What now?

What do Marxists make of current developments in and around Syria?

Since direct Russian intervention in Syria was sprung on the world in 2015, sufficient events have unfolded to permit a general stock-take. There has been 15 months of very ‘strange times’ so where do the issues currently stand?

I presume a rethink of what I called the 1/2 theory – is self evidently required because Obama is departing his leadership role without any ability to claim success for his policies (even being publicly blamed by Kerry for being the real problem for why the US finds itself where it currently does) and short of a lucky bomber Assad will still be around!

Turkey has just declared that they are about to force the Kurds out of the (‘SDF’ Manbij pocket) http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/24-december-pres-erdoan-says-al-bab-phase-about-to-be-completed

Pres. Erdoğan says Al Bab phase about to be completed in Syria, next step will be Manbij and then Raqqa. More than just send Kurds east of the Euphrates I think, because the Turks are also declaring that no new state will be permitted in northern Syria http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/24-december-erdogan-no-ways-to-establish-any-new-states-in;  and that after Manbij they are going to Raqqah.

http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/24-december-sdf-released-many-civilians-in-manbij-sdf-arrested,  is being reported.
http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/24-december-erdogan-i-informed-the-us-russia-and-iran-that

The coming period will however see more than just the liberation of all territories in both Iraq and Syria controlled by Daesh. Complexity is being heaped upon more complexity and a wider war is still not unthinkable.

The September 2015 intervention required urgent analysis from those of us that have developed and argued consistently for our ‘draining the swamp theory’. It was analysed – and with very different conclusions drawn.

That period of flat out disagreement can now be summed up. Barry, Dave and Arthur thought that what was unfolding would end the regime and end the war. That theory collapsed in the face of what I have called the HIRISE Coalition of the Willing – Hezbollah, Iran, Russia, Iraq (shia militia), Syria (Assad +), Egypt – war making.  What next?  What do people now say is happening? Are there any sites where a serious and respectful discussion is taking place? Are there any Main Stream Media (MSM) articles that others want to draw attention to?

Just for starters; if the Turks are soon going to Raqqa how are they going to get there?  Literally what will be the route of the Turkish forces if they have come to blows with the SDF/Kurds in the Manbij pocket?  I hope the Kurds back out of this but it’s not very promising at this point.  I think the Turks are already facing a HIRISE red line west of the Euphrates. I hope the US can get a deal done at this late stage to bring them south east of the river.  But the Turks are serious about no ‘new state’ in the nth and everyone knows Assad can’t rule in peace so after Daesh territory is removed from the map over the next few months or if the fight breaks out with the Kurds after a few months more, what comes next?

8 Responses to “What now?”


  1. 1 patrickm

    This is what intense diplomacy looks like

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/26-december-turkey-send-more-armor-for-final-battle-against

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/25-december-tehran-says-aleppo-is-its-first-revolution-defense

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/26-december-turkey-asks-the-us-backed-coalition-to-back-its

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/26-december-a-spokesman-for-turkish-president-intense-diplomatic

    When Kerry said ‘intense’ talks were under-way tanks weren’t being deployed so Lavrov delayed. If the Turks are dealing with a HIRISE red line they would like more western COW planes flying about they do not require them for dealing with Daesh nor will they get that support if they are attacking the SDF.

    As is said…what could go wrong…go wrong …go wrong

  2. 2 patrickm

    The Turks got their answer NO from this POTUS. http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/27-december-us–refused-turkeys-request-to-provide-aircover Russian and Assad air attacks near and actually in Al Bab are what the Turks would like to get some extra muscle in the air about. But the US is heading south with the SDF
    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/27-december-us-a10-jet-pound-isis-positions-in-western-raqqa

    HIRISE is very active on all fronts and there is a lot of shipping going on at the present from the Black Sea to Club Med. After all if this Turkish effort results in clashes with Assad aircraft that could spin into a clash with Russia and that would see an immediate shut down of that shortest route. The Russians are scrambling with the Iranians to get a deal with the Turks because I think they get that the Turks are very seriously involved now. Some sort of deal to 1. freeze the HIRISE gains 2. theoretically wind back the Kurds and 3. wipe out the Daesh territory will no doubt be done soon. How the deal is implemented may be quite another thing. But effective anti-air weapons are going to start showing up soon and that has the Russians shouting at the US.

    In a private note I was just referred to this from back in September
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/07/syrian-opposition-coalition-to-announce-democratic-transition-plan
    at the end it said;
    ‘It is also expected that at Wednesday’s meeting, the Turkish foreign minister will call for international support for a no-fly zone in northern Syria.

    Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria has driven Isis militants from the last 55-mile (90km) strip of border territory that they controlled.

    The country now wants international support for a deeper operation to take control of a rectangle of territory stretching about 25 miles into Syria – a buffer between two Kurdish-held cantons to the east and west and against Isis to the south.’

    Well the Turks have unilaterally set up their own NO Bomb Zone and they have IMV reached the ‘red line’ so now everyone wants to negotiate. Three months later the map is still solidifying but quite a lot has happened with Turkey.

  3. 3 patrickm

    This is important http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-deal-idUSKBN14H12V The news of Russian – Turkey – Iran diplomatic moves over Syria are worth reflecting on. They are not and ought not be unexpected to anyone who has been following this war closely. The crude attempt to sideline the US during this brief window of political uncertainty is classic. But the truth is country’s don’t win wars from the air and the US are a bit isolated with the SDF/Kurds as they roll back Daesh. I think Trump (as evidenced with his latest clap trap tweeting over Israel) will care less about ‘draining the swamp’ of the Middle East North Africa (MENA) but that is still to be seen. Even for MENA diplomacy Turkey currently spreading bullshit about the US backing Isis is a strange tactic. The one clear point is that Turkey putting in that number of troops and establishing that size no bomb zone footprint for the FSA has got everybody’s attention.

    On 24 August Turkey launched operation Euphrates shield and three months later on 29 November Erdogan said ‘that the Turkish military launched its operations in Syria “to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad”. I think that this is actually true and obviously so, even if not the first task before them. From a democrat POV the point is – if this war is to be ended – a political solution acceptable to the Syrian masses must be implemented. That solution can’t include the Assad gangster regime that was – after 4 years of civil war- exhausting and rapidly losing the war until Russia stepped in and the others led by Iran threw in more troops.

    A re-badged tyranny sans Assad (as is being almost openly proposed by Iran’s deep state with their ‘new Alawite leader’) formula is not a goer in the long term either. Attempts at frozen enclaves CAN start like that. No wonder they are scrambling for a ceasefire agreement and negotiations.

    Russia intervened as both a surprise and part of a regional coalition. After 15months that COW has both solidified and grown. The war plan that it has implemented has been to massively bomb the Syrian people, and thus they ethnically cleansed more of Syria and dumped refugees on Europe and Turkey etc.. That was warfare in exactly the same direction as Assad had been conducting the war for those previous 4 years. Assad simply ran out of the required manpower.

    The already intervening Shia forces of Hezbollah, Iran and the Iraqi militias could and would put in more manpower BUT they could not intimidate Turkey let alone the US from finally declaring the NFZ war on Assad, and thus ‘quickly’ ramping the war up to regional; or finishing the war in a method that the US/NATO could politically handle. Western intervention was slowly coming to a country that was important to Russia, so Russia pre-empted that and became involved in directly propping up its client gangster regime. The theory that it was there to end the war quickly turned to mush.

    But the intervention brought Obama undone. His policies were naively premised on always having options of shutting down Assad’s air force and thus forcing a collapse and surrender to the FSA revolutionaries. (As soon as they could structure those forces to be acceptable and not include Al Qaeda types and Daesh nutjobs) Russia, fresh from intervening in Ukraine, and being far more technically sophisticated and regionally menacing; altered the game completely. But worse than that the U.S. and NATO were taken in by the diplomacy that went along with the Russian military deployments!

    The Putin led HIRISE COW carried on in 2016 exactly as I said it would. People can’t say they weren’t told this would happen. HIRISE have made vicious anti-democratic war while proclaiming at the very start that democratic elections would be held to resolve the issue of what government was to run Syria.

    Steve Owens ‘favourite counter insurgency expert’ the realist rat David Kilcullen’ said on September 15/2015 (at almost the start of the Russian intervention) IS have made a game changing move on the ground by becoming active in Allowite hills and suburbs of Damascus and that this puts the Assad regime at existential risk therefore we have seen the large military supply increase to Syria from Russia. The Iran US talks about Iran’s nuke capacity when finalised will allow the US, Russia and Iran to sit down and nut out their shared problem which is IS.’

    The report [tidied up now by me] from Steve http://strangetimes.lastsuperpower.net/?p=2172#comments said of this talk ‘He sees that a deal could come about where Assad and close supporters go into exile but leave the regime intact this will allow anti Assad fighters who the US supports to join up with the rump regime. And Steve thought ‘It may not be perfect but it’s better than Andrew Bolts idea that we should back Assad and better than David Petraeus who suggested arming al Nousra.’ and fair to guess Steve was favourably disposed to the thinking at that point. I didn’t think it would go anywhere and thought from the word go that the Russians would attack the FSA as they did; and negotiate in bad faith, which they also did!

    So Kilcullen saw in mid September a slightly more realistic deal looming than did my fellow Marxists Arthur, Barry and Dave a month later, who thought that the deal would end the regime and see government pass over to the rebels. BUT the slightly different deals that both saw coming did not progress through 2016 past an ‘end of story’ peace in our time joke that was waved about in November 2015.

    Another document based on the current reality is looming for the beginning of 2017. Given what that current reality is with this region where there is now;
    1/ the no bombing zone of the Assad led, Alawite dominated; gangster run, enclave of ‘Syria’ where perhaps as many as 80% of the troops involved in clearing East Aleppo, were the Shia troops from Lebanon, Iraq and other countries, organised via and led by Iran, who has declared this battle as in their national interests.

    2/ A somewhat Bantustan style Rubblestan, or refugee life abroad-stan, plus the very important Turkish protected-stan; all disunited forms of enclaves for the anti-Assad rebels of the mostly Sunni majority, where there are currently big efforts at unity underway.

    3/ Split Rojava that has its Kurdish leadership looking simply ALL ways. The SDF formula is good for Europe and the U.S. but Turkey is not buying it yet.

    4/ Daesh run territories (and other contested territories) now fast on the road to liberation, and ‘liberation’ if it comes from the west of Syria.

    Now with just over 3 weeks to go with the Obama disaster and ditto until the Trump disaster, where is the war at? When will the Turks finish with Al Bab, and having now reached the HIRISE red line in the south, turn east (against all NATO wishes) to Manbij?

    The Turks are pouring more troops and all manner of weaponry into their FSA pocket. They are setting up refugee camps in this pocket and they are determined to make this a no bomb zone and the FSA they protect a legitimate opposition that HIRISE is compelled to deal with. This move is years late! If launched when Assad was on the ropes and the Russians had not shown up (as revolutionary democrats had wanted or hoped to see) they could have got to Aleppo in days and liberated the entire city. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA – Assad’s forces) at that time would have essentially fled in panic IMV. The people of Syria want revolution BUT… Erdogan did not have the vision required let alone the audacity. The Turks have had to be dragged to this effort after the situation had become catastrophically worse with even more refugees deliberately ethnically cleansed while the lying Lavrov kept Kerry distracted. They have committed now and Russia and Iran know they have.

    Assad has to go – that much is clear to Erdogan and all of NATO (without predicting what the new U.S. POTUS thinks). The HIRISE COW are however fighting for tyranny. Leaving aside the complexity of Hezbollah IRISE are all various degrees of the anti-democratic enemy of the very revolution that is under way across the region. Egypt is a vicious military dictatorship that rules with blatant terror. The Iraqi militias are the worst of the Shia (backed by the deep state thugs from Iran) and it is that deep state thug class running this part of Iranian policy. The people of Iran are themselves slowly, and with 2 steps forward and 1 back method attempting to overthrow their tyranny!

    More than a year after a worthless ‘peace in our time’ document was triumphantly waved about amidst a stream of insults and distortions, nothing yet from other fellow Marxists here who had formerly contributed to a group blog. That is the same type of silence after the Chinese coup in 1976, and the CPA (ML) imploded with similar sort of behaviour. The silence and tacit toleration of wrecking behaviour is not part of open, honest, and above board political conduct; ideas that all are best served by holding themselves accountable to.

    Speaking of accountable; this is the best leadership over the last 2 months;
    ‘’On 27 October, U.S. Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement saying that “the Turkish government’s continued attacks on Syrian Kurds are destabilizing and troubling. (…) I urge the Turkish government to refrain from further attacks against Kurdish groups in Syria.”[297]

  4. 4 byork

    Etilaf is, unsurprisingly,supporting the latest deal. USA is not part of it but I expect Trump to endorse it. The Russians still believe that a political transition must include drafting a new constitution and holding elections. Assad is the dog’s tail in all this. It would be strange for Trump to stand apart – one-out – on this, when he becomes President. http://en.etilaf.org/all-news/news/syrian-coalition-calls-for-full-implementation-of-russian-turkish-backed-ceasefire-warns-of-iran-s-attempts-to-undermine-it.html

  5. 5 Steve Owens

    You ever noticed people would rather stop speaking to you instead of apologizing when their wrong

  6. 6 Steve Owens

    I don’t know what the problem is the revolution hasn’t stopped
    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/clashes-erupt-damascus-truce-161230104906242.html

  7. 7 Steve Owens

    Are people that collectively produced this blog ‘teaching’ or ‘wrangling’ for as Mao said “Mao Tsetung said that ‘Marxism is wrangling-ism.’…” I think we should see more wrangling and less teaching and definitely less silence.

  8. 8 patrickm

    Best buddies…https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/20-march-ypg-spokesman-redurxelils-statement-on-agreement

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/20-march-russian-mindef-denied-ypg-statement-on-russian-base

    After the Manbij border line, Russia has now established a coordination centre in Kafr Jana by Azaz in the Afrin line.

Leave a Reply

*