Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 16, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-12

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:


The M5 highway is librated and safe and the western suburbs of Aleppo are currently being cleaned of filth.
Five Jihadi counterattacks with Turkish artillery support and seven suicide vehicles were defeated.
The next operation will attempt to liberate the M4 highway in a more mountainous are and thereby more difficult.

> But former ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who knows Bloomberg from his days in Washington from 2009 to 2013, characterized Bloomberg as a “friend” who would be “very good” for Israel.

“I had a lot of contact with him, and he was very upset about the [Obama] administration’s treatment of us,” said Oren. “He is a Jewish guy who grew up in Boston suburbs. He is not a progressive. He has a deep tribal connection to Israel.”  <

Other issues:

North Europe is currently experiencing a big storm which makes landing at Heathrow a bit tricky.

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on February 16, 2020 at 15:41 UTC | Permalink

next page »

People speak of "Movements"... From the 1970's in Berlin, then, examine a foundational slogan. Here>

„Wir wollen nicht ein Stück vom Kuchen, wir wollen die ganze Bäckerei.“

In the matter of US persons wishing to find Change within a system of fake and fraud - re-visit the slogan above.

If you don't control the entire bakery, your best hope is for a (small) token piece of cake...

visit, if you like b-republik [dot]

Watch also the film Kuhle Wampe (full title: Kuhle Wampe, oder: Wem gehört die Welt?, particularly the final scene, which Brecht directed... (YT)

For myself, movements are like sand, unless the circumstance invites them to gain traction and power.

Given that sudden change creates the ground for revolution, it probably matters a lot right now, what shape and structure and goals an Nth movement has.

Controlling, owning, the kitchen seems like a fair start...

I suppose that begins with a stove...


Posted by: Walter | Feb 16 2020 15:55 utc | 1

Rebels in the northern part of western Aleppo were left with two tertiary roads through steep hills, roads that became one way: moving in the direction that is against wishes of the local Lords of the Sky can be easily stopped with an occasional bomb+crater. Following some negotiation and official command from Erdo-an, they have shown remarkable resolve, organization and discipline -- swift retreat of thousands through a narrow road from multiple towns is not easy. Perhaps instructions for Plan Omega (Plan Z?) were carefully prepared long ago. The start was observed one (few?) hours ago, the retreat is ongoing. One of the two tertiary roads is already in hands of SAA, but it was basically under "fire control" already, SAA took a major hill on that road, plus some other "points".

It is still a question where the lines of control will stabilize. My theory is that SAA will whittle rebel positions to get stable line of control, getting some hill tops, assuring that M5 is a sufficient safety corridor. Rebels had markedly lower morale than in 2018, a season of spectacular defeats will probably lead to a further decline. The works of piece should have priority for a while.

Concerning that, I noted some disturbing patterns. Combination of sanctions of EU and USA is truly inhumane, lists all materials necessary for the reconstruction, fuels, material to restore fuel infrastructure etc. Russian and Chinese companies may face a lot of sanctions (really, piracy) if they make supplies, and there are tragic shortages in Syria. To win peace, the Eurasian powers must get their act together. For sure, there are ways, as shown with Crimea that is affected by an equally vicious web of sanctions, but Russia goes around them quite effectively. I read that the same web of companies that are not vulnerable to sanctions can be used for trading with Syria, but the reports from Syria are mixed. Perhaps it is not easy to provide supplies for war and for peace in the same time. What we have seen this winter requires huge logistic effort. I hope that Russia, Iran and even China will get their act together.

The future is still shaky, an economical web of Eurasian independence, with results to show, has many elements in place but it still has to show its capacity to "project economic force".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 16 2020 16:11 utc | 2

Sorry for typos, e.g. works of piece -> works of peace.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 16 2020 16:13 utc | 3

Japan confirms 70 new cases of COVID-19 from Diamond Princess cruise ship

Meanwhile, Japan has seen 53 infections across the nation, including a dozen new cases reported on Saturday and 13 cases among more than 760 Japanese nationals and their relatives repatriated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

The cruise ship has 3,500 people, with 355 infected. The rest of Japan has only 53 infected confirmed. That's a +700% rate.

Japan's health minister admitted the country has only the infrastructure to test 200 people at the same time. Assuming they are using the new test kits, then, at this rate, they should test all the passengers in 18 days. That leaves the end date at February 21st. But, if the virus is infectious at its incubation stage, then people declared not infected at, e.g., February 20th may be infected by February 21st. That is, if we are to take Western propaganda as true (that the virus is transmissible at its incubation stage; that the virus is transmissible through the air, touch and can survive even the most sterile surfaces for up to seven days).

Tha cruise ship has a disproportional rate of over 60 people. They are at a high risk of dying from the COVID-19. The ship is stranded since February 3rd. Japanese inefficiency has created a death trap. More easy would be to sink the whole ship with all the people inside it. At least that would be cheaper.

And people here still fall for the capitalist propaganda that Chinese socialism is to blame for the alleged failure to contain the epidemic - when Japan cannot even handle a ship with 3,500 people.

Posted by: vk | Feb 16 2020 16:17 utc | 4

Vk @4 thanks for the update.. epidemic containment is a global the past massive help would have been moved into the area to fix the holes.. does it seem to you TPTB want COVID-19 to infect the entire world?? It certainly looks like it.. to me form here.

any more updates on who engineered this virus? .. I have been told the ACE_II entry mechanism.. does not fit a natural evolution scenario.because existing known virus with that mechanism are so much more thermodynamically likely. .

Posted by: snake | Feb 16 2020 16:35 utc | 5

Here's What Worries Me About Sanders Detractors

This is the kind of thing that will be plaguing the Sanders campaign until the day that it's all over and done with. The blogger whose article is linked below is really superb on local, municipal-level political matters in the area where I live. On national and international matters he's woefully superficial and naive, and his linked article (below) is, no doubt, being replicated by other, similarly uninformed bloggers all across the country.

”Here's What Worries Me About Bernie Sanders

(by the way, no one has to register to respond to him – all that's required is to type in a user name and an email address each time one posts a comment)

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 16 2020 16:53 utc | 6

@Walter/1: Props for mentioning Kuhle Wampe! ;)

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Feb 16 2020 17:02 utc | 7

The week was truly remarkable.

Trump claimed he has the authority to interfere in Criminal cases.
Raised eyes among judges.
UK should now free Assange and Canada should follow by cancelling Huawei's Meng Wanzhou extradition process.

Trump's bullying met with resistance:

- Attorney General Barr: "I will not be bullied" LINK

- Trump, in a hissy fit, slammed down the phone on best friend Boris. Boris then cancelled his upcoming White House visit, said to be due to "scheduling"

Did you miss that Trump deleted one of his tweet? Yes, he backed down.

- Trump's Tweet: He accused Bloomberg of being a racist. Then deleted the tweet. Bloomberg returned the attack. saying:

[..] Make no mistake Mr. President: I am not afraid of you and I will not let you bully me or anyone else in America. Between now and November, I will do everything I can to defeat you whether I am on the ballot or not.”(emphasis added)

Trump is emboldened and feels invincible. And to those who think Trump has a 'locked and done' re-election, there is that great silent majority of Americans - moderates and independents - who tire of the insults, bullying and, frankly, are embarrassed by this president.

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 16 2020 17:03 utc | 8

Concerning "Chinese authoritarian system" responsibility, while not without faults, in respect to handling the epidemic their system is no worse than any in the "democratic West", at it seems to do a good job so far. I have mentioned an example of "democratic openness" in terms of disclosing inconvenient medical news: what has happened to soldiers who were present in a military base in Iraq that got bombarded due to idiocy of American president? Something with their brains. In that aspect, some brain malady seems to affect followers of "inter agency consensus", IAC, a recent mutation of an old Cold War cult. Perhaps some secret rites of that cult cause brain lesions, so far CDC ignores the problem although the condition seems to claim thousands of victims already.

The rapid spread if IAC raises the question, will the next president of USA be affected by a brain diseases. Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg is definitely affected, and so are people from the circle of Michael Rubens Bloomberg (not to be confused with other numerous Michael Bloombergs). But with the possibility of asymptomatic incubation period and the vectors of spreading, e.g. invitations to symposia organized by the victims etc., it is hard to be optimistic.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 16 2020 17:08 utc | 9

Again, sorry for typos, perhaps some version of IAC affected me too.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 16 2020 17:10 utc | 10

Walter @1

We have a similar expression in English:

If you don't have a seat at the table, you're on the menu.

In Western democracies all the seats at the grown-up table are filled with lobbyists and oligarchs. And seats are not given/granted, they are taken by those who demonstrate their power.

People must demonstrate their power via Movements if they hope to have a seat at the table of power.

Anyone who says otherwise is blowing smoke up your ass.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 16 2020 17:13 utc | 11

: snake | Feb 16 2020 16:35 utc | 5 (update, non technical)

D. Orlov opines "A Most Convenient Virus" (and decides it is a weapon, maybe, probably, and observes that Chin has responded as though it assumes CV is weapon)

F. Boyle's opinion (by another logic) also says "weapon". His logic is legalistic - if a bug is made in a BSL4 lab, it is a weapon, because all BSL4 labs are illegal weapon labs. He also seems to see this specific affair as a biowar attack on Chin.

Posted by: Walter | Feb 16 2020 17:21 utc | 12

: Jackrabbit | Feb 16 2020 17:13 utc | 11 (table)

Yes, a similar expression. But the German idea would be to own the table and the kitchen and the dining room.

Otherwise they're liable to seat you, feed you soup, and then tell you that your house just burned down and they're so sorry that you'll have to leave now, nice visiting.

Posted by: Walter | Feb 16 2020 17:25 utc | 13

done in bar acceptable format..
government of mexico competing with private banking

This is a true act of nationalism.. and could render Mexico a safe place to be..

Posted by: snake | Feb 16 2020 17:34 utc | 14

Bizarre infrastructure bottleneck coupled with unexplainable military cult ideology generates kafkaesque free market liberalism situation in Denver:

Hockey fans miss large portions of Kings-Avs game at Air Force's Falcon Stadium because of traffic; demand refunds

The Los Angeles Kings won a 3-1 thriller over the Colorado Avalanche in their outdoor game at the Air Force Academy's Falcon Stadium on Saturday night. But thousands of fans didn't see large portions of the game, and many left before its conclusion, thanks to a horrific traffic mess that turned 45-minute journeys from Denver into four-plus-hour expeditions.


As the Stadium Series game started, lines of cars seeking to enter the parking lots were visible from the stadium. There were still cars sitting bumper-to-bumper trying to enter as the second period started. Fans were still entering the stadium during the second intermission, nearly two hours after the event started.


"I got up on the grass and parked my car on some dirt hill. It's insanity," he said. "I missed two periods. I missed [intermission performer] Sam Hunt. What are we paying for? I'm probably going to watch 20 minutes and head out because it's going to be just as chaotic leaving."

The game ended at 8:46 p.m. MT. As of 10 p.m., there was a standstill of traffic leaving the lots around the stadium.

The Air Force Academy was in charge of routing traffic and running the parking lots for the event. The NHL and the Air Force sent out traffic advisories in anticipation of the large volume of cars and some road construction. A couple of accidents on I-25 also delayed travelers.


Avalanche fan Jeff Carter walked through security into the event during the second intermission as well. His car wasn't at the stadium -- after it was stuck in that traffic jam, he parked at a Starbucks that was an hour's walk from the venue. His wife was updating him with news from the game via text message while he walked.

"They need to refund all the tickets," Carter said.


Lisa Kruse also wanted a refund. She said she arrived at the game midway through the third period from Westminster, about 40 minutes away from the stadium without traffic.

"The outdoor game is an amazing concept. They need someone in charge that knows about parking and logistics. I've been to concerts at the Air Force Academy and never had any issue," she said. "I love the Avalanche. I bought this ticket to see Sam Hunt, and I missed the concert. I will look for a refund. This was ridiculous." Bennett Cox, wearing a vintage Peter Forsberg Quebec Nordiques sweater, and Jaclyn Peluso, who was wearing an Avalanche sweater, hurriedly walked into the stadium during the second intermission.

"It was a logistical joke. Just a nightmare. Not a lot of planning," Cox said.

"Three hours in the car from Castle Rock," Peluso said.

Ironically, they were able to find a parking space fairly close to the stadium because fans at the game started leaving during the second period.


Reached by ESPN, the NHL had no comment. The Avalanche did not answer a request for comment.


Posted by: vk | Feb 16 2020 17:35 utc | 15

"Turkey’s goal in Syria is not to support the Syrian opposition forever, but to manage the defeat of the opposition so that there aren’t another million refugees. Turkey also wants the Kurdish groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) defeated."

--From the Jerusalem Post, February 15th 2020

Posted by: carl | Feb 16 2020 17:38 utc | 16

Ma'arrat Misrin is a major road hub on the Idlib plain. Only 12-13km off the current frontline.
Taking this town prior to the M4 would make AQ Turk logistics to the south difficult.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 16 2020 17:58 utc | 17

thanks b for an informative week... thanks piotr for the syrian update as well.. ditto peter au..

Posted by: james | Feb 16 2020 18:07 utc | 18

***ALEPPO Liberated !***

Russian sub/frigate cruise-missile hits Anjarh:
"A surface-to-surface missile launched by the Russian battleships from the sea and landed in the vicinity of the town of Anjar in the western Aleppo countryside


Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 16 2020 18:09 utc | 19

so bloomberg "grew up in Boston suburbs". makes sense that he's a Masshole. i always got a new england yuppie vibe from the guy. as for "not progressive", i think captain obvious just got promoted to first lieutenant. ditto for "tribal" though a non-israeli saying the same thing would be instantly smeared.

Posted by: the pair | Feb 16 2020 18:17 utc | 20

TPTB decided to relax news embargo, with some caution:

Russian-backed Syrian army seizes most of rebel-held Aleppo province: state media

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian state media said on Sunday government forces had seized most of rebel-held Aleppo province in another major gain by a Russian-backed offensive.

Russian warplanes mounted heavy air strikes in the area on Sunday, bombing towns including Anadan, which was later seized by Syrian government forces backed by Iranian-backed militias, activists reported.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 16 2020 18:20 utc | 21

From Los Alamos:
The Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, is Highly Contagious and More Infectious Than Initially Estimated

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a recently emerged human pathogen that has spread
widely since January 2020. Initially, the basic reproductive number, R0, was estimated to be 2.2
to 2.7. Here we provide a new estimate of this quantity. We collected extensive individual case
reports and estimated key epidemiology parameters, including the incubation period. Integrating
these estimates and high-resolution real-time human travel and infection data with
mathematical models, we estimated that the number of infected individuals during early
epidemic double every 2.4 days, and the R0 value is likely to be between 4.7 and 6.6. We further
show that quarantine and contact tracing of symptomatic individuals alone may not be effective
and early, strong control measures are needed to stop transmission of the virus

Posted by: Perimter | Feb 16 2020 18:24 utc | 22

Twitter updates on Syria are excellent--Terrorist rats and their Turk allies are on the run while the SAA advances in their wake mindfully demining on its way. The entire metropolitan area of Aleppo's been declared liberated and the many images of its residents rejoicing are heartlifting! Russian troops are deploying all along the M-5. The focus will now shift to the M-4 and securing the border with Turkey. A move on Afrin will happen; the when being the unknown. The victories in the West will embolden SAA troops in the East in their confrontations with the Outlaw US Empire. The same is happening in Iraq. The overtness of Turkey's terrorist abetting is having an affect on NATO public opinion. Dancing!, but there's still more work to do.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 16 2020 18:30 utc | 23

Wow its looks as if the SAA have achieved another objective. A huge chunk of the area to the west and north west of Aleppo is now in their hands. Total collapse. Much celebration in the local population to have got rid of the plague of terrorists. No more artillery threat to Aleppo for the first time since 2012.

Will they stop now or just keep going in the North? Or just wizz down the M5 to start on the M4?

Posted by: JohninMK | Feb 16 2020 18:50 utc | 24

@21 I like the way Reuters et al always remind us that the SAA is 'Russian-backed' or 'Iranian-backed'. Presumably this is intended to diminish their achievements but it doesn't seem to work very well anymore. It may even have the opposite effect.

Posted by: dh | Feb 16 2020 18:59 utc | 25

Continuing political repression in Bolivia is ignored or downplayed by dominant media corporations, which continue to describe the wholly flawed OAS election analysis as revealing “irregularities” and “vote-rigging”. Bolivian authorities rely on lawfare techniques to diminish the electoral prospects of the removed-from-office MAS:

“Bolivian authorities have been routinely charging MAS leaders with sedition, terrorism, and incitement to violence…(interim president Anez) says she will move her government to investigate at least 592 people who held high office in Morales’ 14 years in government. This means that the entirety of the MAS leadership will likely face harassment between now and the May 3 election.”

Salvador Romero, former head of Bolivia’s election agency, who was removed in 2008 by Morales for his ties to election-meddling USAID, has returned to Bolivia from Honduras, where he worked with the Americans to cement regime-change there, and has been reinstated as head of the official election monitoring apparatus TSE. The USAID has sent a team from the US to Bolivia to provide “technical aid to the electoral process.”

Still - “early polls show that the MAS ticket is in first place.” Will the people’s support for the wrong team be respected?

Also - the latest collection of stern US indictments of Huawei, most stemming from years-old civil cases already litigated, clearly indicate the obvious political / commercial purposes, another form of lawfare, and highlight the intensely biased environment the Huawei CFO would be immersed should the extradition actually go through. It would represent the biggest foreign policy error in Canadian history.

Posted by: jayc | Feb 16 2020 19:16 utc | 26

Try this for a Reuters headline "Yemen's air strikes 'kill 31 civilians' after Saudi jet crash"
Appears not long before their wordy piece on the SAA's current victory.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 16 2020 19:19 utc | 27

@carl | 16
Maybe I missed it but did Seth actually say what the 'better deal' was that Tukey wants from Russia?
Unimpressed by Seth, to say the least.
Informative maybe, but no insight whatsoever.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Feb 16 2020 19:29 utc | 28

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 16 2020 17:03 utc | 8

Trump is emboldened and feels invincible.

Isn't it quite logical? His favorite mistress just came back to stay near him in White House. That's the X factor, he's full in Hope.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Feb 16 2020 19:38 utc | 29

Feb 16 2020 18:59 utc | 25

A nasty contrast there with Sputnik, which in today's issue talks about the Jihadists as "Rebels" and the SAA as "Regime troops". What's got into Sputnik? Atlanticists? I notice also that they are quoting Wesert Scientists as pooh-poohing the idea that the novel coronavirus is a bioweapon.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 16 2020 19:40 utc | 30

Sorry! Wesert should have been western.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Feb 16 2020 19:41 utc | 31

Was Donald Trump a deep state insider allmalong?

I picked this up from a tweet by GUMBY.

If you want to understand Jeff "the word oligarch is orientalist" Stein, I recommend reading this article in which he reveals the existence of an unfathomably massive CIA program running spooks in every city in the country and deems it "cuddly."
Btw if you think it's crazy to suggest a politician might be a spook, read this article. Not the boring surface-level gloss Stein puts on it, the actual content—the CIA recruits all kinds of people all over the US: academics, CEOs, even NYC real estate tycoons(!).
Per the article, over 90% of CIA's spooks operate solely in the US. Is it so wild to think that includes the McKinsey consultant who went on mysterious business trips to Iraq and Afghanistan and a bizarre vacation to Somaliland before becoming a literal intelligence officer?

The article linked in the tweet is from an older issue of Newsweek dated November 14, 2013 and is titled The biggest little CIA shop you've never heard of.

The most interesting - or should I say intriguing - part is at the end:

JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sach's Lloyd Blankfein, one former CIA executive recalls, loved to get visitors from Langley.

And the CIA loves them back, not just for their patriotic cooperation with the spy agency, sources say, but for the influence they have on Capitol Hill, where the intelligence budgets are hashed out.

One New York commercial real estate tycoon, who the source asked Newsweek not to name, was "a regular contact." In exchange, he was "kept happy by bringing him down to the Farm" - the CIA's training facility in Virginia - "and letting him shoot off weapons, [and] see some of the things we're doing down there.

2013. Make of it what you want..

Posted by: Lurk | Feb 16 2020 19:52 utc | 32

Russian language sources lack the laconic style of Reuters I posted above. This is my attempt at translation (how to render бандформирования in English? I used bandformations)

Social media: syrian army took over 28 communities to the west and north of Alep
po 16.02.2020 - 21:45.

Detachments of Syrian Army and units of Forces of National Defense established control over 28 communities to the west and north of Aleppo (360 km from Damascus). Russian CPVS (central command of armed forces?) denied Turkish reports about
large losses of Syrian Army. As communicated by SANA agency, bandformation standing against Syrian military stopped their resistance, retreated toward Turkish border and abandoned their fortified positions. Among liberated communities: El-Mansura, Khan-el-Asl, Haritan, Anadan, Bayanun, Hayan, suburbs Liramun, Kafr-Hamra, Jamiyat-Kilikin and others that were controlled by armed formations since 2012. Inhabitants of the northern Syrian capital and vicinity joined demonstrations to welcome this new success of government forces. Military operations in Aleppo and neighboring Idlib province started on January 25 after fighters broke the subsequent ceasefire in the northern de-escalation zone. Besides the utter defeat of the bandformations in the approaches of Aleppo, Syrian Army regained control of more than 50% of the territory of Idlib province. The strategic Damascus-Aleppo highway, connecting the Syrian capital with industrial centers of the northern part of the country was returned under the government control.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 16 2020 20:15 utc | 33

Sorry, allmalong is a typo, should be "all along".

The McKinsey consultant mentioned in GUMBY's tweet is of course Pete Buttigieg.

Posted by: Lurk | Feb 16 2020 20:25 utc | 34

Barr asked to Resign

Posted by: snake | Feb 16 2020 20:39 utc | 35

This Putin speech from 2007 is very good. He lays out the world's problems as a caring diplomat and has to deal with a jeering western audience including John McCain.

He has stayed the course and has now vastly increased his strength and international standing.

Posted by: financial matters | Feb 16 2020 20:39 utc | 36

@ financial matters | Feb 16 2020 20:39 utc | 35

Maybe their headsets were tuned to other channel.
Good speach - pearls before swine.

Perhaps Putin desrves some blame however, because he side-steps the real source of the problem - the world is now run by and for oligarchs. US (idiots like McCain) and it's military are only a means to an end.

Posted by: jared | Feb 16 2020 21:20 utc | 37

I was quite surprised how much progress the Syrians have made, according to the ISW map above (ISW is not at all pro-Syrian). It looks like the beginning of the endgame. I think Erdogan's main aim in reinforcing Jihadi/HTS positions was to avoid hundreds of thousands of new Syrian refugees in Turkey. That aim has not succeeded. If the Jihadis can't stabilise, perhaps in the mountains, I don't see much future.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 16 2020 21:20 utc | 38

Great comments here. Thanks for that Newsweek link, Lurk. Later.

Posted by: spudski | Feb 16 2020 21:51 utc | 39

carl #16

"Turkey’s goal in Syria is not to support the Syrian opposition forever, but to manage the defeat of the opposition so that there aren’t another million refugees. Turkey also wants the Kurdish groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) defeated."

--From the Jerusalem Post, February 15th 2020

That's a real gem. Lying Jerusalem Post. They should get the Gateway Pundit Globe for propaganda masquerading as insightful journalism.

The only defeat that Turkey has managed to date is the defeat of Turkish civil society. That came after the defeat of Turkish secular intellectual development on the first day of Erdoghan being elected. I do not say that in jest as this parasite has assaulted the very life of Turkey. Fine and peaceloving people are rotting in this bastard's prisons or scratching an existence in exile. Erdoghan is a plunderer of his people, a malignant warrior without purpose other than plunder. Erdoghan is no one's ally but everyone's nuisance.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 16 2020 21:57 utc | 40

Some good news - the case against the four activists arrested for protecting the Venezuelan embassy has resulted in a mistrial due to a locked jury. This in spite of the presiding judge (who was obviously not impartial) placing multiple restrictions to disfavour the defendants. It is unclear at this point whether there will be a retrial or whether the charges will be withdrawn.

Posted by: farm ecologist | Feb 16 2020 22:10 utc | 41

snake #34

Barr asked to Resign

Thank you, I just had a really good laugh. The democrazis demanding non interefernce in the Stone case and totally silent about the Awan family spy/blackmail case where ten or more of the Dem congressrats were infiltrated. Partial Justice demanded yet again. No mention of Hilaries Sec of State emails being the greatest breach of US national Security in history and no investigation by Barr.

Trump and his administration are abject in their serial failures to do anything. THAT is what will destroy Trump in the coming debates... just drag out a string of his pathetic fails. Bolton's betrayal comes to mind and Sessions and Barr and so many idiots. (just dont mention Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Hillary)

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 16 2020 22:12 utc | 42

"I was quite surprised how much progress the Syrians have made,..."
Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 16 2020 21:20 utc | 37

Just a thought that I cannot get rid of: Does anyone else think it is no coincidence that the sudden accelerated pace of the SAA and the Russians in clearing up Idlib comes on the heels of the Iranian strike on the Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq and the firming up of the resistance after the assassination of General Soleimani?
While I am not surprised by how quickly the SAA, with Russian support, is able to put the Jihadists to rout now that it means business, I am more surprised and impressed by the so far steely commitment to finish the job and simply ignore Erdogan's bleating and calls to NATO. The Turks and Russians have been dancing around Idlib for some time and the Jihadists have been breaking the innumerable ceasefires, as soon as they are announced, since the beginning. Suddenly, the Russians lose patience? What was the trigger?

Posted by: Activist Potato | Feb 16 2020 22:13 utc | 43

Syrian Law Journal is an excellent website that publishes monthly digests of the most important developments in Syria’s economy, governance, war and foreign relations. The economy stuff is especially interesting, as we don’t hear much about it. Here’s the monthly digest for January: Legal Briefing- January 2020.

Posted by: S | Feb 16 2020 22:17 utc | 44

The only defeat that Turkey has managed to date is the defeat of Turkish civil society.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 16 2020 21:57 utc | 39

Unfortunate then that Erdogan has won, and continues to win, democratic elections. It's a classic case of a populist leader. The Istanbul elites don't like him, but the Anatolian peasants do, and they're the majority.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 16 2020 22:19 utc | 45

Viva Syria libre

The growing liberation of the north west of Syria is a celebration of the tenacity and faith of every Syrian to protect their diversity and freedoms from the predators in the middle east and USA.

The leadership of Assad and the elected government of Syria plus the strategy and force of the Syrian Army supported by the Russian military are to be congratulated and celebrated for decades to come.

So many countries around the planet acted in concerted crimes against humanity in Syria and they all stand accused:
Saudi Arabia
New Zealand

and so on: all played a role executing a crime against humanity in the attempted overthrow and continue their malign efforts daily in supporting sanctions that frustrate and prevent the reconstruction.

These nations are the face of evil warmongering plunder of the richness of humanity.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 16 2020 22:27 utc | 46

Activist Potato
the Russian pace seemed to pick up considerably when Erdo supplied armour, TOW's and manpads to the jihadis along wth threatening to attack the SAA in Idlib. Not much chance of Erdo doing a peace deal after that.
Also proportion of AQ jihadis in Idlib increased due to Erdogan shipping many of the non AQ off to other fronts.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 16 2020 22:32 utc | 47

Often forgotten aspect of the war on Syria:

"In all newly liberated areas of west Aleppo it's the same pattern.

"FSA/Nusra jihadists looted everything.

"Seems like this 'revolution' doesn't need electricity, road signs, pipelines, window frames, AC power sockets, rail tracks, boilers, water taps etc."

Indeed, entire factories were dismantled and moved to Turkey from Aleppo. The hatred caused by this war will last several generations, perhaps into the 22nd Century. By loosing and supporting what amount to Death Squads, the Outlaw US Empire and its vassals showed their true colors--again--for all the world to see.

RuAF's now active over Atarib and its surround. SAA artillery is hitting the outskirts of Idlib City. Now that the terrorists are running, the task is to keep them on the run. IMO, the M-4 will be cleared from North to South. The next major move will be North from Aleppo to the Turk border, then a swing to the East to sweep all before them to the Euphrates and on to Qamishli. Then it will be a sendoff for whatever Outlaw US Empire troops and their terrorists remain.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 16 2020 22:34 utc | 48

b, a new development in the US' tech war against China:

The US govt is trying to stop jet engines made by the joint-venture General Electric/Safran from being delivered to China's Comac, for its C919 jetliner. The stated reason is to prevent reverse-engineering, though that is a just a cover story, since Comac has had access to the GE engines for some time already.

This is really to forestall Comac from unsettling the Boeing+Airbus duopoly. Just the Chinese market alone would be enough for Comac to become economically viable, if it could get off the ground.

Posted by: occupatio | Feb 16 2020 22:42 utc | 49

@uncle tungsten #45

Yes, the attack on Syria was akin to the one in Murder on the Orient Express. Except, in this case, it was the attackers, not their victim, who were the vile criminals.

Posted by: S | Feb 16 2020 22:44 utc | 50

The question now: how long will Idlib last? The Turks tried to hold it by putting in troops. The point seems to have been to prevent too many refugees in Turkey, but that has failed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 16 2020 22:51 utc | 51

This from the Nation mag.

An excerpt;

"Last week, Pramila Jayapal, one of the rising stars of the Bernie Sanders movement, won a decisive victory in the primary race for Washington’s 7th Congressional District. She will advance to the November general election, where she is favored to win. She is not alone. Jamie Raskin, a progressive state legislator and leading constitutional authority on civil rights and voting rights, won his primary to fill an open Democratic seat in Maryland. Zephyr Teachout, who literally wrote the book on political corruption and challenged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) in the gubernatorial race two years ago, is running a brilliant campaign in an uphill battle for a Republican-held seat in New York."

Posted by: ben | Feb 16 2020 22:55 utc | 52

dh @ 25

the SAA is 'Russian-backed' or 'Iranian-backed'.

As usual SOHR probably gives a more accurate picture for January:

Regime forces: 269

Members of the Popular Committees, and the National Defense Forces, and loyalists to regime forces of Syrian citizens: 200

Lebanese Hezbollah: 1

Loyalists to the regime forces of non-Syrian citizens mostly of the Shiite sect: 18

So hardly any Hezbollah forces fighting for the government and most likely no Iranian/IRGC forces fighting on the government side either. Some Shi'ite militia from Iraq or Afghanistan fighting on the government side but most likely they're over in Deir Ez-zor fighting the ISIS remnants holed up in the desert between Al-Sukhnah and Al-Bukamal. BTW, it wouldn't surprise me if US/terrorist forces in Al-Tanf are supplying ISIS hold-outs to the north west with ammo and other supplies - the kind of shit two-faced US/UK special forces get up to.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 16 2020 22:55 utc | 53

From MTV;

An excerpt;

""An enormous crowd gathered in the amphitheater in front of City Hall in Oakland, filling it to the brim, spilling out across the grassy lawn behind it and into the street. Some supporters were still waiting in a line that had formed several hours earlier and snaked along a couple dozen blocks. More than 20,000 people had come here, about a week before the California primary, to see Bernie Sanders speak."

Posted by: ben | Feb 16 2020 23:02 utc | 54

"Perhaps Putin desrves some blame however, because he side-steps the real source of the problem..." --jared @36

Sometimes it is best to side-step the real source of the problem. Putin has studied judo, after all. When your opponent has a size and weight advantage (though I am not sure America's obesity counts as an advantage) it is unwise to stand stiffly and squarely before them and let them use that advantage against you.

Putin's approach may not be one that makes for exciting Hollywood action movies, but it is working for Russia and for the world.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 16 2020 23:07 utc | 55

Who would've thought the NY Times would be anti-Bloomberg? Its article exposed two pseudo progressive organizations selling out to him. Judging from the Tweets included in the item reporting on the article, this exposure of corruption is just beginning, with Sanders admonition that you can't take money from billionaires and expect to stay neutral or work on behalf of the people exploited by any oligarch.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 16 2020 23:09 utc | 56

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 16 2020 22:55 utc | 52

What are those figures supposed to represent? Numbers of deaths? Hezbollah have withdrawn because they're no longer needed.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 16 2020 23:09 utc | 57

BTW, a lot of supporters of the terrorist in Syria drone on about how "barrel bombs" are weapons of mass destruction and using them is a war crime. The only problem, as the SOHR reveals, they're not exactly weapons of mass destruction.

The regime helicopters dropped 673 barrel bombs killing four civilians, including one child and one female.

That's 160+ "barrel bombs" to kill one person. Also suggests how depopulated many villages and towns in terrorist-held areas are, and even then those who remain are most likely terrorist camp followers.
Makes me wonder what proportion of the Idlib population (allegedly 4,000,000 according to latest pro-Al Qaeda social media) is in the refugee camps up against the Turkish border and how many are living in the towns and villages around Idlib. Recent photos on social media show tens rather than hundreds/thousands of fleeing refugee vehicles. With, say, 5 people per vehicle it's difficult to see where the figures of hundreds of thousands of new refugees come from - except social media "activists" in Idlib.
Also, why are there so many "clinics" and "hospitals" for such a small population

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 16 2020 23:13 utc | 58

Uncle T @ 41

Such hypocrites. Equal Justice does not exist.
McCabe is given free pass - DOJ drops the OIG's criminal referral.

Stone is to be slammed for 6- 8 years while Ms. Hart the foreperson, lying head of the jury on his case was not properly vetted is found to has posted anti-Trump comments. Stone's verdict should be overturned.

And Trump was all for locking up "crooked Hillary" until he was elected. Overnight, as quickly as a snake changes skin, Trump back-tracked -"the Clintons are good people."

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 16 2020 23:16 utc | 59

@52 Well the SAA is definitely backed by some Russian bombers. No denying that. And the Russians are keeping Erdogan's fighter planes away and keeping a close eye on Turkey's 'observation posts'.

I'm sure some Iranians are watching closely too. Hizbullah involvment is probably minimal at this stage.

I'm starting to get the feeling Trump (Pompeo) is going to let the SAA win this one. Maybe he's just bored with Syria and Turkey. It interferes with golf.
Wouldn't even surprise me if he loses interest in a second term. (You heard it here first).

Posted by: dh | Feb 16 2020 23:22 utc | 60

@ Posted by: Perimter | Feb 16 2020 18:24 utc | 22

At this point, any paper that comes out of China is essentially worthless. Those researchers may even be legitimate - but they are not in the trenches, they are not having access to primary and complete data.

Unless they know how to read Chinese and heavily rely on these Chinese sources, the most you can expect for them to do is to do extrapolations from very fragmentary data, and/or very reduced sample of patients (from the ones infected outside China).

Posted by: vk | Feb 16 2020 23:23 utc | 61

I'm starting to get the feeling Trump (Pompeo) is going to let the SAA win this one.

Posted by: dh | Feb 16 2020 23:22 utc | 59

Forced, no choice

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 16 2020 23:26 utc | 62

A Signal from Anoxia> Ol' Wally was pizzin' 'round in his little workshop and happened to turn on the old AM tube radio...some bad rock - interrupted by a bald national socialist the intrepid dual "citizen" zionist rente fink the BBerg Dude. (bet he's got soft hands...)

Wally got all teary-eyed for those heroic days on the Eastern Front - where the 4th Reich is now...

So inspired that he wanted to watch Die Anstalt Folge 15 17.11.2015 Rechtsextremismus ganze Sendung 17 November

So Brown...

But Wally 'memberz mom's stories 'bout the Red Air Force...

Seriously, the BBerg is honestly scary...all the elements of a national socialist con job for the benefit of the few, by war...all the rhetorical cues...

Wally was shocked at the bald nazi character...and how does a dual citizen get to be... yeah. Right. Quisling, that good man...

Posted by: Walter | Feb 16 2020 23:36 utc | 63

@61 He did manage to get a few barrels of Syrian oil. The PKK are pleased about that. Otherwise it doesn't look too good for Donald. N.Korea was a flop. China is still in the Spratleys, Guiado is about to go to jail and those pesky Mexicans are using ladders to get over his wall.

Posted by: dh | Feb 16 2020 23:38 utc | 64

I know there's a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) thread still being commented on as I write, but I wanted to offer in this open thread what I think is the true overview of the pandemic that history will accord to this recent crisis.

As the new cases drop in number for the third consecutive day, analyst and China-hand Dennis Etler posts the following on a pro-China Facebook group page:

As I see it: After China has contained and controlled the COVID-19 outbreak, restricting its spread to Wuhan and Hubei province, will all the naysayers and doomsayers acknowledge that China saved the world from a pandemic on par with the Spanish Flu of 1918 that killed millions?

When all is said and done, if as seems likely, China has stopped the virus dead in its tracks, it will be one of the greatest achievements in medical history. Preventing the spread of a global pandemic will be an unprecedented accomplishment.

But will China be lauded and its unstinting efforts and sacrifices be applauded? Will a grateful world acknowledge China's selfless actions to protect it from a global catastrophe? You would hope so, but don't hold your breath.

That's how I see it too. Leaving aside the question of what was the actual genesis of this virus, what China has achieved here in containing this outbreak is something that probably only China could achieve. In the decades to come, even the propagandized and the ignorant will get used to the sheer scale of actions that China performs, unprecedented perhaps in all of history, and unmatched certainly in the current world.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 16 2020 23:39 utc | 65

What do you do when you are losing the fight?

Call time out.

ANKARA for domestic media

Turkish foreign minister on Sunday said he has reiterated the necessity of permanent cease-fire in Idlib, northwestern, Syria during his meeting with his Russian counterpart in Munich. "I have met with Sergey Lavrov and said the aggression in Idlib should stop,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters after the 56th Munich Security Conference.

A permanent cease-fire should be established, he added.[.]

and today, 16.02.2020

Earlier in the day, the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament Ali Larijani arrived in Damascus to hold talks with the Syrian leadership over the recent developments in the country.
Syria President Bashar al-Assad said during the meeting with Iran’s Ali Larijani that countries hostile to Syria continue to defend terrorists, the president's press-service reported on Sunday.[.]

Ali Larijani said that Iran would continue supporting Syria's war against terrorism and expressed hope that the Syrian people will be able to free their land.[.]

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 16 2020 23:41 utc | 66

Laguerre @ 56
Number of dead for January

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 16 2020 23:47 utc | 67

@occupatio #48

Another own goal by the United States. This year, Russia will test its new Aviadvigatel PD-14 jet engine with its new Irkut MC-21-300 airliner and start mass producing the engine. Russia will be happy to sell it to Comac.

Posted by: S | Feb 17 2020 0:04 utc | 68

At Munich, a Chinese citizen puts Pelosi on the spot big time, and she cannot directly answer the question, which was phrased very well. Short 3min vid.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 17 2020 0:05 utc | 69

@Ghost Ship #57

I’ve read an opinion that there were only about 700,000 people in Islamist-held Idlib before the start of SAA’s advance. Can’t remember the source, sorry.

Posted by: S | Feb 17 2020 0:20 utc | 70

Quoted by Grieved @64: "But will China be lauded and its unstinting efforts and sacrifices be applauded? Will a grateful world acknowledge China's selfless actions to protect it from a global catastrophe?"

No, of course not. China will be cursed for foiling America's bio weapon attack... again!

People posting grossly exaggerated claims about the fatalities? They are not panicking. Those are just empire fanbois crowing about how awesome their "team's" weapons are. They are offended by people downplaying how effective their "team's" weapons are. Remember the ecstatic posts about "hundreds and hundreds of dead Russians!" concerning America's attacks in Dier ez-Zor? The posts hyping the death rates in China from America's virus are precisely the same thing.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 17 2020 0:21 utc | 71

@ Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 17 2020 0:05 utc | 68 with the Pelosi link at the Munich security conference...thanks

Pelosi had her ass handed to her and was mumbling about not wanting to go down that the end of the clip

I read elsewhere that Pompeo was also significantly snubbed at the same event and even contradicted by Marcon.

If only the American public was shown the disdain other countries are showing our representatives, maybe it would wake a few more up and increase the motivation of others......sigh

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 17 2020 0:25 utc | 72

As to who are fighting alongside the Syrians in this offensive..

PMU Media Team congratiolating the SAA on the full liberation of Aleppo city.
As a Syrian, I want to stress that that sacrifices of the PMU and hundreds of brave Iraqi fighters played a key role in this achivment."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 17 2020 0:43 utc | 73

In Canada, there have been multiple protests around the country by First Nations peoples and their sympathizers against a gas pipeline slated to go through unceded territory in British Columbia. It remains to be seen how this will turn out, but right now they certainly have everybody's attention. This article provides some historical context and the final paragraph encapsulates the situation well (the young Indigenous man referred to is presumably Colten Boushie, who was shot dead by a Saskatchewan farmer in 2016):

"The frustration of our people is spilling over and years of racism, colonial control, economic deprivation and — yes — the killing of a young Indigenous man with no penalty for the killer are all part of the motivation for the nationwide uprising."

Posted by: farm ecologist | Feb 17 2020 0:48 utc | 74

snake @ 34

No letterhead from her office? Very strange way to write an official letter. An extraordinary turn of events? Hardly, more like business as usual. The Russian collusion investigation was an extraordinary hoax.

My favorite economist/historian gave a talk the other day which pointed out that Republics have always evolved into oligarchies throughout history. That has become quite obvious in the case of the US.

Grieved @ 64

Very few countries could perform as China has during this epidemic. If successful, it will go down as one of the greatest feats in modern history. If they fail, it was not due to lack of effort to contain on their part.

Posted by: dltravers | Feb 17 2020 0:50 utc | 75

@ ph 71 Stay well you are very special

Thanks for "the Pelosi mumbling." US delegation attended for the sole purpose of fear mongering on China.
Right on queue with the chosen theme of the Munich Security Conference - "Westlessness", - the west is becoming irrelevant.

'Westlessness': is the west really in a state of peril?

Top diplomats disagreed over the global relevance of the west at the Munich security conference

The chosen theme of the Munich security conference – once a party for Nato and now a Davos for the world’s diplomats – was “westlessness”. The organisers wanted to capture the fear that the west is now so divided and challenged by the rise of China its whole existence has become imperilled.[.]

there was no denying the mood of angst that prevailed in the conference hall, and the sense that new centres of disruptive decision making were emerging to which the west, and especially Europe, were too slow to adapt.[.]

and from China's perspective; the Munich Security Conference (MSC)

"Westlessness: right focus, wrong interpretation – the illness of the West and beyond"

They say MSC motto is "build peace through dialogue." I would retranslate it in the following way: "finding a way to reestablish our dominant position," or "talking about peace while waging wars and financing terrorism." This is what you get from empirical analysis of Western powers' policies and international interferences."

Posted by: Likklemore | Feb 17 2020 1:04 utc | 76

S @ 69

That sound's about right - right before the liberation of East Aleppo the media such as the Guardian were claiming there were about 350,000 people left in East Aleppo. After the liberation, it turned out that there were only about 110,000 people of which about 30,000 decided they wanted to be evacuated to Idlib. Does the western MSM continue to totally believe social media "activists" in rebel held areas. Of course they do.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Feb 17 2020 1:36 utc | 77

World Bank chief economist, Penny Goldberg has resigned after only 15 months in the job.

Apparently, this is because the World bank chief, Trump appointee, David Malpass, refused to publish research that showed a high correlation between WB aid payments and the opening of Swiss bank accounts by recipients. In other words, World Bank funds mostly end up being siphoned off by corrupt companies and government officials.

A 2017 paper by Jorgen Juel Andersen of bi Norwegian Business School, Niels Johannesen of the University of Copenhagen and their co-authors found that an increase in oil prices is followed by a spike in deposits held by these countries in financial havens.

World Bank payouts to 22 aid-dependent countries during 1990-2010 were followed by a jump in recipients' deposits in foreign financial havens. The leaks averaged about 5% of the bank’s aid to these countries.

This is funny. What's next: the IMF is directly funding a literal neo-nazi government in Ukraine?

Posted by: vk | Feb 17 2020 1:45 utc | 78

Perhaps the Russ advisors are really good. We saw in Raqqa and Daara, that once the battle was engaged, the Saa was able to cut up the oppoqnent’s forces into piecemeal chunks. I think it is also the effective use of air power, and military supply ...not to forget the kalibr missle storm. Central to this all is the spirit of the Saa to retake their country, and the support of iran and iraq. Let’s not forget the inepitude and greed of the Usa, Turkey, israel, And the terrorists themselwves.
Special mention to the kurdish feorces , who did a lot of the heavy lifting against alquada. They were in. An impossible Political situation ...hope they have the good sense to reach an accomodation with their home country, Syria.

Last but not least, i pray the idiots Turkey and Nato will not see in this, an opportunity......

Posted by: James j | Feb 17 2020 2:39 utc | 79

Re my earlier comment on cutting the roads north of Idlib city.
Footage filmed on Sunday shows soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) advancing towards a Turkish-controlled airfield as military vehicles reportedly belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces are spotted near Taftanaz Air Base, south of Taftanaz, Idlib province.

Taftanaz on google maps

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 17 2020 2:42 utc | 80

Just a quick shout out to the Russians for being great military strategists in a rolling battle. Without ceasefires, Syria could have all her land back in no time.

Also a shout out to that little virus that's pushing the world economy over the edge, hope it puts a dent in central banker collective circle jerking. Sorry Iran, your only oil purchaser is kaput for now (If I thought like a Zionist I'd wager this was the only reason to release a virus like this at all).

And to James j, NATO is like the British in Thailand with no sunscreen. They can't stand the heat. Red by bed. Stoltenberg has all the authority of the guy that cuts my keys downtown. NATO is nothing but a shit ton of money and arms and a logistics hub for international drug trafficking etc.

Viva Syria! Viva Bashar Al Assad, a true leader of men and one I could only hope to live under, not like these nose bleed bureaucrats. Bless the SAA and the resistance. Alhamdulilah

Posted by: Jezabeel | Feb 17 2020 3:33 utc | 81

vk #77

This is funny. What's next: the IMF is directly funding a literal neo-nazi government in Ukraine?

More likely IMF directly funding USA Democrat politicians and their children via loans to the Ukrainian government only to find that the funds end up as USA deposits in Cayman Islands etc. Carpetbaggers and thieving USA scoundrels. What an excellent study. There should be a pdf report somewhere I guess.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 17 2020 3:55 utc | 82

According to Manier, the Iranian missile used by Yemen to shoot down the saudi jet will b or is being distributed to all Iran's allies. I see one of the headchoppers survived the crash, though he wont be talking for awhile.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 17 2020 4:13 utc | 83

Peter AU1 #79

Footage filmed on Sunday shows soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) advancing towards a Turkish-controlled airfield as military vehicles reportedly belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces are spotted near Taftanaz Air Base, south of Taftanaz, Idlib province.

Thanks for that post Peter AU1, as I see it the next key to fall is Ma'arrat Misrin which lies at the junction of two major north south roads to Idlib. That victory may not be far away as there is a rout in progress. In a rout all confidence or obedience to leadership is fractured and the capacity to rally defence is null.

Soon Turkey will be the refuge for those very same jihadis that Turkey gave transit to all those years ago. The Turks are a nationalistic, chauvinist lot and will not take kindly to refugees from Uighur or many of the 'stan countries. I expect to see the Turks perform another 'Armenian cleanse' as they did a century ago.

EU will be happy to take all these poor oppressed unto its bosom again? But wait' there is always the land of the free so grab a white helmet and a logo vest and they will all end up in New York? Frisco? Melbourne?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 17 2020 4:27 utc | 84

dh #59

I'm starting to get the feeling Trump (Pompeo) is going to let the SAA win this one.

BUNKUM dh Trump is in no position to let anything. He lost. He has never had the lead in anything outside of the USA. Even in the USA he is a loser. He cannot appoint a leader in any of his administration units. Remember DOJ under the simpleton Geoff Sessions, Senator from Alabama. (No relation to the august company at this bar)

Syria and its allies WON their freedom from the USA as did Cuba and Vietnam and the Phillipines and Laos and Cambodia. All at the cost of millions of lives slaughtered by it five eyed monsters.

Trump could not let a shadow fall on the ground as he nothing but a transparent turd.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 17 2020 4:44 utc | 85

uncle tungsten

A few of the twitter accounts reporting on what is happening on the fronts in Idlib and Aleppo have been very accurate this time round. One report I read not long back is airstrikes and artillery towards Al Atarib which is at the north end of Idlib plain.
Possibly SAA will take the plain which runs from Al Atarib down to Idlib with Ma'arrat Misrin halfway between.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 17 2020 5:41 utc | 86

@30 foolisholdman

I have noted some peculiarities in the Sputnick headlines over the past few months as well. My theory is that they are trying to get some cover vis-a-vis the persecutions against their outlet in the West. So it makes sense they'll 'compromise' and now and then allow certain "language" like "Russian-backed Syrian forces' blah-blah. That and some other headlines which caused a raised eyebrow or two. It deems deliberate because many times the article below the curious headline is, in fact, reasonable and/or devoid of information.

Still the puppy videos are great! total click-bait for me, except I do wonder about the scarcity of cat videos. Now, there's a real conspiracy for you if there ever was one!

Posted by: Merlin2 | Feb 17 2020 6:15 utc | 87 I do get annoyed when history is not told completely. We cannot judge unless we have true facts. And then we will repeat past mistakes. So I like and tend to expose in my books. Some don't like that. GMJ

Posted by: GMJ | Feb 17 2020 7:07 utc | 88

"Unfortunate then that Erdogan has won, and continues to win, democratic elections. It's a classic case of a populist leader. The Istanbul elites don't like him, but the Anatolian peasants do, and they're the majority.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 16 2020 22:19 utc | 44"

Sorry, this picture is wrong. Since at least 2 years there is no such majority without sophisticated cheating for which he now needs the help of the rivalling panturanistic nationalist fraction of the society, embedded in and directed by the deep state. Unspoilt support is at about 35-40%, not more.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 17 2020 7:50 utc | 89

@17 Peter AU1

After reading your second post, I know that AQ means Al Qaeda.

However, I spat my tea @17 because AQ in Turkish means Amına Koyayım. It's used by Turkish males as an insult (I discovered through online gaming...) It's translation is "let me put it/stick it in your pussy"

Just thought I should leave this here

Posted by: Some Random Passerby | Feb 17 2020 8:03 utc | 90

re: @19
Russian sub/frigate cruise-missile hits Anjarh:
"A surface-to-surface missile launched by the Russian battleships from the sea and landed in the vicinity of the town of Anjar in the western Aleppo countryside. Rumors"

It appears the was NO cruise-missle from a ship.
Looks like something from Khmemeim AB :

I'd liked to thank *b* and All showing support for the Syrian People.
In the small town I live in Sweden, I've noticed fewer Syrian Men-of-all-ages(refugees) since the summer.
Looking at the photos of the Syrian Armed Forces since this offensive began, reminds me of these faces.
I'm glad We helped these *good people* when they were 'in need'.
It's quite clear to me, "these good men of honor" have reciprocated our trust.
Onward. Soldier.
Fighting-the-Good Fight.
Prayers. Amen.

Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 17 2020 8:19 utc | 91

Posted by: vk | Feb 16 2020 16:17 utc | 4

that ship is something i'm closely monitoring ... it's walking distance from my house

they just removed some Americans on the ship and they fly, on chartered flights, back to the US

Posted by: Perimter | Feb 16 2020 18:24 utc | 22

maybe it's from Los Alamos BUT i hope people read the fine print ... "The copyright holder for this preprint (which was not peer-reviewed)"

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 16 2020 23:39 utc | 64

and it's pathetic how people are already blinded at China's BIG efforts How Xi's 'controlocracy' lost control of the coronavirus

Posted by: r | Feb 17 2020 8:32 utc | 92

Peter AU1 #85

Possibly SAA will take the plain which runs from Al Atarib down to Idlib with Ma'arrat Misrin halfway between.

Yes that could be. I am speculating of course but to some extent informed by previous SAA strategies to split and fragment the jihadis. I envisaged a direct western push parallel to Ma'arrat Misrin thereby severing the battle field and isolating north from south. That tactic leads to a high reliance on radio communications between north an south jihadis and the SAA/Russian listeners can get some finer sense of the responses to pressure probes.

I dont believe there will be a cease fire until the jihadis are hopelessly defeated and the Turkish army thoroughly embarrassed by its apparent powerlessness. Both of these messages need to go home to Turkey and its soldiers need to return thoroughly disenchanted and embarrassed. Nothing pricks a Turkish manhood pride more painfully than powerless defeat and accusation on homecoming. If I were in the SAA and Russian shoes, that is precisely what I would be sending back to Turkey. There will be no Amına Koyayım gratification for those boys.

Erdoghan is lower than a black snakes belly as they say around the campfire here at night. He and his Turkish farmers could have prospered by having an open highway all the way south to Jordan if he had not been obsessed with stabbing Assad in the back. Now Syrian agricultural efforts will seize that market and no Turkish truck will be riding on Assads Syrian highways.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 17 2020 8:56 utc | 93

@uncle tungsten #92:

…no Turkish truck will be riding on Assads Syrian highways.

Or they will, but the Turks will be paying through the nose for it.

That’s what happens when an entire country engages in massive propaganda—it becomes impossible to change its policy in response to changing geopolitical environment. All the fake stories about Bana al-Abed, Omran Daqneesh, last hospitals and chemical attacks have permanently welded Turkey to the terrorists’ sinking ship.

Posted by: S | Feb 17 2020 10:01 utc | 94

Since at least 2 years there is no such majority without sophisticated cheating for which he now needs the help of the rivalling panturanistic nationalist fraction of the society, embedded in and directed by the deep state. Unspoilt support is at about 35-40%, not more.

Posted by: Hausmeister | Feb 17 2020 7:50 utc | 88

I hold absolutely no candle for Erdogan, but partisanship for the Istanbul westernised elite is equally wish-fulfilment, not objective analysis. I'm sure Erdogan does rig elections, but the problem is that the side you are supporting is equally not a majority. Erdogan has a solid block of support in Anatolia, and it's not going away, just because the intellectuals in Istanbul think those people are dummies, or "deplorables" in Clinton-speak. It's the same problem of populism as in US/UK.

In any case, 35-40% is massive support by western standards. In Europe nobody has much more than that.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 17 2020 10:17 utc | 95

uncle tungsten | Feb 16 2020 22:27 utc | 45

Where did you get the info that Aotearoa (formerly known as New Zealand) had troops in Syria?
AFAIK thus far both right & center goverments have resisted all pleas to get involved. I don't believe either government are staying out for any reason other than it would be the kiss of death at the ballot box tho.

There is list here of all the recent & current defence force deployments. Syria doesn't cop a mention.

Posted by: A User | Feb 17 2020 10:22 utc | 96

Less than 10 minutes ago
*Heavy bombardment on Darat Izza ongoing*

The Russian & Syrian Military are 'going-for-it'; i.e. Total Removal of the türkies & aq-filth.
Thank God the Russian Military has 'twisted Putin's hands'.
NO more foolin' around with 'Doggy/MIT/ottoman dreamers/etc.'.
It's full-liberation on the table now.
My 2-cents, confirming what I wrote @SyrianPerpective almost 1 year ago.

Posted by: Veritas X- | Feb 17 2020 10:24 utc | 97

A User #95

Where did you get the info that Aotearoa (formerly known as New Zealand) had troops in Syria?
AFAIK thus far both right & center goverments have resisted all pleas to get involved. I don't believe either government are staying out for any reason other than it would be the kiss of death at the ballot box tho.

There is list here of all the recent & current defence force deployments. Syria doesn't cop a mention.

Thanks A User, see this (left column). Maybe NZ refuses to recognise Golan Heights as stolen Syrian land and is blind to the constant traffic of ISIS through there to Israeli illegal hospitals servicing ISIS. That hospital care perpetuated the Daraa conflict and further east to US occupied Syria Al Tanf. That Israeli medical regiment gave support to ISIS. At that time ISIS was butchering its way through Deir Ezzor in the eastern reach along the Euphrates.

'Peace mission' in Golan in this case was direct support for the battle infrastructure for ISIS.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 17 2020 10:50 utc | 98

Grieved @ 64 says:

I know there's a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) thread still being commented on as I write, but...

yeah, then there's also the actual virus that's still infecting and killing people...

but you and your buddy mr. Etler are nonetheless anticipating a seemingly immanent victory(i hope you're right) and already handing out kudos to those ostensibly responsible.

i remember you, at least a year ago, congratulating the Syrians for their victory as well, even consoling them that their suffering was over.

i don't know how many thousands have died since then, but I'd guess at least a few.

isn't it astonishing how these informative threads juggle reality?

Posted by: john | Feb 17 2020 10:51 utc | 99

A few Turk Twitter accounts and their blurb. Communications Director, Republic of Turkey Editor-at-large @trtworld - MENA & Turkish foreign policy expert Work at the Security Department of @setavakfi in Ankara, colunmist
@TheNewTurkey and as the editor in chief of @suriyegundemi_ Turkey Correspondent for @MiddleEastEye

Reading through these and a few others, the Turks seem to think Erdogan will stop at nothing less than the SAA moving back past the Turk observation posts. Will be some pissed of Turks if Erdogan doesn't achieve this.

Erdogan has separated 'moderate rebels from Al Qaeda by moving groups willing to come under Turkish control to other fronts and Libya so I don't see Russia stopping the offensive now unless SAA need to consolidate the ground they have taken or resupply. The jihadis are in a mess so at the moment, more of Idlib is easy pickings.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 17 2020 10:53 utc | 100

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