Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 16, 2019

How The Win-Win-Win-Win Plan For Syria's Northeast Succeeds

The Syrian and Russian operations in the northeast of Syria are going well.


Russian troops prevented attempts by Turkish supported Jihadis to attack Manbij. Russian and Syrian units have now also entered Ayn al-Arab/Kobani. Syrian government troops took control of the electricity producing dam in Tabqah and some units set up posts in Raqqa. Other units entered the Conoco and Al-Umar oil fields north of Abu Kahmal and east of Deir Ezzor. Some local tribe which profited from the oil explorations there held a small protest against the return of government control.


The Turkish controlled Jihadis made little progress. Mostly Kurdish fighters are preventing them from expanding from the area they are informally allowed to hold. The Turkish command has called up more irregular 'rebel' troops including Jihadis from Jaish al-Islam who had once controlled Ghouta in the east of Damascus. They had been transported to Idleb after their defeat. A video shows them on a bus traveling through Turkey to reinforce the Turkish attack.

The Russian air force in Syria is preventing the use of the Turkish air-force in support of the Turkish attacks. Yesterday a Turkish F-16 entered Syrian air space but retreated when some Russian fighters appeared to hunt for it.

The U.S. is continuing its retreat from northeast Syria. Yesterday a video by a Russian journalist showed the inside of one of a camps that U.S. troops had hastily left. There was still food on the table and the Cokes in the fridge were still cold. The view was a bit embarrassing. Today the U.S. bombed a U.S./French military base in Kharab' Ashaq near the Lafarge cement factory shortly after its troops had left it. The likely intent was to prevent more embarrassing pictures.

Turkey still insists on a corridor of some 20 kilometers depth to prevent a PKK build up in the area near its border. At that depth Turkey would occupy the M4 highway which is a main economic corridor in the northern area. Under the Adana agreement from 1998 Turkey is allowed to make temporary incursions at the border up to a depth of 5 kilometer to fight any PKK concentration. Anything beyond that infringes on Syria's sovereignty and can not be tolerated.

Under the same treaty Syria is obligated to prevent any PKK camps or training areas in Syria. The U.S built 'Syrian Democratic Forces' are nothing but the PKK with a few drafted Arabs mixed in. The SNC will soon be dissolved into the Syrian Arab Army and the autonomous Kurdish administration will be removed. All that will alleviate the Turkish concerns and remove its justification for any occupation of Syrian land.

The mainstream borg is up in arms that Turkey uses Jihadis to attack their beloved anarcho-marxist PKK terrorists group. They have conveniently forgotten the history of the U.S. war on Syria, its arming of those Jihadis and its pampering of al-Qaeda.

The U.S. did not betray the Kurds any more than it betrayed Turkey and the Jihadis which the Obama administration armed throughout the war. Those were also U.S. 'allies' that were left hanging. Raina Khalek made a good video narrative that debunks much of the false Syria narrative the main stream media is now using.

To prevent Congress from putting harsh sanctions on Turkey, President Trump issued his own milder ones that will not do any harm to Turkey's economy. He has also sent Vice President Pence to talk with President Erdogan. It is just a bit of show to limit the fall out from the Turkish operation.

Everyone involved recognizes that this is a win-win-win-win situation. Erdogan could show that he was fighting against the PKK terrorists and prevented their attempts to become a proto-state. Trump could hold his campaign promise of removing U.S. troops from useless foreign interventions. Syria regained its northeast and the important economic resources of that area. Russia gained global prestige and additional influence in the Middle East.

Everyone is happy but the PKK Kurds. They are the biggest losers of this game but only in the sense that they are back to where they started. They had entered into a cooperation with the U.S. to eliminate ISIS. When that was done they got greedy and tried to rule over Arab land. It was always an unsustainable situation. After the defeat of ISIS the U.S. had no strategic reason to further pamper them. Only some wannabe imperialists in Washington DC and in Israel were urging to continue the relation.

There are signs that the series of events was preplanned and somewhat coordinated. There were intensive talks between Russia and Turkey and many phone calls between Trump and Erdogan. There were also talks we do not know about. Syrian and Russian troops were ready to enter the northeast.

It is likely that the plans of these actors extend beyond the northeast and include a solution for the Jihadi controlled Idleb governorate. It will be the next area where some surprising co-operations are likely to happen.

Added: This Trump answer to a question about Syria makes much sense.

Posted by b on October 16, 2019 at 17:47 UTC | Permalink

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@all regarding the oil fields, pease see here:

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 17 2019 0:16 utc | 101

@91 This is the only news release I've seen about the Syrian oilfields. Somebody posted it on Syper...

Posted by: dh | Oct 17 2019 0:17 utc | 102


I thought that was the case. If SAA occupied the oilfields there would be pics same as coming from places SAA has moved into. My thought is that until those pics start appearing, all else is just internet rumor.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 0:22 utc | 103

Just wanna say that it’s been tragic to watch Moon of Alabama become Kissinger’s head on Trump’s body. I thought you were a leftist when you’re actually arguably a neo-fascist. Very sad.

Posted by: gramsci | Oct 17 2019 0:22 utc | 104

VietnamVet 97

Iran believe they know how is responsible and response to the attack will be asymmetrical. The only actor I can think of wanting a war between KSA and Iran is the Trump faction.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 0:26 utc | 105

That should have been Trump faction and Israel wanting war between KSA and Iran.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 0:28 utc | 106

Very misleading headline on that piece you linked to. The smaller print though was more factual.
"In future days, Syrian army forces will enter the area."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 0:36 utc | 107

@108 I know. Should have added 'please don't shoot the messenger'.

Posted by: dh | Oct 17 2019 0:38 utc | 108

“I'm more or less with PavewayIV on the Kurds. To extend that line of thought, the dismissive term ‘anarcho-Marxist’ is a rare slip into MSM-like red-baiting for this site, which is usually refreshingly careful to avoid assuming tagging someone or some group as a leftist is to slur them.”

Why are you surprised? This site is about as leftist as Kolchak.

Posted by: gramsci | Oct 17 2019 0:39 utc | 109
"Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that President Donald Trump had directed U.S. troops in northern Syria to begin pulling out “as safely and quickly as possible.” He did not say Trump ordered troops to leave Syria, but that seemed like the next step in a combat zone growing more unstable by the hour."
"Esper said he would not discuss a timeline for the U.S. pullback, but said it would be done “as safely and quickly as possible.”"

It is likely US has decided to abandon all the areas they access via the M4 highway from Iraq, as this runs roughly parallel with the Turk border. The Deir Ezzor oilfields though, are well to the south of the highway, close to the Iraq border, and can be accessed via other roads and border crossings. I think the US will hold the oilfields as long as possible. Trump did say, when asked about Syria during the election campaign, that the US should grab the oil. Keeping a presence there would also be a bone to throw to his domestic opponents.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 0:58 utc | 110

In the AP article I linked in my previous post was also this.

"Asked whether he thought Turkey would deliberately attack American troops in Syria, Esper said, “I don’t know whether they would or wouldn’t.”
"Esper disputed the notion that the U.S. could have stopped Turkey from invading in the first place. He said Erdogan had made clear he was going to launch his incursion “regardless of what we did.”
Strongly critical of the Turks, Esper said “the arc of their behavior over the past several years has been terrible.” He added: “I mean, they are spinning out of the Western orbit, if you will. We see them purchasing Russian arms, cuddling up to President Putin. We see them doing all these things that, frankly, concern us.”
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said the U.S. and its NATO partners should consider expelling Turkey from the alliance. “How do you have a NATO ally who’s in cahoots with the Russians, when the Russians are the adversaries of NATO?”"

Turkey has a lot of leverage over the US deep state due to NATO. Looks like Erdo, with the Russian card to play against the US, and NATO membership as a negotiating position with Russia, is now king maker or power broker in the region.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 1:09 utc | 111

At some point in the future there will be some form of reconciliation between Syria and Turkey. Russia could not force US out of Syria without risk of it escalating towards nuclear war. Pushing the US out now racks up a few points for Erdo in future negotiations with Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 1:20 utc | 112

Peter AU 1 @111

But USA would need a reason to stay in Syria legitimately.

That reason could be ISIS. IF the "ISIS resurgence" were to become a reality (wink wink).

If ISIS prisoners have been freed/escaped, the USA may be able to better make the case to stay.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 17 2019 1:21 utc | 113

Peter AU 1 @114:

Russia could not force US out of Syria without risk of it escalating towards nuclear war.

And the withdrawal/pull-out had to be done quickly or USA neocons and Israel might block it (as we are now witnessing from the TDS Left).

I've seen news reports about Erdogan insisting on an incursion in August. Leads me to believe that John Bolton was fired so that he wouldn't interfere.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 17 2019 1:28 utc | 114

I see the MSM and US politicians are trying hard for that angle, but even with US backing, I don't think ISIS will get off the ground again in Syria. Still some ongoing attacks in Iraq and Syria but these units are systematically hunted down and destroyed. I think they will eventually be wiped out.
Especially so if Saudi backing is removed.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 1:28 utc | 115

@27 "Really?"
"Poland doesn't want Germany to take it's land"
Two points:

1) Poland & Germany are members of the same alliance, NATO. So are Turkey and the USA. For the U.S. to go to war with Turkey over those noble mercenaries, the Kurds, would be insane folly under any President.

2)The leadership of Rohava/SDF obviously don't understand very much about the USA, and about Trump in particular. Trump is a totally transactional guy, as anyone who has ever watched a single episode of "the Apprentice" knows. He just expressed this attitude in his press conference today. " The Kurds were paid to do our dirty work. Now it's the kiss-off. How could it be otherwise?"

Posted by: Moo | Oct 17 2019 1:30 utc | 116

Peter AU 1 @117: Especially so if Saudi backing is removed.

Which leads to some interesting questions, like: Did Saudi backing end because they determined that US strategy of economic strangulation would not succeed (the West was not able to prevent Iranian oil from being delivered to Syria)? Or did it end when the Houthi took out half of their oil production?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 17 2019 1:36 utc | 117

The Outlaw US Empire was NEVER in Syria legally. Period. Same with all other NATO nations. Indeed, it was quite clear to many that the attack on Syria was a NATO attack as with Libya. Ask the Syrians; they know.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 17 2019 1:39 utc | 118


I have thought the sacking of Bolton may have marked a change of plans for the US.
Bolton was hired at or around the time Trumps NPR came out. The notice part of the 2018 NPR being the lowered threshold for use of nuclear weapons and Iran being specifically named. Bolton's sacking may have meant that the 2018 US or Trump admin plans for the middle east have been changed.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 1:41 utc | 119

What about the allegation that the Kurds killed large numbers of Armenians at the behest of the Turks during the infamous massacres of 1915?

Posted by: New | Oct 17 2019 1:41 utc | 120

@2 "... from conventional news sources?"

Because they are not news sources - they are propaganda sources.

Posted by: imo | Oct 17 2019 1:46 utc | 121

YPG forces exploded a tank of the Turkish occupation in the village of Ebu Sira

SDF captured a Turkish Kirpi armored vehicle after its occupants abandoned it and fled while coming under attack near Ras al-Ayn.

Nice gift by Erdogan, just needs a quick car wash and it’s ready to go.

Posted by: Aziz | Oct 17 2019 1:50 utc | 122

Jackrabbit 120

I have been thinking Saudi's would be looking at a combination of factors. The defeat of the project to destroy Syria, Russian diplomacy and geo-political power backed by military power, China is now the largest importer of oil and US imports very little oil from KSA, Iran's high tech military power (not to forget that friendship and carrots are being offered as an alternative to that military power) and then there is the Houthi attacks to put the pressure on. Also Trump regularly publicly humiliating them, laws passing in the US that they can be sued over 9 11 and so forth.
Problem for the Saudi's is the US can destroy them at any time. They have no friends and apart from a few politically correct crocodile tears and words of condemnation, I doubt any country would come to their aid.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 2:02 utc | 123

The amusing scene in this latest act was Putin (the Czar of the ME) taking a raptor down to shit on the Saudi gang's posh carpet. With 3,000 new (unemployed) 'imperial guards' on Saudi 'sacred' land in case of internal 'democratic uprisings across the 'Land of Dark Ages' (want some pork crackle with that beer?), and anything 'USA' in Iraq and hinterland prime targets for saturation Iranian missile attack, we should see some 'stability' in the region for a few weeks. Now the Chinese reconstruction money will flow like rivers of gold and the Syrian economy will boom again. I suspect the busing of 'organ eaters' to the border campaign is a mop-up operation in the making: mopping them up now they are an inconvenient 'fact'.

Posted by: imo | Oct 17 2019 2:02 utc | 124

Regarding ISIS prisoners:

Separately, Abdi said operations against ISIL had been paused in light of the Turkish military offensive.

"We have frozen all our actions against Daesh," he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.

However, the SDF would continue to be in charge of roughly 12,000 suspected ISIL fighters imprisoned in northern Syria, he said.



Turkey’s Military Ties to US and NATO Remain Strong: U.S. Army Leaders
Joint exercises remain on the schedule as Turkish forces attack America’s Syrian rebel allies.


Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 17 2019 2:11 utc | 125

As DJT 0k'ed the Turkish incursion into Syria, I'm sure this never entered his mind;

Posted by: ben | Oct 17 2019 2:46 utc | 126

On “And, ultimately, the Turkish invasion provides a perfect excuse to draw a number of opposing camps into a single place in close proximity”, is closer to the truth than you think but consider it is a multi-polar movement not a unilateral one. I can’t say if Trump is included in this multi polar movement but if he is this is a very good reason to gather a more optimistic outlook forward rather than a step into the abyss (WWWIII). If so and this policy is implemented as well as a financial multipolar movement it would be the only way out for the US’s debt debacle (all forgiven) and sanctions abolished in the current form of war fare. The reason I think it is very well possible which considers “b’s” is the following thoughts:
Both Turkey and Syria face the same issues with non-conforming thug gangs of criminals who tax local communities in taxes, extortion and lawlessness resulting in death and inhumane conditions.
We have seen recently the criminal mercenaries at the Turkey border trying to re-enter Turkey fleeing from advancing SAA Coalition and Russian cleansing of terrorist. They are not allowed to pass through and result in protest voicing their treacherous treatment from Erdogan in not allowing them back into Turkey.
The FSA, NSA as well as the PKK are being poured into a Syrian meat grinder and will be caught in this anvil that is being prepared to pound them into oblivion. I am surprised that this observation is not being talked about by commenters but understand as to why it is not being vocalized by the participating signers of written and unwritten agreements between them.
Yes, the FSA rebranded SNA is the same “moderate” rebels of Al Qaida that the US and NATO has been funding along with ISIS for the “Assad must go crowd” of a unilateral Empire of transnational criminal cabals and vassals. Now the EU and the US Congress are shocked in horror sic that these same moderates are now monsters because they have attacked the Kurds who by the way are many different tribal factions, some of which are PKK and affiliated with the murders and ethnic cleansing of Arab and Christian majorities in areas that were never a Kurdish majority for a land grab coveting Syrian natural resources. Now what could go wrong with that?

Posted by: kinggeor | Oct 17 2019 3:22 utc | 127

Jackrabbit @38:

US media is raging about an "ISIS resurgence". Former SecDef Gen. Mattis says that its inevitable.

The meaning I read into that is that the U.S. will continue/step up recruiting, training, and supplying ISIS, and transporting their leaders away from trouble. Inevitably.

Posted by: therobin | Oct 17 2019 3:22 utc | 128

From Oct/7/19; "[White House] – Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey by telephone. Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria."

Posted by: ben | Oct 17 2019 3:22 utc | 129

@ David G 67

I saw a tweet this morning from one on of the in country reporters that Russian cargo planes had been arriving non-stop into Syria carrying both troops and supplies for over 48 hours. Also, 40,000 SAA troops were at borders ready to deploy when this all started. Hard not to see this as planned. Also, saw several in country reporters mentioning that RU troops were positioning between the Turks and the SAA in many areas. When the RU flagged trucks roll in, the fighting pretty much stops.

I also saw pics and vids of Iraqi trucks (200 they said) hauling 300,000 tones of humanitarian supplies to NES.

Posted by: lgfocus | Oct 17 2019 3:28 utc | 130

New #124

Kurd participation in the 1915 Ottoman genocide against the Armenian residents in the region is a historical fact. Not an allegation. There is no shortage of credible literature on the subject.

You may find Robert FISK 'the great war for civilisation' informative.

Kurd opportunism is one of the reasons they are outcasts in the many lands they reside in. If they could do the world a favour by erasing every ISIS combat prisoner perhaps they would gain some beneficial kharma.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2019 3:30 utc | 131

From Oct 8th;

This from a man some are attempting to canonize.

Yep, we live in interesting times...

Posted by: ben | Oct 17 2019 3:31 utc | 132

Some information about the oil fields, who controls, where they are. From this list you can see if they exchange hands soon as the US leaves the SDF to its deal with Assad.

"SDF now controls many of the most productive oil fields in Syria east of the Euphrates river, including the country’s largest oil field, al-Omar. The other fields under SDF’s control are now Tanak, Ward, Kewari, Jafra, Jarnuf, Azrak, Kahar, Afra, Sueytat, and Galban, the Homs-based Syrian news outlet reports."

This report is dated Aug. 24, 2018, but we know the Syrians had not gotten control of any oil fields since, until presently they will be taking over some of what the SDF has.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Oct 17 2019 3:37 utc | 133


This is the saddest hearing one could imagine to happen given the current state of affairs.

Giuliani is involved in foreign policy formulation and state dept career professionals are under the gun for raising objections to govt. foreign policy.

Terrible briefing on the part of the administration. But the chairman of the committee calls hook the "right man for the job" Big shout out to all the folks in the yellow parkas for witnessing what a true joke U.S. foreign policy has become in the ME.

Several indications here that troubling things are afoot.

Posted by: thecelticwithinme | Oct 17 2019 3:37 utc | 134

Well#138, what is there to say but the joke that is US foreign policy has been around for at least a century. That country could be brilliant and egalitarian but it has been repeatedly plundered by its ruling class for way too long.

It's people and public services are impoverished to the point where it is a beacon to no one and more likely the light of the statue of liberty signals dangerous shoreline and sunken dreams.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2019 3:50 utc | 135

uncle tungsten @139

Well said!

Posted by: lgfocus | Oct 17 2019 4:00 utc | 136

@ uncle tungsten 139
the joke that is US foreign policy

But..but...but...the news is full of US "lost credibility" and such...could they be wrong?
. . .per google...
>Is America Losing Its Credibility with the Middle East?
>Iran has concluded that the US has lost all credibility and leadership in the region
>Rhodes: U.S. is Losing Influence, Credibility on World Stage
>shredded any U.S. credibility
>The Dangers of Lost U.S. Credibility in the Middle East
> With America losing credibility across the Middle East
>The US lost its credibility in supporting freedom loving people
> it damaged US credibility and created an opening for more radical forces
>quick to bemoan the loss of American credibility

this one comes closer to the truth...
> The tired clichés of protecting “credibility” and demonstrating “resolve”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 17 2019 4:08 utc | 137

lgfocus @134:

Thanks; interesting.

The really important thing, of course, is the new situation on the ground and the promise of another step toward normality in Syria. And the basic outline of what’s going on isn’t at all shocking to observers connected to reality.

But the true details of the story (and backstory) of what’s transpired over the last week will make for an excellent read/watch when someone puts them all together.

Posted by: David G | Oct 17 2019 5:02 utc | 138

Two scenarios are happening here:

The Democrats are trying to reel the Kurds back in. It's like they're sending them a message: Don't give up on U.S. support because we'll be back in power and we'll send in the cavalry.

This pullout from Syria is a hail mary pass by Trump. His Presidency is in deep trouble. He needs to secure the anti-war vote. He's risking pissing off both sides in Congress with a radical move meant to increase support for him beyond Zionist Evangelicals.

I think the Dems' attempt to reel the Kurds back is disgusting and I don't trust Trump's move either. Trump is a Zionist and he has perpetuated the inhumane war in Yemen and has done damage to the cause of Palestinians. I will never trust him.

This is all political theater on both sides.

I'm disgusted by the whole thing. I hope the Kurds stick with Assad and foil the Turkish offensive. If the Kurds and SAA succeed, it won't be thanks to Trump or the Dems.

I'm hoping the Kurds are not swayed by false hope and empty promises.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 17 2019 5:06 utc | 139

Wow...amazing to see this 'gramsci' fellow flipping out...because he's supposedly a 'leftist'...

Looks to me the only people flipping out are the fakestream media and the deep state neocon brainwashing machine...

Good work know you're on the right track when the deep fakes expose themselves so obviously...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 17 2019 5:23 utc | 140

Here's another reason not to trust Trump: His lawyer is scumbag Rudy Giuliani!

Amongst other things, he's trying to overthrow the government of Iran, teaming up with Zionist Joe Lieberman in Albania for a MEK Free Iran conference.

albania mek conference

There are numerous reasons not to trust Trump and the euphoria by some around here that Trump is anti-war is, simply put, DELUSIONAL.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 17 2019 5:35 utc | 141

In 1963 Kennedy was negotiating detente and peace with Kruschev, including the Partial Test Ban Treaty. Kennedy was an articulate, persuasive operator who could make deals. He was assassinated. Currently we have another president on a peace offensive, primarily with Russia. Again.
Just sayin', since you raised the subject.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 17 2019 0:13 utc | 101

JFK and his bro were naifs, imo.
They seriously underestimated the depth, breadth, power and influence of The Swamp and over-estimated the 'unassailable' power of POTUS. They hit the ground running and made powerful enemies right from the beginning of the JFK Admin. Trump is 10x smarter than the Kennedy 'boys'. Some people are/were disappointed in Trump because he didn't wade in, Kennedy-style, brandishing the Sword Of Justice and start culling from Day 1.

Trump's an old geyser and has had plenty of time to figure out where the Kennedys went wrong and how to avoid making the same mistakes. Imo, the chances of Trump being assassinated are less than 10% BECAUSE he wouldn't have embarked on this 'journey' if he hadn't arranged a trustworthy team to decapitate the Swamp if he's assassinated. So a Trump assassination will be the precursor to several dozen mysterious and not-so-mysterious deaths of rich and powerful people.

They knew before he was sworn in that he'd be coming after them. It'll boil down to whether the membership of Team Trump can be deduced as simply and logically as the membership of Team Swamp. I'm quite certain that it cannot. And that is a huge problem for The Swamp.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 17 2019 5:44 utc | 142

@144 "It's like they're sending them a message: Don't give up on U.S. support because we'll be back in power and we'll send in the cavalry."


Are you really suggesting that the Kurds will be tempted to listen to a "message" that amounts to: just sit on your hands until 2020 and then we'll save ya'.

I mean, get real.

If the Kurds take that advice then they'll all be dead well before the cavalry arrive. They know it. They understand the need to seek protection from Erdogan *right* *now*. This very instant.

What the Democrats might think to do in 2020 is of absolutely no concern to the Kurds, and nor should it be.

Honestly, how can you possibly think otherwise?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Oct 17 2019 6:10 utc | 143

Let us not glorify Kurds in border, as those have been
terrorizing Arab population there ever since Syrian
Government lost control of border. Those are PKK and YPG
units not ready to give themselves up to Syrian government.
Turkey is doing Syria s grand favor. Syria has found s deal
with YPG which is helping with orderly transition to Syrian
forces of various villages snd towns. Syria foes not havre
to deal with nasties.
Turkey did a spectacular job in corralling various groups
and are part of operation that made US move — otherwise
would be there waiting for second coming.

Keep in mind that Turkey myst deal with vigilante justice.
Most people on its payroll have befn displaced .
Many from Manbij. While WE would never be this
primitive like those that tried to get into Msnbij —
I guess there are people who are funny and think
they have the right to go back to their homes, nowv
that mighty YPG was booted out. Yet, we still
treat them like they deserve special treatment.

For now, as Kurds as people had enough shock
for a while, keeping YPG cooperative is good. In
the long run, they are compromised and elections
will resolve the issue of leadership,

Posted by: Bianca | Oct 17 2019 6:22 utc | 144

Are they leaving via Iraq or via Damascus?
Posted by: Mina | Oct 16 2019 18:26 utc | 6

Ha! Pertinent question! I'll bet via Iraq, and I'll bet they were staying in Syria illegally. If they entered legally via Damascus there would be no need to leave in a hurry. Maybe some French Special Forces will be escaping with them disguised as MSF.

Posted by: BM | Oct 17 2019 6:22 utc | 145

I don't know if we can really call this a "win" for Trump.

b cites it as "win" for Trump because Trump furthers his stated agenda of getting USA out of the Middle East "forever wars". But:

1) USA had a strategy in Syria. I know of no reason to believe that USA wanted to change that strategy. The strategy was forced to change by Erdogan's insistence that he would attack the Kurds. Whether one believes that Putin was behind Erdogan's willingness to act counter to USA wishes or Erdogan's personal and political needs is irrelevant.

I don't believe that Trump is Putin's stooge like so many TDS people like to say. (Actually, I believe that Trump was selected by the Deep State and they guide his actions.) So Trump didn't "betray the Kurds" at Putin's urging. LOL.

2) I'm not convinced that exiting the Middle East is really Trump's priority. After all, Trump's logic for leaving northeastern Syria applies just as well to Afghanistan where Trump has chosen to remain. And Trump was "locked and loaded" after the Saudi oil installation was hit.

A big part of the reason USA is in the ME is to serve the interests of Israel and Gulf State monarchies. Their influence "trumps" his 'America First' campaign rhetoric.

The fact is, campaign rhetoric from USA faux populists are more akin to intentions than promises. Obama declared that he would leave Iraq and Afghanistan and close Guantanamo. He didn't do any of these. USA reduced troops in Iraq only because the Iraqi government insisted that they be subject to Iraqi law. (That demand came because of the numerous outrageous abuses by US forces.) And, despite his man-of-peace public persona, Obama actually started conducted covert wars in Libya and Syria, and bragged of his drone targeting abilities.

<> <> <> <> <>

It's still too early for definitive conclusions but my read on what probably happened is that Erdogan, as an egotistical Islamist, could not accept the loss of Idlib without having addressed the Kurdish ethnic cleansing of northeastern Syria. He had already waited patiently (nearly 2 years) for a USA go-ahead to do so. He felt that he and Turkey were being disrespected and said this many times. As the fall of Idlib looms, he felt personal and political pressure to distract with a 'win' for his Islamists allies.

It didn't hurt that Erdogan now has S-400s and feels confident of Putin's support. Erdogan may or may not have planned "Peace Spring" with Putin/Russia. Erdogan made no secret of his desire to conduct such an operation.

So Erdogan told USA that he was going to do his "Peace Spring" incursion whether USA approved or not. USA would have to fight Turkey or sit back while Turkey/SNA invaded and killed Kurds.

USA did the only smart thing - withdraw and let the Turks own the consequences. And Trump kept it all quiet until the last minute because anti-Trump/Pro-Israel partisans/ideologues would try to force Trump to fight when it made no sense to do so.

USA still has troops in ME and still acts against Iran. So Trump's political 'win' still falls short of his 'America First' campaign rhetoric (though he's trying to play it up his 'America First' goals as much as possible). But Trump also has a political loss in that anti-Trump people are seizing upon this to put even more pressure on Trump. That includes a re-energized impeachment effort. (It's unlikely that Trump is removed, but the political rhetoric is damaging).

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

Erdogan knew that his move against the Kurds would up-end US anti-Assad strategy. And USA knew that Erdogan's plans meant that they would have a set-back.

It's still an open question whether CIA took steps to turn lemons into lemonade by releasing ISIS prisoners that could join their friends in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Libya. This would have the benefit of giving USA a reason to stay in Syria despite not having a local partner like the Kurds.

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

If the above understanding is correct, then it guides what we can expect going forward. More specifically, USA+allies will continue with their anti-Assad, anti-Iran agenda.

The chessboard has changed a bit but USA power in ME isn't collapsing. Trump isn't Putin's b*tch. Trump isn't bucking the Deep State.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 17 2019 6:32 utc | 146

Flankerbandit #145

gramsci has been in the cell so long that even cockroaches seem intelligent. His crazy dig at this side reveals his pathetic intellectual horizon that has imprisoned his imagination.

I am pleased that USA invaders are leaving: for the sake of peace and the Syrian people.

It is not a left position, it is a compassionate ideology of respect for all people and the environment of this planet.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2019 7:16 utc | 147

Jackrabbit #152

I see it as a big win for Trump as he gets to expose the Republican congress critters that hate him and he owes them one.

He gets to grab part of the resurgent Democrat anti war theme as an insurance should he have to run against Sanders.

If he has Biden to run against then he has more to throw at him other than Ukraine scams.

He has more power to reform the Republican party by exposing and driving out his internal enemies (see his targeting Lindsey Graham in last 24hrs).

He has without doubt used Bolton's role in his team as a barometer to poll the electorate and no doubt discovered that bring troops home is a huge winner. Maybe he uses Bannon's data mining mates?

I am certain that war weary USAians will dig his move and will reward him. After all his victory was a slim margin and Presidents that part succeed and avoid crapping in their shoe tend to get a second term.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2019 7:33 utc | 148

Mike 152

Warning DO NOT CLICK on mike posts

Consider him as a scuttling scorpion with a severe sting.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2019 7:37 utc | 149

I think M.K. Bhadrakumar's piece spells out the 'deal' between Turkey and Russia:


The scenario agreed on behind the curtains through months of confidential exchanges, often one-on-one, between the Russian and Turkish leaders regarding north-eastern Syria is entering a critical phase of implementation on the ground with the agreement between the Kurds and the Assad regime.

Posted by: Barovsky | Oct 17 2019 8:07 utc | 150

Macron's latest:
trying to reassure the masses he said that djihadists could not come back that easily, that they would have to go through Turkey and that we have an agreement etc on that (!)
worse, he said that they might rather go back to fight, and that in this case of course the international coalition against IS will have to act (!! are they trying to be creative already for the next clusterf...?)
and in the background, the local debate is again about complete ban of the veil or not (!!!)

provocation or just full idiocy?

Posted by: Mina | Oct 17 2019 8:24 utc | 151

Belgium and France have aknowledged in the last 48 hours that some djihadists have escaped (not only their relatives) and that some were even picked up by IS

A french female djihadist in the camp of al-Hol was interviewed on the radio and said that 1) she welcomes the Turkish attack on the Kurds 2) she does not want to come back to France since it would mean prison for her and foster families for her children

Posted by: Mina | Oct 17 2019 8:32 utc | 152

159,160 Mina
I wonder how much The Sultan can squeeze out of Merkel this time. Erdo says he spent €40B, and €3B just doesn’t cut the mustard. Now, €40B sounds a tab inflated, it may also be close to the mark, but nevertheless Erdo is angling for more Win here... politically, Frau Merkel, Emperor Macron and the assorted technocratic Euro lackeys just can’t afford this not going their way = Erdo in Pole position. How many weeks of yellow vest unrest are we up to now...?

Sept 11 2019:
‘... The president had also said that Turkey so far spent around $40 billion for refugees, while support from the EU to Turkey totaled only around €3 billion ($3.34 billion), breaking the EU's pledges in a 2016 deal with Turkey to stem irregular migration. ...’

I predict a riot...

Posted by: MadMax2 | Oct 17 2019 9:06 utc | 153

uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2019 7:37 utc | 156

"Mike 152
Warning DO NOT CLICK on mike posts
Consider him as a scuttling scorpion with a severe sting."

Could you please explain this a bit further?

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 17 2019 9:06 utc | 154

ISIS Is Gloating

The best one could say about America’s abandonment of the Kurds is that they should have known we would sell them out eventually.

Posted by: hjp | Oct 17 2019 9:15 utc | 155

Lookit all the dem hacks getting upset at Trump pulling off a move that they're all too corrupted/cowardly to attempt.
Full of facile displacement these types see one less place where amerika is killing the indigenous population as a bad thing, they cannot oppose it on ethical grounds so they resort to name-calling, those of us who are f++kin sick of Oblammer, shrub & cigar bill's endless wars for wall st are arseholes cos we back something orange dread came up with and because we back it, we must be trumpists. Classically naive thinking from indoctrinated brain dead idjits.

Just as it had to be arsehole ersatz left politicians such as clinton & obama to destroy social security leaving nowhere for voters to turn to, peace moves must come from the rightest allegedly most war mongering rethugs so the borg cannot turn right.
They have to turn 'left' showing the world what a bunch of lying turds dems are. Gabbard or Sanders simply will not be permitted to win the nomination when Tom Perez is in control. The gig will go the Hilary 2, Warren, if Biden cannot be salvaged.

Anyone with basic perception can see that it is 100% impossible for a candidate with good intentions and honest motives to win any election in amerika which leaves decent humans applauding any possibly decent outcome delivered by any elected official. But the black/white binary thinking 'liberals' cannot conceive other humans are prescient enough to applaud this trump move, whilst loathing the man himself. For them politics has always been blinded by bulldust hero worship. What drongos must they be.
The lame dem astro turfers & trolls probably don't understand how transparent their motives are to real humanists - they cannot face the humiliation of being found out as war mongers so now they attack decent humanists. They are bottom rung enablers for careerest scum who have been revealed for what they are at long last.

Posted by: A User | Oct 17 2019 9:25 utc | 156

Donald J. Trump: "Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her “upstairs,” or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!"

Posted by: hjp | Oct 17 2019 9:26 utc | 157

I am surprised that the US would be able to remain in eastern Syria at this point having likely damaged relations with Kurds.

Posted by: jared | Oct 17 2019 9:27 utc | 158

@Mina (add to 161)
OT, but just wondering if these scenes in France are credible...? Police turning on Firefighters/Civil Service.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Oct 17 2019 9:28 utc | 159

Ref firemen vs police
yes it happened 2 days ago
firemen are fed up to compensate for every other shortage in ambulances/emergencies/police intervention
and on top of that they are paid even less that in other jobs

Posted by: Mina | Oct 17 2019 9:38 utc | 160


i hate u.s. involvement in syria, hate the support for al nusra and the rest of the head choppers, hate the necons. but abandoning the kurds and effectively green lighting an illegal invasion of syria by the hideous erdogan as you end your own illegal invasion (at least in the north) and doing it all in a single phone call while your personal lawyer is shilling for the turks — it’s grotesque.

on a broader level, i can hate putin and assad and trump and the neocons all at the same time.

Posted by: gramsci | Oct 17 2019 10:07 utc | 161

Hausmeister #162

Mikes odd graphic takes you nowhere. Behind the graphic is a mechanism that copies and retains your ip address. You are then identified. In some systems this refined tracking system would send you advertisements etc but Mike is likely up to something else. Perhaps Mike has five eyes.

It has been discussed on earlier posts.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2019 10:24 utc | 162

gramsci #170

I can groc that hate but not to all those you name. For me one has to wotk very hard to earn hatred and so far neither Assad nor Putin have earned it. Indeed Assad is an extraordinary national leader and appears much more humane than his father. I am yet to read a credible, non propaganda destruction of his motives and actions.

Putin appears to be an erudite and masterful politician surrounded by genuine committed people in his administration and works hard for the mass of Russian people. After all the travails of Russia in the past two centuries, he is blessing. That does not mean that I see him as faultless, but he leads a phenomenally sophisticated state apparatus and avoids warmongering. More strength to his arm. Ditto Assad.

The FUKUSA and its camp dogs on the other hand are mighty poor state leaders surrounded by inept and mendacious warmongers in their administrations. Has been so for some time. They are busy enslaving their nations in debt and impoverishing education, health services, infrastructure and environment and spending mindless millions on war making industries. I hate their waste, ignorance and lost opportunity.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2019 10:49 utc | 163

Circe @144 sez regarding the Dimocrats: "Don't give up on U.S. support because we'll be back in power and we'll send in the cavalry."

Circe is correct about that, and it is the best argument anyone can make for voting for Trump next year and keeping the Dims away from control of the military. The American people must not allow the wars to continue.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 17 2019 10:58 utc | 164

Auser #164

Agreed that the dems will do anything to rig their system against the left or any progressive voice. They have been doing that in perpetuity. The voice of the left has learned how to be heard above the smothering cant of the main stream media.

This is a good thing as humanity has made great progress due to people of good intentions and social conscience speaking loudly, walking boldly, implementing progressive justice.

The dem machinery may succeed again in silencing the left within its ranks but my hope is that Bernie and company realise that given this must be his last run at the presidency then a write in campaign should follow. Bernie should not concede. If he chooses the sheep dog stance this time it will not serve anyone or maintain the momentum that he and his supporters have developed. You can only change the system through perseverence as Bernie Sanders life journey demonstrates. He is not alone and has clearly released the genie to do its magic.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 17 2019 11:07 utc | 165

Re. Bolton sacking -

I suspect Bolton was sacked because
- He's an idiot
- He's got a big mouth behind that stupid moustache
- He can't be trusted
- and he's an idiot

Posted by: jared | Oct 17 2019 12:22 utc | 166

The Bhadrakumar piece referred to above is worth reading

He makes this point, which explains 99% of US Foreign Policy:
"...It is not Trump so much as the Pentagon that is responsible for the breakdown in trust between Turkey and the US. Like on most foreign policy issues, Washington had two policies on Syria — Trump’s and the US security and defence establishment’s...."

Posted by: bevin | Oct 17 2019 12:50 utc | 167

I should have added, two might be a considerable underestimate of the number of Foreign Policies being carried out by the US simultaneously.
As the Chinese understand the best way to deal with the United States is to wait while it defeats itself.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 17 2019 12:53 utc | 168

So how will Israel/ neocons respond? smoke @ 55.. 
Syrian war report
A different ministry
Map of military bases in syria
so who did this
Interesting win win article
by: snake @ 63

Iran believe they know who is responsible and response to the attack will be asymmetrical. The only actor I can think of wanting a war between KSA and Iran is the Trump faction. by: Peter AU 1 @ 105
That should have been Trump faction and Israel wanting war between KSA and Iran. by: Peter @ 106
If the above understanding is correct, then it guides what we can expect going forward. More specifically, USA+allies will continue with their anti-Assad, anti-Iran agenda.
The chessboard has changed a bit but USA power in ME isn't collapsing. Trump isn't Putin's b*tch. Trump isn't bucking the Deep State.
by: Jackrabbit @  146 IMO, you left out the most important fact,, Trump pulled 6000 troops from different spots to protect the Saudis from the Houthi ..

Posted by: snake | Oct 17 2019 12:59 utc | 169

jared @166

I think "idiot" is a protected class in America along with religion, ethnicity, hygiene, etc, so firing someone for being an idiot is not just mean and insensitive to the idiot's identity and a failure to be open and inclusive of personal differences, not to mention a rejection of diversity, it may be illegal and thus expose Trump to being impeached!

Or so the TDSers like Circe will shout IN ALL CAPS! You know they are "woke" and "progressive" and all of that so it emotionally "triggers" them to see the poor psycho mutant death walrus excluded from the murder that is so central to its "identity".

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 17 2019 13:21 utc | 170

Kedmi was on Rus TV talk show making thinly veiled "Samson Option" noise about how the Izzies can attack Iran at will, and how the US for years has been restraining the Izzies from attacking Iran. He did not look at all pleased with the loss of the Izzy Rojava mini-state. Sure, Kedmi being full of delusional Izzy chutzpah. But surely they have a Plan B for Syria and its eventual return to Golan.

Posted by: casey | Oct 17 2019 13:33 utc | 171

@AP 57 : "the Golan will have to be handed over once the SAA and Russia eliminate the various terrorist remnants which are the excuse Israel used to grap the Golan."

I am not under the impression that Assad air force is a match for IAF, nor is Putin in hurry to test the 3 layers of missiles of Israel. The Israelis keep on bombing IGRC, no so long than yesterday, which in turns keeps on returning batches of coffins from Syria to Iran.

Posted by: murge23 | Oct 17 2019 13:53 utc | 172

Basically, the NE Syria agreement consists in a tribute to Simon de Montfort and his famous "Kill them all, and let God sort them out!"

Posted by: Mina | Oct 17 2019 14:09 utc | 173

@143 Yeah, Right

No, I don't mean the Kurds are going to sit on their hands waiting for Dems to take power, that's why they're turning to Assad to save their necks now, but the Dems message is don't give up on the U.S. permanently, we'll have your back when we return to power in future. Based on this assurance, and past experience especially their alliance with Israelis, the Kurds are not a reliable ally for Assad. Maybe if Assad saves their necks they might keep that in mind, but Dems are trying hard to keep their loyalty and the Kurds have a track record of foolishly trusting the wrong parties and being used by the ZEmpire for geopolitical goals naively thinking such efforts will lead to an independent state.

@164. William Gruff

Don't use my argument to prop up Trump. Trump made the right decision on removing the troops from Syria, but every other move he makes is disastrous.

People should vote for the candidate that wants to revolutionize the system and inspires young people to fight for this goal. Right now that person is Sanders and eventually he'll pass the torch to AOC to continue his legacy. Sanders sits in the Senate as an independent because he us not a natural ally of what the Dems currently represent. He is one of the few trying to change the Democratic Party.

Sorry, I can NEVER support Trump even if he pretends to be anti-war in Syria while he's helping to perpetuate war in Yemen and escalating hostility with Iran! He's supporting MBS and KSA while Sanders wants to get rid of the Saudi alliance. Plus Trump's aligned with scum like Pompeo and Giuliani! Birds of a feather...Arrgh.

Trump is seriously worried of losing in 2020. So he's trying to pad his base with naive, desperate anti-war voters. No one in their right mind should fall for this pretence.

Finally this twisted spin:

It'll boil down to whether the membership of Team Trump can be deduced as simply and logically as the membership of Team Swamp. I'm quite certain that it cannot. And that is a huge problem for The Swamp.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 17 2019 5:44 utc | 142

Pompeo, Giuliani and Goldman Sachs Mnuchin, to name some swamp low lifes are Team Trump. Your whole argument is delusional.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 17 2019 14:18 utc | 174

IMO, you left out the most important fact,, Trump pulled 6000 troops from different spots to protect the Saudis from the Houthi ..

Posted by: snake | Oct 17 2019 12:59 utc | 169

Can you provide proof, as in a reliable link, because to me, this sounds like either very disingenuous spin or total fabrication?

Posted by: Circe | Oct 17 2019 14:26 utc | 175

perhaps the origin of the kill them all statement.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 17 2019 14:27 utc | 176

. . .a reminder on who's anti-war (which is apparently necessary)--
peak numbers of US troops engaged in ground combat
Bush - 130,000 (Iraq)
Obama - 100,000 (Afghanistan)
Trump - 0

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 17 2019 14:35 utc | 177

Pence and Pompeo are in Ankara today, probably getting religion from Erdogan who just tossed Trump's last letter in the bin. P&P's mission is to demand a cease-fire, Erdogan's response will be interesting. Meanwhile we can add a "lose" to the Win-Win-Win-Win Plan.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 17 2019 14:44 utc | 178

Back on the first page, karlof1 has mentioned that many forces involved in the current conflict, including Trump as President of the US, are there in violation of international and military codes of conduct. Others have made observations to the effect that he may be doing something leading to a peaceful resolution in Syria but he's done so many bad things this really can't balance the ledger.

I'd like to set against both of these the comment above @ 157 by hjp:

Donald J. Trump: "Nancy Pelosi needs help fast! There is either something wrong with her “upstairs,” or she just plain doesn’t like our great Country. She had a total meltdown in the White House today. It was very sad to watch. Pray for her, she is a very sick person!"

Now, given what b has been telling us is happening in Syria for Syrians, I find this comment to be revealing. We have to remember that Trump took to twitter because he didn't feel the press was on his side. He was correct; they weren't. And not only the press.

How does one drain the swamp? Good people have tried and failed - that is very clear. You can't do it with a straw; you can't do it with even a bucket; something different has to be tried. What? We tried Trump. Something really, really different.

You go with your strength; and, like it or not, Trump's strength is buffoonery. He has to keep them guessing - or I should say, he had to keep them guessing. Maybe he's on their side? Maybe they have a good thing going? What other choices do they have? Ah, they get a glimmer, maybe he's not! and there's a big push for Hillary, a big push for impeachment. And it all has to be done with a quiescent or befuddled or ignorant 99% of the people. But that's eroding fast, that inertia of the masses. They know it as well as we do.

What do you do when rats start to leave a sinking ship? Do you attack them? No, you wave goodbye and you start plugging leaks and bailing fast.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 17 2019 15:11 utc | 179

I'll add to my post above:

And praying. It can't hurt.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 17 2019 15:28 utc | 180

@178 Don Bacon

I read somewhere that Erdogan won't meet with Pence, only with Trump (and that was before the letter). Pence will meet with his tier equivalent in the political hierarchy.


I did like the Bhadrakumar piece linked up-thread by both Barovsky and bevin. I recommend it also, it's a good read. Bhadrakumar in my view doesn't always get things right, but this one is a penetrating summary of the situation. It offers some incisive observations, especially with regard to the emptiness of the US geopolitical position, and the ignorance of its planners (my emphases):

Erdogan gave a long rope to the Americans to hang themselves, literally. When he struck, the contradictions in the US policy got exposed overnight — the game plan to balkanise Syria and overthrow Assad; the Faustian deal with a terrorist group that has been bleeding a NATO ally; and the geopolitical agenda to severe Iran’s axis with Syria and the Levant.

Suffice to say, with the eviction of the US forces from northern Syria, the Turks have achieved something that Russia and Iran (and Damascus) all along wished for but couldn’t attain. From this point onward, Russia and Iran will prevail upon Ankara to reconcile with Damascus.

The US has belatedly understood that Turkey has summarily terminated its 8-year old intervention in Syria to overthrow the Assad regime.

Bhadrakumar details the hand of Russia literally patrolling the campaign to make sure the agreements are honored, although he presents the play slightly more as Turkey's lead than I suspect is correct. Turkey's imperatives have been clear all along to all in the theater but I suspect that Iran and principally Russia have been the restraining hand on Turkey, compelling it to wait for the right moment to act in this third operation against the Kurds.

As Bhadrakumar tells us, Erdogan's move is very popular in Turkey, and any sanctions from the US are secondary to national security. In my view, Erdogan is in with a vast win here, and he will not become such a fool as to make a mistake in the consummation.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 17 2019 15:29 utc | 181

@170 Don Bacon

None of the above is anti-war. Trump is NOT anti-war. Obama reduced the troops in Iraq, and increased them in Afghanistan and was not anti-war. Trump sent troops to Afghanistan in late August 2017 and also into Syria Spring 2017 and has increased troop levels in Gulf State bases consistent with escalation against Iran therefore IS NOT anti-war.

See chart bottom of attached article.

U.S. troop deployments since 2016

Trump is escalating hostility with Iran and for that purpose sent thousands of troops to Saudi Arabia that weren't included when chart was produced. If he gets a second term, the number of troops destined for Saudi Arabia will rise significantly. I'm not buying peacenik Trump. It's a laughable, desperate political strategy to get the anti-war vote. Reshuffling some troops from Syria to Saudi Arabia or Iraq does not qualify as anti-war.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 17 2019 15:35 utc | 182

@179 juliania

That's a great comment with some wonderful observations and speculations.

Funny how as the election draws closer, Trump becomes an enigma all over again. I don't say this in a cynical way, just noticing this fact. Is it a conscious Trump with a charted course, or is it the tide of history carrying an unconscious Trump along the current of this new world's imperatives?

I like karlof1's recent links that show there are indeed currents stirring this world, and Trump is perhaps better considered as an actor in a great play of history, of which his role is only a part.

I'm sure we will discuss this more.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 17 2019 15:40 utc | 183

"Reshuffling some troops from Syria to Saudi Arabia or Iraq does not qualify as anti-war."

But what it does qualify for is a major defeat of the PNAC et al gang strategy for the big prize, Iran.
Without a Syria/Iraq bridgehead, having a few more thousand troops in KSA wont change the reality that Iran is safe from a US attack for a while..

Posted by: Lozion | Oct 17 2019 15:53 utc | 184

@ Grieved 181
video tweet from Ali Özkök --
Erdogan greets Pence, Pompeo is absent.

US Vice President Mike #Pence meets #Erdogan. I am sure that the Turkish President would not receive him if Pence came to #Turkey empty-handed and merely demanded that Turkey make a ceasefire with the #PKK/#YPG. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 17 2019 16:05 utc | 185

@185 Thanks for that Don. Mike looks scared stiff. I'm looking forward to Nancy Pelosi's visit to Turkey.

Posted by: dh | Oct 17 2019 16:14 utc | 186

Canthama Retweeted

@Ian56789 7 hours ago

"#WhiteHelmets al-Qaeda supporting terrorist seen with Turkey backed Jihadi extremists now invading North Syria.

#WhiteHelmets Psyops, propagated & funded by the UK's extreme Neocon gov, is one of the biggest scams of the War in Syria.

Lapdog #FakeNews MSM supported the lies."

White Helmets invading northern Syria with Turkey backed Jihadi extremists. I'm shocked I tell ya, SHOCKED.

US blows up arms cache in NE Syria so it wont fall into hands of SAA. Don't worry bro, they have billions worth of supplies that they have captured from your well supplied terrorists it wont be missed.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 17 2019 16:15 utc | 187

From the Russian video it looks like the US troops evacuating Manbij did not even take enough time to change their full diapers.

Posted by: john | Oct 17 2019 16:17 utc | 188

Grieved | Oct 17 2019 15:29 utc | 181
Very interesting from a methodological point of view:
"As Bhadrakumar tells us, Erdogan's move is very popular in Turkey,..."
How does Bhadrakumar know this, how can he know this? ;-)
If media are not free and people who are asked for their opinion intentionally serve to you what the given main stream apparently would want to hear?
It is not that easy to learn the truth. We only learn the wishful thinking of Bhadrakumar.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Oct 17 2019 16:21 utc | 189

Posted by: murge23 | Oct 17 2019 13:53 utc | 172

All they need to do is to take out Zionist infrastructure, to do what the Houthi did to Saudi oil installations. That threat alone would end the occupation of the Golan if sane rational beings governed occupied Palestine. Wake up, smell the coffee, there are new ROE in the air.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 17 2019 16:25 utc | 190

" don't give up on the U.S. permanently, we'll have your back when we return to power in future"

That was Nixon's treasonous message to S. Vietnam leaders days before election of RMN in Nov 1968. His message was delivered by Chennault's wife. As result, S VN refused to start peace talks in Geneva after N VN agreed.

LBJohnson [via FBI's Hoover] intercepted it and confronted RMN who, upon election, was made to publicly say US policy of starting peace talks in Geneva would continue [but S. VN delegates in fact refused to attend early 1965 and VN war continued]. LBJ/FBI docs were sealed for 50 years and still have not been released AFAIK, but Johnson officials leaked in the 1980s. I do not have the data to hand at this late time.

A tiny personal interest in this still sobers me. And I acknowledge that MOA/b and its commmenters continue to impinge on the movers and shakers.

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 17 2019 16:25 utc | 191

Seriously people, has all the fighting in the ME since Iran war had any benefit for US as a nation?
Are there now fewer terrorists?
Are these nations that we attacked now on track with Rules Based Order?
Some folks got rich.
The US is now broke.
The UN has been proven to be a sham.

The should be investigation and retribution.
They can get away with murder as long as they don't start the draft.
It's just that there scant paying work in many parts of US except for killing for Uncle Sam.
Self labeled "liberals" are crying for more war.
Were we really going to hand the Kurds a nation to call their own?
There needs to be a Hall of Shame for these people who perpetrated this mess.
Not to be naive but Thank God for Russia. They saved the world, a second time.
Are they the only people left with any soul?
I know it was in their interest, but why does their interest seem to align with a more humane approach while the west only knows plunder?

Posted by: jared | Oct 17 2019 16:28 utc | 192

Grieved "Trump becomes an enigma all over again. I don't say this in a cynical way, just noticing this fact. Is it a conscious Trump with a charted course, or is it the tide of history carrying an unconscious Trump along the current of this new world's imperatives?"

Trump has mentioned this in the past. It is a conscious decision on his part to appear to be unpredictable.
Patrick Armstrong still believes it is Trump's intention to pull the US out of wars, and not start new ones.
It is my belief Trump would liketo get hold of a good chunk of the worlds oil supplies to make America great again. Many contradictions disappear when Trump is looked at in this light.
He does appear to be a rational actor though in that if another country (particularly a nuclear armed country) makes a blocking move, he will back off and look for another angle rather than stumble into war with a major power. This certainly applies to Russia and hopefully also China.
I don't think Trump is adverse to war if he thinks it short and profitable for the US.
Trump is overturning many of the post WWII norms, but that also includes norms for threshold of use of nuclear weapons.
Putin said Obama was like a pidgin, overturning the pieces and crapping on the board. i did not realise the seriousness of that statement at the time, but what it meant was Obama was quite likely to blunder into war with Russia.
No matter what else Trump is or is not or whatever he does to try and make America great again, hopefully he will not kick over the pieces and crap on the board.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 17 2019 16:33 utc | 193

I expect Putin will pull Erdogan's chestnuts from the fire that is NE Syria. Erdogan's upcoming meeting with Putin should be a game changer. Erdogan has a lot of support within Turkey for this invasion of Syria. He will be able to deflect blame to the west and move more into the eastern camp when this is all over with Russian and Chinese help. It is all about staying in power for Erdogan.

Posted by: Tom | Oct 17 2019 16:35 utc | 194

Peter AU 1 @ 193

I guess you mean Obama was like a PIGEON?

Gave me a good laugh though.

Posted by: Montreal | Oct 17 2019 16:36 utc | 195

It's remarkable to me that you have such lucid and constructive thoughts in that miserable attic garret you live in.

Posted by: jadan | Oct 17 2019 16:56 utc | 196

Looks like the bunch of lunatics that make up the US Congress really want to push Turkey out of NATO and towards Eurasia:

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Oct 17 2019 17:14 utc | 197

Posted by: jadan | Oct 17 2019 16:56 utc | 196

The view through the window in the pic of a squirrel on the window sill over b's desk and laptop, in an MoA post several years ago, looked more pleasant/ idyllic than a miserable attic garret, to me.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 17 2019 17:31 utc | 198

juliania @179--

Thanks for your reply to my 47! I've been mulling over a concept during the past week or so regarding the names chosen for US political parties and how they're perceived by the public as the latter's subjected to the very real stresses occurring as we enter the beginnings of paradigm change. We as very well--uniquely--informed individuals know the why of those stresses so they may not affect us as much as the public at large. But what are those stresses, Karl? In a not ready for release paper he's just published at his website, Hudson cites a Gallup polling report:

"More than half of all Americans feel pressure and strain, according to the April 2019 Global Emotions Report published by Gallup. Most (55%) Americans recall feeling stressed much of the day in 2018. That’s more than in all but three countries globally. Nearly half of Americans felt worried (45%) and more than a fifth (22%) felt angry. ‘Even as their economy roared, more Americas were stressed, angry and worried last year than they have been at many points during the last decade,’ Julie Ray, a Gallup editor, wrote in the summary report." [Emphasis Original]

On page 7, figure 3, we are treated to a look at the incredibly massive bubble blown into being relative to nominal GDP that's driving the "Polarization in America" the paper's about that's the ultimate source of the stresses noted above. The $$trillions$$ wasted on the Endless Wars are seldom considered as part of the bubble blowing but they most certainly are as the asset prices tied to them and the enormous interest bearing debt incurred are also enriching the top 10% at the expense of the bottom 90% thus exacerbating the polarization. Note on the timeline when the deviation began to become visible; it coincides with Nixon's decision to drop gold backing for dollar and the capture of overall government economic policy by Neoliberalism; and do note the bipartisanship of that ideology's continuance. Clearly, at present there's no opposing political grouping working to alter the situation, so public stress continues to rise. And those stresses along with the lack of an actual opposition are what got Trump elected, and will possibly get him reelected.

Delivering on the constantly disputed withdrawal from the illegal involvement in Syria was a huge win for Trump domestically. And with the D-Party proving itself to be the party of War--aside from Gabbard and Sanders--and despite Trump calling for more military spending, Trump will be perceived as Anti-War, particularly if HOPE moves forward and Trump endorses it. And in case it went unnoticed, Trump has coopted Gabbard's Endless Regime Change Wars slogan and freely uses it as his own.

So, my ruminations regard naming a political party that independents and disaffected Ds & Rs will flock to because of the imagery it evokes--The National Party: The party that pursues the genuine national interest and takes the Constitution's Preamble as its Campaign Platform--" We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"--all of which is in direct opposition to both D & R parties who are only interested in continuing the disparity shown in chart 3. IMO, a party embracing that philosophy and the initial patriotic rationale given for the federal government would be a natural fit for both Gabbard and Sanders; and by openly and loudly espousing the tie to that rationale, the public could easily recognize its implied America First aspect and the great need to "improve the general Welfare" and thus help to "secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity"--none of which is clearly happening and thus the stresses on society. It could then be easily argued that providing for "the common defence" doesn't require a globe-girdling Empire of Bases costing over a $Trillion annually when all too many lack the "common defence" of basic healthcare/insurance. The ideas of how this could help provoke a Critical Mass are legion. But it can only work by looking at the USA's public as it actually is, not as it's idealized or presumed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 17 2019 17:32 utc | 199

'How does Bhadrakumar know this, how can he know this? ;-)... We only learn the wishful thinking of Bhadrakumar."

He was the Indian Ambassador to Turkey for three years, a Central Asia specialist and a diplomat for thirty years, when India had a reputation for relative non-alignment. It is very likely that he has good sources for his information. Over the years his columns have proved to be reliable in prediction and useful. Like 'b" he is one of a very few .

Posted by: bevin | Oct 17 2019 17:50 utc | 200

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