“US Special Forces sabotage White House policy gone disastrously wrong with covert ops in Syria” – TTG

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By JACK MURPHY 09.14.2016

“Nobody believes in it. You’re like, ‘Fuck this,’” a former Green Beret says of America’s covert and clandestine programs to train and arm Syrian militias. “Everyone on the ground knows they are jihadis. No one on the ground believes in this mission or this effort, and they know they are just training the next generation of jihadis, so they are sabotaging it by saying, ‘Fuck it, who cares?’”

“I don’t want to be responsible for Nusra guys saying they were trained by Americans,” the Green Beret added. A second Special Forces soldier commented that one Syrian militia they had trained recently crossed the border from Jordan on what had been pitched as a large-scale shaping operation that would change the course of the war. Watching the battle on a monitor while a drone flew overhead, “We literally watched them, with 30 guys in their force, run away from three or four ISIS guys.”  (sofrep.com)

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One of the major points of this article  is that the CIA doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Islamic State in Syria or Iraq. By the end of 2014 there were only twenty CIA targeting officers and analysts were dedicated to IS. By early 2016, it was not much better. Instead, the CIA neurotically focused on removing Assad from power by any means possible. This laser focus was established by Brennan. I surmise this focus is shared by most in the Obama Administration

In spite of this focus, the CIA’s efforts in Syria is plagued by bureaucratic infighting. The CIA has three elements jockeying for power. The Syria Task Force is similar to the Iraqi Task Force and Iranian Operations Group that preceded it. It is Brennan’s baby. Damascus X is the Syrian CIA station now operating in Amman. And then there is the CTC/SI (Counterterrorist Center/Syria-Iraq), which is tragically focused on the Assad government rather than the terrorists. I have seen this kind of food fight for resources and prestige in the CIA and even in the DIA during the fat money days of the GWOT. I’m sure this cat fight is even more intense in today’s leaner fiscal environment.

As many of you know, the CIA conducts a lot, perhaps most, of their operations through liaison with host nation services. While I’m comfortable with working with the Jordanian services, the thought of depending on the current Turkish intelligence service scares the bejeezus out of me. For several years now,the CIA has relied on Erdogan’s boys to determine which unicorns and jihadis were worthy of getting all the TOWs and other goodies doled out by Brennan under his Title 50 authorities(intelligence/covert ops).

The 5th Special Forces Group arrived in Turkey and Jordan by 2015 to begin training anti-IS rebels under Title 10 authorities (military). Although this appears to be a reasonable mission, it was tripped up by a terrible vetting process. Jack Murphy describes the reaction of one veteran SAS operator sent to work with the 5th Group training program. “He quickly recognized the sorry state of the train, advise, and assist programs in Jordan.”  The situation in Turkey was/is much worse. Not only did the 5th Group trainers have to deal with the CIA’s ambivalence towards the anti-IS fight, but they had to work along side the Turks while they were enthusiastically supported IS and other assorted jihadis. The 5th Group soldiers were stuck training would-be terrorists while being commanded by a martinet MP officer more interested in making uniform corrections and chasing down speeders. Needless to say, morale was in the toilet. The charade in Turkey became more absurd when the Green Berets were embedded with the Kurds in Rojava.

When Obama authorized the direct support to the Kurds in Syria, the CIA wanted Delta to perform the mission. Delta turned to 5th Group. The fact that the new 5th Group Commander was a former Delta Commander was probably a major factor in that decision. It seems like a no-brainer to me, but politics and bureaucratic rivalries colored even this decision. Even here, with a mission that is dear to my heart, there are problems. The Kurds have their own combat training program. They resent the efforts of the U.S. to impose a Special Forces training program on them. However they dearly appreciate the weapons and air support. I noted something similar in 1983 Lebanon. We were providing basic combat training to many Lebanese who have been in combat for quite some time. There were times we thought it was a mutually embarrassing situation. That’s what happens when the training programs are planned in Bragg and D.C. rather than by the teams on the ground.

AS a final example of our hot, covert mess in Syria, Jack Murphy notes the plight of Delta which worked under CIA’s Title 50 in Syria. “Delta Force had also been stymied by red tape and bureaucracy as they tried to get into the fight and knock ISIS down a peg… With the CTC at war within itself, they were both trying to prevent their own people from collecting intelligence (lest they find something threatening) and stonewalling any and all Delta Force operations from going forward against ISIS.”

Jack Murphy published this article on his subscription website, SOFREP.com. It was also published on another website without his permission. I read the article on that site before I realized it was done without permission. Jack Murphy is a fellow Green Beannie. Out of courtesy to him, I will not provide a link to that site. Although I am not a joiner by nature, I may break down and subscribe to the SOFREP site. It seems to have some quality content not readily available elsewhere.

TTG 

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110 Responses to “US Special Forces sabotage White House policy gone disastrously wrong with covert ops in Syria” – TTG

  1. Avatar Martin Oline says:

    Thank you for covering this. I saw it a couple of days ago but was unaware it is a pay site. I ignore pop-ups, but I bookmarked it. I looked again just now and think it has very reasonable rates, especially considering the lack of quality in the M.S.M..

  2. Avatar gemini33 says:

    I had been reading at SOFREP before they went to subscription model and also read Murphy & Webb’s (early 2013) ebook on Benghazi, which they wrote because they lost a close friend/colleague there. But I didn’t subscribe until last weekend, when I saw this article, a real eye opener.
    My biggest questions to all of you who served and know these organizations well is: How much trouble are we in, with infighting and conflicting missions in Syria? Is it only Syria, or do the same conflicts run through other things, such as policy and actions toward Russia? And if the mission in Syria is “Brennan’s baby” then where does Obama stand? He has strongly defended Brennan and really went out on a limb for him on the Senate torture report.
    The more I understand about Syria, the more afraid I am. Is all of this going to hold together? Are there enough ‘good guys’ inside these organizations to set things straight? I find it terrifying really, especially the developments related to Russia.

  3. Avatar FB Ali says:

    You refer to the “laser focus” established by Brenner on removing Assad from power. Perhaps this has something to do with his special relations with the Saudis. They are very generous to people who help them (and ‘buying’ the CIA would be worth a lot of largesse!).
    Moon of Alabama has a post up about some other games being played by the US military in Syria. Worth reading.

  4. Avatar mike says:

    Did all this infighting and dissatisfaction start after Brett McGurk took over from General Allen back two years ago? Or was it ongoing even then?
    Has it gotten worse since then, or better?
    Just wondering.
    I note that Jack Murphy left the SOF in 2010. He must still have sources inside.

  5. Avatar Anna says:

    The ceasefire is effectively broken: http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/09/breaking-saa-and-russia-destroy-two-al.html
    Now we should brace ourselves for the US’ and Russia’ “unintended” human casualties of Mr. Brennan & Co’ grand game in the Middle East.
    The Moon of Alabama story on the ongoing involvement of the US with “opposition” (read jihadis, including Al Qaeda fighters) is terrifying. http://www.moonofalabama.org
    In the light of these revelations, Samantha Power’ hissy fit at the UN looks even more cynical:
    “On Saturday U.S. airplanes attacked the most important Syrian government position in Deir Ezzor. Nearly a hundred Syrian soldiers were killed and most of the heavy equipment the Deir Ezzor garrison had left was destroyed. Immediately after the attack fighters of the Islamic State occupied the bombed out government positions. These Islamic States fighters now own the heights above the Deir Ezzor airport. A day later the Islamic State shot down a Syrian government plane near Deir Ezzor.
    The city and its 150,000+ inhabitants are surrounded by the Islamic State. They had been supplied from Damascus by nightly flights to the airport. As the Islamic State now has fire-control over the airport as well as anti-air weapons those supply flights are no longer possible. The U.S. air attack practically closed down the Syrian government ability to supply the city. If this situation continues the city will fall to the Islamic State.”
    This is a picture perfect of the “humanitarian intervention” initiated by the US war profiteers.

  6. Avatar VietnamVet says:

    TGG
    Thanks for your vetting of the article.
    The U.S. policy in Syria and Ukraine is schizophrenic. Only the most dedicated and experienced fighters are still on the battlefield in either country. Tribal hatreds and greed are behind continuing wars to cut the Shiite Crescent and subjugate the Donbas; no matter how risky. I can see why soldiers could be conflicted with the mission. Current policies are confusing and contrary to the best interest of the folks at home. The Cold War 2.0 has restarted. There is no inkling of a path to peace. Endless rotations continue forever.

  7. Avatar FB Ali says:

    Of course that should be “Brennan”!
    Interesting. I suppose when one contemplates one ‘fxxx-up’ after another by the US in the ME, one’s subconscious goes back to Paul Bremer, who was the first in the series.

  8. gemini33,
    As long as we are focused on removing Assad rather than defeating IS, we are royally screwed in the region and most of the people living in the region are royally screwed to a much greater extent. Brennan isn’t acting alone. The entire Administration and the do-nothing are also to blame. The rot is widespread. I pray for those responsible for our policies and actions are struck by lightning on the road to Damascus. Failing this, a pox on the lot of them… a painful, lingering, yet lethal pox.
    What is happening with our training mission is Ukraine is anybody’s guess. Given the ugly nature of the hand we had in bringing that vile Nazi regime into being, the state of affairs there is probably equally depressing.

  9. Brigadier Ali,
    I made the mistake in my post. Bremmer – Brennan, Twiddle Dee -Twiddle Dum.
    As far as the special relationship between the CIA and the Saudis goes, they are certainly enablers of each other’s sordid plans.

  10. Avatar Ishmael Zechariah says:

    TTG,
    IMO, as long as strategic decisions are made by people who have no accountability, and no real competency, this state of affairs is going to continue.
    Here is a link to a good analysis of our “leaders” (even mentions the husband of La Powers by name):
    https://medium.com/@nntaleb/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577#.zejhlsce1
    This, too, shall pass, but I wonder when and after how much misery. What a colossal waste.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  11. Avatar ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Thank you, TTG. The cynicism and indifference to suffering of whoever is directing US actions in Syria knows no bounds.

  12. Avatar michael brenner says:

    We should ask ourselves the question: how important is it to determine exactly how involved President Obama is Middle East decision-making? Whatever the nominal procedures for consultation and/or decision-making, there functionally is no one in charge. That is to say, it is the responsibility of the chief executive to identify issues requiring decision; to determine who will make the decisions and how, execute them, and review results; to compose differences among subordinate officials – one way or another; and to force revision of failed policies. Obama does none of these things. So, inner contradictions, crossed wires, organizational rivalries, half-measures, and a permissive attitude toward “allies’ continues.
    In this mess, we still can discern American priorities on which there seems to exist some tacit consensus.
    1. The paramount objective is to thwart Russia’s efforts to exercise influence and to establish its position in Syria.
    2. Get rid of Assad We appear to have committed ourselves to the Israelis, the Turks, and the Saudis on this. their wish is our command.
    3. Wear down and slowly fragment ISIS. Success on this score can cover failure on all others in domestic opinion.
    4. Ensure a permanent American physical presence in Iraq, i.e. achieve what we failed to achieve in 2008.
    5. Facilitate a de facto partition of Iraq with bits of Syria attached to the Iraqi bits. Hold this out as the lure for the Kurds to act as our infantry.
    5. Facilitate some kind of Sunni entity in Anbar and eastern Syria. How can we prevent it being destabilized by attacks from ISIS remnants? How can we prevent it falling under the sway of al-Qaeda? Good subjects for the Obama Foundation’s first major study project.
    6. al-Nusra in Syria proper? That’s Brennan’s playground and chasse garde. Hope that the Turks can “domestic” al-Nusra. Incentive? Obscure – perhaps a threatened trade sanction on United States’ importation of baklava.

  13. Avatar michael brenner says:

    Addendum:
    Whether Obama nods, or defers to “X” and/or ‘Y,” has White House staff in the room or not, asks questions or not, or even is circumvented need not make a critical difference. He manifestly has no sense of shame about our humiliating failures, discredited actions or his abdication of duty.

  14. Avatar turcopolier says:

    TTG
    Thanks. I was absent today celebrating my wife’s 74th birthday but we had coordinated your post in advance. Unfortunately with the Flynn/Ledeen, James Wolsey. Gaffney et al types who are advising Trump things would not get much better under him but we might not fight Russia. We must stand by our brothers. DOL. pl

  15. Avatar Sam Peralta says:

    Col. Lang
    “..with the Flynn/Ledeen, James Wolsey. Gaffney et al types who are advising Trump..”
    This looks like the crew from neocon central casting. They should round up Darth Cheney and we can be off to the races. I worry that Trump could be spun around with these lunatics braying. But…I think his instincts are right about leaving the mess alone and getting the hell out of the ME.

  16. Avatar Paul Monk says:

    What’s vile or Nazi about the government of the Ukraine, especially compared with Putin’s nasty, kleptocratic regime in Moscow?

  17. Avatar Sam Peralta says:

    TTG
    The whole thing shows that the US government foreign policy apparatus is in complete disarray. Unfortunately, they have too big budgets and far too many toys that are way too dangerous for these idiots. Maybe we can spend half the money we spend on these interventions to pay them to sit on their fat asses to do nothing.
    Yes, the lunatics have taken over the asylum!

  18. Avatar LeaNder says:

    Interesting, but this is outdated: Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison. Lucky Americans, Monsanto is German now. Bayer bought it. Reminds me of one chemist I met there who I deeply detested. He was fascinated by the idea as a constant money producing machine. Maybe he moved from his shabby little office next to the laboratories up into the layers of power and decision.

  19. Avatar LeaNder says:

    Great comment, Michael, including the occasional attempt at humor/irony.

  20. Avatar LeaNder says:

    TTG,
    b links events at Hasaka and Deir-al-Zor via the 2012 Dia document. Without doubt in both places government forces were attacked.
    What do you think?
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/09/deir-ezzor-attack-enables-the-salafist-principality-forseen-in-the-2012-dia-analysis.html
    Beyond that I wonder if it would make sense to study the respective analyses by think thanks up to events, not least ISW, or e.g. AEI’s Critical Threats project.
    http://www.understandingwar.org/
    http://www.criticalthreats.org/

  21. Avatar LeaNder says:

    The very, very best to your wife, Pat.

  22. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    In my opinion, none of those goals are achievable by the United States, EU, Turkey, and Gulfies.
    The only thing I discern is an effort to prolong the agony of Syria.
    I think it stupid, it only deepens the cooperation between Russia and Iran and entrenches the sectarian sentiment among the Shia and other minorities of Islam.
    I mean, let us look at what has happened; Iranians have recruited Shia volunteers from across the world of Islam to fight in Syria – they have created Shia Consciousness, as well as the Shia Crescent and used it to wage war.
    The fundamental flaw in the Anti-Assad Coalition of the Willing, is that they cannot articulate a credible vision of the future for the people of Syria – let alone Islamdom. Just more war, more bloodshed, more rapine, more disease, more starvation, more destruction – all of that in a region of Asia that has been historically poor.

  23. Avatar Matthew says:

    Does anyone have information on how aid convoys are supposed to work? I have read conflicting information that the Turks apparently won’t allow their aid trucks to be inspected.
    What government on earth would permit delivery of uninspected “humanitarian” aid from an insurgency’s prime sponsor?

  24. Avatar Shh says:

    @ Paul Monk.
    Wow. Perhaps you should come up to speed on the Ukraine. Comparing that to Moscow is just silly for two reasons. One, a discussion on Russia is a separate topic. Conflating one with the other serves no useful purpose.
    Two, what happened in the Ukraine from November 2013 through February 2014 and since are on a level that rivals the worst atrocities ever perpetrated and it’s only getting worse. Denying the fascist ideology of Svoboda and Right Sektor is counter-factual and detrimental to your ability to form realistic assessments.

  25. Avatar gemini33 says:

    Col. Lang, I’m recalling that interview Flynn did with Spiegel last year. Most people seemed to focus on the “we were too dumb” part but didn’t notice what he said about Balkanizing the Middle East. It seemed like he was fully on board with the ‘redraw the map of the Middle East’ program, and in that sense, isn’t he in the same camp as Brennan, the Saudis and Israelis and for that matter the neocons? Usually Flynn sounds (to me) like the adult in the room but that answer threw me.
    ——
    Flynn: “We can learn some lessons from the Balkans. Strategically, I envision a breakup of the Middle East crisis area into sectors in the way we did back then, with certain nations taking responsibility for these sectors. In addition, we would need a coalition military command structure and, on a political level, the United Nations must be involved. The United States could take one sector, Russia as well and the Europeans another one. The Arabs must be involved in that sort of military operation, as well, and must be part of every sector. With this model, you would have opportunities — Russia, for example, must use its influence on Iran to have Tehran back out of Syria and other proxy efforts in the region.”
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/former-us-intelligence-chief-discusses-development-of-is-a-1065131.html
    ——
    On the issue of dealing with Russia (in other parts of the interview) he is infinitely more sane. But his partitioning plan seemed to contradict his other statements (like promising to leave Syria). Doesn’t this sound more like colonizing? And the idea of Iran backing out of Syria, isolating Hezbollah, does not seem very likely.

  26. Avatar tunde says:

    TTG,
    In a situation like this, let’s say for those working under Title 50, who writes the ROEs ? Agency or out-sourced asset ?
    Perhaps you could ask Jack if the recent history of Omar al-Shishani (aka Tarkhan Batirashivili) plays a part in the wider views of coalition sof in their opinions about training, advising and assisting these anti-regime forces.
    Also why is Libya such a different operating environment for the T,A,A mission ? i note similar ingredients (failed/failing state, credible former regime officers, availability of small arms and anti-regime irregulars, weak central govt supported by a world power etc) yet haven’t heard of the hint of insurrection about policy raised in quite the same fashion. I do however note that both Libya and Syria are signposts of US foreign policy failure during the Obama tenure, but for myriad differing reasons.

  27. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    He is saying the same thing as Admiral Shamkhani – creation of spheres of influence in the Middle East – details to be worked out. I guess Syria is on the bargaining table…

  28. Avatar Vic says:

    The lack of Syrian militias willingness to fight is possible just a result of arab culture. The FSA units with the Turkish invasion of norther Syria are current running away from an ISIS counter attack (more of an administrative advance or road march) in the east advancing on an axis towards Jarabulus. No sign of combat, the FSA just picked up and ran. Be it Turkish advisors or American arabs; are not military material (with special exceptions).
    Jarabulus.
    Vic

  29. Avatar Former 11B says:

    Maybe its the SS runes they paint on the sides of their APCs?
    Do you actually not know any of this? There are links all over this site. You really should do the research before you come in here and make a total fool of yourself like you just did. I am surprised the Col. even let your comment through but he may want to just enjoy watching the committee tear your delusional reality into little tiny shreds. Entertainment is where you can find it.

  30. Avatar kooshy says:

    Yes, but the difference is that he Flynn says Iran must back out of Syria ME(Iraq, Lebanon) and bag his influence all together , I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I don’t see Iranians abandon ME Shia constituencies. With the danger and performance of DAESH blamed on Arab western clients and west itself they (Iranians) have bought Shia and other minorities, including Kurds loyalty for many years to come AMF, IMO their Internal security and external security is more solid than anytime since the revolution. All due to Daesh, and Nuclear (non existent) deal.

  31. Avatar Chris Chuba says:

    Regarding the attack on Deir Ezzor, another detail that caught my attention is that the coalition aircraft entered through Iraq. This would be a blind spot because the Russians aren’t tracking that with radar (they had no reason to).
    So if I was in the military and I planned to hit the Syrians, Deir Ezzor looks like the perfect place to do it.
    Now the question is, is it worth the risk?
    1. If this originated in the Pentagon, they don’t care if the Russians know because that was the whole point; to put a horse’s head into their bed.
    2. Obama isn’t stupid and he does not look upset at all. Did the people involved figure that he wanted plausible deniability? If not then he should be furious or at least want a real investigation because this would be a very severe breech of Executive authority.
    3. Risk of discovery, there will be some type of investigation. What if someone breaks down and confesses. This would be a major story. If it was discovered and still ignored then we are worse off than I thought. Our press will probably still be fuming over skittles.

  32. Avatar Ishmael Zechariah says:

    @Vic,
    1-Would you care to explain what part of their culture makes Arabs unwilling to fight?
    2-Have you ever served in combat as part of a combined arms operation? In what capacity?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  33. Avatar r whitman says:

    I wonder if the lower level Russian GI’s are as fed up with this as ours. Remember that the Russian MSM is as bent as ours.

  34. Avatar Ali Mirza says:

    Thank you Shh. I was finding it hard to reply to this without getting all hot n bothered.
    Started writing n stopped 3 times before giving up.
    Good on you buddy.

  35. Avatar turcopolier says:

    r whitman
    US Army Special Forces soldiers are mature senior sergeants. They are not equivalent to Russian “GI”s pl

  36. Avatar Allen Thomson says:

    > For several years now,the CIA has relied on Erdogan’s boys to determine which unicorns and jihadis were worthy of getting all the TOWs and other goodies doled out by Brennan under his Title 50 authorities (intelligence/ covert ops).
    Are there indications of where the weapons are coming from? I ask because the Camp Stanley Storage Activity outside San Antonio has been undergoing steady and considerable expansion for the past 15 years or so. CSSA is nominally Army, but there indications that it’s really a CIA depot for processing, storing and shipping “goodies” to favored parties. Historically, for reasons of deniability, it seems to have dealt in third-party armaments — so one indication of what’s going on now would be whether the US-supported parties are getting hardware made in the USA or stuff of more obscure provenance.
    TOWs, of course, would be an exception but the only earlier case in which CSSA handled TOWs was indeed exceptional, that being in 1985 during the Iran-Contra episode.

  37. Avatar The Beaver says:

    Can this be considered an eye-opener on all the conspiracy theories which popped up even as the Turkish coup was underway last July?
    http://warontherocks.com/2016/09/the-cia-and-a-turkish-coup/
    Good read though

  38. Avatar FB Ali says:

    Michael,
    On your point #3: I am inclined to believe (with b) that the CIA, at least, is working with IS in Syria. (I suppose both believe they are using the other to advance their own agendas). According to b, the CIA, would be quite happy to see IS establish the “Sunni entity” you refer to in point #5.
    I suspect this has something to do with the Saudis – both Brennan and IS have (under the table) links to the Saudi intelligence services.

  39. Avatar robt willmann says:

    Sam Peralta, Michael Brenner,
    In my opinion, the U.S. foreign policy about Syria is not in disarray. The “policy” is clear and is to overthrow the Syrian government and Assad, and either install a puppet government/president, or create such chaos that it will be almost impossible for Syria to remain as a defined geographic area. If Syria becomes a chopped up, chaotic area, then it will not be able to help Russia, Hizbullah, Lebanon, and/or Iran. The main beneficiaries of this policy are the U.S., Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Tayyip Erdogan wants Assad gone, but he might be adjusting his position a little.
    It seems from the main post by TTG above, that the U.S. Special Forces in that area are complaining that the CIA does not seem worried about ISIS. The CIA is not hitting at ISIS because ISIS is doing what the U.S. policy is: to try to overthrow Assad. The CIA’s activities in Syria would be the result of secret presidential “findings”, most likely starting with Bush jr. and continuing with the so-called Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama, that would define and declare the “covert” operation. ISIS benefits the U.S. policy in two ways: by pushing regime change, and by being a convenient Monster of the Month to be pumped up by the U.S. mass media to present a supposed “justification” for the U.S. to assist with violence in Syria.

  40. Paul Monk,
    A – rather rare – reasonably objective treatment of some of the issues involved in ‘mainstream’ American and British media comes in an article by Alec Luhn in ‘Foreign Policy’ in August 2014, entitled ‘Preparing for War With Ukraine’s Fascist Defenders of Freedom.’
    (See http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/08/30/preparing-for-war-with-ukraines-fascist-defenders-of-freedom/ .)
    Unfortunately, Mr Luhn does not seem to be that well up on the history of National Socialism. He describes the ‘Black Sun’ symbol which – lightly transformed – is used by the ‘Azov Battalion’, the ‘Fascist Defenders of Freedom’ about whom he is writing, as ‘used by the Nazi SS’.
    This is, frankly, rather as though one were to describe the crucifix as a symbol ‘used by Christian monks.’
    As a matter of easily ascertainable fact, the ‘Black Sun’ is set in the floor in the centre of the ‘Obergruppenführersaal’, in the castle of Wewelsburg in North-Rhine Westphalia, which was conceived of by Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS, as the ‘Center of the New World.’
    The intellectual issues involved are quite interesting, as they have to do with some rather sinister Germanic transformations of Arthurian legend.
    This is a complex mixture of Roman, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, and Norman elements: and also, critically, of pagan and Christian elements.
    Involved in ‘Wewelsburg’ were German currents of thought which, very deliberately, treated the ‘Christian’ elements, as ‘Jewish’ and sought to purge them:
    From the Wikipedia entry on the symbol:
    ‘Allegedly, the design was drawn for Heinrich Himmler from an “old Aryan emblem”, and was meant to mimic the Round table of Arthurian legend with each spoke of the sun wheel representing one “knight” or Officer of the “inner” SS. The symbol of the Black Sun is purported to unite the three most important symbols of Nazi ideology – the sun wheel, the swastika and the stylized victory rune.’
    It is, ‘Wikipedia’ tells us, ‘symbolic in its form representing “the twelve SS Knights of The Order of the Death’s Head and their three retainers.”’
    (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sun_(occult_symbol) .)
    Combined with the ‘Black Sun’, in the logo of the ‘Azov Battalion’ is a light transformation of the ‘Wolfsangel’ symbol, which as Mr Luhn notes, was ‘widely used in the Third Reich’.
    Again, the relevant ‘Wikipedia’ is more specific:
    ‘The Wolfsangel was an initial symbol of the Nazi Party. In World War II the sign and its elements were used by various Nazi German storm divisions such as the Waffen-SS Division Das Reich and the Waffen-SS Division Landstorm Nederland.’
    (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfsangel .)
    I could go on at greater length about the significance of the way that the ‘Black Sun’ is flooded with light in the ‘Azov Battalion’ logo, and the ‘Wolfsangel’ reversed. But you can perhaps see some reasons why people in the Crimea might, just possibly, not be totally enthusiastic about the ‘Azov Battalion’.
    Of course, I would then have to explain something about the revival of Christianity in post-Soviet Russia. But I would not really expect you to understand much about that.
    If you want to get ‘up to speed’ on the background to current events in Ukraine, incidentally, I would also recommend two papers by a rather good Polish-German historian, Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe.
    One is entitled: ‘Holocaust Amnesia: The Ukrainian Diaspora and the Genocide of the Jews.’
    (See https://www.newcoldwar.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/The-Ukrainian-Diaspora-and-the-Genocide-of-the-Jews-Grzegorz-Rossoli%C3%B1ski-Liebe.pdf .)
    Another, ‘The Fascist Kernel of Ukrainian Genocidal Nationalism’.
    (See https://newcoldwar.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Grzegorz-Rossoli%C5%84ski-Liebe-The-Fascist-Kernel-of-Ukrainian-Genocidal-Nationalism.pdf .)
    It is, I might stress, not my purpose to turn the Ukrainian nationalist narrative on its head. As it happens, I have rather personal reasons to be acutely aware of the traumas left by the ‘Holodomor’ among many people in Ukraine, and also by the incorporation of those parts of the area which had never been part of the Russian Empire in the Soviet Union as a result of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and their reincorporation as a result of the Red Army’s defeat of the Wehrmacht.
    However, it would be desirable if the contemporary inhabitants of the United States – and I regret to have to add, my own country, England – did not display an extraordinary determination to interpret this extraordinarily complex, bitter, and tragic history in terms of infantile narratives of ‘good guys’ versus ‘bad guys’.
    As for privileged American Jews – Victoria Nuland being a prime example – who expect us to accept that the traumatic experiences of their ancestors have some relevance to the policy choices faced by their ‘goy’ fellow countrymen today, while being apparently all-too-happy to associate with the heirs of the perpetrators of the Lviv pogrom.
    I am beginning to suspect that the underlying belief of the forebears of scum like these was – it is absolutely awful when the SS was murdering Jews, who would have liked to have been good Nazis: If only they had confined their activities to murdering Russian peasants.
    Such people, I suspect, would have been Nazis, if only Hitler had allowed them the option – so they have a natural spiritual kinship with ‘Banderistas’.

  41. Not to mention the OUN flags that appear at virtually every gathering.
    https://es.sott.net/image/s8/174658/full/una_unso_ukraine_lviev.jpg
    The OUN was the parent organization of the UPA, the party of Bandera. The OUN advocated violent repression of Polish, Czech and Russian populations to protect Ukrainian ‘purity’, and they were the moderates. The UPA carried out genocidal attacks against Poles and Jews, murdering 33,771 Jews at Babi Yar, and actively collaborated with the Nazis. The UPA also served as Nazi auxiliary police and as concentration camp guards.
    According to the Wiesenthal Center, as of January 2011 Ukraine had not ever carried out a single investigation of any local war criminal, much less a prosecution. Why would they? They’re proud of it.

  42. Avatar mike says:

    “including Kurds”? Perhaps some of them, certainly they favor the PUK under Talabani. But not Barzani’s KRG. And also not for their own Iranian Kurdish citizens who they treat no better today than Reza Shah did back in the 1920s and 30s.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Kurdistan#Political_prisoners_and_executions

  43. Avatar Charles Michael says:

    There is one impossibility and that is the Kurdistan, nothing new, just temporary pseudo emancipationn, including in Irak.
    There is one very stupid tool largely used by Borgistas and KSA & GCC it is insisting on the sunnites against chiites divide.
    There may be a looming fatal issue with Irak liberated from Isis and getting closer and closer to Iran.
    IMHO it is largely explaining the persistence of US non-sensical politics since the 2003 invasion of Irak and the (logical but insane) follow-up.

  44. tunde,
    An intelligence operation or covert operation executed under Title 50 is initiated with an operational proposal normally by a field station or office in the CIA. DIA elements start their intelligence operations with a similar operational proposal. That operational proposal spells out what is to be accomplished, who is to accomplish it and resources needed. A major part of any proposal is a risk vs. gain assessment. Within that proposal ROE or some equivalent concept would be addressed, but probably not to the extent that a military OPLAN would. Out-sourced assets would never write an operational proposal.

  45. Avatar Debrah says:

    I wish there was a ‘like’ button for your reply to Paul Monk! And I agree that he and a host of voters in both Canada and the USA really don’t have a clue because MSM is making a good job of disseminating only the propaganda that our governments want us to hear, with the American and British media leading the pack.
    A quick check of CNN, Fox, NYTime and Washington Post and the BBC shows that none of those ‘fine’ establishments made any mention of the 62 Syrian military who were killed on the 17th(?) of September even though it happened in the middle of the ceasefire. And how many fine citizens get their info only from one or more of them? Tragic and very frightening.

  46. Avatar Castellio says:

    I agree: the policy is not in disarray, and to suggest that somehow Obama is being bamboozled by the Pentagon is simply to drink the cool-aid. It is both Obama’s job and specialty to “spin the truth” to hide the agenda, and about that he is a master.
    The initial sanctions against Iraq were in 1990, and they were intended to last until Iraq left Kuwait, paid reparations, and gave up WMD. This Iraq did, but the sanctions remained, sustained by the useful lie that Iraq still had weapons of destruction. I think we all know the state of Iraq today; in many ways – mission accomplished – if you understand the mission as one of privatizing the oil industry while destroying Iraq as a society which might mount any possible military threat to Israel.
    True, Iran gained influence in Iraq, but what was “b” on the agenda simply became “a”, after Iraq was Iran. The war against Iran is on-going, but being approached cautiously: limiting the nuclear break out ability being only the first step.
    Syria is a support to both Hezbollah and Iran (and still believes it owns the Golan), hence it will be taken out, and this policy has been consistent for the last decade. Syria will be shattered to help isolate Iran and to confirm Israel’s right to grow.
    The American policies in the region were determined many years ago and are enacted from one administration to another. Nothing, short of a nuclear war, is going to change them; not the presence of Russian S – 300s or 400s or cruise missiles.
    What is most amazing about US policies in the Middle East is how consistent they are in the pursuit of a failed strategy. Well, I say “failed”, but in the eyes of those who implement, it is successful, at least for this generation, and surely everything can be “managed” after that.

  47. Avatar Paul Escobar says:

    Mr. Lang,
    Re: James Woolsey
    The press release promoting Woolsey was interestingly worded.
    There were many aspects of his “advice” that could have been emphasized.
    The DJT release emphasized: “the urgent need to reinvest in and modernize our military…”
    Seems that DT will use these men according to their strengths.
    Best,
    Paul

  48. Avatar Thomas says:

    “Such people, I suspect, would have been Nazis, if only Hitler had allowed them the option – so they have a natural spiritual kinship with ‘Banderistas’.”
    Yes, the father of Neo-Conservatism Leo Strauss would have been one.

  49. Avatar georgeg says:

    With all due respect, that’s pretty funny…..

  50. Avatar turcopolier says:

    TTG
    IMO Tunde is thinking abt covert action. not clandestine intel ops. His head is full of Three Days of the Condor. pl

  51. Hard to say; the S-400 system is deployed at Latakia, and the Russians would be foolish if they were not using it for air surveillance, getting as much operational time on the system under real wartime conditions as possible. Deir ez-Zor is well within its coverage, about 500 km. Target detection range is 600 km. They might not have gotten the A-10’s, which would be low, but they should have gotten the F-16s.
    http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/04/20/russia-s400-air-defense-system-superior-weapon-crucial-deterrence.html

  52. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    Which central government, in which country, and in which historical period, has treated Kurds well?
    In other words, when and where have the Kurds been happy?
    Let us start with Anabais…

  53. Avatar turcopolier says:

    MarkCha40189515
    Get a simpler handle. Well, even if they had the theoretical range the decision would be political in the midst of a COH they were attempting with the US. pl

  54. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    Well, US & EU did sign a cease-fire deal with Iran called JCPOA; let us see how that works out over the next 5, 10, and 15 years.

  55. Avatar The Beaver says:

    Lindsey Graham: Arming Saudis is necessary to save Jews from a second holocaust.
    I guess that little trip to KSA with his buddy must have been worth it
    https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4621145/sen-graham-uses-holocaust-justify-arms-sales-saudi-arabia

  56. Avatar Kooshy says:

    Mike to better understand my comment and yours, I recommend to study complete history ( not just recent, last 200 years) of Iranian plateau’ history, geography and demography, once that’s done think what other/better alternative the Kurds may have.
    There is a very small reblious Kurdish, as well as Baluch and Azeri and Persian groups in and outside of Iran against the curent or and past centeral governments but these groups never were hugely thretaning the centeral systems of Iranian governability. When IS started to move south and west in Iraq the first and only regional goverment Kurds asked and immediately received help was Iran. Same is true when Saddam attacked them back in 93 the only refeuge they found and help they recived was in Iran. Clan leaders like Barezani, or Talibani and other regional minorties know deep and well that they can’t have a more stratigicly convenient ally other than Iran and Iran knows that as well, and takes that as an advantage to move her security barrier outside of her international borders to her natural cultural borders.

  57. Avatar Kooshy says:

    Yes it is true, frankly and personally I was always very worried about that. After the Lebanon war of 06 I was sure soon the Sunni Shia divide will be used, to neutralize the American European and Israelis multiple failures in ME, naturally that came to be used tacticly to divert the Arab awakening sort of, like changed his the conversation. I was not sure if Iranians and Dr.s of Shia Islam will keep a sober head to handle this and avoid a religious conflict. They did, even in religiously divided waring Syria, they were able to continue supporting Assad and avoid making this a sectorial war. IMO it was smart to get the Russians involved that helped to put to switch from religious war which was promoted by Arab Clients to war against extremist terrorists.

  58. Avatar Kooshy says:

    Over all I agree with you, that US policies and plans are long term and continues, no matter who is suppose to implement them, but some how I feel you assert that determination and continuity will prevails the failure of plans. That is not historically correct.

  59. Avatar mike says:

    Why not even earlier? Perhaps in the time before Cyrus the Great. Or even during his reign, as he was said to have tolerated and upheld the culture, customs and religion of all his conquered lands And many claim he was half Kudish on his mother’s side.

  60. Avatar Castellio says:

    Yes, it did.
    My interpretation is as follows: the deal does block any quick possible break-out nuclear ability by Iran, which is desired by the US, Israel, and SA, and wasn’t an Iranian tactical priority anyhow; Netanyahoo didn’t really mind the agreement as long as it is simply one part of an on-going effort to diminish Iran’s abilities – and I think we will discover quickly enough, if we haven’t already, that is the case; Netanyahoo knew he could and would get more money from the US for the deal having been signed, especially if he made a lot of noise; the attention of the US and Israel will now turn, and has turned, to the Iranian ballistic missile program which is a tactical priority for Iran, so expect there to be public connections made between sanctions and ballistic missiles; certain financial aspects of the agreement will simply not be honoured.

  61. pl,
    The planning for CIA covert actions, at least the few I knew about, parallels the process for clandestine intel ops. Of course, it cites a finding rather than an intel objective.

  62. Avatar Walker says:

    For years one of the most frustrating aspects of US policy in the Middle East has been that the real motives are hard to discern. Why are we so “neurotically focused on removing Assad from power by any means possible”?
    A current article in Politico written by Robert F Kennedy Jr puts forth a reason: in 2009 Assad rejected a Qatari proposal for a natural gas pipeline through Syria & Turkey in favor of an Iranian pipeline through Syria & Lebanon. The article states:
    In 2009, according to WikiLeaks, soon after Bashar Assad rejected the Qatar pipeline, the CIA began funding opposition groups in Syria.
    I don’t know if this is the real reason for our attack on Assad, but it’s much more plausible to me than “We want them to be free”.
    As an added benefit, the article reviews the long history of violent American interference in Syria’s internal affairs. And we wonder why they hate us.

  63. All,
    Some wondered why I would post Paul Monk’s comment questioning my characterization of the government as vile and Nazi. I had faith that members of SST would rise to the occasion to point out his ignorance. You didn’t disappoint. Drive on.

  64. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    That is the question, isn’t it: “Who are the Kurds?”
    We are speaking of a population that speaks at least 3 mutually un-intelligible languages, have Shia, Sunni, and Yazidi religious orientations, have never been unified in any kingdom during historical times, and elements of their specific culture are indistinguishable from many others on the Iranian plateau.
    Note that Armenians were divided into 2 language groups but had had multiple kingdoms during historical times.

  65. Avatar BradRHoff says:

    If any of CIA’s Doug Laux’s claims are true, we were doomed from the beginning in Syria. He claims he spearheaded regime change strategizing for Syria, but knew little about the country.
    Here’s my article on Laux:
    The CIA’s top spy in Syria knew nothing about Syria
    http://www.thecanary.co/2016/08/01/cias-top-spy-syria-knew-nothing-syria-video/

  66. Avatar Castellio says:

    Kooshy, can you explain what you mean by “some how I feel you assert that determination and continuity will prevails the failure of plans.” I am simply not understanding…

  67. Avatar turcopolier says:

    TTG
    A presidential finding for a covert operation makes the responsibility for the ROE and instructions that of the president alone. pl

  68. Avatar kooshy says:

    Castellio, sorry for that, I simply couldn’t understand if you mean American policies in ME so far have failed or not . If not, when and where one would know if there goals have been achieved, even if the goal is an indefinite state of chaos, confusion, when and what are the benefits for them. if America is achieving what her planers goals were, then why there global power and rich is on declining trajectory. One can argue since they are losing their hegemony/control they rather break everything before they leave, I don’t that’s a sound winig policy.

  69. Avatar kooshy says:

    Castellio, I came to understand with high confidence that Iranian Nuclear Program was increased, expedited
    to make american come to negotiate with Iran sort of opening a dialogue with a strong hand.
    IMO Iran never intended to build or field a nuclear weapon, and will not. Iran, do and wanted and now has the Know How, and the industrial base to be a nuclear state. I agree with Babak JCPOA is just a ceasefire, a restrain from direct and not proxy hostilities for what ever the life of it may be. Overall Iranian planners believe by the end of JCPOA US mostly have left the ME and Iran has become stronger in her region based on demography, geography, natural resources and specialty size. They simply believe time is with them, that is Us can’t tolerate for ever the ever increasing expenses to overcome Iran’s natural advantages in that region.

  70. Avatar Chris Chuba says:

    Yeah, I read older specs on the S400, Deir Ezzor is at the outer reach of the S400 but looks to be in range. I don’t know if it can cover all altitudes at that range or if it is positioned in Latakia correctly to observe it based on topography considerations, it might be.
    I think the key element in the attack was the relative remoteness of the location and the element of surprise. The U.S. aircraft didn’t really have to hide because they told the Russians that they would be in Deir Ezzor governorate and being able to cover 10 miles per minute would allow them to go from a non-suspicious location to the kill zone rather quickly.
    I am certain that the Russians will be doing their own investigation and compare their results to whatever we release. For example, if they did have RADAR coverage, were our F-16s flying at the expected altitude or were they flying suspiciously low to the point of being missed. Again, that detail might not matter but I think that they will be looking at all of the details they can find.
    I just hope the truth comes out, whatever it is.

  71. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Unity of Ummah was part of the ethos of those revolutionary Muslims who opposed the Shah.
    They were also largely ignorant of history, or, perhaps in denial of its relevance to contemporary world.
    I suppose if one is a revolutionary, one is not so much interested in the Past but in overcoming it and replacing it with something revolutionary and new.

  72. Avatar Castellio says:

    Ah! Thanks for the clarification.
    If the goal of the American political class is better housing, food, education and quality of life for its citizens now and in the future, then its policies in the Middle East are entirely counter-productive; they are, in fact, a dismal and expensive failure that have precluded and extensively warped national life and social development.
    But if the goals are privatization of oil and gas assets in the Middle East with transaction costs benefiting the private financial/banking system; and protecting an expanding Israeli religious state; and maintaining chaos, incoherence, and military weakness among those it considers its civilizational enemies, then the policies can be thought of as “having succeeded”, with the future yet to be determined.
    So I, personally, think policy in the Middle East an obvious failure, not only for the great pain and dislocation caused people in the Middle East, but for the loss of options for the American people as well, whose futures are being warped and stolen by imperial policies and cultural prejudice.
    However, that does not mean I am blind to the fact that certain elites view their policies as successful, and will persevere with them.
    Perhaps that helps?

  73. Avatar elkern says:

    “Oil” would have been a more plausible explanation when Bush/Cheney ruled. Obama & Democrats are NOT on friendly terms with the PetroChem plutocrats in the USA.
    The one thing that Democrats & Republicans in Congress can agree upon is that Israel’s strategic interests are more important than ours (USA). KSA & Turkey have some influence, but it’s trivial compared to the influence of the Israel Lobby. Obama is probably attracted to the R2P framework; that tendency is being exploited by people high up in State & CIA bureaucracies who are essentially acting as agents of Israel.
    Maybe I’m paranoid; maybe I’m oversimplifying. But maybe not?

  74. Avatar mike says:

    Good points all, Babak.
    But then who are the Iranians: Persian, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Gilak, Mazani, Arab, Baluch, Turkmen, Qashqai, Talishi, Armenian, and many others? Your people are the ‘Raza Cosmica’ that the Brazilians lay claim to and are probably as ethnically diverse as us Americans, and probably more than any other country on earth except India or the old Soviet Union.
    As for the Kurds, they lay claim to descent from the Median Kingdom. Maybe so, I won’t argue that point. And wasn’t the Ayubbid dynasty of Kurdish origin?

  75. Avatar mike says:

    Babak – Was Mohammad Mokri a Kurd?

  76. Avatar different clue says:

    robt willman,
    No “so called” about it. Obama really is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, officially and on the record.
    Does the Nobel Peace Prize Committee have rules and by-laws permitting the revocation of a Peace Prize? If they do, might they finally invoke and apply those rules in the Obama case? Even if they can’t make him send back the money, can they still cancel the title?

  77. Avatar Peter Reichard says:

    The prevalence of occult symbolism in Nazi Germany has led me to believe that at its inner core the Nazi movement was as much a crypto-Satanic cult as a political party and was driven by a confused amalgamation of Germanic and Norse mythology, Nietzschean philosophy and the Secret Doctrine of Madame Blavatsky with her “root race” theory. Forty years ago I ran these ideas by one of my taxicab passengers, the Jazz legend Jon Hendricks, who replied ” the Nazis were afraid of the Kabbalah.” His comment I think goes a long way towards explaining the Holocaust.

  78. Avatar LeaNder says:

    Hmmm, I wasn’t aware that Georg Kreisler was accused of plagiarizing Tom Lehrer, thus thanks for that link. In any case didn’t know Tom but loved Georg, and they obviously are very, very similar.

  79. Avatar LeaNder says:

    thanks Babak, it’s probably difficult to grasp oral traditions and how they leave traces in the written one. But recently a new theory on the Holy Grail attracted me. It relied heavily on Arabic manuscripts …
    In connection with calling the “Adamic” language Syriac, we have written elsewhere about “primitive” Syria; this name, properly speaking, signifies the “solar land” of which Homer writes as being an island situated “beyond Ogygia”; this allows of no other identification than Hyperborean Thule or Tula.
    AEI’s special threat assessment scenario, I discovered yesterday does list Syria under Iran, I guess that’s one point for you:
    http://www.criticalthreats.org/
    I never got down to look into the curious esoteric studies of the Nazis more closely but I am aware of some angles.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esoteric_Nazism#Collective_Aryan_unconscious
    this article uses the black sun instead of the swastika in it’s German version.
    Re/Aton-Sol-Helius – ????
    Pat used Kali occasionally and strictly the swastika originates in India … My knowledge in Indian mythology is pretty limited, though.
    ******
    When we had the first wave of arsons post German reunion over here a painter friend’s landscapes changed abruptly. One was quite fascinating it was quite idyllic from far off, except maybe for the black sun, once you moved closer you realized the lower layer was built up with burned wood corresponding with the color of the sun.

  80. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, Mokris are Kurds. That is the name of clan.

  81. Avatar irf520 says:

    If they tried you might find one or two of them mysteriously commit suicide by shooting themselves twice in the back of the head with a .22

  82. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    “Iranain” is an appellation used to indicate the inhabitants of the region of the Iranian plateau ruled by Safavids, and later Qajars and now Islamic Republic.
    What characterizes them is adherence to Shia Islam or, alternatively and concomitantly, the idea of Ancient Eran-Shahr of Sassanid dynasty.
    Ethnographically, one has to conduct research as to what there various groups that you have mentioned are; mind you, their identity is in the state of flux as universal education and universal media penetrates all corners of the Islamic Republic.
    Shahnameh traces the origins of Kurds to men who were spared the fate of their brains being fed to snakes coming out of Zahak’s shoulders. As far as I know, there is no evidence that Kurds had anything with ancient kingdom centered in Ecbatana – Hamadan, today.
    Anabasis is the only place, as far as I know, that mentions anything that could correspond to Kurds; where they were throwing rocks at the Greeks from the height…

  83. Avatar kooshy says:

    yes it did, Thank you, since i have read your past comments, I did wondered if i miss understood

  84. Avatar kooshy says:

    Yes, they are all Iranians, an belive as such, one Iranian scholar called this mix Noorozistan. Some claim there are 150 ethnicities in LA area.

  85. Walker,
    A critique of the Kennedy article by Gareth Porter has just appeared, under the title ‘The War Against the Assad Regime Is Not a “Pipeline War”.’
    (See http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37685-the-war-against-the-assad-regime-is-not-a-pipeline-war .)
    For what it is worth – and I am emphatically not an expert in this area – I think the deeply entrenched nature of the alliances with Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia which Porter discusses is one critical factor in both American and also British policy.
    Another however is the fact that the steadily increasing range and accuracy of the Hizbullah missile arsenal in the south of Lebanon is perceived as an ‘existential threat’ by the Israeli leadership. Both Michael Oren and Moshe Ya’alon have stated candidly that they prefer Islamic State to Iranian allies in Syria.
    Taken together, these pressures mean that the breaking the ‘Shia Crescent’, either by toppling the Assad régime or by effectively partitioning Syria, has become a central objective both of American and British policy.
    However, the whole intellectual framework behind this policy has been in the process of collapsing.
    Underpinning it has been what has been a critical premise of a good deal both of British and American thinking, as well as that of the Turks, Qataris and Saudis: that the willingness to fight of jihadists could be used against our common enemies, without risking catastrophic ‘blowback’ against ourselves.
    However, recent terrorist attacks both in Europe and the United States, together with the crisis relating to refugee flooding into Europe, has revealed this premise for a catastrophic miscalculation.
    It has always been difficult to be clear how far the insistence of American and European officials that there was some kind of ‘third force’ of ‘moderate insurgents’ who could provide an alternative both to the Assad régime and jihadists was simply the product of a failure to confront the real options – and how far of their inability to be as candid as Oren and Ya’alon about their preferences.
    It is clear however that a ‘rendez-vous with reality’ has been happening among elements of the British élite.
    An interesting case in point is a report by the House of Commons Defence Committee, chaired by Dr Julian Lewis, which appeared yesterday.
    A discussion in the ‘Independent’ by one of the best of British correspondents dealing with the Middle East, Patrick Cockburn, is reproduced on the ‘Unz Review’ site, where it is succinctly entitled: ‘No Strategy, No Plan and Only ‘phantom’ Allies: UK’s Syria Flaws Laid.’
    (See http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/no-strategy-no-plan-and-only-phantom-allies-uks-syria-flaws-laid/ .)
    The conclusion reads:
    ‘Having ruled out acting in concert with the Assad government, whose displacement is a centrepiece of British policy, British military action in theory presupposes the existence of a powerful “third force” on the ground in Syria. The report says that “despite extensive correspondence with the Ministry of Defence, the committee was unable to obtain the Government’s list of which groups the UK was supporting in Syria.” It concludes that the real reason why the UK air operation in Syria is so small, despite rhetorical comparisons with resisting Hitler during last year’s Commons debate, is “mainly the lack of partners on the ground, other than Kurdish forces.”
    ‘The Government’s explanation on why it cannot reveal the identity of the potent but invisible Syrian armed moderates is that this information would help the Assad government. But Dr Lewis and the report strongly suggest that the very limited nature of the British air campaign is a tacit admission that no such force exists on the ground in Syria which British air strikes might assist. But the existence of such a moderate body is a necessity if both Isis and Assad are to be removed simultaneously.
    ‘In the light of this, the report is sceptical about government goals in Syria which “are not only to defeat Daesh [Isis], but also to help bring into being a government which will be neither authoritarian and repressive, on the one hand, nor Islamist and extreme on the other.” It says that these aims cannot be achieved by military means alone.’

  86. Thomas,
    As to Strauss, I think the conclusion of his May 1933 letter to Karl Löwith is fundamental:
    ‘There is no reason to crawl to the cross, neither to the cross of liberalism, as long as somewhere in the world there is a glimmer of the spark of the Roman thought. And even then: rather than any cross, I’ll take the ghetto.’
    (See http://balkin.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/letter_16.html .)
    This is, I think, a sneering denunciation aimed at that very substantial number of his fellow German Jews who had sought to assimilate.
    Such people moved in many different ideological directions, but a non-negligible number did convert to Christianity, and many would have been liberals, in the sense of having a strong commitment to constitutional government.

  87. Avatar LeaNder says:

    as ethnically diverse as us Americans … except India
    be careful, it all depends on how far back you are willing to go. If it was such a ethnically “non-diverse country”, why does/did it have the multitude of languages and writing systems?
    Apparently in this context the “Aryans” are still alive and well while it’s usually Indo-European nowadays:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Aryan_languages
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-Iranian_language
    http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Languages_of_India

  88. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    The fundamental planning flaw is, and has been, the expectation of quick victory.
    In the War Between the States, as far as I could tell, the South expected a short war and a quick victory.
    In World War I, all of the protagonists expected a short war – if historical accounts are to be believed. They ignored the lessons of WBS.
    In World War II, both Germany and Japan expected a short war followed by a redrawing of the borders.
    In Iran-Iraq War, the expectation was the quick collapse of the nascent Islamic Republic.
    The Israel-Lebanon War, in spite of quick initial victories in 1982, has been followed by a long war with no end in sight.
    In US-Iraq War of 2003 and in US-Afghanistan War of 2001, also initial victories were followed by a long war.
    Furthermore, I think the major political error of US, EU, Arabs, and USSR was their inaction when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980. From the decisions of those actors has flowed everything else and will continue to do so in coming years and decades.
    It is very clear that no one learns anything from Historical Writing or Analysis.

  89. Avatar rjj says:

    Maybe it not sneering, not a denunciation, just a stand contra apostasy.
    Strauss was probably the most interesting lecturer in the US. Would have loved to have taken his courses.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQGkT-rhu-M

  90. rjj,
    A ‘stand against apostasy’ – perhaps.
    A quite consequential piece of ‘apostasy’ was published around the time Strauss was writing – the polemic ‘Germany Puts the Clock Back’ by the ‘Chicago Daily News’ correspondent in Berlin, Edgar Ansel Mowrer. He was born in Bloomington, Illinois.
    (For his career, see http://spartacus-educational.com/SPYmowrer.htm .)
    With the extraordinary temerity of the philosophically ill-informed, Mowrer had the presumption to argue that it was possible to mount a critique of Nazi Socialism from a liberal perspective.
    Profoundly contemptuous of communism, he argued that the most dangerous revolutionary force in Europe was not Stalinist communism, but Hitler’s ‘national socialism’. And he would argue repeatedly over the years that followed that the only realistic prospect of ‘deterring’ or ‘containing’ Hitler lay in an alliance between the Western democracies and the Soviet Union.
    (Part of the reason was that, rather than searching for ‘esoteric meanings’ in the classics of philosophy, he had spent a great deal of time pouring whisky down the throats of Nazis. It does sometimes help to be ‘down to earth’.)
    A revised edition of ‘Germany Puts the Clock Back’ was published as the first ‘Penguin Special’ by the popular paperback house Penguin in November 1937, and had a shaping influence on the movement of British opinion against ‘appeasement’ over the months that followed.
    My late father was one of those who followed down the path charted by Mowrer.
    Doubtless, he should have realised that his notion that one could seriously oppose Hitler on the basis of liberal principles with ‘seemliness’ marked him out as an intellectual inadequate, and gone off and joined Oswald Mosley’s BUF, and tried to persuade the ‘blackshirts’ that Hitler was not really the right kind of ‘fascist’.
    It does not seem to me that it would have been a very promising approach, but who am I to question the ‘esoteric’ wisdom of the great Strauss?
    I should say that I knew two refugees from Hitler whose families had ‘crawled to the cross’ – both of whom ended up as professors of German literature, after having served as sergeants in the British military.
    They were both fine scholars, who made notable contributions to British intellectual life, and also greatly influenced my own thinking – in particular, helping me emancipate myself from the intellectually lazy Germanophobia which is, alas, still all too common in Britain.
    The notion that a pompous ass like Strauss had a right to look down on people like Peter Ganz and Peter Stern, I am afraid, makes me incandescent.
    It may be that, as an old Jewish friend of ours remarked, in a conversation after a few drinks following ‘Operation Cast Lead’, part of the problem with the contemporary United States is ‘too many ghetto Jews.’

  91. Avatar Thomas says:

    David,
    That was how he felt at that time, and what was his complaint?
    “I see no acceptable possibility of living under the swastika, i.e., under a symbol that says nothing more to me than: you and your ilk, you are physei(3) subhumans and therefore justly pariahs.”
    He was not acceptable via his religion but, with a soul changing over time, if he was accepted, and supporting the state in his field while living in the ghetto, the euphoria of a Roman Style conqueror by the spring of ’41 would have been too tempting to not bow down since it would be the fulfillment of his worldview.
    And today we are in the 16th year of his disciples trying to reach that fulfillment only being stifled by all sorts of subhuman Irredeemable Deplorables (Muslims especially of the Shia variety, Russians, White Anglo Saxons, etc.) across the globe not accepting their innate exceptional superiority and willfully submitting to it. A problem with followers of false idols is their seeing patience and tolerance as capitulation thus leaving our current generations at that same moral crossroad those of the Thirties faced: resist, join, or surrender.

  92. Avatar Thomas says:

    ” ” the Nazis were afraid of the Kabbalah.” His comment I think goes a long way towards explaining the Holocaust.”
    That is why they made a special emphasis to get at the Chasidim, the popular practitioners of the art since the movement’s founding.

  93. Avatar Walker says:

    According to the article, the purpose of Syrian regime change would be to support US geopolitical goals (doing down the Russians and Iran; halting Europe’s dependence on Russian energy; supporting allies like Qatar, KSA, Turkey and Israel). US corporate interests aren’t mentioned.

  94. Avatar Walker says:

    I think the major political error of US, EU, Arabs, and USSR was their inaction when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980.
    I don’t think that was an error. Didn’t Kissinger say that he wished both sides could lose? That’s what happened in that long bloodletting, during which the US quietly supported both antagonists.
    My country has conspicuously never had the well-being of the inhabitants of the Middle East at heart, except for Israel.

  95. Avatar Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think Kissinger was wrong.
    I think one only needs to look at the consequences of that war.
    I cannot see any upside to US, EU, and the Arabs; not in that war, not in the EU economic war against Iran, and not in the continuing war in Syria.
    All those wars were predicated on quick victory, when that quick victory was proved to be demonstrably beyond reach, the calculations and computations of profit and loss went out of the window.
    Perhaps that is when the Peace of Yalta started disintegrating; when Iranians developed only deep contempt for UN and later were joined in that by Iraqis.

  96. Avatar LeaNder says:

    David, I didn’t like the Leo Strauss discussion, similarly I disliked the “assimilation” argument. Let me put it provocatively: how serious do Christians take the cross?
    The Nazis had a predominantly Christian background too, after all. Never mind that you concentrate on the esoteric (pagan?) part of their ideology.
    Concerning your meditations on the Ukraine above, thanks for the articles, on the top of my head surfaces a book that probably doesn’t quite fit into some of your central takes on matters. It is quite interesting, although, I suppose highly criticized by the larger historical trade, as maybe to simplistic, meaning not completely fitting into the academic stream. … For me it was one of the books were a Nazi-Ukraine-network surfaced, including a little bit of the history. It’s not the central focus, though. The central focus is the connections of the Nazis with some members of the White Emigres community …
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/Nazis-and-the-White-Emigres

  97. Avatar LeaNder says:

    thanks, rjj.

  98. Avatar The Porkchop Express says:

    This may or may not shed more light on the tit for tat between WH and DoD?
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-09-22/obama-kept-military-out-of-the-loop-on-cash-payments-to-iran
    What’s driving these fissures? Ideological clashes? Bureaucratic turf fighting? Disrespect on both sides? It seems insane that the WH and the DoD would be as much at odds as they are considering the military is basically our only instrument of carrying out foreign policy any more.

  99. Porkchop,
    That clearly shows organizational dysfunction within the Administration. The Pentagon should be kept informed of these kinds of WH decisions, but the idea that DOD needed to be involved in the decision to return Iran’s money is wrong in my opinion. This was more a matter of WH, DOS, maybe Treasury.
    Bureaucratic turf fighting? Of course. That will always be there. It’s just too bad that it moves from advocacy and healthy debate to a “Game of Thrones” like back-stabbing duel to the death. I would think if the WH doesn’t want this, it could fire a whole host of political appointees. The failure to do that is, in itself, a symptom of dysfunction.

  100. Avatar LeaNder says:

    With all necessary, respect, I doubt that.

  101. LeaNder,
    My point was not that Himmler was, as it were, a typical National Socialist. His obsessions were treated with derision, not simply by people like Speer, but by Hitler.
    It was that the ‘Azov Battalion’ quite clearly chose to identify with his strand in National Socialism – that which went into the moulding of the ‘Schutz Staffel’.
    People do not produce ‘light transformations’ of the ‘Black Sun’ and ‘Wolfsangel’ without knowing what they are doing.
    They are, to be frank, ‘taking the piss’.

  102. Avatar LeaNder says:

    People do not produce ‘light transformations’ of the ‘Black Sun’ and ‘Wolfsangel’ without knowing what they are doing.
    I agree, David. They seem to have connections to our neo-right, surfaced occasionally over here. I was often asked on the web, if I still felt free as a German in spite of all these signs being forbidden. … or for that matter legal limits to free speech. Which obviously resulted in prevarications and duplicity over here.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_symbolism#Gallery
    Rosenberg is even more sickening, scroll a little down:
    http://www.savageleft.com/poli/watw-five.html

  103. Avatar LeaNder says:

    Afterthought, FB Ali,
    I followed TTG’s latest contribution following a question from one of the SST members to Jack Murphy. …
    In any case I downloaded the ebook version on Benghazi and found it quite interesting. As a member of the military it should be of interest to you. The only thing, I didn’t like was the part of the title that said: “the definitive report”
    https://www.amazon.com/Benghazi-Definitive-Report-Brandon-Webb-ebook/dp/B00JTYPN6Y/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
    ******
    the only question I asked myself after reading it, was, for whatever reason, how comes? Wasn’t the DNI meant to streamline matters?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Director_of_National_Intelligence

  104. Avatar John says:

    Re: “Are there enough ‘good guys’ inside these organizations to set things straight?”
    Huh? First, the US in in Syria illegally. Second, Syria is not a civil war, it is an invasion by outside forces, primarily the US and its various proxies–terrorists, Gulf States financial support, and of course, the perennial elephant in the room Zionist Israel. Syria is just the latest US-NATO war crime, on the heels of Libya and of course Iraq.
    We are not the “good guys” in any sense whatsoever. This is sentimental claptrap,the result of being thoroughly propagandized.It’s the Russians, along with the Syrian army that have largely accomplished the ongoing destruction of ISIS-al-Nusra. The Americans support ISIS essentially. Don’t you people read your own documents? The recent bombing at Deir ez-Zor is just the latest example of US gov’t perfidy.

  105. Avatar John says:

    Todenhöfer: Interview With Al-Nusra Commander “The Americans stand on our side”
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2016/09/todenh%C3%B6fer-interview-with-al-nusra-commander-the-americans-stand-on-our-side.html
    —————
    The definitive proof of the US real agenda in Syria may be found in a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document declassified in May last year:
    http://www.judicialwatch.org/document-archive/pgs-287-293-291-jw-v-dod-and-state-14-812-2/
    —————

  106. Avatar michelp says:

    “Does the Nobel Peace Prize Committee have rules and by-laws permitting the revocation of a Peace Prize?”
    I looked into that some years back.
    It take a motion by a country supported, I presume, by a number of other Members to revoke a prize.
    I was hoping Canada would have the guts to do it. No such luck.
    Who is a major with the nerve to do it?
    m.

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