Russian ground forces in Syria? – TTG


As Colonel Lang mentioned, there are rumors that Russia would “respond favorably to an expected SAG request for Russian ground troops.”  This is just a guess, but I think the Russians are concerned by the uptick in the US-led coalition efforts to destroy the Assad government and Syria. I'm convinced that the US and the Saudis are hell bent on creating their safe areas for anti-Assad forces both in SDF controlled areas and along the southern border with Jordan. Looks like Trump's first foreign visit will be with his Saudi friends. He’ll probably be discussing one of the few foreign policy points that our agonizingly inconsistent President has been consistent on -  safe areas in Syria in conjunction with the Saudis.

Elijah J. Magnier laid out his interpretation of this growing coalition strategy in his recent article, “America is trying to block the path of the “Shiite crescent” from Syria and is preparing the ground for a “new Middle East”.”

I think we let the Turks bomb the Kurds to further drive them into a dependence on increased US presence in "greater Rojava." I think Russia should do all it can to weaken the YPG/SDF dependence on U.S. support. If the Russians shot down a Turkish plane or two over Rojava, that could cause this US gambit to back fire. 

I also get the feeling there is nothing we would like more than for the IS jihadis to overrun Deir ez-Zor. That would leave the path open for a jihadi safe area extending from the entire Euphrates valley to the Iraqi border. The only thing standing in our way is that bull of a Druze General and his boys holding Deir ez-Zor. The offensive to relieve that pocket is damned important. In light of the developing coalition effort to carve out a safe area, I now think the relief and/or reinforcement of the Deir ez-Zor pocket is at least as important to the survival of Syria as the the reduction of the jihadis in Idlib.

Israel is getting more blatant about their support for anti-Assad jihadis. It's probably all part of the coalition plan. And I doubt we and the Turks have given up on that jihadi-filled festering sore around Idlib. As many of us know, the R+6 does not have the forces in place to address all these threats at once. The Russians need to tip the balance soon.

In addition to these real and looming threats to the SAG, perhaps old Vladimir Vladimirovich has also decided it is time to send his own message to the West. Our Mudak-in-Chief sent his garbled message of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Maybe it’s time for Vlad to send his own clear and unmistakable message. Something like the deployment of the 106th Guards Airborne Division and the 45th Spetsnaz Brigade along with a substantial Russian Aerospace Force support package to rapidly and decisively address some of the R+6’s most pressing military challenges. 


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133 Responses to Russian ground forces in Syria? – TTG

  1. Marko says:

    ” I also get the feeling there is nothing we would like more than for the IS jihadis to overrun Deir ez-Zor. ”
    I think so too. There are reports that a U.S. drone observed ISIS “bureaucrats and administrators” travelling from Raqqa to Deir ez-Zor , with the drone’s job being to guarantee safe passage , I suspect.
    The rest of ISIS will follow ,no doubt, as soon as we can line up enough air-conditioned buses to transport them all.

  2. Peter in Toronto says:

    If only the Syrians could organize a few more units like those of Suheil Hassan and his Tigers, they wouldn’t have to rely on the unreliable NDF tribal militias and imported fighters.
    Linked below is a collection of some of the latest footage to emerge out of the south Idlib salient, showing a truly devastating application of firepower and maneuver against the combined Jihadist forces concentrated there:
    Over an hour long but well worth the watch; scores of tanks and heavy weapons abandoned, corpses strewn everywhere and footage of the Jihadists being driven into open fields and picked off. A hasty route, it seems.
    Not only have the Tigers and supporting auxiliaries reversed ALL of the Jihadist gains in recent weeks in Hama province, but they have pressed the offensive past lines defined back in 2015. Heavy RuAF pounding of the towns of Lataminah and Morek seems to indicate the target for the advance. If this keeps up they may even be able to seize the now infamous Khan Sheikhoun, scene of that alleged chemical attack.
    Too much progress however and we may see the White Helmets prepare another carefully rehearsed and packaged “chemical attack” package, delivered to the treacherous Western media to feed their regime change narrative.

  3. Yeah, Right says:

    Are you suggesting that a Russian airborne division be dropped into Deir Ezzor?
    If so then do Russians have the capability to do that in one hop, or do they first have to deploy the troops to Tartus and then hop from there to the besieged city?

  4. Yeah, Right,
    Deir ez-Zor may not be the proper initial objective. If it was chosen, I would use staging airfields at Qamishli, Aleppo and T4 near Palmyra. A ground thrust from Palmyra with at least a regimental battle group, maybe two, would be better than putting the whole division directly into and around Deir ez-Zor. I think that would be a more efficient use of airframes. Remember the Russians airlifted a sizable slice of the SAA 104th Airborne Brigade into Deir ez-Zor with Il-76 and Mi-17 from Qamishli in January. Some of the 45th Spetsnaz would probably deploy directly from their Russian bases on their equivalent of our special operations squadron airframes. Air landing would be preferable to air dropping, but a combination of both would probably be operationally advantageous. I doubt the entire 106th Airborne Division could be airlifted from Tula to drop into Syria with all their armored vehicles in one lift. Their armor, APCs and self-propelled artillery and mortars are significant. Even if it could be done, I don’t think it would be the wisest way to deploy the division.

  5. b says:

    From Washington’s perspective a large deployment of Russian troops would be perfect situation to give them another Afghanistan.
    But Russia can counter that in Afghanistan itself which the U.S. also alleges but which is not yet true. Just wait for the ATGMs … (Mattis telling Russia that it is against international law to arm insurgents is outright stupid. Doesn’t he know that the world has a better memory than U.S. TV hosts?)
    I had hoped for an Egyptian infantry division allied with Russia and the U.S. to take the southern Syrian border area up to Deir Ezzor and Iraq. It would be a perfect use of those Mistrals …

  6. Yeah, Right says:

    Many thanks.
    I assume there is little the USA could do to stop this. Short of an irrational response.

  7. Leonardo says:

    I don’t know… it seems to me that sending so many ground troops in Syria would be a big risk for the Russians. Tens, if not hundreds, of soldiers would start coming home in body bags.
    I’m not sure the Russian public opinion will support such a decision for long, even if at all.

  8. turcopolier says:

    I followed the Russian war in Afghanistan in great detail as one of the Washington end of the planning and support team for Mujahideen support (less the Sayyaf Group). IMO a Russian direct participation on the ground would not be like Afghanistan where the population was largely united in its hostility to the Russians and the small communist Afghan element in the population. In Syria, most people; Sunni, Shia, Alawi, Christian, Druze are backing the Syrian Government against the jihadis ans would look on the Russian reinforcements as welcome allies. pl

  9. Fred says:

    “Looks like Trump’s first foreign visit will be with his Saudi friends.”
    God help us. What has Saudi Arabia ever done for the US? For that matter what have they done for Trump?

  10. The Beaver says:

    It looks like 20 YPG fighters were killed during the Turkish airstrikes,18 fighters injured, 3 in a critical situation according to a Kurdish activist.
    According to the Turkish FM , the coalition was warned about the air strikes:

  11. plantman says:

    Mattis has been traipsing around the Middle east rallying the allies in Riyadh, Cairo and Amman (no trip to Ankara?)which suggests that something might be “in the making”.
    Deir Ezzor?
    Probably. But it’s pretty risky for Putin.
    Think of the politics. Putin needs to seem like a reasonable fellow to gain support in the EU so his pipeline deals go through. He needs allies and alliances, not leaders accusing him of war mongering.
    How will the deployment of Spetsnaz look in the headlines??
    It’s a tricky situation for Putin, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Russian troops on the ground within two weeks. Mattis and McMaster seem to be working very fast.

  12. Matt says:

    Maybe a stupid question but here it goes…..
    If a “safe zone” for jihadi’s is created, wouldn’t that make it easier to kill them?

  13. Phil A says:

    Petrodollars, of course!

  14. Alaric says:

    So where are the Iranians? I expect they will also increase boots on the ground to counter this latest neocon thrust.

  15. Marko says:

    It might be hard to tell when Russian troops are deployed to Syria , if this story is any indication :
    “Three Russians dressed as Syrian soldiers arrested by Lebanese Army”
    Al-Masdar News – 25/04/2017
    BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:20 P.M.) – Three Russians dressed in Syrian military fatigues were allegedly arrested by the Lebanese Army while trying to cross over from Syria, the Daily Star claimed this evening.
    The Lebanese Army has not issued a communique to corroborate this claim by the Daily Star.
    If these men are in fact Russian military personnel, this would be the first time that any foreign troops authorized by the Syrian government have crossed into Lebanese territory.

  16. turcopolier says:

    TTG et al
    IMO the size force you contemplate would be a good down payment. The 106th Guards Airborne Division has two infantry regiments with their vehicles and a Spetsnaz brigade is inherently a light force. Two MRDs (mechanized divisions) plus the airborne force are what is needed. pl

  17. Morongobill says:

    While we have 3 carrier groups steaming toward North Korea and a possible war there, now just might be the perfect time for the introduction of Russian ground troops directly into the fighting in Syria.

  18. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think this statement is inaccurate:
    “America is trying to block the path of the “Shiite crescent” from Syria and is preparing the ground for a “new Middle East.”
    It would be accurate if the word “is” is replaced by “was”.
    I think the strategic game in Syria is over and Fortress West and her local allies are acting on the margins.
    For this reason, I also do not think that the Russian Federation will introduce the level of troops that you are suggesting into Syria.
    By the way, I think it ironic that the clarity that Condoleezza Rice was talking about has finally been realized:
    We are facing, with clarity, the face-off between the Party of Ali and the Khwarej in the Levant and the Persian Gulf.
    I fail to see what strategic gains have befallen the Turks, the Gulfies, the Pakistanis and the Afghans – they all have significant “Party of Ali” minority populations and an emotionally charged religious confrontation only serves to erode their cohesion as functioning states and countries.

  19. Lurker says:

    The prophet Daniel predicts an end time king(dom) that claims exceptional and supreme status among the king(dom)s of the earth (the word usage here is adamah not eretz). Forgetting the God of gods, the God of his fathers, he will instead be dedicated to serve the god of forces (militarism?) and warmongering (Mars? Pentagram?). He will not even respect the desired of women ( apostacy from Christ?). He will magnify himself, blaspheme and do as he wishes for a time. He will even prosper excedingly until meeting his ultimate destruction. He will overturn (regime change?) almost all of the kingdoms of the glorious land (Middle East?) (here the word usage is eretz) and North Africa (using ISIS, false flags and deception?) including Lybia, Egypt, Ethiopia but will spare Moab, Edom and Amman (Jordan?). Towards the end times he will be troubled by bad news from the (far) East (North Korea?) and from the North (Russia?). He will be furious and try more destruction (59 tomahawk salvo in Syria and Moab bomb in Afghanistan?). But the king of the North (Russia?) will come at him like a whirlwind with chariots, horsemen and ships and the king of the South (“South” China Sea?) will come at him with a pincer movement. He will then plant his tabernacle in the midst of the Seas (a powerful armada?). Read Daniel 11:36-45 & Ezek 28:2&8 to know what is in store for him

  20. Eric Newhill says:

    We can be stupid together as I was pondering the same thing. Get them all in one area with the promise of safety, cordon it and then light up the entire zone with everything we have (+ Russia, et al). Why not?

  21. Fred says:

    Right. How many of those do you get in NYC real estate?

  22. Fred says:

    “.. could be related to a possible hotel …”
    Could be is such a nice phrase, especially in a year old article in the British press.

  23. confusedponderer says:

    “this would be the first time that any foreign troops authorized by the Syrian government have crossed into Lebanese territory”
    I’d be sceptic on this. Just because they say so doesn’t make it a fact or truthful. It could be just another narrative. Folks who follow a policy of ‘Hezbollah and Assad must go’ may just make something like that up.
    Thinking of that, the Saudis, beyond for example supporting ISIS, iirc have a couple friends in Lebanon. They would have the means/money to make something like that up, and they’d apparently have a motive.

  24. ISL says:

    for those who need to look these things up but are too busy (as I should be):
    MI-17 is a transport helicopter (to 36 persons, 2 tons internal, 2 tons external) that can be outfitted with weapons.
    Ilyushin Il-76 is a heavy transport airplane (140 troops) – 40 tons at 5000 km, and includes EW protection. It can take off from unpaved, short runways.

  25. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The only issue I have is this:
    Why have all these prophecies been so silent on Shoah; which, I should think, deserved at least a minor allusion in them.

  26. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    Agree and I would accentuate that “most people” also includes especially those people who have lived under the “mercy” of ISIS. As you have noted, ISIS are not fish that can disappear in the sea.
    Hopefully, the US would withdraw its Special Forces (outside of Kurdish areas) that are supporting the non-Kurdish anti-Assad forces as their position is likely to become untenable.

  27. Marko says:

    The French weigh in as the Kangaroo Kort starts laying out the warmaking pretext in all its glory :
    National evaluation
    Chemical attack of 4 April 2017 (Khan Sheikhoun)
    Clandestine Syrian chemical weapons programme

  28. pl,
    I fully agree. The airborne option carries the advantage of surprise. It would be a Pristina Dash times a hundred with even greater political and operational consequences. Adding two MRDs to help secure Syria once and for all is what is needed. Perhaps the Egyptians could assist wth their two Mistrals to move the MRDs into place.

  29. Fred,
    Saudis already pour millions into Trump properties. Trump established eight companies in Saudi Arabia during his campaign. I have no idea what they are for, but I’m confident it’s not philanthropy. Trump is only one of many Americans who have been kissing up to rich Saudis and other Gulfies for decades. Despite all his populist yammerings, Trump embraces neoliberal economics and now Borg foreign policy.

  30. Matt says:

    That’s what I was thinking but then again it can’t be that simple, can it?

  31. Matt says:

    Let me clarify, if the US creates a “safe zone” for jihadi’s Russia doesn’t have to recognize it. In which they would use the US’s plan to round them up for “safety” and then they (R+6) could kill them

  32. Eric Newhill says:

    Right, the US could agree at least to stand down, while the extermination happens.
    What’s weird to me is that the jihadists must be able to conceive of such treachery themselves. So, if they go along with US offered safe passage, there must be a lot of trust between them and the US.

  33. pmr9 says:

    The French “national evaluation” states that sarin samples recovered from Khan Sheikhoun were found to match samples collected from the Saraqeb incident on 29 April 2013. Specifically it asserts that DIMP (a by-product of sarin synthesis) and hexamine were found in both samples, and that hexamine was used as a “stabilizer” in Syrian military sarin stocks. Of course neither of these two chemicals are specific to one production process, and there are other possible explanations for presence of hexamine in a munition.
    Some brief comments:-
    1. The report is not attributed to any intelligence agency or committee, and the lab (which should be the OPCW-certified lab at Le Bouchet) is not even mentioned. I suspect this means that no intelligence agency or lab director was prepared to be associated with it. Can Patrick Bahzad comment on this?
    2. The Saraqeb incident was bizarre – the alleged munition was a riot-control grenade supposedly dropped out of a helicopter. There are many red flags associated with this incident, including the presence of Hamish de Bretton-Gordon and Ian Pannell of the BBC.
    3. For an agency trying to implicate the regime, it would have been preferable to link the KS attack to the Ghouta attack (where the argument can be made that the opposition couldn’t have carried out such a large-scale attack) than to link it with the Saraqeb incident. A possible explanation is that the original plan was for the UK to link the KS sarin with the Ghouta sarin, but Porton Down’s scientific staff refused to go along with this. The French lab was then brought in, but as they had no environmental samples from Ghouta, the match had to be with Saraqeb.

  34. Lurker says:

    I do not know, sometimes silence is priceless and more eloquent than a thousand words.
    I am intrigued by Ezekiel’s 38:11 within the prophesy against Gog of the land of Magog. In Genesis 10:2-3 we see that Magog is of the sons of Yapheth, one of the three sons of Noach, and brother of Gomer who is the father of Ashkenaz. This is not Russia but Turkic Caucasic people of Georgia, Armenia, Tartars who later migrated to Crimea and Eastern Europe.
    What is most intriguing is that the armed invasion of the Holy Land by Gog of the Land of Magog (note than in verse 15 the mighty army’s invasion is from the land of the North) occurs when there are no walls, security checkpoints, bars or gates.
    If this is so, the Gog invasion has already occurred because there is a gigantic security wall meandering through Area A and Area B throughout the Land of Israel. Today there are multiple security checkpoints, garrisons, gates and bars. So this prophesy fulfillment cannot be future but past.

  35. Jack says:

    It looks like the Russians are withdrawing half of their aircraft from the Latakia air base.

  36. turcopolier says:

    They are rotating aircraft. They have done it before. pl

  37. Jack says:

    Thank you, Sir, for the clarification.

  38. Marko says:

    My understanding of the linkages is that each of the four attacks has been matched up to at least one other , such that the conclusion will be that all four came from the same working stock. I don’t believe they can say that all four also match the stock that was destroyed on the Cape Ray , but they’ll wiggle out of that somehow – effect of additional aging of the current material , substandard storage conditions , etc.
    Yes , the argument that the grenade was dropped from a helicopter based on it causing a dinky little crater was a real stretch. Those grenades could have been launched with a big slingshot.

  39. Marko says:

    Yes , that could be. I only took note because Al-Masdar is pretty pro-Assad , so I figured they gave it the once-over. Needs confirmation , in any event.

  40. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well, have it your way but if I were a Jew, I could use some early warning regarding the catastrophe that was to befall the Jewish community in Europe during WWII at the hands of the secular governments there.

  41. FkDahl says:

    It looks like the TOW and Kornet pipelines are fully open again (my eternal gratefulness to the CIA for training jihadists in the use of these), and light Russian forces, such as BMD equipped airborne would suffer losses from this. Plentiful light artillery, CAS and countermeasures will be needed. A heavier force with T90 will be more robust … but was is the best force composition package?

  42. Kooshy says:

    TTG, with all due respect I don’t believe Borg’ forign policy and neoliberal economics can be separated, IMO one is prerequisite to the other, which is neoconish, and as far as I remember this whole new policy mentality started with the fall of USSR and, “we are the world”, Clinton administration posture.

  43. Kooshy says:

    I think TTG, is right, battle for the Syrian Iraqi desert, still it’s not over, there is straight line from Iraq’ Shih south near PG through eastern desert to Qaim, to Dier el Zor, to Palmyra to Latakia, the west wants to eliminate any possible access through south east desert. As Said in Persian “speaking of fun, is half the fun”

  44. Kooshy says:

    Babak by the way that’s the shortest and the most economical gas pipeline you can get from Assaloyh/PG to a Mediterranean port you can get.

  45. fasteddiez says:

    The US shot callers are scared shiiteless that the Saudis and Gulfies will abandon the petrodollar, and convince the Brics and others to dump US T-Bills and go to a monetary gold standard or a petroyuan. I am not hip enough in that realm to know if that is feasible, but others on energy and fiscal sites seem to think this is possible, as well as being welcomed by other countries who believe that US bonds’ time has come to being dumped, Big Time.

  46. fasteddiez says:

    I believe that there are already small units of “Spetsnaz” units in country. The term Spetsnaz encompasses all manner of specialy trained units.

  47. fasteddiez says:

    In the case of rounding them up for safety,(if doable) they can board the green bus express caravans to Idlib province, where they can be killed later. I understand they have taken personal weapons along. How do you say “Hey Good buddies, it looks like we got us a convoy?”

  48. Ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Koshy: “TTG, with all due respect I don’t believe Borg’ forign policy and neoliberal economics can be separated”
    I agree with this 1,000%. The FIRE (finance, insurance, real estate) sector of the Borg has been driving US foreign policy since the dawn of the 20th century.

  49. fasteddiez says:

    Sorry, I meant to add after the last word “convoy,” in Arabic.

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You need to look at the map and measure the distances involved in pumping gas from the offshore fields of Qatar, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria – to Turkey and beyond.
    That length of hypothetical pipeline cannot be secure under conditions of general war, proxy war, or anything in between – Arabs do not have enough soldiers to do so.
    Already, the oil pipe lines on the North and Northeast of the Arabian Peninsula remain exposed to sabotage, let alone constant bombardment by those who do not like the Gulfies one whit.

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They can roam that desert as much as they like, I agree with Col. Lang that the action is in Idlib.
    I did not suggest the war for the control of Syria was over, early in 1943 it was clear that Germany had been defeated; it took another 3 years to crush it.

  52. Bill Herschel says:

    This is an incredibly important point. If it is true, it is a game-changer. If Russia deploys troops, the only way they fail is by being bombed by American jets. Will that happen?

  53. kooshy says:

    FYI, Colonel Lang, I understand my state’ liberal west Hollywood rep. demand here, but how is that your state’ senator, who ran for queen Borg’ VP job is now suddenly showing spine, and demanding legality for attacking Syria. Jalal Khalegh
    Members of Congress Demand Trump Provide Legal Justification for Syria Attack

  54. Sam Peralta says:

    “The US shot callers are scared shiiteless that the Saudis and Gulfies will abandon the petrodollar, and convince the Brics and others to dump US T-Bills…”
    This is a canard continuously perpetrated by the “petrodollar” conspiracy theorists.
    The Chinese have been liquidating billions of dollars of US Treasuries for many quarters now. Yet, has had no impact on the UST bond market. There is no other fixed income market as deep and liquid as USTs. That is the main reason why in times of financial distress investors prefer short-term US Tbills.
    Note the title of the article linked below. Typical hysterical click-bait. But the real info is buried.
    “Foreign central banks have combined to liquidate a record $405 billion in US treasuries, and China is selling off the most US paper it has since 2011. The wholesale liquidation of US Treasuries has been continuous, according to newly released TIC data.”
    Take a look at the data.
    The fact is despite this $billions liquidation of USTs by foreigners, the market has actually rallied this year.
    Now, holding USD which is different from USTs (as currency exchange rate risk can be hedged) is a function of confidence in the currency. The question then always is if USD is sold what currency would you want? Euros, Yuan, Roubles, Bolivars?
    The “petrodollar” and “reserve currency” collapse of the US financial system is just a big hoax. But it gets a lot of ink particularly by all the anti-American conspiracy theorists. Not any different than all the economic determinists who claim all US foreign interventions are due to some economic imperative. The real financial system issue is growing systemic financial leverage not just in the US but on an even grander scale in China, and in particular the role of central banks in breaking price discovery in financial markets.

  55. Bill Herschel says:

    Russian troops on the ground in numbers in Syria. No matter how it is treated on the American side, ultimately there will be a conflict between American planes and Russian planes, unless the US simply adopts hands off.
    If such a conflict occurs, there are several possible outcomes, only one of which will satisfy DT and his handlers’ wishes: complete air dominance (safe zone) by the US.
    Is that what the US believes will occur? Is it even remotely possible that it will occur?
    And, if US planes are shot down by Russian planes or SAM’s what happens next? War in Syria between the US and Russia? War between US and Russia in Russia?
    What has Moscow calculated is the most likely outcome?

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is nothing economically liberal in their religious-like support for the State of Israel; C’est une question de cœur pour les Occidentaux; Souhaitant toujours imiter le Grand Roi de Perse.

  57. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think it predate that, you need to go back in time to the period of the Puritans.
    Once the Puritans crushed the South, they were home free…

  58. Alaric says:

    I think you overestimate a neocon’s spinal density. I expect the neocons will back down once Russia (or china) puts its collective foot down. The neocons probe with mischief to see how much they can get away with. If they succeed then they try something slightly more daring next time so forth and so forth.
    The US has no legal right to be in Syria. They US electorate is not going to support a war with Iran let alone with Russia, except a few BMW driving brainwashed “new democrats,” who really believe in CNN but they ain’t sending their kids to war with Russia or going themselves. Russia needs to say enough is enough and put boundaries on the neocons (and on the saudis for that matter). Putin’s approach of letting the neocons fall on their own sword has produced desirable results (immigrant chaos in Europe, over extension of US troops, a Russian victory in the propaganda war) but its time to say no to the dangerous neocon children.

  59. kooshy says:

    Well you are right, but like the deal with Nabucco, if you can’t build or justify to build your own, it doesn’t mean you will allow or want others to build theirs. Here are couple of maps, the Shia (majority) crescent is rather straight line from southern Iraq to Lebanon (ancient shia pilgrimage route between Lebanon and Najaf), the weak point is the empty desert east of Palmyra.

  60. Kooshy,
    Yes, the Neocon foreign policy and the neoliberal economic policy do seem to go hand in hand, but this unholy alliance predates the Clinton administration by decades. I believe it started when we were the last man standing after WWII.

  61. Bill Herschel says:

    DT = Napoleon III

  62. kooshy says:

    Russian FM Lavrov and Saudi’ FM Chihuahua (named by colonel Lang) have badly clashed over Syria and Iran, funny in the presser what Lavrov said regarding American and French having proof, Syria did this recent chemical attack.
    “We were secretly told that our American partners have conclusive evidence, allegedly a list with names of officials and military people who sanctioned the use of chemical weapons and other facts. But they naturally can’t share this data since it’s confidential,” 
    “At the same time, French intelligence claims that samples allegedly collected at the scene of the attack in Khan Shaykhun showed that “there is no doubt that sarin gas was used” and it was produced in Syrian labs, AFP reported on Wednesday. The same claim was made by the UK ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft earlier in April.
    In this regard, Moscow wants to know where did the UK and France get the samples from, Lavrov said, wondering why no other member of the international community except for Paris and London know about these samples and the analysis results.

  63. James,
    TOWs are no longer guaranteed tank killers with the current crop of Russian active defense measures. TOWs were touted as our savior technology since the 80s when we faced the 3rd Shock Army in the Fulda Gap. They are dangerous, but far from invincible.

  64. EEngineer says:

    Under normal circumstances I would tend to agree with you, but I’m beginning to think the “Borg” analogy is actually closer to truth than fiction. If it is, then we have a situation of group-think where the individuals that comprise it are trying to one-up each other and there is no one individual that can say stop. Trump? Doubtful. He seems to have already folded. If Paul Craig Roberts’ latest podcast is anything close to the mark, he’s just along for the ride at this point. If that is the case, the only matter in doubt is the time and place of the spark that sets of war. Not good…

  65. FkDahl says:

    I don’t know about the Fulda gap but I would have been lucky to have as many TOWs as the pet jihadists seem to have. Using them on troops or BMPs would have been seen as sacrilege!

  66. fasteddiez says:

    Sam Peralta, Thanks for the info. I am in Bond funds and have not dumped them ….. not very much $$$$, naturally. BTW what internet sites are solid for News on Treasuries? Thanks again.

  67. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    I had high hopes about president-elect Trump. Especially since those who speak like he did usually end up sacked by their own people for not living up to their promises (Gracchus brothers someone?). He seemed to know that. Now he is killing all my hopes one by one. Looks like no hope, no change in american politics.
    On the other hand the more he acts the more he looks like Zaphod Beeblebrox from Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. I mean getting elected as president to support your property investments? Even though this rumour may not be true, given his erratic behaviour people believe it.
    Hope he does not have a second head hidden below the first one just because its fun.

  68. Old Microbiologist says:

    I agree with you mostly. The petrodollar is key to US economic influence and any efforts by oil producing countries have always resulted in some form of regime change at the behest of the US. On the other hand floating the currency requires investors to have confidence which is key to fiat currencies. Trump represents a destabilizing influence and investors could move away from the dollar only if there is some other currency available. But, the Euro, British Pound, and Swiss Franc are all tied to dollars so whatever affects one affects all the others as well. As you say there is no real alternative yet. As they say if America sneezes the world gets a cold.
    However, other factors are in play and all are caused by suicidal decision made by the US. The sanctions against nations, in particular Russia, by preventing international currency exchanges through SWIFT are forcing many countries to consider alternatives. Because every international financial movement of dollars ges through New York Federal Reserve many individuals and businesses are being prosecuted for violating US banking laws. That is an unfortunate decision and adds impetus to moving away from the US financial systems. SWIFT was established to be apolitical but it’s use now as a political tool is forcing the development of complete alternatives. This was done foolishly by the US and the end result will be loss of control and very likely separate financial systems. Add in the World Bank and IMF which are completely controlled by US banks (Goldman) and the picture gets a lot worse. The Russian alternative SPFS is up and running now and soon their alternative to VISA/Mastercard will be functional as well. China already has an alternative in place as well. The New Development Bank is the BRICS alternative to the world bank. Every bit of this was forced through aggressive economic warfare by the US and these countries are fighting it tooth and nail. Who will win is anyone’s guess but it was all precipitated by nutty US foreign policy.
    As the US applies increasing political and military pressure to Asia and especially China, it will nudge them closer to Russia yet again. I believe any overt action against North Korea will be the final nail in the coffin and China will be forced to choose sides and show some cards. Up to now they have been trying to play nice with everyone all the time slowly progressing their cause. The economies of Russia and China if combined can overwhelm the US system and it is possible that China can just suck up the loss knowing that it would bury the US which more or less makes nothing (in comparison) being almost entirely a consumer society now.
    Many “enemies” of the US or countries being harassed with NGO-funded color revolutions are increasingly switching sides. The neocon fantasy of US global hegemony is being actively resisted. However a close look at some places like Venezuela and Brazil show how this resistance can end up to their detriment. China is very quietly coming in behind the disruptions caused by the US and slowly increasing their influence. The US plays the world game only one move ahead and can only see a few days in the future. China see centuries ahead and if you look at it carefully it is obvious they have remained on task moving very gradually forwards towards whatever goal they have in mind. I believe completely that once they get the upper hand Communism will return in full force and the useful idiots who built the capitalistic system in China will be quietly erased.
    Lastly, I believe that should the US be stupid enough to attack North Korea that just as quickly Taiwan will be invaded and the Donbass incorporated into Russia. We cannot fight major powers at all, especially if tied up in another stupid war. It is for this reason alone I believe Russia will hold off on deploying forces into Syria. Once the Korean situation defuses which is what I think will happen as soon as people wise up in the Trump administration, then we will see Syria finally resolved and a refocus (hopefully) on domestic issues.

  69. Tel says:

    Never forget the basics: Russia is the means, not an end in itself.
    The Neocons will have plenty of backbone to demand large quantities of US taxpayer’s money. They don’t want to die, what would be the point when you just got the loot and can’t enjoy it once you are dead?
    On those legal points I agree with you, so it just remains to find a US Court interested in reading the law rather than playing politics, and we all know something like that must exist… somewhere.

  70. Not an irreproachable source but it is suggested here they were Jihadis:-

  71. Pundita says:

    I can’t recall when it first occurred to me but sometime last year I noticed that in all the countries where governments conspired to take over Syria and destroy Assad, terrible dislocations had arisen. Even tiny Israel, which until last year hadn’t overtly moved against Assad, was hit by a wave of macabre knife attacks that were psychologically devastating to the populace.
    Some of the turmoil in these countries was easily understandable. For example, after Russia exposed Turkey’s role in Islamic State’s illicit oil smuggling, this cut into a large revenue stream for the Turkish government, and so Erdogan turned to blackmailing the EU — threatening to unleash an even larger wave of Syrian refugees into European countries if the EU didn’t pay billions of euros to his government.
    Other situations were less understandable — in Britain, France and United States. But as sociologists and political scientists struggle to explain the turmoil that has beset these nations, there is the coincidence that the nations are all deeply engaged with trying to take over Syria or break it up and topple Assad’s government.
    Indeed, it seems that the more they have tried to destroy Syria as a single state, the more their own states experience deep divisions — divisions that threaten to tear apart their societies and destroy even the nations themselves.
    While pondering all this I remembered an incident in Mecca in September 2015. A freak wind arose during a storm, ripping loose from its moorings a massive construction crane parked next to the Grand Mosque and flinging it like a toy into the mosque.
    What was not shown in most of the photographs taken by Western photojournalists during the aftermath was how close the crane had come to smashing into the Holy Kaaba.
    The Saudi government blamed the construction company for not properly securing the crane. But from an engineer’s account the crane was as well secured during the storm as it had always been when not in use.
    Saudi clerics poo-pooed reading anything into the incident, but which even the blind could see was a very bad omen.
    I then recalled it was not long after the incident that Saudi Arabia’s financial situation became desperate.
    A chill went up my spine. All the governments involved in trying to break up Syria that were experiencing great turmoil were also deeply involved with Saudi Arabia. Even Israel had gotten deeply involved with the kingdom. And of course the kingdom itself was trying to gain control of Syria.
    I then tried to recall everything I knew about the ancient region called Syria that predated Islam, which wasn’t much.
    I will tell you what I concluded. I perceive signs that I would interpret as pointing to cataclysmic events in the Middle East that are beyond mortal ken. This would include the ken of geopolitical analysts and military/intelligence experts, religious scholars, etc.
    Indeed the maelstrom may have nothing to do with the human race but in the manner of running into a buzzsaw humans have somehow stumbled onto traces of it.
    If this conclusion is in the ballpark what can the government of the United States do at this late hour? What can other Western governments do? I think those who saw Wolfgang Peterson’s “The Perfect Storm” would know the answer.
    The difference is that a nation is not a fishing boat, so some of us, maybe even a fair number, have a chance to survive whatever that supernatural perfect storm is in the Middle East, and which seems to have something to do with the region of Syria.
    I can tell you one other thing. If I’d been a Muslim and I’d been in that mosque when the crane came flying in, after checking to see whether I was still alive with no broken bones I would have said to myself, “You know — this is a really good time to study the holy book, say my prayers, and mind my own business.”
    I am willing to bet there were Muslims in that mosque at that hour who were thinking the exact same thing. We may have such people to thank for the fact that the human race is still here.

  72. Seamus Padraig says:

    I’m afraid you have it backwards, plantman. If Putin wants to keep selling oil/gas to Euro-stan, he CANNOT allow them to dismantle Syria in such a way that would enable the construction a pipeline up from Qatar/KSA through the Levant and Turkey and on into Europe. So if NATO goes ahead with some idiotic plan to break up Syria, that would probably force his hand.

  73. Sam Peralta –
    A third of a trillion annual trade deficit with China.
    The Wall Street Journal says it doesn’t matter:-
    Like everyone, I’m conditioned by my background so I see the Chinese-American trade relationship like this –
    If your company has an important customer who’s in difficulties you don’t suddenly stop trading with him. That’s too disruptive at your end because he’ll just stop paying what he owes you. In addition you have to lay off workers in a hurry. Better to keep supplying, tapering off if possible, get at least some of the debt back, and keep the workers on. With any luck the customer might recover anyway. That does sometimes happen.
    The Chinese can’t possibly just turn off the tap. It would wreck their economy and they’d lose the money owed. As things are they get to keep the trade going and will get their money back. It’ll be paid back in what will be in the long term greatly depreciated dollars but that slow loss is easier to cope with than a sudden loss.
    The old saw still applies. Owe a hundred dollars and the creditor owns you. Owe a trillion and you own the creditor. In fact, speaking figuratively, America and China own each other in that neither can damage the other without damaging themselves.
    A lot of ingenuity is going into keeping the crash we’re in a slow crash.
    The financial fixes needed look frightening from the outside and probably keep the people on the inside awake at nights. But it’s the only way to avoid disruption. It would be a mistake to imagine, however, that the fixes are a permanent solution. The problem is that the underlying flow of goods and services is out of balance. The fixes might smooth out the necessary adjustments. They can’t avoid them.
    Best would be if the Chinese and the Americans got together and worked out how to bring that flow of goods and services back into balance. It would be a difficult transition, matching a slow redeployment of Chinese workers with a necessarily slow rebuilding of the American industrial base, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be doable. Maybe that getting together is happening behind the scenes but it looks most unlikely. It’s even possible that Trump’s much advertised rebuilding of the American economy was itself just so much hot air. The American political and administrative apparatus is so locked up anyway that it might not even be possible even if Trump did mean it. In that case it’s going to be a bumpy ride to the bottom, and not just for the United States.
    That’s how I see it. Maybe you see it more accurately. Even more hopefully. I wouldn’t object if I were wrong.

  74. Peter Reichard says:

    Plan A through at least three administrations has been the overthrow of Assad. Resigned to its failure due to Russian intervention Plan B has been implemented to salvage a partial victory. A partition of Syria is in order with a Kurdistan in the NE and a Sunnistan in the SE to break the dreaded “Shia crescent” and to fragment and weaken Syria along the lines of the Yinon Plan. While Idlib is the locale of the greater existential threat to the Syrian government, neglecting the east at this point risks the loss of the eastern half of the country. The northern half of a two pronged eastern offensive by linking up with the Kurds has already successfully blocked a Turkish advance further to the south. The beleaguered Deir-i-Zor beckons. The vast, sparse yet sparsely defended southeast will soon be in contention and determine if the country will remain whole. ISIS may soon abandon Raqqa and attack Deir-i-Zor, the SAA needs to get there first.

  75. turcopolier says:

    Peter Reichard
    It is not a question of “neglecting” any region but priorities must be set for survival f the Syrian state. pl

  76. LondonBob says:

    Agree with all of that but would add that it isn’t just US T bills it is the gargantuan size of the US bond market as a whole along with the very high level of legal enforcement. This is, and will, sustain itself for a long time after the US is surpassed as the dominant world power.
    The Russians won’t put more troops into Syria, they don’t want to emulate the West (or also in their minds Afghanistan) and they believe the job is being done as it is.
    No reason the Russians should be too bothered by the Turks hitting Kurds. More delays to the Raqqa operation and more fallout amongst US allies.
    Of course if the Russians were really out to get the West then they would be actively encouraging the US to sink their blood and treasure into another Mid East quagmire.

  77. LondonBob says:

    My assumption is that with the SAG controlling Daraa and DEZ that these ‘stabilisation zones’ aren’t really feasible and that in the long term they aren’t sustainable anyway as the SAG could slowly seek to regain them through armed uprisings etc. fully supported by international law? Also Iraq remains a mess and will do so for awhile after ISIS is ‘defeated’ so I don’t see that the resources and public acquiescence are there to support such an enterprise.

  78. turcopolier says:

    I forgive your ignorance. That was intended as humor. Civilians tend to focus on the notion of something like: ONE TOW = ONE DEAD TANK. The idea being that one class of weapons cancels the effectiveness of another. The pictures of rebels firing TOW contribute to that, but it does not really work like that. There have always been anti-tank weapons and they have rarely prevented the maneuver of large armored formations of tanks, APCs, recon vehicles, etc. The 88 mm German general purpose gun was a fine weapon but Germany was nevertheless overrun by Soviet and Western armored forces. Casualties must be accepted in warfare and they are not likely to prevent the maneuver of a determined advance. You will have noticed (I hope) that the SAA Tiger Forces are not prevented from advancing by rebel TOW. BTW, it was never expected that the advance of Group of Soviet Forces Germany (GSFG) could be long prevented by the assembled conventional forces of NATO. GSFG was a heavily armored force and the expectation was that after a few days, they and the follow-on forces behind them would break through. pl

  79. The Beaver says:

    @ Babak
    La raison pour laquelle ils ont changé le nom du Golfe Persique (datant plus de 2500 ans) pour le Golfe d’Arabie ?

  80. John Trainor says:

    Very interesting Lurker. Those last verses in Daniel 11 are surely nearing fulfillment. For 150 years many students of Bible prophecy have seen Turkey as the King of the North – recent developments are sobering.
    Turkey Is Now An Islamic Caliphate In All But Name
    The Beginning of the Erdoganian Caliphate
    A Jerusalem caliphate? A third Jihad?
    According to an ancient Bible prophecy, the answer to both questions is Yes. A reasonable and commonsense interpretation of that prophecy makes clear that Islam will indeed achieve its Jerusalem caliphate and set in motion its third Jihad: “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain. . .” Daniel 11:45.
    What does this prophecy mean? And what will happen when the Muslim world—now 1.6 billion strong—unites under a restored caliphate in Jerusalem? The answers are set forth in the pages of this compelling book.
    Jerusalem Caliphate and the Third Jihad

  81. SR Wood says:

    Slightly off the subject but do you consider there are any differences between the “borg” vs “the deep state”.
    Nearly Half of Americans Believe In the ‘Deep State’
    April 27, 2017 By Taegan Goddard
    A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 48% of Americans believe in the concept of a deep state — i.e. “military, intelligence and government officials who try to secretly manipulate government policy” — and 35% dismiss it as a conspiracy theory.
    The belief is very bipartisan. While 45% of Republicans believe it exists — perhaps believing it is undermining Trump even as we speak — 46% of Democrats also believe it exists — perhaps hoping it is undermining Trump even as we speak.

  82. turcopolier says:

    SR Wood
    “Deep State” and “the Borg” are shorthand IMO for concepts that people are struggling with. these concepts are, as yet, unstable. For me “Deep State” implies an actual conspiratorial group WITHIN the government itself. It seems to me that neo-liberals and neocons are sufficiently aligned within the holdover presidential appointees and senior civil servants to justify their description as a conspiratorial group that shares broad objectives and that cooperate to achieve them. I don’t think there are many military officers in that conspiracy. They have other priorities that are not compatible with close linkages to civilians. “Borg” is a much larger concept. That construct would include the Deep Statists as well as the large number of people in the MSM, Silicon Valley, academia, the finance industry who believe that history has ended and that America is destined to lead humanity toward a utopian future. pl

  83. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Envie – parce qu’ils ne avait pas une culture ancien…
    Aussi, ignorance; ils ne pouvait pas compris que l’iran est le centre do leurs civilization .

  84. Valissa says:

    For a good mundane definition of the Deep State in the US (as opposed to the Turkish version which is conspiracy oriented), there is a great book by ex-Republican and ex-congressional staffer Mike Lofgren explaining the current state of the very large, complex, gov’t bureaucracy that exists today and how it is intertwined with corporate America. This book sold well and was reviewed on many MSM sites when it came out, so I think Lofgren’s definition of the Deep State has become widely known and referred to in the media.
    This book is aimed at a general audience, so no special background required to read it. Bill Moyers has interviewed Mike Lofgren a couple of times, so recommend looking those up as well.
    The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, by Mike Lofgren
    One of the reviewers at Amazon shared their understanding of the term “deep state” after reading the book…
    “In a nutshell, the Deep State as Lofgren describes it is a combination of elected and appointed members of the legislative and executive branches; and corporate insiders, especially the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley. Together, fueled by enormous amounts of money, they effectively control the country, regardless of which party is in power or the wishes of the electorate. Lofgren believes the ‘Deep State’ in its current form began with the Manhattan Project during WW II.”

  85. Lurker says:

    Hi John, I think that the “he” in the last verses of Daniel 11 is a conflation of NATO-Jihadis-Saudi Arabia-Turkey-Gulfie’s sheikdoms, Jordan and Israel. Yes, it is a caliphate. Yes, it is based both in Jerusalem and in the midst of the Seas (formidable Armada in the NK peninsula).
    I was reading that in spite of the insults hurled at him by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia during the presidential campaign, the Goldman Sachs Saudi business peddler Dina Powell et al are convincing POTUS to go to Saudi Arabia.
    Trump doesn’t want to go as he is a proud man but money talks….If the USA is truly in very deep financial dung then Trump will have no choice but to eat humble pie to go and assure his Petrodollar partner and sell some MIC hardware.
    As a result, I see greater number of wars of choice in MENA causing famine, pestilence and death like in Yemen, Somalia for the control of the gulf of Aden…..Iran for the control of the strait of Hormuz.
    On the other hand, I see great risks for this Formidable Armada in the midst of the Seas both in Daniel 11:45 and in Ezekiel 28:2&8

  86. Bill Herschel says:

    My own feeling is that the Emir got as far as Poitiers before he was defeated. Today the Emir has conquered Washington and taken as hostages the entire American populace as well as all of Europe. He has been defeated once in Chechnya and is now being met in Syria.
    Tell me what the difference is between a foreign worker in Saudi Arabia and an American citizen. Richer? Not in fear of being beheaded tomorrow? Perhaps. Living off the crumbs of the Saudi dictatorship and at their pleasure? It’s up to you to decide.
    I advise thinking about the fact that DT will visit Saudi Arabia as President as his first trip abroad. Clinton would have been marginally better. She could not have been worse.

  87. jld says:

    Oh! Dear!
    Not, not, not the kind of insanity to be welcomed in an already confused situation!
    There has been a few other such delirium from Lurker and Babak about prophecies in this thread.
    I don’t believe myself in all this “supernatural bullshit” but I do fear that true believers will somehow try to “implement” the prophecies when they see an opportunity, like ISIS with the Dabiq battle.

  88. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It does not explain why Denmark is the enemy of the Party of Ali.
    Nor why Spain is also.

  89. Lurker says:

    I have noticed this too and can say that there is an ancient Peace treaty that has been broken now between Yaacov and Laban “the Syrian” in Genesis 31:51-55. The memorial of stones is called Galeed (heap of witnesses) and Mizpah (watchtower) and in transliterated Aramaic Yagar Sahaduta (heap of witnesses) the guarantor is the Elohim of Avraham, the Lord of hosts. As a matter of fact, Avram is called a Syrian Deut 26:5. Regardless, the prophet Isaiah 19:23-25 tells you that Assyria survives the onslaught of her enemies.

  90. Razor says:

    Putin has said clearly that the next war will not be on Russian soil.

  91. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Of course it does.
    They are a strong ally of the Deep State (not the US!).

  92. Fred says:

    So yes, thanks to 8 years of the big O we have sharia in America which you so kindly point out. I have not heard a peep out the Democrats nationally or locally over the female genital mutilation occuring in America:
    “Clinton would have been marginally better.”
    I don’t think so. She would already have had us at war in Syria and Ukraine, opened the borders to more illegal immigrants and ignored North Korea.

  93. Fred says:

    Zaphod’s job wasn’t to wield power but to distract attention away from those who did. I don’t think DT has done that but he did show just how powerless Paul Ryan was as speaker with that disaster of a repeal-replace act Ryan had years to get ready for. He’s also managed to curtail immigration quickly without having to lay a single brick in the wall. He is also allowing the Democrats to show they the party that puts foreigners first. I don’t think that is going to help them in 2018.

  94. Valissa says:

    Babak, I understand your standard gripe in this regard, and agree with you.
    My snarky reply to your question is…
    “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
    A more serious answer is NATO (and I know you know this!), and to a lesser extent the UN. Here is one article on that, from which I have excerpted the closing paragraphs.
    NATO and the Bananazation of Western Europe
    Some believe that NATO’s activities and its very existence conflict with the spirit of the UN, while others maintain that NATO is an essential operating arm of UN collective security, with knowhow and extensive high-tech weaponry.
    In the classical “banana republic,” the United States controls crucial foreign and/or domestic policies of another nation through ties with its military and intelligence institutions. Only now, there is resistance in the lands where bananas grow, while “social democratic,” “neutral,” and reputedly “pacifist” countries of Western Europe are slipping into bananazation. Ordinary citizens have strong anti-war feelings and continue protesting, yet the military, political, and corporate elites of Europe have increasingly become dependents or confederates of the US military-industrial complex.
    The major European gov’ts seem quite content to be vassals of Pax Americana. Plus, if they had to pay the full cost of their “military protection” they probably would have less generous social safety nets. It’s not a bad trade for the Europeans when you look at it that way.

  95. turcopolier says:

    Why is it that Canadians are so vituperative toward the US? Is this a variation of the old Porfirio Diaz statement, “Pobre Mexico, tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca a los Estados Unidoes”? I think I banned you as an enemy rather than a commenter seeking to enrich our understanding. I don’t want you here. Do you understand that? pl

  96. Ghostship says:

    One threat the Russians and the Syrian government has to be wary of is a military coup if certain units in the SAA end up too capable. As a recent event, the detention of a $500M ransom, in Baghdad has shown, money talks and the Qataris and probably still the Saudis have access to enough of it to buy any Syrian general. Assad may be allowed a certain amount of ndependence by the Russians and/or the Iranians but he clearly understands that without their support he will be gone. So the Russian advisers in the %th Assault Division are there to advise but also probably there to keep an eye on the loyalty of the senior officers to the SAG.
    Also, victory for the R+6 will come when the countries funding the proxy war decide that regime change just isn’t going to work at any price they’re prepared to pay.
    If the Russians or Iranians intervene with sizable forces, then the proxy war funders will wait until the Russians and Iranians go home and then increase the funding, so like America in Afghanistsan they can’t go home.
    If the Syrian Army increases the number of soldiers to a level that the Syrian government can’t afford, then the proxy war funders have won, just like will probably happen in Afghanistan.
    So I don’t think there will be a massive intervention in Idlib by the Russian and Syrians but now the war on ISIS has heated up with more American intervention, it would make sense for the Russians and/or Iranians to commit land forces to liquidating ISIS around Palmyra and Deir Ez-zor Governorate fairly soon releasing SAA units for Idlib because once the Caliphate is removed I really can’t see Trump allowing it to return even to facilitate regime change in Syria. If the R+6 end up with Hama and Deir Ez-zor Governorates then the “Shia Crescent” survives as a big FU to Saudi Arabia.

  97. Valissa says:

    “officials who try to secretly manipulate government policy”
    IMO, I think it’s “secretly” because it’s such a huge complex and interwined bureaucratic ecosystem and there is virtually no MSM reporting on it, and therefore no one knows much about it other than that it exists. Imagine all the hundreds of thousands of meetings between various members of the Deep State that go on all the time. Who could ever cover that? Things can be secret simply because they’re hard to see because they are deeply buried in a mountain of minutiae.
    If you go to Amazon you can find numerous books on the Deep State (often by former members) and often these books are reviewed on MSM sites, but in terms of investigative reporting sot so much. Certainly there is much that is classified information, so it’s officially “secret” but trying to understand this deep ecosystem requires some specialized knowledge to attempt to untangle the connections. Which is one of the things we do at this blog and why it’s so important.

  98. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Pretty good.
    Next time a European harangues me about Iran, I will just tell him:
    “I do not think it is your place, an inhabitant of a Banana Republic, to make judgements about how a sovereign state should run its business.”
    I know, I have to work on the delivery; make it a bit more concise and more rhetorically insulting.
    May be in Latin, it is more concise.

  99. Croesus says:

    I’ve been reading Scott Anderson’s “Lawrence in Arabia.”
    Neither the author nor Lawrence speculated on signs and portends.
    Anderson did, however, detail the intricate betrayals and back-stabbings; the underhandedness and deceptions — of self and others.
    Lawrence held the French to blame for many evil occurrences.
    British bureaucracy and racism accounted for a large share of death and destruction — not least of British warriors.
    Of Mark Sykes, Anderson wrote:
    “It’s hard to think of any figure who, with no true malice intended and neither a nation nor an army at his disposal, was to wreak more havoc on the twentieth century than the personable and brilliant young aristocrat from Yorkshire . . .”
    The gods require the minds and hands of man to put in motion cosmic — or evil — designs; the laws of nature play out for good or ill, but never in ways contrary to nature’s own logic. Sometimes those designs take the shape of a crane toppled by a windstorm; sometimes, the shape of a dapper Amateur diplomat.

  100. Valissa says:

    Looking forward to hearing from you about such an encounter 😉

  101. kooshy says:

    “if they had to pay the full cost of their “military protection” they probably would have less generous social safety nets. It’s not a bad trade for the Europeans when you look at it that way. ”
    Yes absolutely true , i have heard this exact words from many around europe, first time in late 70s from a german who was an auto engineer in Stuttgart. They know this well and they enjoy this free ride fronting, as long as is available.

  102. LeaNder says:

    Still puzzled by the second paragraph, or the part suggested behind the “thoughtful” dots. Is this what you have in mind?
    Both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis criticized Russian involvement in Ukraine. Mattis, appearing with his British counterpart in London, also called out the Putin regime for “mucking around” in other people’s elections — a particularly notable claim coming at a time when federal and congressional investigators are probing alleged Russian meddling in the US elections last November.
    “We look to engaging with Russia on a political or diplomatic level, but right now, Russia is choosing to be a strategic competitor,” Mattis said during a news conference with Michael Fallon, the UK defense secretary. He also said “Russian activity” in Afghanistan “gives us concern,” though he stopped short of saying the Putin government was arming the Taliban.

    Context, transcript joint news conference March 31 2017, Fallon & Mattis. Who is the general Mattis is alluding to?
    SEC. FALLON: A British question — (inaudible).
    Q: Secretary Mattis, one of your generals has said that Russia maybe — arming the Taliban in Afghanistan and there’s also the presence of Islamic State in the country. How concerned are you by these factors? And what will you do about it? And so Michael- the same question for you about Russia. And also, will the U.K. send combat troops back to Afghanistan as it steps in its global war post-Brexit? Thank you.
    SEC. MATTIS: We have seen Russian activity vis-a-vis the Taliban. I’m not willing to say at this point if that has manifested into weapons and that sort of thing. But certainly, what they’re up to there in light of their other activities gives us concern.
    I would — I would just say that we look to engaging with Russia on a political or diplomatic level. Right now, Russia is choosing to be a strategic competitor and we’re finding that we can only have very modest expectations at this point of areas that we can cooperate with Russia, contrary to how we were just 10 years ago, five years ago. It’s no longer a cooperative engagement with them. Right now, it’s when we’re going to have carve out diplomatically some kind of maneuver room here, assuming Russia can change its behavior and act in accordance with international norms and international law.

  103. Thirdeye says:

    Not likely. Like so many of the US-centered trade and financial arrangements, there’s a quid pro quo between favor in economic relationships and alignment on security. In things like TTIP and the theoretical TPP the US draws “partners” into its militarily hegemonic sphere with trade and financial deals that are highly favorable to them. They’re essentially bribes. In the case of the petrodollar the bribe goes from the Gulfies to the US to enmesh the US in their interests. And boy do those sons of bitches use that situation to their maximum advantage.

  104. LeaNder says:

    oops, haven’t checked if I closed the italics. I wanted to, but forgot.
    Pat, if I caused trouble, be so kind and simply delete both these mails. It was nothing but ‘loud thinking’ anyway. 😉

  105. Thirdeye says:

    Pretty good description of how the US is bringing about the Chinese Century double time. IMO China is the potential big winner with the Korean brouhaha, especially if China ends up playing a more direct role in the affairs of the North and/or the US ends up alienating the South. There’s already a lot of tension in the US-ROK-Japan arrangement, especially with resurgent arrogant nationalism in Japan that’s rubbing raw a lot of old wounds in Korea. Japanese diplomacy seems to suck as badly as it did during the Imperial era. China could be in a position to offer ROK an alternative if they can cool things down with PDRK. And anybody in ROK with any awareness knows that their most important economic relationship in the coming years is going to be with China.
    It seems all but inevitable that Russia and China, and probably Iran, will be forced into a pretty tight partnership by the blunders of western global elites, and it will be formidable. China would lose very little by turning away from the west and towards Russia for its tech partnerships. “High tech” and “Russia” don’t belong in the same sentence to a lot of people, but I suspect we’ve been underestimating them for years, even decades.
    I don’t see the Chinese “Communist” Party bringing back communism. They’re pragmatic technocrats and they will stick with what works best from a pragmatic standpoint.

  106. LeaNder says:

    Hmm, Puritans imitate the Israelis, via Cyrus the Great as in the Book of Ezra?

  107. Valissa says:

    Babak, in the course some research I discovered there is a slight problem with the idea of using Latin in this situation.
    Apparently they did not know of or eat bananas in the Roman Empire
    However, if one goes to Google Translate, there is a translation of bananas into Latin: Musa sapientum fixa. An interesting mix of words.
    Musa The genus Musa was first named by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.[2] The name is a Latinization of the Arabic name for the fruit, mauz (موز). Mauz meaning Musa is discussed in the 11th-century Arabic encyclopedia The Canon of Medicine, which was translated to Latin in medieval times and well known in Europe.[Note 1] Muz is also the Turkish and Persian name for the fruit.
    So eventually someone figured out how to say ‘banana’ in Latin, but it’s cumbersome not concise. Not sure why the fruit was considered wise (sapientum) 🙂

  108. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    DT’s promises divided by his actions equals dissapointment so far for an outsider like me.

  109. LondonBob says:
    None have been better at that than the East Asian countries, good piece by Eamonn Fingleton explaining why NK should be dealt with to free the Trump admin up to deal equitably with those nations and not gut the US economy in return for military dominance of the region.

  110. Lurker says:

    paraphrasing a very secular saying: those whom God intends to destroy are made mad first

  111. LeaNder says:

    thanks to 8 years of the big O we have sharia in America which you so kindly point out.
    Obama brought sharia law to the US? Now that is an interesting idea. How did he? With his speech in Egypt? Not going to Israel before?
    I was highly fascinated by the extend to which “Western Males” join the camp of our Western Feminists. But strictly it doesn’t feel that genital mutilation is part of ‘sharia law’. Or the Koran. You can enlighten me though. I am no expert.
    For whatever reason your link does not work for me. And notice, I haven’t read it.

  112. Agree with your analysis!

  113. Thanks for this analysis P.L.!

  114. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is poem in Persian – roughly translated:
    “Phoenix’s domain is not fit for the fly.”
    ای مگس حضرت سیمرغ نه جولانگه توست
    عرض خود می‌بری و زحمت ما می‌داری
    I need to ask for help to find some choice political insult in Latin literature in the same vein.

  115. Pundita says:

    So you didn’t like my campfire tale, eh? I didn’t mention the exact date and hour that the crane crashed into the mosque. So here’s more of the tale:
    “The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) insisted to the 9/11 Commission that fighters would have intercepted Flight 93 before it reached its target in Washington, D.C., but the commission disagreed, stating that “NORAD did not even know the plane was hijacked until after it had crashed” and concluding that had it not crashed it probably would have arrived in Washington by 10:23 a.m.”
    Also, the counterattack from passengers aboard Flight 93 launched at 9:57 a.m. The flight crashed at 10:03 a.m. The storm in Mecca that toppled the construction crane must have been nearing its height around that time. Moreover:
    “A strong thunderstorm developed over Mecca at about 4 p.m. local time Friday (9 a.m. ET), bringing gusty winds that shifted direction and caused the local temperature to drop from 42 to 25 degrees Celsius (107.6 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit), CNN meteorologists reported.”
    In other words, the storm arose just around the time the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 was steered into the North Tower at 1 World Trade Center, which was at 8:46:30 a.m.
    The storm in Mecca continued throughout the time that corresponds to the time of the entire 9/11/01 attack on Americans by purportedly devout Muslims.
    As to exactly when the storm ended, I don’t know; one news report noted that it initially hampered rescue efforts at the mosque. Photographs of ambulances taking away the injured show that the storm had as much ended by then. So the storm continued for some minutes after the crane toppled into the mosque, then stopped or greatly abated.
    The mosque was described by some news reports as one of the holiest in Islam, but Wikipedia’s article on the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) flatly states that it is the holiest mosque in the Mohammedan religion (as well as the largest).
    That would make sense because the mosque surrounds the most sacred object for Mohammedans, the Kaaba and its Black Stone, the viewing of which are the major goals of pilgrims to Mecca.
    As how close the crane tower or its massive hook came to smashing into the Kaaba — from the Daily Mail September 12 report:
    “Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Mansouri, the spokesman for the presidency of Mecca and Medina mosque affairs, said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency that the crane struck a circular area around the Kaaba and a nearby walkway.”
    So striking are the time convergences between the crane incident and 9/11 events that at the time some Muslims maintained the Americans created the storm that toppled the crane into the mosque.
    Yes, our thunderstorm machine is stored right next to the earthquake machine in a basement at the Pentagon, although I’d better insert a chuckle here because this era is not kind to sardonic people. No matter how broad the joke, whatever we say can and will be interpreted literally by those who can fall prey to certain kinds of superstition.
    Perhaps to this day Thierry Meyssan still maintains that the devastating earthquake in Haiti was done by an American earthquake machine, and very definitely he still believes the 9/11 attack didn’t actually happen, or was an inside job — a belief shared by “9/11 Truthers.”
    Goes to show that superstitious beliefs are by no means the exclusive province of the religious.
    However, many beliefs considered superstitious are rooted in the survival instinct and thus serve an important purpose if interpreted simply as a warning. I think that would be the case for the crane incident.
    The incident happened within hours of the opening on September 10 of the Flight 93 Memorial Center near Shanksville — 14 years after passengers on that flight managed to force down the plane, thus averting an attack on Washington, DC that would have been psychologically crippling to Americans.
    It also happened little more than two weeks before the Russians officially began air operations in Syria, on September 30 — a situation that informed observers believed would never occur.
    At the time of the crane incident I was focused on its connection to 9/11, and didn’t start paying close attention to Syria until after the Russians began air operations there. So it was only with hindsight that I saw the incident could be read as a warning to both the KSA and the USA.
    Both governments had accumulated a tremendous store of merit over periods of decades:
    Whatever can be said against the Saudis they have been very good stewards of the global economy and played a large role in helping establish the modern version of the global economy. And while critics of Wahhabism are loath to admit it, the Saudis have done a huge amount of genuine charity in some of the world’s poorest nations, and helped restore pride in Islam throughout the Muslim world.
    As to the United States, its role in rescuing the world from the ruins of World War Two is so great it is almost beyond reckoning.
    Yet just as with a rich man’s savings account, even the largest store of merit can be drawn down. When that happens, the bad actions of a government come into ever sharper focus.
    With the Russian intervention in late 2015 the true situation in Syria, and America’s role in it, was coming into public view. With that, it was becoming evident that the American government, in helping the Saudis attack Syria, was helping to destroy an ancient multi-confessional society, one whose present government was the only secular bulwark against the destruction of Christianity and other minority religions in the Middle East.
    From that point of view the crane incident at the Grand Mosque could be read as the strongest of warnings to Al Saud. If the crane had been blown just a few more feet, the most sacred object in Islam, the Kaaba, would have been destroyed or at least badly damaged. The very object that Al Saud was sworn to protect.
    The incident could also be read as a warning to the American government that its close alliance with the Saudis had, in the years leading up to 9/11, gone from self-destructive to where it was by 2015: a grave threat to the whole of humanity.
    Are these observations what you call “delirium,” jld? Then let me be delirious in the manner of the oracles of old when I speak to my fellow Americans: Turn back, turn back, before you and all you love are destroyed.

  116. Maha says:

    In the end game- at the very end- the US New World Order objective is to dump the petro-dollar and all currencies to bring in digital control via SDRs. So is it not actually consistent with their designs for the $ to go extinct?

  117. Maha says:

    Are they really steaming to Koreas? One was found to actually be off Singapore. Disinfo to media as it swims towards Persian Gulf? No Gen or anyone of significance has paid visits to VIPs in Japan, China, E Russia, Taiwan or Guam like the Gens have to Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi in recent days. More call up of reserve units to Kuwait, incl entire 35th Infantry Division of Kansas- first time since 1944. And many others. Dont here comparable troop deployments to Asia

  118. LeaNder says:

    Babak, I stumbled across allusions to the religious context, more then once. And yes, I surely remember Kiracofe’s comments here.
    Culver looks very interesting, and I remember Judis as an interesting dissenter on New Republic.
    Michael Hoberman, on a fast check, is a bit more difficult for me.
    citation starts at about 10:27
    “The second principle I mentioned is more important for the book, and that is, that American Protestants have always been fascinated by Jews and by Judaism. In early America their interest in Jews was in itself an eternally destabilizing force, and it helped to produce such an amount of argumentative discourse–among American Protestants (emphasis)–that it contributed inadvertently to the New Nation’s adoption of something that we call religious freedom.”
    I stopped here to look at reviews, wondering to what extend a lot of other factors may have mattered. Some on my mind, beyond his initial “lip service”, as he calls it, to Anti-Catholicism. Or that “the Jews” may have profited from that state of mind. Anti Anglican Church, theologically? But yes, obviously, that isn’t his task given the perspective.
    Random pick:
    Two reviews more randomly:
    Hoberman is not trying simply to retell the stories of prominent Jews in New England. He rightly acknowledges that other historians have already told those stories. Instead, Hoberman hopes to demonstrate that Jews had a “centralizing influence” upon Puritan theology and identity (p. 3). This reviewer was not persuaded that Hoberman’s study had the scope necessary to provide insight into something so unwieldy as Puritan theology and identity. His command of Puritan social thought lacks confidence and insight and is largely dependent on the summaries and interpretations of others. But if one restricts Hoberman’s ambition to the theological opinions of particular Puritans such as Cotton Mather or Ezra Stiles (two prominent case studies in his book), his study is more persuasive and his narrative more valuable.
    that’s what his statement made me suspect.

  119. Pundita says:

    I forgot to include in my previus comment an important quote from a news source:
    On September 11 a crane at a Binladen Group construction site crashed into Mecca’s Grand Mosque at a fateful moment. Yes this is the same construction conglomerate that is run by a brother of Osama bin Laden and founded by his father. But it’s the moment the crane crashed into the mosque that is the jaw-dropper.
    The incident happened at 5:24 p.m. local time according to Saudi Civil Defense Director Maj. Gen. Suleiman al-Amro. That means it happened at 10:23 a.m. on September 11 in the eastern part of the United States.
    To return to the account I provided earlier, if the passengers of Flight 93 had not taken over the plane, then according to calculations of the 9/11 Commission, it would have crashed into a target in Washington, DC probably at 10:23 a.m.
    You read that right. Fourteen years to the day after the crash of Flight 93, just a few hours after the Flight 93 Memorial was finally opened, a crane crashed into Islam’s holiest site and came close to wrecking its most sacred objects, the Kaaba and its Black Stone — and probably at just the moment Flight 93, if the hijackers had been successful, would have crashed into the American seat of government.
    For those who may be wondering, the official toll from the crane incident was 118 killed and 400 injured.
    Thirteen days after the incident, more than 2,400 Hajj pilgrims were killed in a crush-stampede at Mina in Mecca with hundreds still missing according to AP’s count in December 2015. It was the largest death toll of its kind in the recorded history of the Hajj by the AP count, which greatly conflicted with the much lower official death toll.

  120. LeaNder says:

    Hmm, ok, you feel I should have paid closer attention to the misspelling in the review* of the name Haberman versus Hoberman beyond a basic, more anecdotally assembled dislike, for something like a Judeo-Christian tradition, which he alludes to earlier?
    What ya think? As someone that thinks religions matter. Which no doubt they do.
    * 1)
    * 2)

  121. Thomas says:

    “And yes, I surely remember Kiracofe’s comments here.”
    Then read his book.

  122. LeaNder says:

    Babak, considering the last PS this is another not deeply reflected PSS.
    Seems some of my synapses malfunctioned. Basic personal pretty old rule, whenever criticizing someone, double check. If you don’t, inner demons might interfere. I didn’t, I realized. ….
    Anyway: Since unfamiliar with the name, seems I mentally substituted Hoberman with Haberman. …
    As “closet antisemite” I was close to ask Pat (with cc to confusedponder incidentally)* to not publish it. But: beyond studies sponsored versus such non-sponsored, or adjunct prof getting the job versus outed, my core German-bad-conscience: take your pick, do I seriously have the time to move beyond my acknowledged antipathy/prejudice versus the Puritans and would it help, if I read Hoberman? …
    * …

  123. Thomas says:

    “”I do not think it is your place, an inhabitant of a Banana Republic, to make judgements about how a sovereign state should run its business.”
    I know, I have to work on the delivery; make it a bit more concise and more rhetorically insulting.
    May be in Latin, it is more concise.”
    An optional track in the crude, rude and true art of insulting would be “In being a Banana Republic bitch*, the quality of your wisdom does not seem to be working in your own land.”
    * To be more civilly polite replace this word with a less insulting form such as buddy.

  124. JJackson says:

    Valissa I see the argument that the NATO countries, outside of the US, don’t pay their fair share of the bill for this ‘protection’ (usually from an American). However I do not think the ‘social democratic’ proles see it as protection merely a way of making enemies. I would ask who we are being protected from? Neither Russia or China seem to want to be our enemy and no one else seems to be a great threat – unless we are inflecting regime change upon them. If you take away all of US/NATO offensive foreign adventures and adopt a less threatening posture how much would it really cost to the Europeans to protect themselves from external forces. As a nuclear armed entity we are not a particularly soft target.
    Dump NATO and form a EU alliance and let the Americans do their own thing then we will not be continuously be making enemies by association. Of course this is all impossible as long as our deep states are adjuncts of the Borg.

  125. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thanks Thomas.
    I will work on it.

  126. Babak Makkinejad says:

    How about this?
    “Senex Scortum, minus praescribitur regem!”

  127. Fred says:

    You’re selective misunderstanding of English got old long ago. You want enlightenment on genital mutilation occurring in the US then read the article linked above.

  128. Chueewowee says:

    Yes, but the meaning of the’gods’ meddling designs as requiring human agency should not be taken to imply a humans as generally being pawns In a game. Humans, by god, are free of will and so being, responsible in affairs. Nonetheless, we are offered prophesy, as according to an unfolding play; but this is really to point out divine intervention in hopeless times. Meanwhile, we root for peace, prosperity for all communities and back the good blokes or not, I suppose. Here, all seem to see Assad as the good guy, even if with (unnecessary) disclaim regarding his perfection. Victory for him and his supporters (most Syrians) is not a foregone conclusion, as Syrian army and others would attest, I imagine: each must fight. And it seems according to present opinion, given here, more resources are required, if not from Syrian army then Russian or Iranian, to conclude a victory, an end to rather disgusting human imposition of suffering upon others, suffering empowered by lesser gods or not.

  129. Oddlots says:

    Helpful reply. This line of argumentation re. the “dollar crisis” has driven me
    crazy for a decade. It reminds me of the Engineer’s joke about rocket launches: a thousand things can happen, only one of them good. In other words, there are a million ways to misunderstand macroeconomics and banking. My favorite clarifying notion is “real terms of trade.” Hilariously we have it all backward. The purpose ultimately of all production is consumption. So it’s about the pile of stuff you have after you add up all the stuff the world sends you plus all the stuff you produce domestically minus all the stuff you sell to the world. (Don’t tell the Germans.)
    That said I’m still kind of unsettled about where we are headed. In other words, I do think there is a problem here but can’t quite define it. It’s not debt per-se as I think we’ve got that messed up too. (Short version: if what we called “government debt” was eliminated we would find ourselves without a currency.) it’s more like this…
    My pedestrian pet-theory is that alll trade ultimately must be circular (obviously.) E.g. – If all the gold ended up in US after 2nd world war is US rich or poor. Is it rich if it has no-one to trade with? Of course not. So the US invests – vendor finances – the world’s rebuilding. Yay!
    But then in 73 (?) the dollar becomes de-linked from gold effectively meaning that we’re playing tag without a safe tree.
    What are the implications of this? It sounds profound but can’t tell. It does seem to mean that US trade deficits are being financed by foreigners. Is that a problem? Is it just the mirror image of the Marshall plan – more vendor financing.

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