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09 February 2018

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different clue

Well . . . once again, this Trump policy goes against two of the three big specific reasons I voted for Trump . . . Assad must stay, and no war with Russia.

If I had wanted Assad must go and war with Russia, I would have voted for Clinton.

This is a dirty doublecross stab-in-the-back betrayal of everyone who voted for Trump specifically for Assad must stay and no war with Russia. Granted, many of Trump's faithful followers never voted or cared about those specific reasons. But for those ( if any) who did, how will they spin it to themselves if Trump is the President who brings us a Clintonwar in Syria and a Clintonwar with Russia?

Lyttenburgh

Mariya Zakharova is a spokeswoman for Russian MFA.

Peter AU

According to this AMN article, Department of State is now attacking Syrian forces east of the Euphrates via its proxies. https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-us-led-forces-launch-offensive-syrian-army-deir-ezzor/
Two purposes I can see is to draw SAA forces away from Idlib, and to push SAA to the western side of the Euphrates in Deir Ezzor province.

Anna

"No one knows who is in charge of the U.S.'s Syria policy. Chaos reigns. .. It seems that with no lead from the top, United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has decided it is the boss."
Well. Here is the main military decider who is well leading the US (and the human race) to extinction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Central_Command "GEN Joseph Votel is commander of United States Central Command since March 2016. ... His military schools include Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College."
-- Is General Votel able to understand the effects of radiation poisoning? (could he picture his family and friends dying from the radiation?) Does he believe that the US security and well-being depend on making wars ("humanitarian interventions") in the Middle East, thousands miles away from the US borders? Does he know about Yinon Plan? And has he ever read the great American hero Major General Smedley D. Butler? https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/major-general-smedley-butler
"I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of the racket all the time. Now I am sure of it." -- Major General Smedley D. Butler received 16 military medals, 5 for valor. He was one of 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice.

Account Deleted

TTG

Mattis is full of crap and McMaster is "psychotic" - according to Alastair Crooke - what's to worry about?

The Daily Sabah Op-ed is spot on. Congress had already given the military open-ended operational powers since 9/11 (which they are resistant to give up) and Trump's administration has all but replaced the DoS with the DoD. And as Crooke says; the generals now in charge are all of the post VN mold which accept 'forever war' doctrine. It's a perfect storm.

But expecting Trump to step in is a forlorn hope. He has delegated Syria (ME FP in general?) and until the military encounters a problem that absolutely has to be referred up the chain of command, we can expect it to retain decision-making. That seems to include when & how much to go to war with Assad's forces.

Situations like this need a crisis to resolve them. Oddly I think Erdogan is uniquely positioned to supply an appropriate one that will warrant attention by the Delegator-in-Chief. If Erdogan finally makes good on his threat re Manbij, Funk & the gang will need a decision on engaging TSK forces. Or, if they take even that upon themselves (not impossible) Trump will be faced with a PR disaster; intra-NATO conflict. I'd also expect Congress to finally wake up to what is happening. That AUMF review will get a whole lot more urgent & sanity may have a chance.

The only other scenario I can see which may prompt Congress to get any sort of nominal control over the blank check it has written the military, is if significant casualties start to be taken. Asymmetric warfare, of the style the Iranians used in the Iraq insurgency could bring this about. I'd be surprised if we don't start to see this in NE Syria at some point in the not too distant future.

james

thanks ttg.. i am happy to know there are some, and possibly many americans - different clue and etc. etc. - who are very unhappy with the developments here and what it says about trump and the groove the usa has been stuck in for what seems like forever.. war, war and more war, with not an end in sight and no good rationale for any of it - unless i fall back on economic determinism which will get me in hot water with pat!

my impression is the usa is determined to be in servitude to israel... it is hard to view it any other way..being a destructive presence in the middle east and around the globe is something the usa has excelled at since i was a teenage canuck questioning the rationale for the vietnam war, or why all these draft dodgers were coming to b.c. and etc.. it seems apparent to me the usa is being run by a conglomerate of corporations - military, financial and energy related - all serving there own self interests which do not reflect the general interests of the people of the usa... trump seemed like a chance for something different but he seems to be abnegating any responsibility for what he said and questioned prior to his position as president... what a disappointment.. i agree with you - ww3 or some type of picture like that is on tap and none of the usa leaders at present seem to have a head for anything else...

LondonBob

Spokesman applies for a male or female.

Brings to mind the observation of Georg Heinrich Berenhorst, an adjutant to Frederick II during the Seven Years War, that 'the Prussian monarchy is not a country which has an army, but an army which has a country, in which – as it were – it is just stationed.'

catherine


According to intelligence gossip Trump isn't interested in his daily intelligence briefings.

Kissinger told Newsweek that Jared Kushner is brilliant and can bring peace to the ME.

As for Trump's pair...one is on display at a Israel museum and the other at one of Adelson's casinos.

We are continuing up s**ts creek without a paddle.

SmoothieX12

(could he picture his family and friends dying from the radiation?

He certainly can picture it, he is military professional after all. The question has to be stated differently--can he grasp it? That is the real question. Most in Washington can not. Well, some of them, indeed, can not even picture it. I have to go here with Phil Giraldi's brilliant observation which I memorized, close to the meaning, couple of years ago: "The closest some of those people were to real danger was having a risk of chocking on foie gras in upscale restaurant." Many of those people cannot even comprehend what is it to be on the receiving end of a serious artillery salvo, let alone of MLRS or 500-kg guided munition exploding nearby.

mikee

Just saw this on Twitter: 13 minutes old --

"Deir EzZor eastern CS Intense explosions shake the eastern CS from Jadidat Ukaydat and Tabiat Jazeera side now."

Jadidat Ukaydats is about 13 miles SE of city center on the East bank.

b

I believe neither the Russian nor the U.S. version is true. Some local Arab tribals aligned with the government made a deal with other locals who were with the SDF to take over and protect some oil field. Others (Kurds?) were in the known about the deal and the U.S. military had warned the Russians military (who may not have been current on the situation).

When the handover finally happened the U.S. was prepared to intervene with overwhelming force (no casualties on its side). It now uses this to justify a push against government aligned tribals who since September have held an area on the north-eastern side of the Euphrates.

The U.S. forces seem to feal very secure in their new founded Kurdish proxy statelet. But everyone except some Kurds and some ISIS hate them being there. They should watch their backs.

kao_hsien_chih

Different Clue,

Evidence that incompetent political leaders are no less dangerous than actively evil ones (even on exact same matters)...

catherine


Israel has never quit bombing Syria and now it appears that they are once again preparing to bomb Lebanon to rubble to get Hezbollah.
The upticks look like a joint US Isr effort to go for broke on Syria and Lebanon, while the propaganda mills churn out reasons to target Iran.
The fact is nothing is going to be settled re Iran or Syria unless enough Jewish blood is spilled to back Israel down. So make every missile count Hez.


https://lobelog.com/another-unnecessary-war/

The writing is already on the wall: Israel will soon launch a military operation in Lebanon. Not a targeted attack on a weapons convoy or factory, but a simultaneous attack on Hezbollah’s missile production and launch sites. The operation will take place at the same time as, or immediately after, a series of assassinations of known Hezbollah operatives. That organization will, of course, react by launching a massive missile barrage at population centers in Israel, and Hamas may contribute its share in the south. Last week we were informed that missile interceptor systems have already been deployed throughout the country as part of a joint “drill” between the IDF and the U.S. military. Washington has already given a green light, or so we learn from Thomas Friedman’s most recent column — a faithful mouthpiece of American foreign policy.

Idan Landau is a professor of linguistics at Ben-Gurion University.

Richardstevenhack

"Are the generals filling the President’s head with fears of Hezbollah and IRGC hordes running rampant across Syria?"

Almost certainly. The Pentagon hates Hizballah because of the Marine barracks attack in Lebanon way back when, and of course hates Iran. So does Trump and his Zionist relatives.

Meanwhile today I've read that Putin and Erdogan had a phone conversation, and there is the possibility of a Russia-Turkey-Iran summit in the near future.

Vladimir Putin initiates call with Erdogan amid possibility of renewed fighting in Syria
http://theduran.com/syria-war-putin-erdogan-talk-crisis-escalates/

Mercouris suggests that the US is trying to widen a rift between the two countries which would enable new facts on the ground. This is in line with Bhadrakumar's article referenced within.

As Mercouris notes, Putin has done well keeping Erdogan in line for the last two years. Personally I'd bet that Putin can outmaneuver the US yet again in that regard. If he can't, I'd bet something of the return of more Russian forces into Syria would be in the cards. Putin pulled some out as part of his necessary accountability to the Russian people, but he isn't going to allow Syria to be broken up or attacked if he can help it. At the same time, of course, he isn't going to get involved in a major war with the US or Turkey in Syria since Russia doesn't have the forces in country to pull that off.

But I'd never bet against Putin.

The Twisted Genius

SmoothieX12,

"Many of those people cannot even comprehend what is it to be on the receiving end of a serious artillery salvo, let alone of MLRS or 500-kg guided munition exploding nearby."

Tru dat! I was bracketed by 5-inch naval gunfire. No body armor. No helmet. And no time to dig in. Just much practice in melding myself into the "minute folds of the terrain" as they put it in Infantry School. It was my own fault. I shouldn't have been where I was at the time. Luckily, I escaped with nothing more than a killer case of tinnitus.

Greco

Mattis is a politician first and a general second.

On another note, the BBC reported that according to a Pentagon official, Russian "mercenaries" were killed in the bombings; however, the Russians denied it.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42994235

The Twisted Genius

b,

I read your account about local tribes in the process of mutually reestablishing their tribal territories. It makes eminent sense to me. We (the US) have proven to be a pox on the people of Syria. The sooner we are forced out, the better for all.

SmoothieX12

Kissinger told Newsweek that Jared Kushner is brilliant and can bring peace to the ME.

This statement, of course, puts into question Kissinger's brilliance.;-) The military balance in ME already changed and will continue to change non-stop. I will reiterate--American political elites have NO concept of military power and how it applies. Sheer "brilliance" based on ability to get Ph.D in faux-economics, that is in ability to make money, or having high IQ does not apply to the world which runs on military-industrial-political balance since recorded history. Killing each-other is humanity's pastime, a favorite business, we are formed as species by warfare and this warfare is in the foundation of ever-evolving world. There will be NO "peace" in ME until there is Israel there and until she plays a military superpower in the region. No Kushner, a boy from NY and real estate business, who doesn't know sh.t from shinola, let alone the difference between combined arms operations and operations with real estate, nor his alleged "brilliance" will bring any peace in the region. A massive, historic in its scope and scale, geopolitical realignment is in the progress, huge military-technological and real economy factors are employed and now Kissinger has audacity to proclaim that some real estate "genius" is capable to handle one of the most complex military-political problem of the century. This has to be a really bad joke. Don't we all see where this nation, as well as the whole world was brought to by those very "brilliant", conspicuously non-military, boys and girls? It makes me sick to a stomach when I see and hear some lawyers or "economists" dabbling into the "military stuff".

Keith Harbaugh

Asserting that U.S. generals have been a key factor in persuading Trump to step deeper into the morass of the perpetual conflicts in the Mideast
is a popular argument, both among principal authors at this blog and elsewhere,
but I think it is quite incorrect.

I think what really persuaded DJT to, post-election, change his tune
is not so much the generals but other factors.

The administration in general supports the Likudnik line.
Haley at the UN goes all out to support Israel and ignore the valid requests of the Palestinians.
Tillerson at State desires a Syrian future without Assad.
Surely "the generals" cannot be blamed for these positions.

The U.S. support for the Likudnik line, the U.S. national interest be damned,
is due to two factors: Jewish money and media control, and the votes of Christian Zionists.
Blaming "the generals" only distracts from this crucial reality,
and distracts from efforts to address the root causes of the problem.

SmoothieX12

On another note, the BBC reported that according to a Pentagon official, Russian "mercenaries" were killed in the bombings; however, the Russians denied it.

Igor Dmitriev, one of the big honchos and main "orientalist" in Russia's major news portal Vzglyad seem to corroborate that (in Russian).

https://vz.ru/news/2018/2/9/907621.html

SmoothieX12

Asserting that U.S. generals have been a key factor in persuading Trump to step deeper into the morass of the perpetual conflicts in the Mideast is a popular argument, both among principal authors at this blog and elsewhere,but I think it is quite incorrect.

Read any unclassified US strategic concept from Forward From The Sea to many US top officers statements in a vast variety of political and ideological setting and you will see that we are not necessarily incorrect. American military posture in general can be described only as aggressive. Many, not all, US military political generals do come across as war-mongers. Incidentally, they are most of the time people closely allied with the most odious warmongers and military-industrial complex stooges in Congress. I am far from denying the United States her legitimate military and economic interests--the United States has those and absolutely should seriously defend them, if need be--by means of military force. But what we observe today is an absolute insanity and a lot of it is rooted in US top military brass' desire to have wars. In the end, ask yourself a question who John McCain is.

Laura

I still don't understand why anyone who voted for Trump thought they knew what he was going to do...and for how long he was going to do it. Out today...WP?...is an article about how all of his security briefings are now verbal...he does not read. Actually, the fact that folks say he used to read and also used to have a wider range of conversation topics leads me to wonder if dementia is part of this story. My friend who had early onset Alzheimer's was a chemical engineer and symphony musician..one of the first signs (in retrospect) was that she suddenly hated her bookclub of 25 years and didn't want to participate. The music lasted about 6 months longer.

In any event, if we do get into a war (God forbid)...it will not be a Clinton war. It will be a Trump war. You really must let Hillary Clinton RIP.

SmoothieX12

I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are narrow thinkers.

I am not gonna lie--I liked Colin Powell, that is until he allowed himself to be framed. I am still very impressed by late Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and his grasp of geopolitics, including his opposition to Kissinger's world view.

Babak Makkinejad

Kissinger is being a good sycophant, as has been true throughout the recorded history - praising the brilliance of the new prince, in order to curry favor and influence with the king.

What has changed, I ask you?

We have the Prince of Muscovy, the Red Emperor of China, The Grand Turk, Le Grand Sophie des Perses, the Holy Roman Emperor in DC, the Dukes of Burgundy, Cornwall, Arabia In-Fleix, and all manner of lesser vassals of this or that potentate abroad - forever scheming for an angle in a multi-polar world.

As I said, it is best to sell tickets for decampment to extra-solar planets - this thing is going to hit the fan - and not once or twice, but many times.

Developing skills in ducking would be a prerequisite of survival, until some one like Tokugawa emerges that can restore order. At the moment, the Red Emperor seems to be acting as cautiously as Tokugawa, while his rivals dissipate themselves in their respective shit-holes.

JohnB

Clearly Regime Change is the order of the Day or at least partition of Syria.

The recent Tillerson speech is the first from either the Obama/Trump admins to talk openly about the Partition of Syria.

Tillerson has painted himself in to a corner by saying neither the Iran's or Syrian Govt will be allowed to take over the areas that US backed groups have taken over.

Well the US looks likely to cut a deal with Turkey and the Kurds will be thrown under the bus sometime this year. The real and present danger of a clash between the US & Russia can't be underestimated although Putin will do as much as he can to avoid it.

The Trump Admin can't win but it can play the spoiler and I expect more US attacks on n Hezbollah and Syrian forces in the coming weeks as the Russians won't do anything to stop it.

Add in the Israel wild card in Lebanon and it all points to a continuation of the conflict for the foreseeable future and a continued US presence which of course will eventually lead to an insurgency in Northern Syria from the local Arabs.

Trump missed his chance to remove the US from the country after the fall of Raqqa. I feel sorry for anyone who voted for Trump thinking he was the non-interventionist candidate.

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