“Commence Operation Olive Branch,” said the spider to the fly – TTG


The Turkish Army’s General Staff announced in an official statement that the Turkish Army launched “Operation Olive Branch” against Kurdish militias in the Afrin area in the Syrian province of Aleppo at 14:00GMT on January 20.

“‘Operation Olive Branch’ has been started on Jan. 20, 2018 at 5 p.m., in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region to establish security and stability on our borders and region, to eliminate terrorists of PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh [ISIS], and to save our friends and brothers… from their oppression and cruelty,” the General Staff said in its official statement.”

The military also stressed that “Operation Olive Branch” is conducted under “the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law” and within Turkey’s right of “self-defense”.

Later, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu revealed that Turkey informed the Damascus government of its military operation in Afrin area with a written statement before it was launched in a rare diplomatic connection between the two sides.

“We have informed all parties, including the UN,” Cavusoglu added, according to the Russian state-run news agency Sputnik.

From it side, the Ministry of Defense of Russia announced in a statement that it is relocating Russian troops deployed in Afrin to insure their safety during the Turkish military operation.

“The command of the Russian group of troops in Syria has taken measures to ensure the security of Russian servicemen located in the district of Afrin, where the Turkish Armed Forces launched a special operation against the Kurdish armed groups,” the statement reads.

The Russians also said that the US supplies of advance weapons to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria triggered Turkey’s military operation against the Kurdish militias in Afrin.

Uncontrolled deliveries of modern weapons, including reportedly the deliveries of the man-portable air defense systems, by the Pentagon to the pro-US forces in northern Syria, have contributed to the rapid escalation of tensions in the region and resulted in the launch of a special operation by the Turkish troops,” the ministry said. (SouthFront)


Apparently Moscow gave the green light to Ankara to commence their “Operation Olive Branch” and has moved Russian troops out of harm’s way in Afrin. Erdogan undoubtedly is salivating at the dreams of a new Ottoman Empire and ridding himself of those bothersome Kurds. 

However, I am firmly convinced that he is being played by Putin. The Afrin Kurds will be bloodied. The Rojava Kurds will eventually come to realize that their US-organized border protection force is no match for the might of the Turkish military. The Russians are admonishing the Kurds that their decision to put their faith in whatever CENTCOM has planned for them is a poor decision. Once the Kurds realize this and appeal to the R+6 for protection, Moscow will tell Ankara to cease Operation Olive Branch and offer a face saving way for them to do so. The SAA will assume control of the northern border and all of Syria east of the Euphrates will return to Damascus’ control. The Kurds will retain some kind of local autonomy in exchange for coming to their senses. The borg will not know whether to shit or go blind.



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176 Responses to “Commence Operation Olive Branch,” said the spider to the fly – TTG

  1. blue peacock says:

    The Russians are admonishing the Kurds that their decision to put their faith in whatever CENTCOM has planned for them is a poor decision. Once the Kurds realize this and appeal to the R+6 for protection, Moscow will tell Ankara to cease Operation Olive Branch and offer a face saving way for them to do so. The SAA will assume control of the northern border and all of Syria east of the Euphrates will return to Damascus’ control. The Kurds will retain some kind of local autonomy in exchange for coming to their senses. The borg will not know whether to shit or go blind.

    It goes to show that the “experts” who formulate and then execute US foreign policy are so out of their depth. And this is across the board from the political leadership to the leadership of the foreign policy establishment in government including the military. This is a multi-decade problem of hubris and incompetence. A point will come no one will really want to have much to do with the US except stoke the egos of these “chess players” for cash. By now all these people should know that US leadership can be easily manipulated, when even complete snakeoil salesmen like Chalabi can do it. One need not be sophisticated like Bibi to extract billions.
    TTG, in your opinion how long before CENTCOM is completely out of Syria as the Kurds abandon any pretense of real US backing?

  2. I truly don’t know when we will be out of Syria, but events unfolding now will only accelerate our eventual departure. I’ve seen two reports now that Damascus (and Moscow) asked the Kurdish leadership in Afrin to allow the SAA to assume control of the area. This would have prevented Turkey from attacking because they are unwilling to take on the R+6 directly. The Kurds in Afrin refused.
    I agree our foreign policy apparatus is in shambles. It always had its problems, but now CENTOM and the Pentagon are given too much free hand, the State Department is decimated. The Whitehouse is engaged in infighting and our President doesn’t have the interest or expertise to provide leadership in the region. He could say “get out” and CENTCOM would have no choice but to leave. Alas, that’s not his management style as Colonel Lang explained a while back.

  3. The Porkchop Express says:

    Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. It’s been perpetually amazing that despite the obviousness of the moves being made in Syria (especially), that the borg can’t even come up with a workable or sane countermove–if only from a tactical perspective–when their adversaries are basically telegraphing their plays.

  4. Oilman2 says:

    My friends still in Erbil anticipate the scenario you lay out, but rather suspect that Erdogan will require something forceful or very tempting in another area to let go.
    We do not have a foreign policy with respect to anything. The SD is full of holdovers with other objectives and there is nothing cohesive on any front. The CIA does not share an agenda with anyone else. Non-agreement-capable still applies to the US. These things make the US something to be considered, but never taken at face value or in any reliable way. Well, perhaps we can be counted on to always toss a wrench into the works, as in this current epic move and the many others we have made in the area.
    I hope you are right TTG…

  5. turcopolier says:

    The Turks are now doing so many strikes that I can only think they intend to occupy the area. pl

  6. Peter AU says:

    The borg will most likely go blind. The Trump admin’s intentions are still guesswork.
    After the US miss-spoken announcement, Russia let Erdo off the leash. Good post TTG.

  7. kooshy says:

    TTG, I must repeat, considering US’ must do (for internal reasons) middle east position and posture vis-à-vis her regional allies namely Israel and KSA, and likes, it doesn’t leave US with many better choice, other than what she is choosing or doing. We all are seeing/living through what would happen if for example, a president (as buffoon as the one we have) wants to have a better “international” relation with an important world power like Russia. With that in mind, can one imagine what would happen if a US administration decides to have a better relationship with a more mature and influential state in the ME region? Really, to make a safety umbrella for Israel and other illegitimate clients, who else can US chose as her reliable ally that will and can accepts Israel beside the Kurds, and a few Arab dictators and monarchs that are not legitimate or accepted anywhere in the region. Considering US’ full of herself hubristic foreign policy, and use of it by her so called allies I don’t see any better choice possible to pentagon or state.

  8. Annem says:

    Is it too late to revisit the offer of the SAA retaking Afrin?
    Would the Russians find a face saving way to help the US exit Syria?

  9. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The only sensible thing to do is to cut and run; in my opinion. Just work through the implications as US cuts and run in the Levant, in the Perdian Gulf, in South Kores. In Africa, and in Europe. I personally only see an upside for US as the Pathetics and the Pygmies run after Uncle Sugar, groveling for her to oh, please, please, come back.

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is no military force that can stop Iran from taking over the enormous oil reserves of Iraq; that is the consideration that informs the minds of many US officials – evident in the testimonies of 3 US ambassadors that you had li ked earlier.

  11. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I guess the fear is that in the ripeness of time, the Shia Crescent will pounce on Kuwait and Saudi Oil Wells. So better fight them now rather than later.

  12. The Porkchop Express says:

    As a strategic move, yes. Leave. Completely. Or, God forbid, work with Iran and Russia and pulverize the takfiris into dust. But as that will never happen, my (snarky) point was that the borg should at least show some intelligence and play within the parameters of the game. The bumbling Keystone Kops routine is asinine when it’s pretty clear what your opponents are doing.
    At least give us the pretense that the ‘holier than thou’ foreign policy credentials actually mean something and are not basically the same policies a degenerate gambler who always bets on the NY Jets would think up.

  13. pl,
    I agree. The Turks appear to be under the impression that Afrin and Aleppo are theirs for the taking. Despite the size and strength of their army, I don’t think it will be easy.

  14. Annen,
    “Is it too late to revisit the offer of the SAA retaking Afrin?” – It’s up to the Kurds.
    “Would the Russians find a face saving way to help the US exit Syria?” – That’s our problem, not Russia’s.

  15. turcopolier says:

    I can’t imagine how Trump and Pence can deal with this. it challenges all their illusions. pl

  16. blue peacock says:

    The only sensible thing to do is to cut and run…

    Exactly. The best thing the US can do for itself is to ditch the majority of its foreign military entanglements. Shut the majority of the foreign bases. And focus on a defensive strategy. Defending it’s territories and it’s trade routes.
    Getting out of the Middle East/South Asia and Europe should have the highest priority. Our military posture in Korea, Japan, Singapore should be enhanced and could be considered as forward bases to counter a conventional threat from China, who should be our focus as an adversary.
    Combining such a military strategy with getting out of the WTO and other free trade agreements and focusing on re-shoring the US industrial base and enforcing Robinson-Patman aggressively would be a MAGA strategy, IMO. I would also argue that ending the financialization of the US economy by eliminating the government-backed incentives would go a long way to rebuilding the real economy.

  17. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang
    As the Turkish invasion gathers steam and as the illusion is shattered, I can see Trump screaming at McMaster, Mattis & Tillerson and saying get the hell out of this mess, while they counsel let’s do just a little bit more and we can turn it around. Reminds me of Gen. Westmoreland’s game as I saw in the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary.
    I wonder what Erdogan’s deal with Russia and Assad may be? I have read there was a Russian military delegation in Turkey last week.

  18. SmoothieX12 says:

    “Would the Russians find a face saving way to help the US exit Syria?” – That’s our problem, not Russia’s.
    I said it many times and I will repeat it again: Russia is NOT interested in deliberate US humiliation nor is Russia interested in a complete American collapse. Of course, it is America’s, not Russia’s, problem but between seeing the US openly humiliated, which in itself bears some serious risks, and assisting in US saving face, Russia will choose the latter. At least most of the times.

  19. Ishmael Zechairah says:

    Aleppo? Not at all. That “idea” was implanted in tayyip’s cranial cavity by the Borg when both were supporting the liver-eaters, and tayyip was dreaming of being the co-president of the “Great Middle East Project” and the caliph of the ummah. A lot has changed since then.
    We have to sanitize Afrin, especially given the US statement about the “kurdish border force” and the transfer of arms. All Turks are supporting this aim.
    Ishmael Zechairah

  20. Jony Kanuck says:

    According to ‘Esani2’, a Syrian I follow on Twitter, the Kurds went to Moscow first. The Russians asked them to let the SAA take over the border and to give the oilfields on the other side of the Euphrades back to Syria. The Kurds refused both requests.
    There were 500k in Afrin before the war. The Kurds say there is a million now. There is supposedly 10-12k combatants plus some truckloads of YPD from ‘Rojava’. The Kurds have dug a lot of bunkers & tunnels but I haven’t heard of them having much in the way of heavy weapons

  21. JohnB says:

    The Trump administration is lurching into another Middle East disaster. Tillerson’s speech last week shows that the US in staying in Syria until it’s evicted by the baliff’s. Sadly that eviction will not play out well for Trump.
    Trumps lack of statecraft and knowledge of world affairs is shocking and despite all the campaign rhetoric his Middle East Policy is just a continuation of the failed Bush & Obama one and will lead to further US humiliation in the region.
    The US needs a Metternich but instead it’s got Trump & Tillerson the “Abbott & Costello” of International Affairs.

  22. J says:

    The U.S. supplying Manpads was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The Borg are a few bricks shy of a full load when it comes to reality. Whose to say the Manpads won’t be used against U,S. one way or another?

  23. elev8 says:

    Does this mean that you think the Turkish troops will go home again after “sanitization” is achieved?

  24. elev8 and Ishmael Zechairah,
    If Turkey limits its offensive to west of the Euphrates, I don’t see how the sanitization would be achieved even if that offensive is successful. The Kurdish MANPAD-armed border force will remain east of the Euphrates. IMO the Turks can claim victory if Damascus reasserts control over her northern border. Then they can voluntarily go home.

  25. GeneO says:

    The PKK in Turkey have been using Russian made SA-16 and SA-18 MANPADS against Turkish helicopters for years.

  26. turcopolier says:

    I think I speak for us all in hoping that you will continue to write on the Turkish/Kurdish/US situation. pl

  27. Willybilly says:

    Fully agree with SmoothieX12

  28. OIFVet says:

    I very much doubt that Erdogan-led Turkey will ever voluntarily leave any occupied territory. He will have to be offered something in return, or made an “offer he can’t refuse.” The latter is exceedingly unlikely IMO, so the question is what will Turkey get? And will Erdogan be dumb enough to want more? Borders will change, that much seems clear.

  29. kooshy says:

    On this new turn in the Syrian war theater I think Ambassador Bhadrakumar agrees with TTG, in any way one can think this will not add up to US’ strategic plans. After Barezani’ deal yet again a bad and desperate move from US, which it may cause losing a few pawns and a Knight maybe? Like the losing her Bishop in Kirkuk a few moves back?
    “How does all this add up? To my mind, both Russia and Iran will simply sit back and watch as Erdogan goes about crushing the US’ main proxy (Kurdish militia) in northern Syria. Indeed, they have nothing to lose if a nasty showdown ensues between the US and Turkey, two big NATO powers. On the other hand, if Turkey succeeds in vanquishing the Kurdish militia, US will have no option but to vacate northern Syria, which will also work to the advantage of Russia and Iran. Succinctly put, Trump administration has bitten more than it could chew by its unwise decision to keep the US military presence in Syria indefinitely “to counter Assad, Iran.” Tehran knows fully well that if the US is forced to vacate Syria, the US-Israeli project against Iran will become a joke in the Middle East bazaar.”

  30. kooshy says:

    There are many well wishers of Syrians, specially the syrian Kurds in France and rich europe, which can offer opening renegotiation on checking possibility of Turkey joining EU, or like the case on Syrian refugees a few years back, Erdo can go for 6 plus billion of Euro.

  31. J says:

    That’s true, but it wasn’t U.S. supplied. That is the straw that is breaking the camel’s back, U.S. supplying Manpads. Turkey is on a hardon with D.C., Ankara and Moscow are using the U,.S. supplying Manpads issue big time to their favor. The Kurds have been a thorn in the side with Turkey, and other surrounding nations for millenia. Don’t blame the Kurds, but they have not been smart about it. Instead of being sneaky devils, they’ve been using the right-up-in-your-face approach, and it hasn’t worked, and it’s not going to, because they are just too little and too weak to use that approach. Now if they were the 800lb gorilla in a woodpile, it would be different, but they are the mouse that roared with their middle finger sticking high in the sky.
    Personally, I don’t and have never liked D.C. and its arms dealer around the world (State Department) supplying weapons to every Tom, Dick, and Henry who tries to schmooze with D.C.. D.C. IMO is the poster child for P.T. Barnum’s there’s a sucker born every minute..
    And we the American people wind up paying the cost of D.C.’s sucker approach.

  32. Babak – “The only sensible thing to do is to cut and run; in my opinion. Just work through the implications as US cuts and run in the Levant, in the Persian Gulf, in South Korea.”
    As you point out, that could have unexpected effects. We saw what happened when a previous dominant power – Great Britain, though by no means as overwhelmingly dominant and not at all so at the end – effectively cut and ran after the Second World War. It ended up more of a mess than it started out as.
    Even in an ideal world, a world in which the current style of Great Power politics was universally abandoned, the sudden withdrawal of the US would cause instability and chaos. The disengagement would have to be gradual.
    But there is no such ideal world as that and there will not be. Therefore the sudden withdrawal of the US would leave a power vacuum that others would fill.
    What others? Imagine a Russia in which Putin was no longer around and the hawks, with plenty of stored up grievances, were in power. The Russians have their neocons too and if they came out on top we’d be worse off than now.
    The European elites wish to see Europe as a world power. Unrealistic, perhaps, but say that entity did become a dominant force. They complain about the lack of democratic control in the States, but that’s nothing to the lack of democratic control in Europe. And we’ve already seen what the Europeans, including us, are capable of when it comes to predatory foreign intervention. Give the Europeans enough things that go bang and we could be yearning for the good old days.
    I’m one of those that still hope that the non-interventionist policy that was voted for in America in 2016 will be carried through. But if that is indeed Trump’s intention then there is more in his way than local political or administrative difficulties. To engineer such a transition would require great care. It’s no good if the US just steps back and worse comes forward to take its place.
    It’s not overly idealistic, or even that unrealistic, to hope for a world in which defence forces (AND defensive alliances) are used for the proper purpose of defence and not for expensive and destructive enterprises dreamed up by some bubble elite. That’s part of what Trump 2016 was about. But getting to such a world would require a considerably more careful transition than we’ve seen in similar circumstances in the past.

  33. b says:

    Love this tweet by Elijah Magnier:

    Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai
    Syria, a battlefield for two superpower countries:
    #Russia is offering an “Olive Branch” to the #USA is #Syria. What would be the next step?

    “Olive Branch” is the name of the Turkish operation in Afrin.
    The U.S. rejected to help the Kurds in Afrin. The Kurds in the east will note that. The CentCom/Tillerson strategy announced last week is dead in the water.

  34. turcopolier says:

    “The CentCom/Tillerson strategy announced last week is dead in the water.” Yes. I believe I said that last week. pl

  35. Degringolade says:

    I found this article to be quite interesting. Got the link from my Brother-in-law who got it from someone else.
    19 days of training for $174.00 seems like a pretty sweet sign up bonus to me. Uniforms look pretty snazzy.

  36. pl and all,
    I’ll keep up with this developing situation as best I can. I think the next step is to see how the Turks, their FSA proxies and the Afrin Kurds fair after trading a series of face punches. There are so many unknowns that I’m sure it will be a while before we get a clear picture. I remain convinced that there is no bloodless way out of it.

  37. Babak Makkinejad says:

    US withdrawal needs to be predicated on Yalta 2.0. Which is not in the cards as Chinese are busy eliminating their strategic vulnerabilities to both Russia and USA. A Yalta 2.0, in 1993, could have frozen the strategic situation to the West’s advantage, but the Olympians thought otherwise.

  38. Terry says:

    Erdogan has said Manbij is next but US troops are still there and have in the past exchanged fire with the Turkish backed rebels. So many questions – How tough a nut will Afrin be for the Turks? (doomed without air support) Will Syria carry through on threats to attack the Turks in the air? (no way). Will the US withdraw from Manbij? If US troops stay and this turns into a pissing contest it could get real interesting.
    Turkey is effectively blocked to the North, East, and West. The stans project isn’t ripened yet. South is the opportunity. As the SAA starts to roll west will Erdogan support elements in western Idlib? I think it is possible he might take a bite out of the western edges of Idlib, particularly Jisr al-Shughour.
    On another note did anyone watch Dirilis: Ertugrul (Resurrection:Ertugrul) on Netflix? Besides being great entertainment it was wildly popular in Turkey and I believe popular media offers insight.

  39. JohnB says:

    TTG – Sadly I have to concur.
    Once the news of the so called SDF “Border Forces” emerged, Turkey had to move into Afrin.

  40. JohnB says:

    EO – I agree Trump did campaign on a non-interventionist policy but I think he has realized that the battle he would have to fight to get such a policy isn’t one he is prepared to undertake in this term.
    You’re right that the US can’t just step back suddenly but it can make sure it doesn’t entangle itself further and that’s the outcome of Trumps policy.

  41. jld says:

    What the heck is “D.C.”?
    (Acronymania is a plague to all Americans…)

  42. jld,
    D.C. is short for Washington, District of Columbia.

  43. Huckleberry says:

    George Kennan was right about our interests in 1947 and he is right now, may he RIP.
    Turkey should be ejected from NATO and our military should be re-assigned to liberate Ottawa, London, Brussels, and Berlin. The comes the clearing of Malmo and the reconquest of Paris.

  44. jld says:

    Thanks, but it is usually used without the dots “DC” so I mistook it for a person name and definitely not Dick Cheney since he isn’t a player anymore.

  45. Degringolade says:

    English Outsider:
    Us low-life enlisted men take a different view of it.
    Ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἥν παρὰ θάμνῳ
    ἔντος ἀμώμητον κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων·
    αὐτὸν δ’ ἔκ μ’ ἐσάωσα· τί μοι μέλει ἀσπὶς ἐκείνη;
    Ἐρρέτω· ἐξαῦτις κτήσομαι οὐ κακίω
    Since this was written 2600 years ago, I think that I can say there is a bit of tradition to this sort of thing.
    Look, Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon have been completely outplayed for the past year or two. Sometimes you just have to get out of the way and take the shame.
    For non-greek (sorry, being trained by the Jesuits scarred me
    One of the Saians now delights in the shield I discarded
    Unwillingly near a bush, for it was perfectly good,
    But at least I got myself safely out. Why should I care for that shield?
    Let it go. Some other time I’ll find another no worse.

  46. SmoothieX12 says:

    US withdrawal needs to be predicated on Yalta 2.0. Which is not in the cards as Chinese are busy eliminating their strategic vulnerabilities to both Russia and USA.
    China cannot completely eliminate strategic vulnerability from the US since she will not match US Navy’s capability to shutdown Indian Ocean SLOCs for a while, if ever. Granted the US still remains a more-or-less cohesive state. I wrote a piece on that on UNZ several day ago. But some kind of the new global arrangement (call it Yalta 2.0) is certainly long overdue. There is another thing here with China, which is military-political reputation and record, but that is a separate matter.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    He did not have to become the Mukhtar of Gulfies, he did not have to escalate in Syria, he could have left JCPOA alone. Those were his choices and his own decisions.

  48. Peter AU says:

    I am interested to see how Armstrong and Korybko’s theories play out here. Trump jumped aboard the neo-con bus in Syria and now with Tillerson’s announcement, looks to have driven it off a cliff.

  49. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are likely correct about China, I was only suggesting that the passage of time would make any settlement more expensive to the Western Fortress, if there ever to be such a thing as a new Peace that supplants that of Yalta 1.0

  50. Bill Herschel says:

    If Turkey occupies “Kurdistan”, will they not be able to play Russia and the U.S. off against each other? Turkey has a very long history of being one of Israel’s strongest allies. They are in NATO. The host a gigantic U.S. airbase. They have expressed again and again a desire to be a member of the European Union. They shot down a Russian fighter at the behest of and with the connivance of the U.S. Putin would have to be some kind of magician to reverse all this history.
    Turkey takes the West, the U.S. takes the East, and Syria has been split up, losing a lot of oil revenue. What am I missing?
    What is more, will Turkey become a launching pad for Islamic terrorists traveling to Russia? That Russia will not permit. Just as in the long run, it will not permit the same in Afghanistan. But does Russia have to do anything about Kurdistan to prevent this?

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In the meantime I expect the Russian Federation to commence offensive operations to roll back NATO. I suspect that world in which 3 strategically invulnerable states would be in perpetual proxy warfare all over this planet is the most likely outcome.

  52. JamesT says:

    English Outsider
    Who are these “Russian neocons”, what do they want, and what would they do if they came to power?

  53. JamesT says:

    I don’t think you need to worry about Ottawa. Because we have only the US as a bordering country we pretty much only have people coming into Canada who we let in. Sweden’s situation is *very* different.

  54. Terry says:

    In case anyone is thinking this was a sudden reaction to the sdf border guard, a look at Turkish cross border operations last fall.
    “Ankara began its cross-border operation with the purported aim of enforcing a de-escalation zone in Idlib, which was agreed upon by Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Kazakh capital of Astana in September. So far, its troops have deployed only in areas separating the opposition and Kurdish forces. The Turks have not moved into front-line areas between rebels and the Syrian regime.” “Erdogan said that although Turkey’s Idlib operation was nearly complete, “the Afrin issue is ahead of us … We can come suddenly at night. We can suddenly hit at night.””
    And the turkification of al-Bab – Turkish signposts, textbooks, certification of schools, etc. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey/in-schools-and-hospitals-turkey-carves-north-syria-role-idUSKBN1CH2A5
    Most likely something similar will happen in Afrin – rebuilding, integration, resettlement of refugees from Syria into the area, creating a stronger Arab demographic on the border grateful for the assistance they received while diluting the Kurds.
    One can sympathize with the difficulties of survival in a difficult region and the rebuilding of al-Bab is humanitarian while serving Turkey’s long term interests.
    After the war, While these regions probably won’t be formally incorporated into Turkey the local councils will rely on Turkey for their independence from Damascus. Perhaps farther out a referendum.

  55. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Two questions:
    1-What are the goals US hopes to achieve through her proxies, the kurds, at this point in the game?
    2-What can the kurds bring to the negotiation table at this point except stopping being obstructionist and getting killed for their troubles?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  56. Tel says:

    I believe that Putin has done the calculations and come to the conclusion that the Kurds are not sufficiently important to worry about. Here’s my reasoning:
    Study Putin’s style and you see he is careful to conserve resources; he gets in, does the job, kicks a few heads and gets out of there again. The Russians are very aware of the mistake they made getting bogged down in Afghanistan which broke the USSR and they will avoid anything that feels similar to a “quagmire” situation.
    Secondly, Russia does not have extensive resources to waste. Suppose the Mayor of New York declared commitment to a decade long campaign in the Middle East supported by New York alone… people would laugh, right? But Russia has a total GDP roughly the same as New York, and Russia has a much bigger domestic border to worry about. Maybe some have forgotten but only a year ago, the situation in Syria was very stretched and they barely had the manpower to keep going.
    Thirdly, Putin has declared Russian operations in Syria are coming to a close, and if he had wanted to negotiate some kind of deal for the Kurds he would have done that sooner. Thus, there will be no Russian action to help any Kurds… Russia’s objectives have been achieved, they will consolidate their position and tidy up a little but they will not allow themselves to get into any expensive bleeding heart causes.

    “The Rojava Kurds will eventually come to realize that their US-organized border protection force is no match for the might of the Turkish military. The Russians are admonishing the Kurds that their decision to put their faith in whatever CENTCOM has planned for them is a poor decision.”

    Quite likely true, but that die is cast already.

    “Once the Kurds realize this and appeal to the R+6 for protection, Moscow will tell Ankara to cease Operation Olive Branch and offer a face saving way for them to do so.”

    I doubt that will happen. Somewhere there’s a map with a border already sketched out, the deal is done and the Turks are just in the process of sorting out their side of the arrangement. That “Olive Branch” was offered by Russia to Turkey, and the Turks accepted. Presumably the deal was that Assad stays and Russian bases will not be interfered with, in return Turkey gets some land and the Kurds will be treated as Erdogan decrees.

    “The borg will not know whether to shit or go blind.”

    Apparently the US strategy has been working along similar lines for some time. The only thing they can consistently do a good job of is spending their way through massive budgets, then demanding bigger budgets. The Russian strategy towards the Kurds is heartless but coldly logical, the US strategy makes no sense whatsoever and could best be described as “Whatever we thought up this week.”
    Let’s see how this “Audit the Pentagon” program plays out.

  57. laguerre says:

    Being a civilian rather than a military man, I don’t have much to contribute. But I do think that interests are being misunderstood.
    Erdogan is obsessed by the Kurds. Beyond rationality, if I understand correctly. Afrin is mountainous, and doesn’t offer a good target. He is unlikely to succeed. However, it offers the advantage of not being protected by the US. If he attacked the real target east of the Euphrates, then the US would resist.
    Syria is in favour of the Kurds, because a future deal to reunite Syria is in the making. Not surprisingly, they’re going to support the Kurds.
    Idlib is dominated by HTS (hai’at Tahrir al-Sham, ex nusra, al-Qa’ida jihadis). They are going to support the Turks (extreme sunnism is the common interest).
    So, Turkey invades and meets resistance. The jihadis go and help Turkey. That leaves Syria a free run in South Idlib. That’s the result I expect.
    Note that neither Russia nor the US has much of a role.

  58. Degringolade,
    I think I’m even lower-life – I really needed that translation. It seems that little Latin and less Greek is no longer a sufficient qualification if one wants to read SST.
    It’s a great translation too, and very much to the point. We’ve had senior officers saying for some time that the British army has been run ragged in recent years. I don’t know if senior American officers are saying the same but there is of course any amount of material on the internet making that point about American forces too.
    TTG’s superb summary makes some much-needed sense of what is happening at present in Northern Syria, but one can scarcely call it an optimistic article – if I’m reading it right it looks as if there is and is going to be a deal more killing there. For the Kurds and anyone else involved it’s once again going to be that clarion call of the West:-
    “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
    Or close the wall up with our proxy dead!”
    So it’s deja vu all over again. More servicemen might get killed, a heap more proxies – or mugs, or allies, or however they choose to regard themselves – and no doubt civilians. I’m not suggesting that all that should carry on as before. What I was hoping to suggest was that although I believe it is imperative that the West gets out of that game, it is equally imperative that in doing so it does not lay the groundwork for further instability and mayhem.

  59. Ishmael Zechariah,
    I don’t know what the US hopes to achieve with the Kurds other than to physically stay in the region. My guess, as others have alluded to, is that we are serving as Israel’s proxy. The Kurds can bring only one thing to the negotiation table. They can throw their allegiance to Damascus rather than Washington. That would bring near all of Syrian territory back under Syrian control and transform the R+6 into the R+7.

  60. Barbara Ann says:

    Excellent piece TTG, thanks.
    Reading the editorials in pro-AKP press after the start of the Afrin offensive, I agree with @J’s view that “Turkey is on a hardon with D.C.”. I think Turkey will use Afrin as a test bed. If they have a quick success they’ll move on Manbij and then east of the Euphrates. They want to US out, big time. This, for example:

    The US will not be able to hold on in this region
    The Euphrates Shield already divided the [terror] corridor into two. Its gate to the Mediterranean through Afrin and Manbij will be closed. But the real fight is going to take place in the east of the Euphrates. Because the foreign map in the east of the Euphrates through terror organizations, the project to form an intervention garrison in the entire region is serious.
    Because there is going to be systematic efforts aimed at dividing four countries in this region. But the close stance of the region’s countries is going to remove the U.S. from this corridor. You will see; if this stance, this tendency, this determination continues, the U.S. will never be able to hold on in Syria. It will have to gradually leave the region.

    Putin may be playing him, but Erdogan holds a lot of cards. What would the US do if he did attack in ‘SDF’ areas where US forces are – shoot back, really? And if Turkey escalates? @IZ says Turks are behind Erdogan as they see the war as a matter of national security. Very many also now see the US as the enemy after July 15th and the whole FETÖ thing. But the US is in Syria to fight Daesh & now to ‘counter Iran’. There will be zero support in Congress or anywhere else for military action against a NATO ally, especially in the run up to the midterms. Erdogan must know this and is seizing his chance.

  61. I agree with Kooshy’s assessment at post 30 – that Russia and Iran are the beneficiaries of this move by Turkey.
    However, I might suggest that this is true only if Turkey doesn’t grab so much Syrian territory as to seriously split Syria, and only if the US is forced to leave Syria (which I believe the US will resist seriously.)
    I would assume that if Russia and Iran agreed with Turkey taking on the Kurds that they got some concession from Turkey not to overreach. But can Erdogan be trusted to keep his word if somehow things go well for the Turkish invasion?
    I don’t think either Russia or Iran wants Syria to be de facto split, especially if the oil is in other country’s hands.
    The question is what can they do if that happens. Iran has no leverage against either Turkey or the US. Russia has some leverage with Turkey, but it’s unclear if it will be enough if Erdogan goes off agreement.
    There are also other parties involved. If Israel, for instance, attacks Hizballah in Lebanon again – possibly with US support – that war could extend into Syria quite easily and then turn into a major conflict between Israel and Syria – with the US on Israel’s side. That would upend the apple cart rather badly for Russia and Iran, necessitating a response from them.
    I think the best we can hope for is that Turkey bloodies the Kurds, driving them back into some sort of agreement with Assad, and that Turkey then leaves, followed by the US once the Kurds reject the US (which will be a condition by Assad for rejoining Syria.) Anything other than that outcome looks dangerous.

  62. Oh, and speaking of Trump’s handling of things, this article by John Glaser hits the nail on the head.
    The Myth of Trump’s ‘Global Retreat’
    Trump hasn’t forfeited America’s global leadership. On the world stage, his is a new flavor of the same dish. America is still playing the futile role of global cop, still reigns as the only superpower with a globe-straddling military presence and is still picking fights in distant regions remote to US national-security interests. The fact that it is Donald Trump at the helm of all this is fooling observers into thinking more has changed than actually has.
    End Quote

  63. Cortes says:

    I saw the following comment on b’s article about the Turkish intervention in Afrin and wonder whether it is totally outrageous…
    “I don’t believe for a second Turkey will be allowed to keep any control over Syrian territory. If Erdogan wants to enlarge Turkey at Syia’s expense, Iran, Syria and Russia might well tell him that, next time he comes under the fire of his Gulenist US “allies”, they’ll sit back and enjoy the show.
    What I think is, who could go and openly confront officially US-backed forces in Syria without risking a world war? Not Iran, not Russia, and not Syria who would have been accused of “bombing its own population”.
    Which left only Turkey. Whom the US has to handle with kid gloves, because, you know, Incirlik (to quote the former US Colonel Patrick Lang, “If the Turks close Incirlik to the US, we’re out of business in the ME”) and NATO.
    If I am right and Turkey has been sent on purpose after talks and agreements between the parties whose common main problem is the illegal US presence, it is a genius stroke.
    Posted by: Lea | Jan 21, 2018 8:51:16 AM | 6”

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Not likely, as Turks do not wish to have any Arabs in their country and Arabs will never ever again consent to be ruled by Turks. And then there is the issue of Logistics necessary for such an effort, which Turkey lacks.

  65. kooshy says:

    May be the best thing about Turkey ( up to few years back a model muslim country for US and EU) attacking some of west’ proxies (Kurds) is, hopefully we will not hear cries of barrel bombs and chemical attack from our acting oscar winners the white helmets.

  66. kooshy says:

    And i don’t think Turks would want to have more Kurdish territory either, especially one that is not their own, knowing they already have hard time managing their own kurds and territory.

  67. kooshy says:

    Actually, both Russians and Iranians have a huge leverage on Turks it’s called Gas, most of Turkey’ gas is supplied by Russia and Iran.

  68. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    I cannot speak on what tayyip and his cadres are dreaming, but the secular nationalists in TSK are trying to put paid to the izziie dream of having a zionist controlled “kurdistan-with-Med-access”. We believe that our vision is shared by Iran and Russia. In the opinion of many retired commanders Turkey should not keep any Syrian territory, but should insist that our Turkmen (Shiite or Sunni) have equivalent autonomy as the Kurds, if that comes to pass.
    No matter what happens, being a Kurd in the Middle East will not be that easy going forward. Everyone remembers every slight since the beginning of time.

  69. JohnB says:

    I was Jesuit educated too. I think i surived

  70. JohnB and Degringolade,
    I also benefitted from a Jesuit education. Amongst other subjects, I enjoyed four years each of English, Latin, Spanish and theology. I started programming in FORTRAN on the nearby Jesuit University and reveled in a one month course in piloting and seamanship on Long Island Sound with Brother Quegan. All this while wearing a tie and jacket every day… except when on the Sound with Brother Quegan. AMDG and DOL

  71. kooshy says:

    “I started programming in FORTRAN” can never forget the punch cards, and punch machines in KU

  72. kooshy,
    My high school experience with FORTRAN was on a dumb CRT terminal with eerie green characters on a black screen. This was on a liberal arts college campus in 1970. My technological university (RPI) was all punchcards through at least 1976.

  73. Alaric says:

    I wonder if the Kurdish population will now reject or even try to replace its leadership.
    No one elected the YPG’ leaders but they were supported because “they” engineered the defense of Kurdish territories – obviously with ample foreign help. The secession ambitions and partnership with the US now do the opposite. They threaten the safety of Kurds who are now being attacked by a much stronger power than ISIS and who have no allies who can help them – the US will do nothing against the Turks.
    Will some Kurd groups defect from the YPG/SDF and join with the Syrian gov? Will they boot YPG leadership ( violently). Perhaps regime change and a Kurdish spring against their own leaders is in the offing.
    In the end only the Syrian gov will or can protect the Kurds from Turkey. The US cannot or at least it will not do so against Turkey.

  74. Phodges says:

    Do refer to Oceana, East Asia, and West Asia?
    Seems that has been the plan all along.

  75. Babak Makkinejad says:

    One would hope that Kurds would remember the care and generosity of their fellow countrymen as aide, in cash and in kind, poured in from all over Iran. And that, further, government help did not discriminate against Shia and Sunni and Ahl Haq. And that the highest state authority personally visited several stricken villages, spoke with the villagers, which included an Ahl al Haq one.

  76. Bandolero says:

    I was puzzled when I learned that the Syrian Kurds rejected to have the SAA in their region to help them protect against a Turkish invasion. I couldn’t find out what their idea was what was to follow. But now, thanks to Al Monitor and Amberin Zaman I maybe have a clue on the “thinking” by Syrian Kurds, so I want to share that here. Quote begin:
    Mohamad, currently in Washington with fellow Syrian Kurdish representative Nobahar Mustafa, said the Syrian Kurdish people expected the United States to declare a no-fly zone over the Kurdish-controlled north, “including Afrin.” Mustafa, who was present at the interview, concurred that Afrin “presents a very real and immediate test of US commitment to their Kurdish partners.” The United States “must and can stop Turkey,” Mustafa said. She said the Turkish offensive was only helping the regime, Iran and IS, asking, “Aren’t they supposed to be America’s enemies?”
    Quote end. Source: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/01/turkey-syria-afrin-manbij-ypg-krg-nato.html
    When I read this it made me really speechless. Could the Syrian Kurds really “expect” – no less – a US no-fly-zone in Syria against Turkey, set up by US jets depending on Turkish bases and permits? I am still puzzled, even more than before I read that.

  77. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I am not, Arabs are evidently not the only ones in desperate need of some “brains”; where is the Golden Road to Oz?
    What you described was not “thinking”, it was peasant cunning trying to manipulate the faranji.

  78. kooshy says:

    My first Fortran program in KU back in spring of 73 was like 10-12 lines long i turned in at window over 100 punched cards in 2 bundles tied together by rubber bands, i was a freshman and new to typing it took me couple days to punch all the cards.

  79. confusedponderer says:

    Don’t blame the Kurds, but they have not been smart about it. Instead of being sneaky devils, they’ve been using the right-up-in-your-face approach, and it hasn’t worked, and it’s not going to, because they are just too little and too weak to use that approach.
    About ‘not being smart’, there was a case in Düren some months ago when a city officer gave a ticket to a wrong parking car owned by a Kurd, and then another ticket since the car was not moved to another place where it was actually allowed to park.
    The owner and two kids of him came out to harrass and threaten the city officer who called the cops. They sent some, what, 17 or so cops for the thing to settle down, and were greeted by some 60 or so relatives and friends of the incorrigible false parker (hey, the car was on a street, and a street is where cars belongs!) and a rogue street fight erupted, where some of the Kurds and some of the cops were hurt. Alas. The car owner and some of his defenders (it was not about law and parking but about … honour) were beat up to quietness and arrested. Well deserved I think, and not funny.
    It became funny when last week or so they had their trial and were all found guilty of various violent crimes against the cops and the city officer.
    The funny part was that a defendress of one of the rogues asserted that the appearance of the cops to enforce the rule of law was ‘very seriously provocating’ and the judge responded rather directly and openly by asking her if she was serious and telling her to stop telling BS.
    That was a case of ‘not sneaky devils’ being defended by a clearly ‘non smart idiot’.

  80. JamesT says:

    kooshy & TTG
    There is something about FORTRAN that elicits nostalgia. I was coding FORTRAN on punch cards in high school in 1982, and both of my parents used FORTRAN when they were in University. The language has an undeniable elegance.

  81. LeaNder says:

    Thank you, Rsh, good commentary by John Glaser. Closer to how this Trump skeptic (versus Trump-hater) sees it, never mind the admiringly spun theories.

  82. LeaNder says:

    AMDG and DOL
    That must be hymns, seems your soul sings if it is about seamanship.
    I happened to respect the Jesuits I met. Even if I struggled with some. Their academy here in Cologne is a great institution. Obviously theology is at the center but a quite wide larger culture studies frame around it.

  83. Adrestia says:

    The Gulen-Erdogan-PKK/Dev Sol conflicts are being fought here too. There is a tendency that each group starts living near each other. Conflict areas are often common areas such as local politics and community houses.
    A lot of Kurds don’t bother with all this. Instead they tend to control drugs (heroin and cannabis) and prostitution.

  84. LeaNder says:

    confusedponder, you exaggerate slightly. No?
    But no doubt a huge amount of cops were necessary, and the aggression went far beyond what could be expected considering circumstances. But only a father and his three sons were apparently necessary to wound ten police men, one of which more severely attacked with a car tool. No were in sight is your 60 men strong tribal support group.
    Aachner Nachrichten (German), that’s close enough, check related articles, another case of aggression against two days later close by. Jülich. Are you mixing these two cases up?:
    But yes it seems to be be getting more difficult lately to dodge heated exchanges. On both sides really. But this is not the typical example. Part of a more general trend? Increase of force against officers, firemen, paramedics? Yes, seems pretty extreme in this case.
    Different example. Apparently others feel critique of Erdogan is forbidden.
    Assassination attempt on Deniz Naki, soccer player and critic of Tayyip. Spiegel (German):
    Here via NAV-DEM (Turkish, Kurdish German), Left wing Öcalan fraction, watched by the “Guardians of our Constitution” (BfV):

  85. “Who are these “Russian neocons”, what do they want, and what would they do if they came to power?”
    OK. I’ll brave the Russian experts on SST – of whom there are many – and tell you what I got out of it when I first read Dugin.
    I’d expected that dreamy Russian mysticism, all civilisational mission and traditional values and the organic state – you know the sort of stuff. I’d got some way when I suddenly realised, like hell, the bastard’s doing a Brzezinski on me. And he was – same terms, same way of thinking, very poor stuff. Just dressed up differently.
    They say he’s pals with Putin. If so I hope Putin takes a long spoon along when they meet. It’s a world away from Valdai 2014 or that great UN speech – “Do you even now not understand what you have done?”. In my book, and again I defer to the Russian experts here who’ll have an accurate feel for it all, in my book Dugin is not good news.
    Is he part of a significant current in Russian politics? If we are to judge from the blogs and the PR, very much so. But in reality? Is it all a nice simplistic Atlanticists versus the Siloviki scenario or is there a strong current of Russian ultra-nationalism – and by now seriously aggrieved and resentful Russian ultra-nationalism – flowing in the background?
    I’ve never been there and don’t know the language. In the early years after the Ukrainian coup I spent time on Russian sites with the ever not that helpful Google translate. I believe from what I read that there is such a current. If I’m wrong, tell me.
    I think you’re right, though, if you are questioning the use of the word “neocon” in this context. When we use that word we think only of the American neocon and that’s a breed very much sui generis. City on a Hill that’s got itself mixed up with the Rapture and all brought to us by cradle Russophobes from the various Eastern European diasporas. It’s a stretch to use the same term for Russian ultra-nationalists, I agree, but if those ultra-nationalists ever did come out on top we’d see much the same results. Almost certainly worse.
    But if this bloke – from around 5.30 below – means what he says and could get together with an unencumbered Trump then there’s no reason why those gloomy fantasies shouldn’t fall away and, as Babak above hints, we might find ourselves living in a world in which we are not at the mercy of predatory elites, and nor are those whose lives we are presently destroying.

  86. aleksandar says:

    ” Sanitize Afrin” ? Afrin is in Syria. Remenber ? And so far , represent no danger for the Turcs. This border force ie in not present in Afrin.
    Don’t try to cover your expansionism with self protection rags.

  87. SmoothieX12 says:

    I got out of it when I first read Dugin.
    Once this name is mentioned, any serious discussion on Russian matters should stop, since it loses any serious intellectual depth and is detached from Russian realities completely.

  88. Barbara Ann says:

    Cortes (#64)
    Audacious would be the word I’d use to describe the strategy described. Turkey is indeed in a unique position to send the US packing in Syria through the use of military force. If this scenario does play out it will be a tipping point for US influence in the region, no doubt of that.

  89. LeaNder says:

    Sorry cp, not enough attention. 😉
    Yes, I took a while, but I do get more easily irritable too. The “old cp” was easy to irritate in that context. If it helps.
    Here is the correct link to the event, see for yourself, that in whatever variation was on your mind. In the Aachener Nachrichten:
    Now what’s this exactly? A trap or an overreaction? Immediately alarming the police, and then manage to run away and let the policemen take care of matters? Curious scenario.

  90. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Same as in the US. Hardhanded ex-KGB/military leader turned billionares who have hammer and would be on the run to find nails.
    They would try to reinstitute strong russian control on all ex-soviet territory probably incl east germany and stuff.

  91. Bill Herschel says:

    I amend my view above.
    If one reads this surprisingly evenhanded account in the NYTimes, one has a hard time distinguishing between Russia’s intervention in Syria and Turkey’s intervention in Syria. In each case, the intervening party’s stated concern was terrorism within its own borders.
    Further, Erdogan is reported to say, ““The real issue here is to deliver Afrin to its real owners,” Mr. Erdogan said. He said that “we have 3.5 million Syrians in our lands” and that Turkey wanted “to send our Syrian brothers back to their own land as soon as possible.””
    And, of course, the U.S. is cautioning Turkey, i.e. has absolutely no response or goal it can achieve.
    So, I would say, Putin, far from “playing” Turkey, has formed an alliance with Turkey. Putin is very sympathetic to Erdogan’s desire to eliminate terrorism within his borders. And if you are going to have a surrogate in the ME, Turkey is not a bad choice. This is all catastrophic news for U.S./Israel/Saudi Arabia.
    Does it all increase the risk of war on the Korean peninsula? Trump is unstable/unpredictable/unreliable. Among his Generals are war-mongers. They’re losing everywhere else. Why not nuke NK? I’m a lot less optimistic about Korea than I was. Absolutely nothing is going to happen in the ME that holds a candle to what could happen in Korea.

  92. SmoothieX12 says:

    incl east germany and stuff.
    It’s time for me to start making bets. Good bourbon will suffice for starters, I’ll take care of cigars myself. This is, sorry, nothing personal–a complete lunacy. Russia is not interested in control of East Germany and “stuff”. Russia’s and Russians’ interests are not Soviet interests, in fact–they differ dramatically, the message which NATO didn’t get, or, rather, deliberately ignored. There is no Soviet Union 2.0 in the making for a number of gigantic, colossal, massive or gynormous cultural reasons. Former USSR interests Russia mostly as markets–yes, the places where Russia’s goods will sell. Hardly a Soviet idea, when it was Moscow which fed those, for the most part.

  93. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Re-institute strong Russian control on all ex-soviet territory” ?
    I am rather doubtful, the Central Asian Republics, the 3 Baltic States, Georgia, and Armenia were net drain on the Slavic parts of USSR; their standards of living were subsidized.
    Furthermore, Russia lacks a credible universalist principle for such a task; neither the Tsar nor the Red Tsar are any longer around to supply that sort of legitimacy.

  94. different clue says:

    ( reply to comment 88),
    When I read a little Dugin, I got the feeling he has a shallow frivolous mind devoted to mystical ethnic paranoia. But does Russia contain so few mystical Eurasionists that Dugin thinking will not take hold and matter? Will the Duginists always mill around on the edges of relevance along with the Zhirinovskyans and such?

  95. robt willmann says:

    Meanwhile, next door, vice president Mike Pence today gave a speech to the Israeli Knesset in which he said, according to the Associated Press, that the president of the U.S. would no longer “certify” that the Iran nuclear agreement is in compliance and that the U.S. would move its embassy to Jerusalem by the end of 2019–

  96. Degringolade says:

    I always remember bringing my cards in a shoe box. I was afraid of folding, spindling, or mutilating with the rubber band and didn’t wan’t to annoy the computer gods. I think my program was in the 100-150 card range (I wasn’t very big on “elegance” in my programming).

  97. Clueless Joe says:

    Dugin has as much influence over Putin as Bannon has over Trump right now. A useful tool.
    Of course, when Putin will be out of the equation, things might change, and one can assume his successor won’t be as efficient and clever, though possibly more ruthless. Let’s hope the future of Russian leadership will be closer to the way Chinese leadership works than to how it is under Putin and was under previous Russian/Soviet rulers, for stability’s sake.
    As for the US embassy move to Jerusalem, I wonder where they’re going to put it. Most good high-value estates are already taken, and considering the expected size of that thing (and security perimeter, which should be bigger than in Tel Aviv), that leaves mostly the outskirts; and they’ll lose the view and access to Mediterranean beachfront. Unless they decide to settle in Old City or some other part of East Jerusalem that Bibi will conveniently cleanse for Trump.

  98. Sid Finster says:

    That’s the problem. Or, God forbid, the invasion goes too easily for the Turks.
    Good luck getting them to leave.
    And that would be just fine for the Borg. It is obvious that their real goal is to weaken Syria on the way to Iran.
    Whether ISIS, the Moderate jihadi Unicorn Army, Al Queda, the Kurds or the Turks do the dirty work is of little consequence in McLean.

  99. Sid Finster says:

    For eight years, we were treated to the unedifying spectacle of watching Obama groupies make excuse after excuse for the man. Eight years came and went, and “The Real Obama(tm)” never did show up. All we got was a marginally more articulate version of W.
    Now we get to watch Trump supporters do the same. There is no grand strategy, no eleven dimensional chess. Just a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless and hubristic version of the W Administration.

  100. Sid Finster says:

    AFAIK, Dugin and Putin have never met.
    Dugin has no power base in the administration, not much other than a handful of (rather fanatic) supporters. Like a Slavic Lyndon LaRouche.

  101. Sid Finster says:

    Dugin is a Russian Lyndon LaRouche, and has almost as much influence in Russia as LaRouche has in the United States.
    The reason he is noted at all in Western circles is because they are always on the lookout for some evil that can befall Russia.

  102. Kooshy says:

    Yes, I remember in early 90s watching Gorbachev on c-sapan giving a speach to, I think NPC in DC, he said we/USSR came to understand there was no strategic need or gain to keep spending Russian resources to suport various USSR’ satellite republics and Eastern European allies, this was in reply to a question that was asked if Regan’ arm race broke the SU. It made sense and still does , guess what, we are doing the same thing, I thought Trump the business man can stop that

  103. Sid Finster says:

    Sorry if I sound like a broken record, but a good analogy would be a Russian Lyndon LaRouche, only with less influence and a smaller following.

  104. Sid Finster says:

    To amplify my previous comment: How many times have the Americans sold out the Kurds? Why would this time be any different?

  105. JamesT says:

    English Outsider
    I very much appreciate your reply. I couldn’t think of a Russian player I would have pegged as ‘neocon’, but I have not read Dugin. I will check him out. Thanks again.

  106. All,
    Re Dugin:
    There has never been an iota of evidence presented that Dugin has any influence on Putin whatsoever.
    Actually, I would recommend to anyone interested an interview with Dugin by Paul Robinson – sometime British Army Intelligence officer, now a professor in Ottawa – posted on the latter’s invaluable ‘Irrussianality’ blog last September.
    (See https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/interview-with-alexander-dugin/ .)
    When Robinson put to him the very different views of his influence, or lack of it, Dugin responded:
    ‘Those who think that I stand on the periphery of power are correct. I have no influence. I don’t know anybody, have never seen anyone, I just write my books, and am a Russian thinker, nothing more. I write books, somebody reads them.’
    To my surprise, having been very sceptical indeed about Dugin, he said something to Robinson which exactly corresponds to my own experience:
    ‘I think that the West is becoming stupid in front of our eyes. It can’t even deal with itself, can’t describe itself correctly, and its attempts to describe others are even more comic. Western people weren’t always like that. I have researched very carefully when it was that the mental collapse of Western society began. Europe and the West weren’t always as idiotic as they are now. This idiocy grew very gradually in the 70s, and the 1980s were the turning point.’
    I might quibble about the precise chronology, but the basic argument seems to me rather hard to dispute.

  107. SmoothieX12 says:

    When I read a little Dugin, I got the feeling he has a shallow frivolous mind devoted to mystical ethnic paranoia.
    You got him right, that is exactly who he is. I doubt he is Russian either, but that is beyond the point.
    Will the Duginists always mill around on the edges of relevance along with the Zhirinovskyans and such?
    Yes, fringe political forces. Per Eurasianism, Putin explicitly “ended” this utopian BS in his address to young people at Valdai in October 2017.
    Pretty much speaks for itself. Russian root is White Christian, essentially, European–otherwise there is no modern Russia.

  108. Kooshy says:

    Yes, in my experience, this is how historically Iranians think of Russians, as a white, Christian European country

  109. JJackson says:

    Are the SDF Kurds able to to leave their East of the Euphrates positions to aid their Afrin brothers if they feel their heartland threatened? If they did could the US stop them taking their weapons with them and what would that do the the US/SDF control over the east bank and beyond? It seems the Americans are playing a dangerous game relying on the Kurds to guard Sunni tribal areas – for whom they have little natural attachment – while Turkey carves up what they would view as Kurdish territory. Do the SDF Kurds have that strong allegiance to their US masters?

  110. outthere says:

    I too took a course in Fortran at a brand spanking new IBM center on campus, no college credit given toward my degree in engineering, nothing to do with authorized curriculum.
    And my grand daughter went to a Jesuit college. And my grandson is named Xavier. But none of my surviving family was ever catholic.
    Meanwhile, there is a great interview with John Mearshimer and “Andy” Bacevich – they discuss Trump’s policies and actions in his first year – here:

  111. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree.
    In my experience, many feeble-minded Iranians liked Obama – am not sure why.
    In regards to Trump, at times it is best to have the common people have their day and see for themselves that the failures of their cherished prejudices.
    People learn by mistake and not through instruction by philosophers.
    I wonder sometimes where all those enthusiastic Red Guards have gone.

  112. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And Iran’s roots are Shia Islam, otherwise there would be no Modern Iran.

  113. blue peacock says:

    David Habakkuk

    I have researched very carefully when it was that the mental collapse of Western society began. Europe and the West weren’t always as idiotic as they are now. This idiocy grew very gradually in the 70s, and the 1980s were the turning point.

    I wonder what are the various explanations for why this mental collapse into idiocy in the west?
    The 70s and the big turning point in the 80s is something that you see in US capital market and financial charts. This huge growth in debt since then across all segments both private and public. Maybe that is a consequence of this growing idiocy.

  114. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Iranians clealry need to go back to school and learn about the Makkinejad Thesis, Diocletian Line and the Mongol Invasion & Occupation of Russia.
    Both Iran and Russia emerged from the wreckage of Mongols – roughly about the same time – and proceeded to adopt a state religion – a la Eastern Roman Empire & Sassanian Empire – as well as claiming the inheritance of dead civilizations of Byzantium and Persia.
    They are strategically isolated and have had a difficult relationship with the Western Diocletian Civilization – both at political as well as cultural levels.

  115. blue peacock says:

    Just a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless and hubristic version of the W Administration.

    Really? At least Trump has yet to invade another country, unlike Bill, W and Barack.
    I believe Col. Lang’s analysis provides the best explanation. Trump’s lack of curiosity, interest, or knowledge of policy details which leads to his management style.
    He probably genuinely believes he’s had a great first year. Unemployment low. Corporate taxes especially for small businesses lowered. Regulatory burdens on business lowered. Consumer confidence high. Holiday season retail sales up. Getting out of TPP. Re-evaluating trade deals. Re-evaluating immigration by possibly ending chain migration. All this under a backdrop of unprecedented attacks on him by the media, including a conspiracy by the previous administration to use the powers and tools of law enforcement and the IC to create a narrative to delegitimize his electoral victory and presidency.

  116. Gilbert Doctorow makes the case that the next move of the US is into Ukraine big time…
    The Coming (Big) War in Ukraine
    “Now that the United States has been again and still more decisively humiliated in Syria by the nearly complete military victory of Assad forces with substantial Russian air assistance, the Deep State once again is looking to Ukraine to wreak its vengeance on Russia.”
    Apparently Ukraine has passed a law explicitly stating that Donbass is “Russian-occupied territory” and that the Ukraine military has to take it back by directly attacking the Russian military.
    I’ve said for some time that Russia needs to invade Ukraine, wipe out the neo-Nazi battalions, execute the oligarchs, install a puppet regime – then go home immediately. NATO and the US will scream bloody murder, but there’s nothing they could do about it since the “war” would be over in 72 hours. It might hurt Russia’s geopolitical image a bit, but it would quiet down Ukraine for the next few years and eliminate it as a flash point for a while.
    Speaking of Fortran – and Basic – and RPG – on punch cards and Teletype terminals in the ’70’s – been there, done that.

  117. Yeah, Right says:

    “Could the Syrian Kurds really “expect” – no less – a US no-fly-zone in Syria against Turkey, set up by US jets depending on Turkish bases and permits?”
    Well, in all fairness that would be the easiest “no-fly-zone” of all time to set up.
    All the USAF would have to do is to taxi some Hercules transports onto the runway at Incerlik and then refuse to take off.
    End result: no-one can fly out of Incerlik, which means a no-fly-zone over Afrin.
    Mattis, are you listening?

  118. Kooshy says:

    IMO the entire Iranian civilization’ experience and culture is based on 2 major historic events of two personalities, Imam Housain and Cyrus the great, this 2 personalities like mom and dad come to Crete Iran’ shared national mentality written in what’s called Iranian birth certificate or Shahnameh, I think these are the main sources of Iranians nationality.

  119. outthere says:

    Thanks for the Dugin interview link. It is brilliant.
    Here’s more of it:
    What does Putin say? I think that even he doesn’t understand what he’s saying because now he’s a liberal, now a conservative; now he’s for sovereignty, now for globalism, and now against globalism.
    PR: In the West, they say that he has become a conservative, even a nationalist, even an ultranationalist. What do you think? Is he a conservative or a liberal, or a statist?
    AD: I think that the West is becoming stupid in front of our eyes. It can’t even deal with itself, can’t describe itself correctly, and its attempts to describe others are even more comic. Western people weren’t always like that. I have researched very carefully when it was that the mental collapse of Western society began. Europe and the West weren’t always as idiotic as they are now. This idiocy grew very gradually in the 70s, and the 1980s were the turning point. When we read scientific literature written in the 70s, liberal, left, and right, we’re immersed in a world of openly honest people. They can be mistaken, say untrue things, but they are all genuinely dedicated to the logos. And then there’s some kind of frontier, when they all started to lie, which in my opinion is connected to a shift of liberals to the left. Suddenly, Western society began to become very stupid; it became narrower and narrower. Formally it continued along the same lines as before, but something had changed. It’s the same thing with rock music. My friends who are specialists tell me that you can listen to a certain band up to 1975, but after that you can’t, and it’s the case with all of them. It’s what Jung called ‘abaissement de niveau mental’, a lowering of the mental state. The decline of Europe about which Spengler wrote took place in the 1980s in the consciousness of Western people. Westerners were open, free, liberal; they allowed many points of view; they were critical; they listened to one another. And suddenly, this all changed. One has the impression that the spirit of totalitarianism and stupidity transferred from us to you. We had a totalitarian ideology, the Germans were fascist. And now, liberal ideology turned into a totalitarian one. Political correctness – the idea that one can’t call things by their proper names – has created a situation in which the things Westerners say have been deprived of any meaning. Westerners’ evaluations have ceased to correspond to any rational procedures. We experienced this in the 30s, when people were accused of just about anything, without giving them any right to speak, and on this basis, sentence was pronounced. This is how the American education system now works. If you don’t say that Putin is a tyrant, a murderer of children, a cannibal, then you won’t defend your dissertation, your book won’t be released, your report won’t be published. What happened here in 1937 is happening nowadays with you.
    What people are saying about Putin is so biased. It’s so connected to the psychoanalytical complexes which have been let loose in Western culture that I have problems speaking about it. Individually, you are all wonderful people; but when it comes to publications, universities, news, mass media, all that stops. It becomes impossible to explain anything. It wasn’t like this even during the Cold War, when any arguments were all the same considered. The war continued in every direction. Now one has the impression that a new spirit has appeared in the West in the epoch of globalization. It won’t tolerate any objection or contradiction. It demonizes everything and everybody with its clichés: ultranationalist, nationalist, fascist, extremist, gender-incorrect, refusing to recognize homosexual marriages.
    Conservatism exists only so that it can be overcome. Those who fought with racism have become the most extreme racists. Conservatives in the current situation are objects of this liberal racism. There are conservatives who have a non-liberal point of view. For now they still have the right to speak, but this is considered very dangerous for society, and so they must be isolated lest they gain power with unpredictable consequences, and so it’s better to destroy them in their mothers’ wombs. This liberal approach is pejorative, racist. It speaks of conservatives as if they don’t have a right to exist. Washington and Brussels nowadays are classic examples of the 1937 NKVD-ist.
    I still sincerely believe that there are people in the West who are capable of dealing with this, who understand something, but they are few. I have an acquaintance in Canada who recently told me that he had written a dissertation and they told him that if he doesn’t criticize Dugin as a fascist, as a Nazi, a murderer, a terrorist, then he has no chance of defending it and finding a job, never, not here and not in a Canadian university. My acquaintance said, ‘I’ve read Dugin and there’s nothing like that in his books. I haven’t found anything like that; it’s a much more complex system; it can be seen as something special, exotic, but not at all like that.’ So, the people who try to accuse Putin of totalitarianism and conservatism are far more intolerant, and cruel, exclusivist and racist than he.
    I recently read something about myself in Newsweek, in which it was said that Dugin is a supporter of the fourth political theory. That’s true. But, the fourth political theory rejects liberalism, communism, and fascism. They write further: ‘He’s a fascist.’ But how can one simultaneously reject the third political theory and be a fascist! From my point of view, it’s impossible! But that doesn’t stop the authors of this article. It’s the logic of double standards. It permeates the entire attitude towards Russia. If I say that there’s no proof that Russian hackers lay behind Trump’s election, then I’m a fascist. It’s very difficult to carry out a fundamental scientific dialogue because one of the sides is irresponsible. For a long time, it was we who were irresponsible. For a long time. I agree with that. But now we look at you, at the West, and we see only complete madness, because if we were take what you in the West propose in terms of criteria for democratization, freedom, and development, we would go completely out of our minds.
    Therefore, the terms applied to Putin – conservative, nationalist, ultranationalist – are so senseless, particularly on the lips of a Westerner who is simply looking for proof of guilt. A conversation with a Westerner immediately creates the feeling that you are justifying yourself, you’re hiding something, even if it isn’t something you actually did. This is absolutely unbridled racism. The Westerner never allows himself to think that in principle he might be wrong, and that, for instance, the African, the Russian, the Muslim, the Japanese, the Chinese, or the communist might be cleverer or more right than he. So where are we? We are in a racist model, which is becoming more and more intolerant. This is in spite of Western culture, which still in the 20th century was genuinely open, inquisitive, was oriented to many points of view. Look at all the great Western thinkers, none of them were liberals, they were all anti-liberal, whether they were on the right or the left, but they were all oppositionists, their discourse was critical. Liberal thinkers were first small in number, and second very stupid. Popper and Hayek for example. They also have a right to exist, but they don’t shine very brightly. The genuine figures of Western, European thought are of course left-wing thinkers, oppositionists. But this stopped at some point. And the puniest, stupidest representatives of Western thought, that is to say the liberals, and their most unattractive, banal version began to dominate. And in the end, everything narrowed to the totalitarian discourse which began to dominate in the 1980s.

  120. Richard says:

    Meanwhile, in Germany:
    Quick translation:
    Mass brawl at the airport
    About 180 persons were involved in a mass brawl at Langenhagen (Hannover) airport on Monday. Preliminary findings suggest that Turks and Kurds were involved. (…) Initial reports say that Kurds at the airport decided to spontaneously protest against military actions by Turkey against Kurds in Syria. The crowd chanted “Fascist Erdogan” and other slogans. Turkish passengers of Turkish Airlines confronted the protesters.
    A video of the incident is linked in the article.

  121. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    I was obviously speaking about russian neocons not official russian policy.

  122. Lemur says:

    It’s preposterous to expect one man can reverse the direction of a global empire overnight.
    While an end to the ZOG wars would be nice, the real cardinal issue is immigration and leftist hegemony. The blood and treasure lost in oversees adventures at the behest of the borg/Israel pales in comparison to the demographic changes America is undergoing, which in turn is predicated on the ascendancy of liberal ‘values’ (an oxymoron in itself).
    Trump has delivered the first real blow to globalist/liberal structures and their attendant social mores in decades. If he accomplishes absolutely NOTHING as a president, his rhetorical work on the Overton window and metapolitical effect alone has made supporting him worth it. Whether he has real convictions or not, he’s acted as a catalyst for mobilization on the right – a revitalized right that is determined to win. Even here in New Zealand, there are little networks growing of young, natationalist oriented people who will likely become part of our future elite. We’re already working on the pre-conditions of creating a post-liberal society. Before Trump, none of this existed.
    When Hegel observed Napoleon riding past after the battle of Jenna, he said he saw in him the world spirit (of the French enlightenment essentially). But would Napoleon be considered an exemplary figure of liberal democracy in a strict ideological sense? No, but he was moving history in that direction through shaping the *conditions* necessary for the rise of such a society. Likewise, Trump is a harbinger and catalyst of that which is to come. Not the ‘thing in itself’ as German idealists would say.

  123. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re: “Or, God forbid, the invasion goes too easily for the Turks. ”
    Since you assume that TSK will overrun the kurds in the end and invade Afrin, I have to assume that you enjoy seeing lots of people killed in the process. Peculiar viewpoint.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  124. confusedponderer says:

    thanks for the ‘Knoellchen Streit’ link. I think it is about the case I mean. And, well found, it told me some new details.
    The dad who’s car was ticketed, threatened to kill the city officer of the ‘Ordnungsamt‘ if ever daring to come back to ‘his road‘. And one city employee with experience with the family didn’t want to testify since being afraid after having been threated and followed to home by ‘interested persons‘.
    A nice family obviously. And after all, according to the article, the sons of the ticketed man stressed in court that they were good christians and go to church every sunday. I am so comforted.
    Indeed, that makes threats of murder, duress, assault, battery and harassment look like … expression of their intense virtues.
    And as for what it was – I don’t know. I have a hunch though:
    * The family of the ‘ticketed dad’ very probably set a trap, angered to be impertinently ticketed by an Ordnungsamt person, and that on ‘his road‘.
    ** IMO the Ordnungsamt person, clearly outnumberd, was very sensible to call the cops.
    *** And as for the road fight, well, when cops are engaged by three times their own number with irons bars and stones and the like – well, then it gets nasty.
    It’s hard to accuse the cops of defending themselves when being overwhelmed by a bunch violent goons. As the old saying goes: “Auf einen groben Klotz gehoert ein grober Keil“.
    That silly defender asserting that the appearance of cops was an intense provovation is involuntary pointing out the utter idiocy at work that night. It’s probably sheer luck that nobody got accidentally killed.

  125. Lemur says:

    I wish the right would stop whinging about how ‘unfairly’ they are treated by liberals. The liberals control the system; therefore, they’re going to configure it to reflect their preferences and excludes people whose preferences are divergent. It’s just an emergent property of socio-political organization.
    Before WWII in England, the Bloomsbury Group (a coterie of left-liberal academics/artists/activists whose views were considered ‘extreme’ back then but ‘normal’ now) used to skulk around with secret meetings and handshakes because they feared the main current of society, who were opposed to everything they stood for (atheism, emancipated sexuality, anti-bourgeois attitudes etc). That’s was life for dissidents in a constitutional, democratic monarchy under a broadly right wing aegis (by today’s standards, ‘extremist.’) And guess what, when we get into power, we’re going to do the same thing to these people again, what they are doing to us now. The left will be relegated to communicating on distant corners of the internet, and they will hesitate for fear of social ruination before they utter a liberal opinion in public. The academy will consider liberal ideas and values apriori suspect, just as nationalist, hierarchical, essentialist, and ‘discriminatory’ views are treated by liberal discourse today.
    Because that’s how politics works. The idea of a neutral ‘open society’ is a self serving fiction hawked by the likes of shallow thinkers like Popper.
    Real power is soft power, and soft power can’t be modulated by formalized processes and instruments. If that were the case, the US Constitution and legal order would protect the right in a meaningful way, yet it doesn’t.
    Thus, we’d be much better off spending our time determining how to get and attain power according to reality rather than the fictional prescriptions of the system.

  126. D says:

    Quote, “I have read there was a Russian military delegation in Turkey last week.”
    It actually was in Russia last Thursday. The Turkish military head honchos met Gerasimov and Shoigu. What I don’t know is what the Russians found so entertaining and why the Turks were so gloomy.

  127. VietnamVet says:

    Great Post. SST is a national treasure.
    I couldn’t help but feel sad looking at the picture of American soldiers, men and women, standing in back of VP Pence on the Jordon Border. So many deployments for nothing. Failed by stupidity, arrogance and greed by the D.C. establishment.
    After reading the comments, this sure appears to be another smart move by Vladimir Putin. Afrin will be bombed into dust as were Aleppo and Raqqa. The USA dares not to shot down any Turkish planes. The only protection the Kurds have is if they join a federated Syria. If not, a protracted guerrilla war will envelope Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The American troops in Kurdish Syria are in a hellish position. Either they fight the Turkish Army or they are hostages. Russia and American are approaching an inflection point in Syria and Ukraine; either there is a peace treaty or there is a world war.
    The scary part is, even if there isn’t a nuclear war, the USA is just as vulnerable to outside agitation as Syria. The troops are needed in North America to defend and rebuild the USA, Canada and Mexico.

  128. SmoothieX12 says:

    Dugin has as much influence over Putin as Bannon has over Trump right now. A useful tool.
    Not quite, Dugin is an absolute non-entity in any serious Russia’s political, military or intelligence institution. Bannon, on the other hand, was a big shot in Administration and is even now an influential persona.

  129. SmoothieX12 says:

    And Iran’s roots are Shia Islam, otherwise there would be no Modern Iran.
    Babak, I never doubted it, albeit throw in some Zoroastrians into the mix.

  130. SmoothieX12 says:

    Apparently Ukraine has passed a law explicitly stating that Donbass is “Russian-occupied territory” and that the Ukraine military has to take it back by directly attacking the Russian military.
    While doing so, Ukraine increased the trade with this evil “occupier”–Russia. I wouldn’t overestimate all those Rada passed “laws”. The war, however, is certainly in the plans but something tells me that Russia will not need to get involved directly again.
    I’ve said for some time that Russia needs to invade Ukraine, wipe out the neo-Nazi battalions, execute the oligarchs, install a puppet regime – then go home immediately. NATO and the US will scream bloody murder, but there’s nothing they could do about it since the “war” would be over in 72 hours.
    And who’s gonna pay for this black-hole? Russia? Thanks, but no thanks. Ukraine has to be transferred to the US-Europe balance as a neutral entity–that is the name of the game now. As they say, “you broke it, you bought it.” Current Ukraine, bar some fairly limited enclaves of pro-Russian attitudes is NOT Russia-friendly nation. Sure, some part of population Russophobia can be attributed to the incessant propaganda, but there is NO denial of Ukraine forming as a political nation. It happened before the events of 2013. Most of the youth is completely brainwashed.

  131. fanto says:

    Confused ponderer
    your “translation” of events described in “Knöllchen Streit” reminds me of the tragic death of the young juvenile court prosecutor in Berlin, mentioned by Buschkovsky in his “Neukölln ist Überall” – including intimidation of witnesses etc. Things are not getting any better since he wrote the book, IMO.
    the discussion between you and LeaNder about German could perhaps be a separate article in SST, if the Colonel permits 🙂 I would really enjoy that.

  132. Aristonicus says:

    I agree completely. In fact I was reading an article last year on Russian “New Generation” Warfare and thought to myself that we need a Russian Information War version of BS/Buzzword bingo. Fields to include “Hybrid Warfare”, “Little Green Men”, “Dugin”, “Eurasianists”, “maskirovka”, “dezinformatsiya”, etc.

  133. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    At Comment #107: David Habakkuk quoting Dugin:

    “‘I think that the West is becoming stupid in front of our eyes. It can’t even deal with itself, can’t describe itself correctly, and its attempts to describe others are even more comic. Western people weren’t always like that.'”

    Like you David, I totally agree with this. Although those of us who do agree are likely in a rather small minority of Americans, I suspect that most people who hang out at this blog are among that minority.

  134. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And Zoroaster?

  135. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That is true, The Rolling Stones did not produce anything good after 1975 (excepting an album in 1984, if memry serves), and Jefferson Airplane went sank when it became Starship.
    See also “The Closing of American Mind”

  136. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    David Habakkuk @#107,
    Thank you for the link to the interview with Alexander Dugin; it is a treasure trove of things upon which to ponder. Would that I knew Russian, and could read works of his not available in English.

  137. kooshy says:

    Yes, Zoraster definitely, my bad, but I think Cyrus creates the flesh and the body of Iran, and Imam Hussain brings in the soul that is still there and keeps the country together. And ferdosi a Shia peasant, writes the shenasnameh.

  138. Dabbler says:

    Well said. By you, and by Archilochus.

  139. different clue says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    ( reply to comment 112),
    I don’t know for sure, but I have read somewhere that a lot of the leading and mid-level Red Guards went on to become the Red Princes of today. They and especially their children have been much favored in the drive to Make Money and Become Glorious.

  140. Dabbler says:

    True about the possibility of increasing expense if talks were postponed, but if Yalta 2.0 were held in the near term at whatever location, can you imagine the western fortress’s success given the foresight and craftiness of its leaders, as well as the fortress’s current strategic position and record of in-theater(s) achievement? Think of Slim Pickens at the end of “Dr. Strangelove”.

  141. different clue says:

    blue peacock,
    ( reply to comment 114),
    Deeply understanding this would require long and careful study of what happened here during and after the way America’s active Vietnam involvement ended and how American society and political system reacted to the whole Watergate set of events. I personally think that Ford pre-emptively pardoning Nixon prevented the roots of criminal Nixonism from ever being uprooted and studied in public view. I believe that was the whole point of pre-pardoning Nixon before any indictments had been brought or not-brought. And if brought, before any trial had happened or not. After all, if Nixon had been tried and convicted of crimes, he could have been pardoned then, after such a trial, and a commanding majority of people would have accepted that. Instead, Ford moved to “firmly shut and seal this book” in order to prevent us from being able to read it to eachother in public. Political stupidization started then.
    President Carter was a Free Market Free Trade President, the first of many. He began the destructive de-regulationism within this country which led to economic destabilization and the beginnings of political-economic stupidization.
    Thatcher and Reagan began the aggressive ideological drive for all kinds of deregulationism, anti-governance-ism, anti-workerism and Free Trade-ism which laid the groundwork for economic destruction and social destabilization throughout many worker-heavy industrial-based geographic zones. And Reagan rescinded the Fairness Doctrine for broadcast media, greenlighting the unchecked one-way monopolization of permitted media viewpoints reaching listeners without any hope of “other viewpoint replies” on those programs, channels or networks. No Liberals Allowed! on Rush Limbaugh. No Conservatives Allowed! on All Things Considered. And etc.
    Clinton achieved the final culmination and apotheosis of Free Trade-ism and economic deregulationism. Under Clinton, the Banksters were un-Glassed and de-Steagaled, the Electric Utilities were dePUHCAfied, the big media organs were fast-forward monopoly-enabled in order to create huge bullet-proof bubble-zones of controlled information release. And Clinton secured the Free Trade Agreements designed to turn vast zones of America into mass-jobicided fields of dusty rubble. And the mass-gassing of the American mind with clouds of militant Free Trade Hasbara and its militant stupidization of political-economic analysis. And more of the same but worse from Junior Bush and then Obama. The Carter-Reagan Clintobusha years.
    Other things were going on at the same time, but these things seem important to me as well. And I mention them because hardly any one else does. Mass public lobotomy starts from the head first.

  142. different clue says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    (reply to 136),
    The Rolling Stones were always a British Band. Never American. So . . . not our fault and not our problem.

  143. FkDahl says:

    Such a resolution is at current very unlikely in Sweden.

  144. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    And you can prepare for more and more of such stories, as people with little or no interest in your countries laws flood your streets aka “Flüchtlingen sind wilkommen”. Ethnic, tribal, family grievances they all bring along.
    Stupid, barbarian, non-european hungarians dont want any of this.
    How outrageous!

  145. LondonBob says:

    The borg is more powerful than any one man. I tend to think Trump is more sincere in his skepticism than Obama was, still it matters not as the borg marches on regardless. What I find odd is Trump seemed to agree personally with Erdogan regarding arms to the Kurds, and on a Syrian settlement with Putin. Whether he has been undermined by his underlings, or received new orders from Bibi, who knows? The end result, is the end result.

  146. LeaNder says:

    Good question, blue peacock.
    to pick up on Babak’s “cherished prejudices”, I have to admit that from my very, very, very limited perception basis, I have a different thesis/suspicion what might be on his mind.
    While I am foremost pleased I found the author of a book again, I had vaguely registered as of interest: Paul Robinson, The White Russian Army in Exile 1920-1941, I’d be very, very interested if he could elaborate on the topic. Maybe even from a very personal professional experiences perspective? Somewhat assuming that this background may have mattered in shaping his view one way or another.

  147. I think in the interview DH links to, Dugin is maybe putting more distance between himself and the current geostrategic Weltanschauung – “It’s not I who dreamt up geopolitics, but MacKinder. But I saw a serious base in it, because it explains a lot of the historic confrontations with the West;”
    Humph. Where these geo-political merchants see Great Games and Grand Chessboards I see only mass graves.
    It seemed to me when I read him that Dugin gives credence to, or at least is prepared to work in, this intellectual milieu. Not good. This is the type of thinking that pervades the think tanks and the Chancelleries. People who think that way often have important things to say or do, very often sensible things too, but working from this background of intellectual sludge they are all too often armoured against common sense or even common humanity.
    Here’s a practitioner at work –
    “12 Ambassador Jeffrey: Very quickly, Senator, we have a
    13 lot of assets in Syria even though it doesn’t look that way.
    14 We and the Turks between us hold about a third of the
    15 country and have a lot of local allies even though we’re not
    16 coordinated with the Turks, but that’s a question of
    17 diplomacy. The Israelis operate militarily throughout Syria
    18 in the air. That’s another factor. We have a diplomatic
    19 entree with U.N. Resolution 2254, which means it’s all of
    20 our business how Syria is organized. And we can leverage
    21 the possibility of reconstruction as a means to try to force
    22 a wedge between the Russians, as Ambassador Jones was
    23 talking about, and the Syrians and the Iranians, because
    24 ultimately their interests are different. But we have to
    25 keep not just diplomacy but a military presence there, and
    1 that means working with Turkey, the Kurds in Iraq, and the
    2 Iraqi government so that we can physically get in and out,
    3 because we need entree to that region.
    Translating line 20 – “We’ve bombed the place to hell getting rid of terrorists we helped put in in the first place, and we’ll rebuild if we get what we want from the Syrians et al. But not until.”
    That’s from a recent Senate Armed Services Committee. Here’s another great thinker on the same panel –
    “Ambassador Crocker ………………..In the case of Russia,
    5 no, it’s not a return to the Soviet Union, clearly, but it
    6 looks a little bit like the return of the Russian Empire. I
    7 think that is the motivating spirit for President Putin, and
    8 I would expect to see their next move not in the Middle
    9 East, probably in Europe. ”
    That’s a useful crystal ball that man’s got. It shows him what he wants to see and frees him from the need to consider whether the West is provoking Russia or forestalling it. When you’re working from the geo-political premise that it’s all about grabbing what you can get any way you can then it’s obvious, to this thinker, that the Russians must be working from the same premise and must be stopped. The man’s trapped inside his own geo-political straitjacket and assumes all must be.
    And another, pushing a good line in crocodile tears –
    ” Ambassador Edelman: Senator Peters, I’d just say,
    11 first of all, I think we are witnessing an enormous tragedy
    12 in the region, which is in many places a likely loss of the
    13 various Christian and other heterodox minority communities,
    14 which is a shame for the region. ”
    Irreproachable sentiments. Until you remember President Obama saying, I think on 24 Hours, that in one case he let ISIS in in the first place – didn’t throw a “bunch of airstrikes” at those vulnerable ISIS columns – because he wanted to put pressure on Maliki. So we’re now deploring a vast and for some communities terminal tragedy; and glossing over the fact that it’s us who let it happen. More mass graves. Tough. You’re bound to get a bit of collateral when you’re doing serious foreign politics. Live with it. Don’t let it put you off, another speaker says elsewhere. He who controls the World Island controls the World, or some such foolish nonsense, so let’s think big and to hell with the casualties.
    Too long a comment. Sorry, TTG. But the second rate thinking from which these people work is not only an offence against intellectual integrity. It’s dangerous.
    JamesT – I could be wrong about Dugin, of course. Sorry if I am. But it struck me when I read him that he was not immune to the same infection.
    I link to the full transcript of the Committee hearing below. It would do as a charge sheet; but not as responsible foreign policy.

  148. LeaNder says:

    when cops are engaged by three times their own number with irons bars and stones and the like
    cp, I didn’t look as close as you may want me to. But are you suggesting, that they have that much free officers available and are prepared to respond to the alarm by the “Ordnungsamt person” with six cars?
    Supposing the “ticketeer” didn’t get involved. Should I assume that either its known somehow that considering the place of events greater troubles are ahead. Was there a hint they immediately sent six cars with the usual two officers? Or on the exact chronology of events?

  149. English Outsider,
    A too long comment? Perhaps, but also a worthwhile and valuable contribution to my original posting. What is this current sequence of events in northern Syria but another round of the Great Game. Putin could have prevented the current eruption of violence in Afrin by leaving his tripwire forces in place and maintaining a “no fly zone” over the region. He gave Erdogan a green light to further his objectives vis-a-vis the Kurds and the US. This is a cold hearted but IMO reasonable move in the Great Game 2.0. Putin is a prudent, practical and capable leader. He is good for Russia and even good for the rest of the world. But make no mistake, he knows how to play the Great Game. Grand schemers with their grand ideas like Dugin, Bannon and so many others are a pox on us all and should be marginalized.

  150. JohnB says:

    The Kurds are learning the hard realities of power politics. It’s a win-win for Russia & Iran. A possible clash between two NATO big powers benefits them. The US will either have to help its allies meaning a clash with Turkey or stand on the sidelines and look even more impotent than it already is.
    If Turkey carries through with its mission to destroy the Kurdish Militias – The US will be forced out of Northern Syria again a win-win for Russia & Iran.
    Trump missed a chance to get US forces out of Syria with head held high with a victory over IS. He foolishly didn’t take it.
    The final defeat of the US-Israel neo-con project to roll back Iran’s influence in the region is now is now taking shape.
    How ironic then, that the very influence that Iran wields in the region is down to the stupidity of US/ & Israeli policymakers since the Iraq invasion.

  151. SmoothieX12 says:

    OT: I don’t know what’s the deal, but my browsers (on several computers) allow me to only see discussions till the 100th post, after that–zilch. No amount of refreshing, cash cleaning etc. helps.

  152. JohnB says:

    Its hello to Power Politics. Love him or loath him you cant get away from the fact that Putin knows statecraft. I think someone said Putin plays 3D Chess, Trump plays checkers.

  153. JohnB says:

    TTG – You’re spot on Putin is one cold-hearted SOB but he’s also effective and the world needs him more than ever.

  154. LeaNder says:

    Great EO. Love it. Although the comment section isn’t that easy to follow without the respective markers. Although strictly I like it. 😉

  155. JohnB says:

    Meanwhile this side of the Atlantic a less capable player of the Great Game 2.0 – Boris Johnson repeats the mantra. A syria without Assad

  156. jpb says:

    Try clicking on ‘more comments’.

  157. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    EO @148:
    Thanks for posting this important link again. From my perspective it contains the following important “fact”,which should be taken into account by the SST community as they are evaluating events:
    “Ambassador Jeffrey: The region, and that begins with
    Turkey, can — as I said, the Turks are allowing us to
    support the PKK offshoot Kurds in Syria every day
    reluctantly, with a lot of bitching, but they do it.
    The region, and Turkey in particular, can support
    autonomous Kurdish entities to one or another degree — and
    it varies because these are very different kinds of Kurds in
    the two countries, in Syria and Iraq — as long as
    it fits, as long as we’re there, the Turks know why we’re there…

    So, the US knows that the YPG&Co are offshoots of the PKK, despite denying this publicly. We have been saying this for a while-and have been hearing all kinds of rebuttals, including on SST.I hope this settles the issue.
    As far as “the Turks know why we’re there“; we do know: to carry water for the izzies. You would never know it if you read the transcript. Go and count the # of times izziistan is mentioned. These policy-makers are not really thinking of the US.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  158. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It’s the Godfather syndrome – Life imitating Art.

  159. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are right, The West would need a men of Caliber of FDR and Marshall to negotiate such a settlement.

  160. Will2.71828 says:

    @EHSANI22 ?
    b/ ultimately the stuff comes from the sage Elijah J. Magnier‏

  161. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Therw is a small show more comments tab at the left bottom of the screen. Took me ages to find it too.

  162. SmoothieX12 says:

    Try clicking on ‘more comments’.
    Thank you. Also, thank you for making me feel like a complete dumbass:-)) In my defense–I didn’t see the button (link) at all. LOL.

  163. Babak Makkinejad says:

    One has to feel sorry for the young people whose lives are being burnt and turned into human smoke across 4 countries – Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey – as they are led – under banners of Marxism, Leninism, Maoism – by venal tribal leaders who embody the worst aspects of the Medieval culture of Muslim world.
    David Habakkuk:
    Are you paying attention here? The West has also lost Turks.

  164. 505thPIR says:

    I have seen multiple posts in this committee of correspondence and other similar blogs advocating for a US withdrawal from many of its bases/presences around the world. Simple question: What are the pros and cons of becoming more isolationist/withdrawing from ME and other areas? Perhaps it is worth of another thread?

  165. 505thPIR says:

    worthy of another thread

  166. fanto says:

    thank you for this clear eye synopsis and “translations” of BS spread by the ambassadors and other “greats”. I have but one question or mild reservation: the philosophers and deep thinkers do have an influence on the world history, IMHO, just think about founders of great religions, at Voltaire, Marx, – they were the people who started the mass movements,

  167. Barbara Ann says:

    IZ (#158)
    Important fact noted. Thanks for posting that very interesting quote from the retired US Ambassador to Turkey, I think it is worth repeating, it in case anyone missed it:
    “..the Turks are allowing us to support the PKK offshoot Kurds in Syria every day..” (emphasis mine)
    No doubt he’ll claim he misspoke if confronted with this – a lot of misspeaking around these days.

  168. Russia may not need to get directly involved, but I suspect given the preparations Ukraine has made for it that Russia will need to up its support at the very least.
    “And who’s gonna pay for this black-hole?” No one. It will be a short, swift war with minimal cost, and once the neo-Nazi battalions and oligarchs are out of the picture, things will be quiet for a couple years. This will be cheaper than doling out support to eastern Ukraine piecemeal for the next decade.
    The EU isn’t going to do any more for Ukraine. As pointed out in a Crosstalk yesterday, the IMF isn’t sending any more money, and Merkel in Germany is too involved with her own fading political support to want to take on Ukraine again. Western Ukraine may indeed be considered part of Europe, but eastern Ukraine is going to be either autonomous or completely independent whether the West likes it or not. And the only way the West stays in one piece is if the US sends them money because no one else will.
    This is why a Russian “invasion” – more a “anti-corruption clean up” than an invasion – would be the best thing that ever happened to Ukraine.

  169. Barbara Ann says:

    D (#127)
    I’d hazard a guess it may have something to do with whose troops are now on the ground in Afrin. A picture tells a thousand words.

  170. confusedponderer says:

    ah, Orban, the current King of Hungary.
    I recall reading before christmas that in Hungary, the country with about the lowest immigration percentage in all of Europe (they are at what … 3% or so?), Lord Orban ordered christmas markets to be guarded by armored vehicles, because of … ‘terror’.
    That’s quite an act from a dude who iirc happily declared his country ‘basically immigration free’ and said that “influx of Muslim refugees poses a threat to Europe’s Christian identity”.
    So, as for stupid, I daresay “Oh yes”.
    I wonder, if there basically aren’t any immigrated folks who want to stay in Hungary, who was he protecting the markets from, with armored vehicles? Bombs? Pickpockets? Gypsies? Soros? From himself? Does he want to save european christianity?
    It was IMO just a dumbass ‘look how hard I am‘ show, perhaps also a christmas gift.
    Saying hello to anybody, as the ‘knoellchen’ story underlines about views of such ‘permanent guests’ to things like ‘rule of law’, is a folly, but what Orban does, in the absence of such ‘permanent guests’ and their silly ideas, is IMO much just the opposite form of silliness.
    It’s one thing to be “very careful” or “very careless”.
    Then there is to be very careful in the absence of a threat while calling for EU money to finance the ‘hordes of immgrants’. That is what’s called paranoid and greedy. That, and then there is that nasty word that starts with ‘j’ and ends with ‘erk’.
    That sort of game is what Erdogan’s Turkey is currently playing with the EU also: “Make us a EU partner, and give us a lot of EU money – or we’ll let the refugees from Syria (which we help(ed) to generate) loose on Europe”. That’s ‘blackmail’, or with Erdogan, ‘greenmail’.
    The only thing Orban’s Hungary has to do with immigration of muslims to europe is that Hungary is ‘a station on the way’ to more attractive places.
    IMO Erdogan and Orban play the same tune, only on different instruments.

  171. fanto says:

    Confused Ponderer,
    please explain in plain English what you mean by
    quote begin
    Saying hello to anybody, as the ‘knoellchen’ story underlines about views of such ‘permanent guests’ to things like ‘rule of law’, is a folly, but what Orban does, in the absence of such ‘permanent guests’ and their silly ideas, is IMO much just the opposite form of silliness.
    quote end
    because I am reading this and rereading and still do not know what it all means. I must be too dense, it seems. Maybe you or others will explain it to this ´nitwit´ (LeaNder´s pet description of herself – which I am adopting for myself).

  172. Apologies. I didn’t know the transcript had already been posted. Should have guessed.

  173. confusedponderer says:

    I’ll try to be clear in three points, but it may be you don’t like what I’ll write.
    It is this:
    Point (A)
    Hungary has a population of some 9.8 million folks. To help you get the idea of how many immigrants live among them look at this map. Look at the orange spot and what it means.
    The numbers of faith focus in Hungary’s english wiki entry also speak for themselves: Of the Hungarians 52.9% are listed as ‘christian’, 38.9% as Catholic, 13.7% as Protestants, 0.1% as Orthodox, 0.1% as Jewish. Oddly, the mumbers don’t quite add up rightly, but you’ll get the point.
    And then: There is a 1.7% score of ‘others’ (less than 170k persons). That’d be less than two folks of a hundred folks who isn’t christian or jewish.
    Think of that and consider: Where then is that Muslim horde that according to Orban is endangering and destroying Hungarian and European Christianity? Well, dunno where that Muslim horde is, but most probably it isn’t anywhere in Hungary.
    Perhaps they are the 1,7% ‘others’? If so, that’d be some 170.000 of Muslims endangering christian identity of the 9 million rest of people in Hungary, and the many more millions in Europe.
    Convincing? Hardly. My city has 1+ million citizens, and 31+% or so of them are immigrants – that’s be some more than 300k folks. The point is this:
    We’re speaking of one single larger city with probably almost twice the number of immigrants than housed by entire Hungary. By and large we get along.
    Point (B)
    The folks who fled through the Balkan and Hungary to the more generous core of Western Europe likely passed through Hungary simply because it was on the way.
    The rest of Europe may be wrong or foolish by being more generous or welcoming to immigrants than Orban – that depends on one’s point of view – but that isn’t the point here and it isn’t Hungary’s point either.
    Point (C)
    That’s what I mean when I say that Orban is telling a load of brazen BS when he demands more money from the EU, refuses to take his share in immigrants, declares his country ‘immigration free’, is barb-wiring his border and while lamenting loudly the threat of the oddly absent muslim hordes.
    It seems, the ‘muslim horde’ is his preferred tool in a blackmail game with the EU. It doesn’t has much to do with reality, and it isn’t honest either. IMO it has much more to do with wagering and gambling.

  174. Fanto – I’s guess from what you’ve written before that this is very much more your field than mine. Not that I’d lay claim to any particular field of study though I’m quite good on pig keeping and have been known to brew a reasonable cup of tea.
    But we’d agree, I think, that certainly since the Enlightenment one can only say – show me a big political ideology and I’ll show you a pile of corpses. The sketchiest outline of nineteenth and twentieth century history is sufficient proof of that and we’re not breaking the run in the twenty-first. As to whether we the people drive the ideology or the ideology drives us – isn’t that one of the things we come to the Colonel’s site to find out?
    Such enquiries aside, “by their fruits ye shall know them” is surely a good working principle to apply to the various ideological cross-currents, “Left” or “Right”, that we are caught up in today.
    “By their fruits ye shall know them” is also a good working principle when we come to look at the practitioners – those who run our affairs for us in the West and who, ostensibly at least, hold to this or that current ideology or way of thinking when they’re devising their policies. And the fruits of those practitioners are bitter indeed.
    On that working principle, if I’m not misapplying our host’s dictum above, I can only cheer when he says “A pox on them all and they should be marginalised.”
    You and I might have slightly different ideas on how, but that’s a detail.

  175. fanto says:

    at #175
    CP – thanks for your detailed response; I think that you partly misunderstood my question – I understood the part that Orban dislikes immigrants, especially Muslims and possibly other ethnicities – I got that. What I did not comprehend was ‘the opposite form of silliness’.
    Your statistics may be true, but this is not my point. I do comprehend that a society may want to be ‘uniform’, ‘closed’, ‘of one feather’ , etc., But what I do not understand that this can be made as a reproach, as a bad mark, as a demerit – It is not for outsiders to determine, but for the society itself. If Orban and Hungarians who elect him want to be like that, let them be what they want to be. They seem to want to be a member of EU – on terms which DeGaulle envisioned (if I understand that history correctly); the EU (the ‘Brussel EU’) has different ideas (from De Gaulle’s Europa der Vaterlaender). The individual nations belonging to it should behave as EU Commission wishes and demands, and therein lies the problem. Hungary, Latvians, Ests, Lithuanians, Poles have very strong ideas about their ethnic/religious make-up and it is the “Brussell-EU’ which should try to bridge the differences and not force these societies to comply to some dictum from Strassburg, Brussel or Berlin. Especially not from Berlin, which has invited the immigrants without consulting anybody, causing a sudden avalanche in 2015. Now Ms. Merkel demands cooperation and through economic means wants to force others to do her bidding. Hungary and other small eastern European nations do not seem to have the collective burden of causing unspeakable horrors of colonialism (in case of England, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Spain, which led to the “returning wave of hurt” in form of flood of formerly suppressed people into their respective ‘mother countries’ – btw. “Returning Wave” is a title of a novel, dealing about the wave of pain and hurt which comes back to the perpetrators of original pain). Nor do they seem to have any ‘special’ guilt for horrors of world wars. So, Hungary is now to receive the immigrants just out of solidarity with the other peoples, who have a lot of ‘baggage’ and archetypal guilt in their collective memories.
    And – to your point C- I know of a little country in ME, which deserves also the “Order Of Brazen BS” – barb-wiring borders, mercilessly kicking refugees out, and demanding more money and prestige…
    Sorry, CP, for my longwinded reply, but some things I am unable to explain quickly.

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