Tag: Syria

Turkey Launches Offensive to Protect al Qaeda

Turkey has initiated major military operations (an invasion) of Idlib province in Syria.

Turkey has a number of justifications, including concerns about an additional influx of refugees, but any any realistic assessment would strongly suggest that this is about installing client mini-states along the Turkish border as a part of Erdogan’s desire for greater sway in the area, along with his desire to enforce Sunni hegemony in Syria.

It should be noted that the rebels are al Nusra/al Qaeda in the Levant/Jabhat Fatah al-Sham/ Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and as such are al Qaeda.

Turkey is looking for Nato support, because ……… Everything is f%$#ed up and sh%$.

In related news, Turkey is aggressively moving refugees to the the Greek border in an attempt to coerce the EU into supporting his adventure.

This will not end well.

Burying the Lede

In a report on the Syrian army pushing the Jihadist rebels out artillery range of Aleppo, the New York Times waits until paragraph to mention that the people or Aleppo were literally dancing in the streets over their new found safety:

Syrian President Bashar Assad congratulated his forces Monday for recent gains in northwestern Syria that led to his troops consolidating control over Aleppo province, pledging to press ahead with a military campaign to achieve complete victory “sooner or later.”


In the past few weeks, government troops backed by Russian air power have captured more than 1,500 square kilometers (580 square miles) in the northwest, consolidating their hold over Aleppo province after capturing over 30 villages and hamlets in the western countryside in a single day Sunday. The advance secured the provincial capital that had for years remained within range of opposition fire.

The new gains, along with securing a key highway through rebel territory, are set to better link northern and southern Syria, including the city of Aleppo, which was Syria’s commercial center before the war. The highway, known as the M5, links the country’s four largest cities and population centers and is key to controlling Syria.

The developments sparked late-night celebrations in the streets of Aleppo that continued through Monday, with state media showing residents waving flags and dancing in roads packed with vehicles.

“We should not rest, but continue to prepare for the coming battles, and therefore the battle of liberating Aleppo countryside and Idlib will continue, despite the empty noise that is coming from the north (Turkey),” Assad said.

The refugees Idlib are little more hostages to Erdogans delusion that he is the rebirth of the Ottoman caliphate.

It is profoundly depressing that the best alternative for Syria is Bashar al-Assad, but considering the people who conspired to foment civil war in Syria, Erdogan, the House of Saud, the regime change mousketeers of various western state security apparatuses, it is not a surprise.

They Make a Desert and Call It Peace

By extension, it is an indictment of how the various colonial wars that the US has engaged in over the past 30 or so years.

Undoubtedly, the punishment for telling the truth will be swift and severe:

A senior French officer involved in the fight against Islamic State in Syria faces punishment after launching a scathing attack on the U.S.-led coalition’s methods to defeat the group in its remaining stronghold of Hajin, the army said on Saturday.

Colonel Francois-Regis Legrier, who has been in charge of directing French artillery supporting Kurdish-led groups in Syria since October, said the coalition’s focus had been on limiting its own risks and this had greatly increased the death toll among civilians and the levels of destruction.

“Yes, the Battle of Hajin was won, at least on the ground but by refusing ground engagement, we unnecessarily prolonged the conflict and thus contributed to increasing the number of casualties in the population,” Legrier wrote in an article in the National Defence Review.

We have massively destroyed the infrastructure and given the population a disgusting image of what may be a Western-style liberation leaving behind the seeds of an imminent resurgence of a new adversary,” he said, in rare public criticism by a serving officer.

The coalition could have got rid of just 2,000 militant fighters – who lacked air support or modern technological equipment – much more quickly and effectively by sending in just 1,000 troops, he argued.


Legrier’s article has embarrassed French authorities just hours before the coalition is expected to announce the defeat of the hardline Islamist group.

“A punishment is being considered,” French army spokesman Patrick Steiger said in a text message.

The article was removed from the review’s website on Saturday.

I wholeheartedly agree with Colonel Legrier, and I expect that his career is over.

Great. The Syrian War is Going to Run Into Netanyahu’s Electoral Ambitions

A Snowboarder Caught this On Tape

We now have a report that Iranian forces fired a rocket at Israel, and Israel responded with air-strikes:

Israeli forces bombed targets belonging to Iran inside Syria early Monday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement, as tensions on the northern border continued to skyrocket.

The Israeli army said at 1:30 a.m. it was “now striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory,” and warned Syrian forces not to intervene.


The attack came less than a day after Israel reportedly carried out a rare daylight strike on targets near Damascus, after which Iranian forces in Syria fired a retaliatory missile at Israel, according to the IDF. The exchanges ratcheted up concerns of a wider confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria. The Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported Monday that the Iranian missile, intercepted en route to the Golan by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, carried a nearly half-ton warhead.

I do not think that this is unrelated to the fact that Knesset elections will be in less than 3 months.

Say what you will about Binyamin Netanyahu, but he has an almost preternatural knack for tapping into the Israeli electorate fears to further his own political career..

A Stopped Clock is Right Twice a Day

ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/Whatever has been eliminated as a proto-nation state/caliphate.

It is now a diffuse terrorist organization, and as such, the only remaining justifications for keeping 2-3000 (and probably more off the books) troops on the ground are promulgating regime change and doing the House of Saud’s dirty work in their hundreds of years long battle with Iran.

As such, I think that Trump’s announcement that they are pulling ground troops from Syria, effective immediately, is a good thing, even if is (probably) being done for the most base of reasons:

The United States will move quickly to withdraw all forces from Syria, the White House abruptly announced Wednesday, as President Trump defied warnings from his top advisers and upended plans for a continued mission against the Islamic State.

The move plunged U.S. allies into uncertainty and created the potential for greater regional instability even as it provided Russia and its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a chance to cement greater control over the country.

“Our boys, our young women, our men, they’re all coming back and they’re coming back now, we won and that’s the way we want it,” Trump said in a video message on Twitter, an unusual format for the president. “That’s the way we want it, and that’s the way they want it,” he said, pointing to the sky in an apparent reference to American soldiers killed in Syria.

To quote John Kerry, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

The decision also delivers on the president’s repeated threat this year to pull out troops. Since before taking office, Trump has promised to conclude the campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and questioned the value of costly and dangerous military missions overseas.


Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, respectively, warned in a statement that the decision would benefit Russia and Iran, Assad’s other major patron.

I use the tears of the regime change Mousketeers to sweeten my coffee.

Of course, the wing of U.S. officialdom known as, “The Blob,” are doing their level best to prevent a sudden outbreak of peace:

President Donald Trump may have declared the so-called Islamic State “defeated,” sparking talk of a U.S. withdrawal from the former ISIS stronghold of northeastern Syria. But administration officials, several of whom were taken by surprise, indicated an effort was underway to stop or slow a pullout.


Yet the official added a harder-edged warning suggesting that military force against Iran in Syria remained an option: “Iran knows the U.S. stands ready to re-engage at all levels to defend American interests.”

OK, Mr. Anonymous Official, name 3 significant American interests in Syria, and you cannot use, “Iran’s there,” or, “Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud’s dick won’t suck itself.”

Tweets that Make You Go Hmmmmm

Very strange… Iran fired missiles at ISIS in Syria. Killed several ISIS leaders – almost killed Al-Baghdadi. US complained (!!) saying Iran was reckless, cuz the strike was within 3 miles of US troops.

But why was ISIS leader Baghdadi feeling so safe so close to US troops????

— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) October 5, 2018

You know, the fact that we are effectively allied with ISIS might be a small indicator that our policies in Syria are not in the national interest.

H/t naked capitalism.

The Last Time We Did This, We Created Al Qaeda

If this sounds familiar, this is exactly the same policy promulgated by Jimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski when they decided to foment a civil war in Afghanistan, which directly led to the formation of Al Qaeda, and indirectly to the 9/11 attacks:

As the Syrian tragedy lurches toward a bloody final showdown in Idlib province, the Trump administration is struggling to check Russia and the Assad regime from an assault there that U.N. Secretary General António Guterres warns would be a “humanitarian catastrophe.”

The administration’s efforts are so late in coming, and so limited, it’s hard to muster much hope they can reverse seven years of American failure. But at least the administration has stopped the dithering and indecision of the past 18 months and signaled that the United States has enduring interests in Syria, beyond killing Islamic State terrorists — and that it isn’t planning to withdraw its Special Operations forces from northeastern Syria anytime soon.

Right now, our job is to help create quagmires [for Russia and the Syrian regime] until we get what we want,” says one administration official, explaining the effort to resist an Idlib onslaught. This approach involves reassuring the three key U.S. allies on Syria’s border — Israel, Turkey and Jordan — of continued American involvement.

(emphasis mine)

Note that the author of this piece, David Ignatius has been a tool of the CIA for his entire career, and the US state security apparatus in general, and the CIA in particular, has been agitating for regime change since the start of unrest in Syria, and they are unwilling to let it go.

Once again, I return to this quote about the intelligence establishment:

It is not the story of men and women who have a better and deeper understanding of the world than we do. In fact in many cases it is the story of weirdos who have created a completely mad version of the world that they then impose on the rest of us.

Has Anyone Else Noticed a Pattern in Syria

Damascus achieves some military successes, Trump makes noises about scaling back US involvement, and suddenly there is another “chemical weapons attack” in Syria:

A gas attack on the last rebel-held town in Ghouta has left at least 40 people dead, with entire families reportedly found suffocated inside their homes, Syrian opposition activists and medical services say. The alleged attack on the town of Douma, which comes after Syrian government forces resumed an offensive in the area late Friday, left more than 500 people seeking medical attention, according to the Civil Defense and the Syrian American Medical Society. The Syrian American Medical Society put the death toll at 49, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 80 people had died, though many of them are said to have died from their shelters collapsing. The Syrian government has denied allegations it used chemical agents to attack the town, calling the claims “fabrications” aimed at undermining government advances in the area. The U.S. State Department has said it is closely following the “horrifying” reports, and if a gas attack is confirmed, it would “demand an immediate response by the international community.”

We’ve had unconfirmed reports of a missile strike on a Syrian airfield as well.

There is a regular pattern to this, as Bernhard at Moon over Alabama observes:

An alleged new ‘chemical incident’ in Syria reminds of a similar series of events we saw last year. We are told to believe that each time the U.S. pulls back from the war on Syria the Syrian government is responding with a ‘chemical attack’ that pulls the U.S. back in.

I am not suggesting that the DoD or the CIA is engineering these attacks, but I am suggesting that anti-Assad forces, with the active collusion of the “White Helmets”, knows how to read American news websites and understand the political dynamics at play.

Syria war: Assad’s government accuses US of massacre

The US just launched airstrikes against Syrian and allied forces:

The closer the U.S. gets to its original goal in Syria of defeating the Islamic State group, the murkier its end game. New layers of complexity are descending on a shifting battlefield, as demonstrated by a deadly barrage of American air and artillery strikes on a shadowy attacker.

The Pentagon insists it is keeping its focus on defeating IS, but Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday U.S.-backed fighters in eastern Syria faced a “perplexing” overnight assault by about 300 pro-Syrian government fighters whose nationalities, motives and makeup he could not identify. A number of U.S. military advisers were present alongside local allied forces, and the Americans led a punishing response that other officials said killed about 100 of the assailants.

Mattis asserted the episode was an aberration that should not be seen as an expansion of the U.S. war effort. But Trump administration critics disagreed. The Pentagon boss also dismissed any suggestion that Russia, the Syrian government’s most powerful military ally, had any control over the mysterious attacking force.

“I am gravely concerned that the Trump administration is purposefully stumbling into a broader conflict, without a vote of Congress or clear objectives,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, who has challenged the legal grounds on which American troops can operate in Syria for post-IS operations.

Mattis rejected Kaine’s suggestion the U.S. is being drawn into a broader war.

“It was self-defense,” he said. “We’re not getting engaged in the Syrian civil war.”

I’m going to call bullsh%$ on this.

Given that many elements in the US military, diplomatic, and state security apparatuses are determined to promulgate regime change in Syria, the juxtaposition of events that led to these airstrikes seems to me to be AWFULLY contrived.

There have simply been too many Gulf of Tonkin type events for me to believe that they have been unintentional.

Have I Mentioned that the Middle East is F%$#ed Up and Sh%$?

First, we have an al Qaeda linked group shooting down a Russian jet with a US missile:

Syria’s former al-Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility Saturday for the downing of a Russian warplane in northern Syria, apparently using a surface-to-air missile to target the aircraft.

The pilot was killed after he ejected and exchanged gunfire with militants on the ground, the Russian Defense Ministry and a monitoring group said.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, a powerful rebel alliance that publicly split from al-Qaeda last year, said it had used a shoulder-fired weapon to down the Su-25 fighter jet as it flew low over the opposition-held town of Saraqeb.


It also raises questions about the source of the apparent “man-portable air-defense system,” or MANPADS, a shoulder-fired weapon for which Syria’s rebels have repeatedly pleaded from their international backers. The United States has been strongly opposed, fearing that antiaircraft weapons could fall into the hands of the country’s extremist groups.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said any allegation that the United States has provided MANPAD missiles in Syria was untrue, and she denied that U.S. equipment was used in shooting down the Russian plane.

Considering the fact that the CIA has been supporting groups that the US military has been attacking, so take that with a grain of salt.

The rather more shocking news today though is that Israel has been conducting airstrikes in the Sinai with the affirmative assent of the Egyptian government:

The jihadists in Egypt’s Northern Sinai had killed hundreds of soldiers and police officers, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, briefly seized a major town and begun setting up armed checkpoints to claim territory. In late 2015, they brought down a Russian passenger jet.

Egypt appeared unable to stop them, so Israel, alarmed at the threat just over the border, took action.

For more than two years, unmarked Israeli drones, helicopters and jets have carried out a covert air campaign, conducting more than 100 airstrikes inside Egypt, frequently more than once a week — and all with the approval of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The remarkable cooperation marks a new stage in the evolution of their singularly fraught relationship. Once enemies in three wars, then antagonists in an uneasy peace, Egypt and Israel are now secret allies in a covert war against a common foe.

The Israeli airstrikes are not that unusual, but the fact that there has been official (though not public)n approval, and not just grudging acknowledgement, of the Egyptian government.

The obvious conclusion here is that the Egyptian Government (particularly el-Sisi) is desperate, which indicates that the government is far less secure than it would like to proclaim.

This is Like Military Statecraft 101

As Russian pilots leverage the close quarters of the air campaign in Iraq and Syria to gather crucial intelligence on U.S. operations, one U.S. aircraft in particular could be vulnerable to prying eyes—the stealth F-22 Raptor.

The air war against the Islamic State has provided a “treasure trove” of information on U.S. operations and tactics for Russia and other adversaries, said Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson, U.S. Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), during a Jan. 4 event on Capitol Hill. After more than two years of flying in close proximity with U.S. aircraft in the skies over Syria, Moscow has gained “invaluable insights” about U.S. aircraft and tactics, she stressed.

“Our adversaries are watching us, they are learning from us, and the skies over Iraq and specifically Syria have really just been a treasure trove for them to see how we operate,” Jamieson said.

Although Jamieson did not mention specific aircraft types, it is a fact that the campaign provided Russia its first opportunity to see U.S. fifth-generation aircraft in action. The F-22 made its combat debut in the opening strikes on the Islamic State in Syria in 2014.

No one forced the US Air Force to show off their bling in Syria, where the need for an aircraft like the F-22 is nearly non-existent.

The fact that the Russians are there, with antennas recording everything that they can, was completely foreseeable.

Here Is Hoping That This Ruling Sticks

About 4 months ago, a US citizen was detained in Syria, and has been held incommunicado for months, and now a federal judge has granted ACLU lawyers access to him:

A federal judge has taken a major step toward rejecting the Trump administration’s campaign to prevent an American citizen detained indefinitely as an enemy combatant from challenging his captivity in court.

Not only did Judge Tanya Chutkan of the District of Columbia district court order the Pentagon to permit access to the anonymous man for his would-be attorneys, she also barred the administration from making an end run around the U.S. legal system that it has long been considering – as a tactic to avoid precisely the defeat in court that Chutkan has now delivered.

Whether and how the Trump administration complies with Chutkan’s order is the latest drama in an extraordinary case that has seen the resurrection of sweeping government claims of detentions power. The last time the government argued it could hold an American citizen in military detention without access to the courts was the early years of George W. Bush’s administration, and the Supreme Court in 2004 rejected the contention in landmark 2004 case.

Late on Saturday night, the 103rd day of the man’s captivity, Chutkan instructed the Pentagon to provide the American Civil Liberties Union with “temporary, immediate and unmonitored access” to the man, whom the military is holding somewhere in Iraq without ever releasing his name – another aspect of the government’s efforts to prevent legal intervention in the case.

The behavior of the Trump administration, and the Pentagon, have been truly contemptible in this this matter, even by the standards of the past sixteen years.

Quote of the Day

One of the keys to understanding its origins is that the program was launched not because of a threat to U.S. security, but because of a perceived opportunity. That is always a danger sign, prompting powerful national-security bureaucrats to begin thinking about a “win” for the United States. (Think Vietnam and Iraq.)

Gareth Porter In the American Conservative of all places.

It’s in a surprisingly well written article about how we ended up supporting al Qaeda forces in Syrian civil war.

This Is the Right Thing to Do, Though the Reasons Are Probably Wrong

Donald Trump has ended the CIA’s effort to fund Jihadi/al Qaeda forces in Syria trying to overthrow the Assad regime.

Of course, since this story was revealed by the Washington Post, which has endorsed every fakakta regime change scheme forever, they try to spin it as some sort of collusion with Putin, but the fact that the CIA has literally been providing support to al Qaeda affiliates indicates the complete intellectual bankruptcy of this effort.

It also is a shot across the bow of other nations **cough** House of Saud **cough** that their support of Salafist fighters in Syria.

The sad thing about Syria is that for most of the country (Kurdistan* is the exception), Bashir Assad is the best option, which is thoroughly depressing.

President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials.

The program was a central plank of a policy begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to step aside, but even its backers have questioned its efficacy since Russia deployed forces in Syria two years later.

Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests. The shuttering of the program is also an acknowledgment of Washington’s limited leverage and desire to remove Assad from power.


After the Trump-Putin meeting, the United States and Russia announced an agreement to back a new cease-fire in southwest Syria, along the Jordanian border, where many of the CIA-backed rebels have long operated. Trump described the limited cease-fire deal as one of the benefits of a constructive working relationship with Moscow.

The move to end the secret program to arm the anti-Assad rebels was not a condition of the cease-fire negotiations, which were already well underway, said U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secret program.

Trump’s dealings with Russia have been under heavy scrutiny because of the investigations into the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election. The decision on the CIA-backed rebels will be welcomed by Moscow, which focused its firepower on those fighters after it intervened in Syria in 2015.

Some current and former officials who support the program cast the move as a major concession.

“This is a momentous decision,” said a current official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a covert program. “Putin won in Syria.”

No, Putin didn’t win, you are your merry band of regime change fetishists lost, and you deserved to.

Look at Libya and Iraq. Your world view sucks wet farts from dead pigeons.

The interventionist foreign policy consensus, as personified by the Council on Foreign Relations, has created instability, terrorism, suffering, and massive loss of life around the world, and it needs to be repudiated.

*Of course, at the end of all this, the Kurds are going to get completely f%$#ed, because that is what Ankara will demand, but the Kurds always get f%$#ed in the great power games in the Middle East.

A Good Sign, but There Is Weirdness Here

To understand what is going on here, one needs to engage is something akin to Kremlinology to figure out what is going on here, but my (not particularly well educated) guess is that there is a conflict between those who want to overthrow the Assad regime (AKA “The Blob”), and those who are OK with Assad remaining in power and want to focus on ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/Whatever. 

Again, I should note that this is a guess, but my guess is that someone in “The Blob” cherry picked some intelligence in in the hope of either fomenting a regime change scenario or an attack on Assad’s ally Iran.

In any case, it looks like there is some deescalation going on now:

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis claimed Wednesday that the Syrian government backed down after the White House said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were preparing for another possible chemical attack.

“They didn’t do it,” Mattis said.

Speaking to reporters aboard a flight to Brussels, the retired four star general gave few details to support the assertion that the Syrian military stepped back from plans for a possible chemical strike. On Monday, the White House warned that Syrian forces would “pay a heavy price” if they carried out another chemical strike.

Mattis’s remarks come a day after the Pentagon said it had seen “active preparations for chemical weapons use” at Shayrat Airfield, the same place struck by more than 50 cruise missiles earlier this year.

It sounds to me like someone caught the rat-f%$#, and decided that the politic thing would be to declare victory, and go home.

Interestingly enough, Mattis is a big advocate of military action against Iran, so the fact that he is declaring victory is rather puzzling.

Oh Sh%$. Someone Wants Regular US Ground Troops in Syria

Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.

— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) June 27, 2017

The UN Ambassador making this statement allows for an accusation to be made semi-officially, but it can be disavowed later

So, now we have allegations that the Syrians are planning an imminent chemical attack from members of the Trump administration.

First, as was noted by Sy Hersh,  there probably wasn’t a gas attack by the SAA (Syrian Arab Army, i.e. Assad) Khan Sheikhoun, and second, the war is going pretty well for Damascus these days, so another attack makes no sense.

I would note that the statements are assigning direct culpability to Russia and Iran should an attack occur, which implies that someone is trying to instigate an attack against one or both of them.

My guess is that someone wants to hit Iran, and is trying to get the Russians to keep their head down, though there is also the possibility that this is an attempt to deflect attention from the aforementioned Hersh story:

The United States said Tuesday that it has observed Syrian chemical warfare personnel visiting known production facilities, suggesting that President Bashar al-Assad’s government is preparing fresh strikes on the rebel-held north of the country. 

The White House warned late Monday that the Assad government would pay a “heavy price” for any such strikes, indicating publicly for the first time that it believes the Assad government is capable of launching new chemical attacks.

We really need to disentangle ourselves from the the Gulf monarchs supporting Jihadists in Syria (Saudi Arabia and Qatar largely, though they support different ones), and end the support  own state security apparatus for them as well. (There is no moderate opposition outside of the Kurds)

We are being played for suckers, and it will be American blood and treasure that will be wasted as a result.

Seymour Hersh Has Another Blockbuster

Publishing in Die Welt, Hersh reveals that the US intelligence services were categorically contradicting the story of a Syrian gas attack Khan Sheikhoun which led to a US cruise missile attack on the Shayrat Air Base:

On April 6, United States President Donald Trump authorized an early morning Tomahawk missile strike on Shayrat Air Base in central Syria in retaliation for what he said was a deadly nerve agent attack carried out by the Syrian government two days earlier in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Trump issued the order despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.

The available intelligence made clear that the Syrians had targeted a jihadist meeting site on April 4 using a Russian-supplied guided bomb equipped with conventional explosives. Details of the attack, including information on its so-called high-value targets, had been provided by the Russians days in advance to American and allied military officials in Doha, whose mission is to coordinate all U.S., allied, Syrian and Russian Air Force operations in the region.

Some American military and intelligence officials were especially distressed by the president’s determination to ignore the evidence. “None of this makes any sense,” one officer told colleagues upon learning of the decision to bomb. “We KNOW that there was no chemical attack … the Russians are furious. Claiming we have the real intel and know the truth … I guess it didn’t matter whether we elected Clinton or Trump.”

The implication of the last statement, of course, is that the notoriously bellicose Hillary Clinton would seize any pretext for a strike against Syria and the Russians.

To the dismay of many senior members of his national security team, Trump could not be swayed over the next 48 hours of intense briefings and decision-making. In a series of interviews, I learned of the total disconnect between the president and many of his military advisers and intelligence officials, as well as officers on the ground in the region who had an entirely different understanding of the nature of Syria’s attack on Khan Sheikhoun. I was provided with evidence of that disconnect, in the form of transcripts of real-time communications, immediately following the Syrian attack on April 4. In an important pre-strike process known as deconfliction, U.S. and Russian officers routinely supply one another with advance details of planned flight paths and target coordinates, to ensure that there is no risk of collision or accidental encounter (the Russians speak on behalf of the Syrian military). This information is supplied daily to the American AWACS surveillance planes that monitor the flights once airborne. Deconfliction’s success and importance can be measured by the fact that there has yet to be one collision, or even a near miss, among the high-powered supersonic American, Allied, Russian and Syrian fighter bombers.


“The rebels control the population by controlling the distribution of goods that people need to live – food, water, cooking oil, propane gas, fertilizers for growing their crops, and insecticides to protect the crops,” a senior adviser to the American intelligence community, who has served in senior positions in the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, told me. The basement was used as storage for rockets, weapons and ammunition, as well as products that could be distributed for free to the community, among them medicines and chlorine-based decontaminants for cleansing the bodies of the dead before burial. The meeting place – a regional headquarters – was on the floor above. “It was an established meeting place,” the senior adviser said. “A long-time facility that would have had security, weapons, communications, files and a map center.” The Russians were intent on confirming their intelligence and deployed a drone for days above the site to monitor communications and develop what is known in the intelligence community as a POL – a pattern of life. The goal was to take note of those going in and out of the building, and to track weapons being moved back and forth, including rockets and ammunition.


The Execute Order governing U.S. military operations in theater, which was issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provide instructions that demarcate the relationship between the American and Russian forces operating in Syria. “It’s like an ops order – ‘Here’s what you are authorized to do,’” the adviser said. “We do not share operational control with the Russians. We don’t do combined operations with them, or activities directly in support of one of their operations. But coordination is permitted. We keep each other apprised of what’s happening and within this package is the mutual exchange of intelligence. If we get a hot tip that could help the Russians do their mission, that’s coordination; and the Russians do the same for us. When we get a hot tip about a command and control facility,” the adviser added, referring to the target in Khan Sheikhoun, “we do what we can to help them act on it.” “This was not a chemical weapons strike,” the adviser said. “That’s a fairy tale. If so, everyone involved in transferring, loading and arming the weapon – you’ve got to make it appear like a regular 500-pound conventional bomb – would be wearing Hazmat protective clothing in case of a leak. There would be very little chance of survival without such gear. Military grade sarin includes additives designed to increase toxicity and lethality. Every batch that comes out is maximized for death. That is why it is made. It is odorless and invisible and death can come within a minute. No cloud. Why produce a weapon that people can run away from?”


“It was a totally Trump show from beginning to end,” the senior adviser said. “A few of the president’s senior national security advisers viewed the mission as a minimized bad presidential decision, and one that they had an obligation to carry out. But I don’t think our national security people are going to allow themselves to be hustled into a bad decision again. If Trump had gone for option three, [a massive air strike] there might have been some immediate resignations.”

Nothing about the official White House account makes sense in the initial reports:

  • Assad had no reason to use chemical weapons, he was winning decisively at the time.
  • There were no reports of any sort of special handling of the munitions by the crews.
  • The films on the net show actions by the first responders which would have had them contaminated, and effected, as well.
  • The reports of a strong smell indicate that the toxin was not military grade Sarin.

And now we know that this strike had been communicated with US forces days in advance as part of the US-Russia deconfliction protocol, and that the professional staff in the US state security apparatus did not believe that there had actually been a chemical weapons attack.

Remember How It Was Stated That Only the Syrians Could Launch a Chemical Attack?

Not So Much:

US intelligence believes ISIS is bringing together all of its experts on chemical weapons from Iraq and Syria into a new “chemical weapons cell,” according to a US official.

The cell is comprised of chemical weapons specialists from Iraq and Syria who have not previously worked together, the official added. The new unit is being set up in an ISIS-controlled area in Syria within the Euphrates River Valley, between Mayadin, Syria and the town of al Qaim, just across the Iraqi border.

That location has sparked a good deal of interest on the part of US military intelligence. One US defense official told CNN that “thousands” of ISIS operatives and sympathizers may be in the area and that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi could also be in hiding somewhere nearby. The area is now considered the “de facto” capital of ISIS, with Raqqa under such military pressure from the coalition and local forces, the official said.

Coalition officials still stress that given its size and status, the capture of Raqqa is still considered to be an important military objective.

It is assessed that ISIS is consolidating its chemical weapons capabilities in order to boost its ability to defend its remaining strongholds.

How does this compare to earlier US claims that ISIS could not have any chemical stockpiles, and that Syria was the only player in the civil war who had the capability to deploy chemical weapons?

We need to stop doing the bidding of the various Persian Gulf potentiates.

All it does is create mayhem, disorder, and suffering.