Is “Plan B” a Ketchup embargo for Syria?


"Kerry said that without a ceasefire in Aleppo, Syria's largest city before the civil war erupted in 2011, the violence there was in danger of spiraling out of control. The plan now being worked on to ensure a more lasting ceasefire would try to separate rival forces from militias, which are not covered by the ceasefire.

"The line they are trying to draw now would prohibit any kind of incursion of Aleppo, it will not allow Aleppo to fall," Kerry said. He added that the truce was holding in areas of Damascus and Latakia region where he said there had been a "meaningful" drop in violence.

Kerry said the United States was trying to determine which opposition group was responsible for a rocket attack on a hospital in Aleppo on Tuesday, saying there was no justification for such "horrific violence."

He repeated the United States would never accept a transition that included Assad.

"If Assad's strategy is to somehow think he's going to just carve out Aleppo and carve out a section of the country, I got news for you and for him – this war doesn't end,""  Kerry said.  NY Times



Kerry was at the White House correspondents  dinner and then went to the airport to leave for this meeting in Europe.  Maybe he was suffering from sleep deprivation and jet lag at the presser.  How else can you account for the idiocy of the statements repeated in this NY Times article?  I have written here several times that to think one can gain at the negotiating table through BS and trickery what one has not been able to secure on the battlefield is a vapid, vain notion.  I continue to think that true.

The US is threatening Assad, Russia and Iran with dire consequences if Assad does not agree to abandon Syria by 1 August?  What possible leverage does Kerry think the US has with which to back up that threat?   "Carpet bombing" of Syrian government facilities and forces?   A massive Turkish Army invasion of the North of Syria?  A Gulfie invasion of Southern Syria?  Poisoned cigars as a present for Assad?  More and heavier weapons delivered to the Unicorn army of the FSA?  (an indirect delivery to the jihadis) A US expeditionary force? 

No?  What then?  Ah!  Perhaps Kerry will persuade his consort Teresa to embargo Syria.  No more Ketchup for Assad!  pl

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95 Responses to Is “Plan B” a Ketchup embargo for Syria?

  1. Matthew says:

    Col: Didn’t Kerry just let the cat out of the bag by saying that Aleppo can’t “fall”? Is Aleppo part of Turkey now?
    “‘If Assad’s strategy is to somehow think he’s going to just carve out Aleppo and carve out a section of the country, I got news for you and for him – this war doesn’t end,’ Kerry said.”
    Mr. Kerry is committed to fighting to the last Syrian. How generous of him.

  2. Ghost ship says:

    “The line they are trying to draw now would prohibit any kind of incursion of Aleppo, it will not allow Aleppo to fall,”
    He does know that about half of Aleppo is under government control, the recent breakdown of the ceasefire in Aleppo started with rebel shelling of the government-controlled area and incursions into government-controlled areas have continued? So, does he mean that government-controlled Aleppo will not be allowed to fall to Al Nusrah?
    But then what to make of this:
    “Russia withdraws 30 aircraft from Syria, including all Su-25 fighters
    Russia has withdrawn about 30 aircraft from Syria, including all its Sukhoi Su-25 strike fighters, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Wednesday. “We have shown the withdrawal of our troops from the Khmeimim airbase. In particular, we withdrew aircraft – bombers, the Su-25 strike fighters,” TASS quoted Konashenkov as saying. A considerable number of personnel were also withdrawn, according to the military.”
    Maybe the Russians don’t think they need close air Support for a while and are rotating them out for the moment.

  3. b says:

    Kerry again (for the third time) tried to get the ceasefire extended to al-Qaeda. I guess the Saudis are pressuring him.
    Lavrov wasn’t amused and rightfully rejected any such move.

  4. Tigermoth says:

    I’m sure statements like these come when someone is at a “wits end”. SS Kerry has nothing to put on the table anymore. So threats are in order but they have no “spine” as you mention.
    FM Lavrov has asked SS Kerry to separate the “moderates” from the UN recognised terrorists. He can’t do that and he can’t get SA, and all, to do it either. Even Col Steven Warren admits they Aleppo is mostly held by Al Nusra.
    “COL. WARREN: Well, you know, I’m not going to predict — (inaudible) — what their intentions are. What I do know is that we have seen, you know, regime forces with some Russian support as well begin to mass and concentrate combat power around Aleppo. So this is something we’re concerned about and something we’ll keep an eye on.
    That said, it’s primarily al-Nusra who holds Aleppo, and of course, al-Nusra is not part of the cessation of hostilities. So it’s complicated. We’re watching it. Our focus, though, as the Combined Joint Task Force, is ISIL. And so don’t forget that, that’s our focus. The cessation of hostilities, the diplomatic and political processes — while they certainly have — are of interest to us and potentially could influence our operations peripherally, our focus remains ISIL.”
    So what Kerry is suggesting is going to protect Al-Nusra since they “primarily” hold it. I’m sure FM Lavrov made him aware of this again. So Kerry wants to prevent the defeat of Al-Nusra because Aleppo would then “fall” into the Syrian government’s hands. He has a conundrum and it’s going to take an awful lot of spin to make this seem rational.
    I think it is just time for R+6 to get on with the job.

  5. mbrenner says:

    The phenomenon of ‘stupidity’ generates as many puzzles as does ‘intelligence.’ In this case, the behavior itself can only be called ‘stupid’ in terms of elementary logic: 5 – 2 does not = 8. It is also true that Kerry is no genius in IQ terms; his grade point average at Yale was lower than George W. Bush’s. But that is irrelevant – anything above 65 is all that’s required. Also, Obama obviously has a pretty high IQ and makes the same ‘calculations’ as Kerry does.
    So, it’s explanations that are needed. Some factors in the equation are readily identifiable: the American foreign policy Establishment’s unbounded hubris as expressed in the faith in ‘exceptionalism’; Cold War success triumphalism; a runaway ‘can do’ mentality; being locked into an Israeli (now Israeli-Saudi) view of the Middle East for multiple reasons; the Iran obsession; the absence of strategic design; a preoccupation with tactical incrementalism; an insular White House steeped in mediocrity and careerism; the suspension of critical intelligence by our political class generally. Add to these the psychological factors; group think; the errors that result from confusing motion and action; Kerry’s ridiculous perambulations around the globe no-stop; unbounded vanity.
    How all these factors come together is surely a complicated business. Especially when we add the ‘X’ factor: in crude terms, these guys are a bunch of dumb bastards who lack a sense of responsibility.

  6. Mongoose says:

    Perhaps if the U.S. embargoed Planters Peanuts along with Heinz Ketchup Assad would resign immediately (the Mongoose snickers).
    What’s up with the Borgmeisters nowadays? It’s like they trip over one another looking for somewhere else or something else to screw over.
    I’m also reminded of an old adage attributed to the Juwayni family’s description of the Mongols in 13th-century Persia when I think of the Borgmeisters: “they consider the breaking of wind and the boxing of ears to proceed from the kindness of their nature.”

  7. Fred says:

    “No more Ketchup for Assad!” I’m sure there will be plenty at the Hope and Change Cafe located at the soon to be built Obama presidential library. Seriously though it looks like the Borg are in a panic over losing every conflict they generated in the past decade and with last night’s crushing of Cruz it looks like only Hilary has any chance of stopping Trump – who might actually follow through on stopping the Borgist policies.

  8. Bill Herschel says:

    An Army Captain is suing the President, saying that he lacks the authority to go to war in Iraq and by extension Syria.
    He is not refusing to serve. Far from it. He works in the Headquarters of Inherent Resolve and vows to stay there.
    I personally strongly believe that the President lacks the authority to commit troops to Iraq and Syria. I also very strongly believe that he could never get the votes in Congress to do it.
    What do others think?

  9. JJackson says:

    Ah Embargoes, that one always works. Hell look a Cuba and Iran they are bound to fold any day now. Given half a century I am sure the Ketchup lovers of Syria will rise up and finish the deed. Assad’s grandchildren must be quaking in their boots.

  10. Tigermoth says:

    “Especially when we add the ‘X’ factor: in crude terms, these guys are a bunch of dumb bastards who lack a sense of responsibility.”
    My brother had the experience of having to deal with the SS on one of his globe trotting excursions. His comment to me went something like this: “It was all a Hollywood Production. It was choreographed down to the second, we had hour long meetings just on how the press was going to be handled right down to the what questions were allowed and who was going to ask them, when and where photos could be taken. It was total smoke and mirrors to make him look good.”

  11. Tigermoth says:

    A question if I may. In the France 24 posts there was quite a bit of discussion of Special Forces. Not being military, I had assumed the different SF’s in the different Branches of the Armed Forces more or less did the same job. I realized this was a misconception and that they had specialities.
    From this and a also looking even further back to Patrick Armstrong’s post on analysis of a Army’s “design” to determine its purpose; can the same be done with Special Forces?
    Can you get an idea of the probable offensive in the works from the type of units in the 250 Marines now deployed north of Raqqa?

  12. gemini33 says:

    I just saw someone say Lavrov looked happy, shaking hands with Kerry, etc. And they just agreed to an Aleppo ceasefire. If Nusra is still excluded, then what does the ceasefire entail? What has changed?
    I find this whole thing baffling, especially the threat about Assad “carving out Aleppo”. And whatever it is, Russia agreed to it. Why? Are there forces in multiple other areas ready to march into Syria? Some other threat?
    That being said, I really appreciated the ketchup humor. Any humor in this crazy situation is warmly welcomed.

  13. Tyler says:

    Assad just has to hold tight until January when Trump is inaugurated. Then the grown ups,will be in charge.

  14. turcopolier says:

    Tigermoth TTG and I have extensively discussed this subject here. Bestir yourself to find it. pl

  15. turcopolier says:

    I am pleased to learn that you did not mistake my Ketchup Embargo suggestion for irony. pl

  16. mbrenner says:

    I should have emphasized that the blame for this foreign policy fiasco rests squarely with Obama. It is the President who is the custodian and animator of the country’s external relations. He appoints all these people. He is responsible for riding herd on them. He is responsible for ensuring that premature and unassailable group think does not take hold. If he is neither disposed nor knowledgeable enough, then it is his job to select a National Security Adviser and other White House aides with the appropriate skills and talent do it on his behalf. Instead, we have a dilettante with an inflated sense of himself – a Mohammed Ali who never actually gets into the ring but instead surrounds himself with an entourage who tell him ceaselessly how great he is. Valerie Jarrett is Obama’s ‘Boudini(?) – Ali’s sidekick and court jester.

  17. different clue says:

    Ghost ship,
    I don’t know enough to know how personally committed the RussiaGov is to the personal person of President Assad. They are clearly committed to the restoration of the Syrian Arab Republic to full authority over all its territory in the fullness of time. And the RussiaGov may rightly suspect that the concept of a transition to “no more Assad” is designed to destabilize a post-Assad SAR government badly enough that the alphabet jihadis can take over the country in the end. And the RussiaGov will not permit that to happen.
    So Russia will stay committed to “yes more Assad” for just as long as the DC FedRegime and its Global Axis of Jihad stays committed to “no more Assad”. Plus a little longer.

  18. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Very doubtful of that.
    The war in Syria was started to wound Iran, Trump has not articulated any positive vision for the future of US-Iranian relations at all; what he has stated has been rather negative and retrograde.
    Furthermore, I expect that the Cult of Shoah, will persist in US, France, UK and a number of other EU states and with that enmity with Iran.
    Until and unless the electorate in several Western countries repudiate the semi-religion of Shoah, there will be no changes; in my opinion.
    The war in Syria – I guess – would go on for another 4 or 5 years until R+6 kill the last jihadi there.

  19. different clue says:

    It looks like Clinton will get the DemParty nomination by hook or by crook. If Trump gets the RParty nomination, then at least we have a choice.
    We will have time to see who/what each candidate selects as its advisers and its prospective Cabinet Secretaries.
    If Clinton refuses to say who her Cabinet people would be, Trump would be thereby given an opportunity to show Greater Transparency by announcing who all his Cabinet Secretaries would be. Even if his pre-announced choices were distasteful to many, he would get points and respect for at least having the decency to announce those choices ahead of time. The question would arise . . . why won’t Hillary do the same? What is she hiding?

  20. different clue says:

    And the press people involved accepted this ahead of time?

  21. walter says:

    MBrenner, also: absence of negative consequences to US politicians, government officials, policy makers when/if plans fail; US citizens don’t care about Syria; pride/ego of those involved.. they can say and do anything without any negative consequences… US private sector are at peak nihilism, apathy powerlessness…and perhaps rebellion.

  22. WILL says:

    Regarding the w/drawl of fixed wing Russian aircraft, read on one of the Russian news sites, maybe even that since the introduction of MANPADS, the helicopters are more survivable b/c they have an active defense system.

  23. Haralambos says:

    Both Col. Lang and TTG very graciously indulged my question similar to yours several days ago. Here are their responses.
    Special Forces (GBs) and Other Forces
    turcopolier said…
    Army SF (GBs) are armed, traveling teachers of various things who can also do direct action missions (raids, reconnaissance, etc.) The rest; Delta, Seals, Rangers are all direct action fighters who have no substantial teaching skills other than those that any soldier has for training his own unit and no real cultural knowledge. They have the much simpler job of just fighting. Needless to say the rigid, narrow minded people who are most of any military force’s leaders hate these guys. They know that the GB’s judge them and that is unacceptable. pl
    The Twisted Genius said…
    Haralambos and others still befuddled by the mystery of the Green Berets,
    I wrote this as a comment here several years ago to questions about the Green Berets.
    “The SFODA organization has changed very little since Aaron Bank created it in 10th SFG(A) in 1952. At that time the idea was to work with resistance elements behind the Iron Curtain. That was still the primary mission when I was there in the early 80s. The ODA consists of 12 men. The NCOs are the heart of the team and receive beaucoup advanced training in their specialties. There are 2 communication specialists who, in my day, were skilled HAM radio operators. Today there is more emphasis on satellite and computer skills, so I’m told. There are 2 medical specialists who are close to field surgeons. They can set up local medical and veterinary clinics and advise locals on health and sanitation measures. There is a light and a heavy weapons specialist who can maintain, repair and train others in using almost any weapon known to man. The 2 engineers are demolition experts. My engineer sergeant could make a letter bomb that did not require extra postage. They can build and blow up bridges and advise on civic action projects. The team operations sergeant and assistant operations sergeant (usually functioning as an intelligence sergeant) originally come from one of the other specialties and, after much experience and additional training, become the team NCO leaders capable of leading the entire ODA. The ODA commander is a captain who, if he has half a brain, learns everything he can from the men he is blessed to command. The ODA executive officer was a lieutenant who was good for carrying a generator and jumping with the generator seat. (The seat always acted like a weathervane and spun you like a top when you exited the plane.) The XO is now a warrant officer. This was a brilliant move. The warrant officer was most likely an ops sergeant prior to going to warrant officer school.”
    “All members of the ODA study everything there is to know about their designated target areas and endeavor to learn the local language. This is not always the case, but it is the goal. All members also cross train in everyone else’s specialties. The wealth of knowledge and skills resident in an SFODA is remarkable. These men are not door kickers, shooters or operators. They are Special Forces soldiers.”
    Further on in that comment string I added this in response to a question about why the DOD hierarchy hates the GBs:
    “Why do they hate us? We may be perceived as hard to control, but I think it’s just that we think for ourselves, make our own decisions, act on those decisions and accept the consequences of our actions. SF would rather function like this all the time. It probably makes the generals feel superfluous. This doesn’t mean SF can’t be controlled. We have more than enough discipline to follow orders when necessary. However, it more likely an SF man will call bullshit on a half-assed plan than a conventional soldier. Commanders don’t like that. I guess it does boil down to Colonel Lang’s answer, “The complaint that senior commanders often have about SF men is that they are hard to control.”
    I hope this, and the Virginia Statehouse speech of Nick Freitas, helps some of you finally understand us.

  24. Fred says:

    It is definitely going to be an “interesting” election summer. Long, hot and plenty of mud in the forecast; sadly. The Democrats face the same problem Cruz did when Trump started pointing out the details behind how delegates to the convention were actually chosen as opposed to the choosing of a candidate by the primary election voters. Since Hilary has overwhelming support among “super” delegates she’s the one facing the issue. Somewhat of a role reversal since she is ahead in the race. I’m sure we’ll start seeing some folks asking why some democratic delegates are equal (super!) and the rest are separate but equal (or something to that effect).

  25. I think that officer is going to retire earlier than he had originally planned to.
    But seriously, between the war Powers act and the AUMF The president as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces can pretty much do whatever he wishes as long as he is certain to include the word terror in his pronouncement .

  26. SmoothieX12 says:

    Judging by The Donald’s latest statements, plus well articulated position on talking to Russia “from the position of strength”, I kinda doubt it. I want to be wrong, but I could be wrong about that;-)

  27. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Ah, yes. The Mongols. Whatever else they were, they were fighters. The Borgist trash would be nothing without the might of the US Armed Forces.
    Here is a link to some Mongol fun:
    Ishmael Zechariah

  28. turcopolier says:

    One should always negotiate from a position of strength. If your negotiating “partner” thinks you are weak the process is not negotiation. It is a way to surrender. pl

  29. YT says:

    I’ve just done reading “Jarhead” by one Anthony Swofford.
    He, along with his fellow sniper platoon were ‘informed’ [prior to the press arriving] that which is permitted (e.g. “Yes ma’am!, am proud to be serving the USMC! Me & the boys, we’re gonna be kicking raghead ass for this great country of ours.) – along with that which is not (e.g. “Our gas suits are f××ked!, we gonna die when saddam lands his scuds on us.”)
    I’ve yet to view the ‘silver screen’ rendition, so I’ve no idea how faithful it adhered to his [gulf war I] auto-biography…

  30. Kooshy says:

    Fred IMO Trump vs Clinton, Trump may have a better chance to win, if Clinton can’t ( which will be hard )to unify the dems, I believe I lot of young democrats will choose to stay home.
    There are a lot of angry republicans that want to defeat the Clintonian mentality and will go out just to make sure she has less chance at the same time young democrats who wanted real change will rather not to vote.

  31. turcopolier says:

    Is he supposed to be representative of something? pl

  32. Farooq says:

    My favorite mongol precepts are from Babur (mongol from his mother’s side)
    Babar ba aesh kosh
    kay alam dobara neest
    (Babar, make merry for you will not have this world again)
    Another one about his regret after he swore not to drink again:
    “Everyone regrets drinking and swears an oath. I swore the oath and regret that”
    I got a very old copy of Tuzk-e-Babri urdu translation from my maternal grandfather’s( a timuri mughal himself) little library. It is short and sweet. Here is an online English version:

  33. Daniel Nicolas says:

    Perhaps all Kerry intends to gain is personal? He gets to look like the tough negotiator, R+6 continue their campaign, and he gets to tell obama that we’re not backing down but let me work my magic. Nothing actually changes but when the city is fully restored to peace, he can claim that he was part of the strong negotiation team that helped end the war in Syria.

  34. bth says:

    Kerry couldn’t be clearer that there will be no peace in Syria with the person of Assad in power. That is probably one commitment that will be kept. Everyone has a veto on peace in Syria.
    We should perhaps be looking at the wider picture and asking why Lavrov is smiling, why Russians are parking motorized divisions on the western border against the deployment of battalions by NATO toward the east, why aircraft brushoffs are beyond Cold War levels and why the Iranians are stoking up the rhetoric again, particularly with regard to Gulf transit routes, without obvious external provocation. These matters are culminating into something later this year and Kerry and Lavrov act like big picture guys who realize that one or both of them won’t be at the table a year from now.
    And I would just assert that Obama is a known commodity to Putin and that Hillary or Trump offer wildcards that are unnecessary if matters in Syria and the Ukraine and sanctions with regard to Russia are resolved to some predictable conclusion between August and the November elections. Kerry will want his legacy.
    Maybe Iran is tied to the body of Assad more than Russia. Maybe Iran made commitments to Russia it didn’t keep early this year. Maybe if Iran claims to be able to create a land corridor clear to Lebanon they ought to prove it. Does Sadr really want Iran that vested in Iraq? I doubt it. Nothing like getting a mob to kick down the blast barriers and let them stroll around the Green Zone to make Sadr’s point.
    A three to six month gaming cycle like was done last November might be fun.
    Aleppo is a piece in a bigger puzzle and no party in Syria or Iraq has the manpower to tip the scales beyond localized advances. I think this is why matters like Aleppo seem so perplexing to us watching intensely but from afar.

  35. bth says:

    Slightly off topic, political and financial market news out of Turkey has gotten interesting. Look for activity tomorrow.

  36. different clue says:

    I remember the Muhammad Ali sidekick being named “Bundini Brown”. I remember that from having read Hunter S. Thompson articles about Muhammad Ali . . . and Hunter S. Thompson wrote memorable articles.

  37. turcopolier says:

    Richard Armstrong
    He does not have enough service to retire. He will just leave with no benefits. pl

  38. Fred says:

    I think there are more angry “anti-establishment” voters within the base of each party than the alleged leaders admit too. The GOP establishment spent months being beaten by them.

  39. BraveNewWorld says:

    I remember when Kerry was nominated Secretary of State and the usual news sources went on and on about this incredible career he had with all this foreign affairs experience and how he was going to be the greatest Secretary of State since the Nixon Administration.
    Turns out not so much, but thanks for finally admitting the US never even tried to get their Jihadi buds to compromise.

  40. Tyler says:

    Not sure whether you’re being autstically myopic or engaging in DOOOOM mental masturbation. Either way knock it off.
    Trump’s “America First” foreign policy means no stupid wars for no reason. The man isn’t going to open himself up to easy attacks so he can assuage internet commenter “Babak Makkinejad”.
    Look who he has running for the fainting couches. There’s your answer.

  41. Tyler says:

    Trump and Putin are both alphas. Alphas respect each other’s territority. Not sure how you read “position of strength” as anything more than a good idea.

  42. kooshy says:

    IMO, if you are a Shia muslim in ME, regardless of one’ ethnicity or background, you would have no stronger ally, backer suporter than Iran, no matter if you are Nassorlah, or Sadr, there is no choice or alternative, Iran will be your only ally, and the ruling Sunnis and their suporters in the West will be your enemies. IMO this fact has not and will not change anytime soon. Actually since the Arab sprint and 06 Lebanon war unfortunately, this is getting more intense and more dangerous, to the point that now major powers are directly involved facing each other with guns going at opposite direction. IMO Sadr has no choice other than Iran.

  43. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Sadr cannot afford to go against either Qum or Najaf – which are not going to let Iraq slip from the hands of the Shia – after more than 1400 years of illegitimate Sunni governance.
    Qum and Najaf can “de-frock” and de-legitimize him in an instant. He has gone to Tehran for “consultations” – by the way.
    To your “looking at wider picture”:
    Both the European Union and the United States consider Russia, Iran, and ISIS to be adversaries. There is no give, as far as I can tell, in those positions – based on reading the available Internet Sources.
    If I am correct in my surmise, we should expect the war for control of Syria to continue even after ISIS is destroyed by R+6 in the next 4 or 5 years since the antagonism against Russia and Iran will continue to persist.
    I do not see an end to this cycle – with or without Trump as US President – until and unless the Big 3 – US, Russia, and China – would be willing to negotiate a peace to replace the defunct Peace of Yalta.
    I think China and Russia are willing – I do not think US is yet ripe for that.
    Call it the Peace of Makkinejad – who first articulated its desirability on this forum.

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Mughals’ claim of being descendants of Mongols was a sham – it was based on the sham claim of Timur the Lame to be a descendant of Chengiz Khan.

  45. different clue says:

    I am not Republican, but I don’t like the Clintonian mentality much myself either. A new meme came to mind ( even as I will fitfully try to relaunch “outside the Borg” from time to time. And it came from the phrase “more fun than a barrel of monkeys.”
    If Trump is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, then Clinton is more trick than a barrel of Nixon.

  46. Tigermoth says:

    Thank you

  47. Ingolf says:

    The patient, consistent Russian approach provides quite a contrast. For example, here’s a few quotes from Lavrov’s most recent interview:
    “We are satisfied with the joint work performed by the Russian and the US military. Daily video conferences are held between the head of the Russian Reconciliation Centre in Hmeymim and his American counterparts based in the Jordanian capital. A Joint Centre for Rapid Response to Ceasefire Violations will start operating in Geneva today or tomorrow. It will be an ongoing shoulder-to-shoulder 24/7 operation. US and Russian information sources will provide real-time data to this centre. The officers working at this centre out of Geneva will have an instant and objective picture and, most importantly, a common view of the situation.”
    [. . .]
    “It is noteworthy that during the ceasefire coordination process on Aleppo (to reiterate, its modalities were determined the day before yesterday and it should be brought into effect as soon as possible), our US partners attempted to define the boundaries of the silence zone” so as to include a significant part of the positions held by Jabhat al-Nusra. We managed to exclude this as absolutely unacceptable.
    However, again, this suggests that someone wants to use the United States (I do not believe that it is in the US interests to shield Jabhat al-Nusra) to take the heat off this organisation. In this context, I should mention what I referred to earlier, i.e., the information pointing to the unseemly connections between the Turkish leadership and ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.”
    [. . .]
    “The actions of Turkey as the main instigator of this talk about “security zones,” plan B and other aggressive aspirations betray expansionist motives not only as regards Syria. The Turks are still staying in Iraq and have a troop contingent there without the consent of and contrary to the demands of the lawful Iraqi government. They are saying that they have introduced their troops in Iraq to consolidate its sovereignty and territorial integrity. What can one say to this? There is nothing to comment on. These neo-Ottoman aspirations – to spread one’s influence and absorb territories – manifest themselves fairly strongly.
    In general, this is brazen conduct. Do you know how many times the Turks violated Greek airspace last year? About 1,800 times, and over 200 times in April 2016 alone. Nobody in Brussels and no NATO commanders ever mentioned that a NATO member regularly violated the airspace of another NATO member. Such connivance at this clearly expansionist conduct may have a bad end.”
    [. . .]
    “Question: Do the Americans hear our signals? How seriously do they perceive Turkey as a factor that can further destabilize the situation?
    Sergey Lavrov: I think they understand everything perfectly well but “of course, he is a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” This is how they regularly describe their friends that are not famous for good behavior. Obviously, they do not want to bring the quarrel out of the NATO cottage although this is a huge problem.”
    [. . .]
    “It’s possible to enumerate a great many elements of [Syrian] state structure, in the form of questions addressed to us. But afterwards one should not say that we will support whatever decision, federalisation, autonomy, etc. We will support any decision the Syrian parties make. That is what our position boils down to. They should conduct the talks independently, for which they have a framework outlined by the UN Security Council, and the available experience of the coexistence of Syrian ethnic, political and religious groups.”
    The critical points of principle are quietly made again and again, month after month, year after year. BS is called out, generally diplomatically, and all the while the door to cooperation is unobtrusively left open.

  48. johnf says:

    Heads up for David Habakkuk
    Valery Gergiev, the great Russian/Ossetian conductor who performed in South Ossetia immediately after the Russian deliverance of it and backed Putin on The Crimea, will be performing with his orchestra in the ruins of Palmyra on Thursday according to the BBC.
    I wonder if they’ll be playing Shostakovich’s 7th?

  49. steve says:

    Somewhat along those lines, Trump has endorsed the expansion of Israeli settlements.

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So you are telling me that Trump will eviscerate America’s Love Affair with Israel, reign in the Cold Warrior, and open a new chapter of comity and amity on this planet?
    We shall see.

  51. The Beaver says:

    Speaking of dictatorship
    Turkey PM Ahmet Davutoglu to quit amid reports of Erdogan rift
    Scuttlebutt: The Sultan may want his SIL Berat Albayrak to be the next PM . All in the family (guess son Bilal is mud these days since he is mixed up with ISIS oil)

  52. Matthew says:

    steve: Political pragmatism means saying “Israel is always right” while running for office takes Israel off the table in American politics.
    Trump also said he wants to be “even-handed.” No one knows what Trump would do in Palestine if elected.

  53. Matthew says:

    johnf: They should play Alexander Nevsky (battle on the ice) while rolling into Aleppo.

  54. Tigermoth says:

    It would appear that the US has a different methodology:
    ‘US spending millions on ‘Aleppo is burning’ PR campaign to create no bombing zone’
    “…Firstly, the US Defense Secretary is using language that doesn’t actually apply to this conflict. He is doing this to try to re-frame the narrative. He is calling it a civil war. This is not a civil war by any stretch of the imagination. It ceased being a civil war back in 2011, maybe early 2012, but after that it is anything but a civil war. This is a conflict, it is a proxy war.
    What you have is the US will do what is called a ‘strategy of confusion’ in terms of public relations. So John Kerry is the good cop, he is there with Sergey Lavrov trying to hammer out a peace deal in Geneva. And Ash Carter is playing the bad cop – he is making inflammatory statements that are trying to characterize Russia as a bad guy. And then President Obama might have another statement that he does, and the State Department spokesman will say something else. This is what the US does constantly; this is their strategy of PR confusion, so that no-one knows exactly where they stand on any of the issues. This is used to basically obscure and cover up what is essentially a dirty war going on the ground in Syria right now…
    …We’re looking at a public relations war. The US and George Soros have spent millions of dollars over the last couple of weeks launching ‘Aleppo is burning’ – it is a PR campaign, designed to get people behind a no bombing zone. So the ‘no-fly zone’ became the ‘safe zone’, and now it is a ‘no bombing zone’. This is a public relations war with a level of sophistication we’ve never seen before.”

  55. bth says:

    Perhaps correct, but how would this land corridor that Iran is talking about to Lebanon actually be created if there aren’t enough Iraqis to hold the roads west of Baghdad open, much less through western Syria? Perhaps Iranian troops through Iraq? I really doubt the Iraqis will tolerate that Sunni or Shia.

  56. bth says:

    Isn’t there a difference in opinion about the role of Iran in Iraq between the Badr folks and the Sadr folks? One being more Persian and the other being more Arab in orientation? Please correct me as I would not pretend to be nuanced on the subject. I’m just not aware of Sadr encouraging direct Iranian involvement in Iraq since the US left at least and he has certainly come out against the corruption and anti-Sunnism of the recent Iraqi government. Again I defer to your opinion.

  57. Max H says:

    Does anyone have an opinion on Seymour Hersh’s claim that Hillary Clinton approved sending Libya’s Sarin to Syrian rebels?

  58. Ulenspiegel says:

    “I do not see an end to this cycle – with or without Trump as US President – until and unless the Big 3 – US, Russia, and China – would be willing to negotiate a peace to replace the defunct Peace of Yalta.”
    Is this an attempt to be funny or is this a the result of a serious “analysis” on your side?
    How do you assume China and Russia could decide European matters; Europe is not longer a accumulation of individual states, even if you do not understand this.
    Let’s hope that the leaders in China and Russia show more intelligence that you. 🙂

  59. bth says:

    The locals in Syria will probably appreciate a free concert that marks Putin’s territory like the Ukrainians and Poles appreciate a periodic touring visit from Putin’s Night Wolves motorcycle club.

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    EU is the hand-maiden of US, let us not kid ourselves here.

  61. Fred says:

    “Think outside the Borg”

  62. FB Ali says:

    Thanks for the quotes. One would never read any of those in the Western media. As Tigermoth says, there seems to be a massive PR campaign being waged by the West.
    Lavrov (and Putin’s) sensible approach contrasts sharply with the confusion and mendacity underlying that of the West.

  63. Bill Herschel says:

    Seriously, you’re wrong.
    Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution, sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, vests in the Congress the power to declare war, in the following wording:
    [The Congress shall have Power…] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.
    The War Powers Resolution (also known as the War Powers Resolution of 1973 or the War Powers Act) (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548)[1] is a federal law intended to check the president’s power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was adopted in the form of a United States Congress joint resolution. It provides that the U.S. President can send U.S. Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, “statutory authorization,” or in case of “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”
    The War Powers Resolution requires the President notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without a Congressional authorization for use of military force or a declaration of war by the United States. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding a presidential veto.
    The Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Pub. L. 107-40, codified at 115 Stat. 224 and passed as S.J.Res. 23 by the United States Congress on September 14, 2001, authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. The authorization granted the President the authority to use all “necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11th attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups. Yet nearly 15 years later, the AUMF remains operative and has become the basis for military actions against innumerable individuals, organizations, and nations with no involvement whatsoever in the events of September 11, 2001.[1]

  64. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Answering your questions: –
    1 – Of course there are differences of opinion there.
    2 – My understanding has been that it was Iranians’ intervention that saved both Baghdad and Irbil. And let us not forget the role of Ayatollah Sistani – an Iranian – in the politics of Iraq since 2003.
    In my opinion, many people underestimate the role of the Doctors of Religion in Najaf and in Qum in the politics of Iran and now Iraq.
    Iran exists because of Shia religion and I think that there is something like a consensus that Iraq is to remain Shia – that the rule of Imam Ali is to be restored in Iraq.
    Sunni Arabs, broadly speaking, are clearly not accepting the Shia rule. That does not surprise me for they would any day take Ma’awiya over Imam Ali.
    All of these are religious issues having to do with “What is Justice?”
    I think Western Diocletian people have managed to confuse themselves by claiming to have established a religion-free politics and thus are unable to grasp the essential religious nature of all political struggles – which is “What is Justice?”

  65. Barish says:

    Funnily enough, that motorcycle tour was a fairly international event last year in Poland itself:
    Not to mention their eventual arrival in Berlin:
    As for the orchestra in Palmyra, recording’s up here:

  66. Max H,
    Where does Hersh write that in the article to which you link?
    The claim that he implicated Hilary in supplying sarin from Libya was made by Eric Zuesse in an article which appeared on the ‘Strategic Culture Foundation’ site.
    (See .)
    This refers to an interview with Hersh on the ‘Alternet’ site, following the publication in book form of the article to which you link, and three other critical articles which initially appeared in the ‘London Review of Books’.
    Taken together, the seminal importance of these articles – and they may be the most significant Hersh has ever written, which is saying something – is more apparent than if they are read separately. I would strongly recommend the volume to all here at SST.
    The interview with ‘Alternet’ is extremely interesting, as also is a subsequent interview Hersh gave to ‘Democracy Now’.
    (See ; .)
    Nowhere in any of this material can I see any suggestion that ‘Hilary Clinton approved sending Libya’s Sarin to Syrian rebels’.
    In fact, however, this brings us back to a puzzle relating to Hersh’s crucial article entitled ‘The Red Line and the Rat’ Line’, originally published in April 2014, and reproduced in slightly amended form in the book.
    Consistently, Hersh has told us that, according to his sources, the key tests on sarin samples from Ghouta which made it possible for the then – and unfortunately no longer – CJCS General Martin Dempsey to prevent Obama launching air strikes against the Syrian government forces came from the British defence science laboratory at Porton Down.
    In the original ‘Red Line and Rat Line’ article, Hersh suggested that the analysis involved was the kind of complex process which would be required, had the sarin used at Ghouta come from facilities in, for example, Libya: that is, industrial facilities specifically designed to produce chemical weapons.
    However, in another interview with ‘Democracy Now’ he gave shortly afterwards, Hersh suggested that the tests carried out at Porton Down established the toxin used at Ghouta was ‘kitchen sarin’: that is, the kind of material one might expect if those producing it had lacked proper production facilities and appropriate ‘precursors’.
    (See .)
    There is, however, a plausible explanation for the change.
    As it turns out, in the wake of the initial small-scale incidents in March 2013 where it was claimed that the Syrian government had used sarin, it was reported in the ‘Times’ that MI6 had recovered ‘environmental samples’ for testing at Porton Down.
    (See .)
    As it happens, a technique known as mass spectrometry has come on by leaps and bounds in recent years. It enables enables scientists like those at an OPCW- certified laboratory at Porton Down, or its Russian equivalent, not simply to identify the presence of sarin in ‘environmental samples’, but also to establish a great deal about how it was produced and its likely origin.
    Accordingly, a good ‘working hypothesis’ is that MI6 had handed Porton Down evidence enabling them to establish that a ‘false flag’ was at issue, without realising they had done so. So when in July 2013 the Russian U.N. Ambassador presented the results of his country’s OPCW-certified laboratories tests on samples from one of the early incidents, it would have been apparent to the people at Porton Down that these were accurate.
    This would explain another apparently baffling feature of the ‘Red Line and Rat Line’ story – the suggestion that samples from Ghouta obtained from a Russian sources were regarded as reliable.
    It seems likely that Porton Down and those aware of the results of their tests knew that a ‘false flag’ had been attempted, and a fresh such attempt was likely, weeks before the Ghouta atrocity – and may well have been part of a multinational effort, involving people in the United States, Britain, and Russia, designed to ensure that it could not be used to rush us all into a new disastrous war.
    Here, meanwhile, the recent interviews with Hersh add a critically important element to the story. In these, it is suggested that the briefing to Dempsey came from Sir Peter Wall, who was Chief of the General Staff – that is, head of the British Army. It did not come from the Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Nigel Houghton – but then, he had only recently taken over the job.
    All this makes still more puzzling, what from the British end of the affair, is one of its most remarkable aspects: the fact that the Joint Intelligence Committee provided Cameron with an ‘assessment’, according to which there was no plausible alternative to Syrian government responsibility for Ghouta.
    If General Dempsey had evidence from General Wall in time to tell Obama by the evening of 30 November 2013 that this was flat out wrong, it is not clear how Jon Day, the then chairman of the JIC, could have told Cameron the precise reverse on 29 August.
    (See .)
    The ‘prima facie’ case for a conspiracy, on someone’s part, to mislead the House of Commons gets stronger and stronger. And – in the days when officials in this country had some respect for constitutional government – it was taken for granted that this was an extremely serious offense. Legally, it still is.
    Another important point to emerge from the recent Hersh interviews has to do with the results of tests carried out, when the sarin stocks from the Syrian government arsenal were destroyed on the U.S. Navy ship the ‘Cape Ray’ in mid-2014.
    This, it appears, had been specially equipped with systems to ensure their safe destruction which were developed by the U.S. Army’s OPCW-certified facility at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.
    (See .)
    According to Hersh, tests carried out on these stocks – whose destruction took approximately six weeks – showed that their chemical profile did not match those from the Ghouta samples tested. As the destruction was finished by mid-August, this definitive evidence would have been in the hands of U.S. officials by early July, if not indeed substantially earlier.
    In the interviews, Hersh tells us he intends to write further on this evidence.
    A plausible explanation for the change in his account of what the Porton Down tests revealed, I think, is that scientists there, and people in Defence Intelligence, behaved with great courage in frustrating another attempt to lie us into a disastrous war.
    However, as they have very rational reasons to fear the revenge of the human vermin involved in this attempt – among whom I would include Obama, Kerry, Clapper, Cameron, Jon Day and many others – they do not want to see what they did made public.
    All that said, the fact that we have every reason to know that much of what appears in the Western MSM is lies does not mean that we should gullibly accept Russian ‘information operations’, such as that in which Eric Zuesse is involved.
    On a sidenote, it was a great relief to me to hear of the role of Sir Peter Wall. I had begun to think that the notion of an ‘officer and a gentleman’ had lost most of its meaning in this country. One should not rush to judgement.

  67. Matthew says:

    FB Ali: It’s not propaganda, everyone know MSF has 50,000 volunteers in rebel-held Aleppo and everyone else is a civilian, even if they inadvertently carry MANPADS or fire TOW missiles.

  68. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Maybe not Timur Leng, but DNA testing has shown that Genghis has many descendants indeed. Per Wikipedia, these folks usually have a predilection for fur hats, a desire to have axes hanging above their front doors, are slightly overweight and have occasional visions of screaming Mongol hordes. ( ).
    Ishmael Zechariah

  69. Tyler says:

    Stop with the silly sarcasm. The neocons are apoplectic for good reason. If you want to be the FP version of a Rothbardian libertarian, arguing about the legality of traffic lights and unable to see the forest for the trees, be my guest.

  70. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Rosalyn Carter stated that Americans prefer War to Peace; I should think that she knows the mind of her fellow countrymen better than I would.
    Furthermore, I heard from this woman Trump-supporter that she is pleased that Trump will unchain US military to kick ass abroad.
    And lastly, are you telling me that author of the “Art of the Deal” is not amenable to some deal with Shoah Cultists?

  71. Serge says:

    A major IS assault seems to have occurred at the Shaar gas fields, which to my memory has not been threatened to any meaningful degree since the action back in november(?) 2014. Dozens dead, large stores of ammo and heavy weaponry left behind by the Syrians. Footage of Russian helos heading to Shaar 3 days ago:
    Meanwhile, the chorus cries of “IS Assad cooperation” grow in cadence. I don’t expect this loss of control to last, given the importance to government infrastructure.

  72. Matthew says:

    And there is this inconvenient truth. See
    To separate Al Nursa from the FSA is to give Aleppo to Assad. The FSA guys are the one guy in each fighting group firing the TOW’s. Al Nusra are the hundreds of armed guys standing behind him.

  73. turcopolier says:

    IMO we have to ask if Kerry is 1 – demented or 2- making a side deal with Lavrov over Aleppo. pl

  74. Kooshy says:

    Babak IMO this a good and a fair view comment, thank you , I totally agree Iran was revived because of shah Ismail and enforcing the Shia Islam to free and distinguish Iran from the Khalifs and sultans of the majority sunnies.

  75. Kooshy says:

    Thank you for your reply, cunterary to a view you hold, this is not about a land bridge or struggle to establish a on land link from Iran to Mediterranean Sea, it is centuries such a link has not existed. IMO this is about incremental improvement, establishing as well as defending to hold, newly acquired influencial gains, like defending Asad and future of Syria from removal, as a symbol of defying western dictates on ME future, keeping a Shia goverment in Iraq, etc. Iran doesn’t look at this, as a Shia vs. Sunni war, which for her is a losing game, Iran looks and promote this as a resistance to a centuries long western hegemony which is common in all Muslim streets everywhere, so as long as Iran can show she is truly resisting the western designs for the Muslims she remains safe and can insert influence even on Sunni streets. To them this is an easy and an inexpensive exercise to be exist, it was in this context that Iran wanted to get out of the nuclear issue, it had become a distraction after the Arab springs.

  76. Kooshy says:

    Ishmael Zechariah, can you tell us what’s up in Turkey these days, did the president Erdo pull a palace coup against the parliamentary system? Against his own party? Where is his suport, if not from his own majority party, to be able to do this.

  77. bth says:

    It might also be that Kerry is articulating the aspirations of Saudi Arabia or Turkey with regard to Aleppo. Whether he means it or not could be anyone’s guess. Kerry is not demented.

  78. kooshy says:

    Fred you are right but I think, (and I know the Dems better then I Know Reps politics) there are more street level angry Dems then are Reps, plus, motivationally it is harder to get the left liberal Dems to polls.

  79. Farooq says:

    I specifically mentioned that Babur was descendant of Chingez from mother’s side. His paternal lineage was from Timur. Timur’s claim to being Chingez’s descendant is controversial(and probably made up), but Babur’s chingezi descent from mother’s side is beyond question.
    His maternal grandfather Yonus Khan was great khan of “mughulistan” a Chughutai Khanete and there is no controversy i am aware of, about him being a descendant of Chingez.
    By the way if you read Tuzk-e-Babri you will note that Babur wasn’t too proud of his Chingezi heritage. It was mainly because of the betrayals he suffered during his struggle to control what he considered his rightful domains. There is a Persian couplet on the margins of the book, translated as follows
    were the mughul race angels, they would be bad
    written in gold, the name mughul would be bad
    being a “mughul bacha” is a meme in urdu poetry which roughly translates to being a trouble child.
    When Babar and his companions descended on sub continent and took over, that is when the locals gave them the tag of mughul (corruption of mongol) and it is not what they choose for themselves. The later Mughuls probably used it as an embellishment but that was not the case from beginning. From what i vaguely recall , when he was in exile in the lands of maternal grandfather the turkic term he used in Tuzk-e-Babri for his timuri party translates to “son in laws”.
    When i had my dna tested i was surprised to find related individuals from xinjiang, central asia and russia show up in my matches. When we got back my mother’s results, her matches were choke full of such individuals.

  80. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You have omitted the fact that West, A.K.A. NATO states, A.K.A. Western Diocletian states have been unable to articulate a credible positive view of the future to Muslims
    For example: Mr. Obama’s vision of his 2008 Cairo Speech has failed to materialize for the Arabs.
    It reminds me of what this fellow wrote in Al Ahram Weekly during Bush II Presidency:
    “US policy towards Iran is carrots & sticks, US policy towards Arabs is just sticks.”
    I recall one of the other commentators at that time – Leila Abu Sabah (dead of cancer) – took umbrage on that statement.

  81. bth says:

    This article in the NYT about how foreign policy is being shaped 140 characters at a time is just extraordinary and worth a read in full.

  82. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    The AKP gang is now occupied by infighting. tayyip did execute a coup against the “duly elected” prime minister davutoglu who “resigned”. See:
    This had been expected for a while. tayyip’s goal is to take Turkey into a “presidential” system like the USA, where he will be the president, sultan and everything else. Useful idiots like democracy whores, liberal imbeciles, globalists, NGO functionaries, pseudo-intellectuals and other trash are now tring to explain their past support of tayyip-the-Muslim. An internal reckoning is going on within the office corps of the armed forces where gulen supporters are being neutralized. The economy is in trouble, with the Russian Embargo truly hurting quite a few sectors. tayyip might try to blame davutoglu for the Sukhoi incident, but this will probably not work with Putin. If it pans out, tayyip will get a boost from the removal of EU visa requirements for Turks; I think tayyip is useful for the ruling clique in EU and they are trying to keep him in power. A lot will depend on what will happen in Syria in the coming months. We are all watching Aleppo.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  83. Max H says:

    Sorry, I linked to the wrong article. Thank you for that through response.

  84. Tigermoth says:

    David, I concur with you on Eric Zuesse, I think it was something he wrote re the Donbas war that made me suspect. So I use a large portion of salt when reading his writings, and warn people not to stand behind me.

  85. Tigermoth says:

    “a “presidential” system like the USA, where he will be the president, sultan and everything else.”
    It may work like that now, but I’m sure that wasn’t the intention of the “Founding Fathers”.

  86. Barish says:

    Might this be if not Kerry’s “Plan B”, then that of his “allies”, the GCC-club and Erdoğan? Let loose the dogs of war that is Nusra and company?
    “Jihadist rebels capture Khan Touman, Al-Khalidiyah in southern Aleppo By Leith Fadel – 06/05/2016
    The Jihadist rebels from Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham captured the strategic towns of Khan Touman and Al-Khalidiyah on Thursday night after a violent battle with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary).
    Initially, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies were able to repel the Jihadist advances at Khan Touman and Al-Khalidiyah; however, they were unable to hold on for long after the Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham overwhelmed them with sheer numbers.
    In addition to capturing Khan Touman, the Jihadist rebels also seized Tank Hill, which is located directly east of these towns. According to a Syrian military source, the SAA lost a total of 17 soldiers during the battle while the total casualties from Hezbollah and Harakat Al-Nujaba are currently unknown.
    The source added that 30+ Jihadists were killed, including the commander of Jund Al-Aqsa (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) “Abu ‘Aisha.” Fighting is still ongoing in southern Aleppo; however, the loss of Khan Touman is devastating for the government forces because of its proximity to the Aleppo-Damascus Highway (M-5 Highway).”
    As I recall, the place was captured by SAA and allies in December last year, along with a good chunk of other places in the vicinity, so it’s not impossible that this will be reversed.
    Yet, add to that the noise made about a supposed “air-strike on a refugee-camp” – for reference, see here:
    and the rage about the “hospital” in insurgent-held districts of Aleppo, and one is under the impression that renewed PR’s supposed to lead into something bigger.

  87. robt willmann says:

    Babak M.,
    You say that “we should expect the war for control of Syria to continue even after ISIS is destroyed by R+6 in the
    next 4 or 5 years since the antagonism against Russia and Iran will continue to persist.”
    The phrase, “the war for control of Syria” is exactly right. This is about controlling Syria and which outside country is going to control it.
    Sec. State Kerry just continues to give the game away, as the referenced NY Times article says–
    “He repeated the United States would never accept a transition that included Assad. `If Assad’s strategy is to somehow think he’s going to just carve out Aleppo and carve out a section of the country, I got news for you and for him – this war doesn’t end,’ Kerry said.”
    Think about that brazen statement by Kerry. Those are the words of gangsters. The U.S. is going to decide what the government of another country is going to be and who is going to run it, and if they do not like it, the U.S. is going to continue to support a war there, and be sure that there is a war, until the other country capitulates.

  88. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, thank you for your comments.
    And from my perspective, there is no empathy in that position, nothing positive, nothing on which one can hang one’s hope on.
    Such statements only harden the other side – in this case the Shia, the Alawite, the Druze, the Christians of various stripes and the “Modern” Sunnis; all of them fearing for their lives, the honor of their womenfolk (at the hands of the jihadists) and their property.
    For those groups that I enumerated above, the war in Syria will be truly existential.
    Yesterday Ayatollah Khamenei publicly characterized US policy as being Anti-Islam, Anti-Shia, and Anti-Iran – in that order.
    And his foreign policy advisor, Dr. Velayati, stated today that “Assad is our red line.”

  89. Poul says:

    An excellent example is the capture of Khan Tuman today. al-Nusra is once again the spearhead of the rebels.
    drone footage of the attack

  90. Kooshy says:

    Well, IMO all sides involved in the Syrian crises, as well as informed news fallowers of the Syrian event like you and me already knew what mr Kerry said, for this group there was nothing new they didn’t know on what he said yesterday after his negotiable with the Russian FM. I thought he saying this things out of anger, if he was saying this things to scare the suporters of Syrian goverment that was childish and undiplomatic act, if he was saying this things, to confirm his side’ resolve and will to continue, to me that showed a sense of desperation, getting angry, for lack of options except for resorting to threats and bluffs, which IMO it’s not a good tactic, the western side needs to realize this is not a poker game.

  91. Kooshy says:

    Thank you for your comment, I hope Turkey don’t end up with another military coup, that will set her back in level of Egypt.

  92. Ulenspiegel says:

    “EU is the hand-maiden of US, let us not kid ourselves here.”
    You confuse a few things: For the EU the whole package is improtant, therefore, we still support the USA in fields where the support is clearly agianst our interests, however, there are more and more frictions, see TPPI.
    The other more disturbing aspect is that you do not want to understand that the basis of a sustainable strategy is an alignment of economic power with political/military goals; you want that the tail wacks the dog. 🙂

  93. Babak Makkinejad says:

    ” an alignment of economic power with political/military goals; ”
    I understand that theory.
    Tell me what EU is doing against Russia; at some point you guys must be ready to fight and die on the steppe; are you so prepared?

  94. jld says:

    Exactly, but the EU is “encouraged”:
    “NATO won’t surrender if Russia nukes Warsaw”
    Too many US top brass appear dangerously insane, or, is there a plan and method to this?

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