Robin Wright admits that the Borg has lost in Syria


" … given the political and military realities, U.S. officials have now concluded that any transition of power would depend on a credible election conducted by the United Nations. And the physical realities in Syria today are just as tough. Vast swaths of cities—homes, businesses, schools, health-care facilities, and infrastructure such as electricity grids and roads—have been destroyed. More than five million of Syria’s roughly twenty-two million people have fled the country, with twice as many more forced from their homes inside Syria. The prospect of holding a free and fair election in Syria—one that also includes the millions of refugees scattered in dozens of countries—will be an unprecedented challenge, diplomats told me. It will also take time for a new and more credible Syrian opposition to emerge.

The Trump Administration says it still wants a political process that holds the prospect of Assad’s departure. But it has concluded that it may take until 2021, when the next election is scheduled, to pull it off. Depending on the outcome of the 2020 U.S. election, Assad could still be in power after Trump leaves office. U.S. officials worry that Assad could win the 2021 Syrian election, one way or the other, and remain in power for years to come."  RW in the New Yorker


IMO little Robin Wright has long been; mascot, cheerleader and spokesperson for the Borg (foreign policy establishment).  This New Yorker article is IMO a press release from the Borg.

IMO it reflects the Borg's bitter resignation to the reality of its defeat in Syria where it sought to affect its greatest stunt in fostering the dream of a westernized Middle East that would accept the presence and domination of Israel, the Borg's most beloved tool in the region. 

In spite of her acknowledgement of defeat Wright continues to foster unrealities that if actually believed by the Borg reflect an inability to comprehend reality in syria:

1.  She still fosters the mythology of the SAG's unrelenting chemical attacks on the civilian population in spite of the overwhelming evidence that the incidents referred to were opposition IO events carefully staged as ammunition in the Borg fostered propaganda war against the Syrian Government.  She is an intelligent person.  She should take another look at the photographs from Khan Sheikhoun in which municipal officials sat with their feet in a hole in which a Sarin loaded bomb had supposedly exploded.

2.  She refuses to acknowledge the great increase in quality and numbers of the SAA under the tutelage and sponsorship of the Russian and Iranian commitments.  The SAA has done the bulk of the ground fighting in re-conquering the country with the significant assistance of the Hizbullah expeditionary force in Syria, The Quds (Jerusalem) brigade of exiled Palestinian troops, tribal militias, Christian militias, etc., but the SAA has been the main ground hammer which has crushed IS west of the Euphrates.  Does DIA no longer try to explain ground reality to the Borg or will the fantasists not listen?

3. She ignores the last Syrian presidential election in which Assad won handily with the help of many, many refugee votes.  She thinks Assad MIGHT win?

IMO there is a private understanding between DJT and the Russian leadership as to a desired outcome in Syria.  IMO he has not informed the Israelis and their Borg allies of this understanding.  In the "shark" world that he comes from you trust no one, nor should you.  pl

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101 Responses to Robin Wright admits that the Borg has lost in Syria

  1. Jack says:

    It is not only in foreign policy that our elite groupthink lives in fantasy land. It is also in economic and financial policy.
    Robin Wright and the rest of those who were cheerleaders of all our interventions since deposing Saddam can never believe they got it wrong. They can never self-reflect. After all they are all so smart, with the big degrees from the Ivy schools and they keep patting themselves on the back in their narrow social circles.
    Compared to our interventions that have only resulted in chaos and anarchy and displacement of the locals, and of course enabling the Shia, we have to be impressed by the Russian intervention. It seems they learned some lessons from Afghanistan. We on the other hand continue to be besotted with fantasy. Sad!
    In my old age I am getting sentimental and feel my generation failed our fathers. This failure is now endemic.

  2. Harper says:

    The visit to Syria this week by Russian President Putin was one more “reality check” that the Borg has lost. I thank Col. Lang for constantly providing a clear running account of the actual progress of the war, from the time that the Russians began their intervention in late September 2015. Syria is a defeat for the idea of permanent warfare, which argues that wars can no longer be won on the battlefield, but only through convoluted diplomatic processes, in which the Borg assets have the ability to assure that no end is reached. SST was the only place where the world of Clausewitz still applied to Syria, and where the myth that neither side could win the “war on the ground” was constantly mocked. As Col. Lang noted in this posting, that is a reality that the Borg can never accept. I may prove to be their Achilles Heel.

  3. turcopolier says:

    It is not be extension. Canada has plenty of fatheads who are completely home grown. pl

  4. All,
    The Colonel writes, of Robin Wright’s article in David Remnick’s magazine:
    ‘IMO it reflects the Borg’s bitter resignation to the reality of its defeat in Syria where it sought to affect its greatest stunt in fostering the dream of a westernized Middle East that would accept the presence and domination of Israel, the Borg’s most beloved tool in the region.’
    For that – rather substantial – part of the ‘Borg’ which is Jewish, Israel was always very much more than a ‘tool.’
    Involved here is a ludicrous fantasy of empowerment, in which it seemed that access to the ‘controlling levers’ of the massive power of the United States was supposed to make possible the realisation of inherently contradictory utopian visions.
    A secularisation of a – millenarian – vision of exile and return, given immense force by the way that, in Germany and elsewhere, a resolution of the ambiguities of ‘modernisation’ which was anti-semitic on racial grounds had triumphed, came together with another quite different vision.
    In this, which one finds in the original Bolshevik movement, and also in ‘Lennonism’ – a very useful notion which Steve Sailer took from Michael Barone – all the antagonisms which have characterised human history, racial, religious, cultural, can be transcended in some kind of future utopia of togetherness.
    This vision has been particularly attractive to members of what I am tempted to call – not having as yet a better term – a ‘narcissistic pseudo-meritocracy.’
    A bitter irony is that, in such a system, the Jews who end up having influence are people who are good at passing examinations, making money, and practising law.
    In terms of the intellectual capabilities required for statecraft – understanding of culture, history and religion, military matters, practical experience of having to act in situation where if one gets it wrong things blow up in one’s face – they are beyond belief useless.
    A very great tragedy is that so many people who are, ethnically, either wholly or partly Jewish have had so much to contribute to the understanding to these matters – and still do.
    A good example comes from two Jews with whom I had some contact thirty years ago. Both had East European immigrant origins.
    One, Sir Lawrence Freedman KCMG, CBE, PC, FBA, played a non-trivial role in getting us involved in the catastrophic venture in Iraq and is, as I came to realise, an utter dolt. Another, Stephen Shenfield, was the conduit through which the first intimations of what became the Gorbachev era ‘new thinking’ appeared in Britain.
    At the outset, I paid attention to Freedman, and distrusted Shenfield, because he was, and remains, a socialist. He is also an anti-Zionist Jew, in a tradition which was actually very strong among left-wing – which included very many strongly anti-Marxist – Jews in places like Lithuania (thereafter massacred by the Nazis, with the enthusiastic collaboration of Lithuanian nationalists.)
    Some time back, I came across an account by Shenfield of those years, dealing with his contacts with Fyodor Burlatsky and Colonel Viktor Girshfeld, whose views he published, under the alias ‘Colonel X.’ Both were very interesting men – the latter, in particular, provides a fascinating insight into the manifold complexities of the relations between Jewish identity and Soviet history.)
    (See ; .)
    Ironically, when I came across Shenfield’s site, I still thought that, on important issues, he was flat out wrong and indeed a silly ass – just as I did thirty years ago.
    There were, however, critically important ways in which it turned out that the boot was on the other foot – he has been right, and I quite wrong.
    Not simply moral, but simple prudential, calculations, dictate that it is critical to actually understand how people think – not how they would think, if they were totally objective and impartial, still less how they might think, if they thought one was a wonderful as one would like to think oneself.
    Ironically, precisely because of his background, when people like TTG were saying that Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’ was all about ‘reflexive control’, Shenfield could see that what Colonel Girshfeld was telling him was nothing of the kind.
    Among Shenfield’s virtues is good manners. At one point in his account of Girshfeld, however, these obscure what is clearly a deep, and utterly justified, contempt. Referring to one of the – innumerable – pieces by Western analysts who suggested that he was a ‘useful idiot’, Shenfield wrote:
    ‘According to Harry Gelman, “Colonel X” did exist but he was not a former army officer as he “alleged.” He was “presumably in fact a representative of a Soviet intelligence service” whose mission was to plant “rumors and private suggestions” about possible unilateral Soviet reductions in order “to increase domestic popular pressures on Western governments to adopt a more forthcoming negotiating posture regarding Western reductions, and more generally to inhibit Western defense expenditures” (The Soviet Military Leadership and the Question of Soviet Deployment Retreats, RAND Report R-3664-AF, 1988). I cannot disprove this hypothesis, but it is surely implausible in the extreme. Gelman and many others with the same mentality were able to perceive Soviet people only as programmed robots rather than as thinking and feeling individuals pursuing their own goals within the constraints of a specific political environment. They were able to sustain this perception because their real contact with Soviet people was very limited.’
    In the event, Jews like Shenfield, who thought, got marginalised, and Jews like Freedman, who didn’t were accepted into Western ‘establishments.’
    The – not entirely unpredictable – result has been one catastrophic foreign policy mistake after another, and a revival of anti-semitism.

  5. Anna says:

    An interesting observation:
    “…most Russians – including critically the great majority of Russians serving in the military – have understood and accepted the need for the Syrian intervention … it most definitely is not a war which the Russian people have enthusiastically embraced, and which they wish to see perpetuated indefinitely. … most Russians – including those who serve in the military – want to see the war in Syria ended as soon as possible, and the troops once their mission is successfully accomplished quickly brought home.
    Putin understands this completely, and this explains many of the things he said in his address to the troops at Khmeimim air base. Thus the address begins with an acknowledgement that for Russian soldiers: “…..the most important thing….is the defence of our fatherland, our people.”
    Note that flowery language of the sort beloved by US or Western leaders about defending things such as ‘values’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ appear nowhere in Putin’s address. Not only does Putin have no time for such language but the Russian troops he was addressing have no time for it either.”
    Also: “The Russians have had to fight a bitter war against Jihadism on their own territory in the northern Caucasus during the 1990s and the 2000s, and have also suffered sustained Jihadi terrorist attacks on their main cities on a scale that no Western country – not even the US – has experienced. No Russian wants to go through that again…”

  6. Anna says:

    It is a paycheck that determines the mental operations of Robin Wright et al. They can pretend to be objective and sophsticated, but a naked truth is that Robin Wright belongs to the presstitute corps.
    And what an ugly trasnformation has happened to the New Yorker. It used to be a decent journal. Not anymore.

  7. Anna says:

    Moon of Alabama on Robin Wright’ profitable (for her) delusions:
    “In 2013 Robin Wright presented the Israeli dream of a split up Middle East. It was a remake of the “Blood Borders” map peddled in 2006 by the neoconservatives Col. Ralph Peters. That map went into the trash-bin when the U.S. had to leave Iraq. Wrigth’s cartographic expression of imperial arrogance will end there too.
    Wright is heavily wired in Washington. She is part of the *borg* and held/holds positions at the U.S. Institute of Peace (which plans wars), the Wilson Center, Brookings and Carnegie Endowment. That she has now given up on her ludicrous map likely reflects the leading opinions within those institutions…”

  8. SmoothieX12 says:

    but only through convoluted diplomatic processes, in which the Borg assets have the ability to assure that no end is reached. SST was the only place where the world of Clausewitz still applied to Syria,
    The so called Borg, far from properly (emphasis on properly) learning Clausewitz, among many other things, should also try to attend some kind of military-technological illiteracy mitigating course since the Borg has no clue on technological dimension of warfare and how it translates into the tactical, operational and strategic matters. Learning actual social facts on the ground is also a must. But then again, once actual knowledge and skills begin to penetrate the Borg it may actually make it less Borgy. I believe Borg’s defining characteristic is it’s existence in a perpetual Chalabi moment. It can not exist otherwise.

  9. Valissa says:

    Group think is powerful stuff! The Borgians have been saying the mantra “Assad must go, Assad must go” for a long time now and are totally in thrall to it (it has become a pseudo-religious belief deeply locked into their thinking). It will not be easy to reprogram that belief pattern. Easier on the brain to create a modified mantra like “Assad will go later” or “Assad should go” before possibly acceding to the geopolitical facts on the ground.
    And speaking of geopolitical facts on the ground… there are many reasons for Pax Americana to desire an ally country in the Middle East, anchoring the interests of Empire even if it is via Zionism and has all the extra problems that adds to managing that “outpost.” I’m not denying the importance of the Jewish mythos, or the Evangelical mythos, or the politics just pointing out how conveniently those coincide with old-fashioned Machiavellian Imperialism.
    Putin and company understand how to wield power soooooo much better than the Borg of Pax Americana that it’s embarrassing really.

  10. walrus says:

    Mind expanding contributions, like those of David Habakkuk, are the reason that SST is such a joy to read.

  11. signal-to-noise says:

    Embarrassing but true. We even manage to export a few, such as David “Axis of Evil” Frum…

  12. Kooshy says:

    Colonel Lang, I have been reading and listening to WR on middle eastern affairs for many years, IMO Robin Wright is more than
    a smart person or as you wrote “intelligent person” I think she actually is an smart ass. I got the feeling that’s also what you meant.

  13. turcopolier says:

    signal to noise
    Is he from Toronto? pl

  14. Cortes says:

    Thanks again.
    Here’s Alexander Mercouris’s take on the same subject, with comment about the importance of the visit to Syria by Pres. Putin:

  15. SmoothieX12 says:

    And what an ugly trasnformation has happened to the New Yorker. It used to be a decent journal. Not anymore.
    David Remnick is not one’s top Russia observer, but there he was and is in New Yorker. Albeit, against the background of other contemporary “Russia experts”, he is not the worst. He is simply not good. American contemporary main-stream media, the New Yorker included, are dead as any intellectual stimulant, let alone source of any good information.

  16. turcopolier says:

    As your fellow Canadian citizen I can only concur. My ancestors inhabited Canada before it was Canada. How aboot yours? I think we should break up the country into the following new states (small c) 1. Quebec, 2. the Maritimes, 3. Ontario, 4. The Plains, 5. BC. The odd bits like the Yukon, Hudson’s Bay, etc. could be “First Nations Land.” pl

  17. JohnA says:

    I let my subscription to both The New Yorker and The New York Times both go this year. A few years ago, I cut loose The Economist. If they don’t smarten up, next to be banished from my in box will be The Globe & Mail.
    Johnson’s Russia List is good value. A lot of good foreign policy and superb diplomatic skill is captured there.
    Today, Johnson covers with…
    “DJ: Thank you for supporting fair and balanced coverage of Russia.”
    …which is true. I’ve only ever seen David lose it with one outlet and that was WaPo. He usually stays away from commenting on material he includes.

  18. J says:

    Colonel, TTG,
    In addition to the missing troops that is said that DoD cannot account for (44,000), the coming audit of DoD will be a dog on the hunt, a hunt for missing pocket change,namely $21 Trillion in pocket change.
    “Pentagon & HUD ‘Lost’ $21 TRILLION”
    What is interesting is that the day before 911, OSD Rumsfeld went national and disclosed that DoD had a ‘missing’ $2.3 Trillion, the very next day 911 happened and everybody seemed to forget about Rumsfeld’s statement on the missing DoD Trillions.

  19. outthere says:

    I think Robin Wright went to Michigan, not Ivy League. Her father was a law prof there.

  20. Castellio says:

    Quite right.
    On December 11, Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence tabled their Report. Among its 17 recommendations to the Government of Canada, the Committee stated,
    “That the Government of Canada advocate for a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Ukraine that respects its territorial integrity. […]
    “That the Government of Canada provide lethal weapons to Ukraine to protect its sovereignty from Russian aggression…”
    It seems we expect United Nations “Peacekeepers” to walk into the Donbass and Lugansk, and then, I suppose Crimea, acting to respect Ukraine’s “territorial integrity”. Oh, but we are also going to arm and train the Ukrainian nationalist side of the conflict at the same time.
    Very clever, eh? Gotta love it.

  21. Bandolero says:

    “The Quds (Jerusalem) brigade of exiled Palestinian troops…”
    I read news of that Palestinian Quds brigade in many Borg news papers. A couple of weeks ago the most spread German paper Bild demended even an apology from 1st German state TV, for identifying a General from the Quds force in the Euphrates valley as Syrian, while in reality it’s a Palestinian militia – according to Bild. I almost couldn’t hold my stomach aching from laughing. Noone had ever heard of many Palestinians in the Euphrate valley, but Bild demanded from ARD to identify the Quds brigade not as Syrian, but as a Palestianian militia.
    In one way Bild was of course right: these guys in the Quds brigade are fighting and dying for Palestine. But from all what I know, not even the leader of the Quds brigade operating in the Euphrate vally, Qassem Soleimani, is really Palestianian.

  22. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Ishmael Zechariah

  23. Norbert M Salamon says:

    an interesting design for Canada. Speaking only as along time resident of the Yukon many moons ago, the First Nations could not survive on their own in that forbidding land. They barely survived ere the Coast Indians from Alaska overran the Hudson Bay trading post, when their population was way lower. These odd bits [over 1/3 of Canada’s area], a.k.a. the Territories, are ruled by Ottawa, with apparent local political power, under the nominal rule of the Council and Commissioner.

  24. Doug Colwell says:

    David Frum was born in Toronto, son of CBC journalist Barbera Frum.

  25. Imagine says:

    SecState Tillerson demonstrates he’s an adult in the room as he offers unconditionally to talk with North Korea about what’s happening. NK responds with “It’s important to avoid war”, which is Korean for “We’re glad you’ve pulled your head out of your closet, and yes we would like to talk with someone sane”. The U.N. visits NK to hear their side of the story. SK begs US not to hold military drills during SK Olympics, will US generals hear?. China and Russia push “freeze for freeze”. Tillerson treacherously moving towards peace on Earth and starting to thwart a war, how dare he, cue the Washington Borg apoplexy in 3..2..1..

  26. turcopolier says:

    Norbert Solomon
    Lighten up. you take yourself too seriously. You can divide up the US any way you want. Let’s see, New England combines with the Maritimes to make a new place, “Atlantia.” Countries come and go. Canada has to exist to care for Indians and Inuits? Well, bless you all. pl

  27. turcopolier says:

    Quds Brigade is Palestinian. Quds force is Iranian. Soleimani is Iranian. pl

  28. Christian Chuba says:

    People here already know this but it was nice seeing Max Abrahms publicly flog the Borg in the LA times by quoting their past predictions when they were on their ‘ISIS can never be defeated as long as Assad remains in power’ kick.
    I remember hearing so many variations on that lie, ‘getting rid of Assad is part of the strategy to defeating ISIS’, ‘Assad is a recruiting tool or magnet for ISIS fighters, he has to go before ISIS can be defeated’. Wouldn’t it be nice if the MSM had some collective memory of their own and would remind some of their experts about these past predictions instead of letting them go onto their next dance?

  29. Peter AU says:

    Is the Palestinian Quds brigade an aligned but separate entity to Iranian Quds? I suspect it is.

  30. Peter AU says:

    Scrap that post. Just read through the thread to pl’s comment.

  31. turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    The Quds Brigade of Palestinian troops and the Quds Force of the IRGC are altogether separate except that they are both aligned with government. “Quds” means Jerusalem, right? pl

  32. turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    No. Live with it. Read before you send me trash. pl

  33. Imagine says:

    Serious suggestion: There are many surprising parallels between the nations of Israel and North Korea. I propose America asking Israeli generals what they would do and how they would react if they were North Korean, to gain valuable insights and understanding into what currently seems to be an opaque process.

  34. Jack says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Walrus. David Habakkuk’s erudite and thought provoking commentary is a joy to read. I look forward to it very much. It is much appreciated by me.
    His expose of the fraudulent investigation and disinformation campaign in the Litvinenko murder is brilliant. Our media has much to learn from David. I know David is on to something big here. The dark connections between Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS, ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele, key journalist conduits in the MSM, and the intelligence agencies in Britain and the US, is underscored by the recent revelations on the Trump Dossier and Mueller’s highly compromised investigation.
    We now find out that Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr who played a leading role in investigating “Russiagate”, had secret meetings with Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele last year. Additionally his wife Nellie Ohr, was employed by Fusion GPS during the period when the Trump Dossier was being fabricated for the Clinton campaign. We also now find out that Peter Strzok, the head of counter-intelligence at the FBI, and the lead investigator on Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information with her private server as well as the collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia and a top official in Mueller’s probe was exchanging anti-Trump messages with his extra-marital partner DoJ attorney Lisa Page, who also worked on Mueller’s team. Apparently it was Peter Strzok who took the fabricated Trump Dossier to FISA to obtain the warrant to wiretap Trump associates. To add another twist it was Peter Strzok that interviewed Michael Flynn and trapped him for perjury. To make things more convoluted but linked at the same time, Nellie Ohr worked for the CIA through a front doing open source analysis.
    I can’t wait for David to link the deceit and calumny of these same people who span two continents and are implicated in both the cover up and disinformation campaign around Litvinenko’s death and the campaign to destroy a legitimately elected POTUS. In both cases Putin and Russia are made to be the villain.

  35. robt willmann says:

    Meanwhile, today (12 December), Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a 38-minute talk at a forum by the Atlantic Council and the Korea Foundation. He spoke about different areas of the world, starting with Korea.
    At 17 minutes, 16 seconds into the video, he talks about Syria and Iraq, and affirms the joint statement from Trump and Putin about Syria during Trump’s swing through southeast Asia not long ago. Tillerson said the U.S wants the talks in Geneva to continue and the process to move via the UN Security Council resolution 2254 to an election that includes all Syrian diaspora persons, with a goal of a unified, whole, democratic, and free Syria. He made remarks about Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
    Then at 29 minutes, 44 seconds, he talked about Russia, saying that Trump views it as extremely important that the U.S. and Russia have a working relationship, but today we do not. Tillerson unfortunately takes the view of Ukraine as having been on the receiving end of a Russian “invasion”, but at least he emphasizes that talks with Russia are continuing. He concludes by saying that the first question he asks himself when he gets up each morning is, how can I save a life today, because we’ve got too many lives being lost in too many conflicts–

  36. Bandolero says:

    Sure Quds means Jerusalem, but strongly I suspect it to be a play with names anyway.
    Qassem Soleimani and his guys are very proudly showing themselves to be victorious in the Euphrate valley. And from what I understand, since ages – going back to the days of the US war on Iraq, they – together with the SAA – have some important tribal partners in that strategic Euphrates region.
    About that there are many Palestinians in that Euphrates region, who could form a Quds brigade, I never heard. But Qassem Suleimani and his guys, they are surely there – they even published pictures of Qassem Suleimani being there in the Euphrates valley.
    So when I read a couple of weeks ago at Fars News the message that a couple of hundred tribal fighters in that region joined a “Palestinian militia” called Liwa Al-Quds, I had little doubt that this is the work and a “militia” of Qassem Soleimani. And, still, I don’t have. After all, that’s the way Qassem Soleimani and his Quods Forces are supposed to work and that’s why people throughout the axis of resistance sing songs about this “heroic Iranian military leader.”
    Sure, the West doesn’t see Qassem Soleimani as a hero as the axis of resistance does, but anyway I see him as a very capable military leader and special forces commander. So, when good news like the defeat of ISIS come from a region where Qassem Soleimani is active I find it a safe assumption that he had a major role in that.

  37. CaliHalibut says:

    “Gelman and many others with the same mentality were able to perceive Soviet people only as programmed robots rather than as thinking and feeling individuals”
    This is actually a common theme that shows up in Jewish philosophy and political analysis. Jewish intellectuals have a tendency to view humans as robots.
    I first noticed this in the works of Ayn Rand after being introduced to to her writings in college. Back then, the young 19 year old me couldn’t believe anyone would actually believe this rubbish, let alone push it on to young college students. The same pattern of thought shows up in the works of Karl Marx, Milton Friedman, modern liberals, and neoconservatives.
    These people are highly intelligent, yet they lack the most basic understanding of human behavior. I think many of these intellectuals are autistic.

  38. turcopolier says:

    You are mistaken. The very name of Jerusalem is revered throughout the Islamic World. Both Palestinians and Iranians revere the name. What would the play on words be? pl

  39. MRW says:

    I think we should break up the country [Canada] into the following new states


  40. Bandolero says:

    They play of words is with Quds Brigades and Quds Forces. I strongly think in the Euphrates region these are simply slightly different handles for one force: the force commanded by Qassem Soleimani.

  41. WJ says:

    Re Strzok: the more I learn and read about him the less I believe that he was removed from the Mueller investigation for sending anti-Trump tweets to his lover. The dude was sent from Russia / China counterintelligence to Human Resources [!!] for crying out loud. The real issue in general in my opinion is not simply that Strzok and others in the FBI are “Pro-Clinton” in the tribal sense of American party politics, but that their Pro-Clintonism reflects a deeper and more fundamental set of beliefs pertaining to, among other things, the Ukraine, Libya, Syria, etc.–that is, their commitment to a certain vision of US foreign policy that Strzok, as the FBI’s deputy director of counterintelligence (specializing in Russia and China no less), would have been deeply invested in. The notion that Strzok and those at his level are simply (and at the very worst) partisan hacks like E.J. Dionne or Donna Brazile is dangerous and misleading. Put another way, the senior level FBI opposition to Trump, while it is being cast by corporate media in terms of domestic party politics, has much more in common with the neocon/Borg elements of the CIA, NSA, and DOD that were very much looking forward to HRC as commander in chief–the woman who seriously proposed enforcing a no-fly zone in Syria, and who would probably gladly seek to escalate (again) the situation in Ukraine and, who knows?, drop a few bombs on Iran just for fun. It is paradoxically Trump’s relative irenicism–however blustering and inconsistent it is–that they perceive as the real problem. We ignore the deepest issues at stake in “Russiagate” if we understand the FBI’s senior institutional resistance to Teump (as the corporate media has encouraged us to do) as rooted in domestic political partisanship, rather than in a particular and (these days) highly bipartisan vision of American imperium. Just my two cents.

  42. Peter AU says:

    “Quds” means Jerusalem, right?
    That I understand.
    I always live with what I post on the internet. Both mistakes and at times, possibly insights.
    I expected both posts to be posted.

  43. Ante says:

    Peter AU
    Liwa-Al-Quds is a Palestinian pro gov militia primarily made of former members of the huge camp near Idlib and local Idlib area Palestinians who originally came as refugees. Syria is the only ME country to offer a realistic path to citizenship and good jobs to Palestinians, and so it was very disappointing to see so many turn against their host. But Liwa-Al-Quds proved that a good balance were honorable people who wanted to protect their new home, and took a lot of casualties doing just that.

  44. turcopolier says:

    Jordan gave all resident Palestinian refugees citizenship in the late 40s and many have prospered King Hussein married one. the PLA maintained two battalions of troops in Syria for many years and this unit is descended from them. Al Quds appears in the unit name because their ultimate goal is to liberate the Holy City. pl

  45. turcopolier says:

    You strongly believe something that is incorrect.
    There is no organizational link between the two groups. The Quds Brigade appears in this list as the Jerusalem Brigade and the IRGC’s Quds force under Iranian forces. pl

  46. turcopolier says:

    It was a joke but in fact these parts of Canada have little in common except that they are not part of the US. The same is true of the various distinct regions of the US. pl

  47. The Porkchop Express says:

    “Putin and company understand how to wield power soooooo much better than the Borg of Pax Americana that it’s embarrassing really.”
    Crucial point which is on full display for the entire world to see. And something friend and foe alike are certainly taking note of.
    Instead of focusing solely on national interests in the Middle East vis-a-vis rational self interest, balance of power politics, et. al. we continue to try and play Middle Eastern three card monte–a game at which we are woefully inadequate. The Russians, whether true or not, come across more honest in their hard-nosed, self-interested, and non-ideological approach. Much easier to understand than our clumsy attempts at peddling pablum and looking foolish as a result.
    Putin was very blunt about this behavior during his 2015 UN speech.
    “It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one’s service in order to achieve one’s own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them. To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they’re in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom.”

  48. enarhem says:

    I can’t possibly contribute with anything near the knowledge of most here. Very reassuring to listen to considerate discussion, as I can’t stomach the views I get from the presstitutes. Thanks turcopolier et al.

  49. Matthew says:

    Kosshy: I’ve actually met Robin Wright in person. She is smart and very charming. But she is completely a product of the Imperial City. Anyone who resides outside DC is merely a plaything to be re-arranged by the Cocktail Party Napoleons.

  50. bolasete says:

    wj at44: “trump’s relative irenicism” yes, for me that hits the nail on its proverbial head. usa was founded through war and lives by it still. my perception is that trump wants to dial down on military involvements and that would be disastrous for wall street and the corporate suites. forty or fifty years ago ‘relative irenicism’ was called situation ethics. though far too old for it i remain amazed by the ease with which the powerful kill people, such as the tomahawks after the ‘sarin’ incident, sorta like a first kill to earn one’s bones.

  51. Patrick H says:

    According to the National, published in the UAE, this is what’s happening in “one rebel-administered Syrian town” near Aleppo. I wonder if it’s a hint of what the Saudis and their Gulf sidekicks have in mind for Syria now that they’ve failed to dislodge Assad. Thamer al-Sabhan, the very hawkish and Shiite-hating Saudi minister (and apparently the one behind the Hariri escapade), was in Raqqa not long ago.

  52. MRW says:

    I knew you were joking. I get a kick out of when you do.

  53. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And learnt nothing there, evidently, like so many other LS&A student.

  54. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Let them go die on the Eastern Front; may be it will beat some sense into them.
    Life in Canada must be really comfortable and easy.

  55. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I often thought about this as well:.
    I ask myself, “What does the Russian Federation” have that US might want?
    And I find myself with the answer: “Nothing”.
    Likewise, I ask myself, “What does Iran have that US might want?” and the answer is still “Nothing”.
    On the other hand, there are many things that US has that both Iran and Russia desire. Both could be and would be good US customers.
    Alas, that is not to be, US (and EU) evidently prefer to sanction good-paying customers and subsidies the beggars and the shop-lifters.

  56. kooshy says:

    Colonel if i remember correctly, back in Shah’ time the the name used for the city was يت المقدس al-Maqdis,
    (holy city) which Quds is a derivative of it. I think the use of Quds in Iran became more common after revloution to solidify unity with other/ street Arabs.

  57. kooshy says:

    Sorry i meant “Bayt al Muqaddas” holy city

  58. Jack says:

    Your point is well taken. I agree that this is not just partisan politics and that the top echelons of our intelligence and foreign policy establishment are staffed by Borgists who are deeply invested in the disastrous policies of the past few decades.
    IMO, it is far more sinister. As David Habakkuk’s posts are exposing, there is collusion among the intelligence agencies, co-opted journalists in the corporate media, people at so-called think tanks and the political establishment to orchestrate campaigns of disinformation on the public in both America and Britain. They’ve taken it up a notch here wherein they are attempting to upend our constitutional order by using the levers of governmental power to destroy a legitimately elected POTUS who they perceive as not in lock step with them. If they get away with this attempted “soft coup” by using the powers of law enforcement and intelligence then our republic is over and we are now in a tyrannical state.
    I don’t believe there will be a thorough investigation that is transparent into the extent of disinformation operations and subversion of the rule of law by Clapper, Brennan, Rogers, Comey and all these other characters like Ohr, Strzok, Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele, John Podesta, on both sides of the pond. David Habakkuk has shown that some of these same characters played a central role to subvert the rule of law in the Litvinenko affair.
    We are only seeing the tip of the iceberg on the deceit and lawlessness at the highest levels of our law enforcement and intelligence institutions.

  59. Joe100 says:

    Mine (both sides of then family) as well. Only grandparents, so no opportunity for citizenship.
    From my time each year up in the Maritimes, I am not sure how much effort it would take to break Canada up into your suggested states…

  60. Joe100 says:

    It appears form what I have read that some of the “home grown” types flow from Ukranians who were brought into Canada after WW II, many of whom appear to have been nazi sympathizers from the Bandera crowd and were probably deemed potentially useful to future US and Canadian intelligence operations against the Soviet union.

  61. Kooshy says:

    One more early morning sorry sir, meant to write “holly house” the name perhaps is used because it was the first holy city before Makkah in direction of Muslim prayer

  62. Valissa says:

    Babak #58,
    Slight correction on the issue of what the US needs from Russia. Of course just because they need it doesn’t mean they want to need it.
    Senate alters sanctions to allow use of Russian rocket engines – They just avoided a major crisis in American spaceflight.
    Although this article is from last year it’s a good explanation of the politics, who is lobbying against who, etc… especially of interest is the McCain-Elon Musk collaboration (Musk’s main competitor uses the Russian engines)…
    Why Does the U.S. Use Russian Rockets to Launch Its Satellites?
    Sixteen years ago, amid a post-Cold War glow, U.S. defense contractors began using a cheap and efficient Russian engine to launch American military rockets into space.
    Now, with Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime opposing American interests in Syria, Crimea and across the globe, the use of Russian technology to launch secret spy satellites and other sensitive payloads is increasingly viewed as a security and geopolitical liability. Defense officials say there is no ready replacement available, however.
    Nonetheless, some lawmakers have been trying to force the Pentagon to stop relying on the Russian rocket engines, and they are trying to pass a provision to do that in a defense spending bill being debated this week on the Senate floor. Other lawmakers are vehemently opposing that effort.
    There are substantive arguments on both sides. But, as with much of what happens in Congress these days, what’s unfolding is very much a parochial brawl, pitting lawmakers with ties to the companies that use the Russian engines against lawmakers with ties to the company that would benefit from a ban on them. It’s all happening against a backdrop of fund raisers, political contributions and lobbying.

  63. The Porkchop Express says:

    Ha ! “the beggars and the shop-lifters.”
    Aptly put.
    Stealing that, with your permission of course.

  64. Anna says:

    If this is not an anti-constitutional, anti-governmental activity then what is? –
    “The agent said that, if Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts…. Ultimately, he was not paid. Despite the fact that Steele was not paid by the FBI for the dossier [Steele was unable to verify the claims in the dossier], Peter Strzok used it to launch a counterintelligence investigation into President Trump’s team. Steele was ultimately paid $168,000 by Fusion GPS to assemble the dossier.”

  65. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Those words are still in common usage today.

  66. Jack,
    Many thanks – also to walrus and IZ.
    What has been coming out about Peter Stryok and Lisa Page, and also Bruce and Nellie Ohr, is clearly explosive. There are, however, a lot of matters that need clarification.
    Yesterday, someone using the name ‘sundance’ at a site called ‘The Conservative Tree House’ or ‘The Last Refuge’ posted a piece entitled:
    ‘Wife of DOJ Deputy Was Fusion GPS Employee, CIA Research Aide, and Applied for HAM Radio License Month After Contracting MI6 Agent Christopher Steele…’
    (See .)
    The licence, which appears to be authentic, is dated 23 May 2016. However, the date which had been given for the contracting of Steele was June, not April.
    The suggestion in the report is that Nellie Ohr and Steele were conspiring to ensure that their communications with ‘parties external to the U.S.’ could not be intercepted by American monitoring facilities.
    I do not know enough about the technology to be clear about the uses to which it could, and could not, be put. If anyone does and, can enlighten us, that would I think help.
    My hunch about the initial memorandum is that it was a forgery pure and simple, with the likely purpose of supporting what was apparently an initial – unsuccessful – attempt to secure a FISA warrant which it has been reported would have been directed against Trump as well as associates of his.
    The forgery could have been done by Steele, but it is equally possible that it was done by others – most probably with Fusion the centre of operations – and his name was brought in to give it credibility.
    Of course, my judgement is influenced by the fact that I know – and can prove – that Steele has ‘form’ in organising the fabrication of evidence and corrupting law enforcement processes. But other elements are relevant.
    Much of the material in the subsequent memoranda looks as though it was related to the renewed efforts to get the FISA warrant, which I think, subject to correction, were successful, although it was more tightly drawn, and did not include Trump personally, in October 2016.
    Again, however, it seems to me an open question whether Steele was actually responsible for the material, or whether he was brought in to make it seem more authoritative than it was, and perhaps to disguise the actual production process.
    Although my estimate of the professional competence of MI6 is low, it would still surprise me if its former head had not been able to produce the correct transliteration of the name of the Alfa Group. (A critical question then becomes – who would, and who would not?)
    One point about the dossier is that, if any of the information had got into the hands of the Russian security services, it could have been expected to produce one of two reactions – or a combination.
    It could have been that it would simply have been discounted as fabrication (these god-for-saken MI6 people, they all want to be the new Le Carré, but they can’t even produce credible fictions.)
    But, if it was not discounted in this way, the Steele dossier would have been likely to produce a serious counter-intelligence investigation, and to provide a good deal of crucial material which would make it possible to wind-up Western intelligence networks.
    In turn, this brings one back to the question of what kind of organisation Fusion was. Taken at face value, the involvement in ‘information operations’ against Browder would suggest that we were dealing with, as it were ‘guns for hire.’
    In that case, it might be a perfectly rational strategy for the Russian security services, or people linked with them, to hire a company which had been involved in working against them.
    (And after all, people in such a ‘mercenary’ organisation might become lax about client confidentiality, if the incentives were good enough. ‘We know, your CIA contacts were a bit over-fond-of-drink, and of course, you would prefer not to tell us what they told you, but would an extra $200,000 be useful in paying for your children’s education?)
    If that was so, however, for Steele and others to be providing information to Fusion would be the height of irresponsibility and folly.
    Often, there are tensions between ‘moral’ and ‘Machiavellian’ considerations. To give the kind of clues which allows a foreign intelligence to liquidate one’s networks makes no kind of sense, from either point of view.
    An alternative possibility is that the work for Prevezon was part of an elaborate disinformation ploy, designed to obscure the fact that Fusion was, essentially, an ‘asteroid’ of Western intelligence services, of particular usefulness in activities directed against Russia.
    The revelations about Strzok, Page, and the Ohrs make this seem more and more likely, as also does what has emerged about the involvement of the latter pair and Glenn Simpson with the June 2010 report of the Expert Working Group on International Organized Crime.
    This would, of course, have implications for how one interpreted the 9 June 2016 meeting at Trump tower in which Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort were involved.
    One then however comes to one area where the dossier definitely reads to me as though it was likely to have been based on actual sources – report 2016/086 dated 26 July 2015 on Russian cyber operations. Again, one can see clear indications of material produced in a panicked hurry, as 2015 is clearly a misprint for 2016.
    In the past few days, a couple of reports on English-language sites have picked up material on a Russian-language site using the English name ‘The Bell’ (an allusion to a famous nineteenth century publication run by the Russian émigré Alexander Herzen), which is described as independent but seems to me quite clearly to producing ‘Borgist’ propaganda.
    (See )
    I am still in the process of trying to put different strands of evidence together. However, the bizarre nature of the reports in ‘The Bell’ are making me more and more inclined to contemplate an apparently not very probable hypothesis.
    It may be that more plausible evidence than that which is being provided at the moment will convince me that Major Dmitri Dokuchaev was indeed at one and the same time engaged in organising the hacks of the DNC servers and betraying the fact to American intelligence.
    It may also be that the reports that he is in ‘durance vile’ in Lefortovo prison, along with his erstwhile superior Sergei Mikhailov, will be vindicated by compelling evidence.
    An alternative hypothesis might be something along the lines of the following: that Dokuchaev and Mikhailov are ‘imprisoned’, say, in comfortable accommodation overlooking the sea at Yalta, where the former keeps his hand in doing a little light hacking into whatever targets seem appropriate, while both give briefings on the art of diddling stupid people from the FBI.
    A great puzzle remains the final memorandum in the dossier, which includes the claims about Gubarov and Kapsugovich – both slight misspellings – in relation to claims which, for different reasons, are wildly implausible.
    My views on this memoranda are conditioned by having been involved, many years ago, in a prolonged libel action in relation to a programme I had produced (successfully, I hasten to add.)
    The whole basis of Fusion was supposed to be that the partners in it were supposed to be top-class investigative journalists, who by virtue of that fact could market their skills in the ‘private sector’, for very much larger sums of money than they could make as MSM reporters.
    In journalism, as in other matters, there are very many bubble reputations, and it is wise to hold off judgement, unless one is familiar with people’s work. In relation to Glenn Simpson, I am not, and simply do not know whether he was a first-class journalist or a rubbish hack like Luke Harding.
    But my assessment of Thomas Catan – based on pieces of his about matters I know about – is that he really was pretty good.
    To reckon with possible libel suits is an investigative journalist’s ‘bread-and-butter.’ And it is simply elementary tradecraft to take competent legal advice, if there is any possibility that a story one produces will result in legal action.
    In my day, the jargon was whether publication was ‘a fair business risk.’ Involved were questions to do with the law, and also the likelihood of people suing, and what could realistically be expected to happen, if they did.
    I have been wracking my brains as to how anyone involved could have thought that publishing that final December memorandum, in the form it was published, was a ‘fair business risk.’ And this is all the more so, given that all that would have been necessary to avoid risk of legal action would have been to ‘redact’ the names of Gubarev and Kaptsugovich (correct spellings, I hope.)
    The most economical explanation I can come up with, at the moment, is that the Ohrs, and the Fusion people, and Steele and his associates, are all complete dimwits, and were played, like trout, by people in Russian security services who they thought were playing a double game on their side, but weren’t.
    In relation to the Litvinenko case, the corruption, incompetence, and sheer boring stupidity of the MSM in Britain and the United States had meant that the ‘snooker’ the relevant elements in the Russian security services thought they had against Berezovsky and MI6 had been successfully turned, by Steele and his associates against them.
    What I think may have happened was that people like Strzok, Page, and the Ohrs were so desperate to destroy Trump that their ‘fishing expedition’ backfired. This time, the ‘snooker’ was successfully played against them.

  67. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well, yes, Iranians could sell black caviar in US. just like Cubans would be selling the famous Habanas.
    The United States could revive NERVA – please see:
    She and the Russian Federation could jointly develop an interstellar ship based on the design ideas of Project Orion; using up all those nuclear weapons materials as fuel to reach the nearest stars.
    Alas: controlling a village in the mud of Ukraine and a mud brick hut in Afghanistan looks to be more pressing.

  68. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Comments by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the UN vote on Resolution 181, which endorsed the establishment of the Israeli state:
    “the Jewish State of Israel was born, answering the ancient question first asked by the Prophet Isaiah: ‘Can a country be born in one day, can a nation be born in a moment?’.”
    And that
    “…while Israel was built by human hands, it’s impossible not to see the hand of heaven”.
    On his planned visit to Palestine he said:
    “on my visit, it will be my great honor (…), to walk on the hallowed ground of that holy city that King David built more than 3,000 years ago… … as we speak, President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem”.

  69. Bill Herschel says:

    If we assume the following statement is correct: “…there is a private understanding between DJT and the Russian leadership as to a desired outcome in Syria,” then it is inconceivable (to quote Vizzini) that there is not also a private understanding with respect to Korea. After all, no one is talking about nuclear war in the ME, despite the fact that genocide is occuring there, the U.S. and its allies have been defeated, and Iran has been strengthened. I welcome that fact.

  70. turcopolier says:

    Bill Herschel
    I think your assumption is unjustified. korea is not the ME. Where is “genocide” occurring in the ME? Syria? Don’t be absurd. the jihadi genociders have been defeated. pl

  71. John_Frank says:

    At yesterday’s State Department Press Briefing, spokesperson Ms. Nauert was asked about the article by Robin Wright. Follows is the transcript of exchange:
    “QUESTION: Okay.
    QUESTION: Syria? Syria?
    QUESTION: Heather —
    MS NAUERT: Okay. Okay, let’s go to Syria.
    QUESTION: According to Robin Wright in The New Yorker, you’ve reconciled yourself to Bashar al-Assad’s remaining in office until the next Syrian elections in 2021 because there aren’t many other options now. And in fairness to you, this was really set by the previous administration and it’s evidenced by Matt Lee’s repeated interrogations of John Kirby. So, I mean, is what she wrote basically correct? Can you confirm it?
    MS NAUERT: I would say her reporting’s off the mark.
    QUESTION: Off the mark.
    MS NAUERT: Off the mark. We remain committed to the Geneva process. We believe that the future of Syria will not include Bashar al-Assad, but that is ultimately up to the Syrian people and the Syrian voters to decide. It could take a period of time before the Syrian people are able to get to the process by which they can actually turn out to vote. We’ve talked about this a little bit before, trying to include the diaspora in that voting. We remain committed to the Geneva process. Russia has said that it would help bring the regime to the Geneva process. They did part of that for a time. They chose to leave while the opposition stayed. We were – we noticed that and thought that was a very good thing that the opposition stayed during some of the Geneva talks that just took place over the past few days. We expect that Russia will continue to try to bring the regime to the table. But the Geneva process is something we stand firmly behind.
    QUESTION: Do you have a timeframe in mind for this?
    MS NAUERT: Look, I think we are still at the place where U.S.-backed organizations and coalition-backed organizations are removing the rubble. We’re still involved in the demining process. So I’m afraid we’re just not there to the electoral process just yet, but we’re having a lot of conversations with the UN and other like-minded countries about the importance of the Geneva process.
    QUESTION: So what was off the mark in the story?
    QUESTION: Can you comment on the withdrawal of Russian forces?
    MS NAUERT: In her story, she said that the U.S. had accepted that Assad will be in power until 2021. We’ve not accepted anything of the sort. It could take some time, but we’ve not just accepted that. And by the way, it’s not up for the United States to ultimately decide, that is up to the Syrian people.
    QUESTION: I wanted to ask if you have any —
    QUESTION: So there’s no 2021 goal or idea?
    QUESTION: Heather?
    MS NAUERT: Not that I have seen. In talking with all of our experts on ISIS and in Near Eastern Affairs, no one here has seen that number in paper or spoken about.
    QUESTION: Heather? Heather?
    QUESTION: On the withdrawal of the Russian forces from Syria yesterday, as was announced by President Putin. First, do you have a comment? And second, is this in any way – did you know in advance that the Russians were moving their troops out of Syria?
    MS NAUERT: No, I can’t —
    QUESTION: Or a number of their troops.
    MS NAUERT: Yeah. I can’t speak to any alleged Russian troop movements. So I’d have to refer you back to the Government of Russia on that one. But it’s interesting, Russia may consider its job in Syria to be done. Our job in Syria is not done. And when I say “our,” I don’t just mean the United States, I mean the entire coalition. There are still pockets of ISIS. The country still needs to be stabilized. We were just talking about rubble removal and we were talking about demining. If Russia chooses to pull out, certainly, that is its choice to do so, but we continue to work through all our partners to try to stabilize the country.
    QUESTION: So if the job is not done as you – you don’t consider it done. The —
    MS NAUERT: The job is not – the job is not done.
    QUESTION: Not done. I understand.
    MS NAUERT: It’s not – done in Iraq, even though Iraq has declared victory over ISIS. It’s not – it’s still not done there because there are still individuals there who belong to ISIS, who will take part, undoubtedly, in terrorist activities. Syria, the job is far from done there, unfortunately.
    QUESTION: So is it the expectation that the United States will continue to have a presence there in military terms? I mean, it has like 2,000 personnel. Is it likely to increase (inaudible) its position?
    MS NAUERT: Look, I can’t comment on the number of U.S. personnel there. That would be under the Department of Defense. But the job is not done yet. There are – there’s a lot of work left to be done in Syria. We wish that weren’t the case, but it is the case, and we’ve made a lot of progress on this. And again, when I say “we,” I don’t mean the United States, I mean the entire coalition has made a lot of progress. But it’s not finished yet.”
    Department Press Briefing – December 12, 2017

  72. Annem says:

    Let’s start with this news; SecState Tillerson apparently agreed that we accept talks with North Korea without preconditions but with the assumption that there would be no weapons testing during the period of the talks. What? That is what the N. Koreans have been asking for all along and we were responding with a resounding, “No way!”
    Should we expect a similar attack of realistic thinking inside the Administration on the subject of the Middle East lands especially Syria? If so, our reps in the field haven’t gotten the message. From our Ambo in Baghdad and military in the field in Iraq and Syria comes the news that we are staying for the foreseeable future in order to secure the area and prevent ISIS from returning and preventing Iran for extending its influence even further.
    This would be a lightning rod, with all sides in these countries [except for the Kurds] seeking to eject us and, in Iraq, a strike against the legitimate government we have been trying to shore up. Unless we change course, it is likely that PM Abadi would ungraciously show us the door as did Nouri al Maliki. As for Syria, our continued presence would justify Iranian and Hezbollah forces to remain in country, as it would provide an excuse for Turkey to remain and possibly extend its occupation of certain districts.
    As for negotiations, the Geneva process is frozen around the opposition demands that Al Assad not remain during even a transitional period. The regime, however, has made it clear that it just might go ahead with municipal elections in areas that they consider secure [under THEIR control.] Translated, this means the reestablishment of Baath+intel/sec forces over local government and the likely removal of the self-selected local citizen and tribal councils. With the SAA and allies closing in on Idlib, we will get a taste of this. Also, NO presidential elections until they are due again in 2021.
    Chemical attacks: why would we expect Robin Wright to question the official “narrative?” It would challenge HER credibility with mainstream media audiences and put her at odds with the Administration and the Borg. It is unlikely that she ever took the time to read the evidence for an alternative explanation for what happened.
    As for an effort to create a “westernized Middle East that would accept the present and domination of Israel,” I’m not sure that what the USG has been after can be termed “westernized” unless one accepts the grand re branding of Saudi and the military government in Egypt, but the criterion for acceptability has long been the likelihood of close cooperation with Israel and the US. The three or four holdouts two of neo-con/Borg targets have been taken down: Saddam and Gadhafi have been taken down one by one.
    Whatever understanding DJT and Putin have about these matters may not be the determining factor in what happens in Syria. It is clear that having given the military a long leash and their tradition of doing what they want as much as possible, it is not clear that they will listen to his orders on Syria. Remember, the last country on the hit list is Iran. Also, no matter WHAT bones we throw to Israel, like our Jerusalem declaration, they are not going give up their other goals and Saudi Arabia won’t either. If the choice is between bipartisan Borg foreign policy imperatives and Trump, it is entirely possible that the Republicans would be willing to sacrifice the president. After all, Pence is even MORE aligned with the establishment and doesn’t have the baggage Trump carries around.

  73. If this is not off-topic, from 27 minutes to 37 there is a brief look at munitions and supplies abandoned in Al Mayadin.

  74. Walker says:

    Funny, I was just thinking of him.

  75. Valissa says:

    LOL… thanks for the link!
    It brought me to this wonderful piece by Pat Buchanan, FP hero to realists and paleocons everywhere. It’s a great quick overview of the current geopolitical crises. If only Pax Americana was a more sensible realistic empire… oh, wait… that’s just another lovely highly rational fantasy (which ignores human nature and the lust for power). But I wish it was real. The closing paragraphs are excerpted below.
    What Should We Fight For?
    What we are witnessing in Crimea, across the Middle East, in the South China Sea, on the Korean peninsula, are nations more willing than we to sacrifice and take risks, because their interests there are far greater than ours.
    What America needs is a new national consensus on what is vital to us and what is not, what we are willing to fight to defend and what we are not.
    For this generation of Americans is not going to risk war, indefinitely, to sustain some Beltway elite’s idea of a “rules-based new world order.” After the Cold War, we entered a new world — and we need new red lines to replace the old.

  76. WJ says:

    I am not at all in disagreement with you. But I did not know that it had been definitively confirmed that “Peter Strzok used it [the dossier] to launch a counterintelligence investigation into President Trump’s team.” That is, while I am aware that several have theorized that the non-verified Steele dossier provided the basis for the FISA application (“launch the investigation” is otherwise just empty as a phrase), I do not think we have knowledge of this fact. (Am I mistaken?) Andrew McCarthy suggests it is unlikely that Strzok would have done this, if only because of the blowback from the FISA judges should it ever come out. I have no idea whether McCarthy is right, but he has the experience to authoritatively opine, I don’t.
    The broader case I was making is simply that one shouldn’t be reading Strzok et. al. as “liberals” or “leftists” or “Democrats” so much as neoliberal military interventionists. That is why they support Clinton. And there are a lot in the Republican party who are just like them.

  77. Jack says:

    If ever there is an inquiry into what Strzok, Page, Ohr and others yet to be named did, it will go the way of the Owens inquiry. The dirty campaigns by the highest officials in law enforcement and intelligence cannot be revealed in its entirety, lest the entire edifice be impugned.
    Right now it seems that the Mueller investigation’s bias is being questioned. We haven’t got to the point where people start asking questions on the connections and activities of all these people. What I find interesting is the relationship between Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson. It seems at one point Steele hired Simpson for a “project”.

    As we also reported, Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) suggested in a hearing with FBI Director Chris Wray last week that the Peter Strzok rabbit hole might be far deeper than anyone imagined. To summarize, Jordan’s theory is that Strzok received the controversial “Trump Dossier” from the Clinton campaign then went to the FISA courts where he passed it off as a legitimate piece of intelligence in an effort to obtain the warrants necessary to effectively spy on the Trump campaign.
    “Here’s what I think Director Wray. I think Peter Strzok, head of counter intelligence at the FBI, Peter Strzok the guy who ran the Clinton investigation and did all the interviews, Peter Strzok, the guy who was running the Russia investigation at the FBI, Peter Strzok, Mr. ‘Super Agent’ at the FBI, I think he’s the guy who took the application to the FISA court…and if that happened…if you have the FBI working with the Democrats’ campaign, taking opposition research, dressing it all up and turning it into an intelligence document and taking it to the FISA court so they can spy on the other campaign…if that happened…that’s as wrong as it gets.”

  78. Harlan says:

    Russia is Carthage.

  79. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    re: “Russia is Carthage” @#84
    Really? Who might be, then, your Scipio Aemilianus?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  80. outthere says:

    Have you read any of her books?
    I have not, so I have no opinion about her knowledge or what she might have “learnt” at Michigan or from her father or anywhere else.
    Maybe others here have read:
    The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran 2000.
    Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam 2001
    Flashpoints: Promise and Peril in a New World, co-authored with Doyle McManus
    In the Name of God: The Khomeini Decade.

  81. J says:

    The landscape of the Middle East is changing once again. This time around is nuclear power plants. Egypt is getting it’s first nuclear power plant, Russian style. Putin and Sisi finalized the deal.

  82. J says:

    Expect to see direct air travel between Russia and Egypt in the near future. Russian security services have given the green light citing improved security measures by Egypt.

  83. turcopolier says:

    I don’t need to read her books. I know her. she used to want my views as a source for her writings. pl

  84. Heros says:

    It looks to me that Wright’s admission is further indication of a schism in the ranks of the jewish elites that pull virtually all important strings of power and culture in the US and across the West. Put another way, the Borg spaceship has a flaming Star of David on it.
    In 1917 there was a big schism between Zionist jews and those jews who wished to prosper economically and wield power in the imperial governments of Russia, Turkey and Germany. The second group of Jews, lead by Morgentau, wanted a negotiated peace in 1917, and they were waylaid in Switzerland on while on their way to Gibraltar to enter negotiations with the Turks. Weizmann and Brandeis desperately managed to stop Morgentau and prolong the war until the Ottoman empire was crushed and Palestine mandate had been carved out.
    In 1947-67, this schism also came close to a boil over with the founding of Israel, the Rosenbergs, McCarthy, Kennedy assassination, etc.
    The Neocons have pretty much held sway ever since, the Zionist faction has been preeminent. It is my opinion that this faction is clearly a fiefdom of the Rothschild family and its satellites.
    I think that the other wing of the jewish control structures is once again resisting this inexorable march to greater Israel and the Rapture, currently being led by the pied pipers Bibi and Donald. Just as in 1917 and 1947 they see that the zionists do not have their interests at heart, and just as in 1943 they see that they could be thrown to the wolves in order to create justification for an even bigger, stronger, greater Israel. So too are many jews across Europe starting to realize that this forced middle eastern invasion is not in their best interest.
    This is why we see all these different “steins” fighting against each other and their dirty laundry being smeared all over the world’s media for all the stupid gentiles to see. It is an interesting glimpse at the truth. But like that “Nazi” flag brouhaha in Italy, it is just a glimpse.

  85. Matthew says:

    IZ: Harlan forgets that Hannibal didn’t have ICBM’s. Carthago non delends est.

  86. Matthew says:

    IZ: Hate typos. Carthago non delenda est.

  87. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I have read two of her books on Iran decades ago.
    I thought they were decent journalistic accounts imbued by the dominant Diocletian Weltanschauung – like Thomas Friedman or New York Times.
    Over the decades, I have come to question the applicability of that Weltanschauung to the rest of mankind and indeed its intellectual robustness.

  88. Thomas says:

    “The Neocons have pretty much held sway ever since, the Zionist faction has been preeminent. It is my opinion that this faction is clearly a fiefdom of the Rothschild family and its satellites.”
    Ah, so Jacob the Minter’s kin are the first family of the Sabbatean”s Sect?

  89. Thomas says:

    “Often, there are tensions between ‘moral’ and ‘Machiavellian’ considerations. To give the kind of clues which allows a foreign intelligence to liquidate one’s networks makes no kind of sense, from either point of view.”
    It makes perfect sense when dealing with people suffering from the Plague of Effin’ Morons.
    While the “RussiaGate” info op has the facade that this is about the election, the inner circle’s reason is to save their necks from the noose by the truth from the act on the Seventeenth of July, 2014 and the following coverup were exposed to the public. A lot of prominent people will be knocked off their pedestals when this comes to pass. The more they panic, the more pieces to the puzzle emerge.

  90. Babak Makkinejad says:

    To play at Machiavellian Arts, one has to be of the caliber of such practitioners of those arts as Bismarck and Richelieu.
    I knew Richelieu.
    Richelieu was my friend,
    Sir: you are no Richelieu.

  91. LeaNder says:

    you are way ahead of times.
    But where would reminiscences of the future fit into a Chalabi moment?
    I ask since more arbitrarily one of your comments may have marked some type of inner turning point.

  92. Thomas,
    I think you bring up a very interesting aspect of all this.
    Back in 2009, Colonel Bacevich wrote an interesting article on Graham Greene’s 1955 novel ‘The Quiet American.’ Had I the talent, I might attempt a sequel, to be called ‘The Noisy Englishmen.’
    Originally, I thought of a kind of a single composite character, with features taken from Christopher Steele and our U.N. Ambassador, Matthew Rycroft. But with Luke Harding and others positively clamouring for inclusion, I think I think it would be apt to have a variety of different characters.
    (See )
    One thing these people have in common with Greene’s CIA agent is that they are trying to interpret complex and envenomed conflicts in terms of a simple moralistic view of the world.
    In part because of this, those they see as the instruments of their schemes can, by telling them what they want to hear, create situations where those they think of as manipulable tools end up in the driving seat.
    What all these people seem to have in common with Greene’s CIA agent Alden Pyle is that they want to see a world which isn’t there.
    So the former Caodaoist chief of staff General Thé, who is indeed fighting both the French colonial government and the communists, can cast himself as the ‘Third Force’, reconciling indigenous and ‘modern’ conceptions, in which Pyle wants to believe.
    To try to make himself a significant player in a chaotic situation, General Thé tries to polarise, using ‘false flags’, designed both to incriminate the communists of atrocity, and to portray the colonial government as too weak to combat them.
    The point where Greene’s protagonist, the burnt-out British journalist Thomas Fowler, colludes in Pyle’s assassination is where Thé has escalated the level of atrocity involved in his ‘false flags’, and it has become clear that he has actually created a situation where the figure who has thought he was an instrument has involved him in a complicity from which he cannot escape.
    So Pyle goes round in circles, alternating between the fantasy that somehow he can control Thé, and making excuses for the atrocity.
    It seems to me possible that something similar has happened on a rather large scale in recent years. As regards Ukraine, as well as MH17, we have the sniper shootings on the Maidan. In Syria, initial small ‘false flags’ being unsuccessful, there was the massive one at Ghouta, which has been followed by that at Khan Sheikhoun.
    In relation to the Litvinenko affair, it is an open question how far in the end the late Boris Berezovsky was an instrument of MI6 and the circles in American intelligence with whom they were in cahoots, and how far ended up being, as it were, the instruments of their supposed instrument.
    A characteristic of situations of this kind is that if a supposed instrument has run out of control, in one way or another, control cannot be restored by ‘nice’, ‘rational’ methods. It may be necessary to reach mucky compromises, as I think may have happened in relation to the dealings of Putin and the Russian security services with Mogilevich.
    And situations can also develop in a manner which makes it difficult to see any realistic alternative to brutal extra-judicial methods, as may have happened with the dealings of Western intelligence services with Berezovsky.
    This does not mean that I think it likely that MI6 killed him. It seems to me quite likely that the organisation knows who did, and is covering up for them.
    It also seems to me eminently conceivable that they had advantage knowledge of a plot to assassinate Berezovsky, before he could create mayhem. Mayhem would have been created, if either he had done what he was threatening to do, and return to Russia, or had been cross-examined by counsel for the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation at the Inquiry.
    So what ought to be clear is that, if Berezovsky was murdered – and he may have committed suicide – it was not Putin and Patrushev who would been likely suspects, as at that particular point of time, it was in their interest to keep their supposed victim alive.
    If one wants to make sense of people like Peter Stryok and Lisa Page, or Bruce and Nellie Ohr, it may be sensible to focus on, among other things, the combination of intellectual arrogance and very severe intellectual limitation.

  93. Jack,
    I think the dynamics are now very unpredictable. On the one hand, experience has taught me to be very chary about getting optimistic – on the other, I am simply flabbergasted by the communications between Stryok and his ‘bit on the side.’
    Clearly, the basic conceptions involved in constitutional government are utterly alien to such people.
    They may have gone the proverbial ‘bridge too far.’

  94. GeneO says:

    Carthaginians live on. Like their forefathers, the Phoenicians, they have not been destroyed.
    St Augustine was Carthaginian. It was he that bridged the Carthaginian precept of predestination into western religion thus nurturing 20th century economic ideology. Calvin came along centuries later and ran with that concept turning it into the theory that you could determine how much God loved you by your material wealth. The ‘protestant ethic’ was born. To strive for riches became religiously justified. This fueled Western Europe and turned it into a powerhouse in the modern era.
    So IMHO Carthage is more akin to Wall Street than Russia. I think Adam Smith would agree.

  95. Kooshy says:

    That was a masterful unforgettable moment of any debates I ever watched. Not to mention XQ was a potato head .

  96. different clue says:

    Doug Colwell,
    I used to watch CBC News decades ago when our cable carried it. I dimly remember Barbara Frum, maybe. Wasn’t she a sort of social justice-lite liberal? (I remember her as having long dark hair and no glasses). If I remember correctly, how did son David become a Reaganite neocon?

  97. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater says,
    Regarding the technology–ham radio– and the uses to which it could be put, there are a few things I know about it. The most important here being that while the requirements for passing a morse code examination have been dropped, there are still tests to be taken, and they must be passed step by step to become licensed in each of the three grades, which are Technician, General, and Amateur-extra. Now what I get from comments on some of the ham blogs is that Technician is essentially a short range band, 70cm, 2m, 6m, bottom end of the 10m band. To communicate reliably with Europe, weather conditions being a factor, one would need by now to have upgraded to at least the General license; and since she is a studious woman, at least as far as the academic record suggests, I would think she would have gone for the Amateur-extra, which would ensure a world-wide long range band in as much as an amateur is allowed on the radio spectrum. (Not that these exams are all that difficult, but they do require some work.) But there has been no upgrade. It seems one can conclude that the ham license is about something else, perhaps, say, a powerboat or sailboat has been purchased. (The address is McLean, Virginia, which is a census district in the US where the median income for a family is $194,832.) If a new boat is involved it would require a single-sideband radio or SSB which used to be simply called a ship-to-shore radio. To use the SSB on a boat at least one person on board has to have the FCC restricted radiotelephone license, which requires no test and costs $60, but is good for a lifetime, which makes me wonder if mine isn’t still good. The boat itself would also need a “ship-station license” good for ten years. If one intended to go offshore, one might also want to get the ham radio license. It offers some advantages. The point about the SSB is that monitoring the radio is good for camaraderie on cruises, or races, like the Transpac, where it is kept on and people listen and get to know one another. Also good for weather and of course for the unusual urgent request for assistance.
    As to the question, could ham radio be used to ensure a private exchange of information?– yes, I assume it could be done, but it should be understood that federal (FCC) licensing requires that transmitting be done openly, using plain language (even, in plain morse, if one is using that) and therefore one cannot use encryption. Further, radio conversations (‘over the airwaves’) can be heard by anyone. This is one good reason for the use of the call sign. To locate the person you are trying to communicate with. In fact, it seems to me that it is a kind of miracle, you dial through your allotted band at the appointed time and repeat over and over your call sign, calmly and clearly (ham radio folks tend to speak in full sentences and to enunciate), and then suddenly it gets personal, “Derek…Derek, Olliver here.” And two electronic specks out in the sidereal night over the Indian Ocean now become two human voices, in this case, brothers who love each other and are strong family guys, now connecting from thousands of miles apart, Durban to Cape Breton. Of course, everything out there in the radio spectrum being routinely vacuumed up, collected and stored on tape by NSA — it would be easy enough to red-flag a call sign, I would assume, and build a dossier if counter intelligence became interested. Actually, anybody interested in what is going on on this call sign could tune in, including SMERSH. Since the call sign has now been published widely, I assume that scanners and hackers will indeed tune in. The lady has a party line problem now.
    And it’s a little sad if she has gotten the license to stay in touch with a family member in Africa, say, or New Zealand. Though interlopers, would, I assume soon enough understand that…
    As to how a short wave radio communication would be superior to an encrypted email I am not sure, since I would assume both the email and short wave message would still have to use the same deception technique.
    I imagine that that could be the message within the message. You have a cast of characters, some quite genuine, who can be mentioned and are a running part of the er soap opera. “Did Luisa get the report that I sent? –Yes, she did–What does she think of it?–Well, she thinks the business plan is good as far as the shares of Optical Scanning are concerned, but Uncle Max sees some problems with the underwriters, and needs to look it over. –Isn’t that a bit like looking a gift horse in the mouth!? This is a very good deal!–Well, when I see you next we can both talk to him about it in the City… Oh, by the way, Ezra likes your gift, he needed a sweater, never heard of your Filson, and wears it all the time.– Oh, that’s grand, I am so pleased…Har. Funny about that, I would have thought that soddy old villain would have been whacked in Torremolinos by now. Har har. –Shhhhhhhh!, for God’s sake, you eejit…”
    There interesting thing about ham radio to me is that most likely there are within fifty miles of where I am right now, Charlottesville, perhaps five or so preppers who use the short wave radio without any licensing at all. The idea is that when the grid goes down the feds might want to come looking for you if you are licensed, and take it away from you. The other interesting thing is that you can use that half of the ham radio system that is called the Receiver without any licensing, just to tune in to the world, and that in time of war having a receiver could be your only communication with the outside, giving some idea of what is going on. The other thing about the use of the Receiver is that during the long night watch many radical voices are to be heard on ham radio, bringing the most extraordinary ideas about the world we live in to an insomniac, as Long John Nebble once did. Coming to you, it suddenly occurs to me, like Goya’s owls in his etching ‘the Sleep of Reason.’
    Yes, I think you are on to something. Thank you for your dogged work.

  98. Jack says:

    Yes, the dynamics are very unpredictable because the Republicans in Congress would likely want to dig into the non-investigation of Hillary’s mishandling of classified information.
    Even before the investigation was over, Comey, McCabe, Priestap, Strzok, Moffa and Trisha Anderson – all top officials at the FBI were editing Comey’s statement on their conclusion of the FBI investigation. They didn’t wait for the investigation to be over to prepare their conclusion. Current reporting is that Strzok changed the charge from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless”. But we don’t know what Comey’s or McCabe’s edits were.
    We now know from Strzok’s texts to his paramour Lisa Page, that they were in McCabe’s office and dissing on Trump, before the election. Now, McCabe is the second in command at the FBI. What was his position on all these matters?
    The fact that both Strzok and Page were on Muellers’s team, should lead to ask who else is on the special counsel team on the Trump witch hunt? Mueller himself maybe compromised due to his close personal relationship with Comey.
    There is no doubt now that Hillary was exonerated by the FBI at the behest of their top officials for partisan reasons. How can anyone believe Muellers’s special counsel investigation is not tainted with bias?
    Then there is the use of the Trump Dossier, which was presented to FISA and some members of Congress as an intelligence product, without disclosure that it was oppo research paid for by the Clinton campaign. The conflicts of interest and partisanship and personal hatred for Trump is just being uncovered. The deceit and manipulation is at an epic scale when top officials at the FBI, DOJ, CIA, DNI are all colluding in some fashion to interfere in and influence a presidential election on the side of one candidate. This is beyond the pale.
    What has me surprised is that didn’t Rosenstein and Sessions know about all this prior to their appointment of Mueller as special counsel? I’m also curious how far the Republicans in Congress will push this investigation? If there is a serious investigation it could uncover the the role of British intelligence as a intimate partner in the rampant manipulation of the public and interference in domestic political matters.

  99. Thomas says:

    Allow me to offer you my appreciation for the tireless effort you provide for this small wayward cyber community.
    In the Art of Intelligence, as our Good Colonel tries to teach us, it requires the understanding of human nature along with their intentions and capabilities, something the Exceptional Elites do not have and who remove anyone with it so as to prevent their fragile egos from being shattered. Empires built on lies, deceit, and fear last as long as someone can enforce it. The current one has run its course and the fall will be because of MH-17.
    You see my people, the Popular Peasantry, would hear the news of the CIA running man-pads to Al-Qadea shrug their shoulders saying “nothing new under sun, whose making the beer run?” But let them learn that the Government willfully and maliciously carried out a years long campaign to falsely accuse a crime that they knew who the perpetrator was so as to drag us into another war, well those involved will be lining up at the gates of a Federal Prison because it will be the safest place on earth for them.
    By the way I understand your fondness for Barclay de Tolly, and in looking at Alexander I’s giving overall command to Mikhail Kutuzov it relieved the burden of the Chasing Courtiers in his ear, allowed Russian officers an outlet for their complaints in which the important ones would be filtered back to him by Kutuzov, and gave him the freedom to fulfill the tactical part of the overall strategy. I have always viewed it that three of them worked together to serve the best interests of their country.

  100. Thomas says:

    “Sir: you are no Richelieu.”
    Nor am I a Machiavelli. I wouldn’t be penning a tome to get a post with some princely dude doing his sister.
    Speaking of which, when will your Thesis be turned into a manuscript?

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