The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
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Syria

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The latest installment of the interminable Syria tragedy could be interpreted as Greece barely blocking a European “invasion” by Syrian refugees. The invasion was threatened by President Erdogan even as he refused the EU’s puny “offer you can refuse” bribe of only one billion euros. Well, it’s more complicated than that. What Erdogan is in... Read More
Compare US pillaging with Russia-Iran-Turkey’s active involvement in a political solution to normalize Syria
What happened in Geneva this Wednesday, in terms of finally bringing peace to Syria, could not be more significant: the first session of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. The Syrian Constitutional Committee sprang out of a resolution passed in January 2018 in Sochi, Russia, by a body called the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. The 150-strong committee... Read More
He died like a dog.” President Trump could not have scripted a better one-liner as he got ready for his Obama bin Laden close-up in front of the whole world. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, fake caliph, ISIS/Daesh leader, the most wanted man on the planet, was “brought to justice” under Trump’s watch. The dead dog caliph... Read More
Russia-Turkey deal establishes ‘safe zone’ along Turkish border and there will be joint Russia-Turkey military patrols
The negotiations in Sochi were long – over six hours – tense and tough. Two leaders in a room with their interpreters and several senior Turkish ministers close by if advice was needed. The stakes were immense: a road map to pacify northeast Syria, finally. The press conference afterwards was somewhat awkward – riffing on... Read More
Following the Damascus-Kurdish alliance, Syria may become the biggest defeat for the Central Intelligence Agency since...
What is happening in Syria, following yet another Russia-brokered deal, is a massive geopolitical game-changer. I’ve tried to summarize it in a single paragraph this way: Syria may be the biggest defeat for the CIA since Vietnam. Yet that hardly begins to tell the whole story. Allow me to briefly sketch in broad historical strokes... Read More
Forget an independent Kurdistan: They may have to do a deal with Damascus on sharing their area with Sunni Arab refugees
In the annals of bombastic Trump tweets, this one is simply astonishing: here we have a President of the United States, on the record, unmasking the whole $8-trillion intervention in the Middle East as an endless war based on a “false premise.” No wonder the Pentagon is not amused. Trump’s tweet bisects the surreal geopolitical... Read More
The Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed by an intolerant sect pretending to follow Islam. Buddhism all across Asia grieved. The West hardly paid attention. The remaining ruins of Babylon, and the attached museum, were occupied, plundered and vandalized by a US Marine base during Shock and Awe in 2003. The West paid no attention. Vast tracts... Read More
Cold War 2.0 has hit South America with a bang – pitting the US and expected minions against the four key pillars of in-progress Eurasia integration: Russia, China, Iran and Turkey. It’s the oil, stupid. But there’s way more than meets the (oily) eye. Caracas has committed the ultimate cardinal sin in the eyes of... Read More
In a well choreographed Sochi summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin defines a peaceful future for Syria after the...
The main take away of the trilateral, two hour-long Russia-Iran-Turkey summit in Sochi on the future of Syria was expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin: “The presidents of Iran and Turkey supported the initiative to convene an All-Syrian Congress for national dialogue in Syria. We agreed to hold this important event at the proper level... Read More
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Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune. Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a... Read More
There’s no question Baghdad needs to take back Mosul from ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. It could not do it before. In theory, the time is now. The real question is the conflicting motivations of the large “who’s who” doing it; the Iraqi Army’s 9th Division; the Kurdish Peshmerga, under the baton of wily, corrupt opportunist Barzani; Sunni tribal... Read More
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Anticipating an outcome of the US presidential election as a remix of the 1972 Nixon landslide, Hillary has also coined, George “Dubya” Bush-style, a remixed axis of evil: Russia, Iran and “the Assad regime”. That’s not even counting China, which, via “aggression” in the South China Sea, will also feature as a certified foe for... Read More
Anticipating an outcome of the US presidential election as a remix of the 1972 Nixon landslide, Hillary has also coined, George “Dubya” Bush-style, a remixed axis of evil: Russia, Iran and “the Assad regime”. Clinton Claims Russian Aggression Keeps War in Syria Going On That’s not even counting China, which, via “aggression” in the South... Read More
Forget about those endless meetings between Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry; forget about Russia’s drive to prevent chaos from reigning in Syria; forget about the possibility of a real ceasefire being implemented and respected by US jihad proxies. Forget about the Pentagon investigating what really happened around its bombing ‘mistake’ in Deir Ezzor. The definitive... Read More
It’s spy thriller stuff; no one is talking. But there are indications Russia would not announce a partial withdrawal from Syria right before the Geneva negotiations ramp up unless a grand bargain with Washington had been struck. Some sort of bargain is in play, of which we still don’t know the details; that’s what the... Read More
Legend has it that Kurds will never be united because they’d rather be bickering among themselves; Kurds taught me that, in Turkey, Iraq and Syria. The Americans have been manipulating Iraqi Kurds at will since 1991. Now the top instrumentalizer/demonizer of Kurdish hopes and dreams – across the Turkey/Syria front – is neo-Ottoman Sultan Erdogan.... Read More
There could hardly have been a more appropriate start for the Chinese Year of the Monkey, geopolitically, than the prime monkey business enacted in Munich between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The Syrian charade now proceeds under a vague “cessation of hostilities” – which is not a ceasefire... Read More
The alleged Syrian peace process now enters its Geneva charade stage. This could last months; get ready for lavish doses of posturing and bluster capable of stunning even Donald Trump. The notion that Geneva may be able to impersonate Damascus in a suit-and-tie pantomime is ludicrous to begin with. Even the UN envoy, the sartorially... Read More
No wonder Full Spectrum Dominance practitioners in the Beltway and beyond are consumed by deep denial. They look at the Syrian chessboard and as power projection goes, they see Russia comfortably settling down, with a serious land and air base, to conduct all sorts of operations across MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) in the near future.... Read More
Syria is an energy war. With the heart of the matter featuring a vicious geopolitical competition between two proposed gas pipelines, it is the ultimate Pipelinestan war, the term I coined long ago for the 21st century imperial energy battlefields. It all started in 2009, when Qatar proposed to Damascus the construction of a pipeline... Read More
Syria is an energy war. With the heart of the matter featuring a vicious geopolitical competition between two proposed gas pipelines, it is the ultimate Pipelinestan war, the term I coined long ago for the 21st century imperial energy battlefields. It all started in 2009, when Qatar proposed to Damascus the construction of a pipeline... Read More
The so-called Islamic State should have learned by now: they’ve picked a fight against the wrong guys. We have entered “take no prisoners” territory. For Russia, now all the gloves are off. Especially after online terrorist magazine Dabiq published a photo of the alleged bomb that downed the Metrojet: a crude device inside a can... Read More
I’ve been rovin’ around Europe for a while and the star of the show is definitely The Caliph. Former Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has totally outstripped Vladimir Putin as Doctor Evil of the hour. Where’s a good ol’ Cold War 2.0 when you need it? Well, upstaged by the Pentagon’s “long war” – our familiar GWOT... Read More
In Ukraine, the West supported an unconstitutional putsch against an elected government perpetrated, among others, by fascist/neo-nazi storm troopers (Svoboda, Right Sector) instrumentalized by US intelligence. After a Russian counterpunch, US President Barack Obama proclaimed that any referendum in Crimea would "violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law." This is just the latest instance... Read More
Meet the new (cold) war, same as the old (cold) war. Same same, but different. One day, it's the myriad implications of Washington's "pivoting" to Asia - as in the containment of China. The next day, it's the perennial attempt to box Russia in. Never a dull moment in the New Great Game in Eurasia.... Read More
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is at the moment the hardest-working man in (geopolitical) show business. He has just stepped into the lion's den - or goldfish bowl; the World Economic Forum at Davos. And he charmed them all just with his "prudent moderation" strategy, which broadcasts what every Master of The Universe, real or fake,... Read More
The big story of 2014 will be Iran. Of course, the big story of the early 21st century will never stop being US-China, but it's in 2014 that we will know whether a comprehensive accord transcending the Iranian nuclear program is attainable; and in this case the myriad ramifications will affect all that's in play... Read More
Life is good if you're a member of the Gulf Counter-revolution Club, officially known as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). You can crush the Arab Spring at will. You can hire goons all across dar-al-Islam to advance a sectarian Sunni-Shi'ite divide. You can be deeply implicated in the destruction of Syria. You can treat a significant... Read More
Every sentient being with a functional brain perceives the possibility of ending the 34-year Wall of Mistrust between Washington and Tehran as a win-win situation. Here are some of the benefits: The price of oil and gas from the Persian Gulf would go down; Washington and Tehran could enter a partnership to fight Salafi-jihadis (they... Read More
If any extra evidence was needed to shatter the myth of a "revolution" struggling for a future "democratic" Syria, the big news of the week cleared any remaining doubts. Eleven, 13 or 14 "rebel" brigades (depending on the source) have ditched the "moderate", US-propped Syrian National Council (SNC) and the not-exactly Free Syrian Army (FSA).... Read More
The frantic spin of the millisecond is that the White House is taking a "hard look" at the Russian proposal for Bashar al-Assad to place Syria's chemical weapons arsenal under UN control, thus defusing (or at least postponing) yet another US war in the Middle East. Oh, the joys of the geopolitical chessboard - Russia... Read More
There is nothing tragic about the Obama presidency, capable of drawing the analytical talents of a neo-Plutarch or a neo-Gibbon. This is more like a Pirandello farce, a sort of Character in Search of An Author. Candidates to Author are well documented - from the Israel lobby to the House of Saud, from a select... Read More
This deafeningly hysterical show of Syria as Iraq 2.0 is only happening because a president of the United States (POTUS) created a ''credibility'' problem when, recklessly, he pronounced the use of chemical weapons in Syria a ''red line''. Thus the US government urgently needs to punish the transgressor - to hell with evidence - to... Read More
The ''responsibility to protect'' (R2P) doctrine invoked to legitimize the 2011 war on Libya has just transmogrified into ''responsibility to attack'' (R2A) Syria. Just because the Obama administration says so. On Sunday, the White House said it had ''very little doubt'' that the Bashar al-Assad government used chemical weapons against its own citizens. On Monday,... Read More
Talk about The Comeback Spy. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush (for Dubya he was like family), spectacularly resurfaced after one year in speculation-drenched limbo (was he or was he not dead, following an assassination attempt in July 2012). And he was back in the limelight no less than in a face-to-face with Russian... Read More
Make a plan; then make another plan. Both won't work. - Bertolt Brecht This is getting ridiculous. The President of the United States (POTUS) screamed and shouted because he wanted his spy (Edward Snowden) back. Snowden, following Russian laws, was granted temporary asylum. The White House was "disappointed". Then POTUS snubbed the bilateral summit with... Read More
Amidst the incessant rumble in the (Washington) jungle about a possible Obama administration military adventure in Syria, new information has come to light. And what a piece of Pipelineistan information that is. Picture Iraqi Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi, Syrian Oil Minister Sufian Allaw, and the current Iranian caretaker Oil Minister Mohammad Aliabadi getting together in... Read More
Hi, my name is Mostafa and I'll be your moderate insurgent today. I'm addressing you all because we badly need your help. We could have started a Facebook page, like We Need Your Weapons or something, or ask the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to make a YouTube video, but I prefer to speak straight... Read More
The fifth round of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue began this Thursday in Washington. This China-US "Brotherhood" does involve a lot of talk - with no perceptible action. US Think Tankland is trying to convey the impression that Beijing is now in a more fragile position relative to Washington compared with the post-financial crisis... Read More
This is the ultimate "Friend of Syria". But what is Qatar really up to? Word in Doha is that Qatar may have spent as much as a staggering US$3 billion to make sure "Assad must go". Yet he hasn't gone anywhere. Even the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, deposed himself this week, to... Read More
The "Friends of Syria" are appalled. Their much vaunted "rebel held" stronghold of Qusayr is gone. This BBC headline sums it all up: "Syria conflict: US condemns siege of Qusayr." For White House spokesman Jay Carney, "pro-government forces", to win, needed help from by their "partners in tyranny" - Hezbollah and Iran. Right: so the... Read More
Western politicos love to shed swamps of crocodile tears about "the Syrian people" and congratulate themselves within the "Friends of Syria" framework for defending them from "tyranny". Well, the "Syrian people" have spoken. Roughly 70% support the government of Bashar al-Assad. Another 20% are neutral. And only 10% are aligned with the Western-supported "rebels", including... Read More
So Bashar al-Assad has spoken - exclusively, to Argentine daily El Clarin (there's a huge Syrian diaspora in Argentina, as well as in neighboring Brazil). Cutting through the fog of Western hysteria, he made some valuable points. The record shows that, yes, the regime has agreed several times to talk to the opposition; but myriad... Read More
Just when the red line charade was reaching fever pitch - but still buried in the sand - and he had to choose between the US "exercising restraint" or "directly involving itself" in the Syrian war, (see The Syria-Iran red line show, Asia Times Online, May 2, 2013) President Obama was saved by Bibi Netanyahu's... Read More
This eminently Bushist Obama "red line" business, applied to Syria, Iran or both, is becoming a tad ridiculous. Take Pentagon head Chuck Hagel's tour of Israel and the "friendly" GCC (the de facto Gulf Counter-revolution Club) last week. US defense contractors had the Moet flowing as Hagel merrily congregated with that prodigy of democracy -... Read More
Construction is nearing completion on a natural gas pipeline linking Iran and Pakistan, a project that portends a huge geopolitical shift. As regional powers strengthen ties in this key energy market, they’re looking to China, and away from the West. Since the early 2000s, analysts and diplomats across Asia have been dreaming of a future... Read More
PARIS - And now some breaking news coming from the Islamic Emirate of Syriastan. This program is brought to you by the NATOGCC corporation. Please also tune in for a word from our individual sponsors, the United States government, Britain, France, Turkey, the House of Saud and the Emir of Qatar. It all started early... Read More
So Bashar al-Assad hath martially spoken - for the first time in seven months - predictably blaming the Syrian civil war on "terrorists" and "Western puppets". Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, he of the former "zero problems with our neighbors" policy, commented that Assad only reads the reports of his secret services. C'mon, Ahmet; Bashar... Read More
The top geopolitical tragedy in 2012 is bound to remain the top geopolitical tragedy in 2013: the rape of Syria. Just as once in a while I go back to my favorite Hemingway passages, lately I've been going back to some footage I shot years ago of the Aleppo souk - the most extraordinary of... Read More
Make no mistake; the Emir of Qatar is on a roll. What an entrance at the UN General Assembly in New York; Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani called for an Arab coalition of the willing-style invasion of Syria, no less. [1] In the words of the Emir, "It is better for the Arab countries themselves... Read More