Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 11, 2020

Syria - Trump's 'Keep The Oil' Occupation Runs Into Trouble

Turkey's occupation of some areas in north Iraq is in trouble as is the U.S. occupation of northeast Syria.

Turkey has for some time taken positions inside north Iraq to prevent Kurdish PKK fighters from infiltrating into Turkey. It also uses drones to hit PKK positions. The corrupt leader of the ruling Kurdish clan in north Iraq, Masoud Barzani, has no problem with Turkey hunting his brethren as long as Turkey buys oil from him. But the Iraqi government in Baghdad sees every Turkish intrusion as an attack on Iraq's sovereignty.

Turkey reported today that it 'neutralized 7 PKK terrorists in north Iraq'. That was however not the case:

BAGHDAD -- A Turkish drone strike killed two senior Iraqi security officials, Iraq's military said Tuesday, marking the first time Turkey's operation to root out Kurdish rebels in Iraq's north produced fatalities among high-ranking Iraqi personnel.

The drone targeted a vehicle belonging to the Border Guards in the Bradost area, north of Irbil, the military statement said, causing the deaths of two commanders and the vehicle's driver.

Gen. Mohammed Rushdi, commander of the Border Guards' 2nd Brigade and Brig. Zubair Hali, commander of the 3rd Regiment, were killed in the attack Ihsan Chelebi, the mayor of Bradost, told The Associated Press. He said they had been establishing new posts in the area.
The operation drew the ire of Iraqi officials who on two occasions summoned Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad to deliver a protest note. The killing of the high-ranking Iraqi officials is expected to further strain Iraq's relations with Turkey.

This will add another hostile nation to Erdogan's ever growing portfolio of these.

A different situation involving the PKK is the U.S. occupation of northeast Syria between the Turkish boarder and the Euphrates river. The U.S. proxy force are local PKK fighters under Mazloum Kobani Abdi who have renamed themselves Syrian Democratic Forces so that the U.S. can pretend that they are not the enemies of its NATO ally Turkey. Mazloum recently had a meeting with Barzani who the PKK views as a more or less hostile element.

There have recently been additional incidents that put Mazloum and the SDF into a very bad light. Islamic State fighters and their families who are imprisoned in camps guarded by the SDF have been let go by heavily bribed guards. A Sheik of an Arab tribe in east Deir Ezzor governorate has been murdered by SDF members. The tribe has rebelled and set an ultimatum to the SDF to hand over the killers.

Then there is the oil which Trump claims to keep. Mazloum first tried to sell it to an Israeli company. That did not work out but in late July a deal was signed between Mazloum and a small U.S. company. That angered not only Syria and Turkey but has now led to the rejection of Mazloum by the PKK itself.

Today Cemîl Bayik, one of the five founders of the PKK, condemned the oil deal (machine translation):

The PKK's roof structure, KCK's Co-chair Cemil Bayık, regarding the oil agreement signed with the US company in Rojava, said, “Syria is an internationally accepted state. That is why all of Syria's underground and aboveground resources belong to the people, not to anyone. I mean, nobody can do these things.

Speaking to the media close to the PKK, Cemil Bayık said that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) signed an oil agreement with a US company, “We are also following some things from the press. I don't know exactly what is the reality. For example, it is said that an alliance was made through an oil company, and even the Syrian regime said that it did not accept it, it was illegal, it said things like "they are stealing our oil".

Saying that "Syria is an internationally recognized state", Bayık said:

“That is why all of Syria's underground and aboveground resources belong to the people, not to anyone. So nobody can make these things property. We say that the Autonomous Syrian administration, oil, underground and aboveground wealth are all of the Syrian peoples. ..."

Mazloum's oil deal is illegal says the leader of the PKK. It seems that Mazloum has thereby lost his authority.

Also today the Arab tribes of Deir Ezzor held another meeting which ended with a demand to the U.S. and the SDF to leave their areas:

The Al-Akidat tribal leaders demanded, as quoted by the Sputnik Agency, that “the administration of the region be for our people. Arabs exclusively, and the emphasis on the unity and independence of Syria.”

The news agency quoted local sources in the countryside of Deir Ezzor as saying that nearly 5,000 people, including a large number of notables and sheikhs of the Al-Akidat Tribe and other tribes, held an expanded meeting in the house of the tribe’s chief general, Ibrahim Khalil al-Hafl, in the village Dheban and gave the U.S.-led Coalition forces only one month to fulfill the demands that came out of the meeting, the most important of which are the disclosure of the perpetrators of the assassinations, the release of detainees, and the removal of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its affiliates.

The reporter added that the tribal meeting condemned the state of security chaos, administrative and military corruption, and the assassinations, the latest of which was the assassination of Sheikh Mutashar Al-Hafil and his relative, Dara Mikhlif Al-Khalaf, for which the Al-Akidat Tribe held the SDF and the U.S. Coalition responsible.

The U.S. troops in Syria and their SDF proxies may soon see a full blown rebellion against their occupation. This while Mazloum's authority over the Kurds of north Syria has been seriously weakened. Trump's instinct to pull the troops out of Syria was right. After he ran into resistance from the Pentagon and hawkish senators he invented the 'keep the oil' excuse to justify his lack of insistence. That will now come back to haunt him. Losing troops in Syria during the campaign season may well cost him votes.

Posted by b on August 11, 2020 at 18:32 UTC | Permalink


Losing troops in Syria during the campaign season may well cost him votes.
Perhaps. But the only political space Biden and the Democrats are likely to occupy is that Trump has been ineffective in getting rid of Assad, that he should have been intervening more and better in Syria all along. (That is already the Dem stance on Venezuela: Trump is bad at coups; we’ll do better at offing/kidnapping Maduro.)

So while they’ll certainly blame Trump for any U.S. casualties, the Dems won’t pull very many Trump supporters disappointed in him not living up to his 2016 promises of getting out of the wars.

Posted by: David G | Aug 11 2020 19:24 utc | 1

The oil in Syria is not the US's to give. It is not even the Kurds', as there is only one well in Kurdish territory.

That means that any contract signed is to export illegally produced oil. Not surprisingly, only small companies are willing to take the risk.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 11 2020 19:30 utc | 2

Cemîl Bayik’s comments suggest full recognition of Syrian sovereignty in “Rojava”. Is that the PKK’s official position?

Posted by: David G | Aug 11 2020 19:34 utc | 3

Trump didn't invent the "keep the oil" excuse because of resistance from Generals, Trump said he would "keep the oil" several times during the 2016 campaign. He's ALWAYS been a "keep the oil" guy - covered with a veneer of reluctance. Because EVERY PRESIDENT pretends to be peace-loving.

And Trump's instincts are horrible in general.

<> <> <> <> <>

Trump's instinct is to "keep the oil" ... and starve Syria of resources.

Trump's instinct is to surround himself with chickenhawks and suck-ups.

Trump's instinct is to fellate Netanyahu via every possible concession.

Trump's instinct is to blame China for his Administration's inept response to the pandemic.

Trump's instinct is to use racial dog whistles to advance his political interests.

Trump's instinct is to con others and stroke his ego while doings so.

Trump's instinct is to bully: assassinate; overthrow (color revolution); conduct a Cold War arms race; militarize space; steal resources/assets of other nations (Syrian oil, Venezuelan embassies and oil company, Chinese internet company, etc.); impose sanctions that kill the people he says USA supports.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 11 2020 19:37 utc | 4

Wow. I must admit, i am stunned.
Sadly we likely will never know what REALLY goes on inside the Kurdish PKK/Rojava political strucutres.
But if true, this, and the incompetence and arrogance of the PKK Kurds may well bring the end to the occupation.
Should Rojava be returned to Assad control, then even the Turks will feel pressure on their occupation.
Sadly the are now in a much better position than the Kurds can ever be, and even better than the SAA.
We will see.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr | Aug 11 2020 19:46 utc | 5


The US oil company kicked off early in 2019, and I suspect it was put together specifically for Syrian oil. I have not found who owns it though.
"Delta Crescent Energy LLC, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Delaware"

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 11 2020 19:51 utc | 6

@David G | 3
Could Bayik's comments be preparation for negotiations with the Syrian Government? With the US agreement, SDF/PKK whatever you call them, are in a stronger negotiating position than before, without doubt. But that would of course depend on US cooperation, of course

Recently, a Turkish paper / site suggested that the SDF's agreement to US's oil deal was a strategic one in order to block any potential Turkish attempt to persuade Russia to manage oil fields. (Turkey was looking for financial support from Russia for such a project earlier this year.)

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 11 2020 19:54 utc | 7

@Peter AU1 | 6
The situation is not at all clear, I think. I shall revisit the reporting, but if I remember rightly, I was unable to find any specific information about the deal and little that convinced me that the situation would change at all except for the inclusion of a US company which would build/ rebuild local refineries.
At the moment SDF is transporting to Iraq for refining and then back for local sale. It seems very logical to improve local infrastructure and refine locally for local sale.
As I said, though, I had trouble finding much detail! So am happy to be corrected.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 11 2020 20:04 utc | 8

Mazloum's oil deal is illegal says the leader of the PKK.

Leader of PKK should watch his back.

It seems that this Kurd politician (a woman) was made an example of last fall when some Kurds began talking with the Syrian government after USA pulled back so Turkey could enter Syria's northeast:

Kurdish politician slain in Syria wanted to unite the country in peace, says friend

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels kill Kurdish politician, execute prisoners


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 11 2020 20:09 utc | 9

Meanwhile Chris Hedges on the dying corpse of failing empire:
''When I walked through Montgomery, Alabama, a city where half of the population is African-American, with the civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson a few years ago, he pointed out the numerous Confederate memorials, noting that most had been put up in the last decade. This,” I told him, “is exactly what happened in Yugoslavia.”
A hyper-nationalism always infects a dying civilization. It feeds the collective self-worship. This hyper-nationalism celebrates the supposedly unique virtues of the race or the national group. It strips all who are outside the closed circle of worth and humanity. The world instantly becomes understandable, a black and white tableau of them and us. These tragic moments in history see people fall into collective insanity. They suspend thought, especially self-critical thought. None of this is going away in November, in fact it will get worse.

Joe Biden, a shallow, political hack devoid of fixed beliefs or intellectual depth, is an expression of the nostalgia of a ruling class that yearns to return to the pantomime of democracy. They want to restore the decorum and civic religion that makes the presidency a form of monarchy and sacralizes the organs of state power. Donald Trump’s vulgarity and ineptitude is an embarrassment to the architects of empire. He has ripped back the veil that covered our failed democracy. But no matter how hard the elites try this veil cannot be restored. The mask is off. The façade is gone. Biden cannot bring it back.''

Posted by: Augustin L | Aug 11 2020 20:11 utc | 10

Peter AU 1 @ 6:

I smell a rat in what you have been searching on Delta Crescent Energy LLC. Delaware happens to be a tax haven. (I think it was Nicholas Shaxson who noted Delaware as a money-laundering state in his book "Treasure Islands".) The company sounds like a shell company set up to funnel dirty money that should be going to the IRS. I don't wonder that you have not been able to find out who owns it and that Laguerre notes that it's a small company apparently willing to make dangerously risky investment decisions.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 11 2020 20:12 utc | 11

It seems that finally Syrians and some Kurds are realizing that they are better off under a Syrian nationalist resilient leader, Bashar al Assad than with the erratic US leaders, the greedy PKK wannabe leaders or Erdogan's destructive megalomania

After all, it seems that Bashar Al Assad has succeeded in saving the unity of Syria, at a heavy price, yes, while Lebanon without any strong leader who would have chosen trustworthy allies will be torn apart by its own internals forces with little chance of survival.

Posted by: Virgile | Aug 11 2020 20:14 utc | 12

At the moment SDF is transporting to Iraq for refining and then back for local sale. It seems very logical to improve local infrastructure and refine locally for local sale.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 11 2020 20:04 utc | 8

Yeah, very typical of an illegal operation.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 11 2020 20:15 utc | 13

Jen 11

Money laundering fits. US have been selling the oil since ISIS replaced their flag with the US flag in that area. In the time before Trump announced he had grabbed the oil, I believe US mercenaries were running the operation.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 11 2020 20:19 utc | 14

Loosing troops in Syria during the campaign season may well cost Trump votes. <= probably not, everyone understands, since Syria does not issue monopoly powers and private ownership rights in public property, use of force will likely be necessary.
The 2016 campaign troops home promise is on hold until the last drop of oil has been extracted but don't worry about the election, the electoral college is in charge.

Posted by: snake | Aug 11 2020 20:22 utc | 15

AtaBrit 8

Regardless of where the oil goes, I take it proceeds would be channeled back to the US. Trump is not into nation building. My thought is that is would be a US military contractor outfit that runs the oil business even if they use a local workforce.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 11 2020 20:35 utc | 16

@Laguerre | 13
There's no questioning the illegality of the deal, of course. The Syrian Government made that very clear at the time.

But there is no mention of export agreements in anything that I have seen yet. And export would require Turkey being involved in the transportation wouldn't it? That would add an entirely different dimension to the deal. Would SDF agree to that? (It would also require some kind of autonomous status as in NIraq.)

There are people saying that it's the first step toward a parallel Iraqi Kurdistan and that may well be the case. But, again, it would most likely require Turkey to come on board. I am not convinced.

A lot of parties to the Syrian conflict want a piece of the reconstruction work, could the deal be just that? The US trying to ensure contracts for rebuilding the oil industries infrastructure?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 11 2020 20:39 utc | 17

The Syrian Kurds realise that they cannot have these two alliances at the same time:

- on the one hand with the USA (to steal Syrian oil).
- on the other hand with Syria (by accepting Syrian sovereignty in order to defend themselves against Turkey).

Some Kurds would like to believe they can ride two horses at the same time and pretend that the SDF in NE Syria is not really Kurdish. But it looks now like many more have chosen Syria as the only reliable ally to help them defend Kurdish interests.

Posted by: Brendan | Aug 11 2020 20:42 utc | 18

"The corrupt leader of the ruling Kurdish clan in north Iraq, Masoud Barzani, has no problem with Turkey hunting his brethren"

There are two major factions among the Kurds of northern Iraq. Barzani leads one. He has not problem with Turkey bombing the other one. He was killing them himself not so long ago.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Aug 11 2020 20:48 utc | 19

@Peter AU1 | 16
As far as I understand, currently the SDF takes the proceeds of all sales.
And assuming that the SDF has not just signed away it's income, the US would have to first rebuild the infrastructure to improve output before it could take any money out. So, to a degree one could argue that the money would be payment for work completed, but at what point it goes over and above that is anyone's guess.

The key seems to be that nothing is achieved - nothing that is not directly detrimental to the SDF financially - until either export agreements are agreed, or until infrastructure is improved to increase production. Maybe, I'm missing something!! ))

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 11 2020 20:56 utc | 20

Sorrie short OT interruption

Biden Picks Kamala Harris As Running Mate

Posted by: JC | Aug 11 2020 20:58 utc | 21

Posted by: Augustin L | Aug 11 2020 20:11 utc | 10

Meanwhile Chris Hedges on the dying corpse of failing empire:
''When I walked through Montgomery, Alabama, a city where half of the population is African-American, with the civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson a few years ago, he pointed out the numerous Confederate memorials, noting that most had been put up in the last decade. This,” I told him, “is exactly what happened in Yugoslavia."

I don't know what this has to do with this thread, but ok.

Chris Hedges as a journalist and war correspondent should have been taken to the ash heap of history a long time back, basically since he went to Yugoslavia as the chief propaganda mouthpiece of the NYT. With the help of his reporting on the Bosnian War and later the Kosovo War, his compurgation of a terrorist and mafia-like organisation (KLA), constant demonization of Bosnian Serbs and Serbs in general, his blatant lies about a supposedly Greater Serbia and his overall support of the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the bombing of Serbia until this day, he is one of the most sleaziest and unscrupulous liberal-left intellectuals - together with Christopher Hitchens - there is/was.

Posted by: v | Aug 11 2020 21:01 utc | 22

@Peter AU1 | Aug 11 2020 20:35 utc | 16
Forgot to ask:
"US military contractor outfit that runs the oil business even if they use a local workforce."

I was thinking along similar lines. My problem is that I have no idea of the volume of work involved. One report I read was specific about building a few refineries. Another report talks about broader 'infrastructure' to bring production back to pre-war levels.
Do you have any idea of the work / timeframe involved?

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 11 2020 21:03 utc | 23


I have no information on infrastructure. Back when Trump announced he had 'secured' the oil I looked up pipeline maps and it wouldn't be a big job to connect Syrian oil to the Iraqi oil system. I would guess there would be quite a few oil wells damaged in the fighting that would need repairing to bring them online.
As for refined fuel, how much would be used by the civilians in the US controlled areas? Some months back, not long after Trump grabbed the oil, some was being taken in tankers across the Euphrates and the US hit them, I think with air strikes, so there may not be going across the line into the rest of Syria on the black market or whatever.

That US oil company may have initially been set up as Jen suggested for money laundering, and now used as a front company for some infrastructure?

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 11 2020 21:18 utc | 24

Loosing troops in Syria during the campaign season may well cost him votes.

Frankly, if it happens we'll never read/hear about losing US troops in Syria. Not from the MM.

Posted by: snow_watcher | Aug 11 2020 21:20 utc | 25

Jackrabbit @ 4 is brimming with contempt for b's laudatory reference to Trump's instincts, which are venal, greedy, amoral, self-aggrandizing, and generally wrong. Trump is a criminal and his instincts are criminal. b has consistently sought for indications of real leadership in this hollow man who was placed in the presidency by a dysfunctional and therefore fraudulent electoral system that does not and never has expressed the will of a true majority of American voters. b should cease and desist in his efforts to say something positive about this American Erdogan and his crew of malefactors. Trump's instinct is to steal whatever he can get away with, and empower Israel to inflict as much pain and suffering on the Arabs as possible, such as blowing up the port of Beirut as the latest example of the divide and conquer program of the west.

Yes, it is that bad. Trump takes a shit in Syria. He is taking a shit in his own country, so why would he do any better in the ME? Why not say something about the Kurds, b? This stateless people needs some support.

Posted by: jadan | Aug 11 2020 21:31 utc | 26

I don't think the US really cares about the tiny amount of Syrian Oil in respect of the US own consumption. This is just a way to finance SDF - decrease US bill, an all time trump fix - and prevents the money into Assad chest. One stone, two birds. And maybe later, who knows, sell weapon to Kurds : add a third bird, Alleluia !

Posted by: murgen23 | Aug 11 2020 21:41 utc | 27

@ jadan | Aug 11 2020 21:31 utc | 26

The Kurds had support in Syria. They were not persecuted, like in Turkey. A lot of Kurds from Turkey found refuge in Syria.

Then some of these Kurds, in cahoots with the USA warmongers, stabbed the other Syrians in the back.

PS when the Turks committed the Armenian genocide, it wasn't Turks who got the most blood on their hands, they found some other ethnic group quite willing to do the dirty work, on the promise that they would get the Armenians' lands..

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 11 2020 22:02 utc | 28

Can anyone link Delta Energy to Genie Energy?
Follow the money..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 11 2020 22:16 utc | 29

You know those separatists, they are all for ethnic independence - of the capitalist ethnicity, if you know what I mean...

Posted by: vk | Aug 11 2020 22:24 utc | 30

[email protected]
Nobody is going to build a refinery in Syria. It is very expensive, complex and immediately vulnerable to sabotage or attack. Nor is the volume of the oil production sufficient to justify a refinery.
I believe that the oil is exported in crude form- the idea that it is trucked to Iraq, refined and returned to Kurdish militias for sale is fanciful.

Mind you there are refineries and refineries:,parts%20of%20al%2DHasaka%20province.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 11 2020 23:31 utc | 31

Here is some information on Delta Crescent Energy LLC: Little-known U.S. firm secures deal for Syrian oil

"...The company, Delta Crescent Energy LLC, was incorporated in Delaware in February 2019, according to its business license. Its partners include former U.S. ambassador to Denmark James Cain; James Reese, a former officer in the Army’s elite Delta Force; and John P. Dorrier Jr., a former executive at GulfSands Petroleum, a U.K.-based oil company with offices and drilling experience in Syria.

It has been in talks with the Kurds for more than a year but only received a license from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control for the work in April, according to a State Department official and a Syrian source familiar with the discussions. The arrangement is to refine and use some of the oil locally but also export some through northern Iraq and Turkey, they said.

The company was first identified by Al-Monitor. The names of its founders were first published by Iraq Oil Report. POLITICO independently verified the information using Delta Crescent's Delaware business license ..."

Posted by: Jen | Aug 11 2020 23:47 utc | 32

Found some more information on the founders of Delta Crescent Energy LLC! Amberin Zaman, Can Syria's Kurds reel in Turkey with profits from American oil deal?

"... Jim Reese, a retired Delta Force colonel, is one of the three partners who set up the company. He laid out their plans in detail to the Washington Examiner’s Tom Rogan who published these in an October 2019 column.

Reese currently heads the North Carolina-based private security firm TigerSwan. The latter provided protection for California-based Tetra Tech staff when they began demining Raqqa after it was captured from the Islamic State (IS), The New Yorker reported ...

... [Second partner] is John P. Dorrier, a former executive at British-based Gulfsands Petroleum, which was granted a license to develop fields in northeastern Syria. It was forced to halt its operations in 2011 when the European Union declared sanctions against the Syrian regime. Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf held a 6% share in Gulfsands until the company scotched the deal.

The current deal mirrors the terms struck between Assad and Gulfsands but covers a broader swath of territory, skirting the Turkish border to the north and reaching al-Hol at its southernmost tip, the sources said. Oilfields under the SDF’s control in the Arab-heavy Deir ez-Zor province are not included in the deal, in part to head off potential conflict with local tribes.

The [third] partner is James Cain, a former US ambassador to Denmark who lost his son-in-law in an attack carried out by IS in Brussels on March 22, 2016. Cain told Politico, “The goal is to get production up to where it was before the civil war and sanctions.” The sources briefing Al-Monitor placed the figure at 200,000 barrels per day.

The trio was photographed is separate meetings with Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani and the former governor of Dahuk province. They crossed the Fish Habur border gate linking Iraqi Kurdistan to northeast Syria last month [July 2020] ..."

Posted by: Jen | Aug 11 2020 23:55 utc | 33

Thanks Jen. I did a quick search on James Cain and turned up this.
The contract is in line with President Donald Trump's long-standing goal of securing US control over oil fields in the region, and gives a little-known American firm, Delta Crescent Energy, wide purview to develop and upgrade more than half of the Syrian oil fields under the control of the SDF, said one of the company's founders.
"We have been authorized to engage in all aspects of energy development, transportation, marketing, refining and exploration in order to develop and redevelop the infrastructure in the region and to help the people in the region get their products into the international market," said James Cain, a former US ambassador to Denmark during the George W. Bush administration and one of the co-founders of Delta Crescent Energy.
Cain's two other partners in the company are James Reese, a retired Delta Force Army officer who used to run his own private security firm, and John Dorrier, a veteran oil executive with years of experience operating in the Middle East.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 12 2020 0:26 utc | 34

Txs Jen for also correcting b's lapsus about the Barzani's..

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 12 2020 0:52 utc | 35

Back before the Americans took Raqqah, McGirk had a meeting with various Tribal Chiefs from the Raqqah and Deir Ezzor regions who then switched their allegiance from ISIS to the US.

It was sometime after that, that one tribe from Dier Ezzor reconciled with and I think rejoined the Syrian government. But I suspect those tribes that swapped allegiance from ISIS to US will make up the bulk of US proxie forces with some nominal Kurds as the public face.

This is Chatham house, but covers all the tribes east of the Euphrates and is perhaps worth reading. Written back in January so maybe some changes since then. The quoted section is just on the Deir Ezzor tribes.

Arab tribes in Deir ez-Zor
In contrast to the divisions among tribes of al-Hasakah, Arab tribes in the SDF-controlled areas of Deir ez-Zor have reached a consensus on their demands, refusing to let in the regime and its Russian and Iranian allies, despite attempts by the latter to negotiate with them.

Rejecting the regime and coordinating with the Global Coalition

Since the beginning of October, there have been ongoing demonstrations in cities and towns east of the Euphrates in Deir ez-Zor, opposing regime forces and their Russian and Iranian allies while calling for the Global Coalition Against Daesh to protect the region.

The demonstrations prompted local Arab tribes, especially Uqaydat and Baggara, to hold several meetings to discuss the future of the region. One of these was held at the home of Jamil Rashid al-Hafal – leader of the Uqaydat tribe – in the village of al-Hariji, north of Deir ez-Zor.

These meetings focused on the need to defend the region from attacks by the regime, Russia, and Iran as well as reach out to the Global Coalition for help.

Support among tribes in Deir ez-Zor for coordinating with the Global Coalition increased after Washington recently confirmed it would remain in the areas containing oil fields in eastern Syria, a large part of which fall east of the Euphrates.

For now, the presence of US forces in the region provides security for the tribes. They remain anxious, however, about a sudden withdrawal – as happened in Manbij and various areas of al-Hasakah – which would leave them sitting targets for the regime and its allies.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 12 2020 0:55 utc | 36

Two men standing on Arax Street in Borj Hammoud district, adjacent to the Beirut Port, are seen in security camera footage released after the August 4, 2020 double explosion, pointing to the sky. Photo: screenshot

“We ran to the balcony and we saw two aircraft, black planes flying. I screamed to my husband it must be Israel. And then the big explosion happened.”

“I turned and heard vrrrrr. I remember the war years we’d hear a vrrrr … not like a passenger plane flying, but much faster. I heard that, then heard BOOM.”

In security camera footage captured in the heart of Borj Hammoud, two men are seen leaving their shops to look up at the sky. One man grins, jokingly pointing his finger up, twirling it around, and then diving it down as if to mimic an expected strike.

In a moment, the grin evaporates from his face and he joins his friend across the street to watch something in the sky. Seconds later, a blast hits, sending the men back and shattering the glass of the entire street of shops.

“I definitely heard the sound of a plane. First came the sonic boom, then you heard the explosion,” said shop-owner Nazareth Vandakardjian, 75, interviewed by Asia Times on Saturday.

Posted by: daffyDuct | Aug 12 2020 1:27 utc | 37

Dump that stuff on an old thread or head over to veterans today with it.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 12 2020 1:38 utc | 38

"Losing troops in Syria during the campaign season may well cost him votes."

And that's why Esper is emphasizing the Afghan drawdown, which I see is a big story yesterday or today. "Only" 5,000 troops left in Afghanistan, supposedly, by November. Which no doubt omits all the US "contractors" and Special Forces and CIA spooks, which probably amount to another 10,000.

This Washington Post piece discusses the "hidden contractor army", pointing out that more contractors have died than US troops, and that contractor use escalated by 65% under Trump's first three years.

A US News report in April 2019 said:

More than 5,800 privately employed security personnel are currently operating in Afghanistan under Pentagon contracts, according to the latest report released this month that the military headquarters overseeing Middle East wars compiles for Congress. The number of security contractors jumped by more than 1,000 in the three months since the last report – a spike of more than 20 percent and the biggest increase in two years.

So what will undoubtedly happen is that regular US Army soldiers will be brought back - and an equivalent number of contractors will be hired from inside and outside Afghanistan. In other words, a "shell game."

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Aug 12 2020 2:45 utc | 39

Syrian tribe gives US Coalition one month to handover Arab lands in eastern Syria

You may find that funny, but it isn't really. Oil production requires peace and security. You can't do it in the long term, if the wells are under constant threat of attack or sabotage. Bush made the same mistake in Iraq, even if he was not so foolish as Trump and announce the policy publicly. The Akidat, the tribe concerned, is one of the grand confederations who've been in power there for centuries. They held a big assembly of 5000 leaders.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 12 2020 3:24 utc | 40

Sorry, b already quoted the story.

Posted by: Laguerre | Aug 12 2020 3:30 utc | 41

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 11 2020 19:51 utc | 6

Crescent Energy Services, LLC

You'll find the information under about us, then executive profiles and work history.

Posted by: One Too Many | Aug 12 2020 5:15 utc | 42

thanks b... i appreciate yours and others sleuthing here... everything can and will be used as a political weapon in the upcoming election circus if i do say so myself..

Posted by: james | Aug 12 2020 5:38 utc | 43


Israel is the asshole of the world.

Posted by: Francis | Aug 12 2020 6:27 utc | 44

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 11 2020 22:02 utc | 28

"PS when the Turks committed the Armenian genocide, it wasn't Turks who got the most blood on their hands, they found some other ethnic group quite willing to do the dirty work, on the promise that they would get the Armenians' lands."

You don't know what you are talking about. The Ottomans did not promise the Kurds Armenian lands. The Entente pronmised the Kurds a nation state and Sevres was to ensure a British protectorate for the Kurds that included some historical Armenian lands.

That ethnic Kurds were primarily responsible for massacring Armenians in eastern Anatolia is an unfortunate fact. Not all were Ottoman inspired. The Armenians and Kurds had an uneasy relationship sharing the same land for decades, partly due to Western missionary meddling and partly to Armenian nationalisim often supported by Czarist Russia for its own purposes, as well as other European imperialists. The so called Armenian "genocide" is far more complex than Western and Armenian propagandists would lead you to believe. The Armenian "revolutionaries" or terrorists, as they would be called today, did a good deal of discord sowing, false flagging and conducting their own massacres of Muslims in the lead up to the "genocide". This wasn't a black and white episode in history.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 12 2020 9:34 utc | 45

In recent years, the position of the mainstream PKK in Turkey, reflected in its political wing, Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP), is one of more autonomy with in the Turkish state.I believe this is the same position that the PKK maintains in Syria, so Cemil Bayik's position is not inconsistent with this. This is probably why Mazloum position is regarded as illegal by the mainstream PKK.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Aug 12 2020 9:40 utc | 46

One Too Many 42

That looks to be a different company.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 12 2020 11:10 utc | 47

@45 Blue Dotterel
are you being paid for this bs?

Posted by: drill | Aug 12 2020 11:31 utc | 48

People still think that the vote will change something..the roads have been traced.. Venezuela and Iran will be the targets of the next 4 years..nothing can change that.

Posted by: LuBa | Aug 12 2020 11:41 utc | 49

It's clear to see that PeterAu is a Israelfirster-shill,who from his first comment after the beirut blast insults everybody who might think that somehow Israel was involved in this.With RShack he forms the perfect pait to bring down credibility of this website.

Posted by: willie | Aug 12 2020 12:42 utc | 50

@Blue Dotterel | 45
I am not going to get into yet another 'Genocide' debate, but your response to @Lurk is wholly disingenuous to say the least and ignores completely the divisive and sectarian programmes of the Young Turks - and decades prior. Interestingly programmes of division and sectarianism that we can see mirrored in Turkey's
courting of ISIS, AL Qaeda, the FSO etc.

And let's not forget that the Kurds have admitted to their part in the genocide.

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 12 2020 13:52 utc | 51

willie @Aug12 12:42 #50

It's not just Peter AU 1. We have all-but ruled out an aerial attack. Such an attack is impossible to hide so if it were true we would see lots of evidence not isolated claims of planes and missiles and manipulated videos.

The explosion may have been deliberately arranged but it was not an overt attack. Nukes, missile, bombs are sensationalist hasbara claptrap that is being used to distract.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 12 2020 13:52 utc | 52

Back to Lebanon
when you see that you understand that there is something deeply rotten in Lebanese "politics"

Posted by: Mina | Aug 12 2020 14:10 utc | 53

Special economic agreements and big business between Lebanon, Georgia and UAE

Posted by: Mina | Aug 12 2020 14:19 utc | 55

@Jackrabbit | 9
And today Suleiyman Soylu, Turkish Secretary for State, claimed that Cenil Bayik had been killed by a drone!! We should probably wait for official confirmation, however. ))

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 12 2020 16:21 utc | 56

willie @Aug12 12:42 #50 - ditto what jackrabbit said... peter is not as you describe him!! cheers james

Posted by: james | Aug 12 2020 16:50 utc | 57

Want to learn about dinosaurs? Look at Lebanon
(1982, "The president of the brokers association, Nabil Aoun")
(1999, doing good business with France)
(relaxed in a trial concerning his handling of private data from Fidus clients)
(from 2006 on, business operated from Malta)

And such a dinosaur does not have a page on wiki (not even in Arabic)? so sad!

Posted by: Mina | Aug 12 2020 17:29 utc | 58

Syria does not have oil reserves worthy of attention for Big Oil or Intl politics jockeying re. ressources.

One ex.

All the nos. about ‘proven reserves’ are super murky. What grade of oil, proven how, err?
Capacities to extract it, costs to ship it about, refine it, sell it, and more..?

// Natch, on the ground, control of even small ressources can bring in mega profits for a few.
(Other story.) //

Trump posturing *We are taking the oil* is an absurdity.

Syria oil prod. and consumption, chart.

from Tverberg blog, 2013 on conflict in Syria:

here CEIC, Syria crude oil production, chart


With Covid, oil consumption, sales, and price, are collapsing.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 12 2020 18:15 utc | 59

Noirette @Aug12 18:15 #59

Trump posturing *We are taking the oil* is an absurdity.

No it's not an absurdity.

Syria has enough oil for domestic consumption. Without access to their oil, they are forced to import oil. And that oil is difficult to get because of sanctions are Syria and Iran.

The media pretends that Trump is "looting" the oil but is silent about Trump's war of attrition on Syria.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 12 2020 18:49 utc | 60

@Noirette | 59
Excellent reading. Thanks.
Poses more questions than answers, however. )))
Look forward to finding out what is actually going on with this US agreement!

Posted by: AtaBrit | Aug 12 2020 19:03 utc | 61

Jadan #26

"these stateless Kurds need some support"

BS to that. They need to negotiate with the best leader around. Assad is his name and he presides over a multi ethnic, multi religious nation.

No more Israels in the ME.!

The Kurds wont because - kleptocrats and treacherous leadership. Armenian genocidists in 1915. They have joined up with their kind - the US army.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 12 2020 19:28 utc | 62

Great article! And equally the one on the attempted Belarus coup and and the Russian vaccine. B is on top form, and so is the commentariat. Thanks and please keep it coming!

Posted by: Leser | Aug 12 2020 22:02 utc | 63

@Mina #58

And such a dinosaur does not have a page on wiki (not even in Arabic)?

Make one!

Posted by: S | Aug 13 2020 0:12 utc | 64

> Make one!
IMHO this will be censored shortly! For sure!

Wikipedia is semi-professional in science, but is full of BS in politics!
Wikipedia is adopted by Neo-liberals and Pseudo-leftists long time ago!
But nice we had a talk about!

Posted by: Wolle | Aug 13 2020 5:31 utc | 65

Yes Jack rabbit,yes james,I know Peter Au is a long time commenter,often gives good comments,and even Richard Steven Hack writes things that I can agree heartily with,but because of their frequent bullying and names-calling of people with different opinions,I thought it was the right time to insult them with the ultimate insult to barflies,being an israel-shill.
About the question itself:a lot of beiruti heard a sound just before the blast,that they thought to be airplanes or a missile.People spotted to black airplanes,that could be stealth.Others heard a sound familiar to them from the civil war in the eighties.That's the reason that we just cannot dismiss their observations.Those people were there,while we were behind our keyboards.

Posted by: willie | Aug 13 2020 7:29 utc | 66

If you had half a brain you would watch and listen to the many videos and understand where the aircraft sound came from.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 13 2020 7:38 utc | 67

And as for daffy duck back up the thread, if he's enough of a moron to dump "its a nuke" on this thread, .....

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 13 2020 7:42 utc | 68

I think b is spot on. American loses in the ME is an absolute no-go, and especially in an election year. The American public has become, very "damage aware " and will only accept few casualties.
This seen in the light that many Americans have started asking " Why are we there, what are we doing and will this not come back to haunt us ? "
Eys baby you are right on! The only foothold in the ME the US has, is the shunned piece of shit called Israhell.
Its people more fanatic than any muslim sect. Unfortunately half of US governmen are dual citizens, how does the sheeple in the US stand up to this?
They dont. You know the 3 (4) monkeys....
Israel has become a stain on humankind, it started out well, but very fast joined the dark side.
Let me just point out I part Jewish myself, but I abhour what is happening in ME right now

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 13 2020 8:11 utc | 69

Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 13 2020 8:11 utc | 69

So, which "part" of you is the piss-weak little racist who was throwing around disparaging racist epithets directed at black people and people from the ME (that you now seem so concerned about) Posted by: Den lille abe | Aug 7 2020 14:09 utc | 99 the other day?

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Aug 13 2020 14:50 utc | 70

Posted by: Jon_in_AU | Aug 13 2020 14:50 utc | 70

Posted by: tucenz | Aug 13 2020 19:33 utc | 71

@ Jon_in_AU | Aug 13 2020 14:50 utc | 70

I couldn't help thinking of that same outrageous post. In your enumeration you forgot to mention his declared intent to gratuitously murder a fellow human being for no other reason than "this piece of shit had it coming to him"

Posted by: Lurk | Aug 13 2020 20:07 utc | 72

I cannot understand the lack of information this site
Keeps in displaying on several fronts when it comes
to Turkey, Kurds — be that Iraq or Syria.
SDF does NOT control area between Turkish border
and Euphrates, That was true BEFORE Trump withdrawal,
and Turkey-Russian patrols as well as Syrian forces
taking the area over. US and SDF are hanging around
few oil wells. US had to ask Syrian checkpoint at Qamishli
where incident happened. Barzani is fighting
against PKK proliferation in Iraq, something US
supported in Kirkuk and Sinjar. The typing her
is too much trouble to elaborate,
But the assessment here is so wrong, it is not funny.

Posted by: Bianca | Aug 18 2020 6:11 utc | 73

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