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18 January 2018


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Peter Reichard

Make my last word fourth not forth.

Patrick Bahzad

Or phase 1 of a new proxy war with Iran ?

Patrick Bahzad

"I don't really think a society like that of the contemporary West (with the exception of Russia and maybe Eastern Europe) has the will to fight a real conflict or cold war where our superior technology is not a decisive factor" - I think you're wrong.

Patrick Bahzad

If reason had prevailed, we would not have had any of the FP fiascos we have had.

Patrick Bahzad

I don't think you'll ever going to see SAA troops shooting at US troops. That's not how proxy wars work.

Patrick Bahzad

Vicious cycle implies the US has the stamina and the (financial) resources to stay the course. Not even talking about human costs. And what for ? What would justify such an effort ? Are US taxpayers and citizens willing to make such a commitment ?

Patrick Bahzad

Probably better get used to it. We've had 15 years of this already. Brace yourself for more.


I'd say it's been very clear for the last eighteen years at least: war with Iran.

If I were the king, as dealmaker I would bring Iran and China to heels, Trump:


Will Rex Tillerson be really be gone shortly? As some assumed? Considering he has the right adviser in Vulcano Condi now?

"punish France, ignore Germany and forgive Russia"

Do French Fries ring a bell? The question is what wise advise would Rice have to offer other then "Fuck Europe", to put it more starkly?

William Fitzgerald

I'd say that sums it up nicely.



Or phase 1 of a new proxy war with Iran ?

Ok, my mind went there partially reading RSH only admittedly.

But at that point I wanted to see it clearer. No doubt interesting parties in Washington looking for money, weapons and support. It's quite easy to see were luck might loom.

Pleased to to see you. Or read you, if you prefer. ;)

English Outsider

Thank you for that all-embracing summary. Maybe detente soon, if Trump manages to get the Russiagate nonsense off his back? Or is that merely another Deplorable fantasy?


This deplorable had hoped we wouldn't be in the position you describe, coming into 2018 - "The current war in the Middle-East isn't just a war like any other. It has multiple players involved, some of them non-State actors, whose interests might vary according to changing circumstances and alliances. It has sponsors that use this theatre of operations as leverage for other areas, willing to trade-off some advantage here against a compromise elsewhere."

Same old Grand Chessboard. That Grand Chessboard comes expensive, and many had hoped our neocons might have noticed by now that there are real people living in the squares. Or dying or running, as the case might be.

Babak Makkinejad

Patrick Bahzad

The Jihadists seem to have spread into Sub-Saharan Africa.

Can you share any opinions in regards to their potential spread into Central Asia as well as into the Sub-Continent of India?

The Twisted Genius

Good to see you back, Patrick. I agree with your analysis. "Our foreign policy is adrift in the region." We had a brief shining moment when we pounded the IS jihadis at the siege of Kobani and followed that up with the employment of up to 200 Special Forces to work with the YPG/YPJ. We didn't try to remake them into our image of a military force. We provided ammo, small arms and coordinated air strikes and let the Kurds be the Kurds as a light infantry force. I thought it was a good balance. I had misgivings when we pushed the whole SDF thing. That morphed into the mess we have now in eastern Syria. We should have left it to those 200 Special Forces. If I was among them, I would have risked sedition and advised the YPG/YPG to to seek accommodation with Damascus. What we're going to them now is what we have done to them in the past. We'll will screw them over, get tired of them and get them killed.


Earlier today, a 'senior State Department official' held a briefing on Syria.

State has posted the transcript. For those interested:

Briefing on Syria https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/01/277545.htm


Agreed. But what proxy does Assad have that is willing to shoot at US soldiers? Most of his allies don't want to give the US an excuse to attack them either. Certainly Hizballah or Iranian forces in Syria don't want that. Might be some Palestinian forces that wouldn't mind...


TTG to many this outcome was clear from day one. IMO, US has no choice but to use the Kurds as the desperate fools they are. Due to US’ domestic need “must do” to suport her stupid Israel project at any cost, balancing the region’ powers against her own clients don’t leave US any choice but to sacrifice her best interests in the region. As in the past Kurds will be screwed again, nevertheless out of thier wishfull stupidity they will be ready and available to be thrown under the bus again and on demand.


In ME everything and everybody’s loyalty comes with a price, you remember who was shooting at US trooped in Iraq? They were the same Sunni Arab tribes that US has bought earlier not to shoot at them. Do you think the Syrian Arab desert tribe can’t be bought to shoot at US troops ?


remarkable testimony:
> Jeffrey was especially critical of the Obama administration, which he blamed for failures in the second Gulf War against Iraq. Jeffrey, who was the Obama administration’s ambassador to Iraq during the period when U.S. forces withdrew from the country in 2011, said that the administration should have accepted a secret plan to keep U.S. forces in the country. Jeffrey explained that administration officials had arranged a secret plan with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki “to cheat, with Maliki’s acknowledgement,” on the final agreement to withdraw U.S. forces from the country. “We had Black SOF, White SOF,” he said, seemingly referring to different kinds of Special Operations Forces. “We had drones, we had all kinds of things,” he added.
> Jeffrey was reluctant to provide more details, but he insisted that the secret plan could have worked if his superiors in the Obama administration had tried it. He did not express any concern about the fact that an estimated 100,000 people had already died in the war.
> “It was a very big package, including a $14 billion FMS program,” Jeffrey said, referring to a program of military sales. “We had bases all over the country that were disguised bases that the U.S. military was running.”



A very sobering and informative testimony on US’ ME FP by four former US ambassadors in ME, most of these points, has been and is discussed here on SST.

Rare Glimpse Into Inner Workings Of American Empire In Middle East

different clue

Patrick Bahzad,

( reply to comment 30),

It seems that reason won't prevail on its own. It can only be made to prevail if the reasonable can defeat the anti-reasonable in political combat.
It reminds me of what a pharmacist I used to work for said when excuses were made for why something almost worked, and would have worked except for this or that or the other. His saying was: " Well, the dog would have caught the rabbit if he hadn't stopped to take a sh*t." And that is where we are.

Since I haven't been firmly corrected for suggesting that Iran is the only government which can force the Shia supremacist regime in Baghdad to make peace with the Sunni Arabs of Iraq, I will dare to hope that my feeling in that regard is somewhat accepted, provisionally.

If I am considered to be somewhat right about that for the moment, I offer the further supposition that since Persia and Mesopotamia have been in power-conflict at times in the past . . . that the same underlying psychopower political pattern still holds. If so, the Iran gov will want to keep Iraq weak and subordinate, and a good way to keep Iraq weak and subordinate is to keep encouraging endless cycles of Sunni Arab insurgency and revolt against the Baghdad regime in order to keep the Baghdad regime helpless and dependent on Iran. To achieve that, all Iran has to do is passively refuse to make the Baghdad Shia government deal fairly with the Sunni Arabs. The Baghdad Shia government will naturally keep persecuting and oppressing the Sunni Arabs, who will naturally support Bitter Baathist engineered Sunni Jihadi insurgencies on into the future.


I am happy to see you writing again Mr. Bahzad,I have particularly enjoyed your submissions over the past 4 years since discovering SST, I especially enjoyed your mosul articles last year. One point of contention:You simultaneously say
>The fate of IS in Eastern Syria is sealed
while noting that the survival of IS in Iraq is all but inevitable. How can you separate the survival of IS in iraq from its historical use of the syrian communities along the euphrates as a base of support since the early 2000s? And while the scale of pure destruction in mosul cannot be compared to what has occurred from tabqa to raqqa to deir ez,looking at population alone(barely 50% of the affected mosul pop currently festering in the refugee camps equals the populations of those aforementioned syrian IS holdings), it can be predicted from my view that an assymetrical IS resistance will plague all of the former IS holdings,whether under SAA or SDF control, neither of which have particularly more power than the Baghdad Iraqis do over anbar and nineva today. I contend that IS has enacted a medium-long term goal of increasing popular support for IS through planned resistance in heavily dense population centers. They enacted this plan in the narrow streets of baghdad,samarra,fallujah in the 2000s; and they repeated it on a grand scale on the streets of manbij,al bab, Raqqa, Mosul in the 2010s. I contend that this is a long term trend to breed a generation of pro-IS iraqis/syrians,to dwarf the generation of pro-IS citizens of fallujah,baghdad,samarra which made up the 2014 wave witness to the depredations of the 2000s

Account Deleted

Elijah Magnier, now in 5 languages and counting, thinks it is only a matter of time before asymmetric warfare comes to the US in Eastern Syria. The Iranians in particular will be highly motivated to attack the US everywhere, should bilateral relations degenerate even further. I seem to remember them being highly effective in this goal using IEDs in Iraq.



TTG to many this outcome was clear from day one. IMO, US has no choice but to use the Kurds as the desperate fools they are.

Kooshy, I hesitated at TTG's comment if I should respond. Then decided not to.

But, while I am, more arbitrarily somewhat irritated by the Apo/Öcalan heroization, I was in full support for helping the Kurds against the Sunni-Islamist onslaught.


Sorry but IMO your theory on Iran intention for keeping Iraq majority shia legal recognized government weak is a total BS which dont make sense for a minority sect in the region. As a matter of fact Iran' policy for Iraq driven from Najaf and Qom Hozeh is full support of Iraqi government at any cost that is internally and externally. That is very obvious on how Iran supported Iraq against both ISIS and Kurds.

Babak Makkinejad

The Western Fortress plays the Game of Nations, Near Easterners play the Game of Religions and Tribes. The English understood when and were to play each game, Americans are clueless.

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