Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 23, 2019

When Trump Ignored Bad Advice He Enabled Progress In Syria

When bureaucrats and officials, also known as the Borg, contradict the foreign policy of the president they inevitably create chaos. We yesterday explained how that happens:

Since Donald Trump became president many of his subordinates have tried to subvert his policies. Instead of implementing Trump's idea and preferences they have tried to implement their own. Some have done so because they believed that it is the "right thing to do" while others have ignored Trump's wishes to play their own game.

Trump was smart enough to circumvent the Borg with regards to northeast Syria. This led to the removal of U.S. troops and the Turkish-Russian agreement which is an excellent outcome for all sides.


Commentator ben and others critizised yesterday's post:

b, I've been a participant at this site for 14yrs, and I don't believe I've ever seen your take on any subject more "off base", than your take on DJT.

This "man" has never been anything else but a grifter and giant con. Virtually everything he has done, he's done to enrich himself and his family. That is, besides deconstruct the U$ govt. to enrich his class of people, (the malignantly rich) by dialing back regulations that protect everyday Americans from the greed of the mega-corporations.

He's a sycophant for the corporate monsters who now own the U$A. Anything and everything he's done, isn't because he is such an egalitarian, it's for his personal enrichment, and the monsters he works for.

When they're done with him, they'll throw him under the bus, just like all the rest of us...

I agree with ben's characterization of Trump. I dislike most of his policies. But that does not change the fact that Donald Trump is the elected president of the United States and that he is thereby entitled to direct its foreign policies as he sees fit.

Ben's and my opinion about Trump do not invalidate the point I made. Trump policies, especially in international relations, are getting sabotaged or co-opted by the Borg, the unelected establishment in the various departments and think tanks. This is a dangerous phenomenon that, more or less, hinders every elected president, especially those who want to make peace. It should be resisted.

The people in leading positions of the executive work "at the pleasure of the president". Their task is to execute his policies. When they refrain from doing so or implement their own preferences they create a mess.

Consider two additional examples, both published yesterday, which describe how James Jeffrey, the Special Representative for Syria Engagement, tried to sabotage Trump's decision to leave Syria and, while doing that, misled the Kurds:

A State Department official told a senior Syrian Kurdish leader during a meeting in Washington that the United States would not fully withdraw its forces from northeast Syria and advised her administration not to engage with Bashar al-Assad’s government or with Russia.

According to two sources familiar with the Monday, October 22 meeting, a senior member of Washington’s diplomatic team is said to have become angry and told Ilham Ahmed, President of the Executive Committee of the Syrian Democratic Council, that the U.S. will not allow the SDC to arrange a deal with the Assad regime or Russia for protection against the Turkey-led attack.
SDC officials told The Defense Post that American officials in the past have promised they would not withdraw U.S. forces until a political settlement was in place to secure their future in the Syrian political system.

Trump had long announced that the U.S. military will leave Syria. He had made no promises to the Kurds. The State Department official did not do his job but contradicted Trump's policies.

Another report on an earlier State Department meeting with the Kurds paints a similar picture:

The National Interest has learned from multiple sources about tense meetings between SDC diplomats and State Department officials who oversee the Trump administration’s policy on Syria. The State Department repeatedly pushed for the SDC to work with Turkish-backed Islamist rebels while berating Syrian Kurdish officials and refusing to listen to their concerns, according to multiple sources.

One source with firsthand knowledge of the screaming session told the National Interest that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joel Rayburn, who is a special envoy for Syria, yelled at SDC officials and broke a pencil in a translator’s face. Two sources with secondhand knowledge confirmed this version of events.

“[Rayburn] loves the Syrian Islamist groups,” one of the three sources said. “He thinks they can counter Iran. He is dreaming.”

“He is pushing [the SDC] to meet with jihadists,” the source added.

To tell the anarcho-marxist YPG/PKK Kurds to unite with Erdogan's Jihadis is an absolutely crazy idea. Neither the Kurds nor Erdogan would ever agree to a partnership. These were impossible policies. They made no sense at all.

Jeffrey and his shop clearly worked against Trump's orders and against U.S. interests. Jeffrey clearly favors Turkey where he once worked as U.S. ambassador and, above all, Israel:

In addition to the uptick in tense verbal exchanges, the three different sources described to the National Interest how State Department officials attempted to condemn the brutal murder of Kurdish-Syrian politician Hevrin Khalaf only to have their efforts waylayed by Ambassador James Jeffrey, who oversees anti-ISIS efforts. Jeffrey blocked the statement, they said.
Now, even as U.S. troops are stepping aside to allow Turkey to attack U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces, Jeffrey’s team is floating plans to peel off Arab components of the Syrian Democratic Forces to build a counter-Iran force far from the Turkish border.

It is Jeffrey who is pressing for a continued U.S. occupation of Syria's oilfields. These are not Trump's policies, but contradictions to them.

Aymenn Al-Tamimi makes a similar point:

When [Trump in December 2018] told his advisers that he wanted to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, he meant it. The message should have been clear: devise an orderly withdrawal plan.

But that is not what happened. Instead, efforts and attention were geared towards U.S. forces remaining indefinitely in Syria.

One can criticize Trump for not selecting advisors and envoys who follow his directions. But Trump is a New Yorker businessman and not a politician with decades of experience in Washington. He does not know who he can trust. He has to proceed by trial and error until he finds people who are willing to go work with him against those permanent powers that usually drive U.S. foreign policy.

In a congress hearing yesterday James Jeffrey admitted (vid) that Trump did not consult him before his phone call with Erdogan.

By going off-script in that phone call and by greenlighting the Turkish invasion Trump achieved - despite the resistance within his own administration - a win-win-win-win situation in Syria:

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.

We will have to wait for Trump's (and Putin's) memoir to learn how much of this has been coordinated behind the scenes.

I for one count this as a major foreign policy achievement for Trump and I am happy with this outcome.


Posted by b on October 23, 2019 at 15:23 UTC | Permalink

« previous page | next page »

And while all are watching this Plato Cave display the GOP Congresscritters just invaded the "private" impeachment hearings and the private banking system is bleeding the Fed on American's dime as I detailed in this weeks open thread

Having a nice civilization war everyone?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 23 2019 22:34 utc | 101

@94 "It's getting tiring, denying all the posts telling us that Trump is going to retain the oil-fields in Syria."

Sure is. But I'm glad you and a couple others have been doing it. I don't have the energy. Let the US sit on the oilfields if they want. They'll get bored sooner or later and the Syrian government is doing OK without them.

Posted by: dh | Oct 23 2019 22:34 utc | 102

So glad to see Moon of A finally placing his foot gently on the first step of the Trump Train. Time to get on board! 2020 is just around the corner.

Posted by: Tony Lawless | Oct 23 2019 22:37 utc | 103

bevin @96--

When you examine the 1787 US Constitution, you'll see that the Executive's realm is essentially a tabula rasa and Congress's ability to oversee it extremely limited, all of which was one of the major components of the arguments forwarded by those known as the Anti-Federalists during the ratification debates. The agreement that George Washington would become the first POTUS was directly linked to the fairly well concluded presumption that he wouldn't become a dictator or declare himself King--which is a complete reflection on the emptiness of Article II. The subsequent expansion of executive power is now history, much of it explored during Jefferson's terms. Look at what Polk deemed it was within his powers to do--stage a provocation to start a war with Mexico to steal half its lands--while Lincoln argued he didn't have such powers, although it must be noted Lincoln's opinion was limited to a very small minority. Those are a few of the more well known points, but there are many hundreds more beginning with Adam's undeclared war versus France that prompted the likely unconstitutional Alien & Sedition Acts.

The Framers expected all the blank areas to eventually get filled in over time, but one area that hasn't is restrictions on the actions of the executive, although in theory the UN Charter via the Constitution's Supremacy Clause does more to reign in its behavior but it has yet to be applied, thus the executive runs rampant, killing at will with no restraints.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 23 2019 22:54 utc | 104

I judge a president by how many innocent men women and children he's killed. Trump doesn't even rate in the top 20. Clinton, Bush,Obama, Reagan, Johnson, Washington, Jackson,Wilson,Roosevelt,Polk etc. Heck, 10 out of the first 12 presidents were slave owners. Trump may be an embarrassment, but as a psychopathic killer he's an amateur. There is no honor in war. As a veteran I am ashamed of my role in murdering millions. "Thank you for your service"? War is murder wrapped in a flag. It's worse than pedophilia. At least Jeffery Dahmer ate what he killed.

Posted by: Maxim Gorki | Oct 23 2019 23:00 utc | 105


- This is a weird situation. I don't think the "Deep state" will let this matter rest. It's one more reason for the the "Deep State" to get rid of Trump. Trump may have won one or two battles (against the "Deep State") but this doesn't he is going to win the war. I - at least - remain sceptical.

Posted by: Willy2 | Oct 23 2019 23:00 utc | 106

I've been waiting for something like this....

"In the eastern part of Deir Ez-Zor province, three aircraft were seen flying from the area controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces east of the Euphrates. Our correspondent reported that he heard explosions at the Hamadan air field and then noticed thick smoke indicating that the air base had been attacked by aircraft missiles," Step News re

Also something called the Deir-Ezzor Military Council says the SAA will be met with force if they try to enter Eastern Syria.

Posted by: dh | Oct 23 2019 23:11 utc | 107

Posted on Syrian_MC twitter: "Need sleep...tomorrow is a work day which will turn heads"

So, there were reports of a lot of Russian hardware moving, as well as personnel, in addition to Syrian troops and equipment. I believe there is to be a push against Idlib, as well as all the activity near the border. It will take some time to secure the newly freed region, repair and supply the airfield near the dam and a network of other strategic places. I think Lavrov and Shoygu implied that the US had only hours to vacate any remaing men and material from the controlled area. There have been various pronouncements and a lot of fussing but facts on the ground will become a little clearer day by day.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 23 2019 23:18 utc | 108

iIf motives can signal the future, the present convulsions in the US government signal that America has been taken over by the Zionists who populate all avenues of US power structures.

It is inconceivable that Trump who has been up to now catering to AIPAC and the Israeli lobbies and actors would be subjected to ignominy because he seems to want to abandon Syria. But. let's face it, Israel wants mayhem to engulf Syria, an ally of Iran and the Hezbollah.

American troops' withdrawal from Syria is seen as anathema by Zionists and Israeli likewise.
The Jewish interests can pull numerous strings in America to prevent this from happening. Trump is caught between a hammer and a nail. He wants to be reelected so he has to fulfill his promises
to his bases. Bring the troops home and all this nice stuff.

But his Israeli masters will make life difficult for him as long as he is not pandering to Israel's wishes.

There is a subtle game whereas the MSM assaults Trump but his actions are all in favor of his MSM detractors. Actor or puppet remains to be elucidated. No tax on the rich, Jerusalem, Golan Heights, the West Bank,, the Jordan Valley, all gifts to the criminal state of Israel.

And then, sanctions on China? If Trump wants to return the industrial jobs to America, he has to put tariffs on all imported goods, regardless of origin. Not only from Germany and China because they are successful exporters to America.

He would also have to put a stop on the expatriation of capital to other countries in view of reducing the ability of Wall Street to export jobs.

We do not see any of these actions from the WH so DJT is not the angel he wants to project himself to be.

For the time being, his orders of withdrawal are freeing some of the Syrian territories recently under US watch. The best thing for Syria is that it now has control over most of its territory.
much to the disgust of Israel.

I can see that Israel's greatest wish is to see a conflagration between Iran and the USA.
There will be more false flags until one is so painful that Israel will be destroyed.

The Samson option is anti-Jewish. Will Israel bomb The City, New York and other great congregations of Zionists?

Remains to be seen.

Posted by: CarlD |

Posted by: CarlD | Oct 23 2019 23:22 utc | 109

The Saker offers an interesting analysis of Syria-to-date in a sort of power-ranking format. It's lengthy but IMO the extensive recap's needed to paint the present picture.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 23 2019 23:52 utc | 110

The video linked of the Lavrov and Shoigu presser by Sasha @95 isworth watching.
Shoigu makes it clear neither Russia nor SAA control most of east Syria. US is not part of any formal agreement and Russia is unsure or does not know US intentions. He speaks of those who control the ISIS camps and prisons and the regions they are located. The only formal agreement is that of the border with turkey and Shoigu also mentioned something about part of the Iraq border

The link again

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 23 2019 23:54 utc | 111

Circe @ 59

Not one word on Trump taking over the oil fields in Northeastern Syria. Why? Because it just doesn't jive with the fairytale here.

What has he done to achieve that? Left 200 US troops behind? That's likely going to be one base, perhaps two at most. These bases are going to need airstrips capable of taking several transport aircraft each day given the amount of fuel, etc. the US military requires. Unless they exist already, creating them is going to be a problem. Nah, Trump is just bullshitting to convince his base and his opponents that he's doing the "right thing", sticking it to Assad. Comparing supporting these new/re-purposed bases where everything needs to be flown in with al Tanf doesn't work because al Tanf is on the Jordanian border which means stuff can be trucked in and Assad wants good relations with Jordan.
As for taking over the oil fields, what does that even mean? The oil's in the ground and much of the infrastructure has ceased to exist or is badly damaged as a result of US coalition bombing. So either the oil stays in the ground or someone invests large sums of money in repairing/recreating the infrastructure. How is Trump going to export the oil? Through Syria? Through Iraq? Nah, someone'll tell Trump it's not safe to leave 200 troops in Syria, and they'll be gone in a few weeks.
How relevant to American control of oil is the declining output of Syria. Not a lot? Energy independence is quite important for Syria as it allows it to ignore sanctions and avoid spending hard-earned foreign currency on oil, although I suspect that Iran will continue to support Syria as best it can.

Assad is seething about Turkey's incursion.

Really? You have spoken to him personally and he's told you his deepest thought on the matter? Nah, I'm guessing he's over the fucking moon. In ten days, he'll see major parts of Syrian territory restored to the control of the Syrian government with little loss of life or treasure. What's not to like?

He wants the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria completely restored.

Quite agree but the Putin, Rouhani, and Erdogan seem to be in agreement with Assad on this.

You think he's on board with everyone making deals with Turkey without his government's input?

What choice does he have? He might not like it but he'll lump it. But Putin will get him a far better deal than anyone else will.

William Gruff's comment will most likely turn out to be true and yet again you'll be wrong.

Why did Trump hang on to these oil fields??? WHY?!
The real question is has he hung on to these oil fields? Not that I've seen any evidence of, but I've seen plenty of evidence that Trump is a master bullshitter and with these you look at what they do and don't listen to what they say because that is a miasma.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 23 2019 23:59 utc | 112

This "man" has never been anything else but a grifter and giant con. Virtually everything he has done, he's done to enrich himself and his family.

You've gotta be scraping the bottom of the barrel and be in a state of terminal desperation, and green with envy, to cite that outlook as unsavory behavior.
Even wage slaves could be accused of that 'crime'. In fact if anyone obliged to work for a living doesn't embrace that ambition then he or she is going to stay near the bottom rung of the pecking order because they'll miss opportunities for advancement.

I know a bloke who accidentally became a millionaire in the 1970s. He was renting a vacant lot at the end of a suburban shopping strip and had set it up as a used car business. The owner wandered in one day and said "Hi Fred, I'm going to sell this block and you've got first refusal. I want XYZ dollars for it."
Fred bought the block. It was more than an hour's drive from his home so he decided to lease it to another entrepreneur, as a car yard, and look for a potential site for his own business closer to home.

At that time there was a growing pool of vacant ex-petrol stations. He discovered that one about 10 minutes from his home, on the corner of two very busy roads, was cheap to lease so he leased it and set up his new car yard. It was nothing flash, but it worked from Day 1. Car guys all know each other so when word got around that Fred had broken with tradition, he had many keen visitors wanting to learn more. He was happy to explain how easy it is to do the same thing he did, but they didn't want to hear that. They wanted him to find a site, turn it into a car yard, quote a monthly rental and they would rent it from him.

It mushroomed and Fred made a smooth transition from being in the used car business to being in the car-yard business. He and his wife migrated to her country of origin and they lived a joyous early retirement indulging in their hobby of antique collection and trading, in a large two and a half storey house in Oxford.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 24 2019 0:02 utc | 113

James @ 98 --
You may have had the impression Helmer was a canuck because he writes on developments in Canada, notably the noxious pocket-Hillary, Chrystia Freeland, Galicia's Foreign Minister in Ottawa.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Oct 24 2019 0:04 utc | 114

Peter AU 1 @112--

What I got from that presser was that time's required to deploy the troops so patrols can commence. Most consternating to Shoigu is the refusal of the Outlaw US Empire to allow UN agencies in to the camps it oversees, and then the legal limbo those people inhabit. Lavrov clearly was in no mood to dilly-dally.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 24 2019 0:06 utc | 115

karlof1 "time's required to deploy the troops so patrols can commence."

My take on that was patrols in the region covered by the agreement with Turkey.

My overall take from Lavrov and Shoigu at the time of the presser everything in east Syria was up in the air apart from the area covered by the border agreement.
In thinking about this, Trump's main problem was Turkey so perhaps an informal agreement between Trump and Erdogan that US would pull back from the border, but nothing guaranteed after that.
This would fit whether or not Trump had any designs on the oilfields. He could not guarantee a full pullout due to expected domestic resistance. Basically all Trump could guarantee was to give Erdogan a quick shot at it thus avoiding more problems with Turkey. Trump has been wanting to pull back in Syria if not pull out altogether, and Erdogan threatening to attack gave Trump the chance to do this.
I'm starting to get the impression that rather than a solid plan nutted out between Trump, Erdogan and Putin, the initiation of the current moves was as simple as Trump deliberately giving a window of opportunity under which all could take their wins if played right.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 24 2019 0:36 utc | 116

Peter AU 1 @117--

Accidentally on purpose? Your take is close to The Saker's I linked above. It's rather amusing to see the new trolls who write but say nothing.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 24 2019 0:46 utc | 117

Wow...another EXCELLENT ARTICLE...

This time calling attention to the just unbelievable sabotage of the entire Syria peace path by a couple of low level scumbags like Jeffrey and his crew at State...

Just unbelievable...this is valuable info that I was not aware of in this saga...and that is why I come to this investigative site...

Btw...I haven't bothered reading any comments here nor do I intend to [I did in the original piece referenced here]...

There is no point wasting god-given time on the dreck that is piled on here [some I have definitely fingered as slimy shills...others are just plain retarded]...


Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 24 2019 0:49 utc | 118

karlof1 @119: ... amusing to see the new trolls who write but say nothing.

It's not amusing to see such a comment from you.

Peter AU 1 is clearly not a troll. He has provided much good info to inform MoA readers.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 24 2019 1:17 utc | 119

chu teh | Oct 23 2019 19:41 utc | 69

re George Webb 5 min YouTube: correct link works:

[That earlier link somehow totally wrong!]

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 24 2019 1:21 utc | 120

so any praise of anything trump does - even inadvertently - is an endorsement of him as a president? what an msnbc thing to say.

you don't get to the levels of public or private life trump has reached without being a scumbag. that's the US system. that's capitalism. the higher you climb the scummier it gets.

i guess people would rather have an effectual scumbag who bombs syria and iran after establishing "no fly zones"? a more effective scumbag with the entire scumbag establishment lined up behind them? i for one think the best hope we have is a president who is widely hated and incompetent. obama was the epitome of a smooth talking stuffed suit with teflon approval ratings and the adoration of any media to the left of charles krauthammer or dick cheney. look where that got us. it got us trump, actually.

if anything, trump is the most efficient president in a long time; why have a middle man (or woman) taking orders and donations from "grifters" and "con men" when you can just cut to the chase and put one in direct charge of things? (as much as the president is actually in charge and not just a manicured figurehead.)

funny how this all just coincidentally started after bolton got shitcanned, by the way.

Posted by: the pair | Oct 24 2019 1:21 utc | 121

Jackrabbit 121

I did not take karlof1's comment as directed at me. Rather I think, those that post hate filled rants (TDS type rants) but no information or rational explanation of what they think is happening.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 24 2019 1:30 utc | 122

Peter AU 1 @124

Oh, OK. Good.

It did seem unusual for karlof1.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 24 2019 1:46 utc | 123

Peter AU 1 @117: In thinking about this, Trump's main problem was Turkey.

After watching your link @112, I'd say that Putin's main problem is Turkey.

Shogu and Lavrov do not look happy at all.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 24 2019 1:51 utc | 124

From a quick search of Syrian crop maps, it looks like the Kurds have an area with basically no crops. Not sure if oil in the ground but no crops or water is a good trade-off if they want to go solo.

Posted by: Schmoe | Oct 24 2019 1:52 utc | 125

A question not asked- was American governance responsible, prudent, lawful regarding fiscal, foreign, infrastructure, education and legislative, policies served the interests of the citizens better than 3.5 years of bad orange man

Posted by: Lehnne | Oct 24 2019 1:56 utc | 126

By their fruits you will know them

--Matt 7:16

So pretty funny here...having just mentioned in my previous comment 'slimy shills' and those who appear to be 'retarded'...

...that one would immediately spring up showing symptoms of BOTH...

This MoA 'contributor' proclaims he has been 'waiting for something like this'...

The so-called 'news' being about several 'unknown' aircraft supposedly attacking the Abu Kamal town in Syria's Deir Ezzor province, which has long been in SAG hands...and where the border crossing with Iraq has recently been re-opened...

Of course a google search reveals no 'news' of this kind whatsoever...although there were reports early in September that Israel launched missiles [from outside Syrian airspace] at Hezbollah and Iranian targets there...but nothing recently...and certainly no hostile aircraft actually flying in Syrian airspace...

[Israel's strikes have always been from Lebanese airspace, since Putin told them to quit it or else, using standoff missiles...but after that Sept 9 attack Russian fighter jets have reportedly stepped up interceptions of hostile-appearing Israeli jets, which then turned back without firing...]

Now the funny thing is the 'source' an outfit called

When you land on this site you are treated to stories like this...

Half of Russians can only just afford food and clothing

And then if you click on the 'opinions' page you will find 'reports' like this...

Russia falls behind Ethiopia in adult survival rate

Supposedly citing the so-called World Bank Human Capital Index...which when we actually go there we find that Russia is only three points behind the US and ahead of many EU member states, including Luxembourg, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary and others...

So I'm sure this 'UAwire' 'source' is incredibly real news that we all are 'waiting for'...

Ahh...the shills that just can't help their overpowering impulses...the gift that keeps on giving...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 24 2019 2:06 utc | 127

@112 peter au.. thanks for linking the youtube from sashas post @95 again... it is a very tenuous situation as i hear it from the 2 russians larvov and shoigu or however you spell their names..

@115 Paul Damascene.. helmer was doing a fairly regular radio broadcast thru a station in victoria, b.c. canada as well - just down the road from where i live... no.. in fact,it was e mail conversations with him in the past about freeland and more that i got this impression.. i have been following his site for a good 5 or more years.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Oct 24 2019 2:09 utc | 128

@George. "yeah, and it's terrible having a stupid boss.. I keep seeing that image of him mocking the handicapped in a wheel chair for Christ sake!"

You might want to check out the youtube video from #walkaway titled "The Hard Truth, Episode 1: Media Bias" Trump WAS NOT mocking the guy for being in a wheel chair. You were lied to.

I can't believe people still accept what the MSM say without doing some research.

Posted by: Ian Dobbs | Oct 24 2019 2:12 utc | 129

@129 I guess I'm the retarded slimy shill in question. I came across that news article and thought it might be of interest. No idea whether it's legit or not.
And as a long time poster on MOA I have no idea why it upsets you so much. I'm sure b will delete it if he thinks it's misleading.

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 2:38 utc | 130

The outcome as Trump describes it sounds unparalleled in the history of historic achievements, but that's hardly surprising. If Turkey occupies only a strip between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain 30 miles deep and settles its refugees only in this territory, while U.S. troops withdraw from NE Syria entirely, and if the AANES retains a substantial degree of autonomy from Damascus in the other territory it currently claims, I'll call the outcome an improvement over the status quo. I'll never agree that Trump's the innocent victim of his appointees. Who says that the "guard the oil" strategy is not his? A subordinate with his own agenda no doubt proposed it, but Trump's the decider guy, and he loves deciding the disposition billion dollar resources.

We're still waiting for any troops to come home, and Trump signals that he'll use good will won with this withdrawal to escalate his conflict with Iran in Saudi Arabia where the stakes are much higher. Bravos at this point are definitely premature.

Posted by: Martin Brock | Oct 24 2019 2:41 utc | 131

It takes a grifter to know a grifter. The MIC is full of grifters making massive dollars on the side overcharging the US Treasury moving materials around the planet. I was listening to my favorite hard left independent radio channel and the commentator asked the question amid the Trump bashing, it is funny but we have been asking for this for years.

The Baghdad consulate is a massive luxury prison complex. That is how much the US is loved. An Afghanistan exit is working next. An Iraq wind down is coming. Talks with North Korea are ongoing.

No wonder the MIC and all its grifters have their panties in a bunch. It will all come to an end when Trump is impeached or loses. He still has not bombed Iran yet despite the hard push to do so.

Trump is a wild ass, no doubt, but imagine taking on this pack of grifters that are so deeply entrenched in the system. Only chaos and disinformation will result in a battle with them. The media battering rams are smashing Trump and he is digging his grave trying to get out of the way on Twitter.

Both sides are going to push him off the White House island and destroy him once he loses his presidential protection and returns to the private sector.

Posted by: dltravers | Oct 24 2019 2:44 utc | 132

@129 Incidentally perhaps you can explain how you saw the offensive article if you didn't bother to read any comments on this thread?

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 2:51 utc | 133

It's a happy accident that Trump has withdrawn troops from Syria and the Kurdish people have not been liquidated. Yet. It is not Trumps "stable genius" that made this happen, it was Putin. Putin has a vision of the world as "multipolar". He is generally trusted and respected. When poseur Trump struts on the stage and makes an ass of himself while humiliating the USA, Putin is consoling the injured parties. Steady as she goes, the orange chaos maker shall soon be sent back to his rich hovels.

Trump deserves no respect and no cooperation simply because the Constitution grants prerogatives to the president. He earns what respect and cooperation he gets, and he lives or dies by it. Trump is a national embarrassment and an incompetent. It is too bad that your Fuhrerprinzip is violated by the way this clown is served by his minions. That says more about you than the situation you are describing.

It is not their fault, b! You are pointing your finger in the wrong direction. You are not entitled to respect if you don't earn it. Trump and his boneheaded notions about who he is has accomplished nothing. Putin did the Syria magic. What Trump did is get his fat ass out of the way. Will he leave Iraq as the Iraqis are demanding? He will continue his destructive and destabilizing antics and try to take credit for whatever good happens.

You are taken in by this charlatan. It's a mystery to me why anyone takes Trump seriously.

Posted by: jadan | Oct 24 2019 3:02 utc | 134

House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Syria
Serious miscalculations from both sides. One side insists Assad must go, doesn't want U.S. withdrawal, wants more Congressional oversight. Other side sees U.S. withdrawal as sign of success. One person felt betrayed by Trump's breaking his promise to keep U.S. troops in Syria to "protect the homeland." Another said they were disgusted by what Trump "did and allowed to happen." Another said everything Putin does "is all to destroy our democracy." James Jeffrey said "they (meaning Turkey) are not going to accomplish anything good" with their agreement with Russia. Jeffery went on to say "allowing Assad to move into other areas is a problem for the U.S." "U.S. mission in Syria was to defeat Isis."
No recognition of changing tide, calling developments a "tragic disaster." Entire conversation is wrapped around itself. Pitiful.

Posted by: thecelticwithinme | Oct 24 2019 3:09 utc | 135

@129 You may find this news article more acceptable. They talk about a drone strike on Al Bukamal rather than aircraft....

"The Jerusalem Post reports: Unidentified drones attacked Syrian areas controlled by the Assad regime and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias at the Hamdan airport near the town of Al-Bukamal in the eastern region of Deir ez-Zor, according to opposition-affiliated TV station Halab Today.
Before the attack, three drones were seen flying from the direction of areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces militia, according to Step News, a news agency founded by Syrian activists and journalists. At noon, explosions were heard at the Hamdan airport. Ambulances were sent to the airport, but the number of causalities is unknown.

Iranian-backed militias in Al-Bukamal have been targeted by airstrikes multiple times in the past year. Syrian forces and Iranian-backed militias began transferring equipment and materials to Al-Bukamal for the purpose of building bridges across the Euphrates River, according to local news outlet Deir ez-Zor 24.

International coalition aircraft intensified flights over the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor last week."

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 3:23 utc | 136

UAWire... UAW

This links UAWire to
"The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) is one of the largest and most diverse unions in North America, with members in virtually every sector of the economy."

UAWire is the media wing of the US union UAW.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 24 2019 3:32 utc | 137

@139 Thanks Peter. Perhaps there is more than one UAWire.

This one seems to have a Ukrainian connection...

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 3:40 utc | 138

@ peter - is not the same as the link @ dh shared is from an anti russia website of some sort.. i think it is ukraine, but not sure.. they don't say... bottom line @dh is a good guy and fb doesn't seem to know that.. oh well.. i get a kick out of @dh's response to fb!

and peter, as you shared that video from sasha @112 - it is pretty clear the situation in eastern syria is quite tenuous at best, in spite of what appear to be positive changes in the past week from the empire of evil.. we'll see how it unfolds..

Posted by: james | Oct 24 2019 3:43 utc | 139

@ is not the same as my post is being held back in moderation for some strange reason!

Posted by: james | Oct 24 2019 3:44 utc | 140

weird.. my posts are never held in moderation! yes - as i said in the missing post - - i think it is ukraine based- anti russia..

Posted by: james | Oct 24 2019 3:45 utc | 141

Well...I see the links just keep on coming...

Now the story has morphed into alleged 'drone strikes'...the Jerusalem Post says this...

Unidentified drones attacked Syrian areas controlled by the Assad regime...according to opposition-affiliated TV station Halab Today.

Before the attack, three drones were seen flying from the direction of areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces militia, according to Step News, a news agency founded by Syrian activists and journalists.

Nothing wrong with getting excited about reports from Syrian 'activists' right...?

I'm sure that serves us all very well here, when we are trying to unpack the bullshit...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 24 2019 4:05 utc | 142

Some past history of UAW and democrats.
"The UAW leadership has been a force in the liberal wing of the Democratic party in the U.S. while its individual members have supported both Democratic and Republican candidates. The UAW leadership has supported the programs of the New Deal Coalition, strongly supported civil rights, and strongly supported Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.[4] The UAW became strongly anti-communist after it expelled its Communist leaders in the late 1940s following the Taft–Hartley Act, and supported the Vietnam war and opposed the antiwar Democratic candidates.[4]"

Can find nothing more recent on UAW and democrat ties other than news reports of Warren Biden solidarity with them. has no about page, nothing in wikipedia, and no other information is available.
UAW US union also has a section called UAWire, but no information on what this is.
UAWire the action network...
"Action Network is an open platform that empowers individuals and groups to organize for progressive causes. We encourage responsible activism, and do not support using the platform to take unlawful or other improper action. We do not control or endorse the conduct of users and make no representations of any kind about them."
"Action Network partners get access to our full range of tools, including the ability to upload activists and subscribe them to your list, create custom-branded email and page wrappers, and more. Join organizations large and small who've made the switch!"

Under the heading "Our Actions" these are listed...

ect ect

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 24 2019 4:18 utc | 143

The most honest, credible answers to my question asking why Trump is leaving 200 troops to hold on to Syria's oilfields came from Lozion, Peter AU 1 and Sasha. William Gruff, your answer is not only the most dishonest, but condescending and delusional as well. Ghost Ship, that includes you too. How do I know Assad is seething at the multiple breaches of Syria's sovereignty by foreign vultures? Because I research and read the news; because he stated so himself!

Assad calls Erdogan a thief


And it's stupid to pretend to withdraw all the troops, get flak for it from Congress, and then later on risk getting flak again for returning the oilfields to their proper owner. That's like pulling a bandaid off slowly instead of ripping it off in one shot with less pain! It makes no sense what you both wrote because he's not going to withdraw from the oilfields to return them to the Syrian government. That's crazytalk!

Before I asked WHY regarding this move by Trump, I knew all along Trump's real motives for doing this, and if you combine the responses of Lozion, Peter AU 1 and Sasha, you have the complete answer, but I just wanted to see who would try to spin to make Trump look good. Thanks to those who were candid; I needed to read the whole truth for a change.

b writes

I for one count this as a major foreign policy achievement for Trump and I am happy with this outcome.

Really??? Trump has U.S. forces occupying the oil resources of a sovereign country, in dire need of these after suffering years of war, for the ulterior agenda of squeezing and starving that country to satisfy the furtherance of a Zionist agenda and you're happy with this achievement? Maybe you should have consulted with the Syrian people and Assad before making a premature, insensitive pronouncement.

Would you be happy if foreign leaders were occupying your country militarily and dealing on who gets what and is resettled where without the input of your government and citizenry, and worst yet, if the U.S. were blocking your country's access to oil and trying to ruin its economy?

Some achievement.

I think it stinks on the surface cause its rotten underneath.

Trump is removing the troops for political theater, and keeping the oilfields to satisfy the real agenda while Erdo and Putin handle the rest.

Assad is right: IT'S THEFT.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 24 2019 4:19 utc | 144

@143 Sheesh....all I did was post a link and I get this crap. Are you having a bad day or something?

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 4:50 utc | 145

Below is a short complete posting from Reuters about US troops transiting through Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Wednesday the United States respects Iraq’s sovereignty and that U.S. forces enter and leave Iraq with Baghdad’s permission, Abdul Mahdi’s office said.

“The U.S. forces withdrawing from Syria into Iraq enter and leave Iraqi territory with permission and approval from the Iraqi government, and any media reports of them staying in Iraq are not true,” Abdul Mahdi’s office quoted Esper as saying.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 24 2019 4:51 utc | 146

Since this thread is as current as t'other and is more germane, I thought I would once again stress that anyone who listen to the orange turd's sunday night 'chat' about Syria would have heard him say that the oil extraction for Syria and later on Iraq - later still Iran will be given to US corporations. Not because amerika currently needs the oil, but because his real supporters who became very disenchanted over the Tillerson episode when Trump organised a mental midget to replace an actual midget.

Lindsay graham has been oil's senator for nearly a decade and that is the basis with which he cut a deal. Few of you read the link I posted Syria critic Lindsey Graham now thinks Trump's policy might actually work judging by the suprise expressed here.
I don't give a damn who people get their info from but it is disconcerting to see this site morph into some sorta greypower coffee klatch full of pleasantries and not much else. Next we're gonna see cure-alls for lumbago or whatever name it is called in 2019.

Obviously many posters are not like that but a significant number appear to squat here all day lookin for an excuse to mutter something bland and forgettable. Isn't that what facebook is for?

There was an interesting piece of theatre at the senate today where the loyal trumpists among the rethugs crashed a 'meant to be secret' meeting of the senate borg sub-committee which is grabbing alleged public servants - who are in fact borg appointees to the state and intelligence services - getting them to give hearsay 'evidence' for the impeachment that will never take off, in the hope orange turd's numbers hit the sh1tter - a vain attempt I reckon.

Posted by: A User | Oct 24 2019 4:54 utc | 147

UAW international facebook page
"The UAW Governmental and International Affairs staff deal with the White House, cabinet-level departments, including the State Department and the U.S. Trade Representative, and other federal agencies.

On the international front, the department coordinates the UAW’s day-to-day contacts with unions in other countries and organizations such as the International Metalworkers Federation and the International Labor Organization. The department played a central role in the UAW’s support for the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Among its highest priorities is promoting labor and human rights as a basic condition of international trade agreements"

Sign up for UAWire here

The UAWire linked to the US union looks to be some membership only mailing list but no information on it to be found on the net.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 24 2019 5:04 utc | 148

Suppose we develop a global approach to the problem of why the mayhem? Assume there is no answer to be found in Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran, Russia, China, Afghanistan, or any other village, town, city, state or nation, instead these entities and their particular situations and activities are all results brought about by the underlying cause, reason or the power that insist on mayhem as the normal state of global human affairs ..

We might be looking for a global underlying pressure.. something maintained, an advocacy or a centrally directed demand to satisfy someone's want or need. Maybe the trees have been mistaken for the forest? Money is one thing, but by it self money does not satisfy ..

I advance that the underlying pressure that brings about this global mayhem is not money but instead security; not your security, not my security, but the security of the "source that drives the global mayhem. Such a source may be threatened by global and local peace, by human to human cooperativeness; and by circumstances or environments where the masses might invent ways to transfer the state of things from mayhem to an ordered, peaceful states of existence. In peace, the source, the hidden few, might fear exposure to liabilities and uncomfortable remedies, that would for them to abdicate their wealth and power.

Our search might entail discovery of Persons fearful of well organized, efficient, democratic societies. This would explain corruption as a normal state of affairs.

Instead of looking at these multitudes of wars, mass events which destroy infrastructure, impose by sanctions death of the multitudes, and that replace competent-incumbents with corrupt, controllable puppets (regime changes), as derivatives associated to looting the joint, lets think a little differently.

Think the looting might be the fuel, nation states leaders use to support its mercenaries. Such leaders might use the nation state system to conduct the destruction that leads to mayhem., but looting may not be the underlying driving purpose of the global mayhem? .. Instead that purpose may be part of the security perimeter imposed by the hidden source?

Carrying this security idea a bit deeper, it might be hypothecated that the hidden few would distribute their wealth, influence and power (WIP) around the globe as a security measure and they they would use blackmail (as in deviant sex) as means to keep those who guard their WIP in check. .

Hypothesis: The reason for the global mayhem is security not looting.

Hypothesis: Looting is a method derived from the underlying obligation to maintain mayhem.
Looking is a means that enables the nation state leaders to entice their feudal servants to go along with and to administer and maintain the environment in a state of near total mayhem.

Hypothesis: the nation state system is a security structure designed to deny a peaceful global society.

Just a thought would love to hear some comment..

Posted by: snake | Oct 24 2019 6:37 utc | 149

Paul Damascene #48

My observation of Helmer is that he has a well informed assessment of the factional play in Russian Federation high politics. I am not saying he is impartial. His discourse is based on a reasonably broad and informed input and a fair weighting of the factional realities.

It is worth looking back to his writings at the time of the downing of the Russian spy plane when Syria accidentally shot it down whilst targeting Israeli aggression. That will give you some insight into his tempered observations.

His writings seem to be worthy of recall when interpreting or forecasting Russian Federation geopolitical moves.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Oct 24 2019 7:31 utc | 150

Circe @ 145

Assad calls Erdogan a thief

So fucking what? Because he is, and Assad is sending men against takfiris to die so he needs to explain why that might happen., and accusing Erdogan of stealing Syrian territory is a good and honest way of firing them up. That does not mean he's seething about what's happening.


Are you including me among the sources for this claim. My view has been that Washington is delusional if they think that they and their SDF allies are the only people capable of dealing with ISIS as most of the heavy lifting against ISIS was carried out by the PMU, and SAA with Russian support while Washington did much to resist this.

Nah. my position is that Trump hasn't really secured the oil fields for Washington and it's very unlikely that he will.

And it's stupid to pretend to withdraw all the troops, get flak for it from Congress, and then later on risk getting flak again for returning the oilfields to their proper owner.

Nah, he's not pretending to do much beyond controlling the oil fields. What he's actually doing is withdrawing most of the troops and is pretending that he wants to leave 200 troops behind to control an area of about 81,000 square miles (about the same size as Kansas). At some point one of the brighter sparks in the risk-averse Pentagon or MSM is going to wake up to the fact that the numbers don't add up and call for the withdrawal of those troops, the Democrats will attack (because they always do) Trump for leaving troops in harms way and Trump will "reluctantly" accept that because that's what he wanted to do all along. Once they leave, Trump has given up any pretense of controlling the oil fields and then it will dawn on the Republican and Democratic fuckwits that they've been conned, but would any of them admit it. Nah, cause being conned by Trump shows you really are a fucking fuckwit.

That's like pulling a bandaid off slowly instead of ripping it off in one shot with less pain!

Nah, rub some vegetable oil, alcohol, anti-septic cream or hand sanitizer into it then remove it. Comes off like a dream

As for Trump being a conman and grifter, I say good because Washington is one great big con with a multitude of grifters, so he knows what he's about.

Meanwhile, perhaps you could answer some of my other questions.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Oct 24 2019 8:07 utc | 151

re: snake | Oct 24 2019 6:37 utc @ 150

Interesting 'snake'.
It appears you've begun to notice the true dynamics of how the 'modern world' works.
i.e. since the *Westphalia Peace of 1648* and perhaps even the 100-150 years preceding it.

I'd would however believe the 'security' you speak of is actually a defined *Control Mechanism* by those calling-the-shots. The Black Nobility has been around for a few thousand years as you may know.

I'm a collector of old maps, atlases and books.
Surprisingly, many of these are made & published in Amsterdam.
It became apparent to me that the sudden-rise of Holland in the 1500's was for a very good reason.
Shipping, Financing, Publishing, Commercial Trading took a quantum-leap.
In the 1600's it became even more a total leader.
Remember where *New Amsterdam*, *New Holland*, *New Zeeland* were/are?
To find a part of the answer is to remember who Queen Isabella of Spain & Ferdinand II of Aragon kicked-out of Spain in 1492.

Then look at all of the wars between 1492 to 1648.
I could go on and on but, it's already late morning here in Sweden and, I got things to do.
Cheers X-

Posted by: Veritas X- | Oct 24 2019 8:17 utc | 152

show me one member of the State dept., from top to bottom, who is not an Israel-firster.

Posted by: nietzsche1510 | Oct 24 2019 10:11 utc | 153

the State Dept. is the most dangerous surrounding in the world. their job is to push the USA from one chaotic set of events, that they generate, to another security one. all is done to preserve some value to the counterfeit greenbacks, aka., as the "American way of life", by creating generalized insecurity all over the world. eventually, to keep the power of their "printed" wealth, they are ready to throw the nation & the world under the nuclear bus.

Posted by: nietzsche1510 | Oct 24 2019 10:27 utc | 154

Ian Dobbs @131 re: Trump mocking a disabled person in a wheelchair

Good point. That ridiculous accusation drives ME nuts, too.

(NOT, BTW, in a wheelchair. He has arthrogryposis, a condition causing joint contracture in his right arm and hand, and his disability does not look at ALL like the gestures Trump made.)

But notice in the section on the M13 "animals," #walkaway CLEARLY says the media accused Trump of calling ALL immigrants "animals," when the actual headline RIGHT IN FRONT OF US says "some unauthorized immigrants." This is not a good sign in a vid where the protagonist is accusing OTHER people of lying.

And, really, a guy that spent most of his life thinking CNN was telling the "truth" has some flaws in his judgement. Looks to me like he #walkaway'd to another bunch of liars.

(Full disclosure: I despise Trump, and have for a long time. If I thought this accusation were in any way true, I'd be happy to acknowledge it.)

Posted by: therobin | Oct 24 2019 12:15 utc | 155

Uncle Tungsten @ 152 --
Your impressions of Helmer, while more substantive than my own, are consistent with the impression I have of his value as a source of perspective.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Oct 24 2019 12:26 utc | 156

@ Peter AU 1 | Oct 24 2019 4:18 utc | 145 (the UAW)

Take a look at WSWS [dot] org for stuff on UAW. Yes, their bias is evident, but also honest and frank. The reporting's factual, fairly, and reports on corruption, etc.

The point relevant here being that the UAW organization is reasonably to be seen as a corrupt extension of the company and the power elite.

If so, perhaps that explains the UAW-Demo-Hillary bit...all one critter.

Posted by: Walter | Oct 24 2019 12:43 utc | 157

So we see that another day has dawned and there is no news from any credible source whatsoever about the fake news we were treated to yesterday about airstrikes on SAA positions in Al Bukamal...and generated by 'pro-opposition' media and Syrian 'activists'...

Those who wish to continue posting such 'links' on a regular basis will be called out...for the sake of clarifying facts, which is what I and many others here are interested in.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 24 2019 13:31 utc | 158

News in the Jerusalem Post about the attack on the Iranian (?) position in Al Bukamal...which I and many others here are interested in...

"Several air strikes were reported on Friday evening near the Syrian city of Al Bukamal near the Iraqi border on the Euphrates River, Walla reported.

The strike was allegedly carried out by the Iraqi Air Force and targeted ISIS."

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 13:49 utc | 159

@153 Ghost Ship

😂 You're hopeless! Now here's the truth, fyi.

The troops stationed at al-Tanf are STAYING to guard the oilfields and to protect them Trump is sending an entire ARMOURED battalion i.e. armoured tanks and more personnel.

us plan to send tanks

Your boy Trump is a Zionist do-gooder above all else 'cause that's how his bread is buttered.


Posted by: Circe | Oct 24 2019 13:58 utc | 160

@161 dh

That doesn't make any sense. Iraq would never target Iranians with the pretext of attacking ISIS.

I would hesitate to trust Israeli media. Sounds like b.s. to me. The last time last September an Iranian position in Eastern Syria was targetted, it was the Israelis who did the dirty deed and tried to hide it, so I'm not buying this report.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 24 2019 14:11 utc | 161

Ghost Ship says:

As for Trump being a conman and grifter, I say good because Washington is one great big con with a multitude of grifters, so he knows what he's about

well, yeah, and all the opining and hand wringing about who a president chooses for his cabinet is really so much ado about nothing. to think that there are better or worse choices in the pool is to be terribly naive about how and why the national security state operates...

if it's not enough to realize that pretty much every president in living memory has gotten away with treason, contemplate the millions of (mostly) Muslims who have been slaughtered since 911, and their countries largely destroyed for no reason other than coerciveness...

...this brand of foreign policy is an expression of exceptional pathology.


as far as i know, in all of these years of blatant criminality financed by the American taxpayer, Matthew Hoh is the only American who actually quit his job (at the state department) in protest of US foreign policy(in Afghanistan).


Posted by: john | Oct 24 2019 14:12 utc | 162

@163 You're absolutely right. Can't trust Israeli media an inch (I kinda knew that already)

The Al Bukamal story is sketchy. I'll post more detail;s as I find them.

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 14:24 utc | 163

@165 When we read about it on the BBC we'll know it's true right?

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 14:34 utc | 164

Thank you b. I regularly read your insights regarding foreign goings on and are one of the only places I trust. I don't like Trump and agree that he has no principles and is a completely self interested narcissist, but I wonder that liberals aren't substantially to blame for the mess that is Trump because when he was looking for cabinet appointees I recall that anyone remotely reasonable was shunned, shamed, and excoriated for even thinking of cooperating with "fascist" Trump. He was basically backed into the arms of nationalistic, conservative, pro Israel/Saudi Arabia neocons and he's smart enough to know he needs support of powerful people and groups and he knows he has to play along and appoint their people. Sometimes his better instincts surface and who knows by accident or cunning, he manages to slip one by them. But all this effort to "fight" Trump has only made things worse.

Posted by: Red | Oct 24 2019 14:44 utc | 165

@166 This is where somebody says 'The BBC!! Are you fucking crazy dude?!?!? THERE the worst!!!'

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 14:44 utc | 166

The repeated claim that Trump isn't a warmaker and a mass murderer forget that Trump has upped Obama's game as President Drone-Murder for a start. To continue, siege warfare and support for violence in pursuit of regime change is killing too, and Trump has continued that, notably in Venezuela. And lastly, support for ongoing warfare by regimes like Israel's counts too. Plus, massive military spending is on the face of it insane, if the point is to pursue peace. Every announcement about Trump's pacific reign is purely wishful thinking. Furthermore, Jimmy Carter was vastly more pacific than Trump, complete with a serious effort in Palestine. But Carter is widely despised precisely for that reason. All talk about how Trump is a peacemonger is BS.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Oct 24 2019 15:09 utc | 167

Ahh, finally I found someone who has no problem addressing the elephant mostly ignored in the room and gaping hole in b's article here:

A dusty garrison outpost called al-Tanf, or sometimes at-Tanf, is now the last redoubt for the American forces in Syria that have occupied it since 2016. It has little to do with the war against the so-called Islamic State, the ostensible purpose of the U.S. in Syria, and far more to do with a confrontation against an entirely different adversary: Iran. and the 55-kilometer “exclusion zone” surrounding it will be where they operate....

Whatever military utility al-Tanf has in 2019 has more to do with a conflict with Iran. The base is positioned along a crucial highway stretching east into Iraq, and onward to Iran, and west toward Damascus.

Similarly, Trump does not share his former aides’ expansive goals in Syria. But he’s ordered a 14,000-troop escalation in the Mideast over the past six months, aimed at threatening the Iranians. Accordingly, it’s conspicuous that al-Tanf is what remains of the U.S. in Syria.

“It is everything wrong with Trump’s war in Syria,” said Stein. “The fact that it will be the last American enclave in Syria is more evidence of how Iran myopia has poisoned U.S. objectives in the region.

“Far from being a feather in the cap of American power, it is a dumb waste of resources,” Stein said, “in need of constant protection from hostile action, and it exists only because the Trump administration has convinced itself that [its policy] is something other than a set of talking points designed to mask the aim of collapsing the Islamic Republic.”

last us base in Syria is everything wrong with Trump's war

Finally, here's why TPTB will never allow Sanders to reach the Presidency.

sanders rips trump plan

THIS is what the WHOLE TRUTH looks like!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 24 2019 15:18 utc | 168

That's ok MK. If HRC was the prez, I 'd be calling her Felonius Pantsuit.

Posted by: Morongobill | Oct 24 2019 15:18 utc | 169

Al Tanf this and Al Tanf that, "let me have a look"...

Here's an old satellite picture showing the US base on the left and the old rubble of the big customs station and perhaps "village" on the right very roughly 22.5 km away by road (I didn't bother being precise) in this
Yandex map.

The resolution isn't great but you can zoom in 7 times from the zoom level of the link, I still couldn't find any KFCs or abandoned Nintendo GameBoys :P

Here's the parking spaces of the old customs station in OpenStreetMap (they also have the US base if you follow the road).

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Oct 24 2019 15:24 utc | 170

One of the many ironies of the Outlaw US Empire's debacle in Southwest Asia was noted by Canthama in a comment made at SyrPers:

"As a side note, we keep hearing the US has the oil, the US occupies the desert and some oil rigs, but it does nothing with it, SDF is actually exchanging oil for fuel with the Syrian Gov and that is on going for 2 years. The funny thing is that the fuel was used by the US to drive their armoured vehicles…and most of the oil came from Iran to be refined in Syria."

The US military needs to be sanctioned for using sanctioned Iranian oil products! Yes, truth is stranger than fiction. Canthama's report included an update on the degree of control Syria now has over its oil patch:

"All of the oil field in southern Raqqa are now in Syrian Gov hands, all of them, then you have to oil fields east of Hasaka and all the oil fields in the very NE of Syria, at the Al-Malikiyah District, these oil fields are now being inspected by the Syrian Gov, they were running by Syrian Gov employees since liberated from ISIS but now they will be all under the control and management of the Syrian Gov."

Just the Omar field and Conoco gas plant have yet to be reclaimed. And as Canthama noted, lots of jobs available in rebuilding the oil patch infrastructure along with the important regional city of Raqqa. Lots of opportunities for refugees mired in Turkey.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 24 2019 15:33 utc | 171


When does the bullshit stop...?

Presented here as 'News'...but linking to a Jerusalem Post story FROM SEPTEMBER 27...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 24 2019 15:34 utc | 172

By the way zoom out on the Yandex map gradually until one can see all of Turkey and other neighboring countries to gain several layers of perspective.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Oct 24 2019 15:47 utc | 173

@173 karlof1

Can you post link please? I'd like to see the date.

Regardless if that's really the case you just proved the point that Trump is using protecting the oilfields as a pretext for a wider agenda involving IRAN.

@175 Sunny Runny

Don't work so hard pretending Trump is going to throw away big cash on sustaining forces with an armoured battalion for ranshackle tumbleweed town! Your angle is smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 24 2019 16:01 utc | 174

@174. You're right. My mistake. Sorry everybody. This is the best I can do for now...

"Iraqi Shi’ite militias stationed in the border town of Abu Kamal in eastern Syria came under attack on Tuesday, according to local news reports. There were no reports on the casualties, but they were attacked by unidentified drones."

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 16:01 utc | 175

So on Tuesday, when Erdogan met Putin in Sochi, Assad visited troops at a liberated town in Idlib and condemned Erdogan as a thief stealing Syrian factories, wheat, and oil, and now land. Declared him a small man who is afraid to do anything without consulting his American masters. Today Turkish proxies attacked SAA positions along the northern border with artillery shelling and air strikes (by SAA/Russia) going on in Idlib. Position of remaining US forces unclear while Kurds are in Washington pleading for continued US support.

No quick resolution in sight despite progress, and all major players still hiding their cards and angling for advantage. No doubt the Russians are not pleased with the Turkish position - hope they used mostly sticks rather than carrots in the negotiations. Hopefully Syria, Russia, and Iran had all their ducks in a row and were better positioned to take advantage of the changing situation than either the US or Turkey - as it seems at least initially.

Posted by: the pessimist | Oct 24 2019 16:08 utc | 176

@174.....Hang on a's a more up-to-date report from Jerusalem Post...

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 16:08 utc | 177

The bullshit is now repeating the FAKE NEWS that was already piled on here previously...including this same link from the JP that was posted many comments ago...and which is 'sourced' from opposition 'media' and Syrian 'activists'...

That was TWO DAYS AGO...

My comment on that more than 30 comments up...exposing this FAKE BS FOR WHAT IT IS...

The Antiwar link simply repeated what was reported in the JP...ALSO FROM TWO DAYS AGO



Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 24 2019 16:27 utc | 178

Circe you are talking to yourself according to your comment.

@153 Ghost Ship

😂 You're hopeless! Now here's the truth, fyi.

The troops stationed at al-Tanf are STAYING to guard the oilfields and to protect them Trump is sending an entire ARMOURED battalion i.e. armoured tanks and more personnel.

us plan to send tanks

Your boy Trump is a Zionist do-gooder above all else 'cause that's how his bread is buttered.


Posted by: Circe | Oct 24 2019 13:58 utc | 162

You wrote that, I didn't, and I didn't comment upon your comment either. I usually don't read what you write for what to me are obvious reasons concerning you but I saw talk about oil fields and Al Tanf and wanted to see if there were any nearby (there might be, I don't know, but it doesn't look like it from what I've seen so far).

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Oct 24 2019 16:29 utc | 179

@180 Well either there was an attack in Al Bukamal or there wasn't. I agree the topic is starting to get tedious but I'm still looking for confirmation.

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 16:46 utc | 180

@dh #108
I do think flankerbandit is over-reacting, but his ultimate point is valid: it is important to spend a little time checking out random web sites purporting to offer exciting news.
There are a lot of fake news sites out there that generate inaccurate content ranging from highly exaggerated titles to outright fake articles. Some are purely click farms, others are ideological.
The UAwire web site definitely looks ideological: all the links I saw talk about Russian or Ukrainian news except the link you posted. And of course, UA is the Ukraine top level domain.
Ideological or clickfarm sites don't automatically make the articles/content wrong, but it is very much a strong possibility.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 24 2019 16:51 utc | 181

@ Posted by: Circe | Oct 24 2019 15:18 utc | 170

> and the 55-kilometer “exclusion zone” surrounding it will be where they operate....

So they're going to control al-Omar from ~200 km away?

I like that you think b's article is dodgy and full of holes but Bernie Sanders has given you "the WHOLE TRUTH" XD

Posted by: AshenLight | Oct 24 2019 16:57 utc | 182

It's very evident that the one arrow in the quiver of opposition to peace in Syria is the press, and I'd explain Lavrov's and Shoigu's irritation in the press conference above as directed precisely towards that source of evil intent. They know full well the harm even that single arrow can do, and we see it as well on our threads, though I am sure b sees it more.

The peacemakers are busy enough doing precisely that, making peace. They do not have time to spare any longer to deal with the incoming flak, such as irrelevant news items that are aimed at deflecting them from ongoing arduous arrangements that are complex and all absorbing. So, we must have patience. If nothing is being reported on by them; relax. When it is underway there won't be much news. When the operations are in place, there will be plenty. God bless them!

Posted by: juliania | Oct 24 2019 16:58 utc | 183

I see this new (half) tank brigade deployment (if in Al Tanf) as a possible reactionary measure following Pelosi's / Dems visit to Jordan. How can the US send in those troops? Either from Anbar in Iraq or via Jordan to Al Tanf. Certainly not from KRG's border, doesnt make sense..


Posted by: Lozi9n | Oct 24 2019 16:59 utc | 184

@181 Sunny Runny Burger

You must be confused. As you can plainly see I wasn't addressing you in that comment you copied. I was replying to someone who addressed me.

Given you latest deflection, I double down on my comment to you @176.

@179 & 180

Oh, so now the Zio-press is claimng unidentified drones as opposed to Iraqis targetted Iranians? Next they'll claim it was the boy in the hot air balloon! Anyone but Israel or U.S.

Posted by: Circe | Oct 24 2019 17:00 utc | 185

@183 Point taken. But if you go back to my post #108 I never said the article was factual. I posted it because I saw it as the way things will likely go in the future i.e. isolated drone attacks from various factions. I don't know why flankerbandit got so upset. People have posted many similar news clips on MOA to illustrate their points. And I still think something happened in Al Bukamal.

Hopefully nobody will object to me posting this opinion piece from Vice which I think is excellent...

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 17:04 utc | 186

"ISIS Resurgence" guaranteed

Trump tweet:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump·1h
The Oil Fields discussed in my speech on Turkey/Kurds yesterday were held by ISIS until the United States took them over with the help of the Kurds. We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!

NEVER coulda seen THAT coming./sarc

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 24 2019 17:29 utc | 187

I would suggest for those wishing to view the Lavrov/Shoigu press conference that Peter AU 1's link at 112 is compromised - at least it didn't show the full video for me. Sasha's link at 95 is complete, however it wasn't easy to do a further link, so apologies, I won't attempt that - just return to that page, as I have just done.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 24 2019 17:33 utc | 188

@189 Jackrabbit

Lol! Yeah. It's the boogeyman excuse all over again. When is Trump going to tell the Kurds that the U.S. is purposely ignoring those war crimes already committed against the Kurds by Turkey's rebel mercenaries?

Trump has several reasons for trying to lure the Kurds back to the oil fields and ethnic cleansing is a big part of it. The kurds need to wise up. The U.S. is NOT your friend!

Posted by: Circe | Oct 24 2019 18:01 utc | 189

Feeling for ya, dh. I saw headlines about this alleged attack but chose to ignore it. B/c I too, once upon a time, would have shared such a link and would have rightly been called out for doing so, I've learned it's wiser to give such articles a couple of days to see if sources I've come to trust are reporting on the event.

Circe - there is a 4min vid by Hudson Institute panel on previous page where a Fellow of the Institute explained clearly the strategic goal in Trump's order is to rebuild and maintain a strong relationship w/Turkey, a NATO member/ally. The strategic aim in keeping a small force on the ground is to serve as a node of many to contain Iran. Similar to the troops recently deployed to Saudi Arabia and I'm sure elsewhere.

Laguerre @92 - I stand corrected. Thank you.

Posted by: h | Oct 24 2019 18:22 utc | 190

@192 Thanks h. I should have been more careful.

I think I have come up with a standard format to use when posting obscure news items. I hope commenters find it helpful.

ALWAYS start by saying that it may or may not be true and the source may or may not be reliable. DO NOT appear to agree with anything in the article. These simple steps should protect you from accusations of trolling and verbal abuse.

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 18:36 utc | 191


Just checked the video through the link I posted. Start and end seem to be there same as Sasha's link.
Copied and pasted both links to notepad to compare them and both exactly the same URL so should be ok.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 24 2019 18:42 utc | 192

Circe @176--

There's no direct link to his comment. This article is where the comment's located and was made @17 hours ago as I type now.

Peter AU 1 and I have had a longstanding discourse covering numerous topics over the past 4-5 years, so there's zero chance of me alluding him as being a troll.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 24 2019 18:54 utc | 193

Sunny Runny Burger

Google maps look to have 2019 satellite images for the area.
Link is to what I think is the US base. Scrolling around the area, the refugee camp can be seen scattered down along the Jordan border. Very dispersed rather than a solid grouping of tents or buildings.,38.6166488,208m/data=!3m1!1e3

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Oct 24 2019 19:02 utc | 194 I said the SHILL gift that keeps on giving...

Now we are pointed to a SHILL WEBSITE that spews complete garbage from the War Party narrative...

This Could Be Trump’s Next Disaster in Syria

The Bullshit starts off nice and thick...

As Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan divide northeast Syria up between them at the expense of America’s abandoned Kurdish allies...

So Russia and Turkey are dividing Syria...?

How fucking FAKE is that...?

This while Syria [the fucking country with a seat at the UN] has now retaken most of its border with Turkey...under the Sochi agreement...]

The go-to guy is some scumbag from a stink called Center for a New American Security think tank

Which is just chock full of the crew that has brought us nonstop war and invasions...look at the list of names...the criminal Richard Armitage...Michelle Fluornoy...even Clapper is in there...

Wow...I guess these shills here [there is quite an infestation...but a lot of them are trying not be obvious] think that they can influence this discussion by pointing to all kinds of bullshit that goes completely counter to what Bernhard's truth-telling is trying to accomplish...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 24 2019 19:30 utc | 195

Sorry wrong link above...her is the link for Center for a New American Security

A disgusting nest of snakes...that seems here would have us believe are the 'good guys'...

I rest my case...the shill has been exposed more than adequately...

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 24 2019 19:38 utc | 196

@197 Funny how people can read an article differently. The writer is obviously bemoaning Trump's 'abandonment of the Kurds', that's the standard dogma now, but he also seems to be admitting that the Syria policy has been a fiasco.

But there I go again...shilling for the empire.

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 19:55 utc | 197

Since shills here feel at liberty to point participants here to transparent regime-change propaganda...I will point to a couple of far more realistic articles from actually sane people who are in fact interested in PEACE IN SYRIA...

Russia and Turkey Struck a Game-Changing Deal on Syria and Beyond

And Pepe Excobar's latest...

Vladimir Putin, Syria’s pacifier-in-chief

Let's keep a couple of important things in mind...first, most genuine participants here are interested in what our gracious host is obviously interested end to the regime change project in Syria and peace in the region...

Articles that bemoan 'America's Kurdish Allies' do what exactly other than support the continued unrest in Syria...?

How can a country even LEGITIMATELY 'ally' with a separatist group...?

How can a country then arm and militarily support with troops and aircraft said separatist group...especially if said group is also a legitimate problem for a legitimate country like Turkey...?

How can a country insist on being in Syria illegally...?

Only the UN Security Council can mandate such a mission...

How then can anyone bemoan the fact that the US is leaving...?

How can anyone make a fuss about the Kurds, who are being welcomed back into the Syrian fold...?

Again...Syria is a legitimate country that was INVADED by a terror army CREATED AND MAINTAINED BY THE US AND ITS PARTNERS IN CRIME...

There can be no obscuring of these basic facts...

So-called articles that some shills here highly recommend, but which in fact are freaking out because peace is finally taking hold in Syria...ARE SIMPLY FUCKING BULLSHIT...

And anyone that promotes this kind of bullshit here will be called out on it...

I have never been in the habit of linking to 'opinion' pieces of one kind or another in my comments here...since the discussion should by all rights center on the articles that are produced here by our host...

The only links I ever provide are order to clarify some technical point or other and to further our understanding of facts...I am making an exception this time by actually pointing to a couple of 'opinion' pieces.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Oct 24 2019 20:37 utc | 198

@200 "How can a country insist on being in Syria illegally...? How then can anyone bemoan the fact that the US is leaving...? How can anyone make a fuss about the Kurds, who are being welcomed back into the Syrian fold...?"

I think you know the answer. It's very easy to believe that stuff if you're an American exceptionalist. (I'm not) Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal they have no trouble deciding what's best for other countries.

You remind me of Circe a bit with your strident tone and CAPITALS. Everyone's deluded! Everyone's a shill!! She even attacks b from time to time.

Posted by: dh | Oct 24 2019 21:51 utc | 199

Mette Frederikksen ,Danish prime minister,supports the idea of sending 30000 to 40000 european troops into Syria to set up a security zone.And it's Trump they call mad!

The Europeans are still as crazy,they just cannot learn.When Annegret Kramp-Karrebauer proposed european intervention,the laudatory article in Der Spiegel showed that on the forum of comments about 8 out of 10 readers were heavily opposed to this idiotic idea,many of them putting the accent on its being illegal under international law.

Now the idea gets traction in the press and of course all those female defense secretaries and prime-ministers are ok with the idea to send their children into a quagmire.This new generation of european politicians is the result of deliberate "in vitro" birthing,they have been "groomed" from the cradle .But they just arrive to late,their sell-by date is past.
This time the people won't accept.

Posted by: willie | Oct 24 2019 22:14 utc | 200

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