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13 October 2019


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Thank you for this excellent, excellent reporting-analysis

Absolutely incredible!

Barbara Ann

Trump is characteristically bold. Anyone who decides to take on the entire Republican establishment then run for President with zero political experience against The Anointed One can hardly be described as otherwise. Maybe he's just pissed at the perma-coup or the chance his tax returns might come out. Should he be afraid? He should be a lot of things, but it looks to me like Trump is in full Samson mode now. Watch out for falling masonry.


As i read this, I listen to a retired admiral flogging his latest book on NPR. The dissonance between the neo-con line spouted by the admiral and the far better news I read here is breathtaking. It's why I usually only listen to Spanish language pop music on the radio...



The questions you ask are very important.

I was being flippant. It was hilarious how distraught and hysterical Max Boot and Bill Kristol seemed at what they labeled the back stabbing of “allies”. I suppose Bibi and MbS may not rest that easily anymore as Trump could surprise.


Nixon was a strategist of the first order. Trump is not. You are reading too much into a minor situation.

Nancy K

I wish Trump well in this endeavor, we have a son in the Navy in the area and would like to see peace reign. I truly wish Trump were not such an egotistical narcissistic bully. He could be so much more than he is if he could only reign in that ego.

JP Billen

Babak ...

Putin is on his way to, or perhaps already there, Saudi Arabia today. Maybe he will undercut any Trump efforts to get the Saudis to continue their war against Yemen.


I wonder how the Evangelical Christians are taking this news? First, we have this:
"As Turkish warplanes began to bomb Syrian towns on Wednesday, the prominent evangelist Franklin Graham called for Mr. Trump to reconsider his decision, and worried that the Kurds — and the Christian minorities in the region they have defended — could be annihilated.“We have many friends in the Kurdish areas,” said Mr. Graham, whose humanitarian organization, Samaritan’s Purse, has done relief work in the region. “We know people on the ground.” The concern resonated for many conservative evangelicals who have supported Mr. Trump, and called into question his much-touted commitment to religious freedom, a top value for his base."
The problem is that Graham's premise is 180 degrees off. Religious minorities are going to do far better under Assad than in any other setting. So, in the event, ultimately Evangelical Christians should and will be pleased.
Which leaves us with the question: where did Graham's premise come from? Well, the answer to that is clear: the rear end of Bolton et al.
Evangelical Christians have been played like a guitar by the neocons, one could hope that they may receive a wake-up call this time. They certainly have it in their power to make it a close one in 2020.
Oh, and where did the quote above come from? The New York Times. I read the Times and always will. But it is, when push comes to shove, a neocon rag. Judith Miller, Andrew Higgins, the recent long, long article blaming the Max 80 crashes on brown-skinned pilot error, on and on. Good old Punch Sulzberger.

JP Billen

Good to see that the agreement includes a future SAA/Kurdish collaboration on the liberation of Afrin. In addition to Maki's comment that Afrin part of the deal was confirmed by Salih Muslim, one of the most prominent members of the Syrian Kurds.

Salih also claimed:

- that Syrian troops will be deployed from Derik (near the Iraqi border) to the Euphrates and they will raise the Syrian flag to represent the Syrian state and sovereignty with their presence along the border.

- that the Kurds would do the bulk of the fighting in Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn.

- that Russia and the SAF would close the Syrian airspace for Turkish aircraft and stop the air strikes.

- and responding to Trump’s tweet that “Kurds may be releasing some to get us involved”, he said: “We didn’t release anyone. Those who managed to flee have escaped due to Turkish shelling of the camp and prisons. For instance, surroundings of the Ain Issa prison and camp were bombed. There were also US troops in Ain Issa. Why were they silent while the Turks bombarded the camp and prison, why didn’t they stop the Turks? It doesn’t serve anyone to criminalize the Kurds.”



Reuters is reporting that Merkel called Erdogan and told him to stop his aggression.

"The phone call took place at Erdogan’s request, she said."

Courage in action. I can't wait to see the transcript of that phone call. I wonder how many refugess going, or not going, to Europe were discussed.


Stephanie, Franklin Graham should focus his attention on his fellow crusader Jerry Falwell Jr who had been seen hobnobbing with a young&gay Miami pool boy. So much for Evangelical 'Values'.

Source is your NYT, so take it 'cum grano salis'. But they got it from the Miami papers so I'm a believer.


Oh for god's sake you have shouting since I've been on this site the US wants a war with Iran. So in the long run what has this to do with Trump? As for Israel and Islam, what, in the end, does this have to do with Trump except he is the latest temporary rider on this bus that has been on a long, long journey (centuries now)? Trump commits to nothing or no one for a 'long time' except towards his own interests...as long as they remain his interests. To me, I'm relatively happy he said he would meet with Iranian Leaders unconditionally...if that is accurate, then good for him. If the Iranians reject the offer, good for them too! That's there business. Their mistake I think...but there business.


JP Billen, I think you're on to something. Yesterday there was a photo on
JPost of Putin in a 3 way handshake with Erdogan & Rouhani & today there's
a blurp claiming Netanyahu is forming some kind of agreement with Saudi Arabia.

Babak Makkinejad

What has that got to do with Trump?

I suppose he is just a powerless by-stander, as you claim.

And his threts to sanction Turkey and destroy her economy are just-so stories?

You best wakeup and smell the coffee.

Babak Makkinejad

Ayatollah Khamenei hss stated 2 things over the last 8 days: that Iran will never build nuclear weapons and de-escalation must start from the termination of Yemen War. Will Gulfies and US grasp those and build upon them? Babak says they won't.

JP Billen

Of course Trump won't. He is owned by Israel. But perhaps Putin has instilled a little common sense in Riyadh and in Abu Dhabi. Will they build on that? Probably not, but maybe he'll calm them down a bit? No way they only talked oil prices.


MOST of Trump's short lived announcements are "just so stories", if I understand that phrase correctly. And HE IS as powerless a President as we've seen in my life time. He has 80% of the govt sabotaging him. THE Resistance thinks they do so with justification. Perhaps, for their perspective. From mine it looks like a rolling coup, with profound implications for the future. But in any event, he is a weak, vacillating, President. You should recognize the type...sorta like Rouhani, a man whose 'orders' are followed only if the real power approves.

Babak Makkinejad

You cannot be serious about him being powerless.


Erdogan has already answered that he doesn't care about Merkel's call.

He then insulted our foreign secretary, called for unconditional NATO support and told Trump that, despite Trump's "great and unmatched wisdom" and acute sanctionitis, he doesn't care about sanctions because Turkey is super strong and that he and Turkey will fight on ... of course till to the Endsieg.

It would be the utmost disaster if Erdogan's illegally intervening in Syria would invite Syrian or Russian retaliation.

That then would be a case of an attack on a NATO country ... despite the obvious provocation.

All that to fix Sevres treaty territory losses and late lamentations over losing WW-I losses, all that while salso en passant wreck up and Islamistise and de-kurd north Syria??!

Such things never were a goal of NATO and never should and hopefully will be, despite Erdogan or Trump.

Erdogan plays with fire, and the kurds are just the unhappy first ones to get burned. IMO Erdogan probably cannot be talked out of this, likely also because it is a big ego thing for him.

To calm him down will require some serious armtwisting likely beyond Pence's and O'Brien's capability and Trump's arbitrary (Great emergency!!! = Trumpy solo act) reinstation of that 50% penal tax on turkish steel.

IMO Putin will likely be more successful there because he has much more leverage, and probably generally invests more time and effort in thinking and listens to advisors.


Rudaw.net was the 1st to report followed by Fox News VP Pence has negotiated a
120 hour cease fire to accommodate the withdrawal of the YPG

JP Billen

Elaine -

I agree with TTGs comment. Plus my guess is this is a ploy by Erdogan. He knows full well the SDF and YPG will NOT withdraw while his Turkish supported jihadis are looting, burning, and raping. And he may be getting leery of the large SAA force building up at Ain Issa, which is not far at all from his forces in Tel Abyad (Gire Spi). That force now includes tanks and MLRS and is less than 45 kilometers.


History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes.

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