« What happened to the Red Crescent convoy? | Main | Russia asks for formal UN investigation of convoy attack. »

20 September 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Martin Oline

Thank you for covering this. I saw it a couple of days ago but was unaware it is a pay site. I ignore pop-ups, but I bookmarked it. I looked again just now and think it has very reasonable rates, especially considering the lack of quality in the M.S.M..


I had been reading at SOFREP before they went to subscription model and also read Murphy & Webb's (early 2013) ebook on Benghazi, which they wrote because they lost a close friend/colleague there. But I didn't subscribe until last weekend, when I saw this article, a real eye opener.

My biggest questions to all of you who served and know these organizations well is: How much trouble are we in, with infighting and conflicting missions in Syria? Is it only Syria, or do the same conflicts run through other things, such as policy and actions toward Russia? And if the mission in Syria is "Brennan's baby" then where does Obama stand? He has strongly defended Brennan and really went out on a limb for him on the Senate torture report.

The more I understand about Syria, the more afraid I am. Is all of this going to hold together? Are there enough 'good guys' inside these organizations to set things straight? I find it terrifying really, especially the developments related to Russia.

FB Ali

You refer to the "laser focus" established by Brenner on removing Assad from power. Perhaps this has something to do with his special relations with the Saudis. They are very generous to people who help them (and 'buying' the CIA would be worth a lot of largesse!).

Moon of Alabama has a post up about some other games being played by the US military in Syria. Worth reading.


Did all this infighting and dissatisfaction start after Brett McGurk took over from General Allen back two years ago? Or was it ongoing even then?

Has it gotten worse since then, or better?

Just wondering.

I note that Jack Murphy left the SOF in 2010. He must still have sources inside.


The ceasefire is effectively broken: http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/09/breaking-saa-and-russia-destroy-two-al.html
Now we should brace ourselves for the US' and Russia' "unintended" human casualties of Mr. Brennan & Co' grand game in the Middle East.
The Moon of Alabama story on the ongoing involvement of the US with "opposition" (read jihadis, including Al Qaeda fighters) is terrifying. http://www.moonofalabama.org
In the light of these revelations, Samantha Power' hissy fit at the UN looks even more cynical:
"On Saturday U.S. airplanes attacked the most important Syrian government position in Deir Ezzor. Nearly a hundred Syrian soldiers were killed and most of the heavy equipment the Deir Ezzor garrison had left was destroyed. Immediately after the attack fighters of the Islamic State occupied the bombed out government positions. These Islamic States fighters now own the heights above the Deir Ezzor airport. A day later the Islamic State shot down a Syrian government plane near Deir Ezzor.
The city and its 150,000+ inhabitants are surrounded by the Islamic State. They had been supplied from Damascus by nightly flights to the airport. As the Islamic State now has fire-control over the airport as well as anti-air weapons those supply flights are no longer possible. The U.S. air attack practically closed down the Syrian government ability to supply the city. If this situation continues the city will fall to the Islamic State."
This is a picture perfect of the "humanitarian intervention" initiated by the US war profiteers.



Thanks for your vetting of the article.

The U.S. policy in Syria and Ukraine is schizophrenic. Only the most dedicated and experienced fighters are still on the battlefield in either country. Tribal hatreds and greed are behind continuing wars to cut the Shiite Crescent and subjugate the Donbas; no matter how risky. I can see why soldiers could be conflicted with the mission. Current policies are confusing and contrary to the best interest of the folks at home. The Cold War 2.0 has restarted. There is no inkling of a path to peace. Endless rotations continue forever.

FB Ali

Of course that should be "Brennan"!

Interesting. I suppose when one contemplates one 'fxxx-up' after another by the US in the ME, one's subconscious goes back to Paul Bremer, who was the first in the series.

The Twisted Genius


As long as we are focused on removing Assad rather than defeating IS, we are royally screwed in the region and most of the people living in the region are royally screwed to a much greater extent. Brennan isn't acting alone. The entire Administration and the do-nothing are also to blame. The rot is widespread. I pray for those responsible for our policies and actions are struck by lightning on the road to Damascus. Failing this, a pox on the lot of them... a painful, lingering, yet lethal pox.

What is happening with our training mission is Ukraine is anybody's guess. Given the ugly nature of the hand we had in bringing that vile Nazi regime into being, the state of affairs there is probably equally depressing.

The Twisted Genius

Brigadier Ali,

I made the mistake in my post. Bremmer - Brennan, Twiddle Dee -Twiddle Dum.

As far as the special relationship between the CIA and the Saudis goes, they are certainly enablers of each other's sordid plans.

Ishmael Zechariah

IMO, as long as strategic decisions are made by people who have no accountability, and no real competency, this state of affairs is going to continue.
Here is a link to a good analysis of our "leaders" (even mentions the husband of La Powers by name):

This, too, shall pass, but I wonder when and after how much misery. What a colossal waste.
Ishmael Zechariah

ex-PFC Chuck

Thank you, TTG. The cynicism and indifference to suffering of whoever is directing US actions in Syria knows no bounds.

michael brenner

We should ask ourselves the question: how important is it to determine exactly how involved President Obama is Middle East decision-making? Whatever the nominal procedures for consultation and/or decision-making, there functionally is no one in charge. That is to say, it is the responsibility of the chief executive to identify issues requiring decision; to determine who will make the decisions and how, execute them, and review results; to compose differences among subordinate officials - one way or another; and to force revision of failed policies. Obama does none of these things. So, inner contradictions, crossed wires, organizational rivalries, half-measures, and a permissive attitude toward "allies' continues.

In this mess, we still can discern American priorities on which there seems to exist some tacit consensus.

1. The paramount objective is to thwart Russia's efforts to exercise influence and to establish its position in Syria.

2. Get rid of Assad We appear to have committed ourselves to the Israelis, the Turks, and the Saudis on this. their wish is our command.

3. Wear down and slowly fragment ISIS. Success on this score can cover failure on all others in domestic opinion.

4. Ensure a permanent American physical presence in Iraq, i.e. achieve what we failed to achieve in 2008.

5. Facilitate a de facto partition of Iraq with bits of Syria attached to the Iraqi bits. Hold this out as the lure for the Kurds to act as our infantry.

5. Facilitate some kind of Sunni entity in Anbar and eastern Syria. How can we prevent it being destabilized by attacks from ISIS remnants? How can we prevent it falling under the sway of al-Qaeda? Good subjects for the Obama Foundation's first major study project.

6. al-Nusra in Syria proper? That's Brennan's playground and chasse garde. Hope that the Turks can "domestic" al-Nusra. Incentive? Obscure - perhaps a threatened trade sanction on United States' importation of baklava.

michael brenner


Whether Obama nods, or defers to "X" and/or 'Y," has White House staff in the room or not, asks questions or not, or even is circumvented need not make a critical difference. He manifestly has no sense of shame about our humiliating failures, discredited actions or his abdication of duty.



Thanks. I was absent today celebrating my wife's 74th birthday but we had coordinated your post in advance. Unfortunately with the Flynn/Ledeen, James Wolsey. Gaffney et al types who are advising Trump things would not get much better under him but we might not fight Russia. We must stand by our brothers. DOL. pl

Sam Peralta

Col. Lang

"..with the Flynn/Ledeen, James Wolsey. Gaffney et al types who are advising Trump.."

This looks like the crew from neocon central casting. They should round up Darth Cheney and we can be off to the races. I worry that Trump could be spun around with these lunatics braying. But...I think his instincts are right about leaving the mess alone and getting the hell out of the ME.

Paul Monk

What's vile or Nazi about the government of the Ukraine, especially compared with Putin's nasty, kleptocratic regime in Moscow?

Sam Peralta


The whole thing shows that the US government foreign policy apparatus is in complete disarray. Unfortunately, they have too big budgets and far too many toys that are way too dangerous for these idiots. Maybe we can spend half the money we spend on these interventions to pay them to sit on their fat asses to do nothing.

Yes, the lunatics have taken over the asylum!


Interesting, but this is outdated: Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison. Lucky Americans, Monsanto is German now. Bayer bought it. Reminds me of one chemist I met there who I deeply detested. He was fascinated by the idea as a constant money producing machine. Maybe he moved from his shabby little office next to the laboratories up into the layers of power and decision.


Great comment, Michael, including the occasional attempt at humor/irony.



b links events at Hasaka and Deir-al-Zor via the 2012 Dia document. Without doubt in both places government forces were attacked.

What do you think?

Beyond that I wonder if it would make sense to study the respective analyses by think thanks up to events, not least ISW, or e.g. AEI's Critical Threats project.




The very, very best to your wife, Pat.

Babak Makkinejad

In my opinion, none of those goals are achievable by the United States, EU, Turkey, and Gulfies.

The only thing I discern is an effort to prolong the agony of Syria.

I think it stupid, it only deepens the cooperation between Russia and Iran and entrenches the sectarian sentiment among the Shia and other minorities of Islam.

I mean, let us look at what has happened; Iranians have recruited Shia volunteers from across the world of Islam to fight in Syria - they have created Shia Consciousness, as well as the Shia Crescent and used it to wage war.

The fundamental flaw in the Anti-Assad Coalition of the Willing, is that they cannot articulate a credible vision of the future for the people of Syria - let alone Islamdom. Just more war, more bloodshed, more rapine, more disease, more starvation, more destruction - all of that in a region of Asia that has been historically poor.


Does anyone have information on how aid convoys are supposed to work? I have read conflicting information that the Turks apparently won't allow their aid trucks to be inspected.

What government on earth would permit delivery of uninspected "humanitarian" aid from an insurgency's prime sponsor?

Ishmael Zechariah



@ Paul Monk.

Wow. Perhaps you should come up to speed on the Ukraine. Comparing that to Moscow is just silly for two reasons. One, a discussion on Russia is a separate topic. Conflating one with the other serves no useful purpose.

Two, what happened in the Ukraine from November 2013 through February 2014 and since are on a level that rivals the worst atrocities ever perpetrated and it's only getting worse. Denying the fascist ideology of Svoboda and Right Sektor is counter-factual and detrimental to your ability to form realistic assessments.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad