momentum turns it is almost impossible to reverse that course. The decline of civilizations throughout history show this to be true. The "financialization" of the economy began with creation of the federal reserve bank in 1913. It achieved its final success in 1971 with Nixon ending the Bretton Woods agreement and turning over the fate of the US economy to Wall Street where it has resided ever since. Naturally our "betters" on Wall Street have consolidated power and wealth to themselves at everyone else's expense. It could be no other way. They may be correct after all. They may be superior to us. They very well may be our betters. They are much smarter and cunning then the rest of us. It is their drama playing out after all. They control our society and what people see on their TV sets. As much as I've tried to warn people I'm largely laughed at. All I can do is protect myself and my loved ones the best I can. Stay out of debt at all costs and use my passport as often as possible to have roots other places on this Earth. This isn't going to end well. Hopefully as their loss of power becomes obvious the sociopaths and psychopaths who rule us don't blow the Earth up.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Oct 13 2019 15:40 utc | 9

Whitney Webb's tweet:

Glenn smears me (again) as a liar for suggesting that his boss-- CIA-linked billionaire Pierre Omidyar--influences the Intercept's reporting....

Glenn Greenwald's tweet:

I really wish one day you could come to understand how often you use total delusions & lies as Truth, but it'll never happen. Omidyar had zero role in the decision about the Snowden archive. It had to do with staff layoffs only. Betsy Reed was the only decision-maker. You're sad.

Exactly where in his tweet does Greenwald suggest that Whitney Webb is "a liar for suggesting that his boss-- CIA-linked billionaire Pierre Omidyar--influences the Intercept's reporting".

As for shutting down the Snowden archive, does Whitney Webb provide any evidence for what she claims? Nah, the only evidence I've seen is pure conjecture so barring further revelations of hard evidence, I'll accept what Greenwald says as true, and Whitney Webb is smearing Glenn Greenwald as well as having a problem with basic logic.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 13 2019 15:46 utc | 10


How many "American" cars are actually made in America? Only asking cos several years back I rented a Buick SUV in Canada and the label said "Made in Mexico". What should really shame the various "American" car manufacturers is how many "foreign" cars in the United States are made in America. Honda, Nissan, Toyota, BMW and Mercedes come to mind. I'm sure there are others.
PS, I am aware how terrible the foreign manufacturers are for ignoring the traditional vehicle manufacturing areas of the United States such as Detroit to put off unionization.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 13 2019 15:58 utc | 11

yes it's wrong to speculate wildly that the person paying the bills and salaries at a news organization influences content

Posted by: paul | Oct 13 2019 16:24 utc | 12

@ dh-mtl and goldhoarder with the excellent summaries on American demise...thanks

If only more could understand your perspective.

The only additional piece I hope to add is that it not just the authoritarian leadership but the bean counters/accountants that drove the financialization wedge of demise. I worked in a number of companies that were continually goaded into cutting 5-10% across the board because profit and claims of need for increased efficiency.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 13 2019 16:41 utc | 13

Elijah Magnier is reporting on twitter that US has given Syria the nod it will not be bombed if it moves back into N Syria to protect the Kurds. SAA is preparing to roll and grab back as much as it can before the Turks come further south. Hopefully Erdogan will now stop if the Syrians are to be allowed back to their border. Momentous day for Syria and the collapse of empire.

Posted by: Phil Espin | Oct 13 2019 16:49 utc | 14

Hard rock hotel is going to be difficult to dismantle. The 2 cranes are prolly connected to the concrete structure. My guess is that either structural members were underdimensioned, or temporary supports were removed to early

Posted by: diDre | Oct 13 2019 16:50 utc | 15


What Trump campaign promise? He hasn't withdrawn US troops from Syria.

Also of course, there's the US+Trump's part in the retaking of Raquaa.

No what he has done, predictably, is withdraw US support for the Kurds, who were the Pentagon part of the US rebels fighting the Syrian government; the CIA backed the various Sunni extremists--and still does a bit.

Posted by: Jay | Oct 13 2019 16:53 utc | 16

The New York Times is to Russia what Der Stürmer was to the Jews or RTLM was to the Tutsis. It is on that level of distortions and lies. Somehow the “sophisticated” U.S. coastal intelligentsia is completely unable to see the obvious hate-mongering campaign.

Posted by: S | Oct 13 2019 17:04 utc | 17

thanks for the week b...

regarding the matt taibbi article - i think it is well thought out and i agree with it..

@ 6 walter... i was talking about this at the end of the previous thread on syria.. i really do think the usa is screwed, but maybe i am wrong... this whole - trump verses deep state circus is more of a sign of how the usa is presently falling off a cliff and very unlikely to return to a normal functioning democracy (not that it has been for a long time anyway) any time soon.. that is what it looks like to me.. it appears @ 7 dh-mtl and @ 9 goldhoarder approach it from a different angle, but same basic conclusion...

@12 paul... good one, lol..

Posted by: james | Oct 13 2019 17:16 utc | 18

El Pais is towards the Dark Side

The Mueller investigation eventually proved the interference from Moscow,...

Did it? I seem to recall a total lack of hard evidence. The NSA should have been able to come up with something incriminating'

BTW, with the enhanced surveillance of American and Russian visitors, you'd expect Paul Manafort to be on the list of American visitors if Luke Harding's claims were correct, but there appears to be nothing. So Luke "plagiarist" Harding*** is either an idiot in the traditional sense or a liar.

*** - apparently someone from the Guardian was spotted trying to delete the charge of him plagiarizing Mark Ames' work a while back.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 13 2019 17:20 utc | 19

In other news, Eva Bartlett meets the Monsters of Russian Propaganda: Views of Sputnik Representatives on West's Smearing & Censoring of Russian Media (YouTube, 18:22). Don't miss your chance to see these Beastly Creatures, their fangs dripping with Novichok!

Posted by: S | Oct 13 2019 17:31 utc | 20

dh-mtl, gold hoarder,

Another point which needs to be added is the extent to which public/government debt is used to back private wealth.
The deficit really started with Roosevelt and the New Deal, so not only was he putting unemployed labor back to work, but unemployed capital, as well.
The resolution of the stagflation of the 70's had far more to do with Reaganomics borrowing up the surplus money in the system and spending it on the military industrial work programs, than Volcker's higher interest rates.
The fact is that money functions as a contract between the individual and community. So one side is an asset and the other is a debt and in order to create the asset, similar amounts of debt have to be generated. The effect is positive feedback drawing the asset to the center and negative feedback pushing the debt to the edges of the community. Like the heart drawing blood from the hands and feet. The Ancients resolved the resulting social dislocations with debt jubilees, but our powers that be don't have that long term vision. So all value is siphoned out, rather than circulated where it is most effective.
Eventually we will need to understand that nature is not linear and goal oriented, but cyclical and reciprocal.

Posted by: John Merryman | Oct 13 2019 17:43 utc | 21

US Empire-sponsored brutality against Latin America, while always bad, has been ratcheting up even more lately. Most recently, it has been in Ecuador, which is barely being mentioned in the MSM.

This has made me wonder if the US elites realize that The Great Game over the Eurasian continent has been lost, and they are working to secure South and Central America, the portion of Oceania that is slightly more likely to resist assimilation than The Five Eyes and Mexico.

Just a thought, still rather inchoate and I haven't really worked through the arguments or evidence.

Posted by: Prairie Bear | Oct 13 2019 17:51 utc | 22


The Syrian Leadership was informed that #US forces won't bomb its troops when taking position in the US occupied north-east #Syria.
Quite astounding really. The US has surrendered its entire position, and the Syrians will be able to retake the lot, once a deal has been made with Erdogan.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 13 2019 18:02 utc | 23

PB at #22
a lot is going on in Ecuador, for sure

There are some very disturbing clips/videos out there of military snipers of a rooftop shooting at unarmed protestors. I saw one man go down,just like, after being hit in the head. shocking

Also, coming as no surprise:
"The United States supports President Moreno... We are aware and monitoring claims of external actor involvement in these demonstrations."

lmao. it's them russians them russians and them chinamen. always stirring up trouble!
Camila @camilateleSUR 17h17 hours ago
Today, @teleSURtv, one of the only TV channels in Ecuador covering the protests on the ground, was taken off air. We're also subject to the 3pm curfew and can't leave the building to cover what's going on under this #StateOfException.

china hand has had some good tweets and links that he's shared over the past few days; and there are remarks of his contrasting the coverage of Ecuador with that of Hong Kong, the current darling of the mainstream media in the US and UK, where violent protestors can do no wrong and are only fighting for their 'freedom. See:

Josh Jackson @JoshuaYJackson Oct 11
There is a genuinely revolutionary situation taking place in Ecuador as we speak and hardly a word is being spoken of it in the Western press. A whole class of people has sent a neoliberal President fleeing and are on the streets challenging the whole economic order—We can learn!

Denis Rogatyuk
The Ecuadorian military clash with the police in the city of Guayaquil. The army defends the protesters against the government repression. A conflict between its two most important instruments of enforcement is the most obvious sign of a neoliberal state on the brink of collapse

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 13 2019 18:15 utc | 24

@ Posted by: dh-mtl | Oct 13 2019 15:10 utc | 7

> While it takes longer to destroy a society than a company
> (almost 50 years since Reagan was elected), the fate of the
> U.S. is no less certain than the fate of Boeing.

As someone born that year, it was nearly 40 years ago, not 50, thank you very much... ;)

Posted by: AshenLight | Oct 13 2019 18:21 utc | 25

Now the reason for the NYT hit piece condemning Russia becomes clear. Furious gnashing of teeth is occurring in Washington as their regime change gambit in Syria collapses and Russia will be seen internationally as the great power that saved Syria from Libya's fate. They still hope to tar Russia's involvement by appealing to fake Geneva treaty violations with the thought they will proceed in the Hague to try and punish Russia for its success.

I heard a story yesterday about a western 'reporter' who was killed in Syria and whose family has sued the Syrian government and been awarded 300 million USD in damages. Victory for "holding war criminals accountable". No doubt she was embedded with the terrorists in a war zone.

No talk in the media about how the US targeted non-embedded journalists in Iraq, shelling the hotel in Baghdad that housed media with tank fire and killing journalists at checkpoints. No talk about use of white phosphorus in Fallujah, the slaughter of civillians in Mosel, or Raqqa, (or Yemen) with US bombs, or state sponsorship of terror in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Venezuela,..., no mention of the destruction of Libya... only media silence, or misdirection, or lies.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 13 2019 18:33 utc | 26

Hard Rock Hotel...
Just my guess, but 90%+ of pre-completion construction collapse events are the result of failure to properly supervise compliance with a recommended procedure or sequence.
When part of Melbourne's West Gate Bridge collapsed in 1970 the cause was deemed to be poorly supervised workers following a recommended procedure for correcting a minor deviation in the level of the traffic deck. They were loosening bolts connecting steel box-sections but no-one was monitoring the minute-by-minute effect and no-one told them to stop.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 13 2019 18:39 utc | 27

Cizire News (a pro-YPG agency) is reporting that the Russians have declared a No Fly Zone over Manbij and Kobani. They have also published a map showing SAA control in the next 48 hours of a wide corridor up to Kobani and the SAA-controlled zone in Qaimiscli has grown in size back to what it was before the US pushed the SDF to reduce it. Have all the 10,000 takfiris entered Syria yet? If they have then this is the time to close the border.
Good to see the Kurds understand who has their best interests at heart. This is looking increasingly like there was some pre-planning between the relevant parties - Syria, Russia, Turkey and the United States

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 13 2019 18:39 utc | 28

Sorry for no links, but if confirmed:


SANA reports an official declaration by the Syrian Mod:

"Units of the SAA are about to take under its protection the towns of Manbidj, Kobane, Ras-al-Ayn, Tel abyad and others in the provinces of Raqqa and El-Hasaka.

Unit movement has started."

Tigers moving North to Kobane.

Russian Airforce on highest alert 1 and providing aircover.

Russian peacekeepers and heavy SAA units moving into Manbidj! The US has pulled out from the city.

If true, this will be the geopolitical masterstroke of the century.

Let's hope it goes smoothly and without fire fights.

Maybe the Kurds are not so stupid after all.


Posted by: BG | Oct 13 2019 18:44 utc | 29

@goldhoarder #9:

All I can do is protect myself and my loved ones the best I can. Stay out of debt at all costs and use my passport as often as possible to have roots other places on this Earth.

If you’re looking for a “backup” country, Russia is a good choice. It has the best ballistic missile defense in the world, free healthcare, free higher education for your children, low taxes, and cheap land.

Russia is the third-largest gold producer and stores 18.2% (and growing) of its FX reserves in gold. Individuals have to pay 20% value-added tax when selling precious metal bars and commemorative coins, but there are special “investment coins” that are exempt from this tax.

American professor Hal Freeman has moved to Russia to live in a small town south of St. Petersburg. Here’s a short interview with him: Hal Freeman - What is it Like Living as an American in Russia? (YouTube, 8:16). He also has a blog Between Two Worlds, which, in my opinion, deserves many more views than it is currently getting.

Posted by: S | Oct 13 2019 18:47 utc | 30

My writing on the rapid developments in Syria will have to wait until tomorrow. Just one thought for now. Putin is a genius. He arranged this situation in an extremely complex environment and it seemingly all worked out.

Posted by: b | Oct 13 2019 18:54 utc | 31

Reuters headlines:

U.S. to pull last troops from north Syria as Turkey presses offensive against Kurds

Kurdish-led SDF held talks at Russian airbase


Twitter reports that SAA units on the way to Tabqa dam.

Some sources say that US to pull all its troops in a few days, only At-Tanf to be evacuated in 30 days.

Let's hope the fog of war disperses soon enough and we have great confirmed news in the morning.


Posted by: BG | Oct 13 2019 19:01 utc | 32

In the words of james - Thanks for the week, b!

I was going to complain about the utter lack of activity on the Syrian side, activity to seize the opportunity to advance while Turkey is apparently preoccupied. I'm glad I didn't, it would have been premature and unjustified.

Seems like the SAA is moving in on the Manbij side of the Euphrates and seems like it's also preparing to move towards the Tabqa dam. Godspeed!

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Oct 13 2019 19:03 utc | 33

syrian army has entered Manbji, a stroke of great fortune for the syrian state and an indication of an agreement with the Kurds et. al.

I second bernhard: Putin, Shoygu (MoD), and Lavrov are brilliant and have defeated all US, saudi, qatari, UK, Turkish and French forces and subterfuge in Syria, as well as al qaeda and the Islamic state.

very exciting and swift changes since only yesterday
First video showing Syiran Army column entering Manbij after agreement with Kurdish forces.

Aldin @aldin_ww
2h2 hours ago
Syrian military General Command in televised statement said that Syiran Armed Forces started moving North in order to "confront Turkish aggression".

Within Syria @WithinSyriaBlog
All Syrian airbases are on high alert now.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 13 2019 19:10 utc | 34

I should think a Syrian re-occupation could provide the basis for Erdogan agreeing to stop. Erdogan's main aim is to prevent Rojavans supporting the Kurds in Turkey. A Rojava reintegrated in Syria, with more or less limited autonomy, serves Erdogan's needs.

The event recalls the retaking of Kirkuk by Baghdad, which also must have been done by advance agreement. It has succeeded, in the sense that KRG is now stable for the long-term future, even if some of the greater hopes were not realised. It may also have led, though I haven't checked, to a restoration of the 17% of Iraqi oil revenues being sent to Erbil.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 13 2019 19:15 utc | 35

Elijah J. Magnier in twitter:

It only needed the announcement of the #US withdrawal to put the end of the war in #Syria on a fast track in no time.#Kurds agreed on all requested points by #Damascus and #Russia is the guarantor.#Kurds have become part of the #Syria/n security allied forces.


Posted by: BG | Oct 13 2019 19:19 utc | 36

Elijah J. Magnier

The advance of the Syrian Army doesn't mean a clash with the Turkish forces. #Russia is reaching a comprehensive agreement with #Turkey and #Damascus to halt the military operation as soon as possible.

That is very true. A deal is being reached, or has already been reached.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 13 2019 19:29 utc | 37

The complaints of the warmongers (ISW) which they keep sending to me. A bit out of date, though from today.

Forecast: The Consequences of the U.S. Withdrawal from Syria

The United States made a deliberate choice to depart from Syria. America will pay a heavy price for this unforced error.
The United States has lost its defeat mechanism against the Islamic State. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were not the original counter-terrorism partner of choice. It took years for the U.S. to realize that the SDF were the only capable partners. They will not partner with us again. This betrayal has burned that bridge to ashes. It also serves as a warning for any future counterterrorism partner to contemplate – the U.S. will not have your back in the end.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 13 2019 19:37 utc | 38

Trump's "wilful decision"?

An ISIS resurgence arranged by Trump and Erdogan will almost certainly mean that USA presence in the middle east continues and grows - even as the Jihadi mercenaries do most of the fighting.

Although Trump has bashed Obama as "founder" of ISIS, it appears that he has now made the same wilful decision that Obama did: to use Jihadi proxies against enemies of USA Israel and Saudi Arabia.

This is likely the reason that we see such blatent media spin:

>> Pro-Trump media spins a pull back as a pull out - a misconception that the Trump Administration has deliberately fostered and allowed to prevail. They play on the word "withdraw".

>> Anti-Trump media focuses on the "betrayal" of the Kurds and reports of civilian casualties.

Each of these misdirects by conveniently ignoring the nonsensical actions and belligerent tone of faux populist Trump and his Administration. Why do they not ask:

Why is the Trump Administration allowing the media to interpret a "pull back" as a "pull out"?
Despite Trump's promises and good intentions, he hasn't pulled troops out of any country in the nearly 3 years that he's been in office. Yet the media acts like his intentions are more important than the "facts on the ground".

Why did Trump pull back precipitously from the border knowing that there's a significant chance that 10-12,000 ISIS prisoners would escape?
Trump had months to arrange for better security at the prisons.

The boastful canard that he had destroyed ISIS in Syria was one of his chief foreign policy achievements. And one of the principal reasons that he had stayed in Syria was to prevent a resurgence of ISIS (the other principal reason was to protect Israel).

Why are pro- and anti-Trump media not reporting on the additional troop commitments that have increased military presence in the region as a whole?
SecDef Esper says that there are 14,000 additional troops in the region since May and 3,000 more are being sent to Saudi Arabia.

Why does media decry the Kurdish plight while ignoring the larger humanitarian disaster caused by USA+allies proxy war that is many times greater - and ongoing.
USA sanctions and refusal to allow reconstruction aid continues the misery.

Turkey and USA have telegraphed the "news" that Turkey's attack on northeastern Syria will release the ISIS prisoners. It will accomplish little else as US was already restricting arms provided to the Kurds! And Kurdish antipathy toward the Turks will only increase.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13 2019 19:39 utc | 39

Laguerre @38: ISW, yes that one was hilarious. Reminded me of my mother's lectures.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2019 19:43 utc | 40

Report just provided by Canthama at SyrPers a few minutes ago:

"The SAA has taken full control of Qamishili and Hasaka cities already, it is happening too fast, the SAA was ready for this for the past 2-3 days.

"All Manbij pocket border with the turkish terrorists are maned by the SAA already, and SAA is near Ayn al Arab as I write this.

"Tabqa airbase and Tabqa dam/city is also under the SAA.

"Thousands of SAA are now moving thru once SDF held territory, the race is on to the border with Turkey and to protect all oil and gas fields, troops are crossing rivers and moving from Hasaka and Qamishili bases toward the border or oil/gas fields."

The action and results speak for themselves and require no additional comment.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2019 20:00 utc | 41

And Canthama's provided another 12+ reports within the past hour that can be read on the thread here.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2019 20:05 utc | 42

Thanks b for a link to Taipei and the slow motion coup.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2019 20:05 utc | 43

Taibbi!! @43 not whatever.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 13 2019 20:07 utc | 44

So now all we need is for the Kurds and Damascus to cement their new alliance in battle:

Kurds and Syrian government forces to fight side-by-side against Turkey

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2019 20:10 utc | 45

"President Putin Interview with Al Arabiya, Sky News Arabia and RT Arabic":

"In advance of his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Vladimir Putin answered questions from Al Arabiya senior presenter Mohammed Tomaihi, Sky News Arabia senior presenter Mohannad Khatib and RT Arabic Public and Political Programmes Department Head Salam Musafir."

Putin: "There is one more thing that I believe is important to note. In Soviet times, relations between Saudi Arabia and the Soviet Union were at a rather low level. In recent years, the quality of our relations has changed dramatically. We consider Saudi Arabia a friendly nation.

"I have very good relations with both the King and the Crown Prince. We have been making good headway practically in all fields."

In light of the diplomatic coup being accomplished in Syria, IMO it's highly possible that both UAE and Saudi will sign on to Iran's HOPE, and a new dawn will rise over the Persian Gulf region.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2019 20:16 utc | 46

The big unknown IMO is will Damascus and the SDF reach some kind of agreement. The SDF is not in a strong bargaining position and may even cease to exist in its present form. Also it's quite possible that ordinary Kurds have had enough of the YPG.

Posted by: dh | Oct 13 2019 20:17 utc | 47

Bemildred @45--

Canthama's updates contain info stating it's Russia's intent to prevent combat occurring between Syrian and Turkish forces, and IMO there's an excellent chance that is what will actually occur.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2019 20:18 utc | 48

karlof1 @48: Yes, I've been following all that, I was being a bit facetious, but I agree with b, Putin is a genius, and we need a happy ending for this movie.

The Kurds, as you and others have pointed out, have maintained relations with Damascus continuously throughout the war. Damascus has continued to provide services to areas under Kurdish control, when allowed. They were granted self-administration by Assad in the first place, a responsible move on his part. It is not a big surprise that they would work out a deal when the time came.

I don't know if they will fight, but a little bit would not surprise me, and more than that would. I mean the Turks can't just retreat now can they?

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2019 20:30 utc | 49

@49 "I mean the Turks can't just retreat now can they?"

No but they can withdraw. Withdrawal is all the rage these days. They need to give it a bit of time to make sure there's no further threat from the YPG.

Posted by: dh | Oct 13 2019 20:34 utc | 50

dh @50: Yep, that's what I expect. It should be an interesting week.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2019 20:36 utc | 51

I know that news about Syria is top on folks minds but there are other factors at play in our geo-political world

Below is a ZH link about a Fed secret tele conference on October 4 where they agreed more to bail out the banks BEFORE the coming crash

Fed Held Secret Videoconference On October 4 To Plan Launch Of QE 4

the take away quote
The FOMC met by videoconference on Friday, October 4 to discuss issues related to the recent pressures in money markets and monetary policy implementation. There was broad agreement following that discussion on appropriate technical operations to address these issues. Specific plans were developed for review by the Committee this week. As noted in the announcement, the final plans for these technical operations were approved by notation vote that was completed today.

The private banks and the Fed have enough "money" to make Mr. Market look like things are still peachy but how long will they do that?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 13 2019 20:42 utc | 52

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 13 2019 16:41 utc | 13 'If only more could understand your perspective.'

OK. I will try to keep it short.

1. Human systems, for example, human societies, companies, etc. can be thought of as 'Complex Auto-creative Systems', analogous to biological life.

2. 'Complex Auto-creative Systems' (CAS) are not stable systems. Rather they are 'meta-stable', i.e. Inherently unstable, but whose instability is constrained, i.e. 'constrained-instability'.

3. The constraints in biological systems lies in their genetic code. In human systems the constraints are the system's rules (i.e. laws, practices, procedures, etc.), and the knowledge that is embedded in these.

4. Biological systems, like human systems, live in a chaotic environment, that is constantly changing. Those systems that adapt, survive; those that don't, die. The unstable nature of a CAS is what enables it to adapt.

5. Some of the characteristics 'Complex Auto-creative Systems' are:

1. Performance increases with increasing complexity. To see this you can look at nature, where the most complex creatures are the highest performing (i.e. Human beings themselves), or look at human systems, such as 'quality systems', the air transport system, or even societies, where modern complex societies are much higher performing, in terms of life expectancy and the ability to meet human needs, than are primitive societies.

2. Authority must be distributed for the system to be effective. People must be empowered, have the knowledge and tools, to act, within their roles and responsibilities, to modify the system in order to adjust to the ever-changing requirements, engendered by a chaotic and unpredictable environment.

3. The role of leadership is not to make daily operating decisions, but rather to ensure that those on the front-line have the knowledge, tools and authority to act and to provide the strategic direction and organizational cohesiveness (communications, values, etc.) to ensure that the decisions that are taken are coherent with the overall needs and objectives of the system.

4. To enable distributed authority, the benefits derived by the system must also be equitably distributed.

6. People who are authoritarian, who like to accumulate power rather than share power, are like a cancer to 'Complex Auto-Creative Systems'. They are uncomfortable with distributed authority because it goes against their nature. They are uncomfortable with complexity, because complexity requires a diversity of knowledge and skills, and thus distributed authority, They are against an equitable distribution of benefits, because wealth is power, not to be shared.

When authoritarians achieve leadership positions in 'Complex Auto-creative Systems' their actions quickly destroy the system, like a cancer. They 'simplify' the system by removing the constraints that hold the system together (de-regulation) and, as a result, also destroy the system performance. They centralize decision making, with the result that big decisions are always late, and lack the knowledge and expertise required. Small decisions are made in a vacuum. Such systems tend to a state that resembles a combination of anarchy and paralysis at the same time, and are incapable of dealing with the ever-changing, chaotic environment in which they exist.

This what has happened to both Boeing and the political system as a whole in the U.S. Leadership has been captured by authoritarians, who have, through their greed and misguided leadership, destroyed their systems.

Authoritarians are capable of leading only primitive systems, incapable of adapting to a changing environment. Primitive systems are capable of only primitive performance. For Boeing, it likely means its ultimate demise. For the U.S. it means regression to a primitive society. A regression that is already well under way.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Oct 13 2019 20:59 utc | 53

No evidence of Russian-mediated take-over of SDF territory

In fact, the opposite:

Turkey Warns Of War As Syrian Army Heads To Turkish Border

Erdogan aide Yasin Aktay has said "conflict between the two armies" is likely if pro-Assad forces enter the northeast region which has now been abandoned by US troops.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13 2019 21:00 utc | 54

the developments in Syria are the best news of the whole year....

Canthama #302963

Manbij pocket is fully protected by SAA already, bordering the Sajur river, all the way to the Euphrates.

Many air lifts are happening tonight, the SAA is being taken from many helicopters (SAAF and RuAF) to all critical parts…even to Ayn al Arab (Kobani) and all oil/gas fields.

The race is to occupy the vacuum by the foreigners that are leaving Syrian on the double, there is a mass exodus of French, British and US illegal soldiers, there is no NFZ in any place at the moment, the skies of Syria is busy as hell with helis and planes.

Posted by: michaelj72 | Oct 13 2019 21:11 utc | 55

The quickness of Turkey's incursion and SAA response leads me to suspect that the Kurd reconciliation with Damascus was already well advanced (we know they've had discussions several times in the past). In fact, the hurried US-Turk operation may have been precipitated by progress in these talks (a Syria-Kurd agreement was reached or close to being reached).

If this is true, then:

1) the Kurds are not as dumb and pliable as some have claimed;

2) USA didn't abandon their ally, their ally was about to abandon USA.

3) USA propaganda once again covers for failure and an ongoing militaristic mindset;

4) Erdogan plays both sides - some might say he has protected his ability to play both sides but IMO this shows a greater preference for USA than Russia (what will be Putin's response?);

5) An SAA takeover of northeast Syria is not imminent: Turks are simply replacing Kurds in the SDF coalition and are augmented by Syrian National Army (the new 'moderate rebels') and ISIS.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13 2019 21:19 utc | 56

Told ya'.. ;-)

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 13 2019 21:19 utc | 57

In the interview I linked above, Putin said a number of important things and made important points. Several years ago, I observed that Russian diplomacy operated around the concept of sovereign nations working to enhance their national interests, which is why it places paramount importance on the UN Charter and the international law it defines, which is behavior diametrically opposed to that practiced by the Outlaw US Empire in longstanding manner. I highlight all that because of what Putin says in reply as follows:

"Salam Musafir: Before we came here, we did a poll on RT Arabic’s website. We asked a simple question: “If you had a chance to meet the Russian President, what would you ask him?” It generated a lot of interest, and we picked the most popular questions. I will not list all of them, but one of the biggest concerns among our Arab audience is the future of Russian-Arab ties when you will no longer be the President of Russia. What will be the stance of your successor on the issue?

"Vladimir Putin: It is not about the name of the Russian president, it is about our national interests. It is in the interests of the Russian and other nations of the Russian Federation to nurture relations with the Arab world. It has always appealed to Russia with its enigma, culture, opportunities and potential. I have no doubt that Russia is set to boost the pace of its interaction with the Arab world in the years to come."

That's the sort of answer one gets from a mature, wise, statesman, not a politico salesman of the sort produced by the Outlaw US Empire.

And with regard to what Russia's able to accomplish diplomatically, it's a team effort, not just Putin's "genius." As with superstar sportspeople--with just a few exceptions--they must have the team to support them to win and dominate, and so it is with politics and diplomacy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2019 21:20 utc | 58

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13 2019 21:19 utc | 56

I remember that there were reports quite a while ago that YPG were told to come to an agreement with the Syrian government by the US.

From January 2019!

Since last month’s announcement that the US will imminently withdraw its troops from Syria, President Trump has backtracked. The White House has declared that the withdrawal may yet take a number of months, amid a series of other contradictory remarks from senior American officials over whether the US plans to withdraw its troops entirely or to maintain some presence in eastern Syria. On Sunday Trump generated further confusion by declaring plans for a “safe zone” in Syria across the border with Turkey (without explaining who would enforce this zone, and where it would be located), even declaring that the US would “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacked Syria’s Kurds.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 13 2019 21:32 utc | 59

Laguerre | Oct 13 2019 19:37 utc | 38

The United States has ceded the moral high ground. Turkish planes are bombing hospitals, refugee camps, and villages using airspace the U.S. controlled just days ago. Turkish-backed forces are executing politicians and civil activists that the U.S. encouraged. Civilians are not just caught up in the Turkish offensive, they are the targets. The U.S. is not confronting the challenges posed by those who seek to destabilize the world; the U.S. has chosen to sit on the sidelines.

In this extract from your reference I was particularly tickled by the bit I have boldened!

Posted by: foolisholdman | Oct 13 2019 21:51 utc | 60

@b #31:

Putin is a genius. He arranged this situation in an extremely complex environment and it seemingly all worked out.

Putin is a genius, but he is not the sole author of the strategy. Putin’s genius is in hiring smart people and following their advice, which requires a lot of humility and self-discipline. The good cop–bad cop strategy we are observing right now was likely invented by these guys (vid, skip to 4:03:30): center: Vitaly Naumkin, Academician, Scientific Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IOS RAS), left: Vasily Kuznetsov, Head of the Center of Arabic and Islamic Studies of IOS RAS. You may remember Academician Naumkin as the moderator of the plenary session (vid) of the Valdai International Discussion Club held on October 3.

What will Erdogan get for playing his part in the kayfabe? At the very least, Russia must have guaranteed that after the dust will have settled Syria won’t take revenge on Turkey by aiding the Kurdish separatists (officially this is presented as respecting the Adana agreement). Russia will also increase trade with Turkey and support an EAEU–Turkey free-trade agreement (which will necessitate changes to the EU–Turkey Customs Union).

Posted by: S | Oct 13 2019 21:54 utc | 61

Psychohistorian @ 52

""The private banks and the Fed have enough "money" to make Mr. Market look like things are still peachy but how long will they do that?""

They've already done it longer than I would have thought possible.  

In 2008 people were broadsided by the bailouts and went along with them.  Now after seeing how it turned out, enriching the few, I don't think people will be so accommodating.

I think also the new geopolitical system has to be taken into account with the US losing it's dominant role.  It's harder to see the world falling apart if the dollar loses it's dominance.  In fact maybe just the opposite.

For a forced restructuring of the monetary system to work in anything but a completely chaotic way, the Fed is going to have to do a 180.

The Fed is going to have to concentrate on a bailout of mainstreet.  The USDs at the Feds disposal need to be pumped into providing jobs, health care security and education.  Let this be the new foundation and let the stock market go.

Posted by: financial matters | Oct 13 2019 22:00 utc | 62

The Taibbi piece is worth the read yes. Circe, you should read it 8 times. Tell your friends.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Oct 13 2019 22:11 utc | 63

Earlier in the week I linked to Zarif's twin op/eds--one version in Arabic, the other in English--and now with Putin's interview to add to it, a close comparison of the prose employed is worth the time to compile. For those like me who can no longer access the English version at FT, here's another English version. As might be imagined, they are talking from the same book. By Wednesday, the talk will be about making arrangements to begin the HOPE process. By the time the week is out, Trump will have made another announcement regarding the withdrawal of additional forces from the region that will again be condemned as weakening National Security instead of enhancing same. And Putin will again be accused of meddling in US politics, but no attempt will be made to explain how.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2019 22:16 utc | 64

karlof1 58
Yeah, Putin’s philosophy is near unbreakable - it truly is Russia First (MRGA), though not at the expense of anyone unnecessarily. You can see it in his performances for the media, every time, without fail. No matter the question, he always seems to reduce it to its essence in quick time, and build on that what he wishes to. You can’t do that in quick time - every time - if your personal philosophies are not rock solid. You can’t see the essence of a position so quickly, every time. a nod to complex systems up thread, things are made a lot easier when you have out and out champions in Lavrov, Zakharova and Shoigu at hand.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Oct 13 2019 22:25 utc | 65

somebody @59: From January 2019!

When that article was written Trump had back-tracked but the policy was in flux. There was subsequently a review of the policy and Trump ultimately announced that USA troops would be reduced but would remain to guard against an ISIS resurgence and to protect Israel from Iranian mischief.

What we have seen in the last week or so is a hasty agreement with Turkey to take control of a sizeable territory in NE Syria, and we are now informed that USA will pull back further from the border because Turkey intends to move further south.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13 2019 22:27 utc | 66

I agree but I also suspect Trump played a key part in this. He started the ball rolling by withdrawing troops in north east Syria and the rest is pure theatre. For Russia and Syria to respond this quickly, they had to know what Trump was up to. Whether Erdogan was in on it is debatable but I tend to thinking he was so he could send all those Takfiris over the border so the Syrians and Russians can dispose of them. Will we ever really know what happened? I doubt, the Russians, Syrian, Turkish and Iranians can probably be relied to keep their mouths shut. Trump is a known liar so why would anybody believe him?
I also wonder if the ISIS prisoners were liberated so they could die in some glorious last stand alongside the takfiris or perhaps Putin has negotiated with the Saudis that they all get a one-way trip to Mecca.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 13 2019 22:39 utc | 67

@financial matters 62
Re: Main st windfall.
QE8 or QE9 will have to be for the people. Damn right it’ll have to do a complete 180’ if the Centurion wants to stay relevant. It can start with a debt jubilee, which it should have used in 2008/09. Every person gets a sun appearing in their bank, those with debt must pay it down, those without get a cash injection. Free the slaves, free the market.

Pumping up the fake economy does nothing when in the end it’s a group of ppl from the real economy that will appear on your doorstep with a gun.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Oct 13 2019 22:43 utc | 68

S @61: What will Erdogan get for playing his part in the kayfabe?

I guess what your implying is that Putin has arranged a face-saving exit for USA whereby Erdogan demands that Trump allow an incursion into NE Syria so that Kurds/SDF can then align with Damascus and USA must leave?

That's possible. But it's also possible that the kayfabe is between Trump and Erdogan in anticipation of a Kurdish reconciliation with Syria.

The later seems more realistic if we the Turks clash with SAA and/or extend their occupation further south. We have indications of both of these.

It may be days before we really know what's happening.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13 2019 22:47 utc | 69

@ financial maters who wrote
The Fed is going to have to concentrate on a bailout of mainstreet. The USDs at the Feds disposal need to be pumped into providing jobs, health care security and education. Let this be the new foundation and let the stock market go.

I agree that what you wrote is what should happen but I have a hard time seeing it occurring. If the market tanks at this time, the losers will be all the pension funds and municipalities along with the "rich" boomers. The elite have had since 2008 to take their money out and buy "property" and such that will hold value in a crash. Until and unless the elite are "nationalized" and all that "wealth" stolen from the "Commons" is returned to "the Fed" (A new Sovereign entity by and for the masses) I don't see how what you and I think should happen can occur.

@ dh-mtl with the follow up....yes, of course I agree and have been watching/living in this crazy Western world for 71+ years now. I now have a copy of Ellen Brown's new book, Banking on the People and after reading it hope to go to the Oregon land grant college (OSU) and work with whoever to get Oregon moving towards instantiating a public banking alternative to what we have now. Believing that the Fed is going to do a 180 tomorrow is not part of my delusions.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 13 2019 22:48 utc | 70

Ghost Ship @67--

Backstage happenings over the last 90 days would make an excellent book, a thriller to be sure. That the lid on the overall development was kept sealed tightly until the moment for its opening is one of the more remarkable aspects of these events. The ultimate devils standing out from it all are now even easier to discern--D&R-Party Neocons and their Neoliberal Globalist allies, some of whom wouldn't have been expected like AOC and Omar. If as now seems likely, regional peace negotiations begin based on Iran's HOPE, we'll see even more screeching since the process wasn't initiated by the Exceptionals and thus it surely can't result in anything good--a talking point already emerging at MoA. It'll be very interesting to see what spin BigLie Media will apply tomorrow.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2019 23:02 utc | 71

Jack Rabbit, others:

I could be wrong, but I do not believe Erdogan is going to do anything to piss off Putin, and they are both talking nice too.

It goes like this:

Erdogan gets to defeat Rojava and secure his border there, he also gets an excuse to abandon his takfiri buddies in Idlib, and to get out of his mess in Syria, and have "normal relations" again, which will help his economy (and Syria's too). Also good for Jordan.

Assad gets his country back ('nuf said).

Iran cements the Shi'ia Crescent anchor in Syria.

Trump finally gets out of Syria, gets a big election boost from that, and smacks his enemies around.

Everybody else gets the US military out of the way, and the US military gets out of an untenable and deteriorating situation. It is good to know that some of them are still smart enough to know that. The US presence there was always predicated on the idea that the Turks would not attack, not on having an adequate defense, which was not possible. That was just "disproven". Kind of Judo-like really.

The refugees, those that want, get to go home.

Putin polishes his fame.

Of course this is all speculation, and if the Turks engage in any serious arguments with the SAA all bets are off, I'll bet the SAA would love to. JR is right about that.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2019 23:15 utc | 72

psychohistorian @ 70

"If the market tanks at this time, the losers will be all the pension funds"

I also think providing retirement security is important. I would suggest that the government can do that better than corporations.

Consider the number of corporations that raided their companies pension funds. Or just the fact that pension funds are subject to market fluctuations.

Pension funds should enjoy the same security that our financial system currently does.

Posted by: financial matters | Oct 13 2019 23:23 utc | 73

Perhaps Trump's decision to withdraw was communicated to several parties a while back. It puzzled me that after liberating Khan Sheikhoun, the SAA and RuAF stopped despite the considerable momentum they'd achieved in southern Idlib. What is happening now might explain it. Putin and Assad would want their spearhead forces rested, re-equipped and fully prepared for what lies ahead. Also I've seen reports of increased Russian military traffic through the Bosphorus recently and in the last few days there were reports that certain construction work was complete at Khmeimim making it more secure. Finally, the reports of Turkish attacks on US forces could be an effort to persuade the US to fuck off and let the big boys play.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 13 2019 23:25 utc | 74

New narrative:

Behind the scenes of the Trump bluff that kicked off Turkey's invasion

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2019 23:29 utc | 75

Bemildred @72--

Erdogan reads from his script:

"We are not greedy of Syrian lands, we stand against those who want to dissociate Syria."

And in his interview, Putin reiterated "all" Syria is to be restored, that would include the Golan, too! If Syria wants it, Russia will leave too.

And underneath all the excitement, the attack against Idlib's terrorists continues.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 13 2019 23:34 utc | 76

Karlof1 @76: Yeah. With any luck here the Congress will force Turkey out of NATO. There's a win-win for you. So many good things that can happen. Trumps war party enemies are in the process of making statements that will soon embarass them, it's priceless. What will they say when it turns out that the Kurds dumped us for real protection? Oh it's going to be bad. :-)

But sometimes I'm too optimistic.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2019 23:39 utc | 77


In the first year or so of Russia moving into Syria, Russian MoD regularly gave briefings. There would always be a map of Syria and never a line dividing the Golan from the rest of Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 13 2019 23:46 utc | 78

We're in a permanent coup - Matt Taibbi

Praise for this article is misguided. The 'coup' already happened long ago.

Taibbi asks "what if" Obama had been presented with sex tape material and bogus intelligence agency assessments like Trump was. This ignores the questions of Obama's loyalty that dogged him thoughout his Presidency. Questions raised by the 'Birthers' - which were supported by .... Donald Trump!

Taibbi (and others) somehow fail to see that Obama and Trump are BOTH phony populists, and they BOTH follow a foreign policy that is dictated by the Deep State. They also overlook the many pro-establishment people that Trump has nominated despite their hate for him. (Why would he do that?) People like VP Mike Pence (McCain's buddy); John Bolton (neocons were 'Never Trump', remember?); CIA Director Gina Haspel (Brennan's acolyte whose nomination he publically supported); Attorney General William Barr (long time friend of Mueller). And of course, Trump himself was very good friends with the Clintons for many years.

Much of our politics are kayfabe because establishment Democrats and Republicans are like-minded and the leaders of the two Parties largely agree on national priorities (like Israel and the Empire). And few are as good at kayfabe as Trump who was actually involved with professional wrestling.

IMO Russiagate is best explained as the means for initiating a new anti-Russian McCarthyism. And Ukrainegate is best explained as helping ol' Joe to clinch the Democratic Party nomination. Notably, both of these were initiatives were aided by things that Trump did: hiring Manafort from Ukraine for a US Presidential election; calling for Putin to release Hillary's emails; and asking Ukrainian President to investigate Joe Biden.

Taibbi would do well to read Caitlin Johnstone who explains Deep State narrative control really well ( or Some recent examples:

Wealth Identity Politics: Billionaires Acting Like A Persecuted Minority Is Peak Capitalism (Oct 2)

MSM Defends CIA’s “Whistleblower”, Ignores Actual Whistleblowers (Sept 27)

Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix (Sept 20)

Democrats Somehow Frame Bolton’s Exit As A Bad Thing (Sept 11, 2019)

WaPo Warns USA Needs More Narrative Control As Pentagon Ramps Up Narrative Control (Sept 5)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 13 2019 23:50 utc | 79

One more thing: I have toyed with the idea that the Turk incursion was a disguised peace offering to Assad:

Assad Will be Real Beneficiary From Turkish war on Syrian Kurds
US moves toward a rapid, complete withdrawal of its military forces from Syria

That's why it is "Peace Spring" and not "Operation Claw".

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 13 2019 23:51 utc | 80

S 61 "Putin’s genius is in hiring smart people and following their advice, which requires a lot of humility and self-discipline."

I believe Putin does this, but at the same time, Putin reads a large amount of raw intel himself, rather than relying on intel summaries, briefings and recommendations.

The strategy we are seeing now is very much Putin strategy. It is how he put the Russian Federation back on its feet and could be seen in Chechnya, and the reconciliation programs in Syria.
It is a strategy of using military force to create circumstances where genuine reconciliation can occur.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 13 2019 23:58 utc | 81

Bemildred @ 75

Perhaps Trump knew that Erdogan would call his bluff or perhaps someone told Erdogan that Trump was bluffing. Either way Trump has plausible deniability for what is currently happening in Syria and with people shooting at the special forces, he has the opportunity to get all American troops out of Syria fairly soon.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 14 2019 0:00 utc | 82

@ Jackrabbit | Oct 13 2019 23:50 utc | 79

"permanent coup" is not equal to "coup". It is the semantic equivalent to "civil war" or "revolution" or "struggle for power"... "Praise" has zero to do with whether or not the essay is valid.

Yes, the single coup that "already happened" did happen...the Power Elite of C. Wright Mills or if one prefers the intel/organized crime/dope business of Peter Dale Scott's investigations - did that...they cast the die in November 0f 1963. The rest has been denouement...

If we have another Dallas we shall have a dictator. If we do not have another Dallas we shall have a dictator... Presumably the toss is 'tween the stiffsuitnutychrister P man and the Orange Clown. We do not get a vote.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 14 2019 0:04 utc | 83

To add to my post @81 and Putin strategy or thing, is the Sunni chechen military police that move into the reconciliation areas - the old soldier who had been one of the Soviet soldiers liberating a nazi concentration camp seated between Putin and Netanyahu ...

If Sun Tzu had not written 'Art of War', and Clausewitz had not written 'On War', then Putin could easily have written them.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 0:06 utc | 84

Ghost Ship @82: I don't think any of them look that surprised. I'm sure Trump was either in on it or didn't care, he wants out of Syria, right? It's all theater, military theater. Amazing to watch. Peter AU 1 is right too, this reeks of Putin (alright and the people behind Putin, it's never just the one guy).

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 14 2019 0:09 utc | 85

karlof1 @76:

[quoting Erdogan:] "We are not greedy of Syrian lands, we stand against those who want to dissociate Syria."

Erdogan doesn't want to see a Kurdish State or even an autonomous entity (in federation with Syria) on it's border.

That's consistent with what Putin and Assad want to see. But Erdogan has already proven unwilling/unable to follow-thru on promises in Idlib and Turkey's current/prior association with Jihadis raises questions about where Edogan's loyalty lies.

Turkish forces (or Syrian Nation Army forces associated with Turkey) may have already targeted political leaders in Syria: Kurdish party leader 'killed in ambush' but Syrian rebels deny responsibility amid ongoing Turkish offensive.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14 2019 0:13 utc | 86

YPG leaders were criticized to be morons, but perhaps it was an act. Big powers like USA like to have "proxies" and "puppets", but on the ground you have groups enmeshed in positive and hostile interactions and fishing for powerful and/or munificent sponsors. Rojava Kurds got some cash and material support from NATO that was genuinely a lifesaver for a period of time, and they could not easily move to a deal with Assad and Putin, with CIA breathing above their necks etc. Trump and Erdogan are both mercurial but not senile, and they have their own problems with CIA.

Current situation can allow

Trump deliver on his promise to finish the engagement in Syria, with a victory (ISIS gone), and the more he will criticized for that, the better for him (perfect wedge issue annoys opponent a lot but is approved by the base and non-partisan voters).

Edogan can deliver on his professed goal to control "terrorist threat" when YPG will be under Assad/Putin control. He may try to create some mini buffer zones with Arab majority and jihadist control to impress his Islamist base, but he will look like a statesman to Turks in any case.

Assad will be miles closer to the goal of re-united Syria, possibly with economic dividends.

Putin will look like a genius.

Loosers? CIA style warriors, unfortunately, most Democratic presidential candidates joined the party establishment in forming a cult of CIA or "our intelligence community". With luck, they may wean themselves, the likes of Biden are way to old and decrepit to learn new tricks, but the youngster (under 75?) have a chance.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 14 2019 0:13 utc | 87

Whats your point jackrabbit? The Turkish army will head south into SAA controlled territory? Not a damn chance, that is tantamount to a clash of Nations with untold consequences. It is time you come to grips with the facts on the ground. The US was outsmarted ans is packing. Good riddance..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 14 2019 0:23 utc | 88

Peter AU 1 @:

... using military force to create circumstances where genuine reconciliation can occur.

If Putin pitted NATO Turkey against NATO USA to force Kurds to reach agreement with Damascus, then he's a genius and we can rest easier knowing that the Syrian War is that much closer to being over.

But if Turkey remains in NE Syria to resettle refugees and hunt down YPG while protecting Jihadis that work with a resurgent ISIS then Putin's strategy would have backfired.

Note: in the latter scenario, USA could justify an ongoing presence (including NFZ) in NE Syria to fight a resurgent ISIS.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14 2019 0:26 utc | 89

Thanks bemildred #75, I can't think of any political leader in the ME (except Israel and maybe the King of Jordan) who can see any tangible benefit of having US forces blundering around in the region let alone within their borders.

If Erdoghan is acting he has nothing to lose if SYRIA reclaims authority in the north and Idlib/Latakia As long as his YPG threat is contained and he has a secure border he can go to his electorate with a winning hand of sorts.

I read the escalating assaults by Israel Defence Forces as them being free to do whatever with no USA constraints. Trump has been advocating this for years be it NATO OR Israel:- pay for your defence yourself and bear the consequences. It's early days and the current events in northern Syria will reveal any nuance in the Astana team.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 14 2019 0:26 utc | 90

@ walter 83

>> "Praise" has zero to do with whether or not the essay is valid.

JR was probably politely pointing out that Taibbi’s interpretation is not entirely valid. It’s not a “coup”, “temporary coup”, “permanent coup”, or “whatever you want to call the events Taibbi discusses” against Trump if in fact Trump is knowingly playing the kayfabe heel.

Posted by: oglalla | Oct 14 2019 0:34 utc | 91

@ 86 jackrabbit.. i think @ 88 lozion has it mostly correct.. some accidents could happen here, but all of this looks like it was scripted before it actually took place.. turkeys role is a limited one.. anything other then that and erdogan has gone off script or is being used to start ww3 by the usa... frankly i don't see it that way..

as for the taibbi article.. i basically see 3 options for people to believe in.. 1) trump is a scoundrel who needs to be impeached - this is the most popular one with americans it seems... 2) the deep state is behind it and is the reason why some - here at moa are giving trump a pass.. this is a much less popular one that drives circe crazy... 3) the usa is in a quicker state of decline then some want to acknowledge and it wouldn't matter if it was trump or someone else.. the wheels are coming off the exceptional empire.. this is mostly how i see it.. it might go slower then i would like or foresee, and this is the least popular option some seem to believe is happen..

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 0:34 utc | 92

Lozion @88:

The Turkish army will head south into SAA controlled territory?

DefSec Esper just announced that USA is pulling back further from the border because Turkey expects that its "Peace Spring" operation will move further into Syria than then the 30km that they originally stated.

This means that Turkey intends to control more territory that expected but not that Turkey moves into SAA controlled territory.

HOWEVER, it seems that Turkey is not happy with SAA moves into territory currently controlled by Kurdish/SDF forces (eg Manjib) and that might mean a Turk-SAA clash.

Question: Who would operate in SDF territory that is not occupied by Turkey? SNA? ISIS? Remnants of USA-SDF?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 14 2019 0:36 utc | 93

@Peter AU 1: I am certainly not trying to diminish Putin’s achievements in any way. I think we Russians are blessed to have such an outstanding statesman leading our country, and I am proud to have voted for him in 2018. My comment was related to the fact that even in the truth-seeking community there’s a tendency to reduce everything Russia-related to just Putin. That’s what the Empire propagandists tell us, and we often repeat it without thinking. Putin himself has stated many times that he is proud of the team he has assembled. It’s not just Putin, Shoygu and Lavrov either. There are many, many more people. Of course, you are right that Putin is a very hands-on, detail-oriented leader. But it is also true that there are many government agencies, institutes, think tanks drawing up plans that Putin then either accepts or requires further improvements to. He’s not coming up with every single idea in Russian foreign policy, military planning, etc. I know you understand all that – I just wanted to clarify my position.

Posted by: S | Oct 14 2019 0:38 utc | 94

in related news from rt right now..

"Up to 950 members of Islamic State fighters’ (IS, formerly ISIS) families have escaped the Ain Issa displacement camp previously controlled by Syrian Kurdish militia, Kurdistan 24 reports. They attacked guards and stormed the gates when a Turkish projectile hit near one of the camp walls, creating chaos within the facility.

The captives were held inside a restricted zone at Ain Issa, which is now empty, the media outlet said. The camp break happened amid a major Turkish ground offensive in northern Syria.

Heavy fighting was also underway on Sunday around the village of Suluk, northeast of Ain Issa. Pro-Turkish Syrian fighters reported they had captured the town, while Kurdish officials said they were still battling for it."

Posted by: james | Oct 14 2019 0:38 utc | 95

So the French are now taking measures to secure their forces in NE Syria. Will the Brits follow suit?

Over the next couple of days the situation should become a little clearer to observers from afar. What will Turkey's reponse be?. Will Russia truly step in with air power to force the issue of Syrian soverignty? What about the fate of the detention camps? The SAA does not have unlimited manpower to deploy and must be judicious. Will it be enough to stabilize the situation? Clearly they have been planning for this moment for some time, but the suddeness has clearly surprised many observers and some participants it seems...

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 14 2019 0:42 utc | 96

As for "why now, all of a sudden?" perhaps there is some financial crisis that looms and some players wish not to be distracted by petty, but potentially dangerous conflicts abroad...

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 14 2019 0:48 utc | 97


There are a number of issues, the frozen wars in eastern Europe, Golan and the Turk held sections of Syria, territorial issues around China Japan ect, Korea ect that will not be fully resolved until the collapse of the US.
My feeling is that what I call Putin strategy in these areas is to create a stalemate until the US is gone as a world power.
With Turkey and north Syria, I often think the strategy is to use Erdogan to bring the various jihadis under state control and slowly wind them down. The likes of AQ will be exterminated without any compromise, but it may be possible to wind down over time may of the jihadists from other groups. The reason I see for this is that not only the fighters, but also their families have these beliefs. A lot of people to kill off if it was just a matter of using military to exterminate jihadists. Better to bring them under control and wind them down over a period of time.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 14 2019 0:52 utc | 98

The pro-chaos forces have been caught off-guard by this quick series of moves in Syria, but they are nothing if not dogmatic, so I expect a wide array of tactics to try to sabotage this enormous step toward peace. But man! Isn't it wonderful to bask in the warmth just for a minute?

It was a sublime move to enlist Ergodan to provide the boot to drive the Yanks out of NE Syria. I'm sure Putin has been working him hard for a long time, understanding that short of direct superpower conflict, the Turks were actually the only force capable of forcing the Western head chopper support team out. It was clear Trump was almost begging for a compelling argument to force the withdrawal he ordered (but was humiliated and ignored) some time back. I tend to doubt he was actively involved in planning this, but I'm sure the other actors knew Trump would be quick enough to seize the opportunity. The Kurds have been far from perfect partners even for the US in this whole endeavor, so when Ergodan announced he was fed up with the cross-boarder nonsense and was coming to displace them, whether the US troops were there or not, it was a foregone conclusion the US would have no choice but to exit the scene. They were never in a strong position there, they were just trip-wires, and would be wiped out in real fighting. And they no doubt advised their chain of command that the Kurds had long ceased to be much of a combat force, having devolved into a whiny occupation force for territory the US had bombed or ordered into submission.

Trump gets to keep his campaign promise to try to extricate us from no-win overseas wars, stick it to the deep state who subverted his plans last time, and will no doubt argue that he has prevented NATO from losing Turkey. Ergodan has no doubt been chafing for some time, after figuring out he'd been tricked into trashing his good relations with Assad and Russia when this all started, and that his arch-enemies the Kurds had been promised the same territory he had been promised for his cooperation, and getting a coup attempt for his trouble. So now he can dispel any accusations he went soft on Idlib by attacking the Kurds, knowing the Yanks will scatter and the Kurds will have no choice to surrender and be pacified by Assad. In the mean time he manages to kill off a bunch of his now unwanted jihadis. He can then withdraw looking strong to his home audience, while actually further patching things up with Assad and Putin. Assad gets what he wanted, which was a unified Syria and a fighting chance to save his country, and might even get a new (Kurdish) fighting force which feels somewhat beholden to him and hates the US. Putin gets one step closer to being able to withdraw his combat forces from Syria, while strengthening his hand with the other regional actors.

It's a perfect example of the new Russian/Chinese "win-win" worldview. Beautiful.

Posted by: J Swift | Oct 14 2019 0:59 utc | 99

re greenwald;

and why was betsy reed cutting staff? did omidyar have anything to do with that decision. the intercept has devolved into a platform for the russia hacked the election bullshit, (now modified to ukrainegate) and i assume omidyar drove this change. why didn't glenn leave the intercept. like he left salon and the guardian?

Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 14 2019 1:21 utc | 100

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