To War, To War, This Country’s Going to War” – TTG


I’m afraid the recent “defensive attack” by US attack helicopters and artillery on Syrian tribesmen loyal to Damascus is not just a one-off fluke. It is a feature of the current US policy in Syria that will most likely result in another full blown war in the region… one that will put the US on a track to war with Russia. 

First, here’s an account of the fighting southeast of Deir Ezzor on the eastern side of the Euphrates taken from the twitter feed of Maxim A. Suchkov, Russian editor for Al-Monitor. I’ve put it into prose form and corrected some spelling/grammar for easier reading.


“Russia’s Defense Ministry on US-coalition killing of 100+ pro-Assad forces: "The incident once again exposed true American intentions in Syria which is not the fight against terrorism but seizure &  control of economic assets." Russia’s MoD version of the incident:"On Feb.7, a Syrian pro-Assad militia was making an incursion to destroy a terrorist group which had been sporadically shelling pro-gov positions.The SYR militia was near El Isba, former oil refinery, 17 km south-east of Salkhiyakh. Suddenly, the Syrian pro-Assad militia came under mortar and multiple artillery rocket system fire, shortly followed by US helicopter strikes. 25 militiamen were wounded (no mention of how many killed). Russia's MoD suggests the US attack on pro-Assad militia were made possible because "the militia movements hadn’t been coordinated with the Russian military there." Following the attack Russia hosted reps of US coalition forces in Khmeymim airbase for talks during which according to Moscow, US told the oil refinery was under SDF and US control (which probably was meant to say "stay out" and what prompted Russian response on US trying to seize Syrian economic assets). Finally, Russian MoD claims attacks on Syrian pro-gov positions are getting more frequent over recent days from settlements of Mazlum, Al-Tabiya, and Ksh Sham. Moscow references its military radio intercepts saying it's done by one of ISIS "sleeper cells."  (@MSuchkov_ALM)


Maxim A. Suchov continues with the Russian reaction to the attack.


Follow-up on Moscow’s reaction to US strike on Syrian pro-gov forces: 

1. Russia's UN Ambassador Nebenzya will raise the issue at the upcoming UN Security Council closed-door briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria.
2. Moscow is now conducting a thorough investigation of the incident, Russia’s MFA asks "How could a decision to open a massive fire to defeat the Syrian militiamen be made in such a short period of time [between SDF attacks and time US aviation came to the field]?”
3. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Zakharova: "US military presence in Syria presents a serious challenge to the peace process and thwarts the protection of the country's territorial integrity."
4. Russia’s MFA spox Zakharova: "A 55-kilometer zone unilaterally created by US around mil base near al-Tanf used by scattered units of Daesh terrorists [who] have opportunity to hide from gov forces in area as well as regroup and prepare for new raids in the Syrian deserts"  (@MSuchkov_ALM)


An editorial in the pro-Turkish government paper “The Daily Sabah” lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of an out of control Pentagon and rogue CENTCOM generals. In so many words, they call on Trump to grow a pair and correct the situation. The full editorial is well worth reading.


“During his 2016 election campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump kept asking: "Why are we in Syria and Afghanistan?" He called for an end to entanglements abroad and a focus on domestic problems. President Barack Obama's Syria policy was based on little more than indifference and, the Trump administration just automatically adopted it.

After all these years, the U.S. still does not have a good grasp on what its policies on Syria are. What does it want to achieve? What is its endgame? What kind of timeframe has it settled on to achieve its objectives? American politicians seem clueless about what they have gotten themselves into.

No one knows who is in charge of the U.S.'s Syria policy. Chaos reigns. Who do we call to ask what the U.S. is doing in Syria?

It seems that with no lead from the top, United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has decided it is the boss. While operationally, it is good that soldiers are in charge, it seems soldiers have also taken over the decision making that should be under the purview of elected officials. CENTCOM and its officers now make statements, formulate strategies and even conduct diplomacy. Turkey has a history of power-hungry generals seeing themselves as guardians of the country and the U.S. is well-advised not to repeat it.”  (Daily Sabah)


Maxim Suchkov holds out a similar hope that Trump, himself, will step in and right the ship. He retweeted Trump and provided a comment to that tweet.

“I will be meeting with Henry Kissinger at 1:45pm. Will be discussing North Korea, China and the Middle East.” (@realDonaldTrump)

“Very interesting given Kissinger has now long been Putin’s go-to on messaging of Russia’s own position on same issues. Putin also holds Kissinger in high regard, seeking his wisdom, experience and balanced analysis of US-related matters."  (@MSuchkov_ALM)

I certainly hope Suchkov and the editors at The Daily Sabah are correct and that our current course in Syria is a temporary result of Trump’s inattention. The thought that a simple rage-filled outburst, accompanied by a few firings, can correct our course is oddly reassuring. However, I also have my doubts. Are the generals deflecting Trump by mentioning we control the Syrian oilfields when the President brings up the issue? Are the generals filling the President’s head with fears of Hezbollah and IRGC hordes running rampant across Syria?

Al-Monitor has an article out today extensively quoting Secretary of Defense Mattis. He downplays the role of Russia in Syria and Russian influence over Assad. He seems to be downplaying the risks that our aggressive talk and actions in Syria could lead to a confrontation with Russia. Well I think this jarhead is full of crap this time. To reinforce this man’s fullness of crap, a story appears this morning in Al Masdar News about attacks by the US controlled Deir Ezzor Military Council on SAA and NDF forces in Khashim and Tabiyyah on the Eastern shore of the Euphrates. Unlike the YPG/SDF, the Deir Ezzor Military Council is on the direct payroll of the State Department. This is a dangerous game we are playing.


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87 Responses to To War, To War, This Country’s Going to War” – TTG

  1. different clue says:

    Well . . . once again, this Trump policy goes against two of the three big specific reasons I voted for Trump . . . Assad must stay, and no war with Russia.
    If I had wanted Assad must go and war with Russia, I would have voted for Clinton.
    This is a dirty doublecross stab-in-the-back betrayal of everyone who voted for Trump specifically for Assad must stay and no war with Russia. Granted, many of Trump’s faithful followers never voted or cared about those specific reasons. But for those ( if any) who did, how will they spin it to themselves if Trump is the President who brings us a Clintonwar in Syria and a Clintonwar with Russia?

  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    Mariya Zakharova is a spokeswoman for Russian MFA.

  3. Peter AU says:

    According to this AMN article, Department of State is now attacking Syrian forces east of the Euphrates via its proxies.
    Two purposes I can see is to draw SAA forces away from Idlib, and to push SAA to the western side of the Euphrates in Deir Ezzor province.

  4. Anna says:

    “No one knows who is in charge of the U.S.’s Syria policy. Chaos reigns. .. It seems that with no lead from the top, United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has decided it is the boss.”
    Well. Here is the main military decider who is well leading the US (and the human race) to extinction: “GEN Joseph Votel is commander of United States Central Command since March 2016. … His military schools include Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College.”
    — Is General Votel able to understand the effects of radiation poisoning? (could he picture his family and friends dying from the radiation?) Does he believe that the US security and well-being depend on making wars (“humanitarian interventions”) in the Middle East, thousands miles away from the US borders? Does he know about Yinon Plan? And has he ever read the great American hero Major General Smedley D. Butler?
    “I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of the racket all the time. Now I am sure of it.” — Major General Smedley D. Butler received 16 military medals, 5 for valor. He was one of 19 men to receive the Medal of Honor twice.

  5. Barbara Ann says:

    Mattis is full of crap and McMaster is “psychotic” – according to Alastair Crooke – what’s to worry about?
    The Daily Sabah Op-ed is spot on. Congress had already given the military open-ended operational powers since 9/11 (which they are resistant to give up) and Trump’s administration has all but replaced the DoS with the DoD. And as Crooke says; the generals now in charge are all of the post VN mold which accept ‘forever war’ doctrine. It’s a perfect storm.
    But expecting Trump to step in is a forlorn hope. He has delegated Syria (ME FP in general?) and until the military encounters a problem that absolutely has to be referred up the chain of command, we can expect it to retain decision-making. That seems to include when & how much to go to war with Assad’s forces.
    Situations like this need a crisis to resolve them. Oddly I think Erdogan is uniquely positioned to supply an appropriate one that will warrant attention by the Delegator-in-Chief. If Erdogan finally makes good on his threat re Manbij, Funk & the gang will need a decision on engaging TSK forces. Or, if they take even that upon themselves (not impossible) Trump will be faced with a PR disaster; intra-NATO conflict. I’d also expect Congress to finally wake up to what is happening. That AUMF review will get a whole lot more urgent & sanity may have a chance.
    The only other scenario I can see which may prompt Congress to get any sort of nominal control over the blank check it has written the military, is if significant casualties start to be taken. Asymmetric warfare, of the style the Iranians used in the Iraq insurgency could bring this about. I’d be surprised if we don’t start to see this in NE Syria at some point in the not too distant future.

  6. LondonBob says:

    Spokesman applies for a male or female.
    Brings to mind the observation of Georg Heinrich Berenhorst, an adjutant to Frederick II during the Seven Years War, that ‘the Prussian monarchy is not a country which has an army, but an army which has a country, in which – as it were – it is just stationed.’

  7. catherine says:

    According to intelligence gossip Trump isn’t interested in his daily intelligence briefings.
    Kissinger told Newsweek that Jared Kushner is brilliant and can bring peace to the ME.
    As for Trump’s pair…one is on display at a Israel museum and the other at one of Adelson’s casinos.
    We are continuing up s**ts creek without a paddle.

  8. SmoothieX12 says:

    (could he picture his family and friends dying from the radiation?
    He certainly can picture it, he is military professional after all. The question has to be stated differently–can he grasp it? That is the real question. Most in Washington can not. Well, some of them, indeed, can not even picture it. I have to go here with Phil Giraldi’s brilliant observation which I memorized, close to the meaning, couple of years ago: “The closest some of those people were to real danger was having a risk of chocking on foie gras in upscale restaurant.” Many of those people cannot even comprehend what is it to be on the receiving end of a serious artillery salvo, let alone of MLRS or 500-kg guided munition exploding nearby.

  9. mikee says:

    Just saw this on Twitter: 13 minutes old —
    “Deir EzZor eastern CS Intense explosions shake the eastern CS from Jadidat Ukaydat and Tabiat Jazeera side now.”
    Jadidat Ukaydats is about 13 miles SE of city center on the East bank.

  10. b says:

    I believe neither the Russian nor the U.S. version is true. Some local Arab tribals aligned with the government made a deal with other locals who were with the SDF to take over and protect some oil field. Others (Kurds?) were in the known about the deal and the U.S. military had warned the Russians military (who may not have been current on the situation).
    When the handover finally happened the U.S. was prepared to intervene with overwhelming force (no casualties on its side). It now uses this to justify a push against government aligned tribals who since September have held an area on the north-eastern side of the Euphrates.
    The U.S. forces seem to feal very secure in their new founded Kurdish proxy statelet. But everyone except some Kurds and some ISIS hate them being there. They should watch their backs.

  11. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Different Clue,
    Evidence that incompetent political leaders are no less dangerous than actively evil ones (even on exact same matters)…

  12. catherine says:

    Israel has never quit bombing Syria and now it appears that they are once again preparing to bomb Lebanon to rubble to get Hezbollah.
    The upticks look like a joint US Isr effort to go for broke on Syria and Lebanon, while the propaganda mills churn out reasons to target Iran.
    The fact is nothing is going to be settled re Iran or Syria unless enough Jewish blood is spilled to back Israel down. So make every missile count Hez.
    The writing is already on the wall: Israel will soon launch a military operation in Lebanon. Not a targeted attack on a weapons convoy or factory, but a simultaneous attack on Hezbollah’s missile production and launch sites. The operation will take place at the same time as, or immediately after, a series of assassinations of known Hezbollah operatives. That organization will, of course, react by launching a massive missile barrage at population centers in Israel, and Hamas may contribute its share in the south. Last week we were informed that missile interceptor systems have already been deployed throughout the country as part of a joint “drill” between the IDF and the U.S. military. Washington has already given a green light, or so we learn from Thomas Friedman’s most recent column — a faithful mouthpiece of American foreign policy.
    Idan Landau is a professor of linguistics at Ben-Gurion University.

  13. “Are the generals filling the President’s head with fears of Hezbollah and IRGC hordes running rampant across Syria?”
    Almost certainly. The Pentagon hates Hizballah because of the Marine barracks attack in Lebanon way back when, and of course hates Iran. So does Trump and his Zionist relatives.
    Meanwhile today I’ve read that Putin and Erdogan had a phone conversation, and there is the possibility of a Russia-Turkey-Iran summit in the near future.
    Vladimir Putin initiates call with Erdogan amid possibility of renewed fighting in Syria
    Mercouris suggests that the US is trying to widen a rift between the two countries which would enable new facts on the ground. This is in line with Bhadrakumar’s article referenced within.
    As Mercouris notes, Putin has done well keeping Erdogan in line for the last two years. Personally I’d bet that Putin can outmaneuver the US yet again in that regard. If he can’t, I’d bet something of the return of more Russian forces into Syria would be in the cards. Putin pulled some out as part of his necessary accountability to the Russian people, but he isn’t going to allow Syria to be broken up or attacked if he can help it. At the same time, of course, he isn’t going to get involved in a major war with the US or Turkey in Syria since Russia doesn’t have the forces in country to pull that off.
    But I’d never bet against Putin.

  14. SmoothieX12,
    “Many of those people cannot even comprehend what is it to be on the receiving end of a serious artillery salvo, let alone of MLRS or 500-kg guided munition exploding nearby.”
    Tru dat! I was bracketed by 5-inch naval gunfire. No body armor. No helmet. And no time to dig in. Just much practice in melding myself into the “minute folds of the terrain” as they put it in Infantry School. It was my own fault. I shouldn’t have been where I was at the time. Luckily, I escaped with nothing more than a killer case of tinnitus.

  15. Greco says:

    Mattis is a politician first and a general second.
    On another note, the BBC reported that according to a Pentagon official, Russian “mercenaries” were killed in the bombings; however, the Russians denied it.

  16. b,
    I read your account about local tribes in the process of mutually reestablishing their tribal territories. It makes eminent sense to me. We (the US) have proven to be a pox on the people of Syria. The sooner we are forced out, the better for all.

  17. SmoothieX12 says:

    Kissinger told Newsweek that Jared Kushner is brilliant and can bring peace to the ME.
    This statement, of course, puts into question Kissinger’s brilliance.;-) The military balance in ME already changed and will continue to change non-stop. I will reiterate–American political elites have NO concept of military power and how it applies. Sheer “brilliance” based on ability to get Ph.D in faux-economics, that is in ability to make money, or having high IQ does not apply to the world which runs on military-industrial-political balance since recorded history. Killing each-other is humanity’s pastime, a favorite business, we are formed as species by warfare and this warfare is in the foundation of ever-evolving world. There will be NO “peace” in ME until there is Israel there and until she plays a military superpower in the region. No Kushner, a boy from NY and real estate business, who doesn’t know sh.t from shinola, let alone the difference between combined arms operations and operations with real estate, nor his alleged “brilliance” will bring any peace in the region. A massive, historic in its scope and scale, geopolitical realignment is in the progress, huge military-technological and real economy factors are employed and now Kissinger has audacity to proclaim that some real estate “genius” is capable to handle one of the most complex military-political problem of the century. This has to be a really bad joke. Don’t we all see where this nation, as well as the whole world was brought to by those very “brilliant”, conspicuously non-military, boys and girls? It makes me sick to a stomach when I see and hear some lawyers or “economists” dabbling into the “military stuff”.

  18. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Asserting that U.S. generals have been a key factor in persuading Trump to step deeper into the morass of the perpetual conflicts in the Mideast
    is a popular argument, both among principal authors at this blog and elsewhere,
    but I think it is quite incorrect.
    I think what really persuaded DJT to, post-election, change his tune
    is not so much the generals but other factors.
    The administration in general supports the Likudnik line.
    Haley at the UN goes all out to support Israel and ignore the valid requests of the Palestinians.
    Tillerson at State desires a Syrian future without Assad.
    Surely “the generals” cannot be blamed for these positions.
    The U.S. support for the Likudnik line, the U.S. national interest be damned,
    is due to two factors: Jewish money and media control, and the votes of Christian Zionists.
    Blaming “the generals” only distracts from this crucial reality,
    and distracts from efforts to address the root causes of the problem.

  19. SmoothieX12 says:

    On another note, the BBC reported that according to a Pentagon official, Russian “mercenaries” were killed in the bombings; however, the Russians denied it.
    Igor Dmitriev, one of the big honchos and main “orientalist” in Russia’s major news portal Vzglyad seem to corroborate that (in Russian).

  20. SmoothieX12 says:

    Asserting that U.S. generals have been a key factor in persuading Trump to step deeper into the morass of the perpetual conflicts in the Mideast is a popular argument, both among principal authors at this blog and elsewhere,but I think it is quite incorrect.
    Read any unclassified US strategic concept from Forward From The Sea to many US top officers statements in a vast variety of political and ideological setting and you will see that we are not necessarily incorrect. American military posture in general can be described only as aggressive. Many, not all, US military political generals do come across as war-mongers. Incidentally, they are most of the time people closely allied with the most odious warmongers and military-industrial complex stooges in Congress. I am far from denying the United States her legitimate military and economic interests–the United States has those and absolutely should seriously defend them, if need be–by means of military force. But what we observe today is an absolute insanity and a lot of it is rooted in US top military brass’ desire to have wars. In the end, ask yourself a question who John McCain is.

  21. Laura says:

    I still don’t understand why anyone who voted for Trump thought they knew what he was going to do…and for how long he was going to do it. Out today…WP?…is an article about how all of his security briefings are now verbal…he does not read. Actually, the fact that folks say he used to read and also used to have a wider range of conversation topics leads me to wonder if dementia is part of this story. My friend who had early onset Alzheimer’s was a chemical engineer and symphony of the first signs (in retrospect) was that she suddenly hated her bookclub of 25 years and didn’t want to participate. The music lasted about 6 months longer.
    In any event, if we do get into a war (God forbid)…it will not be a Clinton war. It will be a Trump war. You really must let Hillary Clinton RIP.

  22. SmoothieX12 says:

    I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at “the vision thing.” They are not stupid at all but they are narrow thinkers.
    I am not gonna lie–I liked Colin Powell, that is until he allowed himself to be framed. I am still very impressed by late Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and his grasp of geopolitics, including his opposition to Kissinger’s world view.

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Kissinger is being a good sycophant, as has been true throughout the recorded history – praising the brilliance of the new prince, in order to curry favor and influence with the king.
    What has changed, I ask you?
    We have the Prince of Muscovy, the Red Emperor of China, The Grand Turk, Le Grand Sophie des Perses, the Holy Roman Emperor in DC, the Dukes of Burgundy, Cornwall, Arabia In-Fleix, and all manner of lesser vassals of this or that potentate abroad – forever scheming for an angle in a multi-polar world.
    As I said, it is best to sell tickets for decampment to extra-solar planets – this thing is going to hit the fan – and not once or twice, but many times.
    Developing skills in ducking would be a prerequisite of survival, until some one like Tokugawa emerges that can restore order. At the moment, the Red Emperor seems to be acting as cautiously as Tokugawa, while his rivals dissipate themselves in their respective shit-holes.

  24. JohnB says:

    Clearly Regime Change is the order of the Day or at least partition of Syria.
    The recent Tillerson speech is the first from either the Obama/Trump admins to talk openly about the Partition of Syria.
    Tillerson has painted himself in to a corner by saying neither the Iran’s or Syrian Govt will be allowed to take over the areas that US backed groups have taken over.
    Well the US looks likely to cut a deal with Turkey and the Kurds will be thrown under the bus sometime this year. The real and present danger of a clash between the US & Russia can’t be underestimated although Putin will do as much as he can to avoid it.
    The Trump Admin can’t win but it can play the spoiler and I expect more US attacks on n Hezbollah and Syrian forces in the coming weeks as the Russians won’t do anything to stop it.
    Add in the Israel wild card in Lebanon and it all points to a continuation of the conflict for the foreseeable future and a continued US presence which of course will eventually lead to an insurgency in Northern Syria from the local Arabs.
    Trump missed his chance to remove the US from the country after the fall of Raqqa. I feel sorry for anyone who voted for Trump thinking he was the non-interventionist candidate.

  25. Lyttenburgh says:

    LondonBob said in reply to Lyttenburgh…
    Spokesman applies for a male or female.
    That’s why the term “spokeswoman” exists? And is actually used in both press and official documentation?

  26. Barbara Ann says:

    I’d advise that a statement of explicit support for an FTO spilling “Jewish blood” may attract attention this blog could probably do without.

  27. JamesT says:

    If Trump wants the US out of Syria, it seems to me his best option would be to wait for R+6 to gain control of all of the country outside of SDF/US controlled areas … and then order an abrupt withdrawl of all remaining US forces (perhaps after concluding some sort of agreement with Putin to act as a justification for such withdrawl). I would not be surprised if impeachment proceedings against Trump were to be launched shortly afterwards.

  28. ked says:

    I’ll take the Marx Bros. over the Marxists & the clown in the WH.
    We could use some realists.

  29. VietnamVet says:

    The only way now for regime change to happen in Syria is to take on Russia and Iran. Partition will only work if the Kurds pull back to their territory and there is a 1948 style Berlin Airlift to resupply the troops and contractors and pray that no planes are shot down. The only way to dislodge the USA is if Turkey attacks Manbij. The USA thinks it is cutting the Shiite Crescent at the bequest of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Only the loss of Turkey could break through this crazy thinking. An Israel invasion of the Golan Heights or a NATO war with Hezbollah starts WWIII. It is beginning to looks like that a region wide Peace Treaty is the only way to avoid a world war.
    The fundamental problem to ending this is Israel. Also, Fundamentalists on all sides want the End Times. The military, their contractors and GOP allies need forever wars to be paid. Democrats are scapegoating Russia to hide their failures. US and UK Globalists need Russia as an enemy.
    VW Paid $25 Billion for Dieselgate — And Got Off Easy in Europe:
    In Detroit a German engineer was sentenced to seven years in jail while Wall Street criminals have avoided jail time.
    With cheap natural gas from Russia and idiots running wild in North America, destroying the world’s environment and privatizing everything to enrich local crony capitalists; it is natural that the European oligarchs are divorcing themselves from the Atlantic Alliance elites. The only way to keep the European Establishment in the fold is for NATO to scare the hell out of them with the Russian Bear. If that goes so does NATO.

  30. Kooshy says:

    Well said Barbara, I agree with the first part of your comment, which is, that president Trump left all military matters on ME, to the 3 general White House junta. IMO, That’s is because Mr. Trump has no patience or understanding for geopolitics and geostrategy nor he is a “map reader”. Actually he is not even a book reader, so one can assume not much knowledge of history beside what is offered on history channel. Apparently it’s true that the military generals for now have that decision making blank check , but if the pans they are making don’t go well or becomes too expensive, Mr. Trump will be the one who has to take all the blames and consequences. President Johnson came to understand that part a bit too late.
    Regarding the second part of your comment, I don’t think Iranians or Russians will want or will engage US in an asymmetric or open overt hot war, that’s because they know, is the US, who wants a new war in ME, to justify her stay in Syria domestically. And Iran and Russia know don’t need to or want to expand and enlarge this war with outside powers. This is a war of attrition, and they Iran and Russia will simply wait and let US wear herself out, US and KSA are and will pay to supply the entire east Syria including Kurds. Russian and Iranian military operations are a lot less expensive than US and her allies.

  31. SmoothieX12 says:

    Tru dat! I was bracketed by 5-inch naval gunfire. No body armor. No helmet. And no time to dig in. Just much practice in melding myself into the “minute folds of the terrain” as they put it in Infantry School. It was my own fault. I shouldn’t have been where I was at the time. Luckily, I escaped with nothing more than a killer case of tinnitus.
    Even throwing RGD-5 too close gets one thinking, same as being ran over (in this particular case in Naval Infantry Brigade in Sevastopol in 1981) by T-62 as training. And then real life starts. Saw friendlies unloading on us 40 30-mm shells (by “mistake”, of course) barely missing–that gets one’s attention really fast, to put it mildly. The worst, however, is evacuating women and children and not being allowed to shoot back. “Exciting” moments of life, they get one having ulcers in no time. As per 5-inch guns, man, I DO NOT envy you, period. I am so happy to be armchair “strategist”.

  32. Kooshy says:

    Brilliant, this reminds me of a poem by Hafez the legendary Iranian poet, translation roughly is
    Forgive all the war of the 72 nations ( Syrian war?)
    Because they couldn’t see the truth, they resorted to phantasy (ISIS).

  33. Razor says:

    FTO? Does that mean foreign terrorist organisation? Assuming you mean Hezbollah, there are lots of people, including in the West, who do not regard Hezb as a terrorist organisation. Even Norman Finkelstein described them as the honour of Lebanon;
    Your comment seems to imply that the “spilling Jewish blood” comment is somehow outrageous, anti-semitic even. If that is what you seek to imply, then you are either a fool or a knave, perhaps even both. Indeed, even Finkelstein concedes that there will be no peace from Israel until it suffers a real defeat militarily. Thus spilling Jewish blood.

  34. iowa steve says:

    Thanks, TTG.
    An excellent and thoughtful post.
    Unfortunately, imho if Trump begins to question Centcom’s actions I think the hysteria surrounding Hezbollah and Iran, as you allude to, will carry the day. I also think that if push comes to shove, Putin will avoid any direct confrontation with the US on behalf of Syria, however warranted, with this caveat–a direct attack on Russian forces would result in the consequences that you foresee.

  35. catherine says:

    Thanks for the advice but its a fact….and has been stated that was by several sane and ex military Israelis themselves.
    The Israeli public won’t take much lose of Jewish lives….so far Isr has spilled a lot of blood, if that reverses things will change.

  36. eakens says:

    I wonder if Mattis tells Kissinger to call him Haig in these meetings.

  37. Bill Herschel says:

    Substitution behavior. All in Syria. Not so much Korea. If only Korea had defenseless tribesmen roaming around in the desert?
    Key question: does Russia want the U.S. to stay in Afghanistan/Iraq/Syria/Yemen/etc.? I would say yes. Definitely. What could destroy U.S. society, military, and economy quicker? Think of the horrific paradox of a U.S. military presence in the heroin capital of the world.
    Sessions visits Long Island to campaign against Central American drug gangs and the U.S. military works among the poppies to build a nation. You can’t make this stuff up.

  38. catherine says:

    ”Don’t we all see where this nation, as well as the whole world was brought to by those very “brilliant”, conspicuously non-military, boys and girls? It makes me sick to a stomach when I see and hear some lawyers or “economists” dabbling into the “military stuff”. ”
    Well I think I see how we got here. But I’m an aging southern debutante and don’t know enough to even comment on complicated military stuff…way beyond my expertise.
    I did educate myself on the ME……started off with the British National Achieves and then worked my way thru US and ME records and documents…lots, lots of rats in those historical wood piles.
    I believe history is the best predictor of the future because human nature is a “known” factor that hasn’t changed in 21 centuries….some masters of the universe don’t consider that in their grand plans.. but I think regardless of what is ‘imposed’ on the ME it will eventually revert back to what it was or determines for itself.

  39. catherine says:

    ”Almost certainly. The Pentagon hates Hizballah because of the Marine barracks attack in Lebanon way back when, and of course hates Iran. So does Trump and his Zionist relatives”
    More to the Marine barracks attack then is usually mentioned.
    Harassment of U.S. Marines
    By Donald Neff
    It was 12 years ago, on March 14, 1983, that the commandant of the Marine Corps sent a highly unusual letter to the secretary of defense expressing frustration and anger at Israel. General R.H. Barrow charged that Israeli troops were deliberately threatening the lives of Marines serving as peacekeepers in Lebanon. There was, he wrote, a systematic pattern of harassment by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that was resulting in “life-threatening situations, replete with verbal degradation of the officers, their uniform and country.”
    Barrow’s letter added: “It is inconceivable to me why Americans serving in peacekeeping roles must be harassed, endangered by an ally…It is evident to me, and the opinion of the U.S. commanders afloat and ashore, that the incidents between the Marines and the IDF are timed, orchestrated, and executed for obtuse Israeli political purposes.”1

  40. Bill Herschel,
    I seriously doubt Russia wants the US in the region in the destructive capacity we seem to revel in. It is in Russia’s interest that the region becomes and remains stable. If we switched from our policy of destruction to one of construction, I’m sure the Russians would welcome us as partners.

  41. Kooshy says:

    TTG, in all fairness so do the Iranians

  42. Phil Cattar says:

    Thank you very much for that excellent article.I certainly hope the professor is not correct.Since both Netanyahu and President Trump are facing legal problems it might be a convenient time for a war to divert the public of both countries.

  43. Fred says:

    You started with the British National Archives and then worked through the US and ME records but didn’t find any reference to Clauswitz or Jomini or Montgomery or anyone else that might shed some light on military matters? Why I do declare……
    In all that reading did you ever run across quotation marks ” ” like the ones that should have been used in the article you extensively quoted?

  44. Fred says:

    Did you get the memo? You know the one Nunes put out – the very same one that Publius Tacitus wrote about on this very site? It’s all about the massive legal trouble the Democrats and allies in the FBI/DOJ/etc are facing for trying to rig the election. A war would be just the thing to distract attention and (they hope) prove the narrative of the left.

  45. catherine says:

    ”You started with the British National Archives and then worked through the US and ME records but didn’t find any reference to Clauswitz or Jomini or Montgomery or anyone else that might shed some light on military matters? Why I do declare……”
    Yes I did come across the military conflicts ..But reading about them doesn’t qualify me to speak on military matters….particularly as they are discussed in depth here by Col. Lang and other experts.
    And bless your heart for worrying about my quotation marks….if I forget it again you be sure to take the time to remind me.

  46. Barbara Ann says:

    Whether I am a fool and/or a knave is for others to decide – as is the official designation of FTO’s. Others, less keen on the First Amendment than you or I, also monitor blogs like this for trigger phrases and I’d be pretty certain “Jewish blood” was on the list.
    My advice carried no moral implications. I just wanted to warn that use of such expressions may result in SST receiving an increase in trolling and/or more aggressive attacks. It is naïve to expect complete freedom of speech on such subjects to be without risk of consequences for our host.

  47. LondonBob says:

    Spokeswoman shouldn’t exist, it is bad English. Man has always had two meanings.
    ‘The Germanic word developed into Old English man, mann meaning primarily “adult male human” but secondarily capable of designating a person of unspecified gender, “someone, one” or humanity at large (see also Old Norse maðr, Gothic manna “man”).’
    In this case man has the secondary meaning of just a person of unspecified gender or age.

  48. turcopolier says:

    In which state were you a deb and at which cotillion did you emerge from childhood> pl

  49. Bill Herschel says:

    You are right. Russia currently represents the best interest of humanity. And the best interest is not served by indiscriminate killing and the destruction of civilization in the Middle East. And Russia’s military presence in Syria is surely in part an effort to displace the U.S.
    I should add, in the brief moment before certain people’s brains fry at the statement above, that Russia is a country that has been ravaged by war and then ravaged by carpetbaggers after the fall of the Soviet Union. I can easily sympathize with someone who would rather move to the U.S. than to Russia. Russian itself is probably a dying language. It certainly is a difficult language. (German is certainly a dying language, in passing, a language whose body of literature is pitiful and grotesque in comparison to Russian literature).
    But Russia under Putin is strenuously attempting to bring peace to the world. Returning to Korea, I increasingly believe that Kim Jong-un has had a come to Jesus moment with representatives of Russia, been told that he has the opportunity of a lifetime right now to unify the Korean peninsula, and will probably succeed unless the U.S. kills many thousands of Koreans and a few thousand Americans to show how much better we are than anybody else.

  50. Morongobill says:

    Makes me long for the “best and brightest.”

  51. Morongobill says:

    Sounds a little like “peoplekind.”

  52. Sid_finster says:

    Sociopaths learn only from reward and punishment, but they do learn.

  53. Outrage Beyond says:

    re: Kissinger told Newsweek that Jared Kushner is brilliant and can bring peace to the ME.
    Jared Kushner was not smart enough to get into Harvard on his own. His daddy had to pay $2.5 million as a “donation” to buy his admission.
    “New Jersey real estate developer Charles Kushner had pledged $2.5 million to Harvard University in 1998, not long before his son Jared was admitted to the prestigious Ivy League school.”

  54. Barbara Ann says:

    Well put Bill Herschel. We are somewhat beyond good and evil WRT wars in the ME. The choice is more fundamental; order or chaos.

  55. St P says:

    You could be mistaken on that. Some claim Bernie Sanders voters voted for Trump because there was nowhere else for the antiwar constituency to go. Further, some experts claim those Bernie renegades swung the election for Trump (without crediting why they switched of course).

  56. St P says:

    AIPAC, JINSA, ZOA etc along w/ IDF is running our foreign policy and military policy. In their own words. In that context everything makes sense and is indeed predictable. Or as the neocons relentlessly insisted in the preIraq invasion of 2003: “inevitable”.
    US beefed up forces for joint Juniper Cobra drill in Israel over last week moved it into a ‘done deal’.

  57. Laura – I suppose any politician’s chances of incipient dementia are much the same as for the rest of us. Our Great Leader over here looks safe enough. Incipient desperation, perhaps, given what she’s go to cope with, though desperation is probably clinical proof of sanity these days in UK politics.
    But this? – ” Actually, the fact that folks say he used to read and also used to have a wider range of conversation topics leads me to wonder if dementia is part of this story.”
    I don’t know about the reading. Can politicians read? Never seen that mentioned before on SST but I’ll take your word for it. And one would assume that a man who suddenly finds himself President of the United States wouldn’t have as much time for chat as he used to. But on your general point take just one past example. Clinton was impressively sharp and absorbed information like a sponge, often knowing more details than his generals or advisors. So much so that one wonders whether he ever stopped to think where it was all going.
    In fact Civil Servants conscientiously put masses of information in front of their bosses and as a rule their bosses conscientiously plough through it all. The result is that the bosses can’t see the wood for the trees. Also Civil Servants are a cautious breed and tend to play safe and affirm the status quo. Trump wasn’t elected to do status quo. I’d like to see him, and other politicians too, putting in more time on the golf course, not less, and doing a bit of pondering.

  58. Kooshy says:

    I agree and believe that’s true, I am one of those Bernie voters who voted for Trump. Now I wish he wouldn’t have been such an easy pushover, though, I no longer believe he was a real contender. Unfortunately at our own hand and doings, a general mass public laziness, elections in this country, have become a sad and useless event.

  59. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    A lot better to use a touch of humor;”A swift kick to the IDF’s ‘nads ” is less racist sounding.

  60. Karel Whitman says:

    Well put Bill Herschel. We are somewhat beyond good and evil WRT wars in the ME. The choice is more fundamental; order or chaos.
    Barbara Ann, both you and Bill are experts in Russian/German language, literature, history and culture? May not have paid enough attention to your contributions so far.
    Russian itself is probably a dying language. It certainly is a difficult language. (German is certainly a dying language, in passing, a language whose body of literature is pitiful and grotesque in comparison to Russian literature).
    The Russian language is gonna die? How? Comparable to Latin? Or the Greek Koine? The latter would be a bad example since there is still modern Greek after all. And Modern Hebrew, Ivrit, isn’t exactly the ancient Hebrew of the script either, but still exists. What would be the historical precedent for the Russian language to die? Latin? Well complex path to Italian too.
    But yes a synthetic versus analytic language may be easier to learn. Thus no doubt has a better chance to become lingua franca.
    What’s your vision? After Russians bring peace, establish order they give up their language and shift to English? Or would you allow them to keep their language while using English as some type of lingua franca up to scholarly levels of expertise, if they have something valuable to add?

  61. robt willmann says:

    I have expressed concern about this area for a long time: basically a horizontal line or latitude at Deir ez Zor (Dayr az Zawr) to the border with Iraq, and covering the area straight down to the southern border of Syria. This would have given Syria control of its border with Iraq from that eastern point all the way down and around going west as far as possible, and control of the Euphrates River and the oil and gas fields and pipelines in that area–
    I do understand the great difficulty R+6 has had with limited resources and logistics and thus could not fight all over the place at the same time, and the hard choices they have had to make. However, a horizontal line of demarcation from Deir ez Zor to the Iraq border would have made it much harder for the outside interlopers to go south of that line.
    By now, everybody knows that Israel has attacked inside Syria with aircraft and that an Israeli F-16 jet crashed–

  62. Fred says:

    You mean Barack Obama and the ideology of the American left don’t have humanity`s best interests at heart?

  63. Barbara Ann says:

    Karel Whitman
    My comment to Bill was in support of his view that “Russia currently represents the best interest of humanity” and I would stress that humanity includes the citizens of Israel.
    War-making in support of Israeli ‘security’ is reaching new heights of lunacy. It now seems to not only demand the destruction of Syria & Hezbollah/Lebanon, but Iran too. US presence in the ME creates ever more chaos & the Russian-led alliance is presently the best hope of preventing this trend from continuing.
    I suggest you address the language questions to Bill.

  64. St P says:

    sorry- i meant this link. quite fascinating

  65. Karel Whitman says:

    and I would stress that humanity includes the citizens of Israel.
    you feel I excluded them? While meditating about the idea that Russian could soon become extinct, as Bill suggested?
    One never stops to learn.

  66. catherine says:

    North Carolina Terpsichorean Club 1963… now you now how old I am…lol

  67. I’d have to agree that this is definitely in the cards.
    As I’ve argued many times here:
    1) Israel wants Iran gone.
    2) Only the US can do this.
    3) Israel can’t start the war while Hizballah can deliver 1,600 missiles a day all over Israel, driving the population into bomb shelters and devastating the Israeli economy and ticking off the electorate so they vote out the Likudniks.
    4) Israel can’t attack Hizballah in the Bekaa Valley without crossing Syrian territory and engaging the Syrian military, so Syria’s military has to be degraded.
    5) Result: Syria crisis.
    6) Now that Russia has (mostly) prevented that plan, only Israel and the US together have any chance of taking out Hizballah (if possible, which is not certain, as the Colonel has suggested many times.)
    7) Next step: war between the US/NATO/Israel and Lebanon which extends into Syria.
    8) PROFIT! (war with Iran for the military-industrial complex to make another several hundred billion profit a year for the next decade…)

  68. I think she means that this blog doesn’t need a flood of hasbarists attracted by alleged “anti-semitism.” Phil Giraldi lost his previous outlet as a result of such events, as an example.
    You’re correct in your assessment, however. Israel is going to have to be militarily defeated at some point in some manner.

  69. different clue says:

    Bill Herschel,
    ( Reply to comment 52),
    Why would the South Koreans want to be unified into North Korea?
    Also, why is Russian a dying language? I see over a hundred million Russian speakers. I see the Russian population stabilizing and perhaps slowly increasing again. What do you see that I don’t see?

  70. different clue says:

    St P,
    ( reply to comment 58),
    I am one of those renegade Sanders wanna-voters. My thinking on Trump ran on two parallel tracks. The “main” track was the Three Big Things which Clinton supported and Trump said he opposed . . . Assad must go, conflict with Russia, and more Free Trade Agreements.
    The “parallel” track was this… the Democrats would not let me have my Sanders. So I would not let them have their Clinton.

  71. Alexander Mercouris analyzes the shootdown of the Israeli jet by the Syrians.
    Military balance shifts: Syria shoots down Israeli F-16
    While I think he overestimates the effect of one single success by Syria, I suspect he’s right overall – that this reflects a new-found lack of fear by an Arab state of Israel.
    However, this may not have good consequences:
    Israel launches ‘large-scale’ attack in Syria after fighter jet crashes
    Israel has been trying since 2011 to get Syria to “fire back” at provocations initiated by Israel (and Turkey in previous years, of which the latest invasion against the Kurds could be seen as more of the same.)
    Alexander suggests that Israel has “muted” its response to the Israel jet crash, but I see this as just one more step in getting the US and Israel ready for the next war.
    Mattis Dismisses Fears of Wider War After Massive Syria Strike
    I agree with the above article. This just looks like more escalation with the end goal being a general war between the US/NATO/Israel and Syria/Lebanon, preparatory to a war with Iran.
    Assuming we don’t go to war with North Korea, which this article discusses in chilling detail (albeit citing a lot of people like Bennett who I believe are war mongers – it was Bennett to set up North Korea with the Sony movie…)
    Here’s what war with North Korea would look like
    A full-blown war with North Korea wouldn’t be as bad as you think. It would be much, much worse.
    This sounds like an “anti-war” article but reads more like a justification for war with North Korea. Makes me suspicious of the motives of the writer. Also, as has been discussed here previously, the US doesn’t HAVE 200,000 troops to send to South Korea.

  72. turcopolier says:

    I graduated from VMI in 1962. I was the escort for a couple of girls at Virginia cotillions. pl

  73. catherine says:

    Ahhh…VMI, that brings back memories. I had a good friend who’s boy friend went to VMI and he was also her escort at the deb ball…I had to settle for my brother, I was very
    If you graduated in ’62 our ages would be close. I went to Marymount college in Arlington Va…I think you live nearby in Alexandria? Fun days those, by accident I got to go to Johnson’s inaugural ball with friend Jose Montoya because his father Senator Montoya was sick at the time and Joe took his place…I was slightly unimpressed by the experience though, politicians and inebriated followers weren’t my cup of tea. But overall I appreciated being in that location for my college years…got to know lots of interesting people.

  74. catherine says:

    The thought of this FUBAR becoming larger and the US and Russia colliding makes my head explode.
    I have been following this fellow lately, who seems to have good creds, for ‘local reports’ on Israel, Syria and Lebanon.
    See what you think.
    Elijah J. Magnier

  75. turcopolier says:

    Yes, we live near the memorial to Washington. In those days the Institute would give you a short leave to be a deb escort. My presence was brokered by classmates for girls who wanted a VMI escort. Great weekend away from school. pl

  76. robt willmann says:

    different clue,
    (Number 73) You ask, why would the South Koreans want to be unified into North Korea?
    It is not a question of South Korea being unified into North Korea or vice versa. Korea is one of the most homogeneous countries and areas on earth. However, due to human nature, other countries have put their fingers into Korea. Japan annexed it in 1910 and basically ruled Korea until 1945 at the end of World War 2. Russia, China, and the U.S. have put their hands into Korea as well.
    What has all of this activity by outsiders produced? Your are looking at it: an intractable mess–
    Nevertheless, all logjams eventually come apart. Kim Jong-un was educated in Switzerland for a while, it has been said. A little talking has begun between the political areas of north and south Korea. It may be that they are starting to understand the Natural Law that they might be better off with each other — fellow Koreans — than with the outsiders and any specific political doctrine. Once that realization expands, the problem will take care of itself.

  77. different clue says:

    robt willmann,
    ( to number 79),
    That would be fine if it actually works out that way. Is the Kim Dynasty and all its support staff and cadres really willing to see the setting aside of Ju Che? Are the South Koreans really willing to see their buildup of wealth be taxed away and their standard of living reduced so the North Korean standard of living can be raised, to where they both meet in the middle?
    If it really works out that way, then that would be fine. The South Koreans should understand that once all our forces have evacuated from South Korea, that We Shall Not Return. Never Ever. If they decide they are okay with that, well okay then.

  78. DH says:

    catherine #13
    “Last week we were informed that missile interceptor systems have already been deployed throughout the country as part of a joint “drill” between the IDF and the U.S. military.”-lobelog
    It will be interesting to see how effective the interceptor systems are.

  79. Karel says:

    LondonBob#50, you should be more patient with the non-native SST readers, especially with Lyttenburgh. 😉
    Feminists have a different task in English then in other languages, no doubt. Never mind that their endeavors may feel unfamiliar and sometimes even a bit silly to both male and female, occasionally?
    Surely both the more general “spokesperson” and the “spokeswoman” are used by now. Spokeswoman according to Webster was first first recorded: First Known Use: 1569. Wonder in what context exactly. Have to check OED.
    Oxford agrees:
    While Webster only lists more recent examples in the arts, Oxford seems to be closer to reality. Women are quite present as Public Faces. 😉 Had Clinton become president, how would she have been called? A Presidentess? Analogous to lion, lioness? Prince, princess?
    Finally, slight irony alert: the word woman was created from Adam’s rib after all figuratively speaking. Woman should never forget that! 😉

  80. Procopius says:

    But the horrifying thing is that this applies to almost all Americans throughout our country’s history. Protected by the impassable moats of two oceans, America has never had to fear invasion, although for some reason they very much did after Pearl Harbor. I suspect that was just an act to justify stealing the property of people of Japanese ancestry. Anyway, if you read some of the essays over at Vineyard of the Saker you will see that althugh America still does not have to fear an invasion, we are no longer save from bombardment from the sea. The current generation of Russian hyper-sonic cruise missiles can be launched from any platform, including civilian cargo ships and railway cars. The vaunted American anti-missile defenses actually don’t work very well, and they certainly could not handle multiple missiles traveling at three or four times the speed of sound and changing direction and altitude every few seconds. Thus, they don’t understand the consequences of a “bloody nose” strike against an opponent. I don’t know what they’re telling each other, but I think it has something to do with, “The North Koreans will figure out that we don’t intend to follow up with further attacks if they just don’t respond, so there’s no risk.” We saw how well that worked with Hanoi.

  81. different clue says:

    (reply to comment 22),
    ” You really must let Hillary Clinton rest in piece.” Oh? She doesn’t let me rest in peace and she doesn’t let the political system rest in peace.
    Here is a very recent article from the Washington Post about how she continues to meddle in the American politics, after having brought us Donald J. Trump to begin with. Here is the link.
    Hillary Clinton remains an active threat and a deadly menace to any hope of political progress in this country. I will let Hillary Clinton “rest in peace” when every last vestige of Clintonism has been purged and burned from out of the Democratic Party, and also when the Clinton Crime Family which she is working so hard to turn into a long-standing Crime Dynasty like the Bushes is purged and burned all the way out of political influence and influence-peddling grifting opportunities. This will of course involve destroying any hope of golden brat Chelsea ever entering politics of any kind.
    Once all that is safely achieved, then I will let Hillary Clinton “rest in peace.”

  82. Fred says:

    Uncontrolled immigration is invasion. Especially as practiced by the open borders globalists.

  83. Greco says:

    A new report out of Bloomberg contends that those killed in the attack were mostly Russians and Ukrainians. About 100 killed with a further 200 to 300 injured.
    I also found this tidbit to be of interest:

    The Russian assault may have been a rogue operation, underscoring the complexity of a conflict that started as a domestic crackdown only to morph into a proxy war involving Islamic extremists, stateless Kurds and regional powers Iran, Turkey and now Israel. Russia’s military said it had nothing to do with the attack and the U.S. accepted the claim. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called the whole thing “perplexing,” but provided no further details.
    President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on reports of Russian casualties, saying the Kremlin only tracks data on the country’s armed forces. Putin talked with U.S. President Donald Trump by phone Monday, but the military action in Syria wasn’t discussed, he said.

  84. Greco,
    Don’t put your faith in these reports of excessive KIAs and WIAs from this incident east of Deir Ezzor. Military actions in Syria haven’t had that kind of mass of troops involved as far back as I can remember. Watch a lot of the videos of battles. This is a war of platoons and companies, not brigades.

  85. Greco says:

    My hat off to you sir.

    “The reports on the deaths of dozens, hundreds, of Russians is classic disinformation,” Zakharova said, who nonetheless admitted that some Russians did die, although in Moscow’s official estimation, the number was far lower, no more than “5 people” [….] adding that their citizenship still needs to be checked.
    The Russian Defense Ministry later said 25 Syrian militia fighters had been wounded in the airstrike. The ministry added that they came under attack while conducting a reconnaissance operation that was not coordinated with the Russian side. No Russian military servicemen were in the area, according to the ministry, although that narrative now appears to have also changed with “at least” 5 Russians admittedly killed.

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