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19 May 2017


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Babak Makkinejad

"Remember the Martyred Omar Mukhtar!"

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It is my suspicion that the US knows Al-Tanf is untenable, but is unwilling to leave - yet. My reading of the attack FWIW is that it was not a mistake, but may simply have been a tactical move to fend off the advancing forces *until such time as the US can conduct an orderly withdrawal*. Either that or it was a simple PR exercise ahead to Trump's first "big trip" to the lands of the jihadis' sponsors.

Despite it's title, this CNN article (final para.) quotes the head of Maghawir al-Thawrah as saying he was told they were to be relocated from Al-Tanf (albeit before the strike): http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/18/world/us-syria-airstrikes/index.html. It is surely relevant that the US was/is considering this option.

If US strategy is indeed to prevent Syria regaining territorial integrity, I am struggling to see how holding an isolated desert outpost nominally inside Syria is vital to that aim. Also, it has been argued (by b; Elijah J. Magnier) that the Damascus-Baghdad road itself is not in fact strategically vital. In any case, the southern FSA unicorns seem to be up against an inexorable advance by R+6 forces (Magnier quotes 20,000 Hezbollah & 10,000 SAA re-tasked to the various pushes east - https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/). Bombing to keep them at bay again is an option, but I cannot see Mattis' credibility surviving long if he is forced to deny further involvement in Syria every time such strikes are conducted.

Re Deir Ezzor, can anyone tell me if it is feasible that US-backed forces can reach it before R+6 do? There has been talk of invasion from Iraq - given recent attacks on Al Bukamal. But the route to Deir Ezzor up the Euphrates is Daesh heartland and would mean advancing through many population centers. Is it really possible this line of approach could be faster that R+6's route through largely empty desert from Palmyra?

In summary, I see the strike as, at worst, the hangover from a strategy that the US military must now consider is near impossible - that is to use it's proxies to retain a portion of SE Syria for future adventurism. If I am wrong, we are clearly in big trouble.


In related news; Daesh still seem to be able to operate within 30km of Al-Tanf -without interdiction by Coalition airpower:



Or he never really meant or understood what he said in the first place, but hey, he got the votes ?

different clue


And if they are all wearing sneakers, then it is oh-so-exquisitely-truthful to say that there are no boots on the ground.

different clue

ancient archer,

What an interesting extension of my metaphor. Does Trump have an "inner Trump", however vestigial, which might emerge and take over the Trump Suit from within? Is there still a "real Donald Trump" which could emerge from whatever brain-decay dementia-fog it is often hiding in? Who would this "real Trump" be? What would this "real Trump" do?

Is the dementia itself part of a Vincent " the Chin" Gigante
act? Is there a cold calculating cynical Trump waiting to emerge and have the last laugh upon them all? Stay tuned . . .


I've watched James Baker and Condi Rice say on CNN that Tillerson, Mattis and McMaster are people with proven track records and reputations. Sounded to me like Borgist talk for we know them and are comfortable things won't get out of hand. Like a change of direction.
Not sure what you mean by Trump's "executive experience" outside of a boardroom. PL has written of how different that is to administrative executive experience. I also wouldn't call Obama an ignoramus. Narcissistic and hubristic, yep. And that's why his ineptitude was more damning imho.

Gene O.

He has always been a grandstander, a bullsh!tter, and a con-man. We knew that going in. But better my con-man than their con-man. As long as he upholds the 2nd, I will be OK with all his shady deals with the Turks, or Qataris, or whoever.

Tyler P. Harwell

There are ways to pick up a snake. This might not be the best.


Vapor trails indeed.

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