US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:14 am

Kissinger’s Prophecy Fulfilled in Syria

Kamal AlamJanuary 23, 2019

Syria has managed to bring both the Turks and Kurds to its door by skillfully outplaying the two enemies to make itself indispensable to both. Syrian government forces claim they have entered Manbij, and the Kurdish group People’s Protection Units — fresh from a U.S. betrayal — are reaching out to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Simultaneously, the Turkish government is making its biggest concession yet in announcing that it would consider working with Assad should he win a democratic election. One is reminded of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s maxim: “The Arabs can’t make war without Egypt; and they can’t make peace without Syria.”

It was a backhanded tribute to Syria’s consistent hard line against Israel and the United States. Its critical geographical position and what David Lesch called ‘’Syria’s consistently punching above its weight’’ made it the key lynchpin for stability in the Middle East. Without any love lost between the Turks, Kurds, and Damascus, it is a testament to the staying power and resilience of the Baathist state that it is the one that has outlasted all its enemies one by one and, furthermore, is seen as the solution to preventing further chaos. As the Gulf Cooperation Council states open their embassies one by one, Ankara does a complete U-turn from its previous position of “no future for Assad,” and Washington finally openly accepts Assad staying in power, some important questions should be raised. First and foremost, why were the “experts” so wrong in assessing Syria? Damascus is well on its way to resuming its regional role, as even Israel’s hardline, recently resigned Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that Israel would consider a diplomatic relationship with a newly powerful Assad.

Not All About Russia and Iran

Many analysts prepared briefing paper after briefing paper talking about a post-Assad Syria and state building in post-war Syria. These writers who discussed the imminent fall of Assad forgot to read the history of the Levant. While they made comparisons to state-building and reconciliation and conflicts in Libya, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, they missed the way Syria under the Assads ran the show from Damascus. This was the show that made Syria the deciding factor not just in Lebanon but also in peace talks with Israel, the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey, the fierce competition against President Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and the very military-dominated state relationships with the two most powerful armies in the Arab world — Algeria and Egypt. The Syrians were the main pivot point on which the region depended on for security; the Arab League called on Syria to send their forces into Lebanon, the Turks called upon them to rein in the Kurdish forces that were being allowed safe sanctuary, the Saudis relied on them to tip the balance against Hussein, and the Americans and Israelis kept close to them for final negotiations over the Golan Heights. Longtime observers of Syria who had spent real time with the country’s leadership and had meaningful access to the power corridors of Damascus, such as Lesch, Patrick Seale, Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Brent Scowcroft, all cautioned against predicting the demise of Assad. Furthermore, they spoke of a need to work with Assad, as he would be the last man standing. In an early January 2015 hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee, Brzezinski and Scowcroft — two doyens of American national security —questioned the need to fight Assad and furthermore stated that “Assad had more support that any one of the groups fighting him put together.”

Whilst the E.U. foreign policy chief spoke of a new Afghanistan for Russia in 2015, it was clear to me that the Russians would succeed where the American interventions had failed since 2001. Assad had survived, albeit on the ropes, till the arrival of the Russians. The Syrian state still held on to the biggest cities, and even half of Aleppo was with the government forces. Assad survived the brutal bombing that took out his four security chiefs and main defense advisers in 2012. Assad also survived the so-called pivotal moments when senior defections from Manaf Tlass and Riad Hijab were supposed to usher in a collapse. Then there were the lies of the Syrian opposition claiming that Ali Habib, defense minister and one of Syria’s most celebrated generals, had defected. In fact, he had never left Damascus to go to Turkey, as had been claimed. Similarly the alleged defection of Vice President Farouk Sharaa turned out to be untrue.

In 2016, leading Syrian activist and academic Mohammed Alaa Ghanem penned an op-ed in The New York Times that sums up how the war against Assad was lost: The men and institutions that mattered remained loyal until the end. Ghanem argued for the need to help Assad’s top officers and intelligence personnel defect. Of course, that has never happened. Despite massive loss of territory and close advisers being killed in 2012, the Syrian military has remained loyal and no major defections ever took place. I wrote an article in response that explained that there were no major defections — specifically from the inner circle — despite financial compensation offered by the Gulf states and the West.

Two leading British generals espouse the view that Assad has considerable support where it mattered. Maj. Gen. Jonathan Shaw, the former head of British Special Forces and commander of forces in southern Iraq has spent a long time studying Syria and Iraq. In his first comments on the subject last year, he told me in an earlier piece that Assad has genuine cross sectarian support and there was no need to fight Assad – it would not be easy. Shaw recently told me, “It was always doubtful Assad would lose. He had support and a strategy to outdo his enemies, a loyal army, and security service which had Sunni, Christian, Alawi.’”

Maj. Gen. John Holmes, commander of the British Special Air Service who has spent time with me in Damascus, told me:

During my visits to Damascus I saw little evidence of a government in decline; in fact quite the reverse – it seemed to me that the government and the army were very much in control of a very challenging situation. I formed the impression that the government had its hands on all the levers of power and that security and stability were the order of the day in those parts of the country that they controlled. The army appears to have put difficult times behind them and are now successfully consolidating in the areas under government control.

Former Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Lord Richards, whom I have been advising on Syrian affairs since the beginning of the war, and former Chief of the General Staff Richard Dannatt both called for pragmatic cooperation with Assad and his military as the only way to end the war in Syria. Richards has been clear from the very beginning that Assad had more support than people were willing to accept and believe. Rather than fighting him, letting him win was the best prospect for peace in Syria. Richards, whom I interviewed for this article, told me:

It is very clear why countries such as UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain are talking to Assad again. He has proved his Arab and Sunni credentials despite an Iran connection and they know, give or take, that he has won his war. I always thought he would outlive his enemies.

What Will a Triumphant Assad Do Next?

A leading Lebanese politician recently argued that Syria is preparing to re-impose itself on Lebanon as a direct counterweight to Iran and Hizballah. This correlates with Barak Barfi and Justin Goodarzi, who have both insisted Iran has never been the absolute overlord in the so-called “Shia Crescent” that many claim it is. Indeed, Syria has been at odds with Iran innumerable times in Iraq and Lebanon. Similarly, Emma Sky, in her book The Unravelling, talks about how the Iraqis and Iranians were fuming at how Damascus was supporting Sunni and ex-Baathist groups opposed to Shia dominance in Baghdad. John Nixon, in Debriefing the President, talks about how Hussein got agitated every time Syria and Hafez al-Assad’s name came up. The very mention of Syria frustrated Saddam, as it was Iraq’s main rival for dominance in Arab affairs. Soner Cagaptay, in his book The New Sultan, also discusses how Syria stopped support to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, thereby leading to stability between Ankara and the Kurds and contributing to the friendship between Assad and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Now, as the Kurds and Erdogan again grudgingly look to Damascus, the Arabs — despite an Iranian presence — march back to Damascus, and Lebanon and Israel again revert back to dealing with Assad as the arbiter, the regional situation represents a complete reversal of previous expectations . Put another way, it is a continuance of Kissinger’s prophecies. It was those “real” warnings and the study of Syrian history that led numerous British generals to caution any fight against Assad and push instead for a continued security relationship with Damascus that has come full circle. It is no coincidence that Assad has won. There is a history behind it — and such repetition of events is eerily the norm in Levantine affairs.

This article has been updated to include an additional quote from Maj. Gen. Jonathan Shaw.

Kamal Alam is an adviser on Syrian affairs to former Chief of Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces Gen. The Lord David Richards of Herstmonceux. He is also a visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and teaches Syrian military history at several army colleges. ... -in-syria/
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:47 am


This is really good, long view from Afghanistan '79 and Brzezinski forward, but basically about background to the rise of "ISIS" and extinction of "Grayzone" (where differently-identified people can just live like humans with each other) desired by them to force Muslims into false dichotomies (either you're a jihadi or a satanic heretic and legitimate target for murder) -- something desired by the fascists on this side (obviously) but also the MIC that knew its weapons ultimately flowed to "ISIS," as it helped extinguish the Grayzone in which we have anything other than a dichotomous choice between bombing the "them" of the moment or capitulating to a designated new "Hitler."
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby alloneword » Mon May 13, 2019 6:19 pm

Not that I'd imagine that this would be 'news' to anyone here...

Evidence that Douma ‘chemical attack’ was staged: OPCW’s unpublished engineers’ report

Posted on May 13, 2019 by timhayward

The alleged chemical attack on Douma in April 2018 was the pretext for airstrikes on Syria by France, UK and US. The final report on the alleged attack published by the OPCW left unexplained why its Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) had made no engineering assessments during its visit to Douma in April 2018, when experts could have inspected the sites with cylinders in position, rather than six months later when inspection was no longer possible and assessments had to rely on images and measurements obtained by others. A Briefing Note by the Working Group on Syria Propaganda & Media highlighted this as an obvious anomaly.

OPCW staff members have communicated with the Working Group.

We have learned that an investigation was undertaken by an engineering sub-team of the FFM, beginning with on-site inspections in April-May 2018, followed by a detailed engineering analysis including collaboration on computer modelling studies with two European universities. The report of this investigation was excluded from the published Final Report of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission, which referred only to assessments sought from unidentified “engineering experts” commissioned in October 2018 and obtained in December 2018.

A copy of a 15-page Executive Summary of the report entitled “Engineering Assessment of two cylinders observed at the Douma incident” is posted here. (Anyone who wishes to post their own link to the document is kindly requested to download the document and link from their own server, so as not to overload the Working Group’s.)

The Working Group has provided a commentary on the document: see ‘Assessment by the engineering sub-team of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission investigating the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018‘, by Paul McKeigue, David Miller and Piers Robinson.

Some of the commentary’s key points:

As the Working Group has repeatedly emphasised, evidence can be evaluated only by comparison of competing hypotheses. A key weakness of the published FFM Final Report was that no competing hypotheses were considered. The FFM’s unpublished Engineering Assessment does not make this error: competing hypotheses are clearly set out in advance.
The conclusion of the Engineering Assessment is unequivocal: the “alternative hypothesis” that the cylinders were placed in position is “the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene”.
These findings establish beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018 was staged.
This raises the question of where and how did the victims seen in the images recorded at location 2 die?
The conclusion appears inescapable that the staging of the Douma incident entailed mass murder of at least 35 civilians to provide the bodies at Location 2.

Furthermore, we note that the Douma incident was the first alleged chemical attack in Syria where OPCW investigators were able to carry out an unimpeded on-site inspection. Since previous OPCW Fact-Finding Missions did not include on-site inspections, the finding that the Douma incident was staged may cast doubt on the findings of those earlier FFMs.
(my emph.) ... rs-report/
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Elvis » Tue May 14, 2019 12:35 pm

alloneword wrote:Not that I'd imagine that this would be 'news' to anyone here...

Evidence that Douma ‘chemical attack’ was staged: OPCW’s unpublished engineers’ report

Thanks, I had not seen that! It's as I expected.
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Belligerent Savant » Fri May 17, 2019 11:00 pm

. ... -skripals/

The OPCW, Douma & The Skripals

In view of the latest revelations from the leaked report, which seem to prove that at least some elements of the Douma “chemical attack” were entirely staged, we want to take look back at the chaotic events of Spring 2018.

What was the agenda behind the Douma false flag?
Why was the US response seemingly token and ineffective?
Why was the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson fired?
What agenda tied the Skripal case to the Douma attack?

The following is an extract from an article by Catte originally published April 14th last year, which takes on a greater weight in light of certain evidence – not only that the Douma attack was faked, but that the OPCW is compromised.


The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East.

Since at least 2001 and the launch of the “War on Terror” the US has led the way in finding or creating facile excuses to fight oil wars and hegemonic wars and proxy wars in the region. But this time the dynamics look a little different.

This time it really looks as if the UK has been setting the pace of the “response”.

The fact (as stated above) that Mattis was apparently telegraphing his own private doubts a)about the verifiability of the attacks, and b)about the dangers of a military response suggests he was a far from enthusiastic partaker in this adventure.

Trump’s attitude is harder to gauge. His tweets veered wildly between unhinged threats and apparent efforts at conciliation. But he must have known he would lose (and seemingly has lost) a great part of his natural voter base (who elected him on a no-more-war mandate) by an act of open aggression that threatened confrontation with Russia on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma “initiative” is a continuation of their longterm policy. It’s also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense.

A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time.

You can see why Mattis and others in the administration might be reluctant to take part in the false flag/punitive air strike narrative if they saw nothing currently to be gained to repay the risk. They may have preferred to wait for developments and plan for a more productive way of playing the R2P card in the future.

The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation.

The UK govt and media on the other hand has been much more homogeneous in advocating for action. No doubts of the type expressed by Mattis have been heard from the lips of an UK government minister. Even May, a cowardly PM, has been (under how much pressure?) voicing sterling certitude in public that action HAD to be taken.

Couple this with the – as yet unverified – claims by Russia of direct UK involvement in arranging the Douma “attack”, and the claims by Syria that the perps are in their custody, and a tentative storyline emerges. It’s possible this time there were other considerations in the mix beside the usual need to “be seen to do something” and Trump’s perpetual requirement to appease the liberal Russiagaters and lunatic warmongers at home. Maybe this time it was also about helping the UK out of a sticky problem.


Probably the only thing we can all broadly agree on about the Skripal narrative is that it manifestly did not go according to plan. However it was intended to play out, it wasn’t this way. Since some time in mid to late March it’s been clear the entire thing has become little more than an exercise in damage-limitation, leak-plugging and general containment.

The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know.

The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect.

1) It lied again and again about the information Porton Down had given it

2) Its lawyers all but lied to Mr Justice Robinson about whether or not the Skripals had relatives in Russia in an unscrupulous attempt to maintain total control of them, or at least of the narrative.

3) It is not publishing the OPCW report on the chemical analyses, and the summary of that report reads like an exercise in allusion and weasel-wording. Even the name of the “toxic substance” found in the Skripals’ blood is omitted, and the only thing tying it to the UK government’s public claims of “novichok” is association by inference and proximity.

Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a “novichok” (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called “BZ”, a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later).

None of the alleged victims of this alleged attack has been seen in public even in passing since the event. There is no film or photographs of DS Bailey leaving the hospital, no film or photographs of his wife or family members doing the same. No interviews with Bailey, no interviews with his wife, family, distant relatives, work colleagues.

The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn’t want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all.

She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has “specially trained officers…helping to take care of” her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it’s hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day.

Very little of this bizarre, self-defeating, embarrassing, hysterical story makes any sense other than as a random narrative, snaking wildly in response to events the narrative-makers can’t completely control.

Why? What went wrong? Why has the UK government got itself into this mess? And how much did the Douma “gas attack” and subsequent drive for a concerted western “response” have to do with trying to fix that?


If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that’s been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East.

So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility?

Could it be this planned event was unexpectedly canceled by the leading players in the drama (the US) when the Russians called them out and the rapid and unexpected fall of Ghouta meant any such intervention became pointless at least for the moment?

Did this cancelation leave the UK swinging in the wind, with a fantastical story that was never intended to withstand close scrutiny, and no second act for distraction?

So, did they push on with the now virtually useless “chemical attack”, botch it (again), leaving a clear evidence trail leading back to them? Did they then further insist on an allied “response” to their botched false flag in order to provide yet more distraction and hopefully destroy some of that evidence?

This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma “attack” seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first.

It would explain why the US has been less than enthused by the idea of reprisals. Because while killing Syrians to further geo-strategic interests is not a problem, killing Syrians (and risking escalation with Russia) in order to rescue an embarrassed UK government is less appealing.

And it would explain why the “reprisals” when they came were so half-hearted.

If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and “responded” to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren’t bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this.

This is very bad.

But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval.

This is a major issue. She and her government should resign. But it’s unlikely that will happen.

So what next? There is a sense this is a watershed for many of the parties involved and for the citizens of the countries drawn into this.

Will the usual suspects try to avoid paying for their crimes and misadventures by more rhetoric, more false flags, more “reprisals”? Or will this signal some other change in direction?

We’ll all know soon enough.


Back to today…

…and while things have moved on, we’re still puzzling over all the same issues.

What was the purpose of the Skripal attack?
What was the original plan of the Douma attack?
Is there, as it appears, an internal power struggle in the Trump administration?
Has that resolved? Who is running the United States?
Seeing as the OPCW has been shown to cover-up evidence in Douma, can we trust them on Skripal? Or anything else?
Speaking of which, where on Earth IS Sergei Skripal?

All these questions stand, and are important, but more important than all of that is the lesson: They tried it before, and just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean they won’t try it again.

Last spring, the Western powers showed they will deploy a false flag if they need too, for domestic or international motives. And they have the motives right now.

The UK were the most vocal about Syria, and depserately tried to drum up support over Skripal, but it all came to nothing much in the end.

Theresa May’s political career still hangs by a thread, and her “Falklands moment”, at best, staved off the inevitable for a few months. A washout in the EU elections, a very real threat from Farage’s Brexit party, and rumblings inside her own party, make her position as unstable as ever.

Britain had the most to gain, of all NATO countries, and that is still true. We don’t know what they might do.

This time they might even receive greater support from France this time around – since Macron is facing a revolution at home and would kill (possibly literally) for a nice international distraction.

In the US, generally speaking, it seems that the Trump admin – or at least whichever interested parties currently have control of the wheels of government – have called time on war in Syria. Instead, they’ve moved on to projects in Venezuela and North Korea, and even war with Iran.

That’s not to say Syria is safe, far from it. They are always just one carefully place false-flag away from all-out war. Last year, Mattis (or whoever) decided war with Syria was not an option – that it was too risky or complicated. That might not happen next time.

Clearly, the US hasn’t totally seen sense in terms of stoking conflict with Russia – as seen by the decision to pull out of the INF Treaty late last year. And further demonstrated by their attempts to overthrow Russia’s ally Nicolas Maduro. Another ripe candidate for a false flag.

The failure of the Douma false flag to cause the war it was meant to cause, and the vast collection of evidence that suggests it was a false flag, should be spread far and wide. Not just because it’s a truth which vindicates the smeared minority in the alternate media.

But because recognising what they were trying to do last time, is the best defense when they try it again next time.

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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:15 pm


Let's go back nearly three years to this really interesting debate video.

At least two names will be familiar to all who've been following this 150+ page thread.

Discussion on “Syria and the Left,” cosponsored by Verso Books and Muftah, at Verso Books in Brooklyn, November 1, 2016.

Zein Al-Amine, University of Maryland
Max Blumenthal, Senior Editor, AlterNet Grayzone Project
Murtaza Hussein, Journalist, The Intercept
Loubna Mrie, Syrian activist and commentator

Moderator: Maryam Jamshidi, Editor in Chief, Muftah

The real shocker for me: Zero mentions of Kurds, YPG, Kobane, Kurdish forces and Islamic State (already then), the international left and YPG, etc.

Well moderated to avoid a shouting match, up to a point. Messy, but I think it's pretty clear what the result was.

We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

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