Following up on Colonel Lang's post regarding the Saudi Arabian/Egyptian debacle in trying to bully Qatar (please see Little Qatar has bested the GCC and Egypt. Mufaja'a!), there are two other major developments. First, Donald Trump reportedly has ordered the CIA to pull the plug on arming and training Islamic radicals bent on overthrowing Bashar Al Assad:
The program was a central plank of a policy begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to step aside, but even its backers have questioned its efficacy once Russia deployed forces in Syria two years later. Preceding the CIA program was a Pentagon-led effort which was criticized by Foreign Policy for costing $500 million without yielding tangible results.
Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia after Trump's July 7 meeting with Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. It may also signal a lack of capability as well as desire in Washington to take steps to remove Assad from power in Syria. Officials told the Washington Post that Trump made the decision to scrap the CIA program nearly a month ago, after an Oval Office meeting with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
After the Trump-Putin meeting, the United States and Russia announced an agreement to back a new cease-fire in southwest Syria, along the Jordanian border and adjoining the Israeli occupied Syrian Golan Heights, where many of the CIA-backed rebels have long operated. Trump described the limited cease-fire deal as one of the benefits of a constructive working relationship with Moscow. The ending of the CIA program was not a condition of the cease-fire negotiations according to officials.
Second, our "ally" Turkey has ratted out the location of US secret military bases in Syria and Iraq:
In a move that has angered the U.S. for obvious reason, Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu Agency, has leaked the precise locations of U.S. bases in northern Syria. The move – which exposes the exact locations of American soldiers on the front lines in the war-torn nation has sent the ongoing feud between the two NATO allies to new lows. As Bloomberg details, in reports published in both Turkish and English on Tuesday, Anadolu provided detailed information about 10 U.S. bases in northern Syria, including troop counts and a map of the U.S. force presence in the Turkish version.
Without citing specific sources, the state-run news agency unveiled the ten US outposts located in areas controlled by “terrorist” Kurdish militias in the provinces of Aleppo, Hasakah and Raqqa. The reports said that the military outposts are “usually hidden for security reasons, making it hard to be detected.” It said they were located “in the terrorist PKK/PYD-held Syrian territories,” a reference to Kurdish groups that Turkey’s government considers terrorist organizations.
Personally I am happy that Trump is putting an end to the CIA covert program to provoke and promote war in Syria. The human cost of this idiotic policy alone justifies killing it. I am pleasantly surprised by Trump's decision. This clearly pokes a finger in the eyes of the Saudis and the Israelis, who each had a vested interest in backing the rebels against Assad.
I would like to tell you that I have tremendous insight into what Trump is thinking. I don't. Let me give you one possibility–Putin provided Trump positive steps to promote an Israeli/Palestinian peace process if the United States backs off of Syria. Here's another possibility (suggested by Colonel Lang)–Putin and French President Macron have delivered a coordinated message to Trump and have succeeded in getting him to understand some of the key dynamics in the Middle East.
Here's the bottomline. I really do not know. What do you think? Think of this as an open seminar. Put on your thinking caps.
Isn’t Mr Trump just doing what would be expected from what he said before the election? It has taken him a bit longer and some expensive theatre at Shaytat to overcome the Russia Collusion type problems that have stood in his way.
If you assume that he accidentally turned a loan from his father into a real estate empire in one of the toughest markets in the world, accidentally crushed the two leading political dynasties in the same race during a neophyte campaign, and accidentally talked the MSM into setting itself and its credibility on fire then sure you can assume that this is accidental as well.
Or, perhaps, the man is a canny operator beyond what people want to give him credit for. I’d say his political instincts are up there with Bill Clinton in his prime.
Given Trump’s non-existent geopolitical skills and weak grasp of history, my money is on his personal risk factor. Trump greenlighted a special forces raid in to Yemen early in his presidency and one ops died. Putin probably told Trump that American forces in Syria would be taking more casualties and Trump decided he didn’t start any of the ME wars and he sure didn’t want to have American dead hanging round his neck. Bad PR images.
Evidently Trump refused to have American staff formally record his conversations with Putin. It was bare bones Trump-Tillerson demarche. Trump probably wanted to prevent leaks, and that suggests he intended to discuss issues seriously and in good faith with Putin. This thesis is also buttressed firstly by the McMasters faction back home going on record to state their objections to Trump’s ’embrace’ of Russia. Trump made damn sure he excluded everyone who was liable to throw a wrench in the gears. Secondly, the sharp public opposition to the ceasefire agreed upon at the G20 by Israel also indicates Trump went against the grain. Thirdly, Trump pulls the plug on the CIA’s stable of terrorists in Syria.
As I said in a poast after the Poland visit, Trump appears to have crested a hill of sorts. He has cleared a space in which he can manevour pro-actively. The Russian narrative has failed to stick, the GOP cucks are being excoriated by Trump on healthcare, and Trump has achieved a concrete success in Syria without appearing to cave in to Russia.
Col Lang and others have rightly pointed out on here Trump’s seemingly erratic and whimsical style of policy implementation. However, we’re gradually starting to see a reassertion of the America First position he adopted on the campaign trail. If Trump is fighting the deep state with a small band of compatriots, this pattern would make sense. When circumstances or successful moves by Trump deposit more political capital in his hands, Trump begins to enact the platform he was elected on. When the deep state gains the upper hand, the white house ‘bends with the wind.’
I offer this as a tentative explanation, or as some of us younger ones like to say, a ‘white-pill’ reading of the situation.
“Given Trump’s non-existent geopolitical skills…”
The man just concluded a successful ceasefire with Syria and Russia, and buttressed a key ally in Europe against his enemies further West and the EU.
Trump may not have encyclopedic knowledge of the world, but when left to own devices he has good instincts.
The debacle in SA is a notable exception, and I suppose you could choose to see it in a defining light. On the other hand, it could simply be the low point of his presidency.
Thanks TTG for the summary.
The Trump approach seems to be toss S–t at the all and see what sticks, then beat the opposition over the head with it (low energy, etc.). In this regards, he gave the Saudi’s some rope with Qatar. In this regards it matches what I have heard about his corporate philosophy, which has intense competition amongst rising executives.
I still have no idea what the man thinks, and whether he is smarter than the media suggests (probably since they set the bar very low) or not (as his actions seem to indicate), so call it an empirical predictive Trump model.
If true, expect lots more major reversals – probably in Asia.
Turkey is rapidly re-aligning, which really changes the ME dynamic. Will Egypt dump the Saudi’s for a R+7 coalition, soon? Those entities participating in the R+ coalition are certainly cementing long-term relationships and effective military coordination.
I agree. I met Trump in 2009 and chatted with him one-on-one for about 20 minutes. He seemed to be able to assimilate facts and situations effortlessly and didn’t need elaboration. During the Presidential campaign he sized up the neocon stupidity perfectly. There is no reason to think he abandoned this common sense view once in office. I think he realized that he had to entertain and placate the powerful neocon amen corner for a bit while his strategy always remained the same. I’m very happy I voted for Trump.
Publius Tacitus wrote this, not TTG. pl
I am interested in how you see the ceasefire to be a success for Trump.
Isn’t the treaty official American recognition of Assad as the head of Syria? What exactly did we get? There are far more bad entities on the ground in Syria who were not signatories to this treaty.
And I would add that he clearly loves a good scrap and goes out of his way to get it sometimes. As you point out, he has had some success.
Not as dumb as a lot of his opponents think that’s for sure.
If this “cease & desist” order to the CIA is correct, then, IMO, the decision is a good one irrespective if it was accidental or intentional.
Trump instead of demonizing Putin is talking to him and attempting to reduce tensions with Russia. He recognized early on in the primary that Russia could be a partner rather than an adversary and the trillions spent on “regime change” and “nation building” were shortchanging investments here at home. That was very appealing to those of us who want a more non-interventionist foreign policy with the concomitant reduction of our military footprint overseas.
IMO, this Russia hysteria that the neocon & liberal alliance is promoting along with the MSM to attack Trump is not having the intended effect, as they may have hoped it would. At some point many people are going to get tired of this hysteria. The fact is that the neocon/liberal alliance are the forces that have perpetuated the groupthink of “enlightened” interventions which continue to have poor outcomes for the US including draining resources from domestic investments. After a year of hysteria all that seems to have been accomplished is the Mueller self-licking ice cream cone. Wouldn’t it be ironic if it turns out that the Don, Jr meeting was a set-up by Democrat operatives like FusionGPS behind the Steele “dossier”?
apologies, Thanks Publicus Tacitus. The morning cup of coffee clearly was insufficient. On my second now.
I voted for Trump b/c I believe him to be a highly capable and practical man with a good sense of our country needs at this time. He proved himself by soundly defeating all of the Borg zombies that were offered up to the voters. I knew that such a man would have no time or resources for the fantasies of unaccountable think tank crowd.
It has merely taken him a few months to get his bearings on both the domestic and FP situations.True, his presentation is a bit off by normal DC standards, but look where normal DC standards have got us. What he has just done is Syria is exactly what he said he’d do during the election cycle. I also believe that Trump will stick to his promises far more than any other candidate would.
All else is just the pathetic attacks of a wounded and thrashing Borg and the gullibility of people that are at least partially assimilated whether they realize it or not; or that are leftist moles and the enemy within.
Short answer: we manage to disentangle ourselves *before* we got in any deeper.
If we actually manage to do this, it will be a major success.
Not to be insensitive, but it is an interesting synchronicity that Trump’s pulling the plug on the moderate head choppers comes at the same time as arch head chopper supporting neocon and anti-Trump gang leader, McCain, departs into the political sunset with brain cancer ( a condition I have suspected he has suffered from for some time now).
Now, let’s see if the CIA actually follows orders, or if we see one or more of the following:
1. CIA starts funneling cash and arms through some gulfie despotate (“We gave the Saudis these nifty TOW rockets and then oopsies! they just somehow wound up in the hands of some unsanctioned headchoppers. I guess we’ll never ever know what happened!”)
2. False flag (“How awful poor baby children and a chocolate lab puppy no time for questions now now we gotta go to war against Syria right away quick quick hurry not a minute to lose!”)
3. CIA simply ignores its orders and does what it wants. They’d have plenty of backing in DC, both covert and overt, both in and out of the Deep State or the Borg or whatever you want to call it. For that matter, most of DC would treat them as martyrs.
4. Steps up flow of “leaks” and “revelations” to get rid of Trump. Didn’t Chuck Schumer hint at something like this happening when fighting the Borg?
Not accidentally. His father was very well politically connected. The same father who helped bail him out financially. (In the NYC real estate market (New Jersey also. What a corrupt state!) good political connections trump everything. Very unlikely he survived his casino days and the multiple bankruptcies absent those connections.) That said, he is a marketing genius.
It appears that Trump can play the fool to great effect. I’m beginning to wonder if whole Mukhtar affair was some elaborate ruse to discombobulate the entire ME chessboard to his benefit.
Like you and most others here, I’m happy about Trump’s shutting down the covert program to arm and train the “moderate” jihadists. I don’t think it was by accident. Most of us saw this as a loser program. The R+6 have changed conditions enough now for more and more people to see that this was a loser program. I’m sure Trump could see this as well. This covert program was bankrupt and, as a businessman, Trump clearly saw it was bankrupt. Additionally, it was an Obama program so it was easy for Trump to sign another finding to end another Obama program.
I still see his doubling down in his alignment with the Saudis and increasing tensions with Iran as terrible policy. Add to that the increasing military involvement in Afghanistan and the seemingly move to stay in northern Syria and shape the YPG/SDF into the new new anti-Assad rebels is doubly troubling. This all looks like jiggering US Mideast policy rather than changing it.
I totally agree with all the above commentators. He is way too smart for the NeoCons, Borg Etc. He throws in the (ineffective militarily but very effective politically), tomahawk missile attack to have the MSM and the rest of the crowd say he became their president with that one shot. He is very adept at their games and he plays them to perfection. I think Putin met his match in this game.
One my old comment follows.
Also there later were interesting news, Qatar promised to bail Kushner’s real estate business out for half a billion, then they stepped away. Trump could be punishing Qatar, forcing them into much higher losses than they were initially demanded to pay to Kushner. So, this “kill two birds with one stone” could be very compelling to him.
June 7, 2017 at https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/06/07/donald-trumps-middle-east-foreign-policy-is-a-disaster-waiting-to-happen/
Trump is trickster. Lacking representation in MSM, he makes media to discuss topics he want by baiting them.
1) Trump makes Saudi pay fortunes to American military-industrial-congressional complex. Binding them together.
2) Trump also inspires Saudi to slash Qatar.
3) StateDept and USArmy immediately back Qatar.
Outside US: does not matter
Inside US: behemoths of MIC-C are now making standoff against behemoths of StateDept and Pentagon
In best for Trump development, Saudi and Qatar would really exchange some sensible blows, and mirroring those tails wagging would be underdogs of USA hidden state.
Making MIC-C and SD+P bruise one another Trump might regain some freedom of decision making and try to balance on top of their fight, avoiding Clinton’s impeachment.
The rest of the world? Trump could not care less.
Very well said. He just threw the chess board away. Saudi’s and their billions in lobbying and PR in US is just a waste.
USS Liberty was a US navy vessel that had been converted into a SIGINT collection platform from previous duty as a freight carrier. Perhaps you don’t understand that we do not call members of the US Navy “soldiers.” They are sailors or naval officers, not “soldiers.” The ship was armed with only a few machine guns because such ships rely on the freedom of the seas for protection because the US, like other countries does not wish to provoke a reaction to their presence. The ship was in international waters when attacked.
What “larger rule?” pl
btw, what “r+6” stands for ?
is here some glossary ?
On the foreign policy front, this is a long needed realignment of policy with respect to Syria. It goes along with a more coherent strategy on the ground. Good riddance: aiding the unicorns.
I’m skeptical (and biased,) yet I will wait to see if Trump will actually try to bolster and revive the manufacturing sector.
> Melania was seated next to Putin. Did she learn Russian in school? Likely.
even if she did it was so far ago.
i’d rather think about German
wiki: When she began working as a model, she changed the Slovene form of her last name Knavs to the German Knauss
you speak Putin is Trump’s adversary, but if you believe in Borg, than the men are allies and tomahawk story hints at it
Go look in the archive. pl
Less than Washington deserves: a good horse whipping and war crime charges.
on which date?
There is 12 years without one month of everyday posts.
It is hardly feasible to reread them all just for one abbreviation
shia militias from iraq, afg, pak
Trumps decision either 1. Shuts the program down (I think so – who wants to take career risks on a losing program), or 2. makes it much less effective (and its effectiveness was near zero).
Why do the Saudi’s need our weapons and money to funnel? They can and do get weapons from all over the place. If we funnel or not, the Saudi’s will continue to double down on their failing policy as fast as they can find committed jihadis to take the weapons. At least until the Yemen debacle leads to a palace coup or worse.
False flag – done that – no effect. why would next one be more effective? Again, why take a career risk on a losing option.
I presume the leaks are occurring at the maximum rate the DC media can ingest them. So far no effect.
So Trumps dad was rich and Donald turned his starting money into a $billion. His political opponent did not have rich parents or a spouse with rich parents. How did they get so wealthy? “good political connections trump everything”. That seems to work for far too many of our politicians.
I am glad to see that a few people are waking up to the fact that Trump is anything but a buffon, but rather is five moves ahead of his clumsy and to lazy to think blind mice opponents (or victims?).
So we now require the formal assistance of Syria and Russia to “disentangle” ourselves? Maybe we wanted to secure some guarantees for the safety of our Kurdish friends? Are the guarantees in the peace agreement and did Turkey sign it?
And who on the American side was responsible for agreeing with the idea of Russian police keeping the peace on the southern border? Since the armed forces of Syria and Russia are having the devil’s own job of clearing the head-choppers, not sure what security the Russian police will provide to the Israelis, who, of course after reading the fine print are now rejecting the whole peace plan.
So, if by “we manage to disentangle” you mean “a Trump face-saving measure”, I would agree.
His political instincts, and his instincts for self defense are about to put to the supreme test. The jumping of the Firewall, referenced by Trump today in his Times’ interview, i.e. the move to investigate FINANCIAL transactions conducted in many cases before he ran for President, is HUGE, HUGE, trouble. People on the lower level are gonna start flipping. Manafort first in line. But bank types, M&A guys, Real Estate Lawyers, careers are gonna be on the line. The prosecutors will be like Red Ants.
And unlike Nixon, or, even Reagan, if it came to it in IranContra, Trump can’t walk away from this,as the price to end the investigation. Because they are coming after his family too. They are ALL gonna be tied up defending themselves. We’ve all seen this game before. Bank accounts will be frozen. Tax returns double checked…who the hell is confident he or she could come out clean in this kind of proctology examine? This is going to sideline all other issues.
Russia “hacking the election” will be long forgotten as Mueller justifies his growing team of prosecutors. I think you’re right the investigation will likely be about financial transactions well before he was a candidate for president.
Mayb it would be interesting to moderators of this blog, that mobile (for phones and tablets verison of thsi blog does not allow to log in with Google account
(alignment joke skipped)
> …by Trump today in his Times’ interview, i.e. the move to investigate FINANCIAL transactions conducted in many cases before he ran for President
It would be international, not USA-domestic though
See here: http://redstatewatcher.com/article.asp?id=86411
Imagine Kremlin would say something like that: US Government stole Russian dyplomatic real estate, because US finances are in so desperate state that even as shameful and little profit as those houses is crucial. And then would follow, that all Bill Clinton tenure time purchases of Russian property by American power players is from this day considered fraudulent and are summarilly rolled back, until new owners would prove legal cleanless of those deals.
Clintons attack Trump, Clintons attack Russia.
Well, that very collusion would become a self-fulfilling prophecy in the end.
Re; The “firewall”. I don’t think it will get to that point. Everyone in Congress has a lot of dirty financial dealings. Trump is no doubt aware of details of at least some of these. He liked to mention during the debates how the other candidates used to come beg him for money. I saw that as a warning as much as anything else. He has contempt for these people because he knows their extracurricular business.
He has also begun to heat things up on the Clinton front. He’ll go after them (“Lock her up”). Trump will go nuclear if he thinks he’s going down. While he still has the power and the access, he will take the whole establishment down with him. Certainly, no one wants that.
If they want to get rid of Trump, they’d better start looking for a wacko that can be programmed to be “a lone gunman”, a mechanic that can cause a tragic crash of Air Force 1, a cook that can introduce botulism into the taco bowl, etc. They probably began that search in earnest early in November.
Did you get this from Louise Mensch? Did Steve Bannon nearly end up executed by the Marshall of SCOTUS?
Yeah, that’s all it was. Not a move that aligned the neocons, the Dems, and the media (but I repeat myself thrice) behind him, even if temporarily. Not a move that underlined to China something had to be done.
Yeah, you keep playing those checkers.
“Political connections” LMBO right.
He was certainly less connected than scion of the Deep State Barack Obama. Any port in a storm tho.
Nothing brilliant happened, he just saw what any average Joe could see but the Borg apparently can’t. In the land of the blind (Borg) the one-eyed man (Trump) is king. But the Borg is adept at presenting their blindness as some special insight until they do something with unavoidably bad consequences such as the Iraq War or their little dance with Al Qaeda throughout MENA descending into uncontrollable chaos. The big test for Trump would be whether he can see through Borgist manipulation enough foresee the consequences of their machinations and head them off, rather than recognize them after they’ve already hit everybody over the head. I would be impressed, but his stances towards Israel, KSA, and Iran do not make me optimistic.
Israel’s concern over the ceasefire is not security against the headchoppers. Israel sees the headchoppers as the agents of their own interests.
“Their bank accounts will be frozen?” “Tax returns double checked”
What is the probable cause for investigating all those financial transactions? What evidence does the FBI have after 7 months? Now they’ll do all this because Mueller says so?
Did you notice we have heard a word about Huma Abedi, her crooked sexual predator husband or any of the Clinton staffers who recieved immunity? “Russia, Russia, Russia” sure seems to have done the trick.
Trump gets to start ‘resolving’ a crisis his ineffective predecessor never could.
The borg considers this an unmitigated disaster, but not the American public.
It seems President Macron accepted the resignation of the General Pierre de Villiers, Général d’armée of the French Army. Any idea if there is more to this than the public dispute over the budget?
The left by definition believes in a notion of progress which sets up an opposition between an abstract notion of the good and the historical foundations of the West. Therefore it follows the left is the enemy within.
I don’t recall our requiring Syrian assistance. The problem with disentanglement lies in DC. And if we are now so solicitous of the Kurds’ fate, why were we going after relatively tolerant Syria and not Turkey?
Budget may mean a lot.
Would France send troops to Africa time and again, or no more?
Would France boost NATO tax, as Trump demands, or not?
Would France co-create non-NATO EU Army or not?
Those all are budget issues among other.
> One wonders if the US does or does not have a plan to deal with that situation without resorting to WWIII.
Which USA ? Clinton’s one or Trump’s one?
Clinton’s plan would include attacking Russian Army, getting harmed by returned fire, throwing a tantrum of Russian aggression and impeaching Trump.
Whether US soldiers in Syria would survive it or not she would care exactly as much as she cared for US guardians of embassy in Benghazi.
I think you watch too much House or Cards
Tyler, I thought you knew me. I thought you thought me above that kind of bullshit. Louise Mensch?!! Do I strike you as that naive and dumb? But I guess we are both wrong….
You think I WANT this kind of thing, welcome what is coming, for the President of my Nation? I am calling it as a lawyer who has worked on investigations. Period. If I get it wrong…I will be the first to celebrate. I do not want to see, once more, as if the we have not seen it enough, the leadership paralysis by this bullshit.
But you are, to my genuine surprise, and disappointment, a one trick pony…ad hominem attacks. So…have at it alone. Done with this discussion.
I would not imagine that “probable cause” will be hard to come up with. Just a guess, not based on any access to the ‘facts’ as they stand now. But if past is prologue, they will get their probable cause predicated on financial transactions. It is not a big hurdle to overcome. It has nothing, or little, to do with whether it is justified or not.
France is the only other NATO member with any force projection capability. That’s why they could succeed in Operation Serval. Had they not done so ISIS would have a base of for operation and growth in Africa.
Trump should have issued wholesale presidential pardons months ago to nip the witch hunt against him in the bud. Very few people can withstand a multi million dollar federal investigation. Same as the Whitewater (an Arkansas land deal) evolved into impeaching Clinton for a consensual blow job, the ongoing Russian investigation will find something on Trump.
At one time, I read, 40% of the US military’s hardware was in Iraq – heavy tanks, light tanks, artillery pieces, humvees, APCs, lorries and so on.
If one were to believe your scenario, US would have to transport into that theatre about the same amount of materiale or more. And were would the embarkation point be, in Aqaba? That is a 7-hour drive, may be longer to Damascus.
I remain unpersuaded.
I’ve read that it’s probably money laundering. As jonst said right above, this type of investigation will spread out, from possible collusion to individual financial dealings. We’ve seen this many times before.
So they’ll search the financial transactions then use them expost facto to create the probable cause to begin with? Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. The State of New York, home of many of Trumps enemies, has had years to do just that with no effect. Second question, who is the next politician the establishment will be doing this too?
What a wonderful precident. Get elected, pardon everybody up front.