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02 September 2017


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Post-Daesh the bigger problem for Syria will be al Qaeda in Idlib province. They will still be there when the SAA and the SDF finish dismantling their Daeshi cousins in the east. And the Turkish backed Ahrar al-Sham in Idlib may be laying low now but will also be a problem for Assad in the future.

Then there are the Israeli factions in the south.

And what is Syria to do about the Turks and their other proxies in northern Aleppo province. That Jarablus/Azaz/alBab triangle is going to be a sore spot for years. Russia can use blackmail diplomacy to get Erdogan to pull out. But his Turkmen proxies that he moved in there after evicting the Arab residents are not going anywhere. So the MIT is going to continue giving them weapons and support. The MIT is going to end up like the Pakistani ISI, fueling hate and discontent for decades, trying to hold on to their puppet Ottoman Vilayet. Plus they are daily bombarding the Afrin area of Syria's Aleppo province, encroaching on the border there, and constantly threatening to invade. Late last year the Kurds in Afrin recaptured the Menagh Syrian Air Force Base from Turkish backed rebels along with Russian help; and they have wisely invited the Syrian Air Force back in to Menagh. But it has not yet stopped Turkish encroachment on Syrian soil.

Iraq has the same problem with the Turkish enclave in Bashiqa and a few other places.

Erdogan was a major enabler of both Daesh and jihadi FSA groups. Erdogan is now threatening direct action. He stopped listening to NATO long ago. How much Russian and Iranian arm twisting is it going to take to calm down the Sultan wannabee?

Babak Makkinejad

I stand corrected. Perhaps I should have said Lon Nol?


most syrians are fans of president Assad ..maybe theyre better informed than westerners



I was in charge of DIA's holdings on Iraqi OOB for a long time. that was the only OOB in the US government worth looking at. Everyone used it. I also traveled extensively in Iraq during their war with Iran on US government business. The army and air force were altogether equipped with Warsaw Pact and Chinese equipment as well as French aircraft and air to ground missiles. This vast amount of materiel was bought in state to state transactions through diplomatic channels. We had the SIGINT record of those transactions. They were paid for by funds provided by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as protection money in fear of the Iranians. The Iraqis had no need whatever for American "credits." The Iraqis were armed with the very best Warsaw Pact and Chinese materiel available. American equipment in their hands consisted of 50 or so HETs made by Oshkosh, some ECM equipment to protect Saddam's personal aircraft from missiles and a few crop spraying helicopters provided before the war to the agriculture ministry. Teicher and Dennis Ross, were very anti-Iraqi and opposed any sort of help to them. The DO at CIA were also opposed to doing anything for Iraq. They had a liaison relationship with the Iraqis until the Iraqis refused to have anything more to do with them after the implications of the Iran Contra affair became clear. I don't know what kind of game Teicher was playing in this affidavit but it must have been self-serving. pl



In both cases it was solely for the money. The Israelis would have strongly opposed the aircraft, training and advisory sales to Iraq. France then had a large government owned and operated company engaged in such foreign sales, training and advice under government supervision. I forget the name of the company. France was eager to gain foreign exchange to support what was still essentially an agrarian economy. pl



Hersh's piece is wrong. I will tell him that the next time we lunch. there was no effective help fpr Iraq until after the Iran-contra revelations which the Iraqis took to indicate CIA treachery. After that DoD took over the Iraq effort with results that you should have noticed in history. pl


"Not so for the US/NATO and their proxies"

If I try to put myself in the shoes of a neocon, my argument becomes "what military solution? We didn't try the military solution, and this is the consequence."

I can't see them seeing things the same way you do.

Ishmael Zechariah

re:If I try to put myself in the shoes of a neocon, my argument becomes "what military solution? We didn't try the military solution, and this is the consequence"

It is possible that quite a few of us pilgrims here were, and are, in favor of the neocon military solution. I would give a lot if all neocons were kitted out, transported, and deployed in an active theater so they could try their version of a "military solution". A dream come true...

Ishmael Zechariah



what difference does it make whether it is a 'minor state' or a 'major state'?

Surely Steve Bannon is correct in saying there is no military solution to the Korean crisis.

Well there is I suppose if you are prepared to accept the casualties. A conventional war would produce a large number of casualties, if it goes nuclear it could be in the millions, including Americans.

Surely not even the neocons and borgists would go down this route, instead of diplomacy as suggested by Russia and China?

Perhaps I am naive, but this is what I find difficult to believe.



It is only for the Koreans that there is no military solution. Yours is the kind of thinking that dictated that there was no military solution to the Syrian Civil War. pl


“And what is Syria to do about the Turks and their other proxies in northern Aleppo”

IMO, all 4 sates (ITIS) will agree to put the Kurdish genie back in bottle, history repeats itself specially in ME, after all IT IS what IT IS and US will have no choice except to go alone with it.


Erdo can change direction in a minute and on a dime, watch him, ask IZ. Erdo is a poltical hore, like french poltics, he sleeps and kiss with who pays or who saves his political ass. If his national ass would be saved by cooperating with Assad, Iraq , Iran (ITIS) to contain the Kurds that's what he would do. Which incidentally he is doing now. One can't rule/run Turkey and let Kurds have autonomy, one can get a national political assassination in Turkey letting Kurds go loose. I hope IZ can expand on this.


IMO, at the end of the day Iraq government would rather to have a uninvited, illegal, unrecognized Turkish mule in that pocket of norther Iraq, than fighting his own Kurds in the area over secession vote like what is taking place in Kirkuk.


When Moshe Ya'alon visited DC in March 2016 to negotiate w/ Obama admin for Israel's next 10-year tribute package (successfully), Aaron David Miller interviewed him at the Wilson Center.

Ya'alon was blunt and unequivocal: Syria would be divided; "no way" Syria would be unified under Assad, that's wishful thinking. Assad controls only 30% of Syria . . . Syria will be federalized . . . Let's find a way to have a federation . . ." https://www.c-span.org/video/?406449-1/israeli-defense-minister-moshe-yaalon-remarks

The military situation has changed significantly, but it would be just as significantly out of character for Israel to stand down from its expectations.

Comments here today seem prematurely optimistic. Israel remains as sand in the gears.



You are mistaken in your belief in Israel's ability to control this situation. They gambled and lost. pl



I am uninterested in either Craig Murray's views or Scottish independence. pl

Babak Makkinejad

They are an ignorant lot, that is for certain.

Charles Michael

About military solution,

The lesson is that a regime change has to be quick and total.
The use of proxies or enabled regionals must be military supported by military foreign interventions openly in preference to secretly.

Regime change by only foreign military intervention necessitate occupation and can easily turn in a quagmire unsolvable by military or expansive other means.

If the regime put a determined figth, a strong national indigenous military resistance can effectively overcome or at list delay the expected regime change.

The non intervention in 2013 by Obama Cameron Holland and the surprise and smooth Russian legal intervention turned the tide of war.
From there there was No other final option than military.

Irak, Afghanistan, Libya and further Sri Lanka are rather explicit demonstrations.

Babak Makkinejad

Such a military solution will destroy the political structures of US alliance system. If South Korea is wounded or destroyed, who could be next? Lithuania? Poland? Germany?


PA -

You are correct about the Syrian Kurds. They do cooperate with the government. The only incidents have been at low level units because of paranoia and itchy trigger fingers - on both sides, not just the Kurds.


Kooshy -

Not only Kirkuk! Nineveh province, and some districts of Diyala and Salahuddin provinces also want in on the independence referendum.

If it was just the existing KRG areas, it might have a chance without war with Baghdad, no? But there is no way Abadi or any other Iraqi leader would allow those others to go.


Not just the great powers. A lot of lesser powers have been very good at getting great powers to do their bidding, sometimes at immense cost to a lot of unrelated people.

What was the purpose of World War I? To create a Greater Serbia called Yugoslavia (the original one), and that was all worthwhile too--since 10s of millions of dead French, English, Germans, and Russians mean nothing compared to the glory of Serbian nation, obviously.

Snark aside, I think the world is somewhat safer place when the great powers do the manipulation, instead of lesser powers--assuming that is the leaders of great powers can see the world clearly (but then it is precisely when the leaders of great powers don't know what's good for them when they are manipulated by lesser powers). Lesser powers are often myopic. They are perfectly willing to destroy half the world so that they can take over Sanjak, or the equivalent thereof.


Empirical evidence shows that "US self interest" is not a monolithic reality.

There is indeed a driver in the form of an owner of the currency that, through crisis, appropriates the collateral pledged for loans taken out by various entities including (and overwhelmingly) government.

Other than the driver however, there are many competing interests within government.

Ultimately however, from the arithmetical point of view, the diminishing marginal utility of debt guarantees that the creditor requires destabilisation regardless of how that is achieved.


I think the most important support the US gave Iraq was in insuring, and in some cases flagging under US flag, oil exports from Iraq. This paid for the war.
(source The Great War for Civilization by Robert Fisk)

Tim Robert

Of all people: Robert Ford. The Syrian Arab Army said that of they ever find Ford in Syria again they will shoot him.

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