“Drone strike kills US contractor in Syria; US retaliates” – TTG

US soldiers stand guard in Hassakeh, northeast Syria, on January 27, 2022 [Baderkhan Ahmad/AP Photo]

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. contractor was killed and five U.S. service members and one other U.S. contractor were wounded when a suspected Iranian drone struck a facility on a coalition base in northeast Syria on Thursday, the Pentagon said.

In a statement released late Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said U.S. Central Command forces retaliated with “precision airstrikes” against facilities in eastern Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The Defense Department said the intelligence community had determined the unmanned aerial vehicle was of Iranian origin. “The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against Coalition forces in Syria” by groups affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, Austin said.


Comment: This incident and the ensuing retaliatory precision strike is an ugly reminder that US troops are still in Syria… uninvited. Our initial entry into Syria came from two directions, one commendable and the other foolish from the start. 

The foolishness came from our misguided efforts to identify, train and equip “good jihadis” to take on the legitimate Syrian government. Those good jihadis took us for gullible dupes from day one. All we did was supply weapons to the ISIS jihadis. The SF teams involved in the effort knew it was stupid and found it utterly distasteful. I would like to think the CIA teams figured that out as well, but who knows. Our continued presence at al Tanf is a remnant of that program.

Our other entry into Syria was in direct support of the Rojava Kurds and their battle for their very existence against the ISIS jihadis. It began with airstrikes at Kobani and two SF teams embedded with the YPG. It grew from there. We weren’t invited by Damascus to help the Rojava Kurds but it was a fight against a mutual enemy. At the time of our entry, Damascus exercised no control or authority over that region and was fighting for her very existence. Our presence with the YPG metastasized into the creation of the SDF and eventual confrontations with the IRGC and even an incident with the Wagner Group. Our mistake here was staying on long after the fall of Raqqa. We should have been preparing the YPG and SDF for either demobilization or integration into the SAA. We failed to do that and now we’re stuck there after promising both these groups we’d stand by them with false hopes of independence from Damascus.

We don’t belong there anymore than the Russian Army belongs in Ukraine. Just like Ukraine, Syria is a sovereign state and, as such, can choose with whom it aligns itself and with whom it does not. We don’t have to like it. We can continue to be pissy with Assad, play all the Intelligence, IO and sanctions games we want, but our troops and contractors need to leave. We need to coordinate our leaving with Damascus, not disappear in the dead of the night. We need to make it clear to the Rojava Kurds and tribes of the SDF that we will leave and that they must come to an accommodation with Damascus.

Al Jazeera offers a good explainer about our presence in Syria. Here’s a section of that explainer.

Why does the US still have forces in Syria?

The United States’ air attacks on targets it says were associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in eastern Syria have put the spotlight once again on the continued presence of US forces in the country. In recent years, Washington has pulled back from its previously more extensive role in the country, but has stayed on in a limited capacity in some areas, ostensibly to fight ISIL (ISIS) and limit Iran’s influence in the country. The eastern Syria raids announced on Wednesday appear to be part of the latter, with Central Command spokesperson Colonel Joe Buccino saying the strikes “were necessary to protect and defend US personnel”, and a response to an August 15 attack targeting US forces that was allegedly launched by Iranian-backed militias.

Where are US forces currently located in Syria?

Some US forces are still located in the SDF-controlled areas of northeastern Syria, such as Hassakeh and Raqqa provinces. Since 2016, the US has also controlled al-Tanf base, in a remote area of Syria, near where the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq meet. The US presence in the base was agreed upon with Russia, and is part of a 55km (34 miles) “deconfliction zone”, which US and allied forces patrol. Russia has since called on the US to withdraw from al-Tanf. There are still approximately 900 US soldiers in Syria.

What are the US’s main goals in Syria?

Speaking last year, Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, said the US had four main objectives in Syria: to reduce violence, maintain military pressure on ISIL, address Syria’s humanitarian crisis, and to support Israel. The US has conducted raids against senior ISIL and al-Qaeda leaders in Syria, including ISIL’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Civilians have also been killed in these attacks, according to locals. “The official goal of the Americans in Syria is defeating ISIS and ensuring that ISIS does not return to the areas that have been liberated,” said Mzahem Alsaloum, a Syrian analyst. “But the presence of the Americans is also important to cut [Iranian] military and smuggling supply lines [from Iraq] … if the Iranians took al-Tanf, there would be a direct link between Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus.”



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62 Responses to “Drone strike kills US contractor in Syria; US retaliates” – TTG

  1. Stefan says:

    The US should not be in Syria. It is not there legally and should leave ASAP. Odd that we are supporting Ukraine against illegal occupation of its lands, but we ourselves are illegally occupying Syria. We were always on the wrong side of that war. Another war of choice, another war of regime change. The duplicity of the west on Syria has always been monumental. We banged on about Assad whilst supporting the Saudis, Ba7rainis and every other sort of absolutist government in the region. Prior to the war Syria was one of the best educated and most diverse populations in the Middle East. The western back war for regime change destroyed that along with 500,000+ lives.

    The West and their allies support of the “moderate rebels” in Syria allowed Da3sh and their allies to spread their jihad to Syria’s neighbours and acted as a base for international terrorist attacks.

    US involvement in Syria, historically, will be seen as one of the low points of US history, along with the 2003 invasion of Iraq that was a direct cause of the formation of Da3sh. How Bush and others who sold the war based on lies, have themselves not been brought up on ICC charges shows just what a farce the ICC is.

    • TTG says:


      The Syrian Civil War started long before our involvement as did the rise and spread of the Islamic State jihadis. Our dalliance with the FSA and other assorted moderate jihadis did not have a tremendous influence on either of those events, but it was still shameful and stupid.

      • Stefan says:

        The US was working on regime change long before the Syrian civil war even started. The cable leaks showed that. The point being we have no issues with absolutist, murderous regimes in the region. As long as they are OUR absolutist, murderous regimes in the region. The Saudi war on Yemen proved that if the Syrian war did not.

        Islamic state, and everything they did, was a direct outcome of our illegal war in Iraq.

        Again, the US needs to think LONG and hard before it talks about illegal military occupations of other people’s lands. We invaded Syria and have occupied portions of it for some time. What is the threshold for a military occupation of another’s land to be wrong? Does 500 troops get a pass? 1,000? How long can you occupy another country’s land and get a pass?

        Russians invading Ukraine is wrong, so why do we as Americans justify every single invasion and occupation we do? Why does the ICC not matter until Putin is brought up on charges?

        Do you think we are in the right to be in Syrian land without the permission of the Syrian government? Everyone else seems to be making nice with Assad again, but again we feel we have the right to militarily occupy whatever nation we want to. We dont even need a reason. If we dont have a “reason” we will just make it up.

        1,000,000 + dead in Iraq and no one is talking about an arrest warrant for Bush. The rules just dont apply to us. It has allowed our politicians to act like a bull in an international china shop.

        • TTG says:


          “Islamic state, and everything they did, was a direct outcome of our illegal war in Iraq.”

          Now I see your point. Can’t argue with that.

          • Billy Roche says:

            Before Col. Lang did so, I sat down to write a “memo to self” about Bush the Idiot’s war II on Iraq (yes I voted 4 times for both those dolts). I discussed all the reasons (stupid ones really) and came down to one. He did it to help Jews remove terror from the Sumerians & MAKE cultural/regime change happen. Change which w/improve the entire M.E. Didn’t anyone in State talk to him? Did he understand them? Does the state dept. understand anything? I read a piece from Cheney saying the idea was fraught w/problems; Cheney! I knew it was dumb by Nov 2002. Bull shit abounds with Republicans and the former Dems who are now socialists. TTG you don’t accept it but its not your grandfather’s Democrat Party anymore. It hasn’t been for the past 30 years – you’ll catch up, I’ve read enough of you, but you’ll have to admit it first to yourself. Back to the M.E., the U.S. had to have regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and God forbid Egypt. It was a moral issue whose morality departed at the thought of applying it to Turkey. It’s time to end our military hegemony in this region and accept only two friends. Lets help Jews and Kurds and blank those who don’t like it. Who? Muslims don’t like non Muslims (they have some difference w/Kurds ((too much left over zoroastianism??)) and have demonstrated for 1400 years what they will do to them if they have the chance. How many examples of this do we need b/f we simply say sell your oil to whomever else you will. Or is it who ever? Where is LyNder when I need him? The American green nuts may live in the great S.W. desert w/o air conditioning, gas ovens, drive electric cars powered by electricity we can’t make, walk from Phoenix to Las Vegas, and drink water we cant pump (by by lake Mead), but the rest of us can continue with fossil powered electricity, gas, and oil. There is no strategic American need for M.E. oil if we exploit our own and lately it seems the Saudis would rather sell to the Russians and Chinese anyway. Yeah Dylan sang “and the M.E. times, they are a changin”.

        • Leith says:

          Stefan –

          The US was not alone in 2011 when we stated Assad should step down. That was done in conjunction with the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), plus Turkey, Israel, and NATO.

          By the way, the Islamic State genesis started long before our foolish invasion of Iraq. It started in 1999 by al-Zarqawi in Jordan. He called it Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad. It went through several name changes. In 2004 after Zarqawi pledged allegiance to bin Laden it became known became known as al-Qaeda in Iraq. After mergers with other jihadis, it changed its name in 2006 to the Islamic State of Iraq. And then several years later after recruiting surviving members of Lebanon’s Fatah al-Islam and splinter groups of Syria’s al-Nusra Front they renamed again to ISIL aka ISIS.

          • Stefan says:

            There have been hundreds, even thousands, of various jihadi groups in the Middle East. What became Da3sh would have just been another one lost to the world save the for SMEs and academics, except for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It is accepted by most scholars, experts and SMEs that the experiences in Iraq after 2003, added with the networking made possible in US prison camps post 2003, is what allowed Da3sh to come into being and morph into the largest and most powerful jihadi group of all time.

  2. Gordon reed says:

    Occupying the northeast of Syria where the wheat and major oil fields are in conjunction with sanctions are supposed to make the Syrians so miserable that they will overthrow Assad, another regime change operation and we know how those have worked out.

  3. d74 says:

    Daesh/Isis is still alive, though greatly diminished.
    US SF are the only ones protecting the Kurds and their multi-faith allies especially against the invading northern neighbour.

    The situation is more complex than my summary.
    A US journalist, Wladimir von Wilgenburg has produced an illuminating book on the subject:

    So I would like to see US forces remain in Syria as a protector of the Kurdish multi-faith experiment. The cost is small, the numbers small and the effectiveness of the Kurdish fighters has been proven in the fight against Daesh.

    • Young says:

      Could you explain how the Kurdish multi-faith experiment is beneficial for the U.S.?
      Sounds like the US embassy in Kabul flying pride flag in support of Afghan LGBTQ+ community just before abandonment.

  4. JamesT says:


    I wish there were more people in this world as principled and morally consistent as you.

  5. I couldn’t agree more with your views on the need for America to leave Syria.
    Too hard to sort the good guys from the bad guys.
    So much of that is subjective.

  6. different clue says:

    I remember reading somewhere that one of the motives for keeping our presence in Syria is that the US FedGov has our forces there to keep the SyrianGov from getting any benefit from the small oilfield in Eastern Syria. The people who cite ” because oil” say it is to gain material benefit “for” America somehow out of that little oil field. But I myself think, especially given the relatively small amount of oil involved, that the US FedGov’s motive is pure malicious spite. Assad did not fall the way the FedGov wanted, so the FedGov continues to get its nasty revenge by preventing Syria from accessing any money makeable from that oil to fund its own reconstruction with.

    Or am I wrong? . . . . as Billo Reilly likes to ask.

    • Babeltuap says:

      None of our coups worked in any country but we keep doing it for some reason. Hard to understand it. Unless of course the goal is to spread chaos, misery and destruction. I often think how amazing America could have been if we had focused on our own borders and citizens. We wouldn’t have to coup anyone. We could have brain drained the entire planet.

  7. Fourth and Long says:

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    Blogger Miss Hairdo & Big Smile who is accused of non-payment of taxes in the amount of 311 million rubles and money laundering, has not been in touch on social networks for the second week. By court decision, she and her husband Mr Hairdo & Big Smile are prohibited from using the Internet and means of communication during the investigation: in fact, the couple cannot even call a taxi – only an ambulance and emergency services in case of urgent need.

    Meanwhile, the personal bank accounts of the Big Hairdo & Smile family, as well as elite real estate and luxury cars, have been arrested from the first days: all the wealth acquired by overwork serves as a guarantor of compensation for the damage caused to the state. Like, if marathon bloggers do not voluntarily pay huge millions, their property will go under the hammer.

    Читайте на http://WWW.KP.RU: https://www.kp.ru/daily/27482.5/4738286/

  8. Fourth and Long says:

    A photo of our handsome Secretary of Defense in profile no extra charge. Name the president (an assumption) in the blurry background photo for a free scoop of one of our many flavors of .. 🍦
    WASHINGTON — The main air defense system at a coalition military base in northeast Syria was “not fully operational” when a suspected Iranian drone hit the installation on Thursday, killing a U.S. contractor and injuring six other Americans, two U.S. officials said on Friday.🍦

    It was unclear why the system was not fully operational and what difference that made in defending the base. The circumstances are under investigation, military officials said.

    It was also unclear whether the attackers had detected that vulnerability or just happened to send the drone at that time, officials said. They asked for anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

    The drone strike happened at a moment when U.S. forces in northeast Syria are on high alert against attacks from Iran-backed militias — there have been 78 such attacks since January 2021, a top American general said on Thursday. But the Avenger missile defense system at the base, called RLZ, may have been experiencing an unexpected maintenance problem at the time of the attack, one of the officials said.

    • TTG says:


      Coming back from the commissary today, I heard that the radar system was down for maintenance. Seems like pretty poor planning to have only one radar system or some kind of back up plan for needed maintenance.

      • Billy Roche says:

        You’ve been in the svc. Redundancy, planning, control out the kazoo is the word. Exasperating at times but, you know in a combat zone, lives (could be yours), are involved. So the system was down for service? Why then, no backup, was the problem deliberate or a “surprise”, who told the bad guys.. C’mon, this smells like b.S.

        Hey TTG your doing a good job, keeping your head about you. You get a straight atta boy from me.

      • JStan says:

        Yeah, the ‘system was down’ stinks like the Paris streets these. I don’t know what happened, or did not happen, but I certainly don’t buy that explanation.

  9. jim ticehurst.. says:

    I Suspect…There Are..Other World “Operators” Who Join Americans Any where They Can with Eyes And Ears on the Ground..Especially On The Fertile Crescent..

    Joes Team is Multi Lingual..And Has DEEP Roots..

  10. Leith says:

    TTG –

    I agree with you about al-Tanf. The US blocking of the Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus road there is an abomination. Why should we do Netanyahu’s bidding? Besides, the IRGC has found plenty of secret workarounds and still brings weapons to Syria with which to attack Israel. Perhaps opening that road might give the IAF better chances to bomb and destroy IRGC weapons convoys.

    I disagree about Hasakah & Rakka. ISIS (aka daesh) has not gone away. Even though it’s been four years since the the last of their Syrian land holdings was liberated by the SDF in the stronghold of al-Baghouz, they (daesh) still exist in Syria. They now use underground terrorist cells and continue to dream of reviving their territorial control. They still are a danger to the lives of Syrian people. Those terrorist cells have launched many hundreds of attacks over the last four years throughout the country. Assad, the IRGC, Hezbollah and the Russian Air Force have not been able to stop them. Neither have we and the SDF completely, but we have a better record in that regard. Not just al-Baghdadi, we and the SDF have taken out many more of daesh leadership than just him. Many more. Just last month US/SDF raids captured or killed several. https://taskandpurpose.com/news/us-troops-capture-isis-official-syria/

    Another reason we are there is to keep out Erdogan’s proxies, Syrian headchoppers armed by the TKK, and prevent them from committing the same atrocities they did in Idlib, Afrin, al-Bab, Jarabulus, Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad. Turkey is the one that initially set up the Syrian Interim Government. (SIG) and still supports them. Erdogan gave the SIG a home base within Turkey and has since allowed them to set up a headquarters in Turkish controlled Azaz in Syria’s Aleppo Province. Seems to me Turkey is the one that is still pushing for regime change in Syria.

    • TTG says:


      I still think we should begin the process of getting troops out of Syria and preparing the Rojava Kurds for that to happen. I’d like to see a strong intelligence effort based out of Iraq with a butt load of resident agents, legal travelers and support assets targeting all those jihadis in eastern Syria. That should be part of that preparation. I also have no problem with launching airstrikes, drone strikes and raids targeting those jihadis with the help of those Kurdish support assets. Even all this shouldn’t last forever.

      • Leith says:

        TTG –

        That makes good sense for taking out the daesh.

        But it wouldn’t keep our so called ‘ernest ally’ Erdogan from biting off a bigger chunk of Syrian territory. He’ll have his jihadi proxies in the streets of Hasakah and Raqqa in a heartbeat when we leave. Do we take them out also? If so, why haven’t we or the Russians already done it in the other Turkish occupied areas of Syria?

  11. Frankie P says:

    “The US blocking of the Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus road there is an abomination. Why should we do Netanyahu’s bidding?” Why do the Al-Jazeera article and this comment describe the crescent incompletely? Of course it is to downplay the final destination for many of the weapons, the place that has the Israelis sweating and holding all fire, for they understand the calculus here: any Israeli belligerent action will be answered by an equal or greater action against Israel. That place, of course, is Lebanon. The economic warfare against Lebanon has yielded some results, but Hezbollah still holds the support of the Shiite community, has built up a huge arsenal of guided missiles (Qasam Soleimani’s suitcase upgrades transformed their rockets into gps guided missiles), and most importantly, does not fear going toe to toe against Israel. 2006 anyone?

  12. Gordon reed says:

    The US is a roadblock to getting rid of Daesh, the Syrians, Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah would take care of them if we weren’t illegally occupying their country. The aformentioned groups were invited in by the Syrian government we were told to get out.

    • Billy Roche says:

      The bottom line, by any reading the law, is that the American President commanded soldiers to invade Syria w/o a declaration of war and w/o even a legal reading of a AOF memo from the congress (which is itself not Constitutional). We invaded of Syria. We are trying to kill the real bad guys, ISIS, but we are there w/o Syrias consent. Much as Russia has left a brigade of soldiers in Moldova we have left a brigade in eastern Syria. High past time to go home. As much as some hate him, Assad has asked for Russian help and wants them to stay. He hates American presence and wants us to leave. Like it or not Assad rules Syria – not the US DOS, DOD, or Two finger Joey. Let’s go crazy helping the Kurds. Give them just half of what we gave the Taliban. send them more Spec. Forces trainers, help them build up their region; then tell them we are leaving.. America can’t stay w/them forever. They must make their best peace with Iraq, Syria,Turkey, and yes Tehran.

  13. jim ticehurst.. says:

    TTG….You Always Make interesting Points of Interest..Many Others too..on this Matter of Syria…especially since 2011…And All The Connected Events with Iraq…The Displacements of 40 perent of Iraq’s middle class..and the Role of the Kurds..
    which I Agree with you about…

    I Also have read alot about Armenia…since I have had many Visits with a Very Dynamic Armenian Businessman who is Christian..It Compelled me to study alot about Armenia..Then Its relationship to Mount Arant…Noah..The Ark..etc…I Found that the firsyt domesticated Grapes were grown in Armenia..I assume they Came with Noahs family on the Ark..and over to Armenia.. History is a wonderful Study..Eh..

    So ..With Current M/E Tampering..What happens to IRAQ..What Product is Being Brought to the Market place there..It Wont Be Lambs for sure..Probably Chinese Tea.
    and an Offer To Buy the Green zone…

  14. English Outsider says:

    Billy Roche – I’m not sure this is the full picture:-

    “Back to the M.E., the U.S. had to have regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and God forbid Egypt.”

    Just the US?

    The US is far less secretive than Europe. Partly because it’s a more open society, partly because the furious partisan political struggles in the US lead to the exposure of more information but mainly, I believe, just because it’s so much more powerful. When the giant moves, we notice and ask questions. When the small fry move, there’s less there to notice – and in our more secretive societies, maybe nothing much to catch public attention at all.

    Given this disparity it’s easy to fall in with the story one sees so often. The US the big bad dog, the European poodles trotting obediently behind, pausing sometimes to grab their own prey but generally more innocent of evil intention themselves.

    From this develops a victim story. We see it particularly in Germany. Germany is subject to US domination, has been since WW2, and has had no choice but to reluctantly follow on behind the big dog. So many think, and think elsewhere in Europe too

    A handy victim story. Offloads the guilt. We Europeans are the virtuous who have been led astray. Get shot of this irksome US domination and left to ourselves, we will be good.

    Utter and complete bullshit. I believe a more accurate picture is that of the European power centres expertly leveraging US financial and military dominance to pursue objectives they would have pursued in any case had they had the military power themselves to do so. Obama dropped a hint or two about that and though he doesn’t usually, I think in this case he was telling the truth.

    A couple of things follow from this. Well before 2016 I and many others were always wary of the EU. At present it’s a a loosely articulated set of power centres, Berlin the most powerful by far but not the only one. But there are many in Europe, and of course in Brussels, who want more than that. They wish to see an integrated Europe, integrated under one governance as the US is integrated and able, as the US is able, to “Project Power”.

    Total nightmare, were that to come to pass. To me, frankly, the US looks a bit of a political mess at the moment but it has a robust constitutional tradition and plenty determined to make that tradition work. It does not have a docile electorate, that’s for sure. It has no tradition of “We the People” trustingly acceptant of their masters.

    The EU, particularly its major power centre, does. The US giant, big bad giant or not, is a giant constrained. The European giant so many hope to see established would be a giant effectively free of constitutional or democratic constraint.

    It’s for that reason, incidentally, that I am impatient of the hopes so often expressed that the “American empire” will all of a sudden disappear. What comes after?

    But the other thing that follows from this is a more immediate concern. This tendency I increasingly see in Europe – blame the big bad US – makes of America our sin eater. It frees us in Europe from the necessary duty of examining our own sins. Those sins are many, if in the main concealed from inspection. And if we don’t examine those, how can we avoid repeating them?

    • LeaNder says:

      We see it particularly in Germany. Germany is subject to US domination, has been since WW2, and has had no choice but … A handy victim story.

      English Outsider, I wish I understood why you are so absolutely obsessed with us Germans. You are not dominated by us any more post Brexit. And yes: I have yet to find your “handy (German) victim” story around me. But good we do have an expert on Germany here among the pilgrims.

      I finally understand why you choose your name, deeply sad and melancholic about not being born American, but only as English Outsider on the wrong side of the Atlantic.

  15. JStan says:

    I think that mine is a forlorn hope, but I am less concerned with getting US personal out of Syria (LESS concerned, not unconcerned) than I am with cleaning out the ‘ overflowing stables’ of our entire National Security Sector. From soup to nuts. Otherwise I think we’re doomed to more disaster. I don’t even think they can, reliably, produce sufficient ammunition for OUR troops.

  16. English Outsider says:

    Don’t worry, LeaNder. It’s not just Scholz. You and I should also be looking at UvdL, Borrell, Macron and, of course, the ingratiating but not entirely convincing Johnson. They could all do with having their collars felt. But starting with Scholz, given that he’s the most powerful man in Europe. The most docile and trusting might have a few questions to ask of him.

    The less trusting and docile in his electorate, not many but some, are already asking questions. I take it you’ve been asking them as well. Please explain therefore why Mrs Merkel has recently disowned Minsk 2, of which she was the principle architect and guarantor. And why Scholz is determinedly looking the other way after the sabotage of North Stream.

    • English Outsider says:

      LeaNder – should be “principal”, I think. My German spelling is still awful – you remember our discussion on the German spelling reform? Unfortunately I can find no such excuse for my English spelling errors.

      • LeaNder says:

        Is this the type of German victimology you have in mind? German MP Left Party. Not a friend of LNG vs Russian gas. How much more double, triple what Russian gas costs? I not a fan from a purely ecological perspective too. Highly toxix brew of chemicals needed for the extraction.


        • English Outsider says:

          I think that man’s a fool, LeaNder, to be honest.

          Not as big a fool as Scholz. What on earth was Scholz thinking of, imposing sanctions he hoped would break the Russian economy – and then expecting the Russians to keep sending him cheap gas while he did so!

          Ans why on earth would he agree to having those pipelines blown up. Alternatively, if he didn’t agree to it, why isn’t he storming around demanding to know who did it?

          All very odd. Can you shed any light on the affair?

          • LeaNder says:

            Sorry, TTG, once again I am supporting a comment section hijack. …

            What on earth was Scholz thinking of, imposing sanctions … then expecting the Russians to keep sending him cheap gas while he did so!

            Well, I doubt he expected to keep getting cheap Russian oil … But these matters made his decision processes not easier, and he had two very different partners in his coalition to deal with. Remember. The Green party completely agreed with Eastern Europeans and the US on North Stream. Stop it, both 1 and 2, really! Then: North Stream2 didn’t conform with European rules needed for operation, and Scholz stopped the certification for North Stream2 process even before the war, based on the news about the movement of Russian troops, I suppose:

            Wikipedia, Deepl Translation below:
            Suspension of certification of operator.
            On November 16, 2021, the German Federal Network Agency announced that it had suspended the procedure for certifying Nord Stream 2 AG as a transmission system operator and that Nord Stream 2 AG had decided to establish a subsidiary under German law for the German part of the pipeline only.[118] The subsidiary is named Gas for Europe GmbH and is based in Schwerin.[119] It has been assigned the last 54 km of the pipeline and the landfall station in Lubmin.[120] The German Federal Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, declared his decision to suspend the certification procedure for Nord Stream 2 AG as a transmission system operator.

            On February 22, 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared in Berlin his decision to halt the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline due to the expected Russian incursion into Ukraine.[121][122] The Russian incursion then occurred on February 24, 2022.

            Scholz first caught my attention during the two days public hearings on TV, representing the SPD in the public hearings of the Visa Scandal Inquiry Committee. Curiously enough. Ukraine surfaced prominently in that context. Is that what is on the back of your mind? Are you even aware of it?

            As chancellor, he is a lot under attack for not communicating his views sufficiently, and concerning Ukraine especially was blamed for his slow decision-making.

            Is that why Mince 2 surfaces on your mind so prominently? Again: Minsk2 could never have worked without the US being part of the decision process. Sad but true:

            Given the persistent deadlock in the Ukraine crisis, the leaders of the EU ought to agree to prolong the sanctions against Russia, push for the renegotiation of the Minsk II agreement and widen the ‘Normandy format’ to include the US and bolster reforms in Ukraine.

            I haven’t paid attention to the British media on matters, but I would assume Scholz must have been under heavy attack concerning his slow decision processes.

            We (I) paid more attention to the constantly present media wise Ukrainian ambassador, supported by our own hawks on matters. Wikipedia, Andriy Melnyk :

            As ambassador to Germany Melnyk was vocal in his criticism of what he considered Germany’s insufficient support of Ukraine following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[11] After Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier was uninvited to Ukraine due to his allegedly close links to Vladimir Putin, Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz cancelled his visit to Ukraine. This prompted Melnyk to dub Scholz an offended liver sausage (German: beleidigte Leberwurst) in reference to a person who huffs from being too thin-skinned. Melnyk elaborated that this “is the most brutal war of extermination since the Nazi invasion of Ukraine. It’s not kindergarten”.[12]

            On 29 June 2022 Andriy Melnyk gave an interview to Tilo Jung where he denied the interviewer’s claim that Stepan Bandera’s followers were “involved in the killing of 800,000 Jews” during World War II, to which Melnyk replied “there is no evidence that Bandera’s troops killed hundreds of thousands of Jews. There is zero evidence.” Melnyk called this claim a narrative pushed by Russia that is now being supported by Germany, Poland, and Israel.[13][14]

          • wiz says:


            The Emperor must have assured him that the spice will continue to flow.
            Scholz assumed the flow would continue East to West, but the Emperor meant the other way around.

            A misunderstanding really.

            A certain “pro Ukrainian” group of mischievous divers helped him understand.

    • LeaNder says:

      Please explain therefore why Mrs Merkel has recently disowned Minsk 2,

      Merkel was simply responding to current public opinion. Bernhard/MoA’s interpretation was actually quite close to mine. You overestimate her statements, as do others.

      The US and/or the influential Ukrainian diaspora in Canada and the US always had the stronger deck of cards on their hands than Germany and France could ever have on Ukraine and/or Russia. Germany powerful, sorry that’s silly. Germany is either too powerful, or people complain it’s not powerful enough. Now what exactly is it. We should spend more on our military? Follow the Polish example?

      America’s media elites disowned Seymour Hersh for quite some time now. Remember, he was forced to publish in the UK, as happened to Walt & Mearsheimer. I highly respect the man and his work, but this time I admittedly did not even bother to read the article.

      I always felt America would stop North Stream one way or another, if not the US our Green Party members would. It does not matter to me, how or with whose help it happened, if I may put that way. Personally, I bought myself a couple of woolen tights and thick woolen sweaters and turned down the heat, or turned it off completely occasionally. I’ll survive my heating back payment bill later this year, hopefully the next years too … A lot of production won’t, probably. But if you check, the rate of business bankruptcies actually went down slightly instead of up. But yes, time to spent your money before it isn’t worth anything anymore???? … Feels like. The birds are back with their morning symphony.

      • English Outsider says:

        LeaNder – I agree! Mrs Merkel was distancing herself from the Putinversteher. But there was truth in her statements for all that: it was backed by similar statements from Poroshenko and Hollande. It was also backed by indisputable fact – there was never much attempt in practice to implement Minsk 2, for all the talking..

        It had disastrous effects internationally, Mrs Merkel’s statement. The erstwhile colossus of Europe talking as if an international treaty, deposited at the UN and taken for real there, could be spoken of as merely a trick. A subterfuge adopted by the very woman who had put the credibility of her country and of Europe behind that subterfuge.

        For all outside the West it blew European credibility out of the water. What, all were asking, was the point of attempting to negotiate with the Europeans if they can state so openly that an agreement with them can be spoken of as not worth the paper its written on?

        That was the significance of Mrs Merkel’s statements. It marked a further stage in the observable loss of confidence on the international diplomatic scene in the credibility of “Europe”. From being a powerful if difficult actor it has become an irrelevance, a more or less passive observer as its fate is decided by the real players in Washington and Moscow.

        Foolish woman. Should have kept her mouth shut.

        And Scholz continued with the subterfuge. The French transcript of the last Macron/Putin call before the SMO shows that Scholz had still been pretending to be seeking a Minsk 2 resolution. Even at the press conference with Putin, again just before the SMO, Scholz was talking as if he was still hoping to get Minsk 2 off the ground.

        That was straight duplicity. Knowing that Minsk 2 was merely a ruse yet still talking as if it were a real possibility. Any explanation you can think of for why Scholz engaged in such transparent duplicity?

        As for the North Stream sabotage, let’s not go down that rabbit hole. The Hersh account may be true, for all I know. Or the yacht story put out after Scholz’s visit to Biden. Let the people who know about diving and explosives fuss about all that. What interests you and me is Scholz’s reaction to the sabotage itself.

        If some unknown actor had blown up a vital US energy installation in the US, from the President down, would be raising hell until they found out who did it.

        In contrast , apart from some half-statement that is probably wasn’t the Russians, all we heard from the Scholz administration was deathly quiet. Why?


        Listened to the Swedish songbirds. Thanks. I do hear the dawn chorus when in some German city. Less where I live in England, which is still deep country. Pesticides, artificials and winter wheat. It’s a good ten years since I heard a lark at midday, even.

        • English Outsider says:

          TTG – “all in the US”, sorry. Still doing a lot of driving around at the moment. That and flu, I’m rushing a bit.

          • Fourth and Long says:

            You think the Hersh account is a rabbit hole? You need to hang out with a higher quality of rabbit.

        • cobo says:

          “…the UN… could be spoken of as merely a trick”

          Raw military power is the way the world works, period. Even the bankers cannot stand up to it, if faced by it. That Napoleon didn’t attack the banks before the rest of Europe still baffles me.

      • JStan says:

        Baffled why you not even read the Sy article.

        • LeaNder says:

          Investigative reporters necessarily tend to construct coherent tales for their audience. Which moves it close to crime fiction, which I actuallylove and studied once.

          Here is a German Russia-dunnit German report in English.

          I started to read Seymour’s story, I read an interview with him over here, thus I am familiar with his argument. Fact is I don’t have much time to waste presently. …

          • English Outsider says:

            You remind us above that we’re “off topic”, LeaNder. And you have decorating work to do and I one or two things to keep me busy.

            So I’ll just say here that all hinges on President Biden’s claim that the Russian invasion of a neighbouring sovereign state was “unprovoked aggression”.

            If that were so then I’d still say that the reaction of the West – never mind Scholz – was woefully incompetent. Encouraging our proxies to continue a military war that all knew they could not possibly win, and that continuation at tragic cost to themselves. Engaging in a sanctions war that left the target largely unscathed but that has hurt us badly.

            So even if President Biden is right, the Western reaction is something of an eye opener. I had not expected such wholesale incompetence from the politicians of the West.

            If President Biden is incorrect and this was “provoked aggression” then we are left with the question of German involvement, and European involvement generally, in assisting with the provocations that led to this war.

            As said above, European politics is more secretive than American. We don’t know what our politicians are up to most of the time. That’s particularly the case in Germany, where the electorate is very trusting.

            So when TTG returns to the subject of the Ukrainian war, and when you and I have done with what’s keeping us busy at present, I hope we’ll be able to look further at the actions of the key figures in Europe – the German politicians and by extension the EU politicians, who do tend to dance to Berlin’s tune.

            We need to know what was agreed in those coalition talks for a start, and we don’t yet.

            We also need to know to what extent the German people themselves are in tune with the Russophobia their politicians exhibit. Since 2014 I’ve always gone with the excuse that the Germans didn’t know what Mrs Merkel was up to; and therefore did not know that their politicians were backing a neo-Nazi controlled regime in Kiev.

            But the Melnyk interview you mention above blows that excuse away. After that interview, at the latest, many ordinary Germans must have know what it was they were putting their weight behind: a regime that bore an uncomfortable resemblance in some key respects to the German Nazi regime of earlier times.

            Yet, as I know from personal contact as well as from reading your press, that doesn’t bother them. Seems “my” Germany. the country of Nie Wieder, no longer exists. That I find troubling.

          • TTG says:


            You, Jake and a few others here seem to have absolute faith in the invincibility of the Russian war machine. I would think the events of the last year would at least give you some doubts of that invincibility, if not a true crisis of faith. I think Putin and his generals were as convinced of their invincibility as you are. They are demonstrated masters of the arts of perception management and information confrontation. Unfortunately for them, they got caught in the back blast of their own IO. For them, the one good thing to come out of all this is the exposure of the extent of their kleptocracy.

          • LeaNder says:

            We need to know what was agreed in those coalition talks for a start, and we don’t yet.

            Outsider, every coalition publishes the coalition treaty once it is agreed on. As did this coalition. You can read it, it’s available on the web.

            Here a direct pdf link of the treaty:

            You can search it for Russia and notice that Scholz actually acted quite in accordance with it.

            Not hidden, but available on the official website of the government:

            Scholz personally would have preferred another two party coalition with the CDU, if I recall correctly. …

            I guess I don’t quite get it why you feel it is of such utter importance what we Germans think. You feel we are such gullible sheep, trust our government so much? How can it then still be interesting to know what we think and/or feel about matters?

            More seriously: You can check the regular polls on support for parties, issues, support for Ukraine too, on the regular polls by both public channels. ARD/The First, ZDF/The -Second

            ARD: Deutschlandtrend:

            ZDF: Politbarometer. Here e.g. support for the delivery of the Leopard2. They check support in combination with the support for a respective Party. 75% Green Party vs 61% SPD and 64% CDU:

            My larger family heavily supports Ukraine, my sisters vote Green Party regularly and support Ukraine against aggessor Russia, as did my mother before she died late last year. My brother is a pretty independent voter, but he is a fan of Zelenskyy and a fan of Baerbock too. They mirror the larger German support the government has on its Ukraine policy.

            The Ukrainian ambassador was a pain in the ass. Thankfully, he stumbled over his Bandera hero ship and had to take his hat, as we call had-to-leave over here. But the American ambassador Trump sent was hardly better. We do not miss either. Back in Ukraine, he was promoted to deputy Foreign Minister. Thus, they must have been pretty satisfied with his performance over here.

            Completely different to the rest of Eastern Europe, support for Russia still is stronger in Eastern Germany than in the West. Curiously enough. But I met Poles too that do not in the least support the politics of their country concerning Russia.

      • “Germany is either too powerful, or people complain it’s not powerful enough.”

        Yes, there is that anti-German sentiment from some people.

        Although not the same sentiment, that brings to mind another famous (but I trust inaccurate) quotation about the German people:


        Personally, I think some people have gone absolutely overboard in demonizing Germany and ignoring its many magnificent contributions to civilization.
        E.g., from its native son Georg Friedrich Händel, not to mention his contemporary and fellow Saxon Johann_Sebastian_Bach.

        • JStan says:

          And let us not forget those two pillars of modernism; the Frankfurt School of Critical Thinking, and of course, Marxism.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          Indeed. I love Brahms music especially. But my favorite contribution of all is the fraulein. Here’s a fantastic uplifting song performed in Mainz, Germany by a Russian dude named Vasya Priyannikov with two examples of my favorite German things:

          Вася Пряников “Блондинки и брюнеточки” (Blondinki and Brunetochki):


          (My apologies to all Germans, especially the ladies. I forgot to add Beer to the list as well as Wiener Schnitzel. When I briefly lived there decades ago the food was by far the best in Europe with the exception of some places in Italy. I gained a huge amount of weight in no time as did my lady friend. I was surprised how lame the French restaurant food was though the produce in the South was the best food I’ve ever eaten by far. The breakfast omelettes were superb too, really superb. English food? I hope it’s improved. It may explain the strange behaviours encountered. I only managed not to starve to death on my last visit due to the lucky discovery of an Italian restaurant.)

      • Regarding the Hersh report on NordStream, he has given two lengthy (~40 min.) videos about it:

        Democracy Now

        Chris Hedges

        Everything Hersh says sounds totally plausible to me.

        And what nearly clinches the case are the documented statements both Biden and Nuland made well before the destructive act.
        Talk about clear statements of intent!

  17. Fourth and Long says:

    If the commissary visits allow, this will fit nicely under the topic here of AntiAircraft defense and drone warfare. Tula, sorry, Kireyevsk in Tula Oblast is a about 229 km south of Moscow. Be interesting to know if there’s some significance to this other than that, but I’m not knowledgeable of local lore over there.

    Blast in Tula region caused by Ukrainian Tu-141 Strizh drone carrying explosive substance:

    Three people wounded, three apartment blocks and four household structures damaged

  18. Fourth and Long says:

    Comment section is really interesting but you need the Translation Bots:

    It never happened, and here it is again.

    Putin’s work is visible to every naked eye ..

    It’s time to “end” playing “good”… We need to act harshly, decisively, and crushingly

    And why aren’t the same events in the Belgorod region, which take place up to 20 times a day, not covered on ria news?

  19. Fourth and Long says:

    Yikes – look at the video down the page at this link. In no way a firecracker. You military guys might know more.

    SHOT: A drone filled with explosives exploded in Tula. Video

    In the city of Kireevsk in the Tula region, where an explosion occurred , according to preliminary information, a Tu-141 Strizh UAV fell. This is reported by the telegram channel Shot with reference to emergency services.

    A source in the emergency services: previously, a Tu-141 Strizh, stuffed with explosives, exploded in Kireevsk,” reports Shot. As a result of the explosion, two local residents born in 2002 and 2006 were injured. It is specified that the same drone fell near Kaluga.

    • TTG says:


      That Tu-141 is a big SOB, almost 50 ft long. It was a Soviet recon drone from the late 70s. I’m sure it carries a hell of a warhead as a one way kamikaze drone. A couple were used a while back in an attack on the Engels airbase damaging two Tu-95s. I wonder where it was headed.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        I could post a Telegram link in which an apparently very competent Russian military officer discusses briefly his estimation that in Germany at the moment approximately 50 of these wicked birds are being revamped and modernized. He speculated about a mass attack of such quantity, saying this one in Tula Oblast was likely an Air defence reconnaissance ploy. So one would think 50, with improved range, controllability and payload. Maybe with cartoons, but I won’t suggest any captions, this is a very cruel business and you need the brain of a seriously delinquent teenager or deranged psychopath to find anything amusing about it. Unfortunately there are plenty to go ’round.

  20. Vince says:

    Our mistake was filling prisons with captured fighters.

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