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27 January 2018


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Colonel very well said, but what else the poor state of Jordan can do or say? They are a rented state, living on handouts. Sovereignty comes with self sustainable economy, Jordan’s sustainable economy is KSA and USA economic aid.

Babak Makkinejad

I do not understant why Jordan attaced her name to this.
The Monarch of Jordan had been confirmed by Iran in his role as the Custodian of Holy Christian and Muslim sites in Al Quds only a few weeks ago. Are the Jordanians mad?

Charles Michael

The immodest Macron is the proud number 1 poodle of DJTrump.
Different style, more charming manners than tweets.

I have always considered the (mine ?) président Macron as the worst intellectual fraud ever in the French Republic, and we have been collectionning some.



I find that this little gem, taken together with your post, gives an excellent point-counter-point to the ongoing shitshow.



This reminds me of that old George Galloway clip of him on Sky News during the 2006 Lebanon war where he reminds the news anchor that Israel was getting its hat handed to it on the other half of the screen.

Jordan and KSA will come to rue the day, the same way the Kurds have after trying to rely on the US and Israel for support.

Ishmael Zechariah

"Shitshow" is an excellent description. Things can get quite interesting in Manjib in a few weeks. TSK is moving very slowly to avoid casualties, but it is moving, and will keep moving until it is given a good reason to stop. PYG, et. al. are not "a good enough reason".
In the meantime I am hoping Patrick Bahzad would comment about the French "contribution" to this charade.
Ishmael Zechariah

different clue

One can only hope, with real sincerity, that these 5 powers taken together are too weak to force their plan into reality. One can only hope that the SARgov, Russiagov, and Irangov together can block and prevent this plan from advancing beyond the target-of-derision phase.

If the Chinagov understands what is at stake, perhaps the Chinagov will also lend all necessary material support to the R + 6 to allow them to make good their rejection of this plan and the concept behind it.

Ergogan would like this plan, while perhaps pretending not to, because he would think that he could sneak in at some point and grab big pieces of a dismembered de-stated Syria. It would suit his Ottomaniac dreams.


i'm not entirely sure the Westphalian state model can be exported to many parts of the world at all. The nation state is a product of a European modernity, a historical arc places like the Levant have not experienced organically. Arab Ba'athism was a product of a tiny Western educated cogitative elite, many of them from minority groups, who cobbled together elements of socialism, fascism, and liberal ideas so their regions could function in the post-WWII order. They created states with standing armies, flags, and anthems, but often at dissonance with the way of being of the inhabitants. The effect is a simulacrum of Western state with a mode of interaction that resembles traditional patterns.

The most promising ideas I've heard for the region are those of the SSNP (Syrian Social Nationalist Party), which views the Levant as a unique eco-system of of religious and ethnic identities, a sort of illiberal pluralism. They thus provide an alternative to the centralizing, top down tendency of empire, both in a traditional sense (Ottomans) or when one powerful group subordinates others within the context of a state-sovereign entity.

Dr. George Oprisko

Every time the P 5+1 make gains, as they are now, with their campaign to regain control
of Idlib, the opponents create as much havoc elsewhere as possible.

Methodically, the SAA and allies stick to their game plan, in this case regaining control
of all of Idlib province, & Afrin.

Once those goals are achieved, we will find the KSA led opposition moving the goal posts, again, only to find the P5+1 having no interest whatever in their proposals.

After Idlib, it will be time for removal of the US base on the Jordanian border.

That will be accomplished via diplomacy led by the PRC. Jordan is bankrupt. It is on IMF life support. Trump's give away of Jerusalem makes a mockery of the hashemite kindgom's responsibilities to the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

Russia via Patriarch Kiril, and the PRC will make Jordan an offer they cannot refuse, and will not refuse, on one condition...... the Yankees must go home.....



Dr. George Oprisko

OK What is P+5+1? pl


Press TV reported as of today Jordan has doubled the price of bread in the kingdom. My feeling is KSA and MBS are not or maybe are curing back on cash payments to thier Arab clientele. 60% of Jordan’ income is from export of her educated labor to PGCC and as well as banking money laundering for gulf Arabs. Much like Lebanon’ economy.


Syrians under 40 (and that's the bulk of them) have grown up with a strong sense of national identity- as molded by the Ba'ath party for sure, but most still identifying as Syrians before they identify as anything else.

While previous forms of identity (religion, location, family and tribe) have assumed greater importance as the State has been unable to function normally, I expect that the re-establishment of state services in many areas will restore much of the pre-war identification with the Syrian nation.



I sincerely hope that you are right. pl

Peter AU

Trump may have had his own agenda at the start, which greatly disturbed the hegemon,
and although I have mostly been optimistic, judging by recent Tillerson proclamations, it looks as though the hegemon is now back on track. I have seen TTG use the term DIP. Seems to be the attitude of the hegemon.


I cannot believe anyone would be intended to take such a proposal seriously. This is perhaps just bureaucrats keeping themselves busy waiting for some real work to came along, and if asked they can give a large count of the number of "peace proposals" they are delivering, and blame the other guy when nothing works.

In future we might discover that Syria really is ungovernable and will over time break up in a natural way, but that remains to be seen. I'm sure Assad is capable of making his own negotiations with various regional factions and needs no instruction from France, UK, etc.



You don't think that the discovered and crushed coup by his family to his King position had anything to do with Jordan's King's decision?


In the Agreement with Iran

P5+1 group--China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, plus Germany


If I am not mistaken the 'Clean Break' envisioned cutting Iraq into 3 separate states...with Free Kurdistan getting the largest share.

So Clean Bread ambles on creating one pile of sh*t after another.

Lord willing and the creek don't rise..The Stupid Shall be Punished.


I traveled when young and an aspiring archeologist the whole of Syria in the early 90s, and did not find among my peers (now in their 40s) that their tribal identities were anything else than additional identity markers, which could sometimes and in some locations be useful to parley for a job. This I noted primarily in the Euphrates valley, e.g. on a dig in Doura Europos and near Ar-Raqqa around the Byzantine border fortress. That identity-based hiring system worked in my observation only in the East, from Tadmor onwards. Not in Qalaat Samaan, and also not in the South.

This point is supported by this Chatham house op ed I found this morning, which also touches on the Turkish attempt to instrumentalise Syrian tribal and clan identities through the December conference of Syrian tribes. I think Egypt sponsored a similar meeting in September.

For what it's worth the refugees I meet during my free time here in Europe also don't identify with tribal markers, but as Syrians. So even those running away from the Syrian Arab Republic maintain their adherence to the concept - even the Syrian Kurds I must add.

But of course we look also for ground-based military and political players to fill this venture with life. But the most muscular one, the YPG, has never argued for a break with the SAR, only for some autonomy. That leaves as possible actors of the popular will only the non-Kurdish parts of the Syrian Democratic Forces, and the "non-dogmatic" jihadis/free syrian army remains in Idlib, Manbij, Hama and the fringes of the Golan and Jabal Hawran. But have we not learned that none of these forces can stand up to the SAA or even ensure some sort of rudimentary administration and service delivery?

Daesh and Al-Qaida of course remain out, with Zawahiri gloating over the failure video message, likely from Pakistan.

So I am left to wonder who would fill in for the voters and delegates in the parliament envisaged, for which one should contemplate the break-up Syria. Turkish or US troops? Erdogan hinted that he wanted this area to be a home for repatriating Syrian refugees. Good luck: I guess these refugees will opt as in the Aleppo case study for the Government-administered part. So even bussing refugees over the border from the more than half-empty Turkish camps won't help as they are likely to cross over into the SAR proper.

The only thing that keeps them in line is fear of suffering the horrible abuses meted out to dissidents and revolutionaries in the past. But one ht either hand most people will trust an amnesty offer and try to get on with their lives.

I second Henshaw that the provision of state services is the key, and there is only one shop that offers it, the SAR.



This and Tillerson’s earlier statements on Syrian chemical weapon attacks being ultimately Russia’s responsibility are the first salvos in the ‘New Cold War’.

Everyday we see more and more how the Trump Presidency has sold out to the Republican establishment with one of the staunchest defenders of the administration now being Senator Lindsey Graham.

Whilst the headlines may shout: “Russia-gate” and collusion with Putin, behind the scenes Trump has shifted US Foreign Policy in a more hawkish & militarized direction than we have seen in a generation.

Historians of the future will look back at Trump as the President who began the “New Cold War”. Whether Trump really had any interest in non-interventionist foreign policy who knows? On balance I think he probably did but that is now over. “Drain the Swamp” how empty a political slogan that sounds today with Trump now the gelded President.

Some people are still deluded in thinking that all this is part of cunning plan by Trump and he’s setting a trap for the Military-Industrial-Beltway Complex. Forget it, Trump is now a paid up member of the swamp he insisted he would drain during the campaign.

Trump can continue to tweet nonsense to his hearts content safe in the knowledge he’s in office for as long as he wants. In office, yes. In power, No!

Account Deleted

KSA recommending a head of state be stripped of powers, devolution (& U.N.-supervised elections according the the Reuters article on the 'deconstitution' document) - is there a superlative beyond "hypocrisy"?

This garbage smacks of desperation. The hype around Olive Branch is very important, as Erdogan has deliberately tied his political fate to solving the southern border issue i.e. the US abandoning the Kurds. If they won't leave, he has clearly signaled that he is willing to make them, as his survival probably now depends on it. The latter option would likely lead to a chaotic exit, serious domestic US political fallout and perhaps even the loss of Incirlik. This is Erdogan's ace card, which has already been flashed as the rhetorical war has ratcheted up. Either way, the US presence in northern Syria has become a liability. Mattis etc. have lost this high stakes poker game - the only question is how fast they realize this.

The Borg needs to recalculate its dismemberment strategy, but I'm sure they won't give up. Syria is so fascinating, as it has come to represent a fight to the death over the future of US influence in ME affairs vs. a future where the Eurasian powers are able to deny them such influence.



I stated that progress had been made toward creating a Syrian national identity. IMO you underestimate the level of remaining ethnic and religious sectarian identity. Westerners often do this hoping and believing that such differences are gone. And, the local people are quick to tell you that this is true because they know it satisfies you and meets their own hope. In fact all these countries are a mass of local loyalties. pl



IMO the outcome of the struggle for power in DC is not yet played out. pl


Syria and Lebanon are the crossroads of the OBOR and ME gas pipelines now being built. PRC likes to stay in the shadows but will not let the new silk road be blocked.


Seamus Padraig

No, it was Britain and France that created "states with standing armies, flags, and anthems, but often at dissonance with the way of being of the inhabitants." The Ba'ath were Pan-Arab nationalists who sought to reunify the Arab world into a sort of secular Caliphate. They decried the historic dismemberment of the Arab nation into tiny, bite-sized states by the Sykes-Picot agreement.

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