Tillerson dosn’t have a clue …


"The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, stated on Thursday that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end, contrasting his previous comments in March declaring that the Syrian President’s removal was not a priority for the U.S. regime.“The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end,” Tillerson stated after his meeting with the head of the UN Envoy of Syria, Stephan de Mistura, in Geneva."

Tillerson stated he is unsure of how to bring about Assad’s end, but remained confident this would happen.  AMN


Who briefs this guy?  Is this what he reads in the "silver streak" or "Purple Gonads" stuff brought by courier to Main State?  I don't know what they call it now.  Perhaps AIPAC and WINEP are his sources of information.  Or does this mean the Russians have agreed to remove Bashar?  pl 


This entry was posted in As The Borg Turns, Borg Wars, Current Affairs, Middle East, Syria. Bookmark the permalink.

83 Responses to Tillerson dosn’t have a clue …

  1. PeterAU says:

    “Purple Gonads” … sounds like somebody took a kick below the belt…
    With the Russia dunnit meme moving to Clinton, Trump and Tillerson, whatever their intentions at the start, are now fully compromised. All aboard the train to regime change and neo-con/Israeli wet dreams.

  2. b says:

    “Or does this mean the Russians have agreed to remove Bashar?”
    Highly unlikely. Russia has invested years to paint itself as a reliable ally in contrast to the U.S.
    Removing Assad would bring the value of that investment down to zero. Russia would be exposed as a patsy unable to resist any of Trump’s demands. Who would want such as a friend or ally?
    “Tillerson stated he is unsure of how to bring about Assad’s end”
    Let’s give him some ideas. How about:
    – instigating demonstrations
    – recruiting and paying “moderate rebels”
    – handing them 10,000nds of tons of weapons
    – watch the evolving of an Islamic State that will counter Assad …
    All novel stuff that has (officially) never ever happened before. It will surely work well.

  3. Castellio says:

    I think it means that the negotiation over the eastern parts of Syria now held by the SDF will be held hostage to the bargaining position that Assad must step down for the country to unite under Damascus.
    In other words, since Assad is not going to step down, Syria will not be united under the current Syrian government, and the justifications for the continued presence of the US/SDF in Eastern Syria are being promulgated.

  4. Cody says:

    Its not like this kind abrupt change in policy towards the ME hasn’t happened before.
    100 years ago, in April, Brandeis and Weizmann (Zionists) conspired to prevent Henry Morgentau from making a peace deal with Turkey which likely would have ended the war 18 months earlier and twarted the Zionist’s game plan. Who says history doesn’t repeat?

    “Henry Morgenthau, the former American ambassador to Turkey and a Jewish anti-Zionist, advised Robert Lansing, the secretary of state, that the Turks desired a separate peace with the US, a settlement which would have had the effect of increasing relief efforts to aid the hungry people of Syria and Palestine. Palestine’s Jewish population was receiving some aid from the American Joint Distribution Committee. Wilson sent Morgenthau to Switzerland to meet Turkish representatives. But American Zionists opposed this move, as Thomas Bryson explained in American Diplomatic Relations with the Middle East 1784-1975 (1977). It seems that the US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis knew the purpose of the Morgenthau mission and told Weizmann, who promptly alerted Balfour. According to Bryson, “the two agreed that the Morgenthau mission should be scotched, for an anticipated British offensive against the Turks in Palestine would do far more to assure the future of a Jewish national home. “


  5. semiconscious says:

    as of now, everyone in positions of power will be as consistent, & coherent, as donald trump. we have attained lowest common denominator 🙂 …

  6. confusedponderer says:

    re: “Perhaps AIPAC and WINEP are his sources of information.”
    Perhaps AIPAC and WINEP are just his opponents and unermine him whenever they can. Trump went try to kill the Iran nuclear deal, alleging that Iran doesn’t live up to the spirit of the treaty.
    Well, whatever “not live up to the Spirit of the treaty” means – practically it means that the US don’t intend to stay to what they signed to and will make the excuse for that up as they go along.
    I.e. thanks to Haley, and Trumps silly clownery about UNESCO or the Kyoto protocoll, there is another evidence that the US is still quite willing to not ‘live up to the spirit of any treaty’ they sign.
    I read that the phrase about the ‘spirit’ came from old neo-con John Bolton who himself had a rather subversive, dishonest and destructive time as the US UN ambassador.
    That ‘spirit’ line was happily fed to Trump by a happy Haley. And not long ago, Trump said that Tillerson was wasting time by negotiating with NoKo – that’s a boss openly subverting his minister.
    That suggests to me some things:
    Trump prefers just whacking folks with a big stick in contrast ‘do weak things’, like thinking, negotiating and talking with them. Loyalty to his ministers he doesn’t have. They are to him not more than a tool. Tools may break and are then replaced, or, worse, are deliberately not replaced.
    Haley is a Person with plenty of ambitions …
    … and not many inhibitions.
    She wants to get rid of Tillerson and maybe get his Job.
    And while Bolton’s moustache disquialified him for Trump to be foreign secretary
    *6* he is still influential and has his ways to get money from folks like Adelson.
    So Haley benefits from sticking to him. He has ready talk points and money.
    The old school neo-cons are unhappy with Trump …
    … as much as they, just as top GOP donors like Adelson, are ‘furious’ with thinking persons like Tillerson in general …
    … so they are attacking Tillerson
    IMO they will stab and subvert Tillerson where-ever and when-ever they can. Likely Bannon and his Breitbart crew will join that fray happily. He’ll be attacked from the top, from behind and from the sides.
    All this suggests to me that Tillerson is for them on the ‘to be done’ list.
    I wouldn’t be surprised when the was fired, or simply quit in disgust before he gets, say, a gastric ulcer.
    Likely Tillerson is, showing signs of sanity, privately opposed to continuing the idea about regime change in Syria, but he is under pressure from the neo-cons and the whitehouse to play their games. I have a hunch that he was ordered to say these things about Syria and Assad.
    And as far as regime change in Syria goes, folks like Bolton and Haley are still quite enthusiastic. And so are likely the (pro-)Israelis. There are Netanyahu Folks making statements that Israel prefers Syria being controlled by ISIS over Syria being controlled by Assad.
    That speaks for itself: Assuming that nonsense is said seriously, then Israel is insane enough to want Syria destroyed and be replaced by smallish BS statelets that they can bribe and/or overfly and overpower any time.
    Details like facts, honestly, reality or legality only distract from that.
    In case of the Iran nuclear treaty, the neo-cons eventually had Trump’s ear, and Trump chose to ignore adults like Tillerson and follow girly Haley’s proposals and call the nuke treaty with Iran as ‘flawed and very limited’. She convinced Trump to reiterate that.
    That Iran is according to the IAEA obedient to their obligations under the treaty … oh never mind. The vile Iranians are in Syria and support Hezbollah, and Israel dislikes that so, who cares for such trivial details?
    IMO the idiotic Iran treaty axing by Trump is as notabe as it is odd and dangerous: So on Iran a neo-connish second level gal like Haley had the last word in this matter and hot her superior, and Trump followed her proposals ignoring her superior?
    Well, in light of these things – good luck. We’ll all need it.

  7. blowback says:

    “Or does this mean the Russians have agreed to remove Bashar?”
    Doubt this would ever happen. If Putin has decided to dump Assad then he’ll lose most of his hard-earned credibility when it becomes public knowledge and he knows full well now that Washington can no longer be trusted to honour any commitment to the R+6 (if it ever could). Doing a deal with Washington for them to then trash it would make him look very stupid and destroy his credibility completely. And the idiots in Washington would treat any sign of wanting a deal as a Russian weakness and go on pushing Russia further and faster.

  8. FourthAndLong says:

    Potential US-Russia showdown in eastern Syria over IS-held territory:
    Either it’s major-league incompetence or a bargaining position. Article at above link has me guessing it’s the latter as it sets a tone of being in preparation for the worst. Appears in a source liable to be read by US military personnel. But I too was taken aback initially by Tillerson’s remark. Must have been the intended effect.

  9. ambrit says:

    Knowing that governments have “interests,” I must ask; what would be so important that Russia would throw away their ‘reputation’ as steadfast friends and reliable allies? (At least for public relations purposes.)
    As for Tillerson, the man seems to have mastered the art of believing six impossible things before breakfast. If that is so, inside the Beltway must be far down the rabbit hole indeed.

  10. The Beaver says:

    It all comes down to what came out from that sewer in Turtle Bay yesterday.
    Someone must have forced his hand in saying that after Russia vetoed on Tuesday thus extension of mission probing chemical weapons use in Syria and the Israeli Firster witch representing the UN was mad.
    The investigation by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) – known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) – was unanimously created by the 15-member U.N. Security Council in 2015 and renewed in 2016 for another year. Its mandate is due to expire in mid-November.
    Thus, surprise surprise, look what came out yesterday when the diplomats were enjoying their drinks after a hard day’s work:
    The “panel is confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Sheikhun on 4 April 2017,” said the confidential report to the UN Security Council, which was obtained AFP.
    Check that word: CONFIDENT
    when they didn’t even have access to the site since it was too dangerous to send the experts. However, everyone and his brother amongst FrUKUS believe the White Helmets
    and all the rags and the AIPAC citizen journos are saying that Assad DID it , even NYT.
    We know what the goal is : First Assad and then Iran !

  11. Fredw says:

    Wow. If this is true, then it is something he definitely shouldn’t have said. If false, it makes him look like an idiot. Either way, what could possibly have been on his mind?

  12. outthere says:

    Patrick Armstrong writes about how he became Russian troll.

  13. nard says:

    Perhaps he’s reading off the same “info” that Congress was fed when it passed the Magnitsky Act? The “social activist” William Browder hooked up with some ass-hat in State and spoon-fed those dopes a line of BS (which has been partly de-bunked in the book as follows (not available in print in the US…Amazon refused to sell it without “editing”):
    and most thoroughly disabused by the most reputable (and usually critical…though fair…of Russia)documentary film-maker Alexei Nekrasov in his film “The Magnistsky Act.-Behind the Scenes”. This film is IMPOSSIBLE to find in the US. I had to resort to yandex.ru to find an online version which was overdubbed in Russian (orginal soundtrack in English). The film was screened in Norway (produced there too) and the only US screening was a private showing at the New Theater in DC…much to Browder’s objection. There is a rather fascinating youtube vid about it from a Russian TV expose…
    Seeing as the MA was the tipping point in US/Russian relations, the importance of the truth cannot be underestimated. Most glaringly, Sergei Magnitsky was NOT a lawyer as commonly professed…he never attended law school. He was an auditor…an accountant at best. Noether was he the “whistleblower” who was tortured to death in a Moscow prison…he died of medical neglect…suspicious circumstances for sure (a patsy more likely for Browder’s rip-off of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax refunds). Of course now that Nekrasov has exposed some rather damning inconsistencies in the “story”, he is being labeled a “former Krelin critic turned stooge)!
    The memory rabbit hole will swallow up this massive deception same as the yellow cake though and we will likely continue to blunder along down the path towards catasphrophic confrontation.
    Slightly off-topic but well worth your attention I think.

  14. elev8 says:

    Or does this mean the Russians have agreed to remove Bashar?
    For which they would have to have a motive. There is none that I could
    infer from publicly available information. That’s your caveat right there, of course.
    Lacking proof to the contrary, I will file this under “the unbearable sameness of political posturing
    across administrations”.

  15. turcopolier says:

    I must say that I have come to agree with nearly all of this. pl

  16. outthere says:

    Patrick Armstrong’s latest is part of a book put together by Phil Butler, which I have not read yet, but the cover is reproduced here:

  17. LeaNder says:

    Interesting, ok the redirect makes sense.
    Will this surface three times too?

  18. turcopolier says:

    How about the possibility that Tillerson knows that Israel is going to war soon against Hizbullah and Syria. Lebanon of course would be crushed again in the process by pointless IAF “strategic” bombing. pl

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In regards to JCPOA, Trump has acted on his promise to his constituent – who are convinced of the Omnipotence of the United State – by punting JCPOA to US Congress.
    He has done the same thing with socialized medicine laws that were passed under Obama as well as with reform of tax laws in the United States.
    In all 3 cases, he has wrapped himself with a teflon-like argument: “I delivered on my promise to you but the Establishment thwarted me.”
    I think that was all fine and well if he operated in a political vacuum – but he is not.
    Domestically, An Act of God, this time in Puerto Rico, demonstrated the extent by which the United States had ceased to invest in herself over many decades.
    Internationally, he has practically gone against the Russian Federation (he could have recalled NATO troops from the Baltics, for example), he has not addressed the strategic concerns of the Russian Federation, he has done nothing against Chinese evisceration of US jobs, has forewarned Iranians that their cease-fire deal will not reach the 8-year milestone, has signaled the Shia Muslims all over the world that the United States and himself personally stand with their enemies, has humiliated the European allies publicly, and both domestically and internationally projected an image of racial prejudice and bigotry.
    At some point, he has to put a execute to a concrete program and strategy; both domestically and internationally. One would hope that at such time, he would have a positive program rather than a negative one.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree.
    And what does US have to offer the Russian Federation.
    What is needed is a trilateral settlement among US, Russia, and China to replace the defunct Peace of Yalta.

  21. Oilman2 says:

    IMO, Applying Hanlon’s and Occam’s razors, in a sort of ‘stereo effect’, helps to reveal disinformation and explain illogic when viewing events and statements. Much time is spent here and elsewhere trying to decipher what is truth and what is not. More time is spent trying to figure out the why of them or their objective. Some kind of razor is required to cut through the disinfo and the blathering and posturing. I have come to believe that a LOT of anti-Russian statements are virtue signalling by government officials – and little else.
    I came to disbelieve the Russia narrative through doing business with and drinking beer with Russians personally. We have much in common, but we here in the US seem to have a government that is afflicted with dementia – there is often not a good rationale for what we do or what we say as a nation. The Russians told me it reminds them of Yeltsin’s time in their country.
    When the facts on the ground belie what is being said, it makes sense to avoid the noise until it grows louder.
    “America seem to to be a very petulant nation, where Russia seems more gracious.” – Azamat Duysaliyev, Kazakh business acquaintance.

  22. Annem says:

    Tillerson does NOT take anything from Main State and few people knowledgeable about the ME or any other geographic region have quit, been fired or gone to ground in some innocuous office.
    At the outset of the Syria conflict when the US was trying to keep Russia out of the international circle trying to end it, one prescient journalist opined that, “The conflict will end when it is announced that the signing of a peace accord was going to be held in Moscow.

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A Co-dominion or Entente between the United States and the Russian Federation is not in the interest of those of us who do not belong to the European stock.
    I do not find the prospect of this planet being dominated again by the European or European-derived people – in a manner reminiscent to the world before 1914 – attractive at all.
    Are we to again become servants to them and our land their playgrounds for such as Gertrude Bell and TE Lawrence?
    I think not.
    This is the best of all possible worlds for us.
    The Beige Barbarian

  24. b says:

    I do not believe for one moment that Israel will go to war against Hizbullah, and certainly not against Hizbullah and Syria.
    It would be the end of Israel. The people would flee the country when they experience that the IDF can not protect them from volley after volley of missile fire.
    Netanyahh is pretty crazy, but he understands a losing bet.

  25. Laura says:

    Fredw, I had high hopes for Tillerson but this strikes me as very CEO and a strong reason why government and foreign policy experience should be held in higher esteem.
    Here is the article that I found so troubling.

  26. blowback says:

    RFE/RL is a propaganda site, so it’s more a fake bit of context.
    I think it fairly safe to say that if Hillary Clinton hadn’t interfered so openly in Syria, the “revolution” would have been over in weeks and instead of ~500,000 dead we would be looking at a few thousand dead at most. Since the likely outcome of her pathetic attempt at regime change would have been to replace a secular government with a salafist one, the western world owes Russia a huge debt in preventing that. Perhaps, since she is so personally responsible, the Clinton Foundation should pick up the tab, or at least part of it. The new “liberal” Saudi Arabia and the chastened Qatar along with the interfering British and French should pick up the rest.

  27. kooshy says:

    “Or does this mean the Russians have agreed to remove Bashar? pl “
    Colonel, with a lot I respect we all have for you analysis, I just hope for the sake of multipolar world, in this case you are wrong.
    IMO you are right to be suspicious of Russians due to the past reputations. As per my past pessimistic posts on this same subject, unfortunately Russian/ Soviets don’t have a great reputation in this regard specially with middle eastern allies. But like David, I have a faith/ hope Mr Putin has seen the light.

  28. turcopolier says:

    You think I am wrong about what? I asked a question, nothing more. pl

  29. turcopolier says:

    IMO the Israelis are poor strategic analysts and if Natanyahu’s security cabinet ordered the military forward they would obey. pl

  30. FB Ali says:

    You should read Patrick Armstrong’s blog. A link is provided above by Outthere.

  31. Sam Peralta says:

    Do people who join the top ranks of government get a lobotomy?
    Rex is no dummy. He climbed the corporate ladder to become CEO of Exxon. He worked deals at the highest levels. He lead a large organization that had to deliver financial & operational results every quarter.
    I dunno but maybe at the highest levels of government one needs to become an idiot where every day you must say & do something that contradicts what you said earlier. Considering the recent past it seems failure is what gets rewarded in government. Yet people want even more government!

  32. Chris says:

    Tillerson’s statement contradicts earlier ones made at a time when Assad’s position was weaker (had not yet taken back much of the eastern part of the country; ISIS still held a lot of it, and the Erdogan regime was more hostile than it seems to be now.)
    I tend to agree with the “virtue signalling” theory. Holding a small sliver of the eastern bank of the Euphrates is not much of a bargaining chip for either the SDF or the US. Even if there is oil, that oil has to be transported somewhere safely to have value. As long as the Russian Air Force is active and ISIS is being routed, this war appears to be in the mop-up phase.

  33. jsn says:

    Its possible that Government and Business are fundamentally different kinds of institutions rewarding fundamentally different temperaments:

  34. aleksandar says:

    Nobody will flee the country, unless by boats ?
    Day 2, Hezb will have destroyed, all, I mean ALL electric power stations.

  35. kooshy says:

    Colonel, in case of your pointed question that if Russia agreed to throwi Assad under the bus ( capitulateing to US demand), so far it seems the majority of your bloggers are hoping it not to happen.

  36. Croesus says:

    Pleased to find something we can agree upon.
    Distressed that Tillerson was most likely cornered into espousing this position.
    A year-and-a-half ago Moshe Ya’alon, Israeli Defense minister, staked out the Israeli position:
    “Syria will never be re-united, no chance; wishful thinking. Assad controls only 30% of his territory [Mar. 2016] . . . We know the Turks are not happy with it, but there is a Kurdish authority in Syria, there is a Kurdish authority in Iraq; they might cooperate with the regime. But there’s the problem of the Sunni Muslims — DAESH, AlQaeda, Muslim Brotherhood . . . Let’s find a way to have a kind of federation . . .”
    Isn’t there something in the UN Charter that proscribes interfering with the domestic situation of member states?

  37. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    I second that. By all means read Patrick Armstrong’s blog post. While you’re at it download a copy of the PDF of Alex Krainer’s The Killing of William Browder, the link to which was provided in a comment up-thread by nard. Part 5 of the book is where Krainer directly assaults Browder’s credibility, and he does so mainly by using his own words from a sworn deposition he gave during the discovery phase of a civil case in New York. As described in the book, Browder went to great lengths trying to avoid being served the subpoena but was ultimately unsuccessful. I’ll leave it to you to make your own judgments regarding whose account of Browder’s troubles with the Russian government is more likely to be closer to the truth. For your convenience both links are re-posted below.
    Killing can also be read online at the Internet Archive here: http://bit.ly/2xkC1oI

  38. Croesus says:

    It’s disconcerting how little is known of zionism.
    The cited article (thanks, btw) is 17 years old, but as you observed, Balfour is 100 years old and the (modern) Zionist movement is at least 140 years old. Yet “zionism” appears in very few histories of WWI or WWII, despite the fact that Wilson, therefore Versailles, were profoundly influenced by the dozen or more Zionist Jews present at the negotiations; and that “The American Jewish Congress, formed in 1918 with the purpose of advancing Jewish causes at the Peace conference,” returned from Versailles with “a dual triumph: a homeland for Jews in Palestine and protection of Jewish rights in European states.”
    Wilson having been derailed from his promises to both Germany and the Ottoman states, went to Paris a hero, returned a knave, leaving behind millions of people stunned by his betrayal and still working out their grievances.
    The AJC, originally expected to be a short-lived project, instead became permanent and expanded into the World Jewish Congress (and dozens more similar organizations).
    Alison Weir has posted an excerpt from her book, Against Our Better Judgment, explaining the Balfour – World War I connection – https://israelpalestinenews.org/wrote-balfour-declaration-world-war-connection/

  39. Croesus says:

    Agree Israelis are poor strategic analysts, but they are keen economic opportunists, and their economy relies on their military staying home and becoming entrepreneurs.
    Israel: Startup Nation — The Good, the Great, and One Fatal Flaw

    “The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is — without a doubt — a key reason innovation is so rampant in Israel. Mandatory conscription for all Jewish Israelis leads to a whole range of government-supported skills, contacts, and resources. Conscription in the IDF also helps develop leadership skills that align perfectly with the non-hierarchical nature of a startup.

    [The ‘fatal flaw’ is over-exuberance: promising the moon while capable of delivering only an LED w/ extension cord.]

  40. turcopolier says:

    IMO it is one of the great errors of strategic analysis to think that your opponent will act according to the rational actor model so loved by the poly sci people. pl

  41. Bingo!
    Since the original plan of having Syria bombed by the US and NATO a la Libya has been crushed by Russia – so far, at least – Israel is now desperate to find a way to minimize, if not remove, Hizballah’s ability to threaten Israel in a war with Iran.
    Israel’s only option at this point is to unilaterally attack Lebanon again regardless of the many problems you’ve pointed out numerous times here.
    On the other hand, I see the new sanctions on Hizballah as possibly an Israeli ploy to divert US attention from Syria – now that’s failed – to Hizballah. I suspect Israel wants Trump to directly attack – or support an Israeli attack – on Lebanon.
    House Passes Iran & Hizballah Sanctions Bills
    If the US can be convinced to join Israel in an attack on Lebanon, things might go more badly for Hizballah than an attack by Israel alone.
    I’ve always considered this angle a possibility but less so than a unilateral attack by Israel on Lebanon. Now that the “Syria Quest” is coming to an end, perhaps that probability needs to be increased.

  42. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    I did read it and PA is free to post it here if he wishes. pl

  43. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Israelis have many options; they can accept HAMAS 99-year long cease fire deal; they can fly to Tehran and kiss the hand of Ayatollah Khameneie and beg his help in reaching Peace with Honor with the World of Islam.
    Their actions were never dictated by any lack of options; au contraire, theirs has always been the curse of too many options; which they always proceeded to select the one which was the worst for them.

  44. Adrestia says:

    I recall seeing a map with the range of the S-400 on Latakia somewhere. Most of Israel and also Incirlik is covered. Russians are also more busy than usual now. People and equipment coming in.

  45. jsn says:

    Plausible. The Borg antibodies have now encapsulated the Trump virus and turned it to Borg purposes of war with Russia. I credit Borg strategic analysis at the same level our host does the Israelis below.

  46. Bandolero says:

    While I strongly opine who rules Syria is non of US business, technically I agree with Tillerson that the rule of the Assad family will come to an end. The big questions are more like when, how, under what circumstances and who’ll follow Bashar Al Assad as president of Syria.
    Under the current Syrian constitution Bashar Al Assad can put his hat in the ring once more for a seven year term, so without changing the constitution that would mean Bashar Al Assad has to leave office in 2028. I don’t see that there is another member of the Assad family in line to follow him as president.
    But in Geneva it was also agreed that the Syrian constitution should be changed to better reflect the desires and aspirations of all Syrian people and voted on in a referendum. And after that – it was agreed – snap elections are to be held. I don’t doubt the Syrian national hero Bashar Al Assad would win all and every election held in Syria, and so a new constitution could mean, Bashar Al Assad can rule as long as he lives. I can very well imagine that Bashar Al Assad would not contest new elections. He repeatedly made comments in the direction that the Presidency is not only a great honor, but also a personal burden for him. But he said, he does his duty as he expects every Syrian shall do. And as long as the Syrian state ship is in troubled waters he will stay on the bridge and not act like a captain who abandons ship when in trouble.
    I think a case can be made that the Syrian ship soon will manage to sail behind troubled waters. And I could well imagine that Bashar Al Assad then says: “OK, I promised not to abandon the bridge in troubled waters and I did that, but now the ship is in safe waters and I see a line of good and able Syrian people with lot’s of fresh energy whom I would be willing to hand over the command of the ship. So I’ld suggest you compete with each other in a fair election for the favor of the Syrian people, and then the one most entrusted by the Syrian people should be the next president. And I can relax and enjoy the rest of my private life with my family.”
    Why not? I think that could be a fine scenario for Syria. And I could well imagine who could be the finest of the finest, whom the Syrian people would trust most: Suheil al-Hassan. I think people in Syria would feel quite safe if Suheil al-Hassan would follow Bashar Al Assad as president in a couple of years. Of course, that would be an outcome very different from the one that those foreigners, who were and are seeking regime change in Syria, were looking for, but, hey, it’s none of their business who’s president of Syria.
    Though, personally, I’ld likely prefer Fahd Jassem al-Freij as next president of Syria, but, hey, I’m German, that’s non of my business.

  47. LeaNder says:

    Well, it’s the best to get the official United States Public relations on matters? No?
    They are very good for that purpose.

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Why should Assad, his party, Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia risk their equities that they have sunk in the Syrian Civil War in the manner that you describe?
    Andto convenience whom exactly? The EU? Arabs?US? UK?
    Lenin, Franko, Mao never did that.

  49. Bill Herschel says:

    The Nobel Prize was just awarded to an economist whose contribution to his field was to debunk the rational actor model. Which in this discussion I guess is significant. I can definitely see (hear?) John McCain whispering in Israel’s ear, “Just let us in on the action and we will defeat Hizbullah together”. Undoubtedly more likely to lead to WWIII than the insanity in NK.

  50. JohnB says:

    My first post although I have been a long time lurker.
    Next year will see the beginning of negotiations on political settlement for Syria. Thus recent events and comments by SoS Tillerson have to be seen in this context.
    The US administrations plan is to gain as strong a bargaining position as it can in these negotiations. The ‘dash’ to Al-Bu Kamal looks like it will be won by SDF forces which will mean the US has control of two of most important crossing points from Iraq to Syria.
    The rapid gains by SDF forces has been achieved by stuffing local the Sunni Arab tribal leaders with plenty of dollars, another “Sunni Awakening” but this time in Syria. Having spent a short time in Syria in 2008 it’s fair to say that these local leaders will support which ever side they perceive to be winning and who they will financially gain more from. They are in effect available to the highest bidder; they always have been and always will be.
    Will the US succeed in its aims to blackmail the Syrian Govt into accepting the US agenda? I don’t think the Syrians will fall for it, as they have successfully held off the US/UK /France and regional states that have spent billions on the regime change project. The Kurds are on the brink of disaster if they don’t realise that their safety will only be guaranteed by working with Damascus and not against it.
    As the Col has mentioned on numerous occasions the Sultan still has his eyes on parts of Syria. Turkey clearly has done a deal with AQ/HTS and it will take an effort to get them out of Idlib in the short term. Once can easily see them playing the AQ card on the west to enable them stay in Idlib.
    The Turkish forces are a real threat to Afrin and other parts of Kurdish dominated Syria, which they would like to annexe. The Kurds will have to look to Damascus & Moscow for protection from the Sultan as they won’t get it from the US and the quicker they realise this better for everyone. Sadly the Kurds have a history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory so I am not hopeful in this regard. Interestingly I have seen an attempt in some parts of the UK MSM to promote the SDF as some sort of democratic alternative to Assad it will be interesting to see if this particular narrative develops further.

  51. JohnB says:

    I have to say I think that is the scenario that the Russians have in mind and I think President Assad won’t have to much of an issue with it either.
    Whether this sort of transition will work in Syria as the country is such a difficult juggling act to manage.
    The sad thing is that your scenario was in all likelihood on the table in 2012. What a wasted opportunity and a failure of Western FP.
    As for your choice of Fahd Jassem al-Freij I think they will be spluttering on their morning coffee’s in the office’s of AI and HRW on that suggestion Haha.
    As you say the only people who can decide are the Syrians.

  52. LondonBob says:

    The history regarding the Balfour Declaration is fascinating. The late Dr Robert John did a lot of original research which you won’t always find reproduced.

  53. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Most of the honorable persons I know have also come to this world view over the years.
    One thing I disagree w/ Armstrong is his classification of malice as a form of stupidity. While describing neo-cons and zionists as “stupid” might be justified based on their massive (long-term) policy failures, this does not capture the desolation and suffering they have deliberately visited on innocents. These creatures are evil in addition to being stupid.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  54. Anna says:

    “Who briefs this guy?” — Kagans et al brief him. The bloodthirsty, parasitic clan has united with other war profiteers and flourishes. Here is an imbecile Frederick kagan (who should have been in prison for his illegal war-promoting activities) spews his hatred for his Persian cousins. This brood (Kagans et al) does not recognize the concepts of sovereignty and international law: https://www.aei.org/publication/trump-faces-a-reckoning-with-syria/
    “Russian air defense and anti-shipping missile systems present an unprecedented challenge in Syria, to be sure. Defeating them would require concentrating American forces in the area at the expense of other global theaters and would cost the United States lives and equipment. But the American military can defeat them, can destroy every single ship and airplane the Russians have in the Middle East, and can decimate the Iranian military forces and proxies in Syria.”
    Why should Americans fight with Russians thousands miles away from the US territory and on a territory of the sovereign Syria that has invited, legally, the Russians to protect the Syrian citizens from ISIS?
    Kagan, the bloody weasel, cares about his beloved apartheid Israel only: “The long-term price of such subordination is too high. It will allow Tehran to expand the threat to American allies to such a point that it will be able to deter U.S. actions against Iran simply by threatening them with overwhelming force.” And why the U.S. needs to be involved in the actions? – To satisfy the supremacists dreams of the Kagans’ clan? Here are the authentic Israeli speeches imitating word-by-word certain Nazi speeches, minus civilized manners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPxv4Aff3IA
    The tsarist Russia and the horrors of bolshevism were not enough for the “chosen.”

  55. LeaNder says:

    Babak, I don’t grant you the term barbarian, beige or of whatever hue.
    Based on your European vs ME theses, you seemed to posit yourself as man of culture, more so ancient culture. That doesn’t quite fit the definition of a barbarian.
    But yes, there are a lot of barbarians outside your respective culture line, but surely not the established you.

  56. turcopolier says:

    It was a rhetorical question. pl

  57. LeaNder says:

    Ishmael, it reminded me what my best friend told me at one point. Why would I want to describe something as evil that could just as easily be explained as stupidity?
    I am with you, it never really satisfied me up to this day considering the larger context.
    But at that time my specific experience, the fact that people play games, or micro-politics, how would and can that surface as macro-politics? And surely macro-politics are on the mind of Patrick Armstrong.

  58. Anna says:

    The same is true about the history of Jews in Russia. It is only now that the information about the un-proportionate numbers of Jewish Bolsheviks in the first Soviet government has become known and discussed openly. And yet, the only authoritative documentary on the history of Jews in Russia (written by a Noble Prize author Solzhenitsyn) has been sequestered by ALL printing houses in the UK and US. http://truedemocracyparty.net/2012/05/most-banned-book-in-the-world-200-years-together-aleksandr-solzhenitsyn/

  59. Christian Chuba says:

    Even if the SDF wins the race for the oil fields and the race for the good border crossing, are these gains immutable, what’s to stop the SAA from pulling a Kirkuk when it is convenient for them?

  60. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Perhaps the perverted belief of the zio-con high priests in the superiority of their tribe guides their macro-politics, and justifies, for them, the sufferings of those they consider their inferiors. Some of these issues are discussed in the ’32 book “Moral Man and Immoral Society” by Reinhold Niebuhr. For example Niebuhr states that “ “In every human group there is less reason to guide and to check impulse, less capacity for self-transcendence, less ability to comprehend the needs of others, therefore more unrestrained egoism than the individuals, who compose the group, reveal in their personal relationships “. I highly recommend the book even though, while it posses the question exceedingly well, it does not provide an answer.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  61. If Israel attacks Syria directly (other than these pin prick attacks they’ve been doing), then, yes, I think Russia will use its assets to defend Syria.
    However, in the case of Hizballah in Lebanon, that is not the case. Putin has no specific contract with Hizballah as an ally in the Mid-East as he does with Syria and cannot be seen to be supporting a “terrorist group” as seen by the West, even if he would like to. He also does not want a war with Israel if it can be avoided.
    So I think Israel will attack Lebanon and not Syria – and get the US to help it. Syria probably will stay out of it because they cannot afford to take on Israel without Russian help, and Russia will advise against doing so.

  62. charly says:

    There is dumping and dumping. My expectation was that Assad would “loose” the next election to a conservative, non-sunni law and order type and that he would lead the liberal “capitalistic” opposition. That is why the death of Zahreddine is such a loss.

  63. Thomas says:

    He is referring to the fact that the morning after the war, when people leave the shelters, they will be arranging to visit their cousins (if they can afford it) across the world rather than stay around to rebuild it.
    For all their use of Judaism as a shield, you would think they might read the scroll with a little more trepidation. After all one of the calumnies from the original scout squad of the Land was that it spits out its settlers. I imagine the two survivors of the group were shaking their heads hearing their fellows bad mouthing the place and saying “By the Law you will live”. And to think they subsidize so many scholars to study this stuff and still can’t figure it out.

  64. charly says:

    The white world (also including Iran) is of the same order as China so i don’t think you have to fear a domination of the Europeans

  65. Anna says:

    The “Lord Haw Haw” of Prague: https://www.sott.net/article/325047-The-bizarre-propaganda-world-of-US-backed-Radio-Free-Europe-Radio-Liberty
    “Known as “Lord Haw Haw,” the American-born William Joyce tried to convince the British public, in a sneering and sarcastic tone, that resistance to the Nazi military machine was futile and defeat was inevitable… Nowadays, in Prague, there’s an heir to “Lord Haw Haw’s” crown of thorns. The dubious honor belongs to Brian Whitmore of the American state-broadcaster RFE/RL, who sits in front of a wall mounted image of Moscow’s Kremlin, five days a week, and tells the world how awful the country is.”

  66. Anna says:

    You mean, the sacrificial mission would go without any reaction from the sacrificed? Hopefully, some better educated former Soviets (apart from the supremacist murderous Sharansky and other thuggish Moldovan Liebermans) should help the Knesset to make sane decisions re more wars on Israeli’ borders.

  67. Anna says:

    “But in Geneva it was also agreed that the Syrian constitution should be changed to better reflect the desires and aspirations of all Syrian people and voted on in a referendum.”
    Seems that you have an awesome belief in some higher authority. What exactly makes you believe that “Geneva” (EU/NATO vassalage of the US) have a better understanding of what Syria needs than Syrian themselves? The fruits of the “higher authority” of evangelical kind (what God had whispered to Bush the lesser?) are so bitter for those on whom the “authority” bestowed its infinite wisdom of neocon (ziocon) persuasion, that it is certainly time for “Geneva” and such to repent and stop firmly their malicious/slaughterous activism.

  68. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Iran is not White.

  69. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That knowledge was there for decades, all you needed to do was to take a course in modern Russian History, as I did.
    Post WWII People’s Republics, specially Hungary, were similar in that regard.

  70. Bandolero says:

    I think you understood my thinking.
    Regarding Freij for President, I think Bibi would also react similar to what you described for AI & HRW.

  71. Bandolero says:

    No, I don’t have any “belief in some higher authority” – but I do think the Geneva process may be used to lessen tensions.
    And if Syria is in calm waters and folks there want Assad go, I’m not notoriously against it. To those who say fifty years of family rule is likely a good time to change that soon, I agree. Things as the presidency of a country are not supposed to be eternal. If someone like Fahd Jassem al-Freij would follow Bashar Al Assad in office, I could imagine that this might be advantageous for Syria.
    However, as I said, I’m not Syrian, so that’s non of my business. If the Syrians decide they want their hero Bashar Al Assad for many more years and Bashar Al Assad agrees to that, I’m fine with that, too.

  72. blowback says:

    I’d say the real issue in Syria is how to keep the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Certain factions in the Washington Borg probably still see them as a “moderate” alternative. Perhaps that’s why Trump encouraged the recent spat between Saudi Arabia and Qatar – to try to wean the Qataris off their support for the MB.

  73. JohnB says:

    Nothing is immutable and you’re right they could, although the latest US “Trin & Equip” programme for the SDF suggests that wouldn’t be as easy as Kirkuk.
    I think we are starting to see the Kurdish SDF being promoted as the alternative to the Assad Govt. I believe they have already annexed Raqqa as part of their self styled “New Syria”.
    The Tillerson statement has been seen in this context. Will this strategy work? I doubt very much but a united sovereign Syria is starting to move further into the distance.

  74. Phil Cattar says:

    The chances of Assad loosing an election in Syria are less than my chances of being the next president of the US.He has the Alawites,Christians and Druze behind him just for starters.If he survives this he will most likely severely punish all those who he thinks were against him………………He will run his country or any part of it that he controls much tighter than he did before the “uprising”.Syria’s prisions are known to be some of the worst in the world………….Just before the uprising the Assad regime was on the hot seat for their involvement in the killing of the Prime Minister of Lebanon,Rafik Harriri,and 21 other Lebanese notables…………….Bashar’s father,Hafez Assad was suspected of killing Kamal Jumblatt ,Kamal’s son Walid,certainly thinks he did.But yet the Druze in Syria stiil support Assad……………..Many think that Hafez was also involved in the “disappearance” of Iman Moussa Sadr……….A Shia who was getting too powerful in South Lebanon in the 80s…..Then there is Hama Syria where Hafez massacred 20000 Syrians to stamp out the Moslem Brotherhood……….I realize that nowhere in the Middle East resembles Switzerland………….but the Assads are a rough bunch who will do what they have to keep power.It is a zero/sum game………….I would not be very surprised to find out that Zahreddine died from “friendly fire”.

  75. aleksandar says:

    Thomas, Anna
    I’m not arguing about what Israel will do, but about what israel can do. Try to figure out your life without electricity,no phone, no computers, no planes,no water, no lights, and so, and so.
    Electricity is modern societies Achille’s heel.
    Good news, a way to win war without killing score of people.

  76. Thomas says:

    I see your point and was saying what will happen when the comforts of modern society is gone so will the people be, never to return. It will be tough for King Bibi to rule with no subjects and many of his former ones out for revenge because of their loss of wealth.
    Where I would disagree with b is that with their current Civil Leadership wrapped up in the Massada Myth, they would take the flying leap of faith with the belief that the U.S. will come to their rescue. It will be a shock when they are met with stone silence followed by “fight for yourselves”.
    What Israel can and should do is remove the current leadership, but with that society and its worship of the false Idol of Security there is about a two percent chance it would. Some suicides can’t be prevented.

  77. different clue says:

    The Rabinists are a desperate, dispirited and demoralized minority. The relatively few of them who remain in the Knesset can bear public witness to what sane decisions would be, but they can do nothing to make the Revisionists and the Revisionised make those sane decisions.

  78. Barbara Ann says:

    “Beyond Wisdom and Stupidity” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  79. charly says:

    If the West wants to be bigger than China then compromises have to be made.
    ps. With respect to race i think Iranians are Caucasians aka white. Culture may be different but is closer than China

  80. Barbara Ann says:

    Curious as to why you feel Trump “has to” execute on a concrete program of some kind Babak. He certainly may, but indications so far seem to indicate that he is not a strategic program kind of guy – perhaps pathologically the opposite in fact. The most worrying aspect of the Trump phenomenon for me is the fact that the more he fails, the more the Teflon™ defense will galvanize & radicalize his core support. This may indeed be his sole strategy.
    I’d respectfully suggest that his threat to totally destroy a nation of 25M souls should make your list of his outstanding international accomplishments in year 1.

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