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20 December 2015


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to pick up on "ideas occuring in clusters", nicely put, rjj.

I wonder if anyone recalls bits and pieces in the development of the idea below. I only noticed news, more recently, arguing in the same direction by suggesting Assad buys oil from ISIS. Hmm, seems to be the context. Is this the variation of an older meme?


"The New York Times, in a report on sanctions in late November, revived an old and groundless assertion, saying that the Treasury’s actions ‘emphasise an argument that the administration has increasingly been making about Mr Assad as it seeks to press Russia to abandon its backing for him: that although he professes to be at war with Islamist terrorists, he has a symbiotic relationship with the Islamic State that has allowed it to thrive while he has clung to power.’"


I'll try not to. But your shortness occasionally is a challenge.



It is intended to be a challenge. pl



Both the Bush and Obama administrations have been consistently hostile to the present government of Syria. There were short periods when it seemed this might end but it did not. There was a period just after the First Gulf War when Syria offered the US the assistance of its considerable secret assets in the Iraq Army for the purpose of overthrowing Saddam. At that time the interagency in DC favored the cooperation but AIPAC representatives high up in the US government blocked the move through passive resistance and inaction. There was also a period cited by Hersh as being in the first year or so after 9/11 when the Syrian government provided the US valuable assistance in the intelligence field. that too ended when the same AIPAC assets (actually the same people) moved the US away from cooperation with Syria. The action taken by the JCS with regard to the Obamanite regime change policy was yet another instance of inconsistency in the US government caused by the existence of groups in the US government who have long been opposed to the hostility displayed by the USG toward Syria. IMO the present Israeli government wishes to reduce Syria to chaos as a blow against Iran and Hizbullah and this policy has been successfully carried out within both the Bush and Obama Administrations by Americans who are its agents. this has been accompanied by a massive IO campaign against "barrel bomb" Assad the "murderer." pl


Chris Chuba

IMO the running propaganda line during the Iraq war concerning the supposed Syrian government cooperation with AQ was just another example of the long standing and successful IO campaign waged by Israel/AIPAC against Syria pl


The nationalists had German military advisors until 1938 when Hitler withdrew them in deference to the Japanese.

Their place was taken by the Russians, who for a longtime preferred the Nationalists to the Chinese communists. Hence some of the lasting enmity.

The Battle of Taiertzhuang was fought partly under the influence of German strategy and tactics. The victorious Chinese generals were interviewed at length soon after by two Russian military observers - Zhukov and Chuikov - who used the same tactics later at Stalingrad.

William R. Cumming

Thanks for the full title!

William R. Cumming

Thanks Richard for this very interesting footnote.


Long ago I read a book by someone who was there. I think it was Herbert O. Yardley's 'The Chinese Black Chamber'. (Yardley's code breaking operation had famously been closed by Secretary of State Stimson on grounds which appear amazing today, that gentlemen do not read each others' mail.) Anyway, his view was that the Communists were somewhat more honest and efficient than the Nationalists for whom he was working. What most impressed him was the ingenuity and energy everyone devoted to theft and fraud, far more salient to them than political squabbles. Starting to seem like the elites of another country, perhaps?


David, I am not a fan of polemicists. At least not of pop polemicists.

Although maybe I should look up the term. But yes, on the more sarcastic side I wonder if Gilad didn't make it as a saxophonist the way he envisioned.

On a more serious comment, I think Mearsheimer was wrong in supporting him. And I never looked back.


Hersh didn't seem to suggest--at least if we consider the present and not developments--clashing agendas. But I am open to correction.

"Similarly, Obama's attempts to engage Assad were undermined by parallel efforts at regime change that were visible to the Syrian government,"

Obama's attempts to engage Assad? I may have missed something.

Do I read the rest correctly that you suggest interior efforts at regime change. You are not talking/writing about "unicorns" I guess. And no, I have no real knowledge about the Syrian government.

What should I know about relevant Wikileak reports in this context?


makes sense, if I don't look at it the other way. ;)

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

Thanks. Modern poli-sci is based on the 19th century turn to materialism and "science" which was wonderful for bringing us improvements on and democratization of neat inventions that had been lying around for centuries. What reductionist science can't explain (though the net is replete with articles breathlessly explaining how they've got the human mind 99% figured out and their best people are hard at work on that last stubborn Hard Problem) is the tendency of humans to confound their scheme of total control. If they'd been right, Skinnerian behaviorism and Bernays-ian propaganda would work on all of us all the time

Charles Dekle

That well know southern belle, Lindsey Graham.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

I think if one considers the musical instrument called violin, it is quite clear that it cannot be improved upon; improvements in one characteristic inevitably leads to deterioration of other, equally desirable properties.

In an analogical sense (but not in an exact sense) the violin is a stable point in the "design space".

More sever alterations to violin lead not to a better violin but to a new instrument; the viola, the countre-base, and the violin-cello.

All of this in spite of the fact that the violin and its derivatives could be very precisely characterized in a quantitative manner by apply knowledge of geometry, physics, material science, and chemistry.

Yes, Western Diocletian thinkers are, for the most, convinced that they can improve upon political formations of man at Will.

In physics, the reductionist science par excellence, one begins from the most elementary structures - simpler sub-parts to explain the larger parts.

To me, the basic unit of human societies is the family and the most basic ingredient is the institution of marriage.

I think Western Diocletian Thinkers, in their assertions regarding improvement of human condition, could be more believable if thy had produced, over the last 400 years, some credible practical ideas on how to improve upon the Institution of Marriage and of Family Life.

If one has failed to demonstrate - over a 400-year span - the ability or the capability to improve the Family - the basic unit of social cohesion - then one's claims to be able to improve the larger society must be seriously dismissed.

And I supply two pieces of evidence of this failure: destruction of marriage and the militant castrating feminism of the Anglo-Saxons.


And it was Zhukov who whipped the Japanese - their hyper aggressive elite Kwangtung army - so thoroughly at Nomonhan that they lost all taste for war with Russia.

That arguably set the Japanese to look for expansion southwards, hence Pearl Harbor.

And the Russians wouldn't even have beeen there to fight the Japanese at Nomonhan, had it not ben for that white Russian lunatic von Ungern-Sternberg and his dash to Mongolia. Russia went there, after him, to fill the vacuum left by a crippled China and to deny White Russians sanctuary.


"all is well in Borgistan..."

Amongst the Borg Bots, the useful idiots..err Utilitarian Ideologers, this is true, but the Borg Baalim are sweating B's across their brow because the accountability blowback is on the horizon.


PS: I re-read the Wikipedia article on the Battle of Shanghai, and the sections on Chinese casualties are nothing short of appalling:

"The [Chinese] paid heavily for the defense. An entire regiment could be reduced to just a few men in action. ... the Chinese fought against great odds and tried to hold on to the coastal villages as long as they could. It was commonplace for the Japanese to successfully occupy the towns in the day under heavy naval support, only to lose them during the night to Chinese counterattacks.
... The carnage and intensity of the resulting battle earned the fight for Luodian the nickname "grinding mill of flesh and blood" ... the defense of Luodian would prove to be impossible for the Chinese. The Japanese had a number of advantages, including superiority of firepower, and the fact that the Chinese were in a passive position to face the onslaught, because they were not able to mount effective offensives until the Japanese were practically on top of Luodian. Because of this, the Chinese decided to defend to the death to hold on to every square inch of the town. This tactic greatly accelerated the attrition rate within the Chinese ranks. The casualty rate of General Chen Cheng's army group was more than fifty percent. By the end of September, the Chinese had been almost bled dry and were forced to give up Luodian. ...
... fighting was so fierce that the average Chinese casualty rate per hour was in the thousands, and some divisions were incapacitated in a matter of just a few days.
Chiang Kai-shek's decision to pit all of his crack divisions to fight in Shanghai caused his elite units to suffer some sixty percent casualties in the three-month bloodbath. In one single blow, Chiang also lost some 10,000 of the 25,000 junior officers trained by the elite Central Military Academy between 1929 and 1937, in addition to some tens of thousands of potential military officers. Chiang Kai-shek's Central Army was never to recover from these devastating losses. By the time the 88th Division, arguably the best of these elite divisions, began its defense of Nanjing, it had been reduced to seven thousand men, of whom three thousand were new recruits to replace the lost veterans.
Chinese losses were irreparable ... The Battle of Shanghai was a military defeat but a high point for Chinese nationalism. The beginning of full-scale war meant that China would no longer stand idly and allow Japan to conquer its territories piece by piece as it had done in the past. It also demonstrated China's resolve not to surrender even in the face of overwhelming firepower. However, Chiang Kai-shek's order to have his troops make one death stand after another greatly sapped his strength ..."


"...is the tendency of humans to confound their scheme of total control."

This does cause the Self-Selected Intellects mental meltdowns because when every thing says Yes those ungrateful Inferior Intellects say NO.


The one thing in the article that caught my attention was Israeli participation against the Borg, Looks as if there are honorable professionals in their system too.

An avaricious political leader, who dipped into till from darkh operations, would come crashing down off the pedestal if it became publically known. Now who was that refiner of the pilfered Syrian petroleum sent by Caliph Ibrahim's Islamic State?


I'll preface this by saying I'm more Borg-friendly than most commenters here. Still, I'm only here because I keep an open mind, and do think it's important to remind myself of the many real developments that get emphasis here while being ignored elsewhere.

Any perspective that doesn't let itself be refreshed with ground truth will ultimately become it's own Borg. I hope you'll allow a comment that points to some trends countervailing to the prevailing perspective here.

First, the "Factions of North Latakia" post at Syria Comment a week or so ago suggests that FSA-oriented local battalions are really at the heart of the successful resistance in that one particular area. I don't claim that northern Latakia is representative of the wider anti-Assad movement. But it deserves notice.

Second, the recent Iraqi and Kurdi successes against ISIS must be read come with all sorts of asterisks. Sinjar is on the physical road to Mosul, but Kurdish control of Sinjar may actually be a step back from what is needed to defeat ISIS defeat in Mosul ... The Iraqi army at Ramadi may actually be a Shia army ... etc.

Nonetheless, there has been significant erosion in ISIS control in the last month. That erosion has come in the Iraqi and Kurdish sectors. Small advances by Assad under cover of Putin's planes have been given a lot of attention here at SST, yet Assad hasn't really gained much ground compared to the Kurds and Iraqis.

I hope you'll let me post. Perhaps you'll blow my points out of the water - I'm open to seeing where I'm getting things wrong.


Meant to say Doolittle. My mistake.


Have there been any significant wikileaks releases of American government documents since the start of armed conflict in Syria? There would have been no sense in trying to stalemate Assad with a jihadi opposition that was close to non-existent prior to at least early 2012. But the primary Wikileak of American documents came before that, and the primary Wikileak of Syria-related documents had no trove of official American papers. Did I miss something?


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Yes. The BHO started out wanting seculat FSA unicorns. That fell on its ass and they gradually turned to Nusra etc. PL


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FSA battalions in N lattakia are in process of being destroyed by R6.

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