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    I would like to start a new topic on the evolving situation in the Middle East. There are many new developments as well as the well established ones. These have been overshadowed by other events including the all consuming Brexit and of course the many Trumpgates.
    The old issues that are ongoing include:
    New ones of significance include
    ‘Successful’ peaceful revolution in Sudan
    Tunisian elections
    Algerian demonstrations
    Iraq demonstrations
    Lebanon demonstrations.
    Turkish invasion of Northern Syria.

    Of course all of these are huge topics and any one of them could occupy pages of references and cross references but maybe highlights of the most important, especially ones neglected in MSM would be useful.


    SA, thank you for starting this thread. I have little to add, but I hope it becomes popular and informative – so I suggest you draw attention to it and link to it from Craig’s comments sections, when appropriate.

    Embedding – warning to all commenters:

    The WTC7 thread became unusable due to the forum software embedding content from linked websites, especially YouTube videos. Please don’t post naked URLs – use the HTML ‘a’ tag instead (manually, or by using the ‘link’ button above the comment form), to turn some word or phrase into a link.

    The forums have no pagination; they just get longer and longer. If naked URLs are posted, so much external content gets embedded that the page demands excessive memory (over a gigabyte) and may never complete loading.


    Thanks Clark for the tip and comment. I shall try my best. This post attempts to show a rough timeline for the fast moving events. Apologies for the many links from the Guardian but this is just to establish the timeline and not endorse their point of view or comments.
    Developing events in north Syria
    Since the declarations of Trump to withdraw US troops from North Syria in coordination with Turkey to allow them to take over a safe buffer zone on the whole length of the Turkish Syrian borders and to supposedly facilitate the return of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey to this safe zone, many maneuvers and counter maneuvers have been carried out by both sides. It is difficult to know whether this policy was truly off the hoof or whether it had been carefully planned between at least Turkey and US beforehand and then made to appear off the hoof. The overall policy appears to have been designed to remove the Kurds who have been partly instrumental in defeating Da’esh in that part of Syria with the help of the US from the border area with Turkey, as Turkey perceived this, and an independent Rojava, as a future threat. In addition, the YPG, essentially allied to the PKK which is classified as a terrorist organization by US and Turkey and EU, have been whitewashed and relabeled as the SDF to be utilized for this task of getting rid of Da’esh.

    22 August 2019
    Turkey and US agree joint Safe Zone on Northern Syria

    September 30th
    Erdogan reveals, in speech to UNGA, ‘Safe Zone’ Plan to rehome up to 3 million Syrian refuges from Turkey to Syria.

    7th October: Trump announces withdrawal of US forces from Northern Syria, giving green light for Turkey to start occupying northern Syria

    9th October: Turkish offensive begins with shelling and aerial bombing on Ras al Ayn

    14th October:
    Agreement between SG and YPG/SDF that Syrian troops will protect key cities and border posts and YPG retreat from these areas, brokered by Russia.

    17th October. 5 day ceasefire deal between Turkey and US to allow YPG withdrawal from ‘Safe zone’

    22nd October 2019
    Meeting between Putin and Erdogan in Sochi in which it is agreed that the situation on the ground will be frozen with current Turkish occupation in Ras al Ayn and…, whilst Russia will police rest of the borders between Turkey and Northern Syria elsewhere. Syrian forces also to occupy some towns and border areas. Turkish offensive officially halted.

    Its all about the Oil Stupid:
    25th October. US to send troops and mechanised division to protect Syrian oil fields


    Breaking news

    It seems that the US forces may have successfully assassinated or caused the death of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi:

    This is of course also widely reported by the MSM including the Guardian but the first link is very important for its analysis. This is from SANA the official Syrian Governement channel.
    Washington, SANA- A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the American Newsweek Magazine that the US military has conducted a special operations raid on Saturday targeting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organization, without confirming if the operation was successful.
    The official said that the operation was conducted in Idleb province, northwest of Syria, by US Special Forces after receiving certain intelligence information.
    This declaration bring to the minds the operation through which the US administration killed leader of al-Qaeda terrorist organization Osama Bin Laden who had been used by the US in Afghanistan, and when his mission finished, the US killed him burying the secrets of his relation with Washington with him.
    In a relevant context, Reuters Agency said that the White House Spokesman Hogan Gidley declared lately on Sunday that Donald Trump planned to make a “major statement” at the White House on 09:00 am.
    The US TV networks of (CNN) and (ABC) said earlier this morning that al-Baghdadi is more likely to be killed in a US raid in Idleb area.
    The CNN mentioned that the US army is conducting tests to verify the death of al-Baghdadi officially, while one of the US media outlets quoted several governmental sources as saying that al-Baghdadi might have killed himself with a suicide vest after the US Special Forces attacked him.
    Whether al-Baghdadi was killed in Idleb City or not raises a big question about the bodies and the states which have backed and protected him over all the past period, on top the Turkish regime which defends the terrorist groups in Idleb in all possible ways and which has been trying to protect them throughout the past years.
    Many media outlets have mentioned that the previous US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has admitted in her memoirs that a number of Western states including the US are the responsible ones for establishing and funding Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organization and supplying it with weapons and different forms of support.
    In case the story of killing al-Baghdadi is confirmed, many questions will be also raised on the goal of the operation, particularly after it has become known in many of the parts of the terrorist war on Syria, the role of the US in supporting the terrorist organizations, on top Daesh in the face of the Syrian Arab Army.
    The killing of al-Baghdadi at the hands of the US forces doesn’t mean that the US hasn’t participated in creating terrorist organizations to undermine the stability of some states or in supporting terrorism in Syria.
    Ruaa al-Jazaeri

    The interest here is that it implies that IS has now outlived its usefulness for US purposes which would also mean less reliance on Kurds and other proxies.
    The other interesting aspect of this is where he was supposedly killed: in northern Idlib just next to the Turkish border a village called Barisha

    This really is not surprising but of course some commentators seem to find it surprising.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by Darth.

    “The overall policy appears to have been designed to remove the Kurds…”

    Yes. While in London with XR a friend and I joined the pro-Rojava protest. It was very well attended.

    “…the YPG, essentially allied to the PKK which is classified as a terrorist organization by US and Turkey and EU, have been whitewashed and relabeled as the SDF to be utilized for this task of getting rid of Da’esh”

    Yes; this is a familiar pattern. The term “terrorist” is entirely fluid; if some relatively informal fighting group called party A does something that is useful to national power party B, party B call them “freedom fighters” or “rebels”, but when party A does something contrary, party B call them “terrorists”. The US is the worst offender, but other states aren’t above such behaviour.

    “This declaration bring to the minds the operation through which the US administration killed leader of al-Qaeda terrorist organization Osama Bin Laden who had been used by the US in Afghanistan, and when his mission finished, the US killed him burying the secrets of his relation with Washington with him.”

    This too is a pattern; cooperation and exploitation followed by betrayal. If only people would learn from history, but ironically, the resentment it provokes just inspires further martyrs.


    The Russian Defence Ministry disputes that al-Baghdadi has been killed at all; Ben posted this link at

    “Russia: Trump’s Baghdadi Victory Lap Is Nothing But ‘Propaganda’

    – The Russian Defense Ministry also disputed claims that Russia provided access to U.S. air units entering airspace it controls.

    Daily Beast.


    SA, October 27, 10:08 – “It’s all about oil…”

    I recommend the following as background to the long-standing conflict in the Middle East:

    Karl Lam: The Role of the West in the Middle East Conflict

    “An important part of this analysis is that the West is backing both the Israeli and Arab elites, and that the West’s overriding economic interest is in conflict, not peace. However, it has been important to maintain the illusion of a Peace Process.”


    Two lines of questions are raised by these recent events. The one as pointed out by Clark above is that Russia is skeptical that this has actually taken place.

    “Meanwhile, the Russian military has actually rejected Trump’s claim. Russia’s top military brass does not have reliable information on another operation to eliminate al-Baghdadi, the defense ministry’s spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. He pointed out that ‘yet another’ al-Baghdadi death had no impact on the situation in Syria since the Syrian army, supported by the Russian Aerospace Force, had defeated IS.

    And also highlighted that even if true, this had only symbolic significance
    Senior Researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies Boris Dolgov, in turn, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the IS leader’s death did not really matter to the group’s future. “Actually, it doesn’t exist anymore. As a military and political organization, the Islamic State has been destroyed both in Syria and Iraq. The units and sleeper cells that still remain don’t pose a threat as they are unlikely to revive IS. The killing of al-Baghdadi is more important as a symbol indicating the group’s defeat,” Dolgov explained.

    The other questions being asked is what the hell was Baghdadi doing in Idlib which is infested with his arch enemies of Al Nusra Front

    Another take is that this was a Turkish US collaboration to oil the deal for Turkey to invade Syria.

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed a few kilometers away from Turkish border, in Turkish-influenced Idlib. Turkey was ISIS rat line for foreign jihadists for years.
    Turkey might have traded Baghdadi to the US in exchange for being given the green light to attack northeast Syria.


    “The WTC7 thread became unusable due to the forum software embedding content from linked websites, especially YouTube videos. ”

    Yes, Clark. And knowing that, you kept adding more and more naked URLs – YouTube clips, irrelevant music clips – till the thread became unusable. Different tactics, same result … for the 2nd time, Clark stops discussion about 9/11 on Craig’s blog.
    Why do you do this? Presumably because nobody agrees with your crazy theory about what happened that day.
    Beware disagreeing with Clark, SA


    Unfortunately this is over simplistic and although it may be useful for novices in the field, it starts from about 5 years ago in a conflict and conspiracy that has been taking place for over 100 years. For me it is deflection.

    The biggest root cause of this current conflict lies neither with Israel, nor Palestinians, nor any dispute between them. The conflict was generated and is maintained by powerful economic actors, originally in the British Empire, but now mainly in the USA.

    This ignores the long history of the conflict between the end of the first WW and the Nakba in 1948. The reason for the establishment of the settler state was for colonisation purposes by people whom we can relate to.
    Here are some quotes of David Bengurion, the first prime minister of Israel.

    Everybody sees a difficulty in the question of relations between Arabs and Jews. But not everybody sees that there is no solution to this question. No solution! There is a gulf, and nothing can bridge it… We, as a nation, want this country to be ours; the Arabs, as a nation, want this country to be theirs.

    “A partial Jewish State is not the end, but only the beginning. … I am certain that we well not be prevented from settling in the other parts of the country, either by mutual agreements with our Arab neighbors or by some other means. . . [If the Arabs refuse] we shall have to speak to them in another language. But we shall only have another language if we have a state.”

    Also the author you quote says the following:

    The West supplies Israel with enough arms and money to keep it from being defeated, but never enough to keep it safe. Of course no amount of weapons can ever keep you safe; if anything it’s the opposite – but then this is about manipulating fear, not logic.

    Again this ignores how the west has closed its eyes whilst Israel developed atomic weapons whilst fighting very hard to prevent say Iran from developing one. This in itself is a very strong indication of the nonsense argument of those who support a nuclear deterrent, because for a deterrent to be a deterrent, it has to be possessed by both sides, otherwise it is a blackmail tool and a WMD, no more no less.


    I’ve always thought it took 48 hours to test DNA but SHRUMP! was caterwauling 12 hours after Baghdadi exploded his carcass.

    Can we expect other doubles to appear?


    OPCW Losing Credibility As Even More Revelations Surface On Douma

    The journalist Jonathan Steele in the BBC world service

    Jonathan Steele: “I was in Brussels last week … I attended a briefing by a whistleblower from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. He was one of the inspectors who was sent out to Douma in Syria in April last year to check into the allegations by the rebels that Syrian aeroplanes had dropped two canisters of chlorine gas, killing up to 43 people. He claims he was in charge of picking up the samples in the affected areas, and in neutral areas, to check whether there were chlorine derivatives there …
    Paul Henley: And?
    JS: … and he found that there was no difference. So it rather suggested there was no chemical gas attack, because in the buildings where the people allegedly died there was no extra chlorinated organic chemicals than in the normal streets elsewhere. And I put this to the OPCW for comment, and they haven’t yet replied. But it rather suggests that a lot of this was propaganda…
    PH: Propaganda led by?
    JS: … led by the rebel side to try and bring in American planes, which in fact did happen. American, British and French planes bombed Damascus a few days after these reports. And actually this is the second whistle blower to come forward. A few months ago there was a leaked report by the person who looked into the ballistics, as to whether these cylinders had been dropped by planes, looking at the damage of the building and the damage on the side of the cylinders. And he decided, concluded, that the higher probability was that these cylinders were placed on the ground, rather than from planes.
    PH: This would be a major revelation…
    JS: … it would be a major revelation …
    PH: … given the number of people rubbishing the idea that these could have been fake videos at the time.
    JS: Well, these two scientists, I think they’re non-political — they wouldn’t have been sent to Douma, if they’d had strong political views, by the OPCW. They want to speak to the Conference of the Member States in November, next month, and give their views, and be allowed to come forward publicly with their concerns. Because they’ve tried to raise them internally and been — they say they’ve been — suppressed, their views have been suppressed.

    Steele appears to be referring to a Courage Foundation panel meeting which convened in Brussels on October 15th, the findings of which were published the other day by the Courage Foundation and WikiLeaks, though it’s possible the briefing he refers to was a separate Brussels event around the same time. I’ve been unable to reach Steele for comment but will update with clarification if I can contact him.
    They are lying to us about what’s happening Syria. Shortly after the political/media class began blaring that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had killed dozens of civilians with chemical weapons in April of last year, Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal wrote the following in an article for TruthDig:
    “In 2007, journalist James Bamford recalled how Americans had been subjected to ‘a long line of hyped and fraudulent stories that would eventually propel the U.S. into a war with Iraq — the first war based almost entirely on a covert propaganda campaign targeting the media.’ The dirty war on Syria represents an extension of that strategy, with the mainstream media operating hand in glove with insurgent-allied influence operations like the White Helmets to cultivate public support for another war of regime change.”
    Indeed, the narrative manipulation campaign against the Syrian government is historically unprecedented in its depth and scale. From bizarre narrative management operations posing as rescue services, to CNN staging a fake, scripted interview featuring a seven year-old Syrian girl blaming Assad for a chemical weapons attack, to the BBC’s manipulative and transparently bogus Saving Syria’s Children documentary, to the US-centralized empire’s increasingly evident influence over the OPCW, we’re seeing evidence of a campaign to distort the public understanding of what’s going on in a foreign nation the likes of which we’ve never before seen.



    “Oh Boy, You Really Killed Me This Time” Confirms ISIS Leader

    Thisexplains what is behind the scenes.


    Sorry wrong link. Here is the correct one.


    That is amusing but I am looking for sources which indicate proof of death. So far no one wants to touch the subject.


    SA, could you check your link to please? I’m getting Page Not Found. You may need to find another source.


    Try this


    The seemingly random events in Syria over the last 2 months may after all not be that random but may have been carefully co-ordinated by US and Russia behind the scenes according to this view from El Mayadeen, an Arabic language news channel based in Beirut. It is worth reading this in full and here is a google translation of what they say.
    Putin and Trump: Al-Baghdadi is yours, Al-Joulani for me and Kurds for all

    While continuing to talk about the details of al-Baghdadi’s death and questioning it, the region has witnessed dramatic, rapid and sustained developments since the beginning of this month, especially after Presidents Trump and Putin agreed to the Turkish military incursion east of the Euphrates, which led to the recent Sochi agreement that changed Military and political rules of the game in the region.
    It was not only these axes that defined the last three weeks, and Qsed, particularly the Kurdish wing, became a key element in the region’s equations after Washington, Moscow, its European capitals and its leader, Mazlum Abdi (Kobane), one of the pupils of Abdullah Ogalan, The leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), may soon become a new Mandela as the U.S. election approaches, in which Trump’s fortunes have increased after al-Baghdadi’s death, and bin Laden’s death in May 2011 increased Obama’s chances in the 2012 election, especially after Trump acknowledged that the operation was supported by The Kurds, which was previously declared by Mazlum Abdi even before Trump, also announced the killing of Abu Hassan al-Muhajir near the Turkish-controlled town of Jarabulus, which controls all areas around the Turkmen village of Berisha where Al-Baghdadi was killed.
    Everyone knows that Turkey, which has good relations with Al-Nusra and seeks to block the Syrian army’s entry into Idlib, is present in the area extending from Jarabulus to Idlib and Afrin with high military and intelligence intensity, and through the clans and armed factions of the so-called “National Army”, which was Ankara He knew every small and large in the area, including how Al-Baghdadi came to her and where he was hiding with his wives and aides.
    Here begins with the many scenarios that Moscow expects to allow U.S. aircraft to fly in Syrian airspace (along the border with Turkey), especially since Berisha, which is 6 km from the Turkish border, was seconds away from the Hmeimim base, which gave Washington’s the green light to do this operation, in exchange for an ideal, inevitable and close Russian operation, it will target Al-Joulani if he does not agree with Turkey to disband the organization, deliver heavy weapons and withdraw from Idlib in the next few days.
    “It’s time to get rid of all the leaders of terrorist organizations” as a sign of the next phase to get rid of the Golani, a peace that was a war, and in response to the U.S.-Russian will that resolved the issue of Al-Baghdadi and those with him. “The operation took place after five months of coordination and joint cooperation with the Americans,” said Trump, who thanked the Kurds for his part.
    This may be an indication of the role the Kurds play and will play later to get rid of all Da’esh leaders and operatives arrested in the camps they control east of the Euphrates. After Trump forced Erdogan to receive hundreds of them, he transferred others to U.S. bases in western Iraq, and may hand over the rest of them to the Syrian state after the final agreement between “Qasd” and Damascus, which would mean a U.S. withdrawal from The Syrian oil areas before the presidential elections in November next year, but before the issue of Golani and Al-Nusra is resolved.
    These initiatives and possibilities are the region’s most important and exciting developments that will be characterized by the elimination of all the terrorist organizations that Obama and Hillary Clinton have established, according to Trump, despite all the great services they have provided to America, the imperialist states and Israel. The biggest beneficiary of the so-called “Arab Spring”.
    The next phase may also have a dramatic shift in the common U.S.-Russian position of recognition thanks to the Kurds in eliminating ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, which could mean first putting pressure on Damascus and then on Turkey and Iraq to think of a new formula for national dialogue within each country. To recognize the Kurds with more human, cultural and political rights.
    The visit of Qasd’s military commander, Mazlum Abdi, to Washington, and his meeting with President Trump and then President Putin, may be limited to the likely changes, especially if these visits are preceded by President Erdogan’s visit to Washington next month, after Trump asked him for a direct dialogue with Mazloum Abedi
    Before or after these visits, Abdi may surprise everyone with a historic visit to Damascus, which was welcomed by The Mufti of Syria, Ahmed Hassoun, and by Faisal al-Meqdad. It has become clear that The Oppressed will not hesitate to make such a visit with a U.S. green light and Russian encouragement, after being sure that reconciliation with Damascus will help him to pressure Ankara and force it first to withdraw from the eastern Euphrates, and secondly to release its leader Abdullah Ogalan, who has been in prison since February 1999, and he had seven years to become a new Mandela and come out to win the Nobel Peace Prize!
    The possible developments and surprises in the region, and more importantly the relationship between Moscow and Washington, and the bargaining and bargaining between them may shorten this period, after the closure of the file of political Islam, which would be a victory for President Putin, who responded to him by sending his troops to Syria in September 2015.
    According to the Russian-American perception, the “secular Kurds” may replace the Islamists as the two capitals continue to account for the Arab region, which is the focus of everyone’s attention not only now but throughout history.
    It was the cradle of a large number of civilizations and all religions and together was the cause of dozens and even hundreds of wars, some of them because of the so-called energy sources, and the future of water, all close to Mesopotamia (Tigris and Euphrates) and where the Kurds live after being divided by British colonial calculations. French between Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.
    Putin and Trump may now think of bringing them together, if not with mathematics and geography, but with history, culture, ethics, and humanity. This explains the U.S.-Russian coordination and cooperation to address the Syrian problem once and for all with the implications for Turkey, Iraq and the Kurds later, i.e. in the next few days, not the next few weeks, to work together to get rid of all the terrorists, who, as Chechen President Kadyrov said, They were created by America and it is their prerogative to get rid of them, this time by bargaining with Putin, of course, if America doesn’t go back to its old habit and think about using the remaining terrorists somewhere and at another time.
    It is not difficult for Washington to find alternatives as long as the land of this geography is fertile for traitors and agents of all kinds, races, races and sects, and they are always material for exciting, fearsome and bloody scenarios, and the details always remain between the words of hearsay and gossip, including that al-Joulani sold Al-Baghdadi in exchange for saving his life!

    If this analysis is correct it may be that the moves to ‘protect’ the oil fields in Syria may be a temporary sweetener for the Trump critics.


    Clark: what happened to avatars?


    I dont know if it’s worth learning the comment format here.


    Sorry for my frivolous reply. The DNA tests are usually rapid these days but of course the verification process may be a bit time consuming. I read somewhere that one of his defecting helpers had stolen his pants and smuggled it out beforehand so that this can be verified. Currently both the Iraqis and the Kurds are claiming they helped track Al Baghdad. There are also reports that the Kurds helped in the tracking and liquidation of the second in command near Jarablus. But of course few people are interested in the actual ptoof being produced these days. Even the OPCW seems to be untrustworthy these days as discussed here.


    thanks for keeping us informed, SA


    Just start another WTC7 thread if you care so much.

    At first I didn’t realise what the problem was. Then I tried to work around it by blocking external content, thinking that my old 2GB computer was not powerful enough. Then I informed Site Admin, who declined to disable embedding. Now I can’t even get the page to complete loading.

    I am SICK of your lies, you FUCKING conspiracy theorist. When I had a moderators login I repeatedly REOPENED comments on the 9/11 thread. It was CRAIG who had it closed. Now fuck off and die.


    Eh? I can see your Gonzo Dagger, my Mandelbrot excerpt, and SA’s blog-generated Identicon. Maybe something on your system is blocking

    michael norton

    Frank Gardner is spreading the word about how Islamic State got started
    “Islamic State has always been a bizarre fusion of ultra-conservative jihadists with former members of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s military and intelligence apparatus, known as Baathists.

    The Baathists provided the weapons, the explosives, the intelligence and the planning – nobody knew Iraq better than them – while the jihadists brought the fanaticism and the volunteer suicide bombers.”

    So is was nothing to do with America.

    The question that has been hiding in the shadows for six years is,
    where did the seed money come from?

    michael norton

    It has been reported that two friends of the Islamic State leader were captured alive and they have whisked off to an undisclosed site, maybe Turkey, Israel, Iraq, Cyprus
    but my guess would be Jordan.

    michael norton

    Mr. Donald Trump has said the US should be able to take some of the Syrian oil, but critics say doing so would violate the Geneva Convention’s laws against pillaging natural resources.

    Either the United States are getting out of Syria or they are not.
    Surely they can not do both.

    michael norton

    White Helmet Heroes might be next to be ditched/stiffed.


    Indeed they can’t do both, Michael!

    First, they are not interested in the countries with low natural oil reserves.
    Second, they locate the countries with high natural oil reserve and try to control them.
    Third, they locate the countries which border the countries with high natural oil reserve and try to control them.
    Forth, they influnce the countries which are biden or otherwise controlling the countries with natural oil reserves.
    Fifth, they try to control the 2nd and 3rd and 4th countries.
    Sixth, they try to demonise and de-humanise countries which counteract their activities.
    Seventh, they demonise and de-humanise the people exposing their activities.

    I always ask myself – why? Why is oil so very important?


    Is this article by Martin Chulov a blatant example of dishonest journalism? If so it is not an isolated case. Recent in all the media including the BBC concerning the pseudo withdrawal of US troops from Northern Syria all reiterate the notion that the Kurds where the most important allies in fighting and defeating Da’esh in Syria. In this narrative there is no mention whatsoever of the role played by the Russian intervention in 2015 which reversed the inexorable rise of Da’esh till then whilst the US and ‘allies’ watched at a distance, or of the logistic and economic support for Da’esh coming through Turkey, presumably financed by the Saudi and Gulf monarchies and with weapons supplied by the US and NATO.
    But the Chulov piece is a masterful example of deceit through omission, an attempt to rewrite history, because as we know, Wikipedia and other sources are then more likely to quote this because it is printed in the Guardian.
    So, let us analyze this piece and compare it to actual happenings: the title says it all

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death comes as new order takes shape in Middle East
    In aftermath of Isis’s toxic mix of chaos and intolerance, new spheres of influence are being demarcated
    Mosul was the first to fall, its capture used by Baghdadi to proclaim the formation of a new caliphate on the lands of northern Iraq. Soon it spread to Raqqa, and to the east of Aleppo. The Iraqi Kurdish capital of Irbil was in the group’s sights, so too the oil city of Kirkuk, and very nearly Baghdad.
    As the dominoes tumbled, Isis gathered momentum. Its toxic mantra of doctrinal intolerance took root in some areas, but in others it forced populations to flee en masse. Communities that had co-existed since the dawn of millennia were uprooted and are yet to return. Tented shanty towns of the displaced remain dotted across the Kurdish norths of Iraq and Syria a testament to an upheaval which could take generations to be reversed.

    It was very clear at this stage that the US and allies where very happy to stand by and watch the expansion of ISIS and here are two analyses, one from Jacob Siegal from the Daily Beast and the other from Seumus Milne from the Guardian that explain why the US was reluctant to interfere as the rise of ISIS if not really planned, suited the then current policy.

    By mid last year a momentum that had seemed unstoppable had begun to slow. In Iraq, militia groups that had fought alongside the Iraqi army had clawed back all major cities. In Syria, Kurdish proxies of the US had recaptured Raqqa and nearly all the territory Isis had seized. The rest was retaken earlier this year in a painstaking push near where it all began for the forerunners of Isis, along the Euphrates River basin.

    Where was Martin when Putin declared in the UN in September 2015 that Russia was going to interfere and defend the Syrian state?

    The Russian involvement started by bombing extensive convoys of oil tankers stealing Syrian oil and transporting it illegally to Turkey for onward smuggling

    This, and the Russian accusations against Turkeys role in this illegal trade did not go down very well with Erdogan who retaliated by shooting down a Russian warplane

    The whole long battle which led to the liberation of Palmyra in March 2016 by the Russian and Syrian forces and subsequent beating back of Da’esh from central Syria to the banks of the Euphrates seems to be airbrushed from all the recent narratives including this one.
    Not only did the US and allies and the MSM not acknowledge the role played by the SAA against Da’esh, they even tried to help the terrorist group by bombing the SAA at the Al Thardeh mountains during the battle to relieve the siege of Deir Ezzor .

    These events of course also took place while the Syrian Army with the help of Russia were also fighting the ‘moderate’ Al Qaeda linked rebels in other parts of Syria such as in Hama, Aleppo and East Ghouta in Damascus.

    The US decision to abandon the Kurds who fought on their behalf is unlikely to bring stability to a still volatile area, where the stark realities exposed by the Isis rampage remain just as troubling in defeat. The ground war was won by non-state actors who fought on Iraq and Syria’s behalf. The national armies of both countries splintered in the face of the threat and are yet to fully regroup.

    These ‘non state actors’ were the Hashed al sha’abi in Iraq sponsored by Iran and of course the Kurds, backed by the US. The US then discarded the Kurds as much as they had previously discarded the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, and Da’esh in the current conflict after they have fulfilled their purpose.

    Isis took hold in the vacuum of the 2003 US invasion, which had ousted the Sunni ruling class in Iraq and diminished the status the sect held in society. The group positioned itself as a champion of the disenfranchised – willing to reclaim lost glories and restore Islamic precepts.

    Mr Chulov seems to have conveniently forgotten how this vacuum was orchestrated, either deliberately or through negligence. The state in Iraq was dismantled and so was the police and army and all the security apparatus that went with them. This has led to a vacuum filled in by Al Qaeda which never existed in Iraq before. This was under the watchful eyes of the occupation forces. Eventually, the majority Shia were able to form a meaningful organised opposition and it was probably a deliberate divide and rule policy on the part of the coalition to introduce the militant Sunni factions to exploit the division this created. Ironically all of this allowed Iran to have a much more important input into Iraqi politics than was ever possible before the invasion.

    A sense of Sunni grievance was central to its message, and it readily tapped into the fortunes of Sunnis elsewhere; in Lebanon, whose patron Rafik Hariri was assassinated in 2005 and in Syria, where the anti-Assad opposition was primarily drawn from the same sect.

    This is another false narrative. The apparent years of dominance of the minority Sunni in Iraq and the oppression of the Shi’a majority does not seem to feature here but this lost dominance seems to now be the cause of the friction. The conflation of this with the assassination of Rafiq al Hariri as the representative of the Sunni in Lebanon is another attempt at conflating unrelated events into a conspiracy against Sunnis in the Levant. In Syria, the majority of the Syrian army is made up of Sunnis and again to pretend that the spill over of Isis as a representative of Sunni disgruntlement into the Syrian war is a laughable reinterpretation of facts.

    But the huge disruption and grievances the group caused remain raw and largely unresolved. The naked failings of authority in the region are in many ways just as troubling. Weak political governance offers few guarantees of justice or reconciliation. Perceived losses are unlikely to be recovered anytime soon.

    The disruption and grievances will remain as long as the alliance maintains the illusion that they can achieve a removal of the legitimate Syrian government and obstruct the reconstruction of Syria by punitive sanctions and prevention of aid to rebuild.

    Instead, a new regional order is taking shape that underpins the tremendous chaos Isis has caused. New areas of influence are being demarcated and there is now a real chance that some of the region’s post second world war borders could be redrawn along ethnic sectarian lines.

    Be honest Martin. The new order is that Russia has established its presence in the region in a constructive way and is trying to mend bridges and act as a go between previously irreconcilable enemies. The US and its allies have lost influence. The ME policy is in tatters and influence is daily being lost. Admission of defeat and attempt at construction would be the best way forward for everyone concerned.

    In Syria’s volatile east, large restive populations of Isis detainees remain interned where, for the past six months, they have been able to reorganise. The new Isis camps are bigger and more combustible than the US versions in southern Iraq, where Baghdadi earned his stripes as a future leader during a nine month stint in 2004. Back then, he was able to convince his captors that he was a stabilising influence, and they let him go. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was anything but. He lived and died as one of the savage and influential figures of modern times.

    The large restive population of Isis supporters that was left for the Kurds to be dealt with reflects the fact that many foreigners swelled the ranks of Isis. It is the refusal of the countries from which these foreigners came, to take them back to deal with them in the framework of their law and international law that has left the Kurds, not a developed state, to care for them. Their regrouping is everything to do with relegation of duties of the allies to deal with this festering problem.
    And as to the assertion that Baghdadi convinced his captors that he is a stabilising influemce…, this is pure fiction. I wonder whether these same people also thought Al Jolani, al Nusra and the FSA may be able to take over this role. Oh wait, I think they do by the looks of it.


    Even Brett Mcgurk is bewildered at the action to send US troops to ‘protect Syria’s oilfields.


    Node, I regret getting so angry at you, but I am sick and tired of your accusations that I am perpetrating some sort of plot. If you ever feel like talking with me as a person, you know where to find me.


    I personally feel a bit saddened when long term contributors here whom one comes to know through time, get angry and accuse each other of unmentionable deeds. This detracts from our common goal and our common enemy which is their desired effects. My personal views on 911 is that there are so many strange things that happened that day that it is impossible for us to find the truth. What we do know very clearly though is that there are seriously malign operators amongst leaders or substrate actors in the West and there are extensive coverups which even when exposed, are still either denied or ignored and that the MSM is playing a big part in this charade. What we need is a truly independent press.


    SA, I very much agree with the whole of your above comment; thank you. I add only that “our common enemy” would seem to be a self-sustaining system rather than a group of people; everyone does good and bad, both deliberately and inadvertently, but the system promotes those who act so as to sustain it.


    I fully agree it is the SYSTEM we should be fighting not its manifestations and dupes.

    michael norton

    The total number of troops on the ground in Eastern Syria would remain around 600.
    However, following the seventieth NATO Party in England, it is said that American troops could be removed, if substituted for other NATO troops?—us-defence-secretary/


    A million man march in Iraq against US occupation. This of course you do not hear about in the MSM.


    Revisiting Raqqa 2017. Quentin Somerville for the BBC showing how 4000 battle hardened ISIS fighters were let out of Raqaa and transported to Turkey under the aegis of the US and the SDF.


    Israel are Bombing Damascus …

    Tom Duggan

    Brian and besides they frightened my cats .spent most of the attack trying to get the cats to safety

    michael norton

    Yet more Surprise Israeli strikes on Damascus suburbs put a civilian aircraft in serious danger and forced it to divert to Russia’s Khmeimim airbase as the Syrian air defense was activated to repel the attack, the Russian military said.
    An Airbus A320 flying from Tehran to the Syrian capital was forced to make an emergency landing following an Israeli missile attack, the Russian Defense Ministry said. It added that using civilian aircraft as a “shield” is “commonplace” for Israeli Air Force pilots.

    This is happening, too often, to be another mistake.

    Why are the Israelis immune from World condemnation.

    If Craig is listening,
    is shadowing a civilian airliner to bomb, so as to expect the defending country to retaliate, with the high possibility of bringing down the civil airliner
    a war crime?

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