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?

47 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.

  9. 9 patrickm

    What a shock…Hezbollah commander Abu Hussein: “Bashar al-Assad is only a name; we are controlling everything in Syria.”, he says, referring to Hezbollah, Russia, and Iran. https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/2-april-hezbollah-commander-abu-hussein-bashar-alassad-is Soon it will be time to redecorate the HIRISE!

  10. 10 patrickm

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/3-april-turkish-pres-erdoan-1st-phase-of-euphratesshield

    Turkish Pres Erdoğan: 1st phase of #EuphratesShield is over, we are preparing for more ops, terror groups should be ready for surprises

  11. 11 patrickm

    Chemical Drama all over the MSM and this time events may take a path that is bad news for Assad. He may have been led to this overreach with Russian encouragement or they would like to make their ruthlessness perfectly clear to the West. Either way…

    Right now the Russian sponsored ‘region peace process’ is currently under threat according to the Turks

    ‘White House calls chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens a “consequence of the past administration’s weakness” ‘
    They got that right! But this is the same day they are welcoming and praising the Egyptian Assad in the making!

    Enclave building in Syria is still a long way from anything like a stable map. The regions masses are still getting drawn in to a wider conflict.

    ‘Israeli reporter @alonbd says that there is an assessment in Israel that the Russians approved today’s attack’

    ‘Secretary of State Tillerson ignores question when asked for response to chemical attack massacre in Syria.’

    HIRISE has Assad card still to play (or continue to hold given the surprise about to come from Turkey).

  12. 12 Steve Owens

    A problem for the Syrian people is that the US is now lead by Donald do nothing
    He has a formula for Syria
    Step one Blame Obama
    Step Two Huff and Puff alot
    Step Three Take the weekend off to play golf
    Step Four if anything has improved take the credit and if nothing has changed revert to Step One
    BTW Am I relieved by the Trump Presidency I actually believed that he was going to do the things he said he was, I had no idea that it was ALL BS I mean everything total BS

  13. 13 patrickm

    Like I said they have overreached.

    The US has been drawn in to the Turkish approved process of removing Assad!

    At long last the cruise missile’s have smashed the 1st of Assad’s air bases.

    Turns out he is not quite ‘Donald do nothing’.

    I thought this was about to go down! But where to next?

  14. 14 Steve Owens

    The Art of the do nothing is to appear to do something, you can lob missles into Sudan, Afghanistan or Syria but its all huff and puff give the Russians advanced notice and throw some missles into safe places. OK Assad may even comply and return to killing Syrians with conventional weapons.

  15. 15 patrickm

    This is the ME and we are -with Trump and Putin- ‘not in Kansas any more’. What is blatantly in US interests has not been noticed let alone acted on for some pretty big issues for ffing years so… but that said I will take a $1 bet that completely smashing this 1 air base is NOT the end of an issue that the Trumper has referred to as ‘the US is back’. My call is that Assad is NOW in trouble.

    The Turks -always anti Assad- are in and very well placed; the US is now deeper in and ready to finish off Daesh territory and can quickly and very flexibly ramp up. The Brits and French are in and having been put on notice required to ramp up with the US as are others. Jordan will not object in any way at all; the KSA are only looking for the opportunities; and even Israel will now back the removal of Assad.

    HIRISE would do well to get rid of him ASAP (only thing is what is asap?).

    3 days ago I noted ‘What a shock…Hezbollah commander Abu Hussein: “Bashar al-Assad is only a name; we are controlling everything in Syria.”, he says, referring to Hezbollah, Russia, and Iran. https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/2-april-hezbollah-commander-abu-hussein-bashar-alassad-is Soon it will be time to redecorate the HIRISE!’

    The enclaves are still not cleansed enough and Assad read the signals from Trump wrong trying to cleanse more! Thus the overreach that I saw in his chemical terrorism. Nothing is solid enough to hold together for ‘the’ or even a Putin sponsored peace deal with the Assad gang still around so it is now in both sides interests that something unfortunate happens to him.

    Putin knows that disunity is death but the ‘Assad’ expansion is now stopped and the US military dragged in when they are fully prepared to dominate the territory that they are flying through.

    The Assad regime is now a liability and it will not last into 2018! That is not saying very much but is a point of departure from your thought that this might blow over.

  16. 16 Steve Owens

    Ill bet $1 that this blows over
    You think that Assad is NOW in trouble not before when big cities were in the hands of sworn enemies When Kurds liberated the North When Turkey was on the march South and when his very existance lay in Putins hands (which it still does) and the only thing that saved him was Obama overplaying his hand by demanding Assads removal as the opening position to negotiations. OK so NOW he is in trouble make that $1 bet $2
    BTW Putin aint sponsering no peace deal. Putin is playing for time or maybe you want to join our friends who are waiting for good news from Geneva

  17. 17 patrickm

    Well like you I argued that when Putin jumped in about 18 months ago he was not about to show Assad the door and that is how it has turned out.

    Indeed, the Russian military could even have been an agreeing party to this test of the water that has in my view backfired on HIRISE generally but on Assad most as he will be a fall guy as just the first retreat.

    BUT HIRISE is not going to hand over Syria to ‘free and fair elections’ to be won by the Western backed FSA types as was proposed by the half theory! They will have to be defeated and that will require protracted war after enclaves have excluded Daesh and brought well equipped infantry up against Russian helicopters and fixed wings as they get more restricted in just where they can roam around bombing at will.

    Currently enclave building is still furiously under way and so more refugees were being drummed up by this Russian style terrorism.

    I refer you to 3 months back up this very thread

    patrickm
    December 29, 2016 at 4:58 pm Edit

    Now today we have Turkey that has those massed Troops in Syria defending their currently established no bomb zone and Turkey is currently sniffing around as the once regional power for a direct thrust down to Raqqa that it has said they are going to liberate!

    ‘Jordanian FM: US missile strikes are necessary and appropriate response to Assad government’s targeting of civilians’ NO surprise

    and we have ‘Saudi Arabia expresses full support for the US air strike on Assad base in Syria’ as has Turkey and Turnbull but he is all about proportional and the regional players are not.

    Even the Kurds in this strange formulation as the Syrian Democratic Forces say ‘SDF: We have nothing to say about latest US strike, it’s not in our land and not related to us.’ http://mideast.liveuamap.com/en/2017/7-april-sdf-we-have-nothing-to-say-about-latest-us-strike No wonder the Turks say the SDF are just the Kurds!! Putin must be pissed at them, him being their best buddy and all!

    Trump has started on a direction that implies -as Daesh is removed from the map- greater and inevitable conflict with the SAA if Assad is still ‘in charge’ because the FSA will not stop nor will the Saudi and Turk backing of them.

    I have thought all along that Putin was going to blunder the Russians into a disaster and I have not changed my view on that. He is pure gangster, and he is pushing the West to defend their real interests. Those interests despite the Neanderthal realists types like Kilcullen and the open lizards like Trump are ultimately tied to a swamp draining process as Obama partially demonstrated in the negative by his utter failure in the region while compelled to defend the Iraqi revolution for every single day of his do nothing-useful presidency.

    Turkey has massed Troops in Syria AND is sniffing around for a direct thrust down to Raqqa. (I hope they get a pass through deal from the Kurds and the US can force that.)

    The Euphrates (both sides now) is not going back to Assad!

    The South of Syria could well erupt any day now with US led COW protection like Turkey has established in the north but without the Kurd problem.

    HIRISE is fighting regional war!

    ‘Source in Beirut: Hezbollah in state of Alert over possibility of US strikes in Syria , many believe they will be target, not just Assad’

    ‘Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham announces it killed an Iranian Brigadier General (pictured right, besides Qasem Soleimani) on the Hama battlefield, Syria.’

    ‘Tartus: Russian infantry spotted heading to Hama/Homs https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/7-april-tartus-russian-infantry-spotted-heading-to-hamahoms

    ‘Northern Hama: Iraqi Fighters. https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/6-april-northern-hama-iraqi-fighters–

    ‘Unusual movement at Mezzah airbase: loaded trucks leaving https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/6-april-unusual-movement-at-mezzah-airbase-loaded-trucks

    ‘Egypt: Military Spokesman: Law enforcement forces continue their efforts in North Sinai, arresting 11 suspects and destroying tunnels and two explosive devices’

    Nothing is going to blow over because the US led west won’t be further humiliated with an Assad included peace deal.

    So the ball will eventually be back in Putin’s court and he only has a smash response!

    Can’t tell much from this level of complexity but Assad will not be part of any peace settlement! So if there is to be a deal that holds and the region will erupt as an alternate (still very possible) then the west had better face up to the fact that we are stuck dealing with a regional strategy that drives tyranny into the dustbin.

    Democracy is the only way forward and Trump re Egypt indicates that the world could well be slipping into a struggle of Vietnamese time frames.

  18. 18 patrickm

    1 hr ago Turkey’s President @RT_Erdogan visits Hatay province on the Turkish-Syrian border, says Syrian terror State days are numbered.

    That is better than born to rule liberal Trudeau who came out with a Turnbull style ‘proportionate’ wimp statement of support without mentioning Trump.

    Statement from Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, on strikes in Syria. http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/7-april-statement-from-justin-trudeau-canadas-prime-minister

    I think Erdogan is right to both advocate and promote the end days of the regime. Just as he was correct in establishing a no bomb zone with massed troops ready to liberate Aleppo if push comes to shove and also to send Syrians back to live in refugee camps in this part of Syria. Do you agree with these actions and do you think he ought to be visiting this region and promoting this line?

    Turnbull wants to hold Trump back Erdogan wants to end the terror regime, that has just dropped more barrel bombs in the south. What ought the left be advocating?

  19. 19 steve Owens

    Trump putting teeth into the US anti “illegal” weapons stance is good but must be viewed with perspective. 400,000 Syrians have been killed in this conflict and of those about 1,000 were from this category of weapon. Death by chlorine gas is still “allowable” Assad asked where the limit was and Trump told him, good for Trump but Im not expecting more. Question asked question answered end of story.
    As to Erdogan he says a lot of the things I say yes to, safe zones yes, Assads end yes but again this has to be viewed with perspective this is Erdogan who was complicit with Islamic State, who supports a northern safe zone because it will weaken the Kurds. Inside Turkey Erdogans trajectory is towards dictatorship and his treatment of Kurds is monstrous. Ive always said that the one good thing to come out of the Syrian civil war was Kurdish autonomous areas well Erdogan would love to put an end to the one good thing.

  20. 20 patrickm

    Even dead loss Hollande say’s keap going as does EU Council President Donald Tusk!
    Hollande: There is a chance now to start a political transition in Syria.

    French President Francois Hollande calls for continuation of American military operation against Assad government

    EU Council President Donald Tusk says EU will work with US to end brutality in Syria

    Not as good Merkel and Hollande: Assad himself is responsible for latest US strikes.

    Polish President Duda supported strike on airbase in Syria by U.S Navy

    In phone call with VP @mike_pence President Poroshenko expressed support for the US actions to prevent crimes of the Assad regime against the Syrian population

    As for Putin
    Russian Navy frigate Admiral Grigorovich transits Bosphorus en route to Eastern Med. Armed with Caliber cruise missiles

    Turkish foreign minister says transition government must be established in Syria, should be without Assad.

    Turkish presidential spokesman says calls urgently for a no-fly zone and safe zone in Syria to prevent further massacres.

    Now tell me Steve where is the better politics coming from?

    I am just watching the pathetic Al Jazeera trying to portray this as probably an attack for the sake of his own polling. That would not be very smart and even though Trump is a lizard I think this is rather to be expected from the military and is now locked in as vital that Assad be gone as just another step still to be taken after Daesh territory is cleared.

  21. 21 steve Owens

    No matter who urges the US to do more I don’t think that they will. This is for a very simple reason. The US had no vital interest in overthrowing the friendless dictator Saddam but they did and they got their fingers burnt. The US had no vital interest in overthrowing the friendless dictator Qaddafi but they did and they got their fingers burnt. Assad is a dictator with plenty of friends and the US has no vital interests involved. The would have to be dumb as fuck stupid to get seriously involved in overthrowing Assad but hey they have been dumb as fuck stupid before so nothing is completely unthinkable I just don’t think its probable but neither was a Trump presidency.

  22. 22 steve Owens

    PS Just for accuracies sake I don’t think that it is correct to place David Kilcullen in the Realist school

    http://www.academia.edu/1561927/_Which_schools_of_thought__Realism_Liberalism_or_Constructivism_shall_prevail_in_the_state_policies_of_coping_with_terrorism_and_Are_the_works_of_Sun_Tzu_and_Clausewitz_still_applicable_in_a_contemporary_warfare
    This essay gives a better analysis of his position

  23. 23 steve Owens

    “…. despite the Neanderthal realists types like Kilcullen…”
    I just can’t see where you get this stuff from. Where is your evidence?
    Even in his specialty of counter insurgency he is more eclectic than a supporter of a set of ideas, when writing he states that he draws both from the enemy centric and the population centric models.
    Id be really pleased to be pointed to evidence that he subscribes to a particular model because Ive searched and cant find it.

  24. 24 patrickm

    I will explain my views on Kilcullen (again) some other time. Just want to record today’s hot news.

    The Brits are upping the push-back for example Boris cancelled trip to Moscow and ‘UK defence minister: Russia responsible by proxy for Syria chemical deaths’ and this is good.

    A meeting with Russia President Putin has been removed from Secretary of State Tillerson’s Moscow schedule.
    better than all those meetings Kerry had with Lavrov.

    Multiple UNCONFIRMED reports are spreading that US troops are on the Jordanian border alongside Jordanian special forces and some of the troops have crossed the border into Syria some say with around 20 tanks, no reasons have been given.

    Could be wild rumours but I have been expecting some news from this front!

    Putin discussed with Iranian President the situation in Syria

    When and how Assad is to be dumped might not have come up but putting in more troops and getting all toothy over the above type of intel would have! I just don’t see how the US can stop the regional twins from pushing more potency into the forces they are backing from north and now south even if they wanted to do so. Assad just flew out of that airbase and bombed with conventional bombs and that is saying F-you. This is not going to please the Trump but it will enrage the military.

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/9-april-russia-only-doubling-down-on-support-for-assad-after

    Well it would be that for some ‘decent’ period at any rate.

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/9-april-assads-allies-say-us-attack-crosses-red-lines
    From Beirut https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/9-april-russia-iran-and-hezbollah-military-leaders-release

    This is very close to a region war now!

    Trump has 2 wings flapping.
    It is “truly amazing” that Russia “continues to cover for Assad,” says UN Ambassador Nikki Haley

    UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: “We don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there”

    .@RepAdamSchiff to @ThisWeekABC: Russia “absolutely” complicit in Syrian chemical attack: “Absolutely they know what the Syrians are doing.”

    .@SenSanders: “Yes, we have to get rid of Assad…But we cannot do it unilaterally.”

    McCain: Trump administration “partially to blame” for Syrian chemical attacks

    On the US airstrike on the Syrian air base .@SenJohnMcCain says, “By the way, we should have cratered the runways”.

    Lindsey Graham: Assad is telling Trump “F you”

    President Trump’s National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster says Russia must question support for the ‘murderous regime’ in Syria.

    Rex Tillerson says the strike was meant “to render that airbase… no longer usable.” Seems like he’s admitting the strike failed.

    Tillerson tells .@GStephanopoulos “there is no change to our military posture” in Syria after airstrikes.

    Tillerson: “We are hopeful we can work with Russia and use their influence” to achieve peace in Syria.

    US ambassador to the UN says US priorities in Syria are to ‘get Assad out’, ‘defeat IS’ and ‘get Iranian influence out’.

    UN Ambassador Nikki Haley: “What we have seen at the UN is a huge sigh of relief” after Syria airstrikes

    Interesting footage from Helfaya. Assad mostly sends militia group of 20-40 with one tank. If the tank bites the dust, the troops run.

    Convoys of Tiger Forces armored vehicles arrive in Hama

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/9-april-a-lot-of-helicopters-seen-landing-in-tartus-base

    Just picture a flood of sophisticated infantry weapons from the KSA and Turkey crossing into FSA territory right about now. After all if there is to be all this fighting and more on the way then it might be a good thing from the anti Assad side that all of HIRISE start to pay a very expensive price.

    Putin has got himself stuck in a money pit and war’s are not won from the air. The US COW plus the regional powers of Turkey and the KSA are on an offensive that will within months see all territory east of the Euphrates cleared of Daesh and Assad unable to grab the west bank.

    This looks like knife edge stuff and could be a big punch up at any stage. After all the US COW and Turkey and the KSA+ are sick of being humiliated by the Putin led HIRISE that have just overreached!

    Al Qaeda territory can’t be cleared by Assad in HIRISE and that important step is what Turkey is now indicating from just across the porous border!

    I just can’t see this stage as just more of the same! But ‘stuff’ takes longer than I ever guesstimate.

  25. 25 patrickm

    Turkey developed a new military base East of Bza’a, Syria, facing SAA forces (probably ‘HISAR’ Air Def deployed)

    Consider this report and just how powerfully Turkey is now positioned; they are waving a big stick.

    Putin is in over his head is what I say. HIRISE was only ever capable of cutting out a possibly viable enclave if it was left alone to do so and that is not what is now happening. We must remember that Putin only has a hammer!

    Erdogan is mobilising the masses and it is the masses that make war! The HIRISE tyrannies are in real trouble because the west does have a vital interest in winning this war even if a very large section of the owning/ruling classes still don’t get it. Daesh is only stage 1!

    After Daesh the destruction of Al Qaeda comes next with Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood type as the main force that will defeat them alongside the Kurds that will hold their own ground and also be the forward base for the US COW regardless of the Russian offers of eternal friendship alonside the Iranian led Shia types from the region.

  26. 26 Steve Owens

    Heavens don’t bother yourself with going over your views of Kilcullen “again” just say where you posted your views before and I can go and read that.

  27. 27 patrickm

    patrickm July 27, 2016 at 1:44 pm
    ‘Now the notion you are mistakenly pushing that a fascist enclave can have autonomy is where your democratic thinking falls apart. It is not that Daesh can’t have Mosul etc it is that the Baath can’t have it! They had Tikrit and they can’t have control and a revolution for democracy at the same time. It is a mutually exclusive deal. The right wingers that you advocate we all learn from like Kilcullen solve the problem by dumping the democracy and backing the local gangsters in conventional realist manner.

    We revolutionary democrats on the other hand want the ‘harder row’ where Islamists will have to come to power in this region and islamofascists will have to be defeated in a Berlin style house to house manner. That IS going to cause a massive amount of casualties and I blame them on the fascists for being fascists in the fucking first place. If they would just stop wanting their style of world then they would not be being attacked by the forces of democratic revolution that are slowly learning what revolution is all about. As Mao said; Kill some fascists some satisfaction wipe them all out total satisfaction.’

    Steve Owens December 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm SO17 Out Of all this middle eastern mess one smart guy has emerged and his name is David Kilcullen. Im always in favour of looking at his views
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/11/david-kilcullen-speaks-on-how-to-think-about-isis-and-what-to-do-about-it/

    Arthur December 11, 2015 at 10:56 pm
    Kilcullen: ““ There would be no ISIS if we hadn’t invaded Iraq in the first place. There would also be no ISIS if Maliki hadn’t applied incredibly sectarian, Shia authoritarian policies after we spent many lives and much treasure to stabilize the country for him. There also would not be an ISIS if we hadn’t withdrawn from Iraq and just left the environment to hang for a few years. So I think you can blame President Obama, you can blame President Bush; you can certainly blame Prime Minister Maliki.”

    Or of course one could blame advisors like Kilcullen who were called in when the Bush administration retreated under the backlash and who imagined that a good way to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq was by arming the Baathists and promising them a return to power which the US had no capacity to deliver. Naturally he can certainly blame Maliki who opposed that idiocy. But why only Maliki? Does ANYONE in the Iraqi government take his advice these days?

    Steve Owens December 11, 2015 at 11:14pm

    Kilcullen “From 2005 to 2006, he was Chief Strategist in the Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. State Department.[3] Kilcullen was a senior counter-insurgency advisor to General David Petraeus in 2007 and 2008, where he helped design and monitor the Iraq War troop surge.[4] He was then a special advisor for counter-insurgency to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice”
    But you know better what would Kilcullen know?
    Your second paragraph is just fantasy. He wasn’t called in when Bush retreated He was called in when the US was loosing in Iraq. He helped design and monitor the surge.
    Clearly Arthur should….. no fuck it Im DONE

    patrickm December 12, 2015 at 12:45 am
    Why would Kilcullen without any indication of the coming Russian intervention be so worthy of a guernsey in Steve’s links? Here is the 10 July condensed version
    P10
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/10/i-see-no-alternative-to-a-larger-more-intense-conventional-war-against-isis
    here is his post Russian take.
    P11
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-01/david-kilcullen-russian-airstrikes-in-syria/6818946
    But watch 2009 5 May he didn’t think that Obama was a looming disaster.
    P12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rq58N24bvXU

    Curious to drag him out when Putin and the Iranians are making war.

    Steve Owens December 16, 2015 at 11:00 pm
    Patrick you find my ‘dragging’ Kilcullen out as ‘curious’.
    Well Kilcullen is a public intellectual writing about IS and how to defeat them.
    He has a particular set of experiences that are unmatched by any other public intellectual.
    As an army officer he was engaged to train Indonesian commandos.
    He developed an interest in Islamic insurgencies and he wrote a doctoral thesis on Islamic insurgents some of whom became JI
    Paul Wolfowitz read his thesis and was so impressed that he asked for Kilcullen to be seconded to the US. The Australian military said ‘wouldn’t you rather have a General rather than a L.Colonel’ but Wolfowitz said no he would rather have David.
    Killcullen went on to work with all the White House leadership team and was then sent to work with Petraeus on the surge. Since then he returned to the White House to work for Condi Rice. He has visited Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia. He has written an award winning essay on IS. Currently he has a strategy to beat IS and he has a view about what the Russians are up to but modestly he doesn’t claim any special insights into IR as he is just a COIN guy.
    I am saying that he is someone with an enormous amount of first hand experience and a level of theory that is very high coupled with an ability to present material very clearly.
    In response to me mentioning that Kilcullen as someone to pay attention to Arthur replies
    “Or of course one could blame advisors like Kilcullen who were called in when the Bush administration retreated under the backlash and who imagined that a good way to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq was by arming the Baathists and promising them a return to power which the US had no capacity to deliver. Naturally he can certainly blame Maliki who opposed that idiocy. But why only Maliki? Does ANYONE in the Iraqi government take his advice these days?”
    Arthur’s “contribution” his description of the surge, not only simplistic but so wrong in fact that I found it not worthy of comment.
    And then you weigh in with your ‘curious’ comment. Well I find it curious that you would ignore Arthur’s palpable nonsense about the surge to insinuate that there’s something ‘curious’ that I should recommend a writer of such experience and talent.
    Let s get over Kilcullen’s opposition to the invasion which he described in an interview as “fucking stupid” If you can’t learn from people who hold a different position then you can’t learn.

    END

    Steve;
    The reason in 2017 Kilcullen is almost useless compared to what has been advocated as the strategic thinking at this site is because he thinks that the theory (the only theory still standing) of what to do to drain the swamp was “fucking stupid”.

    In short he is a problem IF you want to see a revolutionary transformation of the region (world really)! The revolutionary transformation is made with actual social revolution in the midst of all political power growing out of the barrel of a gun NOT with the West sticking with a selected bunch of Baathists as Neanderthal types like him smugly push on the blindly biased liberal ABC.

    It matters not what he calls himself any-more than it matters what the Chinese call themselves. There is an objective test to judge what he’s promoting.

    Islamists must be the ones that come to power (Morsi, Erdogan, Haider al-Abadi). Support for the ‘destabilisation’ of Libya, Syria, Tunisia and the letting loose of their Islamists etc. That is the test. Kilcullen is happy to call the launch of this region change ‘fucking stupid’ and is saying nothing about Egypt I presume (you can correct me)! Sisi is an Assad in the making; point me to where Kilcullen is warning of the disaster that will befall the people of Egypt as the police state murdered its way back through democracy! Can’t you remember when all the ruling classes round the world would fawn over Assad and his ‘modern’ wife? Kilcullen has no genuine theory about dealing with tyranny and achieving success for the bourgeois democratic revolution.

    When the masses in Syria began to stir I was fearful that this would be a big war but I never believed the likes of Obama and Kilcullen would be as ruthless and as blind to real western interests as they have been and still are! Their incompetence is fully summed up by calling the liberation of Iraq all these years later and with the example of Syria STILL unfolding ‘fucking stupid’. That is the mirror of Neverland thinking. That for a revolutionary democrat is fucking stupid.

    The ‘people’ of the Middle East,North Africa (MENA) will -at huge cost in their lives- pay for such ‘saviours’.

    Bush did retreat under the backlash when what was required was a doubling down and a review of MAO. Donald Rumsfeld was doing this revolutionary war with far too few troops from the word go! Instead of reforming the military from the word go we got the idiocy of Abu Ghraib etc..

    It’s not just the Neverland peace movement that lies smashed under the mountain of Syrian bodies, or drowned in the flood of refugees; not just the Nobel Peace Prize covered in cement dust of Rubblestan; not just a forlorn ½ theory left alone to find the rest of itself; you will also find a squashed rat called Kilcullen; all you have to do is read what he was saying as I provided above. Even YOU had a better grasp of what was about to go down than he did!

    Anyway a capitalist world that has politicians of the stature of May and Corbyn for f…sake, Turnbull and Shorten, Trudeau, Hollande and Trump etc., is in real trouble. But we can in Pollyanna fashion at least be glad that Obama is now gone with the wind.

    You say Trump will be do-nothing-Donald on Syria. I think that even a lizard could bite back in it’s own interests, and this Lizard has a military bent to him that in the current situation is going to want to take actions where he can.

    Speaking of reptiles.
    ‘Iraq’s Muqtada al-Sadr warns Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and says he will face the fate of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi if he does not resign.’

  28. 28 Steve Owens

    When the US was planning the Iraq invasion they asked Kilcullen what he thought and he told them that to do what they wanted to do they have way too few resources allocated.
    In 2005 when the US was losing the war Kilcullen was appointed as an advisor to Petraeus. He advised that they stop using an enemy centric model and use a more people centric model. This involved getting the troops out of their bases and work and live closer to the locals. To study the insurgents and find ways to split people off. This was the surge and Kilcullens ideas worked.
    I think that you cant see this as Arthur could not see this because of your fixed views about the situation. 15 years have past and you post could have been written then. In 1987 I was studying and my lecturer a prominent 60’s radical saw me reading some of Arthur’s stuff he borrowed it and on retun he angrily told me that “Albert had learnt nothing”
    Just ask yourself have you changed any position or have you just learnt more and more about how correct your original position was.

  29. 29 patrickm

    Presumably;
    a) you accept that there is nobody in the Iraqi government in 2017 that is taking the advise of Kilcullen despite your praise of his rightist insights
    b) that the Kilcullen residue days of a shrine to Saddam in Tikrit being tolerated are over and you are glad that they are over
    c) that Daesh and Baathists are now being destroyed right across the breadth of Iraq by the Iraqi state forces with an assist from the US led COW NOW supported by GR and you but not by the Stoke the War Neverland types that you have long ago parted ways with.
    d) that Sisi is an Assad in the making and that revolutionary democrats and all progressives ought to be spelling that out now just as people like me were quick to call for western led war against Assad (NFZ war etc) when this war for democracy in Syria began
    e) you know that I supported the surge even if it was NOT being done in the manner that a revolutionary like Mao would have fought
    f) you ought to know that we Australian Marxists backed the liberation planned by the US ruling elite not because they had a peoples army but because it would STILL mean liberation and revolution up to the pathetic levels that are required for the MENA region to reach ignition point

    The alternative method of the locals doing it all themselves as Syria has demonstrated is for me the great disaster but not for Kilcullen.

    Why keep telling me about a self promoting rightist dolt that did not get it then and does not get it now?

    The Kilcullen views are known to me and are known to Robert Mann see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoBNkMCNTAM for his notion of why they did it. (at about 4:20).

    I keep claiming that the great movement that had millions on the street split on every occasion ever since. You split from it. You joined with the fighting against Islamofascists Baathists and all Tyrants side. Stop thinking that you stand with Kilcullen. Accept that you support the wider war.

    Your old ‘peace’ mates have degenerated into the filth that stood in the gutter the other day when Trump struck a pathetic 1st deliberate attack on the Assad Tyranny.

    I keep telling you that ‘draining the swamp’ is the only theory still standing.

    As for ‘In 1987 I was studying and my lecturer a prominent 60’s radical saw me reading some of Arthur’s stuff he borrowed it and on retun he angrily told me that “Albert had learnt nothing”’ I will bet you can’t point to one law that your prominent radical altered since 1987. Not one day in jail defending democratic rights. Not one court case run. Not one occasion of swimming against the tide! So I guess you can see for yourself what your prominent radical had learned. Prove me wrong and inform me of his achievements.

  30. 30 steve Owens

    You think its a weakness that the great mass movement that opposed the invasion of Iraq split but to the contrary new questions arose and new positions were taken. Weakness is where people reverse judgment or hold firm to wrong positions. You took a pro invasion position and as it turns out that was clearly an error. You supported an enemy centric view of counter insurgency and that was clearly wrong. You initially opposed holding elections and that was wrong. You held a tailist position to both the occupation and the Maliki government and that was wrong. You paper over these errors with an appeal to revolutionary democracy but there is little revolutionary democracy in Iraq. Prior to the invasion I told you that Iraq would resemble Somalia that the people who would come to power would resemble the Iranian regimen and that the Americans were capable of fucking anything up. All of my predictions have come to pass. Mosul is Somalia, Sadr is in power and the Americans fucked up lots.

  31. 31 steve Owens

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ruBKulyXQs
    Condoleezza Rice one minute in states invasion of Iraq was not to bring democracy to Iraq

  32. 32 steve Owens

    Rumsfeld says he never thought that democracy in Iraq was realistic
    In a story titled “Bush was wrong on Iraq, says Rumsfeld,” Rumsfeld told The Times that “the idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned about it when I first heard those words … I’m not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories.”

  33. 33 patrickm

    All new questions that arose were BUILT IN from the start! That is what people like me were on about and unable to get discussed as the tide flowed with the oil chanters. New positions WERE taken by some as early as when the pictures of those people smashing up Saddam’s statue stung people who had mistakenly marched chanting about oil. Not you. It dawned on quite a few right then that they had got it wrong. Not the rightists like Kilcullen. He could have cared less about those liberated people. Like the always wrong greens and sectarians of the neverland pseudoleft who also held firm to wrong positions Kilcullen dug in. But all marches after that statue came down were dramatically smaller! The masses understood they were viewing a liberation in progress!

    I took a pro invasion position and as it turns out that was clearly in support of those people smashing up Saddam’s statue. The IRAQI masses then sometime later took to the streets to indicate support for exactly the same electoral system as is the case in South Africa! Democracy came to Iraq as we said it would. Rumsfeld got dragged along by Rice etc as did Chaney. The enemy kept fighting and fought very well so I supported an enemy centric view of fighting them AND my ‘counter insurgency policy’ was always to be sympathetic to the 60% Shia and 20% Kurds first and to trust to ongoing protracted struggle by the now on the front foot Iraqi masses despite their current historical level of development. About the same as South Africa.

    You mislead by claiming that I ‘initially opposed holding elections and that was wrong.’ and claiming ‘You held a tailist position to both the occupation and the Maliki government and that was wrong.’ is just bullshit. These are my views from December 2004! http://archive.lastsuperpower.net/members/+disc+members+95355148341.htm

    These views can be contrasted against any views you were pushing AT THE TIME.

    Your stands do not hold up 12+ yrs later!

    You hate how ugly revolutionary struggle against tyranny is. I hate how ugly tyranny is and support the complex and less ugly struggle to get humanity past such methods of human association. So yes I am a revolutionary democrat. Yes I think that opens the field for communists. We communists can’t openly exist under Tyranny so I look to any little space to exist in. A little space now exists in Iraq. No space exists yet in Nth Korea and not much in Iran the other 2 members of the Axis of evil that GWB identified.

    Iraq simply does NOT ‘resemble Somalia’ and none of your ‘predictions have come to pass.’ Mosul is NOT Somalia and you SUPPORT the war fighting to defeat ISIS.

    ‘Sadr is NOT in power’ but he contends as is to be expected! Even if ‘ the Americans fucked up lots.’ as communists would expect they were at least on the right side of a revolution and as we see with the Stop the War rabble of pseudoleftists they are on the enemy side.

    You say the bourgeois politicians lie about things and so do I but we have to make judgements on exactly what they are lying about and when. ‘Rice: “Osama bin laden was a Saudi.. Zawahiri was an Egyptian” ABC: “Not an Iraqi though”. Rice: “This came out of the middle east” ‘ NO lies there.

    Mubarak (was I think) horrified because he understood at the time what her message was and look at the ride he went on! He was right to be upset. US relations went sour with Egypt and stayed that way for years! Sissi is now being backed by Trump while Trump only now dumps on Assad and is pressing for his departure. The lizard can’t spot Assad mk2 and neither could the pseudoleft as they dumped on Morsi and united with the remnants of the old regime who then came back to complete power. Western Trots etc were along with Egyptian pseudoleftists yet again a complete disaster!

    You know that the little movement that opposed the US/Australian war against the Vietnamese people having meaningful elections GREW and continued to work and grow till that war ended with the defeat of the policy of no free choice for the Vietnamese!

    I absolutely think it’s an obvious weakness that the great mass movement that opposed the (now quite obvious liberation of the Iraqi peoples) because these western people thought it was going to be an invasion of Iraq for the oil etc split (at every significant stage) dramatically and quickly shrank and then essentially disappeared to the point of gutter gatherings of pseudoleftist dolts when the issues of liberation had to be worked through.

  34. 34 steve Owens

    You have a point Sadr is not in power. The reality is that no one post US departure has ruled without his support. He is generally referred to as a king maker rather than a king. Mosul is not Somalia Mosul is in a worse state than any part of Somalia. When the US invaded Sistani called for immediate elections. The US and yourself described this call with the same word “premature”. You never criticized the US for supporting death squads, for firing on unarmed demos for murdering prisoners, or the Iraqi government for extracting confessions from suspects even when a suspect died during interrogation. In my opinion upholding these basic human rights is an essential first step for someone to claim to be a revolutionary democrat.
    BTW On a completely different subject in the book Mao the peoples Emperor the author mentions rumors that Mao contemplated an alliance with the Japanese. I took this with a large grain of salt until Arthur mentioned that Mao had issued instructions that captured Japanese troops be treated well and returned to their army. This was a bit of a shock, do you know where Arthur’s quote came from and was it dated between say late 1939 and 1942 just interested.

  35. 35 patrickm

    The reality is that no one post US arrival other than a Shia islamist has headed the government. That is what we said would happen and that is what the rightists said would be the problem that would see Iraq tumble into the Iranian camp. Oh woe oh woe. That is why they thought democracy was not compatible with US interests but we argued that draining the whole swamp including Iran would in the long term result. That is exactly why dopes like Pilger actually named the general that the US were going to install!! But that is NOT what happened now is it. What happened is that shia islamists did come to power but in a similar way to blacks in South Africa. Nobody in neverland will forgive GWB, Blair and Howard for this crime.

    There are no guarantees into the future either. There are only general directions and struggle for any and all progress against the determined enemies that exist everywhere. Guess what Sadr is. Islamofascists do not come with swastikas painted on their faces. There are no tidy clean lines in a draining swamp. Everyone is covered in muck to one degree or another when real revolution is underway. Only in Neverland are the good people clean and tidy and able to ‘stop the war’ by marching against western imperialism.

    You are no longer in Neverland but now support warfighting in Mosul that is directed by a Shia Islamist Iraqi government that we said would come to power and that would fight against Islamofascists. That is what upsets you so much. Don’t divert yourself with Somalia or ancient history of exactly when it was reasonable to allow the shia islamists to win the elections that we said from the start would be coming. You know that this is utterly pointless and that it makes you look ridiculous.

    Forget about the start of the swamp draining. Find fault with one (big-ish) thing that I have said about Syria, Mali,Libya, Egypt or even Iran.

    Swamp drainers do not try to wreck the work of swamp draining. Who in your view is on the swamp draining team? I recall Arthur calling for a firing squad for the senior US officers that harmed the war effort with the likes of Abu Ghraib. All the stuff that you raise in the attempt to paint me as a wicked communist can’t hide what side you are on. Tariq Ali is still on the side of the ‘resistance’ you changed sides and do not like it but just can’t bring yourself to not be fighting with GR and all the rest of us against the islamofascists.

    The swamp of Syria etc has no basic human rights only death and destruction and that is why people have set out to drain it; only a drained former swamp has the bottommost rung of the rights that they seek. They were entitled to seek them but they are not handed over without a fight so ‘…upholding these basic human rights is an essential first step for someone to claim to be a revolutionary democrat.’ and that is why we uphold the first revolutionary right to unite with the impure in our struggle to first remain above ground when our enemies want to put us under. Our struggle is to unite the many to defeat the few. As we see with liberals like your former anti war leader and ditherer in chief Obama who, like Kilcullen and yourself, ‘could not support a dumb war’ and whose lack of action also has a very big price, in the end he had to support the Iraq revolution on every day of his 8 long years that is now thankfully gone with the wind.

    If you read Mao instead of the anti-Mao claptrap that you as an active anti communist always turn to for comfort, you would know that the policy on captured troops was always to treat them well and only punish clear war criminals. It is no surprise that you are spreading the thought that one of the most wicked communists of all was quite capable of uniting with the Japanese militarists. After all where you come from in Neverland the deluge of anti communist literature hides the reality of WW2 and just as in your world Stalin was pro Hitler so Mao was bound to be capable of being pro Japanese militarist just as the ‘democratic’ Kuomintang said at the time. Forced with a clear choice between the communists and the Kuomintang what else would an anti communist choose other than muck spreading?

  36. 36 patrickm

    At least Arthur gets the point that HIRISE is not fit to conduct the required period of occupation that he is calling for.

    For any progress to take place across the region the new way for any country in the MENA will be democratic after any period of occupation and I point to Turkey as perhaps the best current example. The MSM BBC/ABC types are all doom and gloom about the islamist Erdogan. But they are not comparing nor really pointing out by focusing on the point that his undemocratic enemies tried to kill him and institute a coup as was done in Egypt! As we see in Syria Arthur is raising the issue of a western force for a period of occupation and Erdogan is there already actually running an occupation. Turks are going to have to be involved.

    I note that you have not disputed that such a force as Arthur suggests will be required.

    Steve whatever you think is the political stage that Iraq is at at least you are supporting the sending of Australians for fighting alongside that state against what is and will remain our long term enemies. You now support islamists against islamofascists so we can now move on and I can hope to see you support Erdogan in his fight against the same enemies. These are our old enemies the Baathists and Al Qaeda / Daesh.

    You were not taken in by the Putin led COW either. So that is where the fighting is at.

    We both do not want to see the Kurds and Turks come to greater blows and would much rather see them return to the progress that was underway a couple of years back.

    I agree (and think you do as well) with Arthur, over at C21st Left that “The U.S. policies for Syria followed for the last few years have been completely absurd. Inaction has resulted in half the population displaced, nearly half a million killed, millions of refugees throughout the region and a serious threat to European unity. ..”’.

    Anyone who has paid attention from the start of the Syrian revolution knows that a lot of people are and have been all along very confused with this multi sided warfighting. In the case of the long silent ½ theorist it is evident that he still is confused but as usual smugly so and since January Arthur has been lightly brushing off the dust from the pile of bullshit he served up the first time.

    Some 75,000+ more dead and a million+ more refugees since he proclaimed that Putin could not be doing what others like me thought. He has returned to the keyboard for another go round at his quality venue over at C21Left. So far Barry and Dave have not jumped back up on his wagon and still remain silent. I have read his latest and I’m not buying it.

    Just recall that Arthur first put out some rushed notes when the Russians turned up that made no real sense but that at least did grasp just how bad this intervention was.

    Then when people like me tried to get him back to planet earth he then had worked ‘it’ all out in a few days all still in September 2015! That ½ theory was later only slightly modified then triumphantly confirmed by the Geneva documents signed in November that Arthur waved about as ‘end of story’ taunting when I predicted that he would soon go quiet. Arthur then went into the usual wrecking mode against views that turned out to be spot on! Scoffing and distorting and then the great and fully predicted silence.

    Now rather than face up to any error at all it’s virtually the same stand warmed over.

    Arthur has not really developed and refined his September 2015 thinking despite having had all the time and peace that he and his co-thinkers required to produce something useful. He has not owned up to the fact that others had a far clearer view of what was going to unfold over the next 18 months than he did! Just regurgitating the ½ theory that fell flatter than the barrel bombed buildings of Aleppo is pretty useless in the face of the HIRISE COW.

    Keeping an eye on the unfolding maps was a very useful tool for reflection on where people were back in September 2015 when the Russians showed up and our disagreement began. A year later anybody who was paying attention had noticed the changes that had smashed his thinking and after another six bloody months had gone by the whole world can see what the work of both COWs has managed. Maps help paint the big picture as any war unfolds. We now have some serious rear vision to consider.

    Way back I said that Putin plays as a sort of full back captain for his COW. Arthur now says: ‘As far as I can make out the Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah are more important and none of them are likely to believe the Assad regime can survive. BTW Iraqi Shia militias are also significant and Sadr has mentioned that Bashir should go.’ Well what do you know!

    I have said HIRISE constitutes a club med and that they must act reasonably collectively to remain so. Arthur ‘s thinking does not deal with that collective action other than to imply that they all turned up in Syria to help the regime find people to surrender to that would not then massacre the supporters of the old regime but somehow would be good mates with the HIRI_E and slot right in as Assad’s replacement! But if they won’t just slot in with the bastards that have been bombing them what are we left with?

    I still say that it is at least reasonable to consider if Syria is still being dismembered and so perhaps enclaves are under construction; and we can consider these issues even if we might believe such plans will not in the end work. It always was reasonable to think about the rubble making and terror bombing that was driving populations out of their homes and right out of their own country!

    The reason liberating Iraq made sense was because democratic revolution in that country was not getting going and did not look like getting going for some time and then with costs to the Iraqi people eventually being gigantic in scale rather than just horrendous. It was that very blockage that would keep the region as a swamp. It was that blockage that would breed the likes of what has bred coming out from the struggle for democracy against the blockages in Syria.

    Obviously ‘Democratic revolution elsewhere will also need military backing from developed countries. Yes it’s the thin edge of the wedge.’ and this has been my view all along so I agree that; “Things can only get worse the longer intervention is postponed.”

    But some Western intervention is already under-way, and in very big way from Turkey. Erdogan has put the crucial northern safe zone in place where refugees are being transferred to and protected within. This zone is not just to stop the Kurds from directly linking across the north (though it does that) and it is a substantially Arab area. A very distinct colour is now on the map for that no bomb zone that Assad and the Russians until quite recently DID occasionally bomb. Erdogan is now giving speeches from the territory where his air force shot down a Russian plane. That is where the next big Turkish action can or at least might be expected. Erdogan has to play a full ‘tournament’ not just one ‘game’ in this extremely complex war that has unavoidably dragged Turkey in. The Turks have no choice but to push on with the clear task of ending the Assad tyranny style regimes that are now and will be next the big problem while they also MUST fight the islamofascists. The utterly confused think Erdogan is an Islamofascist.

    The US, Turkey and the KSA etc., ARE for their own very good reasons putting more weapons in the hands of Syrians fighting in the west and south of Syria against HIRISE and HIRISE can’t stop them short of a comprehensive deal. What could that deal be besides Assad’s crew stepping aside, while HIRISE is still prepared to hold territory with whatever is left of the SAA and so forth? A HIRISE approved replacement regime won’t work and could only be tried in the part of Syria that HIRISE dominates.

    The U.S. led COW is fighting and gaining territory in the east, with the A10s and helicopters and the SeaBee built bases protected by other marines, that they fly from. That is another NO bomb zone that is spreading day by day. Heavy equipment is now being trucked right through Iraq and up to within range of Raqqa it is just a bit further than Mosul and the Kurds control the territory all the way. There is a lot of US military power now deployed not just special forces working with the SDF formation of mostly Kurds plus the recently deployed artillery formations.

    I think Trump has encouraged his military to up the pace of the destruction of the Daesh ‘caliphate’ and that is a good thing.

    It’s not so easy in 2017 to hide behind the old rabble of ‘peace’ marching pseudoleftists and expert rightists like Kilcullen when you claim the status of active supporter of democracy for the peoples of the ME right now.

    One can’t claim that mantle and approve of any policy that would allow Baathists who were in charge in Iraq to remain in charge in practice in Tikrit or anywhere else. You know that the old Baathist army both had to be disbanded and simultaneously could not be actually disbanded because it had already set itself up with an ‘underground’ status. The formal disbanding had to be followed by the actual destruction or, as Kilcullen would have it as an alternative, compromise with it. I choose not to abandon the ‘dumb idea’ of democracy. I choose front foot fighting in this the most complicated of wars. Fascist armies don’t destroy themselves when they go underground and bourgeois armies are not people’s armies so the struggle is all sided. Kilcullen is classic ratbag army!

    Nobody is currently writing about the joys of struggling for democracy in North Korea and Egypt demonstrated that refugees from neverland are quick to split from the revolution and assist the fascists in regaining power. Trump and Abbot are ruling elite sorts that like Kilcullen types shake the hand of Sisi and do not get the big picture at all.

    more on this later…

  37. 37 patrickm

    So the problem of butting up against the HIRISE is not far away in time or space.

    Progress is currently being measured in klm’s per week and though this is most often more of a liberation than an occupation still it is unavoidably an Occupation. The Turks have offered all manner of manpower for the Raqqa fighting but so far the US have wisely said no thanks just yet but we will keep you in the loop and let you know. I think more US troops would be the preference of the Kurds and the Turks and everybody in favour of the spread of democracy.

    Today the Russians have turned up for a spot of meddling. https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/18-april-ruaf-choppers-have-been-targeting-south-of-raqqa The US led COW could not possibly want these helicopters dropping Russian trip wire troops in to stake another claim to relevance west of the Euphrates. Just look at where they are and speculate for yourself what they are up to.

    I said and still say that enclave building has been the HIRISE plan and it is still under-way on every single day as it has been for every single month since Arthur’s ‘end of story’ was proclaimed with the triumphant waving of the now known to be bullshit documents back in November 2015. Even Arthur knows those documents were bullshit!

    As I pointed out some days back, with both Hezbollah and Sadr dumping on Assad it shows what way the wind is now blowing for him personally, as far as his coalition is concerned, BUT Syria is still not anything like a settled issue or ‘done deal’.

    Refugees are still being made as policy; hospitals still bombed as policy. ‘Ethnic’ cleansing warfare is still under-way and HIRISE is (even without considering Assad’s supporters and areas of control and or influence) not exhausted. HIRISE will continue their joint policies that are NOT in the interests of the vast bulk of the Syrian people, and those policies are NOT and never have been about fashioning a suitable opposition for the regime to surrender to. A surrender would mean that then the hated long term backers of Assad; the systematic killers of the opposition; the refugee making rubble making Russian led terror bombing gang would all have to slink off home! There is no ‘glory’ in that plan.

    For any member of HIRISE to even have a chance of continuing to have influence of any kind in any part of Syria then from their pov -for imperialist interests- no matter what they say, Syria must be dismembered. THEY pay attention to the buses moving Syrians around because they organise them! Population ‘cleansing’ is their policy and has been all along.

    While we look at the maps we see that territory that was controlled or dominated by ISIS, FSA, YPG, SAA, Hezbollah, Nusra and even and almost forgotten Israel, were later joined by footprints under Turkish control and there is even now territory of Russian trip wire occupation. Much harder to find what Iran controls or what areas have Iraqi Shia militias as the local power but we all understand there are such blots on the landscape. The key point is that HIRISE is not exhausted but very active.

    Of course all manner of locals of all political types get mixed up in combinations within the colours allotted to the big players but in the end only reference to the coloured ‘chessboard’ map that Syria is now can pierce the fog to show us how things now stand in what was once Syria. Who, what, where, when, why and how has been unfolding with the changing maps while the great silence yawned on.

    Just look at today’s map. The Russian helicopters are an important strategically placed meddle right in the middle of the US battle for Raqqa! Today’s unwanted Russian bombing is them bullying.

    In the north https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/18-april-nayrab-airbase-being-rehabilitated-after-the-fall

    In the south https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/18-april-the-5th-straight-day-of-heavy-ruaf-airstrikes-on

    The Kurds – out of quite reasonable fear of Turkey- at the present still at least try to face both ways. But I think that in the main they really don’t want anything to do with the HIRISE. They understand who it is that is now and has been for fifty+ years backing their direct oppressors, that they have only struggled free from since the revolution for democracy started. Kurds have a dominantly (relatively) modernist outlook and so want a Western connection (and when you compare the two options who other than tyrants wouldn’t?). It is a very ugly HIRISE that they have to look at.

    I think it probable that most Kurds want a return to the democratic progress that was happening inside Turkey under Erdogan prior to Syria unravelling. Progress was ongoing until the Syrian war was spread into Turkey by all sorts, particularly Daesh and some undemocratic ultra nationalist Kurds. Most Kurds in Syria have not sold their souls to the Putin led HIRISE, but they won’t betray their people to the north either. Erdogan is thus the key. How he delicately holds Turkey together while simultaneously he also defends and develops Turkish democracy so that the Kurds themselves can one way or another over some time regain control of their more violent and undemocratic nationalists, is the unknown at least hoped for next stage. Last years bloody coup attempt show just what Erdogan is up against. He is IMV the only leader currently around worth the name. Erdogan is the Islamist model for this region wide swamp draining where Islamists must defeat Islamofascists. This is his policies at work https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/18-april-5th-batch-of-people-deported-from-alwaer-homs-arrived

    Turkey, Europe and the U.S. can help the swamp draining as it is in their interests to do so but the HIRISE COW can’t.

    Australians like Turnbull and Shorten will not ‘help speed things up’ any more than the Greens will. They will, like Russia turning up to bomb the Syrian revolutionaries back in September 2015, just ‘add to the confusion.’

    Arthur remaining silent while his ½ theory imploded for 18mths added to the confusion. Now, pushed by the larger events in the MSM, he returns to the topic of the Syrian war fighting. But he fails to remind people that he had believed that Putin had turned up to help end the war by signing an agreement for free and fair elections and thus bringing the opposition into power! Now after the long, fully predicted silence he speaks up at C21stC Left. What about that article for the MSM? Nothing then, nothing now. Good thing an article was not delivered back in 2015 and from current indications the same applies now!

    Arthur says, ‘Revolutionary democrats oppose imperialist suppression of national democratic revolution. We support military solidarity in suppression of tyranny.’ but HIRISE has been, is now, and will continue to be involved in the suppression of the now widely acknowledged to be complex Syrian democratic revolution.

    A Trump led US has -unpredictably for Trump- but predictably for any US admin over the issue of the use of Chemical Weapons in Syria in 2017- swung 180 degrees toward an ‘Assad must go quickly’ stand. That 180 swing demonstrates more about the ability of the Assad led section of HIRISE to miscalculate (and quite possibly their Russian collaborators also but that is not as clear) in using the Sarin on the very question ‘What did they have to lose?’ than it does about what Trump is up to.

    The question is not answered at all with ‘That desperation would naturally include chemical weapons.’ and the Russians either knew about the chemical weapons at this airbase or are breathtakingly incompetent; take your pick but I for now choose knew.

    I choose knew because this is NOT the first case after the great Russian brokered deal so the top Russian leadership (who I think are strategic bunglers of the first order who live lying and tyranny so are unlikely to get good strategic advice fit for the era of swamp draining that humanity has entered) are unlikely to have been uninvolved in this. But even if they were uninvolved at that level their delegated hammer wielders on the spot should have -to some extent- known what was happening. With or without the Russians knowing, the Russian leadership was right out of the blocks bullshitting for the team. All HIRISE leaders have both actually known the regime used Sarin and not called Assad on it! The team lost ground from the use and that ought to be clear.

    Trump was IMV absolutely bound to act with some substantial force to contrast himself with Obama when the US/Russian-Syrian deal on Chemical weapons was flouted. The Assad led forces + or – the rest of their COW led by Russia, mistook the signals from Trump from only a few weeks earlier. There was no green light. It was almost as big a failure as Saddam swallowing Kuwait rather than sorting out its ‘border dispute’ in its favor over which the US actually ‘had no view’ past feel free to sort the border out Saddam. Saddam the bungling fool abolished the border!

    Trump found himself obliged to act and so naturally THEN sought to make the most of it especially as the Chinese leader was on a visit. The theatrical 59 cruise missiles was -after a 30 minute time warning to the Russians to bug out of the base- a slightly useful attack to make it clear that any further use would bring on a US led war on all of Assad bases and systems etc until Assad was removed. The attack got the world MSM talking and the attention of all of HIRISE and the big 2 of Russia and Iran promptly issued cautions about any further attacks. Then the US was slightly humiliated by the very same base being quickly used to bomb the same town but only this time with conventional bombs. Trump ought to have told the Russians the first time to stay right away from that base and then closed that base down a second time without warning or alternately smashed another but he didn’t and so we are left to wonder what he will do next after he called for Assad to be dumped by the Russians.

    Now after this type of incident Korea regularly pops up to push a US button and Trumps advisers would have given him the heads up so he chews gum and walks by dealing with the nth Korea issue and demonstrates a general determination by dropping the MOAB on a ‘credible’ ISIS/Taliban target in Afghanistan after sending a carrier task force to Korean waters. Luckily the missile test failed. China had sent a few hundred thousand troops towards the border but what does all this mean? I don’t know I can’t keep up with events. China has a big interests in stopping North Korea from continuing with its Nuclear program etc but we as yet have no indication of what they think they can or will do. The US for example hasn’t got Israel to play ball for many years.

    All this looks remarkably like a few ‘chess board moves’ with a 2nd un-reformable member of the ‘Axis of evil’ triumvirate and with the big Baathist style military parades etc this very weekend it’s all very reminiscent.

    The ‘real point’ in attacking the base in Syria is not ‘explained by the International Red Cross – there is now an “international armed conflict” between the United States and the Syrian regime.’ and I am not convinced that Trump knows that this will now ‘end in invasion and occupation’. Even though I think it will.

    I have -always- believed that it was in western interests that the Syrian war be stopped by a western invasion and occupation and that is why I opposed any thinking that positioned the HIRISE COW as being part of the solution (which Arthur’s thinking did and I suppose still does) because that only delayed an understanding of ‘why we must fight.’

    Daesh exploded into Iraq so then people like Geoffrey Robertson advocated war in Iraq against Daesh and then on into Syria and these people see Assad as a total butcher as well so a ‘mission creep’ is to be fully expected from them. All the while like Kilcullen and Steve telling us that the liberation of Iraq was a disaster never to be repeated. So by now clearly many, perhaps most, westerners have had a gutful of Assad led Syria AND the whole HIRISE cow that has propped him up over the last 18 months. That COW has been ethnic cleansing and enclave building while lying Lavrov kept Obama dancing to an old tune. In 2015 all manner of people got taken in because they couldn’t see the HIRISE cow and did not look to that COW as a form of valid club-med when considering what Russia was up to and capable of. But they ought to have. Anti democrats and tyranny supporting ratbags from Hezbollah, Iran, Russia, Iraq Shia, Syria and Egypt have an interest in fighting alongside each other. That is why they formed up. They did not get together to save the Syrian masses from being massacred by Al Qaeda types despite the repetition from Arthur without a comment on all the death and destruction wrought on FSA types by the HIRISE.

    Putin, with this Coalition Of the Wicked, has blundered the world into a very bad place and the west will not just invade and occupy Syria with his mad COW still rampaging. Many western people want some unspecific action to stop the Syrian war but they don’t yet want to ‘do what must be done’ to that extent.

    They are however prepared to back the progress on the ground that Turkey and the Kurds/US/’SDF’+ are making in a step by step manner. ISIS is now rapidly being defeated; the KSA and Qatar and Turkey have warmly welcomed the US cruise missile ‘theatre’ with Erdogan doing so from Turkey’s southernmost coastal region from where the next new safe zone is required.

    Proxy war with western weapons is a reality and is going to continue to bleed HIRISE.

    Almost all other U.S. allies have almost shouted at Trump that they are not ‘ready to fight.’ The Turks have to take on both the problems of Al Qaeda and a HIRIE backed rump Syria with or without Assad’s gang in partial control of any part of the enclave.

    more later…

  38. 38 Steve Owens

    “Our policy towards prisoners captured from the Japanese, puppet or anti-Communist troops is to set them all free, except for those who have incurred the bitter hatred of the masses and must receive capital punishment and whose death sentence has been approved by the higher authorities. Among the prisoners, those who were coerced into joining the reactionary forces but who are more or less inclined towards the revolution should be won over in large numbers to work for our army. The rest should be released and, if they fight us and are captured again, should again be set free. We should not insult them, take away their personal effects or try to exact recant taxation from them, but without exception should treat them sincerely and kindly. This should be our policy, however reactionary they may be. It is a very effective way of isolating the camp of reaction.

    “On Policy” (December 25, 1940), Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 446-47.

    Am happy to concede that Mao wasnt talking about treating Japanese troops in a “special” way. Read about rumors and remembered Mao quote but there is no incriminating link as I had suspected just me misremembering the quote.

  39. 39 patrickm

    https://isis.liveuamap.com/en/2017/18-april-russia-denies-knowledge-of-arrest-of-isis-leader a possible explanation for the Helicopter mission near Raqqa.

    and https://isis.liveuamap.com/en/2017/18-april-additional-us-forces-arrived-to-alasad-base-in-anbar = more US troops to be cheered by GR and Steve and communists like me.

  40. 40 patrickm

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/19-april-syria-has-moved-all-of-its-jets-to-a-russian-air
    interesting move, that indicates that HIRISE is playing it safe at a minimum. It could indicate much more and we will be better placed to know what in a couple of months. But the Assad faction is IMV (most probably) only NOW not in charge of an air force! Sadr speaking out in public after Hezbollah dumped on Assad points to much deeper trouble. I still doubt he will be holding out into 2018 or at least I live in hope about his departure.

  41. 41 steve Owens

    Just for historical accuracy lets get Saddam’s mausoleum stuff straight.
    His body was transported to Tikrit by US military
    His body was handed over to the Provincial Governor by the government of Iraq.
    The building in question was described by the Telegraph as a “modest white mausoleum” On the first anniversary of his death merely dozens of people gathered at the mausoleum to hear readings from the Koran and armed guards were posted at the mausoleum because of repeated attacks on his grave.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1574074/Few-gather-to-remember-at-Saddams-tomb.html

  42. 42 patrickm

    He was hanged on 30/12/06 and Kilcullen was then around Iraq as that building got built and one year later that you speak of! Armed guards were permitted! Be clear about this – Kilcullen was around when Baathists got away with building the shrine and having armed guards protect it! I can’t think of a clearer confirmation of who was being permitted by Kilcullen to run the city! The Baathists were being tolerated rather than hounded out of existence as any sort of power – in the manner that WW2 fascists were.

    You have only confirmed him as exactly the counter-revolutionary problem that the proletarian masses are up against in overthrowing their oppressors.

    In thinking this rightist army creep is wisdom personified you have revealed a stand that from a pro workers POV has become nothing less than weird.

    I have only ever supported rightists when they are prepared to back an objectively revolutionary path – such as GWB liberating the statue smashers that Kilcullen calls a dumb war. I support rightists like Churchill who proposed to unite to fight fascists. I am delighted to support John McCain who advocates standing up to the HIRISE etc. Why would a supporter of working people back them in retreat?

    What has gone wrong with your mind that you are so sick of your old thinking back in Neverland that you can just flip over to this idiocy! This guy is exactly the type who would have our ruling class shake hands with Sisi. Utterly bankrupt for anyone who thinks of himself as a leftist as he has no plan at all for democratic revolution and actually scoffs at the very naivety of those of us that think the ME can not only make revolution but that it is in western interests that it does.

    You claim the title progressive so tell me just how are the masses of Iraq to make progress with armed guards on a shrine to Saddam! Try to grasp this one thought and move on!

  43. 43 steve Owens

    Just to be clear the burial of Saddam was not some Baathist conspiracy but done at the behest of the Maliki government. His body was transported by the US military and handed over by the Baghdad government, as leaders of Saddam’s clan group made clear at the time

    “We received the body of Saddam Hussein without any complications. There was cooperation by the prime minister and his office’s director,” the clan chief, Sheik al-Nidaa, told state-run Al-Iraqiya television. “We opened the coffin of Saddam. He was cleaned and wrapped according to Islamic teachings. We didn’t see any unnatural signs on his body.”

  44. 44 patrickm

    Osama Bin Laden’s remains were correctly dealt with. SH’s were not. Kilcullen thinking is the problem! Just to be utterly clear your ‘wise man’ is poison. If you correctly understood him you would be revolted by his rightist views.

    Despite all the blood and muck only one view still stands.

    It is in western interests to fight for pathetic freedoms.

    You can now move on.

  45. 45 patrickm

    Like any reasonable person that has just spent 6 years watching it I also want the Syrian war to come to an end. Any western liberal or humanitarian or any democratically minded person shares this hope. So the call for intervention that we Marxists made many years ago continues to be made, even if this is just for a record of what we have been thinking.

    I am sure more people now understand why the call is required and they react by mostly not opposing the call rather than joining in with this call. People go silent first. That is better than the opposition that they used to engage in. Anti war sorts will overwhelmingly not call for intervention because they know this is a call to war. They just won’t work hard nor convince many others when the intervention is underway as it is. DAESH is being rolled back every single day NOW.

    Apparently my fellow Marxist Dave thinks ‘We must demand that Trump acts immediately. If America’s western allies were not so pathetic they would be putting on the pressure and announcing their own contribution to an American lead effort.’ So if my sister had balls she’d be my brother! Of course ‘Continuing massacres in Syria only add to the urgency of massive intervention.’ Strange times Marxists have always called for intervention and made arguments as to why it is in the interests of the western owning classes as well. We have wanted working peoples of the whole world along with all other classes to understand that all western governments have to get involved in the great draining project for it to be delivered at the ‘best price’. The price is always massive but the liberals have made this a huge price for the Syrian masses.

    But the HIRISE COW is a cow of a different colour. This coalition of the wicked has not been doing what my fellow Marxists thought it would do. They have driven the massacres of the forces that I have been supportive of – the FSA types. HIRISE attacked them first and consistently as I said they would. They have not brought an end to the war with an end to the regime.

    Dave McMullen -quite reasonably- is now publicly calling for the Trump led US to immediately lead a Bosnia style option and ‘occupy Syria now. Just as Arthur has’ Yet any glance at the current map of Syria will indicate a very great number of reasons why such an option will not -despite being thought of by Dave as ‘There is no alternative’- be actioned.

    Just to remind people of the Bosnia events https://history.state.gov/milestones/1993-2000/bosnia There was a considerable period before the occupation force was inserted by Clinton. The Russians were extremely weak at the time as the USSR had just collapsed and the new Russian regime was genuinely unsure of what it was and where it was going. There was much hope at the time that Russia would actually become a normal European country of modern liberal bourgeois democracy. That hope was decades ago smashed. The Putin reaction is now the long term reality. It resorts to war of one sort or another in every case from Georgia, Chechnya, Ukraine, Moldova, Syria and aggressive meddling not just in places like the Baltic countries but right across the spectrum up to and including within the US! This is audacious conduct to the point of daft!

    People can see that parts of Syria are being occupied already. But Syria does not now exist in the same way that Yugoslavia had ended in the war that had produced all those new countries.

    When Dave talks of an occupation what is it that he would like to happen
    a) east of the Euphrates?
    b) in the already occupied central northern zone where thousands of Turks -supporting the FSA types – is already administering and protecting a No Bomb Zone.
    c) south where the FSA is expanding and still being bombed by Russians
    d) in the Golan Heights
    e) up in the west where the Turks have the complex reality of dealing with Al Qaeda and backing the anti HIRISE FSA types

    There are now more numerous Islamist troops that Al Qaeda is going to try to go underground into. They are far smarter than Daesh.

    It will soon be 2 years from the beginning of the Russian intervention in Syria and Dave is currently informing us that ‘The Russians should not be a major obstacle. They know the Assad regime’s days are numbered and they share the same concern about defeating Al Qaeda and ISIS.’ 70,000 more dead and 1,000,000 more bombed out of their homes by the Russian air force and forced to flee into Turkey etc and we who disagree that Russia has turned up ‘to end the regime’ and bring peace are still to be ignored? At this point I think this statement ought to be backed up with a little evidence.

    No doubt at some point when it suits a gang of tyrants and that is what HIRISE is they will cut him out but that can’t be what has been planned from the first. We are in a new space that requires new thinking.

    What Dave is actually proposing (I guess as I have nothing else to rely on) is ‘I really hope the US military is starting the trickle of troops and equipment that will need to become a torrent in the next month or so.’ Perhaps this hope is for a more realistic spread of what is currently unfolding as US troops are already on the ground with the Kurds of the SDF and Dave just wants that ‘trickle’ to become a ‘torrent’. Why not say what he concretely wants to see?
    The ABC is not yet reporting the following but this is a dramatic day.

    Right now 26 minutes ago Photo Showing the Perimeter of Damascus International Airport on Fire after being struck by Israel Israeli Jets. That is a serious intervention. It is in the context of a lot of air base news from the Russians over the last few days. HIRISE are scrambling around with the main airport of Syria now under attack by a regional heavyweight and no one can say where this will now go.

    21 hours ago Shervan Derwish: A No-Fly zone must be imposed in SDF areas in northern Syria. Confident that a civilized world will decide on and take a stance those attacks

    16 hours ago Turkish Army striking with tanks and howitzers YPG positions in Firfirk / Ferferik, NW of Afrin, and in Mara’naz, SW of Azaz.

    15 hours ago Widening attacks since yesterday, Turkish army is intensively shelling villages in Efrin’s Rajo district with heavy weapons.

    13 hours ago Turkish FM says Turkey previously told US to withdraw its forces from Turkish border to a 30 km distance, warned that it will hit YPG there

    4hrs ago this was the report ‘YPJ Spox says their forces will halt their anti-IS Raqqa operation if the US does not take concrete action against Turkish airstrikes targeting YPG/YPJ/SDF forces in Syria.’

    If you look at the map you can see that the entire border is alive with Turkish actions.

    While the Kurds ‘best mate’ says;

    15 hours ago Russia Foreign Minister says that Moscow does not consider Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.

    15 hours ago During joint presser with Russian FM Lavrov, Saudi FM Jubeir says Assad government must pay price for chemical attack on Khan Shiekhoun

    13 hours ago Russian MoD: Multi-level control system deployed in Syria, allows Russia to control the all of Syrian airspace (that bluster didn’t bother the Israeli air force and it won’t stop the US)

    10 hours ago Russian FM defends Iran, Hezbollah intervention in Syria to Saudi counterpart @AdelAljubeir, “Damascus requested it”

    4 hours ago Russia calls Turkish strikes on Syrian Kurdish militia “unacceptable”, says Turkey should focus on Nusra, not YPG.

    Over in the US they are walking and chewing
    8 hours ago .@NikkiHaley met with @RaedAlSaleh3, head of @SyriaCivilDefe, and discussed continued U.S. support for the White Helmets

    8 hours ago US-led coalition spokesman acknowledges during a briefing that there are PKK elements in Northern Syria.

    6 hours ago Turkish airstrike on YPG in Syria was about 8 km away from US forces, US State Dept official told a Rudaw reporter in Washington.

    3 hours ago White House has delegated decision-making for setting troop levels in Iraq and Syria to Pentagon, spokesperson confirms to ABC.

    Great news because this will obviously see more troops flown in and drive across the border from Jordan and the Kurdish controlled territories in Iraq. But this great news is in today’s context of the Kurds and the Turks not getting on and that is good for the HIRISE. The war can’t just evolve with the Russian led HIRISE cow now prepared to hand over to any US/NATO occupation.

  46. 46 patrickm

    This made me smile. .@brett_mcgurk “Syria is far more difficult than Iraq. We don’t have a government to work with and we will never work with the Assad government”

    This very week the U.S. have been shooting at Iranian, Iraqi and even some Syrians on Assad’s side. Apparently these HIRISE elements were given a warning demonstration but kept coming so were then attacked and stopped. The south build up has now gone over to swift moving desert attacks run by special forces. This fight is backed by all the air power they want. Australian SAS troops ought to be deployed but Turnbull is as hopeless as Trudeau so our effort is pathetic.

    The ‘Kurd loving’ Russians are not backing down and neither is the rest of the HIRISE team or Turkey. But then neither is the KSA and the other ‘FSA’ backers.

    Progress against Daesh is now picking up good momentum with hundreds of anti Daesh recruits now ‘graduating’ from basic training and going into battle alongside the Kurd led SDF forces that the US are up arming to the great annoyance of the Turks (to bad).

    This war is NOT getting any less complex nor Assad any more stable that is for sure. An Israeli minister just the other day openly talked of assassinating Assad; not sure who would object at this point.

    The Kurd hating but otherwise moderate islamist led Turks are getting deeper in and are still building up in the nth west and if Al Qaeda is going to be dug out (the civilised world requires that much) it will be the Turks that provide the backup muscle to any Syrians that will get to the work. Who will do that while they are being bombed?

    Have the enclaves now been almost drawn in the North?
    The HIRISE attacks have slowed down dramatically at least.
    The buses have been quite busy.
    The attention has swung to the South.

    Five months on from posting this and I still wonder what people make of the current complexity.

    This just in is quite predictable “We have a proposal that we’re working on with the Russians right now,” Dunford said at a news conference with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “I won’t share the details, but my sense is that the Russians are as enthusiastic as we are to de-conflict operations and ensure that we continue to take the campaign to ISIS and ensure the safety of our personnel.”

  47. 47 Steve Owens

    Where does progress lay? The Syrian war seems intractable. As in all wars the longer they go the more extreme the combatants become as people are traumatised and brutalised. Assad could fall under a bus tomorrow but the Assad regimen would live on because Russia and Iran will do whatever it takes. The US is selling $150 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia and plenty of this will make its way to Syria as the only thing that has kept the rebellion going has been the supply of sophisticated weapons from the US via Saudi Arabia. This process will eventuate in a struggle between people who affiliate to the Assad regimen and people who affiliate with the Saudi Regimen.
    It’s not much of a choice. If you like the middle east is a swamp and at the heart of the swamp is Saudi Arabia it was Saudi’s who did 9/11 it was Saudi’s who created the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
    The US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq but these places were peripheral to the swamp. The heart of the swamp is Saudi Arabia and it doesn’t matter if your name is Bush or Obama or Trump, Saudi Arabia is the swamp that you will promote never the swamp to drain.
    There are very few wars where it is inconsequential as to which side wins but Syria after initial promise is becoming just that a choice between Assad or Saudi clones.

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