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03 February 2016


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in the eternal spirit of "piling on" I would rework another old meme:

"If they come (home) they (refugees) will build it (homes, schools, you know - Syria that was blown up)." They can rest assured that unlike Greece, Spain and other debt ridden EU nations they will get zero IMF and World Bank loans. The neocons will see to that; That will ensure that Western companies get zero contracts. Thus all the redevelopment funding is R+6+China and all the jobs - which won't include the IMF/WB consulting crowd - will basically be for Syrians and R+6 allies. I'm sure there's a good Western spin on that somehow.


Another aspect of the lost supply line. No food to Daesh, no fuel to Idlib. Al Qaeda et al. will shortly be frozen in place.


The loss of fuel is no doubt a very serious issue for all within Idlib. I'm anticipating a huge shriek from the MSM over that issue, so put on your OSHA-approved ear protection. But nobody's going to suggest the obvious solution.


Kissinger is very deceptive. He presents himself as 'realist' who is only concerned with "global order" - which most naively assume means peaceful stability.

Kissinger's famous and well-publicized call for calm and diplomacy (each side should accept the "least worst" outcome) after the Ukrainian coup was a position that was greatly advantageous to the West. It essentially warned-off Russia: don't allow the loss of Ukraine to damage relations with the West. It was made in early-mid April 2014 while the new Ukrainian govt was consolidating its power and looking forward to a vote (May 26) that would legitimize its rule. Had Russia fully heeded Kissinger's call, Crimea and Dunbas might still be under Ukrainian control.

Immediately after the Ukrainian military had been soundly defeated, Kissinger surfaced with an Op-Ed (WSJ, August 29) which is essentially a rebuttal to Putin's conception of world order that is based on nation-state sovereignty. And Kissinger ends by asserting that: "the affirmation of America's exceptional nature must be sustained" via a "comprehensive geopolitical strategy".

Whether one agrees with Kissinger or Putin, I would argue that the "New Cold War" began with that Op-Ed.




You are confused. What I meant was that the French military and police had defeated the attempts of the FLN to take over the country. Their guerrilla attacks in the "rif" in 1961 were more of a nuisance than anything else. The FLN did not "win" the war in the field. The French made a strategic decision to leave that I think was a wise one. They could have continued indefinitely if they had wished. pl


It was March 5th (Washington Post), not early-mid April 2014.



I watched the Russian MOD briefing for today that b pointed us to. The MG giving the briefing indicated their suspicion of Turkish activities north of the border. He mentioned positioning of a lot of transport and a self propelled artillery battery. He had overhead shots of these. He was correct in saying that this activity could indicate preparation for an offensive into Syria but it also could be compatible with emplacing artillery to cover the withdrawal of at least some of the Turks' little friends into Turkey and the trucks with which to haul them away. Since Turkish artillery has been firing into Syria to help the unicorn/jihadis, I vote for the latter possibility. pl

Patrick Bahzad

Militarily, the insurrection in Algeria had lost the war in 1961, there is no doubt about that and PL is absolutely right. I Think there is some confusion between staging minor ambushes and attacks that are nothing more than a nuisance and being able to control large areas or populations.
Things were that bad for the FLN that the groups doing the fighting inside Algeria were willing to compromise with the french in 1961. The leaders of Wilaya 4, the main armed group, even met secretly with de Gaulle for a possible ceasefire. That being said, insurgencies win at the negotiation table, not on the battlefield.

Patrick Bahzad

That remains to be seen. I know social and other media have been advertising about the oil for food exchange between ISIS and other groups will shortly be stopped. However, ISIS are no newcomers to this business and they have taken precautions in case their usual channels are cut.
They have negotiated with iraqi Kurds for the use of their pipelines to convey oil into Turkey. Whether or not this will materialize remains to be seen.

Patrick Bahzad


There is another possibility still which is that Turkey wants to provide cover and support to Turkmen areas just South East of the Jarabulus border post. They might also want to stop any incursion by YPG West of the Euphrates, i.e.taking over Jarabulus, or prevent similar Kurdish take over of Turkmen territories coming from the Afrin area further West.
Now of course, such cover might also encompass making sure that Turkish proxies can move safely back into turkey.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree, he talks from both sides of his mouth.


Would one be able to compare that nuisance to the IRA's burden for Great Britain and an indefinite continuation of resistance?


To play the cynic: depends on who is the Master of the Universe in the US of A. Or to paraphrase Col PL, hopefully accurately, whether the Borg is running the show here.



what I said was that it is possible to defeat guerrillas not that they are always defeated. pl

Charles Michael

The French did subdue the FLN in a relative way.
The Plan Challe (a general) of fencing the border with Tunisia was efficient, the Harkis auxiliary forces in the Dje bels also.

But, this war was basically both obsolete in historical terms and unwinable if the aim was full return to security.
The drafted French soldiers and the professionnal losses amounted to some 30.000 DIA. French publics were largely dispirited and not supportive.

De Gaule, a strong nationalist but realistic, had to accept those facts. The idea that "economics" played a role in his decision is ridiculous.

I had friends and cousins participating, I was seventeen when the war ended.


There is a flood of recriminations between Islamist factions in the Twittersphere following defeats at Atman (Daara) and Rityan (Aleppo).


Patrick, can I move back to one of your comments above here?

"This would apply even more so in Syria, where the allegiances of the civilian population are very split (depending on the area)."

Does that mean, to paraphrase Tyler, there is not the appropriate "sea to swim in"? It would remain a purely "local" nuisance?

How far would that be off?


annamaria, here I agree with Patrick.

Someone, forget who, once told me: the present is less easy to read then the past.

I mostly try to ignore the Obama admin, for quite some time now. ... But I don't think I would as easily connect Turkish with Israeli interests via the US as enforcer as you do here.


Don't let aspects carry you away, Amir.

Oh, another Saker fan, I see. ;)


There is also the force of 12,000 Afghan and Pakistanis fighting under Iran.


Regarding the Borg:
I presume that you would agree that the last few years the Borg was running the show. I am not saying that their victory is final and the future hopeless. I don't want to put words in the mouth of CPL but I am under the impression that he thinks that the Borg has an outsized influence on US foreign policy.

The Saker does have a nice blog.


Thirdeye, Patrick

I can't believe that ISIS buys food for oil from Idlib rebels.

Much more logical it seems to me ISIS bought weapons for oil from Idlib rebels. That ISIS buys lot's of weapons from rebels is long known:


It seems logical to me that ISIS pays with oil.

So what the recent events mean, is that ISIS will have to reroute the weapons for oil trade via Barzani and/or Erdogan. However, each of Barzani and Erdogan is taking the risk of a huge scandal when engaging massively in oil for weapons deal with ISIS. The conduit via rebels gave Erdogan good plausible deniability, but doing it himself could spell trouble for Erdogan when the light of publicity falls onto it. And for Barzani the same is valid: he could get a problem when people in the KRG understand Barzani supplies weapons for oil to ISIS, while his Peshmergas die fighting against ISIS. And, of course, the KRG has itself lot's of oil, while the Idlib rebels don't have oil.

So, I won't say cutting the ISIS-rebels weapons for oil trade roue north of Aleppo will have no effect.

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