End Baath 2

1    I would fully endorse the statements that ‘A GLOBALIZED WORLD WITH OPEN BORDERS CANNOT PEACEFULLY COEXIST WITH FASCISM!’ and that ’FASCISM MEANS WAR’.  So, as there are fascists like Putin all over the world currently in charge of large military formations and busy making war, the question arises; how do anti-fascists unite to fight back?  How do we intend to defeat the fascists? To the extent that western governments are still sitting on the fence; then like Libya the situation will get worse till they get off the fence and in this case end the Assad tyranny as they simultaneously deal with Daesh types.  It is a war of two fronts.

2    IMV ‘a devastating regional war spreading from Syria throughout the region with profound implications for Europe and the rest of the world’ is already underway and thus can’t be avoided. Diplomacy and military actions must now proceed together, but what are the diplomats tasks now?  What are the military tasks?  Who has real skin in the game?

3    I think the evidence is overwhelming that Obama and Putin really are strategic imbeciles but Putin is the fascist not Obama. Obama is just a treacherous liberal that could care less even about ruling class national interests when there is a big price to pay.  Dithering is as dithering does.

4    Turkey, Britain and France cannot directly act against Russian meddling in Syria. It is now quite apparent that the era of imperialism is so long gone for these powers that they are in essence reliant on the U.S. in leading them as a united COW, or better still as a part of a united NATO action. Even though ‘they have no real rapid deployment capability, and no strategic airlift or sealift capability capable of moving any militarily relevant force within any reasonable time frame’ they don’t really require it.  Turkey has the capacity to drive heavy columns straight down the roads to the sound of the guns. Britain and France could deploy strategically useful elements to Cyprus, and Turkey, and even Jordan. They could with a few days notice for some and weeks to months notice for others. The planners ought to have been planning on contingent intervention for some years then refined and adjusted several times over by now. This issue had already long ago got to the point of a vote in the British parliament over bombing in Syria. Now we have had reports of the British using killer drones recently despite the vote.  The vote would I think be different now.

5     It is perfectly true but irrelevant that ‘by simply closing the Mediterranean and hence Syria to hostile shipping, which they can still do quickly, they can remind Russia’s military that Russia is not, never has been and never will be a mediterranean power’  but they will not push against Putin in this manner and he is well aware that they would not because it would mean war if they did. Yet Putin really is an imbecile! Unfortunately so were the likes of Hitler; Tojo; and Mussolini; and there were people like Yamamoto telling them so, but they could not stop the madness unfolding. They will all stand back and shrug that it is NOT ‘their duty to dispose of him quickly’, but only to increase in measured ways what they are doing now, and what they have been doing is so far been little and late. They are useless!

6     Obama really is a strategic imbecile who has been up in Alaska preparing for the Global warming Paris event!  This refugee ‘flood’ is unfolding in the media every day and he is MIA. In 15 months he will been gone! And when it comes to war making he wants to be gone! So, it will be a year or more for everyone, most probably including the U.S. to mobilize a force capable of serious intervention in Syria.

7     Turkey has long advocated removing the Assad regime and has all along pointed out ‘that there is no other way to avoid millions of refugees continuing to pour out of Syria.’  Yet the ‘stable’ democratic Turkish government have got nowhere with Obama and the situation has got worse and themselves much less stable.  A war is resuming again in Turkey with not just the worst of the Kurdish nationalists but with all manner of anti- Turkish forces having an interest in seeing that it break out and bog the Turkish military down. Even the threat of it is beneficial to Assad and Putin.

8     The executive in both Britain and France is terribly conservative and are still only managing the refugees rather than dealing with the source of those refugees.  They are not even raising the alarm about Putin’s ridiculous intervention to establish and preserve in Syria something that resembles Israel. They can’t do that.

9     There could not be any Anglo ­French expeditionary force in 2015 or 16.  The ruling elites of both countries will manage the Syrian casualties but not take any of their own.  There is no effective system that exists after the Europeans deserted Bush and Obama deserted U.S. leadership. There is nothing other than ineffective thrashing about while the war goes on with those that are prepared to put boots on the ground. Enter the fascists led by Putin.

10     In the midst of all this the West’s own little fascist – Netanyahu – is provoking the Palestinians of East Jerusalem and is thus preparing public opinion to make more war on the Palestinians; even no doubt as he prepares to pull out of more of the West Bank and create yet another vast open air prison.

11     Putin has made it impossible to simply declare war on Assad. No one can now announce ‘a no fly zone and an intention to start enforcing it’ without dealing with Russian air assets. It is now a hot war where Russian helicopter gun ships must be shot down in numbers over an extended period. Russians fighting as Martians might have to be copied as tit for tat.  There was ‘European public opinion that would certainly swing behind a no fly zone and accelerate a rapid shift in US public opinion’ but they were not banking on war with Putin’s troops.

12     The ruling elites won’t act quickly enough so the war ‘will take much longer and will be a much bigger and bloodier regional war than if they act immediately while Obama still dithers.’

13     But just because FASCISM MEANS WAR progressives have to propose a fighting response to tyranny. So… All air defences close to the borders of Turkey and Jordan must be extended deeper into Syria. That is to say that what is sauce for Putin in Martian activity is sauce for everyone else in enforcing the shooting down of anything that is dropping barrel bombs on the Syrian people.  Trouble is that really does require boots on the ground and until they are put in Putin will continue to implement real war for the establishment of the fascist enclave.  Russians flying helicopters are going to be the direct enemy of anyone wanting the revolutionary transformation of the now contested part of Syria that Putin has determined to preserve as a predominantly Alawite and Baathist led enclave.

14     As for Germany; Merkel is not any sort of leader worth a cracker like say Mao and he most certainly did not permit uncontrolled sloshing about of peoples’.  The refugee issue is not resolved by open borders! It is childish to think that devil take the hindmost people are even 1st priority in a war where the people under attack are being barrel bombed for wanting to vote. Any form of NO FLY WAR NOW is the priority to stop the – Putin, Assad, Netanyahu style policies of driving refugees off their land!

15     Country shopping for economic benefit is all well and good for the lucky ones but it will not solve anything for the proletarian classes who will lose their doctors; engineers; and so forth with the get up and go initiative who do go off to the ‘good life’ in the developed West.  The West just can’t rob the undeveloped world of their best and brightest and then all the terribly progressive people feel so good about it!

16     No one can, for example, pretend that Abbott did not stop people drowning!  People were drowning. People are now drowning in the Mediterranean sea and no policy that yabbers on about open borders will be acceptable currently to the masses. That desirable distant policy relies on what Europe had to do to get its borders lifted.  The U.S. in the 19thC taking the huddled masses did not prevent the mass slaughter of the 20thC world wars.  When people are being driven in their millions out of THEIR land and cities THAT is the issue.

17     No rubble producing fascist enclave that generates mass deaths and refugees as policy can be permitted to keep going on with their policies!

18     Obama and Putin are engaged in what appears to me as complete imbecility because of their own logic that includes in Obama’s case outright ruthless neglect.  No ‘well executed misinformation campaign’ here just exactly the sort of disaster that we ought to expect from a collapsing international system.  The revanchist sees an opportunity and as his only tool is a hammer then it must be a nail.

19     The ‘US and Russia are NOT cooperating to assist the Assad regime to move out of Damascus and retreat to a coastal enclave’, and so ‘that could NOT still count as America still exhausting every other alternative before eventually doing the right thing.’, but Obama might grasp at this stupid straw.  It may look good to him now that [something like] it is happening anyway. Whatever he thinks I am sure Damascus can not be lost by Assad and any enclave held in the long term. So, I do not think that Putin and Assad have conceded Damascus in any sense at all, and I am sure Obama knows jack shit about what to be getting on with other than some climate change clap trap for Paris.  The f..ing ‘leader of the free world’ is MIA over the refugee flow.

20     Putin does not intend to ‘escort the Assad clan out of Syria’. He is joining the Iranians and making war. Of course if he was ‘providing temporary protection for the Alawi and other minority communities until international peacekeepers can arrive’, then of course ‘nothing should be said or done to prejudice that operation.’  But that is not what is happening because if it was he would not have sprung it on all of them.  He is putting the enemies of Assad between a Western anvil and his hammer and also bringing in his own anvil to smash Western supported FSA types on as and when he chooses.  He is fighting the Western supported FSA types from the start.

21     Without very big U.S. backing Europe and Turkey simply do not have the stomach to stop the war in Syria that is however now a “clear and certain danger” to their vital national interests.  They will continue to try and bumble along managing refugees and being humiliated by Putin bumbling around like a crazed loon with a hammer.  The only international system that was operating was one of U.S. superpower leadership and with Obama at the helm it is currently not functioning as well as on the way out strategically.  So the situation will get even worse!

22     Perhaps as Iyad El-Baghdadi @iyad_elbaghdadi says ‘The Syrian catastrophe was very preventable, if the world’s red line was “killing protesters” rather than “drowned refugee toddlers”.’,  but that is the past and the question for all now is what is to be done to stop Assad and his great and powerful gangster friend killing democratic revolutionaries into the future.

157 Responses to “End Baath 2”

  1. 1 David

    I’ll read this over the weekend

    Hopefully some comments on the article on Sunday.

  2. 2 patrickm

    The following are really just my notes to self. I am making them available because events are unfolding rapidly and others may want to talk openly. There is plenty to talk about and our data rich age still requires some big brush painting from an explicitly democratic pro-proletarian POV.

    1 Putin is not just ‘defending’ Assad and the new Baathist run Alawite enclave but is fighting the ‘other’ Syrian people principally the FSA. Obviously Putin will not pour in troops to enable some sort of re-conquest of Syria as that is quite beyond him and his favored Baathist Alawites, so the new battlefield established reality is what he intends to see held and something strategically cut out and made permanent with his military involvement. Putin has gone straight for boots on the ground once the threat to the current Alawite enclave became real and urgent. This urgency was apparent with the recent loss of the Assad air base and the all important Damascus suburban fighting where Assad’s troops had suffered some further setbacks. Putin has gone immediately for a combined forces structure that is required to do a job of securing the new small country that he is going to help establish. Tanks and ground attack airpower have turned up and that will continue, so it is now time for some people to betray the fighters of the FSA and proclaim that nothing can be done. Putin, as does Assad, understands this is all about boot’s on the ground and everyone knows all gangsters extract a price on all who either fight them or knuckle under to them.

    2 Putin’s most professional troops have arrived and intend to call everyone’s bluff. Putin is playing Obama like a violin. Kerry has overseen the US humiliation by having no real game plan to work to without the all important boots on the ground. Putin has those boots. Everyone in control of real military muscle who have failed to take risks look like the fools that they have been taken for. The Syrian opposition to Assad who range across the full spectrum are taking the risks AND are slowly and with great cost winning. But now Assad has the US attacking one part of his opposition and the Turks attacking another [I did not actually mean that, more like that there are still issues with the kurds] and the Russians attacking another. The russian troops are there to fight the close and detailed fight while the US and NATO degrade Assad’s enemies in depth and prevent the formation of heavy columns.

    3 The Putin move in Syria is clear and decisive. The real enemy of the Assad regime is the enemy that Putin sent his troops to tackle and that is really those that sort a genuine vote as part of the region wide Arab spring that had spread to Syria perhaps as many as 300,000 dead ago. Some 10 million people in internal and external ethnic cleansing conditions have now been displaced and a complex war just become more so. Yet a simple strategy of survival has been at work for all these years on the tyranny side at least. This strategy had been cobbled together and is demonstrably a moveable thing and it is not always easily seen. Assad has been working strategically and yet slowly adjusting all along. The consolidation of this enclave has always been in the background.

    4 Assad’s fascist police thugs and snipers killed off the most progressive ‘protesters’ first and they have been killing anyone that put their head up ever since. Assad – for good reasons rather than neglect- as the full territory of Syria became ungovernable for him for example essentially left the Kurds alone up in the north east. It was a strategic move when forced on him rather than some temporary tactic. Assad’s fight was more urgently with the multitude of Arab sunnis close to his Alawite stronghold territories; once he could not hold all of Syria then what to concede and how to dominate it after it is conceded became and still becomes the issues.

    5 Assad and behind him Putin, was the problem from the start and Erdogan – a moderate islamist- knew it then and knows it now. Assad terror bombed even more than Netanyahu (if that is possible) but because he still wanted to get the west on his side at best or off his case at worst he -machiavellian style- neglected the west’s enemy Daesh and let them grow till they sprung out of Syria into Iraq and awoke the Obama led west. Then the demand of ‘refugees’ from the anti-war movement was ‘rescue people’. That anti-war movement was once in essence led by the drone loving Obama!

    6 While this was all happening and shown on the MSM of the west Assad kept focussed on killing off the FSA type of opponent and it must be conceded he has done a very solid job of killing off the most progressive Syrians. Most western conservatives and liberals have for years (following their leader Obama) shrugged about this war ‘of baddy against baddy’ in true realist manner. We see it now as Australia’s foreign minister Bishop instantly caving to the new reality!

    7 Ever since the recent flood of refugees started paddling to Greece and then walking to Stockholm and the idiotic positions of every political party of western capitalism dawned upon the still stunned western world’s populations there has been a scramble of the unfit to rule that clearly rule the western world. The west is really led by the US and that leadership is MISSING. The vacuum is thus being filled by the gangster in what amounts to his blundering tactical response to a strategic situation.

    8 Because ‘blind freddy could see it coming’ and the best that the governments of Europe could do was run around putting up fences and tear-gassing asylum seekers who are busy country shopping for all the world to see, all this proves is that they – the entire west and particularly Merkel led Germany – are led by a blithering imbecile in Obama.

    9 Syrian refugees are not happy about safety in Turkey nor even in Greece. They want a new life in a prosperous west and who could possibly blame them? Right of return? Where have we seen this unfold before?

    10 It bears repeating that conservatives in the west look at this war as one of ‘baddies against baddies’ and thus could care less if they all killed each other; but they worry that that is not what they will do and so have had to hold their nose and pick sides and liberals have just followed.

    11 Now it is clear to me that the best force for democracy, the FSA, is currently in bad shape. It reminds me of a once smashed residue of a communist army, reduced to armed refugees, licking it’s wounds in Yenan after barely a 1/10th survived the long march. The FSA are also in a terrible state and barely still in existence; yet they still are in existence. Others such as the overtly Islamist and the currently more powerful islamofascists like Daesh dominate the battlefields and control most of the territory being fought over inside Syria but undoubtedly the FSA is the best of the refugee groups and there are millions of refugees in Turkey and Jordan in particular but also Lebanon Iraq and even Egypt. Hundreds of thousands are spread across europe and other western countries but none are striving to get to russia; what a surprise.

    12 We western progressives theoretically support the FSA. Even NATO is supposed to support the FSA and that includes Turkey led by Erdogan who is also coping with the re explosion of the Kurdish conflict that he had brought to a ceasefire situation under his watch and he looked like making real progress via democratic struggle till recently. Who benefits from that re-exploding? Not Erdogan’s more moderate nationalist islamists and not the most progressive Kurds either. Only the worst of both sides think war in Turkey is the best way forward over the Kurdish struggle for national rights. No matter what progressives think, that war has slowly resumed and will no doubt and unfortunately get considerably worse. Turkey the key country is currently exploding! Politicians that have failed to make open war on Assad up to this date will I believe not make war on Putin via blocking shipping from the back sea. The modern world is one where Russia and China demand blue water naval respect and unrestricted seas. Some sort of retaliatory war with Putin would follow if ‘Turkey closes the Dardanelles to any ships that may be assisting any of the forces that are compelling the Syrian people to flee to Turkey. (No need to say who they are referring to).’ If the western leaders stood up to Putin he could be stopped from his Syrian war and the enclave occupied and democratized but they in no sense have the stomach for this and are risk averse in even minor ways.

    13 Putin has, in the eyes of some, just made the FSA untenable. Putin will claim to be fighting Daesh -and will as required, and it is required especially round Damascus- but he is now in for the long haul of saving the establishing client state where russian power will settle the question of who is to be permitted to return to their homes and so forth. Ethnic cleansing on a grand scale is not just a Putin strategy it has long been the Assad strategy. The ‘Israelite’ model is there for the Alawite enclave to emulate and it is being emulated.

    14 According to neverland thinking nothing can be done now. Gangster logic has made it too costly. Cost benefit analysis will demonstrate that we may as well just settle the refugees in the west. Obviously none of the discredited formations lost in Neverland make an effort to develop a workable strategy for the fight to drain the Syrian region of this swamp anymore than they did for Egypt, Turkey, Mali or Iraq. Libya only had the appearance of a genuine effort from some individuals that abandoned their neverland groups but as the timing and method showed it was more of a desperate reaction to events than any change of the Neverland methods. The methods have been reapplied on every occasion.

    15 The time has come, as I once predicted it would, for the start of the fight for overrunning of the fascists enclave. So Putin has acted and up went the price of even starting this fightback. Putin will talk about Daesh while the west and the Kurds and whoever else mostly fights them, but Putin will focus on destroying any and all threats to the new Baathist led Alawite country. That threat was what it was from the beginning; democracy. This is just more evidence that Obama has brought on a disaster by NOT sending troops and fighting.

    16 But whatever has happened things change and who does not know that the Alawites now do require protection? This war has an extreme level of complexity built in at every stage. So not only must Daesh be fought and degraded but so too must the Assad regime and the Alawite people compelled into democracy in the manner of the German people and no one wants to see the level of destruction that German fascists brought down on the German people.

    17 What of the nothing can be done line and the shrug and blank stare response? What of the sell out that can be expected from some who once apparently supported the FSA and didn’t mind who supported them and now well….What of cost benefit analysis that has been used on many occasions to say that nothing should be done when fascists make the price to high. The method of fighting the insurgent FSA that the russians will adopt is like the Netanyahu method to turn housing into rubble and then open ground as the Putin supplied Assad bulldozers then clear the space for free fire zones. Piles of rubble remain good ground for committed infantry and that is exactly what is on this battlefield. Bombing houses to create more refugees is what this retreating Assad regime is all about. Assad is now even more reliant on Putin to survive and thus the Alawite enclave is currently a client state of Russia. If it was only an Iranian client state even Obama (probably but he is that bad who can tell) would have smashed its air force and brought on all the end stage problems already. It is the fact that it is a revanchist Putin that is involved that has all the non aggressive and democratically elected western politicians shaking their heads at how breathtakingly stupid this is. Putin is the classic bookend to Obama.

    18 When set against the actions of the ditherer in chief, the build-up of boots on the ground around the establishment of a forward air base is very plain speaking and makes sense for a rising superpower; but Russia is not a rising superpower. Actually a dodery Regan sending marines into Lebanon springs more to mind than even Khrushchev and sputnik hubris back before the revisionist rot became unavoidably obvious in that long ago mid sixties. Quite frankly Russia 21stC is not a rising superpower but an over extended economic basket case that is, from Putin’s own conduct, being shunned by economies that combined are ten times larger just for a start.

    19 Russia currently has nothing going for it – short of a large well equipped and well trained army. Putin has his hammer and as that’s about all he has every problem looks like a nail. I think the war to defend the gangster run enclaves in Georgia has set a tone for what the world can expect with Putin’s Syria sojourn and whether longer or shorter that is what it will end up being. Putin has the right circumstances and the precedent so he will back Assad and this new tough nut fascist ‘country’. Putin has committed Russia to the Syrian civil war on the side of the establishment of the Alawite country and so the fight for Damascus is what Putin will gamble for. The russians military intend to out range all opponents as they establish a free fire zone around the borders that THEY establish. The Russians intend to use their attack helicopters to range extensively across territory that the enemy has to cross to close with the Assad troops. Putin must continue to fight the FSA that the west and even the treacherous refugees from neverland support. Putin has put skin in the game as they say. Progressive people have a vital interest in making Putin’s troops sojourn as short as possible. However I expect that as a result of western ruling elites bungling and strategic neglect it will be longer.

    20 The Alawite enclave is rapidly establishing with the fight for Damascus central. Putin is putting thousands of elite troops and their air power onto the ground and essentially straight into the fight. Putin understands just how crucial boots on the ground are going to be and he is calling NATO’s bluff. After 4 years of mass murder to get to the point of a clear fight over the establishment of an enclave country the time for boots has arrived. Putin has shoved at the time when Obama has declared Daesh the focus and has not been prepared to do more than complain about Assad being the root cause. Don’t hold your breath with this. Putin is a predictable knuckle dragging revanchist and he will lead the Russian people into a dead end in backing the new ‘Israelite’ style privileged Alawite enclave. BUT this form of imperialism from a revisionist semi-police state gangster aggressor is not going to be a long term winner for the 21st C.

  3. 3 Arthur

    1. Will still be reading not writing until at least Fri. Won’t even comment much but MAY still try to post links as I come across them.

    2. Key issue for me is that many people who DO know better are now joining the chorus of “There may be some brief transitional role for Assad”. This now includes Erdogan immediately after a chat to Putin. That MUST mean some deception plan is going on. Need to figure out what it is. I WON’T believe they all simultaneously acquired brain-rot no matter how overwhelming the evidence.

  4. 4 tomb

    agree with most sentiments here but not up to speed with happenings in Syria unfortunately will need to get time to look at it.

    I do question the outlook for Turkey. The PKK were there to keep the army in control, they needed and enemy and the PKK provided it. Once the army lost power the PKK resorted to drug running and became just gangsters in incredibly small numbers. They are irrelevant and just a band of thugs with little support in turkey. I am not sure where a war would come from there. The most likely is Erdogan’s push to become another Caesar. I think there is more opposition from this quarter than any armed uprising.

    Turkey using it’s army against Assad would be very destabilising and as an assist role fine but may undermine everything turkey has done to become a broker in the middle east

  5. 5 patrickm

    1. Quite some time back I took note that Putin disappeared from view for a few days so I guessed he got around to having a war planning conference over Ukraine. Maybe some General told him some unpleasant facts about what he has blundered them into but I doubt it. Looked at strategically Putin is steadily uniting the many to defeat the few, with his problem being that his supporters are that isolated few and they will become more isolated over time and despite Putin’s PR there are no supermen. War in Ukraine is not good for Russia. It is old school nationalist imperialism at almost its dumbest, but that won’t stop him still being reasonably popular in Russia for quite some time as he gathers up the Russian nation into his loving care. People in that part of the world are already on a war footing they have not for example been paid for months yet carry on regardless with the assistance of Putin’s (unacknowledged) divisions.

    2. In the real world instead of supermen there are constant surprises and stuff ups from leaders right round the world coping with whatever tasks they set themselves. Tasks that are thrust upon leaders are measured more generously by everyone, but it’s the 21st century and even unrestrained tyrants (actually few and far between now) are ‘measured’. Voting and polling is only the most important way for the masses to measure ruling elites and that act of measuring has an effect as well. It’s not as if sooner or later leadership will be measured and tested but rather that it is constantly being tested and measured by the powerless masses. Putin is being measured by the Russian peoples’ and he has no control over the new way that even those people are getting their news and views. What grew in the 1960s in Australia in response to what was initially a reasonably popular war and starting with the students is what will continue to grow in Russia now. A serious peace movement with 21st C tools. I think that backing Assad is not going to help Putin but hinder him.

    3. Putin now sees himself as a war time leader restoring Russian greatness. He is such a leader because he has essentially brought war on of his own making and I think the world has his measure even if he still has a big base among Russians. Putin is being measured and is seen to be running with a very bad rat pack. Putin won’t be restoring Russian imperial ‘greatness’ via his association with the tyrants of Syria, Iran and even to some completely mystifying (currently to me) extent Egypt!

    4. Strategically the political modernity of the american revolution might not obviously call loudly to the Russian people yet but I would bet money on the progressive Russians beginning to stir when every border in Europe is in hot conflict or is shut down in ice cold hostility.

    5. Just like Assad and Gaddafi and back further to that 1st rate bastard Saddam, Putin has chosen this path for himself. Nothing compelled this course upon him and he has not been speaking for a national committee in the same manner as English and Scottish politicians were recently speaking. His Ukraine aggression is not ‘in the national interest of Russians’ any more than the rabid nationalism from the WW2 axis leaders were in their nations interests. But no doubt Putin, in running his country self talks in terms of a national interest of the Russian people. So he probably believes that his choices are in the national interest. That is the great danger of tyranny when even the collective wisdom of the ruling class via a functional ruling elite is unable to restrain that one self deluded individual. Putin has become that isolated individual.

    6. So how goes the war for greater Russia? Like the reality of the ‘6 day war’ this has protracted stamped all over it. So awhile back yet far down the track of the Ukraine war launched after or in response to the Ukraine revolution Putin drops out for a week to discuss and develop overall strategy with a war cabinet. My guess is that Russia probably does not have a Yamamoto and he was not listened to anyway. In that massive country where Putin is the boss, Russian chauvinism and empire is the reality and a form of madness is well entrenched at the like employs like top of that very big chain of control and exploitation.

    7. 21stC Russia is not just a country though it is far more so than the former Soviet Union was. The revolutionary Bolsheviks ran the USSR as a revolutionary development of a contiguous empire. Most of an empire had been inherited via desperate war directly from the brutal rule of the overthrown dynastic tyranny. That Aristocracy was like all the rest of Europe’s deadhead ‘ruling families’ quite happy to slaughter working people on the grand scale of WW1. Then the counter revolutionary revisionists returned in all but name to ruling an empire. Russians are culturally backward compared to any western democracy and simply have not experienced anything like 21stC western democracy that stands head and shoulders above their reality. Russia is another swamp!

    8. Lenin went to revolutionary war as an internationalist and stayed that way. But ‘they’ the rulers of the time started it. WW1 era revolutionaries were so clear about what they had to stop that taking control of a massive residual empire containing many subject peoples and their more backward nationalist elements was just par for the course. 100 yrs down the track the ME seems a more manageable scale war, but is it really? It maybe but it could also keep spreading and grow to be no less bloody. It is spreading in both hot and cold war manner but the predominant issues show a petty era of gangsterism is now up and running in russia as plainly as the prohibition era in the US was special and distinct. When such a gangster is on top then a madness is also spread as widely as the badness underneath his corruption.

    9. The very few people engaged in the decision making in Russia and all the other countries involved in the current crisis can (via the usual problems from ‘like’ talking and associating almost exclusively with ‘like’) miss vital pieces of the jigsaw we all work on. From my long term perspective Putin has brought on a disaster for the Russians and their neighbours. Putin has now launched a hot war that he will continue with and brought on an intensely cold war in return.

    10. The much larger revisionist USSR was brought down by just that mix. The long term cold war that the US and NATO kept up and the short term hot war in Afghanistan that it clearly lost. The 1st defeat dragged on over decades and the overthrow of the Putin regime may do the same but 1 or many decades the struggle will be ‘protracted and convoluted’.

    11. I would speculate that western leaders now regret not putting much more pressure on Putin when he defended gangster enclaves in Georgia back before the Syrian war started. The soft attitude to Putin’s aggression then has just encouraged him; and it really is him as he is a dictator and will -eventually- go the way of dictators but not without the usual mass deaths inflicted on those he imposes on. Putin’s (correct) assessment of Obama as a self promoting ditherer with no stomach for even dealing with Assad spells to me more aggression as the outcome from Putin. He is now an in for a penny in for a pound politician being carried along by events.

    12. Russian trade efforts will now have to flow ‘east’ to China and any of the BRIC type countries including Iran and Egypt that can do business. The Chinese have been able to do great deals as a result. Putin has been forced to drive a very soft bargain on that front and still his economy is in toilet land. Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic states will continue to turn their back on trading with the enemy and eventually the people of Belarus will stir as well – but there is no sign of that yet. He runs what amounts to a resourse giant now compelled to turn to China during a capitalist downturn (to say the least) and is an international arms merchant. Apparently Syria was taking 10% of that trade but I wonder about the payments plans.

    13. Ukrainians have for many generations experienced what integration into Eastern capitalism means and so the majority are struggling to get further free of it. They do not require a communist revolution to move past their current problems or at least they think they don’t but I wouldn’t be so sure.

    14. There are only a very few skilled political leaders on the current world scene and Putin ain’t one. Putin is not much more than a garden variety thug who is easily getting the better of the Western headless chook that he faces. There is no system of Western leadership that now functions. Really look at these fuckwits, they ARE as bad and literally reactionary as they appear. Who is even the current Jefferson or Paine let alone Lincoln? Who is the Churchill or even Roosevelt? Forget being up to speed on issues that are 50 years old they are 200 years behind. It’s the 21stC and currently we are dealing with basic democracy issues only – and when the tyrants barrel bomb those seeking democratic elections we have all these progressives looking at the rights of princes to rule their own countries. Who is the leading light? Merkel? I don’t think so. I can’t nominate anyone that is not Nepalese! With the simplest of open, honest and aboveboard arguments Hitchens in commentary looked like an intellectual giant rather than a refugee from the idiocy of Trotskyism. He had a real effect across the political classes. Anyway whatever the state of bourgeois society and thus the MSM that blathers the ideas of the owning classes there is NOTHING from the proletarian classes contending with them on how to free the world’s people from appalling barrel bombing ethnic cleansing anti-democrats! If people don’t engage in genuine debate in a mass way NOW with all manner of these; ‘look what a mess we Westerners have made of the Middle East since invading Iraq’ types we will not develop any kind of revolutionary thinking, before we in our turn die out. The current political leaders are all useless and will require ‘think tank’ papers to work even the gross and base bourgeois national interests out for them. We can’t get real and contribute effectively until we see current political leaders and alternate leaders just like McCain and Palin from the various ruling elites that we have to deal with over our lifetime as just another person with very limited choices to make. Are those few that say ‘those subject to Putin’s aggression ought be prepared to fight’ hotheads? I don’t think so.

    15. If the Russian army invades Ukraine in even more strength it will overwhelm the Ukrainian forces. The Russian army has not yet deployed its full strength and instead has it fully displayed at the ‘fence’ and has recently made a great public showing of air power. Ukraine – as Putin would have wanted – has dropped off the Western TV. Those cameras at the front show a WW1 style (or even pre WW1) front. That is really what the conference is about the military were telling Putin all about their problems! With no air-war this is much like 100rs ago. Now progressives ought to keep people’s heads turned towards the sound of the guns and this front because a broader war is on the agenda.

    16. We all make use of some theoretical frameworks in trying to work out what’s real policy and then how that relates to our own interests but Neverland thinking takes the general rule as the solution and that is the problem right there. Dogmatism doesn’t just make use of a general rule to help or guide people to solve a specific problem it applies the general to the specific. Dogmatism in the purest description is NEVER. Not many people actually buy NEVER, so in words ‘never’ is avoided by the more astute among the pseudoleft but in practice the less astute that they shackle themselves to blurt it out continuously. The enemy is at home they shout. Down with NATO and all collective alliances.

    17. There are very sound reasons for the collapse of the anti-war movement in the face of the last decade culminating with the Syrian war and the Egyptian coup. There were very clear lessons from NATO’s liberation of Libya. Experience brings that ability to refocus on our ever changing world; all you have to do is bring an honest, open and aboveboard attitude to the discussion. Neverland inevitably conducts ‘debate’ by letting one side speak. Censorship is the mark of these ‘liberators’.

    18. The ‘sophisticated’ ruling elites of the modern era most often take decisions in what they judge to be the collective national interest – and not as a Pharaoh of old would for the sake of their afterlife just bend the national interest directly to their immediate and therefore easily observable interest and build a pyramid. Comparing globalized Western decision making to current Russia under Putin makes the latter look very 19th Century imperialist and nationalist. Yet the thinking and whole style is not that old at all. It’s the same crap from the 1960’s. It’s the thinking of the war for Greater Israel, and we have seen what protracted suffering that miserably failing (really failed) war has led to.

    19. Putin redrawing the map of Europe outwards from Moscow as Assad is redrawing the map backwards from Turkey and so forth is not something to be encouraged nor tolerated. It will be both encouraged and tolerated by some who hold the great Satan and the voluntary expansion of NATO to actually be the real problem.

    20. Naked apes have produced some stunning examples of leaders and even benevolent dictators and Putin is not one. The benevolent are still around in the 21stC and matched in the opposite direction more often than not. The good are but one small example of the variety of rulers the species has experienced as time itself moves one generation out of the next one’s way. Humans did that for thousands of years until the struggle for human development produced a modernity that delivered humanity the American revolution as a break from such random chance leadership. So it ought to be a point of common agreement that there are sometimes cross class interests and even objectively internationalist interests bound up with any particular national interest. Situations can have been correctly identified by a leadership elite of any class that happens to be running any country for that brief moment of history or it may have been missed in the decision making process. But that point of agreement doesn’t exist with the pseudoleft. Neverland thinking gets in the way. Never, never, never unite with the bourgeois ruling elite – especially of the Great Satan – is the foundational principle of Neverland. That dogma is at the core of the pseudoleft. This worthless thinking comes via a direct lineage to the foolish ultra left’s of the Great Depression and WW2 era. They wrongly took a correct assessment of WW1 and because of their all encompassing theory of ‘imperialism’ applied a don’t unite policy directly to WW2. A general theory got applied to the specific problem and junk resulted.

    21. After the world changing lessons of WW1 and after the depth of the capitalist depression had forced politics upon the masses across the whole world, very large and credible progressive political forces emerged across the globe. The current anti-imperialists pin their dogmatist Neverland theory erroneously on Lenin. But as Lenin said with respect to WW1 if the war was about Belgium then we would support it but the war is not about Belgium. Lenin – while openly declaring his Marxist orthodoxy – did not have a never unite position as he was anything but a dogmatist. His unforgivable YET original sin was winning against the whites and all the rest! So the anarchists and liberals would make of him a tyrant who bequeathed to the world the even worse ‘monsters of Stalin and Mao’. He won the wrong way! Like Stalin in WW2 and Mao faced with the revolutionary transformation of the feudal hell hole he was stuck with Lenin won the wrong way! Context and the truly gigantic problems of even positioning to win and then actually winning WW2 has always been the weak link in all the usual anti-communist guff that has now become virtually all that remains of the ‘left’. But we have a world of Putin farce to deal with and so a historically recognisable – progressive – left practice will have to emerge. Despite any statues of Lenin being falsely venerated or pulled down Putin and his supporters are the aggressive counter revolutionaries currently standing in the way of peaceful development and spreading anti-democratic reaction everywhere in their wake.

    22. The modern tyrant whether they be technically insane or not, no more sums up the class interests of the ruling class than did any ancient variety of the genre, but they might choose to rule in such a manner; who knows. What we do know is that there are no ‘checks and balances’ imposed upon them at all. They really do stand out as the biggest obstacle to progress. So knowing that the political player has their own interests doesn’t get people very far in any specific case. That is further complicated because inexperienced people observing the activities of the ruling elites and tyrants also have a childish understanding of what the range of their interests and capacities realistically are and even very experienced people lapse into this error.

    23. No doubt the older we get the more regularly we shake our head at the memory of our own youthful thinking and accept our own development as all part of the getting of wisdom. We don’t have a good grasp of the possible when we start out to investigate something and anyone who has been interested in radical political issues for some decades will have regularly come across people who live with all manner of beliefs that become more bizarre the further from their own range of experiences they wander. We also realise that as with leaders so with the led, and many people are as often as not lying about an issue for their own ends just as any of the leaders do. People we come across might be pretending not to understand an issue or what has been said whereas they really understand all too well but because they are not prepared to concede, the dumb ‘shutters’ are put up. Knock and there is nobody home. And it need not be a strategically important point either.

    24. Some people, and yes they are a total waste of time, perhaps for fear of their whole position collapsing, concede nothing, nada, zip. Instead they permit themselves the use of the lie and the ultimate justification ends up being that their opponent really is the enemy. It’s always permissible to deceive an enemy! So with this loose end all tied up on they sail with their life. But all political teachers from either wing and whatever school of thought we descend, advise those that follow not to trust to the good intentions of others but to search hard for the ‘self’ interests involved and so we are ALL loath to back any other horse. We solve problems with our mind open to alternative reasoning and by comparing and contrasting these explanations and while not rushing to judgement we select on the basis of Occam’s Razor.

    25. Still the sense of belonging as part of the troupe is no doubt very deep in the DNA of the naked ape. People feel much more comfortable socializing within a narrowly acceptable range of views (whatever that exactly means) and that seems to me a big part of what going to church or ‘the club’ is all about. So unless people make the effort to honestly debate people they really do disagree with and thus genuinely ‘cross pollinate ideas’, then development of our thinking is going to slow up dramatically and so the problem for revolutionary democrats and communists no matter where we live is generating ideas fit for our place – during our times – in a process that may be described as ‘from the masses to the masses’.

    26. Sects and cults have always been a hindrance to that process and Lemingist examples are the quintessential waste of time that Neverland passes off as micro or embryonic ‘political’ parties. When they engage in ‘mainstream’ politics currently, and stand for election, they are trapped down the predictable trade union, green or ‘peace’ movement dead end. They are, when they show up at all, happiest blocking the revolutionary transformation of planet Earth with some anti this or that campaign.

    27. Looking back on the various wars of just this last 100 years one quite frequently thinks or hears from others the classic expression of incomprehension ‘whatever were they thinking’. But of course we know that the former thinkers as they thought those thoughts were not standing on our current Mt Olympus. In short it is easy for us to be wise after the events. Leaving aside the military issues – regularly neglected as a field of study for most Western leftists – when it comes to open politics, there’s a solid understanding right across all classes of people, that leaders lie and that we often can’t take what they say at face value. Frankly that’s a good starting point from which working people can begin our attempts to understand what realities exist behind the words. But that’s all it is, a good start; because unfortunately grounded with this understanding that there may be a lie or no lie in the specific case, there is still an overwhelming tendency to come up with various explanations for world events which just don’t make any real world sense either, eg “the Iraq war was all about oil”.

    28. Putin is a revanchist and thus a blockage to human development and there is no denying that, so despite the claims of bourgeois liberalism from a strategic POV the current elites are all temporary ruling elites and there is no end of history, but even so the ruling elites interests may still be from time to time and in a partial manner our various non ruling class interests as well. Periods of social development that separate modern humanity from our tree dwelling ancestors go on and blockages arise that can still last from many decades to spans longer than our lifetimes; then along come periods where they can also reduce down to months, or resolve over days and weeks.

    29. I currently think events are escalating in a typical game of chicken style that won’t however see the European powers just cave in to Putin and some ‘normality’ return after a sensible adjustment in accordance with the wishes of the world’s most blatant gangster. Rather I think that the struggle for democracy ensures that events will be taking a predictable path that will ensure that this conflict becomes even more general. For example, as the economic pain spreads through Eastern Europe more Russian gangsterism will be spreading to the Baltic states. The arrival of the green Martians will then be all but inevitable as the Russian peoples’ require the ‘protection’ of the great Russian protector. I think all of this because a push and shove reality of gangsterism is already on the ground and has it’s own local momentum. But even if the conflict remains as steady aggression against Ukraine; Georgia; and Moldova, and in suppressing the national rights of the Chechen peoples’ etc., across his current territories; and fighting for and arming Assad; and curiously even Egypt; (and given Saudi Arabia I don’t get how this can make sense)…. how is Putin’s gangster aggression to be stood up to and directly or indirectly resisted and fought?

    30. Everywhere around the world the current political elites declare themselves the adults in the room and just aren’t necessarily so. When the game changes they can quickly go the old route from rooster to feather dusters. Refugees in their potential millions is a big sign that the game is changing in Western countries as it has in the places where the most progressive of the people aspire to live as we do in the West. When I wrote these notes I had said ‘Abbott’s no more worthy to ‘lead’ than Rudd or Obama but they do and so does Putin’ but now that I make these notes public he has become that feather duster. My basic point is that Putin is a classic full of himself blunderer that will take a lot of people to the grave before he gets there. I suspect the Western world is not yet fit to deal with him and note that the French are now Daesh bombing in Syria. What could possibly go wrong now that everyone is flying around in Syria?

  6. 6 Arthur

    Patrick. Briefly and not politely.

    Stop writing! Read and think!

    More politely. This stuff is “not even wrong”. I won’t even “agree to disagree” or attempt to analyse it.

  7. 7 patrickm

    You might have missed this, but I doubt it.
    ‘The following are really just my notes to self. I am making them available because events are unfolding rapidly and others may want to talk openly. There is plenty to talk about and our data rich age still requires some big brush painting from an explicitly democratic pro-proletarian POV.’

    So that is what I intend to do on this thread. As for you agreeing or not that is nothing to do with me keeping my thoughts down and as open as you can and did yourself. With I might add no connection to reality! Stick to your batting and BTW so far you have no runs!

  8. 8 Arthur

    Going for long drive soon will try for mobile speakerphone chat if you available.

  9. 9 patrickm

    1. Back in August 2012 I wrote
    ‘There will come a time when the currently under siege and very impure democratic revolutionaries in Syria will have to overrun the Alawite enclave where the Assad loyalists will claim to be striking out for their independence. People will argue at that time that the enclave does not have to be defeated and can be left alone to go its own (fascist) way. It can’t be left and the battles are probably going to resemble the battle for Fallujah.

    Also remember at present there are on our side some real bad elements that will take advantage and go in for their usual sect based slaughter as well – we have seen their carry on for years in Iraq so the fight will be on two fronts in Syria as well.
    IMV this is only the start of a very protracted war. patrick’

    2. Well what a surprise. Putin has intervened at exactly this predicted point just when the newly emerging ‘country’ was under threat in Damascus and yet another air force base was overrun. This was no spur of the moment reaction on his part either. What was ‘manageable’ for the Obama liberal dithering has now swung out of control. Superpower options have been shut down. The US have been blindsided and so has everyone else in the West including Turkey. Iran has been both enabled and required to contribute much more than when the US could just turn on the Assad regime and say no flying anymore. That option is over. Assad’s shrinking airpower that has proved so devastating for all these years of anti-democratic conflict has just been rebirthed in its true colors. This is a Russian client state, well on the way to being a total puppet state. But Russian rights and responsibilities are being shared with Iran and their clients Hezbollah.

    3. I am sure that Putin is currently backing Assad though of course later if events unfold that require it (and that is likely but not anytime soon) there will be a change and Assad ‘transitioned’, but that means very little to me because at any rate Putin will continue with backing the Baathist anti-democratic deep state that have brought this dreadful slaughter on. The Putin model for this was demonstrated in Georgia years after Grozny was reduced to rubble. Putin intends to redraw this map and Russian troops are going to be central to this as will MORE Iranian troops and MORE Hezbollah. Putin intends to grow a Russian ‘beachhead’ on the Mediterranean like he did on the Black sea south of the Caucuses. He believes old time constraints such as British and French imperialism going to war in such circumstances no longer apply, and he is correct they don’t. Even as his economy continues into toilet land he uses his military to restore Russia’s greatness and remake the Middle East as the US failure to act provides him the opportunity.

    4. I think that backing Assad is (long term) not going to help Putin but hinder him and I think ‘A serious peace movement with 21st C tools.’ will start to develop in Russia. This will like the Vietnam war period in the US and Australia take years. Western interests (common to all classes) are to engage in cold war with Putin to the point of ice. All sanctions that were IMV begun late and soft with Ukraine will have to grow in all directions, and the more the better.

    5. Three years ago this was published at TNS

    ‘Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? These are questions of the first importance for the revolution.

    The issue of Syria for serious revolutionaries is starkly presented as a call to encourage anyone that is able to arm and or fight with Syrians (that are opposed to living under the Assad tyranny) to do so. It is a call for states to arm and fight with the Syrian masses and overthrow the Assad tyranny and destroy his fascist army!

    One such call is for the former imperial power Turkey to intervene much more than it is currently doing. The call is to do even more than what was done last year for the people from the Barbary Coast! Ships taking arms and all manner of supplies to and from Gaddafi were stopped from doing so. Was this NATO-U.S. piracy? Ought all shipping be blockaded now with respect to Syria? Putin has made his position clear: the Russian navy will come and go and protect other ships coming and going to Assad’s Syria. Putin is preventing the act of war known as a blockade from being imposed on the Assad regime. Blockades are imposed by navies, and Ely does not want a blockade on Assad’s forces. I do, and I think I am in good company with Pham Binh on this question.

    But I want more than that; I want to see urgent military action by the U.S. and NATO to dominate the skies above Syria and to kill any Assad forces that can be identified on the ground. I do not believe that the ditherer-in-chief will act, but that is what the left ought to be in the street demanding of him.

    The talk of revolution has met the reality of revolution yet again and the pro-liberation left (or “cruise-missile left” to the pseudo-lefts) is clearly looking for every and any ally. The irrelevant pseudo-left that is speaking out against outside imperialist meddling in Syria (just as they irrelevantly did over Libya) is demonstrating that they are no friends of the revolutionary transformation of the Middle East. They are no friends of the Syrian revolution. They go so far as to deny that it is an anti-fascist revolution (while curiously not denying that Assad and Putin are both fascists)’

    6. My estimate then that Putin would back Assad and that this war would get worse and that Obama would not do anything effective has not been far from the mark. No blockade of the barrel bombers then and a catastrophe has slowly, methodically and relentlessly unfolded for the Syrian masses. As it has -like many of us feared- got worse and Putin is moving very swiftly to secure his big picture goal that includes at least holding Damascus and continuing to barrel bomb Aleppo etc.. In short, Putin is not going to let a reasonable NFZ be established and Merkel is partly correct that the desirable safe haven formation could go pear shaped without troops to defend it against anyone, though I think she mentioned Daesh.

    7. Both NFZ’s and safe havens are required and always have been. Things have got this bad because Assad was permitted to keep dropping his Russian supplied barrels of cheap explosives from his Russian supplied and maintained helicopters. If Putin had not backed Assad all along this war to prevent democracy or as the realists in both the west and Russia ought to say prevent the majority voting for islamists, would not have gone so long and been so sectarian. The Balkan like ethnic cleansing has always been predictable.

    8. Now because ‘There are real dangers of massacres of Alawi and Shia or long term civil war in Syria following regime collapse so they [the international political class] do need to pay attention to transition measures.’
    But there is no prospect of a short term collapse and Putin is going to war in Syria to preserve a regime that can no longer hold. He is going to attack our FSA side. He is going to attack the democrats. That is what he does. Whatever the transition from Assad the enemy is the deep state that Putin is always going to fight to preserve. There is no Russian / US co-operation for the destruction of Daesh. There is in your face contention on the Assad side to a strategic plan that does not include recovering the whole of Syria, while the west work on Daesh in the east and Iraq. Putin will now want to become the Kurds greatest friend to the extent of not upsetting any of his current ‘friends’!

  10. 10 patrickm

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11903702/Russias-Vladimir-Putin-launches-strikes-in-Syria-on-Isil-to-US-anger-live-updates.html ‘John McCain, the US senator, said today that he could “absolutely confirm” that Russian air strikes had hit Free Syrian Army rebels who had been armed and trained by the US, writes David Lawler in Washington.

    “Their initial strikes were against the individuals and groups that have been funded and trained by our CIA in an incredible flaunting of any kind of co-operation or effort to conceal what Putin’s first priority is, and that is of course to prop up Bashar al-Assad,” Mr McCain told CNN.

    “I can absolutely confirm to you that they were strikes against the Free Syrian Army or groups that have been armed and trained by the CIA because we have communication with people there…this is an Orwellian experience.” ‘

    In my view the ground offensive is already underway. As the Russian air attacks have targeted exactly the possitions and people I thought they would attack I expect them to follow up imediately with securing the ground that they are after.

    The photo that Anita posted on the other thread is reported above as;

    ‘One of the most famous “moderate rebel” figures in Syria has tweeted a picture of what he says is a Russian air strike near his town, writes Richard Spencer, Middle East Editor.

    Since the start of the uprising, the town of Kafranabel (there are various different spellings) has become well-known for its weekly photographs, distributed through social- media, of banners displaying English-language slogans containing sarcastic commentary on the state of the war and western inaction to stop it. They also attack Isil.

    The man behind the campaign, Raed Fares, says the outskirts of Kafranabel were targeted by today’s bombings, and tweeted a picture:’

    and this backs up my thinking on Putin and the Kurds
    Russia: No difference between Isil and rebels

    The United States – as well as many non-Isil groups – say Russia’s air strikes yesterday targeted non-Isil rebels who are threatening Syrian regime forces in the west and north-west of the country, including the western-backed Free Syrian Army.

    The official Russian position is that its airforce yesterday targeted Isil, and did not kill any civilians in the process, writes Roland Oliphant.

    But just in case, Russian officials are also arguing that there’s little difference between Isil and any other rebel group anyway.

    Alexei Pushkov, the chairman of the Russian parliament’s international affairs committee, summed up an argument frequently made yesterday by interviewees on state television channels in this tweet:

    “‘The moderate opposition’ is largely a myth invented by the United States. Its fighters are not fighting against Isil, join Al-Qaeda, and fired at the Russian embassy. Is that ‘moderation’?”

    In other words, the only groups fighting against the Assad regime in Syria are terrorist groups, and there is only one way to deal with terrorists.

    The exception to this seems to be Kurdish militia groups, who Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have been careful to praise for taking on Isil. That may signal Russian willingness to include the Kurds in whatever post-war settlement is eventually negotiated.

    We can take the the second Russian claim, about no civilian casualties, with the same vast bucket of salt we would approach similar Nato statements with. ‘

    Very useful must read link.

  11. 11 tomb

    while not having a handle on this I am not sure that Putin is not using syria to gain traction in Ukraine. He wants to get rid of sanctions and keep gains on ukraine and this provides leverage

  12. 12 patrickm


    1. Syria in reality no longer exists. Duh you say? Fair enough; but it really does require saying to be clear about what comes next and so it is NOT yet publicly said (as far as I know) by any of the players at all. My first point is that Assad has fought the masses of Syria in such a divisive way that the country is now finished and can’t be put back together. What’s the model for this breakup? Yugoslavia is not and nor is the USSR. I can’t put my finger on any model. Others might but I don’t have enough time in the day to do more than your average political leader. The current lot will have to wait to get told what to do about this crisis. Western leaders have no intention of leading. Consider what is missing from the above article that is now so outdated.

    2. There is both a fluid and thus unstable on the ground reality and a theoretical political entity with real UN style rights and responsibilities. Indeed the diplomatic talking points have striking historical precedence right next door with the establishment of the Israelite enclave. That monstrosity – secured by a rising superpower – has meant almost continuous war and continuous brutal racist oppression ever since for the Palestinian people that had lived in their ‘land with no people’. That US plantation has ensured an ongoing hatred across a vast expanse of the globe from Morocco to Bangladesh as the ultimate fruit to be continuously harvested. That is the disaster of realism. Putin is following this type of path.

    3. That initial religious/ pseudo-racial enclave has had to become the aggressor country of Israel whose colonialist leaders then had to plan and implement a war for Greater Israel in 1967. That war to establish ‘tidy’ defendable borders was less than a generation after the enclave was established by the world wide naval superpower irrespective of the views of the Eurasian superpower. Here humanity is years after the failure of this war for Greater Israel became apparent and yet the Zionists continue with their racist war. Horror and ethnic cleansing on a grand scale is still the reality of this failed war. Demolitions of Palestinian homes and properties and exclusive roads and settlements continue in the 21st C for the establishment of Greater Israel – while western politicians across the world still say very little and especially in public. The aggressive war launched against Syria, Jordan and Egypt was an inevitable consequence of the establishment of the Zionist disaster. Now the world’s people must find a way back through the sludge of it to resume the general trend to democracy. The first time tragedy the second would indeed be farce!

    4. The truth is no collection of international and internal players can put this Syrian Humpty Dumpty back together. The underlying war in Syria, when it started and what then led to the disintegration despite all its overlaying complexities is fundamentally part of the world wide democratic revolution. All democracies have an interest in the outcome and some enemies of democracy in particular Putin now have a big interest in preserving a heavilly armed Alawite / Baathist enclave – client state.

    5. The biggest error I have made over Syria was underestimating just how bad Obama as POTUS was for the cause of democracy and freedom. Lastsuperpower theory had always portrayed the US as a superpower in retreat that was following the earlier collapse of the rival superpower the USSR. It was in sharp contrast to the ‘victorious only superpower’ thinking that others erroneously presented. That long ago collapse of the USSR left a wounded tiger for Putin to inherit, that is now revanchist Russia run by and for the fascist Putin. That tiger is in the Maoist way of thinking both a real and a paper tiger. To the extent that it is engaged as a gangster regime on every border and with every client state it is a real tiger but even thus engaged it is in 2015 a wounded beast held in contempt across the planet. The peoples’ of the West are under no illusions as to what in this one man Putin they are dealing with. Nor are third world peoples’. Everyone knows that GWB was dead right in explaining that with some leaders you never knew if they were telling you the truth but with Putin you always knew.

    6. The mass media has demonstrated with the unfolding events of Ukraine in particular what Putin is and left the people of the world no doubt about it. Putin is understood to be a lying gangster that must be shunned and otherwise stood up to. The people know that he will do whatever he likes until he is stopped so the only questions that arise from this broader understanding are to do with what Putin wants to do. We progressives either pose those questions or have no further pretence to progress.

    7. Syrian disintegration was strategically sought by the Assad forces once the revolution reached a point of no return and they had to retreat but they have not been able to put forward any plan and are reliant on the international community doing this ‘to them’.

    8. Enter Putin with his plan to smash the enemies of the new / old state and join with Iran and others in guaranteeing the new borders. Naturally, at some point Assad himself will be transitioned out as required to preserve that fascist deep state that is what Putin thinks he requires.

    9. The one thing Putin is not going to get is the many years of rubble making that Israel has enjoyed against the unarmed Palestinians in a region where the masses are kept down by tyrants willing to play the big power games of imperialism. Ongoing war directed at what the democrats now call national liberation is what the Russians have escalated their efforts into. When the client can’t sustain their own war making then the Israeli example disappears.

    10. But if Syria does not exist then what does? What is any realistically proposed peace to look like? Who is going to impose the peace when millions of Syrians want a right of return and some vote on who is to be their political representatives and form governments limited by some form of constitution? Putin policy is to make more rubble, and consequently pile up more bodies generating more well earned hatred for the Russians.

    He has only just started but his MO is crystal clear to me. Sure Assad will be cut out when and as required but the FSA has to currently be driven right out of any lands that threaten the new country that Putin is establishing with Iran and Hezbollah. Just how big that territory is can’t be known till we see how many troops Iran and Hezbollah are prepared to push forward with the air cover but faced with such a combative and competent military engaged in genuine shock and awe we are in for a revolting slaughter-fest and a continued monumental refugee disaster for Europe and Turkey and the whole civilised world to ponder on.

  13. 13 patrickm

    1. Arthur has said
    ’In our universe there is no such Western failure. No Western government is even allowing the Ukrainian government to buy weapons to defend itself against the Russian bullying because they understand with total clarity that they have no power to confront Russian bullying behaviour in that part of the world. The facts Switzer recites about that from lessons about geopolitics drummed into him more than half a century ago are totally obvious to every policy maker and ignored only by the usual shouters.’

    Well I think this is a credible fellow talking about the issue
    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/08/west-must-consider-arming-ukraine-ex-nato-head.html What is more I am sure that his position would now have hardened rather than softened in the face of the Syrian intervention to kill the fighters of the FSA. This credible talk explains that this will probably be an issue for decades to come.

    2. Then there is this type of report
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Ukraine+arms+supply&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8 but anyway hothead talk or not I would think that Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Czech would all be arming Ukraine to one extent or another. I also guess that with this latest demonstration of Putin assistance to the Syrian masses that ALL European governments might be reconsidering the help that they might like to provide to every country that has a Putin problem just as the US is reconsidering and changing from the Obama policies of the past.

    3. Is McCain another shouter? I don’t think so. The Syrian policy that he advocates of the US ‘flying where the hell they want and the Russians had better get out of the way’ is not going to be adopted by Obama! http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/01/politics/john-mccain-cia-russia-airstrikes/

  14. 14 Arthur

    My point was that the West does know it is not a power in the Ukraine while Switzer claims they do not and then further illustrates his ignorance by claiming that Russia is a Mediterranean power when it equally obviously is not.

    That is an entirely separate question from whether arms SHOULD be supplied to the world’s nineth largest arms exporter although I also think advocacy of that is the kind of dangerous posturing of people who don’t think about whether they can actually help the Ukraine militarily beat Russia before encouraging it to fight.

    We supported the Vietnamese taking on the much more powerful Americans because we correctly believed they would win, not as the sort of “heroic gesture” the Polish cavalry made. Khruschev sending missiles to Cuba when Russia simply has no capability in that region was purest adventurism, which no Russian leader is likely to emulate after Afghanistan.

  15. 15 Steve Owens
  16. 16 patrickm

    1. David; after all that shock and awe barrel bombing from Putin this last week, on his actual targets, you still think this Daesh excuse – when Putin has actually only dropped some bombs on them – is really the focus of Putin’s concern? Why would Putin not stick to solving his problems Nth of the Caucasus in Chechnya? Consider what this anti-democratic Russian nationalist did to Grozny! Now as a result of Putin’s grand adventurism men are going from Chechnya to Syria specifically to get another chance to kill Russians. Millions of Muslims across Russia hate Putin and his promotion of the ‘good old fashioned’ Russian Orthodox church.

    2. I think the Iranian ruling elite are a part of the basic disinformation over Daesh. The Iranians understand how central they are to the creation and preservation of the new country to be cut out of Syria. I believe they have agreed to send more high quality troops to back up Assad’s failing regime. Assad’s troops are not just slowly losing a civil war that has dragged out over 4 years they are also changing into an even more criminal anti-democratic army. The very worst of the Iranian anti-democrats are sending the Iranian troops and they can fly in many, in big transports as Obama has not shut down the airspace because that would mean war and he hasn’t got the stomach for it!

    3. The direction of the war is going to be put in reverse. That reverse direction is certain because the fresh troops and massive firepower guarantee the result. Putin is not just going to hold a line and get a political solution. He is going to establish new lines and that will be up to the quality of his planning and the on the ground fighting. Everybody is currently focused on the fixed wing air-attacks but the helicopters are not for show. They will do the heavy work of close support in the coming ground offensives. The shape of maps will start to mean something more than they currently do (and they currently mean a fair bit even if quite fluid) and this will be via massive ethnic cleansing. That is how they have been doing it and that is how they will continue to do it.

    4. Obama who publicly admitted to not having a strategy for Syria has led the US retreat to the point where this lastsuperpower have now got nothing of a strategy for Syria yet again! His tiny elite has no workable strategy for the entire region and none for Russian revanchism anywhere. The best retired General the US has, was only a few days ago blissfully unaware of Putin’s growing preparation to close all the ‘easy’ US options in Syria. Putin now controls more than just the shock and awe barrel bombing, his military is now in broad brush directing the all important follow-up ground operations. They will do much more than control in broad brush as well. Assad is able to hold and regroup to whatever plan they are working to. That plan is bound to be flexible but is definitely not to recapture all of Syria; they plan to make solid what Assad has – and with all the refugee making that is required that is their MO- capture what they think is feasible for the proposed new country. ‘Alawistan.’

    5. Putin intends to dictate the shape of the country and the rest of the ‘peace’ deal in Geneva. The Putin plan must include Damascus and not just the coastal strip from Turkey to Lebanon. The plan must include massive ethnic cleansing and the preservation of the deep state with or without Assad. The preservation of a criminal regime that is a client state of Russia and Iran is the goal and it won’t work in the long term. But what is the long term?

    6. Assad didn’t stop mass murdering and ethnic cleansing and was never going to stop until faced with the compulsion of a NFZ war. That war is obviously now much more complicated to launch.

    7. Obama and his tiny group of ruling elites have had all the best intel over Putin’s Syria buildup from the earliest and yet they stood like the proverbially stunned mullets and let it happen. They could not have fell for it yet the policy paralysis was real. Obama had set up a do nothing environment that worked. They did nothing.

    8. What is the way to end the war in Syria? The war is about issues that have to do with democracy and the protection of minorities. So Putin will get around to the politics once the map is made.

    9. Will Putin’s direct war making in Syria ultimately help end the war? No it won’t.
    Will Putin over stretch and fail? Well that depends on one’s time frame.

    Would team Obama think either case likely and therefore shrug their shoulders and wait for the advantage to come to the US via Putin’s efforts. That is a hopeless and unworthy thought. US prestige and influence is on the line.

    10. People would be naive if they didn’t understand all this Putin duplicity after seeing Putin in Ukraine and other places for all these years. So no one is that naive not even Kerry. The US ruling elite are probably aware of all the implications of his interference but they might not be. They just might not be correctly structured to be able to get it. This is a first class disaster. They should have countered Putin very actively if they had realised what a disaster this would be. They did not do so but that fact can’t mean that they think ‘it means they hope Putin’s interference will ultimately help end the war, something the U.S. has been unable to do’. They were obviously blindsided. So they did not make any calculated bet of ‘ betting that Russia will over stretch itself and fail.’

    11. There really are few alternatives because stopping Putin now would mean fighting him. The very basic requirement first is to establish a democratic world coalition and to shut down Putin’s whole remaining interactions and trade with the democratic world. Before anything else gets going an ICE COLD WAR can and should be started. Europe has to step up for the economic pain.

    12. The western ‘leaders’ are scrambling around and they look like they are. As far as I can see our side is being bombed. The Free Syrian Army is being attacked. That ought to mean that we in the west are at war but it does not mean that! It just means that our ruling elites have once again betrayed people fighting for democracy!

  17. 17 David

    Patrick, I think you are basically saying that Putin wants to create an enlarged Alawistan vassal state and leave the rest of Syria to Daesh. I am not really equipped to assess that.

  18. 18 patrickm

    1. David; I can imagine Putin saying to his elite; even Obama has got together a group of countries and declared war on Daesh, even Obama! So nobody that runs any western or civilized country will ‘leave the rest of Syria to Daesh’ and Putin can also get around to dealing with them after the superpower and it’s COW has degraded them! Now how cool a deal is that?

    2. Assad’s Alawite enclave and whatever else he controls of the old Syria, now only exists as a going concern because Putin props him up. If Putin had not done this western navies would have blockaded by now and a NFZ would have been I think imposed by now and so on. That is a client state or vassal state status if you prefer. Do we agree on that much?

    3. Assad has only lost total control over the people of say ⅔ of the old Syria. In the manner that Israel lost total control over the people of Gaza. Assad now with his great and powerful mate retains the power and authority if you don’t mind to fly above them and turn any part of that ⅔ into rubble, dead and refugees. That’s what Israel has made of the Palestinian homes of Gaza. So not only has a COW declared war on Daesh thus not requiring extra special effort currently also from Putin and Assad when they (Assad or whoever replaces him) do recover their strength Daesh will be a degraded force unable to form heavy columns.

    4. Now will this drag in countless thousands of Saudi and other youth to squander their lives for the sake of 40 virgins for the next few years at least? I think we can consider that a certainty. But the COW will be always trying to kill them, unless they lose all credibility and another Daesh explosion shatters our TV screens with all the black flags and exterminations and so forth. A new Coalition would then have to take to the field against Daesh because even a leader as hopeless as Obama will make war on Daesh. Clinton is not going to let the US military go on another extended holiday.

    5. The long term desire among young Saudi men for 40 virgins may start to deminish but that is down the track and Putin is ‘not really equipped to assess that’.

  19. 19 Steve Owens

    I know that people here are committed to the Obama’s a dither theory but I think that we should keep our minds open to other explanations. Presidential candidates want to distance themselves from the current White-house foreign policy because that plays well on the hustings and they can promise the world because chances are they wont have to pay.
    Think of it from Obama’s point of view. The US government is in the hole for up to $6 Trillion for Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The air force is in good shape but the average age of a US military plane is 27 years. The boots on the ground guys are in bad shape too few troops and too many rotations have left the boots on the ground guys not keen to be deployed and an army that doesn’t want to be deployed well lets just say it’s not a good thing.
    Then there’s the Pentagons assessment of Syria. Obama gave us this assessment when he colorfully stated that the Syrian opposition was made up of doctors and pharmacists.
    So Obama may be a ditherer a fool or just a coward but he might just know that he cant spend trillions more that he doesn’t have and he cant deploy an exhausted army in support of forces that he doesn’t believe have the military grunt to bring this thing to a conclusion.

  20. 20 Arthur

    David, I am not really equipped to assess the enlarged Alawistan theory either. Somewhere near Neverland?

    Idealism and metaphysics may not be the easiest thing in the world after all. I can’t even wrap my head around it at all when it reaches this level.

    Concrete analysis of concrete conditions seems so much easier than insisting on a right to speak without investigating.

  21. 21 patrickm

    1. David, at no point has it been stated or implied that Putin wants Daesh to inherit non ‘Alawistan’ (as a conceptual nomenclature) so your understanding has a wrong inference.

    2. Arthur, are you saying that the breakup of Syria is not already at least an issue to the point of some relevant players not expecting it ever to be put back together? Do you expect it to be? If not what will the map look like?

    3. Is it now fair to say that Russian shock and awe air-power, intel, arms supplies, special forces etc., are turning the tide of battle. They are reversing recent gains for (shorthand) the Free Syrian Army types – who ARE currently being killed. A powerful new element that was not attacking them directly a month ago is now. Back then they were slowly making some costly gains. Do you agree that US backed elements were the first to be killed by the Russians?

    4. Do you agree that ground forces are required to follow up and really do this reversing and that the arrival of some regional and committed Shiite troops has been evidenced? The scale of this deployment would be concealed as it goes on. Given how the world watched this last 4+ years unfold, how sure are you that these reverses can’t be pressed sufficiently to change the shape of the next few years and the shape of that map?

    5. Russian pilots are currently and deliberately provoking Turkey and Erdogan is now meeting with the Europeans; whatever he was doing when he met Putin in Moscow he is now having to rethink what his viable options are to the south, and also with the refugee flood that he expects to receive another wave of. He has been painted as a baddie over Daesh / Kobane / Kurds and that was when the US were permitted to start using Incirlik to help the Kurds, while the Turks stood and watched. So he may have expected a Russian effort to escalate in Syria who knows -but it doesn’t look like it. It is more probable from my pov that he is scrambling around under surprise threat from the old enemy Russia. If imperialists were carrying on in the old manner would Russian imperialists like to see Turkey weakened and Kurdistan emerge? Is Putin a little on the old fashioned style? Is he like some sort of KGB killer revanchist that is a strategic disaster?

    6. Putin shut down the supply line to Afghanistan, then lo and behold a strange call-in of an airstrike takes place and destroys US credibility on that front by them blowing up a hospital. I am very suspicious of what has just happened on that front of contention. It does not just appear like a typical if very inconvenient stuff up of monumental proportions. Forces other than US were calling in the US airstrike! Who knows but Russia is the temporary beneficiary. The shutdown is a big cost to the US. The US looks like a power in total disarray. That would be clever tactical war making.

    7. The Russian pilots have literally abolished the shallow NFZ that Turkey had imposed on the Syrians. Russian pilots intend to fly over any Syrian area like Aleppo and drive off anyone that was thinking about creating safe havens in Syria. The Russian air power now establishes what is and is not safe on the ground, and the Russians have established an air corridor from the Mediterranean Sea right through Syria and Iraq including Kurdish regions over to Iran and thus up to Russia. Putin is involving the Kurds (as predicted) and both the Iraqi government and the Shiite militias that are backed by the Iranians in his big picture move. Iranians sending more troops is not outside the realms of possibility, and neither is the air lift capacity in any way comparable to the Berlin supply airlifts, and there is no shipping shut down yet either.

    8. No leaders that I have observed are comfortable and relaxed about any of this but most probably none of them doubts Assad will be pushed aside as a fall guy by the Syrian deep state if and when events require it. Events do not require it right now. It will be sometime before he will be an issue IMV. But the map is being redrawn first so that a new peace conference can be got going without the US dominating anything to do with it. Shiites intend to get together and deal with Sunni terror producing Saudi deep swamp. Even the Egyptian deep state anti-democrats fears what gets produced in Saudi Arabia and with Saudi funding right across the region!

    9. After US history in this region they are as you have long pointed out a hated and distrusted power and the superpower is weaker than ever. The Iranians are glad of the effort the US has put in getting rid of the old enemy but they are not grateful, and as Arthur also once took note of something must be done about Saudi Arabia. The splits in the Iranians are clearer than ever and the militarists out of Iran have their own agenda. All of these societies could crack open like Syria. What the world has is the divided and broken reality of the 100 year old creations of the British and French being forcibly redrawn by the locals and their backers. I suspect the map is now being looked at ethnically more than with deep respect for dysfunctional borders from a bygone era. The three types of war are all in play.

    10. The example of how the US elites have failed to look after US interests (all classes) by ending the war for Greater Israel – while nothing has happened other than it become clearer that it is required – ought to cause us to speak more about our understandings rather than to look to see clever strategists at work as the drowning thrash about. We should review the conflicts to end Baathist regimes in this swamp that have shocked and baffled everyone involved at every turn. Basic incompetence is often right up front. People have noticed that the Iraqi Shiite militias are very powerful and Iranian backed, and often an out of control mass murdering, revenge machine generating more Daesh; so total strategic logic outside of a religious slaughter-fest framework might not be what close study reveals at all.

    11. One thing is clear and that is the US POTUS with 471 days and 22 hrs to go did not want the end result of his activities since 2011 to get the US into this predicament today. Putin the rank opportunist might get ‘it’ wrong as well but there is no real countdown to his departure. He is – as we well know – an anti democratic gangster who is still popular at home even as home goes down the economic drain.

  22. 22 Arthur

    Ok, don’t stop writing, it is all becoming more and more clear to you as you write. The connection between Turkey and the hospital in Afghanistan is especially illuminating…

  23. 23 patrickm

    The important point was that the Russians had shut down the supply lines and it is just the sort of black ops that are often done. I say no more than I am suspicious at the timing and the US look bad. You distorting this is pointless.

    As for Turkey the unofficial NFZ is gone and proposals to deepen it gone as well. That is the big point and whatever else is the point of Putin’s intervention that has actually happened. As has the day by day deaths of the FSA fighters under the new air attacks.

    Years after some stuff ought to have happened they still have not so not holding my breath, but Putin has a hammer so he is using it every day and even Russian volunteers are joining the Shiite COW.

    Assad has stayed years longer than lots of people would have guessed so I think you will still be looking for some time and yet day by day the ground alters and FSA get killed and the refugees keep flowing as is planned. The maps are being made.

  24. 24 David

    Patrick said

    “David, at no point has it been stated or implied that Putin wants Daesh to inherit non ‘Alawistan’ (as a conceptual nomenclature) so your understanding has a wrong inference.”

    OK I must have got the wrong impression.

  25. 25 patrickm

    1. De l’audace, may well be a motto that Putin finally turns to when it’s time to settle on a plan. We have seen him and his sort operate plenty of times before; encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace. He is after all at the start of this bold new in your Western face action doing the audacious whatever else it is. For Marxists there are the five more ponderous constants of war in the strategic background; for supermen types there is blitzkrieg to smash democratic revolution; kill the democrats and terrorise the masses. Putin is an action man anti-democrat with a faltering economy no less. Putin is Assad’s big untrustworthy brother.

    2. Obama once said “What I could not support was a dumb war, a rash war, a war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics”. So we can’t hope for audacity from this man. From him we got a self promotional book ‘The Audacity of Hope’ and for the next 470 days there is for the West, if not no hope, very little. But audacity? Well I don’t think we have to worry about any precipitate overreach from the affronted superpower for that period. “No, what’s troubling is the gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics–the ease with which we are distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our seeming inability to build a working consensus to tackle any big problem.” BO “Right…is that the time? Shit I have a Paris climate conference to get to.”

    3. Anyway the Putin plan unfolds and while the think tanks scramble to offer leadership to the Western leaders which is fair enough when even the best of them started with; “To be frank, I still don’t see any clarity in Russia’s stance on Syria”; we Australian Communist commentators can at least formally mark off the parts that have unfolded.

    4. The enemy works to a broad plan to fight a new phase of this old war with his new COW (coalition of the willing). In short, regardless of the now moot if not futile think-tank search for THE Putin plan – the actual fresh troops turn up every day and go to work on their part of it, so we can tick the boxes and people can propose corrections as events move further along. This anti-democrat’s plans may not work in the long run but as Keynes said…all dead by then.

    5. The urgent systematic killing by Russians of FSA types is working to that set Russian plan that sooner or later will also incorporate the ‘transitioning’ of Assad but only as, if and when required and that is very far from urgent.

    6. The urgent warning-off of Turkey, the regional power capable of intervening is a part of the plan. Turkey had no choice but to threaten to shoot down any other over-flying Russians, with the clear implication that you stay to your side and we will stay to ours and we Russians will use all of the Syrian air space because we are working for the lawful Assad government!

    7. Urgently making NATO NFZ war, and the establishment of safe zones a no longer viable option, by declaring all those in armed revolt against the Syrian ‘government’ terrorists – and subjecting them from day one to barrel bombing is a big part of the full plan.

    8. The elimination of any fatal US red line ‘veto’ was long ago achieved by noticing that one was feebly declared then pushing it to the utter limit before, and with the all important intervention of big brother, surrendering that WMD stockpile for the US to dispose of. No choice and so it was no longer a useful stockpile by that point anyway. Thus Obama was played then and this was just an earlier phase of this same war. Current planning of this ongoing war developed with this very important background. The Russians had gotten themselves involved and had supposedly delivered to Kerry and Obama a US ‘win’. Spare us all from such wins that ought to have been an instant hot war when the line was crossed and the Russians ought to have been shown the door and the US cruise missiles smashed Assad’s airports and his command and control etc., the NFZ declared there and then with the Russians dramatically warned off as they had failed and were not a Mediterranean power anyway. Not to be. So the conclusions were that the US were not serious about fighting and that is the vital background.

    9. The inclusion of Hezbollah troops – now with a considerable footprint, Iraqi Shiites, and Iran is a big part of the plan and they are in and involved in what is a region wide power play. So cruise missiles are thrown across their air space no less!

    10. A deal is dangled for the Kurds that gives them what the leaders of Turkey didn’t want to see them get.

    11. Whatever the US and the Europeans thought last month, this month their concern is to warn Putin that they will fight to protect Turkey’s borders only.

    12. Putin wants to now get zones in Syria’s fight against Daesh terrorism. They have told the US to get out of the way.

    13. They have declared war on the Western supported forces and humiliated not just the US but all of NATO and the local Sunni states.

    So with all those boxes ticked the clock ticks along as well.

    14. People can add to that list as the days go on but just saying this can’t be happening because Russia is not a Mediterranean power capable of doing it – and if fought it could not- is no longer very relevant.

    15. The other day I thought ‘The current lot [Western political leaders] will have to wait to get told what to do about this crisis. Western leaders have no intention of leading.’ and some people are leading their analysis with what appears to me as something, something, something, ‘and exclude both Bashir and the Takfiris without chaos and slaughter in Damascus?’

    IMV it is clear that Putin has built a region wide coalition to fight the other region wide gang. There is a red line.

    16. I have no problem engaging in ‘suppose’ questions unlike those who imagine they really will require a quality environment to produce work in! ‘10. Then why couldn’t a second stage follow an initial regime change with some sort of Geneva style negotiations for an orderly transition to a transitional regime that excludes…’

    17. Because Iraq and Syria these last few years demonstrates to the locals that a massive war is required to rid this region of what even barely democratic types in it are up against. Bashir types and the Takfiri types are very good at killing, causing terror and consequent flows of refugees. So people who have fought them over all this time by now ought to think like the allied leaders of WW2 that no amount of power sharing will work in an environment where it is so easy to slaughter Shiite peoples’ and that only unconditional surrender is viable. That is not viable without the separation that the Kurds have long enjoyed. They have been the standout success. They have, in other words policies of population separation. In the WW2 case the killing went on all the way to the bunker.

    18. I agree that;
    1. World politics currently does not revolve around a clash between two superpowers; however this now up and running region wide conflict is between the 2 Islamic sides that are slipping into murderous sectarian war backed by the 2 regional powers Iran on the 1 side and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the other. So Putin has joined on the one side. He joins as more than just a CEO leading a former superpower. Russia and him personally has a massive history of dealing with Islamic issues and currently he has public support for his brand of De l’audace, so he will try to sustain that support by reminding people of Beslan school type of reasons to deal with the swamp. The Daesh side is providing plenty of Nazi like conduct to remind people of ‘why they fight’. Putin I think also believes in a swamp theory, but ultimately his solution is the same as the Egyptian ‘solution’ just a form of rotten ‘realism’. No solution at all really just gangsterism that might be self-talked by both these mere mortals into a case of best they be leading ‘benevolent’ dictatorships.

    19. With all Putin’s problems, Russians no doubt have a dogged nature, so he can for now and for some time formulate this grand move as an unavoidable effort to deal with the worst of the worst. And on the other side…well let us just say a big COW are attacking Daesh from the air without follow up ground forces, while the revolting Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) strikes out in all directions (Yemen) and has a deep state structure where support for Daesh and all round Sunni supremacy is not able to be prevented. Thus Putin plays as a special player on the new team rather than throws Russian weight around as if this were one superpower v another. Obama plays on the other team thus ensuring Daesh can’t form heavy columns and the Russians are in sufficient strength to turn on any big Saudi effort that might get sent North in due course. Putin believes he has some time to establish the best solution map and that other players particularly Turkey are going to be distracted by their own problems while he does so. Also Israel keeps dividing the other team’s effectiveness and Putin has no such Albatross. Putin has a realistic goal with his team and it includes moving Assad along when and as that is required. I along with most of the world think it will be required but not right now. Keeping a client or vassal type state going, with the core being the Alawite people of the former Syria in as big a chunk as is realistic, is I believe seen to be viable. The breaking of eggs bit is dumping millions of refugees for resettlement. The region is renowned for this but actually it is a major issue from the history of Putin’s region as well.

    20. Just because ‘Russia was not a Mediterranean Great Power at all and “Moscow simply cannot deploy the kind of forces to Syria that could meaningfully change the arithmetic of the war and save the regime.” He can ONLY come and play on the side that requires his special talents as a kind of defensive full back. High speed counter attacks are launched by the fullback, momentum and audacity could be his calculation.

    21. I also think ‘Putin is not an imbecile and knows that.’ So, he has a team view and an assessment of the other team as in disarray with his conclusion being disunity is death for them. Now not surprisingly some people who don’t play in teams haven’t got a clue and constantly play the role of wrecker. This Putin fellow is nothing but an ‘Us and Them’ type captain blood.

    22. As for Obama the clock is now 470 days and his policies having in fact made the whole situation catastrophically worse than it needed to be, he will thus not have a chance to undo this and ever look successful even to his supporters. Despite having avoided more US blood and treasure in Middle East wars. Clinton will try to clean up the mess. But IMV the American prestige will not return to any great extent and the only thing that can do prestige building is a return to the revolutionary path of America, and no bourgeois leadership has the vigor for that unavoidable people’s struggle for democracy. The US will remain on the side of the angels but the greatest gift they could manage was to STOP being the swamp making blockage. The unblocking of tyranny is hard work for the revolutionary masses in the region. They are faced with a vast war that is terrible to contemplate, yet obvious to the ME masses who are seething with hatred. The US superpower status is now gone and is not coming back. The revolution must go on without being led by US ground forces.

    23. yes ‘There are people within the Assad regime who believe they cannot win and face death if they don’t end the war.’ and they have had their spirits lifted from the depths of this depression for now. How long their mood stays up will depend on progress on the ground as the reserves turn up and reverse the battlefield direction. But ultimately if not enough reserves turn up and not enough of their FSA type enemies are killed, and not enough of the demographic problem that they have are driven off as refugees then that mood will return. So I guess lots of killing and Shiite troops and refugees in all directions are proposed by captain blood.

    24. I accept ‘The Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah and the US, not being imbeciles also think that the Assad regime cannot win.’ So, they are probably all impressed that he has slaughtered his way into this almost holding pattern that has perhaps with a little more big power help, could perhaps establish another monstrosity that would have the Netanyahu type feel about it. If the Israeli forces can do this type of thing… I think that is delusion, as the world has changed and this is second time as farce, but I am not them and there is this region wide split that is at war anyway so they might feel something can be done about a Shiite crescent better placed to fight the Sunnis till a regional solution is eventually found after this required test of strength.

    25. Assad did not draw the correct lessons from Libya, nor the whole issue of the Arab spring and just retire for a peaceful good life. That choice was, at the time, available to him and is not now. Who knows what will become of him.

    26. Putin and the Ayatollahs still want to come out being winners ‘despite having been responsible for supporting a totally failed catastrophic policy’

    27. It is to me extraordinary that there are STILL people in the West who believe in allying with the Assad regime, but I guess they are now very few and the vast majority of people believe that he must go and therefore can accept anything that is presented as him going. The people that count in policy making circles all know he must go. Thus all the transitioning out talk. But the Iraqi leadership after long and painful experience, and Kurds in Syria, and most leaders in Iran and even Vlad the audacious wants new maps. So despite the contradictions and conflicting interests Baathist Assad ended up being semi supported by the Iraqi Shiites and hence the new deep state gangster elite that runs big chunks of that divided country where the Iranian’s back all manner of functioning militia.

    28. “And it’s safe to assume that those in power would think longer and harder about launching a war if they envisioned their own sons and daughters in harm’s way.” BO I think a bit like Obama in that Putin struck because of his central insight that leadership was MIA and the liberals that he did face now had become complacent and bureaucratic with US Democratic policy makers more obsessed with not fighting wars and playing with drones and the killing of individuals like Bin Laden. Obama wrote “The conservative revolution that Reagan helped usher in gained traction because Reagan’s central insight – that the liberal welfare state had grown complacent and overly bureaucratic, with Democratic policy makers more obsessed with slicing the economic pie than with growing the pie – contained a good deal of truth.”

    We are all cruise missile something or others now even just for the theater! But the important thing is those Russian helicopters are now at work as the ground assault is rolling against our ‘FSA’ types!

  26. 26 Arthur

    Ok I appreciate that you are now at least attempting to respond to points I have made so it could be productive to engage. Unfortunately I simply don’t have time due to other factors and will still just try to produce a coherent publishable article (which I also don’t have time to do) and still not engage other than indirectly through series of links, notes, and drafts working towards publishable articles not directly engaging with this stuff.

  27. 27 patrickm

    1. 40 days have gone by since Sept. 2, when I made the following observation

    5. I do not know what to make of the reports of Russian jets in Syria. On the one hand it is exactly what I would expect of Putin. If true it demonstrates Obama policy failure and yet more complexity. If it is not true this would not be the end of the Putin problem in Syria.’
    I did NOT notice on that same date the release of the now spectacularly – if temporarily- outdated
    ‘33) International Crisis Group New Approach in Southern Syria.’

    2. The ‘BY15 etilaf press statement’ of yesterday is however neither surprising nor outdated. It highlights that the Russian war-making is part of a team effort that includes forces from Iran and Iraq and Lebanon. That team is a regional COW that is confronting NATO and the 21st C US / Saudi trainwreck of a ‘team’. It even includes (as no surprise to me) some of Putin’s new best friends the Kurds. http://news.yahoo.com/u-backed-syrian-kurdish-militia-joins-military-alliance-053128674.html

    3. Note the meeting that Putin has just held with the Saudi’s; now there is something to puzzle on. If there is to be a breakup of Syria -and there is even if just to the extent of autonomy for now- the issue of the concessions to the Sunni masses North, South and East and their state backers must be red hot and yet obviously premature. Everyone will want to see the result of the next year’s worth of fighting first. What is currently on offer to the ‘Saudi’ backed side? Whatever it is won’t be enough as the two religious blocks shape up for this long predicted region wide conflict.

    4. The complex Syrian war may have started as a war of the mass of the Syrian people striving for freedom and democracy but many were then forced by events to line up in their religious identity first and now for a lot of them last and the Sunni had the depth of demography. The number of young men required to arm for the front line killing is the Sunni advantage and after 4 years the crop of then 14 yr olds are now 18 and the 18 to 22 yr olds have been killed off and injured in large numbers with the remainder becoming experienced fighters now.

    5. Assad’s mob were in big trouble. Damascus is / was Sunni and this is where the head explodes with the thought that ‘a second time is farce’. Yet every day the barrels go bang and the suburbs get cleared of the wrong sort of people. Will the Syrian army under Assad – backed as he is now – be pushed out of Damascus any time soon? I don’t think so. The Assad side is making substantial gains right across the map that is being redrawn. What the Assad COW is capable of we won’t know for several months.

    6. While war on a proxy level has been underway for years these are powerful outside ‘reserves’ that have just showed up and there are going to be more boots on the ground from all as the Iranians in particular are required to step up to the Russian level of effort. All the other members of Putin’s COW from all 4 countries right across that red line of contention with the KSA and Gulf states and the US NATO are ramping up their efforts right now. After years of war and KSA madness the Iranian / Iraqi / Hezbollah / Kurd / Christian / Druze / Alawite / Russian side are not about to give up when they just got together. They are most definitely NOT about to turn on Assad and have the coup that Arthur has been imagining. There is no evidence for a very good reason even though Assad will have to go at some point.

    7. As predicted, Daesh (the sort of thing that grows out of Saudi Arabia) terror bomb peaceful rallies in Turkey and confusion spreads among a traumatised people that has as often as not over the long history of ‘realist’ US backed Turkey, seen that deep state in Turkey do exactly the same thing to them. Some people foolishly blame the Erdogan government that is itself in struggle with those deep state players! At least the PKK is pulling people’s heads in and keeping a cease fire. But that as yet was not reciprocated. Turkish forces immediately struck in Iraq and in southern parts of Turkey. So good on the PKK; and the Turkish government now has the ball in their court.

    8. Turkey the only country capable of taking effective ground actions to help the Syrian revolution is now out of the immediate picture. The revolution is thus set back for years. The map making is in progress and the Kurds are getting an autonomous ‘state’ on much of Turkey’s southern border. No one will be shocked when bombs go off in Jordan.

    9. The Assad regime are now back on the offence clearing more than just ‘pockets’ of both fighters and civilians and they no longer fear any Turkish action to impose a NFZ or any safe havens. No doubt the Baathists and Assad had to concede much to Hezbollah, Iran and Iraqi Shiite ‘militias’ but they were losing so that is changed. All the local countries are being dragged in while the Obama elite drag out their dithering days. Assad’s side is invigorated for now and the US policy makers have to see what can be salvaged from this debacle from lack of leadership and military action and this Potus has 464 days remaining.

    10. Meanwhile, has anyone noticed a Zionist provoked Intifada brewing? Jerusalem was once Palestinian dominated and reactionary settlers doing something about that is still and right now producing daily deaths. Individuals like Netanyahu, Putin and Obama DO matter and right now they do so more than is usually the case.

    11. The new COW are focussing on what is regional level backward sectarian divides and imperialist style power plays between the big regional powers. So what is not a doable thing from within Syria might look different to them. Western people have focused on the US that is still MIA.

  28. 28 patrickm

    1. Whatever one thinks of Juan Cole, at the moment his thinking is the connected think tank type that informs the overall planning environment for Obama and the West generally.

    At the end of the later link he states the widely held view that has in part kept Assad going;
    ‘I should explain that with Syria, I”m just trying to analyze. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I despise the al-Assad regime, which is genocidal and has engaged in mass torture. But I absolutely refuse to support any group allied with Ayman al-Zawahiri’s al-Qaeda or which envisions Syria as a hardline Salafi emirate where Christians, Alawites, Druze and Kurds (altogether maybe 40% of the population) as well as secular Sunni Arabs (another 45%) are second class citizens ruled by a self-appointed morals police with machine guns.

    I have a sinking suspicion that my position on al-Qaeda as a red line is not shared by some high US officials. If I am right about this, they should be ashamed of themselves and go back and read about the origins of al-Qaeda in 1980s Afghanistan. US-supported jihads have a way of biting us on the ass.

    Good and bad in today’s Syria is also contextual. Having the Baath Party or its goons, the Shabiha, rule religious Sunnis is bound to cause inequities. But for the fundamentalists to conquer Alawite Latakia or the Druze regions would result in an enormous tragedy.
    Ultimately Syria can only be healed by democracy and the separation of religion and state. Neither the regime nor the rebels get this, and there is no guarantee they ever will.’

    2. I have not looked any further at his current material (nor him for years) but his 2 all important ‘but’ caveats will IMV force him to concede at some point that the breakup of Syria is required AND because his formula can be restated as…Ultimately the region can only be healed by democracy and the separation of religion and state but as neither the regimes nor the rebels get this, either outsiders will impose this – and that is not going to happen in this era – or else Islamists like Erdogan in Turkey, Morsi in Egypt and Rouhani in Iran will have to defeat Islamo fascists AND the conventional militaristic fascists.

    3. His ‘no guarantee they ever will’ is the note of desperation that is required to make the breakthrough and reformulate his draining the swamp hope into a properly protracted plan that must see the Western block assist conservative Islamists defeat Islamo-fascists who are now backed by the zombie block.

    4. The regions tyrannies now at war and now openly backed by the contending realists of that Putin led zombie East and Obama led imploding West, remain the first blockage to this swamp. BUT there is unavoidably a war of 2 fronts that has been apparent since 9/11.

    5. The US version of realists whose policies contributed so much to solidifying the past blockages were never the only sort. They did so when the US was a superpower that dominated almost the whole region. Now Russian zombies have emerged and are killing revolutionary democrats every day, and so as usual are the Zionists a little further southwest. The Iranian deep state is currently doing even more killing than the Egyptian version and yet might be doing less damage than the Saudi version. The Turkish deep state is still being outmaneuvered by Erdogan (just) but civil war is beginning to look almost inevitable there as well. We can audaciously hope that this further catastrophe is steered past by this government the like of which draining the swamp theory proposes is the way forward for all the big countries of the region but it is only a hope.

    6. Older more conservative realists – but almost only at that tiny ruling elite level – were forced to confront their failure 14 years ago. It partially dawned on the tiny GWB ruling elite in the requirement to strategically respond to the 9/11. They knew 9/11 were attacks from the very people that the old policies had funded with a billion dollars and billions more from the KSA! The more liberal set round Obama are confronting their failure now. Cole is reminding them of this past as he presents Assad (‘which is genocidal’) as all that is residual because the FSA is for him an insignificant joke. Cole says NO dog in the fight! But is clearly accepting Assad remaining in power for now.

    7. The big policy change in 2001 was never drummed into all the levels required to ensure the realists never showed their disgraceful faces ever again. It was good old dad and his mates and the class all round after all! Amateur hour revolutionaries resulted! Anyway the evidence is it only partially dawned on the GWB ruling elite. They did not get the depth of protraction and the requirement to sell that position desperately hard through a Churchillian ‘I have nothing to offer but blood sweat and tears’ approach. They were not even close to getting how much effort was required and disastrous consequences followed.

    8. So despite this being the fifth year of this Syrian fight against a dug in Baathist state, what is still seen as a disaster was all along and is now the liberation of the Iraqi people! Right across the spectrum of the MSM and all through the ranks of the right and feeble minded if still genuine left this position became as set and fixed as the concrete that is dropping around people’s ears with Russian barrel bombing. This common understanding brought on the disaster of the Obama presidency where he has then done everything late and little to the point of inadequately.

    9. He did not get ‘it’. His wilful neglect wrong footed all genuine progressive thinking. Now after these years of just seeing baddies on both sides, there mostly are. Assad saw to that. Obama ‘could not care less if they all killed each other’ while the democratic revolution was facing a terrible fight. Now the game is changed and will take longer than he has to do anything much about. I say that not siding with the Islamist led Turkey, Obama has made a dog’s breakfast of both Syria and Turkey and the Islamo-fascists have flourished. Instead of heavily politically investing in the Islamist revolution in Egypt he dithered as the counter revolution in Egypt unfolded. The counter revolution was a tragedy of epic dimensions that is unlike the tragedy of Assad’s counter revolution only in that it has yet to unfold; but it will because as we have seen armed revolution is the only way forward to democracy when the peaceful elected political leadership is overthrown in a coup and the people imprisoned and tortured and terrorized by the deep state that had not been smashed. The Egyptian people will not make the same mistake when they take their next crack at their oppressors.

    10. First outplayed by Netanyahu then by Putin and now by Netanyahu again so some Obama supporting liberals have gone a bit silent yet they know the occupation of the Palestinian people must be ended by an audacious US effort for the sake of the democratic revolution. What do people say is being done about that?

  29. 29 patrickm

    1. Yet another week has gone by and the ground war is – despite all the rebel stories of effective resistance – going very badly for the Syrian revolution. Ground is being retaken daily by the ‘regime’; rebel casualties are no doubt heavy given what is being brought to the fight by the regime and its powerful backers. Many more refugees are on the move; and mighty Canada is being pulled out of the western COW fight against Daesh by a wonderful global warming alarmist liberal. Oh what joy. Also, Assad flew (as requested by Putin) to Moscow to meet with the great man and top officials including the PM, the Defence Minister and Lavrov and then both explain to the world that there will be a political process after they sort out these military issues. Not exciting news at all but rather a case of they would say that wouldn’t they!

    2. ‘Foreign combat troops on the ground are necessary.’, says Arthur and despite the recent history of the 2 countries they most probably won’t be Egyptian even ‘after coming out openly for its fellow fascists in the Assad regime’; instead ‘the Egyptian fascist military dictatorship has sealed its more rapid doom by [doing this] against the interests of its main sponsors, the House of Saud as well as further outraging its own people.’ The sullen Egyptian people must be utterly disgusted at what is leading them. Yet this leadership really is happening.

    3. Incredible but true; and that thought is interesting for me from a different perspective. Apparently the Egyptian thug can do stuff that brings on his more rapid doom but Putin is far too clever to have stuffed this up so badly, and instead MUST be doing something different blah blah. Quite frankly, the other one that stuffed up here is Arthur and his currently floundering search for the real Putin plan. At least Arthur has also evolved a possible role for Assad. ‘2. Key issue for me is that many people who DO know better are now joining the chorus of “There may be some brief transitional role for Assad”. This now includes Erdogan immediately after a chat to Putin. That MUST mean some deception plan is going on. Need to figure out what it is. I WON’T believe they all simultaneously acquired brain-rot no matter how overwhelming the evidence. ‘
    THEN we have
    ‘What may well be required, not only for Russian purposes but also by others who could easily frustrate Russian purposes, is the retention of Bashar Assad as a figurehead presiding over a regime in Damascus from which the die-hards of the Assad regime who actually run the regime and its war on the Syrian people had been removed.’
    FURTHER we get this comment after the Moscow meeting where ‘President Putin held a business dinner in the honor of President al-Assad attended by Russian Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Minister of Defense in addition to a number of Russian senior officials.’

    ‘… am now reasonably satisfied what is happening is clear enough…My guess (only) is that change in government has already occurred and Bashar Assad is now already some other government’s figurehead, though not yet announced. So partition with retreat from Damascus to Latakia is no longer a serious option but will continue to be bloviated about along with pontifications in favor of keeping the old regime as the only alternative to Daesh and fulminations about the imaginary Russian mediterranean superpower.

    Transition will be to an eventual representative Syrian government in Damascus dominated by revolutionaries after initial transition to “peacemakers” but without elements from old Assad regime and at war with Daesh. Important thing will be the international forces required for smooth transition without chaos and massacres. Presumably initial Russian and Iranian handing over to UN helmeted Germans guarding (and temporarily governing) Alawi with Turks and others elsewhere. Could still be long and messy but no longer getting worse or heading towards regional war.’

    I’m not counting any runs at all from that lot of actual bloviating yet. The expression not a clue springs to my mind.

    4. Anyway with Egypt what is bred in the swamp of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is evidently perceived as very dangerous to the Egyptian regime from the leadership’s perspective. First a huge hit of easy oil money to finance their Greek like debts. Those monies came from the stability conscious anti-democratic KSA’s ruling family. Then el-Sisi turned around and proclaimed Egypt’s return to greatness with his cap out to Putin. Mind you, the Russian economy is under justifiable western sanctions and as part of the bigger economic picture was already sliding into toilet land. It is thus possible that Egyptian boots may turn up as a part of the Putin led COW to defend the new ‘federal’ republic of Syria but it makes no real sense to me.

    5. It’s currently more like a descent into a similar civil war is slowly underway in Egypt but with the provocation of the new Palestinian intifada being fanned by Netanyahu, who knows what might spark the people in Egypt? An explosion of the people and subsequent implosion of that huge military machine when called out to shoot them down could either prevent the civil war (extremely doubtful) or announce that it’s in full swing in a 2nd revolution. But probably the fascists will keep the terrorised Egyptian people off the streets for some years yet. All the time there is a hated thug regime in Egypt of perhaps 10:1 against – and that would still mean it can hold for a few years of revolutionary struggle once it actually starts. The Egyptian gangster society is a bookend to Assad but without the national complexities, and therefore a more directly class based struggle – and there is no chance of Egypt falling apart like Syria has when it does get going.

    I now think no wonder el-Sisi has his hand out to the defender of all anti-democrats Vlad Putin.

    6. Russia makes weapons and wants friends in the Middle East and the KSA imports weapons and exports jihadists. What does Putin want? Well unmolested travel to his very own Club Med I suppose, but he might want a bit more than what he has already. Clearly Putin has his own ME project and revanchist restoration of a superpower delusions which includes Assad’s regime as only one – but now central component part. The U.S. is in Putin’s way as the old red line definer. Well Putin has undone that standing for now. Now HE is drawing the lines and getting flying agreements signed, and having lots of very important meetings especially in Moscow.

    7. The ground operations have cranked right up against the FSA who are now being driven back, and the ground attack helicopters and tanks are being used at exactly the speed against exactly the people that we ALL knew they would be. The refugees are moving in all the directions that the plan seeks to see.

    The first of the 2 great cities that this plan is after re-establishing substantial control over is to be Aleppo. Still lots of killing before a new political process is offered to whoever steps up next. Putin is dividing Syria he is obviously not attempting to re-establish Assad’s control over the whole country. This is what the ‘federal’ stuff will end up all about. It’s a process like trial separation, separation, divorce. Get people used to the notion that the refugees are not going to have a right of return etc; ah music to Israel’s ears.

    8. The Egyptian regime is now grounded entirely on terror in exactly the manner that Turkey was run for all those post war years of realist ratbaggery. Kissinger understands the old Turkey and he is not fond of the new model. He understands the new Egypt to the extent that anyone does. Egypt has a population in bondage to a military dictatorship re-imposed after the masses had a relatively peaceful revolution through an electoral process. With the Egyptian people off the streets the micro sized apex of that deep state slowly set their 4-8 million supporters loose on the other 80 million unarmed Egyptians. Constitutionally blocking the government with separation of powers etc.. every rotten trick was dragged out till the coup was launched.

    Egypt is now a scandalous joke of a country – with a deep state counter-revolution that currently refutes the draining the swamp thesis – as we see on the gobsmacked MSM as it jails journalists. Western people can only shake their heads while Western government’s shake their hands!! Rather than emulating the Islamist revolution of Turkey and the far less complete attempt in Iran we have in Egypt the counter-revolution waiting now on the next direction of the enraged but unarmed masses that as we have just seen won’t attend the polling. (Reported at 20% turnout) ‘More rapid doom’ to be sure and one can hope a second Syria is not on the way but then the strategic position of Assad’s regime was clear from the beginning as well. Just as clear was the complexity of and scale of the war that would be required to do the job that the ‘people want revolution’ civil war requires. Yes there is obvious strategic doom here but there is more chance of a million dead Egyptians required to seal this ‘rapid doom’ than 10,000. If el-Sisi expects a fight to start and he would be mad not to then Vlad would seem his best bet.

    9. Everyone knows that in Syria the people took up arms in response to Egyptian style deep state terror and Arthur is correct that ‘The war will not be ended from the air…’ and it is being fought on the ground now with after all these years of ethnic cleansing an almost definable footprint. It has been remarkable what a fractured Syrian military was capable of holding onto in their ethnic cleansing terror bombing war. The Putin led COW formed up and is stepping in fully aware that this ‘will not be ended from the air’. They may have done too little too late. I think they have. What looked doable on a Moscow planning table some months back may not look quite as good right now almost a month after the intervention bombing started.

    10. I agree troops ‘are needed to end, not “degrade” both Daesh and the Assad regime’ but Obama is not sending them and is involved in a war without a clear strategy. The U.S. COW is established to the extent that Daesh can never again form columns and go on a killing spree across a third of Iraq. The U.S. COW can now assure the world that they are in a position to bomb any such formation off the roads. The U.S. COW are also always degrading Daesh and now with Kurdish ground forces securing definable territory free of Daesh and almost free of Assad’s troops. The U.S. COW is not actively ending the Assad regime but is just supplying some of the troops that are fighting the Assad/Russian/Hezbollah/Iran/significant Iraq Shia elements-COW. The U.S. have an interest in continuing to arm anti-Assad anti-Putin rebels as does Turkey. They both have an interest in defeating Putin’s intervention as does all of Europe.

    11. Yet the intervention is underway and the Kurdish boots on the ground are not going to be attacked by Russians and Assad, nor will the Kurds attack Assad. More and more Hezbollah troops are being deployed in Syria and there are credible reports of Iranian troops going to Syria they are not going to start fighting among themselves. Disunity is death. They are just clearing the rebels in a systematic manner and generating even more refugees. There has been massive flows of the population in all directions. Rebels are being killed every day and if the manpower is kept up this can go well for Assad for the remainder of Obama’s term.

    12. Everyone knows that in a political solution Assad who had already effectively lost the war is expendable. The intervention was required because Assad was losing. The ‘federal’ structure is what is not expendable so that the armed Alawite statelet can continue to exist and continue to harden. Turkey did not want a Kurdish state but now has to accept one that is being established as part of this sham federation required ‘to prevent mass murder of the Alawi and other minorities when the Assad regime is ended.’

    13. Yes Kissinger is unsurprisingly incoherent. It IS easy for others to miss the fact that there is no start and end and thus no path to anywhere. But Kissinger has the start that matters for him and that is with him placed at the centre of history. 1973 and HE set the old path by supposedly booting the Russians out of the Middle East. Now as a result of straying from his path Russia has turned up again so ‘we’ are back to a cold war.

    For bad old Uncle K federal structure is meant for paper only when reality is independent regions defined by the map making war. For Kissinger the U.S. plays its military assurances role by bombing anyone that steps outside their new space after that is fought for and established over the next year or so.

    14. ‘Democratic revolution is the only path out of the Middle East Collapse.’ So if history is any guide the ME can expect a ‘ tumultuous period included periods of revolutionary military dictatorship, counter-revolutionary partial restoration and foreign invasion.’ It can expect overstretch and under resourced efforts. The full spectrum of revolutionary surprises are staring everyone in the face. Societies like the KSA make Iran look fully western in the degree of democratic revolution that it has achieved! Iran might now struggle through internally in the manner that Turkey has as the elected political leadership overthrow the military backed theocrats and the corrupt deep state. That Iranian deep state is not any different to the Egyptian and Turkish examples other than the God-bothering justifications that make it KSA like.

    Anyway 21st C Europe is well into a second childhood and barely able to sort out little African brutalities so is not going to make war while America won’t make war. And there will be no re-run of Lawrence of Arabia even speaking French and Putin is not in Nixon’s situation YET and won’t be for some years.

    15. Arthur’s key is ‘What may well be …is the retention of Bashar Assad as a figurehead presiding over a regime in Damascus from which the die-hards of the Assad regime who actually run the regime and its war on the Syrian people had been removed.’

    Well Assad’s Alawite part of the map is currently being spread and the U.S. are spreading the Kurd bit and after some extensive killing under Russian guidance of anyone that is fighting against Assad’s lawful government (AKA terrorists) acceptable political interlocutors will be found to have an opposition to then have control of other smaller broken bits of the former Syria in the coming federal structure. A structure that can then be dominated by the new Israel like entity. I don’t think this will work.

    16. No political force currently exists that would, even though the combined west under U.S. leadership ‘could easily have frustrated whatever Russian purposes might be by simply closing the Dardanelles and the Straits of Gibraltar.’ Arthur has not engaged with that problem that has been part of this puzzle from the start.

    17. There will be nothing like ‘a No Fly Zone enforced’ by anyone and what the Obama led COW are going to do even over the ‘Daesh region’ as Russian transports fly across from Iran transporting whatever they like is interesting to contemplate but Arthur has not engaged with that either. IMV the barrel bombing ethnic cleansing will continue because it remains essential to the map making that I say is going on. People have not considered it even worthy to reflect on what groups of people are refugeeing and in what directions; nor who is currently in control of what land and what they might remain in control of as the war goes on now with the Iranian / Lebanese / Iraqi / and Russian reinforcements. Arthur seems only interested in reminding people about how dumb Putin would have to be if he were not engaged in the immediate preparation of a coup against Assad, or a coup against the people that really matter and leaving Assad as a figurehead and yet he has noted how el-Sisi has taken actions that will sooner seal his doom and that won’t be anytime soon.

    I don’t think any Syria will re-emerge to be ruled by the Syrian people I think this is an ex-country and so is Iraq.

    18. Arthur, all the world’s a stage set for something to happen but Assad has NOT just been thrown under the bus by Putin the master strategist ie., there is no coup underway there is a very effective counter-revolutionary war being waged and it will go on for some time. We do know it’s 455 days to go for Obama but as for the doomed el-Sisi well he just might despite having sealed his doom be around with Putin and Assad for Clinton.

  30. 30 Arthur

    Briefly and again not politely there are NO Russian combat troops fighting Daesh and the fantasies about a small squadron of Russian planes making such a huge difference for long sound like too much reading “Sputnik”.

    Also the separation of Kurdish regions is an entirely different issue from partition of Arab Syria into separate territories for Sunni and other religions. As with Iraq there is only ONE capital city in each of those Arab nations. There is no Alawi nationality, no Sunni nationality and no Shia nationality. A fascist enclave could only be temporary and at war (as with Daesh in both Syria and Iraq), not anyone’s plausible goal for an outcome.

  31. 31 patrickm

    I noted the other day how the US swapped F15’s for the F16’s that were at Incirlik and that WAS big news! The now deployed F15 group only have 1 role and that is air to air combat and they were thus never deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan. I also noted the French Carrier task force that is adding to the crowd build up in the regional ‘stadium’. Standing on the sidelines in large numbers while the teams actually kill each other adds to the gladiatorial spectacle I suppose and it is a good deployment but what is the plan for waving the Russians goodbye from Syria? Nothing in the short term that is still clear enough.

    There has been yet another two weeks and Putin has SOME plan. What do people now say it is? No lightning coup against Assad that is now clear. This is not Putin preparing for a transfer of government power to the genuine opposition. Putin has no intention of waving a white flag and closing his naval base ending this arms market and going home in the manner of Nixon’s bombing of Hanoi etc before the deal to get a ‘decent’ breathing space till the south fell.

    Why it is so hard to actually write that Putin plan down is because it never quite adds up.

    When the US got out of Vietnam they were ignominiously gone for decades and never coming back in that old form but bombing to get the result that they did made ‘realist’ sense. Putting a Shia COW together in the context of the region war that is going from Yemen all the way around only to dump Assad that has been a good friend to Russia is not what is underway. Putin is trying to bind himself closer to Iran and Egypt and so forth in direct confrontation with Turkey that Russia wants to see split with the Kurdish national question. No good saying that the Kurds are a separate issue in the context of some form of a ‘federal’ arrangement. They are like everybody else armed and willing to fight and that is what is at issue. Those that are not prepared to fight either with or without an air wing are refugees and there are now since the start of this Russian intervention apparently another 120,000 of them.

    There appears to be a general western ‘plan’ forming for a debilitating proxy war directed at the Russians that will see sophisticated weapons supplied to dedicated infantry who will often be based across the borders. The selected rebels are then expected to destroy sufficient helicopters and tanks etc to bleed the Russians till they go home. But that could be a few years down the track and the Iranian /Russian patchwork Syria might prove more stable than some people seem to think. The Iranians are sufficiently invested in backing their side for us to expect more boots and the US led COW is so unloved even by the Kurds that a general confusion is probable for at least what is now 440 days to go before Clinton.

    I also noticed Clinton explaining in a major article how she loves Israel with the kick for me being in the tail when towards the end she mentioned how she would invite Netanyahu to Washington in the 1st month of her presidency. That says what I want to hear! But that is the trouble – it is what Putin just required of Assad – US interests require dealing with an issue where the Israeli governments have run the clock down and out played Bush and Obama. She will be ropable by the time she comes to office and as we all know US interests require that the dog wag the tail and not the other BUT here we are still. It drags on and on. In Syria the political solution that is democracy – when the majority of the Syrian people WILL hate the Russians and want rid of them – is not an option that the anti democrat Putin has in mind. If Putin can’t hold all of Syria and he can’t, he will want part of it.

    The Russians are killing the ‘FSA’ types that I support every day alongside Assad’s boosted up and Iranian supported remnant of a Syrian army. Russians are killing and causing refugees in Syria but are not killing Kurds or going after Daesh but have now had Daesh spectacularly attack them in Egypt in a manner that has galvanised the Russian peoples for Putin’s adventurism. So the monster that the Russians and Assad have bred in typical style for these types (one can recall the US in Afghanistan and the Israelis in Lebanon etc) – has bit back! Egypt is IMV inexorably getting drawn in with a spiral down economy built on Tourism spectacularly damaged for the price of a few kilos of semtex. (media reports are that 50 bil / 10 mil = 5,000 per tourist is what the attack will affect) and Cameron is shaking hands with the Assad of Egypt!

    The Russians now stand at 4,000 personnel deployed and very active while the US COW is still getting it’s ‘boots’ on. The Russians and Iranians ought to be expected to deploy more troops directly to the task of killing FSA types before the next talk-fest and they are still going to hold back on fighting Daesh for quite some time. That talk fest is still a couple of weeks away and it seems like the Iranians might not bother and instead just send more volunteers direct to the now moving front instead. The Shia build up goes on as is required. We can expect to see the conflict (that is directed north and ultimately at Aleppo as 1st priority now grow. The Russian COW will not be distracted from their map making and refugee causing activities.

    The search for acceptable oppositional interlocutors who are theoretically to be left in charge of some small ‘bantustans’ is also underway now. Anyone who wants some form of peace with Assad will be swept up in the loving Russian political plan.

    Turkey is now saying (after the election that was a good result for the government) they are ready to fight Daesh, so what this will mean for the area north of Aleppo where they have talked of providing the safe haven and is where push will come to shove first against any Russian air ‘assets’ is anybodies guess. I note the Turkish government is getting on very well with the Iraqi Kurdish government while the PKK has ended its unilateral ceasefire declared for the elections and resumed its conflict with the Turkish military. I hope that can be shut down but I guess black flag operations will continue anyway so not very hopeful here.

    The only clear thing about this war is what was clear 4 years ago and that was that Assad was not going to win in the protracted struggle that the people were about to start on for democracy but with 250,000 deaths since then it has still managed to surprise me every year and continues to do so.

  32. 32 patrickm

    It’s less than a month since the dramatic reports of more anti-Daesh Iranian troops arriving in Syria after the Russians started bombing. There were also reports of Iraqi militia deployments on the Aleppo front, and advances of Hezbollah troops around the Damascus region and they are also anti-Daesh. Assad’s army has had a lift in morale right across their ranks and the Kurds have also made progress under U.S. air cover in their separate areas as well. So that is the reality of a very mixed anti-Daesh front.

    The Syrian people in their masses understand that the Assad regime must go and it is the masses that make war. But he still has a mass support and brute power base. Assad backed by Russia and Iran is no longer able to even be the immediate target of the western world while ALL understand that he and his inner circle must have no part in the future government of any part of Syria for the war to actually end.

    The regional deployments alongside the also anti-Daesh Assad government troops (however temporary Assad and his innermost criminal circle turn out to be) have been deployments to undertake a coordinated offensive out of the previously collapsing Assad controlled areas. Advances have been made and that’s unsurprising because with the fresh troops and increased firepower – that has not apparently impressed some western people like Arthur – a general reversal of fortune was bound to be underway. The reversals may be temporary gains time will tell that tale, but from my perspective it does not look like these gains will be just a very short term back and forth. Manpower is naturally the issue. If a significant movement is able to produce troops out of Iran and Iraq (and the Shia movement is capable of that) then this flow of manpower will produce results on the ground for at least some time to come and that is most probably going to be beyond the term of the current POTUS – unless he goes against form and launches a dramatically different war. Events in Paris make this possible but improbable in his remaining 432 days. The western public’s focus has swung to Daesh while Assad and the Russian COW continue to focus on killing the western backed FSA.

    We still have no idea of the extent of Iranian deployments as they are keeping as low a profile as they can. The important thing is that we know they are being deployed and they are advancing. A month back It was also predicted that the attacks would be mostly against the FSA types at first and see a rapid move towards Aleppo and now we have reports of an Assad air base that had been under Daesh siege for more than a year now having that siege lifted and those Daesh forces also attacked. That is importantly timed before the next big meeting of leaders at G20. The anti-Daesh bonafides of Russia, Iran and Assad can be trumpeted to the world!! On TOP of this they have the good luck of the timing of the Paris outrages.

    The masses right across the world are in a state of confusion. The important thing is Iranian troops are together with the Russian air strikes having an effect, and people ought to expect more troops to be deployed in a quiet but constant build up. There have also been reports of actual named Russian soldiers involved in the ground offensives as a result of being on social media and Russians air crews with their ground support and protection are now operating out of a few more air bases and I predict there will be more bases still; I am saying that events from the bombing of the Russian airliner onwards have ensured that there will be more hardware of all manner and the troops to use it deployed. That is the subtle undercurrent. Whatever the west COW do to up their effort against Daesh will be matched by the Russian / Iran COW effort that also protects the root cause of the whole war!

    More very dramatic barrel bombing was recently underway with a credible report of many such bombs being dropped near Damascus. All this was happening while the world was distracted with a Daesh crime against a Russian civilian airliner. Then there is the Lebanon bombings and then there is the Paris outrages both home grown as a full on reference to the French colonial connection to Syria but also connected to terrorists blending into the refugee stream.

    The French President has said this attack is ‘a declaration of war’ – well now what? Putin could have said the same after the airliner. Actually they are both at war already dropping bombs so now they have to address what is to be done on the ground. Putin’s COW has ground forces working their way towards objectives. The western COW will have to deploy more ground troops to the region just for starters. 50 US troops on the ground in Syria don’t even constitute a trip wire deployment. The danger of COWs fighting each other is obvious when the Russians are already killing the forces of the FSA that the western COW claims to be supporting. But what is going to be the carve up of responsibility? If the west has no stomach for attacking Assad while the Russians and Iranians and Iraqi shia are killing our Syrians while ‘we’ are forced to rely on Kurds and Iraqi troops then we are in deep trouble.

    This while slightly under the radar Netanyahu went to Washington and is still around Obama’s neck as his thugs storm into hospitals and kill Palestinians provoking response shootings as the ‘intifada’ builds. Here Newsweek seems about right http://www.newsweek.com/bibis-pyrrhic-victory-over-obama-393630
    ‘Obama’s withdrawal from the peace process means it’s now entirely Netanyahu’s responsibility to manage an occupied Palestinian population whose youth are already wielding knives against Israelis and who are likely to grow more despairing in the absence of any political process.

    Obama also doesn’t appear to be rushing to Israel’s defense as the European Union, the country’s largest trading partner, implements regulations that now require some goods produced in Israeli-occupied territory to be labeled “made in settlements, rather than “product of Israel.”
    Aaron David Miller, a former State Department Middle East adviser and now vice president at the Wilson Center, adds there is still a possibility that before Obama leaves office, he could make a final attempt at diplomacy by publishing the secret parameters for Israel’s borders that he drew up last year, leaving them as a guideline for his successor, which would likely irritate Netanyahu. “Then the only question,” Miller wrote Wednesday in Foreign Policy, “is how long it will take the new president and Bibi to start annoying one another.”

    Progressives will have to live in hope and await the emergence of a new Iron lady in the form of Mrs Clinton, while at least the Europeans are putting more pressure on the economic viability of Israel and the US are doing the same in the background.

    Afghans are on the streets against Daesh types in a very big show of opposition http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/afghans-protest-killings-hazara-isil-151110135854342.html and that’s a spot of good news. Mobilising the masses is the only way forward.

    Turkey has had an election and is about to host the most important gathering of most of the key leaders for a region at war right on the edge of that war but with fighting breaking out in Kurdish regions of Turkey and Iran not present it is very temporary theatre where everyone will agree that Daesh is an international enemy of all peoples’.

    The British PM shook hands with the Egyptian ‘economic genius’ (beloved by Tony Abbott and other thoughtless right-wingers) who just loves tourist money, Russian weapons, and thoughts of ancient Saudi ‘tribute’ perhaps. He is not likely to see more tribute or donations from that terrorist producing swamp for a while. Egypt shows just how bad the Saudi regime really is. There is co-operation over Yemen but the relationship is bizarre. What we can say about the tourist industry in Egypt is that there is going to be massive levels of underutilised capacity into the foreseeable future, so Egypt must now match Greece as a source of puzzlement for how such basket case economies keep going; but they currently do!

    Petraeus years ago said “The reality is that Syria has become a regional, sectarian civil war. This is no longer an internal battle. You’re not going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again at the end of the day. This is truly a humanitarian disaster. It’s a true mess of the greatest proportions. We’ll see what history says about whether we could have done something at a certain point of time to make a difference or not. When you’ve gone through two long, tough, bloody, frustrating wars like we have (in Iraq and Afghanistan) I think (caution on military action in Syria) is the appropriate response. You should be a thoughtful internationalist because you have to look before you leap.”

    I wonder what he currently thinks? This was him September 22. Just as the Russian / Iranian intervention was breaking.

    I think events are moving faster with the US military 1 year into degrading Daesh. They are now making it plain that they ARE having an effect and intend to get on with their plan – whatever that is – outside of degrade Daesh.

    Kerry was in Tunisia and shouting to the world that nothing can be resolved while Assad remains. Yet everyone knows that! People have been saying so for years. But now Assad’s departure is dependant on Iran and Russia. Putin has the Islamic State now as the central focus and Iran has it’s current region wide war to fight and resolve. If the Iranians want to keep Assad going they have the capacity to put in sufficient troops to do just that. Everyone ought to know that they BOTH will have to throw Assad under the bus when they create the new arrangements but till they BOTH do create those new acceptable political forces, he is not going anywhere.

    The victory in Sinjar as the Kurds retake the small city (once home to 80,000) where the Yazidi people last year were mass slaughtered and or actually enslaved, especially women where they were not driven off as refugees is now off the news headlines but it is an event in this war that the refugees from Neverland can mark well. Rescue was the call back then now silence as the counter attacks pressure the Saudi private supporters of Daesh.

    Shutting down Daesh requires dealing with Saudi Arabia in the same manner that dealing with the Taliban in Afghanistan requires dealing with the revolutionary transformation of Pakistan.

    And last item for this week (remembrance day week) the drone killing of a notorious british Islamofascist internet killer. The British and the US working together and the British PM building support among parliamentarians for a bombing campaign where he can’t currently guarantee support. Paris has I would hazard to bet changed that.

    Silence to this extent among people who trumpet swamp draining theory is not conducive to working out what is going on currently or likely to go on in foreseeable time-spans.

    So now the issues are thrown up for discussion.

    BTW in Yemen the war goes on and the Saudi military ARE undoubtedly targeting hospitals as is Assad and the Russians in Syria and this ought to be apparent from the numbers alone. Such state sponsored criminal conduct goes on with hardly a blip in the MSM.

    No wonder this swamp produces the monstrous killer insects of Al Qaeda and Daesh, when electing the Muslim Brotherhood and such like Islamists is met with tyrannous mass murder by the Egyptian deep state and that is backed by the likes of Australia’s conservative governments.

  33. 33 patrickm

    This is what our Russian diplomats have just ‘concretely’ achieved with Kerry!
    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/14/EU-s-Mogherini-hails-very-good-meeting-on-Syria-.html At least It gives people a chance to speak up and tell all what they make of all this.

    The diplomats say (as the actual battle goes on) that in 6 months there will be a transitional government and in 18 months elections and as these porkers flew past they just got at least a month kicked down the road (double the last kick) when they can then meet ‘to review progress’ in the hunt for a ceasefire – except for terrorists but hey anyone who has taken up the gun against the Syrian government was declared a terrorist last month!

    The western COW are going to be very unhappy campers in a month’s time after more of their FSA types are killed under Russian bombs and Iranian guns while Assad’s side stays protected! But in the meantime the fight against Daesh, Al Qaeda, Nusra etc areas is a free for all for both COWs with no guesses for who will do the lion’s share of that work.

    Whoever else the Russians and Iranians are targeting that fight is going to ramp up from that very willing and very able coalition.

    Of course the Kurds will remain protected by both sides and thus solidify and selectively and judiciously expand their patches of the old Syria.

    Assad’s Russian protected and Iranian bolstered offence that is underway right now will deliver more disputed territory to Assad’s care according to the developing plan. Whatever that plan is the advance will not slow up now but just flex with the Iranian ground offence plans and deployments. To slow up now makes zero sense unless you are running out of men or materials and I say they are not.

    So like last month there will be no coup against Assad this coming month. Instead there will be thousands more refugees generated and clearer maps established.

    When the Russian guided phony peace plan moves another month further down the track the French and many others might still be getting their boots on for Daesh type areas only.

    Past practice is a good guide to the future and if people think they can see Putin failing to protect Assad who everyone knows is the root cause of this civil war while Putin calls white black then I have this bridge to Brooklyn I want to sell.

  34. 34 byork

    Patrick, it seems to me that the most significant recent developmewnt has been the Vienna talks and support by the major powers for a transitional government of national unity with internationally supervised free and fair elections involving all opposition groups within 18 months (excluding Daesh and Nusra).

    This seems to me to be how the politics of such a crisis usually works out.

    The numbers of refugees entering Europe, while making it clear they want to return to Syria one day, plus the more recent terror attacks in Paris that have compelled the French to bomb Raqqa, ‘brought the war home’.

    What do you make of the abovementioned diplomatic moves?

  35. 35 patrickm

    Barry; right now I am reminded of the past contention over Korea and Vietnam and the fine words that the diplomats got down on paper, while the actual process of dividing the two countries and prosecuting wars got underway. They would say that wouldn’t they – is my reply to the fully expected ‘peace in our time’ document that has just been waved about, somewhat triumphantly, by Arthur.

    I’ll just point out that Arthur is not responding to any article by anyone in the MSM and for very good reasons. Arthur can’t make sense of this stage of this war and has himself talked foolishly and he knows it. There is no attempt for a draft article for any MSM. Other comrades comments on a draft might help an author polish and then deliver it in some timely fashion but not to be for Arthur. This -non article- is consequential on the lack of sense evident, in the basic plot that Putin was about to run a coup to oust Assad. Flat out wrong. So good thing no article.

    The talk about tanks for Hezbollah being part of the ‘real’ deal that is connected to the quick removing of the Assad clique was flat out wrong as well. Those tanks are being put to use against FSA types in co-ordinated actions with what is an entire COW that fights with the Assad forces and protects them. That fight is the fact.

    There is no relaxed and open comment and inquiry on the issues / disaster for very good reasons. These reasons are other than not enough information to make serious comment on. There is now enough time to have thought about the big picture and to have conceded some points in a way that builds rather than attempts to shut down discussion. The Russians are doing something that on reflection ought not to have been unexpected at all.

    The Russians might not be led by a genius strategist at all. The Egyptian thug is no genius nor is Netanyahu, but Arthur foolishly paints Assad as some kind of puppet! He is still there and he has got a worldwide coalition directed against a big chunk of what has become the leaders and fighters of his real enemies and that was the Syrian masses that took to the streets for democracy in the first place. I thought this war would be very complex and that he would lose and I still do but to be fair to Assad he has fought a far more effective war than I thought would unfold against such big odds. He might go on leading a big chunk of Syria provided he does so in the context of the Iranian led regional war because as with Korea when the North were almost finished the Chinese stepped in with ground troops and undid the ‘UN’ effort.

    I believe the Iranians are slowly building up their manpower in a similar way that the Chinese did all those years ago(without other implications).

    By now, it might be expected that rather than continued insults from Arthur a serious attempt to re-explain the Russian / Iranian plan might have been run. This would have been useful now that Paris has exploded – but NO not to be, and this shows just more Obama like confusion while a real (even if fluid) plan actually unfolds.

    Even Arthur’s initial response to Putin’s aggression was far better than anything since, and that response was wrong on all major points.

    The Daesh attacks in Paris has not harmed Assad nor his current protector Putin. The world is being unavoidably dragged into a focus on Daesh and thus Assad unavoidably gains time, and space from this reality. That is big time and big space. So Arthur’s ‘something big is up’ theory speculating that Assad was going to be removed by the Putin COW is shown to be wrong.

    The actual current result is that another diplomatic kick down the road has been achieved, but this time twice as far as last time!

    Now in the spirit of relaxed conversation.

    The case of Korea is a bit similar with China off to the side prepared to put in the men and Iran in this case prepared to do that task. The same decisive players in the US and Russia are involved even though they are vastly changed entities.

    Recall Russian pilots and US pilots did kill each other in dogfights over Korea https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiG_Alley but if they do so now it would be a different matter all together as there is no hiding who is involved. The deployment of the F15’s to Turkey however shows that the US military are more than prepared for this eventuality. Russia is gambling that they will NOT come to blows with NATO provided they show enough toothy resolve to respond. Hence the cruise missiles and additional warships. I thus expect them to now send more forces and naturally to do so under the anti-Daesh response to Paris political cover as a matter of course.

    We ought to all accept that no one that runs these countries wants to come to blows. But Russian bombs are killing our ‘FSA’ side every day and they are not being told to stop their attacks. The US is still as weak as piss. Fact is Assad is being helped by the current one month adjournment.

    When one reflects on the madness of the wars that developed and the results achieved in both Vietnam and Korea, as well as the current status of the war for Greater Israel, it is doubtful that a self satisfied quoting of the latest diplomatic doublespeak is the best way to develop a deeper understanding of what is going on with this stage of this war. Try this…

    Assad can be dumped by being killed and that would work for anyone including the French and US but other than that I think he is not being ditched by Putin and the Iranians just yet.

    The actual practice of gangster overstretch in Chechnya, Georgia, Transnistria and Ukraine – as some egregious examples of current Russian activities – points to a different outcome for their diplomatic activities. Syria is now on the front burner while Ukraine gets moved to the back.

    This current diplomacy is IMV a first rate disaster. Obama has timing against him and can’t now smash Assad’s airpower command and control ground forces etc., as he could have when it was called for by people like McCain, who I note is reported as having predicted a Paris style attack from Daesh via the refugee flow. This is yet another case of willfully ignoring what such sloshing about of people will lead to.

    The Sunni population in this region are being bombed and not quickly liberated, so things have gotten much worse and are going to deteriorate further. (Take note of the condition of Iraqi Sinjar after liberation- a lot more of Syria is going to look like that. Obama has been forced to back off from Assad and instead take on the Saudi backed elements that formed up in Iraq and Syria and are now just called Daesh but are all manner of Sunni types that are so intermingled and deep among the people that the entire population will be involved in dealing with their destruction for years. Just bombing from the air is a bloody disgrace. Dresden like activities remain criminal. They can’t be destroyed without a very big war and that is now effectively declared. It reminds me of the destruction of the German Nazis. They were also a significant chunk of the population that had to be fought and killed.

    Assad is still the root cause of the war in Syria and people can’t forget this. So Syria is effectively broken into four or more pieces. Half the country is desert but mostly Sunni dominated that is where COW1 is now confined lest it come up against COW2. The division is real the claims that it is not sought are phoney.

    I note the conservatives are predictably returning to the realism that is at the root of blocking progress. Yesterday I saw Abbott praising Sisi on the Bolt Report. If we are going to solve these problems then the commentators etc. will need to think outside their box. Abbott was revoltingly stupid just like Bolt! This is the level they have got to over the Islamist V Islamofascist debate. They have STILL not got it. ‘We’ swamp drainers are still not in the MSM. (Name the best since Hitchens death). ZIP.

    Why would Putin get his forces involved only to upset EVERYONE then cave in and agree to being shoved out in a political process WHEN Iran is prepared to put in the manpower? Is Iran and the Iraqi and Lebanese Shia militias that have been subjected to terror bombing for decades prepared to put in that manpower? I say they are.

    The current explanation from Arthur is because if Putin didn’t jump in when he did then things would be even worse! OK, why not run that thought out loud? Russia supplying Assad for years and then bombing directly for him is bound to make it worse for Russia when Assad is shoved out. Better that they had just supplied him and let him fall.

    Well the past can’t be helped I suppose goes that reasoning so let’s draw a line and start again. But to start with some treacherous move and direct betrayal by Putin? Well that can’t work unless the new government is sympatico, so hence a search for some acceptable political interlocutors to then avoid bombing. New labels to put on the old bottles. They search for them and they keep bombing the opposition ‘terrorists’ like the West backed sorts of the FSA. Why not dismember Syria? Why not say one thing and do another? Putin does this as a way of life!

    Once the South Vietnamese puppet government fell the US were gone from Vietnam. IMV once Assad is gone his backers will be gone if there is anything like a free and fair election with proportional representation, and thus there can’t be such elections and all talk about them is diplomatic dust at this point. Why send good Putin effort after bad unless the Iranians are prepared to keep the required manpower up? If you are prepared to lose because the other will be worse why not lose in a manner that does not piss off everyone in the process and eventually see you have to slink off back through the Bosphorus to your gangster port of Crimea? Actually I don’t think he is prepared to lose yet.

    Shoved out is what the Russians will be if the opposition that are being bombed by Putin get their way.

    Better from Putin’s perspective to unite with some forces that want him as a protector and friend. Better to – as an old fashioned sort – divide Germany, Korea, Vietnam, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, India, Palestine, Ukraine, Georgia. What is new about imperialist thugs dividing countries even when the country makes sense and the new enclaves do not other than as gangster run enclaves?

    Why are the Kurds now assured of their autonomy in the north when the Turks did not like this one little bit? Why would Putin not make Kurds his bestie? If the Russians were not involved then the Turks might have intervened to prevent that outcome. But the Russians are involved and immediately showed their teeth to the old foe Turkey. The US did not protect Turkey and end the Assad regime in a timely manner YEARS ago when the Turks pleaded with them to do so, and so now that has allowed this flanking move to develop. The Turks really did want Assad gone and Syria kept together, yet years on Assad is not gone, Syria is not together, and the Kurds are armed and effective and working with the US and not being attacked by the Russians. The Kurds have no intention of being used by anyone to do their dirty work.

    As GWB said with some people you don’t know if they are telling you the truth… but with Vlad you always know. Vlad says they want to keep Syria together, well ask yourself how Syria reconstituted – because it is not together now – after free and fair elections would not result in a humiliating Russian cruise back to the Black Sea.

    One other point. I don’t think the Turkish government want Daesh running any space south of them, and yet they are said by all manner of people, specially Kurds, to be prepared to let that be the reality rather than have a Kurdish state emerge! Maybe; but whatever they thought the world has now said NO. No Daesh state is going to survive this war nor even one closely sympathetic to it and the Saudi supply train is going to be addressed as well. The world is turning towards the Kurds as reward for their reasonable conduct in what is a well understood swamp. See the mass graves uncovered today in Sinjar. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/15/iraq-yazidi-mass-grave-sinjar-kocho and there are said to be still 2,000 women in Daesh captivity! That is how bad this is and it is right through Africa as well. So the draining the swamp line ought to be easy to be deployed in the MSM yet not so!

    Silence and isolation in the very manner that Mao criticised as the way blockheads go about solving problems won’t do from my POV. I say people should unite and don’t split. People ought to speak up and those that always carry on like splitters will predictably do it again. But there is no site that people are pointing me towards and no articles submitted to the MSM, so others people can make of that what they will.

  36. 36 Arthur

    When I found the news coverage completely incomprehensible and that one possible explanation might be that they really are imbeciles doing something catastrophically stupid I thought it urgent to study the matter.

    Now that I have a better understanding and a more plausible explanation for what previously appeared to be incomprehensibly catastrophic I don’t have time to write and do not have much to add to what has now become blindlingly obvious since the Vienna agreement.

    Both the regime’s major allies are in agreement with an orderly removal of the regime and have acted to ensure that happens now. End of story.

    It is not an insult to refer to endless description of major combat involving forces that simply are not in Syria and have no means to get there as hallucinatory.

    Those who ran the regime’s war before are not in power now or they would be denouncing the treachery (as for example the Theiu regime did when Nixon signed its death warrant at Paris immediately after outraging the world with the Xmas bombing of Hanoi to distract attention from the fact that he had simultaneously cut off funds to the Thieu regime until it signed too).

    BTW Saigon did not become Ho Chi Minh city until several years later. The transition being agreed on now could be shorter.

  37. 37 Steve Owens

    Up till now I have considered that the idea of helping the people of Syria to be just so much hot air.
    As I pointed out way back, Assad is different from Saddam and Gadaffi because Assad has friends. Friends in international politics are like friends in gangster movies you have them right up to the point that they need you no longer, just as the South Vietnamese found out when the US pulled the plug.
    IS gains money from donations coming from Saudi Arabia yet Saudi Arabia is part of the anti IS coalition, really!
    Members of this coalition are so serious that Australia is the second biggest contributor, really?
    I was dismissive that the coalition was allowing IS to truck millions of dollars worth of oil out of their area sometimes with Assad’s help. I did think that this showed the complete lack of seriousness up until today when Russia destroyed 500 oil tankers.
    The other water mark of non seriousness is the ransom situation. IS makes millions of dollars in people paying ransom and European nations (yes France) have allowed the payment of ransoms. The Australian government allowed Dick Smith to hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars to Somalian kidnappers and Obama recently relaxed regulations to allow for US families to cough up millions straight to IS
    There are companies set up that provide ransom insurance which is just an organised way to funnel money to IS.
    So theres my list Ill believe that the coalition is serious when they call out Saudi Arabia, put in more effort that Australia, stop paying ransom and attack IS oil tankers. Well today Russia hit the oil tankers and IS may well regret bringing the man who leveled Grozny into play.

    Dick Smith what a fool

    There are some very fine lines here

  38. 38 patrickm

    If anybody has something else to do then go do it but this thread is about recent events in Syria and what the various sides are up to including making all manner of agreements and undertakings to hold free and fair elections.

    The issues of this ongoing war have altered considerably since Russia and Iran directly intervened a couple months ago. Last month the Turkish air force shot down a Russian drone and spelt out some red lines for The Russians. Then very pointedly the US F15 squadron turned up. Then the war altered dramatically as a result of the terror attacks in Paris. And now another less dramatic turn has occurred with the Turks F16’s shooting down the first Russian aircraft – an Su-25 ground attack aircraft – and Turkmen rebels that were under attack by the Russians at the time shot the airmen, in the air as they parachuted down inside Syria. Technically nothing wrong with that under the laws of war, whatever the bad taste it may leave. They weren’t prisoners. They were the enemy and they had not indicated surrender so they are caught out in the open and killed like anyone else. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/952c366a-92ba-11e5-94e6-c5413829caa5.html#axzz3sS2yyxlS

    If that report is correct and it probably is then what was ‘only a matter of time’ has occurred. Russia carried on attacking Turkmen rebels near the border even as the red line was spelt out. It has carried on with it’s war plans while continually pointing the media attention towards Daesh. Till this broke the ABC types had been doing almost nothing but report the latest Russian spin.

    Now we wait as the ‘ball’ is currently in Putin’s court and he has stated that Turkey is the accomplice of terrorists and that there will be serious consequences. Turkey called NATO together (first time since 9/11) and Obama is spinning his usual dithering clap trap instead of standing up to Putin’s aggression against rebels that are U.S. and Turkey backed. I think that the month ‘delay’ in reconvening the Vienna choir is now history. Whatever Putin determines to be serious consequences we will soon know but he is sure to do something. He will not act like Obama did when Assad crossed the set red lines.

    Assad is still there BTW and there has not been a coup against him or his inner circle.

    I’m not buying the idea that there has already been an “end of story moment for Assad so we can all move along”. Russian troops are on the ground in Syria and their artillery fire is directed at ‘FSA’ types http://www.janes.com/article/56107/russia-confirms-forward-deployments-in-syria

    Russia is expanding its involvement

    Two big COWs means contention and map making and so Russian “frozen conflict zones.” are on the way to Syria. Here is an example of U.S. F15 protection for Turk F16’s supporting ground forces.
    http://www.afp.com/en/news/turkey-backed-syria-rebels-take-2-border-villages-report thus the Russians better NOT now bomb this bit of Syria and if they were to that would be a NATO humiliation. Control lines and ‘trip’ wires are being scrambled for right now. Those lines will have to harden at some point. Obama will have to quickly discover all about real red lines.

    We have seen this Russian ‘movie’ with exactly the same director several times before!

    I also think …‘it is crucial that the West look at the events in Ukraine and Georgia (and Moldova) not in isolation from each other but of a piece and address the broader issue of Russian expansionism.’
    ‘The international community has often supported Georgia’s aspirations of achieving territorial integrity, yet Russia managed to walk away from this conflict entirely unpunished. This weak international response laid the groundwork for Russian aggression in Ukraine few years later.’

    ‘The Russian government had been backing the separatists in both Tskhinvali and Abkhazia, and easily brokered a ceasefire deal, permanently moving its peacekeeping forces to the regions that would later be described as “frozen conflict zones.” South Ossetia and Abkhazia became de facto republics. Since then Georgia has worked towards reuniting with its breakaway territories, but without much luck, due primarily to Russian meddling but also to lack of willingness to compromise from both sides.’

    Russian imperialism is obviously not something new. What is new is a total lack of ANY U.S. leadership in the current POTUS.

    So back in Eastern Europe, last year’s international humiliation festers on and Putin who has a hammer for his tool kit will respond when he chooses and break his last agreement and grab more territory and make further demands on Ukraine. A winter offensive can be expected from winter specialists. The point is Putin will choose the if and when this front becomes unfrozen after whatever nationalist ‘provocation’ he thinks is sufficient breaks the ‘ice’.

    The context is creeping annexations and classic power projection bullshit

    Russia has long term form in running undeclared wars of blatant imperialist aggression

    There is no reason to think that what remains of Georgia will be safe from further aggression when opportunity presents either! Moscow map makers might very well like to do away with a hostile Georgia after all these 2 mini states carved out of Georgia are very provocative and ensure permanent Georgian hostility anyway. Rather that good relations and the speedy development of closer economic ties Putin has chosen gangster enclaves and the destruction of what were the then current economic connections.

    I think a revanchist Russia in 2015 is being appeased after years of aggressive map making and that Putin is NOT retreating from Syria in any Nixonian manner and frankly the understandable Hollande reaction to the terror attacks in Paris is currently ADDING to the overall disaster.

    Reports in the Washington Post of a great split between Russia and Iran over Assad and how Iranian troops are going home from Syria right now shows just how dense the fog of war can get. There is zero credibility in the notion that the Iranians are currently pulling out of Syria. The MSM is neck deep in bullshit and any line that says Putin is bringing the Syrian war to a negotiated end in a transfer to the decent opposition and then presumably going home to Moscow is rubbish.

    Now theoretically for the democratic revolution to progress it may not be essential that Russians have to even eventually leave Syria. We know that the U.S. has not left South Korea yet and the democratic revolution has come to that once tragic place and the same is true with Germany, Italy and Japan. True Russia HAD to leave Eastern Europe and where they haven’t, trouble to one extent or another is there to this day, but change goes on and no one has any stomach for direct conflict between Russia and NATO, even Putin though in his case I wouldn’t bet much on it. The best democrats can hope for is that the cold war, that ought to be cranking up over all of the Russian actions to-date, does so and goes ice cold. Currently however there is a thaw!

    Putin is winning concessions despite the last 2 months of directly killings ‘our’ FSA sorts that ought be defended as well as supplied. The Russians / Iranians / Iraqi shia and Hezbollah call them terrorists. Russian attacks on them ought to be costly in every way. The diplomatic front is the least of these, but even there costs are not apparent. Now the Turks have stood up.

    The French in making it clear that they are at war, have moved past dithering to wildly lashing out with the immediate political bombing and with 2 carrier task forces deploying they have announced another level of contention is possible. NATO will at least be in a better position to stand up to Putin if the Munich style Vienna agreement goes pear shaped and caving in changes to shove time. The French will also have to put some troops in too – whatever is said now – because they are required and so some more trip wires will be scattered about.

    The French will still have to develop a strategy for winning this war because plainly they are following Obama in not having any credible strategy currently and are just lashing out. Just look at who is running the West at the moment. All of them are hopeless and with Canada and Australia it has just got even worse.

    The root cause of the widespread violence in the ME is not just Assad but goes right through him to the fact that the entire Islamic region is a swamp to varying degree. That implies that more ‘political bombing’ is useless.

    The problem was NEVER liberating the Iraqi people from the Baathist crime family from Tikrit in 2003. A problem was that disbanding an army only really happens after is is fully defeated otherwise it melts into an underworld and a Daesh style army results. If you don’t make deeply democratic revolution this current 2015 stage is the outcome. The Syrian regime run by Assad (the non puppet) and his innermost well connected train was permitted by the Western world to shelter the Iraqi ‘fascists’ and then after their own people revolted permitted to generate millions of refugees. All just ho hum, tut tut, till the refugees themselves took action and a full blown crisis slowly erupted for the European governments. Perhaps the Turks turned a blind eye and helped the flood get going, I would have. Assad was well known to – as strategy, be lightly fighting Daesh and focusing on fighting the FSA! Now the independent opportunists connected to Daesh have taken up the opportunities and the leadership of Daesh have had the house pulled down on their heads. A call to kill Westerners as opportunity presents has produced results in both directions. But the final outcome from Paris was strategic mobilisation of NATO.

    Frankly, a decade of terror in Iraq and these several years now in Syria point to an urgent reforming of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as a now vitally required action to strategically deal with Daesh types. The Iranian and the Egyptian governments could agree on that.

    But what will the Shia protection squad COW do with the root cause of the Syrian war AND Assad? Assad is not quite THE root cause but that cause goes right through him. The war on two fronts is real and the caving in to the Russian / Iranian COW is anything but ‘end of story’.

    Back on Sunday 28 September 2014 the following was unremarkable.

    ‘The world is different from what it was when I became Secretary General of Nato five years ago. The challenges we face are greater and more complex than at any time since the end of the Cold War. They are driven by forces that defy our freedom and reject our democracy. Surrounded by an arc of crises, Nato must work even closer with like-minded partners around the world to uphold the rules-based global order on which we have built peace and prosperity.’

    This article slipped by with no mention of Assad after years of this terrorist producing war being the root cause. It slipped by with no understanding of the looming refugee crisis as millions stood on Europe’s fence just about ready to jump over. What it was good on was…

    ‘In our eastern neighbourhood, Russia has shown utter disregard for international law and a brutal determination to redraw borders by force. The pattern is clear. From Moldova to Georgia, and now in Ukraine, Russia uses a mix of economic, political, propaganda and military pressure, to produce instability and manufacture hot conflicts which it can freeze at will. Moscow’s master-plan is to prevent its neighbours from choosing their own path so that it can rebuild a sphere of influence.

    Russia’s behaviour is my deepest disappointment of the past five years. My very first speech as Nato Secretary General, in September 2009, focused on seeking a strategic partnership with Russia. I saw this as a historic opportunity which my generation could not miss.
    But while we did expand our practical co-operation in the common fight against terrorism, narcotics and piracy, we never agreed on missile defence. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has challenged our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. Despite our efforts since the collapse of communism, Russia clearly views Nato not as a partner, but as an adversary.

    Unless Russia changes course, there can be no business as usual, and I expect that engagement with Moscow will remain a considerable challenge for the foreseeable future.’

    Russia has not changed course! Western leaders have instead caved and are now talking ‘pragmatism’!

    Abbott has been swapped for a softer Turnbull and Harper for a limp Trudeau. Cameron has showed how he has had to follow along – no leadership there! They have all accepted the interim role of Assad. Canada now leads the way.. http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/trudeau-tells-g20-leaders-canada-will-still-pull-jets-from-iraq-and-syria-1.2660185 Harper was a stronger and wiser leader but now we have a Trudeau the f..ing climate alarmist! At least he has been shamed into emphasising a Canadian effort to train everyone’s best friends the Kurds!

    I picked up on the Russian intervention early and what I saw was another Putin disaster about to unfold. Arthur currently says; ‘When I found the news coverage completely incomprehensible and that one possible explanation might be that they really are imbeciles doing something catastrophically stupid I thought it urgent to study the matter.’ and that is misleading because the first thing done was to put some initial thoughts down on paper, and those thoughts have not stood up so well. Actually they were silly thoughts then and they remain so now that the game has changed once again and for the worse.

    The revolutionary transformation of Syria is being set back by the incompetence of the Obama led COW and the aggression of the Putin COW.

    Now before anymore of this historical slippage gets underway a little book keeping is in order.

    Arthur then latched onto a thought – that he has sought confirmation of ever since – as his ‘more plausible explanation’. The thought was that this aggressive Russian move would not work as it appeared so as that was obvious to Arthur it must be a surface appearance hiding a quick coup against Assad and his small Syrian train. A coup that Putin is managing in a similar way to when Nixon pulled out of Vietnam.

    NOW after a couple of months when this quick treachery theory did not happen he announces that he was nevertheless correct because diplomats have produced a document!

    NOW APPARENTLY there is nothing very interesting left to write about and he waves his Vienna agreement as the ‘blindingly obvious’ confirmation of his more plausible and sophisticated view, that turns out to be that at some point over the next couple of years the Russians and the Iranians will dump Assad. As the yanks say; give me a break!

    It’s more than notable that the Vienna agreement is all premised on dealing with terrorism! The flimsy document claims that the whole show must be Syrian led and all the while Assad is and will be protected from any NFZ war and is permitted to attack terrorists! So far no legitimate opposition is even publicly recognised by Putin’s COW (naturally that issue is almost covered in this peace in our time paper by bringing in Jordan for a middleman job!).

    What is actually underway in this war is day by day attacks by both COW’s and there is – strangely enough – now always sufficient manpower for these recent Assad gains that both happen and then are consolidated before yet another ground assault gets underway. That is how it’s been for almost 2 months. The Russian protected COW has been killing the US / Turkey backed opposition at will and without consequence. NOW there has been a consequence.

    After the FSA types have been under Putin’s hammer the Sunni and Saudi backed groups are now collectively just called Daesh (no matter what) and are now going to be attacked by ‘everyone’ and in a manner that is going to drive even more refugees out and extend rubblestan as the negotiations drag on as required. This has been a stunning result for the region wide struggle between Shia forces led by Iran and Sunni forces as led by that centre of the swamp the KSA. Isolating Egypt from the KSA has been an important outcome for the Iranian-Russian COW.

    Reflect on the Russian airliner that was blown out of the sky in Egypt by Daesh. Egypt has been economically hit for six as a result. I understood what happened straight away because that really was obvious. But the Putin machine didn’t know when to make use of that announcement and only did so on Nov 18. Putin played the card in a way that had the ABC types prattling a line! It is very much just a question of keep everything up in the air and use it when there is an advantage as the controlling top determines. However that produces a result that what was once quick and decisive then becomes slow and ponderous in this typical Putin dead end move.

    Now the world is faced with a solid and total air cover for the Assad regime in the west of Syria and the ‘civilised’ U.S. led COW will attack east and will destroy plenty of Assad enemies on that outer ring, while the Russians will destroy whoever they choose to on the centre rings – as will everybodies good buddies the Kurds – and the protected barrel bombing Assad will destroy who ever he wants to on the innermost rings as he re-establishes with his powerful external friends something that the Iranians and the Russians and Hezbollah have an interest in preserving – even without him and his train having to actually run it.

    Let’s for now call it an enclave despite the agreement claiming once again, just like the 2012 document, a commitment to Syrian unity. At least the Kurds are an admitted exception from Arthur but conceded with no discussion of the implications of that!

    Arthur said ‘Now that I have a better understanding and a more plausible explanation for what previously appeared to be incomprehensibly catastrophic I don’t have time to write and do not have much to add to what has now become blindingly obvious since the Vienna agreement.’ Good oh, but on his way out of an evidently useless and stupid inquiry…then comes the slippage. ‘Both the regime’s major allies are in agreement with an orderly removal of the regime and have acted to ensure that happens now. End of story.

    NOW. Really? That’s not what I’m seeing.

    ‘It is not an insult to refer to endless description of major combat involving forces that simply are not in Syria and have no means to get there as hallucinatory.’

    I’m apparently imagining troops and refugee movements! Yet to me the manpower is obviously there otherwise the work that they do – that has been reliably reported – would not actually could not be happening. The reports of both troop and refugee movements are as well known to me as the new game changing Paris events.


    ‘Those who ran the regime’s war before are not in power now or they would be denouncing the treachery (as for example the Thieu regime did when Nixon signed its death warrant at Paris immediately after outraging the world with the Xmas bombing of Hanoi to distract attention from the fact that he had simultaneously cut off funds to the Thieu regime until it signed too).’

    That is a catch 22 idiocy. Assad’s train can no longer exist because if it did exist it would be running for the boats and it is not running for the boats so it does not exist’

    ‘BTW Saigon did not become Ho Chi Minh city until several years later. The transition being agreed on now could be shorter.’

    WELL…BTW everybody ought to know that I have been saying ALL ALONG that at some point the Assad regime – that was losing a war for Christ’s sake- would be thrown under the bus by Putin and the Iranians. What I have been trying to get up for sensible discussion in the face of such twaddle as Arthur has sprouted about imminent coups is that the bus just ain’t NOW.

    Waving this current ‘pragmatic’ cave in to Putin around is as useful as holding up the ‘Action Group for Syria Final Communiqué 30.06.2012’ that it rests on. This Putin win is just more paper and Assad is still being protected while the ‘terrorists’ are to be bombed at will.
    Despite the 2012 document this latest phase started with NO legitimate armed opposition recognised by the Russians. All were earlier declared terrorists BECAUSE they were armed and attacked with impunity! That impunity has stopped when the attacking aircraft stray over the Turkish border.

    The Vienna paper might mean as little as the fact that the North Koreans were doomed TILL the Chinese provided the manpower and saved the day. That Korean abomination is still there to this very day! The idea that the Iranians have no ability to put in manpower as they think fit is a failure to get it! The Iraqi militias are involved and so are one sort of organised Lebanese. After a very long civil war Lebanon exists to this day as a singular entity that is actually functionally divided and nothing can be done with Hezbollah unless you want to start another round of that civil war. That is a model for what is possible for Syria. What is not possible was and is Putin just pulling a coup in any of the ways described by Arthur. Disunity at that point would have been implosion and ‘death’.

    Some smaller areas that agree to work with Assad WILL now produce some small ceasefires in the next 6 months and otherwise in the big picture areas ceasefire will not be a going concern whatever the piece of paper says!

    Hollande has completely lost focus and Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Turnbull etc, are useless as is but the effort is now to be directed at the symptom. The root cause is slipping past under the guidance of Iran and protection of Russia. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ex-nato-leader-calls-for-ground-forces-to-fight-islamic-state/article26639960/
    “You cannot fight IS and at the same time save Assad. …You cannot consider the Assad regime as a bulwark against terrorism. On the contrary, this would fuel the recruitment of IS fighters.”
    “An air campaign alone won’t do the job. You will need ground forces to fight Islamic State. Through an air campaign you can pulverize the enemy, but you cannot control the land,” Mr. Rasmussen said in an interview in Toronto on Friday.
    Although Western military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya were problematic, “look at Syria and you will see that inaction is more costly,” he said. “While action may not be perfect, inaction may be more costly.”

    There are people still with us who were born prior to the modern map of Syria. Indeed Australia is an older country than this crossroads trouble spot though in Syria we find Damascus, perhaps the world’s oldest still functioning city, and this paradoxical twist leads us on to two more.

    The last time Australians had troops in Syria we were there to kill Frenchmen in WW2. Australians lost almost as many then as we later did in Vietnam. ‘Australian casualties during the fighting in Syria and Lebanon numbered 416 killed and 1,136 wounded. Approximately 1,000 Vichy French troops were killed throughout the theatre.’
    https://www.awm.gov.au/military-event/E295/ Curiously our French enemies had once sung La Marseillaise and raised the same flag that our allies do now. Maybe they stopped singing but they could not forget the song. Clearly all manner of things change even when they look very nearly the same and so it is with diplomatic documents.

    I would guess Obama doesn’t know this obscure bit of Australian / French history (why would he) and I bet Turnbull didn’t think it worth mentioning in any chat about the very complex war that requires complex thinking. Curiously I don’t even think these ‘leaders’ would bother to chat about the war. Climate ‘altering’ negotiations are looming for Paris and that would seem far more appropriate for these alarmist liberals if they even got past small talk after the self evident condemnations of Daesh. I doubt even a sensible chat about the weather could take place amid the photo op madness of these very important busy people that are our western ruling elites.

    Consider the fiasco of the Syrian refugee stream and consider what rubbish open borders and country shopping is at this time of war. Sacré bleu! When are people going to face up to their utter failure to come to grips with the refugee issue? The enemy has taken advantage as was predicted.

    Australia is stuck with the obviously talkative if strategically unwise ‘pragmatic’ point piper liberal/greenie well into that foreseeable future where people will still find Putin and possibly even Assad. Turnbull has given up the game with his APEC response. I think that Assad being still around for Clinton to deal with is even PROBABLE given the current ‘peace in our time’ paper while the almost indiscriminate revenge bombing has gone force de frappe-ing ‘ballistic’. If there were such great targets why would the US etc not have taken them out over the course of the last year? All the ‘good’ people want to bomb from the air now! That is a disaster! The Sunni people are to be sacrificed in Assad pleasing manner.

    At any rate there was zero prospect of a coup against Assad over the last couple of months when others were wildly speculating that it was imminent and backed by Lebanese driven Russian supplied tanks no less.

    Who can doubt that ‘standards are slipping’ when you turn on the ABC or talk to teachers and cultural workers; overwhelmingly the familiar alarmist followers of Obama and Turnbull are on full dimwitted display. It’s catastrophically bad all the way round and there is no leftists out there in the MSM doing a regular job like Hitchens used to do or even close to it. Nothing, Nada, Zip.

    The sight of a French crowd panic, broadcast on the BBC/ABC around the world is a take home observation of the Islamofascists. The west is soft and the leaders are making it worse and so is the MSM. These leaders want no boots on the ground; so the Islamofascists can stay dispersed and let the expensive air campaign bomb civilians who from the enemy’s perspective god will take care of anyway! Until a proper place in the MSM is secured for the regular promotion of revolutionary war making and thus a debate is forced out of the MSM we are faced with America First style isolationism as the undisputed background noise of what it is to be left.

    Even Abbott gets the requirement to send Australian troops back to the region that another generation was prepared to sacrifice lives in over an unavoidable fight. Turnbull has given no indication that he gets anything to do with the swamp – just like he could not get the republic issue- but he has shown that the pragmatic approach is that Assad will stay till Putin and the Iranians says otherwise.

    Abbot only a while back thought that both sides were baddies and acted accordingly now he’s a feather duster and an Obama supporter is ‘leading’. Gawd save us!

    Every country around Syria is either broken up or breaking up or has the potential to. In the case of Egypt the struggle for freedom could see it understandably spin into a civil war every bit as honorable as the French revolution yet our rulers shake the hand of the new low life swamp blocking tyrant. A MSM challenge is right there!

    Consider a possible strategic fuck up. Syria and Iraq has a big chunk of them including Mosul run by the Islamofascist ‘cult’ that we call Daesh. Some of its followers – off their own bat IMV – slaughtered the innocent in Paris and the heavens are coming down as a consequence. Other Daesh in Egypt mass murdered innocent airline passengers because they were Russians and did not bring down the heavens but did cause massive damage to the Egyptian economy and lashed out at the Russian enemy. They would have considered that a big win. Still others placed bombs in Lebanon in a Hezbollah area and everything would have proceeded as business as usual but then the very next day Paris exploded. Actually just to show how useless Hollande is from my POV, the Paris terrorists had previously launched a slaughter on a high speed train (foiled by 2 brave US servicemen) BUT if it had worked it would have produced similar casualties in similar manner to the later ‘success’ and thus also brought down the wrath of the entire ‘civilised’ world. But the French leadership DID NOT ACT THEN as IF it had worked and having dodged the fired bullet attacked DAESH then as they have now. Hollande had to have the war spelt out with actual deaths before he responded with war to a Daesh. Now he is going to Washington and wham the Turkish air drama unfolds. He is off to Moscow next. Instead of cancelling Moscow and visiting Turkey he is confirming that he will also let Putin drag things along as he sees fit.

    In Syria we now have autonomy seeking Kurdish controlled regions not being attacked by 2 essentially hostile COW’s already engaged in a slaughterfest in contested areas. One of the COWs has had a ‘hand tied behind their back’ in not being able to overfly now slowly expanding Assad areas. The other is killing ‘FSA’ types who are ‘supported’ – in largely / partly sell out manner- by the hand tied COW. This is in the region of now decades old sectarian conflict that is inextricably underpinning the current disaster. Iran and KSA are backing opposite sides. To the north Turkey is slipping back into a currently low level civil war with the Kurds that others (like Putin and Daesh) have an interest in inflaming https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurds_in_Turkey and while the solution naturally is democracy for all the minorities https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minorities_in_Turkey there is no urgent progress on that front but rather millions of refugees sloshing about and there has been our old friend from norther Ireland – demographic trends – to tick along in the protracted manner that it does https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurds_in_Turkey#/media/File:Turkey_total_fertility_rate_by_province_2014.png Let’s face it, for the racist – anti democratic and deep state types that Erdogan is up against that is a very big problem in the longer term. Economic recession, high unemployment massive refugee flows and in the middle of all this the great Russian gangster fresh from Ukraine is right in the centre of this maelstrom of issues with a peace in our time document. What a relief. I thought there might be a problem or two coming. I thought this stuff is mind numbingly complex. But I am now assured that Vlad the liar has put his name to a process. So reassuring is this that it’s end of story. Assad’s train has already departed no less.

    Back awhile the thinking was a little different.
    October 1
    8. Now because ‘There are real dangers of massacres of Alawi and Shia or long term civil war in Syria following regime collapse so they [the international political class] do need to pay attention to transition measures.’

    But there is no prospect of a short term collapse and Putin is going to war in Syria to preserve a regime that can no longer hold. He is going to attack our FSA side. He is going to attack the democrats. That is what he does. Whatever the transition from Assad the enemy is the deep state that Putin is always going to fight to preserve. There is no Russian / US co-operation for the destruction of Daesh. There is in your face contention on the Assad side to a strategic plan that does not include recovering the whole of Syria, while the west work on Daesh in the east and Iraq. Putin will now want to become the Kurds greatest friend to the extent of not upsetting any of his current ‘friends’!

    People ought to know that ‘The democratic revolutionary forces in Syria are weaker military than their Takfiri and other Salafi anti-democratic opponents [but] who will soon be their main enemy.’ depends on their survival because currently the democratic revolutionary forces are being systematically killed by Russian air attacks and Iranian, Hezbollah plus Iraqi militias on the ground alongside the forces of Assad that focus on killing them and making refugees of those that support them everyday. They don’t just kill a few and drive the others out but they destroy all prospects of the people still living returning to the same spots at least until there is a political solution and thus an end to the war. Whatsmore they have been systematically ‘ethnic’ cleansing for some years now and it has produced very dramatic results. The fact is that democratic revolutionary forces who are still being attacked are going to be dead if they don’t deal with the reality of those attacks as their FIRST priority.

    There is no agreement among those that are killing nor among the outside onlookers on grounding all airpower in the killing zones. There is of course talk about ceasefires but specifically not applied to ‘terrorists’ so the usual suspects will drive Russian trucks right through that status. Assad not only has some barrel bombers flying he and Putin are still systematically rubble making and killing ‘FSA’ types in the ongoing and co-ordinated advances. These attacks are real and are happening methodically to a plan (whatever it is) and they will continue over the next month of diplomatic pause. Advance then consolidation are the military pauses that are for regroupment and buildup for the next attacks. The Assad war zone was substantially in such a pause period when Paris exploded. Now only days later the border with Turkish is showing up as very active with this small Russian deployment attacking every day! Whatever Putin does in response to having an aircraft shot down and 2 pilots killed in the manner that they were we can be certain that more Russians will be deployed now.

    The diplomats had already adjusted and responded to 1st the explosion of the Russian airliner then came the bombing in Lebanon and finally Paris exploded and the game changed. Whatever those nuances and adjustments the diplomats talk for the purpose of that unfolding plan and while the plan is working it will continue to be implemented in the background. The current plan is working and includes killing of enemy troops the capture of territory and the terror bombing and driving off of enemy peoples. [Like Turkmen rebels in to-days news]

    The ‘Alawite’ enclave is not shrinking at this point as it was some months ago but rather it is steadily expanding. Additionally the acceptable opposition is being established and the Russians have declared they have found such people. Let’s say they have. That will mean that these areas will have stopped fighting against Assad.

    The stand off of the 2 COW’s was being solidified but the areas of contention near the border are showing up instead. It is either humiliation or confrontation now…

    After the Paris outrage Daesh is absolutely front and centre and this has implications for Putin that absolutely requires adjustments from every side.

    Putin has not made Assad ‘some other government’s figurehead’ and disunity is death. Assad – with his Syrian train – has an ongoing role even though Assad is THE root cause that MUST be addressed as at some stage as everybody knows. There is no way known that the KSA is not a central problem for the French fury.

    Time and extra space (that is still growing with every battle) under Putin’s protection is now guaranteed for Assad.

    There was a big Russian strategic planning meeting before the Syrian intervention that had what about the muslim issues as the subtext. Afghanistan was naturally part of the overall planning. The departments dealing with that region was then set to work that now shows up. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/21/russias-involvement-in-afghanistan-increasingly-echoes-syria-campaign

    and it is co-ordinated or co-incident take your pick http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/17/Iran-army-exercise-simulates-response-to-ISIS-attack.html

    I remain entirely unconvinced that Putin has already thrown Assad and his tiny Syrian train under the international bus. I say there is yet no real timetable for that bus to arrive unless people were to cave into Putin as every date currently looking like a timetable arrives.

    But as I said …12. Everyone knows that in a political solution Assad who had already effectively lost the war is expendable. The intervention was required because Assad was losing. The ‘federal’ structure is what is not negotiable so that the armed Alawite statelet can continue to exist and continue to harden. Turkey did not want a Kurdish state but now has to accept one that is being established as part of this sham federation required ‘to prevent mass murder of the Alawi and other minorities when the Assad regime is ended.’

    The pseudoleft have a view

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11393707/Putin-could-attack-Baltic-states-warns-former-Nato-chief.html this was back in Feburary what a change since then.

    After a dozen years of what ought to have been further refinement and popularizing of the drain the swamp theories they are missing in the MSM. Despite the obvious Obama disaster of Syria as the glaring hands off alternative to former hands on policies the realists and pseudoleft ‘it’s all been a terrible disaster since Iraq’ line has – in zombie form – returned and is currently overwhelming. The urgent requirement for the revolutionary transformations of the region ought to regularly be in the MSM right now but it is barely out there. Since Hitchens I can’t think of anyone who is clear and reasonably coherent and consistent.

    At least there is only 422 days left for the U.S. waste of space leader of the flea world.

  39. 39 Arthur


    can’t be bothered with the rest

  40. 40 patrickm

    I guess Arthur thinks it IS a war crime and has drawn attention to this;

    ‘In 1977, this practice was finally codified in Protocol I in addition to the 1949 Geneva Conventions:
    Article 42 – Occupants of aircraft
    1. No person parachuting from an aircraft in distress shall be made the object of attack during his descent.
    2. Upon reaching the ground in territory controlled by an adverse Party, a person who has parachuted from an aircraft in distress shall be given an opportunity to surrender before being made the object of attack, unless it is apparent that he is engaging in a hostile act.
    3. Airborne troops are not protected by this Article.[1]
    Not many states have ratified Protocol I but it is an accepted principle of international humanitarian law that targeting persons, other than airborne troops, parachuting from an aircraft in distress is a violation of the customary laws of war and is binding on all belligerents, whether or not they have ratified them.[5]’

    [5] is “Appeal by the International Committee of the Red Cross on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Additional Protocols of 1977”. International Committee of the Red Cross.

    I think Mao would say shoot at them because if they get away and return to their base they will get in another aircraft come back and kill anyone and everyone they can. But it is interesting to think that in the air they are protected but once they have reached the ground and start running back to their lines or away from capture it is permitted to shoot at them! Also Parachutes are able to be steared and so if the pilot is possibly going to escape capture and return to his lines ground troops ought to shoot. There is no doubt about what the rules are among these forces that are being killed everyday by non existent russians and their non existent artillery.

    I note THIS about other pilots pre 1977 shooting..
    British flying ace James Ira T. Jones had no compunction in doing this. ‘My habit of attacking Huns dangling from parachutes led to many arguments in the mess,’ he said. ‘Some officers of the Eton and Sandhurst type, thought it “unsportsmanlike”. Never having been to a public school, I was unhampered by such considerations of “form”. I just pointed out that there was a bloody war on, and that I intended to avenge my pals.'[6]

  41. 41 Arthur


    “I think Mao would say shoot at them because if they get away and return to their base they will get in another aircraft come back and kill anyone and everyone they can.”

    Basically you are not thinking at all but simply ranting while making things up from the top of your ahead and insisting that they must be true because you say so.

    This very minor side issue took only a few seconds to establish that I am not mistaken in declining to attempt to convince you of anything as you simply cannot conceive of acknowledging even obvious mistakes when not doing so merely serves to highlight the state you are in.


    “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.

  42. 42 patrickm

    I’m happy that the ruling classes have established their current laws for wars between states and it is interesting to know that any Vietnamese and Cambodians for example – prior to 1977- that took the same actions were not guilty of a crime even in a non civil war context but only caused a bad taste as I said this would. The fighting in Syria is a civil war and the parachuting pilot was shot at by another party to the actual attack on the aircraft so I don’t think you have fully established anything about ‘This very minor side issue’. However…

    What Mao would say about PRISONERS has been correctly quoted. But then you know that is not an issue.

    Uncaptured enemy escaping is not good and one has and is back at work. He is back soldiering because the freedom fighters failed to shoot him on the ground. At first blush I thought Mao would say shoot at them but he may very well not have. At second blush I am convinced that Mao would NOT have punished any troops that did fire on these enemy combatants even if their status had risen to non-combatant for the minute or so before getting to the ground and trying then to evade capture (proven by one doing just that). It’s a spur of the moment issue while constantly under attack from these lords of the universe and my sympathy is with the fighters on the ground subjected as they daily are to the Russian bombing. Good thing they got the helicopter and marine as well. I concede the basic point and would have amended the draft. With this qualified concession this minor diversion is closed for me.

    What is open is a rejection of your thought that Putin is bombing Syria on his way out in Nixonian manner and a total rejection of both paralysis and isolated ‘thinking’ as ‘Only a blockhead cudgels his brains on his own.‘ I prefer to talk out in the open. I prefer to, if you like, think out loud.

    It’s well known that the silent are safe from error but here is a heads up, what little you HAVE said since Putin deployed with the Iranians in the background a couple of months back is full of it! Pretending that the topics are exhausted and that Assad’s inner circle has already been removed etc to say nothing of any measure of effectiveness and productivity is a much bigger problem than small errors that can be fixed from first drafts by people who are not being that blockhead that cudgels his brains on his own. The better model for me is Hitchens. The discipline of being a working journalist did not hinder him but rather made him far more useful and that – for me – is a more productive place to keep thinking from.

  43. 43 Arthur

    “…it is interesting to know that any Vietnamese and Cambodians for example – prior to 1977- that took the same actions were not guilty of a crime…”

    Again simply making things up from the top of your head.

    No US troops were captured fighting on the ground in north Vietnam.

    Hundreds of captured pilots who were not killed while parachuting were returned at the end of the war.

    Everybody knows these facts but you have your own fantasy world.

    Here’s the politburo decision on their treatment:


    “At second blush I am convinced that Mao would NOT have punished any troops that did fire on these enemy combatants even if their status had risen to non-combatant for the minute or so before getting to the ground and trying then to evade capture (proven by one doing just that). It’s a spur of the moment issue while constantly under attack from these lords of the universe and my sympathy is with the fighters on the ground subjected as they daily are to the Russian bombing.”

    You sound like a preacher telling his flock “what would jesus think”. He knows because he hears voices from God telling him personally.

    At third blush you will be able to describe the scene vividly.

    You are not thinking aloud. You are not thinking at all but just ranting. Nobody is responding to you. You are are blockhead cudgelling his brains by banging them on a keyboard.

  44. 44 Steve Owens

    1 I have argued for years that Patrick adds stuff to his arguments that is just fantacy.
    2. The example of the WW2 pilot is embarasing as it is just him gleefully admiting that he is a war criminal.
    However on Patricks main argument that there has been no palace coup well the evidence aligns itself with Patrick’s argument.
    Assads inner circle is smaller but it is still the same inner circle that he always had with a couple of guys being dropped off.
    There may have been no palace coup but Assad is almost completely at the mercy of Putin. Putin is saying that the people of Syria should decide who leads them but we know for sure that is not his real position.
    Any how unite to fight the real enemy the Trots

  45. 45 Arthur

    I did use term “coup” early on (though referring to a regime change retaining current President) and preventing others from remaining in power or removing in). Assumed then it would be visible and reported as well as imminent in my bedfuddled “best uneducated guess” of September 28.

    Then elaborated 3 stage process. Later realised stage 1 need not be visible or reported and could have already occurred prior to current events. More than a couple of guys dropped off – including two heads of security agencies. Now seen detailed reports of Damascus near colllapse and split over retreating to Alawi enclave and Iranian takeover.

    A week later, and nearly 2 months ago on october 5 I acknowledged that:

    “the only
    refinement I would add to what I have said and hinted is that there may already be sufficient forces in place from Hezbollah, Russia and Iran to avoid a particularly visible “coup” or “defeat of a coup” with conceivably just a more gradual and less highly visible regime shift as first part of a transition.”

    I gave a reasonably clear 15 point summary of my view on October 6.

    By October 22 (more than a month ago) I said:

    “My guess (only) is that change in government has already occurred and Bashir Assad is now already some other government’s figurehead, though not yet announced. So partition with retreat from Damascus to Latakia is no longer a serious option but will continue to be bloviated about along with pontifications in favor of keeping the old regime as the only alternative to Daesh and fulminations about the imaginary Russian mediterranean superpower.

    Transition will be to an eventual representative Syrian government in Damascus dominated by revolutionaries after initial transition to “peacemakers” but without elements from old Assad regime and at war with Daesh. Important thing will be the international forces required for smooth transition without chaos and massacres. Presumbably initial Russian and Iranian handing over to UN helmeted Germans guarding (and temporarily governing) Alawi with Turks and others elsewhere. Could still be long and messy but no longer getting worse or heading towards regional war.

    Meanwhile EU will have to rapidly crank up supply chains for winter housing of refugees and other migrants. Winter housing cannot be built quickly and neither can gas heating be installed quickly. Electric blankets and hot water bottles in tents only stop overnight freezing but daytime electric radiators in tents are substantial increase in electricity demand that could again destabilize the European grid given the lead-time for recommissioning German nuclear reactors that were abruptly shut down causing previous destabilization.

    They would be much better off immediately starting to recruit Syrian refugees for an expeditionary force (plus other local Arab citizens as translators etc). Needed militarily in Syria as well as not leaving refugees in limbo like Australia does.”

    Same day responded to Anita’s subsequent reference to “imminent coup”

    Three weeks later this was fully confirmed by link A49 terms agreed by Russia and Iran as well as others in Vienna November 14.

    Focus should now be on the needed Western occupation forces for implementation. Cameron still fantasizing. No time to waste on speculations set in parallel universes. Did this summary as need one for myself not with intention to discuss further here.

  46. 46 patrickm

    Glad to hear that you have
    ‘Now seen detailed reports of Damascus near colllapse and split over retreating to Alawi enclave and Iranian takeover.’

    That would mean you would have posted the links or have I missed something?

  47. 47 Arthur

    yes, you have missed something

    As I advised in this thread, September 30:

    “Stop writing! Read and think!”

  48. 48 patrickm

    So what link to read have I missed?

  49. 49 Arthur

    I see no evidence that you have been reading anything about Syria at all except perhaps for some propaganda about mighty victories of non-existant combat troops.

    Your ranting has been primarily about Russia, Ukraine, Putin, Obama, Western leaders, pseudoleft etc that could have been written in any context and was in fact written in none at all EXACTLY as you accurately describe the neverlander’s doing.

    Read ALL the links in the links thread. But more importantly start with the assumption that you DON’T know what is going on and are trying to find out.

  50. 50 patrickm

    Given that Arthur had long ago worked out that Putin and Iran’s surprise COW have been working to achieve what I would describe at this point as a relatively smooth; ‘Transition will be to an eventual representative Syrian government in Damascus dominated by revolutionaries after initial transition to “peacemakers” but without elements from old Assad regime and at war with Daesh. Important thing will be the international forces required for smooth transition without chaos and massacres. Presumbably initial Russian and Iranian handing over to UN helmeted Germans guarding (and temporarily governing) Alawi with Turks and others elsewhere. Could still be long and messy but no longer getting worse or heading towards regional war.’ The dopey wrecking behaviour is puzzling.

    Why wave the peace in our time paper in private rather than gloating in the Australian or the Age? Instead of working on his once every 12 year’s article Arthur put up this link on November 29, 57) http://mebriefing.com/?p=1663 [Saying] ‘This strikes me as shedding a lot of light. Lots more at that site. Will have to find out more about them.’

    It does shed a lot of light on what was apparent back on May 4th and I might return to it next May Day when reflecting on the shifting fortunes of the various players over what will then be a full and remarkable year.

    Putin took 10 days out of the public eye back in March and my – reasonable – speculation is that he set about strategic planning over the full range of Russian issues and just what was emerging in Syria as Assad was undoubtedly slowly losing the war.

    There were then some further months of building a COW with Iran and only then the world saw his step 1. Move the hammers. This was rapidly followed by step 2. Use the hammers. Now anything in the road of THE plan is being smashed at will and control lines are moving in the manner that suits Iran and Russia and Assad.

    No runs there for Arthur as we all knew that Assad was slowly and very painfully losing the war and we are on record as predicting it and predicting that big issues would emerge when that defeat loomed.

    I don’t know of anyone that predicted an anti-democratic Russian/Iranian COW – trumpeting democracy as the solution – making enclave building war south of Turkey but they are.

    Why Arthur thinks this link from 4 May is the best reading for 29 November others can guess because as December starts we can see the result of months of Putin’s war making, and we know further negotiations for ‘peace in our times’ are to restart on January 1., 2016.

    Will Assad make it all the way through 2016? Who knows he might not get through December but that one month is worth a flutter. What we can be sure of is Russia and Iran will still have troops in Syria and that smashed country will be a lot more smashed now that it’s under the attacks of both COWs and while both say they intend to increase their efforts. It does not seem a minor point to me that Assad’s forces are not being bombed and there is no western COW flying over them and that his army is being bolstered on all fronts.

    What we know is that Obama as POTUS will last another 415 days and then his time will mercifully be left for historians. All the current western leaders have demonstrated how clueless the anti Iraq war side were and are. Having been in power for 7 long years Obama’s next and last year will be in the company of more great leaders like Turnbull, Trudeau and Cameron that I note even Arthur is not impressed by.

    Currently there is the mind numbing Paris climate conference on and we can see exactly how shoulder shrugging stupid western leaders are! ‘Hollande said climate disruption spawns conflict as clouds brings storms. “Essentially what is at stake with this climate conference is peace,” said the French president. ‘ So that is the calibre of current leadership as they get to the increased bombing of Syria.

    Arthur waving Vienna November 14 in triumph when that document is exactly what others like me expect is therefore also no runs scored either! What would an anti-democrat like Putin put forward other than some grand proposals for a democratic solution driven by the Syrian people no less.

    If Arthur would like to write an article that puts the ‘Focus should now be on the needed Western occupation forces for implementation. [because] Cameron still fantasizing.’ then fine get on with it. After all the first dashed off notes have not served well as the start of anything. This thread was posted to deal with those completely discredited ‘speculations set in parallel universes’. That work of bringing Arthur back to planet earth was done with a spirit of goodwill on my part but Arthur tediously chose not to reciprocate.

    Arthur has ‘No time to waste on …AND Did this summary as need one for myself not with intention to discuss further here.’ so good oh, go off and find some manners somewhere and I look forward to seeing the oft threatened article fit for the MSM.

    For others; Arthur is behaving in a comprehensively rude as well as naive and utterly stupid manner and has no interest in even trying to understand what is being said and the methods of distortions are simply inexcusable and actually unworthy of any further response. All this red herring stuff highlights the real avoidance because Arthur is thrashing around with a crappy half theory.

    People might try to spell out how Putin’s ‘new’ policies are so good for the democratic revolution – while he daily bombs and expands a footprint for one side of a civil war that we have both described as being the root cause of that war. The rebels are not going to be brought to power they are under attack and will continue to be. Unlike the Kurds. Some opposition acceptable to Iran and Russia will be found soon. But if Putin has a record of setting up gangster enclaves – and he does – then there is a fair bet on what he might be doing in this case and people ought to respectfully conduct themselves as further investigation is required.

    Anyway here is some other material for Arthur to ignore.

    63 plus 2 = members of the Global Coalition to counter ISIL – at 23 November 2015

    Group 1 – Those with ‘frozen conflicts’ with Russia or with a ‘line of sight experience of them;
    Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Poland*, Estonia*, Latvia*, Lithuania*, Czech*, Slovakia*, Hungary*, Romania*, Bulgaria*.

    Group 2 – The usual suspects anglo group;
    United States, United Kingdom*, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.

    Group 3 – The internally conflicted former regional power from the age of empire;

    Group 4 – Those europeans fully awoken by the arrival of refugees and Paris attacks;
    France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, European Union* – ** plus Norway and Iceland.

    Group 5 – The direct ‘refugee road’ to the advanced centre of industrialised Europe;
    Greece*, Macedonia**, Albania**, Kosovo**, Bosnia and Herzegovina**, Montenegro**, Serbia**, Slovenia*, Croatia*, plus Cyprus*.

    Group 6 – The swamp;
    Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Tunisia, Morocco, Arab League.

    Group 7 – African countries with major islamic terror issues;
    Somalia, Nigeria.

    Group 8 – Countries with minor islamic terror issues;
    Malaysia, Singapore.

    Group 9 – ‘Friends’ of the usual suspects ;
    Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Panama.

    EU member * applying etc to be EU **

    Daesh is a dramatic and now urgent problem for the 9 groups because Assad Syria (while fully backed by Putin led Russia and Shia Iran) intentionally allowed it to become a bad problem. They all did this as a strategic effort to force a Global Coalition to counter ISI into existence for the exact purpose of having that Coalition fight a big chunk of Assad’s many enemies among the largely Sunni masses of Syria. This has worked. The U.S. is bombing with France and Australia has a little group deployed. Turkey feels that discretion is best right now and has suspended flights over Syria. Britain will only now join. Canada has gone home (to stop the planet warming or something).

    The U.S. COW has 5 declared lines of effort that begin with ‘providing military support to our partners’ said with a straight face while Putin bombs them at will and ‘Impeding the flow of foreign fighters’ good oh, then Stopping ISIL’s financing and funding ditto; and naturally ‘Addressing humanitarian crises in the region’ where millions are now walking to Berlin; and always ‘Exposing ISIL’s true nature’.

    This U.S. led big but lazy coalition has been bombing Daesh for over a year when military minded people have well understood that much more was required. Now as a direct result of the actions of Daesh some other members of this big COW have been provoked into furious bombing.

    Currently, we have Cameron bombing Daesh in Iraq and still begging his parliament to join in the bombing of Daesh in Syria; ‘At the same time, we must close down the ungoverned space in Syria that ISIL is exploiting, by working round the clock to bring about a political resolution to the war there. That means putting Britain’s full diplomatic weight, as a full member of an international coalition, behind the new political talks – the Vienna process. It means working through these talks to secure a transition to an inclusive Government in Syria that responds to the needs of all the Syrian people and with which the international community could co-operate fully to help restore peace and stability to the whole country. It means continuing to support the moderate opposition in Syria, so that there is a credible alternative to ISIL and Assad. It means using our aid budget to alleviate the immediate humanitarian suffering. It means insisting, with other countries, on the preparation of a proper stabilisation and reconstruction effort in Syria once the conflict has been brought to an end. And it means continuing, and stepping up, our effort here at home to counter radicalisation.’

    That is a comprehensive commitment to the Vienna choir WHILE Putin having made no worthwhile undertaking to stop attacking U.S./Turkish backed opposition rebels that the Russians have called terrorists attacks ‘the moderate opposition’ every day. No carols this year and the choir will most likely be delayed from regathering for even more than the 6 week kick along after everyone sang in tune on Nov 14. A lot has happened in 2 weeks of delay. Who knows they might prefer to meet and have a spat about the song, we will see. In rugby this is the full back kicking for touch. This gives the on ground effort – on the real plan – more time to gain even more real space. The current plan is 2 months along and we see more refugees deliberately created as part of this plan, more FSA types killed, more Iranian and Iraqi and Hezbollah militia deployed, more Russian ships, aircraft and actual artillery at work AND yet the international attention is almost totally focussed on Daesh! Assad’s troops have lost no territory in these 2 months and stabilized or gained territory in all directions. Often as not the western MSM right now focus on how Turkey is the Daesh supporting problem when it was Russia attacking Turkmen opposition that was the clearly avoidable issue. Turkey continues to be destabilised and Obama continues to dither.

    Russian diplomacy during this period of ruthless military deployment has got all manner of people chirping like the British PM ‘So with a political solution to the Syria conflict finally a realistic prospect;…’ but dig into what is actually on offer and one can also propose a realistic prospect of the way Russia goes about freezing and unfreezing conflicts it becomes neck deep in. The ongoing bombing might not be anything like dropped on the way out of Syria but rather Russia – now that it has a committed and capable COW to work with south of Turkey – more probably is still on the way in. The ground advances are real and is map making to suite Russia and its allies and yes as said right from the start that includes leadership changes for Syria at some point when and as required which is not now or even close to now.

    Russian COW attacks on the non terrorist opposition ‘FSA’ types have been the principal focus since the intervention began as everyone knew they would be. Daesh that it also attacks as well from time to time is a great cover for the actual aggression but it’s not a Russian priority with very good reason. It’s now December and Russia, that plays on the basis that something will turn up, now has THE card to delay ‘choir’ practice scheduled for Jan1. Till then Russia’s little issues will attract the attention while the COW it leads furiously makes war to a steady plan.

    The big issue is that the U.S. COW now ‘63 plus 2 strong’ can’t get Russia to stop bombing the rebels for 1 day. Every day the Russian plan unfolds, more rubble is created, more democratically minded Syrians killed and many more caused to be refugees. That is essentially the old plan executed with new resources. Diplomatic delay has turned up while the Russians make nice with Hollande the next great hammer in the south and east.

    Just north of Turkey in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, all these countries no longer exist in their old borders. The new borders exist because Russians insisted on changes and of course Russian troops were required to achieve the current (and ultimately unstable) ‘outcomes’. They really are not a satisfactory ‘political solution’ or resolution of any local problems but simply constitute Russian aggression. The result of all this bullying is that Russia is a much hated aggressor state that people in all the neighbouring countries want to see fall on hard times and the Russians are falling on hard times.

    Indeed the capitalist world is generally slipping further into the hard times of the capitalist system’s own making. So when the current british PM makes grand promises to rebuild Syria on the way into bombing it back to the stone age we can take that with a Putin like pinch of salt.

    In those areas with newly made Russian maps outright gangster forces are required to keep it all together and functioning to the extent that it does. In all of the above areas and those others deeper inside ‘Russia’ in places like long suffering and long neglected Chechnya, the democratic revolution is being held back big time. Putin is apparently still popular at home but now only has ‘friends’ outside Russia in that shrinking number of places that are run as gangster societies or among the russian diaspora . As for the more liberal democratic world Putin is a recognized problem being ‘managed’ badly.

    It’s no wonder that Al Sisi is all smiles when he and Putin meet but then he was smiling with Cameron as well and even people like Tony Abbott speak well of this next Assad in the making.

    The British have had a straggler as a PM. He is not as bad as born to rule Justin Trudeau, but he IS as tepid as he comes across. He ought to have bombed the same day that the French did and walked into the Parliament to tell them it was happening and the only way of stopping him using military force to attack the enemy in Syria would be to remove him as PM. Whatever the technical requirements to the above statement it is the urgency and determination that is missing and it shows.

    He has now said in reply to question ‘v) Which ground forces will take, hold, and administer territories captured from ISIL in Syria.’

    ‘In the medium – term, we will work through the political negotiations towards a ceasefire between the Syrian armed forces and moderate opposition, which would create the conditions to allow both sides to focus their military efforts on ISIL. In such circumstances, ground taken from ISIL in Syria could be administered effectively by one or other of those forces. While Assad’s forces as currently constituted and led would be unlikely to make an intense effort to take on ISIL, a political transition in Syrian would allow new leadership and reform of the Syrian Arab Army to enable it to tackle terrorist groups in defence of the Syrian Nation. Without transition, it will continue to be difficult to generate a Sunni force able to fight ISIL and hold ground in Eastern Syria.’

    That to me is something, something, something, ceasefire.

    Transition to something acceptable to Putin and the Iranians great; that will mean that the frozen conflict style that Putin lives by won’t be resorted to in this case! Oh wait on… if Hollande and the gang bomb Daesh Syria and millions refugee in all other directions except towards the Putin protected Assad enclave and they do get a ceasefire then that might look like a frozen conflict. But instead of talking about the hundred thousand troops that are required to defeat Daesh and where they will come from Cameron blathers but notes almost in passing; ‘By inflicting brutal attacks against his own people, Assad has in fact acted as one of ISIL’s greatest recruiting sergeants. We therefore need a political transition in Syria to a government that the international community can work with against ISIL, as we already do with the Government of Iraq. The combination of the Assad regime’s mass murder of its own people and, more recently, ISIL’s bloodthirsty campaign has…
    BUT no plan B
    ‘The ISSG has brought together, for the first time, all of the major international players – including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the US, France and Turkey – behind a common vision of what is needed to end the war. While there are still differences to resolve, they agreed on 14 November an ambitious time frame for political negotiations to begin by the end of the year; a transitional government in place within six months; and a new constitution and free and fair elections within 18 months. The UK will support the UN Secretary General and Special Envoy De Mistura in their efforts to bring together the Syrian parties for these important discussions. I have no doubt that the increasing threat that we all face from ISIL was a significant factor in bringing the international community together in Vienna. We can now see, through the Vienna process, involving all the key players, a possible pathway – however rocky and uncertain – to a political resolution of the war in Syria.’

    Assad’s plan was to get the world together to fight Daesh! He wants some boots from some countries firmly on the ground in Daesh regions! He hasn’t got enough to do the job himself! What from Cameron..

    ‘Our Syria strategy aims to enable a ceasefire to be established between the regime and the opposition. It aims to isolate ISIL’s heartland in north East Syria through coordinated military action and help create the space for a political settlement in parallel.’

    ‘generate negotiations on a political settlement, while supporting and preserving the moderate opposition; help deliver, through this process, a government in Syria that can credibly represent all of the Syrian people;’

    Putin is bombing FSA types every day! There will be no stop to Putin’s attacks on 1Jan. The attacks on the FSA types like the Turkmen in the north have increased since Putin’s intervention backed by Iran. They have further increased since the Turks shot down the ground attacking jet and the Turks have now suspended their own flights over any Syrian territory. The Russians have increased their military effort to kill the FSA and have also started to join in the attacks on Daesh but they will keep focusing on their plan and not be distracted by Daesh that they have always known they would from time to time hit.

    Cameron is far worse than Blair. ‘Preserving the institutions of the Syrian state through transition will be vital: de-Baathification after the Iraq war was a significant mistake, which we must avoid repeating.’ and ‘The Syria Conference in February 2016 in London will also be an opportunity to focus international attention on these challenges. ‘ [rebuilding rubblestan]

    But then Turnbull is worse than Howard and Obama worse than Bush.

    Syria could be being treated as Georgia and Ukraine if Iran is quietly putting in sufficient Martians the way Putin put them in last year in Ukraine while calling black white.

    And BTW (red herring alert)
    Precisely because ‘Everybody knows these facts’ most people would understand that I had written about something else. Arthur’s inability to read thoughtfully and even generously is noted. I could put that down to a lack of clarity on my part but what happens when an airman has a chance to get back to his lines was under discussion not what happened to already captured airmen who came down IN North Vietnam. So others can judge for themselves how me describing an attack on enemy soldiers in a contested area fleeing to their own lines – where one actually escaped on the one remaining helicopter – has anything to do with captured PRISONERS.

    People know that these helicopters were legitimate targets as was the running away navigator so Arthur can stop the distortions. The rebel soldier’s job is to shoot that airman as he runs for the safety of the helicopter.

    I would – if there were a civil discussion going on- venture the thought that if a train load of pilots were heading home for a spot of christmas leave derailing that train and killing the lot would IMV be worth a medal in any army; yet consider Churchill’s position.

    ‘The question of shooting an enemy pilot parachuting over his own territory aroused bitter debate from both sides. On August 31, 1940, during the Battle of Britain, RAF Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding dined with Prime Minister Winston Churchill at Chequers. After dinner, they discussed the topic about the morality of shooting parachuting Luftwaffe pilots. Dowding suggested that German pilots were perfectly entitled to shoot RAF pilots parachuting over Britain as they were still potential combatants (i.e., going back to a new aircraft to conduct another military mission) while RAF pilots should refrain from firing at German pilots as they were out of combat and would eventually become prisoners of war once they landed on British soil. Churchill was appalled by this suggestion, arguing that shooting a parachuting pilot “was like drowning a sailor”.[7][8]’

    I think Dowding was correct but he was talking about airmen killing pilots ultimately on their way to another aircraft and then another attack as it were. From his POV the German would simply have caught his enemy out in the open and killed him accordingly. Different if you control the ground. But I am talking about soldiers on the ground chasing after and killing the enemy who is running away. This shooting at people business produces complex and curious outcomes. Currently the pilots can safely come to earth but say they land in nomans land say a river where the enemy holds the other bank and you control this side. Once the pilot starts swimming for the other side it is a soldier’s job to shoot to kill if he then turns to head towards you it would be a crime because he is surrendering. A trainload of pilots coming back from leave is a legitimate target etc. If he was flying a transport full of paratroops you can and ought to shoot at them if they have to bail out as they descend except the pilot! Now isn’t that curious.

    Now for me – having parachuted many years ago now, I can appreciate steering them and just how much territory someone can cover in favourable conditions and that presents an interesting dilemma. If the pilot circles he can descend into the enemy’s care if you steer away you might make your escape.

    That is just what I might have talked about in a civil discussion.
    Arthur can distort all he likes from here on because that issue will now stay closed for me.

  51. 51 Bill Kerr

    I agree with pat that arthur is being rude and arrogant for not meeting a simple request to provide a single link

    I agree with arthur that pat’s post are too long, repetitive and smelly which makes them very hard to read / follow

    My view, based on not a great deal of study, is that arthur has raised an important point, that Russia is not capable of being a Mediterranean power, based on their strength (declined), location, strength of NATO forces, self understanding following their withdrawal from Afghanistan (assuming they are not loonies) etc. and this has to be factored into any meaningful analysis

    My suggestion for a resolution of the differences b/w pat’s views and arthur’s views is that both sides could outline what the situation should look like in 6 months time in the light of their analyses. This would provide a basis for working out who is right and who is wrong by and large.

    (edited update from original comment, 12:34 Dec 3rd)

  52. 52 patrickm

    Ahrar al-Sham… yes that is exactly what Putin will hang his hat on and I had alluded to that looming issue above. But despite all the conferencing I don’t feel any comfort from a half theory that has fallen over every month since it was half proclaimed as an urgent coup and Nixonian withdrawal. There has been no further developments since just because a road map to a democratic Syria in 18 months is being waved about by Kerry and Lavrov. That road map starts with these conferences…and that’s what I was saying about military and diplomatic tracks carrying on side by side. Bill asks what will it look like in 6 months and I say the Assad / Iran / Iraq / Russian / ? Egyptian side will have advanced its agenda. They will by then have found some acceptable opposition to stop making war on to add to the Kurdish areas that neither side bomb with barrel bombs or artillery shells. But by then the humiliation of having ‘our’ NATO supported FSA types bombed at will by the Russians must bring on some further responce however limp.

    Conferences are not unexpected when 2 COW’s are breaking up countries or attempting to freeze a conflict. The KSA has managed to organise a conference in Riyadh and I agree it ‘…provides the [some] Syrian opposition with a chance to lay out a unified vision of the solution, especially in light of the Iranian occupation and the Russian aggression against Syria’

    But note he is talking in the context of an Iranian occupation.

    If the Iranian COW is so prepared to negotiate in good faith the end of the Syrian war why grab every opportunity to kill the almost acceptable opposition and leave Daesh unmolested. If the Saudi COW is so divided and lacking in stomach what will result? The Kurds are now protected from being bombed by the Turks but what is the deployment to Mosul spat and the US deployment spat all about with the Iraqi shia militias? They are more than just a little ungrateful and Iran is the backer.

    We all are advocates of democratic revolution looking at the same events so a lively discussion ought to be possible. But it has not happened.

    Now a comforting series of negotiating events are to unfold from one perspective and Putin style war making to unfold from the other perspective so a flat out disagreement as to what Russian / Iran / Iraq Shia militias / Hezbollah / Assad are up to ought to have people deep in debate refining something. But not so.

    I think that Ahrar al-Sham will be called terrorists and continued to be attacked by the Iranian COW.

    All the KSA approved opposition has to do this month is go to Riyadh and then those approved by the US can go to New York this will be followed by the Vienna choir reforming on Jan 1.

    Why do the Iranians disappear in the current thinking of some people? Why, when the region is rife with sectarianism, is a sectarian war not more probable than a Putin initiated resort to democratic development driven by nothing less than the Syrian people?

    The various elements in and around Syria do not seem to me to be stepping back from the abyss. Syrian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Turkish, Kurdish, Iranian, Saudi, Yemeni, Egyptians and Libyans are all slipping into conflict not being steadied and refocused by Vlad Putin.

    An anti democrat with a track record of establishing dopey enclaves is more likely to be doing it again. These imperialist enclaves stand in the way of the democratic development of the countries they have been unilaterally inflicted upon. People that did not see this before over Ukraine and Georgia are not seeing it now. Perhaps what some others see is democratic rights for these new enclaves to go there own way. To bad this going one’s own way comes about with nothing other than brute force from the imperialist power and the enclave is kept in place with a permanent gangster culture.

    Having lost ‘great power influence’ in a Syria that was completely controlled by Assad why not divide it like Korea, Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and let us not forget to mention Israel.

    Divide and conquer is the old formula and people are saying that Syria is not divisible despite the Kurds having gone already! Getting some acceptable opposition to bring into a power sharing arrangement is essential but the key is acceptable to the Iranian COW. Russians are mostly the all important air cover for Assad and artillery that relentlessly kill the FSA types.

    There is a solid reason why the MSM is not trumpeting Arthur’s now well studied insight and there is no article from him proclaiming what is so great about this ‘ending the war’ intervention even if that intervention is perhaps the darkest hour just before the dawn type thing.

    I have called it junk all along and Bill has asked what will this all look like in say 204 days time. That is half of Obama’s remaining term that much we know. My guess is that relations with Russia will be very low by then as the dudding starts in earnest.

    Now in the spirit of playing nice.

    Red herring alert…Clearly the PM leadership change was required by the liberals as the masses actually support this type of liberal minded, republican, greenie businessman, running the government at the moment. Especially so now that the boats have been stopped and the carbon tax abolished. But I was surprised to read ‘‘Raised Presbyterian, Turnbull converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002.[92] ‘ So apparently he is not all that modern. It is probably a where you have to be seen thing that always strikes me as so very odd with people who also appeal to the settled overwhelming science of global warming. This seems the type of opportunism we can expect from the Obama types and now Australia has it’s very own type.

    From a leadership perspective he ought to have had Mal’s resignation on the day after parliament rose and given a position would then be there to fill he ought to have rewarded the very innovative and agile move of his now country party mate! But I remember watching him drive the slow train wreck of the elitists republic referendum and I was smiling as we predicted it would go down because lots of real republicans would not give in to the elites. He was told that he would not get away with it (they all were) but he in particular as the leader lacked wisdom. Being bullies they carried on and met the predicted end. He won’t try the same thing but will want the same outcome from the way he actually structures his next attempt. If they had given the people what the masses were demanding they would have a republic now. He will probably grow in the job. Abbott is now growing in his new job and is calling for the Islamic reformation against the enemy ABC types. The ABC threat to democracy is now pretty clear. They are as dangerous in their own white anting way as the earlier realists.

    Daesh -Al Qaeda Islamofascist terror has forced governments to shut borders and regain systemic control of who crosses them. That means detention and a proper process. Nothing else can work. The masses will not accept that events like Paris ought be treated as minor casualty events during a big war. They won’t accept that the western masses just have to accept these levels of casualties without government trying very hard to systematically prevent them with border controls as part of the suite of tools deployed.

    One big picture issue is clear with all the business reports and growth results; the rot that is setting in right across the world ensures that unemployment remains the sleeping giant that is already producing predictable results in those marginalised communities in places like France and Belgium etc. The migrant community people notably that are just left to rot is producing killers. That problem all just got a bit bigger. Even as the ‘marginal’, people are clearly better off than back in Syria etc that won’t cut it. The kids grow up and they have a different perspective and they are a problem. Why am I marginalised is the right question they ask and a turn to fundamentalist religious theory is one tiny answer. Not very many of these lot actually turn up but they kill spectacularly. Only some thousands out of many millions of people have gone to fight in Syria. But Abbott can’t even get a serious question raised without the ABC going mental and Turnbull doing an Obama.

    Australia and the west in general is politically dysfunctional and so will be bested by the Iran/ Russia/ Assad enemy over the next 6 months that’s what will happen!

  53. 53 patrickm

    The following has just been posted by Dave in a new Blog!


    Jeffrey Sachs on the Middle East
    December 21, 2015 diffwavelength

    A couple of recent articles by Jeffrey D. Sachs on the Middle East caught my eye

    He makes the point that the west has to allow Islamists to participate in government. I agree and I think there is an increasing acceptance of that. He claims that the US was complicit in the the toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in Egypt in 2013 but provides no details. Any political settlement in both Syria and Libya will certainly include plenty of Islamists.

    There is of course the standard line about how bad it was to remove the Saddam regime in Iraq and what a terrible mess it has created. However, I think the bottom line is that no kind of democratic political change was possible in the Middle East without the removal of that regime. Saddam would have exploited the necessary instability of the process. Furthermore, the regime in Iraq is a vast improvement on Saddam’s fascist tyranny based on minority Sunni dominance, and it has prospects for improvement whereas the previous regime did not.

    Sachs bemoans the fact that the Syrian civil war has caused so much death and misery, and lead to the rise of Daesh (ISIS). However, only military means could remove the hated Assad regime that responded to peaceful protests with gunfire. The civil war would have been less bloody and generally less horrific if external powers had intervened earlier to both assist the opposition forces to overthrow Assad and to oversee the transition to a democratic regime. I don’t know how much intervention was needed. Maybe it would have required the US to overcome its war weariness and/or Europe to get over its general pacifism. Obama who has a low threshold in such matters certainly thought too much effort would have been required. Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State certainly thought more could have been done to support the kind of forces that will be part of the eventual political solution.

    Sachs raves on about the importance of doing things through the UN Security Council. But action in that arena until recently was impossible given Russia obstruction. That only changed when Russia and Iran realized that the Assad regime was unsalvageable.

    It appears we are about to see a cease fire between the Assad regime and the non-Daesh opposition. This will be followed by some kind of political process that establishes a democratic government. There will be no place of course for those who have been the key players in the Assad regime. The whole purpose of the civil war is to get rid of that tyrannical and murderous lot. The next stage is the serious business of mobilizing internal and external forces to destroy Daesh. Part of that should be the recruitment of young Syrian refugees. Many already have military training and these could train the others. The less reliance on forces from places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt the better.


    That’s it folks! That is as close as we have got to the half theory being openly set out.

    Arthur is no better of course; any friction that has been building between Russia and Turkey being described as no more than India Pakistan Gate slaming theatre.

    Yet who is being bombed by the Russians and who are bombing Daesh? The US COW won’t stop attacking Daesh and Daesh will keap loosing ground! The other COW will NOT stop doing what it is doing either! No NFZ war against Assad now! No Turkey intervention now! That million refugees in Europe are not there by chance.

    Only days away from choir practice now and all the signs from my POV are that the 2 blocks can’t settle on the song and from the half a theory is good enough side it was all settled months ago in a great conspiricy.

    There will be a lot of silence on this but like Obama’s term 6 months will tick along as his 393 days drift by. Dave says
    ‘It appears we are about to see a cease fire between the Assad regime and the non-Daesh opposition.’ So that would mean that the biggest mob from the Riyadh meeting Ahrar al-Sham will be acceptable to the Russians etc We will see in just over a week.

    The thing is Russia and Iran have no doubt realized that the Assad regime was and is unsalvageable but that is only half a theory and does not mean that they intend to Nixon like bomb on the way out that is the missing bit. Assad has a week to go till he makes it through 2015. One can always hope but I think he will.

    They intend to make maps and freeze conflicts so they require Assad for many months by the look of it and I would still bet he is there in 6 months and another couple of thousand FSA types are not thanks to Russian etc efforts.

    https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/islamic-state-blowback-terrorism-by-jeffrey-d-sachs-2015-11 humm

    The US would gain much by putting its foreign-policy initiatives to the test of Security Council votes. When the Security Council rejected war in Iraq in 2003, the US would have been wise to abstain from invading. When Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Council, opposed the US-backed overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the US would have been wise to abstain from covert operations to topple him. And now, the entire Security Council would coalesce around a global (but not a US) plan to fight the Islamic State.
    Read more at https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/middle-east-sustaining-development-by-jeffrey-d-sachs-2015-12#xii5r54wSoDLqbvt.99 OH well if you think so Dave.

  54. 54 patrickm

    Arthur continues to distort my position as he simultaneously fails to develop his ½ theory any further. ‘Imagining that the war is going well for the regime and that the Russians are its saviours only hinders any preparation of public opinion. But abandoning that fantasy won’t change anything either.’

    My view on current events stated as early as September 28, 2015 at 12:05 am was clearly NOT what Arthur is deluding himself about.

    ‘18 When set against the actions of the ditherer in chief, the build-up of boots on the ground around the establishment of a forward air base is very plain speaking and makes sense for a rising superpower; but Russia is not a rising superpower. Actually a dodery Regan sending marines into Lebanon springs more to mind than even Khrushchev and sputnik hubris back before the revisionist rot became unavoidably obvious in that long ago mid sixties. Quite frankly Russia 21stC is not a rising superpower but an over extended economic basket case that is, from Putin’s own conduct, being shunned by economies that combined are ten times larger just for a start.

    19 Russia currently has nothing going for it – short of a large well equipped and well trained army. Putin has his hammer and as that’s about all he has every problem looks like a nail. I think the war to defend the gangster run enclaves in Georgia has set a tone for what the world can expect with Putin’s Syria sojourn and whether longer or shorter that is what it will end up being. Putin has the right circumstances and the precedent so he will back Assad and this new tough nut fascist ‘country’. Putin has committed Russia to the Syrian civil war on the side of the establishment of the Alawite country and so the fight for Damascus is what Putin will gamble for. The russians military intend to out range all opponents as they establish a free fire zone around the borders that THEY establish. The Russians intend to use their attack helicopters to range extensively across territory that the enemy has to cross to close with the Assad troops. Putin must continue to fight the FSA that the west and even the treacherous refugees from neverland support. Putin has put skin in the game as they say. Progressive people have a vital interest in making Putin’s troops sojourn as short as possible. However I expect that as a result of western ruling elites bungling and strategic neglect it will be longer.

    20 The Alawite enclave is rapidly establishing with the fight for Damascus central. Putin is putting thousands of elite troops and their air power onto the ground and essentially straight into the fight. Putin understands just how crucial boots on the ground are going to be and he is calling NATO’s bluff. After 4 years of mass murder to get to the point of a clear fight over the establishment of an enclave country the time for boots has arrived. Putin has shoved at the time when Obama has declared Daesh the focus and has not been prepared to do more than complain about Assad being the root cause. Don’t hold your breath with this. Putin is a predictable knuckle dragging revanchist and he will lead the Russian people into a dead end in backing the new ‘Israelite’ style privileged Alawite enclave. BUT this form of imperialism from a revisionist semi-police state gangster aggressor is not going to be a long term winner for the 21st C.’
    and more in the same vane on September 29, 2015 at 12:06 am
    Back then I was NOT telling people that Arthur was wrong about a Russian coup removing Assad because that ½ thought was yet to develop.

    This is what came back from Arthur same day. ‘2. Key issue for me is that many people who DO know better are now joining the chorus of “There may be some brief transitional role for Assad”. This now includes Erdogan immediately after a chat to Putin. That MUST mean some deception plan is going on. Need to figure out what it is. I WON’T believe they all simultaneously acquired brain-rot no matter how overwhelming the evidence.’

    That MUST has turned into a junk thought.

    The MUST-be deception plan was the start of the ½ theory that has now drifted to the point where the war is all more or less – with a few delays etc. – resolved and we will just have to wait till these insights are confirmed with the firm establishment of the Vienna choir singing the one song.

    Now despite the current news re Iran and KSA there are apparently no worries for some about a region wide war breaking out. That worry disappeared I suppose when the actual Assad regime was removed months ago and Assad was just kept as a temporary figurehead! I think that line turned sour as well. Though I do think and have said it all along that Assad will at some more distant point be cut loose by the HIRIS COW. But the existence of this COW is significant because if it chooses to continue the fight then the war will go on. It can deploy the boots as well as airpower. I thought and still think the evidence is that HIRIS is choosing to keep this complex series of conflicts going – rather than this last 3 months being a case of Russia bombing Syria in Nixonian manner on the way out. (As they build a new government to hand all of Syria over to a newly formed government in co-operation with the west).

    Now I think it is correct that ‘…there are far more indications that the politicians and their diplomats are still under delusions about local (Syrian and regional) forces somehow sorting it all out in a ceasefire without blood and treasure from the West.’ and thus I say theories of brilliant deception have NOW been replaced by bad tempered acceptance of stupid delusions.

    It was Arthur that mentioned Alloush on December 16 as an indication of how people are changing their tone ‘ and now he says …when actual negotiations supported by all Security Council members start with both Jaish Al Fateh and Ahrar Al Sham in the opposition delegations…’ but Arthur knows that Zahran Alloush won’t be there because the Russians killed him! Arthur knew he was important and so did the Russians. BUT it is also true they will eventually talk to anyone because talk is cheap! We have seen how Putin led Russia carries on with the Minsk deal etc., back to the Georgia conflict and beyond. Russia is currently an economic basket case and it is getting considerably worse. Actually everywhere we look the economic outlook is a mess to say the least. That speaks to me of fertile ground for more war not less. The thing about Alloush types is that they might well change their tone but that might be a case of almost democrat Salafist by day – death squad leader by night. That is what we have seen with what the Shia have had to put up with in Iraq as the vast majority of that country strove to be free of Sunni domination. Those that want to avoid Sunni domination, won’t IMV trust Alloush types despite the change of tone. Years of practice side by side would be preferable.

    Just as the Lebanese civil war ended in zones of armed control, it is becoming reasonable to envision the ‘federal’ disintegration of Syria and Iraq and even Yemen, Turkey and the KSA for that matter! KSA Sunni rule over the people of Bahrain is what is currently on offer – like Israeli rule over the Palestinians. IMV no one will buy this domination. Wrong way go back. No democracy this way!

    How can the UN call for free and fair elections for Syrians and leave the people of Bahrain captive to a KSA army installed Sunni elite? Does the world have to see the Bahraini people go through a Syrian style nightmare to then act?

    I’m also inclined to think (like Arthur) that Western troops will be required for a combat role and in a separation or active peacekeeping role, and agree that there is not much sign that any western government has demonstrated that they have the stomach for the effort and consequent casualties. BUT this is not the case with the alternative HIRIS COW. They have the full range deployment in place and can choose to ramp it up or down.

    The U.S. were not even able to organize an effective training of Syrians.

    I agree that ‘Any ceasefire [when it arrives and it will] will be difficult…’ and that is where I believe that Iran and the KSA MUST AT SOME STAGE (possibly minus the K) come to agreement on what NOT to keep going on with. Current events suggest that not only do Western but also these regional countries have ‘the politicians and their diplomats are still under delusions about local (Syrian and regional) forces somehow sorting it all out in a ceasefire without blood and treasure from the West.’

    I think the fact that people are mostly refugeeing to Turkey and the West produces an in your face reality about what is and is not desired by the people in the world. BUT that is all it does. It demonstrates that the people want revolution.

    All of us are in agreement that ‘… the Western forces that should have intervened long ago to avoid things getting so bad,…’ but they failed to so now a new reality is confronting the world.

    We have seen what democrat by day sectarian killer by night politics in Iraq led to over years and that is exactly what we have got an even larger dose of now. Without the big intervention and separation, friction will become combat. So…because there will not yet be that boots intervention and it is not in sight the war will just go on. That seems to be a no choice situation because the sectarian killers are out every ‘night’!

    The HIRIS COW has fought the last three months as I said they would and protected not removed Assad and they went south when I said they would killing FSA types all along (so not as co-operation with the U.S. etc.) so that HIRIS COW currently has the upper hand. Even if it is true that they are only making very limited gains and that is not quite true they are still making those gains. They are employing all manner of assets that have altered what others can manage.

    Will there be some cease fires soon? Of course; lots of the little groups will be happy to get a ceasefire and HIRIS will be glad to give it to them and even perhaps get some monitors in place. Whatever is done will be done to their big picture plan. That plan is regional.

    In addition to Syria will the conflict in Turkey get worse? I think so. I hope I’m wrong of course. I think Erdogan had damped things down and was producing progress in exactly the formula where Islamist forces must defeat Islamofascists to drain this swamp. But he could not bring Obama along when the great intervention was so clearly needed. I think neither guessed just how desperate Erdogan’s fight in Turkey would become. NOW Russia has the Kurds and Armenians as mates (though he is unloved in return) against the old enemy Turkey and all these issues are not to be dismissed as theatre.

    Georgia in 2008 was perhaps a template that requires reflection. How has that drifted along as far as the development of democracy is concerned for the country of Georgia?

    I’m glad the KSA can’t just cross the Syrian border as they did with Bahrain and Yemen! I don’t know what they will do next but I don’t see how people will be singing the same song in 3 weeks.

    But the U.S. do not have them on song that is for sure and that implies that the HIRIS COW has just as solid grounds for talking about democracy etc.

    Proposals for freezing the conflict into Lebanese style separate areas after now quite separate COW efforts are not inconceivable and that it was inconceivable is one thing that premised the ½ theory. Breaking up Syria was declared a non starter except for some Kurdish areas in perhaps the Iraqi manner. I don’t think that has been sufficiently thought through particularly given the models of Lebanon and Iraq and the relatively short history of this post Ottoman region.

    I must say the following cheered me up

    Putin might like to have the Kurds as his new best mates but the best of the Kurds like the West better me thinks! Now these are great sentiments and seems to be the flavor of the sentiments expressed by comrades Dave, Arthur and Barry and no one is blind to this, but nevertheless one can think it still more than a little premature as the Kurds were not even invited to come down to Riyadh a couple of weeks back.

    “After having announced the SDF, we soon launched a large-scale military campaign against terrorists (Islamic State group “ISIS”) in Syria’s northeast,” he argued.

    “We will also seek to change the worn-out Syrian regime,” Kocher told ARA News.

    “The Arab tribal force of as-Sanadeed, the rebel group of Burkan al-Furat and at-Tahreer group of the Free Syrian army (FSA) are fighting on our side against the barbaric Daesh group.”

    “It is time to liberate the entire soil of Syria from the fascist regime as well,” he insisted.

    The groups he named will all be acceptable.

    The following points to the small gains and lack of manpower problem for HIRIS currently and how the U.S. may have been deceived that Iran was withdrawing troops. Whatever the truth up to this point it is reasonable to expect Iran to NOW deploy more troops in response to the attack on Shia generally by the KSA. The KSA has thrown in another oldie but goldie hit song for the singing. The ever popular ‘Let’s kill the Shia and be happy Wahabists!’

    The following are the sort of reports that have developed after the months of intervention that make sense to me.


  55. 55 Arthur

    Patrick I don’t have time and gave up trying to understand the actual meaning of your rants some time ago and gave up following links you provided to nothing in particular more recently.

    You have no more idea of what I think than you do of what is going on Syria. That is a generic response to anything you say in pretending to be arguing with me.

    Briefly for the record:

    1. The regime was heading for collapse and it was not plausible that Russia could imagine that it could change that outcome or that anyone who actually knows where Russia is and where Syria is and how armies are supplied could be worried that they might.

    2. Nevertheless a sudden chorus of claims that “there could be a role for Assad in a transition” broke out including from many people who certainly know better such as Erdogan.

    3. This appearance of complete imbecility was a mystery that I took time off to resolve as I cannot accept such “explanations” of major events.

    4. My resolution was that the Russians were in fact there to help end the regime with less bloodshed and chaos than if the Salafi forces allied with Al Qaeda were the ones occupying Damascus on the regime’s collapse.

    5. This was quickly confirmed by the four most relevant countries agreeing on a broader conference of pretty well every relevant country that unanimously agreed on requiring a ceasefire as early as possible this year with negotiated transition to a credible regime followed by national elections.

    6. It was obvious that neither Turkey nor Saudi Arabia had any interest in going along with any imbecility the US or Russia might have been imagined to be engaged in. Even more obvious it was a done deal when the conference included Iran.

    7. There is no possibility of any significant rebel forces or their regional outside backers engaging in a ceasefire while the regime holds out for remaining in power either in Damascus or in any smaller enclave.

    8. Both they and their backers will be at the negotiations because they understand that the terms already announced do end the regime. They also understand that their alliance or truce with Al Qaeda will end with the regime and so does Al Qaeda.

    9. It is obvious that any ceasefire would end the situation of regime held areas being safer than rebel areas subject to barrel bombing etc that is driving millions of regime opponents out of the country.

    10. The regime is not doing that just because it can, but because it has to in order to survive. If it stops terrorizing the people it stops ruling and the local governments already partially helping the population deal with regime terror would become substantial governments able to form a unified national force with international backing that would also replace the regime in Damascus and Latakia.

    11. It makes as much sense for the regime to agree to the terms that the Russians and Iranians have agreed on for them and then try to remain in power as it did for the puppet regime in south Vietnam. The Baathist regime were not puppets originally but it is quite clear now they rely entirely on Russia, Iran and Hezbollah for survival and their fate has been decided.

    12. Not only from their point of view but from that of literally everybody else except the Takfiris it is highly desirable that there be no large scale massacre of Alawis and chaotic occupation of Damascus and Latakia by forces that cannot be relied on to prevent that.

    13. The regime has needed somebody it could surrender to rather than simply be massacred by for quite some time. The West should have provided that but refused to invest the blood and treasure merely to save Syrians. It turns out there was an alternative and we are now seeing it. It will take longer and be bloodier than if the West had intervened but it will end the catastrophe.

    14. Putin will be able to boast success. Obama will be able to boast successs and the EU will be able to boast success. Public opinion will remain as bewildered as Patrick.

  56. 56 Steve Owens

    “1. The regime was heading for collapse and it was not plausible that Russia could imagine that it could change that outcome or that anyone who actually knows where Russia is and where Syria is and how armies are supplied could be worried that they might.”
    Arthur you seem to be saying that Putin cant supply a military worthy of the name in Syria. In SO16 I linked to maps that show that Russia has a number of supply routes to Syria and that if you add Russian, Syrian Iranian and Hezbollah forces together then yes Russia can change the outcome
    Heres the link again

    SO16 http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-12-10/visualizing-russias-intervention-syria

  57. 57 Steve Owens
  58. 58 Arthur

    Steve I (literally) don’t have time to debate (independent of any view I might have as to how productive it would be).

    Very briefly and with no intention to follow up.

    1. Yes, Russia has a free hand to supply its troops in Syria. That is what made me drop higher priorities to satisfy myself what was going on as the best explanation I could come up with before studying the matteris that the British, French and Turkish governments are all imbeciles and that isn’t a plausible explanation.

    2. Fear of Russia going to war with either the West or Turkey over it isn’t a plausible explanation either.

    3. The explanation I am satisfied with is that it more or less suits those countries who could prevent it even if Obama was an imbecile for Russia to not be prevented from supplying its troops. That is because they expect the intervention to lead to a negotiated transition that will be a much more satisfactory outcome and that expectation is realistic rather than imbecilic as I initially thought (ie it is about transition over a short period rather than the bullshit about Assad regime supporters and opponents jointly governing which initial reports of “there is a role for Assad” seemed to imply.

    4. The zero hedge “visualization” is simply ludicrous. It shows maps of the ukraine, where Russia has large army and aerospace forces with internal lines of communication next to a listing of a squadron or two of aircraft and vehicles supporting a battalion or so of naval infantry deployed to Syria. (The number of ships supporting that does give a hint of what Turkey could do about it in the Dardanelles if they were as opposed to the whole thing as they are to targeting Turkmen on their border).

    5. BTW the Sputnik boasting linked from there that ““The S-400 gives Russia a practical veto over any Western action against Assad.” does accurately reflect widespread commentary from Western “opinion leaders”.

    But it has no connection with either political or military reality.

    Politically, the veto on overt action against the regime has been clearly imposed by Obama – and long before the Russians showed up (and widely supported by “public opinion”). Covert action has in fact been accelerated. If the countries I mentioned did impose No Fly Zones they would be somewhat limited without US support but could at least indicate solidarity.

    Militarily, if the Russians started shooting down NATO aircraft over Syria (which they certainly could) the launching sites are completely vulnerable to immediate destruction. Air defenses are effective from territory you dominate. Not where you are surrounded by the navies of the people whose planes you are shooting down.

    Other amusing features of the article were listing the theatrical display of cruise missile strikes from the Black Sea and submarines as somehow showing Russian determination and capability while simultaneously admitting that it is for demonstration of stuff Russia wants to sell.

  59. 59 Steve Owens

    Arthur I’m happy not to argue with you about this issue.
    You claim that the zero-hedge article I linked to states that Russia fired cruise missiles from the the Black Sea. Did you mean the Caspian Sea fleet?

  60. 60 Arthur

    Probably Caspian – the point was that using long range cruise missiles against targets with no air defense is pure theatre wherever they are fired from.

    If I recall correctly there were also some fired from submarines – in the Mediterranean – even more theatrical.

    BTW the Russian announcements about S-400s on the cruiser Moskva as a response to a jet fighter was particularly lame theatrics. The Moskva was already deployed BEFORE the Turks acted (perhaps in preparation for theatre and arms sales but my guess is still that they were initially worried about a regime split and possible attacks on their miniscule forces from parts of the regime airforce as they must have taken the decision to deploy it well before it arrived).

  61. 61 patrickm

    Latest reports do not present Syria as any kind of settled issue but rather indicates that there is a large enough HIRIS COW at war to have a big effect for sometime yet. Assad is not being transitioned just yet!

    Putin’s game is now being exposed by more people like the British government.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-britain-idUSKCN0VB29H and the US
    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/john-kerry-warns-about-syrias-continued-airstrikes/ has changed tone.

    The delaying tactics are now as obvious as the ongoing bombing of hospitals. The Vienna choir has not sung in January and the singers are more than just fighting over the exact song to sing at the end of February. The west are themselves now discordant with the pretend conductor shuttling around pretending that UN farce was the start of the process. It was NOT a meeting nor even a start to the process that was set down and triumphantly waved around Munich style in mid November rather hundreds of thousands more refugees are now on the move as planned.

    If people want to say the UN negotiations are now underway they are entitled to after all we have the precedent of the Oslo agreements so why not, but I can’t see how this current process will result in an Hezbollah, Iranian, Russian, Iraqi Shia, ‘Assad’ acceptance of handing over to a democratic Syria that would be majority Sunni. Not to forget the Kurds and the acceptable ‘SDF’ that are now west of the Euphrates and on the move.

    Kerry in Rome the other day strikes me as rope-able. He looks like someone that now knows he has been taken to the cleaners by the Putin lie machine and still has no viable plan. I wouldn’t think that Clinton would keep him on very long so we will probably only have to put up with Kerry for about the same time as Obama’s now 352 days. Lavrov will still be there (Putin willing) and so will Assad!!

    There is clearly NO British involvement in any deception of Assad.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/02/putin-strengthening-isis-syria-uk-foreign-secretary-philip-hammond-russia nor anyone else and that is the case with all western governments including the Turkish and US!

    ½ theory thinking was plausible when it was first formulated and hinted at by both insiders and astute outsiders at the end of September and beginning of October following the dramatic Russian intervention of early September. Here is the type of article. http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-10-02/putin-has-his-own-no-fly-zone-in-syria Oct 2

    But because the Russians have quite obviously double crossed the west people are now furious and there is just a vacuous ‘audacious hope’ that has now descended on the US led COW as it meets in Rome to plot a way forward and with an eye very much on Libya.

    Arthur reformulated his views on 28 September and that position has despite any attempt at revisionism with ‘just for the record’ reformations (we actually have the record) essentially continued with what has been no better than silence.

    On September 29 Breedlove had his views published.
    ‘Breedlove went on to suggest that Russia’s presence in Syria had little to do with fighting the Islamic State and a lot to do with propping up Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, adding that the sophisticated air defense systems and other pieces of equipment—including aircraft designed for an air-to-air role—was a clear indicator of Russia’s intentions.

    “These very sophisticated air defense capabilities are not about [the Islamic State], they’re about something else,” said Breedlove. “High on Mr. Putin’s list in Syria is preserving the regime against those that are putting pressure on the regime and against those that they see who might be supporting those putting pressure on the regime.”

    Clearly Assad removal theorists dismissed Breedlove as either not being in on the deception or doing it very well. That was fair enough because all that was required was Kerry and Obama to actually know what was going on and as Arthur had worked that out what could go wrong… There WAS every indication that this was a viable end stage unfolding after all Lavrov and Kerry were as thick as… and a process HAD been agreed on that could only effectively proceed with Assad departing. But other far stronger signs were also about.

    As October and the bombing got underway this bombing of the FSA types was all easily fudged with comparisons to Nixon’s Christmas bombing on his way out of Vietnam. To me a clear case of cutting the feet to fit the shoes but then November 14 brought the signed paper to hold aloft and all interest departed from that point. The 1/2 theory was supposedly confirmed so ‘move along nothing to see’ became the line. The Vienna agreement to end the war and bring on democracy meant that whatever the day to day appearances this was now a done deal! Any loose ends would be tidied up as the world leaders went along. Right!!

    Yet after all this ‘ending the war’ talk, Jordan is not a quiet place.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35462698 and I wonder whatever happened to Jordan’s job of picking who was and was not terrorists to be ongoingly bombed? That job vanished. HIRIS attacks go on round the clock to the actual plan. A large advance north of Aleppo was prepared in secret and has managed to find sufficient troops from somewhere. I thought Iran would put in more troops and this advance is not evidence against the presence of more such ‘martians’.

    The Russian press is keeping up the ‘theatre’. https://www.rt.com/news/330858-turkey-shells-syrian-territory/
    Apparently Turkey is shelling says Assad’s troops and the Russians are making their own buildup clear; noting bombing by ‘ Tu22M3 bombers took place around the city of Deir ez-Zor,’ So they are useing Russia-based strategic long-range bombers and they also mentioned the advanced technology supermaneuverable Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jets’ All good ‘gate slamming’!!

    This Book launch/talk http://qunfuz.com/ for Burning Country by Robin Yassin-Kassab, was of interest to me. I have referred people to a similar event where Robin was one of the participants some time back, this talk was 20 Jan 2016 (good listening at 1.5 speed). It may be of NO interest to people that think Vienna confirmed an ‘end of story’ and curiously to me it ought also to be of no interest to people like Chomsky who think the Syrian revolution is over, but for my money this is a Syrian/British perspective worth a listen.

    Robin Yassin-Kassab would IMV be worth engaging with because he has obviously missed the draining the swamp memo (I guess 99% of people effectively have). He is in many respects a classic refugee from the anti-war left so he is coming at this Syrian revolution – that he also admits that he did not expect even at the start of 2011 – from a different perspective. But he has a gut genuine leftism and has done good work to get a hearing for Syrian voices. His focus is on the Syrian local councils and he is also realistic as to the practical ‘safe space’ requirements to bring peace. Where extreme sectarianism is this rampant – with both ‘bearded and necktie fascism’ – physical separation Lebanon style is essential for many years. I think the locals ought to expect that model.

    I say that the ½ theory has zero runs on the board still. I thought this emperor had no clothes and still do.

    Whatever else is going on Israel keeps at it in the background (with I must say more than a little Nixonian flavour to this destructive work). http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/02/palestinian-families-homeless-as-israeli-military-demolishes-west-bank-houses

    Unsurprisingly I think this Russian is worth another look.

  62. 62 patrickm

    Well Bill; there has been that long (and unproductive) silence that I predicted.
    ‘There will be a lot of silence on this but like Obama’s term 6 months will tick along as his 393 days drift by. [now we have 226 days till Hillary]

    Dave said ‘It appears we are about to see a cease fire between the Assad regime and the non-Daesh opposition.’ So that would mean that the biggest mob from the Riyadh meeting Ahrar al-Sham will be acceptable to the Russians etc We will see in just over a week.’ [bombing paused on the ‘FSA’ types for a few weeks while the HIRIS regrouped and took Palmyra etc.]

    As I said last December;

    ‘The thing is Russia and Iran have no doubt realized that the Assad regime was and is unsalvageable but that is only half a theory and does not mean that they intend to Nixon like bomb on the way out that is the missing bit. Assad has a week to go till he makes it through 2015. One can always hope but I think he will.’

    I thought;

    ‘They intend to make maps and freeze conflicts so they require Assad for many months by the look of it and I would still bet he is there in 6 months and another couple of thousand FSA types are not thanks to Russian etc efforts.’

    Assad is still there so that part of the bet is final. The conflict is raging and the US has just started attacks from the Carrier Task Force (CTF) in the Mediterranean.

    HIRIS has not run out of troops like Assad was doing a year ago. Turkey and the US and the SDF/YPG are working through some interesting problems and the maps are still being made with Russian barrel bombs etc., https://isis.liveuamap.com/en/2016/5-june-sultan-murad-blew-up-an-isis-svbied-trying-to-hit

    There is NOW some preasure on Assad for sure but also lots of issues are worth writing about and IMV people ought to do so.

  63. 63 steve owens

    Patrick I think that your post is more understandable if you add in Bill’s proposal which was
    “My suggestion for a resolution of the differences b/w pat’s views and arthur’s views is that both sides could outline what the situation should look like in 6 months time in the light of their analyses. This would provide a basis for working out who is right and who is wrong by and large.”

  64. 64 patrickm

    Steve and Barry etc.
    I think the way that the Russians are currently pressuring Assad is well set out in this link.
    http://www.aljazeera.com/blogs/middleeast/2016/05/assad-regime-losing-momentum-160514193526171.html so ‘Hands up all those who thought Russian military withdrawal meant Russian military withdrawal.’ is not quite the point, though this Russian intervention is absolutely nothing like the Nixon analogy and that is part of the point.

    It has been obvious for some time that Assad is not being as cooperative as Uncle Vlad would like! But will he outlast Obama? I think he probably will. At any rate he still looks like he is going to try. The Iranians and the Iraqi Shia militias and Hezbollah will stump up more troops like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liwa_Fatemiyoun; but as he also looks like he is NOW about to exhaust over the next few months some concessions in genuine negotiations on his departure could emerge over those months or into next year.

    Those regional troops will be thrown in because the rest of HIRIS still want a form of enclave building and that is what these rubble and refugee making policies have been about for years. These hospital destroying policies ought to have brought in NATO plus, but because the west was led by people who even opposed getting rid of Saddam – even him and his mass murdering regime! And because they never grasped post 9/11 swamp draining we got close to zip effort when it came to Syria.

    As I said…October 22, 2015 at 10:31 pm ‘It would seem clear that the broad Shia COW is – after being confronted with the reality of Sunni terror – sorting out the maps and will in that process naturally push the Assad regime to the side, but not just now.’

    What the Iranians are going to do with the manpower they supply around Aleppo while Putin puts pressure on Assad might start to show up after this currently unfolding round. There is some broad HIRIS plan but it is very broad and very flexible. For example as the US backed (but loved by all except the Turks) SDF/Kurd forces go for it from the North East, HIRIS is scrambling from the west and South West and Daesh is in real trouble. https://isis.liveuamap.com/en/2016/6-june-afghan-commander-seyed-hakim-hosseini-of-irgcs-fatemiun

    But Syria is just part of the regional conflict that they are ALL involved in against Al Qaeda, Daesh and the root cause of that whole culture the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) COW who have now I think settled on a military solution to Assad. I’m not sure that a negotiation is even feasible now and the KSA is clearly preparing for the fight to remove him hence all the man portable anti-aircraft (man-pad) weapons turning up recently. This war is not settled and could still go huge.

    The ‘Shia’ are involved in their very own swamp draining project, having been subjected to terror bombing for a decade and second class status for many decades. The Kurdish issue is very much in play and the Turks have a mess on their hands. The maps do now mean a lot more than they did a year ago but nothing is settled from Vienna last November, or almost ‘sorted out’ in Lebanon style divisions and YET the Assad regime still must go, and Hezbollah is building up around Damascus and so on.

    The ½ theory has floated away on the silence but the problems remain.

  65. 65 patrickm

    Turkey sees things differently on hospitals and blames the Russians.

    ‘The U.S. accuses the Syrian air force of targeting several hospitals in Aleppo, calling those operations “unconscionable.”

    Fighting in and around Aleppo has left in tatters a cease-fire the U.S., Iran, Russia and others backed on paper. The State Department, though, doesn’t sound ready for any plan B.

    “We still believe that Russia, that Iran, can at least appeal to those in the regime who still have influence on [Assad] to refrain from letting this political process, this cessation of hostilities, fall completely apart,” Toner said.

    The regional dimension to what is propping up Assad is getting clearer by the day.

    I also note that French special forces and British SAS are now openly on the ground (as Australians would have been if Abbott was PM but Turnbull said no!)

    The US COW is now it seems to me rushing to arm the Syrians who will fight with/as the SDF behind a swiftly moving YPG and COW specials forces cutting edge advance. So it could not be more than a month till ‘yellow’ and ‘pink’ butt up across from Aleppo.

    But that ‘yellow’ won’t really be yellow and the US will have armed a lot of anti-Assad civilians that have had both a gut full of Daesh and who will not want to do what the YPG Kurds have done with the Assad armed forces (SAA) they will want to fight Assad and HIRIS and it will be very hard to stop them given that the deep state of the Assad regime is the root cause of this war, but as the ground is now often as not held by Iraqi Shia or Iranians or Hezbollah and there are even Russian artillery and special forces, sappers and transport troops roaming around this is where the ceasefires will be waved around and the current map shows a Russian plan in its shaping.

    When the expanded ‘SDF’ starts clashing with the Assadists who will provide air cover?

    Saudi Arabian troops (KSA) are pushing back and in particular distributing manpads so the Russians are going to take some losses, but the Russians can’t afford to get into a punch up with the Turks who would then shut down the easiest shipping route and drive up the cost of this Putin madness even more.

    HIRIS is not going to back down to the KSA COW so I conclude this is likely to spread. Region wide swamp draining is slowly sucking in everyone it seems.

  66. 66 patrickm
  67. 67 patrickm

    This http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Controversy-over-military-strategy-reportedly-ignites-fight-between-Assad-forces-and-Hezbollah-456905 is very important IMV and it could well be that these clashes signify that a firm move on Assad in Damascus comes sooner rather than later. But I doubt it.

    and as for this. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-ignores-warnings-bombs-u-s-backed-syrian-rebel-group/ What could possibly go wrong given that the whole process was worked out 8 months ago? More to the point how is the US COW going to stop Russia killing the FSA types that they are backing? The Kurd dominated SDF is acceptable but we all knew they would be, and that the Kurdish forces won’t be used to do western dirty work while war is made on Kurds north of the border.

    As no one is now sharing any links, here is some from me. People might not have seen this but with the KSA defence minister in the US this is worth noting http://atimes.com/2016/06/russian-iranian-alliance-in-syria-at-crossroads/ from RIS Defence ministers.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-state-department-officials-call-for-strikes-against-syrias-assad-1466121933 what happens when the US COW starts doing what must be done and goe’s after Assad’s lot…well…at least Turkey can shut down the quick rout to club Med.

    Al-monitor is good reading at the moment

  68. 68 patrickm

    Much squabbling in the loyalist ranks and the HIRI(S) COW is throwing its weight around http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-june-regime-loyalists-claim-moscow-formed-new-syrian-govt

    And Hizbollah and Palestinian militia are being flown into Deir Ezzor. Changes all round! http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/24-june-runway-reopened-at-russias-khmeimim-airbase-in-syria and ‘SAA source:

    Russian Air Force planes in Syria are not enough, http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-june-a-syrian-arab-army-soldier-explains-to-prosaa-tweeter etc.,great reading.

  69. 69 Steve Owens

    Patrick what have we learnt from watching Syria? I think the following
    1: No Palace coup, Assad is still in charge of the Assad regimen.
    2: Geneva talks were just there to waste time. Are they still talking?
    3: There will be no US boots on the ground (meaning not enough ground force applied to effect the outcome) All US ground wars since Vietnam have failed with the notable exceptions of Panama and Grenada. When Clint Eastwood has to make movies about the glorious conquest of Grenada you really do have some military capacity problems.
    4: There will be no regional war becuase a regional power cant be named who has an interest or the territorial ambitions to launch one.
    Turkey is more interested in EU membership than reclaiming the Ottoman Empire. Iran are still pinching themselves with how much they have gained while barely lifting a finger and Saudi Arabia cant control Yemen let alone the region.

  70. 70 steve owens

    Just on point 3 it should read with notable exceptions Panama, Grenada and Kuwait but the point stands, war with no local opposition = success wars with local opposition = failure. Syria would be a war with local opposition

  71. 71 steve owens
  72. 72 patrickm

    Ah the joy of Trump and the Chilcot Realists! Mass bombing in Baghdad well Saddam kept them in order! The sheer madness of the BBC- ABC – Greens – Pseudoleft tail as they bleat for Bush, Blair and Howard to face a trial!

    After all for making a revolutionary war to remove the worlds worst tyrant and allow the people of Iraq to establish a new state that hanged him they are clearly guilty of something.

    Clearly Obama has shown the way the masses don’t suffer with leaving tyrants in place I guess more silence and/or apologism from the usual suspects.

    Oh woe oh woe what a mess of that nice and tidy Middle East that gave the world the joys of 9/11.

    I have this feeling that Chilcot will blow over faster than the shame of having been connected to any ‘peace’ campaign. No peace movement now! Just sullen support for troops in NOW. Obama put in a few more special forces and the Germans are in and the French and the British and though Assad is NOW looking shakier by the day I still think – with the Iraqi Shia about to dig deep and go ballistic- I wouldn’t bet on him going anywhere just yet.

    197 days left of Obama! Hard to say when the HIRIS leadership will transition Assad but nothing is settled just yet.

  73. 73 steve owens

    Patrick I don’t think you quite grasp the significance of Trump. He is openly blaming Bush for allowing 9/11 He is condemning Bush for the war which in his opinion worked against US interests. These are the rantings of a buffoon but trouble is that it represents a significant steam of thought in US politics. JEB! stood up against this rewriting of history and the result was that he couldn’t get into double figures in the primaries. Trump represents a complete rejection of the Republican Parties defense of the war.

    The Chilcot inquiry is a good thing it is refreshing that controversial government actions get public scrutiny. Are you against holding up public figures to scrutiny or just the ones you support?

    Not everything coming out of the war was bad the Kurds got a better deal and Saddam was hung however I opposed hanging him until he had faced further trials. It all looked a bit too convenient to hang him so quickly.

    I didn’t see a “peace movement” I did see a huge anti war movement on the streets and a pro war movement on the TV. Once the occupation commenced I saw new configurations form based around support for troops staying or troops leaving. Initially I thought that troops should leave ASAP but once they had decided to stay I argued that they should live up to their legal responsibilities and protect the population of the occupied country. Clearly I was very critical of their failure to provide security.

    I think that you are wrong to lampoon people who argue that the ME is not the tidy place it once was because it’s not a question about tidiness its about the hundreds of thousands who died as a result of the invasion its about the lack of the promised democracy. Its about, just as the invasion of Afghanistan gave us Al Qaeda the invasion of Iraq has given us ISIL its that simple No Afghan war = no AQ. No Iraq war = no IS

    The pro war group is in complete disorder. Think about it, Bush is a virtual political hermit, Clinton cant walk away from her pro war vote quickly enough, the British are getting closer and closer to putting Blair in the dock. Many pro war enthusiasts have long ago recanted and even here at a pro war blog site contributors do anything but contribute the argument about the war has been prosecuted and the pro war side wants to talk about anything else.

  74. 74 patrickm

    Steve; when you speak of ‘the rantings of a buffoon’ in reference to Trump you are correct but aren’t you avoiding the reality that the right realists are what the pseudoleft have always been following in the intellectual dead end that passed for a 21st C left anti-war movement? Even Noam can tell us that ‘realist’ policies from ruling class ratbags like Chilcot brought on the blowback of 9/11. What was to be done from that point by anyone even vaguely to be thought of as progressive has never made any sense if it did not include protracted armed struggle with a strategic focus to empower the masses of the region via democratic norms at least as good as were imposed on the defeated axis countries of WW2.

    WW2 emphatically rules out ‘Never politics’ so from that point on (the refusal to deal with democracy and the bourgeois democratic revolution) it becomes a train wreck of understandings of how the world works served up by all the usual suspects. There is nothing realistic for what is to be done to even survive let alone bring forth a world fit for 21st C proletarians. Hence we saw the continuous splitting as every subsequent event unfolded and as it continues to unfold across the MENA region and now well beyond.

    Today http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/world/middleeast/us-iraq-mosul.html?_r=0 the US announced a further deployment of 560 troops to a forward air base in Iraq as they get ready for the battle for Mosul that the Iraqi government and their allies plan to launch this year – as you will recall I predicted that. Not a problem for you or me as we support the deployment of these troops!

    Of course those many decades of policies did catastrophically blow back so this ought to be and is a foundation point of agreement, but for some instead phoney pacifism or ridiculous cost benefit analysis got and still gets served up. The masses rejected the phonies and supported the counter attack on the enemies of all progress from across the region (but only based) in Afghanistan that realists had bankrolled with a billion dollars and the KSA had backed with another billion. Those realists are the ones who ought to be in the dock! Troops are still required in Afghanistan! Even Obama is not going to bug out of Afghanistan, but just as obviously without the social revolution, without ‘putting politics in command’ the foreign troops would be an eternal fixture. Social revolution is the solution of course but no change at all is possible while social revolutionaries keep being executed by the Islamofascists.

    Trump ‘represents a significant stream of thought in US politics.’ like the anti-war fruitcake Bernie Sanders but so what. Draining the swamp theory remains the only realistic way forward.

    Remember this…
    Paulus January 4, 2007 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
    Well, David, you have your answer on the pages of this blog. Assuming that Bush’s new policy is to no avail, the old style realists will triumph. The minority on the left who thought it was a good idea to actively attack tyrants, as exemplified by Christopher Hitchens, will go back into their shell; the right will turn isolationist; and tyrants will have many happy decades of ruling in peace. Sanctions too have been discredited over the last decade, and will join military means on the list of unavailable options. So the left will revert to the old tried and true methods of tackling dictators, such as writing letters through Amnesty International, and calling for resolutions at the UN.

    Mark January 4, 2007 at 6:49 pm | Permalink
    Paulus, come on. I think there’s a fair bit of evidence that Saddam’s regime was on its last legs because of the approach Clinton had adopted.
    Surely you’re not saying “we got rid of the tyrant, but we disclaim responsibility for what comes after”…That appears to be the last ditch justification in US (mad) right wing circles – it’s all the Iraqis’ fault that the place is in such a godawful mess. We gave them “liberty” and they stuffed it up horribly.

    Paulus January 4, 2007 at 6:54 pm | Permalink
    “as the Indonesian example shows, dictatorships tend to collapse eventually”
    As the North Korean example shows, “eventually” can be a mighty long time. Half a century and counting …
    As Hitchens argued, Saddam had survived so many uprising and assassination attempts, and was clearly preparing dynastic succession for his sons, so it was amazingly wishful thinking to believe he would have collapsed any time soon.

    My lesson out of all of this is not to abandon the concept of ‘regime change’ — just make sure you do it right and have a ‘Plan B’ for reconstruction in case things don’t go quite as smoothly as you hoped.

    Mark January 4, 2007 at 6:58 pm | Permalink
    The North Korean regime would be in significantly more trouble if China hadn’t decided to prop it up because they don’t want to contemplate what will happen if it falls, Paulus.

    Mark January 4, 2007 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
    Anyway, diverting as this is, I don’t know that David’s questions really go to the theme of the post – what would victory look like? And can Bush achieve it?

    Paulus January 4, 2007 at 7:03 pm | Permalink
    Is “the approach Clinton had adopted” a euphemistic way of referring to the sanction regime? One might alternatively call it a “Final Solution” for the Iraqi problem. According to critics, those sanctions killed more than a million Iraqis — even more than the recent Lancet figures for the post-war death toll. Mark, you are a heartless beast!

    Steve, you say ‘The Chilcot inquiry is a good thing it is refreshing that controversial government actions get public scrutiny. Are you against holding up public figures to scrutiny or just the ones you support?’ All three governments were held to account by elections and all got re-elected! Something the collapsed anti-war groups run from as they ran from the region destabilising elections in Iraq.

    I can’t think of why any leftist would NOT seek the destabilising reality of a full on fight against fascism. The alternative is to turn your back in the exact way that realists turned at the time of Halabja.

    The new Iraqi state hanged Saddam YET a well kept mausoleum was put up and ran for years in Tikrit! Not any more! Sunni regions of Iraq were still run all along by the fascists and they did not disappear because some western order disbanded the old – fascist – Iraqi army. They had to be and have to be really defeated in the exact same way that the Nazis were.

    The only thing ever promised to the masses is the fight for democracy. The enemy will not give up. Failure to properly deploy in Syria has resulted in a catastrophe that will – no matter what – have to be fixed. No Iraq war would have meant no fighting off the front foot – but death to progressives as the constant reality of war against tyranny has demonstrated.

    Speaking of region wide war. I see Mr audacious has dropped out of sight so we can bet that planning was underway for whatever are the next Russian moves – and to be sure there are all manner of problems on his leadership plate not just Assad being a resistant departure!

  75. 75 patrickm

    Just listening to Hollande and the first thing he said of a strategic nature was that France would continue to fight in Syria and Iraq. So here we are with another ‘little’ 9/11 – this time perpetrated by – according to initial reports – a French Tunisian, who is undoubtedly Islamic in background, and Jihadist Islamofascist in world view. Yet when 9/11 happened I do not even recall the French arguing for deploying to the strategically vital sector of the problem and that was Iraq. Yet NOW Hollande didn’t even mention Afghanistan.

    I note that In February 2012, “after an Afghan soldier shot and killed four French soldiers in eastern Afghanistan, French president Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to suspend French operations in Afghanistan.[4] The newly elected president Francois Hollande, announced in June 2012 that he would be withdrawing 2,000 of France’s 3,400 troops in Afghanistan, leaving 1,400 for training and logistics.[5] In November 2012, France’s combat troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan, leaving just the logistical contingent in the country.’ [‘6]) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_forces_in_Afghanistan )

    They lost about as many in Afghanistan as this Jihadist took out in one go! Apparently ‘88 men have been killed’ in Afghanistan. Where am I going with this? They were MIA when the Iraqi peoples’ were liberated by the U.S., British, and Australian, etc., COW; but now they pledge not to stop their effort to fight Daesh and Al Qaeda in the centre of the strategic problem Iraq and Syria. They ought to be inviting Blair,Bush and Howard (in the face of this Chilcot rubbish) to receive a medal for launching the great strategic war for liberation that the contemptible Obama, Rudd and so forth have dropped the ball on ever since!

    The other night I stumbled onto the last part of Adam Hill’s show on their ABC. It’s made in Britain apparently and he ripped into Blair over the Chilcot report and Blair’s response. I guess this comedian/journalist/centrist/pseudoleftist is the classic ABC/BBC (like employing like) liberal clone. He was appalling in his attack on one of the western leaders who liberated the Iraqi people. It was a truly pathetic and fully deserving of an old style Hitchens bashing of him back into his liberal rat hole yet there are no working leftist journalists with the strategic vision – and so there are no articles in the MSM.

    It was so notable that this BBC/ABC attack was happening in the same week that Obama ordered into Iraq a further 560 troops bringing the number up to about 5,000, with more deployed in Syria and Jordan and in Turkey, as well as still in Afghanistan and right across the region. Smug in his contemptible “anti-war progressive” stand the field seems wide open for an article.

    Then I stumbled upon Keating in the Age. http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/paul-keating-says-john-howard-should-hang-his-head-in-shame-over-iraq-war-20160707-gq12fq?eid=cpc:nnn-14omn2216-optim-nnn:outbrain-outbrain_paid-dom-displayad-nnn-age-nnn&campaign_code=15caf002&promote_channel=sem&utm_source=outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=paid%20outbrain

    If that target is not worth a mainstream article at this stage and a re-run of the core left arguments against such rightwing realist dogma from these ALP ‘leaders of the working classes’ then I’d like to know what is worth the effort.

    Silence from the radical leftists that generated the strategic analysis that is the only realistic plan still standing is useless. Dignified debate in the face of the years of the Obama wilderness might well improve everyone’s ability to produce a useful article for the MSM.

  76. 76 steve owens
  77. 77 patrickm

    ‘Some forty years later, the Bush administration thought that it could turn the domino theory to its advantage. Knocking off Saddam, the war party thought, would have a cascading effect in the middle east, if not the wider world.’ This was well understood before the cascading started but long after this I am not sure what parts of this article you think make a useful read!

    Mearsheimer will be writing about how bad Erdogan is soon enough.

    After the attempted coup Erdogan is clearly cleaning out the deep state enemies of democracy that are rife and that the BBC types are going all wobbly about. Right realists have always backed the deep state in Turkey and Egypt and that is why pseudoleftists drag along behind as they did in both Turkey and Egypt. We can see how bad Egypt became where the rightist Abbott supports the coup and makes apologies for the reactionaries who suppress the islamists just as he would have if the coup had been a success in Turkey. He hasn’t got it.

    The left theory that islamists would have to be supported in taking on both Islamofascists and secular fascists is being demonstrated before your very eyes. So why or what is useful in your view about that old pre cascade article?

  78. 78 patrickm

    This type of statement is more interesting I would have thought http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/20-july-ahrar-alsham-releases-the-english-statement-regarding

    These maps are worth keaping an eye on.

  79. 79 steve owens

    “I am not sure what parts of this article you think make a useful read!”
    I thought that the article gave a useful explanation of the 2 positions that dominated the discussion about the war.

  80. 80 patrickm

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-coup-president-erdogan-islam-akp-government-a7142836.html the exact problem as the mush from the Pseudoleft starts to get churned out. Won’t be long before the real problem is that ‘undemocratic’ Islamists got elected! Fancy wanting their policies implemented. Fancy dealing with an armed attack on democracy. What happened to the good old days of ‘secular’ army terror keeping the trains running on time?

    At a time like this – will the Iranians send in a few more uniformed ‘Martians’, along with the rest of the gang as the battle for Aleppo has reached another significant milestone? I think they probably will. Looks like Assad will get through July – but who knows Erdogan almost didn’t so maybe a bomber will get lucky.

    People might start to wonder if the Turkish crackdown goes on, and gets too wide if Erdogan might not have won a battle but sown the seeds to lose the war. After all this is now a full fledged revolutionary situation and a capitalist solution to Turkey’s problems are not a realistic prospect. This country is a basket case sitting atop even more dramatic rubble, so as a Marshall Plan is not in the pipes – revolutionary measures are all that’s left. Those measures start with supression of gangsters.

    Thank goodness we had the peace in our time document last November, at least there is no shortage of toilet paper!

  81. 81 steve owens

    “….. a capitalist solution to Turkey’s problems are not a realistic prospect.”
    So you think that Turkeys economy is toilet bound?
    Gee someone should tell them that their economies projected growth of 3.4% in 2016 and 2017 are just Capitalist smoke and mirrors or that their deficit reduction as a proportion of GDP from 10% in 2002 to 3% in 2011 are just illusions.

  82. 82 patrickm

    I think you ought to consider what the youth stats are indicating for an economy that is swamped with refugees, terrorists, a reawakened bloody nationalist struggle and is now coping with a failed coup and not to forget had a bundle of costly economic sanctions dumped on it after the russians flew over and got shot down (fair enough).

    If you are interested in what the proletarian masses are coping with and I think you are then a lot of them are right now having to sit idle because they can’t find someone who can make a profit out of exploiting them. They are – like everywhere else only too happy to find an employer and be exploited but as in lots of countries like South Africa and Egypt etc they are not so easy to find and the social results are a rise of gangsterism just for starters.

    Try this http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/03/turkey-idle-youth-exacerbates-terror-problem.html

    and have a look at the rates at the bottom of this link (no numbers for Egypt)

    On our own news there is a feature as I type on unemployed and thus crime and problem youth! Let’s at least talk in a realistic manner about what working class people are currently experiencing. Talking as if Turkey is in good shape economically and capitalism doing just fine is not realistic nor productive.

  83. 83 steve owens

    Sanctions did hit the Turkish economy hard but they are over
    You want to make an issue about youth unemployment? But why? many countries have high youth unemployment and the invariable result of high unemployment is that most people seek individual resolutions to this mass problem yes a few seek a collective response join unemployed unions, protest even riot but these are a minority nowhere in history has unemployment lead to revolution it just doesn’t happen. It leads to higher crime higher suicide rates higher drug use but no social revolution.

  84. 84 patrickm

    Steve, I just watched Trump go on about how terrible the wars in the ME have been, and as you say his views are a total rejection of the Bush change in US policies and might result in an attempt to return to the realist past. So Clinton and the Dem’s would be now carrying the torch for the Bush policies of liberating the peoples’ of the ME. How the world turns! Pseudoleft anti-war rubbish spouted by Trump loud and clear – even to the point of supporting the military against the elected MB Islamists in Egypt.

    Consider the ABC wall to wall worry about Erdogan. Not any concern from them that the coup was so vicious and that hundreds were killed and that the anti-democrats tried to kill the elected President etc.. NOPE the big worry is that Erdogan is using this to strengthen HIS power! What incredible rats run our government paid media.

    The way that Islamists must lead the revolution was spelt out by not just Marxists like those that posted here but a thinking Social Democrat spelt it out 9 years ago.

    Barbara B January 12, 2007 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Islamism versus Islamo-Fascism:

    Islamism is an essential stage in the modernisation of Middle Eastern economies and political structures. It’s playing the same part fundamental Protestantism played in the 16th century in reforming the decadent and corrupt Catholic establishment, thus facilitating the advance of capitalism. Calvin’s fundamentalist government in Geneva imposed strict social, legal and religious codes. With this psychological security blanket for the people in place, Calvin then wrote his famous Letter justifying usury (interest). Significantly this is occurring in the same timeline … it took 15 centuries for Christianity to start to modernise; Islam is now about the same age.

    I think the distinction between Islamist and Islamo-fascist movements is this: the former have an egalitarian component providing for direct elections (eg Iran); the latter do not (eg Wahhabism). The former is therefore progressive, the latter reactionary. Needless to say the Left should not be supporting the latter!

    The Bush Administration’s enforced reversal of decades of US foreign policy propping up totalitarian regimes like the Baath in Iraq to one of insisting/imposing democratic reform in the Middle East is hastening an already inevitable historical process. In the space of only a couple of years (!), we have the electoral gains of Hamas in Palestine, Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Shiites in Bahrain, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Shiite Islamists in Iraq. All these movements are responsive to the social needs/aspirations of the people and each is forcing reform on their respective ancien regimes.

    Barbara B January 13, 2007 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Weber. Curses. Did someone come up with the theory before me?

    Ah well. Firstly the good news, you don’t have to be a LastSuperPower unreconstructed Maoist to come to my conclusion – I am just a modest bourgeois social democrat like most of you seem to be. My personal views are derived from a keen interest in all history but especially renaissance/reformation, ( My source here, Christine, is R.H.Tawney’s essays on “Religion and the Rise of Capitalism”, published sometime in the 50s I think, widely available on the net’s second hand book distributors). Also intense fascination with the Iranian revolution from 1979 onwards and its development thereafter. But so much for my eccentricities/personal obsessions.

    Now, Mark, as I understand Weber his essay was to do with the Protestant ethic? My thesis in contrast is that fundamental protestant-ism was a revolution not a reformation and erupted as a result of severe external pressures on Christian societies to modernise driven by unstoppable economic imperatives. (ie I would argue the Protestant “ethic” was a cultural/social component which had more to do with the application of the revolution rather than its genesis.)

    The major polarising issue in those days was usury (ethics of) and the establishment Christian world was being torn apart by it. The Protestants saw the ruling church/establishment as archaic, decadent, corrupt but worst of all susceptible to secularisation.

    This is almost identical to the situation the Muslim world found itself in the 30 years post WW2 -1979. Relentless pressure to modernise, economic imperatives, the big issue tearing them apart being the Zionist state. (ie usury revisited)

    As in Calvin’s day the most crucial, unsettling component to believers was visible creeping secularisation. This was inevitably occurring in response to the pressures outlined above: Nasser’s Egypt, Gadhafi’s Libya, Arafat’s PLO, Baath Syria, Baath Iraq, Turkey, Algeria, Shah’s Iran etc etc. Just about everywhere really, except Saudi Arabia. But the Saudis, Sunnis, were clearly a willing sellout to US/Zionist capitalist imperialism, nothing more than agents of modernisation.

    So. Lo. A fundamentalist Shiite Islamic revolution takes place in Iran, just as Calvin’s did in Geneva. Quelle surprise.

    Since then, 1979 onwards, what has interested me about the Iranian revolution is this:
    Calvin’s fundamentalist revolution demonstrated that a retreat to simple verities then allows for people/societies under external existential stress to psychologically accept change.
    Revolutions are initially purist, as result they tend to make major breakthroughs – Calvin’s was no exception. His Letter justifying usury powered the advance of capitalism and also, ironically for him, completed the process of secularisation with the Enlightenment a couple of hundred years later.

    Islam has only today reached the stage of evolution (15 centuries) that Christianity was when Protestantism evolved. Why should the third great monotheistic religion not be following the same historical path to modernisation and eventual reconciliation with secularisation the other two have? Why wouldn’t the Shiites lead this? After all, they have always been the opposition.

    Another comparison: When Calvin took over Geneva he basically injected a power-shot of theocracy into an existing (for its time) democratic system, based on a pyramid or tier system of “councils”. Each descending council was slightly larger and therefore more representative than the last. Each stage was also incrementally more egalitarian – subject to direct vote, albeit on a restricted franchise – (typical of the day as democractic universal franchise was only in early stage of evolution). At the bottom was the “general assembly” – in our day Parliament – but which was in turn accountable to the smallest council that was at the top of the pyramid. A perpetual loop, in other words. This was how Calvin tried to control the purity of the revolution while maintaining the fiction of “consent” of the people.

    If you look at the structure of government of Iran it is so uncannily similar, even to the acceptance of forms of direct elections – that you have to wonder if Khomeini spent most of his time when in exile in France reading up on Calvin.

    As result I maintain
    (a) there was nothing ever mysterious about the appearance of Islamism

    (b)it should never have been demonised but recognised as legitimate – and particularly so by the Left

    (c) that as long as some form of direct elections/empowerment of the people remains part of its government structure/ or declared policy then it should be vigorously supported by the Left and held to account if it lapses into fascism after gaining power

    (d) that the reactionary, totalitarian, Islamofascist wing of “Islamism” – again, no mystery in Christian development-just recall Savanarola, German National Socialism etc – should be clearly labelled for what it is by the Left and vehemently opposed at all times. That’s what demonstrations should be about, imo. In fact I can’t understand why they are not.

    Chris: modernisation of the Christian world took several hundred years. You seem to think it should happen in the Middle East Muslim world overnight just because it seems so obvious and logical to you. The attitude towards women is similar to that which prevailed in Christian west in 15th century, and most Christian women internalised/defended/accepted it then just as many Muslim women do today. But the economic imperative will change this over time.

    Christine: Your Robespierre jibe was delicious. However, I have to remind you that was 1793/94. Nearly 200 years BEFORE that the Calvinists had exported their revolution to neighbouring states, much like the Iranian revolution has with Hezbollah in Lebanon and elsewhere. The Calvinist Huguenots fought a 36 year civil war with the ancien regime of France, ending when Louis 1V revoked the Edict of Nantes, whereupon the Huguenots were expelled/fled/exiled.
    Had this not happened then it is obvious in hindsight France would have gone the same way as England – ie – got their struggle between people and monarchy over within 50 years instead of 200 (!) and Robespierre might well have ended his days as an unremarked provincial solicitor


    Look at how the world has unfolded since 2007 the problem I have with this is that I think the era of global capitalism is a very different proposition and will require some new theory.

  85. 85 steve owens

    “Significantly this is occurring in the same timeline … it took 15 centuries for Christianity to start to modernise; Islam is now about the same age.” The Christian split occurred 1500 years into Christianity but the Muslim split occurred in 680 AD there is no parallel.
    “I think the distinction between Islamist and Islamo-fascist movements is this: the former have an egalitarian component providing for direct elections (eg Iran); the latter do not (eg Wahhabism). The former is therefore progressive, the latter reactionary.” Iran progressive?, well only if compared to Saudi Arabia but is Saudi Arabia really the bench mark? The Nazi’s had and egalitarian component were they progressive?
    “This is almost identical to the situation the Muslim world found itself in the 30 years post WW2 -1979. Relentless pressure to modernise, economic imperatives, the big issue tearing them apart being the Zionist state. (ie usury revisited)” Really the pressures on the Muslim world are “almost identical” to the situation in medieval Europe. Really? Israel is tearing them apart?
    “Calvin’s fundamentalist revolution demonstrated that a retreat to simple verities then allows for people/societies under external existential stress to psychologically accept change.” Oh the poor masses who have to go backwards so that their enlightened leaders can take them forward.
    My favorite example of a society leaping from backwardness to the cutting edge of change is the Scottish enlightenment Where Scotland was transformed from a witch burning impoverished backwater to an advanced community leading the world in philosophy, economic theory, science and general social advancement. BTW they didn’t have to take a step back so as not to frighten the simple folk.

  86. 86 Steve Owens
  87. 87 patrickm

    It took 15 centuries for Christianity to start to modernise

    “Significantly THIS is occurring in the same timeline … …Islam is now about the same age.”
    The Muslim split that occurred in 680 AD is not the THIS. Soo…there is a coincidential parallel in what is happening. You have to be able to read Steve not just put in words that you would like to see.

    “Calvin’s fundamentalist revolution demonstrated that a retreat to simple verities then allows for people/societies under external existential stress to psychologically accept change.” Is exactly what is happening in Turkey right before your eyes.

    I rermind you that I was an enthusiastic witness to the election that brought to partial power the democratic Islamists in Iran against the deep state forces that stole the election before last! The masses always try to move forward in a peaceful manner and only fight back after they are murdered, or have I missed something? In Egypt you will recall that the enemies of democracy had to murder the democrats and ban the winners of elections, naturally the pseudolefts supported the events as they built towards the coup!?

    ‘if compared’ then Erdogan, Morsi and Hassan Rouhani etc., are the ‘component providing for direct elections’ and their direct enemies are those that would prevent free and fair elections and peaceful changes of government. The requirement for modernization against forces that are starkly medievalist fascistic or necktie fascists, is now being played out in every country of the MENA. A dead Helen Keller could see this now.

    ‘the poor masses’ are Islamist and all realists understand that and that is why they backed the facsists in supressing the masses as they have strived for democracy – as Trump is doing right NOW in praising the coup in Egypt just as Abbott etc., did.

    When left internationalists say help the right realists hinder; when called to unity against University bombers pseudolefts simply tail behind the realists and blame the fight on Pandoras Box liberators rather than anti-democrats; consider Assad aren’t there ‘leftists’ who back Assad and say there is no revolution? Elections are not a step back! That was the argument made by the South African minority and as you won’t stand in that space so you will have to pretend you can’t read.

    Iraq is a model of revolutionary transformation that can be compared, and like Geoffrey Robinson you are NOW supporting the sending of the troops. What you are not supporting is the struggle for any theory that could advance the way humans associate beyond this pathetic gangster and other owning-class backwardness.

    The ‘simple folk’ are wanting politics so Neverland wants fantasy and you would like to forget about the imperialism that gave the world much more than just the fields of Flanders. Capitalist society having divided up the world gave us the preservation of the swamp and some simple minded folk thought hands off was a good thing to push in Syria. I never did.

    I just see complexity and I don’t think that the Scotland of the Nile will miss it’s own https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Culloden

  88. 88 Steve Owens
  89. 89 patrickm

    There ARE still people that think that attacking the Iraqi fascists and liberating the Iraqi masses was wrong and that the COW were and still are terror bombers. Not you anymore.

    ‘Posted by owenss at 2005-10-22 10:14 AM

    Hi Pat. In your last post you ask us to “guess who are the largest political party in Northern Ireland?” My guess is the Democratic Unionist Party of Ian Paisley with 30 seats in the assembly.

    You also ask why I wont sign the Unite against Terror statement? Well Im perfectly happy to denounce terror. Look at all the bombs going off in Iraq I just wish those foriegn terrorists would go home.’

    In the face of real terror bombing you changed to the point of supporting the deployment of western troops to fight the war that Obama shirked.

    178 day’s of the Obama disaster left, but it could be Trump next! Hearing those old anti-war views put by a realist ratbag like him sharply highlights how pseudoleft thinking tailed the open right as we pointed out.

    Western leaders are worse now than Blair, Howard and GWB. Will Lavrov be glad to see the back of Kerry I don’t know, it may yet prove out of the pan into the fire.

  90. 90 Steve Owens

    Now why in 2005 would I have suggested that the US ewere terrorists dropping bombs maybe it was this
    “Fallujah, The Hidden Massacre is a documentary film by Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta which first aired on Italy’s RAI state television network on November 8, 2005. The film documents the use of weapons that the documentary asserts are chemical weapons, particularly the use of incendiary bombs, and alleges indiscriminate use of violence against civilians and children by military forces of the United States of America in the city of Fallujah in Iraq during the Fallujah Offensive of November 2004.

    The film’s primary themes are:

    Establishing a case for war crimes against civilians committed by the United States.
    Documenting evidence for the use of chemical devices by the US military.
    Documenting other human rights abuses by American forces and their Iraqi counterparts.”
    full entry here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallujah,_The_Hidden_Massacre

  91. 91 patrickm

    Now there are civilian casualties in Manbij and the Putin propoganda machine is not slow to get to work but you know that Daesh is going to be fought house to house and is going to cause plenty of civilian deaths as the US and ‘you’ go after them, so you don’t take the same mistaken line. Back in 2005 you didn’t know that this fight had to be had in Fallujah but since then you are still on the side that has just gone through another battle over the very same Fallujah and is building up a force and a plan to take Mosul. So you have changed quite a bit as a result of seeing just what fascists are capable of.

    Remember this is our bumbling capitalist class that you are (while in other respects so fond of) talking about and they are very slow learners. Consider how Putin has played them along! In the end the main point is that GWB and co required support for ending the horror that is the MENA region and it was progressives job to tell the world that this could only be done through the barrel of a gun. The pseudoleft tailed the scum of imperialism minded rightists. They are doing this while barrel bombs are dropped every day on the Syrian masses! Who is the progressive that you whould like me to learn from over their stand over Syria or Libya? Who can you stand with now? Labor party sorts? Bill for PM is it?

  92. 92 patrickm

    Just read your link and rather obviously the film failed to do so.

    You will no doubt now support taking back Mosul from Daesh and the Baath, so you will now support the use of the smoke making WP. Daesh after their offencive out of the Obama neglected hell hole of Syria make the task of where to stand reasonably clear yet nothing is simple and http://muslimnews.co.uk/news/middle-east/iraq-muqtada-al-sadr-says-uk-troops-iraq-will-treated-invaders/ the anti democratic clerical killer is making all manner of threats against the western troops that assist the Iraqi government troops.

  93. 93 patrickm

    Have a look at Sinjar as a case study and something that is more than comparable to Fallujah https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Sinjar&client=firefox-b&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjn4ZP555DOAhXGHpQKHafEB-oQsAQIPw&biw=1280&bih=871#imgrc=U9Ol8rAYK0BseM%3A I think that is what got you off the fence and at least stumbling forward. You are now no doubt marching ahead of Geoffry Robinson!

  94. 94 Steve Owens

    Well my starting point is one of unity. We both agree that IS needs to be defeated militarily.
    Our disagreement is how we got to this dreadful situation.
    I think that IS drove into western Iraq because the population saw them as no worse than being ruled by the Maliki government. I have previously cited peoples complaints about that government including shelling hospitals, opening fire on protesters, arresting Sunni politicians chasing the Vice President out of the country. Having his staff died during interrogation, killing the Sunni Awakening leaders,refusing to follow the constitutional process allowing for provinces to gain autonomy.
    Now we have the situation where this highly sectarian Iraqi government will replace IS in the Sunni majority areas of Iraq something that I see as necessary but remain unenthusiastic about their ability to achieve a resolution to the areas problems.

  95. 95 Steve Owens
  96. 96 Steve Owens

    Phosphorous is only used to make smoke maybe because you can’t see through the smoke.

  97. 97 patrickm

    What is through the smoke is a consistent refusal to attack the Baath and liberate the masses of not just Iraq but Syria and everywhere else (exactly what Trump is on about). It will be similar in the case of Egypt where he like Abbott and Cameron praises the coup. The peaceful way forward is now blocked in Egypt and the police state will continue to kill and torture democrats till they are defeated by an islamist led uprising and bloody civil war. Is that certain? Not absolutely but that is what the smart money is betting. Look at how the ABC/BBC types are worrying about how Erdogan is going too far and making himself more powerful!. I say he has been the best in that part of the swamp but I am old enough to remember the MFP. I don’t think big projects are unrealistic for revolutionary regimes that are prepared to dump capitalism and enter the next era but I don’t think you can have your capitalism and complain about the interest rates and the capital markets and then carry on like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9aKoBeQDiM – but I digress.

    In your link is the pack of peacenik lies exactly as they will and are being trotted out now over western war making that is going on in this region in 2016 and that will continue far into the future. We can just add the current battles.

    ‘I have been reading accounts of the assault [on Manbij, Sinjar, Tikrit, Fallujah and Mosul] published in the Marine Corps Gazette. The soldiers appear to have believed everything the US government told them. One article claims that “the absence of civilians meant the marines could employ blast weapons prior to entering houses that had become pillboxes, not homes”. Another said that “there were less than 500 civilians remaining in the city”. [change the numbers as required] It continued: “The heroics [of the marines] will be the subject of many articles and books … The real key to this tactical victory rested in the spirit of the warriors who courageously fought the battle. They deserve all of the credit for liberating Falluja.” But buried in this hogwash is a grave revelation. An assault weapon the marines were using had been armed with warheads containing “about 35% thermobaric novel explosive (NE) and 65% standard high explosive”. They deployed it “to cause the roof to collapse and crush the insurgents fortified inside interior rooms”. It was used repeatedly: “The expenditure of explosives clearing houses was enormous.”

    Monbiot believes liberation was hogwash and so did you. But now you are marching with the liberated Iraqi masses -especially the Kurds that Monbiot long ago forgot about. For you at some point the peoples you march with became liberated. That can’t have happened unless the purported US war of conquest failed OR it was never that and was intended to produce a country that entered the era of bourgeois democracy with politics and elections. You tried to stay the course with George and insist that there had only been a swap of one oppressor for another. But the horror on the TV dragged even Geoffry to admit that the west (and that means the western military) and the Iraqi state has a human obligation to act against the Caliph so you tailed along predictably gesticulating that Sunnie peoples had issues as well – as if we don’t know that.

    There are a lot of people very quiet about Syria. Not many are complaining about the 5,000 US troops deployed to Iraq to work with the Kurds and the Iraqi government forces but this guy is both anti democratic to his bootstraps and Iraqi and has a chunk of mass support and Iranian backing http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/07/sadr-us-iraq-pmu.html and yet he fights Daesh as well.

    Now you through George remind us…
    ‘But we shouldn’t forget that the use of chemical weapons was a war crime within a war crime within a war crime. Both the invasion of Iraq and the assault on Falluja were illegal acts of aggression. Before attacking the city, the marines stopped men “of fighting age” from leaving. Many women and children stayed: the Guardian’s correspondent estimated that between 30,000 and 50,000 civilians were left. The marines treated Falluja as if its only inhabitants were fighters. They levelled thousands of buildings, illegally denied access to the Iraqi Red Crescent and, according to the UN’s special rapporteur, used “hunger and deprivation of water as a weapon of war against the civilian population”.’

    and this is the pure essence of the whole pack of lies that would have the lawful tyrants rule until they are defeated by their own people LIKE ASSAD has been so easily swept into history’s dustbin!. It is as if Putin does not exist.

    The military has made better progress at making this rather basic revolution than has the pseudolefts and the realists that constantly point to the terrible mess if people don’t stay in their place under their proper (US / Russian backed) tyranny. At least Western generals want to win this war not hand it over to their children. Without the strategic focus that this is and always was a war of liberation you have zero capacity to work on the actual problems of real liberation that requires real stages of occupation and suppression of the enemy. It is Germany 1940ies all over again. The military understand they are there to help one fluid side defeat another fluid side in the most complex environment there is. Despite the fluidity there always remains sides.

    The usual suspects run EXACTLY this line right now! It makes no sense to be united in the attack on Manbij and in the recent liberations of Sinjar and Fallujah and not grasp that they all look exactly like what George and co were then complaining and spreading their chemical lies about. Sinjar was almost completely flattened! Soldiers are not going to give the enemy any fair fight. They are going to stand off and use superior force.

    The SDF have been over 6 weeks taking Manbij and they have not got it all yet. Look at what is happening in Aleppo with Vlads backing! Peace in our time broke out last November, so when 1/2 theorists realised that Kerry and Lavrov had sorted it all out in a backroom that was now ‘blindingly obvious’ with the public declarations nothing more required saying. Looks like the Assad regime has made it through July.

    This stuff is confusing and not without crime on both sides of any war but you are still trying to say with George and all the rest of the hands off Syria brigade that GWB, Blair and Howard must be held to account for liberating the Iraqi people that you are NOW marching alongside of as they continue to make war on exactly the same enemies as from day 1.

    Day 1 saw only enemies of democracy emerge to fight people who were there to enable elections. That is the bottom line. That there was any shooting after a political solution was on the table is only to the extent that certain people won’t play nice. People like the anti democrat Sadr. There were never freedom fighters in any noble resistance. That is the biggest picture of all.

    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.

  98. 98 Steve Owens

    As Mao said; Kill some fascists some satisfaction wipe them all out total satisfaction.
    Isn’t this really a mis-quote of Fred Hampton?

  99. 99 patrickm

    If they [the Kuomintang] fight, we will wipe them out completely. This is the way things are: if they attack and we wipe them out, they will have that satisfaction; wipe out some, some satisfaction; wipe out more, more satisfaction; wipe out the whole lot, complete satisfaction. China’s problems are complicated, and our brains must also be a little complicated. If they start fighting, we fight back, fight to win peace.

    “On the Chungking Negotiations” (October 17, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 56.


  100. 100 Steve Owens

    Yes you are correct Fred must have been paraphrasing Mao.
    In your link I particularly liked the following
    The oppressed peoples and nations must not pin their hopes for liberation on the “sensibleness” of imperialism and its lackeys. They will only triumph by strengthening their unity and persevering in their struggle.

    “Statement Opposing Aggression Against Southern Vietnam and Slaughter of Its People by the U.S.-Ngo Dinh Diem Clique” (August 29, 1963), People of the World, Unite and Defeat the U.S. Aggressors and All Their Lackeys, 2nd ed., p. 6.

  101. 101 Steve Owens
  102. 102 patrickm

    Well yes…..just so long as you realise that a declaration of a NFZ is in effect an immediate declaration of war! Any refusal to comply with the ultimatum would result in attacks on all the airpower infrastructure that had only just kept the Assad tyranny surviving till mid last year.

    Remember Assad was going down and the HIRI intervention stepped in and so far has saved him for at least the short term. Russians are in the air now remember so a NFZ does not look like Obama thinking to me. I am sure Vlad would not comply even if it was Obama thinking and that combination rules that NFZ out at this stage.

    As the enclaves continue to form we are still in uncharted yet still semi predictable territory. The YPG -SDF- push west of the Euphrates was not hard to see coming for example and the slow but clear direction of the war in Iraq has been predictable.

    The KSA is now clear that they and others are prepared to supply the weapons on the Syrian front that will start to hurt the gods of the air so HIRIS is now IMV vitally interested in transitioning Assad off the stage and getting this conflict frozen but still IMV that won’t be under Obama’s watch.

    We can note that Russia is amping up the Ukraine front and preparing to IMV go on an offencive. The Armenian interference is also amping up, and Vlad is also currently being exposed on the Olympic stage as what he is. So he may want a small diversion. Who knows what is next but Iranian and Iraqi and Hezbollah elements are still putting troops on the ground in Syria as are the Russians both as ‘martians’ and openly. They will do lots of local deals.

    On a bright note good to see the British SAS at work! Shame that Malcolm stopped the Oz SAS from being deployed.

    The turnaround in the Republican V Democrat stand as now war party Dems and anti-war party Republicans is classic stuff! It’s not just Sanders supporters that are wondering WTF is happening! It’s a worldwide issue of an exhaustion of two party scam electoral systems! We have it in Australia almost as solidly as they do in Britain, France or the US. Not so in state sponsored drug cheat lands of Russia and China according to their state sponsored media, but below the surface because all the economies are in toilet land… perfect storm years ahead perhaps.

    Looks like a majority of the US owning class is stirring itself to rally behind Ms Clinton as the best ‘qualified’ and ‘safe’ pair of hands for these next 4 years and that class is going to work for that election result with absolutely no genuine vision past that purely electoral goal. Despite the obvious creepiness in anything to do with the Clinton’s and the dudding that is on the way the Trump blindside of the Republican insiders leaves them day by day vomiting in their own hats and they are being forced to place those hats directly back on their own heads as they head for the door. Lot’s may stay home and just refuse to play but I am still betting Clinton will romp in.

    The Republicans look particularly ridiculous on this occasion where an undisguised lizard is what a very big chunk of their base has turned to. This after the Brexit vote is what could be expected in a world of austerity in response to GFC 1 with the TV full of war and refugees and of working people’s desperate to record their frustration and rejection of the political classes.

    Obama as far as I can see is back doing what he genuinely likes and that is electoral campaigning and we still have 4 months of this shit. The full countdown is now at 161 days till Obama is in that dustbin of history and he appears to be glad to be stepping away from the actual job. What a waste of eight years! Trump is correct about that one thing, Barack Obama is no doubt a contender for record holding waste of space as is his Secretary of State John Kerry and that is up against some stiff competition.

    With a long held personal history of ignoring US Presidential elections as the backdrop it shocks me a little to confess that I currently have a morbid interest in it.

    Over the last decade John McCain has been an exception and yet his political choice put Alaskan Governor Palin as his VP running mate as they say just ‘a heartbeat away from the job’. Bush senior had Dan Quayle! Reagan was Reagan but he had Bush senior to run the shop while he waved for the last couple of years of full on Alzheimer’s. It hasn’t mattered much over the years who had the gig and the reality of cabinet level decision making has carried on as a committee of and for the owning classes. But Obama has been different. Phonies of the magnitude on display in current world politics elicit a disturbed laughter from me. If this is bourgeois sanity where are working people going next?

    The 2 party electoral rackets across the world are continuing to exhaust and proportional system results are producing the expected greater diversity where the option is available to the masses as it is in places like Spain and Greece or our senate. David Cameron vomited with the result that he brought on himself. Hat placed firmly on head he has left but the new PM is no Maggie http://www.afr.com/news/donald-trump-has-no-intellect-no-character-pj-orourke-20160727-gqekh7

    The smell of lame duck POTUS is mixing with the dust of Aleppo.

  103. 103 patrickm

    Considering the Mosul issues that have come up and the other current events this is worth a look http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/iraq-offensive-2016-mosul-islamic-state-isis-isil-obama-foreign-policy-kurdish-214121

    Imperialism is not at work here. Low level revolution and liberation is being backed by the USA!

  104. 104 patrickm

    I spoke up @ patrickm December 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm above and it is now 9 months on and I note http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/11-september-in-its-eid-message-ahrar-alsham-rejects-usrussia that this very important group is very much still an issue for HIRI-S

    AND I also note that ‘any friction that has been building between Russia and Turkey being described as no more than India Pakistan Gate slamming theater’, was foolish and operation Euphrates Shield by the Turks makes it now demonstrably more than theater and with the operation shield about to give way to operation sword the HIRIS COW has a deal of issues to think about! Hundreds of Turkish tanks etc and many thousands of troops are now deployed in Syria and backed by US air power plus the KSA and others that are determined to remove the Assad regime. Erdogan is leading! The US enforced NFZ that I predicted for over the nth eastern Kurds is starting.

    What state the Alawite enclave is now in is the issue as the fight is about that enclave for the moment.

  105. 105 patrickm

    The HIRI-S reply has been the destruction of the convoy by the Russians and the attack on another medical facility!
    Time left until Obama leaves office 120 days.

    ‘As Lavrov was speaking at the security council, the defence ministry in Moscow put out an allegation that a US predator drone was flying over the area when the convoy was hit. The defence minister, Sergey Shoigu, also said Russia was dispatching its flagship aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, to “bolster military capabilities” in the eastern Mediterranean.’
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/21/syria-un-aid-airstrike-russia-boris-johnson I just note it was planned to be sent ages ago.

    ’14. Putin will be able to boast success. Obama will be able to boast successs and the EU will be able to boast success. Public opinion will remain as bewildered as Patrick.’ Rather than make a prediction on Obama’s ability to boast about success I’ll just note the silence from the 1/2 theorists and bet that a new stage of this war is unfolding with the Turks now ready to move further south. The NFZ is already operating in the north.

  106. 106 patrickm

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-september-footage-senate-discussion-on-a-syria-nofly-zone at least they are talking but McCain is frustrated.
    Apparently these lot are not going to join in from the north http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-september-jabhat-fateh-alsham-releases-a-statement-against
    Consider the current intensity of the war making on Aleppo by the Russians and Assad (backed as they are by the regional Shia deployments). This is dramatic confirmation IMV of what the Turkish front was and is implying. HIRIS cannot do a genuine deal over aid to the civilians because they are still planning on driving them out. This latest pause was probably to prepare this intense battle! http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-september-crater-from-a-russian-airstrike-on-aleppo

    It is now 1 year on from when I posted this article and 9 months from the insulting 1/2 theorists. They must be having a lively time somewhere finishing the other half and preparing the long promised article for the MSM; either that or rethinking their first half.

  107. 107 patrickm

    ‘Nasrallah also clarified that the fight on a regional level wasn’t “against Sunnis” but against “Wahabbism as an ideology.”

    “The Wahabbi is even more ruthless than the Israeli because he [the Wahabbi] wants to eliminate the other and promote his vision of Islam as a religion and its history as the only valid one,” he added.’


    HIRIS is still singing from the same song sheet! He has a point!

  108. 108 patrickm

    Turkish official calls for the formation of a joint administration between FSA in Euphrates Shield and Arabs of SDF for the battle of Raqqa

    The Turks are still building up south of the border! And clearly they are still negotiating over the YPG Kurds. Kerry and the US have been thinking about war making but stopped by Obama apparently.

    The locals are for fighting.

    The region is one thing but what of the US?

    “Who’s that going to be?” he asked. “Who’s going to do that?”[Kerry]

    “Three years ago, I would say: You. But right now, I don’t know.”

  109. 109 patrickm


    Exactly a year since the issue was raised in this thread.

    Is this the start of a search for a Plan B? I hope so. More Turkish Tanks are deploying and the footprint (after the halt)again spreading slowly south. The Iraqi Gov is grumbling today at the Turks for having some of their troops in Iraq territory.

    105 days remaining for Obama but only 30 or so till the election. Will there be an October surprise? Probably NOT.

  110. 110 patrickm

    Mosul issue stated before the battle starts next week.

    ‘Turkey is already hosting 2.7 million refugees, he said. “Turkey simply cannot absorb another wave of refugees, so Turkish government and military need to take necessary precautions to make sure residents of Mosul can stay in Mosul after ISIL is ousted from their city.’

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/analysis-turkey-achieve-iraq-161013032856045.html Turkey is drawing red lines.

    Big conference Saturday at historical location. Looks like the Russians are going to offer ‘time share’ deals in their new club med port.

  111. 111 patrickm

    Good on the Belgians just as a Russian Carrier task force sails past on the way to club med.. http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/20-october-russian-mindef-belgian-f16-that-hit-hasjik-village

    Unfortunately the Turkish/FSA and YPG are fighting (as YPG/PKK spread east from their west pocket and the Turkish backed FSA spreads south). As above I thought HIRIS would want a ‘yellow’ buffer north of Aleppo, but I can’t see how they are going to get it. So that is why the revolting and very intense Aleppo ethnic cleansing that has pushed the Europeans to breaking point with Putin. HIRIS is now heavily invested in an Aleppo win so on it will go. Europe will have to impose more painful sanctions as long predicted.

    The Turks and the Russians are still pretending that this is all business as usual! I don’t think so. An unwanted punch-up with the Russian AF is going to be difficult to avoid even as both sides do their level best to avoid it. This attempt to avoid conflict restricts the Russian AF till forces finally close to the point that local error or ‘error’ arrives via a KSA manpad or suchlike incident. We ought to expect much more Russian artillery to be deployed after the airpower has done it’s work. Apparently nowadays artillery occupies?!

    On top of all this the Iraqi shia militias have positioned south west of Mosul and that enables them to be the elements that can pursue Daesh into Syria. That is the exact position that HIRIS would want and the very big US COW could not prevent this deployment. Difficult for the COW to attack them when push comes to shove without Iraq then spinning out of play and completely into the HIRIS block. No doubt Obama has left a very delicate balance for the COW as his 8yr legacy !

    Turks are now spread across a very big footprint over to Mosul and unavoidably internally as well as in the slowly deepening Syrian footprint. Turks have to insist on no linking of Kurds and no stopping for the FSA on the way south. They are patiently expanding and the Kurds would do well to withdraw east of the river.

    News is Egypt is still going along with the Russians and now involving themselves with the ethnic cleansing of Aleppo. They have positioned themselves to go along with a Russian win against a superpower in retreat.

    I think the Russian gangster class are going to deploy a Mediterranean fleet based at Tartus in the enclave being established beside rubblestan. Talk about farce.

    I wonder what others make of all this?

  112. 112 patrickm

    The Russians would like to be back http://egypt.liveuamap.com/en/2016/10-october-presidency-spox-egypt-maintains-its-position-and but the Egyptians are a bit coy.

    But I think I have a better grasp on Egypt than I did a year ago and Putin is probably his best bet! Not a good bet all round if you ask me. But hey even Assad is still around even as Obama heads for the dustbin.

    and just to tell the SDF and YPG what is at stake http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-october-turkish-army-started-to-shell-hemame-village-southwest some Tanks and shelling from the west of Afrin.

  113. 113 patrickm

    Erdogan said Ankara will be expanding its operations in north Syria, including entering areas such as al-Bab, and Raqqa that are held by the Islamic State group and the town of Manbij that is under the control of the SDF.
    He added that if the U.S.-led coalition was ready to act jointly, Turkey would do “whatever is necessary” against IS in Raqqa, but Kurdish militants should not have a role.
    Push is getting close to shove now and Obama is still a lingering smell for 89 days but only 16 days till HRC makes herstry.

  114. 114 patrickm
  115. 115 patrickm

    ‘Following the devastating 9/11 attacks, when the profits from such ongoing neo-imperialism in the region literally went up in smoke, both George W Bush and Barack Obama seemed capable of moments of mindfulness in admitting that the US sacrificing of democracy and development in the region for the sake stability had achieved neither.

    Yet, the Obama administration fecklessly acquiesced in the coup in Egypt and the broader betrayal of the Arab Spring in Syria, Bahrain and Libya.

    As many in the region have noted, ISIS is Sisi spelled backwards.’
    and this was the reminder re-Kerry http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/02/world/middleeast/egypt-warns-morsi-supporters-to-end-protests.html in my view not conclusive and incompetence is also part of the story but as with Abbott the US under Obama have NOT had anything like the required depth in understanding the central and leading role of the islamist forces in defeating the islamofascists and the conventional Assad/Sisi/Putin necktie fascists. Quite simply Obama almost always asked the wrong questions of the wrong in crowd!

    Today on the news Trump sprouted about Washington being a swamp and that he was going to drain the swamp! Even a lizard can spot a swamp that requires draining!

  116. 116 patrickm

    ‘Syria, he argued, was “a whole bunch of wars taking place at once in the same place”. It was “Kurd v Kurd, Kurd v Turkey, Iran and Saudi; you have got Turkey, Daesh [Isis], Persian Shia versus Arab Sunni, Sunni v Shia, a lot of people against Assad, you have the challenge of Shia Iraqi militia coming into Syria and then, of course, you have Hezbollah-supporting Assad. So this is is about as toxic a diplomatic cocktail I can think of.”’ This as he heads for the dustbin! Brilliant.

    After the long cruise the cruise missile theater timed for just before the US election. Still 80 days till Hillary takes full charge. She favored a NFZ but what now?

  117. 117 patrickm

    It is worth noting that the US military has done a pretty good job in planning, logistics, training, all important intel and years of air support capacity buildup for the current ground attack support etc.,for the battle for Mosul. This battle is going quickly with Daesh evidently low on manpower. The masses of people in Mosul (all sects) are evidently quick to revolt when the chance presents and that is going to ramp up as special forces rush forward to liberate them. Sunni people are being liberated and sectarian issues kept well in check at this stage. The Iraqi government (I think) looks like it means to hold the politics together as well so the revolution in Iraq is looking better than the Turkish threats would indicate. If this is correct the Turks will begin to stand down before any push comes to shove after the initial liberation through December or January. We can hope.

    However, that means the Iranian backed Iraqi Shia militias can think about deploying more manpower to the Syrian front where they are always required by their HIRIS COW and they will do so! The KSA won’t be the only ones that this upsets in this region of swings and roundabouts!

    The US is now fully distracted with the world’s silliest electoral choice and months away from even being able to flex any muscle if Hillary would want to (and at this point who is to say what the new team intends given the hospital pass that Obama is throwing them).

    There is HIRIS positive development in Lebanon to be currently noted http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/michel-aoun-elected-president-lebanon-161031105331767.html something else that the KSA for one, won’t like.

    Turkey is still dealing with Iraq Sunni issues re Mosul AND Syria issues re Daesh and Kurds AS a big chunk of its own territory slips further into Kurdish civil war and Putin friendly Armenia keeps wobbling around on their eastern border, so the push south is slowed but still grinding on with Assad and his backers unable to do much about it. Air cover continues to spread over a FSA territory that is getting closer to HIRIS controlled territory every week.

    All the cruise ships have arrived and a big party is evidently planned for the opening of the newly refurbished Russian managed club Med. HIRIS is preparing to level what remains of East Aleppo block by block starting this Friday night. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-medeast-crisis-syria-russia-idUSKBN12X0OV

    They are going to carry this pseudoleft ignored slaughter forward by simply pointing to Nusra and offering paths for even them to refugee down just to show how generous the Russian air power is they will be permitted to leave every few days even with their small arms. HIRIS clearly has now and always has had a refugee making policy to establish the map of an enclave beside a weak Rubblestan starved into Palestinian like submission.

    The road to hell may well be paved with good intentions but it is a year since ‘end of story’ was waived about by people who NOW do know better, but the silence goes on. Where is the good intention?

  118. 118 patrickm

    ‘Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades, one of the main Shiite militias taking part in the government-led push to drive IS from Mosul, said Wednesday its men had taken control of a highway linking Mosul and Raqqa, severing a key supply route between the two militant strongholds.’
    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/syria-kurds-announce-start-campaign-retake-raqqa-43336954 this is IMV generally a good news story but also displays all the complexity of the developing war.

    ‘Political official Rezan Hiddo said the SDF had warned the international coalition it would halt its Raqqa campaign if Turkish-backed forces advanced on Manbij or other Kurdish-held towns.

    “We cannot extinguish the fire in our neighbor’s house if our home is burning. We were very clear with our allies. If there is a plan to attack Daesh, there must be limits for Turkey,” Hiddo said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.’

    A NFZone of sorts is spreading from the north and east and the US COW are muscled up enough to keep HIRIS on edge but as I said 4 days ago ‘However, that means the Iranian backed Iraqi Shia militias can think about deploying more manpower to the Syrian front where they are always required by their HIRIS COW and they will do so!’ so no surprise that they are doing just that.

    The next round of slaughter in Aleppo can’t be all that far off now.

  119. 119 patrickm

    I have to confess I did not see the Donald coming. What a hoot! The ABC/BBC types are beside themselves.

    Swings and roundabouts with this lizard getting up against the ‘qualified’ lizard. I think this is probably bad news for the MENA. Good news for US dumping the Paris carbon taxing efforts. Capitalism is in interesting times when an open lizard beats those dressed as humans. I bet the Europeans, South Korea, Japan etc will be required to spend more on their military and that is good.

    Still no hard rain on Aleppo and more HIRIS troops building up but the people in the east of that city are in for a terrible slaughter. Putin fully intends to clear this with earthquake bombs and refugee routs out of the city.

    Turkey has still not attacked the SDF in Manbij (nor butted up against Assad’s SAA) despite their requirement for the YPG to be east of the river. That withdrawal is what the US with Biden visit went along with while still backing the SDF and only now further complicated with the SDF move towards Raqa.

    This juggling will be handed over in 71 days and I don’t think anyone has a clue what next but that US power directed against Daesh is going to ramp up. We might well expect that a war-shy deal maker will do ‘deals’. From Putin’s POV come in spinner!

  120. 120 patrickm

    Just for the record http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/9-november-interesting-map-of-the-aleppo-battle-by-fsaplatformplacement this is what someone thinks the current deployment of HIRIS units looks like in prep for the next stage of the slaughter.

    Region war might well look a lot like this now.

  121. 121 patrickm

    Nice to see a mig in the med as a start to the new club-med rust-bucket flotilla’s deployment (the missiles for Aleppo will be a different matter). On land the message continues http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/14-november-the-first-photos-of-mig31-and-longrange-guided and the Turks are not being bluffed.

    The new dance begins with Putin leading a ‘what is in this for me’ POTUS elect Trump around http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/14-november-on-phone-putin–trump-discussed-mutual-fight

    The Turks are deploying more troops and spreading further south still only through Daesh territory but they ARE unilaterally spreading their ‘no bomb zone’ on behalf of the west.

    But the black stain is now rapidly shrinking for what is at base anti Assad FSA types that the Turks are assisting. The HIRIS backed Assad and partially western backed Kurd enclaves are going to have this strange new neighbor very soon. The Turks want to belt the Kurds and the root cause and the FSA want to get at Assad as quick as they can and belt the Kurds a bit. I bet all this will get a bit confusing for the new POTUS. It’s confusing the usual suspects in the anti-war left and pseudoleft.

    Not looking much like ‘Obama will be able to boast success’ but 66days till people are out of the frying pan…

  122. 122 patrickm
  123. 123 patrickm

    Syria is news across the world from Moscow to Washington to Ankara.

    The Kurds (who try to get on well with Assad and all the HIRIS cow are pushing their luck IMV but after the SDF grabbed more territory to the west of Manbij the US are edging toward the Turk position while still trying to keep the lid on this

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/21-november-turkish-foreign-minister-avuolu-discusses urgent talks but nothing said publicly that I have found just yet.

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/21-november-sdf-forces-in-syria-targeted-by-turkish-air-force but the fighting has started

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/21-november-day-7-of-syria-russia-assault-on-civilians-of while HIRIS has resumed in Aleppo after the US election pause

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/21-november-notam-airspace-near-latakia-syria-will-be-closed humiliating for everyone really but the rust bucket carrier will be going home in a few months but just to make a point this will be staying https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/21-november-russian-federation-council-second-runway-will and that is not the way to bomb on the way out of a war!

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/21-november-russian-warplanes-flying-moments-ago-above-the this is very toothy theater

    https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/21-november-names-of-1200-militants-who-will-be-evacuated there is bad news all over.

    Putin is down in Peru at APEC saying goodbye to Obama. There is still 60 days to put up with him and Kerry with who knows what policies next. I wonder if anyone has a handle on what comes next.

  124. 124 patrickm

    The lid is off and the US is unable to stop the punch up. http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-november-erdogan-we-will-establish-a-safe-zone-in-syria

    Erdogan say they are going after Manbij just as soon as Al Bab is secured and clearly the Kurds as the SDF are going to fight instead of retreating the YPG east of the Euphrates

    Hot pursuit justification http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-november-turkey-issues-arrest-warrants-for-48-alleged

    other Kurds interested http://mideast.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-november-pm-nechirvan-barzani-will-fly-to-ankara-tomorrow

    Will the Kurds turn away from a rudderless US and work more with the Putin led HIRIS cow? Looks like more on offer in that direction now so I guess so and this looks more like a region wide war every day. Now that Daesh is collapsing frozen enclaves will produce that link through Assad territory if the Iranians and Iraqi Shia keep the manpower up.

    So HIRIS is VERY busy, but as Erdogan correctly says they can’t stop Turkey building a safe zone! But that won’t go much deeper if the Turks are determined to get the Kurds east of the river and while that punch up goes on the Iraqi militia’s can chase Daesh up river.

    So furious effort at enclave building with Lebanon as the model rather than everything long ago settled!


    East Aleppo looks like falling. and Assad still pretends to be President of something he calls Syria http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-november-russia-support-for-syria-relieves-nations-pain

    almost every day http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-november-russian-navy-ropucha-class-lstm-alexander-shabalin

    and Egypt gets a mention http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-november-syrian-foreign-minister-small-leap-and-bilateral well

    The HIRIS cow is not going to run out of av-gas! http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-november-reuters-russian-tankers-defy-eu-ban-to-smuggle

    and there is even some Caspian sea theater http://mideast.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-november-photo-loading-kalibr-missile-on-russian-caspian

  125. 125 Steve Owens

    Patrick your analysis has always rested on US foreign policy coinciding with the democratic interests of the masses in the middle east. You have been arguing that John McCain’s position is closest to your own and you have been scathing of Obama who has restricted himself to threats re the use of chemical weapons and looking the other way as effective US weapons were supplied to the rebels. You have been looking forward to the election of Clinton who was promising to institute no fly zones. Now the new President elect stands for non intervention against Assad and your response to this huge shift in US foreign policy is “What a hoot!” really? the US is about to side with Putin and Assad and your best in fact your only response is “What a hoot!”

  126. 126 patrickm

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/28-november-deputy-pm-kurtulmu-putin-personally-told-to well if not Russian then Assad so a very delicate point is now unfolding and http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/28-november-russian-air-force-an124—82038-is-flying-from is not going to replace sea access through Turkey. Once the Russians fight the Turks this shuts down so Putin has to keep a lid on this.

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/28-november-rebels-of-khan-alsheh-are-being-prepared-to-deportation more refugee making for the enclave building project from one end of the enclave to the other.

    HIRIS is now getting an Egyptian E added. HIRIES. (If anyone has a better way of describing this COW do tell).

    Steve you are being slippery again. Just run through ctrl f Trump on this thread and ‘only response’ is hardly fair.

    The thing is the troops fighting battles that YOU and me are supportive of are in a complex region wide revolutionary environment that is not going to go back to the dark ages.

    Putin’s collection of thug regimes is looking pretty tough at this point but I have never been convinced that this protracted war will be won by anti democrats.

    You and me along with GR and all the other refugees from the anti war brigade support the current western deployments and the fight against Islamofascist formations as well as necktie wearing fascist formations. The broadest possible unity is called for and the point is to unite and don’t split. Protracted struggle and long term unity is required.

    I believe that western interests have required the ending of the Assad regime of outright murder and mass refugee making. I think you ought to say more of what you think these days about what is going on. You have a few days (52) before Trump replaces Obama so spell it out. What is in US interests in the MENA? What do you think the US under Trump will do that is even worse than what we have just seen for these last eight long years from the also anti-Bush.

  127. 127 Steve Owens

    There were 3 positions that the US could take one was isolationist and that is represented by Trump. He is clear the US has no interest in who rules Syria with the exception of IS. Obama represents defeat IS and support the rebels up to the point where the US can’t just walk away, anything but be drawn into a mess. Clinton represents the the neocon point of view NO Fly zones and whatever more for the US to determine the outcome.
    I personally supported no fly zones but Russian deployment has complicated the situation. Now this option is no longer on the table and relieves me of making a hard choice.
    As to the people on the ground well their position looks pretty hopeless. Some clearly wanted and expected western intervention but their hopes were dashed by the logic of what is in Americas interest. The US ruling class seem to have lost their taste for intervention and have endorsed traditional isolationism.

  128. 128 Steve Owens

    Steve you are being slippery again. Just run through ctrl f Trump on this thread and ‘only response’ is hardly fair.

    ctrl Trump run and “only respose” is completely fair

  129. 129 patrickm

    Steve said. ‘Now the new President elect stands for non intervention against Assad and your response to this huge shift in US foreign policy is “What a hoot!” really? the US is about to side with Putin and Assad and your best in fact your only response is “What a hoot!”’

    Trump was first mentioned in this thread on July 6, by yourself Steve – I replied July 7
    ‘Ah the joy of Trump and the Chilcot Realists!’ Thus I consider Trump part of that realist rat-bag brigade. i.e the non-interventionists.

    Then mentioned by Steve July 9, ‘Patrick I don’t think you quite grasp the significance of Trump. He is openly blaming Bush for allowing 9/11 He is condemning Bush for the war which in his opinion worked against US interests. These are the rantings of a buffoon but trouble is that it represents a significant steam of thought in US politics. JEB! stood up against this rewriting of history and the result was that he couldn’t get into double figures in the primaries. Trump represents a complete rejection of the Republican Parties defense of the war.’

    Reply at the time;

    ‘Steve; when you speak of ‘the rantings of a buffoon’ in reference to Trump you are correct but aren’t you avoiding the reality that the right realists are what the pseudoleft have always been following in the intellectual dead end that passed for a 21st C left anti-war movement? Even Noam can tell us that ‘realist’ policies from ruling class rat-bags like Chilcot brought on the blow back of 9/11.’

    I later said;

    ‘Trump ‘represents a significant stream of thought in US politics.’ like the anti-war fruitcake Bernie Sanders but so what. Draining the swamp theory remains the only realistic way forward.‘

    ‘Steve, I just watched Trump go on about how terrible the wars in the ME have been, and as you say his views are a total rejection of the Bush change in US policies and might result in an attempt to return to the realist past. So Clinton and the Dem’s would be now carrying the torch for the Bush policies of liberating the peoples’ of the ME. How the world turns! Pseudoleft anti-war rubbish spouted by Trump loud and clear – even to the point of supporting the military against the elected MB Islamists in Egypt. ‘

    ‘‘the poor masses’ are Islamist and all realists understand that and that is why they backed the fascists in suppressing the masses as they have strived for democracy – as Trump is doing right NOW in praising the coup in Egypt just as Abbott etc., did.’

    ‘178 days of the Obama disaster left, but it could be Trump next! Hearing those old anti-war views put by a realist rat-bag like him sharply highlights how pseudoleft thinking tailed the open right as we pointed out.’

    Steve, the ‘huge shift’ was when Obama tried the realist path and it was and is still terrible; Trump is going in the same direction so no ‘huge shift in US foreign policy’ just yet! But you may be right. I am not so sure ‘the US is about to side with Putin and Assad’ but the US pseudoleft were backing isolationist carbon-taxing Sanders!!

    Now just to be clear, Trump will undoubtedly be a further disaster after the idiocy of 8yrs of Obama. The only question is how bad will he be? I note that the leadership and cabinet’s of Bush, Blair and Howard look positively Olympian compared to what is currently on display in all three countries – and the ‘Olympians’ couldn’t manage much more than a change of strategic direction with a half arsed delivery, with Abu Ghraib style idiocy included!

    Trump apparently is going to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Well that won’t work to end the war for greater Israel and solve the Palestinian problem that has caused the US to be so hated across the entire region, but it is similar to what the opportunist Obama tried on before he was first elected. He has simply been weak and not stood up for US interest against Netanyahu, nor achieved anything in his 8 long years. Zero, Zip, Nada! The Best he could do was have poor relations with the Netanyahu government.

    Looking internationally the current French twit can’t even run for a second 5 yr term! The Brits have imploded! Canada would only be worse off with Naomi Klein and David Suzuki taking direct charge of the government. As for Australia, I have a stuffed teddy with more wisdom than Turnbull.

    Whatever Trump said to try to get himself elected I think (hope) he will be less isolationist in practice, but even if he follows the worst of people’s fears, isolationism cannot serve cross class US interests because globalisation has massive benefits – and at the same time there are real international enemies to deal with (and not just Islamofascist types).

    Those interests require a defense of the concept ‘the west’ and drawing more countries into that western block – NOT a US retreat from it as has been underway since Obama dropped the US leadership role. The HIRIS-E (add Egypt) COW led by Vlad the honest, is clearly enclave building with ‘democratic’ propaganda cover – while attacking the democratic revolution with few immediate international consequences!? Literally millions of refugees have been dumped on the west!

    Consider how Arthur, Barry and Dave got taken in by uncle Vlad! Nobody has pointed to any site that is presenting a solid left analysis that I know of. Do you?

    US isolationism failed almost 100 yrs ago and in a more global era it will fail even faster if it gets a firm hold now.

    I think it is worth discussing Trump in the context of a Tweedle dum/dee context – but now with considerable differences. Yes, it would have made a big difference if McCain had been POTUS these last 8 years and it is a big difference on the surface with Trump/Clinton but I’m not sure how that will translate to practice.

    Clearly, Trump will not be as bad as the climate alarmist attacks on people’s standard of living that forms of carbon taxing implies. The green madness is in for a kicking, and that is a good thing long overdue. Reds (and workers generally) are for development and rapid industrialisation, and that is what this owning class Lizard wants to get on with despite the funny money side of him. Red and green do NOT mix!

    Pro-development capitalists are on the same side as pro-development Marxists and proletarians generally at least to that extent – and one requirement for the term pseudoleft is to clearly identify greens who are taken to be what the left is now all about – yet who are against progress and development so are not left at all!

    Leftists are not part of a continuum that passes through the Labor / Democrat / Green / Trot type parties to some far left that takes in anti-globalisation black blockers. Rather, leftists stand for something else entirely and always have. Thus issues arise such as a fight against fascist oppressors that can see us unite with Bush/Blair/Howard. This position is in direct opposition to what presents as Trot ‘left’ anti-democrats. Calling these people out for what they really are is in the interests of genuine liberation and thus genuine progress for the issues that founds the real left.

    The conservatives were, on such a fundamental issue as liberating the peoples’ of Iraq (that now make up and politically run the Iraqi armed forces that you Steve are united with as they sell democracy door to door in Mosul) correct. Iraqi democracy is a project that is very much underway and seemingly running well in Mosul. So this battle that you are supporting is a topic being avoided due to the clear implications of policies that long stood in the way of that Iraqi army’s development and deployment. It is obviously in the interests of the democratic revolution. Obama has had to support the Iraqi revolution that he thought was wrong to start!

    Despite greens being political enemies of the democratically minded working masses, they are widely thought to be and most often think themselves to be leftists. Nothing to do with the history of the movement I joined in my youth.

    Trump also says he stands for a revitalised US military and in the current world there is much to be said for that. It is much as it was when Mao shook hands with Nixon after it became clear the US were being defeated in Vietnam, and the USSR the upcoming threat to the peoples’ of the world. When the USSR paper tiger broke down rather than broke out that did not change the gangster rump Russia from remaining as both a real and paper tiger. That, (in the main plus the albatross of Israel) is what we have seen unfolding for about 40yrs. Trump can’t alter that big and dangerous picture. But Trump can make the west militarily much stronger by making others lift their game and I think he will do that.

    Trump ‘solutions’ to the rust-belt state problems is to lie about restoring and retaining manufacturing jobs, that have often as not been automated out of existence, as well as moved around the global fields of more free flowing capital. He has as well correctly spotted what the Chinese are up to as sharp dealing, ‘currency manipulators’ etc.,

    Isolationism was huge pre-WW2 and it was smashed in a day – that’s one day – so big movements can become small when policies catastrophically fail a test of reality. What is our current reality? Lot’s of people have got lots wrong this century.

    I have long believed that a stronger West Europe, South Korea, Japan and so forth was required to face-down or resist the fascist ‘Soviet’ threat. For 30 odd years that worked out rather well. Look at the old maps of the 1976 period much has changed towards democracy.

    Trump has little interest in who rules Syria – except AQ/IS, but he is interested in making Europe stronger, Korea and Japan carrying more of the military expenses that he would say have been free-loaded on. The realist rat-bags of years gone by funded AQ up in Afghanistan to stuff up the Russians! That worked out so badly that Obama attempting to go back to the old realist policies understood that these type of policies were history! But AQ/IS is not history and will have to be made so in the course of struggle and as everyone knows they keep getting bred. They just won’t disappear (dust broom stuff). The way they are bred is what has been the subject of debate for these many years post 9/11.

    The Obama years have been a partial attempt to rehash old policies and the US and its international standing and credibility has got to where it is right now via that attempt. I do not know what Trump will do, but join with Putin is not really an option in my view. Turkey is currently spreading a NFZ area in the nth of Syria and that is good news. but….

    (I note that the Danes have just pulled out their F16’s from the still Obama led COW.)

  130. 130 Steve Owens

    The election of Trump destroys the whole basis of your argument that you have been waging for over a decade. My point was that since Trumps election you have said nada (that is relevant) and for good reason.
    You have been arguing that it is in the US ruling class interests to drain the swamp to remove dictators and replace them with democrats in the middle east. The wars that were fought according to you would result in a better world.
    People who took this argument seriously are now looking at a resurgent Taliban, an IS that owns swaths of the Levant a dictator in Egypt chaos in Libya and the hell that is Syria as is Yemen.
    You are still arguing for drain the swamps. Everything changes and nothing changes. (drops mike and walks off)

  131. 131 patrickm

    Steve it is you who have been ‘arguing that it is in the US ruling class interests to drain the swamp to remove dictators and replace them with democrats’ in Mosul!! That is why you have accepted a unity ticket with them (accepting Australian deployments unlike some greens and trots etc). You did so as the fighting was prepared for and it is now underway! You will have to do better than slink away from your own position and pretend that you did not agree with GR etc You accepted the united front against the islamofascist Daesh and AlQ etc. Daesh are being destroyed and came to control territory because of failures and missteps by the OBAMA admin and others.

    Nothing new about a dictator in Egypt what is the way forward past the Mubarak style? Was Condi correct? You won’t be going along with a US retreat to realist ratbaggery nor lying about Condi and Bush spelling out a different view than the realists that hate them for trashing a life’s work.

    Turkey used to be a dictatorship and so did Iran that are both now in deadly play as real politics unfold in the same way as Libya. You were supporting NATO NFZ war on the Libyan tyrant. You own the reality of the ongoing MENA revolution.

    Rather than ‘drops mike and walks off’, you are turning round and trying to climb back on the fence but your too slippery to get a grip and the fence is now to high for you.

    You wont go back through the fence to neverland and so your stuck up the back of democrat fighters and grumbling about life.

    The swamp is draining while you look longingly at the old fence! Islamists in Turkey, Syria, Iran, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc are evidently up against the swamp that Necktie fascists and islamofascists are bred in and maintain.

    Nobody could leave Afghanistan to AlQ/Taliban and so if humanity is to progress social revolution will have to be unleashed. You will no longer write an article about what you think is the way forward because you know you will just dig yourself a deeper hole.

  132. 132 patrickm

    Steve despite issues https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/33445385/iraq-forces-push-deep-inside-mosul-face-fierce-resistance/#page1 re OUR support for the battle for Mosul that you thus own a part of. I can’t help noting that the regional implications of the deployments as I mentioned above are now quite obvious even to the MSM. The Iraqi government is doing well as are the Kurds and the US is doing a really great assist! The Turks have appropriately meddled and all this can be compared to what is going on in Aleppo.

    ‘A senior U.S. officer in international coalition which is supporting the campaign said that waging war amidst civilians would always be tough, but the Baghdad government was best placed to decide on strategy.

    “They’ve got 15 years of war (experience)… I can’t think of anyone more calibrated to make that decision and as a result that why as a coalition we supported the government of Iraq’s decision,” Brigadier General Scott Efflandt, deputy commanding general in the coalition, told Reuters.

    “The opening and closing of that corridor, hypothetically, realistically, did not fundamentally change the plans of the battle,” he added. “It changes how we prosecute the fight, but that does not necessarily make it easier or harder.”


    With 43 days of Obama remaining there is movement all over the place!

    Enclave Assad will probably be under more pressure soon (perhaps)

    Anyway the transformational war that I and others expected and predicted continues because it is an inevitable historical catchup but a vast undertaking so 2 forward 1 back and protracted. Nothing inevitable about the specifics but the general struggle is quite obvious.

    I never predicted how stupid Obama would be but have for these eight years constantly condemned his policies as he did these stupid things. He won the Nobel peace prise for not being GWB! That is what morons who chanted the idiot slogans in early 2003 have to live with their champion was the greater disaster! The more sensible of the anti-war marchers of that time now support the government that GWB enabled! Now they reject Putin and Sisi who also condemned GWB policies of liberating Iraq and who have protected Assad for all to see. But they will do deals that he won’t like!

    The more sensible of your old peace marching companions jumped on board with NATO and supported the Libyan revolution and it continues to make progress from the front foot in the fight against the enemies that we said were the swamp. No choice there!

    The setbacks in Egypt are to be expected but the Egyptian military can’t solve the problems and they are hated by most Egyptians as they murder their way forward trying to keep the masses oppressed. No surprise there.

    Abbot/Turnbul and Trump (I guess) would back Sisi but looks like he understands that US interests ARE what Condi spelt out and that he will have to stick with Vlad the honest! The KSA can’t be that happy with the Egyptians even if they have to fight a similar problem.

    Region wide resistance ought to be expected to the swamp draining project. Where would you have rather been trying to democratise 2004 Iraq or 2002 Iraq? 2011 Syria or 2016 Syria? How did Europe cope with the refugees from the liberation of Iraq? How is Europe and the world coping with Syrian refugees? Just posing the questions answers them IMV.

  133. 133 patrickm

    I missed this http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/6-december-us-congress-has-given-incoming-trump-admin-the

    That is good news because the war will go on long after Aleppo falls and I don’t think Trump will want to see Putin solidify his rust bucket club med bullying. I think joint statements from Germany, UK, France, Italy and US are because of real interests that trump ought to pick up on but then I never thought that Obama would fail to see the obvious US interests when he stupidly dropped the ball. Kerry is giving him the kicking he deserves on their way out. It was him who wimped the Red Line declaration!

  134. 134 patrickm

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/9-december-turkey-deployed-team-of-experts-comprising-turkish This is diplomacy on the run! No doubt we all hope it stops the looming punch up but I can’t see how the Turks could be satisfied given their stand on Kurds west of the river. The enclave building HIRISE would like to see the Turks get distracted with this, for a couple of months if possible, after all they are a little behind schedule themselves so the Turks have an interest in not taking the bate and at least pretending to accept that the SDF is involved with a workable deal while they push past to outflank the HIRISE in a Daesh clearing salient further down river towards Ar Raqqah. But HIRISE would undoubtedly block that push with a rapid advance of their own east to Maskanah and lake Assad and then try to freeze the lines in the north with a declaration that they are now clearing Daesh from all points south. They would then, be blocking any Turkish move south. This would effectively require the Turks to go through Tishreen and drive south on the east of the Euphrates and that requires the Kurds to give a passage to the Turks and that is problematic but workable with goodwill but that is something in short supply between the SDF/YPG Kurds and Turkish army.

    So the Kurds want a link they cant get and the Turks want to prevent a link by making the river their red line and the HIRISE have to find an acceptable place to be the Kurds vital link. Daesh is rapidly falling and Iraqi shia militia are going to be driving up river in numbers as part of HIRISE and the other COW as soon as Mosul falls and that wont be for another 40 odd days and then it’s POTUS Trump as the new deal maker.

    This an hr ago
    Then this from 2 minutes ago
    NOW we have diplomacy with teeth! 41 days left of this flop of a US administration and we have the west finally getting tough with Vlad.

    What deal have the Turks almost been able to strike with the Russians? No deal is “settled” that much is clear.

    What deal will the Turks accept from the US SDF/YPG/PKK that could stop their declared next advance – after AL Bab that will fall in the next few days- being to clear the Manbij pocket west of the Euphrates?

    The Kurds want their link, and HIRISE is no doubt prepared to give it to them in the form of co-operation through a pink link south of the FSA/Turkish pocket. They more than just have their differences but the yellow and pink have very big reasons for tolerating each other and mostly have through all these years of this enclave building civil war.

    But the Turks won’t be happy to just let the HIRISE turn east after they have cleared the Aleppo pocket and block ‘their’ path south by finally going after ISIS territory in a quick dash to the Euphrates. The Turks are – after all – building a FSA green patch very similar to what HIRISE is clearing currently from Aleppo with such brutal conduct that even Obama is letting loose Manpads.

  135. 135 patrickm

    Diplomatic? not now

    and the French are telling it like it is

    This is a year after western people ought to have been showing the toothy resolve right back at them and laughing at the farce.

    Done deal last November indeed! Nothing to talk about. Sort of ‘peace in our time’.

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/12-december-russian-expert-blames-fall-of-palmyra-on-low the problems of HIRISE living!

    and I wonder what this is all about? http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/12-december-kurdish-national-councilprokdp-partiesrefused

    ’22 Perhaps as Iyad El-Baghdadi @iyad_elbaghdadi says ‘The Syrian catastrophe was very preventable, if the world’s red line was “killing protesters” rather than “drowned refugee toddlers”.’, but that is the past and the question for all now is what is to be done to stop Assad and his great and powerful gangster friend killing democratic revolutionaries into the future.’

    I think there is a new ‘that is the past’ and the same question is right there almost 15 months later.

  136. 136 patrickm

    Looks like a lot more troops being deployed not only Iranians and soon to be more Iraqi Shia but more ‘Russian’ troops. Not going to run out of men.

    US Black Hawks working with Kurds/SDF in the push towards Raqqah is producing a quick advance east of the river but from the Kurd POV rather than seeing the Turks come down through Tishreen when HIRISE cuts the path south on the west of the river – and they are bound to do that, the Kurds might allow the HIRISE to link to them at this more norther point IF or when the Turks start for Manbij (that would fall to them as would the whole pocket pretty quickly). The Turks could also launch a drive south from Akcakale with goodwill but there is none of that about!

    Whatever is being negotiated HIRISE or IRISHE is currently in the box seat with the Kurds as the PKK are bombing in Turkey and so the Turks want to lash out at people they know to be just another form of PKK.

    As the black flag areas get cleared what gets won by who is not settled. We are still 32 days from Trump and the US is thrashing about with a fractured COW! On the other hand the Turks know just how bad HIRISE war making is and it won’t end soon. Assad remains but ground control is more checkered with warlord characteristics.

    Barry has posted on Syria at 21C but is not dealing with the reality of the HIRISE COW. I think a discussion is probably overdue given that it is now apparent that the Putin led intervention and diplomatic dance is a disaster.

  137. 137 patrickm

    No UN and no US! http://www.euronews.com/2016/12/20/russia-iran-and-turkey-push-for-syria-peace-plan-without-us-or-un this is an interesting move. ‘Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who held parallel talks with his Iranian and Turkish opposite numbers, said afterwards: “All previous attempts by the United States and its partners to agree on coordinated actions were doomed to failure. None of them wielded real influence over the situation on the ground.” Oh.

    The US is attacking Daesh with the ‘SDF’ east of the Euphrates and in Iraq but Russia is ‘sorting it all out’ with the regional heavyweights because they can’t afford to fight with Turkey! I can’t quite see how but both Iran and Turkey are putting large numbers of troops on the ground and that says that they are serious. But so are the Kurds as they preemptively push south out from the Tishreen region with US Black Hawks. No surprise there They do not want to give the Turks any other excuse. The HIRISE is scrambling for a cease fire deal before the south bound Turks find their FSA is banging up against Assad’s HIRISE hence all the Turkish delay round Al Bab

    The Russian/Neverland line ‘Addressing Carter’s comments, Shoigu said that Russia had warned what the outcome would be of the US-led NATO bombardment of the former Yugoslavia in 1999.

    Shoigu said, “since then we only see that every time [the US] is stepping on the same rake in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, other countries,” and that the Pentagon, “instead of drawing lessons,” simply continues with its practices.

    “Maybe it is time for the Pentagon to change something in that ‘strategy’? In order not justify in front of every microphone its failures by blaming everything on Russia, China and other countries with an independent outlook”.

    Shoigu concluded that “maintaining international order” is a task for the whole international community and “not only of the Pentagon.” According to him this view remains a guiding principle for the Russian government.

    “The sooner our US colleagues will realize that and start changing”, the sooner it will help resolve the existing problems, including Syria and elsewhere.’

  138. 138 patrickm

    Al-Thawrah is about to become the backup link (through what will soon become HIRISE pink territory). The Kurds in the northern most Kurdish Efrin enclave can’t be cut off from the SDF/PKK/YPG in the east except by HIRISE and they want to be best friends. Nice to be wanted! Even the larger Kurdish region as it now exists in Iraq is not exactly best buddies with the Turks. The Turks are not happy with facing the strongest Kurdish opposition structure they have ever faced and a larger internal demographic problem etc. More democracy is the answer, but the bombs are going bang right now and they want to do some deal with HIRISE.

    Despite the Turks the Kurds are being unavoidably assisted by the US A10s and Black Hawks etc and a few hundred special forces are now having a dramatic impact in liberating villages and towns from Daesh. These Daesh guys are hated by the locals and the Kurds are mostly behaving themselves in their US backed SDF form! Glad to see the close US involvement especially as Trump has declared that the US are going right after Daesh and they are positioned to do it but so are the Iraqi Shia and the Iranian troops that are now arriving in numbers to take back Palmyra and then push on.

    So the Turks can’t now (without a lot of effort and risk to US/NATO relations) stop the pink yellow linking even if they disrupt it in the Manbij pocket. It is however almost pointless as far as I can see so the question becomes what will the Turks do now?

    The Turks are currently establishing refugee camps in their zone as an in Syia NbombZ protected enclave for those that have just been shoved out of Aleppo. That is some very good news! It would have been utterly weak to have set these camps up in Turkey.

    Only black and green areas are bombing zones now and the black will be gone in perhaps 2 or 3 months at this rate. So then the green and pink will still be confronting each other and so a long term enclave arrangement is NOW being sort. The armed stand-off can only be achieved with the continued deployment of HIRISE troops as Assad was long ago short of the manpower. IMV they are going to be deployed, with Assad pushed further to the side over the next year.

    What will Trump (with his Lizard like temperament) do with this Putin pie? The US humiliation is not yet total but it is heading in that direction and can only be turned around at HIRISE expense and that can’t be any short term series of events.

  139. 139 patrickm

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-december-mevlt-avuolu-the-negotiations-start-does The Turk FM is spelling out the truth about Assad having to go.

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-december-putin-on-the-phone-congratulated-assad-with-the Victory in Aleppo!

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/22-december-russian-blogger-jailed-after-criticising-military predictable thug regime at home.

    .liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-december-turkeys-pres-rterdogan-and-bashar-alassad-have Talks in Kazakhstan!

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-december-russian-ministry-of-defense-announced-sending ‘Russian Ministry of Defense announced sending military police battalion in the eastern Aleppo to maintain order in the captured territories’

    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-december-many-warplanes-are-flying-over-tabqa-city-and as I said Al-Thawrah is about to become the backup link (through what will soon become HIRISE pink territory).
    http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2016/23-december-us-sof-embeded-with-kurdish-sdf-during-their the proof of US sof deployment

  140. 140 Steve Owens
  141. 141 patrickm

    The rust-bucket fleet is sailing home and currently being escorted up the English channel, but I don’t think this Club-Med cruise could have done the Gasprom gangster much if any good. But then I never thought of Putin as a strategic genius.

    Back in rubblestan on the ground issues are a bit more clear as the more credible talks get under-way over in Astana! The message from Turkey is clear…

    and Daesh territory is vanishing but with the HIRISE footprint moving north to butt against the Turk/FSA footprint Russia and Iran cutting a deal and cut the yellow link move. The 2 big yellow zones are forced to connect through the HIRISE zone.

    People might like to ask what is in western (democratic) interests in Syria AND what did Obama just deliver and what will Trump do?

  142. 142 Steve Owens
  143. 143 patrickm

    ‘patrickm December 9, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Ahrar al-Sham… Yes that is exactly what Putin will hang his hat on and I had alluded to that looming issue above. But despite all the conferencing I don’t feel any comfort from a half theory that has fallen over every month since it was half proclaimed as an urgent coup and Nixonian withdrawal. There has been no further developments since just because a road map to a democratic Syria in 18 months is being waved about by Kerry and Lavrov.’

    17 hours ago – 38°52′N 77°3′W
    Pentagon confirms it targeted Abu Hani al-Masri, a member of Ahrar al-Sham http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/9-february-pentagon-confirms-it-targeted-abu-hani-almasri

    I think the Russians will love this when it comes time to do ‘negotiations’ with the Donald! I do not have time to enquire into this right now. Perhaps we will soon hear from Arthur, Barry and Dave who now have had a year on a ‘useful site’ to put their thinking down at. Anita refuses to go there to discuss with wreckers and side-liners. That is what happens when people deliberately set out to smash something that others are contributing to because they don’t like what is being said and won’t engage constructively.

    Well, they were in a hole, so they stopped digging and that is a start. But almost utter silence when a year ago so mouthy is a bit light on the ‘Marxists are fearless’ front.

    Here we are only 3 months out from that mythical democratic Syria and despite all who were taken in, now knowing they were taken in by Arthur’s fantasy of what was happening, silence. Is that the old party style as Anita thinks? Possible but undoubtedly pathetic!

    That dear reader is the quintessential wrecking behaviour towards useful collective projects laid bare. I have seen this behaviour repeated multiple times across a lifetime.

    My advice is to stop reading and write! Start producing some output on your current understanding of crucial international issues and stop telling people who disagree with you to shut up!

    All of us can read and understand some big picture maps that are currently going around and that can help us refine our views that in some instances may not have improved much in 40 years. But no-one seems to want to risk or test their knowledge! We are not here to watch the bloody world go around.

  144. 144 patrickm
  145. 145 patrickm

    NOT backing down just not very clear yesterday.

    Erdogan: We will create ‘terror free region’, Arabs/Turks resettled in 5,000km2 safe zone incl. Bab – Manbij – Raqqa

  146. 146 patrickm

    Kurdish control of territory west of the Euphrates is back on the agenda. The SDF has been the U.S. formula for placating the Turks and that is not sufficient for the Turks who have insisted that FSA types takeover in Arab territories west of the river after the fall of Al Bab and that is now imminent. No surprise U.S. combat troops for Syria is now in the discussion. http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/15/politics/pentagon-considering-recommending-combat-troops-in-syria/index.html

    As far as I can see ‘everybody’ who backs the big COW would now want to see the yanks turn up in force even if just to prevent a full on punch-up between the Turks and Kurds and quickly liberate the Arab masses under the Daesh tyranny.

    Turkey now has the large and still expanding ground based footprint required to protect the FSA that for years has been bombed at will by HIRISE. Erdogan has declared that this Turkish protected Syrian footprint will be extended to Raqqa. Despite the Kurdish issue Turkey is going to be backed by Trump and the rest of NATO with more than just air power. But the Kurds will also be protected east of the river.

  147. 147 patrickm
  148. 148 patrickm
  149. 149 patrickm

    New color on the map after a characteristically ‘audacious’ move by Putin to place the ‘SAA’ between the YPG/SDF and the Turks. Will this save Turkish face? Will it be acceptable to the US led CJTF OIR? What could possibly go wrong…. http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/2-march-agreement-between-russia-syria-and-ypgaffiliated



    2 months into 2017 and the Turkish intervention into Syria has finally liberated Al Bab from Daesh and with mass deployment of Turkish troops and armour and ‘FSA’ types made substantial solidifying progress across the entire footprint. Now they had just started on ‘liberating’ at the north western edges of the Manbij pocket and the game is altering. OK so a bit of territory can be conceded by all the players, but the Turkish position (of no Kurdish link) is already strategically up against a HIRISE red line.

    Al Bab was IMV a battle that was deliberately drawn out by the Turks while the main players talked deals and naturally furiously strengthened their footprints etc. Like a duck on water almost all the work was out of sight, but without a viable political deal push would eventually still come to shove and fighting has now broken out between the FSA /Turks and the SDF / YPG as Erdogan indicated it would on the fall of Al Bab. So the Kurds have had to concede to the players that have wanted to be their best buddy for some time.

    The fighting for Al Bab was no doubt also tough and the Turks / FSA also had a good go at killing lots of Daesh types as well so the methodical tactic has also been used to draw more of the enemy into a killing zone. That is all just consequential from the strategic problem of the Turks fronting HIRISE. The delay was worked around a clear ‘Russian’ red line that was spelt out months back over the Al Bab – Manbij highway that is now so clear on the current map .


    The big picture is that the SDF can’t currently even want to fight the HIRISE YET this type of incident https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/1-march-syria-tension-between-ypg-and-regime-forces-in-qamshli

    On the other hand the FSA can’t not want to fight the SAA whatever the Turks think about it. The real issue is only the timing! Now that the FSA has a big zone of protection they can build up again for another go at the forces of tyranny that are the root cause of this war.

    Meanwhile the HIRISE backed SAA is NOW also butting up against the SDF who have welcomed their arrival and there are also minor reports of clashes with the FSA https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/28-february-fsa-guy-says-syrian-arab-army-is-shelling-turkescontrolled just as there are reports of the SDF being attacked by the Turks.

    Yesterday I wrote ‘Even if the Turks attack in strength and drive all the Kurds east as they say they require, their strategic position will not alter as the Kurds are going to ‘Trade’ link through HIRISE south of lake Assad in order to link to their own western enclave. Putin and Co are going to be happy with Erdogan focusing on annoying the Kurds formed up as the SDF in the Manbij pocket but as the Turks move in the north the ‘SAA’ will be further welcomed as it drifts east towards Tishreen. The Turks will soon have to decide if they want the war that will result from an attack on the SAA.’

    The Turks don’t want the war with HIRISE and the U.S. don’t either, but the Syrians are going to fight so each side will require their buffer zone for their air power and in the long run that will bleed HIRISE harder than it will those that are determined to see an end to Assad. The KSA is capable of and willing to bankroll the now long job of shooting down lots of club med attack helicopters and fixed wing Sunni killing refugee making defenders of Assad.

    Now despite the efforts of the U.S. the Kurds are going to be ‘mates’ for quite some time with HIRISE and the Turks have forced this reality upon them. The way out is more Turkish democracy and the revolutionary transformation of that country. But that is not exactly what is underway.

    For the big picture guy POTUS TRUMP Daesh is being smashed in the process of this current unavoidable enclave building, and IMV Trump will focus on Daesh with a large enough direct ‘OIR’ deployment to not let HIRISE into territory east of the Euphrates. But Shia forces however will try to push up river from Iraq and HIRISE will come down river from the current contact with the SDF and will be ‘unavoidably let into the pocket to Tishreen etc’ if the Turks threaten to push the SDF out and back east anyway.

    There are now reports of US special forces that have begun to deploy from Jordan USA specOps and Rebels completed their first parachute operation near Tadmur city. (Palmyra) Apaches landed back safely in Tanf base https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/28-february-usa-specops-and-rebels-completed-their-first just as Hezbollah are backing / SAA and others who are a step ahead and already retaking Palmyra.

    At the UN China and Russia are currently blocking motions re more Assad use of Chemical weapons! The Chinese can be expected to stick with Putin because they have the bigger U.S. ‘problem’ to consider as they make aggressive moves in the South China Sea.

    The Kurds have some small groups of US special forces roaming around in the Manbij pocket so the Turks and the Russians will tread lightly (see current reports of close Russian bombing of US allies elsewhere) but nevertheless a deal that the Turks can live with while they control their FSA is hard to see emerging any time soon. The shape of the enclaves that are required as a first step is what is currently underlying this ‘at push and shove’ flash point.

    The Turks may accept a more Arab controlled pocket with fewer Kurds in Manbij and a corridor to Raqqah east of the Euphrates but that does not solve their basic Kurdish problem and they are not softening their rejection and condemnation of the Kurds as terrorists to be defeated.

    The PKK issue is not going away for them and neither is the requirement to end the Assad regime.

    The U.S. military will IMV tell Trump that Assad must go in any ‘end the war deal’ unless they can freeze some viable enclaves and see what turns up later.

    Obviously the Turks do not want war and neither do the Russians or the U.S, and HIRISE is still backing Assad. So the play is currently to get frozen enclaves established. For HIRISE there is an urgent requirement for more troops and the Shia leadership from Iraq and Iran are I think willing to send them in – especially to do much of the work in the large ‘tail’ that is required to protect and serve the cutting edge troops that will do some more of the ethnic cleansing that has to be done.

    The conclusion is that more refugee flows are planned from areas that interest HIRISE.

  150. 150 patrickm

    The enclave map making is proceeding and the pink stain now spreads south day by day with this report being the latest and typical ‘SAA Tiger forces captures Al-Sukhny and reach the Euphrates river for the first time’.
    A good sign at the moment is that the U.S. military leadership don’t look to me like they are in the mood to be humiliated by anyone http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/7-march-pentagon-says-uss-mission-in-manbij-is-to-deter-violence

    but are willing to include Turkey in the Raqqa liberation.

    But it looks like nothing is settled about the next shape of what will be the inevitably at war Syrian enclaves even as push is at shove point for Turkey over the Manbij pocket. Putin is still trying to be the central player that Erdogan led Turkey IMV currently looks doomed to be. The Russians have built their HIRISE and the Kurds have no choice but to be good neighbors.

    IF Erdogan can find a negotiable way back through the Kurdish national issues this might not turn out as bad as it currently looks like being for the next 4 years but Putin is now the Kurds best ‘friend’ and the U.S. is not going to just betray them east of the Euphrates at any rate.

    PM of Turkey Yıldırım: “Without securing coordination with the US and Russia on Manbij, there is no point in carrying out operations. Military talks are happening.”

    Turkish PM: Turkey does not intend to conduct a unilateral military operation in Manbij

    There are also reports of up to 50,000 more IDP’s in Manbij in last 10 days.

  151. 151 patrickm

    Iraq Shia are going to be following the rout up river that Daesh came down!
    Iraq PM @HaiderAlAbadi: we will not hesitate to strike terror sites in the neighboring countries.


    The U.S. will soon be herding cats again and that won’t suit Trump!

    and Daesh are doing a Putin Daesh has claimed responsibility for attack on military hospital in Kabul

  152. 152 patrickm

    You have to wonder what this list translates into actual numbers of troops from each named group, however the regional nature of this sectarian and ethnic cleansing war that goes on with plenty of Russians as well is clear…http://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/13-march-inforgraphics-the-foreign-militias-which-fight-in stressing the regional level of this war is the point of this list I guess.

  153. 153 patrickm

    Nothing smooth with Turkey and Russia yet! http://turkey.liveuamap.com/en/2017/14-march-turkish-president-erdogan-about-syria-i-talked-to


    Serzh Sargsyan arrived in Moscow: Tomorrow the President of Armenia have negotiations with Putin in the Kremlin

    Erdogan says he wants to mobilise the Muslim World against European fascism ….

    Ukraine PM Groysman met Turkey President Erdogan


    Very clear that the Turks and the Russians are not singing the same song.

    On another note altogether Barry has posted a very interesting post on Bill Leak https://c21stleft.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/bill-leak-1956-2017-waking-up-with-a-roaring-fatwa/ very worth the read.

    And then there is Russian meddling in Libya http://egypt.liveuamap.com/en/2017/14-march-russian-defense-ministry-says-there-are-no-russian rightttt…

    ‘Rivalries and alliances are constantly shifting. “It’s the most complicated environment and situation I’ve been in in my life,” said Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.’
    Well he got that right.

  154. 154 patrickm


    The war grinds on and so the enclave building goes on! Trip wire deployments from virtually all sides are now widespread across the north (not just stood back in their own separate territories but all mixed up in the shiny new colour that’s been sprung by Mr Audacious not been agreed to) just waiting for the next incident to explode or be exploded. Now as a political process seems stalled so it would seem to be a matter of time till the Syrian people in some form of FSA type revolutionary formation are bound to hit out at some of the Assad / HIRISE defenders of outright tyranny. So Russia is still scrambling for more bad faith ‘negotiations’. It could be that everyone is pleased by the new colour on our map. I wonder what Australian Marxists make of all this?

    Turkey looks like it’s thrashing about but not exactly backing down so this is even more confusing than ever and after the Netanyahu visit to Vlad the honest, Israel is flying about bombing as well! Wonder what Trump makes of that?

    I noted that the KSA did a big deal with the Chinese last week or so.

    So Putin has come up against 2 serious red-line capable regional powers and NOW the post Obama U.S. is always lurking even as it stuffs up by bombing a Mosque. How could they get that so wrong? Could hardly be a worse timed F-up.

    A notable point at the moment is that despite being enticed to start talking again the US now keeps refusing to play with the Russians and it looks like Trump is about to send in another 1,000 troops for Al Raqqa after the 400 artillery last week.

    However the map keeps shaping up in old style gangster manner while western politicians still look like a leaderless herd of cats. Can’t see how that can change in the short term (next year or so).

    Still nothing from others so I can only presume people have found no site that they think is ‘worthwhile’ to change their views on.

    But despite the silence they have all changed and dumped the old half theory just for starters!

  155. 155 patrickm

    This reminds me of why nothing in the swamp can quite escape the divide between the Shia and the KSA led Wahhabi type Sunni. The ruling creeps in Bahrain are only lording it over the mass of the people because the KSA intervened to stop democracy during the ‘Arab Spring’! It’s in US interests to really side with the people, but that still ends up with some form of a confrontation with the KSA. http://mideast.liveuamap.com/en/2017/17-march-bahrain-10000s-angered-bahrainis-attended-the-funeral

    The US in avoiding this confrontation avoided leadership and to the satisfaction of what I would guess is the vast majority of locals (when added to the outrage of what the U.S. would let happen to the Palestinians and the history of backing tyrants post war generally) rules them out of any credibility for the new argument.

    Egypt was a classic. Condi got up and told them that the US was taking a new direction so the Egyptian state said well that just means we will return to those that can and will do something for us! They understood and dumped the U.S. and went back to working with the Russians. Vlad made it clear that they would not side with the people against the state terrorists. The Egyptian deep state had no choice. So the lesson is that the revolutionary U.S. stand could not win as a passive change. It had to be more than talk about backing the masses it had to be real and dramatic backing.

    The half hearted change of direction failed to achieve real progress. The problem remains and the fascists make gains. U.S. interests have required support for the Islamist governments of Egypt and Turkey and the all important creation of the Palestinian State but the realists blocked the hard yards that were required. Now that the masses have Syria as the model it is virtually only from the depth of a devastating regional war that we could expect the next revolution. They will have to look to the example of the Kurds and ‘Cast aside illusions and prepare for struggle’.

  156. 156 Patrickm

    Before people start to tell lies about what has been said in the past I would like to remind people that Kurds have played their own hand against the FSA and the Turks and are prepared to work with Assad and the HIRISE and so the Turks have no other choice if the Syrians are to win democracy IN Syria! This move to secure more of Syria for the Syria people’s and force the Kurds back to the negotiations table is sad to see but not any surprise.

  157. 157 Stephen Owens

    There have been several inspiring things to come out of the Syrian civil war the bravery of Syrians to fight against dictatorship, the generosity of Turkey in hosting so many refugees and the creation of Rojava the Kurdish enclave. In this DW clip it shows Erdogan with map of hi “safe”zone which extends to the border of Iraq https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J2CajwQ8U4
    The other clip shows why people of the left should support Rojava. We are not friends of the Kurds because the Kurds have no friends other than the mountains. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPJqCVj-Li0

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