Syrian people call for No Fly Zone – Solidarity with Syria!

The demand for an international No Fly Zone over Syria has been raised by protestors there. Yesterday, another 29 people were killed for taking to the streets to protest against the dictatorial Assad regime and for democracy. The toll in Syria stands at around 3,000 dead, since the people’s movement began its current phase in late January this year. Local coordinating committees exist in many parts of Syria and these grass-roots organisations organise the protests, which are invariably met with violent suppression by the state, including the use of snipers.

I don’t know enough about the circumstances to have an opinion about the No Fly Zone. My impression has been that the regime uses ground troops to suppress resistance. I’m not aware of any Gaddafi-style strafing from the air. But what I do like is the people’s call for international support of a practical military nature, not just ‘moral support’.

The protestors know how the NFZ was effective in helping to bring down Gaddafi’s regime, and they know it involved an invasion of Libyan sovereignty (air space) and an effective naval blockade on the part of the British Navy. I’d be surprised if they are not aware, too, that the NFZ over Libya involved much more than mere protecting the people from the Libyan Air Force, though that was its pretext. The US and NATO used the NFZ (read: more than a hundred Tomahawk missiles) to destroy the Gaddafi regime’s facilities and forces on the ground. And the French went further with direct hardware assistance to the rebels, including air-drops of assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and launchers. A NFZ over Syria would make sense if used in that way: namely, to weaken the military capabilities of the regime on the ground (especially its tanks) and demoralize it. And, of course, military hardware should be supplied to the Free Syria Army, which consists at this stage of regular Army defectors. As in any democratic revolution, the people need to defeat the regime militarily.

The Syrian protestors’ call for a No Fly Zone is essentially a call for international support of a military interventionist nature on the part of foreign governments to weaken the Assad regime militarily and support the people’s democratic aspirations.

In Syria, as in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, etc., you do not see the protestors burning the US flag but rather seeking, and supporting, imperialist intervention when it serves their (the peoples) strategic objective.

Since the victory in Iraq, those who prefer to leave oppressed people to their own devices, even if it means massacre and the likelihood of regional conflagration, have been unable to mobilize anything resembling an “anti-war” mass movement. Some of the prominent activists who opposed the Iraq War even supported the No Fly Zone over Libya. (Yes, ‘the times they are a-changin’). And the anti-war mass movement against the Iraq War collapsed in a heap as soon as millions of Iraqis went to the polls to actually vote for a parliament and government of their choice – much to the anger, fear and chagrin of just about every dictator in the region.

Those sections – or sects – of what passes for the Left who advocated defence of Libya against US imperialism couldn’t mobilize anyone other than themselves. At this site, we called for a NFZ over Libya immediately after the first strafing took place there.

Now, with Syrians demanding a NFZ, does anyone have enough knowledge of the situation there to know whether that is the best way to go?

56 Responses to “Syrian people call for No Fly Zone – Solidarity with Syria!”

  1. 1 Arthur

    I haven’t been following closely. This is a useful source.

    Seems VERY significant that Turkey is not only providing shelter for opposition military forces but allowing cross border raids AND DOING SO OPENLY. Clearly direct international support with munitions must follow immediately and Close Air Support (rather than just a No Fly Zone) as soon as required.

  2. 2 steve owens
  3. 3 steve owens

    Intervention seems to be on peoples minds. BTW shock horror I agree with Barry that intervention would be good , just a matter of what and where.

  4. 4 steve owens

    Interesting article especially the part where the PKK leader states that if Turkey attacks Syria PKK will fight for Syria

  5. 5 steve owens

    Barry there was another Dylan song what was it? Oh yes.. you masters of war

  6. 6 barry

    The Syrian National Council, a coalition of anti-Assad groups established in August, has called for “international protection”. Close Air Support does at this stage seem appropriate, as it would include the deployment of military helicopters to protect the pro-democracy forces from the regime’s aggression on the ground.

    The regime has modern anti-aircraft artillery and has actually used it against protestors (in the district of Bab Amro). Yes, directing it against ground targets! Some US Apache attack helicopters would have been very welcome to Syrians on the receiving end of Assad’s murderous thuggery at Bab Amro (and elsewhere).

    The Free Syrian Army consists of about 15,000 defectors from the Syrian Armed Forces. It was formed in July. It can only grow, I’d say. It is non-sectarian and its command is based on the Turkish side of the border.

  7. 7 steve owens

    Barry, You supported an invasion of Iraq that didnt have a sensible articulated war aim, you supported any intervention into Libya because you saw a woman on the TV asking for foriegn intervention but now your position is “I don’t know enough about the circumstances to have an opinion about the NFZ.”
    Surely with an American army in Iraq and Iraq being the leading player in the democratic revolution do we really have to wait for Patrick to demand Egyptian intervention. Sorry but Im still laughing.

  8. 8 barry

    Steve, yes, ‘Masters of War’ by Bob Dylan. It’s a classic protest song of the early 1960s. I’ll run my favouirte lyrics from it at the end of this post. I used to listen to it on my grammophone back then, playing it over and over, relishing the lyrics as much as the delivery.

    The Wikipedia entry for the song quotes Dylan from an interview in 2001 where he says it wasn’t an anti-war song so much as a song directed at what Eisenhower (the Republican former US President) had identified as the “Military Industrial Complex”.

    That was what I liked about the song when I was a young teenager, running high on emotional responses to the world and to life – Dylan was having a go at the rich, showing how some ‘rich folks’ made money from war. Didn’t that mean all wars were wrong? How could any war from which big companies profited possibly be just? For a while, at that same time, I wore a badge saying “Wars will cease when men refuse to fight”.

    I guess I was a pacifist, of sorts, for a brief period as a young teenager. But then the South African people and the Vietnamese people later in the 1960s made me realize that pacifism didn’t stand up – not if you wanted to overthrow an oppressor and have the chance to be free.

    But still, Eisenhower and Dylan were right. Didn’t Pan Am make money out of the thousands of body bags being flown back to the US from Vietnam? Those ‘Masters of War’ were, in one sense, merchants of death. And let’s not forget Dow Chemicals’ napalm atrocity. And on the list can go. I was very influenced by Harry Magdoff’s book “The Age of Imperialism” in 1969/70.

    And what about Boeing? They too made millions from war.

    Well Steve, here in 2011 I find myself hoping that the US and others will stand by the Syrian people and that may mean supporting the deployment of Apache attack helicopters directly over the hot-spots inside Syria with a view to destroying Assad’s tanks so that they will no longer kill the rebellious people.

    And, you know what? Apache attack helicopters are made by Boeing. That company will probably make money from the deployment of its helicopters and, I suppose, each time one is shot down another needs to be manufactured.

    So where does that leave me in 2011? Just allow Assad to mow down the people, or support a course of action that will serve the immediate interests of Boeing, one of the ‘Masters of War’ and also help the Syrian people free themselves from tyranny?

    I like to think I’ve learned a bit since I was a young bloke in the early 1960s, at home in Brunswick listening intently to Bob Dylan records and not really knowing much beyond emotional responses.

    Were I a Syrian democrat on the ground in Syria, faced with Assad’s tanks and other heavy artillery, I’d see Boeing’s ‘Apaches’ as very welcome – indeed, life-saving and necessary.


    Come you masters of war
    You that build all the guns
    You that build the death planes
    You that build the big bombs
    You that hide behind walls
    You that hide behind desks
    I just want you to know
    I can see through your masks

    You fasten the triggers
    For the others to fire
    Then you set back and watch
    When the death count gets higher
    You hide in your mansion
    As young people’s blood
    Flows out of their bodies
    And is buried in the mud

    Let me ask you one question
    Is your money that good
    Will it buy you forgiveness
    Do you think that it could
    I think you will find
    When your death takes its toll
    All the money you made
    Will never buy back your soul

  9. 9 patrickm

    Ending Baathism in Syria requires a major war.

    Syria has a population of 22million that is massively divided along religious and ethnic lines (10% Kurds). It has a Baathist tyranny better supported among that population than was Gadaffi who had considerable support and so a big war is in the very early stages of developing. The tyranny is very well armed and trained, and has ‘undegraded’ command and control, with massive numbers of police thugs, spies, and so forth. So, this will take some time and will involve Turkey for sure. Turkey is being quite open about being the regional power that will act if it must, and the Kurdish issue and PKK is clearly central to this.

    Syria also has had a national conscription system that now leaves a great legacy of trained men who are now willing and partly able to take on the lawful tyranny in a civil war. Both sides have just observed what happened over 9mths in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt etc., in this year of continuous spring. So soldiers who are thinking about mutiny will be encouraged as the situation develops and the core forces of repression will be somewhat shaken by the visions they have just been witness to.

    Fortunately for the masses of people in revolt, the Islamic cultural reality of Friday prayers and mass gatherings throughout the country to mobilize around, and the egged on or ‘shame’ factor of not being left behind when others have been brave and fought and grabbed their freedom ought not be underestimated. Confidence really ought to be up on the side of the revolution and down a bit at least among the tyranny despite its large support and vast quantities of military assets. Large scale mutiny is the most hopeful start to the next stage of ridding Syria of Baathists, but from at least the Turkish side, I can’t see how this fight can be left alone to develop as a ‘pure’ civil war for very much longer.

    As I see this the Syrian army becomes muscle bound very quickly in most of the larger cities that have had the big demonstrations against Assad, and is quickly exhausted in the smaller towns especially near all the borders, and no doubt along the Euphrates river and Nth. East of that line. They are effectively an army of occupation and can obviously be spread too thin trying to hold everything so they currently are running around trying to appear to be everywhere. But spying and the in and out arresting duties of the secret police and so forth is the only way this regime can even continue to exist in huge parts of the country.

    The young fighting men can and will be pissed off and fight back, as well as leave and cross the border into Turkey as we have seen in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. They will be greeted by the soldiers that have deserted and already there as a determined rebellious armed force planning for either a long war, or rapid growth if the situation changes. This force will in the face of almost weekly reports of mass slaughter start to mount reply attacks deliberately to gain greater recognition and further stimulate recruitment. They are not refugees but a fighting force already trained and intent on overthrowing the people that they have fled from and who are still systematically killing their friends and family members, so they will find ways to fight right now and that keeps some of this fighting near the Turkish border.

    The Turks are already permitting the establishment of an insurgent force and the Syrian tyranny can’t hit across the border as the Turks would respond immediately and massively. Turkey will remain the most important country able to impose the military action (similar to the NATO effort in Libya) and no other country has the stomach for this IMV. Turkey’s leadership has a vital interest identified and seems determined to advance its democratic reform program within Turkey that requires dealing with Kurdish liberation issues, and simultaneously with the current PKK that has been and still are hosted in all the neighbours.

    Turkey has no territorial ambitions but regularly has crossed its borders and beat up on the PKK and is still doing so right now so it looks like the perfect storm for a war to develop.

    The Syrian tyranny is continuing to systematically murder the Syrian people and can’t stop this brutality. They can’t undo the way they rule with terror police as the core to their control across a vast part of the country. They can only now exist by holding guns over the people of very many towns and villages and cities of Syria. The Syrian army is now an army of occupation that fears intervention from the far larger Turkey. The army has too much to do and is rotting so it has no prospect of stopping the small fights and the constant flight that the activities of the secret police etc., ensure will continue. Eventually it will be unable to patrol near the border for fear of hit and run, then hit and advance attacks that will be mounted near population centres. They will not be able to use air power against the freedom fighters.

    No doubt if war breaks out the western international community would turn a blind eye and hope for the end of the Assad regime as one aspect of the outcomes that in some cases would happen in days of a mass Turkish incursion. The Turkish armed forces would not have to liberate large Syrian population centers, all they have to do is prevent the Syrian forces from surrounding and suppressing the people they are currently intimidating near the Turkish border and then allowing the rebel force that they currently protect in Turkish territory to return and be protected in very much larger form in Syrian territory. They would then hand over all the arms required by the new Syrian regime that they recognize and try to continue to take steps back over time as the Syrian civil war is fought. Seems straight forward but wars don’t work to plan, let alone time-tables, and other sides usually have a bit to say. What we have here in abundance is other sides.

    But though I feel sure that a large war is coming and how it gets going won’t matter much this is too complex for me to get a handle on. What follows from the current suppression of the Syrian masses by the Baathists is that a war of liberation must breakout if democracy is part of the demands that are thrown on the table. These demands are on the table and Turkey must comply with the international body that approves of the end of the war. The UN determines when the end is and the new government is given the UN seat. Given that 3,000 are already dead and lots more are disappeared the war is going in one sense already.

    Once Turkey gets involved then the NFZ and or destruction of the Syrian air forces in a big war comes up and NATO naval forces would also get drawn in with blockade work and U.S. spy assets etc.. The Syrian army would be rapidly isolated in large areas of Syria and then systematically destroyed if it lacks air power. If this war were to eventuate Turkey is bound to follow through and cut up the army that is spread too thin trying to hold down large population centres. That will end the period of secret police activities and see heavy arms rapidly distributed to the population that is more than willing to put them to use. That is I suppose the ideal first stage for putting a stop to the way the Baathists run Syria.

    The Baathists can now enter population centers unopposed, but provided the opposition run around and avoid much fighting they can’t stay and comfortably regain control everywhere at once. Neither can they do what the Russians have done in Grozny because that will bring on the required intervention. If they can’t use heavy weapons and can’t avoid continuous small arms skirmishing then they will over time be driven from the bigger cities that are in revolt. The soldiers cant stay in their tanks and can’t avoid snipers and so the insurgents will be able to organise and grow. IMV Turkey wants to intervene and will intervene if the Baathists use air power, or they start to use the heavy weapons.

    Without air power the Syrian army eventually won’t be able to enter some of the larger cities without being defeated because the supply of anti-tank weapons etc., will flood in from Turkey with the blessing of the whole world. Then the civil war will unfold and finally ought to draw in the U.S. from the Mediterranean. NATO ought to be redeploying from the Libyan theatre now. There will be much work for the A10’s.

    I can’t see a ‘cheaper’ way of ending the Syrian Baathist tyranny as they are far too strong at the moment, just like the Libyan tyranny was before they were seen to be about to defeat the rebels in Benghazi and the intervention was launched. That was when I hoped for Egyptian intervention. It would have sped the liberation that has now come to Libya even without that intervention and with all the costs to the libyan people.

  10. 10 Dalec

    Assad has promised to hail missiles on Israel if there is an intervention, Israel has promised to destroy Gaza and the West Bank in retaliation. Iran would not stand by if this were to happen.
    I think any analysis of the situation has to take these possibilities into account. It is not a straight forward matter.

  11. 11 Steve Owens
  12. 12 patrickm

    BTW Steve it has been almost 5 years since this thread and it’s worth recalling where people were standing at the point where there had only been about 3,000 killed! 300,000 later we are all still groping at the edges of understanding but it is clear that the Obama supporters and pseudoleft, right realists and greens have completely disgraced themselves!

    I also think it is very clear that the Russians are about to launch a massive missile and bombing campaign. They are not going to play exercises as they have announced.

    How half theorists will shrug this off is anybodies guess.

  13. 13 Steve Owens

    The people of Aleppo don’t only call for a no fly zone they make their own

  14. 14 Steve Owens
  15. 15 Steve Owens

    Nice to see Iraq pulling its weight in the save Assad movement

  16. 16 Steve Owens

    A couple of significant events today. One is of Assad forces attacking Kurdish area resulting in scramble of US fighter planes and Two Kurd autonomous zone government rejects call from Iraqi government to stop advance on Mosul

  17. 17 Steve Owens

    I came across an explanation for a small puzzle. When the Syrian conflict started I was pretty sure that the guys with tanks would beat the guys with Kalashnikov’s. I couldn’t explain why a couple of years in the guys with tanks were on the verge of defeat. The explanation was that the US and others started to supply the Kalashnikov guys with TOW anti tank weapons. A TOW can take out a tank from up to 4,000 meters. Luckily for the tank guys they had friends that intervened with planes.

  18. 18 Steve Owens

    In my 9.25 post I forgot to add a link

  19. 19 Steve Owens

    The Syrian situation is changing with Turkey moving closer to a deal with Russia, Iran and Assad
    Plus Assad is testing the resolve of the US which I think will prove a misjudgement on his part

  20. 20 patrickm

    Thanks for those links. A lot is going on, and it’s hard to keep up. For example that was a massive display in Yemen on the news today. That’s one front of this region wide war that often slips past people but the KSA IMV is up to no good and the Iranian’s are backing the masses that were on display today. The complexity has always been apparent in this region from the earliest discussions that I recall in 2002. It was then when the KSA was conceded as a problem that would arrive some few years down the track! Then what do you know life moved on and down the track arrived! So what do you say? Is it becoming clearer or more complex IYV?

  21. 21 patrickm

    After the airbase in Iran then the Iraq airspace and then who would have guessed

    I guess the Russians won’t be bothering much with any ‘lame duck’ US administration, but I can’t help thinking that the US military won’t be stepping back from any punch up at this point. Nice to know that the F15’s were scrambled. What could possibly go wrong now?

  22. 22 Steve Owens

    In answer to your question yes a very complex area which is getting more complex. Just read at Kurdnet that Kurds will stick by the original agreement in regards to Mosul which seems like a back-down from yesterdays position

  23. 23 Steve Owens

    The Kurd position changed after yesterdays US announcement I guess that they are sorting out whats allowed and whats not

  24. 24 patrickm

    Posted on September 25, 2015
    This now reads with much greater clarity. The Kurds are now fighting Assad enclaves in the Nth East and events have unfolded in a way that explains a great deal 11 months later!

    To this man of Irish background ‘Like a stream of bats piss; it shines out like a shaft of gold when all around is darkness.”

  25. 25 Steve Owens

    Funny but it seems that Syrians are the best placed people to nominate the next step forward

  26. 26 Steve Owens

    For a brief time I was the spokes person for an anti Kosovo intervention group. I got nominated because I was the only Anglo in the room. An interesting group but the question is does Kosovo have any lessons for us

  27. 27 Steve Owens
  28. 28 patrickm

    The Russian mediation failed! The YPG are now disarming or destroying but either way clearing Assadist forces from Hasaka, 1 of 2 ‘red’ blots inside their northern yellow territory. So that is big news and a major setback for both Assad and the HIRI COW. I bet the Kurds will also want to clear the second red stain Now even if the Turks don’t like this either; they will have to lump it I think as it will enable the US COW to establish a NFZ over the ‘yellow’ territory. Vital for US cred IMV. The F15 deployment the other day says the Syrian air force will be shot down if they get near western led ground forces. That is a growable footprint that has been required and is slowly being achieved but… the cover ought to extend to the western yellow as well. What it means for the yellow patch in Aleppo is unclear at this point and one wonders what the Turks would make of any such US NFZ. The Russians will not want to join in bombing yellow territory. Anyway the war against the vastly overstretched Assad regime is once again -after almost a year of Russian intervention with such terrible consequences- doing reasonably well because the masses make war and the weapons flow and training and skilled leadership is now sufficient. The war against Daesh is obviously going well. But the region wide conflict between Sunni and Shia is still evidently growing and there is no settled deal over Assad that is for sure! Only 150 days till Hillary!

    The use of the Iranian air-base and the Iraqi grant of overflight is also big news. And the way that it is being handled is not unexpected from MPOV. The 2 sides that are struggling inside Iran are bound to make use of such issues. Next year’s presidential elections in Iran are in play as well. I can imagine that the Iranian population are as horrified by Assad and the human tragedy of Syria as they are sullen at their own ruling thugs that they have not yet been able to deal with. The vast majority want to deal with them and the moderate faction in power is in a deep struggle in the same way as Egypt and Turkey have a deep state problem; just from a different possition. The Turkish artillery push with the FSA into the centre west of the Euphrates still controlled by Daesh also marks a new stage to the war and a big escalation. I expect that Turkish troops will be involved while the political cover of ‘Assad can stay for the short term’ is new but nothing more than facing the reality that the regime is still some way from being history while HIRI still supplies troops and material.

    The ‘theatrical’ cruise missiles landed as predicted I think the US and western COW are -given Obama’s shit leadership- now doing comparatively well.

  29. 29 Steve Owens
  30. 30 Steve Owens
  31. 31 patrickm

    This is from above BBC report

    ‘Responding to news of the Jarablus offensive, PYD leader Saleh Moslem tweeted that Turkey was now in the “Syrian quagmire” and would be defeated like IS.’

    The SDF is the issue…

    ‘Biden said the US had been flying air cover for the operation. [Jarablus offensive]

    He also warned members of the Syrian Democratic Forces – the most effective opponents of IS on the ground in Syria – that they had to return to the east of the River Euphrates if they wanted to continue receiving its help.’

    If this is correct and I think it is, he is saying the SDF must retreat to the Turkish red line Euphrates river not that the YPG fighters must. So the SDF creation is NOW not an acceptable solution to the Turks but the FSA that the Turks have brought around and through Turkey are acceptable but they cant fight their way forward without Turkish Tanks and the SDF has with only air support and some US special forces.

    Biden says
    “We have made it absolutely clear… that they must go back across the river,” he said. “They cannot, will not, and under no circumstances get American support if they do not keep that commitment.”

    I don’t think the SDF would have made such a ‘commitment’ but only the YPG Kurds. The SDF were the US ‘solution’. Why would the SDF withdraw?

    ‘Making the highest-ranking visit to Ankara by a Western official since the failed Turkish coup on 15 July, Mr Biden also sought to dispel any doubts about America’s solidarity with its Nato ally.’

    The Turks have only now acted – more like reacted – but even as clear as the name of the opp is I doubt that they will fight for Manbij. BUT I would bet they are going in right across that central gap and that means they quickly either butt up against the HIRI backed S of Assad or they drive around and encircle Manbij as they drive Daesh back along said River Euphrates. Why stop? The COW goal is to rid Syria of ISIS. That drive is going to be a very big attack and that would seem to be what has been recently agreed with Putin. Once they are in and they are now at long last the territory can’t be handed back to Assad and it can’t be permitted to be attacked from the air or by artillery so the FSA will have got it’s first effective NFZ but the people will be more loyal to the SDF in a big chunk where they are not just loyal to the YPG. The Kurds are not just backing down IMV and as usual this is very complex.

    ‘President Erdogan earlier announced in a speech that the “operation against Daesh [IS] and PYD [Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party] terror groups” began at 04:00 (01:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

    Operation Euphrates Shield was aimed at “putting an end” to problems on Turkey’s border, he said.’ The opp can’t do that! But it can and does spell protected enclave and the begining of the end for the Assad regime. In the short term more but this time protected enclave building. It may be that it just establishes that border buffer (hence shield rather than dagger) but if that were true why would Biden be so clear? I think this is a bigger development than just a border buffer zone.

    ‘A US official travelling with Mr Biden admitted that some Kurdish fighters had pushed further north than they should have and said Turkey’s offensive on IS in Jarablus was probably partly to create a buffer zone against any further Kurdish advance.

    But he said the US had “put a lid” on any more such moves, creating a breathing space for the Jarablus operation, which the US supports and to which it is ready to contribute.’

    That is talk about Kurds moving North Biden is talking about East-West! Who is going to destroy Daesh west of the said river?

    Putin would not have agreed to a Turkish liberation of the west side of the river and such a big move would require bigger prep. The Kurds are not going to be used to do that work when their people up north are currently being attacked! I don’t think the Kurds will stop clearing the pink from their yellow zones either but they might if this buffer zone puts Manbij under some form of attack. I just can’t see that so it is Biden being lame duck Biden I think! Buffer zone only.

    What do you think?

  32. 32 Steve Owens

    Well look at the relationship history. When the US ran the no fly zone over northern Iraq Turkey had the green light to fly bombing raids inside the no fly zone (hitting PKK targets). Turkey has reacted hysterically to the just demands of Kurds within Turkey. During the Syrian civil war Turkey in an attempt to hamstring Kurdish aspirations were if not pro IS then at least neutral in the IS v Kurd fight. Who can forget Turkish tanks watching Kobani as Kurds were in real trouble.
    The other reality is that for all the dogged determinism of the Kurdish forces their fight has been a real grind and has been heavily dependent on US aerial support.
    The Turks with their obsession about curbing the Kurds have finally entered the fray and in possession a real army they have made quick work of IS but reality is reality and their main target is not Assad it is not IS the whole venture is to stop the Kurds.
    The Kurds will have to step lightly as their militias are no match for the guys in tanks
    So the answer to your question is I think that Turkey wants a buffer zone if they were to do anything really useful I would be very surprised.

  33. 33 patrickm This will slow down the moves on the Assad regions in the north east unfortunately so the NFZ moves are slowed as well.

    The Kurds are both fighting and backing down and that’s to be expected. Don’t want to upset the US as well as everyone else.

    Reports now of more Turkish Tanks crossing the border and working with US A10’s so the buffer zone area will be settled in days rather than weeks. ‘Put a lid’ on moves north might be what we are seeing. But if not either the SDF is acceptable west of river or what have they been fighting for in their own country? Turks did not act on red line until SDF / YPG moved north again against Daesh.

    According to Biden the SDF dudded everyone. How can that be?
    Anyway the Kurds even as the SDF have overstretched and are going to have to back out of even Manbij. Turkish MOD seems bullish but thats how these things start. If the Turks go further than Manbij with the kind of a mobile army that is now on the move with the air cover that the US and others can deploy any amount of liberation could be on the ajenda so we could then expect a big green enclave to be on this part of the map soon and that will rapidly butt against the Assad pink. That means that real negotiations can’t be far behind for the new POTUS to get on with. Not sure what will change with Clinton but nothing could be worse than Obama!

  34. 34 Steve Owens

    I think you are too harsh on Obama. Ok so he’s not doing what you want but thats not his job. The civil war turned when the revolutionaries obtained TOW anti tank missles. Where do you think that these came from? Thanks Obama.
    The Kurds were saved from anhialation at Kobani when US air support stepped in. I remember US Generals being unconcerned at their plight. It was a political rather than a military decision that saved Kobani, again thanks Obama.

  35. 35 patrickm

    I don’t think you recall Kobani in the correct context. By the time the US stepped in the world’s media were shaming the US as the Turks sat and inexcusably watched ISIS carry on; that is clearly a policy that is now gone with the wind! If the Turks had their struthers that would not be repeated.

    I think it was the US military that were advocating that Obama not continue his policies that had been applied to many other towns etc. I think the US military comand saw a great opportunity to kill lots of Daesh The US were never going to get this opportunity again where an over confident ISIS were tempted to keap throwing in troops for the US to kill. The impression was there that just a little more effort and daesh would win but IMV the US military were keeping that honey pot on the table for as long as possible. After the daesh command realised that this was costly and they were NOT going to win then it became more difficult and costly for the US to go and find them to kill them. Better when they kept coming to the same place to be killed! I can’t prove any of that it’s just what I would have done and what I said at the time.

    As for the supply of TOW’s etc little and late as they were; people like McCain and even Clinton were advocating for backing anti Daesh forces and Obama stood in the way.
    Putting aside Obama’s past deeds I’m glad he is about to be replaced by Clinton and Biden will be gone and I hope that Kerry is replaced ASAP that would be a good sign.
    143 days left of the rotten anti-war leader and Nobel peace prize winner and I am counting them down! Clinton WILL be better!

    On Assad; given current events I would be surprised if the HIRI cow could or would even want to try to dislodge him prior to Clinton making her post election position clear.
    HIRIS all contribute effort that props up Assad and the Kurds were also not fighting him much until just recently but they have always wanted to see the back of his gangster regime. Now they have good cause to stop turning on him up in the north east and that’s a pity.

    I note that the Syrian FM was yesterday in Iraq!

    OK so the Turks are in Syria now but what are they going to do? Just ensure that Kurds do not get control of the full border strip? They want more that that in the long run and they could not get it before so what makes people think they will now? If the Kurds have good relations with the FSA and can move through the gap then the underlying Turkish problem remains. The Turks have an incoherent policy if it is just ‘no Kurd control west of the river’. They say they want to preserve Syria as a country but they only want the Kurds kept from ‘their’ Kurds right across Turkey, who are now preparing for the resumption of the civil war. Because they continue to believe they require autonomy at least. Nations want liberation and Kurds are not going to be disarmed and kept in their place whatever the existential threat to the land mass that Turkey occupies. I wonder what is the Turkish exit here.

    The Kurds are saying that this is a Syrian quagmire. That looks about right.

  36. 36 Steve Owens

    “As for the supply of TOW’s etc little and late as they were”
    wow little and late maybe but those TOW’s turned the tide of the war
    Tanks trump Kalashnikov’s TOW’s trump tanks, Russian planes trump TOW’s. Next obvious step would be surface to air missiles trump Russian planes.
    Massive ground forces could trump everything but I don’t see anyone doing that

  37. 37 Steve Owens

    Your support of Clinton is touching. Clinton is a hawk because she doesn’t want to be outflanked by the Republicans to the right which explains why she voted yes to Iraq war.
    Her real position is the same as Obama’s and that position is do whatever is in the interests of the US ruling class.
    We can personalise this and say Obama = idiot but the real equation is what intervention = US interests
    Any new president will come to the conclusion that the US has limited interests in Syria.
    As to my earlier statement about Kobani I thought that one of the top brass went public about Kobani being inconsequential to US strategic interests but when I check the record Kerry is the only person I can find making this position. I think that strategic thinking would come from the Joint Chiefs of Staff but in this instance I cant prove it.

  38. 38 Steve Owens
    Looks like Im wrong about Joint Chiefs

  39. 39 patrickm

    Without getting distracted by this, I think you’re a bit out with Clinton. You say ‘Her real position is the same as Obama’s and that position is do whatever is in the interests of the US ruling class.’ But that could be said about those that chose the opposite policy so it’s an answer that obviously takes us nowhere.

    The better question is why did Clinton think her policy was in their interests? The clearly new policy breaks from the solidly long term ruling class realist position and that is what makes this era so different to pre 9/11. The actual in power establishment elite was pretty well rock solid up to that point. For example Bush the elder called on Kurds and Shia etc to revolt and then simply sold them all out!! What a terrible disaster the old policies were. Way back then I think on reflection the world would have accepted (not the pseudoleft loons of course) that the regime had brought on it’s own overthrow (if that policy was chosen) but Bush decided that this was not in the interests of the US or as we would say the US ruling class! Not many years later Bill Clinton put policy in place that it WAS US policy to end the Iraqi regime! So that was a massive lost opportunity when the troops had been there to boot the Baathists out of Kuwait and were able to do the liberation; but at that point it would probably not have been genuine liberation (if they could have helped it) yet the US ruling elite could not even predict what sort of Iraqi revolution might have been set off if the Baath were removed from power and so the US leadership felt they had to stick with the Baathist tyrant crime family from tikrit. Perhaps Bush 1 would have tried to install some faction of the Baath Generals, or he may have realised that elections would even back then have had to have been run and so (being the rotten realist) it was a no go because that would be the start of democracy for the Shia etc. So the policies quickly became utter rubbish policies. They were running a NFZ war for the Kurds in particular and yet not having any grand strategy! Unsustainable. Keeping democracy at bay was a failing policy but the cost was still overwhelmingly for the masses in Iraq!

    I say Hillary and Bill bought more of the argument that Wolfowitz, Rice and Bush etc laid out so clearly than Obama ever did. She had been thinking about the problem longer than the great opportunist. Obama bought the counter argument from the realist insiders that the Bush policies were essentially a disaster. The well worn argument is that Bush opened Pandora’s Box etc and out and away flew stability that to this point had been the realist holy grail.

    But Obama simply can’t make the argument that the liberation of the Iraqi peoples was a disaster directly to the Iraqi people or their political parties in Iraq so he has to skate over this fatal flaw in any objection that has now actually crashed to earth in the eight years of ruling elite ‘peace nic’ practice.

    ‘You may think that you have felt dumb before, but let me tell you something: until you have stood in front of a man who knows real pain and told him that you are against your country’s alleviation of his country’s state-sponsored murderous suffering, you have not felt truly, deeply, like a total moron.’

    At this point of the swamp draining that IS underway the historical scale of what is required is apparent and the shortcomings of the ruling elites ought not stop us from strategic thinking fit to the historical tasks before humanity. I liked the article that Barry put up ‘How the Syrian revolution has transformed me’ and I think it has obviously transformed many more that that one very solid Palestinian. The pseudoleft in all it’s sad forms and in particular the greens are IMV in total intellectual tatters as a result of this last 5 years of Syria and in that type of Palestinian a fighting left is slowly becoming discernible even if most in it are incapable of correcting the gross error over Iraq. Fortunately there are all manner of anti war refugees now like ‘human rights barrister’ Geoffrey Robertson guiding people back to the military realities.

  40. 40 patrickm

    Anyway a new color is spreading but it is going to be the same green underneath as the other patch! This patch is not going back to Assad! My guess is that this will be much bigger than a ‘buffer zone’ and it will eventually cause Assad to be defeated in Aleppo! What the Turks do west of the river is one thing but can they do anything east of that same river? Well I would not be surprised if they cross at the dam and drive on Raqqa. That would be better than another push through the Kurds to get to Daesh. Liberating the Syrians is what is underway and those Syrians are wanting to get at Assad and Daesh NOT do the Turks dirty work against the Kurds who the US have to stick with or they will lose all cred. Just no Kurds west of the river. What that solves for the Turks I don’t know.

  41. 41 patrickm

    Well some want to do that dirty work as well! But this is worth a look It indicates a far bigger attack is underway and they will cross east of the river.

  42. 42 Steve Owens

    The US enjoys a 6% approval rating among Iraqi youth, personally I’m surprised its that high

  43. 43 Steve Owens

    Patrick one of your problems in posing as a democrat is your history.
    For forty years you have presented as a Maoist. In the 60’s Mao persecuted Liu Shaoqi. Part of this persecution was that Liu was regularly publicly beaten. How can you reconcile your new found belief in democracy with the public beatings of political opponents?

  44. 44 patrickm

    Developments in Syria are worth noting like Nothing ‘possible’ about them! Considering current developments everybody is scrambling. Probably calling in close air support, but could of course be more generally assessing the actual battle to see if it can actually be won as currently planned.

    Whatever is happening there is STILL no shortage of troops on the HIRI-S side. Both Iran and Iraq Shia continue to deploy enough troops to have an effect and everyone is very interested in just how much territory Turkey plans on clearing. That territory has air cover now and will double in the next few days! I guess the Russians might like their good mates of the SDF/YPG/PKK to link up and do it quickly. The last thing they want is the green FSA butting up north of the city.

    Assad has made it through another month and rebellious peoples are still being cleansed from more territory around Damascus etc. So all the ‘it’s a done deal’ assertions from the 1/2 theorists look a bit lame as Obama heads for the exit just 138 days away.

    I will not be replying to your anti communist spam posts in a Syrian thread and refer you to the ISO thread as but 1 place to find genuine efforts to sort through your confusion. I would have put it in a junk file but we have not established that vital space still. Clearly we have to as the site has been almost dysfunctional for years now and as this wrecking behavior is what makes it close to fatally floored even when it was working. Liberalism as a reply to this wrecking conduct is not democratic but anti democratic. We will attend to the matter later.

  45. 45 Steve Owens

    Am I really an anti communist? I support every communist revolution, where I draw the line is when communist party members are rounded up and executed or when communist party members are rounded up and then beaten up or when a penniless, stateless communist political refugee is hunted down only to have an ice pick plunged into his brain.
    Please spare me the slur of being anti communist because it just aint so.

  46. 46 patrickm
  47. 47 patrickm some fighting to be expected either way! The Kurds would do well to back down and see where this goes IMV. If the Turks are going to be responsible for clearing Daesh from west of the river that is quickly going to result in a punch up with HIRIS over Aleppo.

  48. 48 patrickm
    and the Tanks keep coming to do the job!
    clear where they are going first Assad is still playing with chemicals

    Turkey and the US are establishing a big norther NFZ that MUST be a big back door to Aleppo! Deals might be done soon. love this ABC drongo
    ‘ The Russian strongman listed the litany of Western errors in the Middle East, saying George W Bush should never have unsettled the region by deposing Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

    The United States and Australia were repeating the error in Syria and playing into the hands of radical Islam, he said.

    “I’m fighting for the legitimate Government of Syria,” Mr Putin added.

    “Who are you fighting for?”

    It was, Australian sources conceded, a very good question.’

  49. 49 Steve Owens

    Obama with his ‘don’t do stupid stuff’ agenda turned the Syrian civil war. He is clearly a subtle and intelligent player of international politics

  50. 50 patrickm

    What is that link from 2015 proving in the face of the Turkish actions that HAVE brought on a Russian ‘deal’? Is it not clear that the Turks and the KSA have pushed past Obama who has been obliged to fight and to warn off others who might want to bomb the NEW FSA that is being established? Or are you being sarcastic?

  51. 51 Steve Owens

    You got me I saw that article and I knew that it would annoy you. What can I say but that I’m not a nice person
    BTW happy 60th on Tuesday

  52. 52 patrickm

    Thank you elder statesman, but I had hoped to forget!! 9/11 15 yrs on =1/4 of that. Wisdom ought to be around here somewhere.

  53. 53 patrickm

    People may well be sceptical but Turkey’s Tanks – that still keap coming- have changed the fight and forced the issues. This series of wars are not in the balance. The Assad regime will lose after Daesh and most of Nusra. All the various fascist enclaves will be destroyed BUT complex revolutionary effort over years is still the reality after Obama!

  54. 54 patrickm
  55. 55 patrickm
  56. 56 Steve Owens

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