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20 January 2018

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blue peacock
The Russians are admonishing the Kurds that their decision to put their faith in whatever CENTCOM has planned for them is a poor decision. Once the Kurds realize this and appeal to the R+6 for protection, Moscow will tell Ankara to cease Operation Olive Branch and offer a face saving way for them to do so. The SAA will assume control of the northern border and all of Syria east of the Euphrates will return to Damascus’ control. The Kurds will retain some kind of local autonomy in exchange for coming to their senses. The borg will not know whether to shit or go blind.

It goes to show that the "experts" who formulate and then execute US foreign policy are so out of their depth. And this is across the board from the political leadership to the leadership of the foreign policy establishment in government including the military. This is a multi-decade problem of hubris and incompetence. A point will come no one will really want to have much to do with the US except stoke the egos of these "chess players" for cash. By now all these people should know that US leadership can be easily manipulated, when even complete snakeoil salesmen like Chalabi can do it. One need not be sophisticated like Bibi to extract billions.

TTG, in your opinion how long before CENTCOM is completely out of Syria as the Kurds abandon any pretense of real US backing?

The Twisted Genius

I truly don't know when we will be out of Syria, but events unfolding now will only accelerate our eventual departure. I've seen two reports now that Damascus (and Moscow) asked the Kurdish leadership in Afrin to allow the SAA to assume control of the area. This would have prevented Turkey from attacking because they are unwilling to take on the R+6 directly. The Kurds in Afrin refused.

I agree our foreign policy apparatus is in shambles. It always had its problems, but now CENTOM and the Pentagon are given too much free hand, the State Department is decimated. The Whitehouse is engaged in infighting and our President doesn't have the interest or expertise to provide leadership in the region. He could say "get out" and CENTCOM would have no choice but to leave. Alas, that's not his management style as Colonel Lang explained a while back.

The Porkchop Express

Denial isn't just a river in Egypt. It's been perpetually amazing that despite the obviousness of the moves being made in Syria (especially), that the borg can't even come up with a workable or sane countermove--if only from a tactical perspective--when their adversaries are basically telegraphing their plays.

Oilman2

My friends still in Erbil anticipate the scenario you lay out, but rather suspect that Erdogan will require something forceful or very tempting in another area to let go.

We do not have a foreign policy with respect to anything. The SD is full of holdovers with other objectives and there is nothing cohesive on any front. The CIA does not share an agenda with anyone else. Non-agreement-capable still applies to the US. These things make the US something to be considered, but never taken at face value or in any reliable way. Well, perhaps we can be counted on to always toss a wrench into the works, as in this current epic move and the many others we have made in the area.

I hope you are right TTG...

turcopolier

TTG

The Turks are now doing so many strikes that I can only think they intend to occupy the area. pl

Peter AU

The borg will most likely go blind. The Trump admin's intentions are still guesswork.
After the US miss-spoken announcement, Russia let Erdo off the leash. Good post TTG.

james

thanks for your post here ttg and this additional comment.. i am not sure though of the final outcome described in your last few sentences of the article.. it would be nice, but the usa has been pretty good at messing up what could be a much improved situation for the parties directly involved, while still catering to those from further afield, which include themselves..

kooshy

TTG, I must repeat, considering US’ must do (for internal reasons) middle east position and posture vis-à-vis her regional allies namely Israel and KSA, and likes, it doesn’t leave US with many better choice, other than what she is choosing or doing. We all are seeing/living through what would happen if for example, a president (as buffoon as the one we have) wants to have a better “international” relation with an important world power like Russia. With that in mind, can one imagine what would happen if a US administration decides to have a better relationship with a more mature and influential state in the ME region? Really, to make a safety umbrella for Israel and other illegitimate clients, who else can US chose as her reliable ally that will and can accepts Israel beside the Kurds, and a few Arab dictators and monarchs that are not legitimate or accepted anywhere in the region. Considering US’ full of herself hubristic foreign policy, and use of it by her so called allies I don’t see any better choice possible to pentagon or state.

Annem

Is it too late to revisit the offer of the SAA retaking Afrin?
Would the Russians find a face saving way to help the US exit Syria?

Babak Makkinejad

The only sensible thing to do is to cut and run; in my opinion. Just work through the implications as US cuts and run in the Levant, in the Perdian Gulf, in South Kores. In Africa, and in Europe. I personally only see an upside for US as the Pathetics and the Pygmies run after Uncle Sugar, groveling for her to oh, please, please, come back.

Babak Makkinejad

There is no military force that can stop Iran from taking over the enormous oil reserves of Iraq; that is the consideration that informs the minds of many US officials - evident in the testimonies of 3 US ambassadors that you had li ked earlier.

Babak Makkinejad

I guess the fear is that in the ripeness of time, the Shia Crescent will pounce on Kuwait and Saudi Oil Wells. So better fight them now rather than later.
DISCLAIMER: NOT MY OPINION, JUST A GUESS AS TO OTHER'S.

The Porkchop Express

As a strategic move, yes. Leave. Completely. Or, God forbid, work with Iran and Russia and pulverize the takfiris into dust. But as that will never happen, my (snarky) point was that the borg should at least show some intelligence and play within the parameters of the game. The bumbling Keystone Kops routine is asinine when it's pretty clear what your opponents are doing.

At least give us the pretense that the 'holier than thou' foreign policy credentials actually mean something and are not basically the same policies a degenerate gambler who always bets on the NY Jets would think up.

The Twisted Genius

pl,

I agree. The Turks appear to be under the impression that Afrin and Aleppo are theirs for the taking. Despite the size and strength of their army, I don't think it will be easy.

The Twisted Genius

Annen,

"Is it too late to revisit the offer of the SAA retaking Afrin?" - It's up to the Kurds.

"Would the Russians find a face saving way to help the US exit Syria?" - That's our problem, not Russia's.

turcopolier

TTG

I can't imagine how Trump and Pence can deal with this. it challenges all their illusions. pl

blue peacock
The only sensible thing to do is to cut and run...

Exactly. The best thing the US can do for itself is to ditch the majority of its foreign military entanglements. Shut the majority of the foreign bases. And focus on a defensive strategy. Defending it's territories and it's trade routes.

Getting out of the Middle East/South Asia and Europe should have the highest priority. Our military posture in Korea, Japan, Singapore should be enhanced and could be considered as forward bases to counter a conventional threat from China, who should be our focus as an adversary.

Combining such a military strategy with getting out of the WTO and other free trade agreements and focusing on re-shoring the US industrial base and enforcing Robinson-Patman aggressively would be a MAGA strategy, IMO. I would also argue that ending the financialization of the US economy by eliminating the government-backed incentives would go a long way to rebuilding the real economy.

blue peacock

Col. Lang

As the Turkish invasion gathers steam and as the illusion is shattered, I can see Trump screaming at McMaster, Mattis & Tillerson and saying get the hell out of this mess, while they counsel let's do just a little bit more and we can turn it around. Reminds me of Gen. Westmoreland's game as I saw in the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary.

I wonder what Erdogan's deal with Russia and Assad may be? I have read there was a Russian military delegation in Turkey last week.

SmoothieX12

"Would the Russians find a face saving way to help the US exit Syria?" - That's our problem, not Russia's.

I said it many times and I will repeat it again: Russia is NOT interested in deliberate US humiliation nor is Russia interested in a complete American collapse. Of course, it is America's, not Russia's, problem but between seeing the US openly humiliated, which in itself bears some serious risks, and assisting in US saving face, Russia will choose the latter. At least most of the times.

Ishmael Zechairah

TTG,
Aleppo? Not at all. That "idea" was implanted in tayyip's cranial cavity by the Borg when both were supporting the liver-eaters, and tayyip was dreaming of being the co-president of the "Great Middle East Project" and the caliph of the ummah. A lot has changed since then.

We have to sanitize Afrin, especially given the US statement about the "kurdish border force" and the transfer of arms. All Turks are supporting this aim.
Ishmael Zechairah

Jony Kanuck

TTG,
According to 'Esani2', a Syrian I follow on Twitter, the Kurds went to Moscow first. The Russians asked them to let the SAA take over the border and to give the oilfields on the other side of the Euphrades back to Syria. The Kurds refused both requests.

There were 500k in Afrin before the war. The Kurds say there is a million now. There is supposedly 10-12k combatants plus some truckloads of YPD from 'Rojava'. The Kurds have dug a lot of bunkers & tunnels but I haven't heard of them having much in the way of heavy weapons

JohnB

The Trump administration is lurching into another Middle East disaster. Tillerson’s speech last week shows that the US in staying in Syria until it’s evicted by the baliff’s. Sadly that eviction will not play out well for Trump.

Trumps lack of statecraft and knowledge of world affairs is shocking and despite all the campaign rhetoric his Middle East Policy is just a continuation of the failed Bush & Obama one and will lead to further US humiliation in the region.

The US needs a Metternich but instead it’s got Trump & Tillerson the “Abbott & Costello” of International Affairs.

J

The U.S. supplying Manpads was the straw that broke the camel's back. The Borg are a few bricks shy of a full load when it comes to reality. Whose to say the Manpads won't be used against U,S. one way or another?

elev8

Does this mean that you think the Turkish troops will go home again after "sanitization" is achieved?

The Twisted Genius

elev8 and Ishmael Zechairah,

If Turkey limits its offensive to west of the Euphrates, I don't see how the sanitization would be achieved even if that offensive is successful. The Kurdish MANPAD-armed border force will remain east of the Euphrates. IMO the Turks can claim victory if Damascus reasserts control over her northern border. Then they can voluntarily go home.

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