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29 January 2016


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Reuters spews nonsense. The group that is supposed to go to the negotiations currently sits in Saudi Arabia. It has nothing to do with the fighting on the ground.

One oppo speaker said today to CNN's Amanapour that the government that the government has no interest in a political solution. But the government is in Geneva. He also claimed that the oppo is interested in a political solution but can't come to Geneva.

I believe the oppo is missing a chance. If they do not come than the Syrian government can say we have tried to talk but there is no one to talk to. These are all terrorists.

Allegedly the Saudis promised new weapons/ammo/money if the talks fail. But if the talks have not been tried at all, against U.S. wishes(?), that may not count.


News just came in that the oppo will be in Geneva tomorrow.

The Beaver


Interesting points by former Sec Def Hagel:



Fault's on the HNC here, really. They got no back-up plan other than their insurgents doing the dirty work for them of clearing a way to power by force.
Di Mistura made it clear that this entire process wouldn't be made for the press and cameras' sake. My impression is he'll stick to that.

A user back during the Jihadi Apocalypse war-game went and stated that the SNC - now the HNC - would be shown the door as regards the political process due to "not being helpful". Maybe that's what's ever so slowly coming to pass here.



I don't think it makes much difference if they show up or not. Diplomats tend to get lost in the process of negotiation and forget that the substance is what matters to the parties rather than magic inherent in the process. I have been through this with them a number of times. They typically want to start with the easy issue believing that if they leave the hard issues to the end, momentum and confidence building will do the trick. It usually does not. pl

raksh wah

does this suggest that KSA no longer believes it can make US bulldoze the negotiations ?


What might be Turkeys view on the negotiations?

The Beaver


Yeah, they said that they will be joining tomorrow for discussion but not negotiations :-)
"HNC confirms it is coming to #Genevaiii to participate in discussions with the @UN, not for negotiations," the tweet said.

 Ishmael Zechariah

Since they shot down that Sukhoi-and shot themselves in the ass- the tayyiban have been in a panic. The TSK will not countenance sending forces across without a clear legal order-and the clowns in the government dare not issue one. We actually have a warmish confrontation in the East with the PKK learning again the difference between a militia and an army.

Ishmael Zechariah


Can we expect more of the not yet ISIS groups to make deals with the government rather than completely lose on the Syrian battlefields as well as the one in the countries they will be forced to flee to in their defeat?


Confirmation of what the Colonel has written. I spoke to someone in Washington (a former Ambassador to NATO), who knows Kerry from his days in the Senate and who now sits on some State advisory panel where he had a chance to talk with the Secretary a few weeks ago. His report: Kerry has a limited, superficial understanding of the complexities of the situation. Kerry believes that diplomacy is like a Congressional reconciliation committee - what counts are the personalities and the nitty-gritty politics; that there are no real hard interests but rather ambitions - no ideology, only opinions. Kerry has absolute faith in his ability to jawbone parties to an agreement. Kerry misconstrues the success of the Iran nuclear negotiations as giving credence to this approach; in fact, there was very little actual negotiation except on highly technical and procedural issues. Success owes to Tehran's commitment to a deal no matter the terms since they had no interest in a nuclear weapon anyway.

Back to Syria. Kerry "wings it" - figuratively as well as literally flying by the seat of his pants. None of the people he listens to (airborne)have an adequate understanding of the situation within Syria. Kerry may have some understanding of the true Russian position thanks to his discussions with Lavrov - who treats Kerry and the other Obama people like precocious brats who have to be treated gingerly without appeasing their impulsive wants and demands - lest they have a tantrum that hurts them as well as others.

For this, Kerry firmly believes that he deserves a Nobel Prize that would be the crowning achievement of his career.


Here's the Guardian's spin on this:


“Reports from the Saudi capital described an anguished but determined mood. Riyadh Hijab, head of the opposition negotiations body, had flatly refused to start talks with De Mistura until the UN’s own commitment to humanitarian access and a cessation of attacks had been implemented.

Philip Hammond, the British foreign secretary, telephoned and urged Hijab to turn up, arguing that failure to do so would hand Assad “a propaganda coup”. British, French, and American officials and advisers hammered home the same point. The result was a formal announcement that the opposition had “decided to participate in the Geneva talks after receiving American and United Nations guarantees.” De Mistura called that “a good signal”. The two sides are still unlikely to meet face to face.”

The way I look at this, this is the nice way of saying that the HNC was pressed between a solid, hard wall and a very sharp rock.

We'll see what can be salvaged of the grandiose demands made by the conference sponsored by al-Saud in December.


You don't "deserve" a Nobel Prize. You negotiate the peace prize with the Norwegians, e.g. Kissinger, Obama. Kerry may be up to this negotiation, unfortunately.


Is Turkey trying to ditch al-Nusra in order to save what can be saved?



Michael, if I may, considering your last paragraph--I admittedly loved the larger context around the preceding sentence: "precocious brats"--would you be so kind, to tell were I can find these three articles?

I am especially interested in the last, but no doubt the others too.

Democracy Promotion and Islam; Fear and Dread In The Middle East; Narcissistic Public Personalities & Our Times.


"warmish" would be good news, IZ.


The topic apparently made it into the Cologne carnival. I got a glimpse on local news. A sketch portraying a guy calling his grandpa in Turkey. Grandpa only on the other end of the phone seemed annoyed about the Kurds demanding their own state. But he wondered if this could not also be a solution to a specific quarter here in Cologne getting some type of Turkish independence/autonomy/right to self-determination. ;)

This was a carnival event in one of the central multicultural community centers here in Cologne. In other words in a context that historically had high numbers of people supporting the Kurdish fight. Lots of political groups there.

Thus the subjects they pick up, or how they pick it up, shows trends. We of course have both groups over here. Thus we had a couple of demonstration by people with a Kurdish background and friends against Turkey's politics, demanding German pressure for longer now, but more of them recently.

alba etie

Ishmael Zechariah
Do you see any Kurdish political entity independently federated within Syria being acceptable to Turkey ?

Babak Makkinejad

It was not HNC that was pressed, it was the Al Saud.

But that was a mere skirmish; Al Saud will escalate and redouble their efforts in Yemen and in Syria.

A direct attack on Iran is not out of the question either, in my opinion - hoping to get NATO states to wage their war for them later when missiles starts falling on Saudi territory.


That aside, does Tayyip believe he can blackmail Putin to talk to him directly in the following manner? I don't reckon he truly believes he can still drag NATO in this way, which he may have back before November 24 '15:


"A statement from Erdoğan like a threat: should Russia continue consequences will be taken"

I assume this is primarily about 'talking to the man' as later in the text, there is this:

"Bu arada da ben Dışişleri Müsteşarımıza, Rusya tarafıyla görüşün, 'Sayın Putin ile bizzat görüşmek isterim' demişimdir. O andan bu ana kadar henüz kendilerine ilettiklerini fakat oradan bir dönüş olmadığını, bizim Büyükelçiliğimiz buraya bildirmiştir"

"At that time [Friday evening] I also ordered the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs to tell the Russian side that 'I want to talk with Putin in person'. Since then we already forwarded this request of ours but there has not yet been a response from there, we've informed our Ambassador from here."

(bit of a free translation, but you get the gist of it.)

Plane in question supposedly was a SU-34 as per this article, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs was first to break the news:



How Obama Ended Up Following Putin’s Syria Script and Giving Assad a Victory?



A few more thoughts on whether this "news"-item covered an actual event or is entirely made up. Following link to the "Augen geradeaus!"-blog ("Eyes front!") has all the statements by NATO, Russian Defence Ministry and the official English statement by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs:


No details as to how long the violation was nor where it took place...smells like disinformation to me. Also noteworthy that neither the Turkish Defence Ministry nor the Air Force brought this forward.


“…a senior Israeli military official as saying that if Israel wanted to launch a major ground offensive against ISIS forces in southern Syria. it could wipe out the ISIS forces in three or four hours….When it comes to how most Israeli officials talk about the U.S. role, however, they “argue that the United States…must lead the fight to roll back the Islamic State."


That's a nice propagandizing paper with some amazing contortionist turns attempting to define good terrorists and bad terrorists and trying to assign the responsibility for the presence of terrorists in Syria to Assad. The latter is of course a tyrant and dictator and all other names in the book, but the quality of the main financiers of the opposition to Assad is modestly veiled. For the author, a democratic elections is the most terrible thing that could happen in Syria. His dream is some US & kingdoms-approved puppet ruling over a land "free of terrorists and busy in a national healing process, where people exercise their human rights unpunished and where everyone is safe regardless of his sect or religion." Has the author. Samir Altaqi, looked around to see the "free of terrorists and busy in a national healing process" Iraq and Libya?


A long but very informative conversation "Chaos and war have approached the Russian borders," with transcript: http://thesaker.is/chaos-and-war-on-russias-border-must-see/

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