Thursday, April 6, 2017

It is All About "Safe Zones"

From this morning's Foreign Policy Situation Report:
Fighting it out. FP’s Colum Lynch, Robbie Gramer and David Kenner have more on the scene at the U.N. and Russia’s angry denials that Assad was involved in the attack. Russian officials, like president Trump, blamed former President Barack Obama’s infamous “red line” for the current violence. The New York Times has a good rundown of the holes in Russia’s various accounts of that happened in Idlib on Tuesday. The Guardian reports that Syrian aid workers have already sent soil samples from the town to “western intelligence officials” for testing in the suspected sarin attack.
To give you an idea of the NYT's "good rundown," here is the concluding section to the very brief "The Holes in Russia’s Account of the Syria Chemical Attack," by Jeffrey Marcus:
Who Is Responsible
Russian officials say insurgents making chemical weapons in a facility destroyed by the Syrian airstrike are to blame. Russia’s deputy envoy to the United Nations said on Wednesday that Islamic militants fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad have used chemical weapons before, including chlorine, mustard gas and nerve agents, in Iraq and Syria. And he said insurgents used sarin on residents of a Damascus suburb in 2013.
Western leaders including President Trump accused the Syrian government of being behind the fatal attack on Tuesday, and they called on Russia and Iran, Mr. Assad’s backers, to hold him accountable. Investigations by the United States and Western powers into the August 2013 chemical attack near Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people concluded that it had been carried out by the Syrian government.
All the "Assad did it" accounts of the 2013 sarin attack in East Ghouta were thoroughly debunked. But the mainstream media kept repeating that the Syrian government was to blame.

This is how it works. You lose the argument. But since you control the organs of the press, you just keep repeating the lie, and it becomes received wisdom, settled science.

The West and its sheikh clients need a triggering event. So they're attempting a do-over of East Ghouta. But a trigger for what? A cruise missile attack on Damascus to "decapitate" Assad? That seems too much for an addled Trump to pull off.

The Tillerson powwow in Turkey that led to the announcement of a new FSA-led coalition to rule Idlib seems to point the way. A land grab ("safe zones") for the sheikhs and spooks is underway. Syria is being carved up.

The deaths in Khan Sheikhoun are/will be used to justify a U.N. resolution creating "safe zones."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the Kurds in Rojava should be nervous.


  1. How swindled all those America First Trump voters must feel now.

    Trump is shaping up to be far more bellicose than Obama.

    Since nothing in the way of war worked out for Obama, Trump will soon find himself even more reviled than his present 37% Gallup approval rating.

    My guess is that Idlib is a strategic key for Western planners. They want it to keep pressure on the Alawite parts of Syria concentrated around Latakia. They have not given up on Aleppo, which Idlib abuts. And from Aleppo the rest of the northern part of the country can be knit together in a Sunni protectorate with the Kurds left to fend for themselves.

    Can Trump pull it off? Not likely. Nusra assassinated an FSA commander in Idlib in the other day:

    So much for the new, unified rebel coalition in Idlib.

    Trump is being bum-rushed by the Turks, Israelis, the GCC, and his own neocon NSC, to shatter Syria once and for all. He doesn't have the sophistication to deflect it. Bannon is marginalized.

    Obama was a shit-bird of the first order, but he knew how to parse, how to throw crumbs at allies like the Saudis. Trump is incapable of any such nuance. Get ready. It looks like Trump is about to be stampeded into a huge debacle.

  2. There's only so much wiggle room a President is allowed. As my theory goes, we were pointing to this war since early last year. Hillary announced it during the primary debates.

    Expect cruise missiles, since if a US warplane is dropping bombs anywhere near an S-300 site it won't make it back. The big question now is does Russia take out an aircraft carrier or two in response?

    1. I was thinking about this -- the Russian response -- on the walk home. If it's "cruise missiles to Khartoum" time, Russia and Syria will probably turn the other cheek and clean up the rubble of the pharmaceutical plant that is demolished in Damascus.

      Something more substantial, like ferrying large number of paratroopers from Kuwait to Manbij, along with a sustained cruise missile assault like the 78 days of bombing Yugoslavia absorbed in 1999, then Russia has to respond. Probably by hitting Turkey.

    2. That's what it's looking like. Called the war within about an hour of the launch. I guess I'm getting a lot of practice.