"The United States will allow Iranian military elements and Iranian-backed militias operating in Syria to take up positions within eight kilometers of Israel’s Golan border region according to a report released yesterday by the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat news agency.
The report stated that an agreement to allow both actual Iranian forces and Iranian proxies in Syria to establish bases as close as eight kilometers to both the Jordanian and Israeli borders was recently reached between US and Russian diplomats following talks in Jordan.
This report comes at a time when Russia has official downplayed Israeli hysteria over the presence of Iranian forces in Syria, refusing to entertain Netanyahu’s claims that Iran is preparing to attack Israel." Andrew Illingworth in Al Sharq al Awsat
Well, well, pilgrims. ASAA has always had deep Saudi royal family ties so one must question the motive for this publication of work by Mr. Illingworth, whoever he may be. Is this Saudi spite at evidence of subterranean Trump Administration cooperation with Russia over both Iran and Syria?
Bibi must be eating his own guts at the thought. All that and Sarah up to her hips in corruption investigation, being PM just isn't what it used to be,
Can it be that the whisperings between the Trumpian foreign policy gaggle and the Rooshians actually had substance. Can it be?
BTW The last I heard was that the buses were still out in the desert somewhere near Sukhna having been re-routed. CENTCOM still can't work out what to do with them.
And I sure hope that IS keeps throwing troops at the R+6 in SE Raqqa. pl
I have mostly been undecided about whether Trump and Mattis where genuine about taking out the takfiri’s or would continue to enable them, but a lot of signs now that this is genuine, and also working with Russia.
Re the ISIS convoy. There has been no noise from Russia, Syria, Iran about US blocking the convoy. I doubt they would have liked to let the bastards loose either, so this may be working in their favour, as they can keep hold of them without breaking their part of the deal. Also when Raqqa was left open, RUAF was destroying large convoy coming out of Raqqa towards Palmyra. Some exchanges of intel between US and Russia?
Whatever is happening it seems to be different than what was going on under the Obama admin.
Illingworth is a reporter for al-Masdar news.
In a related vein, Alastair Crook analyzes Netanyahu’s “panic” and the new reality of the resistance to Israel.
Andrew Illingworth twitter
Can anyone explain why the ISIS families wanted to be escorted to BuKamal, right next to all those militias that would love to make minced meat out of them. Once there, how did they plan to defend themselves?
An excellent article. Thank you for the link.
I’m inclined to see the ASAA claim as an attempt to ratchet up the Iran-in-Syria issue in the US after it so miserably failed to impress the Russians, most likely with an eye towards bringing US pressure to bear on Russia through pressure on Trump. Painting arch-Zionist Trump as somehow being convinced by the Russians to all of a sudden take a benign view towards Iran seems silly, but silliness hasn’t disqualified anything else so far.
“arch-Zionist Trump” You really do not understand him. He isn’tan arch anything except arch-egotist. He will dump anyone and anything that he thinks is causing him real damage. Crooke is right. pl
Off topic. Is it the case than neither Kelly, Mattis, nor McMaster saw a day of combat in Vietnam? I am not seeking to pour gasoline onto a lighted fire, but much has been made of Cheney’s, Trump’s, Bush’s, Clinton’s deferments, so I think it is relevant that the Generals who surround Trump are in the same league. And not simply from a public relations point of view.
I’ll take Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, too…
Israel is not a Western country.
They are all too young I think. pl
Ode to Joy.
An excellent article. Israel invaded Lebanon and after 20 years of war was faced by Hezbollah. Israel and her supporters started endless wars in the Middle East to supposedly overcome a non-existent “Shia Crescent.” Now after 16 years it is faced by a real “Shia Crescent” backed by Russia and China, with the Gulfies in turmoil and the US and Europe at best indifferent.
Those whom the gods would destroy they first make Netanyahu.
Hariri claims he and Aoun decided to let Daesh leave Lebanese territory. Not Hezb.
Col, I am a little confused over who is associated with who. My understanding was Illingworth is with the pro-Assad anti Saudi AMN, but both your links go to the same Illingworth article at AMN, and I can find no Illingworth articles at the other publication.
On another note, I’d like to point out Trump’s non alt-right MAGA base is oblivious to his deviation from the Israeli agenda in Syria. I keep up to date with Conservative Tree House as a representative sample, and they remain firmly persuaded Bibi has an unshakable friend in the white house now. A little rhetoric gets you a long way…
Great article outlining in what respects Trump steamrolled over the Israeli lobby’s ‘concerns’: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/israels-syria-policy-collapses-63932273
I told you that I have no idea who Illingworth is. pl
Dunford was too young. Both Mattis and Kelly enlisted during that time frame, Mattis in 69 and Kelly in 70. But Melvin Laird’s ‘Vietnamization’ policy had been started by then and troops were coming home. So Mattis and Kelly never got there.
On the Daesh bus convoy, I tend to agree with what PeterAU implied above that Syria is happy with not letting them go. Although there are reports in the Iraqi press and here that some did get through to Daesh territory. About 100 fighters per the Iraqi press, a dozen or two by using civilian vehicles per the Miami Herald. Coalition says the 17 busses are still within SAA lines.
Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, is doing a lot of explaining and non-apology apologies in Baghdad.
from Lemur’s article:
“But now it is becoming clear that Israel’s aims in Syria are not going to be accomplished. Assad will stay in power, Iran will increase its presence, Hezbollah will emerge stronger and, despite the Israeli air force sorties, the group’s missile arsenal is probably bigger with more accurate weaponry.”
All, is there any truth to the claim that in 2003 Israel begged Bush II to go after Iran instead of Iraq?
Enlisted? If they were officers service schools, etc would have delayed a possible arrival in VN past the time that there were any USMC untis left in theater. By the time I got back to VN in early ’72 the only US ground combat units were three army brigades who were not much use any longer due to propaganda from CONUS and a deep seated “last man to die” phobia. I was in SOG and its post stand down successor STDAT-158 and that was quite different. the only marines I saw in that tour were adviserd to the RVN marines. pl
Yes, I left in 71 with 1st Marines. I think they were the last Marine regiment to leave. Have forgotten what month.
Mattis enlisted in the reserves while an ROTC cadet. He graduated in 71.
Kelly enlisted in 70, spent two years in Camp Lejeune in an infantry company before going to college and becoming a Mustang via an enlisted-to-officer program available at that time.
A pro-Assad military commander has denied the Iraqi press reports that a hundred Daesh fighters got through to caliphate controlled territory.
The sick joke of the Iraq debacle was that the Israelis did not consider Saddam to be any threat to Israel. PM Ariel Sharon stated that Iraq had ceased to be a threat to Israel since 1993 and that target Iran would be preferable. The Israelis went along with our plans for Saddam and of course insisted that we do whatever possible to protect them from any possibility, even if remote, that Iraqi missiles could find their way into Israel. But, there was very little Israeli consensus that there was any real threat and in fact, shortly before his stroke, Sharon claimed that Saddam called him personally during Operation Desert Fox to reassure him that there would be no missiles fired Israel’s way. Sharon was FM at the time.
The israelis did express their preference for target Iran without much hope that we would or could change course.
The neocons and their agents apparently thought they knew better how to blaze the long trail to that particular goal.
There has been no noise from Russia, Syria, Iran about US blocking the convoy. I noticed that too. In addition I was unable to find any mention of this story of the US bombing the road blocking the Takfaries in the English language Russian press. This tells me that R+6 does not particularly oppose this action. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that in fact the Russians and Americans discussed this issue in their deconfliction talks beforehand.
Superb piece by Crooke. I’m astounded the Israelis allow him to stay in Nazareth. I can only suppose the Israelis feel they can overhear more easily what he’s up to there in country.
Could you provide a link to the news on the Iranian ambassador in Iraq doing a lot of explaining? Thank you.
According to Iranian news site Mehr quoting Hizbollah official announcement only 6 busses are still held up in the syrian desert .
You are confusing Jonathan Cook, ex guardian journalist, living in Nazareth with Alastair Crooke, ex MI6 agent, who I think still lives in Beirut.
Cook is a freelance journalist and in my view writes sensibly, including on Israel and Palestine, he has a website and a blog.
But he is essentially a journalist, where Crooke is more an analyst on the ME, coming with a background in intelligence.
Crooke ran / runs Conflicts Forum, Mark Perry was also on the staff I think when they published their 2006 analysis on the Lebanon incursion.
But Crooke’s writing now appears more on other sites than Conflicts Forum. He seems a very interesting guy and in my view his analysis has always been pretty much on the money probably because he’s been there a long time, has contacts and is able to talk with relevant people close to the action of authority and power.
Kellogg served in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam and then Special Forces in Cambodia, according to wikipedia. Seems to keep a low profile, perhaps he is the smartest one.
Who is Kellogg? pl
Why Keith of course, I have no idea what role he plays but he has been around Trump for a long time.
don’t know him. Don’t expect to. I stopped dealing with combat arms officers after the VN War. he would have been a captain then. i could not escape them when they were apponted to head intelligence activities but that was about it. pl