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Syria in 2016 Will be Like the Balkans in 1914
Explosive violence breaks out on an international scale

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The CIA analyst is confident about what is likely to happen in Syria. He says that “Assad is playing his last major card to keep his regime in power”. He believes that the Assad government will step up its efforts to prove that its enemies “are being manipulated by outsiders”. The probable outcome is a split within Syria’s ruling elite leading to Assad being ousted, though he admits that there is no obvious replacement for him.

The reasoning in the CIA special analysis, entitled “Syria: Assad’s Prospects”, is sensible and convincing, though overconfident that Assad’s days are numbered. The extent of this overconfidence is highlighted by a glance at the date of the document, which is 17 March 1980, or 35 years ago, and the President Assad, whose imminent political demise is predicted as likely, is not Bashar al-Assad but his father, Hafez al-Assad, who died in 2000. The analysis was released by the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act in 2013.

The CIA paper is an interesting read, not least because it shows how many ingredients of the present crisis in Syria have been present for decades, but had not yet come together in the explosive mix which produced the present horrific war. In 1980, the writer assumed that Syrian politics revolved largely around the sectarian differences between the Alawites, the Muslim sect to which the Assads and Syria’s rulers generally belong, and the Sunni Arab majority. The analysis is written in an upbeat tone as it forecasts that splits between the two communities may bring Assad down.

The CIA certainly wanted Assad gone and had some ideas about how this might be achieved. “Army discipline may well collapse in the face of widespread riots,” it says. “This could lead to bloody war between Sunni Muslim and Alawite units. The Alawites, however, may choose to topple Assad before such turmoil develops in order to keep their position secure.”

This last sentence could have been written at any time since 2011 as a summary of what the US would have liked to happen in Syria: it has always wanted to get rid of Assad, but it does not intend to destroy or even weaken the Syrian state and thereby open the door to Isis and al-Qaeda. Even super-powers sometimes learn from history, so the US and its Western allies today hope to avoid a repeat of the disastrous disintegration of Iraq state institutions in 2003 after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Tragically, the unnamed CIA analyst eventually got the sectarian civil war he had half-hoped for, but Assad is still there and Syrian people have got the worst of all possible worlds.

US intelligence chiefs are far more outspoken these days than their counterparts in Britain about the calamitous consequences of US-led foreign interventions over the past 12 years. None more so than General Michael Flynn, recently retired head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, who says bluntly in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel that the Iraq war “was a huge error. As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Muammar Gaddafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to get into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind to that decision.”

Big players such as the US can more easily afford to admit mistakes than those, like Britain, which are smaller and lacking in confidence about their great-power status. But there is a price to be paid for remaining mute or in denial about past political, military and diplomatic errors. If it is admitted that anything went wrong for Britain in the Iraq, Afghan, Libyan and Syrian wars then it is only in the most general terms. A former diplomat at the Foreign Office says that it was striking how in the years following the Iraq invasion of 2003, he heard “almost nobody in the Foreign Office talk about the decision to go to war or what went wrong”. This may have been because most officials privately opposed the war from the beginning as a bad idea, but did not want to say this publicly, or even within the office.

It is a natural British personal and institutional instinct to hush things up, but after four wars marked by British government blunders and misjudgements, it is curious that information from the intelligence services is not treated with greater scepticism. A recent sign of this was David Cameron justifying his unlikely claim that there are 70,000 moderate anti-Assad fighters in Syria by saying that this figure came from the Joint Intelligence Committee, as if this sourcing put its accuracy beyond doubt. It may be that endless harping on British success in breaking German codes in both world wars has combined with a diet of James Bond movies to exaggerate the reputation of British intelligence.

Foreign political leaders are often more dubious about what their intelligence services really know. Before the start of the Iraq war in 2003, President Jacques Chirac told a visitor that he did not believe that Saddam had any weapons of mass destruction. The visitor said: “Mr President, your own intelligence people think so.” Chirac replied: “They intoxicate each other.” In other words, intelligence services often become echo chambers for obsessive beliefs that are detached from reality.

The very secrecy with which they shroud themselves is useful when denying responsibility for failure. It also makes them vulnerable when governments or their own senior officers want to suppress or doctor politically inconvenient advice.

Early last year, President Barack Obama dismissed Isis, which was beginning to make spectacular advances, as being like a junior basketball team wanting to play in the big leagues. Soon after, it captured most of northern Iraq and eastern Syria. One of the reasons this may have happened was exposed this year when 50 intelligence analysts working for the Pentagon signed a joint letter of protest. They said that their intelligence findings that Isis was getting stronger and not weaker as the White House claimed, were being suppressed or doctored by their chiefs.

This was par for the course. The personal or institutional interests of the heads of intelligence agencies or any other government department are seldom served by bringing bad or contradictory news to those who decide on budgets and promotions. Most of the time this does not matter but today it does, because the stakes are rising in the war in Syria and Iraq. Knowledge of what is happening on the ground should be at a premium.

Serious powers such as Russia and Turkey are being sucked in and have invested too much of their prestige and credibility to pull back or suffer a defeat. Their vital interests become plugged into obscure but violent local antagonisms, such as those between Russian-backed Kurds and Turkish-backed Turkomans, through whose lands run the roads supplying Aleppo. The Syrian-Iraqi conflict has become to the 21st century what the Balkan wars were to the 20th. In terms of explosive violence on an international scale, 2016 could be our 1914.

(Reprinted from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Russia, Syria, Turkey

58 Comments to "Syria in 2016 Will be Like the Balkans in 1914"

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  1. I always search Cockburn’s articles to find the one sentence that he injects that discredits the rest of the article. For example, in this piece he says this:

    “This last sentence could have been written at any time since 2011 as a summary of what the US would have liked to happen in Syria: it has always wanted to get rid of Assad, but it does not intend to destroy or even weaken the Syrian state and thereby open the door to Isis and al-Qaeda. Even super-powers sometimes learn from history, so the US and its Western allies today hope to avoid a repeat of the disastrous disintegration of Iraq state institutions in 2003 after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.”

    This is pure fiction and Cockburn knows it. Many of the Unz Review readers are familiar with the Brookings reports, the CFR reports, the John Bolton op-ed and countless other think tank plans to destroy, weaken and partition Syria to better serve the interests of the US and its allies.

    So why would Cockburn insert such and obvious fiction at the heart of his article as he does with so many other articles??

    What is his purpose in misleading his mainly left-wing readers??

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  2. It appears that Cockburn had some of that famos NATO war drug Captagon. He is hallucinating:

    Their vital interests become plugged into obscure but violent local antagonisms, such as those between Russian-backed Kurds and Turkish-backed Turkomans

    I never, ever heard of any Kurds supported by the Russians. Yes, the USUK wanted antagonism between Turkey and Russia and organized the Russian bomber shoot-down, amongst other reasons, in the hope that the Russians would start supporting anti-Turkish Kurds (note that Barzani’s “Mossad Kurds”, the oil thieves from Northern Iraq, are pro-Turkish). The West wants strong Turkey as a counter-weight to Russia, but not too strong Turkey. They would prefer Russia to support the anti-Turkish Kurds, instead of the US or UK having to do this. Thus, Cockburn, from the MI6 Literary Department, jumps to the “Russian-backed Kurds” before the Russians started supporting any Kurds.

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  3. I’m afraid Mr. Cockburn, your paymaster’s wish wouldn’t come true.

    In August 2012, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey speaking to journalist in London rejected French-Turkish call for enforcing a ‘no-fly-zone’ inside Syria by NATO. He warned the implications of establishing a no-fly-zone inside Syria, saying: “Syria is not Libya“.

    Gen. Dempsey repeated his earlier statement he made in Israel that Israel’s unilateral attack on Iran would probably delay Tehran’s nuclear program, but Israel cannot defeat Iran without US active military help. He added: “I don’t want to be complicit if they choose to do it“.

    Gen. Dempsey reinforced Washington’s opposition to unilateral Israel military action as he made clear that US military chiefs were equally wary of getting ensnared in Syria, reported UK Guardian on August 30, 2012.

    Both Russia and China have long made it clear that they are not going to repeat the mistake they made in case of Libya last year, when the US and its European Zionist allies misused a UNSC resolution to protect civilians and launched months of NATO carpet-bombing which resulted in the killing of over 30,000 Libyan men, women and children – and horrible murder of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/09/01/gen-dempsey-syria-is-not-libya/

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  4. …the CFR reports, the John Bolton op-ed and countless other think tank plans to destroy, weaken and partition Syria to better serve the interests of the US and its allies.

    Links, please.

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  5. Fred, this has been reported by many different sources over an extended period so if you aren’t aware it’s your fault. The only thing I would add to ’s post is that it is that the main driver of the goal of Balkanising Syria comes from Israel and thus the USA must oblige it’s master. Don’t be lazy, try Google or give Yahoo a boost.

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  6. right now Isramerican neo-conz/NATO are pressuring Turkey to close the Straits to Russian ships. This is what Putin was trying to avoid by going easy on Turkey after the Russian plane shoot-down. If the Turks do this, it’ll be 1914 alright: the Russians will blast right through the Straits and the Zio-globalists – whose ultimate goal is the encirclement and destruction of Russia itself – will likely up the ante by a massive attack on all Russian air, ground, and naval units in the area. As to where the regional war goes from there, best not to think about it. Let’s hope, at least, that the Russians missiles hit DC when Congress is in full session

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  7. My guess would be that this is a reference to Obama’s seeming reluctance to get too deeply involved, even if some of the more hawkish elements of the political class, the bloodthirsty HRC wing of Democrats and Republican establishment types, want to dive right in. It seemed like Obama was all in to attack in 2013, but was dissuaded out of his bloodlust by the UK Parliament no vote and the nearly unamious public disapproval of bombing Assad.
    That’s just my guess as to his motives, but I’m with you, there are considerable portions of the political leaders who wouldn’t lose a minute of sleep at helping to crush and eviscerate the Syrian state, ushering in all the disasters to the Syrian people that would follow. They’d probably celebrate at having knocked Russia and Iran down a peg.

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  8. General Michael Flynn, recently retired head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s intelligence arm….says bluntly in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel that the Iraq war “was a huge error. As brutal as Saddam Hussein was, it was a mistake to just eliminate him. The same is true for Muammar Gaddafi and for Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to get into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind to that decision.

    We do not need to wait for the judgement of future historians. When even Bush Sr. says his son was misled by neocons Cheney and Rumsfeld, and when even the Republican Party candidates for President all wash their hands off the Iraq War, it leaves no doubt already that the invasion of Iraq was a strategic mistake.

    But still, why is the balkanization of Syria (and Iraq) a bad prospect? What makes these idiotic boundaries carved out by the British and French Empires from the defeated Ottoman Empire so sacrosanct?

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  9. Here is one link:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815

    If you search under “The Greater Israeli Project” by Oded Yinon you can find the plan in pdf format.

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  10. There’s a history of Russian support dating back to the Soviet days, although it’s always been fairly minor. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/default.aspx?pageid=438&n=russian-newspaper-russia-provided-money-for-pkk-2000-02-28

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  11. The fact that the balkanization plays out via chaotic civil war and not some Czecho-Slovak velvet divorce.

    • Agree: tbraton, dfordoom
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  12. The Alawites won’t remove Assad. The rebels hate Assad not for anything he did but for what he is — an Alawite. For the Alawites this is a fight to the death. No mercy will be afforded to the Alawites if they lose.

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  13. The CIA: final arbiter in global politics.

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  14. An article is so ridden with vile wishes ,contradictions. inconsistencies,power projective imperialistic mecahnism instead of diplomacy, and the artilce is total silenct on the Israeli inspired Western role in destroying the security and the stability in the first place
    .having bolted from reality and truth this angry old neocon criminal now wants to bring security and stability back by creating the dream country of the IS- Wahabis ‘s ” Sunnistan” but magically getting rid of the IS.
    ( may this moron thinks some Japanese Robot with no mind of their own will run this IS Wahabi. Sunnistan )
    The Opinion Pages | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

    John Bolton: To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State
    By JOHN R. BOLTONNOV. 24, 2015 870 COMMENTS

    [MORE]

    America is debating how to respond to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Unfortunately, both President Obama’s current policy and other recent proposals lack a strategic vision for the Middle East once the Islamic State, or ISIS, is actually defeated. There are no answers, or only outmoded ones, to the basic question: What comes after the Islamic State?

    Before transforming Mr. Obama’s ineffective efforts into a vigorous military campaign to destroy the Islamic State, we need a clear view, shared with NATO allies and others, about what will replace it. It is critical to resolve this issue before considering any operational plans. Strategy does not come from the ground up; instead, tactics flow deductively once we’ve defined the ultimate objectives.

    Today’s reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity from the post-Ottoman Empire settlement, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq. Also emerging, after years of effort, is a de facto independent Kurdistan.

    If, in this context, defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Mr. Assad in Syria and Iran’s puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state.

    This “Sunni-stan” has economic potential as an oil producer (subject to negotiation with the Kurds, to be sure), and could be a bulwark against both Mr. Assad and Iran-allied Baghdad. The rulers of the Arab Gulf states, who should by now have learned the risk to their own security of funding Islamist extremism, could provide significant financing. And Turkey — still a NATO ally, don’t forget — would enjoy greater stability on its southern border, making the existence of a new state at least tolerable.

    The functional independence of Kurdistan reinforces this approach. The Kurds have finally become too big a force in the region for Baghdad or Damascus to push them around. They will not be cajoled or coerced into relinquishing territory they now control to Mr. Assad in Syria or to Iraq’s Shiite militias.

    The Kurds still face enormous challenges, with dangerously uncertain borders, especially with Turkey. But an independent Kurdistan that has international recognition could work in America’s favor.

    Continue reading the main story
    Sign Up for the Opinion Today Newsletter
    Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, The Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

    Make no mistake, this new Sunni state’s government is unlikely to be a Jeffersonian democracy for many years. But this is a region where alternatives to secular military or semi-authoritarian governments are scarce. Security and stability are sufficient ambitions.

    As we did in Iraq with the 2006 “Anbar Awakening,” the counterinsurgency operation that dislodged Al Qaeda from its stronghold in that Iraqi province, we and our allies must empower viable Sunni leaders, including tribal authorities who prize their existing social structures. No doubt, this will involve former Iraqi and Syrian Baath Party officials; and there may still be some moderate Syrian opposition leaders. All are preferable to Islamic extremists
    The Arab monarchies like Saudi Arabia must not only fund much of the new state’s early needs, but also ensure its stability and resistance to radical forces. Once, we might have declared a Jordanian “protectorate” in an American “sphere of influence”; for now, a new state will do.

    This Sunni state proposal differs sharply from the vision of the Russian-Iranian axis and its proxies (Hezbollah, Mr. Assad and Tehran-backed Baghdad). Their aim of restoring Iraqi and Syrian governments to their former borders is a goal fundamentally contrary to American, Israeli and friendly Arab state interests. Notions, therefore, of an American-Russian coalition against the Islamic State are as undesirable as they are glib.

    In Syria, Moscow wants to dominate the regime (with or without Mr. Assad) and safeguard Russia’s Tartus naval base and its new Latakia air base. Tehran wants a continuing Alawite supremacy, with full protection for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.

    As for Iraq, Russia and Iran want the Sunni territories returned to Baghdad’s control, reinforcing Iran’s regional influence. They may wish for the same in Kurdistan, but they lack the capability there.

    Sunnis today support the Islamic State for many of the same reasons they once supported Al Qaeda in Iraq — as a bulwark against being ruled by Tehran via Baghdad. Telling these Sunni people that their reward for rising against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will be to put them back in thrall to Mr. Assad and his ilk, or to Shiite-dominated Baghdad, will simply intensify their support for the jihadists. Why would they switch sides?

    This is why, after destroying the Islamic State, America should pursue the far-reaching goal of creating a new Sunni state. Though difficult in the near term, over time this is more conducive to regional order and stability.

    Creating an American-led anti-Islamic State alliance instead of Moscow’s proposed coalition will require considerable diplomatic and political effort. American ground combat forces will have to be deployed to provide cohesion and leadership. But this would be necessary to defeat the Islamic State even if the objective were simply to recreate the status quo ante.

    The Anbar Awakening and the American military’s 2007 “surge” provide the model, as do Kurdish successes against the Islamic State. Local fighters armed, trained and advised by the United States would combine with Arab and American conventional forces.

    The military operation is not the hardest part of this post-Islamic State vision. It will also require sustained American attention and commitment. We cannot walk away from this situation as we did from Iraq in 2011.

    The new “Sunni-stan” may not be Switzerland. This is not a democracy initiative, but cold power politics. It is consistent with the strategic objective of obliterating the Islamic State that we share with our allies, and it is achievable.

    John R. Bolton, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, was the United States ambassador to the United Nations from August 2005 to December 2006.

    Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.

    A version of this op-ed appears in print on November 25, 2015, in The International New York Times. Today’s Paper|Subscribe
    New York Times

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  15. Let’s hope, at least, that the Russians missiles hit DC when Congress is in full session.

    Let’s also hope that Congress gets to vote on H.R. 4108 before the missile hits.

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  16. Moskowski Komsomelets or Moscow Komsomolets is a cheap, sensationalist Russian newspaper, best characterized as yellow press. It was started in 1919 as a paper of the communist youth, but has been completely transformed into trashy press with the demise of communism in Russia.

    Further, 1990s were the craziest time in Russia, so any pig had wings and could fly.

    Is it surprising that such “news” (circa 1990s) would have been picked up by a similar Turkish newspaper?

    About 5% credibility overall. Do you think that this was the Cockburn’s source? Russia is not under the communists any more so why would it have been supporting the left-wing PKK, even if USSR did prior to 1991? Logic? Maybe you just proved my point about this Cockburn invention.

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  17. Who needs links? It’s the strategy. Better time would be spent explaining :What the Hell serves the U.S. interest or that of our allies? How were we served toppling Saddam? Quackadaffe? Mubarak in Egypt? Tunisia? Who’s interest was served toppling the entire Med Coast of the African Continent? These streams, hell, Niagara Falls of “refugee” immigrants, this serves us? How?

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  18. Let’s not give ALL the credit to the Izzies.

    The Ralph Peters Map: NATO’s Plan for Redrawing the Borders in the Middle East

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  19. “I always search Cockburn’s articles to find the one sentence that he injects that discredits the rest of the article”.

    Me too.

    He certainty must know better. Maybe it’s intended for some future tribunal to save him from re-education?

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  20. John Bolton op-ed and countless other think tank plans to destroy, weaken and partition Syria to better serve the interests of the US and its allies.

    how does destroying Syria serve the interests of the US?

    I’m an American and I don’t see even in one tiny, miniscule way that any of these (disastrous, catastrophic) wars in the Middle East has served an American interest in the slightest. On the contrary, it has cost us trillions of dollars that we have to borrow. It has cost us thousands upon thousands of dead and maimed young men and women. It has cost us the good will that America once had in the world before we became a mass-murdering, drooling fiend on the world’s stage- bombing countries into the stone age willy-nilly. Droning weddings and running an infamous torture camp. These wars are a manifestation of a parasitic pathogen in America’s body politic. They no more serve US interests than a plague or black death serve the people afflicted with it.

    Debt slavery for generations of Americans to the bankers who foist these wars. Young men and women returning in body bags or missing limbs or so emotionally and spiritually shattered by the evils they were forced to commit that they’re killing themselves in droves.

    Perhaps worst of all is our moral standing. Not just to the world and or the Gods, but to ourselves. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror, or studiously avoid it for fear of catching a glimpse of the kind of person looking back at us. A coward and a fool, or worse. Used by wicked and scheming scoundrels as thugs and murderers, like an army of mindless orcs slaughtering and maiming and destroying the lives of innocent people by the millions.

    Is that how these wars are “serve the interests of the US”? By turning the US into a blood-spattered monster?

    what are our rewards? Other than earning the well-deserved hatred of the entire world?

    that some traitorous scum like Dick Cheney have gotten fantastically wealthy?

    was her sacrifice worth that?

    http://www.corbisimages.com/images/Corbis-42-23373090.jpg?size=67&uid=63ef06b9-fbb3-4100-a401-9f9be54d6bfe

    so Raytheon’s or Lockheed’s CEO can rake in million$?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/lockheed-ceo-hewsons-pay-doubles-to-25-million-in-2013/2014/03/21/c6390418-aebe-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html

    do men like James Woolsey represent the typical American? Even for traitorous psychopaths like him, these scum can never show their faces on a public street. If there is a karma or a molecule of conscience in them, they’ll never take a breath that isn’t tainted by the knowledge of the kind of person they are. And what they’ve done.

    these wars have been and are a scourge for and upon the US. They’re illegal and immoral and are being imposed on us by traitorous scum and assorted Zionists for the benefit of Israel at the direct expense of the US.

    If there is a benefit that the people of the US are getting out of these wars, I’d really appreciate if you could let me know what exactly these are.

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  21. The fact that the balkanization plays out via chaotic civil war and not some Czecho-Slovak velvet divorce.

    a chaotic “civil” war imposed by fiends bent on stealing the land for themselves and imposing hell on earth for the denizens

    Bliss seems to long for some biblical revelations to occur like some Dispensationalist, rapture bunny waiting to float up to the clouds with the Lamb of Peace on the rivers of blood, broken bones and smoking ruins of the people of the greater Levant. That’s just some ‘tribulation’ that those people must endure so that the really special people like him can ascend. Small price to pay for one thousand years of ‘bliss’.

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  22. NATO’s plan?

    since when has NATO taken a breath that didn’t begin and end with ‘what’s good for Israel’?

    this synopsis from Wiki

    Beginnings
    The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C., on 4 April 1949 and was ratified by the United States that August.
    The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. The treaty and the Soviet Berlin Blockade led to the creation of the Western European Union’s Defence Organization in September 1948.[11] However, participation of the United States was thought necessary both to counter the military power of the USSR and to prevent the revival of nationalist militarism,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO

    this on Israel’s birth

    The end of the British Mandate for Palestine was set for midnight on 14 May 1948. That day, David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel,” which would start to function from the termination of the mandate.[15][16][17] The borders of the new state were not specified in the declaration

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel

    do you suppose those dates (right around 1948) are a coincidence?

    the birth of Israel and the birth of NATO both born out of the burnt ashes of a divided and ravaged Germany and both intended to keep Germany under occupation and with their parasitic fangs deep into her jugular for perpetuity

    NATO has studiously been used to keep the Arab states from harming Israel in any serious way. In all the wars Israel has fought with her neighbors, NATO has been lingering over them like a dutiful Golem, ready to crush any real threat. (why do you think pres. Johnson sent the USS Liberty in 67 to linger right off the shore? And then ordered the jets that were scrambled to assist her to return, twice)

    I hardly see NATO today as serving the interests of the people of the occupied West as NATO bombed and destroyed Libya. Or as it’s used to provoke Putin’s Russia. Does it serve the states of NATO to impose war in Ukraine? To brandish nuclear weapons on their soil at Russia?

    I sometimes compare the relationship of the US and Israel to Master Blaster from that movie. But you could just as easily replace the US with NATO under Rothschild’s central banking Zionist sitting there on top of the mindless Golem’s head.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_abeQimvg_6U/S9oVniy1-PI/AAAAAAAACMI/HW9QtQXRA2s/s1600/masterblaster.jpg

    I see it as a very apt analogy ; )

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  23. Always running interference for Israel? Israel that urged the Iraq invasion. Israel that seeks to divide and weaken its neighbors. Don’t play so innocent.

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  24. Let’s also hope that Congress gets to vote on H.R. 4108 before the missile hits.

    Some readers may require an explanation:

    H.R. 4108 – To prohibit the use of funds for the provision of assistance to Syrian opposition groups and individuals.

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  25. An aside:

    Obama’s speech at the Pentagon today was bizarre. It was short, he said nothing new – just read stuff in a totally passionless monotone – then left. Clearly, he did not want to be there. These darn wars just get in the way of his global warming triumphs.

    His presidency is over!

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  26. Sorry about that. It was meant as an inside joke for RobinG.

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  27. Wonderful post, Rurik.

    But from what I’ve seen of plantman’s other posts, he meant to say that partitioning Syria (and the general ME debacle) is for the benefit of the US elite oligarchy and their Israeli doppelgangers.

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  28. A.D.,

    Another fred keeps a low profile, but he’s working for the Zionist State in the Levant. His technique is subtle questions, meant to throw doubt on statements that indict Israel.

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  29. 57 Congress Reps Taken to Israel

    Who Do They Really Represent?

    In August, 2015, 57 brand new members of the U.S. House of Representatives bowed their heads and promised to obey their Israeli overlords. …. more…..

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/12/57-congress-reps-taken-to-israel/

    Does this make your blood boil?

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  30. for the benefit of the US elite oligarchy and their Israeli doppelgangers.

    Ok thank you Robin,

    I wasn’t really trying to express umbrage towards anyone in particular, and I’m glad plantman sees it that way. I just tend to froth, and this is an untenable situation. I reread what I write and lament my intemperate prose and typos, if you can call it that. But not the substance.

    “…,Libya, which is now a failed state. The historic lesson is that it was a strategic failure to get into Iraq. History will not be and should not be kind to that decision.”

    it wasn’t a strategic failure, it was exactly what they wanted to do. Exactly. Just like with Iraq and Syria and Ukraine, these historic atrocities are not failures, they’re successes from the point of view of the people perpetrating them, and that includes all the generals and general staff and Pentagon and all the lying MSM assholes and all the rest. They all know that these are not “strategic failures”. Hardly. General Clark didn’t say we were going to vouchsafe democracy in seven countries, he said we were going to ‘take them out’.

    So I just think it’s important to remind people every chance I get that our government is a den of traitorous and murderous criminals. They’re the ones who deserve to dangle the way Saddam did in their stead. Compared to our federal government, Saddam was a great statesman and heroic man of the people. A saint in fact, compared to the Satanic cowards and blackguards we all suffer under. And by ‘we’ I mean the entire Western world and in particular the Middle East.

    And the American people are suffering too as these criminals murder and torture their way across the globe, pushing Putin’s nuclear Russia to the brink. And for what? So Israel can steal more land and reasources.

    If I come across as strident, it isn’t because I’m vexed with the poster, so much as with the situation.

    I’m not trying to insult anyone (most of the time). I even think Bliss is probably a swell person. But I do harbor a special disgust for “Christian” Zionists, whom I consider blameworthy for all of this. It is that singularly heinous creed that allows all of this. Without the Christian Zionists these wars wouldn’t last a second. They provide the political cover for it all. They can’t wait to see every last Arab in the region murdered or trampled under if they think is will augment their ‘rapture’. I’m just surprised Hagee isn’t also listed as a partner at Genie Energy along with Cheney, Woolsey, Rothschild, Murdoch and Lawrence Summers, etc..

    ~ Rurik, the intemperate

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  31. “If there is a benefit that the people of the US are getting out of these wars, I’d really appreciate if you could let me know what exactly these are.”

    Good post, Rurik. As far as James Woolsey goes, I found this interesting statement on Wikipedia:
    “Woolsey was founder and president of Yale Citizens for Eugene McCarthy for President from 1967 to 1968. He was prominently active in the anti-Vietnam War movement.”

    As you may be aware, both Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton (both of whom attended Yale Law like Woolsey) also were active in the anti-Vietnam War movement and worked for the McGovern campaign in 1972. Obviously, Bill Clinton had a great personal interest in avoiding the draft and took some steps which skirted the law to avoid serving. What I find most fascinating is how people like Woolsey and the two Clintons could have become such active war mongers in their later lives after so strongly opposing the Vietnam War in their 20′s.

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  32. People change. Look at Alan Dershowitz, who at least, I think, made his 180 turn because of some traumatic incident. The Clintons just did it for money and power.

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  33. Get educated read more!
    “General Wesley Clark –
    And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”. … Well, starting with Iraq, then Syria and Lebanon, then Libya, then Somalia …”
    Worse -1996 Bill Clinton received a written request–New Pearl Harbor event is needed—destroy middle east countries to please Israel interests.
    Obtuse much?

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  34. become such active war mongers in their later lives after so strongly opposing the Vietnam War in their 20′s.

    Thanks tbraton.

    I suppose there were some folks indoctrinated in the sixties into having sympathies for the commies. Fonda and such. Not sure about what motivated the Clintons or Woolsey back then, probably a general opportunistic bent to ride any wave that could raise their fortunes.

    Most of all I see these folks as opportunists. Pathologically amoral opportunists. I think if tomorrow the PTB decided that they loved Iran and hated Israel, that these three would be some of Israel’s most intractable enemies while demanding we support Iran. They’re just pure, soulless ambition walking on two legs. Somehow I’m reminded of the speech about “God’s special creatures”

    but I also find it revealing that it is this type who are elevated to the top in our society. The type of people who’re content to serve the devil himself if that’s who’ll advance their ambitions. When I hear Hillary cackle about war

    at the end of this video

    I feel chills. Like I’m witnessing pure evil incarnate. And this is who they exalt to the highest offices in the land. It says more about them than it does about the Clintons or Woolseys.

    When I contemplate the people who were presidents at the founding of this nation. Men like Washington or Jefferson and how these were the best America had. Men of iron integrity and sublime intelligence who (warts and all) were willing to die in the service of their principles and their country, and to see how far we’ve come, to the point where, instead of selecting from the very best human stock this country can muster, to selecting from the very worst human scum, like the Clintons or Bushes, it’s really quite something. Hillary and Bill Clinton belong in a cage or on a scaffold, not seeking the White House. But that’s how surreal it’s become.

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  35. Very good questions. I know the answers, but, unfortunately, I hold no position of power. Those who do hold power either can’t answer the questions in a right way or have an ulterior motive to come up with the wrong answers.

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  36. Great post, Rurik, but you need to understand exactly what the “national interest” is. The alleged goals of American “exceptionalism,” including stability, protection of human rights and the establishment of democracy, are never achieved. Nor are the less advertised but sometimes avowed goals to protect access to resources or global hegemony, as oil exports always decline in countries at war and the US does not enjoy hegemony (control) in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Libya, Syria or Ukraine. These are goals that large pluralities of the US public might ascribe to, but are rarely achieved.

    Now consider the institutional imperatives of the MIC:

    1) profits for arms manufacturers and other military contractors, 2) career enhancement for military brass, civilian employees of the CIA, Pentagon, State Department, and militarist thinktanks, 3) attendant high paying jobs guaranteed by ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) for “US persons” that keep those employees loyal to the system, 4) pork for politicians and 5) blockbuster movies and sensational headlines to sell media (and also to contribute to the necessary fear and jingoism).

    Measured against these institutional imperatives, our policies are a “smashing” success.

    Our leaders are sane. They do not take the same actions over and over again expecting different results, yet our noble goals are never achieved, and the more cynical goals that might be supported by the more benighted of us are also rarely achieved. But the institutional imperatives of the MIC are always achieved.

    I believe you have a fundamentally flawed notion of who the “nation” actually is, and therefore what the “national interest” is. The nation is the MIC and wealthy interests that profit from it. You and I don’t count.

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  37. Though I agree with your assessment of that odious little stinkhole on the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean, the divide and conquer policy would exist even without Israel. It’s an old British strategy revived by Bernard Lewis to control the traditional British/French haunts in MENA by generating an “arc of crisis,” then adopted/modified by Zbigniew Brzezinski as a way to destabilize the USSR through an “arc of instability,” but it certainly serves Likudnik-Zionist objectives as well. Of course, when the USSR collapsed, there was no longer a perceived need for it as far as weakening the USSR. However, in the meantime the MIC had experienced the bounty of the Iran-Iraq War and recognized that continuing the “arc of instability” policies would serve its needs for a permanent threat in the absence of Soviets. So the policy of serial destabilization was continued, as it quite nicely satisfied the institutional imperatives of the MIC, which I have included in another comment. It’s actually those institutional imperatives that drive the policy, not Israel, though Israel certainly does all it can to reinforce those policies, as Lewis’s original purpose would include Israel as the Western viceroy and enforcer of hegemony.

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  38. I’m not quite convinced the US public or UK Parliament were what dissuaded Obama. There was a report at the time of a cruise missile having been launched toward Syria but suddenly disappearing from radar in the Eastern Mediterranean, and speculation that perhaps it was intercepted and destroyed by the Russians. There were also protests by US military personnel.

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  39. What was good about those states was that multiple ethnicities lived within them in relative peace and were, by and large, getting along. Shia and Sunni lived and worked together, often inter-marrying in Iraq before the “El Salvador option” was deployed.

    Now, that’s really neither good nor bad for for the rest of the world. However, it’s good for the populations of those states. On the other hand, it’s no benefit to the US MIC. It’s far better for the US MIC to destabilize them, bust them up and set them to fighting each other and the US military. Sells lots of arms and contract services, and helps with career enhancement for suits and stars.

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  40. No mercy will be afforded to the Alawites if they lose.

    Nor the Druze, Christians nor Yazidis.

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  41. Look at Alan Dershowitz, who at least, I think, made his 180 turn because of some traumatic incident.

    Right — the trauma of having another Jew disagree with him about Likudnik policies. The irony is that it appears now that Finkelstein actually agrees with Dershowitz that Israel should be Jewish state. He opposes BDS because a goal of BDS (since Israel itself has made a two state solution impossible) is a unitary state with equal citizenship rights for all residents, and that would mean eventual loss of control by Jews.

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  42. it appears now that Finkelstein actually … opposes BDS

    Is that really true? Do you have a source on that one?

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  43. Okay, but that’s not what I meant. In the 60′s Dershowitz was a huge critic of Israel. He also hung out with Angela Davis, etc. Some friends of his got killed, maybe by the police or by their own bomb (I don’t remember). He was freaked out and became a recluse for over a decade. When he reemerged, he was singing a different tune.

    This little parable might give some of the pitchfork or gun-wielding revolutionaries here pause for thought. Even Joe. He’s old and ready to go, but when the shit starts to fly, his kids and grandkids might buy it before him.

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  44. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/finkelstein-renews-attack-bds-cult-calls-palestinians-who-pursue-their-rights

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/01/05/norman-finkelstein-in-the-netherlands/

    finkelstein like chomsky deceives.

    2 shepherds leading their brainless sheep astray.

    • Agree: geokat62
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  45. Bondo beat me to it. Finkelstein has called BDS a “cult.” I believe his stated reason is that the goal of many BDS leaders is a single state solution, which he believes is not achievable. It’s not completely clear to me whether Finkelstein believes a single state solution is undesirable, or simply that the goal will alienate support, but AFAIK he doesn’t really make it clear. electronicintifada.net does quote him at one point as saying,

    The problem as I see it with the BDS movement is not the tactic. Who could not support boycott, divestment and sanctions, of course you should. And most of the human rights organizations, church organizations have moved in that direction. The problem is the goal. The official BDS movement that claim to be agnostic, neutral, whatever term you want to use on the question of Israel. You can’t reach a broad public if you are agnostic on the question of Israel. The broad public wants to know, where do you stand. And if you claim not to have a stand you lose them.

    I personally do not think there is a just solution that does not eventually bring about a single state with equal rights for all. A two state solution that does not protect the rights of the Palestinian citizens in 1967 Israel is clearly unjust, but if their rights are protected and birth rates are extrapolated, they will one day be a majority there.

    I don’t know if Finkelstein has clarified his personal feelings about a perpetual Jewish majority in 1967 Israel, which would require the removal of Arab citizens or their descendants.

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  46. Oh, I wasn’t aware of that personal history. The earliest I knew anything about Dershowitz was probably in the 1980′s when he was on some news program talking about Constitutional rights that had nothing to do with Israel.

    Do keep in mind that he could well have been a firm Zionist in the 60′s and still hung out with Black Panthers, Weathermen and other radicals, because at that time most of us in the left were pretty damned ignorant of what the Zionists had done and continued to do to the Palestinians, so we were not aware there was any issue. Also, Israel was viewed as leftist as a result of Exodus and all the other BS, while Arabs were seen as reactionary nationalist terrorists. My, how the hasbara has worn thin.

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  47. In the 60′s Dershowitz was a huge critic of Israel. He also hung out with Angela Davis, etc. Some friends of his got killed, maybe by the police or by their own bomb (I don’t remember). He was freaked out and became a recluse for over a decade. When he reemerged, he was singing a different tune.

    Are you sure you’re not confusing Alan Dershowitz with David Horowitz?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Dershowitz

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Horowitz

    I believe Dershowitz was a rabid Zionist from the start.

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  48. Thanks for the info. And thanks to ‘bondo’ for the links.

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  49. Maybe I am. If so, thanks for setting me straight.

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  50. and the US does not enjoy hegemony (control) in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Libya, Syria or Ukraine.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this. It sounds bizarre to say the US does not enjoy hegemony in Iraq or Ukraine. Maybe I’m just not reading it right.

    I believe you have a fundamentally flawed notion of who the “nation” actually is, and therefore what the “national interest” is. The nation is the MIC and wealthy interests that profit from it. You and I don’t count.

    when the US was on the brink of war with Iraq under Bush the chimp, I remember there was some debate as to what the real motives were. Some people said oil, some people said Israel.
    Today it seems that that debate is settled by hindsight as we still suffer the stench of men like David Frum and all the other repulsive traitors who dragged us into that horrendous atrocity.

    That the MIC are always there promoting war is a no brainer. But the MIC didn’t perpetrate 911. No, it was Israel and the regime (that’s still there) in DC that did 911, and so now it’s pretty clear for whom and what the motivations were to effect regime change in all of those countries. Just as it’s clear who is driving the insane push to destroy Syria. The MIC is only profiting and counting the shekels, while the policy boyz are at PNAC and CFR and the Knesset. Their interests dovetail to be sure, but the MIC are in it for profit, and the ziodogs are in it for power. They are the ones who determine policy, and where the MIC’s bombs will drop.

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  51. It sounds bizarre to say the US does not enjoy hegemony in Iraq or Ukraine.

    Nobody enjoys hegemony in a failed state or a state that’s at war. The policies pursued will not fulfill the objectives of PNAC, CFR or Knesset, but they will fulfill the institutional imperatives of the MIC:

    1) profits for arms manufacturers and other military contractors, 2) career enhancement for military brass, civilian employees of the CIA, Pentagon, State Department, and militarist thinktanks, 3) attendant high paying jobs guaranteed by ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) for “US persons” that keep those employees loyal to the system, 4) pork for politicians and 5) blockbuster movies and sensational headlines to sell media (and also to contribute to the necessary fear and jingoism).

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  52. Will Syria in 2016 be like the Balkans in 1914? | In Saner Thought
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  53. Nobody enjoys hegemony in a failed state or a state that’s at war.

    huh? that statement contradicts the whole history of mankind’s wars including today’s

    The policies pursued will not fulfill the objectives of PNAC, CFR or Knesset,

    they all ready have

    we’ll just have to agree to disagree I guess

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  54. Re hegemony, perhaps we have two different understandings of what it is. I thought hegemony meant control. I fail to understand how control can exist in chaos or civil war, unless you’re talking about the oxymoron “controlled chaos.”

    Re “will not fulfill,” obviously that’s a prediction of the future and therefore purely my opinion. I think the policies will backfire, just as initial Israeli support of Hamas backfired. Of course I could be wrong, but I’ve heard Israel is newly a bit more cautious about bombing Hezbollah positions in Syria. Come to think of it, that could be one of the reasons for the recent spate of killings of “knife-wielding” Palestinians. Perhaps there’s a need to to distract the Israeli public from failures in molding the situation in Syria.

    Anyway, it seems you and I have minor disagreements mainly to do with the motivations of US policy but seem to be in agreement on opposition to the policy itself.

    Also, note that I don’t dispute the stated goals of US policy. I also think most policy makers actually believe their stated goals. I just don’t think those stated goals are what really drives US policy. It’s mostly unconscious, but the institutional imperatives are the environment in which policy makers and pundits exist. They don’t even get hired unless they’re completely bought into either neocon or liberal interventionist ideology, either of which leads to policies beneficial to the MIC.

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  55. I also think most policy makers actually believe their stated goals.

    what are those?

    it seems to me that the stated goals are always exporting freedom and democracy and protecting human rights and lives from people who hate us because we’re free

    Do you think anyone really believes any of that?

    I just don’t think those stated goals are what really drives US policy

    so in-between policy makers and policy doers there’s a disconnect?

    US policy. It’s mostly unconscious, but the institutional imperatives are the environment in which policy makers and pundits exist.

    and they’re all Zionists and neocons so the ‘institutional imperative’ would be to use America to destroy Israel’s enemies

    They don’t even get hired unless they’re completely bought into either neocon or liberal interventionist ideology, either of which leads to policies beneficial to the MIC.

    yes, I agree with that

    the MIC and Israel

    to which degree each influences policy is debatable

    for instance, I once heard someone describe John McCain as a arms manufacturer lobbyist masquerading as a senator. Sounded about right. How much of McCain’s lucre flows in from MIC and how much from AIPAC?

    perhaps he simply serves both, which isn’t hard to do since they both have similar agendas. War.

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  56. I guess that Cockburn there is referring to some present circumstantial converging strategic aims between the Russians and the Kurds.

    These latter were following their own plan — which I guess is the institution of an independent Kurdistan — which Russians do not cherish quite much probably.

    As yet they, the Russians, having get involved in the conflict in Syria saw their war plans shifting to encompass regions of the country bordering the kurdish-controlled areas, so that, incidentally, during the last few weeks, Russian planes had been clearing the way for kurds, in northern Syria.

    It is of course quite natural that Russia would turn to back Kurds, in the view of the deteriorating relations with Turkey, the latter being the most ferocious enemy and hunter of Kurds since long.

    Here’s an article by Reuters news agency:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-idUSKCN0S71BF20151013

    Also here, one from Russiatoday:

    http://russia-insider.com/en/game-just-changed-russia-aligns-kurdish-fighters-take-down-turkey/ri11549

    It is incidental to the present situation that Russians back Kurds, but in Realpolitik nothing is to be excluded a priori. Because Russians want to counter Turkish influence and they will go to any length to do this, even — temporarily — backing one long-time adversary like Kurds.

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  57. Er…sorry, but in the context of what everythingisfiltered was saying this map is clearly a non-sequitur.

    In it Syria is still a single unitary country whose borders are practically the same as today.

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  58. Reality, the reports of analysts, confidence of intelligence agencies, and decisions of political leaders are not necessarily consonant. Trouble, is getting it right is NOT the most important or smartest thing to do for an organization or a politician.

    After which, it’s always the poor sods watching from the sidelines that end up paying the price of others’ stupidity.

    Time will tell.

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