“Israeli Intelligence chief: We do not want ISIS defeat in Syria” AMN


"Israeli intelligence Chief, Major General Herzi Halevy, said that the last three months have been the most difficult for ISIS since its inception. In a speech delivered at “Herzliya” conference yesterday , Halevy explicitly said “Israel” does not want the situation in Syria to end with the defeat of ISIS “, the Israeli NRG site reported. “Withdrawal of the super powers from the region and letting Israel alone in front of Hezbollah and Iran that possess good abilities Will make “Israel” in a hard position” . Therefore, we’ve to do all we can so as not finding ourselves in such situation”, the Israeli chief intelligence added."  AMN


Well, that's honest.  pl 


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120 Responses to “Israeli Intelligence chief: We do not want ISIS defeat in Syria” AMN

  1. Matthew says:

    Col: The full-court press to defend Al Nusra, et al, is on. See https://tcf.org/content/report/the-case-for-a-more-robust-intervention-in-syria/?platform=hootsuite
    I particularly like the advice about weakening Syria’s military, but then preserving Syria’s governmental and military “structures.” Nice nuance.
    Basically, shorter article: We are humanitarian interventionalists. We are ready to fight to the very last Syrian to upset that Russian runt.

  2. Exordium_Antipodean says:

    Good video covering the wikileaks that show (((Clinton))) as the instrument of Israeli regime change in the middle east.

  3. toto says:

    “What Halevy was saying was that he didn’t want the presence of the super powers in Syria to end with the defeat of ISIS. That would be for reasons obvious even to an idiot given Israel’s famous and famously justified concerns about Islamic State (ISIS). ”

  4. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Brings to mind John 8.32, KJV. I wonder what Putin has told Mileikowsky during the latter’s many trips to Moscow.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  5. All,
    The issues which were debated at the time of the Balfour Declaration come back.
    Opposition to it in Cabinet was led by its sole Jewish member, Edwin Montagu. The document in which he set out the grounds for his opposition was entitled ‘Memorandum of Edwin Montagu on the Anti-Semitism of the Present (British) Government.’
    (See http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Montagumemo.html .)
    His view was that the idea of Jews as a ‘nation’, with a ‘homeland’ must necessarily call into question their loyalty to the countries in which they lived.
    By contrast, his cousin, Herbert Samuel, was a committed Zionist, who would be the first High Commissioner under the League of Nations Mandate.
    The context of the underlying argument about the long-term sustainability of ‘dual loyalty’ was, of course, changed out of all recognition by the Holocaust. But the underlying fact of the matter has always been that Samuel’s position could be sustained if, and only if, it was perceived that the interests of Jews in Israel and that of the British people were compatible.
    To hark back to an earlier thread, as Lord Palmerston noted, it is inherently questionable whether, as circumstances changes, it will continue to be the case that the interests of very different nations in different parts of the world are compatible.
    So there has always been a lurking ‘time bomb’ relating to ‘dual loyalty’.
    This has now been activated by events in Syria.
    Actually, I have some sympathy for the views of Israelis who see the steadily improving range and accuracy of missiles available to Hizbullah as an ‘existential threat’.
    However, they are patently not an ‘existential threat’ to us in Britain. In my view, the ‘Islamic State’ clearly is. In this context, to suggest that I or people like me see members of the ‘Israeli Lobby’ here as fully British would be simply silly.
    Situations like this have an element of tragedy about them. The case of German-Americans, in the wake of the entry of the United States in the First World War, may be another case in point. But to attempt to deal with them by pretending the underlying conflicts do not exist does not help.

  6. Bill Herschel says:

    HERZLIYA, Israel — Speaking on Tuesday at the annual Herzliya Conference, Halevy said: “The chances of a reunified Syria are very slim.”…According to the Israeli head of military intelligence, Syria as a state no longer exists…“So if we talk about what will happen in Syria in 15-20 years, we’re talking about millions outside the educational system. … They are growing up in an atmosphere of ignorance and hatred.”…Halevy did not offer Israel’s preferred outcome to the war raging beyond its northern border. However, he presented a scenario that Israel would find unacceptable. “The question is not how we would like this story to end, but how would we not like it to end,” he said. “Let’s say Da’esh has been contained. The superpowers have left the area, and we are stuck here with the Iranian axis with caches of advanced weaponry.” To avoid such an outcome, he said Israel would have to act “through coordination with the superpowers and through other means as well.”
    The playbook is being written in Israel. Continuous war or victory for Da’esh and the disappearance of Syria as a sovereign state are the only permissible outcomes for United States foreign policy. Clinton understands this. The Republican Party understands this. It is only Donald Trump who seems a bit unclear on it. Assad must go? No, Syria must go.

  7. Castellio says:

    It is honest, it is true, and it determines US policy in the region.
    Has this comment been reported in any MSM?

  8. kooshy says:

    Colonel Lang
    From what I have learned in my time on geostrategy and geopolitics of Iran, the Israeli State in its current form is a barrier and a balancing force for Iran’s regional balance of power with regard to Arab States, even Cyrus the great knew that, the only difference is, that ever since the 1400 years ago unlike the sunni state of Turkey, or without the direct backing of US at the time of Shah, Iran cannot openly recognize Israel. That is the reason Iran tolerates the Israelis, even when they become crazy and kill a few scientists. As seen since the Arab springs, Arabs are more dangerous to Iran and her allies then Israel.

  9. Castellio says:

    Keep telling yourself that.

  10. SmoothieX12 says:

    My “reading” of what could conceivably be misrepresentation of words (and intent) of Israeli high ranking official is that he was more calling for “Superpowers” to stay AFTER the defeat of ISIS. I doubt, but of course I could be entirely wrong, that anyone would want to openly state that ISIS should endure. Arab (and Israeli) media are notoriously unreliable, to put it mildly.

  11. Even if Halevy’s words are misinterpreted, actions do speak louder than words. Israel has provided medical care to terrorists and sent them back into the fight. They have also sent weapons and ammunition their way.

  12. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    General Halevy’s admission implies that the carnage of failing and failed states left in the wake of US/Israeli foreign policy is a feature, not a bug of said policy. Precisely what many Russia-sympathetic observers have been asserting all along, most recently a post a few days ago at The Saker. It’s worth reading as an insight into their perspective on the events of the last couple of decades or so.

  13. bth says:

    I cannot find the original transcript. Further the videos on youtube from the conference do not have this one though there are numerous videos of the conference. Perhaps I am overlooking it. So if someone has it please post. Until we see the transcript or video I would urge a degree of caution

  14. The Beaver says:

    Since Wendy Sherman’s visits to Tel Aviv , after every JCPOA meeting in Vienna or Geneva are well known, I guess that’s why Anthony Blinken was invited at the Herzliya Conference.

  15. VietnamVet says:

    The world is between a rock and the hard place and no one, except here, is telling it like it really is. The American position is psychotic. America’s allies Turkey and the Gulf Monarchies are violently opposed to the current borders and the governments of Iraq and Syria which form a Shiite Crescent through the heart of the Middle East. Israel enables Islam’s tribal conflicts. All actively support the rebellion to carve out a Sunni enclave to sever the crescent. But, after a quarter century of war there are no secular or moderate Sunnis left; only the surviving Arab tribes. Even at the current glacial speed if the West somehow with Kurdish help defeats the Islamic State there is no alternative to replace it. Western troops would have to remain there forever just like in Afghanistan to maintain the colonies.
    The only alternative to endless wars is forming an alliance with Russia and China. The peoples of the world would eliminate the violent Islamists just like antibodies engulf pathogens. Then the world’s sovereign states, working together, could establish just and secure borders and rebuild. Healing the Middle East.
    The basic problem what is good for the citizens of the West is contrary to the money making schemes of the West’s corporatist governments which depend on the free movement of people and capitol plus skimming public money.

  16. LeaNder says:

    Maybe, you prefer this link, towards the end:
    According to the Israeli head of military intelligence, Syria as a state no longer exists. …
    The military intelligence chief noted that Da’esh, the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group, has lost significant numbers of people and vast stretches of territory since US-led coalition operations began last year.
    At the same time, due to Russian involvement, the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad has stabilized, along with the Shiite axis of Iran and Hezbollah. All the while, al-Qaida-linked groups such as the Nusra Front remain relevant.
    Halevy did not offer Israel’s preferred outcome to the war raging beyond its northern border. However, he presented a scenario that Israel would find unacceptable.
    “The question is not how we would like this story to end, but how would we not like it to end,” he said. “Let’s say Da’esh has been contained. The superpowers have left the area, and we are stuck here with the Iranian axis with caches of advanced weaponry.”
    To avoid such an outcome, he said Israel would have to act “through coordination with the superpowers and through other means as well.”
    Halevy insisted that while the role of military intelligence is, in part, to try to forecast the future, the “fog of the present” must be penetrated first.
    “The fog in the Middle East is very thick,” he said. “One can define this region at this time as ‘stable instability.’ We have to get used to this fact.”

    Times of Israel reports under a chapter at the end:
    Iran vs. the ‘pragmatic Sunnis’
    On the other side, he said, are the “pragmatic Sunnis” — mostly the Gulf states — who are leading the fight against Iran.
    Saudi Arabia today is “not the same Saudi Arabia we saw a year and a half ago,” Halevy said.
    “Saudi Arabia is more proactive, trying to lead the Sunni camp in the Middle East. It’s a country that has perhaps stabilized and gotten stronger in its fight against Iran,” he said.
    “Some of the interests of the pragmatic Sunni countries are getting closer to our interests,” Halevy said. “This is an interesting development, and there is an opportunity in it.”

  17. Kooshy says:

    Castellio, If you really think Iranians are only an idealogical bunch, and not realist. and if you think they, don’t understan and use balancing of powers, then I must say, you don’t know Iran,Iranians and thier history well enough. Iran is in a tough neighborhood, to survive, they must know how to use and balance between forces.

  18. LeaNder says:

    09:30 Israel in a Turbulent Middle East: Strategic Review & Intelligence Assessment HERZLIYA ASSEMBLY Keynote Address: Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Chief of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate Introduced by: Col. (res.) Miki Altar, Director of External Relations, Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS), IDC Herzliya
    From the Agenda:
    Israel’s National Security and Foreign Policy:
    The Day after ISIS: Alternative Arrangements in Syria and
    in Iraq – Global Simulation Results
    Special Features
    The IPS Simulation: The Day After the fall of ISIS in Syria and Iraq
    I hope, I closed the html tags in my last response. Didn’t even check, fast copy and paste action

  19. different clue says:

    This would be an opportunity for the Trump team to highlight and spotlight any difference it has on “Syrian end-game policy” with the Clinton team. But that would require Trump himself to think with enough long-range focused discipline to get up to speed on how the situation evolved to become what it is . . . . and how several different “answers” would lead to several different “post-answer” outcomes.
    Can he stay focused and disciplined long enough to decide for himself on how he chooses to understand the Syria situation? Can he then decide what he thinks the most desirable of any possible remaining “end-games” are most desirable to his way of thinking? If he can do that, he can then state the problem and the “best remaining” outcome very clearly, and try forcing Clinton into a corner where she either has to agree or disagree and say why. And if he feels that his desired outcome is less than the best for Israel, is he prepared to say that under a Trump Administration, Israel will just have to live with it? If he is prepared to say that, he can then force Clinton to either agree or disagree, and force her to say why.

  20. Chris Chuba says:

    The State Dept Dissent Letter
    When I read the actual letter I was struck by how identical it was to our fabulously successful Libya strategy.
    1. The repeated reference to ‘stand off weapons’, just bomb the govt and let the Unicorns, I mean, moderate rebels will then fix things. No need for U.S. ground troops, a promise of a cheap victory that will bring stability.
    2. Their complete and total lack of acknowledgment of the existence of Al Qaeda groups, Al Nusra and Army of Islam in the anti-Assad coalition. They just mention, Assad’s forces, ISIS, and the moderate rebels. In fact, the FSA are the junior partners to the Army of Islam. Benghazi here we come.
    3. Their totally false narrative of the ceasefire to invoke the ‘right to protect’ cause of intervention. The cease fire always excluded Al Nusra and it should have excluded the Army of Islam who were the ones who persistently violated the ceasefire around Aleppo, not Assad’s forces. This is reminiscent to the Gaddafi viagra rape gang and pending massacre libel.
    These guys didn’t even bother to come up with a plausible lie this time.

  21. Erik says:

    Chaos, disunity, and perpetual internecine conflict are of course what the Izzies want. They’ll be too busy fighting amongst themselves to trouble Israel. This truth just can’t be spoken about publicly even though everyone knows it, so it’s a surprise to hear such frankness. Wonder if anyone in the public eye over there would be equally frank about what a charade the “peace process” is?

  22. bth says:

    Thanks. Good find. Must have been last Tuesday? If someone comes across the speech transcript, please post.

  23. Castellio says:

    You are suggesting that Iranians actually use Israel as a way to deter (or balance) Arab aggression. Really?
    If I disagree you are going to have to do better than telling me how much I do or don’t know Iranian people, history and realism: prove your point.
    My understanding is that the Israelis and the radical Islamists (and Saudi Arabia) are coherent and together in their opposition to Iran. Isn’t that the intent and thrust of the article and Halevy’s comments?
    So how, exactly, is Iran using Israel to balance the spiteful Arabs?
    And for the record, how you utterly dismiss the lives of the assassinated Iranian scientists does not encourage respect for your interpretation of the current situation.

  24. All,
    Two previous statements by prominent Israelis on these matters are worth bearing in mind.
    From a report in the ‘Times of Israel’ by the then Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, in January:
    ‘Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday that Iran poses a greater threat than the Islamic State, and that if the Syrian regime were to fall, Israel would prefer that IS was in control of the territory than an Iranian proxy.
    ‘“In Syria, if the choice is between Iran and the Islamic State, I choose the Islamic State. They don’t have the capabilities that Iran has,” Ya’alon told a conference held by the Institute of National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.’
    (See http://www.timesofisrael.com/yaalon-i-would-prefer-islamic-state-to-iran-in-syria/ .)
    From a report in the ‘Jerusalem Post’ of remarks by the then outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, in September 2013:
    ‘“Bad guys” backed by Iran are wore for Israel than “bad guys” who are not supported by the Islamic Republic, Israel’s outgoing ambassador to the US Michael Oren told The Jerusalem Post in a parting interview …
    ‘“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” he said.
    ‘This was the case, he said, even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated to al-Qaida.’
    (See http://www.jpost.com/Syria-Crisis/Oren-Jerusalem-has-wanted-Assad-ousted-since-the-outbreak-of-the-Syrian-civil-war-326328 .)
    An interesting question is how far there is significant dissent from this ordering of priorities in Israel, in particular in parts of the military and security élite.

  25. SmoothieX12 says:

    I found nothing in JPost’s piece you presented that confirms that Israeli Intel Chief said what was stated he said. The piece is a classic grand strategy speculation from the point of view of one nation (Israel that is) and have said nothing that wasn’t known before. Moreover, the article clearly states:
    If Israel’s interest in the war in Syria can be summarized in brief, it would be: That it should never end. No one will say this publicly, but the continuation of the fighting in Syria as long as there is a recognized authority in Damascus, allows Israel to stay out of the swamp and distance itself from the swarms of mosquitoes that are buzzing in it. (c)
    While it sounds cynical (were Israel’s policies not cynical ever?) it clearly states:
    “the fall of Damascus to the hands of Islamic State or a contiguous territory linking ISIS in eastern Syria with its supporters in the southern Golan Heights. These scenarios would threaten Israel’s borders and would would drag us into an unwanted altercation in Syria”. (c)
    I am playing devil’s advocate here for a single purpose: situational awareness (I know where my enemy is) and, especially, tactical awareness (I know what my enemy will do) should be developed based on as much factual as possible. I doubt that Israel “supports” ISIS and the fact that Bibi lives today between Moscow and Jerusalem is an indication of this–he needs guarantees (or help) from Russia on containing Shiites. Plus, the article is from September 2015, things changed since. In case of Israel, and call it a hunch;-)) we have a situation which transcends the war in Syria and is tectonic in a sense of Israel’s looking for other significant “other”. Reading Russian media one gets this impression and not without justification but where it will all lead? This is beyond my extremely limited powers of foresight. I understand clearly anti-Israeli sentiment and I largely share it and for a good reason, especially when dealing with Israelis’ baneful, and often criminal, influence on US foreign and internal policies but when speaking about nations one also should not forget that all nations, if to recall Samuel Huntington’s magnum opus:”States define their interests in terms of power but also in terms of much else besides… States respond primarily to perceived threats”.(c) The sentiment should not obscure facts and I still didn’t read confirmation of Israeli intel. chief saying what he purportedly said. But this is my opinion and I definitely could be wrong.

  26. kooshy says:

    Well, lets make it simple, say you have 2 enemies, that they have a deep deep problem with each other would you rather to keep them at each other’ neck or keep them becoming united against you, or eliminate one? obviously the safest and cheapest way is to keep them continue going after each other. Isn’t that balancing the powers? if some US client Arab government have started to have secret or not so secret relation with Israel against Iran, this actually is more of a problem for themselves then it will create for Iran,
    since it will further distance their legitimacy in the Arab streets. To be an Arab country and have a secret relationship with Israel is a sign of desperation ( like Shah). Iranians know why their scientists were martyred, just in the same way they know why they are fighting in Syria. After all isn’t politics art of possible? by hook or by the crook.
    I am sure through here and there we have read enough of each other comments to know how we feel and where we stand.

  27. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Kooshy is not completely wrong; Iranians have made themselves the Knight of Palestine and wrapped themselves in flag of Islam. It confers certain amount of immunity on Iran and Iranians although it does not alleviate the Islamic malice towards them.
    As I stated to Walrus, there is no such thing called “Radical” Islam or – by implication – “Radical” Islamist.
    What is there is a Sunni World which pines to live in a dream world tranquility that supposedly exited hundreds of years ago.
    That Sunni World, to a very large extent, is with Saudi Arabia; the OIC condemned Iran in its Istanbul meeting a few months ago. And no Muslim country, save Iran, has asked for a fact-finding mission and a commission of inquiry to determine the cause or causes of the stampede that killed so many thousands of pilgrims in Mecca last year at Mina.

  28. SmoothieX12 says:

    >The playbook is being written in Israel
    No, it is not writing a playbook. In order to write a “playbook”, whatever that means, Israel should have weight, both geopolitical and military, at least comparable that with Russia and US. Israel is in a state of negotiation with Russia (and with it–impersonally with Iran) on a configuration of the region’s security once the ISIS is largely done. Judging by statement from Chief Of General Staff Valery Gerasimov couple of days ago–much broader military options are being considered. I wrote about it for months now–I would love (of course it is impossible) to hear the chat du jour among military men of some of Russia’s Paratroop Divisions;-)) I kid, I kid:-)

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The only place on this planet, excepting two villages in Palestine, in which there has been continuous Jewish presence over the last 2500 years has been the Iranian plateau.
    Zionist Judaism has sacrificed a lot for the sake of that sliver of land in Palestine, this is one of those things.

  30. MH says:

    Our actions in supporting Christian/Yizidi-/Shia-slaughtering jihadis in Syria, starting trouble in Ukraine, economic sanctions against Russia, Olympic ban of Russia, et al. It’s all related. The indetagibility of the Borg in working for death and division and destruction is amazing. One would think these actions– theological textbook definition of the demonic– had the full backing and support of the Devil. In fact, I think it does. Watch this talk from the Venerable Fulton Sheen on the Devil: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FuCw8UT5y6c
    Btw, here’s another great piece by Pat Buchanan:
    Trolling for War with Russia

  31. Babak Makkinejad says:

    This is what I have read as well in Persian sources; Russia and Iran are strengthening their forces in Syria for a resumption of intensified war.
    For Iranian leaders, I think, the war against SAR is viewed as a war against Iran & the Shia.

  32. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I do not think that the Iranian leaders are pursuing any sort of “Balance of Power” strategy in the Middle East.
    I think they are playing for keeps and their position is something like this – as far as I can determine it from their pronouncements: “We have carved out our sphere of influence. Accept our position or leave us alone.”
    I also do not think that Iran’s problems are confined to the Arabs; just look at the volume of trade between Iran and Pakistan – a country of 190 million – I think it is only a few hundred million dollars annually.

  33. jld says:

    there is no such thing called “Radical” Islam or – by implication – “Radical” Islamist.

    Exactly, I find it “curious” that you emphasize this…

  34. Matthew says:

    TTG: To use the Colonel’s phrase, the “log rolling” continues. Both former diplomat R. Nicolas Burns and CFR President Richard N. Haass were on “Charlie Rose” last night explaining why the US should strike Syrian government targets. When Charlie Rose asked about the likely Russian reaction to these strikes, Burns basically said, “They won’t do anything.”
    The Borg’s operating assumption is the Russians will back down. This appears to be an article of faith. Like the Serbs won’t mobilize after Austro-Hungary’s diktat….

  35. Bill Herschel says:

    I would only add that the Russians do not appear to be very nonplussed by the “stand off” weapons. I believe that they have defenses against cruise missiles.

  36. Nightsticker says:

    Col Lang,
    Regarding the State Department “Dissent Letter”.
    At the URL below there is a group picture of the
    51 “dissenters”.
    I was struck by the racial and gender and age makeup
    of the group. By my count 38 of them are black or female
    or both and for the entire group all but a handful
    appear to be very young [OK, I’m class of ’65 so most
    employed people appear young, but even allowing for that].
    I served as an Attache in a US diplomatic post overseas
    in the 1990s and the USDS staff, while perhaps a bit more
    “We Are the World” than my Service, did not appear anything
    like this.
    Is this a representative sample of the current Foreign
    Service, the next generation of diplomats?
    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  37. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I am repeating myself in the interest of the Confucian Rectification of Names:
    “…If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. …”
    The next video was even better:
    Thread on this path at your own risk…

  38. rjj says:

    smoothie, is there a related term for I know who my enemy is?

  39. SmoothieX12 says:

    Shoigu’s recent visit to Damascus was precisely about coordination of efforts and, my gut tells me, something much more.

  40. rjj says:

    NS, the image is not of The Dissidents, caption at source says it is a class picture at a swearing in ceremony.
    PL described the make-up perfectly in an earlier post.

  41. sillybill says:

    I count over 60 people in that picture. One of them looks like a high school student.

  42. oofda says:

    Nightsticker- I doubt very much that is actually a photo of the group of 51. It is a formal photo in one of the State reception rooms of a group of some sort- perhaps a group of bureau officers. Very doubtful if there was a group photo of the signers- some of whom might be overseas. It is difficult to get access to those rooms, and I can’t imagine a group of dissident signers getting permission to take a picture there. Nowhere in the article does it state that that is a picture of the 51.
    A note- not all of the signers would be FSOs- Foreign Service Officers. Many country desk officers are Civil Service State Dept employees. They may have had experience in the country of which they are the desk officer and might know the language.

  43. bth says:

    There are 40 posts here and not one actual transcript or video of the speech. I would like to read it in context. If someone has it, please post.

  44. bth says:

    The Charlie Rose interview with Haass and Burns is worth the watch. https://charlierose.com/videos/28256?autoplay=true
    I happened to disagree with the speakers conclusions. For one thing it flies in the face of what is militarily accomplishable and prudent. Also the speakers believe that the Assad government is as bad as IS and hence we should weaken the Syrian Government militarily and diplomatically despite the total lack of American public willingness to become embroiled in the Syrian civil war beyond current levels.
    Moreover, I contend that the IS is far worse that the Assad regime from an American perspective because IS DOES in fact represent a direct danger to the continental US and has in fact fielded at least 4 attacks in the US in the last year. For that reason alone, leaving aside that there may be others, we need to focus our limited military resources in Syria on destroying IS first and foremost.
    If we then look at the Israeli statements – or alleged statements since no one can get a transcript or video – their fear is that IS would be crushed and the western powers would leave the area with a direct land corridor from Iran/Iraq to Damascus and Hezbollah. If that is in fact the Israeli overriding concern, then it seems to me we could put a military outpost along the highway route from western Syria to Damascus that would make this Shia land corridor an impossibility. Perhaps it is a small US air base with a Jordanian contingent controlling a bridge across the Euphrates. The land corridor can be addressed without engaging the regime or the Russians. Such a move would weaken the Iranian/Hezbollah position within the Assad government’s sphere and increase the Russian relative influence on the Syrian government vs say the Assad-only stance of the Iranians.

  45. SmoothieX12 says:

    Israel is no friend to anyone and could be defined, to a certain degree, as a geopolitical freeloader. But it should not prevent us from sober unemotional assessment of Israel the way she is–with all her flaws, some of them critical, which derive from Jewish self proclaimed exceptionalism and with all her interests. The fact that Israeli lobby became so powerful in US testifies not so much to some of its exceptional talents–for the most part it is a collection of incompetent demagogues engaged in self-aggrandizement 24/7–but also to “something is rotten in the state” of the US. The climb of this cabal of pathologically arrogant hacks to the top of American political power structure did happen not only with the tacit approval but cheering of US non-Jewish elites, who turned out to be as desperate for flattery as those from whom they heard it. It was a consensual f.ck up and a marriage of the convenience.

  46. jld says:

    “own risk”???
    I fail to see how a flavor of religious nutcases is an excuse/justification for another one.
    If I properly understand your Confucian Rectification of Names neither of them are “Radicals”.

  47. jld says:

    Perhaps it is a small US air base with a Jordanian contingent controlling a bridge across the Euphrates. The land corridor can be addressed without engaging the regime or the Russians.

    Wouldn’t this small base be located right in the middle of Syrian territory?
    Besides, “controlling a bridge”?
    There are many bridges on the Euphrates…

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So, in effect, you are suggesting a Fort Apache in the middle of the desert?
    I suppose augmented by a contingent of fast attack airplanes to interdict ostensibly civilian air traffic between Syria and Iran?
    And, on top of that, you are positioning the United States to adjudicate among the incommensurate and incompatible religious doctrines of the Shia, the Sunni, the Druze, the Jews, and the Alawites – with the adjudication performed by whom, Baptists?
    You cannot be serious.

  49. mbrenner says:

    Two simple points:
    1. Haass-Burns only make sense as readers of the Israeli script. It is not an American strategic perspective.
    2. The Israelis’ “fear is that IS would be crushed and the western powers would leave the area with A Direct Land Corridor From Iran/Iraq To Damascus and Hezbollah.” The last time such concerns had any basis in reality was around 600 A.D. at the time of the last Sassanid-Byzantine war. Of course, I admit to being hallucinogen challenged.

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Nah, it is a religious thingy.
    A few years ago, on this forum, a commentator by the name of Professor Clifford Kiracofe explained all of this – please see: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Crusade-Christian-International-Political/dp/1845117557
    And David Habakkuk also elaborated on the genesis of it in UK at about the same time.
    My name for it was “The Cult of Shoah”; part of the Trinitarian religion of the Western Diocletian states, the other two being the goddess of Liberty and the god of Democracy.
    It used to be, before World War I, two gods – “Progress” and “Reason” which had occupied the place of honor when God had been evicted from that position; in my opinion.
    World War I demolished the god of “Progress” and World War II the god of “Reason”.
    But men evidently cannot live with a higher purpose or a religion, thus the Trinitarian religion of today.
    David Habakkuk: Yes, I know, I am oversimplifying a very complex process of intellectual history. But that is the only way that I can make sense out of the contemporary scene.

  51. rjj says:

    AARRRGH, RJJ!!! words mean things. same goes for absence of critical words. need to qualify the question: it had NOTHING to do with Israel. It was only about terminology (related to HRC’s apparent lack of situational and tactical awareness).
    thank you for the response – wrt the final two sentences see “The Servant” as parable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Servant_(1963_film)

  52. Kooshy says:

    Babak Pakistan is a rented country by KSA if Iranians put up the money they can rent them too.

  53. Kooshy says:

    Babak as recent as can be Iranians used balance of power to bring the Americans to negotiating table, by increasing thier nuclear capability, as you knowI am not saying that. Even I. Ghajar time they were balancing between the Russians and Brits. If they didn’t he could have they survived as a nation state. If you have a chance read the Froughi memoirs of Paris peace conference.

  54. SmoothieX12 says:

    >Nah, it is a religious thingy.
    What do you mean? Old Testament Evangelicals (aka Christian Zionists) and Israel? Of course, it is. But it is not one thingy, there are many of those thingies. Many factors are at play here and flattery felt on eager ears. Believe me, I have a good life experience attending Eastern bazaars from Turkmenistan to Libya included and I know first hand what “sweet tongue” means there. Flattering BS, that’s what it is–everything at play to make a sale. Iranian bazaars are hardly different from their counterparts in Azerbaijan, Abkhasia, Dagestan or Armenia. This is exactly what happened with W. in Georgia, it is exactly why Free Willy Clinton enjoyed his tasteless golden statue in Kosovo. Those neocon people are really good at recognizing what Alexis De Tocqueville defined “as being insatiable for praise”, because they are such themselves and they can spot a sucker miles away. There are many other factors in addition to what have been pointed out. But these two are major ones. Hopefully, my response is appropriate for what I perceived you meant. If not, my apologies.

  55. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There was no balance of power involved in the 12-year long economic war against Iran; Iran could not retaliate. What Iran did was to escalate where the deal available in 2003 was no longer available in 2006 and so on.
    In regards to the Qajars, by 1909, their balancing act had utterly failed them at the grand strategic level, in my opinion.
    What Foroughi did was not based on any notional of balance of power between Iran and others – rather a balance of strategic greed between USSR and USA, neither which wanted the other side to get Iran.
    That was what UK, Russia, and France were doing in the Mediterranean Sea on the issue of Crete – which at that time was still part of the Ottoman Empire. None of the 3 wanted the other side to gain Crete so they let her suffer under late Ottoman rule.
    Yes, there was a balance of power, but among the major powers.

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:


  57. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well, how Pakistan finds herself where she is now is not germane to my observation.
    Arab (inter)-Nationalism failed under its own delusions and we are witnessing the destruction of Muslim Internationalism; in my opinion; “Just give them some petro-dollars and they will sell their religion to the highest bidder…” seems to have been the order of the day.
    Islamic solidarity was the delusion of many Iranian revolutionaries; in my opinion.

  58. bth says:

    I agree their fear seems overblown, but should be acknowledged as it is likely an impediment to a meaningful resolution in Syria.

  59. bth says:

    To be clear I am not advocating this. I am just saying, that Haass and Burns are advocating along with 51 diplomats that we attack the Syrian government, which I find to be a bad idea, but if the issue at heart is a land corridor to Iran which they fear, then there are simpler ways of resolving that problem than attacking the Syrian government. I think Haass and Burns are just wrong. Also you point about air corridor is well taken though it has natural limitations that ground transportation does not. Then there is the core issue of how to reduce IS militarily and inevitably it would seem some airfield is needed further to the south than current Kurdish/US positions in NE Syria.

  60. turcopolier says:

    Why should we (US) fear a land corridor to Iran from Syria? I can see why the Israeli hegemonists would fear it. pl

  61. bth says:

    Thanks again. I have not doubt he gave the talk. I just don’t trust Arab or Israeli media to give us an unbiased report on it. It stands out as very odd that there isn’t a video or transcript currently in open source media on his talk even though other presentations from the conference are in fact posted on youtube. If someone finds the full transcript, please post here.

  62. bth says:

    I don’t think we should fear it one way or the other as you rightly point out. What does concern me is the statements attributed to Halevy and to the Charlie Rose interviews linked above that suggest a negotiated peace will not be possible unless this concern of the Israelis and Saudi Arabia about a Shia land corridor is addressed. They have a veto on peace whether we like it or not.
    What someone should ask Halevy, Haass and Burns and indeed the 51 foreign service signatories, is “How does anyone in the west or in Israel benefit from the gasping collapse of the Syrian government?” If Halevy was worried about the western powers leaving the ME post IS, how much more unstable would the region be if the Assad regime up and died? That is the nightmare scenario Russian intervention last year prevented. One hopes Lavrov and Kerry could align our countries interests in Syria and eastern Europe in 2016, but the time window on the US administration is closing and we may be witnessing with the proclamation from the 51 a new generation of neocons that wish to perpetually keep the US engaged militarily in the ME. I do not believe the US should maintain any permanent facility in Syria beyond immediate needs to crush IS. Our focus should be on defeating IS quickly and not destabilizing the Assad regime, IMHO.

  63. Babak Makkinejad says:

    OK, good. For a moment you had me going there.

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    For more than 60 years the United States, a country which domestically adheres most scrupulously to the doctrine of the separation of Church and State, has stood by the state of Israel and its religious program at great cost to herself.
    Only an emotional conviction rooted in religious sentiment can explain that – in my opinion.
    Necons are just the convenient alibi of entire countries; electorate bear responsibility – in US, in France, in Germany, in UK, in Spain.

  65. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No apologies needed.

  66. Kooshy says:

    Babak, you can call it what you will, but if going to Putin and convince the Russian to come in and balance the power of Americans and their allies in Syria for your own interests, (like Khajeh Nassier did many centuries earlier against the Arab Khalifs) can’t be called balancing of power(s) I have no idea what else it can be called. IMO, it’s a tall order to claim Iranian don’t and haven’t used “balancing” of powers.

  67. Kooshy says:

    Not in 1909 actualy 1907, when Brits and Russian divided Iran, but you must mean in 1919 after the Russian revolution when Brits where Brits where the sole power in ME they tried to pass a law through Iranian parliament making Iran a British protectorate state. Which didn’t happen.

  68. Henshaw says:

    Could we call it Fort Courage?

  69. mbrenner says:

    Only if we give Israel a veto over what we do.

  70. mbrenner says:

    What is the basis for your judgment that we need the Israelis and the Saudis more than they need us?

  71. Bill Herschel says:

    “They have a veto on peace whether we like it or not.”
    Come again? I think you should check with Russia before you say that. Just sayin’.

  72. Amir says:

    The Syrian support is also an expression of loyalty to an erstwhile ally, the only Arab country, that supported Iran against Saddam’s aggression.

  73. Amir says:

    And there was and is a formal mutual defense pact between Syria and Iran on the one hand and Syria and Russia on the other.

  74. LeaNder says:

    bth, he probably spoke in Hebrew/Ivrit and they provided simultaneous translation. They would have needed to record that too. A presentation in Ivrit would have somehow stuck out on the site. …
    I never thought you doubted he gave the talk. I was simply interested in the subject of it. I respect your hesitation, it feels familiar.

  75. MRW says:

    TTG and Matthew,
    I listened to this last night in real time: Stephen Cohen’s weekly WABCNY-AM hour on the John Batchelor Show. Burns’s “They won’t do anything” is roundly rejected by events of the past week in Syria, and yesterday morning at the State Dept (meeting with Kerry and the 51 letter signers). Which Batchelor and Cohen discuss.
    You both, as well as the rest of the commenters here, would find this broadcast interesting. Burns and Haass are off-the-wall. Cohen’s take on the Colonel’s ‘Children’s Crusade’ is identical, although Cohen is more trenchant in his stated disdain.
    Suwalki Gap to Syrian Skies in the New Cold War. Stephen F. Cohen, NYU, Princeton University, EastWestAccord.com.

  76. MRW says:

    As I noted above, after you listen to the Charlie Rose interview, listen to this. it is Stephen Cohen’s weekly hour on the John Batchelor Show, broadcast last night. It references Kerry’s meeting yesterday morning (Tuesday) with the 51 letter signers at State.
    Suwalki Gap to Syrian Skies in the New Cold War. Stephen F. Cohen, NYU, Princeton University, EastWestAccord.com.

  77. bth says:

    Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and probably Iran can keep throwing fuel onto a burning fire in Syria to prevent a workable peace.

  78. bth says:

    Russia would have to commitment to Syria far more men, material and money than currently planned to unilaterally impose its will over the spoiler positions of Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Israel. Syrian government is too weak, Iran too polarizing. Perhaps US/Russia working together might accomplish this in the bitter end. But our governments have not come to that conclusion. Thus for now US should focus on reducing IS.

  79. bth says:

    They have one. It is called their army.

  80. turcopolier says:

    The Israeli army is a veto over what the US does? What do you think they are going to do, invade Florida? pl

  81. turcopolier says:

    “Russia would have to commitment to Syria far more men, material and money than currently planned to unilaterally impose its will over the spoiler positions of Saudi Arabia, Turkey or Israel. Syrian government is too weak, Iran too polarizing. Perhaps US/Russia working together might accomplish this in the bitter end. But our governments have not come to that conclusion. Thus for now US should focus on reducing IS.” Did the old BTH die? “BTH” now is merely a hasbara spokesman. pl

  82. bth says:

    Scoff if you wish. But there is a better than even chance that the Syrian government under Assad will never be able to reassert control over the Sunni Arab populations in the eastern portion of Syria, or the Kurds for that matter even if IS is reduced. In which case, assuming US eventual reduction of IS, there will be some Sunni Arab tribal power or other local government to fill the void. Having an airbase south of current US positions and west of Iraq might make military sense and political sense with regard to Saudi Arabia and Israeli concerns about unobstructed land routes. Perhaps control could be passed to the Jordanians if the Syrian government is unable as I do not see it in US interest to build any permanent base in Syria.

  83. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Fort Forlorn, For Impossible, Fort Never…

  84. turcopolier says:

    I have said endlessly here that there are not enough troops in the R+6 coalition. Who are you, really? pl

  85. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think the thinking of the Gulfies and Turks is that we cannot dislodge Iran from Iraq and Syria but we can certainly wreck those 2 countries so that Iranians are only left with ruins.
    Gulfies were never the sharpest tools in the tool chest.

  86. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Balance of Power, as is normally thought of, is a number of states politically and militarily neutralizing one another.
    What you are describing as Balance of Power is called “Playing one against the Other”.
    This second policy has often failed; it failed for Qajars and it failed for Mossadegh.

  87. bth says:

    Col., same person all these ten years. An evolving assessment though of what is possible and what those options might look like. Will email separately.

  88. Joe100 says:

    In regard to insufficient R+6 troops as well as the competence of some ISIS forces, the elite SAA forces moving towards Raqqa apparently suffered a severe set back as the result of a well planned ISIS counterattack – leaving weapons behind and many soldiers trapped, with some reports suggesting hundreds of SAA casualties. The best description of this attack and rout I have seen is at the Colonel Cassed web site – translation required, I use Yandex:
    Cassad’s summary:
    “We can state that the competent actions of the military command of the Caliphate (where many former officers of the Iraqi army of Saddam, including graduates of Soviet military academies) neutralized a direct threat to his capital, and once again demonstrated that unceremoniously “black” not to take. A painful lesson for the future, and perhaps the most embarrassing military failure since the disastrous attack of the CAA in the Northern province of Hama in October 2015.The real size of the losses apparently will become clear in the next couple of days. In this rollback, they must be substantial (that is the Caliphate claims to have captured two tanks and 1 23-mm antiaircraft guns.”

  89. Matthew says:

    Col: Practical question: If Syria is so important to Iran, why haven’t the Iranians found 30,000 to 40,000 Iranian “volunteers” to defeat Nusra?

  90. bth,
    You write: ‘Perhaps US/Russia working together might accomplish this in the bitter end. But our governments have not come to that conclusion.’
    Of course your government – and ours – are not going to come to that conclusion. But a key reason for this is quite precisely that you – and we – have political élites who are quite happy to let the Israelis and Saudis have a ‘veto’.
    And in the attempt to maintain their suffocating influence on our countries policies, these élites deploy propaganda with a unanimity, and disregard for objective truth, well worthy of the old Soviet Politburo.
    So, for example, on 20 June, the same day as his appearance on the ‘Charlie Rose’ show discussed above, an article by Richard Haass appeared in the ‘Financial Times’, under the title ‘US diplomats speak unrestrained truth to power on Syria.’
    In this article, the former director of policy planning at the State Department, and current president of the Council on Foreign Relations, tells us that:
    ‘“Assad must go” was an early refrain but precious little was done to act on it. Years later, Bashar al-Assad was warned not to use chemical weapons, yet when the Syrian leader defied the warning, he paid no real price.’
    As you doubtless are aware, the case that ‘Ghouta’ was a ‘false flag’ has been made – persuasively to my mind – in two articles by one of the most distinguished of post-war American investigative journalists, Seymour Hersh.
    (See http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n24/seymour-m-hersh/whose-sarin ; http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line .)
    The scientific evidence supposed to establish Syrian government responsibility for Ghouta, meanwhile, has been demolished by Professor Theodore Postol of MIT, in two long papers, the first co-authored with Richard Lloyd.
    The chair Postol holds is in ‘Science, Technology and National Security’ at MIT, his PhD in nuclear engineering, and he is a former scientific advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations in the Pentagon.
    One might have thought he was the kind of figure to whom a former head of policy planning at the State Department would pay close attention. But, it seems, that is not how things work these days.
    (See https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1006045/possible-implications-of-bad-intelligence.pdf ;http://cryptome.org/2014/08/postol-debunks-kaszeta.pdf .)
    In the ‘comments’ section of the ‘Financial Times’, I presented, for the fourth time on their site, a brief account of Hersh’s claims with relevant links and supporting material – also, on this occasion, linking to the Postol pieces.
    At least the moderators at the paper appear to have given up deleting my comments. However, at no point do you get any sign of engagement whatsoever.
    The underlying mentality was well revealed, when, last November, in the immediate aftermath of the Turkish shooting down of the Russian Su-24, Ivo Daalder – currently president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and formerly U.S. permanent representative to NATO – produced a rush article.
    According to his account, Turkey ‘shot down a Russian fighter jet that had entered its airspace and refused to leave despite numerous warnings.’
    The paper’s chief economics commentator, Martin Wolf, posted his observations:
    ‘The pro-Russian trolls are really boring. Can’t they find something more interesting to do? They could write a novel, for example. They show the necessary capacity for fiction, at least.’ In the event, it turned out that, without waiting to ascertain the facts, Daalder had simply uncritically accepted Turkish ‘fiction’.
    Such are the depths to which what was once a great liberal paper has sunk, under the influence of Wolf and his like.
    When anybody disputes the ‘party line’, they either ignore them, suggest they are ‘trolls’ paid by a foreign power, pretend to be bored, or sneer: or some combination of the above.
    These people think like the juvenile leftists with whom it was painful trying to argue decades ago. (They’re just very much richer – and of course, much better dressed than the Soviet ‘apparatchiks’ who in other ways they so much resemble.)
    The one redeeming feature of this story, from a British point of view, is that both the two pieces by Hersh on Ghouta, and also his articles on the bin Laden cover-up and on the co-operation between the American, German, Israeli and Russian militaries to thwart the attempt to destroy Assad, were published in the ‘London Review of Books.’
    (Subsequently, they have been issued together as a book, under the title ‘The Killing of Osama bin Laden’.)
    Apparently however, this was because David Remnick at the ‘New Yorker’, Hersh’s long-term outlet, was not interested in publishing this kind of subversive material. The ‘New Yorker’ attempting to ‘speak truth to power’? – perish the thought.
    And indeed, a comic feature of Haass’s ‘Financial Times’ article is that he – an ultimate ‘Borgist’ insider – can write, with a straight face, that ‘what these 51 signatories have done is spoken truth to power’. So this bunch of ignorant incompetents – and, it seems quite likely, time-serving careerists – are to be regarded as though they were putting careers and livelihoods at risk.
    The people who did that were the courageous analysts at the British defence science laboratory at Porton Down who were instrumental in making it possible for General Dempsey to thwart the project of lending the U.S. Air Force to the jihadists.
    What actually comes over from Haass and Ivo Daalder is the depth of the assumption, among post-Cold War Western élites, that their power is unchallengeable and their virtue self-evident. It is that which makes so many of them at once deeply morally repellent and also extremely dangerous.
    One piece of good news, however, which has become evident reading comments on the ‘Financial Times’ over the past couple of years, is that very many people can now see right through such people and out the other side.
    What more and more us want are policies which have some relation to actual American, and British, interests in the present. We don’t want to be led by people who haven’t realised that the Cold War has ended, or are intent on repaying scores arising out of the traumatic events of twentieth-century European history.
    And absolutely the last thing very many of us want is to see it automatically assumed that, when the Israelis or Saudis say ‘jump’, our leaders respond ‘how high?’
    Unfortunately, the ‘Financial Times’ pieces are behind a paywall. However, for the record, the relevant links are
    https://next.ft.com/content/b1b44ce8-34bb-11e6-bda0-04585c31b153 and https://next.ft.com/content/dde790dc-21e1-393a-96ab-a02b508f7d3c .

  91. LeaNder says:

    Concerning the ban. One cannot shed off a strong feeling there is a quite a bit of hypocrisy involved. … There weren’t other means then collectively punish Russian athletes? I don’t know routines and rules admittedly, if there are any to deal with otherwise. … What is the idea of instead inviting “Russians” everywhere but inside Russia to join the Olympics instead?
    It reminds me of images our media brought home from the Brisbane summit. Putin being visibly isolated. I wondered if this conveyed something central. If so, it made me sick nevertheless.

  92. mbrenner says:

    I was acquainted with some senior people at the FT for several years from the 1960s onwards. Samuel Brittan, their financial commentator whom I knew quite well, introduced me to the Editor who had remade the paper into a notable international paper – Fredy Fisher. While they had pronounced views on some issues – particularly economic philosophy – there was a strong, pervasive commitment to intellectual honesty.
    Moreover, when it came to news coverage, there was an overriding commitment to finding out and reporting on what was happening, i.e. the objective truth. Obviously, that ethic is long gone. Consider the current Editor, Lionel Barber. As a journalist covering Europe he was a first-class journalist. Now he oversees a propaganda organ.

  93. Croesus says:

    Our man Croesus was schooled in the uses of religious sentiment by Cyrus:
    When Cyrus observed to the vanquished king of Lydia that Persian soldiers were looting his capital city, Sardis, Croesus replied, “Not my city; it’s your city now. But here is what you should do to halt the plunder: Tell your soldiers that they must donate their booty in tribute to the gods who ensured their victory.”
    “You see,” instructed Croesus, “Your soldiers must not acquire wealth such that they can oppose you. And by telling them to pay tribute to the gods, you protect yourself from their anger at divesting them of their treasure.”
    Fast forward (and slightly different aspect of the topic): In a talk before the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Adam Garfinkle, who acknowledged in the course of his comments his collegial relationship with Douglas Feith, said that he “did not worry about ISIS; ISIS is not the problem, Iran is the problem.”
    It’s a double-problem, given the perspective of the current Israeli minister who feels that Israel needs to keep superpowers in the region, for Israel’s protection.
    Garfinkle noted that there are thousands of US ships, sailors, and other US assets and personnel within easy range of Iranian missiles. Thus, if Israel attacked Iran, Iran could retaliate by attacking USA assets & people.
    Garfinkel said that he would recommend that USA pull out of the region (and give Israel a free hand).
    Ironically, USA is defending Iran from an Israeli attack.
    (Purchase of 100 Boeings is even more insurance.)

  94. LeaNder says:

    rjj said in reply to rjj… AARRRGH, RJJ!!!
    Interesting plot.
    But who and what exactly made you so angry? I reread Smoothie’s comments and found the first one more interesting today then yesterday. But today, I tried to read BNW’s linked JP article.
    Personally, I am still wondering how the hell one can recognize “Assad loyalists from the minority Alawite militia” from the images that as he writes: “reach us”. Yes, sometimes these nasty irrelevances stay on my mind.
    Thanks a lot, Smoothie. Yesterday I may have been reading you too narrowly. What way? Vaguely with the tag Russian expat surfacing, in the latter part, to the extend I recall.

  95. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Israel always has had a free hand in the region; consider what they did in Lebanon in 1982 and afterwards.
    There is an Iranian in Israel by the name Shaul Mofaz – was taken to Israel when he was 13 years old from Iran – and later became their Defense Minister.
    He understands what the war against Iran, initiated by Israel would entail – perpetual hatred towards State of Israel until she is destroyed – a millenarian Shia project.
    Israelis, as I have stated many time on this forum, are Supreme Realists. They would never attack Iran, they would find others such as US or EU to do it for them.

  96. LeaNder says:

    I would appreciate clarification of some cruxes on my mind.
    “there is a Sunni World which pines to live in a dream world tranquility”
    Hopefully you allow me to do it without the necessary Confucian rigidity. Based on my limited grasp of matters. I may well have certain amount of dislike for intentions to convert others. Or for that matter staging it as in the above linked imagery.
    The Christians in the video aren’t radicals, since if they are true to their faith they must be convinced the world would be a better place and/or better prepared for the return of Christ.
    Neither are the Muslims radicals who now try to convert people and support Isis are truly radicals, while telling the people that one day the whole world will be Muslim.
    They are simply not the “sharpest tools in the tool(s) chest”.
    while I am at it.
    I have read references to Iran where the Mahdi surfaced but in some type of threat scenario. Their specific variation on the basic theme, made them much more dangerous. I won’t pretend that I ever studied the topic closely enough to understand. … didn’t go further then Wikipedia.
    One of the few things I read on Islam, and admittedly missing a solid foundation, even of that not too much stuck. Among those was one publication on the history of “radical Islamists” (maybe the term chosen was Islamism). Would you argue that already that lens chosen is somewhat wrong? A perspective that looks at all the people, more loosely spoken, of the Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab type is wrong? I accept that in Islam there is no difference between religion and/or politics, it is repeated ad nauseam lately. That’s what was on my mind.
    One final question. You mentioned the father who shot his daughter based on suspicion. He cannot be punished to have done so.
    What about this scenario without anyone defending her with a gun.
    Let’s assume the daughter by chance realized not only that her father mistrusted her, but also how it could be. Realizing there would be no use in talking to him. Whatever she said, he wouldn’t believe her. Now lets assume further she sought the help of the Mullahs. They would listen to her case and declared her innocent. Would he still not be punished, when he shot her?

  97. SmoothieX12 says:

    Don’t lose the perspective scale-wise here. It is a tactical setback, not the first and not the last, and many more are coming. It is also more than just an issue of the size of the SAA force. Shoigu’s meeting with Assad three days ago was for a reason, or, rather, several of them. What could be the scale of these reasons we may (I underscore–may) see fairly soon. Today, however, Russia marks 75th anniversary of the Nazi invasion in 1941. Putin’s speech at State Duma gives some hints.

  98. Kooshy says:

    Babak, that’s where we differ, where you think balance of power(s) is something natural and God given so one seats out and enjoys the fruits without any work, and I think not . It really takes a lot of artful skilled politics, to bring about a balance of forces that can neutralize your adversaries powers.
    Here is how wiki describes it
    “When confronted by a significant external threat, states that look to form alliances may “balance” or “bandwagon”. Balancing is defined as allying with others against the prevailing threat, while states that have bandwagoned have aligned with the threat. States may also employ other alliance tactics.”
    “According to Kenneth Waltz, founder of neorealism, “balance-of-power politics prevail wherever two, and only two requirements are met: that the order be anarchic and that it be populated by units wishing to survive”. They can do this either through internal balancing, where a state uses internal efforts such as moving to increase economic capability, developing clever strategies and increasing military strength, or through “external balancing”, which occurs when states take external measures to increase their security by forming allies.”
    As said, with regard to Iran, in my previous examples Iran has utilized both above mentioned types in past couple of years. Respectfully I leave it at that.

  99. Joe100 says:

    Can you elaborate?

  100. rjj says:

    rjj was angry at rjj for asking a trivial question and expressing it sloppily. smoothie’s answers are ALWAYS interesting and informative.

  101. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Start here please – with her works – all originally written in German
    In regards to the word “Radical Muslim” etc.; its import in terms of religious understanding is zero. I guess it is a politically correct way of describing those unfriendly Muslims, or Muslim Parties, or Governments without being forced into admitting that there is a religious war going on.
    It is useful in that sense, but it does not further human understanding – in my opinion.
    I cannot answer your question regarding the hypotheticals of the application of Law in Iran. It is too complicated a topic and I have no expertise.

  102. Jack says:

    It should be clear to all SST correspondents that the West and in particular the US have lost their moorings. No longer do we pursue policies and actions in our best national interest. This era of the Borg is an era of mass delusions. From economic and financial policy to foreign and domestic policy, propaganda of magical thinking rules. The groupthink of the Borg around delusional ideas represent a period when all common sense and realism have been shorn.
    Mass delusions inevitably reach the Emperor has no Clothes moment. But, it can continue far longer than anyone can expect. Usually it fails when cognitive dissonance reaches a crescendo. What we are seeing now are the terminal stages. The vitriol of the Brexit referendum, the election of the Austrian president, the mayoral elections in Italy, the legislative election in Spain and of course our own presidential election show that our social compact is fraying. The volatility in financial markets speak to the growing instability in our financial system. Japan is reaching a terminal stage in it’s financial management. Despite decades of massive government spending and monetization of government debt with the BoJ now “owning” around 30% of all JGBs with no real market anymore their economy has not produced any growth in decades. Here in the US many are falling behind as can be seen in median real household income. With Dutch government debt at yields not seen in 500 years and with trillions in sovereign debt yielding negative rates, we are in beyond the looking glass. No one knows what the denouement is going to look like. But the increasing oscillations in financial markets and social mood show we have a highly unstable socio-economic environment. The Borg it seems is intent on taking us all down before they vacate the levers of power.

  103. LeaNder says:

    I know Annemarie Schimmel, Babak. I’ve seen her twice, first at the event below. Considering what she had really said, I didn’t understand the moral indignation campaign started against her. But I met all of the central figures again, with topics that on the surface look like yours prominently pro-neocon in the post 9/11 universe. … or protesting the building of the new Mosque in Cologne.
    I heard her again, when I sneaked into an event to which students had invited her, not long before her dead.
    Not read, simply checked if it had left traces on the English web.
    Should I read her book on Muhammad Igbal? Her selection of Islamic prayers, or imagery in Persian poems?
    Her basic book on Islam and culture, I have read just as her book on the Prophet. Maybe too long ago, to realize how you would like me to have read them then. Without any doubt I may have completely misunderstood her. It is not my field, and I don’t have the slightest grasp of the Semitic languages. My impression was she preached dialog.
    No need to talk be politically-correct with me, if that was my interest, I hardly would waste my time here. In case you felt I interfered uninvited into a chat among agreeing “grown-ups”, I’ll watch it.

  104. LeaNder says:

    Hmm, that makes sense. Mind, if I adopt the idea with hat tip to you, of course.

  105. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Since you already have read her introductory books on Islam, I suggest you taking a look at the following:
    and the 3 chapters on Islam.
    The presentation ends with a Christian response but I think the comparison and contrasts between the two religions is quite insightful.
    You can think of Islam as a form of Universal Judaism – minus the bit about Chosen People etc.
    For instance, anything that is ritualistically clean in Judaism – halaka meat, for example – is also halal in Islam. But not the other way.

  106. Peter says:

    It’s difficult at this point to tell exactly what is happening in the Tabqa offensive because there are so many conflicting reports. However, “Riad Albasha” from Mayadeen and Eyad AlHosain have both debunked the Al-Masdar report that initially claimed the “555 Regiment” took heavy casualties, on the basis that there is no such thing as the “555 Regiment” in the SAA. Given the nature of this disinformation, not that Al-Masdar created it but wherever it came from, I think it’s fairly safe to assume what acutally happened was a tactical retreat with wounded and possibly a few dead.

  107. Bill Herschel says:

    Let’s tick off the names of countries where Jihadists have been defeated and civilization restored. Chechnya.
    You would probably include Kosovo. But Kosovo is not really civilized or a country, unless you count being the largest heroin distributor on the planet civilization.
    The gold standard is always, “What works?”. KSA, Israel, US do not seem to have a firm grasp on what works, if their goal is to rid the world of terrorism. Russia does. I repeat that I do not believe that Russia is acting on the notion that their cause is hopeless no matter how strongly you may believe that.
    But what works is best analyzed through res ipsa loquitur. Time will tell. Don’t give up hope.

  108. Michael Brenner,
    This takes me back in time.
    In the move away from ‘statist’ solutions in the ‘Seventies, Sam Brittan, as the chief economics commentator of the ‘FT’ was one crucial figure. Another was Peter Jay, both as economics editor of the ‘Times’, and also because he was recruited by John – now Lord – Birt as the first presenter of the London Weekend Television’s flagship current affairs programme, ‘Weekend World.’
    I spent a couple of years in 1976-8 on the foreign desk of the ‘FT’, when Fredy Fisher was editor, being kicked into some kind of shape as a journalist by a very brilliant foreign news editor, Alain Cass. However, they then wanted to send me to Brussels, which I thought about the most boring place in the world, and I was offered a researcher’s job on ‘Weekend World’.
    By then Jay had left to be Ambassador in Washington, but because of his imprint, ‘Weekend World’ championed both ‘free market’ and ‘monetarist’ ideas, and as such became something of an intellectual nursery of ‘New Labour’.
    In particular, Peter – now Lord – Mandelson, one of its chief architects, came out of there, but there were a number of other more or less consequential figure, including two successive Director Generals of the BBC, Birt himself and Greg Dyke.
    For various reasons, I did not much like working there, and so shifted first to the company’s in-depth local London current affairs programme – a glorious place to work, if you were interested in how British society and politics were changing – and then to the features department.
    The experiences pointed in two rather conflicting directions. On the one hand, unless one wanted to imitate the ostrich, and keep one’s head in the sand, there was a fundamental sense in which the reaction against the ‘economic philosophy’ of the post-war consensus on the part of people like Brittan and Jay was simply right.
    The more closely one looked at its results, the more evident it was that state industrial intervention in Britain had been a disaster. And the disjunction between the enthusiasm of left-wingers – as Dyke for example then was – for trade unions and the evident facts about their malign influence on British industry and politics was even more evident if one was looking at a ‘micro’ rather than a ‘macro’ level.
    On the other hand, it also became clear to me that free-market economists like Brittan and Jay could be remarkably naïve. Actually, this was particularly evident in the reorganisations of the broadcasting industry, in which both of them, in different ways, were involved.
    My wife and I in some ways did quite well out of these – not least because, when the independent television sector was created, her skills, as a production manager who came out of BBC drama, became like gold dust.
    However, I also came to realise that very much of modern economic theory is based upon notions about ‘rational’ action, and ‘information’, which simply ignore how complex and problematic both conceptions are.
    This was not a realisation which came to me through meditating on philosophical issues, but through looking at the yawning gulf between how projects of ‘reform’ were supposed to work by theorists, and how they actually work in practice.
    Among the many consequences was that, when the ‘young reformers’ in the former Soviet Union brought in people from the Harvard Institute for International Development to advise them on how to get out of the dead end into which communism had brought them, I knew that chaos was a likely result.
    Another element related quite precisely to the fact that the political ideas of the ‘Sixties and ‘Seventies ‘lefties’ had in general been simply silly. Partly because of this, when people like Blair finally abandoned them, in the wake of successive electoral trouncings by Thatcher, their conversion acquired a curious ‘born again’ quality.
    The determination of Blair to involve us in facilitating the invasion of Iraq, despite the evident ‘downside risks’, from a purely party political point of view as well as many others, comes out of this.
    But there is also another irony. Part of Blair’s motivation here has been the determination to put his CND past behind him.
    Ironically, my own deep suspicion of the ‘Peace Movement’ at the time had a great deal to do with the fact that its supporters were, in general, socialists like Blair.
    Not long ago, I came across the website of a man called Stephen Shenfield. Again that took me back to the ‘Eighties.
    (See http://stephenshenfield.net/places/russia/171-stories-of-a-soviet-studier .)
    His grandmother, I learned, was a Jewish refugee from Tsarist Russia who came to Britain in 1925. So – although he moved to the United States – he is a certain type of British Jewish socialist.
    In the early ‘Eighties, he collaborated with one Colonel Viktor Girshfield, a former Red Army officer then working for the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, who professed interest in the security ideas of Western disarmament activists, and wrote about ‘sufficient defence’.
    At the time, of course, Shenfield was dismissed as a gullible tool of Soviet ‘information operations’, aimed at undermining Western defenses.
    The curious thing, however, was that this turned out to be, to be frank, complete and utter BS.
    It was Shenfield whose anticipations of the directions in which Soviet security thinking might move were prescient. The various forms of the conventional wisdom turned out to be wrong.
    Ironically, part of the background to this was that the collapse of faith in ‘statist’ solutions, as later became evident, had been taking place in Soviet research institutes like that for which Girshfeld worked, and also sections of the KGB.
    However, Shenfield still was then, and still is now, a socialist, while I have no more enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn now than I had then. But on Soviet security policy Shenfield was patently right. And nuclear ‘deterrence’ and the folly of Western interventions in the Middle East are among the few things on which I agree with Corbyn.
    And yet Blair and the whole of ‘New Labour’ embraced all the neocon BS.

  109. irf520 says:

    >>The Borg it seems is intent on taking us all down before they vacate the levers of power.
    Not surprisingly. They must know that if the masses were ever to awaken and realise the magnitude of the deception which has been perpetrated against them, the Borg would be swinging from the nearest lamp posts in short order. They probably have some plans to scurry away in the chaos when it all comes on top.

  110. Bill Herschel says:

    If anyone would like to see brave Russian pilots in action, look at this video. Those flares are not 4th of July celebrations.
    Russia is putting everything on the line. Let us see what happens.

  111. Cee says:

    Check out this mofo.
    I want a refund!!
    The new Israeli ambassador to the United Nations believes that Israel has God on its side but not the United States. In fact, U.S. policy has cost Israel “thousands of young lives.”

  112. LeaNder says:

    Küng is my favorite among Catholic dissenter.
    There is another one, who intellectually is interesting here in my country, but for whatever reason, I have a really hard time to connect the written with the somewhat way too soft spoken person from my limited perspective in his special case.
    I can see he may want to emphasize Jesus’ intention as healer, based on scriptures versus historical realities. Anyway he tries to connect religion with psychology over the ages. And strictly, not really guided by successful box-office endeavors in the film industry to lead my interest, I do occasionally watch this products in the wider realm of exorcism.

  113. irf520 says:

    Talk about biting the hand that feeds. The US should just cut these ingrates loose and let them fend for themselves. Then we’ll see how long they last on their own surrounded by people who’d like nothing better than to see their heads on sticks.

  114. Imagine says:

    Congress pays Israel billions in taxpayer money each year; Israel and its oligarchs then support AIPAC with roughly around a hundred million; AIPAC then pays Congress across the board $75M each year, not including the recent $6M total bonuses to Sen. Cotton. At 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, this works out to an average of just over $140K/@.
    Since a Senator or Representative receives a U.S. salary of $174,000/yr (2014), and, assuming 50% Fed + local taxes, this then works out to $87,000 take-home pay after taxes. So the scheme ends up in roughly doubling their pay, depending on how you count.
    If it’s any consolation, I believe the Congress folk don’t personally keep all the money, but rather spend it on underlings and advertising in order to stay in power. It’s the same e.g. in Iraq, Ukraine, etc. Power takes money to run.
    To believe that Congress is not complicit, or that it’s all “flattery”, or that AIPAC is merely “incompetent demagogues”, seems to not give credit where credit is due. It’s quite a sophisticated system, which has worked, undetected, for decades.

  115. Imagine says:

    The Oded Yinon plan (cf. 1997) has *always* been to balkanize and reduce the enemies of the Chosen Ones to a state of perpetual anarchy and civil war. This has been the grand strategic goal all along. It didn’t just happen. It has been achieved beyond wildest dreams in Iraq, Libya, and mostly Syria, with Iran on deck. They picked a goal, stuck to it tenaciously, and achieved it.

  116. cupcake says:

    Of course this plays into the conspiracy-o-sphere, however, given the landscape Bush and Obama have left the Middle East in, can you blame them?
    Obama just released 150 Billion back to Iran, for some very silly commitments which Iran has already proven it will not honor.
    Do you think that’s a wise strategy? Erdogen and the Muslim Brother finally got their victory and have accelerated the plans to subjugate Turkey. Obama praised the Democracy, as 5,000 police officers and teachers are arrested.
    So what is it that you find so funny about this?

  117. turcopolier says:

    “Obama just released 150 Billion back to Iran” Your numbers are wrong. pl

  118. turcopolier says:

    “So what is it that you find so funny about this?” No idea what you are talking about. BTW you are new here. All comments are “moderated” by me or the author of a piece. Do not post things more than once. It is annoying. pl

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