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15 December 2016


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It is the 'The facts on the ground' bit that I was thinking of. If the SAA can get into Al-bab prior to Turkish advance gaining control then a tricky 'fact' can be avoided. Idlib is already much as it is going to remain - in Nursa control. If contained and pressured will they build up forces from Turkey or will they bleed fighters over the boarder so they become Ergordan's problem not Assad's? I agree Idlib must be cleared before IS can be confronted in the East but should it take precedence over Al-bab?


TAZ reports, Putin envisions some new "alternative" talks, with Turkey representative or backer of the opposition.

straight Google translate of the passage:

Meetings could take place in Kazakhstan

Putin puts on a new format of Syria talks with Turkey as a protective power of the opposition. Russia is trying to win the Syrian government for Turkey again, the opponents of President Assad. He agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin said on Friday during a visit to Tokyo. The meetings could take place in Kazakhstan.

After the start of an offensive, Syria's army had taken the largest part of the former rebel territories in East Aleppo. Under the mediation of Russia and Turkey, the conflict parties agreed an agreement this week on the withdrawal of fighters and civilians from the city.




And the Lion, when he was working his way up, even signed a petition on behalf of Jewish 'Settlers' in then Palestine.



This is so weird that I don't know how to summarize it. Apparently not going all in and doing this dual talk/force track is the cause of failure in Syria.



"i disagree with pretty much all other opinions that this blog has accepted"
Like what? If you are thinking climate change, peak oil etc, you may have an ally.



Muslims IMO do not deal well with the notion of federated states with some sovereignty residing in the federated parts. Muslims (to the extent that they are really religious) think of the world and the affairs of men as necessarily reflecting the nature of God, the invincible and indivisible lord of the universe. From that point of view, it is unity (tawhiid) that is valued not things like federation or confederations that can lead to a lack of unity (tawa'if). there are majority Muslim states that have something like federation (Pakistan, the UAE, the old Federation of South Arabia) but such institutions always struggle against distrust of disunity. Syria, before the civil war, worked because it was not a federation. It was a mosaic of distinct ethno-religious communities that were made to cooperate somewhat by one of the tessera like communities. In this case the Alawis and their bazaar style Sunni allies. I am not optimistic about the prospects of a Syrian federation. pl



SST (me) has no opinion with regard to climate change being a manifestation of human activity. In re peak oil. IMO the notion has no practical applicability in light of ever increasing discovery of massive oil/gas deposits like the monster in the Permian Basin. pl


What do you think is next for Turkey? Erdogan has burnt a lot of bridges since his arrival. The days of 'good diplomatic relations with all' at the outset has now turned into soured relations with EU,US,Russia,Syria,Israel and the Kurds plus massive economic losses. Will Turkey be fighting an extended kurdish revolt and what of all the jihadis who may be pushed out of Syria and for whom Ergodan's Islamism is nowhere near hardline enough are they going to become his next headache?



Idlib Province and the Bab al-Hawa border crossing are now the "key terrain" in the struggle for the existence of a multi-confessional more or less secular Syria. Al-Bab is now exterior to the mass of territory and people that the Syrian government can realistically expect to control any time soon. The YPG/SDF forces, SAA facing in that direction will have to form a front against further Turkish adventurism toward the south but the real deterrent to that is Russian diplomacy and Sultan Tayyip's need for new and effective economic "friends." pl


You are not alone. I feel I am to the left of most of the folks here but still feel an affinity to the people who come to Col. Lang's site to comment. Tyler is an example of someone who is the complete opposite to my world view but I value the space Col. Lang has created where these conversations can take place.

Ishmael Zechariah

There are more fault lines than the ones you mention, and any one of them might cause the spark to blow the whole shooting match. It is interesting to watch Putin playing tayyip like a hooked fish. The guy must be a master angler.
Ishmael Zechariah

Norbert M Salamon

With great respect, Colonel, the monster Permian Basin of some 2 billion barrel is negligible with respect to daily world wide use [95M barrels] which is good for about 20 days; conversely, USA usage is 14M, thus the Permian Basin is sufficient for approx. 150 calendar day's supply.
World wide in the past few years there was a lack of replacement of oil reserves to compensate for depletion due to production.

Babak Makkinejad

France is not a federal state, nor is Italy.

Babak Makkinejad

Then let us wait until the Cherokee Nation has been restored to its ancestral lands before instructing foreign people how to organized their political lives.

Babak Makkinejad

"Federated Status under United Syria" is the phrasing of every single clan that wishes to get Western ear's attention.

Another one is, "Secular Democratic Pluralistic..." Muslim country - X.

You guys should not fall for such formulations and recognize them for what they truly are: attempts at manipulating the gullible Faranji.

Babak Makkinejad

Two weeks ago, the Brussels-DC Duopoly permitted Romania to once again resume her 50-year commercial relationship with Iran by agreeing to build a power plant there.

What difference does it make to Romania if she is ruled from Moscow or from Brussels-DC; she is not sovereign in any case - and cannot even make a buck without foreigners telling her that she can?

Likewise for Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Italy and many others.


As the wider Palmyra-region is touched upon here, I might as well expand on that:

I'll admit that I didn't reckon that the ISIL-raid would turn into a full-blown take-over by them of Tadmur, but there it is.
Even so, loot does seem to be the prime motivation here. For several days ISIL's raids further westward have stalled around the Tiyas-airbase, and just now it has been reported that their thrust to the south-west of that, towards the road between Qaryatayn and the base, has been repelled with said road being declared open again.

I mentioned before that there was a similar broader-scale attack in April this year out in the deserts east of Damascus, during which they even overran as-Sin air base:


Does anyone have any more detailed information on how that raid went - what ISIL got out of it, whether the air base is operational again, etc. -, and whether connections can be made to how they went about their attacks in the Palmyra-region?

Babak Makkinejad

The consciousness that Iran is the core & source of their civilization and culture evidently does not exist anywhere in the Muslim world.

This must be contrasted with the Western Diocletian states for whom the centrality of France - over 800 years - was never in doubt; even NAZI Germany acknowledged its debt to France.

Bernanos relates how this retired Brazilian diplomat would not emerge out of his study for 2 weeks following the surrender of France in 1940; the forces of Darkness had prevailed against Light and there was not Hope left in the world.



Did I say that France or Italy are federated states? No. I did not. What I am trying to communicate is that federations are possible in the West but are nearly impossible in Islamdom. pl


mike allen

As I said elsewhere here IMO the Sunni and other Muslim Syrians are the biggest true enemies of the idea of Syrian federalism. pl



Westerners generally do not understand how good the people of the Islamic Culture Continent are at telling those "trying to hustle the East" just what is imagined to be desired by the West. The crafty bastard whom I worked for in my ten years of captivity in the business world began after a while to tell his fellow Arabs not to bother to try to BS me because I would just laugh at them. pl

Babak Makkinejad

I meant to indicate that Federalism was not prevalent even in such central and important states as France and Italy either.

Babak Makkinejad


A Swedish view on Kurds in Sweden:



Those who love South Sudan would love an independent Kurdistan in any of the 4 major bordering states that will be carved out.

mike allen

Colonel -

Yes, the SNC and other Syrian opposition groups in Turkey and Qatar are against the federalization of Syria.

The Arab League was also against it in the past. But I note that the new Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, in September announced his support for the establishment of a federal system in Syria. Hard to say what his motives are.


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