“A State of confused Agony …” Saker


"The latest developments in Syria are not, I believe, the result of some deliberate plan of the USA to help their “moderate terrorist” allies on the ground, but they are the symptom of something even worse: the complete loss of control of the USA over the situation in Syria and, possibly, elsewhere.  Let me just re-state what just happened:" The Saker


Worth reading.  pl         


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38 Responses to “A State of confused Agony …” Saker

  1. michael brenner says:

    A reasonable conclusion is that both elements are at work. Powerful forces in Washington did indeed take action to ensure that American purposes would not be forestalled by the “cease-fire” (e.g. the Deir al-Zor attack), while at the same time the U.S. is not in a position to deliver much of anything since it cannot dictate to the “moderates,” has zero influence on al-Nusra & Assoc, has neutered itself re Erdogan, Netanyahu and the Saudis, and has no clear strategy other than a wish list of what it hopes will be the results.

  2. A Pols says:

    I have watched the Syria situation evolve for years and thought so much US policy is incoherent because it has many masters who have contradictory purposes. To me, nothing else makes sense than that actions are undertaken at different times and for different reasons under pressure from diverse interests.
    The interpretation of some that US policy deliberately seeks to promote chaos so that we can feast on the carcasses of destroyed countries is too awful to believe (at least for me) and smacks of the “protocols of the Elders of Zion” type thinking. That some interests in this country relish the opportunities presented by chaos is true enough, but it’s only one of many elements and I doubt it’s the primary driver.
    Again, this incoherence is found in domestic policy as well…

  3. Fred says:

    “..pathetic and absolutely unprofessional scene of US Ambassador Samantha Powers simply walking out of a UNSC meeting when the Russian representative was speaking.”
    That was a kind way of describing it.
    “The White House apparently is so freaked out at the prospects of a Trump victory in November…”
    I suspect they see the real poll numbers.
    “Trump will probably want to meet Putin for a major negotiations session involving all the key outstanding issues between the USA and Russia. If Hillary and her Neocons make it into the White House then some kind of war between Russia and the USA will become almost impossible to prevent.”
    That seems the clearest analysis yet.

  4. Peter says:

    If you don’t think US policy is deliberately promoting chaos or that it’s not the main driving force, then why do you suppose the actual result of US foreign policy is pure chaos? I think with the recent air support for ISIS in Deir Ezzor it’s a very realistic idea to say it’s deliberate. In fact it seems a lot more difficult to argue otherwise.

  5. Laguerre says:

    It’s pretty obvious that Obama is no longer running the game. He’s given up, and left the NeoCons to make the running. That’s pretty disappointing. A POTUS is elected to govern, and he should do so.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In this interview (in Persian), Dr. Naser Hadian of Tehran University (from the Online Magazine Iranian Diplomacy) characterizes US policy in Syria as “Chaos Management” in order to drain the strategic capacities of Iran, Syria and others.

  7. Tigermoth says:

    In addition to the UN show there is the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings.
    The MIC needs more help:
    “Not only our people – our defense industry partners, too, need stability and longer-term plans to be as efficient and cutting-edge as we need them to be,” Carter told the senators.
    The Pentagon had “no intention” of sharing intelligence with Russia when it came to Syria, Dunford told the lawmakers unequivocally. Secretary Carter explained that the joint implementation councils envisioned by the ceasefire proposal negotiated in Geneva wouldn’t share intelligence, just coordinate efforts – but that they were a moot point anyway, since the ceasefire was effectively dead.
    Carter explained Dunford’s logic in a response to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), saying that “the Russians are responsible for this strike whether they conducted it or not, because they took responsibility for the conduct of the Syrians by associating themselves with the Syrian regime.”
    Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) asked about what it would take for the US to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, using the phrase “control the airspace.”
    “Right now… for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia,” Dunford replied, drawing a rebuke from committee chairman John McCain (R-Arizona), who argued a no-fly zone was possible without war.
    In their exchange with Graham, Carter and Dunford confirmed there is a plan to arm the Kurdish militia in Syria, over Turkish objections, as a way of advancing on the IS stronghold of Raqqa. Once Raqqa is taken, however, an Arab force would be required to hold it. “We have a plan,” Dunford said, but described it as “not resourced.”
    Dunford agreed with Graham’s assertion that the US had two objectives – to destroy IS and to “remove Assad,” referring to the Syrian president – but admitted the Kurds were not interested in the latter.
    “If the main fighting force inside of Syria is not signed up to take Assad out, where does that force come from?” Graham asked. Neither Dunford nor Carter had an answer to that.”
    (I thought we already are arming the Kurds.)
    Maybe The Saker has a point.

  8. Imagine says:

    Millions of refugees are swamping the economies of Europe.
    And Syria risks America starting a nuclear WWIII with Russia.
    The West should wake up, realize it is now playing not just for the economic survival of Europe but its own, and simply forget about overthrowing Assad as well as the oil pipeline. There are now bigger problems.
    When your neighbor’s townhome is burning down, and the National Guard is starting to line up outside yours with howitzers because you’ve insulted them, it is not the time to be running your tax shelters. Things could get hot very rapidly if one doesn’t pay attention to the big picture.

  9. Tigermoth says:

    This became obvious to me when he gave that long interview at the beginning of the year. He still had 10 or 11 months as POTUS and he bad mouthed several key allies. This type of interview is consistent with someone no longer in the game, it was as if he felt it was already February 1, 2017.

  10. Bandolero says:

    I disagree a bit with the Saker here. I don’t think the US is not capable of any agreement. I just think the US cannot deliver on anything regarding Syria, because it has almost no influence there. And that’s what I think Lavrov meant.
    So, take for example Russias core conditions regarding a ceasefire in Syria:
    1st) The US must make the moderate armed opposition separate from Al Qaeda. The US cannot deliver this because – with exeption of the Kurds – the moderate armed opposition in Syria doesn’t exist. It is in reality Al Qaeda and a bunch of very similar jihadis who will not and cannot seperate themselves from themselves. They see the US as hostile power and the US has no influence on what they do or do not do.
    2nd) Due to this denied reality the US has in reality no influence on whether the armed opposition and assorted terrorists abide by any ceasefire in Syria. The US can negotiate any agreement with Russia but the jihadis simply do not care and follow their own agenda – or that of their weapon suppliers.
    3rd) Regarding the weapons and ammo pipeline in northern Syria there is only one important country: Turkey. Only Turkey has the border and can open or close the weapon pipeline for the jihadis in Syria. And the US cannot do anything to pressure Turkey anymore to do what the US wants. The US is just busy of playing nice with Turkey to keep Turkey in NATO after the failed coup which Turkey blames on the US. Some time ago one might have argued that the US could threaten to throw Turkey out of NATO, to not support Turkey’s entry to the EU and to facilitate a coup in Turkey if Turkey doesn’t do what the US wants, but after the failed Turkish coup that’s all over. Today even Putin seems to have more influence on Erdogan than Obama or the US. So, if Russia needs a deal with a foreign power regarding the use of influence on jihadis in northern Syria, Erdogan is the guy to go to, not Obama.
    So, the honest thing for the US to say to Russia would be: do what you want in Syria, we have no influence on the bunch of jihadis there anyway and if you want a deal with them go to Erdogan. But the US keeps making deals on Syria for which it has absolutely no means to keep it’s end. And that’s what Lavrov was saying.

  11. shargash says:

    This is scary stuff: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/world/middleeast/syria-john-kerry.html?_r=1
    “On Tuesday at the Pentagon, officials would not even agree that if a cessation of violence in Syria held for seven days — the initial part of the deal — the Defense Department would put in place its part of the agreement on the eighth day: an extraordinary collaboration between the United States and Russia that calls for the American military to share information with Moscow on Islamic State targets in Syria.
    “I’m not saying yes or no,” Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, commander of the United States Air Forces Central Command, told reporters on a video conference call. “It would be premature to say that we’re going to jump right into it.”
    The US State Department negotiates a deal, and the military gets to decide whether it wants to go along with it? Why is this guy not a civilian?
    I wonder how close we are to a military coup, at least if Trump wins the election.

  12. Mark Logan says:

    I doubt many US officers think they could order the UAV operators to fire on the convoy they were monitoring and it’s unlikely those operators were uninformed as to their mission that day, which was observe and guard them, if they could, and expect all of them to keep quiet about it. I think it was one of the rebel factions. It’s just a WAG but I suspect they did it for the same reason the stage false flag CW attacks.

  13. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, frankly I do not agree with Saker on his analysis, that is, IMO he try’s to ignore AMERICAN exceptialism to show due to various reasons America is incapable of accepting and agreeing by agreements (an unreliable partner). But, IMO the problem is not due to the indecisiveness by this or that administration in power. But rather I think is all due to American elitis/ Borgs in power, whoever they maybe and whatever Job they may hold, they become so full of them being exceptional that they no longer feel they (representing America) need to be treated to there and agreements.

  14. Tigermoth says:

    Not a happy camper:
    (Reuters) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused the United States of supplying more weapons to Kurdish fighters in northern Syria this week, delivering two plane loads of arms to what Ankara says is a terrorist group.
    Erdogan’s comments, in a speech in New York on Thursday, are likely to add to tensions between Turkey and Washington over U.S. support for Kurdish YPG forces involved in operations against Islamic State fighters.
    “Three days ago America dropped two plane loads of weapons in Kobani for these terror groups,” he said, adding he had raised the issue on Wednesday with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden who he said had no knowledge of this…

  15. Former 11B says:

    I was thinking about how it must stick in Putin’s craw to hear our Esteemed S of S purpose a no-fly zone for Syrian and Russian aircraft only after how he bent over backwards on Libya vis a vis the security council. Then I had a Eureka moment. This isn’t a security council deal. He was invited by a sovereign . He doesn’t have to declare a no fly anything. All he has to do is inform all parties concerned that any intrusion into Syrian air space (government controlled or not) will be met with a BUK straight up the jet-pipe.Drones will be used as free air-to-air training targets for the new Syrian pilots. And he would be within his rights end-of-story no way to spin it.
    Combined with the movement of certain seaborne elements and the tone of the Russians, the gloves are off. If they meant to provoke the Bear they have succeeded. And I do believe they(the Russians) smoked that little clandestine spook playhouse if for no other reason to sell some more of those impressive Kalibers. Russians are very pragmatic.
    We might have some kool toys like that if the MIC wasn’t just a graft and corruption orientated cesspool. We think we have kool toys too but my guess is its dated and probably about 65% effective. Spares and parts were always a weak point and I bet its real bad now.

  16. Jack says:

    Another clear analysis on who is the warmonger by financial blogger Mike Shedlock.
    And then there is this. Never heard of this guy until my Twitter feed got jammed.

  17. Brunswick says:

    #1). You are missing out on the most important part of the “Separation Requirement”. The Groups that refuse to withdraw from ISIS and al Quida, are suppost to be added to the “target list” and cut off from weapons, training and supplies.
    While the US/CIA “lacks the influence” to “force” the separation, but still refuses to allow for the Groups to be added to the target list, and refuses to force the CIA to cut off the supply of weapons, training and supplies.
    The US is deliberately playing a double game.

  18. Jay says:

    So McCain thinks a No-Fly Zone can be done without going to war with Syria and/or Russia? The voters in Arizona cannot be this stupid? Joe Dunford has to be playing to the cameras here. Though I hope his office is flagging his counterpart in Moscow with the real skinny. Otherwise the girls in the WH are playing a very deadly game and it’s 4 and 2nd to go..

  19. Castellio says:

    An interesting book (two volumes actually) that deals with the issue of intent and chaos in western foreign policy from a legal point of view is “Genocide in Iraq: The Case Against the UN Security Council and Member States”. It was published in 2012 by Clarity Press in Atlanta, Georgia. Authors are Abdul-Haq Al-Ani and Tarik Al-Ani.
    The title might turn you off, I understand, but it is well worth reading. It is careful and considered in the case it makes, and has appropriate documentation.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    This is rather strange; sometime during Bush II presidency in a visit to Ankara, Mr. Larijani, the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, shared with the Turkish leaders intelligence indicating that US weapons through Iraq were being supplied to Kurdish separatists.
    Nary a peep came out of Turks.
    Regrettably, I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Erdogan, unfortunately, is lost in the labyrinth of his own mind; too many ideas and too many aspirations and too many goals to fit within his mind.

  21. Zeug says:

    “Creative chaos” is a trademarked neoconservative brand from pre-Iraq supreme crime of aggression days courtesy of IIRC one Michael Ledeen ala Creative Destruction. Out of the catastrophic failure of social institutions and infrastructure that supports old cultures is born the new world… basically a post-Heideggerean apologia for the same old imperial overreach and ultra-violence that characterises every failing hegemon.

  22. johnf says:

    O/T but another straw in the wind that the latest British government has elements of “realism” within it.
    A month ago it released details of the Israelis, during the Falklands War, selling arms to the Argentinians which resulted in the deaths of many British servicemen.
    Now it appears to have leaked this story:
    “The Sudden Death of U.K.’s Nuke Chief, Suspected of Spying For Israel’s A-bomb Program
    More than half a century after Nyman Levin’s heart attack at 10 Downing Street, the British government is fighting tooth and nail to prevent the exposure of the scandal”

  23. F5F5F5 says:

    This is classic end-of-reign decadence.
    The dogs are loose while the masters are too busy securing their next job.
    Different US and Allied resources have been pitched against each other with contradictory objectives from the start, and they’re now coming to a head.
    That denotes the absence of a grand plan. But if there is indeed a grand plan, there is nobody to govern it. Or maybe is the grand plan rooted in ideological tosh?

  24. Bandolero says:

    From my point of view adding these jihadi groups to the US target list is of little practical significance for Russia. That the US doesn’t do it shows bad intent, yes, but it doesn’t matter much because it’s anyway Russia, Iran and Syria who decide which jihadi groups will be targeted and when and where. It would be a nice PR point so Russia can claim – see world, the US says these are terrorists, too – but that’s it.
    A similar point is to be made on CIA support for jihadis. In northern Syria the CIA is totally dependent on Turkey, so the Russians have to go to Turkey anyway to have the jihadis’ weapons pipeline cut off in Northern Syria. On what Israel does in Syria Obama has no influence neither. Speaking with Putin about Syria will likely impress Neanyahu more than speaking with Obama.
    In Southern Syria with Jordan that may be a bit different, if the US has still more influence in Jordan than Saudi Arabia has, but that front is almost done anyway.
    And that US intelligence sharing and US participation in bombing Nusra & friends make a big difference I can’t see. I’m sure Syrian-Russian intel on specifics of what’s going on in Syria and who is who doing what exactly there is a lot better than that of the US. And regarding US strikes on terrorists in Syria it might be fine if Syrians could trust the US, but since there is no trust, Syria would anyway prefer the US military not to do anything in Syria.
    So what has the US potentially to offer Syria except a weak PR point that the US now agrees with the Syrian-Russian assessment of who’s a terrorist in Syria? I can’t see much there.

  25. Fred says:

    You have already forgotten that Sultan Erdogan was not running Turkey then?

  26. Fred says:

    In a related lack of leadership topic here’s a fine example of who our administration promotes to flag rank:

  27. LeaNder says:

    Admittedly, I may well have been slightly prejudiced against The Saker, but this seems to be a rather good assessment, with a hat tip to Pat for guidance.

  28. Nancy K says:

    Trump has also stated he would attack Iranian ships for dissing our beautiful ships. Do you really think Putin will look at that kindly. Trump is no mental match for Putin. I don’t believe Clinton is either. Whoever gets elected I hope a war with Russia is taken off the table as any kind of scenario.
    I agree with many on this site that the only stable force in Syria is Assad. Why remove the last stability in a country that is imploding on itself unless that is the desired outcome.

  29. Barish says:

    Don’t see it mentioned yet, apparently the unicorns are crumbling inside eastern Halab faster than expected:
    Handarat Camp was fully captured, and noise is that al-Kindi hospital and the ash-Shukayif district are soon to follow, this while advances are also made further south toward the Sheikh Said district neighbouring Ramouseh.
    I’ve seen a joke about how USAF would now “accidentally” bomb the Syrian troops in Handarat Camp, but for real: what might the confused US apparatus do in the face of this looming purge of unicorns from Halab city?

  30. doug says:

    That denotes the absence of a grand plan. But if there is indeed a grand plan, there is nobody to govern it.
    No, it more likely denotes a US/West plan that isn’t working out as anticipated. Not all plans, if not most, go as anticipated. Complicating things are the many actors, each with their own plans, many of which are not congruent. Some of which are those trying to leverage the US in one direction or another. And many of which we not may be fully informed on.
    When combined with the predilection that having very large hammers equals ability to enforce one’s plans the results can be quite chaotic.

  31. jld says:

    And you still want to vote for HRC?

  32. Nancy K says:

    As a women with 4 daughter and a son in the Navy, I cannot bear the thought of Trump and Pence ruling the country. Pence thinks the world is only 6000 years old. If Trump becomes president I would have to spend my day praying he stay healthy. I’m voting for Hillary as the lesser of 2 evils and then there is the Supreme Court,need I say more.

  33. Fred says:

    You should have no fear. We do not elect rulers but only presidents.

  34. Jackrabbit says:

    Saker comes very close to being an Obama apologist here.
    The fact is, Obama front man for a team. Keeping us guessing on their intentions is just part of what they do.
    Kerry is also part of the team. He wouldn’t be there if he wasn’t.
    Statements such as: “Obama has lost control” / “Obama’s legacy” / “Kerry wants…” are nonsensical distractions.
    And its not just foreign affairs. Remember Obama’s 11-dimensional chess?

  35. Nancy K says:

    I think Trump looks at himself as an emperor.

  36. Fred says:

    And just what does Hilary see in the mirror?

  37. different clue says:

    Nancy K,
    A question: which one would be likelier to start a war with Russia, or at least try to . . . Trump or Clinton?

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