the turkish/kurdish debacle in northern syria

Please feel free to add what you know, what you suspect is so, and what you’ve read that’s  rubbish but dangerous. I’ll include the following sources.  Add your own sources at will, as well.


Smoke billows from fires on targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces [AP Photo]

Syrian army, Iran threaten counterattack against Turkish invasion of Syria’, Alex Lantier, 14 October 2019, wsws.org

“The war unleashed by Turkey’s invasion of Syria, targeting formerly US-backed Kurdish forces, escalated out of control this weekend as the Syrian army and Iran moved to counterattack. With Turkish troops and allied Al Qaeda militias advancing deep into Kurdish-held territory in Syria, the Middle East is only days away from an all-out war between the major regional powers that could trigger a global conflict between nuclear-armed world powers.” [snip]

“Turkey’s Syrian “rebel” allies, the Islamist Syrian National Army (SNA, formerly the Free Syrian Army), are executing Kurdish civilians in areas they hold, according to multiple reports. Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf was executed; her bullet-riddled car appeared in a video surrounded by SNA fighters. Beyond Al Qaeda-linked calls to destroy infidels, the British Daily Telegraph noted, the SNA’s main outlook “is sectarian: they are anti-Kurdish and they are Arab chauvinists.”

Yesterday evening, the Syrian army announced it would march on the area. The official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported: “Syrian Arab Army units began moving north to confront Turkish aggression on Syrian territory… The movement comes to confront the ongoing Turkish aggression on towns and areas in the north of Hasaka and Raqqa provinces, where the Turkish forces committed massacres against locals, occupied some areas and destroyed infrastructure.

The Syrian army has reportedly reached an agreement with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, whose alliance with the United States was broken by Washington a week ago. Under this agreement, Syrian army troops would reach the city of Kobani near the Syrian-Turkish border in 48 hours. On Saturday, President Donald Trump had authorized the remaining 1,000 US troops in Kobani to withdraw, and US forces were in full retreat across northern Syria this weekend to avoid being cut off by advancing Turkish troops.

Iran, which has deployed tens of thousands of troops as well as drones to Syria in recent years to back the Syrian regime against a NATO-led proxy war, indicated it would support the Syrian army.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s Advisor for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati met with Syrian Ambassador to Iran Adnan Mahmoud yesterday in Tehran. He gave Iran’s “full support to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish forces,” SANA reported. Velayati added, “The principled policy of Iran is based on supporting the people and government of Syria and defending their righteous stances in a way that entails continuing joint cooperation until terrorism and terrorist organizations are completely eliminated.” [long snip]

“The Kurdish-led SDF militias in Syria, vastly outgunned by Turkish forces and vulnerable to air strikes, warned US officials in talks leaked by CNN that they would appeal for Russia to attack Turkey and protect SDF and Syrian army forces. As Turkey is legally a NATO ally of Washington and the European powers, such an attack could compel the United States and its European allies to either break the 70-year-old NATO alliance or go to war with Russia to protect Turkey.” [snip]

“US forces across Syria were in full retreat, however, and US Defense Secretary Mark Esper told US television news yesterday that the Turkish-Kurdish conflict “gets worse by the hour.” Given the attempts by the Kurds to work out an alliance with Syria and Russia, he added, Trump “directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria.”

Esper said he would “not place American service members in the middle of a longstanding conflict between the Turks and the Kurds. This is not why we are in Syria.”

Esper said the Turkish army was rejecting the Pentagon’s appeals for a ceasefire with the Kurds and instead expanding its war aims inside Syria. “In the last 24 hours, we learned that they likely intend to expand their attack further south than originally planned, and to the west,” he said. Esper added that “all the exact things” US officials warned their Turkish counterparts would likely happen if they invaded Syria were now taking place, including the release of tens of thousands of Islamic State (ISIS) fighters held in prison camps by Washington’s former Kurdish allies.”

Now as far as I can tell, Alex Lantieer’s headline is misleading, in that Iran has only given their “full support to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish forces’, and I did look at presstv.com, and found nothing. What I did find, however, was this link on FM Zarif’s Twitter account to this piece at Sputnik News:

‘Iran’s Zarif Offers Mediation in Resolving Turkish-Syrian Border Standoff’, Oct. 13, 2019

Syrian Government Regains Control Over Country’s Northeastern Parts’, Oct. 14, 2019, moonofalabama.org

“Eight days ago U.S. President Donald Trump gave a green light for another Turkish invasion of Syria. We explained why that move made it inevitable for the Kurds to submit to Damascus and to let the Syrian Arab Army back into northeast Syria:

While the YPG might want to fight off a Turkish invasion they have little chance to succeed. The land is flat and the YPG forces only have light arms.

There is only one solution for them. They will have to call up the Syrian government and ask it to come back into the north east. That would remove the Turkish concerns and would likely prevent further Turkish moves.

After Trump had spoken with the Turkish president Erdogan, the U.S. military removed a few of its forces from some areas near the Turkish border. The Pentagon was still under the false impression that Turkey would limit its invasion to some 5 kilometer in depth. It was obvious, as we wrote, that Turkey wanted far more:

A major goal is to interrupt the M4 highway that runs parallel to the border and allows for troop movements between the east and the west of the Kurdish majority areas. The highway is about 20-30 kilometers from the border.

The M4 road is also one of the major logistical routes for the U.S. troops stationed in the western part.

The Kurds could do little to resist the Turkish onslaught. On Saturday Turkish supported “Syrian rebels” reached the M4 highway and captured and killed several Kurdish troops and civilians who were passing by. The Pentagon finally took notice  [<<WaPo, w/ video of DoD Esper crying ‘war crimes!’] of the imminent danger:

“This is total chaos,” a senior administration official said at midday, speaking on the condition of anonymity about the confusing situation in Syria.

Although “the Turks gave guarantees to us” that U.S. forces would not be harmed, the official said, Syrian militias allied with them “are running up and down roads, ambushing and attacking vehicles,” putting American ­forces — as well as civilians — in danger even as they withdraw. The militias, known as the Free Syrian Army, “are crazy and not reliable.”

Ahhhh. The “Free Syrian Army“, which the U.S. built and supplied with an immense amount of weapons to fight the Syrian government, is “crazy and not reliable”. How come that all the think tankers and ‘journalists’ who for years lauded that ‘army’ never noticed that?

The Pentagon finally recognized that it was not possible to hold onto the area without starting a war with its NATO partner Turkey. On Saturday evening Trump gave the order that all U.S. troops shall leave northeast Syria within 30 days. The Secretary of Defense did not resign as his predecessor did over a similar decision but defended the move.

The decision was the kick in the ass the Kurds needed to agree to the return of Syrian government troops to the area they had held on to while under U.S. command. Currently Syrian troops and their heavy weapons are streaming in. Their primary task is to prevent any further encroachment by Turkish forces. They will also move to retake the oil fields east of Deir Ezzor and they will take control of the prison camps where ISIS fighters are held.

As of this writing Syrian troops (red) have entered Manbij, Ain al Issa, Tabqa airbase near Raqqa and Tel Tamr. Turkish supported groups (green) hold Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn and the villages between those two cities. That area has an Arab majority population.

The Kurds wish to keep their ‘autonomous administration’ of northeast Syria. While talks are still ongoing I do not expect that the mostly Arab inhabitants of the whole area, nor the Syrian government will agree to that. There can not be a special status for any of Syria’s many ethnic or religious groups.

The Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces will be disbanded. Its soldiers will be integrated into the Syrian army. The Syrian government will also disband the ‘autonomous’ Kurdish administration. It will confiscate the weapons the U.S. has given to the Kurds. All this will take some time but it will, in the end, remove the Turkish concerns that the organized Syrian Kurdish groups could enter Turkey to fight on the side of  their PKK separatist brethren.”

Now this is where it gets seriously fascinating:

“The strategic plan behind last weeks development must have come from Moscow. Russia has tried for some time to get Turkey into its camp. Russia, Iran and Syria allowed Turkey a limited invasion of Syria to scare the U.S. out. Russia largely supported the Turkish move but it will also set its limits.

Since last year Trump looked for a chance to move the U.S. troops out of Syria. The borg made that politically unfeasible. The Turkish (Russian) move gave him the excuse he needed.

It is possible that the whole arrangement was made for exactly that purpose.”

I’m agnostic on bernhard’s final paragraph, but his link I’ve bolded above goes to this cogent (imo) analysis of further news:

 ‘A Turkish-Russian entente cordiale in the making’, October 12, 2019, M. K. BHADRAKUMAR, indianpunchline.com

“Shall we sit upon the ground and tell there is no longer daylight between Russia and Turkey? We are almost there. The Turkish incursion into Syria on Wednesday is the tipping point. Turkey and Russia are closely coordinating.” [snip]

“There has been widespread criticism in the Beltway that the US is jeopardising its Kurdish partners on the ground and unleashing unpredictable consequences for Syria — and, above all, badly damaged US credibility. Some forewarn that Syrian conflict is intensifying just when the embers were cooling.

Some of this criticism may be true. Because, Turkey is vengeful. It has long wanted to move across the border into northern Syria, where it sees the Syrian Kurdish forces or YPG as joined at the hips with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, separatists that Turkey considers a terrorist group that has waged an insurgency for decades, and has long put Turkey on edge.


ypg kurds northern syria

“But there is the “X” factor: Is Turkey going into this enterprise alone? Much hinges on the answer, which in turn relates to the alchemy of the overall Turkish-Russian strategic understanding that goes far beyond Syria.

In a little-noticed development last Tuesday — precisely, during the 36-hour interregnum between Trump’s announcement of troop withdrawal from Syria and the Turkish incursion into northern Syria — the Russian Finance Ministry announced that Moscow and Ankara have inked an agreement on using Russian rubles and Turkish lira in mutual payments and settlements. The RT reported that the agreement aims for “further expansion and strengthening of interbank interaction, as well as ensuring uninterrupted payments between business entities of the two countries.”

Plainly put, Moscow and Ankara have created a firewall against possible US and/or Western sanctions against Turkey in future.”

M.K. then quotes RT as explaining that the new bilateral system as an analog to the SWIFT system, allowing Russia MIR payment cards rather than Visa or MasterCard, which is at the heart of the two nations’ aims of obviating the Amerikan Dollar.  He then notes the system as being a major foreign policy decision.  Would Turkey have been ineligible for the INSTEX payment system?  Has it been capitalized as had been hoped?  Even a few EU nations had been signing onto it, as I recall.

“The Russian reaction to the Turkish military operation is nuanced. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters while on a visit to Turkmenistan, “Since the start of Syrian crisis, we emphasise that we understand Turkey’s concerns over its border security.”

Lavrov suggested that these concerns could be eased within the framework of the the Adana agreement signed between Turkey and Syria in 1998 (which stipulated direct security coordination between Ankara and Damascus.)

Lavrov put the blame for the Turkish incursion squarely on the US policies. He recalled that Russia had warned the US against playing the “Kurdish card” and making Kurdish and Arab tribes to come face to face.

Importantly, Lavrov added, “Russian and Turkish military officials are in contact over the operation. Now, we will try to establish a dialogue between Damascus and Ankara. We think this is in the interest of both sides.”

On the same day, Thursday, when the Western nations wanted the UN Security Council to condemn Turkey, Russia stonewalled the move, arguing it wanted the “illegal military presence” of other nations (read US, France, Germany, etc.) also to be addressed. Russia urged “direct dialogue” between Ankara and Damascus.” [longish snip to Russia’s over-riding intentions]:

“In this intricate balancing of contradictory interests, the bottom line is that Russia keeps nurturing the warming ties with Turkey. The Kremlin’s big trophy is that a major NATO country is stepping out of the US orbit. The European pressure will mount on Turkey in the coming days to be ‘with us, or you’re against us’. France is taking the lead.”

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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Erdogan probably explained that people in NE Syria were experimenting with direct democracy and equal rights for women. Then I assume Trump and Erdogan looked at each other and said, in concert, “Rohava must die”.

I realize that it’s a complex, tangled situation, but for me Rojava has been a shining light for the region.

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wendy davis's picture

@tle

at the café always found the YPG feminists at the front of the battle lines very sexy. he'd also compared them as much more favorable to the women of the zapatista army, who at the time usually walked a step behind their male counterparts.

does the fact that the US arms and support them enter in to your decision, tle?

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@wendy davis But the fact that the U.S. was arming them is, to me, not really relevant to either the attempt to use direct democracy or to the equality.

As for the commenter, I don’t waste my time thinking about the sexiness of women on the other side of the world, who I will never meet, fighting for their lives. They deserve more respect than that.

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wendy davis's picture

@tle

parts of your answers, and hadn't been trying to paint you w/ the erstwhile café commenter's beliefs.

but to me, who's been funding and arming them matters a lot for a whole lot of reasons, including territorial integrity in a sovereign nation must be respected and honored, as b at MoA pointed out.

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@wendy davis @wendy davis I feel no urge to respect the territorial integrity of nations which were carved out by the European colonial powers, although I do want any changes to happen as peacefully as possible.

P.S. Thanks for clarifying about the commenter.

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wendy davis's picture

@tle

and i should have explained that the reason i love the zapatistas in chiapas is that they have a true grassroots democracy, and the mexican military was trained by the IDF at the behest of goldman sachs to eradicate their fledgling democracy.

their five small regions they call snails (caracols), were bombed and strafed with i dunno how many wounded, how many killed. the only reason they survive today, 18 years (?) later is that the will of the indigenous mexican people is with them, and that they defend themselves, and are careful who they allow into their autonomous zones. hence, my disagreement with aforesaid commenter.

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wendy davis's picture

@tle

to recall what had caused my distaste for the YPG, and why the US and israel have armed an supported them. this morning i'd found this that i'd forgotten:

‘Kurdish Militias in Northeastern Syria Turn to Kidnapping, Conscription, ISIS-like Tactics; Independent journalist Sarah Abed speaks with Aramean Christians about the systematic discrimination and human rights violations they often face in the, by Sarah Abed, mintpressnews.com, February 12th, 2018

“AL QAMISHLI, SYRIA (War Report) — Over the past few weeks, multiple independent on-the-ground sources have provided and corroborated information regarding disturbing events taking place in and around the Al Hassakah governorate in northeastern Syria.

One of the most startling allegations made is that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been arresting and kidnapping men aged 18 to 40 in the Al Hassakah governorate, which includes Al Qamishli and other towns under their control. They are taking these men against their will to Kurdish militia training camps, where they will stay for some time and receive training before being forced to fight in the so-called “New Syrian Army” or “North Syrian Army.” I was told that some of these men are being taken to the front lines to fight in Afrin as well.'

but part of the reason/s the west and israel support them, imo, is in order to create a balkanized syria, i.e.: destroying territorial sovereignty, thus removing assad.

on later edit: iirc, meaning don't count on it, marcy wheeler (emptywheel) had claimed that 'her sources' were claiming that russia's goal in syria was to balkanize the nation into (4 or 5?) discrete areas. b of MoA had come onto her thread to politely call bullshit on it.

more about what the YPG wants from damascus after my brekkie. ; )

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@tle

but if it can only exist with the support of the U.S. military, then it can't really be part of a long-term solution for that area, or even for some of the Syrian Kurds--can it?

My guess is that the sympathetic qualities of the Kurds are going to be used to make U.S. intervention look moral, while keeping Donald Trump firmly in the position of bad guy for drawing down troops.

A bad guy for drawing down troops in the Middle East.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

he'd being excoriated to beat the band, more calls for his impeachment, but in the end he may have inadvertently begun a process for peace in syria. only time will tell, of course. but i like what i'm hearing from lavrov, putin, FM zarif, and assad.

erdogan can go fuck himself, and i say that in the most polite way possible.

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Erdogan is destroying it.
We must redefine Turkey as another radical Muslim state in league with terrorists.
Turkey should be expelled from NATO. Russia will be glad to take it on as a satellite state.

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wendy davis's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

and thank you for causing me to discover more about kemal ataturk, thus appreciate him.

there do seem to be plenty of calls to throw turkey out of NATO, and yes, according to b.k. badrakumar at least, one of putin's underlying aims.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Whenever Erdogan's name comes up, I think of this:

red dress_0.jpg

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

absolute agreement about Ataturk and Erdogan. Not sure about Russia making them, or wanting to make them, a satellite state.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

and Syria is the experience of yet another armed ethnic separatist movement financed by Israel and the U.S. The last thing any of them want is to see one operating permanently from an autonomous region bordering on or near each of their countries. The ISIS Caliphate threatened to be that, too. That is probably the overshadowing concern driving each of them into entente, which for many reasons is likely to be tactical rather than enduring, unless Washington and Tel Aviv continue to behave stupidly.

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wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

is also funding the ypg; that's new to me, but entirely too believable, given geography. i do remember having seen a headline somewhere saying that lindsey graham objected to trump's pullout from syria since it would really piss bibi off.

ss to this:

That is probably the overshadowing concern driving each of them into entente, which for many reasons is likely to be tactical rather than enduring, unless Washington and Tel Aviv continue to behave stupidly.

will they? as an aside, that russia was risking more sanctions and the ire if the US, by selling turkey the S-400 missile defense systems, and had offered to sell them to saudi arabia, as well as this very weird set of statements at RT.com yesterday:

Damascus has undeniable responsibility in Syria civil war, but that doesn’t mean we should let terrorists run loose there – Putin Syria’s internal problems can only be solved once the country is free of terrorists, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that Moscow is supporting Damascus to ensure that extremists never reach Russia’s borders.

was he prepping the ground to not participate further? now he absolutely knows that this is not, never was, a civil war, but an astroturfed proxy war that began as one of the cogs in the pipelineistan wars, at least according to pepe escobar.

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@wendy davis countries. It's called the "periphery doctrine," a sort of enemy of my enemies is my friend policy. Of course, given the complexities of the region, it's also a Gordian's Knot as it entangles and operates at cross-purposes, as can be seen below. https://972mag.com/kurds-israel-turkey-genocide/143910/

Israel’s historic alliance with the Kurds goes back to the 1950s, when David Ben Gurion established his periphery doctrine, according to which the Foreign Ministry pursued strategic alliances with non-Arab actors in the Middle East. Under the rubric of this doctrine, Israel provided military, political, and moral support to the Kurds. In 2017 Netanyahu went as far as announcing that Israel supported the establishment of an independent Kurdish state.

At the same time, and also under the rubric of the periphery doctrine, Israel built a diplomatic and security alliance with Turkey. That relationship deepened after the signing of the Oslo Accords. In 1996, the two countries signed a military cooperation agreement, with Turkey purchasing billions of dollars worth of military hardware and defense technology from Israel over the ensuing years. According to various reports, Israel upgraded Turkey’s aircrafts and tanks, and sold the country radar systems, missiles, drones . . .

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wendy davis's picture

@leveymg

and yes, the human rights lawyer is correct in writing that it's a damned shame that israel has obviated this for so long, although iirc, he hadn't mentioned the palestinians:

In 1950, Israel passed a law regarding the prevention and punishment of genocide. It also ratified the Genocide Convention, which stipulates that it has a duty to do everything in its power to prevent genocide.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis

even within Syria, not all the Syrian Kurds were participating in the Rojava project, for instance. I'd be surprised if all of them were being supported by the U.S. and Israel. I am sympathetic to their desire for some autonomy. However, I'm not stupid; I don't want another Israel, nor another pretext for war, nor another proxy colony.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

in many different locations. i'd grabbed an explanatory link from a commenter at MoA, but it's on one of my earlier word docs, each one containing about nine feet of text and links.

i've been combing both the #syria and #handsOffSyria accouts on twitter, and while there's boatloads of agitprop, as far as i can make out, the ypg did let the isis prisoners out of prison, and the syrian army and russians on patrol have been rounding them up.

but russia is patrolling the skies to keep the turkish airforce from further bombing runs. some IDF reservists are in northern syria (as levymg had hinted), it's all very fluid.

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wendy davis's picture

but another theory worth considering from patrick lawrence at consortium news today:

"The running theme among Trump’s critics is that he has betrayed the Syrian Kurds, who have fought loyally and effectively against the Islamic State for years. Graham called this “a stain on America’s honor” and warned in Twitter-speak that Trump’s decision “ensures ISIS comeback.” This is one side of the story in Washington.

There is another.

That U.S. Air Base in Turkey

The Pentagon, the national security apparatus, and the intelligence agencies have valued Turkey as a sometimes difficult but always essential ally since the Cold War decades. The air base at Incirlik, which the U.S. military built in the 1950s, now hosts roughly 5,000 Air Force personnel and stores its tactical nuclear weapons. Beginning in mid–2015, U.S. planes used Incirlik to fly sorties over Syria. This is the other side of the Washington story.

What happened last week is easier to understand against this background. While press reports suggest Trump acted spontaneously and alone when he telephoned Erdogan, it is highly improbable, if not beyond imagining, that Trump made his decision to green-light Erdogan in isolation. It is far more likely, if it is not certain, that the defense and national security establishments had made a choice by the time Trump picked up the telephone the Sunday evening before last: Long term, Turkey will prove a far more effective check on the government of President Bashar al–Assad, the Iranians and ultimately the Russians than Kurdish militias could ever be. Better to betray the Kurds (for the eighth time in nearly a century) than risk another kerfuffle with the erratic and irascible Erdogan.
......................................
Erdogan is now newly empowered. Press reports over the weekend indicate that the “Syrian fighters” accompanying Turkish troops are the same murderous jihadists the State Department and the media have infamously labeled “moderate rebels” for the past eight years. Whose interests are served by this recrudescence of savagery? Why is the American press again obscuring the true identity of these ghastly fundamentalists?

Along with Britain, France and several Middle Eastern nations, the U.S. actively armed, trained, financed and equipped these same jihadists from the first months of the Syrian conflict. Washington has also been complicit, in many cases directly and actively, in enabling the Islamic State since it crossed into Syria from Iraq in 2014. For the disbelieving and the naïve, this was no more than a rerun of the strategy that former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski persuaded President Jimmy Carter to adopt in Afghanistan in 1979: Arm the jihadists and ignore their radical ideology.
..............................................
Washington honors the sovereignty of other nations only when it serves U.S. interests. The corporate press never mentions this principle when reporting on illegal U.S. incursions into nations such as Syria. Trump just missed an opportunity to pull back troops without inducing what shapes up as another bloodbath. When Treasury Secretary Mnuchin threatened Friday to impose sanctions against Turkey, it was intended primarily to forestall Graham’s bill in the Senate — penny-ante politics. Erdogan’s new Syria campaign was in its third day by then — a stark fact on the ground.

As to the Syrian Kurds, they committed Sunday [ no longer collaborate with the Americans to keep Damascus from reuniting the nation. This is a positive outcome."

Lawrence also links to RT.com's Turkish military operation is an ‘invasion’ and violation of Syria’s sovereignty – Arab League principal, 12 Oct, 2019 (I'd read a version of it with an epically long piece at the asia times earlier.)

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Almost no mention that SAA is taking over Syrian land to protect the Kurds.It is all about geoplotics of American empire and screw the Kurds--well more likely forget them; they did not serve Western interests.

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wendy davis's picture

@MrWebster

speaking about the syrian army traveling to north-eastern syria to protect the kurds? how odd; i'd thought that the elites were up in arms because turkey was waging war on the kurds. pluto's republic had put together some history of when they'd yawned:

It's good to remember that the US was not in Syria
@snoopydawg

....until Donald Trump sent troops to invade in May 2017. The object was to destroy the Syrian government and murder the Syrian people at will. It's Donald Trump's prerogative to lead the US troops out again.

At no time did anyone give a shit about the Kurds. Protecting the Kurdish in Syria is not a US objective. People are conflating the old objectives from Iraq's mission creep with the specific US objectives in Syria.

In January 2018, the Trump administration indicated its intention to maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria to counter Iran's influence and oust Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Still not a peep about protecting the Kurds.

In September 2018, the Trump Admin began implementing a new strategy that sought to continue the US military chaos, while launching a major diplomatic push. No Kurdish objectives.

On the 19th of December 2018, President Trump unilaterally ordered the withdrawal of the 2,000–2,500 American ground troops in Syria, which was initially set to take place in a 90-day period and to be completed in 2019.

This month, in September 2019, Trump mentioned his promise to end the wars starting with Syria.

The Neocons and Democrats have started wailing about the Kurds, all of a sudden. They demand that the US stay in Syria indefinitely or they will order up another false flag chemical attack and blame it on Assad.

I'll bet Trump doesn't fall for it, this time.

but i'll bring a few opinions and alleged facts on the ypg kurds and what they're asking for, and what they won't get, as well as the reasons...in a stand-alone comment below. and yes, it's all very fluid right now.

but this is the home page of SANA news syria; one updated catch-all is titled: Update-Syrian Army enters Manbij, Tal Tamr in Hasaka countryside, towns in Raqqa countryside, oct. 14, 2019

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis

in Syria before Trump put them there.

But I guess covert forces don't count. "We're only advisors, really! Just advising these nice people about how to overthrow that tyrannical dictator over there."

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

probably since 2011.

and how did it go for kate?

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis

The angiogram detected no blockages of any kind. I don't know yet whether they were able to determine if she's inherited her mom's congenital heart valve condition. And, most importantly, her kidneys have not shut down under the stress of the procedure. They are keeping her under observation for another 24 hours. If all continues well, she could be home by tomorrow evening.

We are going to become insistent that she be put on dialysis--next time we're within reach of her actual kidney doctor.
\

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

were already on dialysis, and iirc, you'd said she'd been put on diuretics of some kind? lasix perhaps? and if you'd checked to see if that diuretic might require extra potassium intake, chelated potassium, even bananas. bit i think i'd checked 'potassium sparing diuretics' and lasix was on the list. but still...

so far so good is...pretty good. i'll smudge you both again tonight; i have a longish list.

blessings on you both,
wd

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis

Too much--it's what put her in the hospital this time.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

i've been the victim of medical and dental malpractice countless times, as had my parents. i will never go to one again, but i see why kate needs to. but that's horrific to learn, miz signal.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis

was caused by her doctor's reluctance to put her on dialysis.

It could be a congenital valve problem instead. We'll see.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Anja Geitz's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

You and Kate have been on my mind the last couple of days.

Giving the both of you a big {{{HUG}}}

bear hug.gif
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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Anja Geitz

we appreciate the support!

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Alligator Ed's picture

The report underlined, “The new agreement is part of the two nations’ push to cut their reliance on the US dollar… Erdogan announced last year plans to end the US dollar monopoly via a new policy that is aimed at non-dollar trading with the country’s international partners.”

The agreement with Turkey becomes the newest template in President Putin’s ambitious project to get rid of the US dollar in Russia’s foreign trade. (Trade turnover between Turkey and Russia is substantial; it grew by 16 percent last year, reaching $25.5 billion.) Clearly, the Turkish-Russian payment system is a major foreign policy move by the two countries.

The essayist is making a detailed analysis of territorial and policy debacles (true to the title). Many excellent comments down thread read, all concerned with territorial-ethnic concerns to some degree. Although harboring some reservations about opinions stated in the article, the facts as we know them are not contested by me.

leveymg mentions that Kurdistan, being an autonomous region, sharing numerous international borders can be a major power player when armed and supported by any interested major power (including George Soros). Driving a wedge between the Kurds and the US pushes Western area Kurds to Syria/Assad. Other Kurdish regions all have their differing primary concerns, other than obtaining statehood. Effects upon those Kurdish factions do not necessarily contribute further to the Syrian Shitshow War.

With Erdogan desecularizing Turkey, it seems only natural that Turkey will be pulled East and Southeast towards other Muslim countries. Obomber started this process with his incredibly evil and stupid decision to destroy Syria (ably abetted by HRC).

When he came into office, Trump carried with him considerable baggage, most of which he still posses or has expanded. But SYRIA has been an unmitigated disaster for everyone living in the region. SYRIA is a giant military project designed by the MIC for their own enrichment--and f.u. anyone getting in the way.

But the law of unintended consequences (to which the Democrat party enthusiastically contributes examples) is at work here. As per the above quote, the Petrodollar takes another hit, one of many recent blows. This is merely the latest example of nations abandoning the petrodollar. Russian-Turkish trading in their own currencies reduces the chances of IMF tomfoolery (of which Putin is having none). If the $25 B annual TurkoRussian trade is correct, that seems a reasonable basis to do so, although I am no economist.

Prediction: although there maybe temporary political stabilizations in the region, no permanent "peace" can occur until efforts to build a trans-Syrian pipeline by the US (via Iraq) are abandoned.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

lawrence's essay link, there hadn't been any comments, so when i have time, i'll go read them. there are many who note that as long as the uppity kurds are useful in fighting against our™ enemies...but when they get too uppity©, we shut them down. it may be the truth, but the first time the iraqi kurds were betrayed by amerika was under dubya in 1991, then maybe (?) again under bubba clinton?

yes, an unmitigated disaster, and i just checked for the date the proxy wars began: march, 2011.

we'll see how the new alliances go, some bidness and trade, some military, of course, but remember: not all muslims are aligned, lol: the shi'a and sunni divisions are vast.

interesting prediction, but i hadn't known at all that the US was to be funding the trans-Syrian pipeline. but yes, syria is one of the beating hearts of pipelineistan.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis if Assad is ever defeated (never). But it will be done through such front operations as USAID which will launder US government cash into "Syria" aid relief, to then be distributed amongst the various corrupt entities which will do the actual construction.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

like the White Helmets, lol? journalist vanessa beeley was just on one of the syrian hashtags saying: Get the Fuck Out!

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wendy davis's picture

yesterday, oct. 14, 2019, asia times, a few bits and bobs of a longish prognostication, opinion and news essay:

Kurds face stark options after US pullback; Forget an independent Kurdistan: They may have to do a deal with Damascus on sharing their area with Sunni Arab refugees’

'The predominant Western narrative credits the Syrian Democratic Forces, mostly Kurdish, for fighting and defeating Islamic State, also known as Daesh. The SDF is essentially a collection of mercenaries working for the Pentagon against Damascus. But many Syrian citizens argue that ISIS was in fact defeated by the Syrian Arab Army, Russian aerial and technical expertise plus advisers and special forces from Iran and Hezbollah.
....................................
Into this heady mix, enter a possible, uneasy pacifier: Russia. Moscow previously encouraged the Syrian Kurds to talk to Damascus to prevent a Turkish campaign – to no avail. But Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov never gives up. He has now said: “Moscow will ask for the start of talks between Damascus and Ankara.” Diplomatic ties between Syria and Turkey have been severed for seven years now.

With Peace Spring rolling virtually unopposed, Kurdish Gen. Mazloum Kobani Abdi did raise the stakes, telling the Americans he will have to make a deal with Moscow for a no-fly zone to protect Kurdish towns and villages against the Turkish Armed Forces. Russian diplomats, off the record, say this is not going to happen. For Moscow, Peace Spring is regarded as “Turkey’s right to ensure its security,” in the words of Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. As long as it does not turn into a humanitarian disaster.

From Washington’s perspective, everything happening in the volatile Iran-Iraq-Syria-Turkey spectrum is subject to two imperatives: 1) geopolitically, breaking what is regionally regarded as the axis of resistance: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah; and 2) geostrategically, breaking the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative from being incorporated in both Iraq and Syria, not to mention Turkey.

When Erdogan remarked that the trilateral Ankara summit last month was “productive,” he was essentially saying that the Kurdish question was settled by an agreement among Russia, Turkey and Iran.

Diplomats confirmed that the Syrian Constitutional Committee will work hard towards implementing a federation – implying that the Kurds will have to go back to the Damascus fold. Tehran may even play a role to smooth things over, as Iranian Kurds have also become very active in the YPG command.
..................................................
Kurdish threats to release control of 50 jails holding at least 11,000 ISIS/Daesh jihadis are just that. The same applies to the al-Hol detention camp, holding a staggering 80,000 ISIS family members. If let loose, these jihadis would go after the Kurds in a flash.

Veteran war correspondent and risk analyst Elijah Magnier provides an excellent summary of the Kurds’ wishful thinking, compared with the priorities of Damascus, Tehran and Moscow:

The Kurds have asked Damascus, in the presence of Russian and Iranian negotiators, to allow them to retain control over the very rich oil and gas fields they occupy in a bit less than a quarter of Syrian territory. Furthermore, the Kurds have asked that they be given full control of the enclave on the borders with Turkey without any Syrian Army presence or activity. Damascus doesn’t want to act as border control guards and would like to regain control of all Syrian territory. The Syrian government wants to end the accommodations the Kurds are offering to the US and Israel, similar to what happened The options for the YPG Kurds are stark. They are slowly realizing they were used by the Pentagon as mercenaries. Either they become a part of the Syrian federation, giving up some autonomy and their hyper-nationalist dreams, or they will have to share the region they live in with at least two million Sunni Arab refugees relocated under Turkish Army protection.
......................................
The geopolitical bottom line does expose a serious rift within the Ankara agreement. Tehran and Moscow – not to mention Damascus – will not accept Turkish occupation of nearly a quarter of sovereign, energy-rich Syrian territory, replacing what was a de facto American occupation. Diplomats confirm Putin has repeatedly emphasized to Erdogan the imperative of Syrian territorial integrity. SANA’s Syrian news agency slammed Peace Spring as “an act of aggression.”

Which brings us to Idlib. Idlib is a poor, rural province crammed with ultra-hardcore Salafi jihadis – most linked in myriad levels with successive incarnations of Jabhat al-Nusra, or al-Qaeda in Syria. Eventually, Damascus, backed by Russian airpower, will clear what is in effect the Idlib cauldron, generating an extra wave of refugees. As much as he’s investing in his Syrian Kurdistan safe zone, what Erdogan is trying to prevent is an extra exodus of potentially 3.5 million mostly hardcore Sunnis to Turkey.

Turkish historian Cam Erimtan told me, as he argues in this essay, that it’s all about the clash between the post-Marxist “libertarian municipalism” of the Turkish-Syrian PKK/PYD/YPG/YPJ axis and the brand of Islam defended by Erdogan’s AKP party: “The heady fusion of Islamism and Turkish nationalism that has become the AKP’s hallmark and common currency in the New Turkey, results in the fact that as a social group the Kurds in Syria have now been universally identified as the enemies of Islam.” Thus, Erimtan adds, “the ‘Kurds’ have now taken the place of ‘Assad’ as providing a godless enemy that needs to be defeated next door.”

as it turns out, far more than a few bits and bobs, but: needs must, in order to
make sense of it.

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Alligator Ed's picture

Kurds speak the Kurdish languages and the Zaza–Gorani languages, which belong to the Western Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family.[30][31][32] A majority of Kurds belong to the Shafi‘i school of Sunni Islam, but significant numbers practise Shia Islam and Alevism, while some are adherents of Yarsanism, Yazidism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.

After World War One and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the victorious Western allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres. However, that promise was nullified three years later, when the Treaty of Lausanne set the boundaries of modern Turkey and made no such provision, leaving Kurds with minority status in their respective countries.[33] This fact has led to numerous genocides and rebellions, along with the current ongoing armed guerrilla conflicts in Turkey, Iran, and Syria / Rojava. Kurds have an autonomous region in Iraq named Kurdistan Region, while Kurdish nationalist movements continue to pursue greater cultural rights, autonomy, and independence throughout Greater Kurdistan.

According to Wikipedia, most Kurds are of sunni persuasion. Perhaps they are not Sunni enough for Recep. Just like you can't be Christian enough unless you are an evangelical.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

i'd thought the post-ottoman lines had been done with sykes-picot, but i did discover it was the treaty of lausanne earlier.

and just for you, dear:

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wendy davis's picture

claimed to have a ten-point (or so) list of the deal damascus has cut with the YPG in northern syria, and while a quick scan doesn't seem to have that, the Tweeter above has retweeted this from patrick henningsen at 21st century wire:

Washington’s Sum of All Fears: Kurdish Militants Cut a Deal with Damascus
October 14, 2019 just one paragraph i'll cut in two; i gotta scoot.

Unknowingly perhaps (or not), Turkey helped towards resolving at least three separate problems which had been grating at Damascus and Moscow for at least the last three years. Firstly, the Turkish incursion has finally displaced uninvited US military forces that had begun illegally occupying northeastern Syria since late 2016, effectively propping-up their SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) Kurdish-led proxy militants, many of whom share membership with Kurdish YPG/PKK militant groups. This weekend has shown the world that without its US protection, Kurdish-led forces are not as viable as they have been depicted in the western media, now exposed to the painful reality that their ‘autonomous’ status in northeastern Syria is on borrowed time, evidenced by the fact that they failed to protect Kurdish residents from the Turkish military and their jihadi vanguard ground forces, formerly known as Free Syrian Army (FSA), who’ve rather cynically rebranded themselves now to the ‘Syrian National Army’. With Syrian Kurdish forces now on their back heels, they were left with no other option than to approach Damascus to negotiate an alliance.

That agreement was inked this weekend, with the SAA now heading towards key towns and cities in the northeast of Syria including one of the centers of fighting – the hotly contested Syrian border town of Kobani. This new reality also means that Turkish military will not willingly fire upon SAA forces inside of Syrian sovereign territory, although Turkey’s jihadist FSA/SNA militias might engage with its old nemesis. Those side skirmishes could prolong instability, but they are not nearly as insurmountable as entrenched US forces in the area.

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wendy davis's picture

for the night. (i've been awake since looong before first light.) two nights ago la luna bella was full, and she'll rise over menefee mountain to the east of our hogan soon.

for all in syria and elsewhere in the region, this brilliant cover of peter tosh's original:

Though my enemies fight me everyday
I will fear no evil
Though my enemies set traps in my way
Still I will fear no evil

Pestilence lurks in dark places
And I fear no evil
Destruction walk with smiling faces
Still I will fear no evil


g' night, all.

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wendy davis's picture

#Syria |The main points of the agreement between the #SDF and the #Syrian_Government, by Danny Makki, oct 14
1/ The abolishment of the #SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), with all the current Kurdish forces and military groups joining the 5th Corps (Assault Legion) under Russian control
2/ A solid guarantee of full Kurdish rights in the new Syrian constitution with autonomy which will be agreed upon by Kurdish leadership & Syrian state.
3/ Joint coordinated effort by Syrian/Kurdish forces to remove Turkish presence in northern #Syria including #Afrin (Idleb doesn't count)
4/ #Manbej & #Kobani were agreed upon for #SAA to enter quickly, whilst #Hasakeh has seen a wide scale deployment of Syrian troops, this will continue in #Qamishly and other joint areas
5/ With Syrian forces now on the border area with #Turkey it's clear that this starts a new phase in the 8-year-long war where some sort of endgame is now taking shape - all border areas and administrational centres will be taken over by the Syrian government
6/ Within one month Kurdish leadership with start to take up some official roles within the current Syrian government to ease the transition period of N. #Syria until an new constitution/government is formed in the future
7/ #Tabqa in #Raqqa was also on the agreement, Syrian forces entered the city and took control of the military airbase earlier today
8/ #Russia had brokered a similar deal a few days ago, yet it was
rejected by #Damascus who wanted more concessions from the #SDF.
9/ As per-agreement Syrian forces entered Ein Issa in N. #Raqqa today
10/ The agreement between #SDF and Syrian gov is yet to be fully completed, the finer details will be fleshed out over the next four days.
11/ For now all #ISIS prisoners remain under the control of the #Kurds
12/ The agreement thus far is effectively a military one, based on self-defense and mutual interest with a number of set aims. The governance/land delegation/isis prisoners part will follow later.
14 Oct 2019

https://twitter.com/Dannymakkis…/status/1183685519764611072…

iraq's sending a convoy of 3000 tons (?) of food.

from b at MoA: October 16, 2019, ‘How The Win-Win-Win-Win Plan For Syria's Northeast Succeeds; The Syrian and Russian operations in the northeast of Syria are going well.

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