Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 28, 2020

Syria: Army Liberates Maarat al-Numan - U.S. Plans New Mischief

Today the Syrian Arab Army liberated the city Maarat al-Numan in south-east Idleb. Before the war on Syria the city had some 60,000 inhabitants. This followed after several week of steady progress during which two dozens villages were taken from the Jihadis who currently rule the Idleb area.

Southeast Idleb Jan 28 2020

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Coming from the east the Syrian army crossed the M5 highway north and south of the city in a pincer movement. The Jihadis who had held the city fled westwards towards Kafranabel and Al Barah on the only roads left to move out. The city itself was taken without a fight. The map above does not yet reflect this latest development. Pictures by a Russian photographer show Syrian troops within the city. There is significant damage within the city from the bombing campaign that preceded the attack.

According to a BBC producer in Syria the Jihadis confirmed the takeover:

Riam Dalati @Dalatrm - 2:36 PM · Jan 28, 2020

#Syria rebel accounts seem to confirm pro-regime narrative of #MaaratalNuman takeover. 'Dear God, we're placing Maarat under your custody. Please preserve it with your care'. A repeat of #KhanSheikhoun takeover when #HTS evacuated during the night through #SAA intentional gap.

The move cuts off a Turkish observation point south of Maarat al Nunman. It is the third such point that is now surrounded by Syrian government forces. Earlier today a convoy of some 30 Turkish vehicles had entered Idleb governorate from Turkey. It is expected to erect a new observation point near Saraqib where the M4 and M5 highway come together. Saraqib will be the next target for the Syrian army campaign.

This advance comes while the Turkish government is hiring Idleb Jihadis to send them to Libya as mercenaries on the side of the so called Government of National Accord in Tripoli. At least 2,000 have already been deployed there and the total number is expected to reach at least 6,000. This is a significant reduction of the forces the Syrian army will have to confront as it proceeds with its campaign to regain Idleb governorate.

Meanwhile the banking crisis in Lebanon has hit the Syrian economy very hard. The Syrian pound further devalued over the past month and imports have become nearly unaffordable.

The economic trouble makes it necessary for Syria to find an understanding with its neighbor Turkey. Turkey has supported the Jihadist rebel in Syria since its very beginning and it occupies several areas in north Syria. Russia has been pressing the two countries to find an agreement and to end the war:

The ramped-up Russian efforts finally translated into a high-level direct dialogue between the two sides when Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and his Syrian counterpart Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk met in Moscow on Jan. 13. Despite ongoing low-profile contacts, the face-to-face encounter of the two represents the first high-level meeting between the two sides since 2011.

Aware of the fact that the Syrian crisis cannot be settled without mending bridges, Russia is pushing for restoration of ties on the basis of the 1998 Adana accord, which envisages enhanced security cooperation against terrorist organizations. The two spymasters are said to have agreed on a nine-point road map to advance the dialogue, including a goal to cooperate against terrorism, according to Turkish reports.

Terrorism to Turkey means the PKK/YPG Kurds in Syria which also fight Turkish forces within Turkey and Iraq. In east Syria the Kurds are cooperating with U.S. troops who occupy the Syrian oil resources. Turkey wants Syria to at least disarm the Kurds. The Kurds though use their U.S. relations to demand autonomy and to prevent any agreement with the Syrian government.

Neither Ankara nor Damascus seem yet ready to make peace. But both countries have economic problems and will have to come to some solution. There are still ten thousand of Jihadis in Idleb governorate that need to be cleaned out. Neither country wants to keep these people. The export of these Jihadis to Libya which Turkey initiated points to a rather unconventional solution to that problem.

The U.S. has still not given up its efforts to overthrow the Syrian government through further economic sanctions. It also pressures Iraq to keep its troops in the country.

After the U.S. murder of the Iranian general Soleimani and the Iraqi PMU leader al-Muhandis its position in Iraq is under severe threat. If the U.S. were forced to leave Iraq it would also have to remove its hold on Syria's oil. To prevent that the U.S. has reactivated its old plan to split Iraq into three statelets:

Nine months ago, a group of Iraqi politicians and businessmen from Anbar, Salah al-Din and Nineveh provinces were invited to the private residence of the Saudi ambassador to Jordan in Amman.

Their host was the Saudi minister for Gulf affairs, Thamer bin Sabhan al-Sabhan, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s point man for the region.

It is not known whether Mohammed al-Halbousi, the speaker of parliament with ties to both Iran and Saudi Arabia, attended the secret Amman conference, but it is said that he was informed of the details.

On the agenda was a plan to push for a Sunni autonomous region, akin to Iraqi Kurdistan.

The plan is not new. But now an idea which has long been toyed with by the US, as it battles to keep Iraq within its sphere of influence, has found a new lease of life as Saudi Arabia and Iran compete for influence and dominance.

Anbar comprises 31 percent of the Iraqi state’s landmass. It has significant untapped oil, gas and mineral reserves. It borders Syria.

If US troops were indeed to be forced by the next Iraqi government to quit the country, they would have to leave the oil fields of northern Syria as well because it is from Anbar that this operation is supplied. Anbar has four US military bases.

The western province is largely desert, with a population of just over two million. As an autonomous region, it would need a workforce. This, the meeting was told, could come from Palestinian refugees and thus neatly fit into Donald Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century” plans to rid Israel of its Palestinian refugee problem.

Anbar is almost wholly Sunni, but Salah al-Din and Nineveh aren’t. If the idea worked in Anbar, other Sunni-dominated provinces would be next.

At least three large meetings have already been held over the plan, the last one in the United Arab Emirates. The timing indicates that the plan was initiated when John Bolton as Trump's national security advisor.

To split Iraq into three statelets the U.S. would control is a long standing neoconservative dream.


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At the height of the war in Iraq Joe Biden publicly supported it. The original plan failed when in 2006 Hizbullah defeated Israel's attack on Lebanon and when the Iraqi resistance overwhelmed the U.S. occupation forces.

It is doubtful that the plan can be achieved as long as the government in Baghdad is supported by a majorities of Shia. Baghdad as well as Tehran will throw everything they have against the plan.

After the U.S. murder of Soleimani Iran fired well aimed ballistic missiles against U.S. forces at the Ain al Assad airbase west of Ramadi in Anbar province and against the airport of Erbil in the Kurdish region. This because those are exactly the bases the U.S. wants to keep control of. The missiles demonstrated that the U.S. would have to fight a whole new war to implement and protect its plan.

From the perspective of the resistance the new plan is just another U.S. attempt to rule the region after its many previous attempts have failed.

Posted by b on January 28, 2020 at 16:28 UTC | Permalink

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Below is a short quote from a recent related Reuters posting

"
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s Defence Ministry said on Tuesday that it would retaliate “in the strongest way, without hesitation” against any attack on its observation posts in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 28 2020 16:49 utc | 1

So what about Islamic state then? I always thought the direct assistance from US to IS was minimal but indirectly it varied according to the situation. In this case they could be assisting IS more than before.

And secondly, interesting neocon map with KSA split into parts. It reminds me of Isa Blumi who has stated his belief that Saudi Arabia will collapse as its oil is past its peak and it will end up being split up.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jan 28 2020 16:53 utc | 2

The attached map shows Iran gaining territory.

I can't see the neocons being too jazzed about that.

Posted by: Sid Finster | Jan 28 2020 16:56 utc | 3

@Sid Finster: The map shows Iran both gaining and losing territory.

Posted by: S | Jan 28 2020 17:13 utc | 4

Saudi Homelands Independent Territory?

.. someone at the armed forces journal has a sense of humor.

Posted by: Amerikanski | Jan 28 2020 17:15 utc | 5

Amerikastan can "plan" whatever it wants. The days when Amerikastan could do as it wanted are long over. In any case, who can possibly believe any neocon would create a plan that would result in the racist fascist apartheid colonial zionist settler regime in Occupied Palestine *losing* territory?!?

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Jan 28 2020 17:18 utc | 6

The new US plan of an Iraqi Sunnistan in Anbar serves the same purpose as the hypothetical previous plan I wrote about two years ago.

US War Plans: Kurdish land bridge to Israel?

It is claimed that the reason the U.S. needs to occupy the Al Tanf border crossing is to block the land corridor between Iran and Lebanon and thus prevent Iran from supplying Hezbollah. The real reason may be different. If pro-U.S. and pro-Israel forces managed to take control of the Syrian side of the Jordan–Syria and the Iraq–Syria borders then it would enable Israel to supply a Kurdish protectorate in eastern Syria.

Under the new plan the American corridor would extend from Israel through Jordan to Anbar and Iraqi Kurdistan. The only new piece in this puzzle is Jordan, but it is already under US domination.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jan 28 2020 17:36 utc | 7

It's an old map with fantasies from the days when Kurdistan was going to dominate the Near East.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 28 2020 17:39 utc | 8

Sending the jihadis to Libya has a double purpose. First, they are expelled from Turkey, never to return; second, from Libya they will eventually make their way to Europe as refugees of war; thus repaying the EU for it's rejection of Turkey, as Erdogan sees it.

Posted by: carl | Jan 28 2020 17:41 utc | 9

Amerikanski:
Saudi Arabia Native Domain would also work :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jan 28 2020 17:48 utc | 10

@3 IS made a statement yesterday that seems to have gone under the radar. They aren't happy with Trump's ME peace plan.

"The Islamic State group vowed in an audio message released Monday that the extremists will start a new phase of attacks that will focus on Israel and blasted the U.S. administration's plan to resolve the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Despite carrying out deadly attacks throughout the world over the past years, IS has rarely targeted Israel. The audio appears to try to win the extremist group popularity in the region at a time when President Donald Trump's “Deal of the Century” is expected to be announced in the U.S. soon."

https://www.yahoo.com/news/vows-attack-israel-blasts-us-151528876.html

Posted by: dh | Jan 28 2020 18:03 utc | 11

thanks b.. very thorough and you hit the nail on the head here :

"the new plan is just another U.S. attempt to rule the region after its many previous attempts have failed."

and how is this going to ever stop until someone really challenges the usa?

Posted by: james | Jan 28 2020 18:11 utc | 12

Posted by: dh | Jan 28 2020 18:03 utc | 14

If you believe ISIS is going to start attacking Israel then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in.

Posted by: Information_Agent | Jan 28 2020 18:26 utc | 13

Russia, Turkey continue work in Syria's Idlib zone


AA: 28.01.2020
Russian foreign minister urges to separate opposition from terrorists in de-escalation zone.

Turkey and Russia agreed to continue working on separating the armed opposition from terrorists in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Lavrov accused militants under the control of Al-Nusra Front of consistent violation of the cease-fire declared in January by the initiative of Turkey and Russia.

"This kind of provocation cannot go unanswered. And we support the actions the Syrian army is taking to suppress the sources of these provocations in the Idlib zone.[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 28 2020 18:27 utc | 14

Latest Aleppo situational map shows Turkish OP about to become encircled. Once SAA broke out of built-up urbanized area it has advanced quickly. But as you can see from the map, more work remains to the Northwest. This announces it's about to begin:

"Syrian army helicopters drop leaflets on the villages of the northern countryside of Aleppo, which are under the control of armed groups, calling on them to leave arms."

From this latest situational map of "Marat Nouman area," I'd expect those SAA forces holding the line to the West and South to begin moving North to even the lines and consolidate control of M-5.

It appears the anticipated bad weather isn't going to be as impactful as presumed, so the offensive will continue as designed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 18:38 utc | 15

Looking at this map I am reminded of what Albert Einstein said about insanity, which he described as "doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result each time." The US of A never seems to ever learn anything from its' mistakes. The US is truly the United States of Amnesia.

Posted by: GeorgeV | Jan 28 2020 19:24 utc | 16

Turkey is bribing its jihadists in Syria to relocate to Libya by offering them higher wages. There are also recruitment bonuses.

Some of these people are even civilians rather than mercenaries with combat experience.

“I Came for the Money”: Interview with a Turkish-Backed Syrian Mercenary in Libya
https://libya360.wordpress.com/2020/01/25/i-came-for-the-money-interview-with-a-turkish-backed-syrian-mercenary-in-libya/

Posted by: ak74 | Jan 28 2020 19:27 utc | 17

The capture of Ma'arrat al-Nu'man is an important symbolic success for the Syrians, as it is a famous Arab town, the birthplace of the celebrated Arabic poet, Abu ’l-ʿAlāʾ Aḥmad al-Maʿarrī (973-1058).

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 28 2020 19:39 utc | 18

Sid, S, i don't see Iran gaining any territory. the northwestern area would be chopped off for "free kurdistan" and the southeastern area chopped off for "free baluchistan".

It seems the US is acting as tho it won the war, now that iraq is asking them to leave. neocons: 'fine, let's just carry out our original plan as if we'd won.'

Posted by: annie | Jan 28 2020 20:05 utc | 19

Is there even one case of ISIS terrorist attack against Israel? Why was Israel not and is not a member of the US-led coalition? Israel and ISIS are allies?

Posted by: Sarah | Jan 28 2020 20:08 utc | 20

Turkey is bribing its jihadists in Syria to relocate to Libya by offering them higher wages. There are also recruitment bonuses.

Posted by: ak74 | Jan 28 2020 19:27 utc | 17

It's a bit more complicated than that. From what I read, though I don't have the link any more, the militias sent to Libya are Syrian Turkmens, that is, ethnic Turks from Syria who speak both Turkish and Arabic. The article mentions both languages being spoken. I suspect they are not really jihadists, but ethnics, who are committed to one side.

They are certainly going for the money. Anybody in rebel Idlib must be desperate for money to feed their starving families. The fact that Erdogan chose the ethnic Turks rather than the more appropriate Syrian Arabs who speak the local language must be that he prefers helping out his own ethnicity.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 28 2020 20:09 utc | 21

Erdogan has found an 'elegant' solution to get rid of the Edleb's jihadis and Syrian rebels whose presence was becoming a source of anger for Russian as Erdogan had agreed to 'separate' the al nusra from the 'good' Syrian rebels.
These fighters have three choices : been massacred by Russia and Syria, expelled to Turkey with a dubious future or get a good salary and the promise of turkish citizenship by accepting to fight 'for democracy' in Libya
With the fall of Maarat al Numan and the imminent fall of all Edlib their choice seems obvious...
As they leave, the Syrian army will have less trouble restoring their authority in all Edlib with less casualties and refugees.
Erdogan will have to deal with Syrian refugees fleeing to Turkey, frustrated and violent jihadists and admit that Bashar al Assad is here to stay in a re-united Syrian.
Maybe it is time that Erdogan is replaced as the Turkish opposition will have no trouble restoring relations with Syria and other arab countries.
Erdogan has now become a serious liability for Turkey

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 28 2020 20:10 utc | 22

Canada also has troops in the Kurdish/Erbil region. One wonders if/when Iraq will demand they go as well, since they are part of the US-led coalition and reflect US/Israeli geostrategic objectives there

Posted by: John Gilberts | Jan 28 2020 20:10 utc | 23

@20 Strange isn't it? The statement by ISIS is most unusual. Prevailing wisdom has them allied with US/Israel against the Syrian government.

Posted by: dh | Jan 28 2020 20:18 utc | 24

It seems to me that in the Idlib pocket we are seeing an emerging Russian form of offensive/deterrence military strategy when up against proxies backed by the overwhelming force of empire.

By using proxies the empire forfeits much of its military mass advantage.

The repeated strike and ceasefire combined with continual negotiation approach negates the hybrid/media warfare of the empire which requires a period of time to mobilize public opinion. The empire cannot maintain more than three foci for that dis-information campaign due to the social engineered response it has manufactured

By constantly maneuvering, especially in coordinating with friends like Xi, opportunities of attack open up

Choosing moments of maximum empire distraction is also part of the process

This is a far cry from the classic mass formation attack strategy that most present warfare strategists endlessly debate.

Let the empire wear out it's own heart through an abuse of the hybrid/media warfare til it's own people vomit up the diet of fear

Posted by: les7 | Jan 28 2020 20:24 utc | 25

Wonder if b is going to publish an item about the just announced selling of Palestine to Zionist zealots? At any rate, here's one clear consequence:

"Looks like Trump has managed one thing that no-one else could, reconciliation of factions. Abbas and Haniyeh are reportedly planning on meeting to conduct “joint work” and “stand together’"

IMO, the author of this tweet and the artist are closer to the truth than most imagine:

"The problem isn't Israel, its Saudi occupation of Hejaz and oil rich eastern Arabia. The solution is in this perfectly fitting illustration"

One wonders how the UAE's public will react to the duplicity of their rulers? Perhaps the Houthi will spank them in their oil patch or knockdown a skyscraper?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 20:36 utc | 26

Is there even one case of ISIS terrorist attack against Israel? ... Israel and ISIS are allies?

Posted by: Sarah | Jan 28 2020 20:08 utc | 20

When Da'ish were defeated on the Syrian side of the Golan, they retreated into Israel. It may be an alliance of convenience. Da'ish cannot publicly say they are pro-Israel, and that's what we find with their latest pronouncement. If the moment arrives where it is necessary to declare war on the Zionist state, they will do so. But not yet.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 28 2020 20:45 utc | 27

Wonder if b is going to publish an item about the just announced selling of Palestine to Zionist zealots?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 20:36 utc | 26

He may do, but nothing is new, nothing decided. The point is to support Netanyahu over his upcoming trial.

"The problem isn't Israel, its Saudi occupation of Hejaz and oil rich eastern Arabia. The solution is in this perfectly fitting illustration"

One wonders how the UAE's public will react to the duplicity of their rulers? Perhaps the Houthi will spank them in their oil patch or knockdown a skyscraper?

Saudi and the Gulf cannot state publicly support for Israel, and will not do so. It's one of the reasons the "deal of the century" will fall flat.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 28 2020 21:01 utc | 28

“After the U.S. murder of the Iranian general Soleimani and the Iraqi PMU leader al-Muhandis its position in Iraq is under severe threat. “ Yes you could say that! See this:https://static.hypercomments.com/data/images2/9483823/1579175432328668

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jan 28 2020 21:05 utc | 29

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Jan 28 2020 17:18 utc | @6

funny how everyone uses the word Apartheid to reinforce their opposition to Zionism, even though the two have nothing in common. Why not just state your opposition to Zionism in precise, Palestine-specific language.

Posted by: trill | Jan 28 2020 21:08 utc | 30

it's the jerusalem post so i don't know how credible this is
https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iranian-media-CIA-agent-behind-Soleimani-killing-shot-down-in-Afghanistan-615652

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 28 2020 21:09 utc | 31

foolisholdman | Jan 28 2020 21:05 utc | 29

Interesting! This tracks us on MoA since 3-4 days. Unchanged, the doubts about its authencity never followed. Hmmh...

Posted by: Hausmeister | Jan 28 2020 21:11 utc | 32

Turkey isn't amused:

"Turkey: The goal of American peace is to destroy and plunder Palestine."

"Turkish Foreign Ministry:
The fake US plan for peace in the Middle East was born 'dead'.
We will not allow actions to legitimize Israeli occupation and oppression."

Yet another cord in the knot tying Turkey to the West is severed. Word is the Turkish convoy has turned around and will not be constructing another OP near Saraqib.

This may surprise some people:

"Denouncing Trump Plan as 'Unacceptable,' Sanders Declares It Is Time to 'End the Israeli Occupation:'

"'Trump's so-called 'peace deal,' warned the White House hopeful, 'will only perpetuate the conflict, and undermine the security interests of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians.'"

But isn't that exactly what the plan's supposed to do?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:12 utc | 33

les7 @25, regarding stop-and-go strategy against "militants": I think is is also intended to minimize Syrian casualties. War is all about attrition, and Syria had some issues with that in the beginning. So they use the advantages Russia provides to "prepare the battlefield", sometimes for quite a while, before they make a push, and then they try to flank them and roll them up like we are seeing. This helps morale a lot, for one thing.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 28 2020 21:18 utc | 34

foolisholdman @ 29

That letter appears to be fake. It is very quick for a FOIA request to be granted, even for Congress.

Posted by: dltravers | Jan 28 2020 21:23 utc | 35

Laguerre @28--

Here's UAE's response via tweet:

"Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Statement on Peace Plan:

"The United Arab Emirates appreciates continued US efforts to reach a Palestine-Israel peace agreement. This plan is a serious initiative that addresses many issues raised over the years. (1/3)"

From what I've read, Egypt also favors the plan, although I've yet to read anything official from Egypt's government. But Hezbollah's correct, IMO.

"The only way to guarantee a lasting solution is to reach an agreement between all concerned parties. The UAE believes that Palestinians and Israelis can achieve lasting peace and genuine coexistence with the support of the international community. (2/3)"

"The plan announced today offers an important starting point for a return to negotiations within a US-led international framework. (3/3)"

Part of Hezbollah's response:

"This deal would not have taken place without the collusion and treason of a number of Arab regimes, both secret and public. The peoples of our nation will never forgive those rulers who forsook resistance to maintain their fragile thrones."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:26 utc | 36

I agree with b that the creation of a Sunni "statelet" in Iraq is not going to work. They were too flattened in the events of the Surge, and expecting them to rise again in favour of the US is too much, whatever their leaders may have said to the Saudis in Amman.

The creation of a Tanf, run by the US in the desert, on the Syro-Iraqi border, I wouldn't exclude. Would it be enough to support US occupation of the Syrian oil-fields? A good question. Land-links to the Gulf are likely to be cut. Not formally, but they will be unreliable, pestered by the Shia militias who are uncontrollable. Will air-support be sufficient? How will the oil be exported?

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 28 2020 21:30 utc | 37

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:26 utc | 36

As they say in French, voilà! (trans: there you are)

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 28 2020 21:38 utc | 38

Oman and Bahrain join UAE:

"Trump greenlights Netanyahu to annex at least 1/3 of the West Bank.

"Never forget that Oman, Bahrain and the UAE were present in that room [where the speech was made]."

I'm very surprised at Oman. This indicates to me both the Iranian and Russian collective security proposals are now dead and the situation will now escalate further.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:41 utc | 39

OT: Trump lawyer Pam Bondi destroys Hunter's reputation before Senate. Includes brief quote about China compensation b discussed before. Amusing. https://youtu.be/6kqmojRRqB0

Posted by: Imagine | Jan 28 2020 21:42 utc | 40

But isn't that exactly what the plan's supposed to do?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:12 utc | 33

"In the remaining weeks before the March 2 Israeli elections, and the few months left until elections in the United States, Trump's peace plan will primarily serve the goal for which it was designed: election propaganda for Israel’s right-wing."

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/israel-us-palestinians-iran-donald-trump-benjamin-netanyahu.html#ixzz6CMb2xwxV

+Bonus prize = Stay out of jail card for Netanyahu if he remains Prime Minister.


"In the near term, the 80-page plan is most likely to stir up Israeli and American politics. Mr. Trump is sure to cite the plan’s pro-Israel slant on the 2020 campaign trail to win support from conservative Jewish Americans in Florida and other key states, along with the Evangelical Christians who are some of his strongest backers and support Israeli expansion in the Holy Land."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/28/world/middleeast/peace-plan.html

Let's not forget the far right Zionist money men AIPAC members who lavish millions on trump and GOP campaigns. ie Sheldon Adelson was seated in the front row when trump and netanyahu made their announcement. I would say these are the things it's intended to do.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 28 2020 21:44 utc | 41

“After the U.S. murder of the Iranian general Soleimani and the Iraqi PMU leader al-Muhandis its position in Iraq is under severe threat. “ Yes you could say that! See this:https://static.hypercomments.com/data/images2/9483823/1579175432328668

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jan 28 2020 21:05 utc | 29
++++++++++++

Wow, have these casualty and death figures been reported in the MSM?

Posted by: Really?? | Jan 28 2020 21:50 utc | 42

It would be an interesting question to Joe Biden at a town hall meeting if he still supports partitioning Iraq. I wonder if he would be coherent enough now to even formulate an answer, but I'd like to hear his response anyway.

foolisholdman @ 29
That letter surfaced two weeks ago, was refuted by the Congressman, and as dltravers commented FOIAs don't work that way, even in the unlikely event the Congressman decided to file it just one day after the attacks. I think it likely a good researcher, probably b himself, would have addressed it by now if it had substance. Suggest holding off on this til an open thread if any new evidence is discovered.

Posted by: Kabobyak | Jan 28 2020 21:53 utc | 43

The "Screw the Palestinians" Plan is going forward whether the Palestinians accept it or not. No doubt further the screw will be turned further in the not-too-distant future.

WaPo: Israel’s government plans to vote Sunday on annexing 30 percent of the occupied West Bank, officials say

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 28 2020 21:55 utc | 44

Oman and Bahrain join UAE:

"Trump greenlights Netanyahu to annex at least 1/3 of the West Bank.

"Never forget that Oman, Bahrain and the UAE were present in that room

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:41 utc | 39

I think that may be a misinterpretation of what was done. Oman and Bahrain may have felt the necessity to be there. Bahrain, they depend on US support to stay in power. Oman, we are in change of regime, not the moment to be rebellious.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 28 2020 22:00 utc | 45

"Rules-based International Order": BOHICA!

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 28 2020 22:09 utc | 46

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 28 2020 21:55 utc | 43

The "Screw the Palestinians" Plan is going forward whether the Palestinians accept it or not.

I'm not sure that there's any change at all. It's not a peace agreement. Israel simply declaring its sovereignty over more territory does not mean very much.

Israel has chosen the path of the Crusaders: conflict against its neighbours. We'll see whether that succeeds or not.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 28 2020 22:18 utc | 47

Turkey may be sending mercenaries from Idlib province to Libya but I wonder who'll be supplying the mercenaries with weapons? The director of the SkyAviaTrans cargo airline company (that had been running illegal arms and military drone parts from Ukraine and Turkey to Libya; one of the company's planes was shot down in Libya in August 2019) died in the UIA Flight PS752 crash.

The man who accidentally shot down the Boeing is now in prison.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 28 2020 22:30 utc | 48

I’d seen that map before. Though, why this time I immediately noticed an acronym that I previously had not I’m unsure.
Saudi
Homelands
Independent
Territories

Posted by: MadMax2 | Jan 28 2020 22:47 utc | 49

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:41 utc | 39

I'm very surprised at Oman.

Presumably very much a time of transition for them with Sultan Qabus having just died. Doesn't speak well for the direction they will go though...

Posted by: AshenLight | Jan 28 2020 22:53 utc | 50

No, there is nothing new about this"Peace Plan." The actual annexation of the West Bank has been ongoing for years. As the famous maps show the steady gobbling up of Palestinian land goes back to 1948 and the pace has never really varied, decade by decade, much.

What has changed is the hypocrisy of the United States and the 'west' which has tried to maintain the fiction of supporting International Law even while providing Israel with everything it has needed to break it and thrive.

Under the rule of an unashamed criminal, the United States is simply acting naturally-it has no fear of opposition, it holds its 'allies' in the deepest contempt, regarding them as prostitutes to be bought and instructed to perform for their master's pleasure. The theory that this whole exercise is designed to preserve Netanyahu's, not particularly important, political career really sums the matter up.
But the really important aspect of this 'Steal of the Century' is that it shows how hidebound and bigoted US policy has become- no thought has been given to the probable consequences, the most obvious of which is that it totally and finally discredits the Arab regimes, none of which has any more substantial purchase on popular support than the fear that it inspires.
It also discredits every one of the NATO allies-making a mockery of the notion that France and the UK in some way provide balance at the Security Council.
And in Palestine itself nothing much is lost- the situation, in terms of the collaboration between the PA and Israel simply becomes more flagrant. Palestinian support for the regimes is no longer in any way justifiable except for those on the payroll.

On the whole all that the Peace Deal will accomplish is the discrediting of the Empire, which needs all the prestige and reputation that it can retain as its military dominance fades. Once more the United States government makes damaging sacrifices, with long term implications, simply in order to gain a vote or two in the coming elections.

It is a long story but the as this story-to which karlofi referred yesterday- suggests that the US duopoly is on the verge of collapse
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/01/27/dnc-leader-stacks-nominating-committee-against-bernie-sanders/
It is beginning to look as if-saving only an 'accident' - Sanders could sweep the Primaries and still be denied the nomination. If this happens a Third Party ticket, backed by mass support seems inevitable. Sanders is the third successive candidate for President running on a platform of change. The first two changed nothing. But the public appetite for a New Deal, new beginnings and a fairer distribution of the country's vast wealth has only increased.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 28 2020 23:05 utc | 51

Posted by: trill | Jan 28 2020 21:08 utc

What they have in common is that they both like to segregate native people,they stole land to native people and have a strong racial hatred..maybe not so much for you but for me it's just a lot!

Posted by: LuBa | Jan 28 2020 23:14 utc | 52

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:26 utc | 36
english .almanar. com. lb is Hezbollah`s their statements and Nasrallah`s speeches is there.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jan 28 2020 23:37 utc | 53

A brief summation by Canthama:

"We may still hear tonight about some serious progress toward Khan Touman and SW Aleppo. Huge air strikes SW Aleppo, a type of air strike prepping ground forces advance, that combined with the SAA arrival at the outskirts of Khan Touman, everything is timed accordingly.

"Confirmed my earlier report that the SAA is moving west from KafrUmah toward Hass (not al Bara).

"Battle in Hish continues as the SAA is cleaning M5 south of Maarrat al Numan.

"Huge day for Syria, and more to come."


Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 23:41 utc | 54

trill @ 30:

Well, it's a Palestine-specific Apartheid, an internationally valid, general concept defined by the UN Convention on Apartheid.

In addition to being a Palestine-specific genocide, same for its general validity, as defined by Lemkin himself.

Happy?

Posted by: Piero Colombo | Jan 28 2020 23:50 utc | 55

Meanwhile ...the number of injured US military personnel is now 50

https://sputniknews.com/military/202001281078166838-number-of-us-troops-with-traumatic-brain-injuries-from-iran-missile-attack-increases-to-50--/

Posted by: ARN | Jan 29 2020 0:15 utc | 56

bevin@50:

Exactly, which is why I fully expect the USA’s European vassal states to tell the Palestinians to suck it up and settle — under threat of cutoff of aid even. (Trump May welll threaten the Europeans to go along, but I doubt threats from Trump would be necessary.)After all, Europe’s approach has so far to throw pocket change at the Palestinians and wish they’d go away.

Posted by: corvo | Jan 29 2020 0:52 utc | 57

Posted by: ARN | Jan 29 2020 0:15 utc | 56

Diapered soldiers...

Most likely, soldiers have injuries that are not physical (for example, concussion), but psychological in nature. Apparently their moral level of training is very low. They will need a long period of mental rehabilitation. The US army has fought a much weaker enemy over the past few decades. It is easy to be brave against a wimp, but here a worthy opponent turned up in the person of Iran. And this courage has gone somewhere. What is most interesting, Iran, in fact, only threatened with a finger, and the American military put on their pants. Unfortunately for them, diapers for the brain have not yet been invented.

Posted by: Helmut | Jan 29 2020 0:52 utc | 58

Trump today has tried to satsify evangelical and zionist as much as he can. Netanyahu's wet dream about ME and evangeliac dream about Jerusalem and the third temple is no secret. I just wonder why they have been praying in front of wrong wailing wall so long?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKTO8YYs29c

Posted by: ARN | Jan 29 2020 1:41 utc | 59

"Everyone has a a plan until they get punched in the face"

-- Mike Tyson

Posted by: Arch | Jan 29 2020 2:03 utc | 60

There's more than a punch in the face heading for the US.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jan 29 2020 2:20 utc | 61

@Sarah #20:

Is there even one case of ISIS terrorist attack against Israel? Why was Israel not and is not a member of the US-led coalition? Israel and ISIS are allies?

Israel has provided healthcare to ISIS members in areas in Quneitra and Daraa Governorates adjacent to occupied Golan Heights.

Here’s a clip from Conan O’Brien’s September 2017 remote special on Israel in which he visits “the Syrian border” (actually, he’s inside Syria) and listens to heart-warming tales about Israeli doctors treating wounded Syrians. The comment section is predictably filled with oohs and aahs from clueless Arabs and Westerners.

Now, if you look at a late August 2017 map of the Syrian War, you’ll see an ISIS pocket in the westernmost part of Daraa Governorate, while the area O’Brien has visited is 50 km to the north, near Madinat al-Baath (called “New Quneitra” by the Israeli male soldier) in Quneitra Governorate. However, if you look at the list of belligerents in the Wikipedia article on September 2016 Quneitra offensive, you will see the familiar black flag. So the “wounded Syrians” treated by Israeli doctors were mostly ISIS members.

Posted by: S | Jan 29 2020 3:10 utc | 62

The Nasty Secret Behind Aramco, ISIS and Trump in Syria

This is worth discussing..

Posted by: snake | Jan 29 2020 3:10 utc | 63

S

The various franchises and brand names differ little between each other and their wahabbi parent.
ISIS had a good product management and marketing team. Plenty of snuff movies ect circulating on the internet to stir the even the most jaded westerners to believe we needed to be in the middle east and keeping the natives under control.
The snuff movies I take it were genuine - nothing like a bit of authenticity if you want to market a brand. Plenty of wahabbi product management setups in the various wahabbi lands that US would have worked with. Amaq I had book marked - designated a terrorist org by UN but hosted by a US company based in San francisco on a hong kong server.
Media management and marketing for jaded westerners.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 29 2020 5:38 utc | 64

Peter AU1, i agree it's marketing for jaded westerners, it couldn't be more obvious messaging; the US better stay in the ME or ISIS will go after Israel.

Posted by: annie | Jan 29 2020 6:10 utc | 65

@trill #30:

funny how everyone uses the word Apartheid to reinforce their opposition to Zionism, even though the two have nothing in common.

They have a lot in common: https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/5601056.html.

Posted by: S | Jan 29 2020 6:18 utc | 66

US Ally Soleimani’s Global Fight Against Terror

• He fought the Iraqi invasion of Islamic Republic of Iran by Saddam Hussein
• He fought the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan in the 80s
• He fought the Taliban in the 90s
• He fought the invaders of Iraq post March 2003
• He fought Al Qaeda and Islamic State foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq alongside the US coalition

On Jan. 2, 2020, Qasem Soleimani was struck by the “Hand of G*d” ... the whimp of a Fascist leader in the White House.

Young Qasem Soleimani with NA Panjshir commanders 90s Afghanistan

Posted by: Oui | Jan 29 2020 7:54 utc | 67

@63 snake

Worth discussing, but keeping in mind that this comes from someone who is on record saying that 40% of what he (Gordon Duff) writes is purposely false, because "if I didn't write false information I wouldn't be alive."

Posted by: Vato | Jan 29 2020 9:15 utc | 68

i wonder if duff's statement is false; there's a 40% chance. paging raymond smullyan.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 29 2020 9:35 utc | 69

does anyone know details of the libel suit filed by consortium news against a canadian spy agency and a news network, and how it might be affected by allegations by john helmer that consortium lifted his work without attribution? how credible is helmer?

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 29 2020 10:16 utc | 70

i should mention the suit is over consortium and helmer exposing lies by cynthia freeland about her nazi grandfather, and the smearing of consortium as a russian front (where have we heard that before) for linking to the strategic culture foundation, which i gather has a good reputation.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 29 2020 10:19 utc | 71

pretzelattack #70


how credible is helmer?

I find John Helmer reasonable and well intentioned. He has a good insight into things Russian (primarily) plus western and so renders a good analysis. Hi contacts seem to be extensive and credible and I sense he avoids bullshitting and wild extremes.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 29 2020 10:31 utc | 72

Pretzelattack @ 71:

John Helmer has been based in Moscow since the late 1990s at least. I think he is primarily a business journalist. His reporting on the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and the Skripal poisoning issues has been outstanding. His reporting on internal Russian politics is not so great, he's not a fan of Vladimir Putin. He sometimes comes across as a bit petty especially if someone does not credit him as being the original author, as in the Consortium News plagiarism case.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 29 2020 11:22 utc | 73

This item keeps popping up at MoA:

https://static.hypercomments.com/data/images2/9483823/1579175432328668

The letter is signed by James P Hogan from the Office of the Chief Management Officer, Oversight and Compliance, Department of Defense.

Would someone living in the US please call up his office for confirmation or denial. Thanks in advance.

Posted by: sarz | Jan 29 2020 11:41 utc | 74

ARN | Jan 29 2020 0:15 utc | 56 Numbers

I do not doubt that many were injured. When the story changes it generally means there are lies about, somewhere.

However, most Imperial troops come from a poverty draft, many are just girls, many are not citizens, and most just want the job and post-job benefits. They're ok with the deal, the murdering an' all, so long as they don't get shot at much.

So, if a young fella or gal found out that the "enemy" has them in "rifle sights" (wherein ya can't miss)...if they discovered this, would it not incline many to suddenly realize that they had "traumatic stress"? That of course might be termed by their officers as "brain injury" because stress resides in that organ, inter alia.

Accordingly I surmise than some of these injuries amount to a change of attitude as a result of a troubling encounter with reality, and their opponent. A catharsis and change of "heart", a certain failure of the suspension of disbelief. Perhaps "Jeeezzzus" has spoken to them about the evil of making war and they've suddenly realized that they are actually conscientious objectors?

I have pals that quit the USN because of the girls and because they were terrified in combat (mines, mostly, and some went off) in the Gulf Wars. (The girls simply are too weak and too small to be much use to their fellow soldiers in real combat. They are handy though, and there's less sodomy when they're on a ship.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 29 2020 11:46 utc | 75

Posted by: Walter | Jan 29 2020 11:46 utc | 79

The US troops at Ayn al-Asad who were interviewed on CNN after the attack seemed a pretty feeble lot to me, not America's finest.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 29 2020 12:17 utc | 76

sarz @ 78

It won't be necessary to call Mr Hogan's office. Someone has done an analysis of the alleged FOIA letter and shown it to be a fake.

https://21stcenturywire.com/2020/01/17/document-analysis-debunking-fake-dod-iran-foia-request/

Posted by: sarz | Jan 29 2020 12:20 utc | 77

Walter @ 79

Crude almost soul-less assessment but true nonetheless -- A description of a 'fraternity' of "Brothers" that's been created and conditioned as such to survive what they've been thrown into. A very different arena than the armchair warriors that observe from the stands, or those fraternities that are far far far higher than ours in this reality who observe for different reasons.

Coz you mentioned Winnie in one of your previous posts. Things just pop into my head sometimes... Interesting isn't the word ISIS and then found this:

The Semiramis hotel in Cairo is named after her. It is where the Cairo Conference of 1921 took place, presided over by Winston Churchill.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo_Conference_(1921)

Plans on this level have taken 'generations' and I mean generations. Evil as sh*t mind you!

Posted by: Jayne | Jan 29 2020 12:22 utc | 78

79 & 82


“Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash.”

Winston Churchill

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 29 2020 13:14 utc | 79

Jayne | Jan 29 2020 12:22 utc | 82

Thanks. Modern USN ships, LSD or whatever, are filled with CCTV...and once in a while one of the girls turns out - and everybody gets to watch...so I have heard, credibly, but not witnessed. It's a special treat.

I agree. Crude. t is, I think, an intrinsically crude subject. I used to work with a guy we called (of course) "Fritz". He was in the Hitler Youth when he got sent to the Eastern Front perhaps near the German border, and had a pretty terrible time at 16 years old. I knew him about 1995 or so, when he was an old machinist for the Army. There were a number of words that set him trembling, shaking, yellowed teeth chattering. "Russian Front" would do it... Crude. "T-34" worked too...

Posted by: Walter | Jan 29 2020 13:24 utc | 80

Walter@ #79

Tell that to the 9000 plus female veterans who have earned Combat Action Badges, you old fart!

Posted by: Carciofi | Jan 29 2020 13:57 utc | 81

Dear Carcifi in re # 78 please re-read. Thanks!

sarz | Jan 29 2020 11:41 utc | 79 (was not posted by Walter)
And fyi the US Army gave me medals too, and I am male. Just a pile of worthless jewelry. A pal, now gone, got hisself a bronze star. He threw it away. They hand this krap out like it meant something other than chit.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 29 2020 14:08 utc | 82

@ Jen | Jan 29 2020 11:22 utc | 77

He sometimes comes across as a bit petty especially if someone does not credit him as being the original author, as in the Consortium News plagiarism case.

Plagiarism is stealing. Helmer makes his living by writing. A good part of his reputation and thus his income rests on having his work properly recognized. I do not see it as petty, rather justifiable annoyance.

Posted by: jrkrideau | Jan 29 2020 14:12 utc | 83

The US troops at Ayn al-Asad who were interviewed on CNN after the attack seemed a pretty feeble lot to me, not America's finest. --Laguerre @76

Au contraire! Those are indeed America's finest.

Perhaps your impression of what America has to offer is derived from watching Hollywood productions based upon comic books, but Americans don't come much better than the boys and girls sent out to kill for the empire these days. The rejection rate for new recruits is 71%! The US military is harder to get into now than most American colleges.

That high reject rate isn't because the military is so picky about its cannon fodder. It is simply because they cannot find sufficient numbers of Americans who can walk from the troop carrier to the point of combat while carrying a weapon, and who can then operate that weapon without being a bigger threat to their compatriots andthemselves than to the enemy. No matter how feeble they may have seemed to Laguerre, those troops really are America's finest. It is just that America isn't really into "fine" at the moment.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 29 2020 14:58 utc | 84

William Gruff | Jan 29 2020 14:58 utc | 84

What you said! Yes. It's awful, and symptomatic of Imperial Failure.

I knew some very fine US soldiers. One or two might still be alive. NCOs mostly, wounded combat vets from the Korean incinerator and WW2. 10th Mountain Division some of them. Another guy was in 442 at the Battle of the Bulge (a campaign, not a battle) He joined right out of internment camp. The last guy close to me died at 93. He was under suicide attack near Okinawa (among other islands) for 2 weeks.

The guys I met in the 1990's were idiots and fools and fodder units entirely deceived. And actually embarrassing.

Later dudes n dudetts old wally's gota run.

Posted by: Walter | Jan 29 2020 16:01 utc | 85

As to the quality of current Imperial Stormtroopers, first and foremost they must be able to read at a 9th grade level or better since as most know from the incessant TV ads today's military's High Tech. My daughter's ex-fiancée was a USN com-tech and no physical specimen--nerd is the correct descriptive term--and he was just one of an entire section of nerds working on a carrier based in Norfolk. Remember, the ratio between support and combat troops is getting close to 9:1, and those in the 1 areas are harder to find--remember, you gotta be smart to work your equipment. Marines were called Jar Heads because of their simple minded obtuseness but that description doesn't fit anylonger--Marines are the one service branch where the support to combat ratio differs, 7:3/6:4, with USN pukes usually tasked with support duties.

To be fair, the global trend is to high tech militaries. But where the big difference lies is in the quality of how a nation's human capital's basic development takes place, which is where the Outlaw US Empire's domestic lack of support is most critical since that's what leads to the woeful quality of potential recruits.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 29 2020 16:51 utc | 86

"We may still hear tonight about some serious progress toward Khan Touman and SW Aleppo. Huge air strikes SW Aleppo, a type of air strike prepping ground forces advance, that combined with the SAA arrival at the outskirts of Khan Touman, everything is timed accordingly.

"Confirmed my earlier report that the SAA is moving west from KafrUmah toward Hass (not al Bara).

"Battle in Hish continues as the SAA is cleaning M5 south of Maarrat al Numan.

"Huge day for Syria, and more to come."
=======

I did not see any changes in control except Khan Touman, Rashidin (both 4 an 5) and a village or two, this is a huge momentum in suburban hilly landscape with tunnels and bunkers. In south Idlib, another village on M5 was liberated, for 2nd or 3rd time, but this time as a part of a front, not a semi-isolated salient.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 23:41 utc | 54

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 29 2020 17:00 utc | 87

Piotr Berman @87--

Before I wrote my initial comment @86 today, I scoured Twitter to read the overnight results, which IMO were very impressive. The point aimed at Sarqib is now @6k from that important crossroads. Consolidation along the M-5 South needed to be done and was accomplished. The breakout from Western Aleppo's urban boundary looks capable of reaching and controlling M-5. More importantly, the weather will stay good for at least the next 48hrs. As this map suggests, a consolidated push from the East needs top be done to protect the M-5's Eastern flank, which is likely to meet only light resistance as most terrorist forces withdrew to defend towns.

One thing's certain: Erdogan's in a tizzy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 29 2020 18:08 utc | 88

pretzelattack #69

i wonder if duff's statement is false; there's a 40% chance. paging raymond smullyan.


Bertrand Russel presented a single sheet of paper to Prtofessor Whitehead. On one side of the sheet the words "The statement on the other side is is false" Turning the page reveals "the statement on the other side is true".

When Reading Duff bear that in mind.

Rest assured both Russel and Whitehaead debated the logic of that at considerable length.

Meanwhile a heavy freighter is ablaze in the gulf waters.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 29 2020 21:27 utc | 89

Yeah, who but a prospective recruit in need of a green card would enlist in the US Army nowadays when one can become a highly paid "super-soldier" type merc high on blow & hoes during Colombian R&Rs..

Posted by: Lozion | Jan 30 2020 2:04 utc | 90

Tour inside the city of Ma`rat al-Numan, which was liberated by the Syrian army in the countryside of Idlib

https://twitter.com/uunionnews/status/1222658777364692992

Posted by: Rick Happ | Jan 30 2020 6:03 utc | 91

Seems more villages near Saraqib are being taken by SAA during the night. The direction seems to veer WEST of highway M5, some zigzaging to confuse the opponent and threaten to surround was done in the past, in the meantime, in heavily fortified south-west Aleppo SAA is absorbing the reinforcements.
Fun for military buffs, mayhem for people there. I hope getting Americans out of Syria will be the next project.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 30 2020 14:04 utc | 92

Piotr Berman @92--

Today, the Iranians announced that after Idlib the Outlaw US Empire's troops would be the next project.

Yes, a move to the West prior to Saraqib was made that caught the terrorists off guard and resulted in big gains offering greater protection for the M-5's Western flank. It now appears the main push into Saraqib is about to begin.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 30 2020 17:32 utc | 93

MOA brilliant blog & brilliant posts!
Thank you for your genius & verve!!

Posted by: Biloximarxkelly | Jan 30 2020 19:36 utc | 94

It now appears the main push into Saraqib is about to begin.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 30 2020 17:32 utc | 93

Hard to tell. On a larger scale, a push begun already. Last day, conflicting reports from Aleppo area and controlling the remaining fragment of M5 south of Maarrat al-Numan, together with a larger village in the hills -- Idlib province to the west of the reclaimed area has mountains like in Pennsylvania or Saarland, not big but impeding tank warfare. Tiger tactic stresses making unpredictable moves, currently the attacks are in three locations: south of Maarrat-al-Numan, onto Saraquib and near al-Duhur.

But we do not know the difficulties both sides face...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 31 2020 13:14 utc | 95

Erdogan threatens. Again.

Erdo is not a partner to be trusted.
Turkey ‘will not hesitate to use military force’ if attacks by Syrian govt forces don’t stop in Idlib

31 Jan, 2020 12:04

Ankara will not sit idly by as the Syrian Army carries out an offensive in northeastern Idlib province, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned, saying all options, including the most extreme ones, are on the table.
“We will not watch the situation in Syria… We will not hesitate to do whatever it takes, including using military force,” Erdogan said on Friday in Ankara. He claimed that attacks by the “Syrian regime” causes an influx of migrants into Turkey.[.]

Earlier this week, Erdogan claimed the Syrian offensive in Idlib – the last remaining militant stronghold in Syria – violates the ceasefire agreement brokered by Ankara and Moscow last year in Sochi. He also suggested that Russia should persuade Damascus to stop the attacks.[.]

The Kremlin responded to his appeal on Friday, with presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisting that Russia “fully complies with all obligations under the Sochi agreements regarding the Idlib zone.” In the meantime, he said Moscow regrets “that the situation there leaves much to be desired.”

He said Damascus’ troops are targeting militants “who constantly carry out offensive actions against the Syrian Armed Forces as well as the Russian base in Khmeimim.”[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 31 2020 17:26 utc | 96

Erdy has badly lost the plot and horribly miscalculated. Four in Idlib minus two equals two {not four}and even though he has sent two to Libya, that does not leave four in Idlib. Back home in Turkey though he has a serious contender breathing down his neck so he is a little sensitive of late.

His best and easiest solution has always been to close the border posts to Syria but he wont do that. Turkey is now stuck with the evil they created and they are armed to the teeth. Many will be comfortable in Turkey and in no mood to die in Libya. I would expect this cornered rat to continue his weekly treachery for the term of his life.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 31 2020 17:59 utc | 97

uncle tungsten @97--

Erdogan has certainly dug himself a massive hole and has no ladder to climb up to escape it. If he tries to use his military against the battle-hardened SAA, he will lose very badly, and Syria might even reclaim a province it lost to the Turks during the 20th Century. Assad holds his emotions well, but he has a great deal of hatred for Erdogan. At some point, a massive push Northward from Aleppo is going to occur aiming to eject all terrorist/Turkish forces in the final act of reclaiming every inch of Idlib and Aleppo provinces. After Idlib, I wouldn't be surprised to see those forces turn right and clear all of Northern Syria of terrorists and Turks.

A twitter source, Within Syria, reports Syria getting 60+ modernized T-62 & T-72 tanks that haven't been employed in any combat yet as they've been deployed somewhere. My guess is Dier-Ezzor to be used to evict Outlaw US Empire troops. The main reason that op hasn't been started is the lack of Syrian Air Force strength to cover two big ops at once, as the RuAF won't be used in direct combat against Imperial troops.

The weather's improved enough for tonight's advance into Saraqib--rain greatly hinders SAA's night vision advantage. Short vid shows landscape around Saraqib's outskirts as troops mass for offensive to restart.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 31 2020 18:49 utc | 98

Erdogan Threatens Syria With Military Action If It Does Not Stop Fighting Terrorists In Idlib

“We will do what is necessary when someone is threatening our soil. We will have no choice but to resort to the same path again if the situation in Idlib is not returned to normal quickly,” Erdogan said arguing that Turkey wants stability and security in Syria.

“We will not refrain from doing what is necessary, including using military force,” he said.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 31 2020 20:31 utc | 99

"The missiles demonstrated that the U.S. would have to fight a whole new war to implement and protect its plan."

I believe that is indeed the plan. You can't have a war with Iran without US troops inside Iraq (at least on Iran's actual border with Iraq, if not elsewhere in the country.) Since Iraq is not going to support a US war with Iran, this means the US *has* to go war with Iraq *again* either before or during a war with Iran.

OR, of course, the US has to find a way to keep large numbers of troops in Iraq without another war with Iraq. The plan to split Iraq by buying up the Sunnis or the Kurds is the only obvious course other than fighting all of Iraq. Since the US wants the Kurds to help them do mischief in Syria, presumably they will try to buy off the Kurds in Iraq as well. This might also help the US in negotiating with Turkey which is fighting the Kurds in Syria and Iraq but also contesting with the US over Russian arms and Libya. If the US can convince the Kurds to hold off attacking Turkey in exchange for money, oil development, etc., the US might be able to stash US troops in the Kurdish parts of both Iraq and Syria while at the same time telling the Turks that the US is helping them deal with the Kurds.

Whether any of that will actually work to the degree needed by the US to get US troops in Iraq preparatory to or during a war with Iran is problematic. But I can see the US trying.

In the end, however, there *has* to be scores of thousands of US troops in Iraq in order to fight a war with Iran. The US can *not* simply fight an air and naval war against Iran, except initially. Eventually it will be demonstrated that US troops *have* to enter Iran, at least to a limited degree, in order to prosecute the war. The US can use air and naval attacks to devastate the Iranian civilian infrastructure and do some damage to its military infrastructure, but the US can not prevent Iran from successfully attacking US assets in the region, and especially from closing the Straits of Hormuz, without putting boots on the ground at some point.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Feb 1 2020 0:19 utc | 100

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