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22 October 2019


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I enjoy Stockman's attitude.
"When you have to bomb a cement plant that was storing weapons for one "ally" (the Pentagon-supported Kurdish YPG/SDF) so that another "ally" (the CIA-funded Arab FSA) doesn’t seize them, and this happens in the context of a sovereign nation that Washington had illegally attacked and occupied for no reason of homeland security whatsoever…why then the jig is up!"

Barbara Ann


What are the odds the next phase is to zip up the eastern border with the cooperation of a friendly Iragi government and help from Iran & the PMU's? Is it feasible any troops can be maintained in the MERV/oil fields area if Iraq chooses to block access? I am not up to speed on Iraqi politics in this respect, but the message that the troops exiting Syria will have to leave Iraq is an interesting sign.


You say
"Once again, total hogwash. Putin has given up nothing just a 10 km strip that will be jointly patrolled."

Juan Cole says:
" Turkey had planned an incursion to the depth of 20 miles along a 276-mile stretch of northeast Syria, from which it planned to expel hundreds of thousands of Kurdish residents and replace them with Syrian Arab refugees from elsewhere in Syria, who now live in Turkey. That is a little over 5,500 square miles.

Instead, Turkey will keep for a while a 75-mile long stretch between Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn, to a depth of 20 feet down into Syria. That is only 1500 square miles."



Plantman - Erdogan's resettlement area is approximately 122 km long by 32 km deep. That's 3904 square km or over 1500 square miles. Even that is not enough as you say to resettle three million refugees comfortably. But it is big enogh for a supersized IDP camp with the refugees stacked up a$$hole to teakettle.

The Twisted Genius

Leith, you are right. Maps out of Russia show no joint patrols along the border between Tel Abyad and Ras al Ayn. That area, which was largely Sunni Arab before, will receive many more Sunni Arab refugees. The latest map shows 15 SAA observation posts along the border not including between Tel Abyad and Ras al Ayn. There is nothing about Turkish OPs in that area. I doubt this area will end up like Hatay. Its fate will be more like Idlib and Afrin... eventually to fall back under the control of Damascus.

In my opinion, the influx of returning refugees will be an eventual plus for Damascus even though weeding the jihadis out from the refugees will be a tough, but necessary, task. The return of refugees will be good for the entire region. Here's a map showing the 15 SAA OPs and the Turkish Operation Peace Spring area.


The Twisted Genius

Barbara Ann, I believe the next phase is Idlib. With the NE border crisis averted the R+6 will soon launch another major offensive to retake that province. The Iraqis may not block access for US troops to the SE Syrian oil fields, but they have already told us that the troops withdrawn from the NE are not welcome in Iraq. That should ring alarm bells in CENTCOM about how the future will unfold.



Since the Kurds have no choice at this point but to submit to Syrian govt authority, presumably they can do a deal with the govt such that they go in and take control of the oil fields on behalf of the govt at some point.

I've developed newfound respect for the Russians and Ukrainians I've met who thought so highly of Putin.

Barbara Ann

Helmer's reading of the Kremlin tea leaves is occasionally useful, but I think he is fundamentally wrong here. This omelette required a few eggs to be broken. A Turkish invasion of some scale was absolutely necessary and it was obvious Erdogan would seek to keep what he managed to grab. He now has another bargaining chip come the final peace settlement, which ought eventually to see the return of all of Syrian territory to Damascus' control. Failing that, Erdogan better be prepared to fight an ongoing insurgency in the captured territories - at best with Russian standing by & controlling the airspace. That would not sit well with his current message of having brought peace to the southern border.



The resettlement camps in Syria will be temporary for many worth cleared refugees slowly returning to their villages or the major cities. Many re: highly skilled citizens who had enough assets to flee - Syria needs them to rebuild its society.

And Erdogan doesn't have to deal with the jihadis amongst the refugees in Turkey - it become Syria and Russia's headache.

In any case, its not as if Erdogan has a choice - either he follows Russia's lead or waits for the next coup attempt. The S-300 deal tells Turkey's direction.


The retired Indian diplomat M.K Bhadrakumar has a look at the MOI, and mostly agrees with your opinion.. this seems like a win for turkeys claims and a Russian compromise .. of course biggest losers are the Kurds https://indianpunchline.com/deconstructing-putin-erdogan-mou-on-syria-this-is-how-it-looks/


Answer: The USG, to include POTUS, have said that we are in control of the two big fields there. One is "protected" from ISIS and the Syrian regime by 200 troops. The other is controlled by 400 contractors. The area around there is still nominally in SDF hands but the SAA has been moving around there. It is not clear what we can do with the oil under those circumstances except to deny it to others. Even if we can repair them, start pumping and get the oil out, we could not legally sell it. Note that there are also potentially rich oil resources as yet unexplored in the area close to the Turkish and Iraqi borders. This was on the minds of the Turks but they no longer have access to the area.


Italy continues to enjoy Libyan oil, hence loyalty to the Tripoli government.


"President Trump tweeted on Sunday that the U.S. has “secured the Oil”"

That is imperialism straight out of the playbooks of the belligerents in WWI. It was controversial then. In fact, it was so controversial, the Allies kept it secret in the form of a secret treaty dividing the spoils of war after an assumed victory.

Is it controversial now? Do American soldiers or American people simply say, "Ah, that's a very good thing. We kept the oil out of the hands of bad old Assad."? Well, if that's what they say then why aren't we invading KSA which has a malignant dictatorship based on terrorism?

"We have secured the oil." That ranks up there with "We came, we saw, he died... [giggle, giggle]" In fact, it's worse. Trump is not fit to govern.


So Trump is busy positioning everyone to support a US War for Oil in the Middle East, which is precisely what the Democrats have said they have opposed for almost 20 years. Hasn't anyone caught on to his M.O. yet?


I doubt that Putin wants to withdraw his airforce. They have signed a 50 year lease on it. It protects his eastern Med port of Tartous, currently being, like the airbase, expanded.

The main benefit to Russia of helping Syria was the continued access to Mediterranean bases.


The US may have secured the oil but what is it going to do with it?

All the pipelines out of the fields run west to Assadland, that leaves trucks. North to Turkey? East or south to Iraq?

Looks like it stays in the ground, except that the Kurds have an agreed profit share with Assad. So it looks like the US will be protecting the oil so that it can go to Assad. That looks sustainable!


lets see Mitch pass a law requiring it, to the limited extent that is constitutionally possible. But he can pass a resolution, sense of the Senate, whatever, to put the troops back in. If pressed to that I think he will back down. He will not put his money where his mealy mouth is.

different clue

I believe that denying the oil to anyone else, most of all Legitimate Syria, is the point of the exercise at this point. FUKUS absolutely positively does not want SAR to be able to make any recovery and reconstruction from that oil.

I wonder whether this would be a fine time, from a China's eye view, for the ChinaGov to give, not lend, just straight-up outright give billions of effective dollars of aid to Legitimate Syria, recovery aid which recovers and reconstruction aid which reconstructs. If China helped Syria recover and reconstruct so well and so thoroughly that Syria was eventually able to reconquer its own oilfields no matter who objected, a grateful Syria might remember China when basing rights and privileges are sought and/or when made-in-China stuff is offered for sale.

different clue

I might have said it a bit differently, but yes. A vacuum was created possibly in the hope that Russia and the SAR/SAA could fill it so faster than anyone else that all the other Black Hat Bad Actors could only stand by, watch and fume.


TTG, I like your latest map better.

Although that Turkish controlled zone, which was largely Sunni Arab, did have significant numbers of Assyrians, Armenians, and Kurds. Both Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn cities are mixed populations that had Christians and Kurds. And there were a dozen or so Kurdish or mixed villages within that zone.

One would think that the Russians would have at least allowed the Assyrian militias and the Armenian Battalion (more like a reinforced platoon despite the name) to guard their churches and neigbourhoods in Ras al-Ayn. But there is no way that Erdogan's proxies like Faylaq Al-Majd, Arhar al-Sham, and Nur al-Din al-Zinki would agree to that. Those guys are all hardcore nutcases who've committed war crimes. They live for an opportunity to burn down a church or coerce marriages and conversion on Assyrian/Armenian girls. It's not just the Kurds that are worried about ethnic cleansing.

Here is an ethnic map of the the NE that was linked on your earlier post:


different clue

Perhaps Putin is still focused most-of-all on the longest-game of keeping deadly danger far enough away from Russia that Russia can continue its social and economic development. If the ErdoPutin deal weakens FUKUS enough on the Syrian front that FUKUS has lost some ability to destabilize Russia itself from that direction, then Putin has bought Russia some more time to make itself destabilization-resistant.

Is that what Putin is thinking? Buy the Russian domino time and a chance to nail itself to the table so securely that nothing can push it over? Does Putin want to be " the Stolypin who succeeded"?

different clue

Well, its an intelligence test for the Syrian Kurds. Will the Syrian Kurds show the good common sense to keep their agreement with Damascus in order to stay socially alive, even if they eat bitterness for the next few generations?

Or will they win themselves a Darwin Award?

different clue

The Democrats can say they oppose War for Oil . . . to give themselves Superior Morality Points on the public stage. But do they really oppose the concept?

It was the Democratic President Jimmy Carter, after all, who first issued the Carter Doctrine.

Babak Makkinejad

US is denying the oil to Syria, another front in the war against the Shia Crescent.

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