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06 September 2016


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Elliot Cohen

Any country is responsible for the actions of its ambassador. are you suggesting that the state Department and WH did not know what Ford was doing? pl


The Washington Post reveals Washington's terms for the ceasefire around Aleppo:

In a letter sent last weekend, Michael Ratney, the State Department’s liaison to the opposition, spelled out the proposed cease-fire steps. The proposal calls initially for a “complete cessation of military operations by the regime and its affiliated forces and opposition forces on the Ramusa road” in southwest Aleppo, and entry by U.N. aid convoys.

Second, checkpoints are to be set up on Castello Road, the main northern entryway to the city that government forces seized from the rebels last month. The government is then to withdraw all of its vehicles and heavy weapons to more than a mile away from Castello Road, which will be declared a “demilitarized zone.” Similar withdrawals and checkpoints are then to be established in the south.

How long will the "ceasefire last on the Castello Road? Until about one hour after the SAAs vehicles and heavy weapons are moved more than a mile away.
What will happen then?
Jabhat al-Nusra (or whatever they're called by then) will launch an assault and "liberate" the Castello Road.
What will the Washington do?
Wring its hand, demand that the Russians don't bomb Jabhat al-Nusra and that'll be it.
When this letter was sent, SAA control of the Ramusa Road was tenuous at best so the intention of this Washington "ceasefire" was to leave western Aleppo besieged by Jabhat al-Nusra.
Article behind paywall (so open link in incognito window) at:


The one in western Aleppo? Being a city, the border between east and west Aleppo is probably slightly porous when money is offered. BTW, the fruit didn't look like it had been strapped down, so that suggests a wild dash along the Ramusa Road wasn't involved particularly as they hadn't weighted down the backs.


As Karl Marx said "Pokemon Go is the opium of the masses".

Babak Makkinejad

I think you are underestimating the significance of what has happened: people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan have learnt to cooperate with one another and to fight together against the Jihadists and assorted Sunni Muslim rebels.

This is a qualitative change and will persist into the coming years as all these variegated armed forces have learnt how to fight a mini-world war.

The interesting thing for me is if this Syrian Civil War, just like the Spanish Civil War, is a harbinger of a much wider and longer war to come - across the Middle East as well as across the World.

Babak Makkinejad

I think US policy aim is to prevent the crushing of anti-Assad forces in Aleppo. On the other hand, I think their destruction has to be the only aim of the R+6 at this time period.


I've not heard "death to Jews". Every time I've heard it, it's been "Al mawt li Amerika, al mawt li Israel". The Yemenis seem to understand that without American and Israeli support, Saudi Arabia wouldn't be attacking them, the USG wouldn't be collect billions in commission, Al Qaeda would be gone from Yemen and the US military-industrial complex would have one less source of revenue.


"nerve gas, barrel bombs, hospitals targeted"
Most of the evidence suggests that it was the rebels who used the nerve gas.
I don't understand why everyone feels that there is something terribly wrong about barrel bombs when really they're nothing more than crude dumb bombs, and their design is really no different to that of the warheads from the "hell cannons" used by the terrorists.
Most of the claims of attacks on hospitals come from activists associated with the rebels and funded as propagandists by the USG and HMG. And since the locations of these hospitals have not been revealed to the Syrians and Russians, they could readily be confused with rebel bases with vehicles with armed men frequently pulling up outside.
I'm not saying that Assad is an angel, but a lot of misinformation and BS is spread by the MSM to demonise him and justify American intervention( typical MO for the USG).


The main failure of American policy in Syria is based on the underlying belief that ONLY a diplomatic/political settlement can end the war. This is an assumption, not a fact or even an assessment. If I had to guess I'd say that Kerry and the State Department advanced this belief.

It is hard to believe after so many dismal failures of American military efforts in the middle east in recent history; but military means CAN BE decisive. Too many times the American military was misused to bring about political ends (like installing a popular democratic government).

Military force is used to destroy the enemy's military, which allows the winner to impose his will on the loser (by using coercion). It does not win hearts and minds, it is not nation building, and it sure does not install popular democratic governments.

In Syria there are now a large number of political actors who must all agree on any political settlement. Getting this agreement is a practical impossibility. On the other hand, the war is only a two sided affair; Syrian government side versus the opposition. Resolution of the Syrian conflict is more likely to occur by force of arms rather than by political means.

It is simple. If our goal is to defeat ISIS/JN, we support the side if the war that will destroy ISIS/JN. Other nice to do things like implement democracy can be worked on afterwards.



Yes, but it should not be a large problem for the government as the government forces have regained the same positions which they held before the rebel offensive (less the areas west of the Artillery College). If they could feed West Aleppo before the offensive, they should be able to feed the government controlled part of the city again.

Babak Makkinejad

The main failure was starting that war to wound Iran.

To impose your will, as you state it, requires the level of destruction visited upon Germany and Japan in World War II - in my opinion.

Is the control of Syria worth that much to US? or EU?


Scapegoating Ford does not fit the material facts of the case.

Senator Richard Black (who has actually been to Syria):

"Let me just run you through this, because the timeline is extremely important: In 2001, Gen. Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe has told us, that the Pentagon was ordered by the Secretary of Defense to make plans to topple seven different countries, neutral, non-belligerent countries, in what was an act of aggression under the law of war, which is a war crime. And so, the Pentagon began war-planning 2001.

Now, President Bashar al-Assad did not take office until I think it was 2000; so he was brand new. He’d come in as a reformer. But reform, good or bad, didn’t matter; we were going to topple seven countries, all of them also enemies of the Saudi Arabians. The United States is pulled around by the nose by Saudi Arabia, and for our senior leaders in this country, they all have a meeting with Mr. Green. And Mr. Green persuades them to do whatever the Saudis tell them.

So, OK, you start with 2001, the Pentagon starts planning. In 2006, WikiLeaks has released a document that came from the Chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy; at the time, we didn’t not have an ambassador, so the Chargé d’affaires was the senior person. That document outlined, in detail, plans to overthrow the government of Syria. And the two things that stand out in my mind is, we have a problem because President Assad came in as a reformer, he’s doing a lot of positive things, and so it is drawing an enormous amount of foreign direct investment and we’ve got to smear the image of Syria so that it will begin cutting off this flow of funds, and will adversely impact the Syrian economy. This is the United States, your country and my country, saying “we’re going to destroy another country by smearing their reputation.

The other thing which I think was equally sinister, is in this country that has this beautiful religious harmony, we said have got to create religious division, religious frictions and hatred among religions, so that we can disassemble this country.

But there were six very specific things outlined. And keep in mind, in 2006, there were no demonstrations, there was no political opposition, there were no uprisings, people were prosperous, they were happy.

So here you go from 2005, we start planning the war; 2006, we come up with explicit plans. You go to 2011 and the CIA works to gain the release of the most deadly al-Qaeda operatives in Libyan prisons and uses those people to spark an uprising in Benghazi, the purpose of which — and I wish, you know, Congress, while they’re always talking about Benghazi, they never talk about before Benghazi. What was the reason we were there in the first place! Why did we attack our
ally, Colonel Qaddafi — now we have had problems with Qaddafi but we had resolved them … [he goes on to explain the CIA funneling men and materials from Libya to Syria]..."

"Yes, and you know, that brings us to a good point: You then come to the point of the uprising itself, how was this carried out? Just prior to the uprisings, Ambassador Ford was sent to Damascus; we had not had an ambassador there for some time. He was put in place by Hillary Clinton. Around that time, of course, you have all of these covert agencies; Western agencies, plus the Saudis and the Turks. And their mechanism was the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood had created a violent uprising under the father, Hafez Assad, and it’s often portrayed some put-down of these poor people. It was not at all that: It was a violent uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood."

etc etc.

You can read the transcript here:

Only thing Black omits to mention is the the desire to take out Syria is an aspiration of Israel, and given the level Zionist infiltration of US state structures, Israel's interests are by default those of the United States. The whole sordid tale of these American machinations instigated by Israel are related here with documentation from wikileaks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n8lHZGYc5Y


Col. Lang
I didn't mean to make it sound like they were useless or weak, I meant shattered as in fragmented. The Tiger forces always seem to win, and so does Hezbollah, the problem comes when they leave, and some other force is there holding territory.

I was speaking only of necessary bulk to take and hold the rest of the country, to end the war without having to create any autonomous sunnistans or anything of that nature.

I agree that Tiger forces, Hezbollah, and even the Iranian-Afghani paramilitary refugee forces seem to have improved as the war has gone on.


Mr Toad

Is there any information regarding the composition of the FSA currently leading the Turkish incursion? After all, they must have been acceptable to the Russians and deemed politically reliable when required to fight Daesh.
Are they the remnants of the original secular opposition that were ousted by the Salafists? We know that such organizations existed in Turkey and that the Russians were trying to woo them months ago.
Russia has repeatedly stated that the only solution was a negotiated political settlement, which at first sight appeared either disingenuous or naive considering the uncompromising nature of the Wahhabists. Perhaps Russia's position is genuine and it is exactly this secular faction of the FSA that are being addressed here.
Are these the fabled unicorns?


I don't think the Turks are really free to abandon ISIS just like that. It's all part and parcel of their relations with Saudi and the Gulf, which are complex.

And anyway, who is to say whether those events were really ISIS or not?


"I don't think the Turks are really free to abandon ISIS just like that. It's all part and parcel of their relations with Saudi and the Gulf, which are complex."

On this we agree, it will be a subtle change as they allow R+6 and Iraq to deal with them head on. Erdogan's long term future requires stability for domestic prosperity and the Islamic State is one neighbor in the hood that could prevent it. Now that the game has changed it is player to be removed from the table.

"And anyway, who is to say whether those events were really ISIS or not?"

I would say that IS did it to warn off Erdogan about unfavorable policy changes, though if you have another view or theory I am always willing to hear it.

Lord Curzon

Food for thought:

"The following is a translation of a scathing article on the state of the Syrian Arab Army that appeared in an online outlet Gazeta.ru, which is Kremlin-controlled but sometimes critical of the Russian authorities online. The author is a retired Russian officer with 8 years of experience working in the General Staff and 5 years as an editor of an established military magazine. The article, originally titled "It would be easier to disband the Syrian army and recruit a new one", mirrors the emerging Syria fatigue sentiments in the Russian military circles and reportedly was confirmed by a serving Russian colonel, who added "Everything is like it’s written but worse".




That's a good comparison. Will it be Mozambique or will it be Spain?

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