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30 August 2016

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Lemur

Headchoppers have pushed toward Homs from Idlib.

That they have sufficient forces to launch a fresh assault on a secondary front while Aleppo is going on suggests their ranks have considerable depth (or replenishment).

FB Ali

We should remember that Syria is a sideshow for Putin and Russia. They entered the war to prevent a victory by the Jihadis of al Nusra and IS ("better to fight them there than here"). That remains their primary aim.

A secondary aim was to shore up their position in the Mediterranean, including retention of their base in Tartus.

A third aim was to prevent the US from having a free run in the ME, perhaps thus leading to the latter working with the Russians (initially in that area, thus making it easier to have cooperation in other, more important, areas).

Their actions should be evaluated in the light of these aims. Turkish actions in northeast Syria don't affect Russian interests, except to the extent that they are a blow to the US-supported Kurds. Erdogan must have reassured Putin about these operations not strengthening IS - and Putin has the means to keep the Sultan honest.

The Syrian rebels that are the principal beneficiary of the Turkish operation are the 'Turcoman' element. Perhaps Putin prefers to have them bogged down in Syria rather than prowling around Russia's borders.

Daniel Nicolas

I submit this thought:

Nour al-Din al-Zinki is the name of the terrorist group that for a while ago beheaded a 12 year Palestinian boy in Syria. Nour al-Din al-Zinki is right now part of the coalition forces supported by Turkey and the US against the Kurds. Just yesterday the coalition airplanes bombed some villages south of Jarabulus. The casualties? the death of 40 civilians including women and children and wounding 70 others. The Syrian observatory for human rights called the bombings for massacres committed against civilians. I love my American followers but the US government doesn't know the meaning of loyalty and honour. They will support what ever group that they will benefit from one day and stab them in the back the next day like they have done with the Kurds in Syria right now. This goes even to the European countries that are staying quiet so that they don't have to receive more refugees, while in reality the refugees are coming as the result of the west backing up the wrong groups which have led to this endless war. There is a Kurdish saying that goes like we have no friends but the mountains. I finally understand the meaning of that.

via https://www.instagram.com/p/BJuw2IDA-8w/ where a Swedish volunteer currently with the Peshmerga soldiers airs his grief with the Borg.

Stonevendor

This article is larger in scope than just Turkey. And one might quibble with certain points, but still it is fascinating to see the old man change his mind so late.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/08/25/the-broken-chessboard-brzezinski-gives-up-on-empire/

johnf

Elijah J Magnier, the veteran Kuwaiti-based journalist, argues with Turkey concentrating on the Kurds in the East and employing non-Nusra jihadis from the West to do most of the fighting in the East, the main losers are going to be the Kurds and Nusra.

Turkey and Russia have worked out their red-lines in advance and will (probably) respect them. Syria loses influence in the East - where it never had much - but gains a more dominant position in the West, while neither of them will have a Kurdish state-to-the-sea to deal with. Both will maintain the territorial integrity of Syria - Turkey from the Kurds, Assad from Nusra. Turkey will not work to overthrow Assad anymore.

"Putin and Erdogan have agreed on a restricted road map in Syria: the Kurds and Nusra will be the main losers"

https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/putin-and-erdogan-have-agreed-on-a-restricted-road-map-in-syria-the-kurds-and-nusra-will-be-the-main-losers/

Matthew

FB ali: The illusion of control seems to be the paramount concern in the Imperial Capitol. See http://post.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/turkish-incursion-northern-syria-signals-turning-point-anti-isis-fight


Matthew

Daniel: No white helmet videos?

mbrenner

The sheer mindlessness of what passes for foreign policy by the Obama administration now plumbs new depths of murky incoherence. A reasoned attempt to decipher their purposes and tactics will prove fruitless since there is ample evidence accumulated over the years that what we are doing is not guided by any linear, logical thinking whatsoever. SST repeatedly have exposed the contradictions and self-defeating actions that could not occur whether there even a modicum of a logical strategy.

This senselessness is underscored by our kow-towing to the unbalanced Erdogan. Taking a step back, we can observe the remarkable fact that Washington has placed itself in the position of voluntary servitude to three persons in the Middle East: Netanyahu, Crown Prince Mohammed bin-Salman, and now Erdogan. This is not merely a matter of giving these this trio of willful, untrustworthy leaders a veto over what we do. It goes beyond that. We, in effect, instinctively do their bidding. WE step forward to defend and justify whatever they do (Kerry on Yemen). This perversity is explained in terms of the high value we place on maintaining good relations with them? To what American ends? At what acceptable costs? No one says; no one asks.

Any statesman with a sense of history, or sound political instincts, would immediately realize that such an arrangement is intolerable and absurd - without even having to analyze the particulars of each relationship, each incident. Amazingly, such elementary understanding does not now exist in Washington.

different clue

mbrenner,

This all presents the Trump Team to help coach Candidate Trump on how to give the credible appearance of understanding all this and offering a policy alternative in forthcoming speeches that is internally coherent, however flawed it might be.

Can Trump's advisers rise to this challenge? And if they can, will the Trumpadour even listen to them anyway?

different clue

FB Ali,

I think that the RussiaGov is also defending and protecting certain principles laid out in Putin's "No Exceptional Nation" article in the New York Times. The RussiaGov wants to assure that the whole concept of Serial Regime Change is slowed down and stopped in Syria.

Would combining this basic Prime Directive with the traditional power-diplomacy chessboarding that you analyse lead one to predict that the RussiaGov will accept certain marginal land-areas falling away from SARgov control for now as long as the SARgov is seen to be in total and undefeated control of its core land areas and all economically valuable land areas around that core?

LJ

This fits into the Turkey pivoting to the east narrative. Mark Sloboda's interpretation of a badly fooled and furious RF takes a hit.

My guess is that this is a precursor to a previously agreed upon partition. Kerry in on it as well. For example, how could the US give air cover for this invasion without it being a part of the deal?

Imagine

Weird rumor Russia is mobilizing 300,000 reserve troops. Unclear. FWIW.
https://www.superstation95.com/index.php/world/1911

VietnamVet

mb

Your post is exactly right. It is ludicrous that after five years and millions of refugees forced on Europe that proxy American forces are killing each other in Syria. Yes, the White House is assisting the contradictory needs of Erdogan, the Saudi Crown Prince and Netanyahu. None of which are in the national interest of the United States.

If one acknowledges that economic warfare is being waged on the peripheral EU states or that the trade packs place corporate profits above national laws; the conclusion is that a World War is underway between globalists, nationalists and tribal militaries. If nationalism and the equitable enforcement of the rule of law are not restored in America plus the increasing inequality reversed; chaos will engulf our world.

Matthew

johnf: The end for the head-choppers in Aleppo must be getting close; today has been a full-scale propaganda offensive. See https://twitter.com/mehdirhasan/status/770324420804173824

LJ

Here's another article on the possible Turkey/Assad deal:

https://yallalabarra.wordpress.com/2016/08/30/damascus-and-ankara-strike-a-deal-erdogan-gets-the-kurds-and-assad-gets-aleppo/

Kooshy

The American political establishment and thier planers like Zbig and G. Ball should go back and think about the Green Belt that they were proposing under the belly of USSR, did they know what it means and if there will be a blowback. I doubts if the big head planers and strategists like Zbig still recognizes how they fails every time to consider cultur politics in thier planing.

FB Ali

"We, in effect, instinctively do their bidding".

I'm afraid you're looking in the wrong place to find the cause of this "perversity".

The US does the bidding of Netanyahu because the Jewish lobby with its vast wealth controls those who make policy.

The US does the bidding of the Saudis because the Deputy Crown Prince has learned the Israeli lesson well, and floods the US policy chambers with money enough to buy obedience.

Erdogan's case is different. The US is appeasing him to prevent him from ditching the West and joining up with the Russians. I don't know how long this futile attempt will go on.

It is pointless to look for any strategy or statesmanship, or even logic, in the making of these policies.

Cortes

Barbara W. Tuchman with all her Zionist faults was a sublime narrator of history. Her "The March of Folly"'s opening chapter ( "Pursuit of Policy Contrary to Self-Interest" ought to be required reading for aspirants to office in Foggy Bottom, the Quai d'Orsay, FCO and elsewhere.

FB Ali

This and other reports speak of a wider understanding having been arrived at between Putin and Erdogan (not just "red lines"). If true, it means Turkey has ditched the Saudi/Qatari/CIA plan to provide weapons and money to AQ/Nusra through other Jihadis/FSA, and instead moved the latter to East Syria, closed its border with Idlib province, and ensured the takeover of Aleppo by the Syrian army.

This also ensures that the US-backed Kurds are sidelined while the FSA etc, with Turkish backing, move on IS in the Raqqa area. It'll be interesting to see if the US provides air support to this force.

It's not only the Kurds and Nusra who will be the "main losers", but also the US and its ME partners.

FB Ali

In response to your question, my answer would be: Yes.

See my reply to johnf below.

FB Ali

Mark Sleboda's article was utter nonsense (I was very surprised to see it appear on Moon of Alabama, which maintains a pretty high standard, at least on its posts).

Ghostship

Has he really? He still wants to bog Russia down in the Middle East but fulfilling the USG's foreign policy objectives rather than Russia's and messing up Europe by encouraging yet more waves of refugees. One big problem is that us Brit's have messed up by voting to quit the EU which will mean that we can no longer perform our role of Europe's American enforcer. As a result the natives are already getting restless and thinking of setting up an European Army.

Lemur

Yes, "there are levels of survival [Russia is] prepared to accept" in Syria (to abridge The Matrix). Unlike Iran, which requires near total victory, Russia's interests are sufficiently served by keeping Assad a viable player on the chessboard. This explains the stop-start motion of Russian military operations. Whenever Assad is existentially threatened, the bear rears on his hind legs and swipes away the aggressor.

One theory going around concerning the Turkish-Russian/Iranian modus vivendi in Northern Syria is that Turkey is increasingly becoming the dominant adversary, sidelining the rest of the Empire. With Turkey isolated from the US and the GCC, Russian diplomacy no longer faces a unified, hostile front.

Brunswick

You should google SuperStation95.

different clue

FB Ali,

That control appears less than total, certainly less-than-total enough that Netanyahu's bidding to reject a visible nuclear no-weapons-breakout-capability was itself rejected by the Obama Administration.

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