• Mini-World War Underway in Syria: The Players

    February 23, 2016

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Iran, Iraq, Syria

    Peter_O'Toole_in_Lawrence_of_Arabia


    While Secretary of State John Kerry (personal slogan: “Did you know I was still Secretary of State?”) bleats about reaching some sort of imaginary ceasefire with the Russians during negotiations in Munich (optics, John, optics: you don’t negotiate a peace thing in Munich), what is basically a small version of world war continues unabated in Syria.


    Because the war, entering its sixth year, is so confusing, and the on-the-ground situation so complex, let’s look at it in simple digest form:


    Russian warplanes are bombing away, primarily in support of Syrian president Assad against a plethora of militias including ISIS, but also against Turkish proxy forces likely trying to slice off some tasty Syrian border territory.

    Iraqi and Lebanese militias aided by Iranian special forces are on the ground. An assortment of Syrian rebels backed by the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are fighting to hold them back.

    Various Kurdish forces working with Washington and/or Moscow are taking advantage of the chaos to extend Kurdish territories, in Syria, Iraq and odd bits of Turkey. The Islamic State has snatched land while all the focus was on the other groups, and still holds substantial territory in Syria and Iraq. The Saudis have threatened to invade Syria with ground troops, which the Iranians say they will respond to militarily.

    Ahead of Kerry’s supposed ceasefire, the conflict is escalating. Turkey joined in over the weekend, firing artillery across its border at Kurdish positions, prompting appeals from the Obama administration to both Turks and Kurds to back down.

    The U.S. is supporting both sides as part of its anti-ISIS clusterfutz campaign.


    The current locus of the struggle is around the city of Aleppo, in Syria. As the Washington Post’s most excellent reporter Liz Sly describes it, “The Aleppo offensive is affirming Moscow’s stature as a dominant regional power across the heart of the Middle East. The advances by Shiite Iraqi and Lebanese militias are extending the sway of Iran far beyond the traditional Shiite axis of influence into Sunni areas of northern Syria. Although Syria’s army is claiming the victories, rebels, military experts and videos by the fighters themselves say almost all of the advances are being made by the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, the Iraqi Badr Brigade, Harakat al-Nujaba and other Iraqi Shiite militias that are sponsored by Iran.”

    Back to those Russian airstrikes. With that help, Syrian government forces and Iran-backed militias are trying to besiege the rebel-held section of Aleppo to starve the rebels into submission. Using starvation as a weapon is a war crime, but it has been widely used in the Syrian war. Government-aligned forces have also severed the main supply route to Turkey that delivered food, weapons and aid to rebel-held areas, leaving one remaining route. The United Nations is warning that about 300,000 people in the rebel-held part of Aleppo could be at risk of starvation.


    Got it? If you think you do, please drop the White House a line and explain it to them.




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    Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

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  • Recent Comments

    • StarkNakedTruth said...

      1

      “Got it? If you think you do, please drop the White House a line and explain it to them.”

      Huh? Weren’t we told that Barack Obama is the smartest man in the room?

      02/23/16 10:53 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      2

      quote”Got it? If you think you do, please drop the White House a line and explain it to them.”unquote

      God couldn’t explain it to them. He’s as confused as the rest of us. On one hand, the Islamic State is claiming God has their back as they are only fighting to make sure the rest of the planet gets on their knees and worships the same way they do. In the US, God is credited as the only one to trust, as it says on every greenback we print and give to the MIC..In God We Trust. Now, the Russians, hell, they don’t believe any of this shit so they’re just gonna bomb the hell outta everybody. As for God.. he/her is getting really pissed and is about ready to say the hell with the human race…no pun intended. So Peter, I wouldn’t fret too much. It’ll all make sense real soon.

      But maybe that’s what we should tell the White House. Quit trusting God is on our side just because we say so. Cause God hates making a choice between those that are killing for profit, and those that are killing in his name, and those that are killing simply because they can.

      In other words, get the fuck outta Gods way and let HIM sort it out. After all, these schmucks in the ME have been banging each others heads for 3000 yrs, and God hasn’t lifted a finger…yet. But I’m sure he has a reason. And that’s the point. Let’s not give him one to send us ALL to hell.

      “ZAP”! (wakes up from dream)

      never mind.

      02/23/16 11:13 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      3

      02/23/16 11:38 AM | Comment Link

    • Helen Marshall said...

      4

      02/23/16 11:53 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      5

      Helen: Maybe Obama has always seen himself as the promised catalyst needed for the return to earth of his savior. Religiously insane people need the suicidal rantings in Revelations to be imminent. It’s the hopey thing they expect Obama to deliver. I’m going to rapture myself tonight with a good Russian Imperial Stout.

      02/23/16 12:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      6

      The picture of TE Lawrence’s facsimile is more than appropriate:

      Is this war only 6 years on — or has the war been morphing since 1916?

      The ghosts of WW1 are still not dead

      02/23/16 2:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      7

      Same actors, for the most part

      02/23/16 2:08 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      8

      The biggest difference – we (the US) had a helluva better policy back then. Since the King-Crane Commission, our policies ‘tanked’ (strange irony since Mr. Crane was the toilet bowl magnate, some restrooms today are still furnished with these).

      http://www.oberlin.edu/library/digital/king-crane/

      The first shelving of a public opinion survey of the Arab world by the ‘Great Powers’

      02/23/16 2:14 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      9

      “The United Nations is warning that about 300,000 people in the rebel-held part of Aleppo could be at risk of starvation.”

      If we were Russia we would call them terrorists, and that old bat Mad Albright would say if they all died “it was worth it.”

      02/23/16 3:42 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      10

      Hmm. Since Lawrence was a strange masochist maybe he mirrors America’s Middle Eastern masochistic fetish. Drawn towards the whip? It sure seems like it.

      02/23/16 6:36 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      11

      Kyzl Orda said…

      “The biggest difference – we (the US) had a helluva better policy back then. Since the King-Crane Commission, our policies ‘tanked’ (strange irony since Mr. Crane was the toilet bowl magnate, some restrooms today are still furnished with these).”

      Ok, from the link….

      “During the summer of 1919, a delegation under the leadership of Oberlin College President Henry Churchill King and Chicago businessman Charles R. Crane travelled to areas of the former Ottoman territories. Their mission was to determine the wishes of the people of the region as their future was being determined by the major powers at the Paris Peace Conference”unquote

      The mission. To determine the “wishes” of the people of the region as their future was being determined by capitalists of the planet. right.

      bartender.. two shots of 100prf FoolMeOnce and a six pack to go of Syrian Wishes ale.

      02/23/16 8:08 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      12

      fuck …

      John Lennon was right. Imagine peace. On planet Earth.

      02/23/16 8:18 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      13

      Dear Pitch, keep reading. What were the results of that survey and what actually happened?

      02/23/16 9:20 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      14

      Kyzl Orda said…

      “Dear Pitch, keep reading. What were the results of that survey and what actually happened?”

      Well…

      “The geographical scope of the Commission’s inquiry was vast, encompassing the entirety of the Ottoman Empire, but focusing on the non-Turkish regions of Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Cilicia, and Armenia, which would almost certainly be separated from Turkey. However, given the urgency of the work in the context of the ongoing Paris Peace Conference, the Commissioners decided to limit their travel to Syria and Palestine. The Commission assembled in Constantinople, and then sailed to Jaffa, arriving on June 10, 1919. From there, the Commission visited both major urban centers and smaller villages across Palestine, Syria, and the southern region of Anatolia, including Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nablus, Damascus, Beirut, Tripoli, Homs, Aleppo, and Adana. Finally, the Commission sailed back to Constantinople on July 21, in order to deliberate and write their report.”unquote

      The Commission visited both major urban centers and smaller villages across Palestine, Syria, and the southern region of Anatolia, including Jerusalem, Ramallah, Nablus, Damascus, Beirut, Tripoli, Homs, Aleppo, and Adana.

      right. If only they could see it today.

      Kyzl Orda said…”What were the results of that survey and what actually happened?”

      They wasted their time. It was “suppressed” so this could happen….

      “The Balfour Declaration of 1917 stated “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”2 The tensions inherent in the Balfour Declaration presented yet another problem for the post-war settlement—and the fate of Palestine was a central part of the Commission’s work.”

      Amazing. Israel was planned before WW1.

      What happened is still going on, to this day..

      “The region is again facing challenges of self-determination—and the U.S. is again at a crossroads of whether to listen to the voices calling for self-determination. It is therefore an opportune moment to examine the work of the Commission and reflect upon the American role in the region.”

      Reflect on Americans role in the region. right

      The only role America had is raping it for oil.

      Ok, did I pass my test?
      🙂

      Thanks Kyzl. Never heard of this. No wonder the schools never taught this in history class. Can’t let the truth out, EVAH.

      And speaking of the truth… let’s move on to the 16th Amendment. Of course, it’ll take a little longer.

      bartender.. pop a top of TwoRollingEyes beer. Oh, and a shot of 100prf TruthBeDamned whiskey.

      02/24/16 5:39 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      15

      Ok, today’s takeaway…

      Those who own the gold make all the rules.
      All the rest are simply disposable pawns in the planetary game of King of the Hill.

      In the words of that famous drunk…
      Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.

      Words to live by.

      02/24/16 5:56 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      16

      So, basically the CIA is training and weaponizing one side (the anti-Assad “rebels” – al Qaeda, ISIS, al Nusra Front, Furqa) and the Pentagon is training and weaponizing the other (the anti-ISIS Kurdish YPG) in Syria. One part of the US military machine backs the Kurds, while our “ally” (Turkey) wants to kill them. One part of the US military machine wants to wipe out ISIS and al Qaeda, while our “ally” (Saudi Arabia) supports both these groups and holds the same beliefs they do. Russia is bombing all the terrorist groups in Syria, but not bombing Assad, who was (ahem) elected in Syria, but Russia is our “enemy”. Everyone wants to break Syria up into little pieces (even Russia, our “enemy”, is making nice with that US idea now). Our “ally” Israel eggs on ISIS by buying their oil and offering medical aid to ISIS fighters, while talking smack about the evil Iran, our “enemy”, who got dragged into this in a desperate effort to remove ISIS from the scene. The US loves the Shia Muslims in Iraq, but hates them in Iran.

      Sounds like A) a massive failure to communicate, B) a war between the Pentagon and the CIA over who gets to run the global war of terror, C) a deliberate attempt by the US to both cause a war and then fight on both sides of the war, with HUGE amounts of propaganda thrown in to hide what’s going on, or D) all of the above.

      Someone is going to get rights to that pipeline in Syria and someone will end up controlling what used to be the country called Syria; whether it ends up being Turkey, Russia or the US is the only remaining question. It sure as shit isn’t going to be the Syrians. 4 million Syrians have refugee’d out of their own country, forced into exile by a civil war caused by US proxy groups meddling in their sovereignty. How many dead? Anyone know? Anyone care? Hey, one third of the population that lived in Libya before we [illegally] bombed the fuck out of it and totally ruined it has had to flee their own country. So we are going to bomb it some more. Still have a few million actually trying to live there; you’d think they owned the place or something.

      And really, we are going to object to the Syrian government and Iranian militias resorting to trying to starve out the rebels? WE are objecting? We’re the ones who put the rebels and ISIS in there in the first place. Not to mention our complete and open insouciance about starving millions around the globe through our [illegal] covert and overt wars and our [illegal] sanctioning of nations all over the globe. The heart of the matter is that the people of Aleppo have us to thank for the horror they are enduring right now.

      **************
      Pitch, I think God left the building some time back; right about the time we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He may send a postcard now and then, but there’s hardly anyone left who can read any more.

      02/24/16 7:34 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      17

      teri said…

      “Pitch, I think God left the building some time back; right about the time we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

      Yeah, but Murika still trusts he’ll come to our rescue the day Armageddon starts, which might be any day.

      Meanwhile, your overview of the military circus in Syria missed something. It’s a trap. Who’s trap remains to be seen, given Russia is preparing to make an all out assault on ISIS, forcing Obama’s hand to either join or prove we are backing iSIS on one hand and fighting it with the other. Regardless who’s trap it is, this thing is going to escalate. One way or the other.

      02/24/16 8:58 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      18

      Ok, I’m done with this thread. Too many stories…so little time.

      02/24/16 9:00 AM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      19

      Pitch,
      “Regardless who’s trap it is, this thing is going to escalate. One way or the other.”

      Word, as the kids say.

      02/24/16 9:02 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      20

      teri.. glad to see you here. I’ve meant to visit your blog too. Too much to read and my memory sucks. But I’ll try to stop by soon.

      02/24/16 2:00 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      21

      Pitch and Teri,

      Yes, that sums it up.

      Pitch, Lebanon was also part of that process that created Israel too. Before these countries were created it was called Greater Syria during Ottoman times

      I remember from my studies that Mr King and Crane were genuinely intent on presenting the Arab public viewpoint, and the not-so-Great Powers scuttled that

      Also the term ‘self-determination’ is loaded in the region. During the Clinton Administration, you at first couldnt use the term ‘self-determination’ when it came to the Palestinians, and later it became acceptable and diplomats were not permitted to say ‘statehood’ for Palestinians, but they could use the term ‘statehood’ for other groups. For the Palestinians, ‘self-determination’ was the official policy – and the Palestinians always derided the terminology

      02/24/16 9:06 PM | Comment Link

    • teri said...

      22

      Hey, Pitch,

      I’d love to have you wander on by the blog. Gets lonely over on that side of the internet. 🙂
      -T

      02/25/16 4:29 AM | Comment Link

    • Arab coalition destroys Houthi arms in Taez - RiyadhVision said...

      23

      […] Mini-World War Underway in Syria: The Players […]

      03/19/16 6:01 PM | Comment Link

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